Respectful Insolence

Sadly, a crank has silenced another skeptic.

Many of you may know EpiRen, which is the Twitter and blog handle (and sometimes commenting handle here) of René Najera. René is an epidemiologist employed by the state public health department of health of an East Coast state and has been a force for reality- and science-based discussions of medicine, in particular vaccines. In fact, he’s come out as a strong defender of vaccines against anti-vaccine lies.

Unfortunately, EpiRen is no more, at least online; that is, if he wants to keep his job.

As related to my by Liz Ditz, A Public Servant, Blogging and Tweeting Under His Own Name, Has Been Silenced By His Employers:

Last weekend, Mr. Najera had a heated exchange with a pharmaceuticals “entrepreneur”, Mr. X– I put that in quotes as Mr. X. made some claims that don’t stand up. Mr. X also made a series of ad hominem attacks on Jen Gunter MD, to which Mr. Najera responded.

Rather than responding to Mr. Najera, Mr. X escalated in a particularly virulent way. Mr. X sent a series of emails–complaining about Mr. Najera’s opinions, complaining about Mr. Najera’s defense of vaccination, and threatening legal action–to a great many people senior to Mr. Najera in his department — starting with Mr. Najera’s immediate superior. Mr. X was able to do so because Mr. Najera was blogging under his own name, named the state in which he worked, and because the name René Najera is rather uncommon — especially in a small, East Coast state.

The result was, unfortunately, predictable. René was ordered by his superiors to cease all blogging, Twittering, and other social network activity related to public health. Having just last year been the subject of an e-mail and telephone campaign to try to get my university to fire me for my online activities, I completely sympathize with what René went through. Government and corporate organizations can be completely obtuse about the Internet, blogosphere, and the new social media, and, quite frankly, what one does in one’s own time should in general not be so restricted. That I’m fortunate enough to work for a university that values free speech for its faculty (the dean herself called me to assure me of this) does not mean that others are that fortunate.

It turns out that the person responsible for silencing René showed up in the comments of Liz’s post. Not only was this person gloating, but he immediately started threatening other anonymous/pseudonymous commenters who started criticizing his actions and whose opinions that he didn’t like. Here is his comment reposted in its entirety, with no editing:

i am mr. x; first, i am not anti-vax; second, i didn’t want epiren to stop posting, but rather to take down the defamatory blog; third, i am not done going after every individual who defames me.

you think you are safe, but all i have to do is file a john doe – or hire a cyber investigator. these courses of action cost less than $10,000 each; which means every person who is afraid of the light can be exposed.

i will not tolerate harassment, defamation, or any such action by any of you. i am very aware of all of you, and have the capital and the will to go after each and every one of you ONLY IF you defame or slander me.

i am self employed if you count owning 11 pharmaceutical companies with cum gross sales over 1/2 billion.

His very next comment continued his threats:

and just so we are clear. the next person on the list is anarchic teapot. i’ve already hired two firms to track him down.

I encourage my readers to peruse the comment thread there to see the rest of his comments. They degenerate from there, down to a poorly written, spelling error laden threatening letter to Liz. Sadly, this is a very typical reaction of someone who can’t win a debate based on science, facts, and logic. I know, as I’ve experienced these sorts of threats several times over the last six years. Indeed, the identity and goals of this particular crank are utterly unimportant, as his he. For purposes of this post, he serves only as a conveniently timed example of what can be the consequences of blogging under one’s own name. This pathetic bully is simply a convenient villain whose actions demonstrate far more clearly than words why a blogger might wish to blog under a pseudonym.

A favorite tactic of cranks trying to silence bloggers is what this particular bully did to succeed in silencing René: Start a campaign of e-mail complaints to the blogger’s superiors and coworkers at his place of employment. The first time that happened to me was in 2005, when a man named William P. O’Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group sent threatening e-mails to my department chair, my cancer center director, my division chief, and me. Fortunately, no one really cared (seriously, his complaint was simply that I happened to like Peter Bowditch’s criticisms of various purveyors of pseudoscience), and soon afterward every time he sent me a threat I would tell him that I was forwarding it to my aforementioned bosses. And I did. Particularly satisfying was how my then-chairman told me this guy was obviously a bully and to ignore him. Last summer, Jake Crosby over at the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism wrote a post trying to paint me as hopelessly in the thrall of big pharma, and as a result AoA minions, flacks, and shills began an e-mail campaign to the board of directors of my university trying to get me fired. Fortunately that went nowhere, but it did cause me serious agita, particularly when the dean called me about it–at least it caused me agita until I realized that it was a call of support.

Oddly enough, not long after this kerfuffle erupted, our cyberbully took down his blog, Twitter account, and YouTube channel. Interestingly, though, he also appears to have eliminated access to his full name on his LinkedIn account. Personally, I find this puzzling, but maybe this man does have some shame after all.

Many of my readers know that the issue of pseudonymous blogging at ScienceBlogs has come to the forefront again. What certain corporate types appear not to understand is that the problem with combatting pseudoscience is that cranks don’t play fair on social media. When they start losing or when criticism starts to sting, many will just slink away. However, there is a significant minority who are bullies. This significant minority will try its best to silence skeptics and supporters of science using any and all online tactics. One favored tactic is frivolous lawsuits, examples of which I’ve documented here time and time again.

So why am I writing this? My purpose is simple. I want to use this unfortunate recent event and my own experience as an example to demonstrate that there are valid reasons why people choose to blog, Twitter, and comment using pseudonyms, and those reasons usually do not involve hiding from responsibility for their words. All too often, they involve wanting to take reasonable precautions against people like William P. O’Neill, Jake Crosby, and EpiRen’s tormenter. As another commenter, Corinna Becker, put it:

I completely understand the reasoning behind why people would use a pseudonym, to protect oneself and one’s family from potentially harmful situations as has been played out with EpiRen, to far worse and more dangerous threats. I myself am in a position where I can afford to use my real name, and value the transparency for my readers, but completely understand the reason why some level of anonymity is needed for people.

In a way, Mr. X has provided us a great example of the risk and benefits of anonymity when blogging. So thank you, Mr. X, for being willing to step up to the job. However, I find it a great shame and a disgust that you would target such a valuable source to the global community at large.

For all too many bloggers, the consequence of not taking such reasonable precautions is to meet the fate of EpiRen.

ADDENDUM: P.Z. Myers has weighed in.

ADDENDUM #2: Elswhere, our litigious bully still doesn’t get it:

oh, i think it’s too late for Rene. Unfortunately, you all have made such a stink that I am not sure he’s going to last long.

in fact, I think the only thing that would save him would be for someone to sue him and his employer and force his employer to defend him and retract the whole thing.

if anyone’s got any suggestions, let me know. I’m on your side. This unjustice against Rene has got to end, and NOW!

Comments

  1. #1 DLC
    August 22, 2011

    “and I’ll get you too!” cries the bully.
    who then goes and cries to the target’s employers, who, being threat averse (read: Moral cowards), order the target to shut down, in order to prevent any “unpleasantness.”
    It disgusts me.

  2. #2 reasonablehank
    August 22, 2011

    So, Mr X spams a group of us on Twitter; makes derogatory remarks about Jen Gunter (including referring to a picture of a distorted face being like that of Jen’s); people pull him up about it; and, he goes complaining to an honest man’s employers, forcing this honest and upright individual to cease his altruistic online activities in defence of facts and public health?

    Nice.

  3. #3 Cath the Canberra Cook
    August 22, 2011

    I’m very disappointed in this. Is it possible to launch a counter-campaign shaming them into letting Rene continue? If one crank email to his boss can shut him up, how many cross emails do we need to send to his boss to start him up again?

    And on that note, Orac, have you decided what you’re going to do yet? Are they going to make you choose whether to come out or to leave ScienceBlogs?

  4. #5 Cain
    August 22, 2011

    It would be nice if Anonymous took notice of this guy.

  5. #6 Jarred C
    August 22, 2011

    Wait, so a government organization ordered a public employee to cease their free speech rights as a private citizen? This is not legal.

  6. #7 Rebecca
    August 22, 2011

    He cries out that he is being harassed, defamed, and slandered but yet isn’t that what he is doing to all those he is accusing of the behaviour? Brings me back to that childhood saying of ‘he who smelt it, dealt it’.

  7. #8 Sharon
    August 22, 2011

    I have been called some nasty things on my blog, specifically because I choose to vaccinate my Autistic son. I blog under my name because I have always been prepared to stand behind what I say. I suspect Rene felt the same way. Sad to see someone exploit this integrity, particularly using the brave pseudonym of MrX.

  8. #9 Lawrence
    August 22, 2011

    Wow – that really sucks & a horrible decision on the part of the organization. I’m sure there may be some legal recourse, but at what expense?

  9. #10 David Marjanović
    August 22, 2011

    Orac, I hope you come over to Freethoughtblogs. People who don’t understand reasons for anonymity aren’t competent to run a blog platform.

  10. #11 herr doktor bimler
    August 22, 2011

    René has taken down his blog but of course the Google cache lingers on.

  11. #12 Kal
    August 22, 2011

    So – an outspoken blogger is successfully shut down by intimidation, via his employer – and he is [i]so[/i] successfully intimidated that he isn’t even going to struggle. I am astonished that this isn’t causing more outrage.

    It’s discussed in a bit more detail at http://skepticallawyer.wordpress.com/, and I expect a case would probably be needed to find out for sure, but at first blush it certainly seems that Rene’s employers are violating his 1st amendment rights (based on [i]Garcetti v. Cabellos[/i] among others.)

    I certainly understand Rene not wanting to deal with this sort of trouble at work, but I can’t help but feel that by not fighting back when your rights are being taken away like this, it makes you at least somewhat complicit in the loss of those rights. Lying down and taking it is only a pragmatic approach in the very short term, and when one person has their rights stripped away like this it affects us all.

    I sincerely hope this will be reported as widely as possible. Perhaps once Rene’s employers start to receive calls from journalists seeking comment on their policy of abrogating employees free speech rights there will be a change.

  12. #13 anarchic teapot
    August 22, 2011

    Well, despite waiting with baited breath, anarchic teapot hasn’t received any threatening emails. He is quite prepared to deal with them if ever they arrive, which he doubts.

    I don’t think the bully started removing his online information out of shame or remorse. I think he removed it to make himself harder to find and, possibly, sue for defamation or harassment.

    Please don’t imagine that EpiRen has been forced completely offline either. As I understand it, he was asked to stopping blogging on health matters under his real name and keep his personal information private, so that this sort of thing wouldn’t happen again.

    In other words: if he is to blog in the future, it must be anonymously, and not even as EpiRen.

  13. #14 herr doktor bimler
    August 22, 2011

    It’s tempting to set up a blog site or two just to mirror the Google caches of the now-deleted sites in which MrX’s shitweasel personality and snake-oil-salesman business practices are made so abundantly clear.

  14. #15 anarchic teapot
    August 22, 2011

    Tempting no doubt, but I ask you not to. It would probably be seen as undue provocation.

    Would you care to see posts you had deleted, for whatever reason, plastered all over another site? Thought not.

  15. #16 herr doktor bimler
    August 22, 2011

    Point taken and calming advice heeded.

  16. #17 Jud
    August 22, 2011

    I’m *very* surprised Rene’s employer apparently didn’t have Mr. X’s communications reviewed by counsel. Granted, Mr. X seems quite ready to litigate, so there would be likely be some ‘nuisance value’ cost even with a win.

    In comments on Liz Ditz’ blog, Mr. X referred to a ‘$14 million victory’ in a ‘fraud case’ that made him a ‘case study in two law schools.’ When I followed a link to the case provided by another commenter, I found a court ruling against Mr. X, not in a fraud case, but in a preliminary stage of a case where he was accused of providing trade secrets of an old employer to a new employer in 2007. Mr. X’s position at this preliminary stage was that the information he was said to have given his new employer wasn’t entitled to trade secret status, so the case should be thrown out. The court declined to do so, saying a jury should have the opportunity to decide the question. That’s the only reported opinion I could find in the suit .

  17. #18 Greg Fish
    August 22, 2011

    I don’t think the bully started removing his online information out of shame or remorse. I think he removed it to make himself harder to find and, possibly, sue for defamation or harassment.

    Bingo! He talked a big game about hiring hackers and how he owns enough pharmaceutical companies to raise his own private army but all he actually did was sent whiny, threatening e-mails. Something tells me that he’s all talk and bluster and were he to be identified, he would be just as vulnerable to an e-mail campaign as any of his targets and could become a good subject for media attention…

  18. #19 Jojo
    August 22, 2011

    This makes me furious. Furious that Mr. X is such a cowardly bully. Furious that Rene, who has done so much good, is being silence contrary to his rights. Furious, that it may be my tax dollars that are being used to silence him.

    I really hope that the skeptical and medical blog community can find a way to support Rene or shame Mr. X. I think this is a time when the Streisand is appropriate.

    Also, I’d be willing to donate to support any kind of legal action to protect Rene’s rights.

  19. #20 Neil Craig
    August 22, 2011

    One can see why scientific sceptics are rare here whereas the ad homs and obscenities of “peer reviewed scintists” “published in the finest journals” paid to promoter catastrophic warming are rife.

    That plus the censorship endemic to “scineceblogs”.

  20. #21 Bronze Dog
    August 22, 2011

    Thuggery. Pure thuggery. At least now I have a link I can show to the next ad hominem troll who whines about my pseudonym.

  21. #22 Danny Moules
    August 22, 2011

    “He talked a big game about hiring hackers”

    The ironic thing there being that most freelance hackers work for ethical causes, e.g. shutting down people like him, as opposed to for the payday from unscrupulous idiots. The more visible he makes himself to _that_ community, the more people with nothing better to do will be inclined to harass _him_.

    I suspect he doesn’t care about his reputation. It’s a zero sum game if you’re already lying and have nothing of worth. Perhaps he will go the way of Mabus and get himself arrested.

  22. #23 Mara
    August 22, 2011

    Damn damn damn, that’s what I was afraid of when I saw his Batman farewell post the other day. Rene…I’m going to miss your blog. I was just getting around to reading the older night school posts and I was learning *so* much.

    This pisses me off. If things change and you want residents of that East Coast state to write to your employer, please let us know.

  23. #24 Kristen
    August 22, 2011

    Please continue to show support for Rene. His blog is going to be truly missed; it put very difficult concepts in terms I could understand (no small fete). I do hope the “Streisand Effect” smacks some reality into Mr. X too. But above all else I wish the best for Rene; that this calm down quickly.

    To anyone who is angry, please don’t contact Rene’s employer. If he wanted to fight this he would (I’m not meaning to speak for him, just showing concern). He cares about what he does very deeply. It looks to me like he wants to continue helping the public, regardless of what that costs him in online presence (though nobody should have to restrain their free speech).

    That said: this is the most egregious suckage I have encountered on the internet, and that is saying *a lot*.

  24. #25 Orac
    August 22, 2011

    I agree. Please do not contact Rene’s employer. It will only make things worse for him.

  25. #26 Epinephrine
    August 22, 2011

    Thanks Orac. This type of thing really hits home, as I am also a public servant in health, involved with the same kind of issues. One would think that standing against quackery and for vaccination would be supported by government (particularly groups whose mandate involves public health), but governments are very sensitive to pressure and don’t want to attract any negative attention at all. I am actually thinking of coming up with a new online identity and starting afresh, just to be on the safe side.

  26. #27 face
    August 22, 2011

    aşığım kızım sana daha ne diyeyim

  27. #28 Orac
    August 22, 2011

    Wait, so a government organization ordered a public employee to cease their free speech rights as a private citizen? This is not legal.

    Actually, it probably is.

  28. #29 DaveD
    August 22, 2011

    I followed the link @4 and am still scratching my head. I read the text there several times. It appears to be English, and some of it is coherent, and some of it is badly written, and some of it is just weird. Personally, I would not brag about being a successful pro se litigant, but that’s just me.

  29. #30 Vicki
    August 22, 2011

    I’ve put a link to Liz Ditz’s blog post on my Google+ page, both because it’s important in general and as another bit of the ongoing discussion there about “real” names.

  30. #31 MikeMa
    August 22, 2011

    Sorry Rene has been so abused for standing up for science against a moron.

  31. #32 Bob
    August 22, 2011

    So, does anyone know who this Mr. X is? I am very curious about someone who would threaten an epidemiologist. I’m sure others are just as curious.

    I consider Rene a good friend & a great public resource. And having gotten a stern managerial talking-to about my Twitter play-by-play of the Fukushima disaster (leading to a few CNNi interviews), I have some idea what he’s going through. He was very supportive after I was temporarily forced to ‘go dark’ and I owe him at least that now.

  32. #33 lilady
    August 22, 2011

    As all the regulars here are aware I am a retired public health nurse who worked in a (very large) county health department, division of infectious diseases control. I know only too well how Rene could lose his job…even though he is part of a State employees union.

    Thomas P. (“Tip”) O’Neill, Congressman and former Speaker of the House Of Representatives, once said “All politics is local”…and in my County the “local politics” permeated all parts of government including the Health Department. The commissioner and deputy commissioners of my health department were appointed by the County Supervisor as were the members of the governing Board of Health. Technically, the Civil Service Board is charged with the responsibility of hiring/promoting off the Civil Service List…but there were ways to get around that for anyone who had “connections”…being that the Civil Services commissioner and deputy commissioner were “appointees”. All of the these same realities exist at my State Health Department as well.

    These “politics” are a real part of working in public health for those who wish to “advance” on the job, but also can work against anyone whose activities might piss off a constituent.

    Knowing this, I attempted to keep a low profile, attended meetings of a local Lyme disease “support group”; Ugh!!!…because I was “directed to” and confined my advocacy to writing articles and testifying at hearings for the disabled. I knew that I was “safe”, even when I stepped on toes of local and state officials, because I spoke from the heart and in the interest of my disabled son.

    So, these are the realities that Rene was faced with and how Mr. X. was able to launch a vicious attack on Rene.

    @ Rene: I am so sorry that you have had grief on your job because of your health care advocacy, you are one of my heroes.

  33. ” Wait, so a government organization ordered a public employee to cease their free speech rights as a private citizen? This is not legal.

    Actually, it probably is.”

    You have the right to free speech, you do not have the right to a particular job, government or otherwise.

    Sometimes freedom is a two way street and individuals are the Frogger.

    -Karl Withakay

  34. So what are Orac’s plans regarding the new Sceinceblogs policy. Are you going to go to Scientopia or Freethoughtblogs or go back to Oracknows @ blogspot?

    Considering that Jennie McCarthy’s org owns oracknows.com, I would think you wouldn’t want to promote the oracknows brand name anymore.

    -Karl Withakay

  35. #36 Liz Ditz
    August 22, 2011

    Thanks for the shout-out, Orac. Scepticemia also wrote about René’s case. Mr X, predictably showed up and “outed” me…only it’s not me. He spelled my surname wrong so found the wrong person.

    Bob @31, I would say, stick with “Mr. X”. It is kind of a special case of “do not feed the troll”– he thrives on the attention.

    Betcha anything he shows up here –he’s back commenting on my blog this morning.

  36. #37 Dianne
    August 22, 2011

    Does anyone know which small east coast state Rene works for? Because I live on the east coast and I’d like very much to avoid accidentally accepting employment there.

  37. #38 Joseph Ormond
    August 22, 2011

    This happen to me in the 70’s when a journalistic friend of mine interviewed me for his column in a our local paper. I had been struggling to introduce microcomputers to automate specific task in our department and was up against the county data processing department resistance. I was nearly fired for participating in the interview. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcomputer

  38. #39 Daniel J. Andrews
    August 22, 2011

    Bob…see PZ’s blog for Mr. X’s name. Orac has added the link now.

    I certainly hope SciBlogs reconsiders there approach to anonymous blogging. Are the people who make these rules so out of touch with reality they don’t know what happens when those of us in reality confront those pushing alternate realities?

    This isn’t just in medicine/public health either, but is seen in the climate change, evolution, ecology, and now anything to do with polar bears apparently. These harassments can drag on for years, and can come from crackpots like Mabus (who may or may not escalate to showing up in your front yard) to high levels of government (witch hunts from the AG or even Senators).

  39. #40 anarchic teapot
    August 22, 2011

    Bob, if you DM me on Twitter I can give you some info. I know your handle, don’t worry.

  40. #41 James Sweet
    August 22, 2011

    Interesting timing with this coming right after the Markuze saga appears to have drawn to a close (let’s hope!). His discovery of my blog was one of only two events that made me second-guess my decision to use my real name online.

  41. #42 kruuth
    August 22, 2011

    Teapot, I just tried accessing your blog but it seems to be down. Something going on or is my office blocking me?

  42. #43 Chris
    August 22, 2011

    Sharon, Mr. X did not call himself that. It is what Liz used to refer to his actions as an example. The person in question did go into the replies and use his actual name.

    I suggest you, Bob and others who are curious to go and read both pages of Liz’s blog post.

    As and example of this kind of thuggery going very badly for the bully I posted two articles of Kathleen Seidel’s experience with vaccine lawyer Clifford Shoemaker:
    Welcome to My Conspiracy
    and
    Sanctioned

    This episode of lawyer intimidation of a blogger in violation of free speech was covered extensively on this blog. Just use the search box on the upper left hand side of this page.

    So how does this clueless bully reply to those articles? He said:

    chris, thank you for the case law and information. i would not be able to proceed without such information. i owe Rene a thanks for the SLAPP websites, which provide information etc…

    If he had actually read the articles with comprehension he would have understood that he does not have a legal leg to stand on. I don’t know if he is really that idiotic, or experiencing some kind of mental breakdown.

  43. #44 Calli Arcale
    August 22, 2011

    Rene! Not Rene!

    I very much has a sad now. It’s a dark day whenever the bullies win, even briefly. He has chosen the right path; this is important, but it’s not worth his career. Others will carry on the fight in his name. And perhaps, anonymously, without telling anyone, he will be able to come back and establish a new identity in the fight. That’s the beauty of the Internet.

    Karl — that’s a beautiful metaphor; freedom as a game of Frogger with us as the frogs.

  44. #45 Denice Walter
    August 22, 2011

    First of all: Rene, as usual, good deeds never go unpunished however your brilliance and wit will always find a way out- to our delight and benefit. I love ya, Dude.

    And Liz: kudos to you for your excellent work and persistence- but be careful out there, we girlz got to watchit doubly. Luv ya.

    My own travels have put me in contact with two fellows who, by blogging under their real names, have had to deal with repercussions at work and home or legally.

    Lee, a physicist, wrote to his PBS radio station complaining about the spurious medical advice a certain woo-meister purveyed over the airwaves: his e-mail was forwarded to said woo-meister’s legal minion who responded, challenging Lee to come on the air for a debate, which he did- although he wasn’t allowed to speak very much as the host ranted on and on- like a loonie. Lee wrote this up on his blog and examined the charlatan’s “education” *a la* Quackwatch, critiquing its insubstantiality.

    Fast forward two years, Lee winds up in a NY courtroom being sued by the woo-meister for 10,000,000 USD for interfering with his business et al *and* for 3,000,000 USD by the minion for defamation- plus an order to take the information off the website. Needless to say, both cases got thrown out but crap like this eats up time and money. However, Lee’s expose is still on the web and the woo-meister is off the air in Lee’s market. Three cheers for Lee.

    Todd, a pathologist who works in a hospital lab at a large university, wrote about the activities of HIV/AIDS denialists on a blog and commented at others. He often directly challenged denialists in a highly sarcastic and hilarious manner- with photo-shop antics as well. He got flack at work and his mother was also bothered (by phone) by those who oppose SBM. Eventally, he had to stop his activities under his own name and take down his blog. He is -btw- HIV+ and proudly gay. Todd continues though, commenting and writing in support of SB treatment for HIV/AIDS, deviously and wonderfully as ever. Three cheers for Todd.

    So two guys just talk science and get harassed by those who have supplements to sell or an axe to grind. But those who spout nonsense seem to be free to provide mis-information to the trusting. I don’t believe that censorship is the answer but perhaps we need to label websites’ reality-orientation in some way: a Reality Index Score.

    And what about us? It seems that Lee’s and Todd’s *comments* on others’ blogs also perturbed the charlatans, being mentioned in the aforementioned suit for the former and to the latter’s employers.

    Should a commenter be careful as well? I am. I have a simple but double last name that sounds like a guy ( *comme* “Walter ‘Howard'”- and I did think about portraying myself as such although the combo makes it too tracable and the manoeuvre irks my feminism). People can get a great deal of information about you on the net and I don’t want anyone bothering me or challenging my assets for talking about reality and alerting people to those who would prey upon them, endangering them, for monetary profit and fame and -btw- f–k those who do so.

  45. #46 lilady
    August 22, 2011

    @ Dianne: I worked in a mostly “liberal” state and in a County health department. Rene and I were employed because of our educational and licensing credentials…yet were not immune from “politics” (office politics, County and State politics). It is the nature of employment when you work for government and even when you work in private industry.

    I can only reiterate what other posters have stated, that Rene would be put in real peril if we attempt to contact his employer.

  46. #47 anarchic teapot
    August 22, 2011

    @kruuth: It’s not down, so it’s probably being filtered. Some proxies do that to small domains.

    Try shortandspiky.wordpress.com instead. Same destination.

  47. #48 Dan Weber
    August 22, 2011

    Wait, so a government organization ordered a public employee to cease their free speech rights as a private citizen? This is not legal.

    It was related to their job. Rene was still allowed to blog about, say, Star Trek or a billion other things.

    This comes up from time to time over at Volokh Conspiracy. Their politics tend to lean the other way from the people here, but the host loves First Amendment issues, and they regularly poke at the anti-vaccine nutters. I’ve dropped him a line to see if he’ll cover it.

  48. #49 EpiApril
    August 22, 2011

    I am just heart broken about what happened to Ren. In fact, I’ve felt vaguely ill all day. Does anyone else feel physically sick? I think there’s an outbreak of Ren Flu.

    Let us remind ourselves: he’s not dead, and he will continue doing his important work at his job, and I know he will find a way to continue to educate the public.

    In the meantime, I know this has made me more determined than ever to educate the public through whatever platform I have, and to fight the good fight. Creating martyrs just energizes those who follow them.

    EpiApril

  49. #50 Queen Khentkawes
    August 22, 2011

    I am not a health professional. I work for the federal government, and can give you some for-instances on this subject.

    Some 15 years ago or so, there was a prohibition on a federal employee writing on any subject (whether or not it had to do with his work) for money. That has since been amended, and I would be free to publish a book of my tasteful photos of dinosaur skeletons since it has nothing to do with my work.

    If I were, say, an epidemiologist for a federal agency, and I published a book on my work (based strictly on SBM) for money, I would certainly have to get my superiors’ approval. But the money would be the sticking point, not the subject.

    If I (the imaginary epidemiologist for the federal agency) had a blog based strictly on SBM, my superiors would probably prefer me to blog under a pseudonym. But if my blog were full of anti-vax tripe, there would be trouble, big-time. Written warnings, hearings, you name it. After all, the government’s mission is to promote immunity, not undermine it.

    I’ve always enjoyed Rene’s comments here, and I think it’s terrible that some cretin is causing him all this trouble.

  50. #51 rob
    August 22, 2011

    it is disturbing what some people resort to.

    good luck Rene!

  51. #52 Matthew Cline
    August 22, 2011

    @Neil Craig:

    Are you actually supporting Mr. X’s actions? Or was your comment merely a non-sequitur?

  52. #53 Lawrence
    August 22, 2011

    Given the poor spelling & off-topic nature, I’d say someone was just throwing a comment for comment’s sake.

  53. #54 Dianne
    August 22, 2011

    lilady: Avoiding ever coming into contact with Rene’s employer is a priority for me. That’s why I want to know who they are: so I can make sure I don’t end up trying to work with them. But I see your point that naming it might further jeopardize his position and want to avoid doing that so won’t press the issue.

  54. #55 Liz Ditz
    August 22, 2011

    Here’s a list of blog posts on #EpiGate, starting with mine (which seemed to be the first) and ending…well, like the rest of my lists-of-blog-posts posts, it will be silently updated.

    For the record, I used “Mr. X” on purpose, because I wanted the post and any subsequent comments to be focused on the risks of blogging under your own name and the value of pseudonymity. With hindsight, I wish I had used a pseudonym for René, too.

    I was stunned when Mr. X outed himself, and further stunned by the … vehemence of his comments. The story for me quickly added another dimension: what do you do when somebody is playing with a different set of reality rules from your own?

  55. #56 Denice Walter
    August 22, 2011

    @ Liz Ditz: re your question- “what do you do when someone is playing with a different set of reality rules from yourself?”

    First and foremost, assume the absolute *worst* and protect yourself accordingly ( Believe me, I’ve dealt with really horrendous examples of so-called humanity in RL and am still here to tell the tale; -btw- the grad work in abnormal psych helped immensely)

  56. #57 kd
    August 22, 2011

    @Dianne (#54):

    A quick Google search of Mr. Najera’s name will tell you in what state (and city) he is presently employed. It’s not a guarded secret. The ease with which one can obtain his employment information is unfortunately what allowed such a tragedy as this to occur.

    But such information should not be copied to the comments section of this or PZ’s blog, nor should anyone be encouraged to contact EpiRen’s employer. As has been stated numerous times, such an action would only likely cause him further harm.

  57. #58 Framison
    August 22, 2011

    “Mr. X” claims to be such a big-time biotech hotshot, and yet he thought it appropriate to threaten lizditz on her blog by showing her his CRAIGSLIST ad seeking legal help! Craigslist? LOL. Mr. X is a joke.

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/lgl/2558631576.html

  58. #59 meg
    August 22, 2011

    Rene, I’m truly sorry for this. I hadn’t visited your blog, but found your comments and arguments here added to my knowledge of science and medicine (and helped me argue against anti-vaxers here in Oz a couple of times).

    That you have been silenced by someone who doesn’t have your courage to use his own name on the internet is truly distressing. I hope in the future we can hear from you again.

    I sincerely wish you all the best, and hope the situation improves for you.

  59. #60 Tsu Dho Nimh
    August 22, 2011

    dianne … to give you a hint, do not attend the Preakness and avoid the Naval Academy

  60. #61 EpiPoodle Stomper
    August 22, 2011

    GL Ren,
    Don’t give up just because this coward can’t support his crap with science!

    -Poodle Stomper

  61. #62 Cath the Canberra Cook
    August 22, 2011

    Thanks for the followup, Orac. I’d like to retract my suggestion at #3, because Rene does not want this to happen. Best wishes in your studies and career, EpiRen, and I hope you can resume your excellent educational work in some other way.

    Happily, it seems like the bully Rhett Daniels is about to get a lesson on the Streisand Effect. (Don’t worry, he outed himself.)

  62. #63 Narad
    August 22, 2011

    “Mr. X” claims to be such a big-time biotech hotshot, and yet he thought it appropriate to threaten lizditz on her blog by showing her his CRAIGSLIST ad seeking legal help!

    Right after doing this:

    i often wonder how many of you are the same person…litzrene, tweekanarchic. irregardless, this team up harassment ends right now.

    “Irregardless”? Florida State University must have one hell of an English program.

  63. #64 rhett daniels
    August 22, 2011

    hello all –

    please bear with me while I learn the rules of your game. I do enjoy competition, and falling on my face has been a great, humbling experience. In fact, a good roasting is good for the soul, and I will promise you that such behavior will not occur again.

    But before you think I’ve thrown in the towel, wait…there’s more. Kabuki Theatre is not over.

    I stumbled upon your world and in my blindness knocked one of you out… I tried to then scrap the way I am used to but it doesn’t work in this world. I am learning, and so enjoy this new world…that I think if you don’t mind I’ll stay here for a while.

    There is one thing that is clear: I am good at pissing you all off, but before you write me off…just consider one thing… have you underestimated me? Keep in tune!

    Yours Truly,

    Rhett :)

  64. #65 Broken Link
    August 22, 2011

    Personally, I think we should all give this a rest. It’s beginning to feed into the over-inflated ego that is Rhett Daniels. He’s already refused to get the medical treatment that he so clearly needs. There is nothing more any of us can do in this situation.

  65. #66 Gray Falcon
    August 22, 2011

    Mr. Daniels, you tried to hire a lawyer on craigslist. I don’t think it’s possible in any way, shape, or form to underestimate you.

  66. #67 Chris
    August 22, 2011

    Mr. Daniels:

    There is one thing that is clear: I am good at pissing you all off, but before you write me off…just consider one thing… have you underestimated me? Keep in tune!

    Not really. I see you are not answering a simple question from this order from a judge. Now why don’t you try again here. Prove you read the page by filling in the blank and explaining what the person had to attend:

    As a sanction from this court, ____________ is ordered to attend…

    And speaking of laws, do you understand the one included in the First Amendment of the US Constitution?

  67. #68 rhett daniels
    August 22, 2011

    Chris –

    you remind me of me a couple days ago…ranting and raving like a mad lunatic over a statement or something. get over it, we all moved on.

    again, i appreciated the law review but you must have more stuff to send? honestly, is that the only case study you have on file?

    thanks for sharing!

    R

  68. #69 Narad
    August 22, 2011

    But before you think I’ve thrown in the towel, wait…there’s more. Kabuki Theatre is not over.

    Hey, who am I?

    good night, good bye and good riddance!

    this is my last post, i’ve turned it over to legal.

  69. #70 dedicated lurker
    August 22, 2011

    Frankly, Mr. Daniels, we don’t give a damn.

  70. #71 lilady
    August 22, 2011

    Let’s all agree that he whose name shall not be mentioned will be trolling this blog and others…and shall be ignored. It only encourages its abusive megalomania.

  71. #72 Chris
    August 22, 2011

    Mr. Daniels:

    you remind me of me a couple days ago…ranting and raving like a mad lunatic over a statement or something. get over it, we all moved on.

    Along with refusing to read a paragraph and answering a simple question, I see that being truthful is not a priority for you. I believe it was you who was ranting and raving.

    Here is you defaming someone:

    if, however – i continue to get smeared i’m going to bite back; and it’s going to get ugly. i’m not saying this as a threat but a fact (note: i’m advocating legal action, lien/garnishments, court, etc… unlike Emily who references guns and other harmful stuff that should be done to children on her blogs – but hey, she’s disgruntled, i get it). also, i gave my word to live rene out, however from your tweets, etc… he has emails plus contact information about you so he would be the first person I would subpoena…including his office work where he admittedly blogged from).

    Then there is a post that Liz had to disemvowel due to you cutting and pasting cherry picked bits of that person’s blog.

    Point to the posting where I am ranting and raving. This is the one that I directed to you, what part is “ranting and raving”:
    Mr. Daniels, if you are offended by what someone says to you on the Internet, then either stay off or grow a backbone.

    I don’t see anything on that blog to get upset over, even if they are true. You are being accused of not spelling very well, and using insults. Plus contacting the employer of a blogger. I am going on the above article and the titles of your blog posts (that I can’t read), it seems you seem to use lots of insults and attempts to defame others:
    cigaRHETT – Toxicological Insight: Disgusting site on Vaccines
    cigaRHETT – Toxicological Insight: QuakWatch 101: Dr. Jen Gunter

    I also found the picture you photoshopped of a physician who tweets. There are probably many folks here who have made screen captures of your comments, plus saved tweets, emails and blog comments. It is impossible to erase everything you say on the web.

    I would suggest, sir, that you make sure that you have not committed any behaviors that you are accusing anyone else of doing before you call any county sheriff’s department.

    If you have ten thousand dollars to spend, pay a for a decent web designer for your company’s rather sparse web presence. Because a picture of a financial report is really not very professional.

  72. #73 Delurked lurker
    August 22, 2011

    My My Rhett you were a bit slow off the mark in trying to wipe your public profile away. We all know who you are now.

    You can be assured that everyone you have professional dealings with will be alerted to your public postings which are now plastered all over the blogosphere. No slander there buddy simply pointing out your own injudicious posts. You well and truly stuck your foot in your mouth.

    Also since you boasted about the income you earn you can also be assured the IRS has this information.

    Have a good day sir

    ‘Those who live in glass house should not throw stones.’

  73. #74 augustine
    August 22, 2011

    Epi unscientific April

    I am just heart broken about what happened to Ren. In fact, I’ve felt vaguely ill all day. Does anyone else feel physically sick? I think there’s an outbreak of Ren Flu.

    EpiApril, you need to get a hold of your science blog self. There is no way in reductionistic hell that your “feelings” could cause you to get physically ill. Physical illness only comes from Koch’s postulates. You need to represent,or we need to rename you PsychoApril.

  74. #75 Delurked lurker
    August 22, 2011

    Oh piss off augie…..no one takes you seriously here anymore you are the local joke.

    ’nuff said

  75. #76 Chris
    August 22, 2011

    Small correction, Delurked lurker, no one ever took Little Augie seriously. He has been a running joke starting with his first comment calling this an “atheist” blog.

  76. #77 augustine
    August 22, 2011

    Oh piss off augie…..no one takes you seriously here anymore you are the local joke.

    Dedicated Turkey, your opinions are no match for THE facts!

    @ Chris, you have been marginalized ever since you would not answer the question of political correctness vs. facts. You lose. You chose political correctness.

    Please tell us again why engineers are health experts? Also please tell us why one can LOGICALLY be trapped in the wrong body requiring science based medicine surgery to correct the diagnosis. I’d love to hear you logically sound explanation.

  77. #78 Delurked lurker
    August 22, 2011

    I happily stand corrected Chris :) point taken and appreciated :)

  78. #79 rhett daniels
    August 22, 2011

    Hi Chris –

    at least you learned how to get to the point. now, if you’d done the same w/ the legal law course…

    the below is the result of nine months of research into how evil mankind is.

    dnepropetrovsk murders (3 young guys bludgeon and then torture a man with a screwdriver):
    http://www.bestgore.com/murder/dnepropetrovsk-maniacs-murder-guy-hammer-screwdriver-real-snuff-video/

    dagestan massacre (6 russian soldiers killed by muslims very slowly):
    http://www.bestgore.com/beheading/dagestan-massacre-1999-video-worst-beheading/

    mexican dr learns to cut heads off and choke victims simultaneously by using their own blood:
    http://theync.com/media.php?name=15644-beheading

    burnt alive in kenya for witchcraft (nice slow roasting):
    http://www.toxicjunction.com/get.asp?i=V5010

    boys torturing dog in mexico (dog kept hanging around, strange?):
    http://vodpod.com/watch/3479753-warning-sickening-teenagers-torture-a-dog-in-mexico-and-post-footage-on-the-internet

    slow beheading of christian (allah akbah):
    http://www.bestgore.com/beheading/worst-beheading-video-ever-horrific-sound-massive-blood-loss/

    korean christian missionary begs for his life before beheading (“I too yung, I wunt to lieve, I want to go to Korea…too yung!”):
    http://www.documentingreality.com/forum/f166/beheading-south-koreas-kim-sun-il-17127/

    man ripped in half (bike cop) still alive and laying in street with no lower torso.:
    http://www.toxicjunction.com/get.asp?i=V5111

    high dive off cliff goes wrong. splits face and is conscious:
    http://www.toxicjunction.com/get.asp?i=V5100

    compared to the above I’m a saint!

  79. #80 rhett daniels
    August 22, 2011

    Chris –

    are you aware that accusing someone of committing a crime is…committing a crime?

    Cheers!

  80. #81 Matthew Cline
    August 22, 2011

    @Rhett Daniels

    Chris –
    you remind me of me a couple days ago…ranting and raving like a mad lunatic over a statement or something. get over it, we all moved on.
    again, i appreciated the law review but you must have more stuff to send?

    The point Chris is making is that the case he referred to can’t possibly be of any help in a defamation case, so you must not have actually read it.

    @Augustine:

    So I guess that reductionistic skeptics aren’t allowed to use hyperbole or metaphor?

  81. #82 augustine
    August 22, 2011

    Chris, the know it all been around the world because my daddy was in the military gal

    He has been a running joke starting with his first comment calling this an “atheist” blog.

    Do you deny that this is an atheist blog?

    Could you explain why the atheists congregate at the athiest’s honeY? The FACTS are clear. Atheists congregate here for a reason. It’s an atheist blog. The evidence shows it to be so. The “christians”, aka gnome worshippers,here are simply little naive idolaters.

  82. #83 Chris
    August 22, 2011

    Except it is not a crime if it is the truth.

    Why won’t you answer my very simple question, or even fill in the blanks? Was it Kathleen Seidel or Clifford Shoemaker who was sanctioned? What did one of them have to attend?

  83. #84 Alan Kellogg
    August 22, 2011

    This sounds to me like a civil rights violation, and I urge Rene to find a good civil rights lawyer and with his aid to seek redress in the courts.

    If it applies to Congress, it applies to other government agencies.

  84. #85 Chris
    August 22, 2011

    Oh, in case you get some stupid idea, I know real lawyers. One who has actually argued in front of the Supreme Court of the USA, and another who makes a living disciplining lawyers as an employee of the state’s bar association. Plus several others.

    I do not have to resort to Craigslist, even to find a good lawyer in Florida.

    Your idle threats mean nothing.

  85. #86 augustine
    August 23, 2011

    Chris, the almighty

    Oh, in case you get some stupid idea, I know real lawyers. One who has actually argued in front of the Supreme Court of the USA, and another who makes a living disciplining lawyers as an employee of the state’s bar association. Plus several others.

    Ooohhh! There you go again with your delusions of grandeur. You think you know somebody. Oooohhh. I don’t think you are as important as you think you are. Tell us about your world travels and you engineering degree again.

    Tell us how vaccine herd immunity will save the world again, err just your child from rhinovirus, influenza, and adenovirus.

  86. #87 Chris
    August 23, 2011

    Oh, my word, you are an idiot, Little Augie.

  87. #88 augustine
    August 23, 2011

    Chris

    Your idle threats mean nothing.

    You make Rene Najera sound like a pussy!

    You should tell his taxpayer funded employers to stick it in his name. You should call them and represent. I’m sure your brave ass will win with you argumentative points. Do it.

  88. #89 augustine
    August 23, 2011

    ChrisOh, my word, you are an idiot, Little Augie.

    You’re a bull dike. Does it make you feel good to just call people names like “idiot”?

  89. #90 Delurked lurker
    August 23, 2011

    Chris you are in a generous mood today…idiot doesn’t even begin to describe boring troll and gives him far too much credit.

  90. #91 Chris
    August 23, 2011

    Yeah, I forgot to add that I live a real life among real people. Unlike some kid in his mother’s basement.

  91. #92 David N. Brown
    August 23, 2011

    Think this is bad? I’m currently out of work because I was targeted by Richard Morton Scoville and/or a promoter whom google refuses to block from their groups archive. Look Scoville up, and then CANCEL YOUR GOOGLE AND GODADDY ACCOUNTS.

    David N. Brown
    Mesa, Arizona

  92. #93 Narad
    August 23, 2011

    There you go again with your delusions of grandeur. You think you know somebody. Oooohhh. I don’t think you are as important as you think you are.

    I like that the self-reported repertoire of onaninstic hand shrieks now comes with sound effects.

  93. #94 herr doktor bimler
    August 23, 2011

    I am good at pissing you all off
    What really pisses me off is when people stick their tongues in light sockets. I hope that helps.

  94. #95 lilady
    August 23, 2011

    Please ignore arrogant megalomaniacs and filthy-mouthed ignorant trolls.

    Megalomaniacs only “think” they know the law and will eventually get tripped up by a judge with a judgment for the defendant and assessing of legal fees and penalties against the pro se litigant.

  95. #96 Slathered Nit
    August 23, 2011

    Rhett,

    no one can make you out to be more of a fool than you have already accomplished yourself. Your discussions have degraded into nearly incoherent ramblings in places on the net.

    Shall we take a look at some of your obvious mistakes? Such as mispelling your own email address in the threatening letter you linked to on Liz Ditz’ blog. You not only can’t spell her name correctly, you can’t spell it consistently. The address you gave isn’t even a single address-it is a range of addresses for a shopping mall. The first suite being a UPS store (13650 Fiddlesticks Blvd. Ste 202-207. Suite 202 is the UPS store. I liked the “fiddlesticks blvd” part. Suite 203 is an Allstate insurance office

    Your claim to fame on your linkedIn page was “Inventory of the (non-nitrate) bacon-avocado sandwich.” My guess is that you were claiming to be the “inventor” of said sandwich, not a person with an “inventory” of said sandwiches. Who knows what’s in your closet?

    As to your much vaunted business prowess, you are aware that bankruptcy proceedings are part of the public record, correct? No shame in filing chapter 13, but it doesn’t exactly support the image you portray. The information in your filing states that your business income for 2007 was $250. I guess your cut of the billions of dollars in sales isn’t that great. You made more than 10 times that in unemployment compensation. Again, nothing shameful in drawing on those benefits, but don’t expect us to buy into your story of being a pharma-magnate. Heck, your car was worth more than you sold your business for.

    I’m finding the documents submitted by River’s Edge Pharmaceuticals to be rather interesting reading, as far as legal documents go. Not really consistent with the story you present of your successes.

  96. #97 Sid offit
    August 23, 2011

    While Rene and I did not see eye to eye I’m troubled by the circumstances causing him to have to shut down his blog. And although I’m one who belives in the freedom of employeers to hire whom they want I’m astonished a public health department would be troubled by a blog written by such a staunch defender of the publich health apparatus. Besides, who is this ridiculious Mr. X and why should anyone care what he thinks.? The pathetic Mr. X should defend his ideas on their merits rather than rely on a campaign of intimidation to realize his goals.

  97. #98 lilady
    August 23, 2011

    Who is this ridiculous Sid Offal and why should anyone care what he thinks?

    The Vaccine Machine @ Generation Rescue

    We’ve just begun teaming up with the good folks @ Generation Rescue to bring parents the most reliable, up to date vaccine-related information on the internet. Hit the link and look for posts by me, Robert Schecter.

  98. #99 Sid Offit
    August 23, 2011

    Wow, just heard the news about big changes at scienceblogs. Bad.move Nat Geo. Orac, should you find it intolerable to blog for the man under your own name I may have an entry level blogger position available for you at The Vaccine Machine.

  99. #100 herr doktor bimler
    August 23, 2011

    why should anyone care what he thinks?
    A question that could be asked of all of us.

  100. #101 Delurked lurker
    August 23, 2011

    Who indeed

  101. #102 Jacqueline
    August 23, 2011

    What a horrible thing to happen to blogger. Unfortunately lawsuits and/or threats against bloggers (mostly skeptical ones) are trending up.

    Just want to add that blogging under a pseudonym doesn’t protect you 100%. Blogging under the pseudonym Laika didn’t prevent a mr Y (naturopath) to trace me and write a letter to my boss, suggesting that he [mr Y] was “victim of libel propagated by one of your librarians”.
    Luckily I live in a country (the Netherlands), where [quote mr Y] “Dutch law renders her largely immune from legal influence”. Mr Y clearly alluded to the good name of the organization I work for.

    Thanks to my boss, the organization, legal advice and the Dutch law, it all blowed over.

    If you are a specialist, and you blog about your specialty, it might be easy to find out who you are. I didn’t hide my first name, nor the organization I work for, nor the place I lived.

    Now I have changed my About Section (less personal alas) and the Disclaimer. I don’t want people reaching out to my employers for issues not directly related to my work. These are and should be completely separated.

    (Still pondering to blog about this myself, but don’t want to embarrass my employer)

    And René, I hope that this non-blogging state will only be temporary. You shouldn’t be silenced over something that is not directly related to your work.

    Jacqueline

  102. #103 LW
    August 23, 2011

    Those who actually read the case of the legal thuggery of Clifford Shoemaker, as Chris suggested, might also enjoy reading about Rakofsky v Internet, wherein Rakofsky is suing people who criticized him on the Internet (81 at last count), which is not in fact improving his online reputation and is causing people like me, who are not lawyers and don’t follow legal blogs, to learn about and despise him.

    Or they can read about Arthur Alan Wolk, a lawyer who’s been trying to improve his reputation on the Internet by suing or threatening to sue his critics, which is not in fact improving his online reputation and is causing people like me, who are not lawyers and don’t follow legal blogs, to learn about and despise him.

    Suing critics on the Internet has not worked well for either of these men, even though they are actual lawyers and know the difference between a crime and a tort.  I doubt it will work any better for Daniels, whom I had never heard of until he drove EpiRen off the air, an action that I will never forgive or forget.

  103. #104 Calli Arcale
    August 23, 2011

    Sid:

    While Rene and I did not see eye to eye I’m troubled by the circumstances causing him to have to shut down his blog.

    Thank you for reminding us all that we have things in common, even though we disagree about much to do with vaccination. This is perhaps the most important common ground we can have on the Internet — the defense of free speech. I’m sure Rene’s employers were less concerned about the content of his blog than they were about the expenses that would be incurred in a legal action, even if they won. Sadly, lawsuits are a very convenient tool for bullies. :-(

    I have been considering starting up a blog of my own for nerdy spacey stuff, and incidents like this make me even more convinced I have to do it under my online ‘nick and not my IRL name. I’m probably better known as Calli Arcale anyway; I’m nobody IRL. But I like being employed, so if I get around to starting that blog, it’ll be anonymous.

  104. #105 Bob
    August 23, 2011

    Mr. Daniels, is this your violent and disturbing handiwork?

    If so, seek professional help before your community forces it upon you without your consent. Involuntary commitment tends to be career-limiting…

  105. #106 Prometheus
    August 23, 2011

    Even though we might despise Mr. Daniels’ methods for dealing with an unflattering ‘blog post (I certainly do), we should admire his ability to rebound from bankruptcy in 2008 (Bankruptcy Petition #: 9:08-bk-20320-ALP) to where he is currently:

    “..self employed if you count owning 11 pharmaceutical companies with cum gross sales over 1/2 billion.”

    That’s an amazing recovery, given the way the global economy has been since 2008. Anyone who can go from nothing to owning businesses with a half-billion (dollars, euros, yen, lira, Zimbabwe dollars?) in sales in less than three years during a world-wide recession is due some respect.

    Unless, of course, it’s all a charade…

    Prometheus

  106. #107 Corina Becker
    August 23, 2011

    Oh wow, I was quoted and no one told me till now… (btw, my name only has 1 ‘n’ in it, thanks :D)

    I can afford to blog under my own name because, well, it would be awfully embarrassing to be seen doing this sort of thing to a person in my position. Also, I live in Canada and most of the opponents I face online are in different countries. It’s a bit difficult to be intimated by people like “Mr. X”, who would have to navigate the complexities of the law in two countries to do anything that might threaten me. And while I use my real name, I don’t think I make it that easy for people to track my legal contact information down.

    And really? Going after people in such a manner? That’s one of the lowest kinds of scum out there. That’s right, Rhett Daniels, you are scum, the lowest, vile and stinkiest filth ever. I really hope that Mr. X continues to make a fool of himself on here, and brings attention to himself from Anonymous in the worse possible way.

    In the meanwhile, I’m sad that EpiRen isn’t going to be blogging under his real name anymore. I hope that his new alias will be as successful as his real name, and that he continues to provide the community with factual information on vaccines and public health.

  107. #108 LW
    August 23, 2011

    “Anyone who can go from nothing to owning businesses with a half-billion (dollars, euros, yen, lira, Zimbabwe dollars?) in sales in less than three years during a world-wide recession is due some respect.”

    I note those are cumulative sales, though. How much was earned before he came to own them?

  108. #109 Johnny
    August 23, 2011

    Bob at 105 ask –

    Mr. Daniels, is this your violent and disturbing handiwork?

    If so, seek professional help before your community forces it upon you without your consent. Involuntary commitment tends to be career-limiting…

    See comment 79 – it seems it was held up in moderation.

    Brillant name, “Bob”.

  109. #110 Anonymom
    August 23, 2011

    I’m only an occasional reader here but I’ve always appreciated Najera’s informed and thoughtful posts. He’s had a rough time in the public sphere–I remember when he was profiled in his local paper and was ripped apart by Latino-hating bigots. Rene, if you’re reading, I’m deeply sorry about what’s happened and hope you can eventually return to blogging.

  110. #111 Gary
    August 23, 2011

    13, that should be “bated” breath.

  111. #112 Curtis E. Flush
    August 24, 2011

    “compared to the above I’m a saint!”

    Ah, the good old “Be glad I only raped you, he would have killed you!” form of argument. Does that fallacy have an official name?

    How about St. Douchebag, a little help?

  112. #113 lilady
    August 24, 2011

    Every time Rhett Daniels posts another rant on this blog or any of the other hundreds of blogs I’ve “visited” it gets picked up by the others…almost instantaneously. One of his latest is threatening a blogger (if he steps out of line), in India using the Hague Convention which India is a signatory to.

    It is interesting that he filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and had his debts discharged…wonder where he got the money to pay the Intellectual Property Specialist Lawyers when he and his business partners were sued by River’s Edge Pharmaceuticals?; they don’t come cheap.

    I just love how Mr. X has “outed himself” for the world to see what his Big Pharma business model is all about and the many qualities of the person behind the business venture.

    When you find yourself in a hole, dig deeper, dig faster and get a larger shovel.

  113. #114 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    August 24, 2011

    I’m going to join the group feeling of dismay at the loss of Rene Najera from the blogging world, and the disgust with the antics of one Rhett “I’m really an inadequate narcissistic-histrionic psychopath, don’t you know?” Daniels. Najera has flushed better stuff down a sodding toilet than the sort of person that Daniels is.

    Thing is – this shitty behaviour on the part of Daniels will come back round to Daniels and bite a huge chunk out of his sorry, pathetic arse. Quite how, I do not know. But some people I know or have known, who share similar characteristics to those displayed by Daniels, have ended up in some really fucked up situations as a result of their behaviour… I am not a believer in karma as such, but when I see these people end up in such situations, I have to confess that it really does make me wonder.

    And it gives me a fucking good laugh, too!

  114. #115 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2011

    @David N. Andrews M. Ed., C.P.S.E.

    I *can* explain the “comeback” you describe without resorting to ((shudder)) _karma_; it goes something like this:

    People are consistent to a certain degree- they repeat their usual repetoire across a broad spectrum of social situations involving many different people who have diverse characteristics. Perhaps they get *good* at their particular brand of sh-ttiness and feel self-assured enough to stalk even bigger game, i.e. their nastiness has been reinforced by others’ reactions. Eventually they will meet up with someone who is even more masterful at sh-ttiness than they are ( or much brighter)… then, as they say here,”Their -ss is grass” and it gets “handed to them on a platter”. They are up “Sh-t’s creek without a paddle”. Ha ha!

  115. #116 Gray Falcon
    August 24, 2011

    The fact that people like him tend to burn their bridges doesn’t help them. Sometimes, they even burn the bridge they’re standing on…

  116. #117 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    August 24, 2011

    @DW, the Dark Lady whose name I am not worthy to mention…

    <3

    ;)

    You’re awesome!

    Very intresting to see how they set up very fucked-up reinforcement schedules around them, isn’t it?

  117. #118 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 24, 2011

    Ah, the good old “Be glad I only raped you, he would have killed you!” form of argument. Does that fallacy have an official name?

    I thought at first it would be tu quoque, but after thinking about it, I’m not so sure.  In its classic form, tu quoque is “The criticism that I have done X is invalid or irrelevant, because look at who else has done X!”  I’m not sure if “Look at someone, somewhere in the world, who has done Y, which is completely irrelevant to Y except for being worse than Y!” still fits the bill.

    One thing it does do, however, is make clear what kind of a person Daniels is.  According to his account, he has been collecting these examples of monstrous behavior over the past nine months.  If he is of the opinion that the existence of these atrocities makes any lesser offense he might commit trivial in comparison, he should have applied that same standard to Rene.  Any supposed “defamation” that Rene purportedly committed by sharing his opinion of Daniels is dwarfed by any of the incidents Daniels has “researched”; therefore according to Daniels’ own account, he should have shrugged, said “It’s not as bad as being beheaded, so why bother paying attention?”

    Unless, of course, Daniels is a hypocritical douchebag who believes he’s entitled to live by a different set of rules than everyone else.

  118. #119 Prometheus
    August 24, 2011

    A. Feldspar (#118):

    “Unless, of course, Daniels is a hypocritical douchebag who believes he’s entitled to live by a different set of rules than everyone else.”

    I believe the clinical term for “douchebag”, in this case, would be narcissist. To the narcissist, everyone else has to follow the rules because they aren’t special.

    Prometheus

  119. #120 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2011

    According to his account, he has been collecting these examples of monstrous behavior over the past nine months.

    Rhett seems to be under the impression that Chris and the rest of Orac’s readership are naive idealists believing in human goodness, with no inkling of the hideous crimes human beings are capable of inflicting on each other and on other animals; and that his web-sourced list of atrocities will come as an eye-opening surprise. In my experience, this eagerness to shake one’s readers’ smug moral certainties comes with reading Tom Harris’ books and envying the Hannibal Lecter character.

    It’s kind of touching. I want to pat him on the head and explain “Rhett, that’s the Internet; grown-ups are used to all that, it’s called ‘real life’.”

  120. #121 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2011

    @ Antaeus Feldspar
    @ Prometheus

    Oh, I don’t know but I see *entirely* different reasons for “researching” snuff/ torture videos and then posting them to a female opponent… and it ain’t pretty.

  121. #122 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2011

    reasons for “researching” snuff/ torture videos and then posting them to a female opponent

    He directed his list of holiday reading to Chris in this thread, but he’s also included it in a comment at the Scepticemia blog, and possibly other places. He does seem very proud of it.

    There’s an element here of the self-appointed Nietzschean superman. “I have the inner strength to watch these videos through to the end, when you weaklings would blanch and turn away after 30 seconds!”
    Rhett, my textbooks, let me show you them.

  122. #123 lilady
    August 24, 2011

    It took him NINE months to research these disgusting sites…really? I suspect that he has all these sites and a whole slew of other violent “porn” on his computer. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed anyone publicly self-destruct in a matter of days on the internet.

    Dumb bastard wouldn’t know truth from fiction if it smacked him in the head…and doesn’t know to maintain a low profile when he lies about his education, his net worth and his “inventions/patents”. Then there is the matter of the bankruptcy, the civil lawsuit instituted by his former employer for use of intellectual property after he left his position and the closing of all his blogs and his removal of his You Tube videos (one of which has this notation “The following content has been identified by the You Tube community as being offensive”).

    Good Job, Rhett!!

  123. #124 Chris
    August 24, 2011

    herr doktor bimler:

    It’s kind of touching. I want to pat him on the head and explain “Rhett, that’s the Internet; grown-ups are used to all that, it’s called ‘real life’.”

    Little does he know that I have been online for over ten years, including some time in the wilds of Usenet. I have tangled with the likes of Roger Schlafly and John Scudamore. When I was on a disability listserv I had personal emails from the Mercury Militia telling me that I was dangerous and evil (and always with a promise that the information was coming! five years later, still nothing).

    Even though I think he suffers from some kind of mental illness, I would still say Mr. Daniels is an amateur. I also have something he does not have: a spine.

  124. #125 Drivebyposter
    August 25, 2011

    I also have something he does not have: a spine.

    He probably has a freezer FULL of spines

  125. #126 Corina Becker
    August 25, 2011

    Curtis E. Flush @112
    I’ve seen it around a couple of times. I don’t know whether it has an actual name, but I call it the Better of Two Evils Fallacy.

  126. #127 Melissa G
    August 28, 2011

    After reading Rhett Daniels’s comments on Liz Ditz’s blog, it leaps to mind that this dude veritably embodies whiny internet butthurt.

  127. #128 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    August 29, 2011

    In the old USENET days, the diagnosis given to this pathetic excuse for a human being called Rhett Daniels would have been one word long: fuckwit.

    Are we still using USENET diagnostics these days? I do hope so!

  128. #129 Luke Scientiae
    August 30, 2011

    I didn’t know quite where to ask this, and I apologize that this isn’t EXACTLY the right place, but… does anyone know what happened to Denialism Blog? There is some absolutely fantastic stuff there, but the contributors seem not to have posted anything since May 2010. I was hoping regular Scienceblogs readers might know. Given the subject of this post, I hope that the Denialism Blog authors weren’t intimidated by cranks and denialists. Have any of them moved to new blogs?

  129. #130 Pseudonymity
    September 6, 2011

    @ORAC who wrote: “Government and corporate organizations can be completely obtuse about the Internet, blogosphere, and the new social media, and, quite frankly, what one does in one’s own time should in general not be so restricted…”

    @the idea of anonymity

    In the world of IT, anonymity does not exist.

    It is always possible to trace someone’s identity. Anonymity offers freedom, but anonymity is an illusion. At best, a pseudonym or nom de blog may make finding the true identity of an individual more difficult.

    Do NOT delude yourselves in thinking that you have anonymity.

    Do NOT engage in behavior that you wouldn’t engage in if your identity was known.

    You’ve got to be aware of this, as Epinephrine writes “just to be on the safe side”

  130. #131 Narad
    September 6, 2011

    In the world of IT, anonymity does not exist.

    It is always possible to trace someone’s identity.

    OK, trace my identity and get back to me, then. It should be a wicked easy job for someone of your obvious savvy.

  131. #132 Chris
    September 6, 2011

    Luke Scientiae:

    I didn’t know quite where to ask this, and I apologize that this isn’t EXACTLY the right place, but… does anyone know what happened to Denialism Blog?

    PalMD is at his own blog at http://whitecoatunderground.com/. MarkH just got too busy as a new doctor, and ChrisH had a kid. It is explained here:
    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2010/02/hiatus.php

    I suspect life just got in the way.

    (I am supposed to write something for my blog elsewhere, but I am waiting for the scheduler for the cardiologist to call back… this weekend we had to call 911 for the kid with the heart condition, and we spent some time at the ER, and at an appointment today — things happen)

  132. #133 lilady
    September 6, 2011

    @ Chris: Hoping “things happen” go well for you and your child; I care.

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