If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last seven years, it’s that there are a handful of people in the “natural health” movement (a.k.a., quackery movement) who can reliably counted upon to bring home the crazy in spades. There is, of course the granddaddy of all conspiracy sites, Whale.to, and its creator John Scudamore, for whom no quackery is too quacky, no pseudoscience too ridiculous, and no conspiracy theory too outlandish. Truly, that is a high bar of crazy to surpass, but there are certainly people out there trying to do it. Perhaps the one I encounter the most is Mike Adams, creator of NaturalNews.com, a man for whom similarly no quackery is too quacky, no pseudoscience too ridiculous, and no conspiracy theory too outlandish. The difference is that Adams has not achieved the sheer breadth of crazy, given that he tends to specialize more than anything else in promoting quackery and antivaccine pseudoscience. Lately, however, he has been branching out into New World Order conspiracy theories and the like; so maybe someday he’ll get there.

Sometimes, in bringing home the crazy, Mike Adams brings up a story I haven’t heard of before and flogs it to death. Such was the case yesterday, when I came across a post entitled Vaccination rights attorney Patricia Finn threatened with criminal charges; New York State demands she surrender names of all clients. Given Adams’ track record, if he were to proclaim that it’s raining outside, I’d stick my head out the window to verify it before accepting that it is, in fact, raining outside. Let’s just say that Adams’ view of reality is–shall we say?–skewed to the point that you can’t take anything he says at face value. So let’s see what he’s saying about Finn:

Vaccine rights attorney Patricia Finn is being targeted by the Ninth Judicial District of New York State, which has threatened to strip her of her license to practice law and even file criminal charges against her. Finn is one of several “vaccine rights” attorneys across America who helps parents assert their rights to protect their children from potentially deadly vaccines. She’s considered a hero by many, but a villain by the status quo for daring to stand up against the vaccine-pimping medical police state that exists in America today.

I decided to Google Patricia Finn in order to see if I could find out some more objective information about her, given that I’ve never heard of her before. It was difficult. The first page was nothing more than rants on antivaccine and conspiracy sites about how Finn is being targeted, or how there’s a conspiracy to silence her and prevent her from standing up to the medical/pharmaceutical complex, with Mike Adams’ piece being near the top, along with Finn’s website and her Facebook page, the latter of which gives you a good idea of Finn’s proclivities, given that she has listed as “likes” pages and organizations like the Vaccination Information Network, Dr. Wakefield’s Work Must Continue, and simlar antivaccine sources. On her webpage, she proclaims that her practice areas include:

  • Vaccine injuries and vaccine exemptions (for employees, school-age children, military personnel, immigration matters and others being mandated to vaccinate).
  • Criminal defense (DWI’s, all felonies and misdemeanor crimes)
  • Education law (concentrating in special education, suspensions, IEPs, vaccination exemptions and other school related matters.

In particular, Finn seems to specialize in obtaining religious exemptions to vaccination. Now, believe it or not, I don’t inherently object to this practice. As wrong on the science Finn is, everyone, even antivaccine parents, deserves legal representation, and the law is the law. In order to make vaccine exemptions more difficult to get, the law should be changed to make that happen. Until then, given that this is a nation of laws, everyone has the right to challenge laws in court on a Constitutional basis. She’s misguided. She’s backed the wrong side from a scientific basis. But she can certainly specialize in this area of law if she likes. More searching led me to discover that Finn has been the lawyer for a number of prominent vaccine cases. For instance, she represented a nurse named Suzanne Field who sued in 2009 to try to get New York’s regulation requiring health care workers to be vaccinated. Then, of course, she was involved with a parent in West Virginia seeking a religious exemption for her child.

Adams really brings home the crazy in his next passage. Whatever the State of New York is or is not doing when it comes to investigating Finn, no one–and I mean no on–can ramp up the crazy hyperbole the way Mike Adams can:

Perhaps even more alarmingly, a letter outlining the various charges against Patricia Finn included the demand that she immediately surrender her complete list of clients to the judiciary. When I saw this, it immediately set off alarm bells. This is not merely a gross violation of attorney/client privilege; it’s also a thinly-veiled attempt for the New York judiciary to terrorize the parents who have sought legal help in opting out of dangerous vaccines.

Furthermore, it could serve as the starting point for New York State to dispatch CPS workers to the homes of all of Finn’s clients, where their children might be kidnapped by CPS and sold into sex slavery (this is a common behavior of CPS workers across the country, where low-income children simply “disappear” into the system and suffer ongoing sexual abuse by state workers or even high-paying clients, similar to what happened at Penn State). I don’t have the space to go into all the evidence that CPS functions as a child kidnapping and sex slavery ring, but the organization isn’t called “Communist Pedophile Services” for no reason.

Yes, you heard it right. According to Adams, the real reason the State of New York is going after Finn is because they want her client list so that CPS workers can find unvaccinated children, kidnap them away from their parents, and sell them into sex slavery. It would be laughable if I didn’t know that Adams is dead serious about this. In any case, one thing that is absolutely certain here is that we’re getting only one side of the story, most likely because, as Finn complains again and again, the proceedings by the NYS Ninth Judicial District Grievance Committee are confidential. This allows Finn to go to cranks like Mike Adams and Curt Linderman at InfoWars to say whatever she wants, and the court can’t respond. It’s very much the same thing as when state medical boards go after quacks. The quacks can say pretty much whatever they want about the proceedings while they are going on, and the state medical boards are constrained by the confidential nature of the proceedings from responding.

As an example of this phenomenon, take a look at this video of Mike Adams interviewing Patricia Finn for the conspiracy site InfoWars. (Sorry, I can’t embed it.) In the video, she inadvertently provides some information that might not be consistent with her claims of persecution in that apparently there were complaints made against her and there were also apparently allegations involving false advertising. After more searching I found more information, although most of it is from sites claiming The Man is out to get Finn. For instance, there is this post by Raven Clabough entitled N.Y. Threatens to Remove License of Anti-vaccine Attorney. She seems to be blaming the action on Finn’s representation of an antivaccine–excuse me, “health freedom”–group called We The Parents, who hired Finn to represent them in legal action against the state of West Virginia, which is one of the only states that doesn’t have a religious exemption for its vaccine mandate. Finn mentions in her video that she was served with papers after having appeared at an antivaccine rally in West Virginia sponsored by We The Parents, as shown in this video:

Notice how Finn has clearly completely drunk the antivaccine Kool-Aid, with a panoply of standard antivaccine tropes, interspersed with plugs for her law office.

So what’s really going on? Again, we have only one side of the story, but even that side is at times inadvertently revealing. For instance, in her interview, she reveals that in 2009 a pediatrician filed a grievance against her alleged that she was encouraging people to subvert the law and that her actions could be a public health risk and then later charged with an advertising violation. Her most recent trouble began about a week ago, when she was served with papers. Unfortunately, the only source I could find for what was contained in those papers are Infowars and her interview. According to an InfoWars article:

These most recent charges have to do with suspected false advertising where the committee questions just how many clients Patricia has represented. This is also one of the reasons that this committee is demanding a list of names from her former and current clients, a clear violation of attorney/client privilege. This committee is placing charges on this undaunted attorney because she is bucking the system. This is plain and clear to all activists within the anti-vaccine/pro vaccine choice community since we witness these tactics on a daily basis. Patricia states in my recent interview with her, that she believes that the timing of these recent complaints was “designed to intimidate me and unsteady me, in anticipation of my key note address in West Virginia.”

Finn rails against this as a violation of attorney-client privilege and even a violation of HIPAA, the U.S. patient privacy law. Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I fail to see how requesting the docket numbers of cases for which she is representing clients is a violation of client-attorney privilege, given that, if legal proceedings have been filed, it’s all public record. Moreover, the HIPAA complaint strikes me as spurious as well, because HIPAA has explicit exemption in it for legal investigations, particularly those by state medical boards. I’m pretty sure that investigations by state boards regulating lawyers and their conduct would be similarly exempt. Moreover, as Skewed Distribution observes, if you check out Finn’s website, you’ll see that she has claimed to have handled “several cases” where vaccines have caused clients injury, but the link goes to nowhere. All it says is “coming soon.” And, as discussed above in an article favorable to Finn by a bunch of conspiracy loons, the reason the committee is demanding this list of names and docket numbers is because they want to verify that she isn’t exaggerating or lying when she claims to have represented so many important cases.

Interestingly, in the very Infowars interview with Mike Adams in which she tries to defend herself, she basically almost admits that she’s played fast and loose with advertising, saying, “I’m being barred to admission to the Supreme Court because I’m accused of not stamping an envelope with ‘attorney advertising’ when it wasn’t even in my opinion an advertisement…” All of this is attributed by both Finn and Adams to what they call as the “Wakefield effect,” which they define as, “outrageous and illegal censorship and oppression dished out to anyone who takes a firm stand against the vaccine industry’s lies.” In actuality, I think Skewed Distribution gets it right when he notes:

Regarding the potential issues with advertising, the Rules of Professional Conduct for New York (8) state the following, which may or may not be of interest in this case.

Page 31. “A lawyer or law firm shall not use or disseminate or participate in the use or dissemination of any advertisement contains statements or claims that are false, deceptive or misleading”.

Arguably, this page violates that rule in that it represents as sources of reliable information on vaccines the website of the antivaccine group the National Vaccine Information Center. Remember, that’s Barbara Loe Fisher’s group, and, as I’ve documented ad nauseam right here on this very blog, not a reliable source of information. Just type “NVIC” into my blog’s search box if you don’t believe me. Skewed Distribution also notes:

Ms. Finn’s webpage goes on to state that, “Literature on vaccines is plentiful and it is hard to find neutral information”. No, it’s not hard at all. In fact, all one would need to do is log onto the CDC website.

Whether or not any of this is part of the committee’s equation in pursuing Patricia Finn, I don’t know. What I do know is that Finn is pursuing the tried and true crank technique of taking advantage of the confidentiality of professional investigations, such as legal misconduct panels’ investigations and state medical board investigations of quacks to tell only one side of the story, secure in the knowledge that these panels and boards by law can’t refute their spin. She’s also using another tried-and-true technique beloved of cranks. Basically, she’s crying “persecution” and painting her prosecution as the end result of a major conspiracy, rather than because she might have broken the law, or at the very least screwed up big time. In doing so, she’s rallying the antivaccine crankosphere around her, and this is, I believe, an intentional strategy. Not only does it have the advantage of casting her as the underdog, but it allows her to frame her prosecution as politically motivated and directed at trying to silence her “dangerous message.” I’ll conceded that her message is dangerous, but not for the reason she thinks. Finn thinks she’s threatening pharmaceutical companies and entrenched interests. What she’s really doing is endangering children.

Comments

  1. #1 Sid Offit
    March 5, 2012

    Denise

    you have to treat them in a certain way, you have to pay them at least a certain amount, you have to consider their welfare in many ways *because* you profit from them. Let’s be honest: there was slavery and near-slavery in the western world post-1800. Simultaneously, vast wealth was created that benefitted a small number of citizens.

    You simply don’t understand economics. You don’t create societal wealth by passing laws. All you can do is interfere with the wealth creation that, in time, benefits everyone (and makes it impossible to offer “slave wages”. As to the idea that just a few people grabbed up a big, existing pile of money to the detriment of others, remember, the owners of the Triangle were themselves immigrants who had to work to create a business that employed hundreds.

    Treat them in a certain way? Why, because you say so. They are not the children of the business owner. He owes them nothing except what is agreed upon by worker and employer. You don’t think the worker “profits” from his relationship with the employer? If he didn’t he would not be there.

    So answer my previous question. Why not a three day work week and $200 minimum wage. And here’s a new one. Why isn’t Europe an economic miracle. They have more rules and regulations than you can shake a stick at.

    Baglady

    There were existing unsafe conditions (locked fire doors and unsafe fire escapes), that were responsible for the deaths of 146 young women who worked at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, according to the NY Times and the NYC Fire Department:

    As Lawrence knows, these issues need to be addressed in the courts. Sadly, it failed the victims of the Shirtwaist fire. If people find working conditions so egregious, they can choose not work there. In this case, the jobs provided prevented those workers from starving. And the conditions in the countries from which they came were much worse. Besides, there were already regulations against locked doors in the first place. That didn’t stop the tragedy. Your side thinks simply the positive intent that comes with passing a bunch of laws translates into tangible results. We have no idea as to the real effectiveness of these new rules. It also highlights how a tragedy or crisis is used to advance an agenda having nothing to do with the original situation, e.g., minimum wage and working age laws. Did those women did because their wages were too low?

  2. #2 Sid Offit
    March 5, 2012

    Yet such violations occur all too frequently.

    Yes, it’s called government. Other comment in spam filter. I think what socialists don’t understand is that there is no Santa Clause, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy.

  3. #3 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 5, 2012

    Sid – that’s a silly one-liner. You don’t honestly believe that the only causes of violations of rights are government.
    I look forward to your serious comment.

  4. #4 Sid Offit
    March 5, 2012

    Not the only one; just the primary one.

  5. #5 Gray Falcon
    March 5, 2012

    Sid, are you aware that people other than you have rights as well?

  6. #6 JGC
    March 5, 2012

    C’mon, Sid! I was serious.

    You seem to have the strange idea that in a Libertarian society human nature itself would be radically changed, and the mere threat of possible future legal action alone will be sufficient to accomplish what the threat of leagal action plus regulatory laws and agencies together has failed to achieve: curb the natural human tendency to (un-enlightened) self-interest.

    That’s such an extraordinary claim you can’t really be surprised you’ve been asked to defend it.

    So again: by what rational argument would reduced surveillance resulting in reduced risk of punishment yield better outcomes than the system in place?

  7. #7 Sid Offit
    March 5, 2012

    JGC, you seem to hold the strange idea that when these malevolent people get into government they are magically transformed into saints and angels.

    It’s not about utilitarian talk of outcomes or non-outcomes. It is about the fundamental premise that you don’t get to initiate violence against innocent people. If I have a restaurant, it’s my property and it’s my right to reject the intrusions of an inspector. In your world the state could then use violence or its threat to shut me down. In a moral world it could not. Whether that increase the risk of food borne illness is immaterial. You don’t get to violate rights to protect rights.

    The socialists advocate their system because it would produce more/better utility when in fact it produces disutility. Sure, you see the Tragedy of the Triangle, but the 14 trillion dollar deficit is not so visible.

    Falcon:
    Sid, are you aware that people other than you have rights as well?

    Are you aware there are courts designed to address alleged rights violations?

  8. #8 Denice Walter
    March 5, 2012

    I suspect that we’ll next be hearing about the evils of regulation and how we can eliminate economic instability *if only* we placed our faith entirely in market forces to, um, even things out. Set things straight.Get things right.
    Which they will, eventually. And in the longrun, we’re all dead, too.

  9. #9 Gray Falcon
    March 5, 2012

    Sid, which would you rather have:
    1) A restaurant closed down because it failed a health inspection.
    2) A restaurant closed down because it killed your wife and children.

  10. #10 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 5, 2012

    Are you aware there are courts designed to address alleged rights violations?

    And how are said courts to enforce their judgments without violence or the threat of violence? How will they compel you to appear?
    Note that health inspectors do not use violence or the threat of violence to perform their duties. They use the same courts you spoke of.

  11. #11 Sid Offit
    March 5, 2012

    Here’s another unintended (and largely invisible) consequence of dogooders living off the Triangle fire. My mom lived at a retirement community where fire officials decided self closing mechanisms had to be installed on each of the residents’ doors. This of course made it impossible for many of the elderly residents to open those doors due to the high tension settings of the mechanisms. As a result they could either not get into their rooms or had to wait until a caregiver could open them for them. Of course being a self-righteous bureaucracy, the officials were impervious to reason. But in the fairy-tale world of the socialist there are only good intentions and good results.

    Sid, which would you rather have:
    1) A restaurant closed down because it failed a health inspection.
    2) A restaurant closed down because it killed your wife and children.

    A false dilemma

    Which would you rather have
    1) Free country
    2) Unfree country

  12. #12 Agashem
    March 5, 2012

    OOOHHH can I guess??? Unfree? Is that the right answer? We Canadians are all communists so we like our unfree country!!!

  13. #13 lilady
    March 5, 2012

    @ Gray Falcon:

    1) A restaurant closed down because it failed a health inspection.
    2) A restaurant closed down because it killed your wife and children.

    Or…

    #3. A restaurant closed down because it killed someone else’s mate and child:

    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/sections/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/index.html?page=3

    Offal wouldn’t even get the chance to open a restaurant, because he would need a health department “permit” and he would need to attend classes at the local health department to train him and his food handlers in safe food handling practices. He would also need a fire department inspection, before he opened his restaurant (Isn’t “fire science” Offal’s area of *expertise*?)

    Silly Offal, were you absent from class when the module about fire safety in a health care facility (hospitals, nursing homes, senior housing) was taught? All such facilities have automatic locking doors, to close off wings and rooms…to contain a fire.

  14. #14 Lawrence
    March 5, 2012

    If Sid thinks we live in an “un-free” country, he hasn’t travelled much. I’ve seen what an authoritarian government looks like (many in fact) and they bear no resemblance whatsoever to this one.

    Sid also seems to have a very funny definition of “violence” or the threat of violence, since I don’t seem to recall food inspectors being accompanied by armed guards or ordering mass arrests of restaurant or factory owners that were found in violation.

    In fact, the number of inspectors, industry-wide (and across industries) is so small & the appeal process so lengthy as to make many regulations or attempted enforcement to be almost a joke (see the West Virginia mine disaster – a perfect example of a company that operated pretty much the way they wanted & ignored any attempt to rectify the many safety violations that were found over the years).

    Sid is asking for the freedom to die or be harmed by food poisoning, unsafe vehicles or building practices, etc – while the rest of us recognize that their are legitimate preventative measures that need to be enforced. When looking at who is the extremist here, I believe the answer is crystal clear.

  15. #15 Narad
    March 5, 2012

    Sid, which would you rather have:

    1) A restaurant closed down because it failed a health inspection.
    2) A restaurant closed down because it killed your wife and children.

    A false dilemma

    With advertising like this, it’s little surprise that you continue to fail spectacularly among taste-testers in the free market of ideas.

  16. #16 Sid Offit
    March 5, 2012

    We Canadians are all communists so we like our unfree country!!!

    My guinea pig likes his cage too.

  17. #17 Gray Falcon
    March 5, 2012

    Sid, you are aware that the life of a wild guinea is usually quite short? Also, we now have definitive proof you consider your personal convenience more important than human life:

    It’s not about utilitarian talk of outcomes or non-outcomes. It is about the fundamental premise that you don’t get to initiate violence against innocent people. If I have a restaurant, it’s my property and it’s my right to reject the intrusions of an inspector. In your world the state could then use violence or its threat to shut me down. In a moral world it could not. Whether that increase the risk of food borne illness is immaterial. You don’t get to violate rights to protect rights.

    I’m sorry Sid, but you are now officially classified as evil.

  18. #18 Narad
    March 5, 2012

    My guinea pig likes his cage too.

    Thus cementing in my mind the notion that you’re basically the Th1Th2 of political philosophy.

  19. #19 Gray Falcon
    March 5, 2012

    Aren’t wild guinea pigs generally food for larger animals?

  20. #20 Stu
    March 5, 2012

    Let me just jump in to point out the delicious, sumptuous irony in:

    A false dilemma

    and

    Which would you rather have
    1) Free country
    2) Unfree country

    Furthermore: Sid, you are a complete moron and the reason we can’t have nice things.

  21. #21 flip
    March 5, 2012

    I wonder what Sid thinks of the old system of ‘patronage’, whereby scientists, artists and other great thinkers had to find wealthy people in order to get any of their work done. Is this the free market acting, or some sort of pseudo-subsidisation/support by the elite of their time?

    @168 Denice

    Ah you see, here’s the problem. As Sid is in the ‘small sector of the population’, it doesn’t matter about safety nets. He doesn’t need one, therefore no one does.

    One wonders: in the examples given about neighbours building gas stations, etc… who would Sid rely on for arbitration if an argument occurred between him and a neighbour? He notes that people have the right to sue: but court cases requires judges, someone impartial who can come to a decision. Would private companies who hire out judges be suitable in his world? And if corporations could do arbitration better, then who pays to hire them?

  22. #22 flip
    March 5, 2012

    Damn…. should have refreshed the page before commenting, I’ve missed more new comments.

  23. #23 JGC
    March 5, 2012

    JGC, you seem to hold the strange idea that when these malevolent people get into government they are magically transformed into saints and angels.

    I have no such idea, and I’m quite at a loss to understand where you’ve come up with the strange idea I do.

    It’s not about utilitarian talk of outcomes or non-outcomes. It is about the fundamental premise that you don’t get to initiate violence against innocent people.

    How exactly do you propose we ensure that everyone adhere to this fundamental principle? As far as I can see, however, the only mechanism you propose is the possibility they will be the target of legal action after the fact.

    If I have a restaurant, it’s my property and it’s my right to reject the intrusions of an inspector.

    No, it isn’t. Both state and federal constitutions grant public health agencies the legal right to require regular inspections.

    In your world the state could then use violence or its threat to shut me down.

    In exactly the same way they can intervene to remove a drunk driver from the road, and/or suspend his license. Where is the problem in that? Do you really believe you have some legal right to place third parties at risk?

    In a moral world it could not.

    What exactly is immoral about regulating the food industry, in the interests of public health and in complete accord with the rule of law? Explain that too me.

    Whether that increase the risk of food borne illness is immaterial.

    You’ve stated that it’s a fundamental principle one cannot harm innocent people: how does willfully increasing their risk of food borne illness not violate that fundamental principle?

    You don’t get to violate rights to protect rights.

    And no rights are being violated with respect to the mandatory licensing and inspection of restaurants. Your problem is that you’re demanding a right–the right to place others at risk–you aren’t vested with.

  24. #24 JGC
    March 5, 2012

    JGC, you seem to hold the strange idea that when these malevolent people get into government they are magically transformed into saints and angels.

    I have no such idea, and I’m quite at a loss to understand where you’ve come up with the strange idea I do.

    It’s not about utilitarian talk of outcomes or non-outcomes. It is about the fundamental premise that you don’t get to initiate violence against innocent people.

    How exactly do you propose we ensure that everyone adhere to this fundamental principle? As far as I can see, however, the only mechanism you propose is the possibility they will be the target of legal action after the fact.

    If I have a restaurant, it’s my property and it’s my right to reject the intrusions of an inspector.

    No, it isn’t. Both state and federal constitutions grant public health agencies the legal right to require regular inspections.

    In your world the state could then use violence or its threat to shut me down.

    In exactly the same way they can intervene to remove a drunk driver from the road, and/or suspend his license. Where is the problem in that? Do you really believe you have some legal right to place third parties at risk?

    In a moral world it could not.

    What exactly is immoral about regulating the food industry, in the interests of public health and in complete accord with the rule of law? Explain that too me.

    Whether that increase the risk of food borne illness is immaterial.

    You’ve stated that it’s a fundamental principle one cannot harm innocent people: how does willfully increasing their risk of food borne illness not violate that fundamental principle?

    You don’t get to violate rights to protect rights.

    And no rights are being violated with respect to the mandatory licensing and inspection of restaurants. Your problem is that you’re demanding a right–the right to place others at risk–you aren’t vested with.

  25. #25 JGC
    March 5, 2012

    Which would you rather have
    1) Free country
    2) Unfree country

    If by ‘free country’ you mean your Libertarian utopian fantasy and by ‘unfree country’ the current reality where regulatory agencies and laws exist to provide for public safety and health, that’s easy: I’ll take the ‘unfree’ country hands down. I and my family will live longer, healthier, happier lives.

    (sorry for the duplicate posts above)

  26. #26 Denice Walter
    March 5, 2012

    @ JGC:

    According to the woo-meisters, governmental interference ( food safety, regulation of supplements and pharmaceuticals, regulation of medical personnel, oversight of treatments, governmental agencies concerned with health, safety et al) has no place in a free society. If I call myself a “healer” and create an arcane mix of substances, I should be able to take the initiative and reap the financial rewards *un-restricted*. Depressed? Take my new blend of herbals! They’re natural alkaloids from South America: I can promise you that you won’t be feeling low for long! ( -btw- this occured in Vienna in the late 19th Century- a doctor named Sigmund Freud)

  27. #27 herr doktor bimler
    March 5, 2012

    Aren’t wild guinea pigs generally food for larger animals?

    In point of random pedantry, there are *no* wild guinea-pigs — only the domesticated version of the species.
    But those are still generally food for larger animals (us).

    I was concerned, when Sid referred to “My guinea pig [who] likes his cage too,” that he was referring to the medical experiments he is performing on college students in his basement.

  28. #28 Liz Ditz
    March 5, 2012

    Since we’re mud-wrestling with Sid (who fancies himself a deep libertarian thinker) there’s odd news out of Washington:

    Charles Koch founded and funded the Cato Institute in the mid-1970s. David Koch came on board with Cato in the 1980s. At the time of founding, Charles was a pretty principaled libertarian, a student of Mies and Hayek and patron of Murray Rothbard. David came on board as a Cato patron later (in the 1980s, I think). Cato’s been run by Ed Crane since its founding; Bill Niskanen was the CEO, I believe up until

    Cato has grown into a non-partisan (in the sense of not dabbling in electoral politics) think tank with an annual budget of about $39 million.

    Meanwhile, Charles Koch has become less interested in principled libertarianism and more about political control and activism, becoming one of the major Tea Party funders.

    Last week, Charles and David Koch sued Crane, Cato, and Niskanen’s widow for control of the Institute. Cato wasn’t doing enough to defeat the incumbent president. This is going to be weird.

  29. #29 Sid offit
    March 6, 2012

    Falcon:

    Falcoln says

    you are aware that the life of a wild guinea is usually quite short

    Bad analogy:

    The guinea pig (Cavia porcellus), also commonly called the Cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, these animals are not pigs, nor do they come from Guinea. They originated in the Andes, and studies based on biochemistry and hybridization suggest they are domesticated descendants of a closely related
    species of cavy such as Cavia aperea, C. fulgida, or C. tschudii, and therefore do not exist naturally
    in the wild.

    Note the part about not even existing in the wild

    Just saw, Bimmer beat me to the punch. Bravo, mein Herr!
    —–

    JGC, you obviously don’t understand the concept of private property. We can work on it tomorrow. I’m on the iPad now and its not the best for typing

    ——

  30. #30 Sid Offit
    March 6, 2012

    Who? President Barry Soetoro?

  31. #31 Gray Falcon
    March 6, 2012

    Sid, sorry, I don’t have anything to say to monsters.

  32. #32 Skepticop
    March 6, 2012

    A sanitation company could not buy a piece of land and haul it’s trash there. The government must be involved in that?

    I’ll propose a little thought experiment: You own a nice, productive little farm in the libertopia. You raise several dozen head of cattle, wheat and other cereal crops. You maintain cordial, if distant relations with your neighbours, all of whom are as right-thinking and moral as you are, and none of whom would dream of interfering with your privacy and freedoms.

    You’ve heard through the grapevine that old farmer Smith just upriver has retired, and sold his land to a fellow from the city. You don’t get a very good view of smith’s property from yours, but the man from the city sure does have a lot of semi-trucks coming and going. Ah well, laissez faire and all that, the invisible hand will make sure everything’s alright. And if it doesn’t, you own a fine selection of American made firearms that are just guaran-dang-teed to ensure your rights are protected.

    Ol’ Smith’s property is busy for a year or so, but then the activity up and stops, and the place just goes to seed. You don’t know if the man still owns it or not, as there’s no longer any requirement to register the transfer of property, and you really have no idea who he was. He never stopped in or called, not very neighbourly at all. The property gently rots for a year or three, and you start to realize that your cattle are getting sickly. Your vet bills keep getting higher, and he can’t even figure out what’s wrong with the damn things. “Maybe something in the water?” Gets so bad, the slaughterhouse won’t take your animals anymore, the manager’s real sorry, but his customers won’t buy meat that bad: you end up selling them all to a rendering plant for little more than the cost of transporting them.

    So you test the water, which costs money and takes time, and the company finally sends back a report that reads like a college chemistry textbook: lead, cadmium, electroplating and plastics residues, mercury, a whole host of chemicals that you don’t know and can’t even pronounce. You had the water checked a decade back when you bought the place, and ain’t none of that stuff in there back then. Worse yet, seems like your wife and kids aren’t as healthy as they used to be, neither.

    Out of desperation, you go onto the city-man’s land, something you wouldn’t have dreamt of doing before things got so bad, what with his god-given-rights and all. There’s no sign that anyone’s so much as driven into the yard in three years. The old chicken barns are padlocked, but they’re cheap and rusty and you break in. Staggered by the smell, you reel backwards. The barn is packed to the rafters with old drums, they’ve been pushed in with some kinds of equipment to make more room, and some seemed to have cracked open and leaked all over the place. The fumes are ungodly strong, and some kind of oily black stuff has seeped all over the floor.

    So, what do you do now? Even if your libertopia has mechanisms to (a) register the sale/transfer of land, and (b) retain and make available those records, this fellow’s long gone.

    This man incorporated a company, possibly with a false board of directors, and hired himself at a very high salary as, let’s say, a manager. He procured some trucks and drivers, and for a year or two operated a toxic wastes disposal business. He accepted high fees from manufacturers in heavily settled areas to dispose of their most dangerous contaminants, and since his fees were lower than the more established competitors, they paid quickly and with no questions. The company bought some dirt cheap rural property with large outbuildings, filled them with waste, padlocked the doors and shut down operations. He kept the company running long enough to pay himself the rest of the money earned as a ‘salary’, and then the company went bankrupt. The individual moved on to other scams in other areas, perhaps changing his name in the bargain. How would you even begin to locate him?

    What rules of conduct has this company broken, in the libertopia? They were conducting their business as they saw fit, on land they owned. With no rules surrounding the disposal of toxic wastes, how would you prevent something like this from happening?

    Hell, how would you even go about suing the guy? You have no right to even go onto his land to prove that the contamination comes from there. Surely whatever rump court system you imagine operating in libertopia would never accept evidence that was gathered in violation of someone’s sacred rights of individual liberty?

    How could the situation be fixed? You sure as hell aren’t going to tax me to repair the environmental harms to your land, I’m upstream of the toxic barns, and I have better uses for my money. You talk to one of the few environmental remediation companies still around, and their best bet is that fixing this mess will take 20 years, and will cost more than your farm would earn in your entire lifetime, even in it’s best years.

    (sorry for the long post, whisky makes me loquacious: and i’ve been living in farm country too long)

  33. #33 BobSidBot Test Bed Facility
    March 6, 2012

    Entirely less government is used when have fire. Simple enough for you not be prosecuted as real milk.

  34. #34 Denice Walter
    March 6, 2012

    @ Sid/ Robert:

    But I do understand economics: slavery and near-slavery made people rich in the 19th Century- that’s why many folks would like to bring it back in any way they can.

    ” You don’t create societal wealth by passing laws.”
    Odd, but I don’t think that law exists to create wealth. There are other reasons when you consider masses of people who live in proximity- whose needs and desires are in opposition to each other. I believe that there’s a little more to it than purely how much money can be earned.

    ” He owes them nothing except what is agreed upon by worker and employer”
    As if they enter negotiations with roughly equal bargaining chips: ” If you need to eat, do as I say”. “OK”.

    About that “$200 minimum wage” and 3-day work week: who in their right mind would ask for that? And did regulation – or lack or it- cause what happened in 2008 and is still going on? To argue that what occured in Greece derived from establishing basic regulations about fair wages and safety is madness.

  35. #35 JGC
    March 6, 2012

    JGC, you obviously don’t understand the concept of private property.

    Sid, I do JGC, understand the concept of private property. The problem is that you fail to understand you do not possess a legal or ethical right to do whatever you want with your property without any restriction, when doing otherwise places others at risk.

  36. #36 Denice Walter
    March 6, 2012

    @ Skepticop:
    *Au contraire*. Whisky is very useful. And you have my sympathies about the country: my relative is in the same boat after he sold his business and moved away from society to live on top of a forested mountain without much to do. I warned him but he didn’t listen. I hope you do better.

    The invisible hand is sometimes known as something else around here- thanks to the wildly creative and observant Narad. Use your imagination.

  37. #37 Johnny
    March 6, 2012

    I had a post in moderation, and it’s now out, at 193. I tried to skip moderation by slightly munging the URLs, but they should be easily readable.

    The short version is that, while you can say ‘child labor’, the impact of the words don’t compare to seeing it in HD.

    The series of pictures I linked to date from the early 20th century, and are in fact very close to 100 years old (mostly 1911 and 1912). I don’t care what age or era you want to call it, it’s within the living memory of people alive today (but, I will admit, not many).

    As for fire fighting technology at the time (1914, Washington, DC), see
    http://www.shorpy.com/node/4899?size=_original

    And Sid is still an idiot.

  38. #38 Gray Falcon
    March 6, 2012

    Denice Walter@234: There’s a simple reason why Sid keeps bringing up “three-day work weeks”. It’s because he can tell what we’re asking for is perfectly reasonable, and that only a heartless monster would deny them of anyone. By pretending we’re asking for something unreasonable, he hopes to try to make himself look like the moral one. Never mind that anyone can simple scroll up and see what we’re really arguing, making him heartless, spineless, and brainless.

  39. #39 Todd W.
    March 6, 2012

    @Sid

    It is about the fundamental premise that you don’t get to initiate violence against innocent people. If I have a restaurant, it’s my property and it’s my right to reject the intrusions of an inspector. [snip] Whether that increase the risk of food borne illness is immaterial. You don’t get to violate rights to protect rights.

    You argue that you should be able to open a restaurant without any sort of inspections or licensing, whether or not that leads to an increased risk of food-borne illness, because such inspections or licensing would be initiating violence against you. So, what gives you the right to initiate violence (serving contaminated food that may cause serious harm or death) against innocent people (your patronts)?

    And others have already pointed out the idiocy of your worker-employer contract scenario that ignores things that occurred when there were no regulations (e.g., child labor) to the detriment of the employees that had no other options available to them.

  40. #40 Denice Walter
    March 6, 2012

    @ Johnny: I’m familiar with similar images and the work of Riis.

    @ Gray Falcon:
    Interestingly, I find that often the most stalwart defenders of *employers’* ( vs employees’) rights and libertarianism are fighting others’ causes – not their own: perhaps they aspire to that position.
    Believe it or not, I am descended from a long line of business owners who also had social reform ideas in more than one country since the 1890s. I have investments in big business. Not exactly the voice of the proletariat.

  41. #41 Composer99
    March 6, 2012

    Sid/Schechter claims:

    You don’t create societal wealth by passing laws

    That’s right! Societal & individual wealth does not come about when governments create and enforce legal codes of conduct constraining individuals’ behaviour by prohibiting, say, theft or fraud, or when they create and enforce property rights schemes such as the legally-binding title that my wife and I possess indicating we own our house, or when they create and maintain constabularies and regulatory agencies to actually go about enforcing all these laws so everyone else can go about their daily affairs without having to spend too much time and effort defending their rights to person & property instead.

    Wait, what?

  42. #42 Ed Papier
    March 23, 2012

    The author has obviously never spoken with the mother of a child who came down with autism a couple hours after being vaccinated, of which there are hundreds. Guess he’ll only recant his “quackery” comments when it happens to his kids.

  43. #43 Chris
    March 23, 2012

    Mr. Papier, how does anyone come down with autism a couple of hours after a vaccine? Do you have evidence of this? Can you link to the case report, or even the legal case here?

    You are making an extraordinary claim, so you must provide actual evidence.

    Also, this blog is frequented by many parents with disabled kids, plus adults on the autism spectrum. So the evidence we require is a bit more stringent than random accusations.

  44. #44 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 23, 2012

    The author has obviously never spoken with the mother of a child who came down with autism a couple hours after being vaccinated, of which there are hundreds.

    If that were so, then Wakefield would not have had to rig his sample group and then misrepresent the medical histories, just to make it look like a dozen kids all fit within a two week timeframe.

  45. #45 Prometheus
    March 23, 2012

    Ed Papier (#242):

    “The author has obviously never spoken with the mother of a child who came down with autism a couple hours after being vaccinated…”

    Of course he hasn’t – nobody has; that’s because no child has ever come down with autism a couple hours after being vaccinated.

    Really, folks – how can you expect anyone to take you seriously when you exaggerate like this? Weeks after a vaccination, I could see – maybe even days – but hours (I’ve even seen one parent claim it was minutes after the vaccination). Even straight methylmercury takes more than “a couple hours” to work.

    There is a strange sort of competitiveness in some people that makes them strive to be “number one” even in disaster, like the colleague who once claimed that he was working “200 hours a week” to finish a project (hint: there are only 168 hours in a week).

    When I come accross obvious exaggerations like this, I assume that everything else the speaker/writer claims is highly suspect. If you can’t lie effectively, it’s better to just stick to the truth.

    Prometheus

  46. #46 Beamup
    March 23, 2012

    Of course, Jenny claims that it was instantaneous. But she can’t even keep straight which vaccine it was!

  47. #47 Chris
    March 23, 2012

    Except Jenny changed her story, her son’s seizures were about a year after his MMR vaccine.

  48. #48 Beamup
    March 23, 2012

    I was referring to the “light went out of his eyes” line, rather than seizures. But she kept changing that one too.

  49. #49 Militant Agnostic
    March 23, 2012

    How the hell does someone “come down” with autism? What does this even mean? Will we all come down with autism now that NASA has injected aluminum DIRECTLY INTO THE JETSTREAM?

  50. #50 herr doktor bimler
    March 23, 2012

    “came down with autism”
    –that turn of phrase itself deserves a Double Facepalm.

  51. #51 Stephenwv
    April 29, 2012

    It never ceases to amaze me how unreasonable fear drives people to willingly give up a little bit of freedom for a little bit of security, as Benjamin Franklin noted: soon you will find you have neither. I’m sure you believe he is just another Tea Party, birther, nut job too.

    Some idiot above, equated all citizens born in the US like anchor babies, or Obama, to the special category defined in Minor v Happersett and understood by our Founders when they specifically defined the eligibility of the office of President to be a Natural Born Citizen. The reason for both parents being citizens is to prevent a parent with allegiance to another country (like Kenya or Britain) from influencing their child in a negative way to the United States. They wanted to assure as best they could, commitment of both parents’ allegiance to the U.S.

    STILL the majority of the posters here continue to do NO MORE than sling mud and call names without EVER addressing the truth of the issues. When you do not have the truth on your side that is all you can do because you lose on the truth. Deception to avoid the truth is your only ally. There are 2 quotes that illustrate:

    ““If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Joseph Goebbels

    ” In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

    The truth is that there are 10,000 times more people unaffected by the vaccine, in the same at risk condition as those not wanting vaccinations. There is no outcry about them even though they cary the same risk of infection as those that do not want a vaccination.
    If that is not hypocritical – nothing is.

    If it were all about safety then those millions would be addressed. Because that greater risk is ignored, PROVES it is all about control and removal of a little bit of freedom to get a little bit of safety. You may not believe Ben Franklin, but I heed his advice. I believe our Founders held more honesty, wisdom and concern for the people and the country in their little finger than all our leaders combined.

  52. #52 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    April 29, 2012

    Does the Goebbels quote qualify this posting for a Godwin?

    (I ran the post through Google Translate and still couldn’t understand it in any known language.)

  53. #53 Chris
    April 29, 2012

    Stephenwv, what kind of dressing do you want for your nonsensical word salad?

    Oh, and one thing I think I understood: “There is no outcry about them even though they cary the same risk of infection as those that do not want a vaccination.”

    Um, no. Kids who are not vaccinated have a risk of getting pertussis that is 23 times higher than the vaccinated. Also, the majority who came down with measles in the USA and Europe last were not vaccinated.

    The risk of infection is not the same between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.

  54. #54 Krebiozen
    April 29, 2012

    Unsurprisingly both of Stephenwv’s quotes (Goebbels and Orwell) appear to be wrongly attributed. Also, I note he still hasn’t addressed the problem of how to identify which vaccinated people did not respond adequately to each vaccine and who would pay for this.

  55. #55 Kelly M Bray
    April 29, 2012

    Are we really discussing Minor v Happersett and the definition of an NBC? Is this HuffPO and where is Orly Taitz?

  56. #56 lilady
    April 29, 2012

    The quote that Stephenwv wrongly attributed to Goebbels, has been investigated by two professors. It seems that it appears in print, and on the internet, frequently.

    http://truthisthegreatestenemyofthestate.blogspot.com/

    Here’s a blog by a guy who managed to wrongly attribute the quotation to Goebbels…note this right-winger associates Goebbels with President Obama:

    http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/Orwell–Goebbels–And-Obama—The-Triumvirate-Of-Language-Control/2980592

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