Respectful Insolence

Dan Burton’s last antivaccine hurrah?

A couple of months ago, I couldn’t help but rejoice when I learned that Indiana Representative Dan Burton had finally, after twenty years in the U.S. House of Representatives, decided to retire after the end of this term. I thought that anyone in the U.S. who supports science-based medicine should rejoice, too, because I’m hard-pressed to think of someone in Congress who is more consistently antiscience, particularly anti-medical science, than Dan Burton. Worse, he put his politics where his beliefs were — big time. Perhaps the most egregious example of Dan Burton’s antiscience is his consistently rabid antivaccine tendencies. He completely bought into the myth that vaccine cause autism; in particular that the mercury-containing thimerosol preservative that used to be in many childhood vaccines (at least until it was removed at the end of 2001), and put his beliefs into action. He was also, along with Senator Tom Harkin, instrumental in foisting that government monument to quackery, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and in stripping the FDA of most of its power to regulate supplements by championing the DSHEA of 1994. It’s not for nothing that Steve Barrett of Quackwatch once referred to Burton as “organized quackery’s best friend in Congress.”

It’s a title well earned. While it is true that there are others in Congress who champion quackery, they are not as egregious as Burton has been. For instance, Iowa’s Senator Tom Harkin might be NCCAM’s Congressional patron, champion, and protector, but if you talk to people at the NIH (and I have), you’ll learn that he is widely viewed as one of the greatest Congressional supporters of the NIH, science, and biomedical research. It’s unfortunate that support for quackery is mixed in with support for real science, but that’s the way it is. None of us are entirely reasonable, and all of us have contradictions in our nature. Another promoter of quackery in Congress, Utah’s Senator Orrin Hatch, appears not to be a true believer, unlike Burton and Harkin. Rather, he appears to be in it for the money and to keep his seat in that he represents a state that houses ground zero for the supplement industry in the U.S. It is an industry that has been very, very generous to Hatch’s campaign, and his family and a former law partner are heavily involved in the supplement industry themselves. Similarly, the new kid on the block, Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, co-chair of the Dietary Supplement Caucus, is a young gun looking to replace Orrin Hatch or to take his seat when he retires.

Burton, on the other hand, appears not only to be a true believer, but he doesn’t have the redeeming qualities that Harkin has that make it almost possible to forgive his creation of NCCAM. Almost. No, Burton’s woo, seemingly, is eternal, whether it be promoting bogus vaccine-autism research and supporting Andrew Wakefield, interfering with the Autism Omnibus hearings, championing unethical clinical trials in cardiovascular disease and pancreatic cancer, or promoting anthropogenic global warming denialism. As I said before, good riddance.

Unfortunately Burton appears to want one last antiscience, antivaccine hurrah. His last hurrah takes the form of a post he made the other day to his Congressional blog entitled It is time to re-engage on the autism epidemic. After taking unjustified credit for “laying the groundwork” for the Combatting Autism act and its $1 billion devoted to autism research, Burton turns to whining a lot about how horribly misunderstood he thought he was when people correctly labeled him antivaccine for his abuse of his committee to investigate an alleged vaccine-autism length. He also lays down huge swaths of stinky burning stupid, seemingly heating up all that formaldehyde that the fevered brains of antivaccinationists imagine to be in vaccines, thus stinking out all reason and science. First, he tries to liken his focusing on mercury back in the late 1990s and early 2000s to recent research, and in doing so delves into depths of ignorance that even I hadn’t expected:

Unfortunately, a great deal of misinformation has been thrown around in public and private about the Committee’s focus on mercury in medicines as a possible factor in the autism epidemic. I’m not a scientist, but the Committee heard from many credible scientists and experts who are convinced that mercury is a contributing factor; and the theory is no less worthy of exploration than the theories being propounded today that the pregnancy weight of the mother or the age of the father at conception influences whether a child becomes autistic. When you have no idea what is causing a disease, policymakers and scientists should never be afraid to investigate any plausible theory. In fact, researching possible environmental factors is a central component of today’s research on autism.

Plausible theory. You keep using that term. I do not think it means what you think it means, Mr. Burton.

Burton is, of course, engaging in blatantly obfuscatory nonsense of the highest order. No, the discredited hypothesis that mercury in vaccines causes autism is not like these other hypotheses, even 10 years ago, before the negative data had accumulated to the point of burying the mercury/vaccine/autism hypothesis so thoroughly that not even a back hoe could dig it up. Actually, maybe I should put it a different way. The mercury/vaccine/autism hypothesis just barely reached enough of a modicum of plausibility ten to fifteen years ago to be worth investigating — then. And, in fact, scientists did investigate it. Multple studies and multiple lines of evidence failed to find a wisp of a hint of a whisper of a link between thimerosol in vaccines and an increased risk of autism. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve discussed this very issue right here on this blog and on my other super, not-so-secret blogging locale. Like the proverbial zombie, though, the vaccine/mercury/autism hypothesis refuses to die, thanks to people like Dan Burton.

In fact, here’s another difference. There is actual suggestive evidence supporting the concept that the age of the father or the pregnancy weight of the mother influences autism risk, but confirmatory studies haven’t been done. Back in the day, there was suggestive evidence that mercury in vaccines might be associated with autism. It was poor quality evidence, and scientists, as scientists are wont to do, investigated, replacing the crappy evidence available at the time with high quality evidence from multiple large epidemiological studies. In other words, ten or fifteen years ago the mercury/vaccine/autism hypothesis might have been worth investigating further. Today, it is no longer worth investigating because since then it’s been falsified to a high degree of confidence. That’s what science does. It investigates questions, and hypotheses that don’t stand up to scrutiny (like the vaccine/mercury/autism hypothesis) are discarded.

But who were these “credible scientists” to whom Burton now refers? I bet you can probably guess. In fact, they were the usual antivaccine suspects. For instance, in 2001, he had Andrew Wakefield and Jeff Bradstreet, testify in front of his committee and referred to highly dubious science to support a vaccine-autism link. He was really on a roll then, because he also brought “toxic teeth” chemist Boyd Haley before his committee to testify about the evils of dental amalgams as a means of supporting the seeming plausibility of the idea that mercury in vaccines somehow causes autism. In another infamous incident, Dan Burton, along with Representative Diane Watson nominated Dr. Rashid Buttar for the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. I kid you not. Rashid Buttar, the same guy who called the North Carolina Medical Board a “rabid dog” and should have had his medical license stripped (in my not-so-humble opinion). Get a load of what Burton said about Buttar:

Dr. Buttar’s unique applications and methods to treat mercury toxicity in very young children has been conclusively shown, demonstrating response and results of treatment of a brain damaged by the insult of mercury in individuals with impaired detoxification pathways. The vast majority of brain injuries result from the denudation of the neurofibrils resulting from mercury. If identified and corrected within the first 9 to 10 days of life, Dr. Buttar has been able to demonstrate conclusive evidence of the entire pathology being reversed with almost 100% resolution. He has shown that regardless of the original cause of mercury toxicity, he can treat and rehabilitate this component of our future generation. The enormous biological burden of mercury within the global economy has is phenomenal and the potential for Dr. Buttar’s therapy to address the magnitude of this previously thought to be untreatable condition has profound world altering implications, providing evidence of the fast approaching paradigm shift in medicine.

Lay it on thick, much, Dan? I also can’t help but note that Dr. Buttar is the same guy who uses chelation therapy to treat autism and has been rumored on various quack-friendly autism boards to use urine injections in the service of eliminating autism, not to mention ozone as well.

Dan Burton is about the best example that I can think of to demonstrate that antivaccine views are the form of quackery that is truly bipartisan. Most of the time, antivaccinationists are portrayed as being crunchy lefties from Berkeley, but in reality there is a strong right wing component to the antivaccine movement, and Dan Burton personifies it.

He can’t leave Congress too soon for my liking. My only fear is that there are all too many other cranks ready to take his place.

ADDENDUM: Sullivan has more.

Comments

  1. #1 Julian Frost
    April 26, 2012

    Miriam35Rhodes is a spammer.

  2. #2 Poe2Go
    April 26, 2012

    Dan Burton saw his grandson catch autism from the mercury “right before my eyes”. Don’t talk to Dan about any fancy “evidence”. Don’t taint his woo sandwich with any of your science sauce. I think we should station an aircraft carrier off the coast of Indiana to keep any autism containing vaccines out of the state. At least we have chelation, though, to fix all those broken autistic children. If I am invited to his retirement party, I will definitely go, to make sure he really retires.

  3. #3 Poe2Go
    April 26, 2012

    Dan Burton saw his grandson catch autism from the mercury “right before my eyes”. Don’t talk to Dan about any fancy “evidence”. Don’t taint his woo sandwich with any of your science sauce. I think we should station an aircraft carrier off the coast of Indiana to keep any autism containing vaccines out of the state. At least we have chelation, though, to fix all those broken autistic children. If I am invited to his retirement party, I will definitely go, to make sure he really retires.

  4. #4 Autismum
    April 26, 2012

    Only slightly off topic, but Webcina, a site curator, is looking for opinions on vaccine blogs. Of course, Just the Vax gets a thumbs up from me but it’s an opportunity to have a say about, for example, Vaccine Awakenings (Barbara Loe Fisher) http://www.webicina.com/vaccination/vaccination-in-the-blogosphere/#site-8185

  5. #5 Science Mom
    April 26, 2012

    I’m sure an honorary position in SafeMinds will be created for Dan Burton when he retires. He has blatantly abused his position and public funds for his raison d’être and I hope his last gasp act will be recognised as such and shelved permanently. It’s really embarrassing to have this level of scientific incompetence so evident in a congress member who believes he is championing a scientific cause.

  6. #6 Eric Lund
    April 26, 2012

    the Committee heard from many credible scientists and experts who are convinced that mercury is a contributing factor

    “Credible.” I do not think that word means what Mr. Burton thinks it means.

    But if Poe2Go’s implication that Burton has an autistic grandson is correct, then Burton would probably prefer this line: “Hello. My name is Dan Burton. You gave my grandson autism. Prepare to die.” An accusation that, unlike Inigo Montoya’s, would be false.

  7. #7 Blanche
    April 26, 2012

    @Poe2Go
    “Don’t taint his woo sandwich with any of your science sauce.”

    A woo sandwich, of course, would have to be gluten and casein free, only organic vegetables, and must be “nutrient dense”.

  8. #8 MI Dawn
    April 26, 2012

    Vaccine woo is spreading all over. To my great amazement, I read in my new book that vaccines caused the high level of deaths during the 1918 flu epidemic – we were giving those young, healthy men SO many vaccines, their immune systems were overwhelmed and so they died from the flu…

    I googled that and found, as per my expectations, that the top sources for that information were the usual suspects – whale.to, Mercola, etc. All the lovely anti-vax sites.

    I may be stupid, but I can’t think of too many vaccines they were giving in 1918. Smallpox and yellow fever. Were there others?

  9. #9 Science Mom
    April 26, 2012

    I may be stupid, but I can’t think of too many vaccines they were giving in 1918. Smallpox and yellow fever. Were there others?

    Duh MI Dawn, big pHARMa is soooo powerful they have a Tardis, went back in time and distributed ebil vaceenes. It’s true, ask Lord Draconis.

  10. #10 MI Dawn
    April 26, 2012

    @Science Mom: (hangs head in shame) Uh…oops. I forgot about that. But I thought that was soooper sekrit information. And here it’s posted all over teh intertoobz.

    Guess I just lost my Midsummer bonus from our Lord Draconis.

  11. #11 fusilier
    April 26, 2012

    Burton does have a severely autistic grandson. I – unfortunately – live in his district, and he mentioned it regularly in his campaign mailings.

    He also has an illegitimate son by a staffer, conceived during the exact time-frame he was calling President Clinton a “scumbag” for the Lewinski affair.

    Said son has an ASD issue.

    Of COURSE its Big Pharma’s fault.

    fusilier
    James 2:24

  12. #12 Renate
    April 26, 2012

    Talking about vacine-woo. Today I saw one of my “friends” on Facebook stating that the flu-vaccine contained poison. Hell yeah and everything natural is so healthy. She is a raw food veganist and I think pretty into woo, like fasting.

  13. #13 Karl Withakay
    April 26, 2012

    It seems congress is a natural environment in which to cultivate the Dunning Kruger effect. Put people in a position where they are responsible for making decisions that can affect nearly any possible subject and encourage them to think that they are qualified to do so by virtue of them having the authority to do so.

  14. #14 Denice Walter
    April 26, 2012

    Interestingly, Bradstreet is also mentioned at Thinking Moms’ Revolution: ‘Goddess’** who, after seeing a DAN doctor, has been advocating CEASE recently; she began treatment with Bradstreet’s GcMAF homeopathic syringes and over-the-counter Prevage- all leading to spectacular results.

    If you want to see her article, you must first scroll past one about France – compleat with masques- (( shudder))- first in English, then *en Francais*. Twice the abhorrence.

    ** her choice of ‘nym, not mine.

  15. #15 Autismum
    April 26, 2012

    From one decrepit politician to another – did Salon learn nothing from the Kennedy vaccines BS? Apparently not:
    http://www.salon.com/2012/04/26/generation_autism/singleton/

  16. #16 Denice Walter
    April 26, 2012

    OT- but is over-the-top fear-mongering for profit _ever_ *truly* OT @ RI?

    It must be some sort of festival today in Austin ( the Running of the Loons?) because Mike Adams has produced a gem of a post that advertises his new LIVE video course on ‘preparedness’…

    “Economic collapse, armed gangs, martial law, social unrest, active war, natural disasters” are all about to land on your doorstep! Are you READY? I think not.
    ” But in a collapse scenario,.. social graces can vanish in as little as 72 hours.”
    That’s right! People will not place their forks and knives correctly beside their plates and will not wear ties. Or say “Please” and “Thank you”.

    Mikey has been preparing his preparedness for some time now: a few months ago, he wrote about how he was learning to suture ( on chicken meat) so he could serve as a medic when necessary. I’m sure he’ll even tell you where to hide all of those old silver and gold coins you have wisely been putting aside for a rainy day. Next to the ammo. ( similar nonsense at PRN, courtesy of Null and Celente)

  17. #17 BA
    April 26, 2012

    @ Denice,

    At least they are suggesting that TEH TOXINS are involved before birth. Should we call this the autistic clams theory.

    Also, anyone seen the high fructose corn syrup theory of autism (which also involves mercury)?

    http://www.clinicalepigeneticsjournal.com/content/4/1/6/abstract

  18. #18 Gary Kaplan
    April 26, 2012

    Well at least we can still rely on Voodoo and witch doctors.

    Good thing Burton didn’t mess with the Dark Arts.

  19. #19 lilady
    April 26, 2012

    I knew Dan Burton’s “last hurrah”…would prove to be irresistible for Orac. IMO, we haven’t heard the last of Burton, because he still believes his grandson was *damaged* by the mercury in vaccines.

    I did not know that Dan’s “love child” is also on the spectrum (thanks, fusilier).

    When I visited Burton’s home page, I see that he secured $ 1.8 million dollar funding for an autism treatment center. The center is named after his grandson Christian Sarkine and appears to be doing traditional (scientific) research and providing traditional (science-based) treatments such as ABA, etc.

    Oh look what I located by “Googling” his grandson’s name:

    http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/HASTINGS.SARKINE092811.pdf

    The case filed in the Vaccine Court was dismissed because Burton’s daughter “failed to prosecute” the case, i.e., she failed to follow the court’s order/failed to produce medical records or failed to file an expert witness’ opinion…as directed by the court.

  20. #20 Liz Ditz
    April 26, 2012

    MI Dawn:

    I read in my new book that vaccines caused the high level of deaths during the 1918 flu epidemic

    Which book is that?

  21. #21 MI Dawn
    April 26, 2012

    @Liz Ditz: The book is new, written by Lady Colin Campbell about Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. I’m sorry I bought it – don’t waste your money – it’s like reading the Daily Mail.

    I’m not good at doing links but I’ll try:

    Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

    In the chapter on WWI, she goes into claims that it was THE VACCINES the soldiers got that weakened their immune systems and caused them to die…

    I have it on Nook, so haven’t checked her “footnote” yet. I was too disgusted to do it last night and too busy so far today. It’s on my agenda, though.

  22. #22 lilady
    April 26, 2012

    @ MI Dawn: That “vaccine” fiction is not the only thing that Lady Campbell fabricated, according to this book review:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2131714/Queen-Elizabeth-born-artificial-insemination-Lady-Colin-Campbell-claims-pure-fiction.html

  23. #23 Militant Agnostic
    April 26, 2012

    @MI Dawn

    What does the book say about the Queen Mother’s enthusiasm for Hitler and her friendship with British Fascist Party leader Oswald Mosley?

  24. #24 MI Dawn
    April 26, 2012

    @Militant Agnostic: haven’t gotten that far into it – still reading “The Great War” chapter. I put it down and went off to better things last night after reading the vaccine nonsense.

  25. #25 Phoenix Woman
    April 26, 2012

    Fusilier @ 10: You mean he had *another* kid outside of marriage? I just knew about the son he’d fathered in 1982:

    http://www.russbaker.com/archives/pit%20bull%20all.htm

  26. #26 Science Mom
    April 26, 2012

    @Science Mom: (hangs head in shame) Uh…oops. I forgot about that. But I thought that was soooper sekrit information. And here it’s posted all over teh intertoobz.

    How could we possibly keep such secrets from the BrainTrust™ of Mercola, Adams and Scudamore? It’s the cost of doing business my dear.

    Guess I just lost my Midsummer bonus from our Lord Draconis.

    Oh I doubt it but last year’s weren’t anything to write home about anyhow. Our dear Lord Draconis (bless his heart) forgot the currency exchange again and paid us in ollphéists. I’m down a cat as a result.

    @ Autiemum, thanks for the head’s up and the vote; we’re in some fine company and well, some not so fine.

  27. #27 Autismum
    April 26, 2012

    @science mom
    BLF’s blog and IV are gone. A fella called Colin Jenkins wrote a long comment and got an e-mail from the person running the poll asking for more detail, after which they were both gone.

  28. #28 Denice Walter
    April 26, 2012

    To follow up on my #13:

    Bradstreet recommends a supplement, Prevagen ( Apoaequorin)- see Prevagen.com- derived from jellyfish: binding to Ca ions, it’s the protein that makes them glow. It supposedly counteracts cognitive impairment and is being marketed ( most likely) to those who fear dementia.

    The website mentions several studies involving improvement in STM and word recall ( also in ‘elderly canines’). A 2008 Nobel is mentioned as well. Non-rx , mass market pharmacy.

  29. #29 lilady
    April 26, 2012

    @ Denice Walter: Here’s the webpage for Prevagen from TMR:

    http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/2012/04/24/speech-finally/

    It will link you to all the Prevagen websites.

    Dr. Bradstreet will be *presenting* at Autism One!

    (This is some *amazing* OTC drug!)

  30. #30 Denice Walter
    April 26, 2012

    @ lilady:

    Unfortunately, taking Prevagen does NOT make you glow. Awwwwwwww!
    Oddly enough, it’s not the first time autism has been compared to Alzheimer’s by woo-meisters, i.e. the Al hypothese for each condition.

    -btw- ladies, your bonuses are assured.

  31. #31 g724
    April 26, 2012

    Berkeley California here to say that the anti-vax loons are in MARIN COUNTY.

    Say it three times to be sure it sticks: Marin, Marin, Marin! Almost rhymes with “urine.”

    Here in Berkeley the worst we’ve got is a palm-reader on Telegraph Ave with a bright neon sign saying “Love, Fortune, Happiness!” or some such nonsense. About which I’d love to see another one on the opposite side of the street with a neon sign saying “Divorce, Bankruptcy, Despair!,” and then we could say we have both psychic bulls and psychic bears, and they both peddle bull if you can bear it!

    Yes we have our share of anti-vax nuts, but hardly as many as Marin, which is the true ground zero for this crap around here. I have some specific ideas about fighting them, but mum’s the word for now.

    Harkin is on balance good. The fact that he’s a strong supporter of SBM means that ultimately it should be possible to convince him that quackery is quackery. What matters is that he subscribes to the scientific paradigm and understands what constitutes scientific evidence.

    As for Hatch and supplements, I’d put that stuff in the category of “consenting adult behaviors” and point out that at least it doesn’t lead to physical danger to non-consensual parties.

  32. #32 Calli Arcale
    April 26, 2012

    It doesn’t make you glow? Awwww. There goes the one reason I’d actually consider taking it. :-D (That’d be huge in the nerd market sector.)

  33. #33 Mary
    April 26, 2012

    @BA: be sure to read this smackdown of that paper (and oddly enough, the first Grist report on it) also at Grist:

    Why that corn-syrup-and-autism study leaves such a sour taste here: http://grist.org/food/why-that-corn-syrup-and-autism-study-leaves-such-a-sour-taste/

  34. #34 lilady
    April 26, 2012

    @ Denice Walter: Please thank our overlord, the beneficent Lord Draconis, for my bonus. I will be on holiday respite next month in Europe and could use *the glittering round trinkets*.

    I will extend felicitations from his Lordship to precious la baronne de Rothschild and to dear le baron de Rothschild.

  35. #35 Narad
    April 27, 2012

    As for Hatch and supplements, I’d put that stuff in the category of “consenting adult behaviors” and point out that at least it doesn’t lead to physical danger to non-consensual parties.

    Once again, you are assuming that it stops with the purchaser.

  36. #36 lilady
    April 27, 2012

    @ Narad: Did you see the *mother* on mothering.com offering up advice about NOT giving antibiotics for pertussis?

    “Antibiotics can, however, make the pertussis more severe by releasing LPS from other gram negative bacteria during the “die-off”, that happens with antibiotics in the gut.”

    That little tidbit is from here:

    http://www.whale.to/a/The-Vitamin-C-Treatment-of-Whooping-Cough.pdf

  37. #37 Ken
    April 27, 2012

    @Denise: And there I was, thinking calcium ions are good for neural function. Presumably if you had a binding agent that sucked all calcium out of the brain, it would instantly cure both autism and Alzheimer’s (I suppose this is true, in that the patient would no longer manifest symptoms of either condition after treatment).

  38. #38 Autismum
    April 27, 2012

    #32, Mary,
    I got sent the corn syrup and autism BS from a (no longer) FB friend. Told her my son only eats garlic bread and toast. Her reply was, basically, it had to be the vaccines then.
    We don’t have psychic stores here in Wales but I think I might start a chain – I could probably get government funding too:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5054558/Psychics-given-4500-government-funding-to-teach-people-to-communicate-with-the-dead.html

  39. #39 RTContracting
    April 27, 2012

    @Renate

    Speaking of facebook, woo and flu, I stumbled on this comment on a local anti-vax Facebook group:

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/209476929113408/353621191365647/?comment_id=354572391270527

    This year’s flu season has been mild, but it still occasionally kills healthly adults and children.

  40. #40 Ken
    April 27, 2012

    Reader, suppose you are an idiot. And suppose you are a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

    -Mark Twain

  41. #41 squirrelelite
    April 27, 2012

    @RTContracting,

    Thanks for the link.
    This bit from the original comment sprung my irony meter:

    Whether you treat it homeopathcally, naturopathically or with your MD…do take this one seriously and take care of yourselves.

    How does taking a sugar pill or some herbal mixture qualify as taking a life threatening disease “seriously”?

    Also, I saw this link:
    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/323187

    Elliot Freeman, who seems to be a new blogger at Digital Journal and already has two anti-vaccine articles, points out that the majority of the cases in the 2010 pertussis outbreak in California were in vaccinated individuals, but doesn’t provide the risk ratio which, as others have noted on this blog, shows that an unvaccinated individual is more likely to get pertussis when exposed than a vaccinated individual.

    The linked article on Reuters:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/03/us-whoopingcough-idUSBRE8320TM20120403
    is actually fairly reasonable and focuses on the declining protective effect of the pertussis vaccine and discusses possible and already recommended changes in the vaccination schedule.

    I also noted this quote from the Reuters aricle,

    Dr. Joel Ward at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute said it’s still important for parents to get their kids immunized, even though it doesn’t provide lasting protection from whooping cough.

    “The disease has diminished markedly with the use of it. The benefit has been enormous,” he said.

    Ward, who did not participate in the new study, also said that immunized kids who catch whooping cough don’t get as sick as unimmunized kids.

  42. #42 Denice Walter
    April 27, 2012

    More news from the front…

    Fight the power:

    1. @ AoA: Mr Olmsted attended a congressional meeting and has come to the conclusion that the CDC should not be in charge of explaining the ‘rise in autism’, in fact he asks a research scientist that very same question : “Why them?”

    He observes that there is a “cozy” relationship between the agency and Autism Speaks, a US NGO that he doesn’t at all like.
    Olmsted promises that he will provide more bad writing on the subject.

    2. @ Natural News: yesterday, Mike Adams took up a topic near and dear to his twisted little heart- the current war between nutritionists and dieticians**. He, a nutritionist, obviously sides with the former, calling the latter, “nutritional morons”. It seems that dieticians’ associations would “silence those who freely share the truth”, they would “enforce intellectual monopolies” while quashing his “free speech”.
    He asks his devotees to call the board of dieticians concerned. He promises more of the same.

    ** As predictable, Gary Null is embarking upon a similar plan to badger whosoever interferes with his whimsy-based MO.

  43. #43 Ender
    April 27, 2012

    That whale.to article is horrific. Orac, if you haven’t already, could you consider doing a post about that? It’s superficially really convincing and I’d like to see its claims contested.

  44. #44 Julian Frost
    April 27, 2012

    Ender, Orac has blogged on Whale.to before. Just put Whale.to into the search box. The problem is that John Scudamore, whale.to’s creator, is literally insane. Everything on that site is hogwash. To dismantle all the lunacy, Orac would have to give up his job and blog non-stop for several hours a day.

  45. #45 RTContracting
    April 27, 2012

    @Denice Walter:

    I find the musings over at AoA perplexing. In one article Dan Olmsted argues that rates of autism are rising and the CDC is doing nothing. A few articles down Brian Hooker argues that autism rates actually fell and the CDC is covering this up.

    Which is it? Are rates increasing or decreasing? The answer at AoA is apparently both.

  46. #46 Sir Eccles
    April 27, 2012
  47. #47 lilady
    April 27, 2012

    @ Denice Walter: I saw Dan Olmsted’s *latest* screed on AoA. He showed up at the CDC meeting and…taking a lesson from Boy Wonder Ace Reporter Jake Crosby, used the Q & A period to pose multiple off-topic questions. He then had the *ammunition* for today’s article, about the *cozy* relationship between Autism Speaks with CDC, his *indignity* that the CDC monitors vaccine safety…and other assorted *conspiracies*

    Jake Crosby, (still smarting over his failed attempt to be appointed to the IACC), then commented that he “wished he could have attended the meeting”.

    @ Sir Eccles: I saw the reported death of a young infant in Arizona, due to pertussis. It is all over the internet and has been featured prominently on local TV stations. The Arizona Department of Health, has also issued a press release about the infant’s death.

    The Tdap vaccine booster is now recommended for pregnant women within weeks of her expected due date…and is also recommended for close family members, friends, caregivers and health care professionals, who will have contact with the newborn:

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6041a4.htm

    “Guidance for Use

    Maternal vaccination. ACIP recommends that women’s health-care personnel implement a Tdap vaccination program for pregnant women who previously have not received Tdap. Health-care personnel should administer Tdap during pregnancy, preferably during the third or late second trimester (after 20 weeks’ gestation). If not administered during pregnancy, Tdap should be administered immediately postpartum.

    Cocooning. ACIP recommends that adolescents and adults (e.g., parents, siblings, grandparents, child-care providers, and health-care personnel) who have or anticipate having close contact with an infant aged less than 12 months should receive a single dose of Tdap to protect against pertussis if they have not previously received Tdap. Ideally, these adolescents and adults should receive Tdap at least 2 weeks before beginning close contact with the infant.”

  48. #48 RTContracting
    April 27, 2012

    Ender:

    Whale.to deconstructs itself. My favorite whale.to page is:

    http://www.whale.to/b/reptilian_hosting.html

    Other pages claim:
    – Auschwitz was a vacation destination for Jews (complete with swimming pools). I guess they liked it so much they never left.
    – HIV doesn’t cause AIDS

    If it’s crazy, it’s at whale.to.

  49. #49 lilady
    April 27, 2012

    @ Ender: The article that I linked to at whale.to was authored by Dr. Suzanne Humphries.

    Orac has blogged extensively about Dr. Humphries…including this one:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/12/quoth_dr_suzanne_humphries_vaccines_are.php

    Dr. Humphries *honored us with her presence*, when she started commenting (see her post at # 137). And, you missed all the fun, Ender!

  50. #50 Denice Walter
    April 27, 2012

    @ RTContracting:

    Do you know of the old expression: talking out of both sides of their mouths? Well, it’s apropo in this case.

    Hooker works for CoMed ( Geiers et al) which sought/ seeks removal of mercury from vaccines. He claims ( Live in the Now, Nov 2011; also ANH; Bolen Report, et al) that removal of Thimerosal resulted in a *decrease* in autism which was discovered by the Danish study( proving his theoretical leanings): the researchers then colluded with the CDC to cover-up their findings. He must have recordings of secret meetings. Right.

    Age of Autism enjoys fear mongering so they, of course, believe that the CDC figures are an *under-estimate*.

    Somehow, they manage to believe contradictory theories simultaneously and will all have a lovely time together spinning tales of malfeasance at the AutismOne Conference, where several reps from AoA, the Geiers, Hooker and AJW will all be presenters.

    What is even more frightening is that I actually am able to make sense of their proclivities towards un-reality. But I did study abnormal psych et al.

  51. #51 Denice Walter
    April 27, 2012

    @ lilady:

    You know, when I read these articles, I keep changing my evaluation of who is the worst writer @ AoA– notice that I will *never* make a diagnosis but speak purely about skills and abilities– frequently, Jake wins hands down but recently, Olmsted and Blaxill= both individually and conjointly- have given him a run for his money. Blax-sted delivers blastedly bad prose!

    Right now, someone is looking at me and asking why I’m laughing while typing…too much to explain!

  52. #52 lilady
    April 27, 2012

    @ Denice Walter: I think at AoA, their *journalists* are competing in the *race to the bottom of the heap*…

    http://www.fotosearch.com/CSP273/k2731542/

    Today is Friday and last semester, it was Jake’s stalking day. I wonder if we will be *treated* to another one of Jake’s stalking caper adventures on AoA?

  53. #53 dedicated lurker
    April 27, 2012

    Whale.to also has a page claiming dolphins can fly, and has a page on the Cold War being a hoax – a conspiracy theory my sister and I made up (trying to come up with one so ridiculous that no one would believe it).

  54. #54 RTContracting
    April 27, 2012

    Dedicated lurker:

    OK. You win. I’ve now got a new favorite whale.to page:

    http://www.whale.to/b/flying_dolphin.html

    That’s awesome!

  55. #55 Denice Walter
    April 28, 2012

    The Thinking Moms have started a Facebook campaign that calls for government hearings following Burton’s lead ( A Call to Action; TMR,today) “Autism is a national emergency”.

    Oddly, I’m surprised that Mssrs Stone et al @ AoA are NOT writing about the Murdochs who have been being questioned publicly.

  56. #56 Denice Walter
    April 28, 2012

    @ RTContracting:

    I read the page- lord almighty!- but what on g-d’s green earth is that stuff about ‘Celtic knotwork’ ?

    Since I’ve been given several pieces of said knotwork ( usually silver rings) over the years ( and I am not at all Celtic- altho’ they seem to love me for some unknown reason), am I to now realise that it’s an arcane ((shudder)) *sign*?
    Uh-oh.

  57. #57 Renate
    April 28, 2012

    Why is the site named Whale.to. It looks terrible and the “article” on the “flying dolphin” is something I don’t understand. Perhaps it’s my lack of knowledge of English, but to me it looks pretty incoherent.

  58. #58 Denice Walter
    April 28, 2012

    @ Renate:

    I think that your English** is not the problem: Whale.to is amongst the most egregious piles of tripe ever assembled by humankind.

    ** it’s pretty good.

  59. #59 lilady
    April 28, 2012

    @ Renate: Here’s a little background for you about whale.to and its founder John Scudamore:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/06/the_nuttiness_that_is_whaleto.php

  60. #60 Narad
    April 28, 2012

    I read the page- lord almighty!- but what on g-d’s green earth is that stuff about ‘Celtic knotwork’ ?

    Meet Don Croft, Etheric Warrior and inventor of “modern orgonite.” I presume he’s on about Celtic knots being powerful symbols left behind by transdimensional beings.

  61. #61 Denice Walter
    April 28, 2012

    @ Narad:

    And all of this time, I thought that the rings were actually *protecting* me…little did I know!

    I’ve already seen that site, altho’ I haven’t really delved into it.. I notice that they list British Israel and other material like sylphs: two of my absolute faves.

  62. #62 Renate
    April 29, 2012

    @ lilady
    I had read that, the man is a real nutcase, so perhaps asking why he named his site whale.to is needles.

  63. #63 herr doktor bimler
    April 29, 2012

    asking why he named his site whale.to is needles.

    TRIGGER WORD!!