Respectful Insolence

On the one hand, I’m seriously tempted to get out the popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show that is the internecine conflict going on in the antivaccine movement right now. On the other hand, as bizarre as it sounds, I actually do feel a bit sorry for the main combatant, Jake Crosby. He’s the guy whom I likened to an antivaccine Frankenstein’s monster turning on his creators last week. The reason was that Jake had become very, very unhappy with the antivaccine leaders who created him, or at least who created the blogging phenomenon that is Jake Crosby, Internet Detective and Disher of Dirt. They nurtured his anger and resentment, turning it into paranoia, egging him on in the echo chamber that is the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, and praising him to high heaven for what a “great reporter” he is and what a “great job” he did after every new attack he launched on their enemies. His paranoia thus nurtured, Jake became the Boy Wonder (or, to anyone with a sense of rationality—which most definitely includes no one at Generation Rescue, SafeMinds, or Age of Autism—the Boy Blunder), churning out antivaccine propaganda screeds and character assassinations of those deemed the enemies of the antivaccine movement, in particular Paul Offit.

Jake started out as a one trick pony, his one trick being to create hilariously inept and tortuous “six degrees of separation“-style conspiracy theories in which he’d link his target to—of course!—big pharma. Later, he developed a second trick, namely showing up at the talks of those he detests (like Paul Offit) in a truly creepy stalkerish manner, all to badger them and tyr to get them to say something that he could report on later in order to embarrass them, all the while painting himself as the brave maverick martyr for free speech who was kicked out of or denied entry to these talks because he speaks Truth to power. Jake also did this all with a truly nauseatingly self-righteous attitude, in which he is completely incapable of ever acknowledging even the slightest error or wrongness in anything he has done. Now, the antivaccine Frankenstein that created Jake is striking back since its creation has turned on it. Its actions tell me that it’s disavowing Jake, trying to sever ties with him, and, in general, throwing him under the bus in the same way that Jake threw his old friends under the bus, betraying their trust in a truly egregious fashion by publishing their private e-mails.

So, in light of his previous nasty activities and his betrayal of his friends and allies next week, why do I feel a little bit sorry for Jake? I’m sure some of you out there will think that Orac has gone soft. Maybe I have. There’s also no doubt that Jake has done some truly vile things since he let himself become the attack poodle for older, cleverer activists who were apparently not quite clever enough to realize that sooner or later the weapon they had forged would turn on them because it is the nature of such weapons to do so. Admittedly, that makes it very hard not to feel considerable schadenfreude at his recent falling out with his previous masters at SafeMinds that led him to a truly unethical act that was a horrible breach of trust; i.e., his broadside at his former friends published on, of all places, a hive of scum and quackery even more wretched than AoA, namely Patrick “Tim” Bolen’s website. On the other hand, from a very young age Jake was fed the antivaccine lie that he’s “on the spectrum” because he was “poisoned” by vaccines and therefore is now a damaged person. At the risk of degenerating into armchair psychoanalysis, I can’t help but think that that must have affected him, which makes his recent falling out with people he used to consider friends and allies likely all the more distressing, particularly SafeMind’s response, which is a pretty obvious swipe back at Jake entitled SafeMinds Responds to False Allegations from Bloggers. (It’s also amusing that the word “bloggers” in the title shouldn’t be plural.) After reading it, if there’s one thing I can say, it’s that I don’t feel the least bit sorry for SafeMinds. In fact, I’m highly amused at the obvious discomfiture of its leaders at the revelations that Jake has already published and, no doubt, the fear that they have of what Jake might publish next:

It is unfortunate a committee member breached normal confidentiality of SafeMinds internal communications by including email segments from SafeMind’s staff and board members in their blog article and likely shared their entire content further with others outside of SafeMinds. We regret that the use of segments of these emails takes their actual meaning out of context with relation to our May 18, 2012 Congressional Staff Briefing or the November 29, 2012 Congressional Hearings. SafeMinds takes pride in our continuing record for establishing the scientific basis on the environmental causes of autism and for promoting the proper treatments/outcomes for those affected. We will continue to work tirelessly for those adversely affected by toxic exposures including those from mercury, vaccines, and other toxicants – and for their loved ones. And we are very grateful for the support we continue to receive from the autism community.

I wonder how the excerpts Jake published took “their actual meaning out of context with relation to our May 18, 2012 Congressional Staff Briefing or the November 29, 2012 Congressional Hearings.” SafeMinds couldn’t be accusing Jake of cherry picking quotes from select e-mails, could it? Imagine that! Neither SafeMinds, AoA, nor Generation Rescue was the least bit concerned when Jake was posting his smear pieces against Paul Offit, various journalists, and, yes, me. Now that SafeMinds is on the receiving end of Jake’s mad skilz, which its members who are also associated with AoA helped to nurture and encourage, suddenly it’s found religion about dark insinuations based on little or no evidence, publishing private e-mails, and weaving conspiracy theories from them. From my perspective, SafeMinds’ reaction is incredibly amusing—downright hilarious, even—particularly the petulance of it all. For example, it must be particularly galling to Jake that the SafeMinds press release couldn’t even give him even a modicum of respect sufficient even to mention his name. It’s almost as though Jake’s become Voldemort, “He Who Must Not Be Named.” More likely, he’s persona non grata, and whoever composed the SafeMinds press release couldn’t even bring himself to mention his name.

Perhaps the most hilarious part of the SafeMinds press release has little to do with the butthurt SafeMinds is feeling over Jake’s betrayal. Rather, it’s this part:

When SafeMinds became aware of allegations our organization inappropriately represented ourselves or used undue or untoward influence with congressional staff at the COGR to create desired outcomes, we immediately began an investigation.

After speaking directly with the staff responsible for organizing the recent autism hearing, we were assured that nothing undue or untoward occurred in conversations with SafeMinds. At no time did SafeMinds misrepresent our organizational affiliations to congressional staff. At no time did SafeMinds or any of our affiliates seek the recision of Brian Hooker’s invitation to testify before the COGR. While we enjoy a mutually respectful working relationship with staff in the COGR, SafeMinds did not seek any influence on the selection of witnesses called before the committee on November 29th beyond a request allowing SafeMinds to testify on the panel. If any member of the community has additional concerns, we recommend they contact the committee directly for further clarification.

In other words, we investigated ourselves, and found no evidence of wrongdoing at all! Carry on! Well, that‘s certainly a relief! I thought for a minute that maybe Jake’s allegations had merit, but SafeMinds just disabused me of that by performing what (I’m sure) must have been a thorough and unbiased investigation, much the way foxes can be trusted to guard the chicken coop. I wonder how it would go over if a pharmaceutical company, accused of, say, malfeasance, deception, or withholding information about the vaccine program used the very same technique, investigating itself and then declaring that it had found no evidence of wrongdoing. Somehow, I suspect that SafeMinds wouldn’t be mollified. Neither am I. Jake’s story actually sounds rather plausible (which is highly unusual for Jake). I recounted the reasons in my last post, but in brief it “rings true” that the more pragmatic SafeMinds would want to keep the mercury militia member Brian Hooker from testifying in front of Darrell Issa’s farewell Congressional Hearing on Autism in November, and it makes particular sense that SafeMinds didn’t want Jake to testify. If you’ve ever seen him speak, you know why. Not only is he terrible speaker, but he comes off as the unhinged conspiracy theorist that he is, as this video shows (embedding disabled). This is just the testimony that Jake gave to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, when he’s presumably on his best behavior. It would clearly have been a very bad thing for SafeMinds to have let such a person represent the organization in front of a Congressional committee on autism, and clearly the leadership at SafeMinds knew it.

In any case, let’s not forget that Jake accused SafeMinds of misrepresenting itself to the staff of Representative Darrell Issa, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is Dan Burton’s old committee and also the committee that held the hearings on autism in November, as representing Brian Hooker. Supposedly, Hooker worked for a long time to get Burton’s old committee to start holding hearings on mercury in vaccines as a cause of autism again, the way Burton did back in the day 10 years ago, but then SafeMinds hired lobbyist Beth Clay to swoop in and take over the Hooker’s part of the hearings using deception. Whether or not that’s an accurate representation of what actually happened, I have no idea. After all, Jake hasn’t exactly been known for his accuracy in the past. Now, SafeMinds is accusing Jake of lying (without actually naming him), and Jake’s accusing SafeMinds of lying right back and saying in response to Erik Nanstiel protesting that SafeMinds are “good people,” “No, they’re really not.”

So what does it all mean? If SafeMinds really did hire Beth Clay, it hired a Scientologist, which makes a lot of sense. Scientology is the implacable enemy of psychiatry, which fits in well with the “do it yourself cure” mentality of the antivaccine movement, which believes that pharma-made vaccines are as evil as Scientologists consider anything having to to with psychiatry.

Which brings me back to the price.

Yes, it’s enormous fun to watch Jake Crosby battle it out with SafeMinds. It’s hard not to feel enormous quantities of schadenfreude washing over my circuits at SafeMind’s discomfiture, and, as sorry as I might feel for Jake, that goes for him too. He’s an adult now, and the nasty things he’s done were after he had become an adult. Jake is therefore responsible for them. What gets me so interested in this kerfuffle is only in small part due the entertainment value it provides. What really gets me interested is the cost that the antivaccine movement exacts from autistic children. I was reminded of us by an article in the Texas Observer by Alex Hannaford entitled Autism Inc.: The Discredited Science, Shady Treatments and Rising Profits Behind Alternative Autism Treatments:

That Texas has become a hotbed for alternative autism treatment and that many parents blame their children’s autism on vaccinations is thanks in no small part to the 2001 arrival of a man named Andrew Wakefield.

Fifteen years ago, Wakefield was the lead author of a paper published in the British medical journal The Lancet suggesting a possible link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Though the paper itself said that no causal connection between MMR and autism had been proven, the publicity surrounding it—in which Wakefield called for the suspension of the triple vaccine—caused panic among parents. The number of parents choosing to vaccinate their children fell dramatically, and measles rates went up: In 1998, there were just 56 cases of the disease in England and Wales, but by 2008 there were 1,370. In 2006, the country saw its first child measles death in more than a decade.

It is the children who suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases whose parents didn’t vaccinate them because of the antivaccine message promoted by SafeMinds and AoA. it’s autistic children viewed as “damaged” by vaccines and subjected to the most horrific quackery, in a vain attempt to “cure” them of their “vaccine injury,” leading parents to sink huge sums of money in a vain attempt to have a “normal” child:

Wakefield, she said, emailed her some tips. The new diet apparently helped her son and she felt his speech was improving. Then another parent referred her to Dr. Kendal Stewart, also based in Austin. Stewart’s specialization, she said, was neuroimmune disorders. “He explained that the regressive autism was secondary to a larger disorder affecting the immune system and the brain. Finally, we were getting answers,” she said.

Kate told me Stewart diagnosed her son as having a “significant viral burden causing inflammation” and began anti-viral therapy. Stewart apparently also discovered her son had “multiple allergies, heavy metal toxicity and impaired folate metabolism” (not enough folic acid).

She told me Stewart used “targeted supplementation and interventions” to “heal” her son’s “neuro-immune dysfunction,” adding that she is also in the process of writing a book with Stewart to share their story and help other families.

Kate said Stewart told her that her son wasn’t clearing harmful toxins out of his body. He was showing “really high mercury levels,” she told me, but these could apparently be cleared using supplements that have “natural chelators in them like garlic, parsley, things like that.”

Sometimes, the quackery goes as far as injecting something the quacks claim to be “stem cells” into the cerebrospinal fluid of autistic children. It can include dozens of supplements per day, chelation therapy, hyperbaric oxygen, and an almost unimaginable cornucopia of therapies ranging from the mundane and ineffective to the truly bizarre and dangerous. All of this can be laid at the feet of Andrew Wakefield and his groupies. All of this can be laid at the feet of SafeMinds, AoA, Generation Rescue, the National Vaccine Information Center, and, yes, Jake Crosby. They promote it; they defend its practitioners; they perpetuate the central dogma of the antivaccine movement that autism is “vaccine injury.”

As much as the current throwdown amuses me, as much as I hope it leads to more revelations of the inner workings of the antivaccine movement, I can’t forget that.

Comments

  1. #1 Julian Frost
    NOYDB
    February 7, 2013

    As an autistic person, Jake is an embarrassment to me. It’s true that he was shaped into what he was, but that only explains his behaviour; it doesn’t excuse it.
    However, I’m glad that this fight has started. Antivaccination has (unfortunately) gained a foothold in South Africa. Anything that damages it is good, particularly self-inflicted damage.

  2. #2 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 7, 2013

    L’il Jakey now has a comment in the Texas article Orac cites, trying to discredit the journalist by mentioning one of his previous jobs that might be a conflict of interest that led to the anti-Wakefield sentiment in the story.

    Everything’s a conspiracy with this guy, isn’t it?

  3. #3 Narad
    February 7, 2013

    This is just the testimony that Jake gave to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, when he’s presumably on his best behavior.

    But can’t get his shirt pressed. Am I the only one that heard “please hold your erections” in the Wakefield introduction video? I went over it half a dozen times.

  4. #4 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 7, 2013

    I’m sure Jakey had an erection being so close to Wakefield.

  5. #5 lilady
    February 7, 2013

    Master Crosby did post at Mr. Hannaford who wrote that excellent article, but so did I and I linked to Orac’s blog.

  6. #6 Heliantus
    February 7, 2013

    He was showing “really high mercury levels,” she told me

    Whenever I heard a story like this, I am sort of split.
    On one hand, I was not there, I don’t know for sure if the poor boy (or, if it is the case, poor girl) isn’t truly suffering from some metal poisoning (after all, children did get poisoned by lead in paints) or nasty ailment (after all, some children do have some rare but very debilitating illness).

    On the other hand, when they blame the mercury “overload” on vaccines, and cannot seem to get it out after years of chelation, I keep (sarcastically) wondering: did the staff at the hospital inject the child with the content of a thermometer instead of a vaccine syringe, or what?

    Not to mention things like mercury poisoning is not exactly similar to autism.

    Re: Safeminds. Let them fight. As one does his bed, so he sleeps.

  7. #7 herr doktor bimler
    February 7, 2013

    I don’t know for sure if the poor boy (or, if it is the case, poor girl) isn’t truly suffering from some metal poisoning

    When the story goes on to include the detail that these really high mercury levels […] could apparently be cleared using supplements that have “natural chelators in them like garlic, parsley, things like that”, it’s safe to say that the tests for mercury involved pendula or dowsing rods.

  8. #8 Brian Deer
    February 7, 2013

    With Jake,it’s definitely the mercury. Haven’t you noticed that in hot rooms he becomes taller?

  9. #9 Krebiozen
    February 7, 2013

    Heliantus,

    On one hand, I was not there, I don’t know for sure if the poor boy (or, if it is the case, poor girl) isn’t truly suffering from some metal poisoning (after all, children did get poisoned by lead in paints) or nasty ailment (after all, some children do have some rare but very debilitating illness).

    You may already be aware of this, but here’s an explanation of how many of these children acquire a label of being mercury-poisoned from Robert Baratz on the Quackwatch site:

    Urine mercury levels can be artificially raised by administering a mercury scavenger (chelating agent) such as DMPS or DMSA, which collect the small amounts of mercury from the body, concentrate them, and then force them to be excreted. In other words, mercury that normally recirculates within the body is now bound and excreted. The urine level under such circumstances is artificially raised above the steady-state level. A study of urine mercury levels in people given DMSA or a placebo has found no association between the mercury levels and the number of dental amalgam surfaces. The use of a chelating agent before testing—”provoked testing”—should be considered a scam. Anyone told that a urine-mercury level produced after taking DMPS represents a toxic state is being misled.

    That’s aside from the dowsing, applied kinesiology and dubious GSR gadgets also used to falsely diagnose mercury poisoning that HDB alludes to.

    There are a number of common and fraudulent practices that work on similar principles to convince a patient that there is something wrong and that they require treatment. It reminds me of the shamanic sleight of hand that produces stones or other objects from patients as a kind of metaphor for their ailment being removed. For example there is Robert O. Young’s practice of selling people alkalizing powders that are simply a mixture of bicarbonates that are excreted in the urine, making it miraculously alkaline. Then there is the practice of getting the mark to ingest bentonite clay and/or other concoctions that form a cast of the bowel that is then passed, and which they are told is actually a mass of retained feces that the treatment has removed. My personal favorite is the “liver cleanse” that involves ingestion of a laxative such as Epsom salts along with olive oil that form emulsified globules that are claimed to be gallstones when passed.

    There is always a question of how much of the use of these types of scams can be attributed to ignorance, and how much to deliberate deception; a bit of both I suspect.

  10. #10 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 7, 2013

    Interesting, Jake brings up Prometheus in his comment on that Texas story. Apparently, Jake has an inflated sense of his own value, thinking that he was responsible for making Prometheus remove his site.

  11. #11 Lawrence
    February 7, 2013

    I’ve always wondered where the anti-vaccine crowd thought all of that “mercury” was coming from….since the amounts of thimerosal any child would have received (and much less now, of course) would have been barely detectable & excreted as part of the normal bodily process over the course of days or a couple of weeks (long before any next series of shots would have taken place).

    Has the “mercury” they claim to have found ever been tested to determine where it might have come from (i.e. fish, pollution, ethyl or methyl)? I’d be curious to see if they understand even the most basic facts around mercury & its various compounds (and sources) outside of the spurious vaccine claims they’ve been harping on for years now…..

  12. #12 Thomas
    February 7, 2013

    “I’ve always wondered where the anti-vaccine crowd thought all of that “mercury” was coming from…”

    Here’s the answer “The bugs are making metals! ” (http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/05/14/the-price-of-anti-vaccine-fanaticism-par/)

    By the way “Lawrence,” isn’t it suspicious that your ‘nym is Jake Crosby’s middle name? Hmmm.

  13. #13 Lawrence
    February 7, 2013

    @thomas – wait, I thought I was Brian “Lawrence” Deer?

  14. #14 Ren
    February 7, 2013

    If nothing else, per his comment in the Texas Observer article, Jake appears to have learned the meaning of a statistically significant value. Now, if only he could memorize and practice that whole “association is not causation” thing.

  15. #15 lilady
    February 7, 2013

    I just *knew* Jakey was lurking here, when I threw the bait out and linked to Mr. Hannaford’s article, hours before Jake did his “six degrees of separation” act on him. What colossal hubris he has about his (non) ability to close down Prometheus…as if his deranged ramblings are ever taken seriously.

    I remember all the autistic children who were subjected to *treatments/cures* for their *toxicities*…and they were not supplements containing parsley and other herbs. I remember the children who were castrated and chelated and who were brought to offshore unregulated/unlicensed clinics for intrathecal treatments with G-d knows what solutions and I remember the bleach oral doses and enemas inflicted on these children, because their parents think of them as “damaged by vaccines” and “train wrecks”.

    As Julian Frost stated it is a good thing that Jake has turned on his keepers and brought about a schism within this incestuous group.

  16. #16 Pareidolius
    Axis of Me-ville.
    February 7, 2013

    One of my big areas of interest as a skeptic has been Scientology. Aside from a weird personal run-in with fair gaming at 18, I’ve followed the saga since about 1999 when things really started to heat up online. I bring this up because of a conclusion I’ve reached about David Miscavige, the violent, megalomaniacal leader who took over the cult at age 25. I always mention in online discussions of the victims of Scientology, that Miscavige is, in a way, the ultimate victim of Hubbard’s scam. Small and asthmatic, Miscavige was virtually born into the cult and left school at 16 to join the strictly organized Sea Org, where he found acceptance and weilded real power, as Hubbard’s wunderkind protegé.

    In the great Anivaxxiverse, there really is no Hubbard figure that started it all off, but Wakefield, and to a lesser extent, other group leaders, come closest to filling that role now. So I certainly see Jake as a victim of a cult-like group. Yes, he’s behaved badly (without any real power, he’s nowhere near as bad as Mr. Miscavige), but I can only imagine being a very smart, neurodiverse, outcast teen, probably picked on for years and finally finding a group where he was told, A: We accept you as one of us, and B: we know who made you “broken.”

    The seductive power of group acceptance draws distressed kids into all kinds of troubling groups, like Scientology. That cult asks their minions to search out a mark’s “ruin” with bogus personality tests, and show them how Scientology can cure it. Jake’s problem isn’t how his brain works, it’s how he’s been manipulated, first by society, and then by his handlers at SafeMinds, into believing that there’s something wrong with him and that it’s some evil cabal of scientist’s fault.

  17. #17 Denice Walter
    February 7, 2013

    Orac, you’re being much too kind.

    From my vantage point, I see a young person who has attempted to take shortcuts and find a quick and easy path to fame and glory, rather than studying and working hard for decades. He reminds me of the alt med people I survey who criticise the entire field of medicine without ever having studied it or worked in it and then go on to talk psychology and economics, further showing off the scope of their in-expertise.

    He expects special treatment because of WHO he is ( moneyed, connections,ADHD, ASD, victim of medical malfeasance) rather than for what he does.

    His antics provide a field day for psychologists- especially for me because I have tangoed with him ( virtually, fortunately) AND because I often counsel young people about finding their own pathways through higher education.

    While I could certainly talk about the symptoms and levels of abilities he displays, I think it’s more productive to look at what he’s done publicly.

    He has tried to circumvent obstacles that most students and apprentices must overcome, expecting to be given equal footing with experts in several fields before completing degree requirements. He has behaved badly in public by asking harassing questions and chasing editors and scientists around. He has written many so-called articles based on his fantasies rather than researched facts and has attempted to interfere with professionals’ careers by squawking to their employeers or writing up exposes that may involve libel: several of these people are present here today. He has behaved incoherenty and viciously with people who disagree with him on the internet- as readers here know. He turns on his sponsors and reveals private messages.

    So rather than attributing his actions to psychological problems- an illness or condition- I see bad manners, solipcism, lack of social skill and disrespect to other people. Lying and creating baroquely detailed scenarios to slime your opponents is not listed in the DSMs.

    A few people here might be excused if they are now laughing at his distress. Serves him right.

  18. #18 Denice Walter
    February 7, 2013

    Oh wait, it must be a conspiracy against him: men named “Lawrence”, people who live near the St Lawrence River and someone whose uncle was named after T.E. Lawrence. I’ll bet there’s even more if we dig deeply.

  19. #19 Liz Ditz
    It's never too late
    February 7, 2013

    In somewhat related news, two of Fred Phelps’s granddaughters have left Westboro Baptist. Megan’s personal statement. An in-depth interview with Megan.

  20. #20 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 7, 2013

    Pareidolius,

    Not to derail this into a scientology conversation, but do you follow Tony Ortega’s blog? He’s like the Orac of scientology.

    I guess you know everyting’s falling apart for the cult right now. Their feeble PR sockpuppets can’t keep up with all the bad publicity. Did you see Colbert last night? He completely ridiculed Miss Cabbage, Cruise, the cult, their litigious and vindictive nature, etc.

    Jenna Miscavige Hill has been on three major TV shows in the last three days calling her uncle “evil”. Lawrence Wright and Sweeney have best-selling books exposing the cult.

    I’d love to hear about your fair-gaming in rhe proper venue one day.

    OK, back to Jakey!

  21. #21 lilady
    February 7, 2013

    (IANA) Psychologist, but I’m with Denice Walter. What Jake has done is called libel, slander and stalking. I know a slew of people who have ASDs and these behaviors are not part of the Syndrome. It’s too bad that his handlers and his cheering squad will now reject him, but for all the *wrong* reasons; their rejection is based on his revealing of their own dirty secrets.

  22. #22 Ren
    February 7, 2013

    Someone commented in the Texas Observer article thus:

    “Jake, for what company did your dad do advertising work? Answer: Monsanto.

    Didn’t Age of Autism say that pesticides had a lot to do with autism? Answer: Yes, they did. To think YOUR FATHER helped promote RoundUP, a week killer. FOR SHAME.

    For what company did your dad endorse one of his fellow advertising colleagues? Answer: Merck, a vaccine manufacturer.

    Who is Alex Cranberg and how is he related to Gov. Perry who took in lots of cash from Merck? Answer: Alex is your uncle and he let Perry use his private jet.

    What did Mr. Cranberg get in return for his support of Gov. Perry? Answer: A position in the University of Texas board or regents only days after moving to Texas.

    What did Perry promote in Texas? Answer: A mandate to have all girls vaccinated against HPV.

    YOU have a lot to answer for because of YOUR degrees of separation with those people, Jacob. Quit dodging these questions and tell us who these people are and how you’ve been playing both sides.”

    So I looked up Alex Cranberg and found this:

    h_ttp://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2012/09/13/whos-the-texas-oilman-behind-the-newest-iraqi-gusher/

    Texas oil billionaire, eh? For all that worrying about Jake, I think he’s going to be okay.

  23. #23 ChrisKid
    February 7, 2013

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2012/09/13/whos-the-texas-oilman-behind-the-newest-iraqi-gusher/

    “GEP is a joint venture, 33.5% owned by ShaMaran Petroleum and 66.5% by Aspect Energy International. That makes Aspect the biggest beneficiary of this find, with a 53% stake in the Atrush block.
    Aspect Energy International is a subsidary of Aspect Holdings, which has offices in Austin, Tex. and Denver, Colo. and is controlled by Alex Cranberg.”

    It seems that Alex Cranberg is young Mr. Crosby’s uncle. Doesn’t that make Jake just another pawn of the oil industry and Big Government? And, according to his own favorite ploy, doesn’t that discredit everything he’s ever said?

  24. #24 ChrisKid
    February 7, 2013

    It seems that Ren is faster on the trigger than I am. With better information.

  25. #25 Todd W.
    http://wwwharpocratesspeaks.com
    February 7, 2013

    It looks like Jake has John Best on his side. With friends like that…

  26. #26 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 7, 2013

    It’s nice to see, with the exception of one guy named John Stone, that ALL the comments are ripping on Jake and pointing out the flaws and hypocriity in his posting. And defending the journalist and his research.

    And when did Mr. pretentious start calling himself Jacob Lawrence?

  27. #27 Ren
    February 7, 2013

    “It looks like Jake has John Best on his side. With friends like that…”

    In all honesty, it’s some John Best that just joined Twitter and that has been his only tweet. It could be a Poe. It could be someone who knows hot to join Twitter in a flash and start up a profile on demand.

    Trust, but verify, Jake.

  28. #28 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 7, 2013

    Not only did I invent a new word, but I misspelled it.

    Hypocrisy.

  29. #29 Narad
    February 7, 2013

    It’s nice to see, with the exception of one guy named John Stone

    Oh, dear, you’re not familiar with John Stone, Cliffy Miller’s bestest buddy?

  30. #30 lilady
    February 7, 2013

    Alex Cranberg, who is Nicole Cranberg Crosby’s brother was appointed as a regent for the University of Texas School Board, by Rick Perry in 2011:

    http://www.utsystem.edu/board-of-regents/current-regents/alex-m-cranberg

    If Jake really did his “homework” he would have proven that his “six, sixty, six-hundred degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon theory” really does work. :-)

    http://www.utexas.edu/lbj/directory/faculty/bacon-kevin

  31. #31 herr doktor bimler
    February 7, 2013

    the exception of one guy named John Stone

    There’s a name to conjure with.

  32. #32 lilady
    February 7, 2013

    @ Mark: I’ve just posted at Stone…like shooting fish in a barrel.

    Here’s Jake’s mamma, along with her company profile in Austin Texas:

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/nicole-cranberg/2b/7a2/64

  33. #33 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 7, 2013

    Narad,

    I’m just starting to learn the players in the anti-vax/autism arena. I’ve heard other names here (Dachel, Blaxill, etc.) but haven’t come across John Stone yet. I guess I need to spend more time at AofA, but I get so nauseous every time I go to that site.

  34. #34 Ren
    February 7, 2013

    They’re all related to each other, MSII, just check this out (PDF):

    h_ttp://apthorpe.cynistar.net/vaxfax/geier_empire_01.pdf

  35. #35 lilady
    February 7, 2013

    @ Mark: Stone is the U.K. editor of AoA. Here, so you can get caught up on John D. Stone and the other cranks:

    http://jabsloonies.blogspot.com/2012/10/avoid-vaccines-because-jimmy-savile-was.html

  36. #36 herr doktor bimler
    February 7, 2013

    There are stylistic similarities between John Stone and “Blackheart”, who memorably commented at RI for a while.
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/11/11/brian-deer-strikes-again-more-evidence-o/

  37. #37 lilady
    February 7, 2013

    @herr doktor bimler: It is *debatable* if Stone is “Blackheart”. If he did in fact use that ‘nym…he also posted as “John Richard Smith” on the Ho-Po and posted as “ASD Researcher” on the LaCrosse Tribune blogs, about Wakefield’s feeble attempt to debate Brian Deer at the University of Wisconsin, by holding his *press conference in a shed*

    http://lacrossetribune.com/news/opinion/michael-winfrey-former-doctor-was-not-invited-to-uw-l/article_77a7ee6a-13ea-11e2-9389-001a4bcf887a.html

  38. #38 Narad
    February 7, 2013

    JRS and Stone have separate obsessions. The latter does refer to the former as “redoubtable” in the comments here, though, so some casual allogrooming probably isn’t out of the question after a few pops.

  39. #39 Dangerous Bacon
    February 7, 2013

    Op-ed in today’s Wall St. Journal – “Rolling Back The War On Vaccines”:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324039504578260242982589914.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    Nothing very new or startling in this otherwise welcome piece, but I found this item interesting:

    “Leading opponents of vaccine policies in developed countries fall into three groups: parents who blame vaccines for their children’s serious maladies, individuals who favor “natural” remedies for treating and preventing disease, and those who allege collusion between the pharmaceutical industry and government to maximize profits from allegedly ineffective or harmful vaccines. ”

    Now, why did they leave out Batshit Insane antivaxers? True, there’s overlap with the preceding three categories, but the underlying lunatic philosophy needs to be acknowledged.

  40. #40 Narad
    February 7, 2013

    I have a vague memory that JRS may have revealed what he did for a living over at HuffPo; Dingo199 might remember.

  41. #41 Dangerous Bacon
    February 7, 2013

    Op-ed in today’s Wall St. Journal: “Rolling Back The War On Vaccines:

    ht_p://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324039504578260242982589914.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    Nothing too new or startling, but I found the following interesting:

    “Leading opponents of vaccine policies in developed countries fall into three groups: parents who blame vaccines for their children’s serious maladies, individuals who favor “natural” remedies for treating and preventing disease, and those who allege collusion between the pharmaceutical industry and government to maximize profits from allegedly ineffective or harmful vaccines.”

    How come they left out the category of Ba*sh*t Insane Antivaxers, which can encompass all of the above plus other assorted lunacy? They’re not giving enough attention to the underlying pathology.

  42. #42 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 7, 2013

    @Ren

    “It looks like Jake has John Best on his side. With friends like that…”

    In all honesty, it’s some John Best that just joined Twitter and that has been his only tweet. It could be a Poe. It could be someone who knows hot to join Twitter in a flash and start up a profile on demand.

    Trust, but verify, Jake.

    Looks like it is the same John Best we all know and [sarcasm]love[/sarcasm]. The handle ‘bettwice33′ is one he’s used elsewhere. So, it’s either him, or someone that noticed he wasn’t actually on Twitter and decided to impersonate him.

    If it is, indeed, him, then Jake doesn’t need any enemies.

  43. #43 Lawrence
    February 7, 2013

    @DB – damn, wish I had a subscription to WSJ so I could read what it had to say.

  44. #44 Narad
    February 7, 2013

    Lawrence, just Google “Rolling Back The War On Vaccines”; the WSJ will show it to you through this door.

  45. #45 Pareidolius
    February 7, 2013

    Marc Stephens Is Insane:
    Yes, I’m a regular reader and poster at the Underground Bunker. I’m in the middle of Jenna’s rather heartbreaking book. And yes, back to Jake who gets more complicated with each post in this thread.

  46. #46 Liz Ditz
    Oh, look, Crosby's mom's NIMBY activism
    February 7, 2013

    Evidently, a congregation is seeking to build a new synagogue in the ancestral Crosby home. Mrs. Crosby is not pleased.

  47. #47 Liz Ditz
    February 7, 2013

    sheesh, bring back preview.

    Should read, “build a new synagogue near the ancestral Crosby home.”

  48. #48 LW
    February 7, 2013

    @Liz Ditz: that was much more interesting before you fixed it. I was imagining the ancestral castle, with curtain wall and moat, and a synagogue being constructed beside the crumbling keep … *sigh* … reality is so boring.

  49. #49 Lawrence
    February 7, 2013

    @Liz – I was confused there for a minute – though that would have been HILARIOUS!

  50. #50 Denice Walter
    February 7, 2013

    About Jake-
    he is supposed to be a graduate student **, now IIRC, when I was in a similar position 30 years ago ( in social sciences- here and there), I spent a great deal of time studying, writing, being in involved in projects, working with my profs etc. I also had friends and relationships.
    Which didn’t leave much time for getting involved in internet feuds, pseudo-scientific turf wars and confabulating tales of dastardly manoeuvres and malfeasance by people I didn’t like and didn’t know personally. I barely had time to sleep.

    He sidled up with the cranks, veering away from SB reality long ago and now the cranks who supported him seem to be cutting ties. Leaving him with fewer supporters and probably not many friends.

    Burning bridges, first with science then with pseudo-science…
    What’s left?

    ** Ren can fill us in about the details of life as a second-year degree candidate (?) /student in that area at that university.

  51. #51 Ren
    February 7, 2013

    In my “second year” I had to work intensely on my master’s project. I also had to study hard for all the biostats and advanced Epi courses that I was taking. I wrote second year in quotes because I earned my MPH part time while holding down a full time job at a hospital lab. (I am not as privileged as Jake when it comes to money.) Still, it was hard work for me, but maybe Jake is really good at academic work and doesn’t have to study, do research, or deliver presentations. I wonder how the people in his study groups for classes see him? Does he even participate in group projects and seminars?

    I have it on good authority that he should have been in class when he went to Philadelphia from DC to (not) stalk Dr. Offit. They missed you, Jake. Priorities, I guess.

  52. #52 Narad
    February 7, 2013

    Mrs. Crosby is not pleased.

    Looking at the satellite images, this is hilarious. “Hey, that giant swath of undeveloped private property is supposed to remain undeveloped! It’s ours!. NIMBYism at its finest. (In other news, a million bucks doesn’t get you much in Cos Cob.)

  53. #53 I. Rony Meter
    February 7, 2013

    “We’re willing to listen to them, but our position is totally non-negotiable,” said one opponent, Nicole Cranberg Crosby.

    Snort.

  54. #54 Denice Walter
    February 7, 2013

    @ Ren:

    I would wonder about his ability to function academically myself from reading his material. Also about getting along with other students.
    Although I come from some minor money myself and have interesting family connections, I’d proud to say that I never used it to get ahead: I made sure I got accepted and completed all of my studies ON MY OWN so I was beholden to no one.
    My family was useful in other ways- I’ve been everywhere and I have self-confidence.

    Oh, we better watch our tongues, we’re liable to get sued- I hear that that’s going around chez anti-vax.

  55. #55 bad poet
    February 7, 2013

    I blame my Asperger’s on being prematurely born to a nearsighted chain-smoking mother who worked as a chemist five years before my birth and took DES and a smoker father who grew up on a farm that used nasty chemicals like diesel fuel and fertilizer. The vaccines had nothing to do with it, especially not the smallpox. Make up some more fairy tales, Jake; my imagination is better than yours.

  56. #56 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 7, 2013

    Don’t you love when racists say they can’t be racists because they’re “half-something”? Or have a sister or brother married to that race? Didn’t Charlie Sheen say couldn’t possibly be anti-semitic (at the time of the Chuck/Chaim Lorre controversy) because there’s someone in his family who was married to a Jew or something?

  57. #57 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    February 7, 2013

    I’ve got to hand it to some of our regulars here; John Stone is looking more and more like the flaccid knob he is. And where’s Jake gone?

  58. #58 brian
    February 7, 2013

    Immediately following some pointed criticism of Jake Crosby, the Texas Observer web site went down. I hope that’s a coincidence, or Jake will never grow up.

    However, I really do like anti-vaccine fanatic Mark Blaxill’s assessment of Jacob Lawrence Crosby, quoted here and, until minutes ago, posted at http://www.texasobserver.org

    Your interpretation of events is so radically wrong and the key facts you use to support your interpretation are incorrect in so many key respects, it’s not worth arguing with you anymore.

  59. #59 Denice Walter
    February 7, 2013

    @ Marc Stephens Is Insane ( re #33):

    If you get nauseous. they make very good OTC meds.

    But seriously, the cast of characters @ AoA is rather interesting, John especially ( although he was very polite to me). They have a woman ( Teresa Conrick) who plays speculative neurophysiologist / immunologist . I also read Thinking Moms’ Revolution on a regular basis. Oh joy!

    And I live to tell the tale. Actually, I’m surprisingly immune to their nonsense, I don’t ever get depressed or nauseous- I must have inherited a strong constitution from my business-like ancestors.

    Here’s the kicker- these several antivax sites include women with education as psychologists, social workers and counsellors. Say it isn’t so!
    But it is: Katie Wright, Ginger Taylor and Alison MacNeill, offhand ( another at TMR also)- Carol Stott has also shown up @ AoA.

    Counselling, testing and therapy done by this lot!
    I know why Orac shudders whenever he comes across a surgeon who advocates alt med.

  60. #60 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 7, 2013

    Brain: The website is up again.

    Denice: Off-topic, but since when…
    Did you see Mikey Adams’s site today? He’s claiming the entire universe is a computer simulation as part of some creationist screed he’s wrote. I notice more and more of his commenters are getting fed up of his pro-gun/survivalist angle. They go to his site to find out about colloidial silver and vitamins, and many of his loyalists don’t seem to share his penchant for things that go boom.

  61. #61 Denice Walter
    February 7, 2013

    @ Marc Stephens Is Insane:

    I certainly did. I didn’t mention it because everyone seems to be enjoying themselves so much because of Jake – Mike is becoming so dreadfully predictable and desperate.
    We need more and better loons.

  62. #62 lilady
    February 7, 2013

    @ Brian: The article is still up at the Texas Observer…

    http://www.texasobserver.org/autism-inc-the-discredited-science-shady-treatments-and-rising-profits-behind-alternative-autism-treatments/

    I just posted again at Stone…gawd almighty he’s a piece of work…sheer idiocy in print.

  63. #63 Julian Frost
    NOYDB
    February 8, 2013

    @MSII in 56:

    Didn’t Charlie Sheen say couldn’t possibly be anti-semitic (at the time of the Chuck/Chaim Lorre controversy) because there’s someone in his family who was married to a Jew or something?

    Charlie Sheen, or Carlos Irwin Estevez (to use his real name), says he is part jewish (I can’t authenticate this) and was married to Brooke Mueller (who is jewish). Personally, I don’t think Sheen is an anti-semite. I think he is a drug-addicted, addled [expletives redacted].

  64. #64 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 8, 2013

    Julian,

    I was commenting on Jake’s mother’s comment the she can’t possibly be anti-semitic because she’s “half-Jewish” herself (which doesn’t exist, but I don’t want to get pedantic.) It’s in the newspaper story about opposition to construction of a synagogue in her neighbourhood.

    I agree about Sheen but didn’t remember to what he was referring when he said he couldn’t be anti-Semitic.

  65. #65 Chris
    Near a wonderful Reformed Jewish Temple...
    February 8, 2013

    Seriously, they should celebrate the building of this synagogue. They make good neighbors, and if it is like the one up the street from me they have a Klezfest!

    It is a great combination of food, music, history and fun! Seriously, folks, if there is one near you: go to it!

  66. #66 Narad
    February 8, 2013

    Seriously, they should celebrate the building of this synagogue.

    Chris, have you never encountered this mindset? In my neck of the woods, a ward voted itself dry not too long ago to prevent an abandoned hospital from being converted into a hotel, nominally for “preservation” of a structure that was of no particular architectural note in the first place. As a result, plans to try to preserve the façade have been dumped and the thing is just going to be demolished.

    I can understand the general inertial craving, but if they wanted these tracts to be (mostly) “forever undeveloped,” they should have bought the land themselves. This is where the “OH NO, MAH POPPETY VALUZ” really starts to grate on me: it seems rather plain that none of these people were planning on moving anywhere in the first place. They just value their own essentially meaningless metric over their neighbors’ very tangible one.

  67. #67 Brian Deer
    February 8, 2013

    So, let me get this straight, this abusive twerp who seeks to smear me on the basis that somebody’s brother or somebody’s father, or their husband, wife,uncle aunt or sister’s next-door neighbour once stood at a bus stop with someone who used a pharmaceutical product, is actually the son of someone who promotes chemicals known to be linked to developmental disorders?

    So, the whole family has been living off the chemical industry and decided that, rather than the son being poisoned by their clients, or, on the other hand, just being an angry, foul-mouthed failure of upbringing, they would have him diagnosed with Asperger’s (which Andrew Wakefield says is regressive autism)?

    You couldn’t make it up.

  68. #68 Lawrence
    February 8, 2013

    @Brian “not me Lawrence” Deer – yessir, the irony of it all is not lost on us.

  69. #69 Brian Deer
    February 8, 2013

    So, just as his pal Olmsted was a journalist for a notorious fraudster who actually went to federal prison, on Jake Crosby’s own arguments, Mr Crosby is being put through graduate school by the chemical industry.

  70. #70 flip
    February 8, 2013

    In other words, we investigated ourselves, and found no evidence of wrongdoing at all!

    To be fair, there are plenty of legit organisations out there who do internal investigations. Universities come to mind.

  71. #71 Orac
    February 8, 2013

    And I usually find such internal investigations…less than satisfying as well.

  72. #72 Denice Walter
    February 8, 2013

    Never one to disappoint us, AoA has replaced chief conspiracy-monger, Jake, with your friend and mine, John Stone. Today he delivers his own take on those ‘on the take':
    …Brian Deer Fantasist: ‘Taking on the Establishment’….
    again we hear about competing interests.. would you expect any less from John? Such creativity.

    Yes, my compromised , dearly bought-and-paid-for brothers and sisters and partners in crime, everyone who disagrees with their confabulatory explanatory system has a ‘conflict of interest’ while they themselves have none and thus, can be truthful informants and dis-passionate critics, calling us out and dis-entangling the web of intrigue we’ve spun.

    Looking into my own sordid conflicts of interest, I discover that I own several shares each of News Corp and GSK through a mutual fund and I didn’t fail either neurophysiology or basic writing.

    Come on out, declare your COIs, everyone: be brave!

  73. #73 Brian Deer
    February 8, 2013

    I haven’t looked, but has this wretched troll Stone ever filed a “competing interest” statement listing the scores of ludicrous and rejected written complaints he has filed against me?

    This man has spent almost a decade now filing complaint after complaint, with academic bodies, broadcasters, public inquiries, media organisations, and anything else whatsoever that he can think of. He then files complaints against, and publicly abuses, those in these organisations who shrug off his snide insinuations as the ridiculous concoctions that they are. Every single one of his complaints has been thrown out.

    He’s even been involved in the ludicrous compilation of “secret” reports about me, and has fretted and festered to deceive the handful of poorly-educated people he has been able to sway. I know because much of his filth is sent to me by parents of children with autism.

    Just as we discover that Olmsted was employed as a journalist by a Moonie fraudster who went to jail, and Mr Crosby’s lifestyle has been supported by the chemical industry, we discover that the wretched troll Stone is the individual concealing the most potent conflict after Wakefield’s money: an avalance of bitter, stupid and ignored complaints. One after another after another. It’s the focus of his life.

    If the wretched troll Stone had one shred of integrity, he would publish his complaints under his own name and be prepared to sell his home to pay my legal bill. Because if anybody of consequence took the slightest notice of his bilious stupidity, I would sue him back to the scrap value of his bedside commode.

    Generally, I think life is for living, and not for litigation. But it would do a lot of good for the safety of children to see this scumbag and his pal sniveling in front of a judge about “Oooh, we never meant that… Oooh, please, we haven’t got any money.”

    As it is, I will make it clear to, for example, the BMJ that if they publish any more of this individual’s stupid and malevolent comments in their “rapid responses”, then they should ask him to list all of the complaints he has lodged against me. I’m pretty sure they will see the point, and ask him to provide it.

  74. #74 Lawrence
    February 8, 2013

    @Brian (not me Lawrence) Deer – I believe one of the AoA’ers puts down “Father of an autistic child” as their COI when they post….It may be Mr. Stone, but I’m not sure.

    Jake has been cast to the 4-winds, but I’m sure he’ll continue his anti-vaccine screeds on whatever venue will have him (the Bolen Report, probably) – but it might mean that his stalking behavior might be mitigated somewhat without the “power” of AoA behind him, hanging on every word his prints about this “confrontations” with the forces of Ebil – like Dr. Offitt.

    We’ll see.

  75. #75 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    February 8, 2013

    @Lawrence – Yes that’s John “Cock” Stone. He used to specify “not caused by vaccines”, but for some reason doesn’t seem to make that clear any more.

    @Brian Deer – If Stone owns his house, rather than renting it, it’ll be worth enough to pay off a substantial libel settlement.

  76. #76 Denice Walter
    February 8, 2013

    @ Lawrence- or is it Brian? Well, whichever…

    I’ve seen Stone post as ‘father of autistic’ or similarly BUT recently he didn’t identify his competing interests @ BMJ,
    IIRC.

    Jake’s droppings have been posted @ Gary Null’s Blog** in which he deciphers and delineates the COIs of our esteemed and gracious host, Orac

    As my late father would remark in situations such as these:
    “Lovely people!”

    ** which isn’t a blog but a collection of written rants contra-SBM utilising ungainly language that nearly approximates that of an unskilled playwright trying to capture the atrocities of rural lower middle-class speech emulating the better educated.
    .
    Interestingly enough, Jake’s language, despite his moneyed background, fits right in. So do his ideas.

  77. #77 I. Rony Meter
    February 8, 2013

    The Crosby Report
    Natural Crosby News
    Info Crosby Wars
    Age of Crosby

    there are just so many opportunities opened up for him right now.

  78. #78 Denice Walter
    February 8, 2013

    @ I. Rony:

    I swear, so help me, I tried to reason with him over a year ago. I really did.
    I questioned how he could believe that the entire world- scientists, governments, media- was entrenched in a massive conspiracy against AJW. I asked him how likely was it that thousands were implicated in a fraud and cover-up worldwide, rather than one, lone data-fixer.

    I asked how he thought that taking these extreme, unrealistic posiitions would not deleteriously affect his chances for a career in the SB field of epi.

    I had not a snowball’s chance in h3ll of breaking through to him. I only did so and tolerated his derision because I think that students- ALL students- even the awful ones- are worth an effort.
    Live and learn I say.

  79. #79 I. Rony Meter
    February 8, 2013

    Does anyone think that AJW will believe Jake? Will criticize SafeMinds? Hardly. WIll AJW tell Jake what he needs to hear to not see AJW as part of the “not nice people”? Sure.

    Jake will get played. He’s not the first, nor the last, that AJW has played. It won’t be the first time AJW has played Jake.

  80. #80 lilady
    February 8, 2013

    @ Lawrence: It’s the first time I’ve ever seen him post under his middle name…which is his recently deceased maternal grandfather’s name.

    When his grandfather died, the company he founded was bequeathed to his daughter:

    http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release/a-fathers-invention-becomes-a-daughters-business-the-texas-fireframe-r-grate-harnesses-the-laws-of-physics-to-make-a-hotter-easiertostart-fire-184482.php

    I suspect that grandpa Cranberg set up education funds for his grandchildren which have paid Jake’s tuition at Brandeis and at GWU.

    Has Jake ever had a job? My daughter started working part-time when she was in high school and continued to work summers when she was in college. Like Ren, she worked full-time in Manhattan and commuted to New Jersey after work for her graduate studies at Stevens Institute; cost per credit was $1,000.

    About Stone; he has posted a few times on some science blogs and I manage to chase him off those blogs, because he cannot back up his statements. He won’t even “admit” that he is the U.K. Editor of AoA, on the Texas Observer blog.

    Take a look at Stone’s picture. He could be the “double” for Jack Nicholson in the “The Shining”.

    https://www.facebook.com/john.stone.5205622?ref=ts

  81. #81 AdamG
    February 8, 2013

    @Rebecca Fisher

    You’ve been mentioned in the comments on that AoA post by some loony who seems to think you are in reality Brian Deer.

    The evidence for this? The fact that you agree with his findings…

    Among [Deer’s] many fantasies is that he’s a woman named Becky Fisher, a profane blogger and Mom who for some inexplicable reason is drawn to writing obsessively about the Wakefield affair from the exact same point of view as Brian Deer

    I guess we’re all Brian Deer then.

    (cue Spartacus jokes)

  82. #82 brian
    February 8, 2013

    I guess we’re all Brian Deer then.

    No, apparently some of us are Bonnie Offit:

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/11/is-paul-offits-wife-internet-trollautism-father-sullivan.html

  83. #83 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 8, 2013

    AdamG,

    A few months a lunatic poster here accused us all of being Orac. She said he made up all our names, personalities, writing styles, backgrounds, regional “accents”, etc. just to agree with himself.

    lilady: Not to sound cruel, but is there something wrong with John Stone’s eyes? Or is that just a really unflattering photo?

  84. #84 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 8, 2013

    Wakefield’s legacy:

    Measles at an 18-year high in England and Wales:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/feb/08/measles-cases-high-england-wales

  85. #85 Lawrence
    February 8, 2013

    FYI to all – I do joke about being called Brian “Lawrence” Deer over at AoA, which is funny in itself, because I had no idea his middle name was Lawrence…..but I’m just me, plain old Lawrence.

  86. #86 Rebecca Fisher
    February 8, 2013

    @AdamG – it was suggested a few months ago, and a few loons still run with it. JabsLoonies indeed.

    @MSII – what makes me worry about that Facebook photo of Stone is that he obviously thinks that’s the most flattering picture there is of him.

  87. #87 Narad
    February 8, 2013

    I guess we’re all Brian Deer then.

    My favorite was being accused of being “BRAIN DEER” (emphasis in original). There seems to be a rather small bag of tricks, with a lot of leftover broken bits down in the corners and around the seams.

  88. #88 lilady
    February 8, 2013

    @ Lawrence (Brian Lawrence Deer): The funniest comment you ever made on AoA was the one where you mentioned “Jersey Shore’s Snooki”. Do you think you could venture back into the cesspool and mention “Honey Boo Boo”?

    http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/people/honey-boo-boo-child

    I agree with Rebecca that the picture of John Stone on his Facebook page is a hoot…the eyes, the grin and the hair.

    Stone has posted at the Guardian under “Pluralist” as well:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/user/pluralist

  89. #89 Lawrence
    February 8, 2013

    @lilady – OMG, I had totally forgotten about that…..I haven’t gotten a comment through AoA in a long time & honestly, I don’t see any reason to try.

  90. #90 AdamG
    February 8, 2013

    Only slightly OT…has anyone else seen this hilarious new article from Jon Rappoport? It’s been popping up on facebook quite a bit yesterday and today. I dare you to read it without laughing….here’s my favorite part:

    First of all, I need to point out a massive contradiction. When a person receives a vaccine, it’s said that his body produces antibodies against a particular germ and this is a good thing. Vaccination thus prepares the body for the day when that germ will really make its attack, at which point the immune system (including antibodies) will mount a successful defense.
    However, let’s look at another venue: for many diseases, when a person is given a blood test to see if he is infected, quite often the standard for infection is “presence of antibodies.”
    This makes no sense at all. If vaccination produces those antibodies, it is heralded as protection. But if a diagnostic blood test reveals those same antibodies, it’s a signal of infection and disease.
    Vaccine-produced antibodies=health. Antibodies naturally produced by the body=illness.

    I just…what?

  91. #91 Denice Walter
    February 8, 2013

    Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen….

    Dan Olmsted discusses Tim Bolen’s latest ‘acquisition’ and e-mails; said acquisition responds in the comments. all @ AoA

    Dan attempts this in facsimile regional accent and fails miserably.

  92. #92 Lawrence
    February 8, 2013

    Huh, they let Jake’s comment go through…..

  93. #93 Narad
    February 8, 2013

    I just…what?

    This, in a different sense, is a real risk if one has cats that have been vaccinated for FeLV (or, uncommonly, FIV): If the animal somehow winds up in a municipal shelter, antibodies = euthanasia.

  94. #94 Denice Walter
    February 8, 2013

    Yes, they did.
    Oh, just you wait.

    Their inter-group struggles couldn’t come at a better time: it’s dark and dreary everyday and I am currently serving as an (un-paid) support system and counsellor to various people who have undergone medical treatment/ surgery and/ or are depressed ( cousins, tennis instructor, ex) so gosh darn, I can use some entertainment!

  95. #95 Narad
    February 8, 2013

    Dan attempts this in facsimile regional accent and fails miserably.

    He apparently also completely “forgets” this.
    And this. Etc.

  96. #96 Edith Prickly
    north, south, east, aaaaand west of the Pecos
    February 8, 2013

    @DW – that was just painful. Was Dan Olmsted really a professional journalist at one time? His time in the antivaxx trenches has really taken a toll on his writing skills.

  97. #97 lilady
    February 8, 2013

    I’m glad Olmsted identified his post as “sarcasm”…I would have never guessed:

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/02/satire-who-is-tough-tim-bolen-why-threatening-lil-ol-age-of-autism.html

    Too bad Jake’s handlers didn’t put him on a shorter leash and put a muzzle on him.

  98. #98 lilady
    February 8, 2013

    Tim Bolen, if we are to believe what he has posted on his blog, has been *cultivating* Brian Hooker for a very long time…and involved in the *planning* of that Congressional hearing. This sorta disproves what Olmsted just posted:

    http://www.bolenreport.com/Mark%20Geier/autism%20infighting.htm

  99. #99 Lawrence
    February 8, 2013

    @lilady – based on what I just read, it looks like Jake might have been providing information to Tim Bolen for a while……this could get extremely interesting.

  100. #100 I. Rony Meter
    February 8, 2013

    Olmsted needs to know his limitations. Humor is a major limitation for him.

    I guess publishing emails is not something AoA sees as a problem. Or email addresses.

    Anyone surprised that “Tim” Bolen didn’t last long as an ally to the mercury militia? The first I read that they were partying with him in Long Beach to raise money for Wakers, I knew this would end poorly for AoA.

    I have to thank Dan for puting “SATIRE” in big letters in the title. Then again, begs the question why the site isn’t “SATIRE: Age of Autism”.

  101. #101 Edith Prickly
    the eye of SNOWMAGEDDON !!
    February 8, 2013

    Denice, I also agree that this is all first-rate entertainment! I don’t think there’s enough popcorn in the world to keep up with all the action going on right now — the Rota Fortunae is certainly on a downward spiral for the forces of pseudoscience and quackery. The FDA is (finally) looking at what’s really been going on at the Burzynski Clinic, the antivaxx movement is splintering, Jenny McCarthy’s past “activism” is catching up with her, Dr. Oz is being publicly criticized for promoting quackery, Mike “Natural News” Adams is morphing into a crunchy granola Glenn Beck, and the Church of Scientology is literally falling apart. Good times!

  102. #102 I. Rony Meter
    February 8, 2013

    “namely, Orange County, home of fantasyland”

    Snort.

    Orange county. Home of SafeMinds. Home of TACA. I think also NAA, AutismOne, “The Wakefield Justice Fund”.

    Which one, or all, is fantasyland in this story?

    “Rumor has it that 50% of AoA’s income is dependent on either Mark Blaxill or SafeMinds. ”

    AoA’s income from SafeMinds (per the SafeMinds 2011 form 990) is $15,000. AoA has many sponsors. I think SafeMinds is important, but not 50%.

    Aside–SafeMinds also has $5K to “University of N. Iowa”. Want to guess if that went to C. DeSoto?

  103. #103 lilady
    February 8, 2013

    Meanwhile, some of the posters at AoA are *questioning* what Olmsted’s attempt at *sarcasm* is all about. Jenny Allen is also trashing me, Brian Deer and Orac.

    Where’s “Jen”?

  104. #104 Narad
    February 8, 2013

    Upon further reflection, I’m coming around to the opinion that Olmsted (probably correctly) expects that this entry will elicit a frothing reply from Bolen that can be used to further discredit him and, by implication, Jake. The only fly in the unguent is that a number of AoA’s chorus members seem to be rather fond of Pattimmy.

  105. #105 I. Rony Meter
    February 8, 2013

    Look, all Jake wanted was for SafeMinds to say in public what they say in their 990 form:

    “The purpose of the Coalition for SafeMinds is to restore health and protect future generations by eradicating the devastation of autism and associated health disorders induced by mercury and other toxicants”.

    SafeMinds spent $100,000 in a single year on their website and press releases. Somehow I expect it’s beyond press releases and includes their videos and efforts to get on airplanes and Times Square.

  106. #106 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 8, 2013

    I’m sure the copyright holders of Yosemite Sam (Looney Tunes?) are thrilled to have their character associated with such nutbags. Is this considered fair use of an image or could they ask Olmsted to remove the picture?

    I might do a bit of research and drop the copyright holder a quick e-mail.

    And maybe I’m getting less literate in my old age but I found the “Texas accent” almost impossible to read and understand. Way to communicate effectively!

  107. #107 Lawrence
    February 8, 2013

    Re-reading the AoA satire…..what the hell were they thinking?

    All they’ve done is throw gasoline on the fire…

  108. #108 Narad
    February 8, 2013

    I’m sure the copyright holders of Yosemite Sam (Looney Tunes?) are thrilled to have their character associated with such nutbags. Is this considered fair use of an image or could they ask Olmsted to remove the picture?

    That is likely owned by Warner Brothers, but I tend to doubt you’re going to get a DMCA takedown out of it.

  109. #109 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 8, 2013

    OK, it’s a Warner Brothers property and a friend of mine who works in the business in LA is getting me the name of the head of legal affairs. I guess this will have to wait until Monday but I hate to see scumbags like the folks at AofA get away with using images without authorization.

    If any company should be concerned about anti-vax loonies using their property it’s a company that targets cartoons at children.

    A few year ago a friend of mine who writes jingles and has a last name very similar to Looney called his jingle company XXXXX Tunes (The XXX represent the name that sounds like Looney.) Even though my friend is 3000 miles from LA and in a different country, within weeks he got a lawyer’s cease-and-desist order. They have people all over the world looking out for copyright infringements.

  110. #110 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 8, 2013

    That was fast. The name is Steven S Spira, chief legal counsel. I’ll be dropping him a line. It can’t hurt to try, can it?

  111. #111 I. Rony Meter
    February 8, 2013

    Wouldn’t be the first time AoA had an image pulled.

  112. #112 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 8, 2013

    If it didn’t make me so nauseous, I’d sign up to comment at AoA and ask if they have permission to use the image. If the column pertained to the character or Warner Brothers, or animation in general, it would probably be fair use. But in this context I think WB would want it removed.

    Of course we know they have moles who lurk here, so if they’re smart they’ll take it down on their own before they hear from Mr. Spira or his office next week.

    I know this is trivial but it’s the point. Those people think they can do or say anything they want without any recourse. They think they’re so big and powerful but they’re just ants compared to Warner Bros.

  113. #113 lilady
    February 8, 2013

    @ MSII: IMO, I’d just let this lame attempt at humor/sarcasm “play out”. Why give Olmsted an excuse to yank the post off AoA?

  114. #114 I. Rony Meter
    February 8, 2013

    Copyright Agent
    Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
    c/o: Warner Bros. Advanced Digital Services, a division of Warner Bros. Technical Operations Inc.
    4000 Warner Blvd.
    Bldg. 168
    Burbank, CA 91522
    Tel: (818) 977 – 0018
    Email: legal@wb.com

    or

    http://www.warnerbros.com/studio/services/clip-and-still-licensing.html

    JULIE HEATH
    Executive Director
    Clip & Still Licensing Department
    Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.
    4000 Warner Boulevard
    Burbank, California 91522
    Phone: (818) 954-1853; Fax: (818) 954-3817;
    E-mail: clipandstilldept@warnerbros.com
    Recorded Information Line: (818) 954-2298
    COMMERCIAL / ADVERTISING USE

  115. #115 lilady
    February 8, 2013
  116. #116 I. Rony Meter
    February 8, 2013

    Dan Olmsted is showing that (a) damage control usually doesn’t work and (b) he doesn’t understand what he’s doing.

    He wrote a cryptic and extremely poor satire and immediately had to followup to explain to his readers what he’s talking about.

    There is so much hypocricy. Dan quotes emails without permission and out of context, just as he complains about Jake doing. He claims that people should have the right to respond when (a) they do (hello, Dan, follow your link to SafeMinds’ website) and (b) they never give their targets the chance to respond to attacks in advance.

    And this doesn’t even touch on the fact that Dan and the rest of his crew are junk journalists. Climbing on a high horse of journalistic standards is just laughable.

    I see that Jake is still considered an “editor”. Why does Jake want to be an editor for AoA, a site which has publicly bashed him. Hmmm, did Dan run his piece by Jake before publishing it? You know, get his response? Or did he just bash an editor *and* break his own (new) rule?

  117. #117 AdamG
    February 8, 2013

    as I told Jake, [his article] did not meet the standards that I try to apply to everything submitted to Age of Autism

    LOL

  118. #118 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 8, 2013

    Scumbag Bolen chimes in in the comments:

    Please don’t worry about Orac. His readership is incredibly small, and, according to one of their insiders, all live in their parent’s attics.

    Isn’t this the same POS who calls Orac “nipple ripper”? (Sorry Orac, his words, not mine.)

  119. #119 Lawrence
    February 8, 2013

    @IRM – I can’t believe that first comment made it through moderation….what the hell is going on at AoA – it seems like they are trying to slime themselves?

  120. #120 I. Rony Meter
    February 8, 2013

    as I told Jake, [his article] did not meet the standards that I try to apply to everything submitted to Age of Autism

    Is Dan saying that Jake was accurate in this article? Because that would not meet the standards for Age of Autism.

    At least Jake got Dan to get off his butt and actually write something.

  121. #121 Denice Walter
    February 8, 2013

    Although I am not a betting woman, I wager ( virtually, of course) that Jake will not be able to long resist commenting**- either here or there- especially now that our friend Reuben has somehow slipped past the filter that keeps the science out @ AoA.
    But then, he’s clever.

    ** maybe he’ll set up his own blog or guide to life.

  122. #122 I. Rony Meter
    February 8, 2013

    I can’t believe that first comment made it through moderation

    Dan probably figured out too late that the best thing to do now is just let this run its course. Also, this gives his readers a target. Now Dan can expect comments of “What are you saying! AoA is the only site on the web that tells it like it is!”.

    Olmsted, SafeMinds and others should have just ignored Orac and Bolen/Crosby. There’s no way to control the damage. Just gotta let it run its course. And bad satire is certainly not the way.

  123. #123 lilady
    February 8, 2013

    hint to Jake Crosby…just stuff a sock in your big mouth:

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/02/from-the-bolen-report-jake-crosby-on-congressional-autism-hearings.html

    “…it did not meet the standards that I try to apply to everything submitted to Age of Autism.”

    Might those standards include not being critical of AoA’s sponsors?

    “The invasion of privacy of a number of SafeMinds board members here is unconscionable…”

    Dan, what’s so unconscionable about transparency? Why shouldn’t SafeMinds be transparent unless it has something to hide?

    Those emails were about SafeMinds’ involvement in the congressional hearing, which SafeMinds hijacked by hiring a lobbyist who pretended to represent Dr. Brian Hooker to congressional staff. THAT is unconscionable!

    “…and, really, inexplicable given the far less-than-critical issues involved.”

    What, exactly, is far “less-than-critical” about the thimerosal cover-up?

    “Furthermore, based on preliminary inquiries, the facts do not seem to be as described in this article…”

    Tell that to Dr. Brian Hooker, who SafeMinds pushed out of the hearing.

    “…certainly, SafeMinds has denied them vigorously.”

    Certainly, SafeMinds has not denied them vigorously at all.

    “It’s bad journalism, glaringly unsourced and without giving the “targets” an opportunity to give their version of events.”

    You never made any of these criticisms about my piece when I first submitted it to you. Did Mark Blaxill tell you to say this? I gave him plenty of opportunities to give his version of events – he sent me 14 emails. In the last one he cut me off with:

    “…it’s not worth arguing with you anymore. So I won’t.”

    (and Mark copied you on it)

    Posted by: Jake Crosby | February 08, 2013 at 08:33 PM

    (I fear that Jake will always be living in his mother’s attic)

  124. #124 Broken Link
    February 8, 2013

    I think that we are experiencing the death throes of AoA. It’s pretty nasty over there. I guess they felt that they had to let Jake’s comment through, or risk him going to Twitter to repeat it. But it is not doing any good, the faithful are upset at the discord.

  125. #125 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 8, 2013

    Wow. That “satire” is…interesting. Satire is something that is very difficult to do well. So is writing in a dialect. Dan has failed on both counts. Especially the dialect. He rendered his piece so incredibly difficult to read!

    And, yeah, neither SafeMinds nor AoA seem to know how to do damage control effectively (or really understand that damage control never really works). It does, indeed, look like they are perfectly willing to throw Jake under the bus, and ridicule Tim Bolen, as well. Kinda makes me wonder what other emails and such are floating around that are less circumspect than the posts we’ve seen.

  126. #126 Big Morbillie Style
    www.facebook.com/COVRAC
    February 8, 2013

    I must say, I haven’t had this much fun watching antivaxers squirm since The Great Wakefield Thrashing of 2011.

  127. #127 Denice Walter
    February 8, 2013

    @ lilady:

    I guess I win my own bet- and it didn’t take long.

    Without going into a long explanation, let’s just say that he doesn’t know HOW to restrain himself and isn’t able to judge WHEN that is necessary – those two abilities are important assets when conducting oneself amongst other adults in society.

    Let the games begin!

  128. #128 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 8, 2013

    Sarah smart. Jake dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

    This is worse than the Thanksgiving baby piece, which the pro-vaccine bloggers made hay out of. What on earth were you thinking to give publicity to this tempest in your teapot? Orac is already onto this. I am sure he is already writing tomorrow’s blog post. And it’s not going to be pretty.

    Posted by: Sarah | February 08, 2013 at 08:59 PM

  129. #129 I. Rony Meter
    February 8, 2013

    AoA always claims that the government comes out with bad news (like autism prevalence numbers) on a Friday so that it will not be a big story….ironic that Dan decided to respond to Jake on a Friday night.

  130. #130 Broken Link
    February 8, 2013

    “Sarah” is to smart for AoA. She might just be one of us ;)

  131. #131 Melissa G
    February 8, 2013

    OMG this is fun!!!

    Yeah, I wondered about “Sarah,” too. She must at least be a lurker here! *waves*

  132. […] rode off into the sunset of wingnut retirement. So he attacked the only way he knows how. SafeMinds responded a week later, and now it’s on! Now, let me be clear. By “pragmatic” I mean “not […]

  133. #133 Ausduck
    February 10, 2013

    Glad to see that the US side of the antivaccination wingnuts are having their own internal problems, just as the AVN are here in Australia.
    Popcorn is going to be in a global shortage if this keeps up*

    -Wendy

    *I hope it keeps up :)

  134. […] the publishing of excerpts private e-mails between him and key members of SafeMinds, that SafeMinds struck back. Finally, AoA decided to get in on the act in, and it was […]

  135. […] of prominent members of the antivaccine group SafeMinds. It didn’t take long for SafeMinds to unleash a counterattack, joined by Dan Olmsted at AoA, and it was on, as last week Jake Crosby posted a followup screed, in […]

  136. […] The anti-vaccine organization criticized by the kid responds in a somewhat cryptic way. Orac, of course, explains what’s going on. […]

  137. #137 Lisa S
    Virginia
    April 9, 2013

    This is all just a crazy distraction from what is important in autism. Jake has a lot of his facts totally wrong, but it seems here and for him the facts probably do not matter. What I find sad is that even on this forum, it is okay to attack someone for what is presumed to be her religion. Since when is religion something the autism community judges people on? Think about it, if you exchanged ‘scientology’ with ‘jewish’ or ‘muslim’ or even ‘mormon’ would it still be okay to bash someone? For the record, I’ve met Beth, when she was working with Congress and spoke with her recently. She’s not a Scientologist, she is Christian.

  138. #138 flip
    April 11, 2013

    @Lisa S

    I think the point is that Scientologists promote the use of pseudoscientific concepts, as well as doing their level best to use debunked machinery (their e-meters or whatever they call them), deny psychiatric issues, and in general have documented cases of ignoring or even being part of, medical health emergencies.

    Scientology as a group go out of their way to ignore large swathes of science; most religions do not.

    Although yes, it does poison the well, it is also relevant to point out that someone who follows Scientology probably is not the best judge at knowing what good science is or isn’t.

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