Alright, I give up. I’m getting out the popcorn. It’s a Friday night, and it’s on, baby! It’s so on that I’m breaking one of my blogging rules and writing up a blog post on Friday night, which is when I usually try to relax. I suppose that it helps that I’m working tonight anyway, with a grant deadline coming, something I usually don’t do on a Friday night either if I can help it, and could use a brief entertainment break. Besides, right now I’m watching my favorite guilty pleasure Spartacus:War of the Damned, and wasn’t going to be working while I watched anyway. So off we go! The reason is that the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism’s “editor” Dan Olmsted has responded to Jake Crosby’s attacks on the other antivaccine crank group SafeMinds, an incident I had a whole lot of fun with over the last week.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogging and satire, it’s that if you have to label a post “satire” then you have no business trying to write satire. Good satire doesn’t need to be labeled as such, nor does it need explanation. If it needs to be labeled or explained, then, with rare exceptions, it’s not good satire. Let’s just say that Dan Olmsted is not one of those rare exceptions. Right after he wrote up what he considered to be a “satire” of the whole incident, he was forced to post a followup post explaining to his confused readers what the heck he was talking about. For instance, after the first post, a commenter named Kristine was lost:

Those of us not in the inner circle are going to need this spelled out. Honestly.

While a commenter named Taximom was equally confused:

Dan, I have no clue what either you or Tim are talking about. Can you please explain this so that people who are not privy to all the politics can understand what is going on?

As I said, whatever Olmsted’s talents might include, they don’t include journalism or satire.

A brief bit of background: It all began a week ago, when the resident attack poodle at SafeMinds and Age of Autism, a young man who fancies himself a budding epidemiologist and investigative reporter by the name of Jake Crosby, was unhappy that the pragmatic wing of the antivaccine movement had won out over the more “activist” wing in an internal battle in the antivaccine group SafeMinds in determining tactics that it wanted to use and topics it wanted to cover in its chance to testify before Dan Burton’s old Congressional committee in one last antivaccine hurrah by Dan Burton before he 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 completely batshit crazy,” or at least in control of its craziness enough to know that it can’t afford to be perceived by a Congressional committee as being complete and total cranks. By the “activist” wing, I mean completely batshit crazy in its antivaccine wingnuttiness. In other words, this is the group that is completely antivaccine and doesn’t mind letting the world know it’s completely antivaccine. No “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine’; I’m pro-safe vaccine” for this group. Oh, no! it proudly lets its antivaccine freak flag fly, not even being willing to downplay the pseudoscience, quackery, and conspiracy mongering, even for a little while, even if only for tactical purposes. They are the true believers and will preach their message no matter what.

Guess which wing Jake Crosby belongs to. Hint: To show his displeasure, he teamed up with Patrick “Tim” Bolen, who makes Jake look like a model of reason by comparison, but Jake’s working on becoming more like Bolen, as his post SafeMinds Steals The Show, Literally… demonstrates. As I said before, if you want to make sure that reasonable people perceive you as a total loon, write for Patrick “Tim” Bolen’s website. That’ll do it, and that’s just what Jake did. Even so, his revelations were quite interesting. First, he completely betrayed his comrades in arms against vaccines by publicly revealing private discussions and e-mails, while accusing the leadership of SafeMinds of manipulating the Congressional hearing to put a “sane” face on the antivaccine movement. Meanwhile, he expressed great butthurt at SafeMind’s only smart decision: Not to let Jake testify and to try to keep Jake as far away from the Congressional hearing as possible.

For over a week, Age of Autism remained silent. It was only yesterday that SafeMinds released a press release denying all the allegations and proudly proclaiming that it had investigated itself and found that it had failed to find any wrongdoing.

Olmsted’s satire is, as you might expect, really, really dumb. Seriously, it’s embarrassing in its ineptness, so much so that I felt a bit embarrassed for Olmsted and I don’t even like him or what he stands for! He affects a fake Yosemite Sam accent and tells the tale and then at the end publishes—yes, you guessed it!—an e-mail exchange between Bolen and him. Olmsted expresses confusion about Bolen’s saying “if I publish” Jake’s piece because it’s already up on and the web. After all, as Olmsted so astutely noticed, I’ve been having a field day with Jake’s post. (What he not-so-astutely didn’t notice is that I’m going to have a field day with his own attempt at satire and his followup explanatory post.) In any case, Bolen replied:

No, that’s not true. I haven’t published it. Notice that it was intentionally not dated. I put it in a hidden place where certain key people could see it to comment on it. It was supposed to be private. … So far, I can’t guess how many people have seen it, but if I do the teaser, and hit the send key, roughly 285,000 subscribers will get it seconds later. Then, it gets picked up by our network and rebroadcast to even much larger readership.

Dan, were I you, I’d be very careful about what you do with this. Rumor has it that 50% of AoA’s income is dependent on either Mark Blaxill or SafeMinds. Were I you, I wouldn’t even touch this. You might be just betting the farm. The last thing you want to be, right now, is a part of the problem. You were right not to touch it in the first place. Perhaps this is a good time to wet your finger and see from which direction the wind is blowing in the Autism world.

This clarifies a lot. I had noticed the odd format of the post and how it didn’t show up on the front page of Bolen’s website. The way I found out about it is from people sending me links to Jake’s Tweet in which he announced the publication of this “expose.” Equally amusing is the threat Bolen makes, which is completely toothless. I might not have 285,000 subscribers, but I’ve already spread Jake’s post far and wide over the Internet because Jake himself Tweeted it. It’s out. It doesn’t matter if Bolen hits the “send” key or not. It really doesn’t. His threat is impotent, as usual, and I’m guessing he’s probably exaggerating how much support SafeMinds lends to AoA. After all, AoA has a bunch of advertisers selling autism woo. But, given the incestuous relationship between AoA and SafeMinds, in which several members are active in both groups, it wouldn’t surprise me if SafeMinds is a major source of AoA’s funding.

Olmsted’s followup to his “satire” is actually far more amusing than the satire itself. After lamenting how “some of our worst critics have now had plenty of time to relish its attacks on our friends while the rest of us could only watch in distress,” Olmsted writes:

Jake is someone I have long admired for his autism advocacy and writing for Age of Autism. He remains a Contributing Editor. However, this article does not stand up to scrutiny on a number of levels. The invasion of privacy of a number of SafeMinds board members here is unconscionable and, really, inexplicable given the far less-than-critical issues involved. Furthermore, based on preliminary inquiries, the facts do not seem to be as described in this article; certainly, SafeMinds has denied them vigorously. It’s bad journalism, glaringly unsourced and without giving the “targets” an opportunity to give their version of events. I stand by the choices I’ve made in dealing with this unfortunate situation, and will be following up in the near future.

I can hardly wait.

It’s also amazing that AoA is keeping Jake as a Contributing Editor. I don’t see how this can end well. It’s not entirely unexpected, though. Olmsted appears to be too much of a chicken to pull the trigger and fire Jake, which is what pretty much anyone with even a modicum of management savvy would do without hesitation. The guy just launched a full frontal assault on a very important member of your collective (Mark Blaxill), among others, and you’re going to keep him on to do more damage? Not smart. However, it’s also possible that Olmsted thinks he can gently rope Jake back into the fold. Also not smart. Jake’s already shown himself to be too much of a loose cannon. Success in such an endeavor is highly unlikely. It does, however, guarantee me some highly productive grist for more amusing blog posts, which is why now I am, like Dieter, “as happy as a little girl.” As a commenter on AoA points out:

What Jake did cannot be excused as simply a “young journalist.” When Jake released private conversations (without permission to do so), he essentially killed any chance that he has to be a “trusted” journalist. Whether one wants to admit it or not likely anyone who has ever corresponded directly with him or even including Jake, is now having to think back whether they ever ever said anything about someone that Jake may decide at some point, to release to the world.

Indeed. I’d bet that pretty much everyone with any position in the antivaccine movement is doing just that. Another commenter observes:

This is a serious question, which must have already occurred to Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill:

What are the probable positive versus negative effects of having Jake Crosby continue as a contributing editor to this site? (Will you ever trust him again?)

The only positive effect I can think of is that maybe Olmsted and Blaxill think they can rein Jake in. Now that Jake’s gotten a taste of being the “rebel” and the only “pure” antivaccinationist in the bunch, this is a strategy fraught with risk. It will, however, almost certainly produce some highly amusing blog fodder for me.

In the meantime, while waiting for Olmsted’s followup and to see what happens next, I can’t help but point out that Jake’s invasions of privacy didn’t bother Olmsted in the least when Jake was doing what he did it in the service of attacking AoA’s enemies. I could hardly restrain myself from laughing uproariously at Olmsted’s characterization of Jake’s article as “bad journalism, glaringly unsourced and without giving the ‘target’ an opportunity to give their version of events.” As if anyone else on AoA ever gave the ‘target’ an opportunity to give their version of events! In fact, I can’t help but ask: Who taught Jake? Who nurtured his journalistic “talents,” if not Olmsted? In particular, my irony meter exploded when Olmsted introduced his post by saying that Jake had offered his article to him first to publish on AoA, but he had rejected the article because it “did not meet the standards that I try to apply to everything submitted to Age of Autism.”


Look at the articles Jake’s published on AoA over the last three or four years. Look at them! Now Olmsted gets religion about journalistic standards? Now? And this one article by Jake suddenly “bad journalism” and “standards that I try to apply to everything submitted to Age of Autism”? Seriously? Can anyone tell the difference, from a perspective of journalistic standards,” between Jake’s post on the Bolen Report and anything else he’s published on AoA? I can’t. In fact, if anything, Jake’s article on the Bolen Report might even be a little bit better than his average character assassination screed, at least in terms of his “journalism.” I realize that’s not saying much, akin to saying that rancid fish smells a little bit better than human excrement that’s been sitting around fermenting a while, but it is, I suppose, slightly better. Of course, nowhere did Jake really document that Beth Clay, the lobbyist hired by SafeMinds, ever actually misrepresented SafeMinds as he claims, but that’s about par for the course for a typical Jake Crosby screed. Either way, whether Jake’s accusations have a grain of truth to them or whether they were made up from whole cloth in his fevered mind, AoA wasn’t going to publish something that attacked an organization with which it was so tightly affiliated.

Amusingly enough, Jake has appeared in the comments of this post to complain:

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 [Blaxill] copied you on it)

Later, Jake whines:

When I asked you if there would be repercussions from Age of Autism if I posted my article elsewhere, you just said you wouldn’t can me. What you should have said was yes, there would be repercussions from Age of Autism – like what you wrote about me in this blog post.

I’m telling ya, you can’t make stuff like this up. Even better, I now know that Olmsted almost certainly had to approve Jake’s previous posts, because Jake said he submitted this one for publication, implying that the way articles get posted to AoA is through its managing editor Dan Olmsted.

As I said before, I actually do kind of feel sorry for Jake. He’s starting to realize that he’s been used, played, and abused by those whom he considered his friends and mentors. Men like Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted. Olmsted, Blaxill, and the crew at AoA published his stuff for the last four years or so. They let him think that the smear jobs he routinely did, coupled with his hilariously inept “six degrees of separation”-style conspiracy theories actually constituted good journalism. Meanwhile, Jake’s fans, the readers of the antivaccine crank blog AoA, swarmed in the comments, egged him on, pouring out effusive praise after each new piece of ludicrous conspiracy mongering and character assassination, hanging around him at quackfests like AutismOne like so many groupies, telling him what a great guy he is, how it’s so awesome that they have someone on the spectrum on their side, how he is the next generation, a future leader of the movement. Then, all he has to do is to gore one wrong ox, say bad things about allies of his comrades at AoA, and suddenly he’s persona non grata. I bet he thought he could do anything if he thought his cause to be just. Sadly, that’s not how the world works, and Jake is finding that out. As they say, old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill, and unfortunately Jake never had much in the way of skill, anyway. But he is young.

Time to pop up another bag of popcorn! I can’t wait to see what the next phase of this conflict brings. In the meantime, it’s back to working on my grants.

ADDENDUM: It just keeps getting better and better! For instance, after Olmsted’s post we have a commenter by the ‘nym nd writing:

To prevail in a public debate, we need to be credible.

Jake’s association with Tim Bolen is not helpful. Jake’s association with Brian Hooker is not helpful. Age of Autism’s association with Jake is not helpful. Age of Autism’s association with Brian Hooker is not helpful.

We have to do better.

Sadly, nd can’t make the further leap of reasoning that to prevail in debate you need a credible argument, which the antivaccine movement has never had. He or she is right about one thing, though. Associating with Patrick “Tim” Bolen is not helpful. He makes the entire crew at AoA look like the very picture of sober scientists by comparison.

Finally, you know it’s really on when the big dog himself weighs in. I’m referring to J.B. Handley, the founder of Generation Rescue and big macher at AoA:

This is a complete waste of everyone’s time. Every person involved in the dust-up has been a champion of our kids and they all deserve our respect. This is a movement fraught with tension, stress, and confusion. Time for everyone to grab their toys, leave the playground, take a deep breath, and get back to the task at hand.

(Jake, you shouldn’t use people’s private emails without heir permission, I wouldn’t respond to an email from you if I thought that was a risk)

Let me fix that for ya, J.B.: “You shouldn’t use people’s private e-mails without their permission if they are friends. If we think they’re our enemies, feel free to violate their privacy by publishing their private e-mails as much as you want if by doing so you can make them look bad.”

That is what you really meant, isn’t it, J.B.? After all, I don’t recall your ever telling Jake to cool it when he was publishing the private e-mails of journalists, scientists, and others. In fact, you egged him on. Hypocrite. In fact, you more than egged him on. You gave him the example to follow by publishing private e-mails yourself! Remember how you posted a private e-mail from an autism researcher to AoA, even though she explicitly told you that you did not have her permission to do so? She wrote:

Mr. Handley none of you have permission to share emails that i have sent to you as individuals with anyone besides the intended receiver nor do you have permission to quote me publicly. Unlike the newspaper which was public, private emails to individuals sent confidentially are not for public quotation.

Your response:

Says who?

And, tough shit.

Stay classy, J.B. Stay classy. As usual.

The bottom line: You taught Jake. You provided an example for him. You don’t like it now that he’s used your very own techniques on Mark Blaxill and other members of the leadership of SafeMinds, do you? Not so great, is it, when you’re on the receiving end of such slimy behavior?. And you wonder why I find it so utterly just, so completely appropriate, so much an example of karmic retribution that your friends are finding yourselves on the receiving end of the very same behavior. Meanwhile the very same crowd of your readers who egged you on when you violated trust and courtesy are now shocked—shocked, I say!—when the same violation has occurred to their heroes at the hands of one of their own. You, sir, are a joke, as are Jake Crosby, Dan Olmsted, and Mark Blaxill. You all deserve each other.


  1. #1 Renate
    February 12, 2013

    I think link to this cartoons, are somewhere on this blog.

  2. #2 flip
    February 12, 2013

    It’s interesting that Jen posits that Colin is a sock puppet intended to smear, without evidence, but then also expects us to swallow the AVNs accusations without evidence as well. One wonders whether she cares about evidence at all… Or realises she’s a hypocrite.


    Meryl Dorey has repeatedly claimed that members of “Stop the Australian Vaccination Network” have engaged in cyberstalking and harassment of her. Yet puzzlingly she has never gone to the police to lay charges against SAVN members

    To be fair, and from my own experience, she might have gone to the police… and had them tell her there’s f* all they can do. Exactly what happened to me when I was harassed via online methods. (Clause: I’m not in the same state as her. It could be different there, but I highly doubt it)

  3. […] skeptics and supporters of SBM are out to get them. For instance, last week I also took note of an internecine conflict developing among the crew at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism. What interests me now is not […]

  4. #4 herr doktor bimler
    February 12, 2013

    I’m not buying the whole “Colin” thing.

    Jen is making less sense than usual. What is a “hat campaign?”
    Perhaps excessive flouncing can cause concussion.

  5. #5 Lawrence
    February 12, 2013

    @HDB – given the usual vitriol that is thrown at all by the anti-vaccine folks, I’m “shocked” that Jen hasn’t come across some of our usual trolls before….I think we can think of a few.

  6. #6 brian
    February 12, 2013

    Jen wrote:

    It seems like one of your own made some strange attempt to have anyone one who question’s vaccine safety to look bad.

    Ah, Jen, now that you’ve caught on to our pharma-funded false flag operations, I confess that I’m personally responsible for at least one-quarter of the posts at Age of Autism that praise Jake Crosby’s failed journalism; I also sometimes masquerade as an outlandish character I call “Tony Bateson” and offer, but then fail to grant, a reward for anyone who can identify an unvaccinated child who developed ASD. You’re too clever for us, Jen—do don’t get me started on how I comment-bomb news articles with transparently ridiculous anti-vaccine posts in a successful effort to make your lot look like fools.

  7. #7 herr doktor bimler
    February 12, 2013

    our pharma-funded false flag operations
    Interesting point there. A troll “Colin” pops up (claiming to have followed a link to comment #114) and launches a few insults — anodyne by trolling standards — before incurring the ban-hammer.
    Jen’s response is to assume that Colin is a false-flag operation, intended to make anti-vaxxers look stupid (I like to think that if “Colin” were one of the regulars then the insults would have been more creatively targetted).

    The amusing part is Jen’s conviction that raising this false-flag possibility makes it seem more plausible that the alleged attacks on Meryl Dorey come from her opponents (and not from someone on her own side). It is as if Jen has never heard of “projection”.

  8. #8 Throught the looking glass
    February 12, 2013

    Following Jen’s advice, I’ve assumed that all antivaxxers who make obviously embarrassing statements are actually big pharma shills. So far, I’ve got Kim Stagliano, J.B. Handley, “MJ”, Jake Crosby, Anne Daschel, Tony Bateson, Jen herself and John Best down as “false flag” operators. Are there any real antivaxxers out there?

  9. #9 herr doktor bimler
    February 12, 2013

    I’m not buying the whole “Jen” thing. It seems like one of your own made some strange attempt to have anyone one who question’s vaccine safety to look bad.

  10. #10 brian
    February 12, 2013

    I’m not buying the whole “Jen” thing. It seems like one of your own made some strange attempt to have anyone one who question’s vaccine safety to look bad.

    Well, now that it’s out in the open, I’m proud to admit that I earn most of my salary as a pharma shill by posting under the ‘nym amdachel in response to autism-related news items that AoA’s Anne Dachel has missed. It’s been quite useful (and, of course, extremely lucrative) to post precisely the same tired, thoroughly-refuted nonsense that Dachel herself would have posted had she noted the articles, so that her special brand of wacky scientific illiteracy can be exposed to a wider audience.

  11. #11 Denice Walter
    February 12, 2013

    @ brian:

    I’m so glad you’ve identified yourself: confession is good for the soul…. wait a minute, I don’t have a soul, you probably don’t have one either. At any rate, your disguised writing is superb! I would never guess that it’s you. Take a bow, Mister.

    As I revealed yesterday, the ladies and I have worked very hard for over a year to sow discord amongst AoA supporters and I think we’ve done a bang up job. Uncle Rupert and cousin Bill are so proud of us: that will bring us much reward but personally, I’m holding out for an invite over to Anderson Cooper’s place.

    Come out, Pharma shills and minions! Be proud of your work If you try hard perhaps Alison MacNeil will add an addendum to her dirty, rotten scoundrels post ( TMR) to include us.

  12. #12 LW
    February 12, 2013


    I’m not buying the whole “Colin” thing.

    You don’t think there are foul-mouthed anti-gay trolls on the Internet?

    It seems like one of your own made some strange attempt to have anyone one who question’s vaccine safety to look bad.

    Why do you say that?

    In his first comment, Colin said “I want to warn anyone else who decided to follow the link that there is nothing exciting going on here, and I would advise you to stop reading now, and find something more interesting to look at. Try Youtube.”. In his second and last comment, he launched into a totally bizarre attack on Mephistopheles O’Brien.  At no point did he say anything anti-vaccine. Or pro-vaccine for that matter.

    Do you just assume that any foul-mouthed anti-gay troll would naturally be mistaken for anti-vaxxer?   

    Perhaps a minor attempt to try and offset what horror your fellow skeptics at SAVN did to M. Dorey, which was horrible and involved pornographic rape/mutilation.

    For the benefit of lurkers I will explain that Jen asserts that Dorey claims that someone calling himself/herself a skeptic sent her pornographic emails. Not even Dorey or Jen claims that rape or mutilation, pornographic or otherwise, was actually practiced on Dorey. Amusingly, someone suggested that the reason Dorey might have received such filth is that her organization’s initials, AVN, are also the initials of the Adult Video Network, where such emails would, perhaps, be entirely acceptable. 

    I would think you guys might want to not make these ‘calls for action’ to launch hate campaigns against any who speak out about vaccine safey- such as what ‘herd’ has done regarding Tetyana.

    What guys?  What calls for action?  Who’s Tetyana?  (Google was no help since there are a lot of people with that first name.  Or maybe it’s a last name.)  What ‘herd’ did what to him or her? If you’re going to accuse the entire population of skeptics of evil acts, you might at least tell us what the evil acts are, and maybe who the victim is.  

    How can you be sure your fellow Skeptics won’t join in and do something illegal or immoral to her?

    I don’t even know who she is and have no control over the millions of skeptics in the world, some small number of whom probably do engage in illegal or immoral acts, since that is true of any group of millions of people. Are you under the delusion that there is some grand council of skeptics to which all skeptics report — Protocols of the Elders of Skepticism, perhaps?  If so, you need help.   

    Then there’s just the obvious question of just how are you going to keep up with all these hat campaigns- there’s also Tomljenovic and Bialik that I can think of I this brief time.

    What hat campaigns?  Or hate campaigns, for that matter?  I had to google those people.

    Bialik, I’m guessing, is Mayim Bialik who breastfed her son until he was four. There’s a certain ick factor in that, but I don’t see that skeptics would especially see it as icky.

    I dound that Orac commented on Tomljenovic, but after reading his entire post, I didn’t see any call for action or launch of a hate campaign.

    If you want to convince me that hate campaigns exist, you need to actually produce evidence that they do,

    You can’t keeping with all these growing numbers of people who question safety- even with social media!

    That is not an English sentence.  At a guess, I would say that it means that we can’t keep up with antivaxxers which is, sadly, probably true.

  13. #13 LW
    February 12, 2013

    Two errors above: “Then there’s just the obvious question of just how are you going to keep up with all these hat campaigns- there’s also Tomljenovic and Bialik that I can think of I this brief time.” should be blockquoted — Jen’s words, not mine; and “dound” is a new word meaning “found”.

  14. #14 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 12, 2013

    One of the “calls to action” that Butthurt Jen implies was the DitchJenny campaign, which to the best of my knowledge didn’t even start here. I think some people in Ottawa started that on their own, and for good reason. They didn’t want her in their town and launched the campaign. And it worked.

    How is that any different from the recent campaign they spearheaded to stop Brian Deer from speaking? Shoes don’t fit when they’re on the other feet, do they sweetie?

    Also, the accusations regarding Meryl Dorey and the AVN are unabashed lies. Peter Bowditch, who is the “culprit” she is accusing, has discussed the issue openly on his blog. It’s another smear campaign. Tim Bolen, friend of the anti-vaxxers, is one of Peter Bowditch’s biggest enemies and spreads vicious, nasty, personal lies. You should read the correspondence from Bolen to Bowditch on Peter’s blog. It’s despicable, but typical of the tactics our opponents use.

  15. #15 LW
    February 12, 2013

    Oh, I know about the accusations against Peter Bowditch. I believe him over Dorey, Jen, and Bolen any day of the week. Dorey got an ex parte order against him and he’s been patiently waiting to get his day in court since September. She seems to be dragging her heels and stalling to avoid a hearing. I wonder why.

  16. #16 Denice Walter
    February 12, 2013

    @ Marc Stephens Is Insane:

    When I first got involved as a sceptic, I deliberately left my second last name off because I knew I would address provocative issues concerning the shoddy work and unscrupulous tactics of alt med prevaricators and be a target of their wrath.

    You mention the crusade against Brian Deer’s speaking engagements: he has also been sued- vexatiously, more than once. Also:
    -a physicist writes about a radio woo-meister and gets sued for 10 million USD + 3 million by the woo-meister’s assistant ( vexatious suits as well, thrown out of court)
    – a lab guy writes about the antics of hiv/aids denialists and gets harassed through phone calls/e-mails to his family and employers.
    – an epi guy writes about anti-vaxxers and suffers recupercusions at work
    – a doctor writes about anti-vaxxers and learns that his employers were given mis-information about his “pharma connections”.

    All five of these men have been around RI. You may not recognise them all but you’ve read what they have to say.
    Three of them were targetted by the same person.

    It’s rather ironic that we’re being called out for our activities.

  17. #17 Melissa G
    February 12, 2013

    Ok, I’m glad I’m not alone in not knowing wth Jen was talking about. I do, however, know what horrible things Bolen has said to Peter Bowditch, and I certainly know whose company I’d rather be keeping.

    As to “hat campaign,” is she trying to refer to a Black Hat campaign? Or maybe she’s referring to our Pharma Shill hats?

    Hey, we should get Pharma Tart hats!!! I’m going to Bedazzle mine!… until I get bored. Look for the Pharma Tart with a weirdly-shaped sparkly patch on her hat, that’ll be me. I will of course claim I meant to do that, and it’s Pharmoeba, our mascot.

  18. #18 Narad
    February 12, 2013

    What guys? What calls for action? Who’s Tetyana?

    Best guess is Tetyana Obukhanych, who wrote Vaccine Illusion and a defense of the execrable Melanie’s Marvellous Measles. A rather minor figure, to say the least, and if she is whom Jen is referring to, I still have no idea what Jen’s babbling about. Then again, Jen’s connection to reality, as well as the English language, seems to be weakening.

  19. #19 Narad
    February 12, 2013

    You should read the correspondence from Bolen to Bowditch on Peter’s blog.

    Try taking a look at Bolen’s archived Usenet stuff at derkeiler-dot-com. He’s like a less creative version of DJT.

  20. #20 Narad
    February 12, 2013

    Tetyana is also not showing up for me in the Stanford directory. She was a postdoc there, so either she’s moved on, which is perfectly normal, or has just been cut loose. Looking at her eight PubMed entries, only one, from when she was at Rockefeller, lists her in a significant authorial position, which is not the way to roll a postdoc.

  21. #21 Khani
    February 12, 2013

    @Jake Hamby
    #185 “…one of the challenges someone with ADD/ADHD frequently deals with is using conflict, deadlines, or some other stressor to boost their dopamine levels in order to function effectively.”

    … I really ought to be tested, because you just described me and how I function well at my job.

  22. #22 Shay
    February 12, 2013


    I have a black hat already. Do I have to take off the crossed sabers, the “8th Michigan” and the fancy black plume? Because if I do, I don’t think I wanna play.

    Yes, reading the Bolen saga at ratbags is eye-opening, not to mention stomach-churning.

  23. #23 I. Rony Meter
    February 13, 2013

    I don’t believe in the whole “AoA” thing. Obviously some pro vax front group created AoA to make vaccine safety advocates look bad…

  24. #24 Liz Ditz
    Being the kitteh pillow
    February 13, 2013
  25. #25 Todd W.
    February 13, 2013


    Once again, your curating skills astound me. Not to mention the fortitude required to slog through all those posts.

  26. #26 Denice Walter
    February 13, 2013

    @ Liz:

    Really great!
    Well, I didn’t know that Jake’s resume of bad science-conspiracy mongering included the OPV variant of hiv denialism. But it makes sense, in a way: if vaccines cause ASDs, they probably cause other illnesses identified by acronyms.
    Probably also MS, IBD, oh no wait, that’s the Canary Party.

  27. #27 Ren
    On pins and needles
    February 13, 2013

    “I don’t believe in the whole “AoA” thing. Obviously some pro vax front group created AoA to make vaccine safety advocates look bad…”

    I once, in my now defunct blog, postulated that they were in fact Big Pharma employees tasked with lowering the level of vaccine uptake to levels that made vaccine-preventable diseases come back. If those diseases come back, the only ones who benefit are Big Pharma and Big Healthcare because of the increased morbidity and mortality. How much money will a family spend on a child who gets their limbs amputated from N. meningitidis (serogroups A, C, Y, W) in a lifetime versus what that vaccine costs?

    Think. About. It. (Do. Your. Own. Research.)

  28. #28 Scottynuke
    Cookie jar
    February 13, 2013

    Thin mint, bitte. 🙂

  29. #29 Alain
    February 13, 2013

    A new (brief) post, I have to reconsider my decision to enrol in the armed forces:


  30. #30 Melissa G
    February 13, 2013

    Shay — you totally get to keep it. But you’re now the designated Pharma Tart Enforcer. 😉

    Pharma Tarts could have our own Tartan. Pharma Shills could have Pharma Shillelaghs. The ideas for accessories are endless! …Actually, nope, just those two’s all I got.

  31. #31 Shay
    February 13, 2013

    (ahem). I already have the shillelagh.

    I think we need a pharma tart tattoo. Crossed syringes over “de mortuis nil nisi bonum” or something classy like that.

  32. #32 Melissa G
    February 13, 2013

    I like the way you think, Shay!

  33. #33 lilady
    February 13, 2013

    I’ll go for the pharma tart motto “interrumpitur infectivis morbus transmissio” (I’m not *into* tattoos)

  34. #34 Edith Prickly
    February 13, 2013

    I already have a hat (leopard-skin pill box with a tasteful brim) but I like the sound of a Pharma shillelagh…

  35. #35 Melissa G
    February 13, 2013

    Lilady– I like that one, and it goes well with the crossed syringes on our crest!

    Edith– excellent! All the better to pounce upon the unsuspecting Pharma-prey!

    I have realized I can’t actually find any of my hats except for a Laplander cap knitted to resemble a sock monkey. Hey, I could be the Pharma Tart Sock Puppet!

  36. #36 Mark McAndrew
    United Kingdom
    February 13, 2013

    Jen obviously sent the porn to Dorey. That’s why she reckons moron anti-vaxxer behaviour is just false flag, because she does all the pro-vaccine moron false flag stuff herself.

    Note that she described details about the content of the porn which were never made public. A smoking gun…?

    (Would be for AoA…)

    PS. Jen, Google AVN. Top result is Adult Video Network, they of the famous AVN Awards. That wasn’t too difficult now, was it? #mysterysolved

  37. #37 Shay
    February 13, 2013


    Don’t give up yet. There are medical conditions for which they may offer a waiver. It’s worth asking.

    (I wasn’t supposed to be allowed to enlist due to hay fever but got in anyway).

  38. #38 Narad
    February 13, 2013

    Of course what is known for certain is that Meryl herself has broadcast pornography to her adoring readers, none of whom apparently noticed.

  39. #39 Denice Walter
    February 13, 2013

    @ Ladies:

    Although I like your enthusiasm, speaking ONLY for myself:
    No tattoos. Ever.
    I have family crests that I ignore
    I have a motto already
    I have a nice tweed hat and a beige summer chapeau
    I don’t do tartans – Burberry is bad enough and then only if it’s sufficiently disguised, i.e. crypto-plaid

    I think the fact that we’re tarts is advertisement enough-

  40. #40 Alain
    February 14, 2013


    Maybe….the officer I spoke was a medical officer and he was clear on that count; I must not need any medication while in the field and that include my synthroid. Given that I need my synthroid for proper function, I cannot enlist in the armed forces.


  41. #41 al kimeea
    February 14, 2013

    funny, Da served in the Canadian Armed Forces – wounded three times, made Sgt twice – when I told him of my intention to enlist, he looked at me and said, “are you phuqqin stupid” and walked away…

    So then I thought of his alcoholism and that of all his buddies, the unrelenting nightmares decades later etc., and went into IT.

  42. #42 Shay
    February 14, 2013

    @alain — I’m sorry. I was not allowed to take my allergy meds for the initial training period but after that was over, I could.

    (October in Virginia…boy did I sneeze a lot).

  43. #43 Jen
    February 14, 2013

    For the record: per “lilady’s” vile suggestion, I in no way condone what “Colin” said. Period.

  44. #44 lilady
    February 14, 2013

    @ Jen: I never said you “condone” what “Colin” said (see my post above). I suggested that you enjoyed Colin’s puke. I also reminded everyone of your history of posting under a sock puppet here…for months.

  45. #45 novalox
    February 14, 2013


    It is also noted that the first comment you posted after colin’s post was to accuse posters here of a false flag operation instead of condemning his actions.

  46. #46 LW
    February 14, 2013

    @Jen: “For the record: per “lilady’s” vile suggestion, I in no way condone what “Colin” said. Period.”

    Someone who accuses an entire group of strangers of having made “these ‘calls for action’ to launch hate campaigns against any who speak out about vaccine safety” is hardly in a position to complain about “vile suggestions”.

  47. #47 Alain
    February 14, 2013

    @ al kimea,

    Got it, I thought that being an engineering officer (for the first 10 years of schooling and working) & a medical officer would be less stressful than being directly in combat forces and I know I would not be good at combat forces but a lot better in a supporting role.

    @ Shay,

    I guess the difference in our case is that I use prescription medication and these are not available to stockpile for 6 month (whether I have them in my stuff or else, that would require a pharmacist to be on the field during field mission).


  48. #48 Broken Link
    February 15, 2013

    It seems that Andrew Wakefield was paid $200,000 per year by his own charity, the Strategic Autism Initiative.

  49. #49 Denice Walter
    February 15, 2013

    @ Broken Link:

    I would imagine that that’s not his only source of income.
    He also has a wife and adult children who may be employed in related ‘careers’.

  50. #50 lilady
    February 15, 2013

    I’ve hooked a *live one* on Alex Hannaford’s blog that appeared in the Texas Observer.

    “Joanna” is using VacLib as a resource, touting Great Plains Laboratory and has *expertise* in nutrition. Anyone want to join me?

  51. #51 lilady
    February 15, 2013

    @ Broken Link: LB/RB also has the 2011 Tax Returns up for The Strategic Autism Initiative. I’ve posted at LB/RB and I think you are going to enjoy my post.

  52. #52 lilady
    February 16, 2013

    Alex Hannaford’s blog at the Texas Observer has a Dr. Jones who is singing the praises of a DAN! doctor in Austin Texas, who was interviewed by Mr. Hannaford. I’ve just replied to Dr. Jones about the lab tests used to determine “viral overloads” and “mercury toxicity”.

  53. […] Merola is referring to this bit of yellow journalism in 2010 from an antivaccine propagandist named Jake Crosby, entitled David Gorski’s Financial Pharma Ties: What He Didn’t Tell You. The long version of […]

  54. #54 Shay
    February 24, 2013


  55. […] been well over two weeks since I urged everyone to get out the popcorn and sit back to enjoy the internecine war going on over in the antivaccine movement. The reason for […]

  56. […] hearing was put together, specifically Mr. Hooker’s and SafeMinds’ roles (see here, here and here), it is interesting to see the organization he works with taking such a harsh stance […]

  57. […] 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 which he castigated Mark […]

  58. […] (For alternate views/opinion on what’s going on in that crumbling anti-vaccine organization, check out Todd’s take and Liz’s summary… And Orac’s latest on the whole thing.) […]

  59. […] in their view — some improper actions. This led to infighting which you can read about here, here, and here. Get out the popcorn, […]

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