David Kirby and Dan Olmsted respond regarding the abuse of subpoena power directed at Kathleen Seidel

I am presenting this without comment, other than that this message from David Kirby and Dan Olmsted was e-mailed to me yesterday evening in response to my open letter from three days ago.

This is Kirby and Olmsted's reply to me:

We both take this matter very seriously, and strongly oppose any effort to subpoena the records of Ms. Kathleen Seidel. We have also clearly expressed our feelings to Mr. Shoemaker. While we may not agree with her opinions, we consider Ms. Seidel to be a colleague. Rights to privacy, and to free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment, must be upheld for all. We urge Mr. Shoemaker to reconsider, and drop this action against Ms. Seidel.

David Kirby
Dan Olmsted

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I've written a lot about the legal thuggery perpetrated against autism blogger Kathleen Seidel by an unethical lawyer named Clifford Shoemaker, who issued a subpoena against her based on dubious conspiratorial thinking about her supposedly being a shill for big pharma. Shoemaker, in case you didn't…
Dear Mr. Kirby and Mr. Olmsted: You are both journalists. I realize that neither of you at present work for the traditional press and that both of you seem to devote yourselves mainly to blogging (Mr. Olmsted at the Age of Autism and Mr. Kirby at the Huffington Post), but I have to believe that you…
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about Kathleen Seidel, a blogger at neurodiversity.com, who was being intimidated via subpeona by a lawyer for anti-vaccinationists. The lawyer, Clifford Shoemaker, represents plaintiffs in a lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers alleging that mercury in their vaccines…
A couple of weeks ago, I commented about a frivolous, SLAPP-style subpoena directed at one of the most thorough, rational bloggers about autism out there, Kathleen Seidel by Clifford Shoemaker, the attorney for Rev. Lisa Sykes and her husband Seth Sikes, both of whom who are suing Bayer for alleged…

I'm pretty sure it's authentic, as it came from an e-mail address that David Kirby has been known to use and the headers do not point to any chicanery that I can see.

...assure *us of* the...

Well, good for them.

Whew, that's a relief, especially after that other guy's response. Now let's hope the disciplinary actions start soon.

They're still weenies for not having said anything about this until challenged, but at least they had the minimal good sense to agree with you.

Excellent - thank you for challenging them Orac, and good on them to reply so unambiguously.

By Catherina (not verified) on 08 Apr 2008 #permalink

So Mr. Shoemaker had 2 weeks to respond from the time Kathleen filed her motion to quash? I hope that as soon as it's quashed, or as soon as she can otherwise, she posts the next installment. It seems like his big goal was to keep her from posting any more (already publicly available documents) that have his name on them or in them.

I guess the judge can't say anything about her motion to quash until he responds?

By Ms. Clark (not verified) on 08 Apr 2008 #permalink

Seidel is their colleague? They wish they could hang with her.

I guess I'm down with Jeter and roid boys because I can tag it on wii sports.

By Hey Zeus is my… (not verified) on 09 Apr 2008 #permalink

I'm with Liz: Kirby and Olmsted don't get their citizenship back until they both unequivocally acknowledge Seidel's rights -- and thus, everyone's -- in the very same spaces where they so loudly indulge their customary anti-vax hysteria.

Sorry boys -- a private e-mail just doesn't cut it.

Well, as long as we're continuing the thread...
John Best, how did you look at all of mankind since the "dawn of creation" before 1931 and find no autism at all? Ancient cultures used pure mercury as beauty regimens, charms, and decorations-they were exposed to hundreds of times the amount of mercury we are now. If mercury really were linked to autism, they would have noticed it.

By Laser Potato (not verified) on 09 Apr 2008 #permalink

Chemgeek: dork.

If you're enough of a skeptic, how do you "know" that Orac posted this?

Take Orac's word for it that he looked at the headers as he says he did; that the email address was one known to have been used etc.; that Orac was checking the email on a computer instead of on a ouija board.

If you're going to leap at shadows and suspect fraud everywhere you look, fine, but don't expect any of us to play along. The large majority of everything, except spam and scams, is what it appears to be. That includes most emails that appear to be sent by people we really know.

Or do you spend most of your time munging "to:" addresses?

By Eh Nonymous (not verified) on 09 Apr 2008 #permalink

I agree with Liz, until they have publicly responded, they haven't publicly responded.

What would be interesting is whether they would censor a comment on their blogs that posts their email to Orac?

I dunno. Seems like weak tea compared to the double shots of espresso the AOA crowd serves up each day for imaginary boogeymen.

Well, I emailed DK to thank him and he replied so I can confirm it was definitely him. Unless of course there's a an Fake Twin Kirby who's sole purpose in life is to intercept the Real Kirby's email.

I gotta be honest - I think its a pretty good show that they've done this. They could've just ignored it. Would a post on AoA or HuffPo be better? Of course, but I think this is a good gesture. It reminds me of when Jim Neubrander told John Best to shut up when he bullied my autistic daughter.

I for one applaud Kirby and Olmsted for doing the right thing here, even though it will not be approved by some people on their side (e.g. John Best above, and possibly Lenny Schafer).

Why don't you show me the quote where Neubrander told me to shut up? I never saw that so I know he never said it to me.

And, for the record, I made you look like a jackass by discussing your statement that you'd cure your non-verbal kid only if she asked you to. That does not translate into me bullying her, unless you're a neuronitwit who wants to demonize anyone who helps an autistic child.

Thank you Dan Olmsted and David Kirby. I appreciate the response very much.

My take--this is a response to an open letter. They knew it was going to be put on a blog. That counts as a "public" statement.

You need to get your facts straight. I don't think I have ever exchanged any words with Jim Neubrander.
I was not, as you put it, taken down from Generation Rescue. I resigned and asked to have my name removed from their list. I have other interests that I want to pursue.
Yes, I and a couple of other men were thrown out of the EOHarm group. That says more about the guts of the guy who threw us out than it does about me.
I've been banned for life from Autism Speaks 3 times. That says a lot about the integrity of Autism Speaks. Just like you, Kevin, the nameless person who banned me refuses to admit who he or she was and refuses to discuss the matter. They know that if they engage me publicly, I will make them look like idiots. It's the same for you when you tell us your non-verbal kid has to speak to you before you will help her. I don't think your daughter can win that Catch-22, can she Kevin?
But, none of this enlightens us as to whether or not Kirby or Olmsted truly understand the disingenuous and depraved nature of Neuroinsanity, does it?

"I don't think Kirby or Olmsted understand Neuroinsanity."

Example #2,360,001 of John Best talkin' out of his ass.

I don't think Kirby or Olmsted understand Neuroinsanity.

I wonder how long it will take you to actually say "everyone on earth is insane except me!"

(You still don't get it, do you?)

John Worst:

Autism cannot presently be cured. According to the available research it cannot even hypothetically be cured without radically restructuring a person's brain. Please either actually provide evidence that falsifies this statement or acknowledge its implications for your argument.

And if you expect anyone to believe that you're trying to "help" a group of children you repeatedly affirm that you regard as less than human and essentially worthless as they are, you expect too much. Your open and unapologetic contempt for autistics and others on the spectrum is also difficult to reconcile with your claims about its causation--or your own claims of mental health. Have you been evaluated for psychopathy? It might be worthwhile...

How about that time John made himself popular with his female friends? Man that was funny:

Women are not as smart as men. Men consistently outperform women at driving cars and Titleists. Since these are two things that require split-second decision making, they are a better indicator of intelligence than book learning which can be accomplished by anyone who opts to apply themselves

Yes Steve, it is a measure of intelligence. Too bad you believe nonsense spouted by women who have gone to great lenghts to prove an invalid point. Women will never be more intelligent than men although they may be smarter than men who won't stand up for themselves

Ahhh, good times, good times.

I think if Kirby won't allow his letter to be posted in the comments of Huffpoof and if the AoA clowns including Olmsted won't allow it to be posted to AoA, then it's not a valid response. It would indicate that they hoped it wouldn't get read beyond Orac's blog, that is that the majority of their fans wouldn't read it.

By Ms. Clark (not verified) on 09 Apr 2008 #permalink

"Oh and called him an asshole too if I recall correctly"

G'wan, get outta here?!? Someone called Best an asshole. I find that soooo very hard to believe...that they would stop at that.

John must've been in a nice mood that day; probably just got home from clubbin' baby seals whistlin' "Don't Worry, Be Happy..."

So you're back to quote mining to try to bash me. I guess that means your wittle feelings are healed from me making you fear so much for your family's safety that you had to quit blogging.

That wasn't too harsh, was it? I don't want to be accused of using hate speech against bi-polar people.

Kev, that's pretty f'ing ironic, considering he's proof positive of one that hasn't fully evolved.

In fact, ya ever hear of that saying: given an infinite amount of time, a thousand monkeys with typewriters would eventually write the complete works of Shakespeare?

Well, John's blatherings are proof of what happens if you give one ape a type writer for five minutes.

Nothing but twaddle...

Oh bones, it gets better than that - How about this opinion on evolution:

Chimps are not related to humans. Darwin was wrong.

Not really that surprising is it?

"So you're back to quote mining to try to bash me."
I'm REALLY getting tired of reminding you of this...
*YOU* wrote the damn things, *YOU* tell us what you meant! Stop shifting the burden of proof already!

By Laser Potato (not verified) on 09 Apr 2008 #permalink

John Best:
It's my opinion that a lot more than 1,000 babies died from having the mercury injected into them. The medical profession calls it SIDS.

Hmm. Your 'opinion', huh? Unfortunately, your 'opinion' and the truth, as often is the case, are in no way related to one another:

SIDS- which has absolutely nothing to do with the non-existent phenomenon of mercury poisoning from vaccines- has a strong link to serotogenic brainstem abnormalities. So, now in keeping with your claim to speak the 'truth' you need to stop your claim that SIDS has something to do with mercury. Your opinion is based on a lie you made up and the truth is in front of you as plain as day.

Should we add your desire to see those whom disagree with you 'take a bath in thimerosol' to the rest of your greatest hits:

It's like I said in my post, believe me, there's no context that can explain the quotes away. There are so many good ones to pick from. Who can forget the "government within the government" quote? By I think my all-time favorite is this one:

Mr Ed wasn't autistic. Neither was Flipper. In fact, Flipper may have cured some autistic people. I once had a very affectionate cat so it couldn't have been autistic although it didn't talk much. I don't think Hornig's mice were autistic until after she gave them mercury and they became violent like "Hands" from Boston Legal. So, there goes your "all animals are autistic" theory.

Not the most disturbing quote by far though.

It seems you people will make up anything you can think of to lie about the fact that thimerosal caused the autism epidemic. It's no surprise that you support Kathleen lying about Dr Geier.

I really don't care what quotes you morons use because, in the end, my son might recover and, you'll still be a bunch of scumbags.

The hypocrisy of Johnny accusing others of lying....

Seriously, how does your computer not just explode whenever you start these 100% bullshit screeds you babble on about? Have you ever said anything that has proven to be true? You've documented all of humanity since creation?

Oh and you calling us scumbags is like a 500-lb woman calling a 120 lb woman fat.

Have you done anything to help any autistic child recover from being poisoned by doctors? I have.

Perhaps you'll enjoy an eternity of the 500 pound woman sitting on your face.


"That response is weak tea compared to the double shots of espresso the AOA crowd serves up each day for imaginary boogeymen."

LOL, that's quite the accusation coming from someone who selectively deletes comments and then cherry picks quotes out of context all the while claiming to be a credible site for journalists.


Thank you for your hard work in exposing the anti-vaccine fruitcakes out there. No one could ever take them seriously again after your brilliant parody. Keep up the good work. You are a hero for the cause of neurodiversity.

"LOL, that's quite the accusation coming from someone who selectively deletes comments and then cherry picks quotes out of context all the while claiming to be a credible site for journalists."
Two words:
(watch him shift the burden of proof, say "I proved it in an earlier thread but YOU LIBERAL NAZIS DELETED IT" or a combination of the two. Never fails.)

By Laser Potato (not verified) on 09 Apr 2008 #permalink

Thank you for your hard work in exposing the anti-vaccine fruitcakes out there. No one could ever take them seriously again after your brilliant parody. Keep up the good work. You are a hero for the cause of neurodiversity. "
...you're new here, aren't you?

By Laser Potato (not verified) on 09 Apr 2008 #permalink

Have you done anything to help any autistic child recover from being poisoned by doctors? I have.

More to the point, Jesse, what have you done to help children recover from alien abductions?

Jesse, Have you done anything to help any autistic child recover from being poisoned by doctors?

Can't say I have. But then again,neither have you and at least I'm not making things worse for them by parroting lies.

You're helpless, Johnny. I can smell your desperation from here.

And while we're at it: John, have you stopped beating your wife?

Johnny hasn't croaked yet? How very, very unfortunate for the rest of us.

Could Johnny be the male version of the current Jenny McCarthy?

Orac: I read another post of yours..........I didn't know that Jenny used to do gross-out crud.....I did know she was a playbunny at some point.......we would all do well to take that, and her former occupation as being a grossout, into consideration when thinking about how she could possibly come up with the crap she spews about antivax....

Blonde. Playbunny. leading toward stupid......I can't comment further because my knowledge of her ends about there.....other than what I've read about the antivax.

Oh, and sorry about my mini-rant about the burning stupidity....yesterday on "why it's important to vaccinate"...I was attempting to blog when my brain was....not at its best and should have been shut down for sleep........

Ivan of athenivanidx

ps: maybe you will have to write an open letter to your tech people to get them to deal with your blog problem......

just kidding........not that funny but the best I could do.

Kev, I think this comment is better.

"Please note that all comments must now be previewed. This is in order to encourage you to not defame anybody :) and give you a bit of cooling off time. Remember that its me that gets sued. If you're not sure whats defamatory under UK law or not, please read this guide."

This is a good comment too.

"I got a nice phone call from Nightsong's lawyer a few weeks ago where she said "Look, you and I both know Amanda's not autistic, but that's the life she wants, and you have no right to take it from her."" (Nightsong is Amanda Baggs.)

It was funny that Dave Seidel was dispatched to handle this and Kathleen didn't do damage control herself.

John strikes me as the kinda guy who finds 'Beavis and Butt-Head Do America' intellectually stimulating.

Listening to Best and the rest of the mercury militia (and other pseudoscientists), I can't help thinking of the Radiers of the Lost Ark ending. When asked for evidence, all we get is "We have evidence. Top evidence". When asked where, they just repeat.

John have you stopped beating your wife? Have you stopped chelating your son? Do you think he'll be cured soon? What does CPS think about your parenting style?

By John did your … (not verified) on 10 Apr 2008 #permalink


"From reading Seidel's brief, it is clear that she is........well-advised about the law"


By ilikesubpoenas (not verified) on 10 Apr 2008 #permalink


Did you say that your autistic son might recover? Where's the ironclad certainty? Where's the unbridled hope? Are you suggesting that all of your mercury chelating machinations aren't really helping?

I'm actually glad Orac lets you post on here. You're really funny in a "punch the stupid donkey" kind of way.

By anonimouse (not verified) on 10 Apr 2008 #permalink

And what fond look back down memory lane would be complete without a refresh on what John thinks about homosexuality?

Some "brilliant" goofball coined the term "Homophobia" in a pathetic attempt to bring some small measure of respectability to a perversion. Fortunately for me, I grew up in an era when people were not subjected to public acceptance of sexual perversion. I never "stomped" a queer and I don't approve of that behavior. I also don't want to have to hear about this nonsense portrayed as anything near normalcy.

Reminding people that I have a healthy attitude regarding perverse behavior doesn't tell us anything about your lawsuit.

How's your supply of bananas holding up?

Hey Kev,
This little ploy of refusing to answer me while you badmouth me reminds me of an old girlfriend who used to try that when she'd be upset with me. It always made me laugh. I wish I could be in England to see if you put your hands on your hips and walk away in a huff after you read my comments like she did. Aaah, the joys of neuronitwits.

And what do we learn from this stroll down the weird paths of John Best's psyche?

Well, that he is a person controlled and fuelled by hate. He doesn't care about autism or autistic people. He doesn't care about health. If he wasn't getting off on fighting with people about autism it'd be something else - creationism, AIDS denialism, misogyny - anything that he knows decent people care about and from which he knows he can get the attention he craves to makes himself feel relevant.

Bless him, this attention-getting is all he's got.

I say, take it away from him.

I agree, Kev. He is repugnant beyond description. I think Orac has shown remarkable tolerance by letting him continue to comment so copiously and with such contemptible content. While I respect Orac's decision to let him continue in this vein, I will no longer be reading or responding to Best comments.

Move along. There's nothing to see here.

Yeah, don't feed the troll-as the saying goes, no clown will perform without an audience.

By Laser Potato (not verified) on 11 Apr 2008 #permalink

I'm deeply hurt that you won't address me and I'm very sorry if I hurt your poor little feelings. Would you like a hug? How about you rest your head on my shoulder and have a nice cry for yourself?

Hate to disappoint you, Kev but, I can't imagine why I'd ever care to discuss creationism or any other junk you mention. If it weren't for having my kid poisoned by doctors, I'd be happily discussing horses, track conditions, jockey/trainer patterns, who should be playing centerfield for the Red Sox, the age of the Patriots linebackers, how well my 9 year old can hit a golf ball and other normal stuff that people who don't have poisoned kids discuss all the time.

Unfortunately, I do have a poisoned kid so I have to oppose a bunch of sadistic scumbags who go to great lengths to try to defend the bastards who poisoned him.

But, that's all beside the point as long as poor little Kevin's feelings are too hurt to talk to me. I realize I'm being insensitive to bipolar people when I make Kevin cry. I must be a horrible person for not recognizing Kev's neurodiversity and making allowances for his diminished capacity. I'm going to chastise myself for this character flaw, pray to God to help me be more understanding and try to be a better person so I can help Kev celebrate the joy of mental illness.

" He is repugnant beyond description" Hey, that's a good one, you gave me a great laugh. I'm picturing you and Kev, hands on hips, saying "hmph" with your noses in the air and walking away. Yup, let's celebrate the joy of brain damage. Too funny.

Dear Orac:

You and other non-legal bloggers need to keep pushing this issue. In addition to getting an article in the Wall Street Journal (on-line), noted above, it's received sevaral comments in Overlawyered.com and one by Professor Adler "CYBER-SLAPP AGAINST NEURODIVERSITY.COM:" at http://volokh.com/ The more science and medical bloggers keep this issue alive, the more the legal bloggers will have to pay attention to it -- and, eventually our so-called news media will have to report the story.

I somehow doubt that most people understand that discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (& most state's laws, since most are closely modeled on the FRCP), non-parties to the litigation have effectively fewer protections against discovery abuse than do parties to the suit. Usually this isn't a problem since few clients want to pay for the costs of frivolous discovery requests (especially against non-parties to the litigation). However, that assumption isn't always true, and when it isn't true, fighting abusive discovery requests is time consuming and expensive.

Thank you for your hard work in exposing the anti-vaccine fruitcakes out there. No one could ever take them seriously again after your brilliant parody. Keep up the good work. You are a hero for the cause of neurodiversity. "
...you're new here, aren't you?

Long time reader - fairly new poster. But let's think about it. Either he's a brilliant satirist, brutally dissecting the delusions of antivaccination cultists by parroting every lie and fallacy that they indulge in, or he really is a fellow who subjects a child to a dangerous medical treatment and encourages others to do the same. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt... If he's not a parodist and he really is a perverted quack with violent fantasies, I'd rather not know.

The reason why these bloggers were so slow to come out and denounce Shoemaker's subpoena is because they were very very busy shredding documents and wiping hard drives in case they are the next to be subpoenaed. Can't do that after being served....well, not legally.

Don't be so hard on John... He's obviously trying to find something other than his own genes to blame for his kid's autism. Typical school bully style. His father beats his mother at home, and instead of dealing with it, he takes out on other people around him. Fact is, that John caused his son to have the condition... but, as he's an obvious insecure male... he has to blame something else for his own "failure". Failure, of course is not real, except in his own mind. Which also explains why he has such a low opinion of women. He obviously loved his mother, but did and does not understand why she did not stand up to his abusing father.
It is not his fault that his kid is autistic, just a genetic disposition that in his case led to an autistic child.

He just can't accept the fact that he had something to do with it, so he lashes out at anything he can. Like a school bully.

I really feel sorry for him


John, buddy, do me a favor. When you post from now on, could you give me a heads-up. Will ya? Ya see, I lose I.Q. points each time I read one of your trite inconsequential belch fests.

Before ya know it, I'll be right down there w/ya in the 50-60 point range. And, well, to be honest, while you seem to be quite content there, it's really not my cup o'tea.

So, in closing, type in all caps, maybe bold text, anything that can let me know "Hey, bullshit ahead!! Stay away at risk of mental health!"

Thanks man.

Oh yeah...John, one other thing. You really need to get this reaction-formation issue with Kev under control.

Nothing good can ever come of it. I mean he's married, you're..well..an orangutan. He's in the UK and you're...an orangutan. Whatever, listen, just ask Mark Foley (R-Florida) what happens if you don't get that under control.

Ok...I'm done. Thanks.

Well, the 17th came and went--I don't see any indication that Mr. Shoemaker has responded to the motion to quash.

Presumably, the judge should make some ruling by the 30th, when Ms. Seidel is scheduled to appear in response to the subpoena.