It's 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 my chuckling was the way that everyone's favorite Boy Wonder Reporter Propagandist for the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, Jake Crosby, had apparently turned on his masters because he was ticked off at a perceived betrayal of purity in their antivaccine beliefs, so much so that he actually posted a screed against the other wretched hive of scum and quackery besides AoA or The Huffington Post, namely the antivaccine group SafeMinds on Patrick "Tim" Bolen's website. Bolen is well known to anyone who's been countering quackery on the Internet as having been formerly Hulda Clark's pitbull (more like attack Chihuahua), to be avoided only for the annoyance he can cause. He's also well known for being so completely off the rails that he makes the brain trust over at AoA look like Nobel Prize winners by comparison. Worse, one of the main targets of Jake's vitriol, Mark "Not A Doctor, Not A Scientist" Blaxill is not just a big macher at SafeMinds but a major player at—you guessed it—AoA as well. So it was with barely suppressed howls of outrage at Jake's betrayal, which even included 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 on.
I was left wondering after that whether Jake had completely burned his bridges with his creators. I say "creators," because Dan Olmsted and the crew of ostensible adults over at AoA had long trained, encouraged, and groomed Young Master Crosby for great things in the antivaccine movement. With each new "six degrees of separation"-style conspiracy mongering smear job directed at a perceived enemy of Jake's, Jake received praise to high heaven as the vanguard of a new generation of antivaccinationists who would uncover all those imagined plots, whether they existed or not, and bring them to the light of day in order storm the barricades to topple the edifice of the hated FDA, AAP and CDC supporting the nation's vaccination program. Yet, here Jake had turned on his former masters, much as the Frankenstein monster turned on his creator, all because he had come to believe that somehow SafeMinds had misrepresented itself in negotiations to the offices of Representative Darryl Issa, who, taking the antivaccine baton from the retiring Representative Dan Burton, had arranged one last antivaccine hurrah for his mentor in the form of a Congressional "hearing" by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which he chairs, about "environmental causes of autism" in late November. It turned into a mummer's farce, of course, as it was fated to do. Burton was once the chair of the same committee and used it to abuse science and attack vaccines a decade ago, to the deserved contempt of anyone who understands science.
All of this leaves me somewhat puzzled that Dan Olmsted has allowed Jake to publish a new post on AoA. Quite frankly, two weeks ago I was pretty convinced that we'd never see a post on that blog again with Jake's byline. It kind of makes me wonder what Jake has on AoA or one of its members. Certainly Olmsted's introduction comes across as—shall we say?—less than enthusiastic, resigned even, as though he were acceding to a threat or blackmail of some sort. We see this first in the title, which is unusual for a Jake Crosby hit piece in that his name is placed in the title to let everyone know right away that it's him: Jake Crosby: "SafeMinds Ignores Major Allegations While Replying Dishonestly to Other Charges". Of this, Olmsted sighs, resigned:
Editor's note: I declined to run Contributing Editor Jake Crosby's original article on this topic for reasons outlined here. Since then, it appeared elsewhere and generated a great deal of comment within our community (and without). We subsequently ran a statement from SafeMinds, the object of the original piece. Now Jake has asked us to run this follow-up. Given that the subject is on the table, and that this article would presumably appear elsewhere in any event, I decided to run it, unedited.
It rather sounds as though Jake told Olmsted that he would publish his new screed on Bolen's site if Olmsted didn't let him post it on AoA. It also really, really sounds as though there was some sort of threat or pressure brought to bear, because the subtext of unhappiness and passive aggressiveness in Olmsted's introduction is so obvious that it can hardly be called a subtext. It's not hard to figure out why, either. Right from the introduction, Jake does...well, a Jake:
On November 29th, SafeMinds hijacked the Dan Burton Congressional Hearing on autism and vaccines by pretending to represent autism parent and scientist Dr. Brian Hooker, and by changing the topic away from vaccines - thus opening the door to autism epidemic denialists among other vaccine program apologists. On its website and on Age of Autism, SafeMinds responded to my Bolen Report article “SafeMinds Steals The Show, Literally…” claiming that what I wrote about the organization were “false allegations.” However, they provided no proof that any of them were false, completely ignoring some of the more serious allegations.
This is, of course, completely hilarious. Jake is upset because he thinks that SafeMinds never proved his allegations false, while Jake has yet to provide compelling evidence that his allegations are true. As usual. In fact, the more I follow what's going on, the more I wonder whether Brian Hooker is reeling Jake in, if you'll excuse the expression, hook, line, and sinker. In his previous article, the one published on The Bolen Report, Jake published a bunch of excerpts from private e-mails, thus betraying the confidences of his fellow antivaccine conspirators in a truly despicable way. However, he never really convincingly proved his central charge, namely that SafeMinds, through its lobbyist Beth Clay, had somehow misrepresented itself as working with and representing Brian Hooker to Issa's staff. He simply asserts this to be the case. Indeed, the only assertion that Jake managed to provide any evidence for that was mildly convincing was his claim that SafeMinds wanted to water down the vaccine fear mongering because its leaders didn't want to come off appearing like a bunch of loons in front of the Congressional committee.
This suggestion is also completely believable, because, as I said before, there are at least two wings of the antivaccine movement. There are the pragmatists, who are still antivaccine but understand that being too vocal about being antivaccine makes them appear unhinged. Of course, they are unhinged, but they at least want to hide it for strategic purposes, so that they have a chance of potentially and incrementally getting what they want. This is also the faction that is very careful about becoming indignant when they are called antivaccine and retorting that they are "'not antivaccine' but 'pro-safe vaccine.'" Obviously, Mark Blaxill and SafeMinds (and, to a lesser extent, the brain bust at AoA) fall into this category. Then there are the True Believers.They are antivaccine to the core and don't care who hears them shout their true views to the word. They fervently believe, against all evidence and science, that vaccines cause autism, SIDS, asthma, and all sorts of chronic health conditions. As a result they believe that vaccines are, in essence, evil incarnate, and must be eliminated from the world. Obviously, Jake falls into this latter category. Now, even the True Believers know that they can't get too crazy in their rhetoric, but they are just the sort who would be upset that a pragmatic group tried to muscle out a True Believer like Brian Hooker, who appears to be closely allied with Patrick "Tim" Bolen. Indeed, they are the kind of people who would say something like what a commenter by the 'nym gavrillo writes:
Vaccines are a criminal enterprise , holocaust in nature.
Criminal prosecutions is what we should be demanding at this stage ..... forget about compensation and help and cures and all else besides . Lets start demanding that people who defend mercury , aluminium , Polysorbate80 , formaldehyde straight into infants bloodstreams , be prosecuted for crimes against humanity . That will send all these hangers on scurrying for their burrows like the rodents that they are ! Plus all our other demands will follow if we can get them to concede their guilt.
Even cranks don't want cranks like this representing their position. One can almost sense the spittle flying out of the computer screen as gavrillo writes this rant. Of course, I'd be willing to bet that a lot of the leadership of SafeMinds actually does think along these lines. They're simply smart enough not to say such things aloud or write them down where they can be cited.
Be that as it may, in his article Jake then starts quoting more excerpts to try to "prove" his point. Far be it from me in any way to defend SafeMinds, but on the other hand, whom am I supposed to belief? Jake is well known for cherry picking and arranging bits of information and quotes in a manner that guarantees that he comes to a predetermined conclusion, and he certainly appears to be doing the same thing here. Indeed, he focuses on a couple of sentences as "slam dunk" evidence that SafeMinds is guilty, guilty, guilty. In all fairness, I do have to point out that Jake in essence agrees with me when I expressed amusement at SafeMind's excuse, which boils down to, in essence, "We investigated ourselves and found no evidence of wrongdoing!" However, that was such an obvious retort that I can't claim that it's the least bit clever. Now here's where Jake zeros in on a single sentence:
Now, the next two sentences appear to be a tacit admission that indeed SafeMinds-hired, scientology-tied lobbyist Beth Clay did in fact misrepresent herself to staffers:
“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 the first sentence makes very clear that “SafeMinds” did not misrepresent itself to congressional staff, the second sentence states that at no time did “SafeMinds or any of our affiliates (ie Beth Clay)” try to rescind Brian Hooker's invitation to testify (boldface mine).
If Beth Clay really wasn't misrepresenting Dr. Hooker, SafeMinds would have been consistent and referred to both the organization and its “affiliates” as not misrepresenting him to the staffer or having him uninvited to give testimony. The fact that SafeMinds only included the reference to its affiliates for the latter sentence but not the former indicates that indeed Beth Clay had in fact misrepresented Dr. Hooker to staffers.
Methinks that Jake, as usual, reads too much into this. Yes, it could mean what Jake thinks it means, but it also might just be legalese. Certainly it's not slam dunk evidence that Beth Clay had "in fact misrepresented Dr. Hooker to staffers." Moreover, Jake produces no evidence to suggest that Hooker was in fact the driving force behind this antivaccine hearing, making his complaint rather moot anyway. All we have are the words of Jake Crosby and Brian Hooker to go on when examining their claim that somehow SafeMinds hired a Scientology-associated lobbyist to insinuate itself into the process of setting up the Congressional hearing and steal the limelight and leadership role from Hooker. We have no way of knowing whether Hooker was ever the driving force behind this quack hearing to begin with.
Don't get me wrong here. I have no dog in this fight. I'm just sitting back and enjoying the disarray in the antivaccine movement right now, as the attack dog AoA so carefully trained and nurtured turns on it and its ally SafeMinds. For all I know, Jake could be 100% on-target in his accusations. I doubt it thought. It is, after all, Jake Crosby we are talking about here.
Perhaps the most telling part of Crosby's little screed is his aggrieved response to accusations of having betrayed his friends and allies by violating behavioral norms in the business world and publishing private e-mails. I get the feeling that this criticism actually might sting him a little bit from his response:
SafeMinds repeatedly accuses me of breaching “standard confidentiality.” However, there was no binding agreement or even a discussion of keeping e-mails and conversations confidential when I joined SafeMinds' Government Affairs Committee. I stated up front in my article on the Bolen Report that I had thought long and hard about sharing private email exchanges, doing so only because I felt it was warranted, considering the damage to the congressional autism hearings that SafeMinds has wrought. I was not obliged to follow any confidentiality standards, nor was Dan Olmsted when he revealed Tim Bolen's email without permission.
The only time the issue of privacy came up was after the fact - when Mark Blaxill asked me if I wanted to stay on SafeMinds' Government Affairs Committee after he had learned of my article, indicating I could not remain on it if I publish discussions. I responded that I would not be participating on the committee anymore, to which Blaxill replied:
Sounds good. I’ll take you off the distribution list.
After falsely accusing me of “breaching confidentiality,” SafeMinds then accuses me of taking emails from its members “out of context,” but never says how any of them were taken out of context.
I can't really tell anymore whose explanations and recriminations are most believable. I don't believe either of them, actually. However, if there is one thing that I do accept, it's SafeMinds accusation against Jake of violating confidentiality. He did. There is no way he can convincingly deny that he did. He undeniably published private e-mails. Here's where someone needs to tell Jake to grow up. Instead of owning up to what he did when he betrayed his friends, he retreats into a bizarre legalistic excuse that there was no "binding agreement" or "discussion" of keeping e-mails and conversations confidential when he joined SafeMinds' Government Affairs Committee. That's because e-mail confidentiality is something that is so basic, such an obvious part of everyday business and social interactions, that it is usually assumed among adults capable of entering into such business relationships that it doesn't need to be discussed. Jake's whine that Olmsted did it too is pathetic. Olmsted might have figured that what's good for the goose is good for the gander, so to speak, which might or might not be justifiable. If Jake wanted to be ethical and consistent, he would simply say that he knows what he did violated his friends' and mentors' trust but he felt that revealing what was going on was so important that he was willing to do that and pay the consequences. His legalistic excuse-making is childish. It's also completely disingenuous of Jake to say that SafeMinds never said how their e-mails were taken out of context because he knows damned well that for SafeMinds to put them into context would almost certainly require them to reveal more of them.
It's all so hilarious—from both sides.
I guess I was wrong two weeks ago when I predicted that Jake was finished in the antivaccine movement. Actually, maybe I wasn't. By Jake's own admission, SafeMinds has cut him off from the e-mail list. Olmsted's reaction to his demands to publish yet another jeremiad against his allies is one of resignation, which again brings up the question of whether Jake has some dirt on AoA that has forced Olmsted to publish his latest. One wonders, one does.
Whatever the case, I think I'm going to have to buy some more popcorn. At this rate, I'm already running out of my current supply, and I will definitely need more as this little internecine war continues and takes more bizarre turns.
ADDENDUM: And it's already taken a bizarre turn as a commenter by the 'nym Ottoschnaut takes Jake to task thusly:
Jake- you write- "The organization claimed to have developed a “professional relationship” with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (COGR). Who knows what they mean by that?"
Well- wasn't Safeminds involved (with others) in organizing the Congressional Briefing on VICP, back in May 2012? If Safeminds was involved in that effort, is it possible that they have been politicking and liaising with Congressional offices for some time prior to the Prevalence hearings? Of course it is. Safeminds presented some very compelling fact sheets to Congressional staffers at the VICP briefing. Isn't being present and presenting data at a Congressional briefing part of the process of developing a professional working relationship with Congress?
I think you are giving Safeminds credit and blame for actions well beyond it's ability. If it is that easy to manipulate a witness list- just hire a lobbyist and kiss a few asses- then why are we still involved in this fight? It could have been ended by stacking govt hearing witness lists years ago, yet here we still are.
If this were easy, Andy Wakefield would be a medical hero and the ACIP members would be in jail. But it isn't easy. Dr Hooker Goes to Washington and gets jerked around. So what? Do you think the pharma criminals are going to sit back and let him give his testimony, or are they going to try every dirty underhanded trick, most of which we don't know about, to stop him? Why did Issa apologize to Dr Hooker at the opening of the hearings? Because big, bad Safeminds bullied Issa into removing Dr Hooker from the witness list? Really? Doesn't pass the stink, laugh, or duck test. Issa, I surmise, is bankrolled by folks who told him to exclude Dr Hooker.
When will Dr Hooker give his version of events in his own words? Not filtered through a reporter- a statement on his own signature. He could point the finger right at Safeminds and say, "they did it!" and I have faith that Dan Olmstead would make it public. Note- Dr Hooker has not done that yet, has he?
Jake- you know I respect you and have great admiration for your tenacity and truth seeking. I am willing to consider the possibility that I am wrong, that Safeminds are the scumbags you make them out to be. I am not there yet.
Yes, one of the commenters is trying to school Jake on the nature of politics and how Washington works. Even though he totally believes that vaccines are pure evil, he nonetheless tells Jake to cool it and grow up, correctly pointing out that Jake is serving as nothing more than a mouthpiece for Brian Hooker and that we haven't heard Hooker's version of things yet.
The more I look at this, the more I think that Hooker, perhaps goaded by Patrick "Tim" Bolen, is simply using Crosby as a patsy to attack SafeMinds. It is truly amusing to behold. One can only hope that the next act is as entertaining as the last couple of acts have been, as Jake buries himself deeper and in the process flings the dirt all over SafeMinds and Age of Autism.
If I believed in karma, I'd say this is a bit of it. However, at the very least, I can enjoy a bit of schadenfreude without feeling guilty about it.
Given recent events, I'm wondering whether we are reaching the point where scores of people might write to the head of Crosby's school to express concern over the standards of education offered.
This person not only claims that mercury in vaccines is the cause of autism, when the mercury was almost entirely removed ten years ago, and yet autism diagnoses have not only failed to go down, they have continued to go up.
Recently, he has responded with the claim that diagnoses have gone down in Texas (plainly an artefact of other issues). Nevertheless, the idea that changes to a ubiquitous vaccine, administered almost uniformly across the country, could be the cause of a decline in Texas, but not everywhere else, must raise real doubt about the quality of teaching at the school where Crosby is being taught epidemiology.
I wonder how he would like it if his teachers were bombarded with emails, even without all the abuse he levels at others in such activities?
Tell us Jake, would you like it if your teachers received slews of hate mail and vile invective over your conduct? Would that help your career?
@Orac - Hypothetically, this last post from Jake may be the price AoA was willing to pay, if perhaps JC agreed to go away (perhaps some arranged exit, but not until this last diatribe was published)?
It is a good thing Jake lives in the US & not Europe - with the very tight data protection laws in the EU, he could not only be sued for releasing private emails, he could be brought up on criminal charges for publishing "private" data.
Absolutely not. Writing letters to Jake's school would mean we're sinking to the level of harassment demonstrated by Jake and his former allies. I can understand the temptation and how it might seem like justice, but in reality it's petty harassment and revenge, no matter how much one tells oneself that it's justice. Jake will likely pay enough of a price just from his web and Google presence when the time comes for him to find a real job, and that will have been all his own doing. Having been at the receiving end of such a campaign myself, I would not unleash it even on Jake, and I strongly disapprove of suggestions that we sink to his level and use such tactics and even more strongly oppose actually sinking to Jake's low level.
I'm with Orac on this.
Best to remember, I think, that his views, etc., will be a reflection of him not his university/college. You’ll always get a few students (and staff!) with odd views at universities. Heck, I believe there are creationists with undergraduate biology degrees. (Don't ask me how that works!)
Not stooping to Jake's subterranean level is a good idea but it would be difficult to believe that the school has not already gotten some whiff of the stink.
I certainly agree that Olmsted's intro has a whiff of coercion about it. Is is possible that AoA is financially dependent on Jake's well-off parents? Just asking....
@paasing - Jake doesn't need any assistance, I'm sure his classmates and professors already know to give him a wide berth.
The comments on AoA are pure comedy gold; one camp letting their freak flags fly high while another is visibly cringing that their dirty laundry is being publicly-aired and flaccidly pronouncing, "victory is near". What a sad group of people.
I have a personal and professional relationship with several of my former professors at GW. Yet I refuse to complain to them about Jake. That would be playing his game. Besides, they have told me that they know of his antics, but we don't go into detail. We don't go into detail because what he does as a student is between him and the school. If the school wants to be represented by him, that's their thing. I'm sure they know that one bad seed in the batches of epidemiologists they put out doesn't do too much harm.
So, no, I don't recommend complaining to his school or professors. All he has to do is stay within the school's code of conduct and get good grades. Even young earth creationists pass geology and paleontology classes... Though none of them will ever be taken serious in their field.
That's the only relief I get from all this; Jake will never be an epidemiologist, no matter what degrees he earns.
I also agree with Orac. No sending harassing emails to Jake's school or teachers. It is a slimy tactic and one that reflects poorly on the person sending the emails than on the target. We most often see it used by the anti-vaccine to silence their critics, rather than addressing what the critic is actually saying.
I know several people who have been a target of this sort of thing, including our own host, Orac. The threat of people who view me as an enemy harassing my friends, family and coworkers is the reason I don't reveal my name, even if it means that the moderator of some fora censor my comments. Just a week or so ago, some comments I made got the attention of the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice, to the point where they asked their Facebook followers if anyone knew who I was and suggested that I was a Pharma Shill or paid by Dr. Offit. (Those I showed the VCVC comments to couldn't stop laughing. And speaking of which, Lord Draconis, has there been some sort of clerical error in HR? I've yet to receive any of the filthy pharma lucre the VCVC claims I'm receiving.)
I don't care about getting nasty emails myself, but leave the people around me out of it. I don't write for them; my thoughts are my own.
I will also agree that people shouldn't send harassing e-mails to Jake's co-workers or supervisors. Until and unless he writes something that a reasonable person would interpret as a threat, treat his views as his alone. And if he ever does cross that line, you should alert the police instead (as with Mr. Markuze).
I'm glad people agree with me, but at this point I think that Passing Thru has derailed the thread somewhat with his/her misguided suggestion to start sending complaints to Jake's school and teachers. So I'll try to get it back on track. What, my readers, so you think is going on here? Am I on target? Or is something else happening that I don't yet understand?
Note my addendum.
@Orac - good point. Is Crosby nothing more than an "expendable asset" being used by Dr. Hooker?
You'd think, if Hooker was left out in the cold, that he would comment directly, right?
What, my readers, so you think is going on here? Am I on target? Or is something else happening that I don’t yet understand?
It's really hard to tease out isn't it as they are all lying liars who lie. I think Jake has dealt them a tremendous blow and they don't really know what to do about it particularly in light of the fact that they couldn't contain him and "we" are all having a good snigger at their expense. I think they have made a calculated decision (much to their own chagrin) to try and keep Jake from disclosing any more communications at the expense of allowing him to continue screeding. It's "damage control" in a den of thieves.
Hmm. The AoA commenter in your addendum does bring up a good point. If the only accounts of Brian Hooker's treatment that we've heard are coming through Jake, it does make one wonder. It seems that Jake is sincere in his belief of what he has been told, but whether what he's been told is accurate or not...
Using Jake as nothing more than a mouthpiece, a useful puppet, gives Dr. Hooker some amount of protection and plausible deniability. If anything comes back to bite him, he can claim that Jake misunderstood or misstated what he said.
God only knows how many emails Jake was in on and what their content were. Is there something in there that could embarrass AoA and others? The odds are good that they are. Take, for example, the debacle a while back over the "baby for dinner" picture. How many emails did they share about how to respond to the backlash from their readers? Did they call their readers any names? That sort of stuff.
Would he hold it over their head? Maybe.
In any case, this reminds me a lot of why the Sith only had a master and an apprentice at a time. That much anger and hate between whole groups of people only leads to civil wars.
It's so amusing because anti-vaxxers shriek that pharma operatives, sceptics et al are working so hard against them when in reality, they're doing a good job of destroying their movement all by themselves by splintering it into warring factions.
A few observations:
SafeMInds perhaps represents a kinder, genter form of alt med lunacy:
their group involves Deirdre Imus, who attributes many disorders to cleaning products - not solely vaccines- she creates a line of greener alternatives;
Blaxill himself initiated the Canary Party which promulgates the view that basically modernity itself causes chronic conditions- ASDs amongst a laundry list of others;
AoA itself appears to be mainstreaming , like TMR, becoming amenable to an audience far wider than solely one of autism parents with axes to grind because many more children ( and adults) have chronic conditions like asthma, IBD etc. The Canaries continuously invoke the "more than 50% of children have chronic ills" meme. As do woo-meisters the web over.
Brian Hooker showed up on prn over a year ago, I looked up his activities and found that during that time period, he was shopping around for a venue in which to promote his ideas and found a few lower level natural health blogs who agreed. Similarly, Null published Jake's earlier screed on his blog- which isn't a blog- but what would you expect from someone who habitually has trouble understanding what most simple English words mean.
Jake's latest reminds me of attempting to read a Stieg Larsson novel during a long flight- after two hundred pages of convoluted plotting involving a series of oddly unsympathetic characters, I put it down and found the view out the window much more to my liking. At least Larsson had the sense called his work "fiction" but fortunately, Jake's wasn't hundreds of pages long.
The inner dynamics of AoA must be a densely entangled imbroglio of the primaries' fantasies piled upon wishful thinking about the others' thoughts and actiivities- quite akin to the structure of their pseudo-scientific theories..
Interestingly they might all be present at the conference in May: they may dislike each other vehemently but it's the largest venue in the western world for them so I doubt that any will miss their chance at that as they relish the limelight.
We never should write to Jake's school- it's only grist for his mill and puts him in the spotlight- and they already know full well what he's all about since they have to deal with him on a daily basis. He doesn't need any help in proving himself unreasonable and inadequate.
The comments at AoA are getting even *better*. "Vorpal Sword" has posted twice with some *cogent remarks*; Hilary Butler and J.B. himself have weighed in.
As soon as I saw the interview between Anne Dachel and Brian Hooker posted about the hearings, I started posting on other science blogs about the ethics of Congressmen and their wives accepting Wakefield's largesse (wining and dining) to influence the agenda of the hearing. Jake and some of his groupies tried (unsuccessfully), to overrun those science blogs with their "Thimerosal done did it" posts.
IMO, if Jake had been given the opportunity to speak at the Hearing, it would have sufficed. But he was not given the opportunity, hence these attacks on SafeMinds, AoA and his supposed indignity on behalf of Brian Hooker.
Well, we can certainly hope that readers of AoA who are not yet entirely within the fold will observe the goings-on there and perhaps think again about trusting this group as informants: the disagreements might be an indicator of a larger over-arching inability to deal with reality which would be reflected in their views about SBM and own inability to criticise and censor themselves.
I'm just trying to get my head around Ottoschnaut's contribution. He seems to be saying the anti-vax (whoops, sorry safe-vax cause) fails because Big Pharma stacks the congressional committees and intimidates witnesses.
Can someone correct me on this, but haven't they been trying to do that for years? Is this another case of "when we do it, it's OK because our motives are pure?"
What comes to my mind when I hear about someone threatening to reveal email messages that the communicants thought would remain confidential is that some language in those messages might be construed by a plaintiff in a libel suit as support for the standards of intent of "actual malice" or "reckless disregard of the truth" necessary to successfully pursue a libel suit if one is defamed and is a public official in the course of duties or is a "public figure."
If AoA is publicly able to sink to the level of "babies for dinner," then one could easily imagine the sorts of things they say about people in private.
EU data laws only apply to third-party data. If someone emails you, or sends a letter, it's your data. You can do what you like with it.*
If forwarding a private message were illegal without express permission, Internet trolls would have the perfect crime.
*Only exceptions would be something covered under an agreed NDA, or libellous content (publishers offend just like the originator) or Govt-prohibited content (ie. troop movements).
Jake's still a douche, of course... #popcorn
The libel laws in the US are tougher to file for defamation of public officials and "public figures." So if a guy like Paul Offit, who has a fairly high profile, wanted to sue for libel, he likely would have to find proof of that higher standard. Which is why people shook their heads in disbelief when Andrew Wakefield filed a libel suit in this country.
EU data laws only apply to third-party data. If someone emails you, or sends a letter, it’s your data. You can do what you like with it.
This is actually a tricky business, involving the Berne Convention, etc. The safest assumption is always that if you receive a communication, that copy is yours. This does not grant a license to duplicate or republish.
The EC is a party to the WIPO Copyright Treaty, as well as whatever WTO stuff came out of the Marrakesh Agreement.
And I'd be surprised if anyone took seriously the notion that a handwritten note was governed by "data laws."
Being in the eDiscovery field, we always err on the side of caution when dealing with data from the EU. Unless we receive written authorization from all custodians (even CC'ed on email messages) we do not proceed with collection or processing.
Jake might have a leg to stand on if those emails were direct, one-on-one's, but if they were CC'ed, he could get himself into a world of trouble....."could" of course, since this is all hypothetical & we have very lax data protection laws in this country.
" Which is why people shook their heads in disbelief when Andrew Wakefield filed a libel suit in this country."
It is why they shook their heads a filing in the US. There were many other reasons to shake heads just on the evidence.
There's a new crank poster ("ccdaddy57") on Alex Hannaford's Texas Observer blog. He's libeled me and Dr. Paul Offit.
I *managed* to post some comments about Wakefield, Gen Rescue, the Strategic Autism Initiative, the Autism Media Channel, the Geiers and AoA, back at the troll.
Perhaps you should ask him why this prediction hasn't turned out quite as asserted.
Not sure if there is evidence of coercion in all this, but it is definitely entertaining, nonetheless. I'm enjoying following all of this from Orac's perspective; enjoying watching these often-vile, sometimes-ignorant, but eternally-disingenuous anti-vaxxers thrash about against their own.
Unlike my other comments on ScienceBlogs, I DO have a dog in this fight: I'm a parent of an autistic child. Groups like AoA aren't just annoying anti-science folks; they legitimately enrage me.
@ Narad: I already "googled" his/her 'nym and found a boatload of comments filled with pseudoscience, libelous statements and conspiracy theories.
lilady, he used to comment here a while ago:
He would sometimes post as Joe and try quoting Bertrand Russell.
@ Chris: He's a Jesus freak, as well.
Pssst...just between us. How did you locate his 'nym's posts on RI?
Ah this blog still has not changed. Lots of talk, no walk. But when they feel they are challenged, they fold back.
Seriously when was the last time Orac discussed about "vaccines"? Like what 2 years ago?
In other Internecine War news:
It seems that Jake has returned ( to comment @ his latest contribution @ AoA) to defend Brian ( not THAT Brian) against the tactics of SafeMInds and continues in the "he said/ he said" mode as all of us would naturally predict because although past performance of investments is not a guarantee of future performance, past performance can indeed be a very reliable predictor of how people behave.
lilady, I put the following into the Google search box:
You can limit which website is searched using "site:" I find it works better than the search box on this page.
@ Denice Walter...Foiled again, I was just over at AoA where Jake has complimented Hilary Butler "for her support". Is Jake out of the *penalty box*? Will his handlers at AoA ever trust him again? Stay tuned for the ongoing saga.
The fact that SafeMinds only included the reference to its affiliates for the latter sentence but not the former indicates that indeed Beth Clay had in fact misrepresented Dr. Hooker to staffers.
I like the way Jake's mind works: Failure to explicitly deny all possible allegations is equivalent to making an admission.
I must confess I am one of the fastest women around...
Oooops! That doesn't sound quite right, does it?
Fast TYPER, I am.
@ herr doktor bimler:
Well, I don't like the way his mind works!
A few students I worked with once did a little 'thinking out loud' experiment to show how 'our minds work' and it was rather hilarious- but fortunately, none of our minds worked like Jake's.
However we can surmise how he arrives at the conclusions he does. Similar to how our high level woo-meisters do.
"Great minds" and all that jazz.
"He would sometimes post as Joe and try quoting Bertrand Russell."
Oh. Was he the brilliant mind that thought that Russell's support of vaccines and Russells worries about brainwashing meant that vaccines were used for brainwashing?
I believe that is the one. I found this:
Russell being quoted as saying we would put mercury in vaccines, and other compounds to produce a partial lobotomized state this was done to controll the masses. my thought is they did not anticipate the mercury from other sources AKA as cole fired plants and mothers body burdon
who advocated the use of vaccines to induce partial chemical lobotomies and create a servile zombie population,
“Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible.” – Bertrand Russell, “The Impact of Science on Society”, 1953, pg 49-50
1953. Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society: “…the subject which will be of most importance politically is Mass Psychology…. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen. As yet there is only one country which has succeeded in creating this politician’s paradise.
One just cannot forget his very unique style, even if he used two 'nyms.
“Great minds” and all that jazz.
Well, given that you were replying to HDB and mentioned jazz, I suppose it's time for (part of) No. 11.
There is an addition to the intro on Jake's latest article-
(PS: After a thorough airing of views, the comment thread is now closed. Go in peace for all mankind.)
46 comments is a 'thorough aring', eh?
I'd predict this might be the last post Jake makes at AoA.
@Johnny - we'll just have to see. I didn't think AoA closed many of their articles........interesting times ahead.
Jake's criticisms of SafeMinds is rather harsh and Blaxill is part of both SM and AoA.
So where's Jake to appear next?
Green Med Info? Natural News? His earlier article ( for Bolen) is already up at Null's so-called blog.
Perhaps he'll start up his own franchise...
Chris: "Cole" fired plants?
Al (returning from a vacation).
Are there any Scotts in the house?
Chris: “Cole” fired plants?
You do understand that is a quote that illustrates the thinking process of ccdaddy57/Joe? He is trying to use a mathematician/philosopher to make a point, in a very bad way.
Though I am not one to go into too much on homonyms. I have recently been mixing up "hear" and "here", along with "their" and "there." I blame my fingers as they automatically go for the wrong spelling, but hopefully I then hit backspace a few times and correct the word.
(weird, but "here" and "there" have the same "ere", but are not pronounced the same)