Raging Bullsh*t, part 2: J. B. Handley enters the fray to defend Robert De Niro's antivaccine stylings

J.B. Handley is an antivaccine activist, founder of the mercury militia "autism biomed"-loving group Generation Rescue, and apparent discoverer of the original clueless antivaccine celebrity Jenny McCarthy, who became president of the organization he had founded. It was a position from which McCarthy proceeded to do her best to drive down vaccination rates by publicly spewing antivaccine misinformation, all the while parroting the standard talking point that antivaccine activists like to trot out to counter charges that they are antivaccine. Indeed, it was arguably she who made this talking point famous: "I'm not 'antivaccine.' I'm pro-safe vaccine." Many variants exist, such as, "I'm for vaccine safety," which is the one that Robert De Niro used to defend his bypassing the rules of his own Tribeca Film Festival to have Andrew Wakefield's now infamous propaganda-fest (or, as Skeptical Raptor likes to call it, fraudumentary), VAXXED: From Cover-up to Catastrophe screened at Tribeca. Ultimately, De Niro was forced to withdraw VAXXED from Tribeca because of the furor its inclusion caused, even admitting that he did it because he was concerned that the controversy was damaging the film festival, a move that predictably set the Internet alight with cries of "Conspiracy!" from antivaccinationists. Back in the day, J.B. Handley used to show up on this blog in the comments on a fairly regular basis, but since has simply come to hate me so much that he regularly repeats lies about me. His "bull in a china shop" demeanor in which he takes General George S. Patton's, motto "L'attaque, toujours l'attaque" to a ridiculous (and stupid) extreme, combined with his extreme misogyny, of course, is one reason why Handley is so lovable.

For whatever reason, J. B. Handley has been relatively quiet for a long time about vaccines. Perhaps it was as a result of extreme embarrassment over the "I am Bonnie Offit" fiasco. True, he did resurface last fall with his risibly clueless series, "An Angry Father's Guide to Vaccine-Autism Science," in which he laid the usual misinformation and misinterpretation of studies down about the measles vaccine, vaccine-autism pseudoscience, etc., but then he went quiet again; that is, until VAXXED. The whole kerfuffle seems to have reinvigorated him, leading him to several posts over at Medium.com. (Remind me to thank my lucky stars that I turned down that invitation to blog at Medium when asked.) In any case, he seems to be on a roll, and his rants are so quintessentially J.B. Handley that I can't resist taking a peak.

After having hosted the antivaccine stylings of Robert De Niro on Wednesday on The Today Show, apparently NBC felt it needed to provide "balance." So on Thursday morning TODAY featured Ari Brown discussing the controversy. For some reason, the video does not appear to be on the TODAY website (at least, I can't find it); so I can't judge it other than by the ranting reactions on antivaccine blogs, such as at Age of Autism, where Anne Dachel characterized the segment as 'Today' Freaks Itself Out, Goes Running Back to Pharma, and, of course, J. B. Handley's Medium.com blog, where Handley asked Who should parents trust, Robert DeNiro or Dr. Ari Brown? (Because one of them has to be lying). A better way to ask the question is: Who should parents trust on medical issues, Robert De Niro or Dr. Ari Brown?" Better yet, the question should be phrased, "Who should parents trust on medical issues about their children, an actor who never graduated from high school or an actual pediatrician?" Yes, De Niro is very successful—a very successful actor and businessman. The skill set to become a successful actor and businessman is not the same as the skill set needed to evaluate medical and scientific questions. Of course, Handley has long failed to understand this, because he seems to think that his skills as a businessman give him the ability to attend Google University and then understand complex science. Time and time again he's embarrassed himself trying, but he so lacks self-awareness that he never realizes how much scientists laugh at his antics.

For instance, in the arrogance of his ignorance, Handley actually lectures scientists:

If science doesn’t ask the right question, the answer a study produces is useless. Perhaps the biggest issue with the science done to date to assess the relationship between vaccines and autism is that it doesn’t reflect the real world of how vaccines are administered and the feedback from parents on how this impacts their children.


So, of the first 20 shots given to kids, how many have been studied for their relationship to autism? The answer may surprise you: ZERO. That’s right, because only one vaccine, the MMR, has ever been studied for its relationship to autism. The MMR is a vaccine first administered to American children at 13 months of age.

But what about the 2, 4, and 6 month well-baby visits where children receive so many vaccines? The truth is they have never been studied or considered, so no one has any idea. This would be like trying to identify the source of a plane crash, suspecting mechanical failure, solely analyzing one of the wings, and then declaring the entire airplane free of culpability. But, that’s exactly what has happened.

Having spent the time to critically read every study produced to “prove” vaccines don’t cause autism, I remain dumbfounded by their inadequacy.

And personally, I remain dumbfounded at Handley's apparently belief that he knows what he's doing when analyzing science. Contrary to Handley's claims, childhood vaccination schedules are evidence-based. Contrary to his claims elsewhere, the relationship between thimerosal in vaccines and autism has been studied—many times!—and no relationship to autism has been found; it is a failed hypothesis. There is no correlation between the antigen load from vaccines and the risk of autism, and there is no correlation between autism and the on-time receipt of vaccines compared to dosing vaccines later. In other words, a key antivaccine talking point, "too many too soon" is not valid. There are even monkey studies (once touted by Handley) showing no correlation between vaccines and autistic-like symptoms.

Of course, Handley just doesn't understand basic concepts of medicine and science, as he goes on to demonstrate in attacking a study from the UK that looked at timing of vaccination doses as a risk factor for autism. This, it turns out, is a study similar to the study I mentioned abovee about on-time receipt of vaccines, except that it looked at cumulative thimerosal exposure instead of cumulative vaccine exposure in infants. Basically, it found similar results: Thimerosal-containing vaccines did not correlate with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. Handley thinks he's really "got" the scientists when he notes:

If you’re a glutton, read the methods of the study for yourself to the left. It’s in code, but by the second page of the study (that journalists never read) the authors make it clear that they ONLY looked at the DPT shot that every child in the study got.

Yes, but the authors also explain why:

In the United Kingdom, the only vaccines that contain thimerosal and have been routinely used in the past 2 decades are whole-cell diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (wDTP) vaccine or diphtheria-tetanus (DT) vaccine and any combination vaccine containing wDTP or DT.

Contrary to his self-proclaimed superior understanding, Mr. Handley doesn't seem to realize that if the hypothesis being tested is that there is a link between mercury in vaccines and autism, then all you really need to look at are thimerosal-containing vaccines, and in the UK at that time the only thimerosal-containing vaccines administered were the wDTP vaccine or DT vaccine and any combination vaccine containing wDTP or DT.

I'm laughing at the superior science intellect.

I could go on, but I wanted to look at Handley's other little ditty, What’s with DeNiro’s Tribeca co-founder, Jane Rosenthal? I noticed myself that in the TODAY interview, Rosenthal appeared not to be too pleased with De Niro's antivaccine stylings and tried to shut it down. I also noticed that De Niro basically came very close to calling her a liar after she said that the Tribeca Film Festival was getting complaints, finishing with what sure sounded like a threat to me that he would "find out" who complained. Naturally, Handley is not too pleased:

Potentially making her own history and attached to DeNiro’s hip for all of his public interviews so far has been Jane Rosenthal, a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, and a woman whose discomfort with many of the things DeNiro is publicly saying is now available for the world to witness. Frankly, Rosenthal kept her disappointment with DeNiro more in check during the Today Show interview than she did in a previous interview with Bloomberg, where she went so far as to say (when discussing the removal of the movie Vaxxed from Tribeca’s lineup):

One of the biggest lessons of any kind of leadership is to admit when you’ve made a mistake [implying screening Vaxxed would have been a mistake]

The most egregious interview I watched was on a local NY station, Fox 5, where Rosenthal literally shuts DeNiro down from speaking about Vaxxed. You have to give Ms. Rosenthal credit: she doesn’t hide her feelings!

The most likely explanation for this is that the board of the Tribeca Film Institute, which runs the Tribeca Film Festival, didn't want De Niro to do publicity alone because it had figured out that he has become an antivaccine loon and feared what he might say unchaperoned. Actually, on TODAY, he managed to lay down quite a bit of antivaccine nonsense even with Rosenthal, who desperately tried to get back on message and largely failed. (After all, how are you going to shut down Robert De Niro when he wants to say something, particularly when the interviewers on the various shows he's been appearing on likely want some nice, juicy quotes for publicity?) I also noticed that Rosenthal's body language showed a hell of a lot of discomfort with what De Niro was saying, and neither of them looked pleased to be with each other on the interview.

Of course, to Handley, Rosenthal's reaction can't be because she is trying to keep the film festival on track and prevent damage from the controversy. It has to be this:

Jane Rosenthal is an extremely powerful and successful film producer. In 2014, she and her husband and real estate developer Craig Hatzkoff divorced, and to give you some idea of their wealth, they put their New York City co-op on the market for $39 million. Craig Hatzkoff, her now ex-husband, sits on the board of the NYU Child Study Center, and journalists Jon Rappaport explains why this matters:

Craig Hatkoff, sits on the board of the NYU Child Study Center in New York — and that major, major Center is deeply involved in the research, study, and treatment of child psychiatric disorders. In case you’ve forgotten, autism is officially listed as a psychiatric disorder…The NYU Center would never, ever, in a million years imagine that vaccines could cause autism. If they did imagine it, they’d shut up and march straight ahead with their brain imaging studies and other mainstream distractions. The Rosenthal-Hatkoff duo have been on the scene at a number of Center fundraisers and awards dinners. They’re active. They’re visible. They’re players…A film that claims to show a link between the MMR vaccine and autism would be a hideous affront to the NYU Child Study Center, where Craig Hatkoff, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, sits on the Board…A plan to actually show Vaxxed at the Tribeca Festival, which Hatkoff and Rosenthal co-founded, would be a blow to the face of the NYU Center.

Or, more likely, because Rosenthal has been involved with actual...oh, you know...science when it comes to neurodevelopmental disorders, she knows that De Niro is spewing what I like to call "Raging Bulls*t" about vaccines and autism and doesn't want the Tribeca Film Festival to be tainted. She's doing her best to save the film festival that she co-founded with her ex-husband and Robert De Niro.

Interestingly (to me, anyway), there was a post a few days ago by HIV/AIDS denialist and all purpose crank Celia Farber that brought some interesting information to light. It's now removed from her Truthbarrier website but it's still available in Google Cache.

TruthBarrier Wakefield

I can see why it wasn't available very long, as the post documents an e-mail exchange between Grace Hightower (Grace De Niro), Robert De Niro's wife, and Andrew Wakefield, most likely sent to her by Wakefield himself, who seems to be tight with Farber. In the exchange, Wakefield seems irritated that the private link to VAXXED had been shared so that people he didn't want viewing it had had a chance to see it and review it:



Did Hightower and Wakefield get together to “chat” on April 4? Inquiring minds want to know!

Reading between the lines, I suspect that Robert De Niro is just as on board with Andrew Wakefield as his wife is. In any case, Wakefield probably wanted it known that Rosenthal had seen the film because De Niro had shared the private link with her. Likely he was trying to implicate Rosenthal as the source of the backlash, blaming her for actual physicians who know antivaccine nonsense when they see it. Clearly, Wakefield's plan was that no one who wasn't on board with him should see the film before it screened; i.e., no one who could actually pick it apart with science and knowledge of its topic. De Niro, however, shared the link with Rosenthal, who shared the link with her sister Pam Rollins, MS Ed.D, who is an actual autism researcher (Wakefield misspelled her name). No doubt Rollins was appalled, and who knows who else got to see the film?

Basically, Andy, in his usual inimitable fashion, is throwing both De Niro and Rosenthal under the bus, De Niro for having shared the private link without permission and Rosenthal for presumably having shared it with actual pro-science advocates. One can only marvel at Wakefield’s lack of self-awareness, given his propensity for sharing private information whenever he thinks he can derive an advantage from doing so. It’s just one more irony meter fried until it’s a puddle of bubbling goo with some wires sadly buzzing. I further speculate that Hightower and/or De Niro found out about Farber's post and told her to take it down, unfortunately for them not before it was saved in Google Cache (and on my hard drive now), for anyone to see before it goes away.

J. B. Handley always amuses me. In this case, he finishes up with an open letter to Pam Rollins in which he tries to persuade her of the rightness of his cause, commenting:

Let me get something clear: from my perspective, Jane Rosenthal’s sister, Dr. Pamela Rollins, is doing great work for our kids and I’m thankful for her and her work. Our children desperately need help communicating! But, what’s generally true, and I’m only speculating here about Dr. Rollins, is that people in her position rarely, if ever, discuss causation of autism or get involved with the conflict with vaccines. Why? Well, two reason really. First, if she did she wouldn’t have the job she has. And, second, it’s been my general experience that people in the autism field who are surviving in the mainstream treatment world (where no one has discovered the cause or how to cure autism in three decades) generally accept the “consensus view” about vaccines and autism.

Handley then goes on to rant against "consensus science." Of course, anyone who claims that "consensus science" isn't science has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to science. Handley clearly falls into that category, as his mangling the interpretation of studies looking at vaccines and autism demonstrates. To him, if you're not with him, you're against him. You might be a "good person" (as opposed to someone like myself, whom Handley despises), but you're still against him. And those who are "against him" are keeping The Truth from The People, Unfortunately, Robert De Niro and Grace De Niro are now on Handley's side.

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if the hypothesis being tested is that there is a link between mercury in vaccines and autism, then all you really need to look at are thimerosal-containing vaccines

Mr. Handley seems to be disappointed that published vaccine-autism link studies aren't fishing expeditions. I have news for him: funding agencies generally don't fund fishing expeditions. That's true of the agencies I am familiar with, which have proposal success rates NIH proposers like Orac can only dream of, and I presume it's even more true of NIH (at least outside of the alt-med branch). A proposal to test a hypothesis with a specific causal mechanism that passes the laugh test--like whether thimerosal-containing vaccines might cause autism (we now know this is wrong, but at the time the studies were done it wasn't completely implausible)--is much more likely to be funded than one that doesn't. And since people generally don't work for free, unfunded proposals mean experiments or clinical trials that don't happen.

As for that Wakefield-Hightower e-mail exchange: Andy's complaint about confidential information being inappropriately shared is a case of the pot calling the kettle black--sharing this e-mail exchange with Farber isn't the first time he's been involved in inappropriate sharing of confidential information. And given Rosenthal's role in Tribeca and De Niro's intention to subvert the selection process, one could argue that Rosenthal needed to know about Wakefield's film.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

"Not only has your family's life been blighted by autism"...

If I'd gotten this in an email, I'd have ripped someone apart so fast and furiously that the bits wouldn't be recognizable. How DARE Wakefield call a child a blight? And how could Grace DeNiro accept that language unless she believed it?

I feel sorry for the DeNiros' son. How awful to know that your parents feel that you are a blight, not a wonder and a blessing.

So, of the first 20 shots given to kids, how many have been studied for their relationship to autism? The answer may surprise you: ZERO. That’s right, because only one vaccine, the MMR, has ever been studied for its relationship to autism.

No, wait. It's "ZERO" or it's "just one", the MMR?
If I have to doubt you ability to distinguish between zero and one, I may as well doubt your ability to distinguish between one and twenty.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

How come they never bring up the fact that the same use of vaccines correlates with a decrease in diagnoses of "mental retardation", huh? Tell me that!

By rhymeswithgoalie (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

I second MI Dawn's comments re Wakefield's description of autism as a "blight".

I think it also bears pointing out that Handley has once more demonstrated that he breaks his agreements (in addition to his apparent inability to count, as noted by Helianthus).

And to tack on to what Helianthus notes, while individual vaccines other than MMR may not have been studied specifically for possible associations with autism, thimerosal-containing vaccines (e.g., DTP, Hib, etc.) have been. So have vaccines generally. So, just as he is a liar about not ever publicly mentioning Dr. Offit, he's not exactly honest about what vaccines have been studied.


Remember, according to Handley, "To our community, Andrew Wakefield is Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ rolled up into one." (And who says anti-vaccine isn't a religion?)

" his extreme misogyny" ... right: he once told me to be quiet or suchlike.

re Raging Bull / non- BS edition
Oh J-sus Christ! That photo appears to be from the slo-mo sequence- its soundtrack is from Cavelleria Rusticana
( Rustic Chivalry", an opera)

Almost as good:
beginning of Casino: a car explores and the shards of its remains fall slowly towards the earth silhouetted against the garish façade of a Las Vegas casino whilst the soundtrack plays a Bach piece that roughly translates as 'we sit here with tears a-falling'- Good Friday music

Scorcese did fine work years ago.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Recently Andy was a guest on the pompously named Progressive Commentary Hour ( prn.fm) b!tching about his removal from the TFF. Farber is also a guest. The audio is preserved for posterity. Aren't we lucky.

Isn't it interesting how these charlatans/ poseurs coalesce like iron filings around a magnet? I think that Andy may be the magnet not the filings.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

@ Todd W.

in addition to his apparent inability to count,

A more likely explanation hit me after I hit the submit button:

Handley and a good number of his peers are simply unable to acknowledge that one vaccine's safety has been studied, even if it was the only one.
Handley may actually have been referring to Wakefield's study as he was talking about MMR. But even so, even with a study going into the direction of his beliefs, it was not sufficient to be counting.
Vaccines are guilty, plain and simple. Handley's smug appeal to the ideals of science ("If science doesn’t ask the right question, the answer a study produces is useless.") is fully hypocritical. He does't care about the right question, that he wants is the "right" answer.

It's always, always the vaccines.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Remember, according to Handley, “To our community, Andrew Wakefield is Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ rolled up into one.”

He's dead?

" always, always the vaccines"

Over at AoA, Dachel persists about the need for the vaxxed/ unvaxxed study.

These people can't learn.
I used to think that scenario impossible: people incapable of learning.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Oh joy it never ends.


Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (January 24, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1510711619
ISBN-13: 978-1510711617

Vaccine Villains: What the American Public Should Know about the Industry Hardcover – January 24, 2017
by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Author), Anne Dachel (Author)

Hardcover $21.99

Vaccine safety is arguably the most heated controversy in pediatric medicine. In the last thirty-five years, federal health officials have more than tripled the number of vaccinations children receive in the United States. At the same time, a growing number of researchers and parents are questioning the soundness of the one-size-fits-every-child vaccination schedule.

Our children are the most vaccinated kids in the world, yet half of them suffer from at least one chronic health condition. Asthma, life-threatening allergies, diabetes, bowel disease, seizure disorder, and a host of developmental problems now plague America’s children. For years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has had the last word on vaccine safety. It continues to produce research showing no serious risk from vaccinations. Hidden behind these public assurances, however, are hundreds of conflict of interest waivers and extensive financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry the CDC oversees—an industry that has no liability for the vaccines it manufactures.

In Vaccine Villains, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Anne Dachel uncover the dark side of the vaccine controversy that you will not hear in mainstream news.

Orac: thanks again for turning Vaxxed into a worldwide media phenomenon. I'm starting to think that you might be a double agent working for the good guys. When I want to show people the kind of doctor-feuled propaganda we parents have to deal with, I just send them a few of your quotes and they get it. Thank you for being a towering example of what's wrong with healthcare in america and i trust your run as someone's assistant at neverfuckingheardofit U will soon be over. burn in hell, JB ps - the reason I'm not on the web much is because I have a life and I enjoy living it and my best friends in the world aren't people who comment on my blog posts who I've never met.

By JB Handley (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

I see that RFK Jr. has moved on from thiomersal and jumped onto the too-many-too-soon bandwagon...

with Dachel no less.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

My wife and I went to see an IMAX movie about water conservation a few years ago. Something about the Colorado River. RFK Jr. is in it with some other dude and their two teenage daughters. The movie devolved into scenes of the daughters frolicking in the water, and the friend's obsession with photography (photographing the frolicking daughters). I came away from it wondering if I had just paid for their vacation.

I did, didn't I?

Same thing with the upcoming book, and with Vaxxed, etc. You're not paying for autism awareness and/or action. I can count on one hand how many autistics will see any kind of benefit from it. You're paying for Andy's travels, RFK Jr's vacations (with his daughter?), and Anne Dachel's at-home job.

Good on you for being so giving.

Julianna LeMieux is Assistant Professor of Biology at Mercy College and Editorial Assistant for the Infection and Immunity journal. Ph.D. Tufts University, School of Medicine in 2008.

If you have watched “Vaxxed” (produced by Andrew Wakefield, co-written by Andrew Wakefield, and starring Andrew Wakefield) you gave Andrew Wakefield 90 minutes of your time to make his point. And, although he is a complete failure as a physician, a scientist and an ethical person, he is a mastermind at making his own corrupt actions sound convincing.

I am asking you today, then, to give the scientific community 90 minutes. What we won’t bring are anecdotal, and emotional, stories from parents or heart tugging videos of children with developmental challenges (both made even more convincing when embellished with the right music and the right lighting).

What we will bring to the table are peer reviewed scientific articles full of robust data that are clear, and were collected using the scientific method. If you give us the chance, we’ll teach you why cutting this film from your festival is a decision that you can feel proud of and why you have the full support of the scientific, medical and public health communities behind you.


Rene is correct:
that's why I never spend money on woo or enterprises which support it and its perpetrators . So I'll have to wait until VAXXED is free on the 'net.

- RFK jr is associated with a charity group concerned with a river- I occasionally get invites to their fund raising soirees at a Georgian manor. ( My cousins worked on projects like this - 2 rivers in 2 different countries). I thought about attending and asking him a few questions.
I am very polite and well-turned out. Really.

- Followers pay for vacations as cited above and ALSO for homes and lifestyles.
I think we sceptics should spread photos of their mansions around the net. AJW's Austin place can be seen on BD's site. Dr B has a famous gate . Mercola has an estate in Illinois. You can google 'Dr Oz's Cliffside Park home' . I've drawn attention to Null's palaces in FL and TX ( see also Rational wiki). So far, no results for Mikey ( Austin and/ or Cedar Creek, TX if anyone wants to search/ only photos of his former place in Ecuador).

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

oh joy is right, Liz. As our friend Dorit would say, "sigh." This really does never end. So frustrating. And Rene is also right. This argument of theirs benefits no one but their pocketbooks. I keep saying that if Wakefield really was interested in sharing science, he would make the video available for free online. He got plenty of donations to make it so now, this distribution deal is all about profit.

Vaxxed is now being used by scammers working through YouTube. It's a broad based scam, using a variety of titles as bait. The YT page promises to show a film. Clicking takes you to an external site, which says you have to register to start the stream of the film. If you do that, you get sent to a site that has other things to DL, but not the film advertised. The scammers don't actually have a copy of that. But now they have your personal info, and, they hope, a credit card number.

Now why would these con-men possibly be targeting folks who want to see Vaxxed for this sort of scam? :)

Over at AoA, Dachel persists about the need for the vaxxed/ unvaxxed study.

These people can’t learn.
I used to think that scenario impossible: people incapable of learning.

The Dachelbot achieves this rather easily by not listening in the first place. The question what threshold for differences between the two populations would cause it to acknowledge failure has been posed directly to it numerous times.

Such is the existence of a hit-and-run comment spammer.

Hardcover: 144 pages

Skyhorse produces books with mamesh boards?

Mamesh or marmite?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

@ Narad:

How did the 'most frequent contributors' ( you know) there ever get through a university that was not a mail order degree mill?

I mean they are now age 50-60 ( 70?) - degrees weren't so easily available then. Did they attend brick and mortar places?
Rhetorical question.
I know the answer. They did.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Mamesh or marmite?

Fun fact: USPS periodicals rate mandates that no pages blank on both sides are allowed (apparently dating from a time in which this would have been a way to cheaply ship plain paper).

This is why journals bound in signatures print "notes" or "comments" on pages that would otherwise be blank as a result of having to fold the sheet.

Narad, Is that why you get things that say "This Page Intentionally Left Blank"?

By JustaTech (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Orac: thanks again for turning Vaxxed into a worldwide media phenomenon. I’m starting to think that you might be a double agent working for the good guys.

JB, you do amuse me so. You also seem to attribute far more influence to me than I actually have. I'm half-tempted to let you continue to labor under your delusion, but unlike you I'm an honest guy. :-)

Thanks for showing up, though. I didn't think you would, but I was half hoping. Your entertainment value is always epic.

Mr. Handley has just removed several comments he posted on the Facebook page of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In one he incorrectly accused Dr. Brown of claiming regressive autism isn't real (I guess it's to his credit that he withdrew a false claim, once corrected) and another in which he claimed his doctor ignored his child's vaccine injury.

I wonder how he will handle the fact that his comments on this blog cannot be removed by him.

I also noted he has not responded to any of the comments pointing out that his article about Dr. Offit, in addition to being both extreme and incorrect, is a violation of his promise not to talk about him.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

I would also add that it's clear that Mr. De Niro's inaccurate comments are going to do some damage and mislead some parents, sadly, into believing the vaccines-cause-autism myth. This will certainly harm children, since such parents may end up either not vaccinating and not protecting their children from disease or subjecting children with autism to untested, potentially abusive and risky biomedical treatments like chelation and MMS, in an effort to cure them from pretended vaccine damage. But I am encouraged by the media response, which by and large highlighted the fact that these claims have been discredited by the extensive research that looked at the question and found no link, and highlighted Andrew wakefield's complete lack of credibility as a source.

It seems that many in the media have learned and are less inclined to buy into these baseless conspiracy theories.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Narad, Is that why you get things that say “This Page Intentionally Left Blank”?

tl;dr: Mebbe.

I suspect that this is mainly a different phenomenon, as I've only encountered it in documents that are "official" in some fashion. (Whether federal mailings incur a charge from the USPS, I have no idea.) In other words, I think it may have a basis in ensuring the validity of page citations, given restrictions that arise either from the compositor or design. I might check later when I have more time. A basic question would be whether it appears verso or recto on a text-bearing page or with itself.

Not bumblefυck Ohio

Well, that leaves a whole lot of open ground, Bradley.

Handley & Best == bff?

I was really struck by how manipulative Andy was in those emails with Hightower. He starts out nasty "Did YOU share our confidential movie!!' All but accused of being a traitor, Grace coughs up the Intel: De Niro shared with Rosenthal, Rosenthal shared with Rollins. Andy has what he needs: a conspiracy chain. Pharma—>Rollins—>Rosenthal—>Censorship-of-Vaxxed. So he immediately lets Hightower know she's back in his good graces: His heart goes out to her, they are one "in truth and healing", and the whole point is to spin the martyr card — whipsawing Hightower: She goes from suspicion of sticking another spear into his side, to sister in sympathy because she is just beginning to learn how hard it is to be Andy Wakefield: He who suffers for the sake of saving the children. But this is the Mel Gibson take on Xtian theology: what follows crucifiction isn't forgiveness, but Payback! So the path to Get Right With Andy given to Grace to make up for Bob's leak: She is to work her hubby to get him to turn on his long time Tribeca collaborator, Jane Rosenthal.
[Lest anyone protest Andy's not smart enough to be this calculatingly diabolical, it's probably closer to 'instinct' than 'calculation'...]

To our community, Andrew Wakefield is Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ rolled up into one.

Of course he is. Think how the analogy positions the AVs. Upper-middle-class strivers get to imagine themselves as impoverished and oppressed black Africans, victims fed to the lions = been blighted by having an ASD child = oppression by the Caesars of Big Pharma. It's not about Andy. It's about them.

The thing is, like pretty much everything in that bubble, Andy as liberating martyr doesn't play outside the reality distortion field of the bubble. The schema only works in outline viewed from a distance: the brave doctor persecuted for speaking truth to power, at the cost of great sacrifice, who remains a steadfast symbol and voice for the afflicted... [with the awaited teleology of ascendance to the throne of heaven, or at least a healing and statesmanlike governance and all but univesal acclaim and respect.]

But when you actually look at Wakefield, you see a vengeful, mendacious snake, whose digs in Austin don't exactly analogize to a cell on Robben Island.

This is the upside for pro-vax [how sad that that has to be A Thing] for Vaxxed screening widely in public forums that extend beyond the bubble. People get to see Andy for who he is – a fraud at all levels from macro to micro, who trades in demeaning stereotyping of kids for their difference. His presentations are so over-the-top blatant, smarmy, egotistically self-centered and self-serving — as I think Orac has said, he's the AV movements worst enemy. His appeal is self-limiting, the more you know about him, it only supports a quasi-cult that can keep him flush, not the sort of wider influence that can re-fuel enough vax refusal to threaten public health.

“To our community, Andrew Wakefield is Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ rolled up into one.”
He’s dead?

I hope TBruce isn't dropping a hint to JB Handley. As is true generally with martyrs, a Dead Wakefield would be much more valuable to anti-vax than the live one...

...Which is all a reason NOT to talk about Robert De Niro. Andy's schtick needs more sympathetic surrogates — i.e. concerned celebrity parents. Jenny McCarthy's pre-anti-vax image actually worked to her advantage — the pivot away from self-promoting bimbo to apparently selfless advocate for 'serious issues' made her seem all the more sincere and her C-list celebrity didn't qualify her as 'elite' allowing a point of identification. De Niro actually offers a significantly less attractive figure. But he's still so, so, so much better than Andy himself.

I suspect folks like Handley understand this, at least intuitively. The more AV gets exposure through mediators, the better to appeal to folks outside the base. The more exposure Andy himself gets, the more the repulsive rotten core of the sub-cult is revealed, and the harder to get purchase in the public...

So the whole narrative of poor Bobby De Niro, who just wants to raise questions, and gets beset by the Pharma Shills led by Judas-Jane Rosenthal [didn't the Jews kill Christ?] takes our eyes off Wakefield and the lies and ASD-demeaning visual strategies of Vaxxed.

A problematic factor here is that the primary opponents of anti-vax are pro-science folks whose instincts and larger agendas lead them to attack anti-vax in the public arena with the weakest argument against it there – the rejection of scientific consensus. There's much more traction against AV available with:
• victims of VPDs [c.f. The Texas Children's VPD book].
• Wakefield's fraud, lies, and greed.
• The awful stigmatization of ASD.

A celebrity spokeshead like De Niro takes the spotlight away from all these things. They're sincere. You can't confront them with "You really hate your kid, don't you?" They set the agenda of discussion as far away from VPD outbreaks as possible...

So, RDN goes on Today and gets a softball question about scientific consensus, which he parries fairly effectively with "It's more complicated." Then Today has one of their talking heads do a 'balance' piece from the 'science' side with a few short clips from a pediatrician who isn't even miced properly... yawn. Now, just imagine what Today have done by flipping the agenda and have De Niro address either the fraud or VPDs:
"Are you concerned that the representation of Dr. William Thompson in Vaxxed is thoroughly contradicted by the transcripts of his phone conversations with Brain Hooker?"
"I'd like to read you part of an essay Ronald Dahl wrote about the death of his daughter Olivia,and get your reaction."

Or what if the talking head piece had included:
• Dissection of the fraud in the TVaxxed trailer per Matt Carey's analysis.
• Interview w. parent of immuno-compromised child on the threat posed by the unvaccinated.
* Interview with neuro-diversity activist, near tears, saying "I am not broken, damaged, destroyed..."

Dogging Robert De Niro on science is not the right move here. Not at all. Even addressing him directly is an error. The celebrity is a propaganda diversion, so the thing to do is say: 'OK, Mr. De Niro is speaking up for Andrew Wakefield, let's turn away from Travis Oz, and look at the man behind the curtain. For a very ugly picture that is. Stigmatization and the vulnerable endangered, with documentable lies, and all for the sake of naked greed and self-aggrandizement.'

So, of the first 20 shots given to kids, how many have been studied for their relationship to autism? The answer may surprise you: ZERO. That’s right, because only one vaccine, the MMR, has ever been studied for its relationship to autism.
No, wait. It’s “ZERO” or it’s “just one”, the MMR?

Handley's argument is that the MMR may not be included among the first 20 injections (if you count each DTaP as multiple injections).

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

"Hardcover: 144 pages"


One suspects that if the financial benefits of vaccine denial were removed most of the advocates would move on to other crusades. Another aspect of the notroversy is that unless the outcry is continuous and strident, a bit of sober reflection might occur and some people otherwise easily swayed by the storm of disinformation might realize that real harm is being done in terms of a public health issue that extends far beyond the relatively small group directly affected by autism. When and if a vaccine is developed for Zika virus there will be an outspoken minority that will claim - well I'd rather not speculate it might give them ideas, but you get the drift. More grist for the mill.

Despite the fact that Mr. Wakefield's so called credibility has been thoroughly destroyed he continues to get along pretty well trading on the same themes. Others appear happily willing to go along for the ride. It is so much easier to just make things up than try to do actual science.

Let me propose an even better experiment than the vaxxed - unvaxxed study that is the brutally unethical darling of the denier. No vax, say for a decade. No vaccines at all for anything. Anyone care to speculate on the outcome of that?

Another approach worth considering I think, has anyone ever asked any of the anti-vaxxers if they were ever vaccinated? For anything? I would bet good money all of them have had both polio and smallpox.

Keep up the good work Orac. What do you think about all the noise being made about an 'Apollo program to cure cancer"? My immediate thought was, cancer is not an engineering problem.

By Krubozumo Nyankoye (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

"I think it may have a basis in ensuring the validity of page citations, given restrictions that arise either from the compositor or design."

My first experience with this is waaaay back in the 1970s, when I was young and starting to play with IBM mainframes. Their technical documentation was loose leaf and placed in binders. They were frequently updated.

This resulted in lots of deleted pages and inserted pages (15, 15-1, 15-2, 16, ...), and voluminous instructions on how to "edit" your documents with the shipped updates. Since sheets have two sides (duh!) this often resulted in one superfluous page. These had the helpful printing on it: 'This page intentionally left blank.' so no one would think that the document was incomplete. We all thought it quite funny at the time. But then we were silly teenagers.

That's the earliest I've seen this usage. Maybe IBM were the first, maybe not. It was only years later I noticed various bureaucracies copy the procedure for their documents.

Sadmar #36 - In response to '(didn't the Jews kill Christ?)'??!!

What is this about, Sadmar? What is it you that you want us to assume from this remark?

By Eddie Unwind (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Permit me, owing to a typing error, to restate the question:

Sadmar - what are you implying by 'Didn't the Jews kill Christ'?

By Eddie Unwind (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

By 'bumblefuck Ohio', I take it JB means Cleveland? I wonder if he'd use that terminology face to face with Trent Reznor or LeBron James.

By 'neverfuckingheardofit U' I take it JB means 'Not The Farm.' I'm sure he's among the favorite alumni of faculty members at Leland's Med School. I'm sure he was inspired to go to Stanford by this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNsqpIfzeAQ

Of course JB's a snob. He was once a magnate of a company that manufactured 'specialty dips'. Not common dips. SPESHUL dips. Takes one to make one, I guess.

For putting his weight behind a film that reveals just what sort of lying, callous, scoundrel Andrew Wakefield actually is, I’m starting to think that JB might be a double agent working for Big Pharma. Way to put your worst foot forward, dude!

@ #2 and #7 (glad it wasn’t the third comment!)

I have no respect or even a passing interest in Mr. Handley and his ilk, and wouldn’t be bothered to make any excuses for same, but I really don’t think he said his child is a “blight”, but rather that autism is a blight, and perhaps in the most severe cases it seems that way to the parents who have to cope. No matter what, it’s a poor word choice and I almost didn’t bother with this after reading his foul screed to Orac.

By darwinslapdog (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

@ Eddie

That's irony.

Handley says Andy is his movement's Jesus. Wingnut 'christians' use The Passion to promote anti-semitism – see the Gibson movie, where the hook-nosed priests get the similarly stereotypically cast Judas to betray the very un-semitic-looking Christ for 30 pieces of silver, 'cause those people are all about money, ya know. So the smear on Jane Rosenthal taps into this old hate-speech mythology.

I grew up in a Jewish community, so I'm quite tuned to anti-semitism, and I've been shocked at various times in my life at the casual unthinking anti-semitism among the country club set, and folks who grew up cocooned in certain forms of Christianity.

Hope that helps.

Irony? Doesn't read that way. Not to a Jewish fellow like myself in any event. Round-about reasoning detailing external sources never sounds very convincing, but I appreciate you feel in a very tricky spot.

Tell you what, hand your comment around to your friends in your community, see how they feel about it.

By Eddie Unwind (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Put it this way, Sadmar. You are an anti-semite, or a complete and utter fool, take your pick.

By Eddie Unwind (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

And yes, or both...

By Eddie Unwind (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

I read Sadmar's comment re: Jews as irony and do not see it as anti Semitic.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Eddie Unwind (not verified)

@ darwinslapdog

It was Wakefield, not Handley who said the De Niro family was "blighted by autism". I do not agree with MI Dawn that this suggests Grace Hightower views her son as a bllght, however many hardcore anti-vax parents on AoA, TMR, etc. have shown they do very much think this way. Wakefield's use of the term is anything but innocent. His scam depends on parents seeing their ASD children as 'damaged' or 'destroyed'. He'd have no income source if they accepted they kids as they are, and spent their time trying to nurture them instead of crusading against vaccines, or (worse) trying to 'fix' them with chelation and other risky 'treatments'. And then, there's the role of this sort of rhetoric – and Wakefield personally — in the murder of Alex Spourdalakis.

I wonder if the De Niros know this story about the brave Dr. Andy. Too bad that seems to have fallen through the cracks of the coverage of Vaxxed...

Dorit, you are by no means a spokes-person for the entire Jewish community. Moreover given your role at RI it is entirely predictable that you would choose to see it that way.

By Eddie Unwind (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

I certainly do not speak for the entire Jewish community. Neither do you. Each of us is voicing a personal opinion.

I would say, again, that in context the statement reads very tongue in cheek to me. I don't see anything offensive about it.

Just out of curiosity, aside from an interested reader, what is my role at RI, in your view?

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Eddie Unwind (not verified)

So, JB, how did that "Buttar Cream" work out for you? I assume you kid is perfectly normal now that you spread Rashid Buttar's magical transdermal chelation cream all over them.

Dude, you are so entertaining with your idiotic rants. Thanks for dropping by, it has been entertaining.

Eddie Unwind is a super special kind of troll, one that likes to revel in his own illiteracy. Super duper fun!

@ sadmar:

Eddie is a regular over at Jake's blog, Autism Investigated.
Take a look. Especially at the most recent article/ video.
I'll bet you'll looooove Jake's blog.**

** sarcasm for those of you who can't discern it.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Thank you, Denice Walter. That explains much.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Denice Walter (not verified)

hand your comment around to your friends in your community, see how they feel about it.

Where do you think I learned the schtick, and ironic commentary as a general mode of conversation? It wasn't from the Lutherans.

Make him listen to you, Tom. It ain't right, all this fuss over one sheeny. Let Caspar have Bernie. What's one Hebrew more or less?

The guys who wrote that went to my high school. And they're not Lutherans. And I'll just leave this here:

"Everybody blames the Jews for killing Christ, and then the Jews try to pass it off on the Romans. I'm one of the few people that believe it was the blacks." — Sarah Silverman

@ Denice:

I know Jake is ASD, and if Eddie is too, then that would account for literalism and trouble with irony, or figurative speech of any kind. Couldn't get too upset at that, I suppose, if that's the case.

Anyway I got to reference the Coens and Sarah Silverman on RI, so it's all good.

I would pay good money to watch a JB/Stiv Bators match up. Alas, not to be.

@ sadmar:

It's not the literalism that bothers me.

It's pretty much everything else:
woo acceptance, conspiracy mongering, fraudster worship, 6 degrees, bad statistical analyses, wasting electrons, solipsism, tone, Dunning Kruger, harassing people etc etc.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

I tried to watch that video that Jake posted. I really did. Does he ever wonder that the speaker was "stumped" because he went on a really long rant without making a point and not because she was, in fact, "stumped"? I mean, Jesus Christ! The rambled on and on as if he were a panelist. Even I would have been like, "Whaaaaaaaa?"
Back to JB. "...my best friends in the world aren’t people who comment on my blog posts who I’ve never met."
He's never met his best friends in the world, who are not people who comment on his blog posts? Or he's never met people who comment on his blog posts, who are not his best friends in the world?
Does JB even have "best friends"? How is JB still a thing?

Denice @9 -- I've seen the Bach lyric translated as "We sit down in tears" -- "with tears a-falling" sounds too much like American vernacular to me.

It occurs at the end of the St. Matthew Passion, which retells the story of the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Christ over nearly three hours and includes some of the greatest music of the Western tradition. It can be incredibly moving even for a non-believer like me -- Scorcese's choice was inspired.

I'll be back before long with my regularly-scheduled program of stupid jokes.

By palindrom (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Thought I've been away (mostly because this site is maddeningly balky, crashy and unreadable on iPads) I'm glad I swooped in to see our esteemed host's response to Di Niro's sad, rambling, cray-cray. Denise, I miss your wit and style, and I hope that his scaly awesomeness continues to bless you with filthy, Pharma lucre. And JBH, what can I say? That was comedy gold. It's like Blake Edwards is still alive somewhere, writing your scripts.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Still no edit feature, I see. Though, not thought.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

"In truth and healing"

What a pompous dick.

With the idea of JB/Stiv Bators PPV, live from Krakatoa, East of Bumblefuck, Delphine and Pareidolius have made my day.

I'll idly place three quatloos on "Eddie Unwind" also being "Albert Vindaloo."

I got kicked into moderation :( pasting Pareidolius's location into a short comment thanking Pareidolius and Delphine for the mental image of a JB Handley/Stiv Bators PPV cage match broadcast live from Krakatoa, East of Bumblef***.

Anyway for Delphine: no Stiv, but Cheetah pre-D.B. with Rocket From The Tombs: http://tinyurl.com/jljj4jo

@Unwind: Pathetically sad ad-hom, even by anti-vax standards. 2/10. Learn to troll better.

And one more from RFTT, including the lyric that inspired the previous song: http://tinyurl.com/zaokyvl

Lyrics on both songs by David 'Crocus Behemoth' Thomas. Vocals on Reducer by Cheetah (Gene O'Conner), on Solution by the late Peter Laughner. Recorded live at The Picadilly Inn, Cleveland, 7/24/75.

As he launched into the opener, "Sonic Reducer," O'Connor fell over backwards but continued to play on his back. "I didn't miss a note!"

After RFTT broke up, O'Conner and Johnny 'Blitz' Madansky formed the Dead Boys with Stiv, and Laughner and Thomas formed Pere Ubu. The Boys waxed 'Sonic Reducer', and Ubu released 'Final Solution'.

Mamma threw me out till I get some pants that fit
She just won't approve of my strange kind of wit
I get so excited, always gotta lose
Man that send me off, let them take the cure

Buy me a ticket to a sonic reduction
Guitars gonna sound like a nuclear destruction
Seems I'm a victim of natural selection
Meet me on the other side, another direction

Don't need a cure
Don't need a cure
Don't need a cure
Need a final solution

Lest Eddie misunderstand, Thomas is an eccentric fellow, and the reference isn't to the Holocaust, but to Sherlock Holmes ability to solve any puzzle, in this case to solve the teen angst expressed by the voice of the lyric (which is actually a character, not Thomas himself... ah, art). And anyway, if you want to read it as dark, the recipient of the final solution would be the person singing.

But, what’s generally true, and I’m only speculating here about Dr. Rollins, is that people in her position rarely, if ever, discuss causation of autism or get involved with the conflict with vaccines. Why? Well, two reason really. First, if she did she wouldn’t have the job she has.

Ugh. I work in the autism field, and while we might not get this kind of insult near as often as, say, oncologists (who hide the cure for cancer blablabla), I of course find this pretty offensive.
I also find this almost hilarious, given that in my country (and I bet USA aren't that much better), we still lack a lot of ressources for autistic persons. Quite a number of them can't get some (or any) services because they're already at full capacity, and have a waiting list kilometers long. And lots of professionnals are overworked and at risk of burnout.
So even if we found out the cause of autism and it was simple to avoid it (ex : not vaccinating with X vaccine), we autism professionals would still have full time jobs for quite a long time. And when there wouldn't be anymore autistic persons, we could simply move in general psychiatry / pedopsychiatry, which is also chronically unmanned. Or perhaps people think that there is a mean to make mental / psychiatric illness disappear altogether ?


When I want to show people the kind of doctor-feuled propaganda we parents have to deal with, I just send them a few of your quotes and they get it.

While I might sometimes find Oracian rhetoric violent (especially taken out of context of his articles, without the links to studies proving his point), this JB comment made my irony meter explode.

DW @60:
It’s not the literalism that bothers me.

Obviously you need your long walks on the beach, with wild surf crashing on the rocks --
-- No, wait, that's littoralism.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Behold, Narad! Jesus of Naradeth!! I knew I'd get to hear from you eventually! Missed you, actually.

Sadmar, good to hear you're a fan of Sherlock Holmes, as I am (incidentally, Jeremy Brett was quite wonderful in my opinion). And so perhaps in the last analysis you are simply a complete and utter fool, albeit a literate one - such traits being by no means mutually exclusive - so do be extra careful, as the sort of phrase that you used can easily be taken out of context.

Dorit, role on.

has (#69) - all such links are important and informative for those who want to learn more in relation to this issue, just as many consider it necessary to make constant mention of Wakefield's retracted Lancet paper and humiliate him.

Until 2017,

Eddie out.

By Eddie Unwind (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

people in her position rarely, if ever, discuss causation of autism or get involved with the conflict with vaccines. Why? Well, two reason really. First, if she did she wouldn’t have the job she has.

Researchers in paleontology rarely, if ever, discuss causation of fossils or get involved with explanations from the Old Testament Deluge. If they did, they wouldn't have the jobs they have.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

@ Sadmar

I suspect folks like Handley understand this, at least intuitively. The more AV gets exposure through mediators, the better to appeal to folks outside the base.

Eh, the trick of linking an easily recognized name to your business is older than print.
Julius Caesar had "scion of the goddess Venus" on his business card, and the Merovingian kings claimed to be related to Jesus.
Getting the approval of a famously known actor is worth a thousand advert' spots on late-night TV. Just ask the Church of Happylology.

Em, speaking of Jesus, at the risk of re-starting a flame war:

Sadmar – what are you implying by ‘Didn’t the Jews kill Christ’?

As a part of the antivax movement overlap strongly with the NWO/Illuminati nutters and other conspiracy theorists of this ilk, I found that Sadmar putting an antisemitic sentence* into the mouth of AVers was actually an accurate description.

Because, when your beliefs are that a secret group of rich people control your government and your lives, you are going to attract and make friend with people who believe in a Jewish conspiration to control the world. If you weren't one of them from the start.
Just look at the drek spouted by a few of our recent trolling visitors. When the topic of the Gates foundation crops up in the discussion, the Protocols of the Elder of Sion are not far behind.

In a similar racist vein, a number of (white privileged) AVers will outright say that vaccines are only useful for dirty brown people - smart, white people like themselves know how to stay clean and eat correctly.
We had one such exemplar showing regularly in these threads a few years back, until he decided to write his own blog.

I'm all for holding a mirror to their beliefs and show the AVers the dubious company they keep.

* Re: the "the Jews kill Christ" stuff, regardless of any accuracy to the sentence itself, it was standard dogma in the Christian religions up to very recently. For Catholics, it was so until the late pope Jean-Paul II made it clear that calling Jews "god-killers" was Not Cool. That was, like, yesterday.
In the century-old cathedral in the city near my parents' place, there is the usual 12-step depiction of the Passion. For some reason, Ponce Pilate is represented wearing meticulously rendered Rabbi beard-and-robes.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 15 Apr 2016 #permalink

Eddie@73: Wakefield humiliated himself, putting his personal lust for profit and power before science, ethics, and basic humanity. And his undoing should have ended there, only he's still absusing autistic kids and their families to this day thanks to slimy little enablers like you. Go sit on a rusty spike and spin, you worm.

Now that I've given JBH a mild rebuke, I would like to add this for Mr De Niro. As respectfully as I can put it, sir you are late to the discussion and so have missed out on much. First, you should know that your friend Wakefield has been struck from the rolls by the British Medical Society for falsifying data, and fraudulently reporting based on that bad information that he cooked up. Second, you should know that to date no credible study has shown any link between vaccines and autism, and that many high quality studies by government laboratories around the world have shown no link between autism disorders and vaccines, of any kind. The thimerosol hypothesis has been shown to be a false hypothesis and so can be dismissed. I realize you probably don't want to believe this -- the need for something to be at fault , to have a cause to point a finger at -- is immense. But sometimes we just have to admit that the cause may be unknown, or beyond our control. It is most probable at this time that your child had a genetic predisposition to Autism spectrum disorders. This is not your fault, not Ms Hightower's fault, not your child's fault. It just is what it is. I hope that you can accept that your child is neuro-aytpical and do your best to accommodate their needs. I know you will not love them any the less.

I'm sorry for feeding into the off-topicness but the "Da Jews killed Jebus!"-trope has always been fascinating to me. I'm not a believer but I'm familiar with Christianity as anyone living in a country that was historically Christian. So here goes my ramblings:

Jesus had to die. Simple as that. Yahweh had planned for it, and Jesus had accepted and prepared for it. Why it was necessary for an all-loving god to go through with this plan instead of simply absolving mankind directly is of course another topic - the fact is that within the narrative set up in the New Testament, Jesus had to die.

With that in mind, the persecution of the Jews that has followed as a result of stuff like passion plays perplexes me. They, like poor Judas, were simply pawns enacting Yahweh's ultimate master plan for the salvation of mankind. If anything they should be celebrated for their part in it! Even if the story tells of them wanting to get rid of Jesus for their own evil goals, you can't argue with the end result being good, no?

Which brings me to Judas. Poor, poor Judas. Without him betraying Jesus, no salvation of mankind. And what does he get for being an instrumental part of it? Death and eternal damnation. In a way, it wasn't Jesus who sacrificed himself for the salvation of mankind but Judas. Jesus ultimately rose from the dead and ascended to heaven and sits by Yahweh's side - which is a totally chill thing to be doing. Meanwhile Judas damned himself for eternity and his immortal soul is suffeing to this day and will be doing so until the end of everything. Who really made the biggest sacrifice in the end - Jesus or Judas?


Continuing your off-topicness, I can say that in the fairly progressive Jesuit schools I went to growing up, it was impressed upon us that Judas' sin was not that he betrayed Jesus to the Romans--that was his role to play. It was that he lost faith and hanged himself afterwards. *That* was his betrayal.

Still unfair though.

By Frequent Lurker (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

but why is a Swedish trekking supply company trying to sell me men's outdoor clothing?

Aren't web advertisements supposed to cater to your whims?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

@ Pareidolius:

You need one of those handy dandy computer things.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

re Sarah Silverman, littorally

there's a video where she is standing on a beach, waves crashing behind her, wearing a long white, hippie-ish dress and playing a guitar, singing about how wonderful the world is and love and friendship - or suchlike- with a chorus of
" And then I pooped".

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

Before I go - off to the distant suburban wilds where my friends nearly literally herd cats-

I should mention that Dan has another gem of literary perfection today at AoA. wherein he is addressed as Dr by advert generating software.

Perhaps in his imagination he believes that has already attained that distinction
- just like in mine I am truly an outdoorsman named Rolf.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

So, JB, how did that “Buttar Cream” work out for you? I assume you kid is perfectly normal now that you spread Rashid Buttar’s magical transdermal chelation cream all over them.

He's long past that and giving his poor child bleach enemas and drinks.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

Science Mom, because the stuff just works so well... at doing nothing.

Re: Sarah Silverman, I saw a video of her on the Conan O' Brien Show. She was dressed as Adolf Hitler and did an interview bemoaning the fact that Donald Trump was being called his successor. Hugely inappropriate but quite funny. I guess Mark Twain's axiom holds true.
"Sacred Cows make the best hamburgers."

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

Eddie is a regular over at Jake’s blog, Autism Investigated.

And AoA, where he also felt the need to present his etymological failure, which was received with wholesale indifference (causing him to post a second time, with the same result).

It's like Gerg Lite.

"Blighted by autism"? So far as a short search can reach, it appears that Mr. Wakefield is not a parent; his experience of autism seems to be at second or third hand for the greatest part.
In spite of the difficulties that can go along with having an aspie for a child, I know my parents would not say I "blighted" their lives.
My nephew is farther along the spectrum, and while he has sometimes been challenging, he also lives a life of more accomplishment than anyone could have expected,. He hasn't blighted us one bit.
If I ever meet Wakefraud I hope I can genuinely teach him that he's wrong. And if it doesn't take I will be happy to insert my boot in his bleach hole.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

On the "Jews killed Jesus" thing I occasionally have been on the receiving end of that, thankfully only verbally.
In previous generations there were some who believed it to be an opening to an interfaith dialogue in which their considered response would be delivered wrapped around a fist.
Lenny Bruce: “A lot of people say to me, 'Why did you kill Christ?" "I dunno…It was one of those parties, got out of hand.” Alternatively: ''We killed him because he didn't want to become a doctor, that's why we killed him.'

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

..."previous generations" of my family, that is.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

..."previous generations of my family", that should read. There were a few tough guys in my family, back in the olden days.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

I should mention that Dan has another gem of literary perfection today at AoA. wherein he is addressed as Dr by advert generating software.

One Paul Champion has chimed in with a series of both hilarious and ironic comments explaining technology and STEM publishing.

Aside from seemingly believing that the medical literature is actually routinely being produced by SCIgen (what does Mr. Natural say?), he cautions against the very OA barrel-scrapers that the Geiers, etc., have to turn to.

^ Oh, and science journalism is produced by Wordsmith.

Orac writes,

“Who should parents trust on medical issues about their children, an actor who never graduated from high school or an actual pediatrician?”

MJD says,

Pediatrician, unless the actor is scripted by a pediatrician to make the message more appealing.

Robert De Niro is an extremely gifted individual who doesn't need a High School/College diploma to win an Oscar.

Furthermore Robert De Niro would be the perfect actor to play the role of Andrew Wakefield in the movie entitled, Andrew Wakefield.

I'd like to play the role of the bald-headed adversary who made life miserable for Andrew Wakefield (i.e., Brian Deer)

By Michael J. Dochniak (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

I should mention that Dan has another gem of literary perfection today at AoA. wherein he is addressed as Dr by advert generating software.

Ha ha ha. Dan is being spammed by bottom feeding predatory publishers. All because he wrote a nonsense letter to the editor and got it published.

The comments are something else again.

By Chris Preston (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

I guess Mark Twain’s axiom holds true.
“Sacred Cows make the best hamburgers.”

Also attributed to Abbie Hoffman. Or Mencken. Or Groucho Marx. Or was it Santayana?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 17 Apr 2016 #permalink

Oh boy.

Talk about captive audiences.
VAXXED will be shown at the Autism One Conference in May.( see Autism One website). I am shocked that the price of admission is low ( 10 USD) and that another event occurs at the same time. It's not clear whether the perpetrators will be there but Hooker is scheduled for talks at other times.
I think that they may have raised the general entrance fee.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 17 Apr 2016 #permalink

There's already a little fight going on in De Niro's Wikipedia page, complete with a reference to Natural New.

By Secret Cisco (not verified) on 17 Apr 2016 #permalink

@ #16, re Robt Kennedy

it's a Mafia family, what do you expect? Nope, mafiosos are not really sweet but misunderstood really cool bad boys. Criminality is usually (there are a few exceptions) the visible part of a deceptive, destructive and degraded character.

By Spectator (not verified) on 17 Apr 2016 #permalink

#98 I think it was Shake Shack

By Spectator (not verified) on 17 Apr 2016 #permalink

#80 I'd never thought of that. That's one of the extremely rare times I've seen a new-to-me thought in internet comments.

By Spectator (not verified) on 17 Apr 2016 #permalink

There are a couple curiosities in that Wakefield-Grace Hightower DeNiro email exchange. Here's one:

Just saw Ian Lipkin’s write up in NYT on March 30th you are entitled to a rebuttal.

Ian Lipkin wrote an article in the WSJ published April 3 2016 6:14 pm. Grace DeNiro likely meant WSJ when she wrote NYT; there's nothing recent from Lipkin in the NYT.

But DeNiro's email was allegedly sent Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 9:39 AM


Ian Lipkin wrote an article in the WSJ published April 3 2016 6:14 pm.

Which only appeared in the print (Eastern) edition on April 4, page A19, according to the ProQuest access provided by my handy-dandy new public library card.

^ Oh, and as I recall, there was some overt asshurt over at AoA about the WSJ letting "Mr. Wakefield" past the slot.

So how did Grace read an article 3 days before it was published? Smells kinda fishy don't it?

OT of a different nature: has anyone heard from Krebs? I miss him…

By Sheepmilker (not verified) on 18 Apr 2016 #permalink


@ Spectator #102

#80 I’d never thought of that.


Doris Lessing (The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five) and a few other sci-fi authors have cogitated on the Jesus-Judas relationship in a similar manner.

And anyone familiar with Operation Fortitude* knows that "without Judas, there is no Christ."
* at least in the movie I saw about it: it was the code signal used by one deep-cover British spy to tell another one to spill the beans to the German about the (unknown to him, false) Allies plans to land outside of Normandy.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 18 Apr 2016 #permalink

@ Sheepmilker, how odd, I was just thinking about him and where he has been myself. Hope he's well.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 18 Apr 2016 #permalink

OT - and I didn't want to put this on the new post - it is Raging BS

One of Mikey's astute reporters. Julie Wilson, has written an in -depth, deep background investigation of our most esteemed and benevolent host, Orac - actually, his
friend'. Dr DG ( Natural News today) and it's not anything that you haven't read before but slightly re-arranged. With a photo. His fame grows by leaps and bounds.
I imagine the loons will respond here.

Other BS:
a tape of Andy on the radio ( AoA) 14 minutes of conspiracy mongering welcomed by the host, Imus.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 18 Apr 2016 #permalink

I've been thinking ( worrying) about Kreb as well.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 18 Apr 2016 #permalink

Krebiozen isn't the only one who hasn't commented recently. I just checked. Antaeus Feldspar last commented on the 9th of February here.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 18 Apr 2016 #permalink

De Niro and Rosenthal interviewed by Al Roker on Today:

"Vaxxed" discussed 0:30-2:10.

Rosenthal slaps down De Niro's anti-vax propaganda @ 1:09 to no effect on the dimwit:
Rosenthal: "People should read the reviews of the film because there are things in the film that criticize the point that you're (De Niro) making. There's some issues in the film from its consistency; from somebody saying one thing 20 minutes in and then reverses their point of view..."

De Niro: "Well, there are inaccuracies in any film. Any documentary. So I don't really... and I'm not defending it in that way. I don't know, but there are accuracies or things that you have to question and that's my reason for having the film. To question certain things, or open it up for discussion- pros and cons. There is something that is not quite kosher in all of this. That 's all I can say."

She's obviously not happy with all this.

Amethyst @80

Whilst in no way seeking to justify it, I suspect that the persecution of Jews may not have been simply because of the "Da Jews killed Jebus!" trope, but their ongoing rejection of Jesus as the Messiah.

By DrBollocks (not verified) on 18 Apr 2016 #permalink

Let me get something clear: from my perspective, Jane Rosenthal’s sister, Dr. Pamela Rollins, is doing great work for our kids and I’m thankful for her and her work. Our children desperately need help communicating! But, what’s generally true, and I’m only speculating here about Dr. Rollins, is that people in her position rarely, if ever, discuss causation of autism or get involved with the conflict with vaccines. Why? Well, two reason really. First, if she did she wouldn’t have the job she has

Y'know, I knew right away at the first sentence, where he was taking pains to compliment Dr Rollins and say how critical her job was, that he was going to come around and insult her in a moment. But to go as far as to say she directly profits from autism and therefore has a vested interest in the cause not being discovered is pretty damn disgusting even for Handley.

Never trust a nice word said by Handley. There's always going to be venom under the sugar.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 18 Apr 2016 #permalink