Tag Archives: Jb Handley

Dan Olmsted’s Final “Weekly Wrap”: Bernie, Bobby, Andy, and Donald

6a00d8357f3f2969e201b8d255acf9970cDr. RimlandKennedy AlbanyAndy Long Beach

It is with great sadness that Autism Investigated relays the announcement that Dan Olmsted – Age of Autism’s founding editor – has passed away. While I have had my differences with him and the Age of Autism site, I will be forever grateful to him for his friendship, advice and platform for my views. I’ve always respected him as a journalist and have never forgotten the excellent work he has done over the years, and I just had a very friendly exchange with him on the day of the inauguration. I will never stop missing him and offer my sincere condolences to the entire Age of Autism team. Autism Investigated will devote the entire week to posts honoring Dan Olmsted, including a proper obituary. May we all honor Dan Olmsted’s life by ending the autism epidemic to make America great again! – Jake Crosby, MPH

Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Bernie, Bobby, Andy and Donald

By Dan Olmsted

Bernard Rimland, Bobby Kennedy Jr., Andy Wakefield and now Donald Trump — yes he does!  — represent a kind of mainstream thread of vaccine safety advocacy. The first three put themselves forward and paid a price – Rimland went from the father of “autism isn’t caused by parenting” to being considered a fringe quack kook multivitamins cure autism kind of guy. Bobby went from respected environmental Riverkeeper Kennedy scion who beat GE and got the Hudson cleaned up to mercury-thimerosal-obsessed. 

Donald Trump was inaugurated as president Friday, saying what Bernie said. And if ever a paragraph break was called for (pick your reason) this is it.

Dr. Bernie Rimland conspiracy theorist fringe quack kook. And Andy, well, Andy didn’t even pass go – he was considered a fraudulent finge quack kook from just about Day 1.

Covering autism through the prism of an environmental illness, with vaccine safety a paramount issue, I do have more familiarity with these four folks than I might otherwise. Bernie was an indifferent dresser with a messy beard (me too) who, at least in my memory, thundered with the truth. My single favorite quote in my decade on this beat is his statement that “The autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause.” This is brilliantly simple, stark and bold. First you have to stipulate that autism has increased exponentially (it has – that’s the subject of Mark Blaxill and my book out later this year). Then you have to be both narrow enough – pointing not just to some vague chemical or environmental exposure – and broad enough – pointing not just to one vaccine, or one ingredient – to survive the onslaught of denial and rebuke and phony science you can expect the minute you say such a thing. (“Excessive vaccinations” even leaves room for mercury as the prime cause, because if they hadn’t added all those vaccines with mercury, kids wouldn’t have gotten enough of it to cause an epidemic – bad as it is at any dose The MMR also fits — three live viruses in one, and now a fourth in the MMRV; talk about excessive!)

Lately I’ve been thinking of Bernie, as a new president who says much the same thing takes the oath of office; protecting our kids might be described as Job One. Now that he is one day in office I certainly hope that he will take on the issue and bring Bernie’s claim front and center. I think our collective minds were pretty much blown when he summoned Bobby to the Tower and sent him down with some sort of message, garbled or tentative as it may have been, that he intends to tackle vaccines and autism and that people like Bobby are going to play a major role.

What’s more, before the election Trump met with Andy and some kindred spirits who are editors and sponsors of this blog and listened attentively.

These are huge developments that have been a bit overwhelmed – perhaps by presidential-elect design – by the whole shakeup going on in the transfer of power. More than trial balloons, less that full-fledged policy initiatives, they have made the CDC quake in its cesspool, if that’s possible, and the usual talking heads like Offit and Schaffner turn purple with rage (makes me think of Dylan: “The man standing next to me, his head was exploding. Well, I was praying the pieces wouldn’t fall on me.”) The mainstream media is both outraged and, one senses, outgunned at the moment. Who cares about the mainstream media anyway? The best story we got out of the Kennedy meeting was from BuzzFeed, which interviewed both me (I?) and J.B. Handley and, except for repeating the antivax canard (which I told them not to in writing) treated the event as news, not as a crime scene. While I was on the phone with them going through security at National Airport, Nature magazine was on the other line. Quite a moment for a humble blogger.

Everyone comes to this issue from a different perspective, although of course for most it’s witnessing or understanding the fact that vaccine damage is much more frequent and much more serious than the “experts” will admit. For Bobby it was understanding the damage of environmental mercury and hearing from enough autism moms to intuit the connection. For Andy it was a call from the mother of two autistic children in England. He tried to interrupt and refer her on to the neurodevelopmental department, but then she started talking about strange GI issues they had, and, thank God, he stopped to listen.

For Bernie it was the recognition that he and his wife were not bad enough parents to have caused their son Mark’s nonstop screaming as an infant and his subsequent odd behaviors. That opened into an insight that autism was not genetic but environmental, and that led into vaccines.

We’ve had committees and commissions before – Mark Blaxill served on one and, with Barbara Loe Fisher, valiantly dissented from its blue ribbon inanity. (See the excellent “From Safety Last to Children First.”)

So however they – and we – got here, the moment is ripe, and Bernie’s dictum ought to be our guiding principle, one we can unite behind. I hope that before long the president will be sitting at a table with Bobby and Andy and many more people, including Mark and Barbara, who have fought long and hard to bring this issue to the fore. And I hope they leave an empty chair for Bernie and that, at least occasionally, everyone looks in its direction and remembers that there is much more common in our cause than anything we might occasionally fight over – that the autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause.

Rebel Alliance, unite!

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.

Originally posted on Age of Autism

Watch Jake Crosby’s AutismOne 2014 Talk

Props to AutismOne’s Teri Arranga for her introduction.

Originally posted on AutismOne

So often, when we think of investigating autism, we think of discovering the physiological underpinnings. But what about the sociological forces that perpetuate the autism epidemic? Politics from without? Or – surprisingly – politics from within? In this startling lecture, Jacob Crosby, MPH, discusses the obstructionist forces that have hampered progress within the autism advocacy arena.

Jake Crosby, MPH

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a bachelor’s degree in both history and health and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a master’s degree in epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a PhD in epidemiology. For nearly five years, he was contributing editor to Age of Autism.

Originally posted at AutismOne

AutismOne is a non-profit charity organization 501(c)(3) started by a small group of parents of children with autism. Parents are and must remain the driving force of our community, the stakes are too high and the issues too sacred to delegate to outside interests. AUTISM IS A PREVENTABLE/TREATABLE BIOMEDICAL CONDITION. Autism is the result of environmental triggers. Autism is not caused by “bad” genes and the epidemic is not the result of “better” diagnosis. Children with autism suffer from gut bugs, allergies, heavy metal toxicity, mitochondrial disorders, antioxidant deficiencies, nutritional deficiencies and autoimmune diseases – all of which are treatable. THE KEY IS EDUCATION The AutismOne Conference, AutismOne Radio, AutismOne Outreach and Autism in Action initiatives educate more than 100,000 families every year about prevention, recovery, safety, and change.

Originally posted at AutismOne

 

Addendum: See AutismOne Slides

Mark Blaxill Remains Connected To BCG – A Pharma-Tied Consulting Firm

boston_consulting_group

By Jake Crosby

Revelations about Mark Blaxill’s ties to his former employer the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and its pharmaceutical clients – in contradiction to what he said in a recently recorded interview on Linderman Unleashed – have now come to the attention of Autism Investigated. These discoveries were made on the heels of even more troubling evidence coming to light: see the previous post about Mark Blaxill turning the lead omnibus attorneys against expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier with baseless and profane attacks against them.

In spite of Mark Blaxill claiming on Linderman Unleashed that he was fired from the BCG – suggesting his autism advocacy played a role – he appears to have voluntarily left the firm for the purpose of starting his own company and for reasons wholly unrelated to autism. In fact, Blaxill still maintains ties to BCG despite no longer being employed with the firm as Senior Vice President and despite claiming he no longer has a conflict of interest “of any kind.” Blaxill also falsely claimed to have always consulted for non-pharmaceutical clients while a BCG executive, merely admitting the firm had pharmaceutical clients but he in fact concealed from Linderman’s audience that he had consulted for Merck during his BCG employment.

Here’s the story he gave on his podcast interview with Curt Linderman, dated October 24, 2013, regarding his BCG departure:

“And then in 2006 – early in 2006 not very long after Evidence of Harm came out – all of a sudden I found myself without a job, and I was no longer at the Boston Consulting Group…I did have issues that concerned me, and it actually didn’t stop me from speaking out, Curt, but it did worry me a little, and who knows? Maybe my worries were founded because I’m not working there anymore, and that was not my choice.”

However, the book Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World by Walter Kiechel tells a story about Mark Blaxill’s departure from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) that totally contradicts what Blaxill told Linderman. According to Kiechel:

“Blaxill wanted to push on to the issue of motivation, of why people worked on Linux for free, even into issues of creativity, but couldn’t find the time or support within the firm for exploring those dimensions. “The antibodies resisted that,” he says. In 2006, Blaxill left BCG to set up his own firm, 3LP Advisors, to concentrate on the intersection of strategy, intellectual property, and innovation.”  

In his interview on Linderman, Blaxill said 3LP Advisors was founded as a result of his firing from Boston Consulting Group, claiming the termination of his employment “was not my choice.” Yet not only was it his choice according to Kiechel, but in fact Blaxill left Boston Consulting Group so that he could found 3LP Advisors to practice his own business strategy the way he liked – nothing to do with autism.

Linderman then further questioned Blaxill specifically about his conflict of interest with Boston Consulting Group since 2006:

“To me it would seem as if you were still with this company and you still had this conflict of interest, and that is not the case since 2006?”

To which Blaxill replied by emphatically denying possession of any conflict of interest:

“Curt, I don’t have a conflict of interest of any kind now, and I have not had one for years. I haven’t had a conflict since I started the Age of Autism with JB Handley and Dan Olmsted and Kim Stagliano back in 2007. I haven’t had a conflict since I wrote the book The Age of Autism. I haven’t had a conflict since starting the Canary Party. The only time I had a conflict was when I was helping David Kirby and contributing to the Evidence of Harm book. And it’s even in the book, Curt; I have never hid the conflict. I’ve actually been public with people and open with people about the concerns I’ve had. So it’s not as though there is any great secrets I was keeping. And whatever concern I had, it is not operative any longer.”

However, Blaxill remains a board member of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), which has received over $25,000 annually from Boston Consulting Group. Serving on the board with him is none other than Boston Consulting Group’s Chairman of the Board Carl Stern.

ICIC’s chairman and founder as well as Harvard Business School Prof. Michael Porter was thanked in no uncertain terms in the acknowledgements section of the book Blaxill coauthored in 2009 with his business partner Ralph Eckardt, “The Invisible Edge: Taking Your Strategy to the Next Level Using Intellectual Property:

“[The Boston Consulting Group Founder’s] ideas have been extended and enriched by the academic and consulting community in Boston, most notably by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, on one hand, and our former colleagues at BCG on another.”

Blaxill and Eckardt then summed up their relationship with Prof. Porter as follows:

“Michael Porter has been a teacher, a collaborator, a client, and a friend.” 

It seems Blaxill and Eckardt are not the only ones with high praise for Prof. Porter. When Porter was awarded a prestigious University Professorship at Harvard, Merck’s then-chairman, president and CEO Raymond Gilmartin (who later resigned over the Vioxx scandal and became a Harvard Business School Professor himself) told the Harvard Gazette:

“Through his research, teaching, and writing, Mike Porter has made an indelible mark on businesses and markets everywhere. His leading-edge research has directly influenced the strategies and competitiveness of individual firms and the nation. More recently, he has helped to identify the key drivers of innovation, which has now become the basis of global competition. His insights are directly relevant to understanding the vital ingredients for success in a host of industries, including pharmaceuticals.”

Clearly Blaxill has much to gain by serving on ICIC’s board of directors with his former employer BCG’s Chairman of the Board while under Prof. Porter’s chairmanship. ICIC’s website boasts that the organization’s partners “gain as well as give.” It’s hard to fathom how Blaxill could honestly claim on Linderman to not possess a conflict of interest “of any kind.”

But Blaxill was not even honest in the Linderman interview about what he did during his past employment for BCG. He claimed:

“…I always worked with industrial companies, automotive, forest products, computers-type companies, but they also had pharmaceutical clients.”

But he did not solely work with those companies, because Blaxill consulted for Merck directly as a BCG employee himself. In 2010, he told me he had visited Merck’s headquarters in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Later at a 2011 gathering in Waltham, Massachusetts, where Blaxill announced his preliminary plans to found the Canary Party – I overheard him telling someone about his experience consulting for Merck, describing his former clients as “not that smart.”

Despite suggesting his departure from Boston Consulting Group was some sort of martyrdom for his autism advocacy and that he no longer has any ties to the firm, it appears that Mark Blaxill was not fired, but left on his own terms wholly unrelated to autism and even remains connected to his former employer who continues to serve pharmaceutical clients.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

How Dan Olmsted and David Kirby Helped Kill A Landmark Autism Lawsuit

Justice-Denied-IPI

By Jake Crosby

It may sound bizarre, but that is exactly what happened when journalists Dan Olmsted and David Kirby interfered with Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs’ Reverend Lisa Sykes’ 2008 personal injury lawsuit against drug companies Bayer, Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKline. Incredibly, Olmsted and Kirby were persuaded to co-write a letter that took the side of the drug companies against Sykes’ case. Even more bizarre was who successfully appealed to Olmsted and Kirby to support Bayer: vaccine industry mainstay blogger Dr. David Gorski, via an open letter on “Science”Blogs. (He would later accept direct funding from Bayer: a 30,000-euro grant according to Gorski himself.)

It all began when “neurodiversity” blogger Kathleen Seidel of the now-defunct neurodiversity.com website was subpoenaed by attorney Cliff Shoemaker, who was representing Reverend Sykes in her case against Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies for injuries her son sustained from mercury exposure through vaccination and Rh-immunoglobulins. Seidel had quite a track record of pro-pharma activities. She had complained against scientists to their state medical board and to the FDA, and had also written in support of the CDC freezing outside researchers from accessing a federal database. These complaints by her would eventually culminate in a scientist being coerced by FDA into voluntarily withdrawing a product from the market, even though it met FDA’s safety standards. Seidel’s complaints would also lead to a scientist losing his medical license and his son being fined $10,000 by a medical board known for flouting fairness statutes meant to protect doctors. According to millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit, Seidel falsely claimed to him that Generation Rescue co-founder JB Handley threatened her with a lawsuit which in turn led to Handley being libeled in Offit’s 2008 book. He would be forced to change the text in his book. Not surprisingly, Seidel had also attacked Rev. Sykes’ case.

So what is wrong with Sykes’ lawyer, Clifford Shoemaker, subpoenaing Kathleen Seidel in order to try and find out possible connections she may have to pharma? Well, according to the vaccine industry blogger David Gorski’s letter to Kirby and Olmsted: ”freedom of speech” and the “First Amendment.” Gorski also insisted Seidel was not connected to the pharmaceutical industry (as if he would admit that she was if he was privy to this information) and noted that she is not a defendant in the case, despite her persistence in helping those defendants by targeting their critics. Gorski did make one point to Olmsted and Kirby that was correct, however:

If both of you, who so strongly disagree with Kathleen’s conclusions, were to speak out, it would shame Shoemaker and his clients, the Sykes, beyond any condemnation that I or the rest of the blogosphere can provide.

Indeed, Olmsted and Kirby were in a unique position to undermine Reverend Sykes’ case against Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies given that both journalists are well known to be on the same side of the debate as Sykes. That is the real reason Gorski wrote them his letter as he stated himself. He even hilariously tried to make them feel sympathetic towards Seidel by saying that they wouldn’t like being subpoenaed by vaccine manufacturers, and ended his email with the following plea:

If a lawyer representing a plaintiff suing vaccine companies can get away with this, just imagine what abuses lawyer [sic] with the resources of a big pharmaceutical company or the government could perpetrate to silence blogospheric critics. Imagine what mischief they could cause by demanding the correspondence, e-mails, financial records, and contacts with religious groups from their critics. That would be you, Mr. Kirby and Mr. Olmsted.

Just think about it.

Sincerely,

Orac

And yet, Orac, (blogging pseudonym for Dr. David Gorski) supports that very “mischief.” After Dr. Andrew Wakefield sued Brian Deer, Dr. Fiona Godlee and the British Medical Journal for libel in 2012, Gorski wrote Dr. Wakefield’s lawsuit:

…would allow them [Deer and Godlee’s lawyers] to subpoena all sorts of information…It might also, as I’ve pointed out, allow the defendants’ lawyers to depose all manner of Wakefield’s connections relevant to this libel suit, possibly even some of Generation Rescue’s luminaries and bloggers at AoA, given that it appears very much to me as though GR (Generation Rescue) and AoA coordinate their attacks on Deer and Godlee with Wakefield.

When Dr. Wakefield first filed his lawsuit, Gorski wrote that:

Communications between Wakefield and any AoA blogger might be subject to discovery.

That would include “Mr. Kirby and Mr. Olmsted,” not to mention me and potentially anyone else who has ever contributed to Age of Autism and corresponded with Dr. Wakefield. Obviously, Gorski would support the Merck and GSK-funded British Medical Journal, its editor Fiona Godlee and writer-for-hire Brian Deer serving Olmsted and Kirby with a subpoena. Gorski’s ploy is not surprising at all, given his complicity in the CDC’s thimerosal-autism cover-up and IOM’s subsequent whitewash.

What is devastatingly surprising, however, is Kirby and Olmsted’s response that came just three days after Gorski’s letter that blatantly stated: “I am appealing to both of you to use your influence and position in the autism biomedical movement to protest this shameless action by Mr. Shoemaker.”

In a complete betrayal to the autism community, Olmsted and Kirby did use their influence to protest Shoemaker’s subpoena, but they only sent their letter of protest to David Gorski. It appeared on his blog and nowhere else:

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

David Kirby

Dan Olmsted

Perhaps the most shocking part of the letter is their reference to Seidel as their “colleague” – a colleague who has no journalism credentials, who complains against scientists to their state’s medical board, the FDA and medical journals while advocating for outside researchers to be frozen out of accessing a taxpayer-funded, federal database. That is the “colleague” Kirby and Olmsted profess to support on the basis of “free speech” – a “colleague” whom by Gorski’s own standards as applied to Dr. Wakefield’s case – would be more than appropriate to subpoena.

It gets worse, however, much worse.

Less than two weeks after Kirby and Olmsted’s signed letter of support for their “colleague” Kathleen Seidel invoking the first amendment, Seidel gained free legal support from a Washington, DC-based consumer advocacy group called “Public Citizen.” More specifically, she was receiving support from Public Citizen’s “First Amendment Team.”

Dan Olmsted is connected to Public Citizen through its Health Research Center director/cofounder Dr. Sidney Wolfe. Dr. Wolfe’s involvement in Public Citizen spanned nearly four decades. Did Dan Olmsted provide Kathleen Seidel with free legal support? Whether directly or indirectly, the letter of support for Seidel he cosigned with Kirby could have only helped.

Within a day of David Gorski boasting about Public Citizen’s support for Seidel on “Science”Blogs, Shoemaker’s motion to subpoena was quashed. Less than two weeks after that, the Sykes dropped their case against Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies. The following month, the Sykes’ lawyer Clifford Shoemaker was professionally sanctioned.

As this was all happening, Olmsted and Kirby’s support for Seidel drew the ire of one notoriously cantankerous Age of Autism reader – autism father and Hating Autism blogger John Best. He tried to complain about Olmsted and Kirby’s support for Seidel – and by extension Bayer – in the comments of Age of Autism, only to be censored. Eventually, Best was banned from commenting on Age of Autism altogether. Apparently, Seidel’s right to free speech is more important to Age of Autism than that of its own readers as well as the scientists whose reputations she worked to destroy and whose research she worked to stifle.

John Best is not the only person who did not receive a satisfactory explanation from Kirby and Olmsted regarding their support of Seidel. David Kirby did not respond to my inquiry for this article. (I merely asked him if anyone other than Gorski had pressured him to write the letter.) Age of Autism editor Dan Olmsted has informed me that he refuses to communicate with me altogether. When we were still communicating, however, he figuratively claimed:

John Best wants to shoot me, and I’m a good guy!”

At that time, I had no idea that this “good guy” helped quash a thimerosal lawsuit against Bayer – much less that that was what Best had been complaining about and been censored from Age of Autism over. Then in 2011, David Gorski disclosed taking research funds directly from Bayer. I would love to know what role Olmsted and Kirby’s letter invoking “free speech” may have played in helping secure direct pharmaceutical funding to Gorski – a blogger who ironically considers them worthy of subpoena by vaccine industry-backed litigants.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy, He is completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.