Tag Archives: Boston Consulting Group

Canary Party-Led Group Behind Failed SB277 Opposition

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“Autism rates have continued to rise even though we are not using thimerosal in vaccines for children.” – Richard Pan, co-sponsor of CA SB277

“But there’s a hard bit of evidence here regarding the thimerosal argument. The rates in California never went down and as far as I can tell are still going straight up with no deceleration at all. And you’ve seen the Denmark numbers.” – Mark Blaxill, now founder and chairman of Canary Party

By Jake Crosby

One might say it was a repeat of what happened with the US congressional hearing failure of 2012-2013 – the undermining of a cause with the imposition of an ineffective strategy. That is what many Californians are saying happened at the State Assembly Health Committee hearing and in the general movement against Senate Bill 277, now a newly signed law that eliminates the choice to opt out of vaccination. As with the congressional hearing, a key witness Dr. Brian Hooker was prevented from speaking on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) malfeasance in covering up vaccine injury. The debacle over SB277 also bears the claw prints of the same leadership elements, chiefly those of a Minnesota-based PAC: the Canary Party.

Because media coverage of the bill was controlled by the CDC, testimony to the state legislature was all the more necessary to kill the bill. But kill effective testimony in favor of a “‘middle of the road’ strategy,” and the bill’s passing into law is practically imminent.

Such a strategy was taken by the organization through which Canary Party coordinates its activities relevant to SB277 in California: the “California Coalition for Health Choice” (CCHC). While trying to do damage control for Canary Party on Facebook threads, Canary Party’s State Director Sylvia Pimentel only revealed more negative information about her organization. Pimentel said she, Rebecca Estepp, Jude Tovatt, Dawn Winkler and Laura Hayes comprised the Canary Party leadership within CCHC that had input on the fight against the bill, despite previously admitting: “Laura and Dawn left the coalition a few weeks ago because they didn’t like the ‘middle of the road’ strategy that CCHC was morphing into.”

Pimentel further admitted that CCHC members were afraid of their own cause, “Some members were gun-shy about being publicly quoted because of possible push-back in their careers or private life for being ‘anti-vaccine’.” Moreover, one of Canary Party’s California leaders promoted vaccination. Rebecca Estepp – director of communications for CCHC – drew criticism for advocating “moderation” and promoting vaccination last year. Such an approach inherently conflicts with raising awareness of vaccine dangers.

Canary Party’s Dr. Toni Bark revealed to Autism Investigated that the other remaining Canary Party leader in CCHC – Jude Tovatt – was trying to discourage the coalition from tackling safety, corruption or fraud issues inherent to the vaccine program. Tovatt wanted to avoid the very facts that are most damning against SB277, making Canary Party responsible for the “middle of the road” strategy Pimentel admitted CCHC resorted to. Dr. Bark even said she suspected Tovatt is a shill.

The fallout from this strategy reached its climax at the Assembly Health Committee’s hearing on SB277. According to one eyewitness account reported in the AWAKE California Facebook group on how people were shut out of the hearing:

“I was with dr hooker when the guard asked for our names and then there were no seats left. But there were seats left, CCHC kept coming out and pulling people in. But we were closed out. Until I had two people from my regional group give up their seats timed with when the main guard was pulled away for a minute.”

The Facebook group member also said in that same post that CCHC falsely led people to believe that Dr. Hooker would testify, but he never did.

In response, Canary Party denied having any say in choosing speakers, asserting:

“The way the process works (or fails to work) in California is that groups who are opposing a bill put names forward on who they want to testify on their behalf, and the Committee Chair’s office decides who will be seated at the table.”

But a staffer from the Committee Chair’s office wrote in email that bill opponents chose who spoke for them at the hearing:

“The Committee does not organize testimony on either side of the debate. The author’s office organizes testimony in support and opponents typically organize amongst themselves and decide who will testify.”

Rather than explain why Dr. Hooker did not testify, Pimentel instead explained to a critic why he did not join CCHC:

“Dr. Brian Hooker was invited to join, but never responded. You are accusing me of sabotaging the fight – and that is absolutely obscene.”

That he would not join CCHC is hardly surprising given its ties to Canary Party and Canary Party’s history of undermining his congressional efforts. The troubled history following Canary Party’s Chairman Mark Blaxill also goes back long before he founded Canary Party.

Blaxill consulted for pharmaceutical companies while at Boston Consulting Group and now sits on the board of directors of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, funded by his former employer. He was an invited speaker at the 2001 Institute of Medicine meeting despite his lack of credentials, organizational leadership or publication record where he failed to disclose his concurrent BCG employment. He has also interfered in the omnibus autism cases, turning attorneys against expert witnesses and even throwing the case against thimerosal. He told Brian Hooker in 2007:

“But there’s a hard bit of evidence here regarding the thimerosal argument. The rates in California never went down and as far as I can tell are still going straight up with no deceleration at all. And you’ve seen the Denmark numbers.”

Yet research at the time showed there was a deceleration, and autism went down in Denmark after thimerosal was removed. Not surprisingly, SB277’s co-sponsor Senator Richard Pan channeled Blaxill’s talking point, “Autism rates have continued to rise even though we are not using thimerosal in vaccines for children,” Sacramento Bee quoted Pan as saying. It is hardly surprising that the coalition through which Canary Party conducted its activities in California took a “‘middle of the road’ strategy” to fighting a law that will now keep children from attending school for not being fully vaccinated according to CDC’s own aggressive immunization schedule.

While answering for Canary Party’s troublesome involvement in failing the opposition to SB277 on Facebook, Sylvia Pimentel grew increasingly agitated and defensive. At one point, she dramatically stated, “I have been accused of horrible things, so I have had no choice but respond. But now I will make my exit. Peace.” She returned a short while later to make a legal threat against a commenter. One cannot help but wonder if the outcome of fighting SB277 could have been different had CCHC’s leadership fought the law with the same level of zeal as Pimentel’s attack on some advocates she claims to share common cause with.

Meanwhile, SB277’s architect Richard Pan wants other states to follow California’s example:

“As the largest state in the country, we are sending a strong signal to the rest of the country that this can be done, that science and facts will prevail to make sound laws”.

Far from Canary Party/CCHC’s “middle of the road” approach, ensuring that science and facts prevail over the fraudulent science and lies spouted by Pan is the best way to kill bills like his. Time to stop supporting Canary Party.

See on The Epoch Times.

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

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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.

Mark Blaxill Admits COI When His Undermining Began

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By Jake Crosby

Mark Blaxill appeared on Linderman Unleashed Thursday to “rebut” my interview with Linderman last week (both interviews embedded below). Unfortunately, Blaxill avoided much of what I said despite admitting he’d had a conflict of interest with vaccine manufacturers while David Kirby was writing the book “Evidence of Harm.” Mark Blaxill also made tacit reference to my autism – and not in a positive way – near the end of the interview.

In Kirby’s book, Blaxill was quoted as threatening to resign from SafeMinds‘ board should the organization speak out against drug companies poisoning children – companies that he admitted at the time were clients of his then-employer, Boston Consulting Group. The period when Evidence of Harm was still being written also corresponds with when Blaxill and others from SafeMinds were secretly advising the Vaccine Injured Petitioners’ Steering Committee for the autism omnibus, where he trashed petitioners’ expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier and said Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s work was “not well-supported by the epi data.” Blaxill did all this despite his connections to the vaccine industry. He claimed on the show that “no one worked harder” than he did in showing how CDC cheated with numbers using the Vaccine Safety Datalink, and yet, it was David Geier not Mark Blaxill who discovered the CDC’s early results showing thimerosal caused harm including autism.

It should  be stated that while on Linderman, Blaxill also denied possessing a conflict of interest any longer – claiming to not have one since 2006. Nonetheless, the troubling trend of his undermining advocacy against vaccines causing autism began during his employment with the Boston Consulting Group, which has vaccine manufacturers for clients.

The latest example of this trend can be seen in the congressional autism hearings in which Mark Blaxill has been consistently working to prevent CDC malfeasance from being exposed both before Congress and on national television via dishonest lobbying practices. While Mark Blaxill chaired SafeMinds’ Government Affairs Committee, SafeMinds succeeded in changing the topic of last November’s hearing so it would no longer be about CDC malfeasance as originally planned and organized by autism parent and scientist Dr. Brian Hooker. Blaxill and SafeMinds’ actions prevented Dr. Hooker from testifying.*

In a more recent example of such undermining, Mark Blaxill’s Canary Party released an action alert asking Congress to investigate the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program last April – a complete betrayal of trust to Dr. Brian Hooker. Just two weeks prior, Canary Party President Jennifer Larson had promised Dr. Hooker that the alert would ask Congress to hold the next hearing specifically on CDC malfeasance, which the last hearing would have been about had SafeMinds not changed the topic. Age of Autism – both sponsored and edited by Blaxill – covered up such revelations about the alert by refusing to publish my critical comment on the pretense it was “picayune.”

Yet in spite of these activities – SafeMinds’ lobbying, Canary Party’s action alert and most recently Canary Party President Jennifer Larson’s $40,000 contribution the PAC of Congressional Committee Chair Darrell Issa – Mark Blaxill insists any involvement of his in sabotaging the hearing is “a lie” and that he has “no power” over how the hearing topics are chosen or who is invited to testify. While Issa, other congressmen and their staffers have the final say, Mark Blaxill consistently avoids discussing his ongoing role in attempting to influence their decisions to keep exposure of the vaccine-autism cover-up out of the hearings.

Instead, he denies having any explanation for all the failures that have occurred concerning the hearings and similar initiatives – many of which he contributed to – and essentially blames his followers for not being rich and powerful enough to defeat DHHS or big pharma rather than his own largely self-styled and unwanted leadership. He told Linderman:

“To be honest, you know we’re fighting with pop guns, man, and the other side has tanks…but you go to war with the army that you got, not the one that you wish for. And the fact is, we’re not making enough change, and I don’t know what to do about it to be honest, other than to keep fighting and to keep fighting the best way that we can.”

And that would be, according to Mark Blaxill, with the analogous equivalent of pop guns fighting tanks while he thwarts yet another hearing and his vice president Ginger Taylor tells people my judgement is compromised by my autism. At the end of the interview (which began with my name being stated by Curt Linderman as the very reason for the interview), Blaxill clearly made another derogatory reference to my autism without naming me:

I think we need to love our kids whether they’re  low-functioning or high-functioning, and when they’re high-functioning and they’re not functioning the way we hope they would, we love them anyway. 

Yet just days after my first article on how SafeMinds hijacked the last congressional hearing went online, he unfriended me on Facebook. I guess I really must not be functioning the way Mark Blaxill hoped.

Interviews:

Mark Blaxill’s response

My interview on Linderman

*Linderman mistakenly asked Blaxill to verify if the Canary Party influenced the November hearing when it was actually SafeMinds’ involvement in that hearing that I had taken issue with during my interview. I had also noted that Blaxill’s base of operations later shifted from SafeMinds to Canary Party in his efforts to influence Congress.

 

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.