Huff: the place where comments disappear and discourse is hamstrung

The "friend who no longer reads me" and I have been having a series of exchanges that appear and then magically go poof over at Huff. So, for posterity sake, and because, gosh, a one-sided conversation looks frikking weird, I'm going to include the other end of the conversation. Now, because it ticks the friend who will not read me off if I just pull a sentence of his out, I will include his entire statement, that and because some of the best bits went poof before I screen captured. Not gonna happen this time, no sir. I have finals to study for and I don't wanna do that, so this is a good distraction. Damn shame my friend won't read this here. Maybe he'd be inclined to wish me luck, you know, if he did?  After all, he says in his comment that friends can disagree and still be friends.

Let me set it up for you: I say that AoA is bad for the thanskgiving fiasco and being nasty to reporters. Craig points out that Orac can be mean, too, but I don't chew him out. I respond back, bad Orac and when have I not supported Craig? Oh, and what was his point, other than that he was mad at me.

He writes:
"The point, Kim, is that the people whom you claim are "science-based" are just as guilty if not more guilty than AoA is of your accusations.

And yet, you say nothing to them. In fact, to all appearances, you both support and encourage it.

I'm someone who, when I see something that I feel is wrong, I say something. I did so at AoA. Do I have less respect for them? Absolutely not. Friends can disagree. I felt their article was inappropriate, and I let them know that. Honestly, I am glad they took it down.

But when Orac posts his drivel, to my observations, you are perfectly ok with his personal and mean spirited attacks. When he and Ken have done their personal attacks on me (like calling me a liar about my son's condition), whether warranted or not, have you supported me? No. But, you sure are quick to call me out on it when I do it, though.

Ms. Stagliano has supported me. Her and AoA were there for me when my son was at his most violent, and their advice and soft shoulders helped me out more than hundreds of doctors ever have. They have never judged me. They have never called me an idiot. They understand my anger and my contempt for these "doctors" who are morally obligated to help people, but instead high five each other over the best zings they can come up with."
My reply:

Then, from all appearances, based on your comment, you have no problem with lies. Or you'd have stood up when they printed something that was demonstrably untrue.

You have a martyr chip on your shoulder. So, Ken is Orac's dog, and I am his cheerleader? You are stuck. Stuck in the rut of going around insisting to all who will hear you that you have been mistreated. If they acknowledge that mistreatment, all's fine and dandy for a minute before you need to get your rage on. And on you are to your next person, to discuss a generic they and their sins against you.

You are being inconsistent. I cannot police everyone's comments, nor is it my job to do so.

Again, I have supported you, not called you a liar regarding your son's adverse reaction, posted your story on my blog.

You know full well I am not going to blindly endorse the falsehoods that AoA and like organizations put out. If you feel that you have no choice but to remain loyal to AoA because they were there for you, that's your choice.
About Autism
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Real dialogue can't take place under moderation. It cannot. Now, without moderation, it certainly can get uncivil. But free exchange does not occur where third parties decide what gets on and what gets pulled. Huff and AoA stifle free exchange. Where your ideas and your evidence are strong enough, you don't need censorship. (Unless the person you are banning is a complete asshat, Lurker).

I have little respect for the ideas or the comments that Rileysmom often makes, however, she's right about this:

 "You want to talk about character assasanation. There is plenty going back and forth here. You people aren't any better so Sheldon get off your high horse...yo­u are no different, you just aren't as blunt as some of the others. You have a condescending nature to your post. How's that any different than being blatantly rude?

Everyone is guilty of this (even me), don't accuss others unless you and yours are ready to look in the mirror."
She's also unabashedly anti-vaccine. She owns her words and her positions and she doesn't waver:

"I am ANTI vaccine. I don't believe at this point in time there are TRULY safe vaccines, period. I don't recommend any vaccines.

Once again, I will state, I'm ANTI VACCINE. I make NO apologizes for that. I sure don't owe you or anyone on this board an apology for watching what happened to my child and speaking up about it."

I respect honesty. She's not changing her avowed position to suit who she's speaking to; she's not pretending in one vein that she's for safe vaccines and then going out of her way to sabotage folks from getting vaccinated. She is upfront about it. She's wrong, but like Kathy Blanco, she lets you know where she stands. And she admits when she goes overboard. She isn't too sorry about it, but she OWNS it.

And some of her stuff, when she talks about her children, well, you can see the person, the mom, and not the anti-vaxxer. You can see her humor and her humanity. And she sounds like someone I could have coffee with if we could agree to talk about our children and things in general and not talk about religion. Sort of like how atheists and believers can be good friends.

AoA  and most of its loyalists spend precious little time seeing the humanity in others who follow the science. It's anger and vitriol and ugliness. Sometimes, it's not. I work to acknowledge when their humanity shows, where they let the ugly go and share the good. They don't do that often. And most of the time their recovery stories are all about the products.

So, like Rileysmom, I'm not going to apologize for standing. Someone's got to. At least I'm not alone. Not all of the scientifically minded folks do it with sweetness and lightness. Some of them sling it back and sling hard. I've yet to see as much nastiness on their part as on the anti-vaxxers. Some have used the kool-aid gambit. I don't like that and I've often explained that and why. But NONE I have ever seen have EVER sunk to the low of Stagliano's blowjob remark or Handley's date rape drug and intellectual rape of Amy Wallace. Now, I don't read everything out there, because for goodness' sake, I have three children with autism, a husband who needs to be queued like the Sims games we both love, parents, brothers (the bagless wonder and fredless boy), students, friends who all need attention. I have courses to prep for, plagiarizers to catch. I have classes I'm taking. So, no, I don't go to forums or groups, other than the ones I belong to or run. I don't wander around to blogs not on my blog list (except for that edgy blog, AoA). I don't see a whole lot of the ugliness and the meanness that go on. Thankfully. I see AoA and I see Huff. Can you imagine if they didn't moderate? They deliberately let the one-sided ugly on. Lovely. At least if you post at Orac's it's getting on. That's a hell of a lot more than AoA. You get to speak your say, take your lumps, dish them out, all like you've got your big girl panties or big boy underoos on.

And Orac, despite his insolence, has facts behind him. Verifiable facts. Wow. Ain't that something.

Guess that makes me a cheerleader.


Clay said...

If Craig were here to read this, I would respectfully inquire how much he's "invested" in those alternative treatments they offer at AoA. He wouldn't want to admit to himself (or anybody), that he had spent his money foolishly.

Craig, set up a special needs trust!

AutismNewsBeat said...

I still have a hard time believing that Craig really thinks I called him a liar. I've read my comment a dozen times, and I just don't see it. I was clearly talking about how the whole anti-vax movement can't stand the light of day, and expects that every claim, no matter how loopy, should be accepted as fact.

And the more I think about it, the more I've come to believe this is Craig's way of not dealing with my questions. It's actually clever on his part. He didn't want to engage me on the science for obvious reasons, but he couldn't admit his knowledge comes straight from Mercola and Whale. So he made up a reason to ignore me.

Problem is that only works once. So when Kim pressed him on the science, he said he would never read her blog again.'

I guess we'll just have to take his word for it.


Foresam said...

Orac and AoA both delete comments and ban people who consistently make then look like the fools they are. I think they're on the same side.

AutismNewsBeat said...

Computer privileges tonight, John? Or did you bribe an orderly?

Thelma said...

Hah! I ain't got tha bosoms of my pal Louise, but lordy, ya sure isa quick wit, Ken! Ya member that post where the dog comments came up an ya had Craig all worked up? Well, I was a lookin over it an poof, like Huff, Craig's done deleted his comments. Did he send a sorry atcha for overreactin?

Besty boy, Louise an I keep invitin ya over ta see us, butcha ain't been there, no how, no way. Is it my professed ampleness, or Louise's bosoms that gotcha all shy? Bring on over Roger an Jonathan and Louise an I will set ta schoolin ya on how ta hook up with the ladies. Darn obvious all three of ya got some major issues.

Liz Ditz said...

For folk new to the party

Orac = http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/

AoA = Age of Autism = http://www.ageofautism.com/


you claim
Orac... delete[s] comments and ban people who consistently make then look like the fools they are.

Please substantiate this claim re Respectful Insolence. To the best of my knowledge, you are one of the n<5 people who have been banned from Respectful Insolence.

This brings up another point relative to Respectful Insolence (RI)(and all the other very-lightly moderated blogs.)

RI has a rather large cadre of regular readers, who often post rebuttals to points made by persons such as Craig Willoughby. They are often...less kind than Orac himself.

I decided to do a search for what Orac himself has posted about Craig, using the search string

"Craig Willoughby" site:scienceblogs.com/insolence/"

What did I find?

89 results for the search above.

The majority were posted by Mr. Willoughby himself.

Handsearching though the records, I found the following words posted by Orac re Mr. Willoughby:

January 2009: Craig Willoughby's labeling me a craven "child hater,"

June 5 2009
it's from a person whom I used to think to be among the more reasonable and moderate of the anti-vaccine movement, Craig Willoughby.

Dec 1 2009 When even Craig Willoughby, who went from seemingly at least semi-rational to full-out hate-filled ranting (particularly about me), doesn't think this is appropriate"

The rest are Craig's post to RI.

If I have misrepresented the manner in which Orac has spoken of Mr. Willoughby, please feel free to correct me.

In other words, a very heavily moderated site such as Age of Autism is more responsible for what appears on their site than a very lightly moderated site such as Respectful Insolence.

What I did wasn't "science". But it was fact-checking. And that's what is missing in many of the anti-vaccination realms.

Foresam said...

As much as I enjoy bosoms, I didn't see any pictures of them on your site and I got bored with the hillbilly accent. I'd feel like I was discussing things with Jethro and Ellie Mae.

Clay said...

@ John - You make Jethro look like a genius, by comparison. He's really good at cipherin', an' he only just grady-ated 6th grade! Land sakes, he could beat you all hollow. ;-)

cawill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KWombles said...

Interesting, Liz shows she can find no instance of you being called a liar by Orac, you don't respond at all. Maybe you just missed her comment.

cawill said...

Wasn't on his site, Kim. He posts on more than one site, ya know? He also has more than one site. Also, his current site was once a different site. And how do you know I posted as my real name a few years ago? You ever take these things into consideration?

Her comment didn't warrant a response. Things like simple logic would dictate that people could figure these things out.

KWombles said...

May 12, 2008:

From RI

"What's really scary, though, are some of the comments. For example, a commenter named Craig Willoughby issued what is in essence a call for violence against Dr. Offit:

This man makes me sick. I cannot describe to you how angry I am right now. My autistic child is very ill right now because of this man and his willingness to do anything for his blood money. And the rest of America (except for those of us who know the truth) go on blithely as if nothing was ever wrong or give this demon praises (PRAISES!) for the "contribution to the safety of our children."
Prison will be too good for him. I think that if and when this all finally comes crashing down, I think that the government should give this sick and twisted individual to the parents of the children he so willingly destroyed.

Whatever you may think of Dr. Offit, even if you believe that vaccines somehow cause autism, can we all agree that calls for violence against him are beyond the pale in civilized debate and that Mr. Willoughby has descended into truly vile, frightening rhetoric?"

You then comment in the comments section:
"ANB, or rather, Ken. Here you are speaking of honesty, he of oh so many names. Perhaps you should learn the meaning of that word before you speak, well, anywhere but here where small minded fools like you gather together and pat each other on the back thinking you are all so "clever."

Nate's Dad was quite correct. Perhaps you should all look at the full posts that were taken out of context before you make such judgements as to who is being dangerous and who isn't (I.E. For-Profit Offit = dangerous, father upset = blowing off steam). It happened that my son had an intestinal blockage and I was quite upset, and For-Profit Offit's patronizing statement was the straw that broke the camel's back, especially when I had to deal the entire weekend with condescending doctors just like him.

I would be offended by all of this, truly, if you people were not so damned funny.

Posted by: Craig | May 14, 2008 6:39 PM"

And Orac writes: "However, there is no doubt that you were using violent rhetoric couched in weasel-words against Dr. Offit. Your excuses for denying that this was the case are unconvincing."


KWombles said...

"My most fervent wish right now is that For-profit Offit falls into my hands. He and I would have a nice, long "talk." I don't pray for this, well, because I don't pray for anything anymore. Hard to pray when there's no one listening."


Apparently, you like to bluster as you blow off steam and then think that your words, since you were upset, don't count. They do. Just because you get mad doesn't give you the liberty to threaten. Period. Offit didn't do a thing to you, did not cause your situation. He, apparently, along with others, are an easy target for your rage, which is exactly where you are: enraged by Orac, by Ken, by anyone who says vaccines don't cause autism.

You lash out, you get your adrenaline up, feel your rush, feel powerful, and then the moment passes. And you are left in a low. And with the time to glance about, look at things, and start craving that rush of adrenaline to get up again. Rage, adrenaline, dopamine. It's your thing. You struggle between wanting validation and wanting that chance to lash out.

And I ask you, how exactly does this help you or your son? No one will take someone who blows up like that seriously; they won't. Rage actually doesn't get you respect and it doesn't make things happen. Steely determination and a calm demeanor, however, can move mountains. Not basing yourself from Age of Autism and all the misinformation and factually incorrect information immediately loses you credibility.

You want to be taken seriously by the medical establishment and the blogosphere (still can't find where you were called a liar-- maybe you are inferring?), then rage isn't going to do it for you, nor being cloaked in any of the woo.

I do not doubt your son's adverse reaction.

KWombles said...

Pissy this morning, aren't you? Generic they's. Since when don't you post under your name? Internet search of your name, Orac, and liar: not bringing anything up that shows he did so.

I'm noticing a pattern of selective reponse. You don't deal with those things you don't want to.

KWombles said...

I did find where Orac recently called you a concern troll and a hypocrite, though:

"In brief, to me you're a hypocrite and a concern troll. "Oh, don't be so... mean" (sniff, sniff), you say, but what you really mean is stop calling out the nonsense that the anti-vaccine side lays down. I used to think you were one of the somewhat reasonable people on the anti-vaccine side, but your statements over the last year or so, both here and elsewhere (such as on AoA or HuffPo), have disabused me of that impression."


Foresam said...

If JB Handley was actually concerned about ending the autism epidemic and curing kids, he'd be encouraging his followers to go out and pass out leaflets at flu clinics to inform the public, especially pregnent women, of the danger of thimerosal.

The fact that Handley encourages people to waste their time arguing with Orac instead tells us that they are working together to distract everyone from doing anything worthwhile. A multi-millionaire from Stanford has to be intelligent enough to understand this.

cawill said...

Kim, when were those comments made about Offit? How long ago? And, have I made similar comments since? Do tell.

"Since when don't you post under your name?"

I didn't always post under my name, Kim. Orac's site was once on Blogspot (I think), and he also used to post on Newsgroups. Orac and I go a long, long way back, (4 years now?) though he doesn't realize it. Maybe one day, if he would couch his hate-filled rhetoric, he and I will have a conversation and I'll let him know. And, again, he doesn't just post on his own site.

"Offit didn't do a thing to you, did not cause your situation. He, apparently, along with others, are an easy target for your rage, which is exactly where you are:"

Yes, you are right. Which is one of the reasons why I quit commenting about Offit. And one area where you are wrong; it's not rage....this is something way, way, WAY beyond it. I am FURIOUS! I have a right to be furious. And everytime some doctor, scientist or wannabe says, "We believe that reactions occur, but it didn't happen to your child," it just adds fuel to the fire. How DARE they! How dare they dismiss and RIDICULE the very real and very painful experience that these parents and children go through. We did the right thing! We got our children vaccinated. Our children got sick from the vaccination. And this is how we're treated? Fuck Orac! Fuck Reibel!

Is it good for me? No. Is it good for my son? I keep my anger away from him. This is NOT his fault. This is the fault of the doctors who continue to ignore these parents. This is the fault of the doctors who told me when my son was diagnosed "We don't really know a lot about autism; talk to other parents." This is the fault of doctors who, instead of treating his problems, want to drug him into a zombie. This is the fault of the doctors who said, "We can't help him anymore. You need to institutionalize him." Why in the world would I trust them to care for him for the rest of his life when it was they who stole his future from him?

If I didn't have the anger to keep me going, I would fall into despair. Because, though I make a decent amount of money, my son's therapy (therapy, I might add, that is conventional, not alternative) is not covered by my company insurance. I am going broke. I am in the hole. I get no help from the government because I make "too much money." So, my son doesn't even get SSI benefits or Medicaid. So, I pay for all of his Conventional Medical Therapy out of pocket. My son can't go back to school because they don't know how to deal with his rages, which have lessened considerably since I've begun to treat him with the GFCF diet...a diet, I might add, condemned by the very same doctors who didn't know how or didn't want to help my son.

So, tell me again....why should I trust these doctors?

KWombles said...

Good lord, I don't have time to address this all, Craig, so read my newest post, and I'll get back to you on Wednesday. And I'll make sure I deal with each comment blow by blow.

I'll say this: if you're filled with this much venom (because that's what it is), it touches every part of your life. And if it's all you've got holding you together, then you need to seek counseling. Because this will destroy you and your family.

I'm closing my computer and attending to my real world demands now. Talk to you WEDNESDAY.

Foresam said...

Why don't you address tha cause of the supposed food intolerances rather than focusing on a symptom of mercury poisoning? That stupid diet won't take any mercury out of your son's head.

Why don't you use your anger to beat the lying doctors by educating the public instead of arguing with people who will always deny the truth?

Why don't you ask the people at AoA to tell everyone that S-819 and HR-2413 have been stuck in committee since last spring and that the public needs to put pressure on Congress to take action on these bills so that all autistic kids can have medical treatments funded? That might be more useful to address your own situation of going broke paying for them.

cawill said...

Because, John, I can't afford chelation. The GFCF diet, right now, is the best thing I can do for him at this time. He is allergic to wheat and milk, so removing these from his system allows us the opportunity to heal his stomach, then focus on other things. My insurance doesn't pay for his conventional therapy; why would it pay for alternative treatments?

John, I do educate people, as much as I can, anyway. But, considering that I'm about to start a second full time job to try to get myself out of the hole, I don't have as much time as I would like to tell people what happened to my son.

What are S-819 and HR-2413? I'm not familiar with these. Are these senate bills? Do you have a link to them so I can do more research?

Foresam said...

Anyone can afford chelation, $7 for a bottle of ALA. Join Autism Mercury Yahoo group to learn how or ask me.
Just type the bill numbers into Google and the Thomas site should be the first result. They're treatment bills.

cawill said...

Thanks, John. I'll look into it.

kathleen said...

I'm just gonna jump in a little here Craig. Just something I'm noticing. I am going to comment as an observer. I have heard you rant against the doctors who didn't support you, mocked the diet you wanted to try, didn't listen. I hear you, I do. As I told you once before, we share a lot of the same experiences. Yes-I was even told to institutionalize both of my sons...I know-really, I know what that feels like. I would never in a million years diminish what you have experienced-never. Understand that.
This being said-You do spend an awful lot of time raging about these doctors from the past. Why? All it does is continually fuel/flame your rage. O.K. it happened-move on. Like I said, been there done that-took me four tries till I found a pediatrician who took the time to TALK to me, answer my questions-and most importantly treat my children with respect. My kids thrive. So yes, while I can relate to your experience-I don't dwell on only the crap..because it does nothing.
Craig-I'm telling you this as a parent, as a person who has listened to your story-you CANNOT live you life in "could of should of would of" mode. It gets you nowhere. When you yell "how dare they" CRAP! don't you realize that there are so many who don't-but they also don't follow the line of thinking at AoA. My doctor doesn't deny our experience-he wouldn't deny yours. But we'll never hear about people like him..no, it is easier to be angry, easier to talk about past experience..I'm also going to say this-your behavior lessens my experience.My childrens experience. How dare you.Really, how dare you? You say that your anger keeps you from falling into despair..because insurance won't cover the services you need. Email kim, she will give you my personal email address. I will help you get what you need. My father owned an insurance company, my brother owns one now-if there is a way, I will help you find it. I am really very good at that. I'm offering you a hand-don't you dare slap it.
just as an aside-I have tried to post on AoA-about my experience with our doctors-they never get on. I have also emailed Kim Stagliano about trying to find some common ground so that we can all help each other. I never got a response. What does that tell you Craig? Seems to me that AoA is about being wronged-and only wronged. If that weren't true, my posts would have gotten on. Seems to me that they like to give a soft shoulder to only the people who will flame the fire. It is like sharks at a feeding frenzy.
I need to ask this as well...why do you keep going back to the same doctors that condemned your son.

"I've begun to treat him with the GFCF diet...a diet, I might add, condemned by the very same doctors who didn't know how or didn't want to help my son"

I am going to end this-from one parent to another..you say that you keep your rage away from your son...believe me, he knows.

Anonymous said...


My wife regularly refers to me as Nazi, babykiller, bastard, and much worse because I don't share her views that vaccines caused our son's autism.

I promise you, this is hurting my children.

I try to tell her -- and, increasingly, my two girls are trying to tell her -- that having an angry mom is no fun. That it is hurting them. That they want her to find a way to control her anger.

She won't stop. Her usual response is to compare herself to an abolitionist who tried to stop slavery in the 1800s, and that she "won't be shut up" about her crusade to "save babies," which she considers her "life's work."

She tells me that she loves only three people in the world -- her three kids.

I'm not sure it's possible to do that. To hate everyone else in the world and love only your kids.

If you think that you can compartmentalize your anger, and that it impacts only the people you are directing it toward, I believe you are so very wrong. From personal experience, I know . . . .

In friendship,

Tom Lewis

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AutismNewsBeat said...

And while we're checking out hospitals, we can decide which jail cells are the most comfy. I'd definitely stay away from the city lock up. Some of the suburban jails are quite modern, with video monitoring to prevent assaults.

Oh, and bring your tax returns from the last three years. That will make the civil suit go much easier on both of us. You might also want to call your insurance agent to make sure your homeowner's policy is up to date, and includes coverage for civil liability.

You like Mexican? There's a great restaurant down the block. I'm in the book.

AutismNewsBeat said...
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AutismNewsBeat said...

Texas Penal Code § 42.07


(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass
another, he:

(1) initiates communication by telephone, in writing, or by electronic communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene;


(2) threatens, by telephone, in writing, or by electronic communication, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of his family or household, or his property;



(3) "Obscene" means containing a patently offensive description of or a solicitation to commit an ultimate sex act, including sexual intercourse, masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus, or a description of an excretory function.

(c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the actor has previously been convicted under this section.


You're move, Mr. Willoughby. Any ideas?

cawill said...
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cawill said...
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kathleen said...

Tom Lewis, I am sorry that you are having the struggles that you are. Thanks you so much for sharing that part of your life. It must not be easy. I am hoping many people will benefit from your words. I wish you well.

AutismNewsBeat said...

I offered you a way out, Craig. Is it premature to say you are calling my bluff? Angry is not the same as stupid.

cawill said...
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AutismNewsBeat said...
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AutismNewsBeat said...
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cawill said...

I see...so you're claiming innocence about the Poling comment?

I'll tell you what, Kenny. Why don't you lay it out here exactly what I said that would warrant an harrassment charge. Do be specific, now, because that is what legal systems look for. Then we'll talk.

cawill said...
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cawill said...

Mr. Reibel, I will allow you the opportunity to remove your post about where I live. The area I live in is not very large, so it wouldn't be difficult for someone to find out specifically where I am. I will ask that you not post specifics like that again. There is a reason why I give a general area when I post about my location. I will ask just this once.

AutismNewsBeat said...

I can't imagine what you might think of a person that would bother to look up the Texas statute that defines harassment!

Would you mind if I get a second opinion from the G____ County prosecutor? Not something I would do over your objection, mind you.

cawill said...

Thank you. However, you could have just said "County Prosecutor."

Still no specifics, Mr. Reibel? And are you still denying your comment about Dr. Poling?

Come on, we need a little more information.

AutismNewsBeat said...
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AutismNewsBeat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.