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Hulda bashing. Sometimes the papers publish good news. (2/3/2002)
I would like to congratulate Penni Crabtree and the San Diego Union Tribune for their excellent series of articles about quackery in Mexico. They were under some pressure from not-a-medical Dr Hulda Clark and her kind not to publish, but free speech and a free press won. See the articles at:
Vile spam of the week (2/3/2002)
Someone using an AOL throw-away address sends bulk email through a server in China asking me to a write to an email address in China (but without the ".cn" in the domain name) so that I can be harassed for money to help some dying girl who doesn't exist. I suppose, though, they are no more dishonest than some slimy creep who says "I can cure your cancer. Give me all your money". The PKD Foundation has nothing to do with this scam. It is just mentioned for effect. The Foundation says "The PKD Foundation Web site was recently referenced in an unsolicited email campaign for money. This "spamming" incident occurred from an outside source and in no way was sanctioned or approved by the PKD Foundation. The PKD Foundation is a tax-exempt 501 (c)(3), 509 (a)(1) public charity as determined by the Internal Revenue Service and we hold ourselves to the highest standards in our fundraising activities".
My name is Honey and I have a story. It is not the saddest story, yet it's mine. I have been working since my father died when I was 13 years old. My mother worked 3 jobs so that my brother and I would not have to go on public assistance. My father died from a genetic disease called Polycystic Kidneys. (http://www.pkdcure.org) This is when Cysts grow all over the kidneys and get so big that they overpower the kidneys until they cannot work anymore. All of my aunts, uncles, and cousins on my father's side have died from this disease at the age of 42 and younger. I was told that my brother Jeff would die if I did not donate one of my kidneys to him. We were the only survivors of our family because of this terminal disease and I was his only hope. Unfortunately, that is how I found out that I also have Polycystic Kidney Disease and could not help him. He sadly passed away. I have been working as a single parent holding down 2 jobs as a waitress. Within the last 3 weeks, I have had 2 operations and have another major operation in a month. My kidneys are so large they weigh over 40 pounds and must be removed because there is no room in my body for them. Once the operation is complete, I will have no kidneys and will have to live on dialysis, while waiting for a transplant. I can no longer waitress, as I have done all my life. To have a deadly disease is difficult enough, but to know that I have passed it on to my only child, is an unbearable guilt. This is what my son has to look forward to shortly. I have lived my whole life depending on myself and supporting my son. I never asked anyone for anything. In fact, if someone ever needed help from me I was always there financially and emotionally. Unfortunately, I now have to ask for help. If you could spare any amount of money, even if only $5, it would make my life a little easier. At the very least it will help solve some financial problems so I can focus on my health. All I have now is hope. If you can help financially it would be most appreciated. If you cannot, then your prayers are more then enough. Thank you and God bless all.
Sincerely, Honey Starr
For instructions on how to help honey, please email her at email@example.com Type "Help" in the subject line.
*** This email is a request for a gift. It is NOT a commercial advertisement. This email is being sent with the hopes of raising funds to help defray the cost of medical bills, related healthcare fees, expenses incurred from this campaign, and improve Honey's quality of life. Gifts are entirely voluntary.
A third party on behalf of Honey Starr is sending this email. To be removed from our mailing list, email remove to Goamerica@btamail.net.cn
Strange invitation of the week (2/3/2002)
Ain't spam a wonderful thing? I have received the following invitation to participate in a bicycle race. Unlike the recent invitation to a party at the Tate Gallery, it came in plenty of time to get there, but I have to regretfully decline the invitation as a) I don't have a bike and b) the shortest distance between my place and Chesapeake Bay is about 8,000 miles and involves drilling a tunnel through the centre of the Earth. The crab feast and strawberry cake sound good, though. Maybe next year.
Spring is around the corner, and thoughts turn to making plans for this years Cycling Events. So mark your calendar for MAY 17 - 19 for the 6th Annual TOUR de CHESAPEAKE.
This year's TDC is packed with all the great things you know and love about the TDC, along with some new ones: A fully-supported Century, family routes for all abilities, a Bike Rodeo (perfect for ages 6 and up), 1st Annual Mathews Crab Race, Olde Fashioned Fish Fry (including broiled fish) and Waterman's Crab Feast and of course, Ms. Via's famous strawberry short cake.
Harassment! Holston? Ha, ha ha! (2/3/2002)
Using his 39th email address in the campaign, Mr William P O'Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group told me that some Australian politician called "holston" was taking an interest in my affairs. Strangely, a search of the Australian Parliament web site turns up no Senator or Member of the House of Representatives with that name. I eagerly await further communication from Mr O'Neill on this matter. He also announced to the world that he had bought the domain name "peterbowditch.com" and was going to use it to publish things that I would not like. The "whois" record is informative:
Mental illness (9/3/2002)
A few weeks ago I mentioned that someone called "Herc" had been writing to and about me, but that I was not responding as I thought he had some real mental illness. The initial contact between us came about because Herc said that he had some form of paranormal power and wanted to claim the $100,000 on offer from the Australian Skeptics for evidence of such powers. The matter escalated to the point where he threatened to put poison in food in supermarkets unless the Skeptics paid him the money, despite the fact that he had neither actually said what he could do nor formally applied for the challenge. The police became involved and Herc is now a guest of Her Majesty, awaiting trial on extortion charges. It seems that Herc is a paranoid schizophrenic and has not been taking his medicine. On the day that Herc appeared in court, my elder daughter went to a funeral of a friend who committed suicide. He was twenty-five years old. These seemingly-unrelated incidents got me wondering about why it is that supporters of "alternative medicine" seem to deny the existence of mental illness. Examples of this denial can be seen in the opposition to behaviour- or mood-altering drugs like Ritalin and Prozac and the hostility towards anyone who suggests that "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity" is anything other than the anxiety disorder it appears to be. I have heard "alternative medicine" proponents advise people to immediately discard all psychiatric medication. One of the constant claims of "alternative medicine" is that it has no side effects. I wonder why they don't see people eating food with rat poison in it or young men hanging from the ceiling as side effects. I suppose it's consistent with the way that dying too soon is not considered a side effect of fraudulent cancer cures.
Speaking of challenges ... (9/3/2002)
If someone offered to pay you a million dollars, or even a hundred thousand dollars, or offered to get you a Nobel Prize and all you had to do was to do what you do for a living every day, would you accept? There are a whole lot of people who claim to be able to do things that would easily win them the money on offer from the Australian Skeptics or James Randi, and countless cancer curers who could easily satisfy my Cancer 100 Challenge. There's no shortage of sincere but deluded dowsers, conmen with perpetual motion machines and mad people like Herc or John Benneth who shout "I've done it! Send me the money", but where are the professionals? At the time of writing it has been 187 days since Sylvia Browne said she was going to take the money off Randi, but no paperwork has turned up. Hulda Clark claimed more than 100 cancer cures in one of her execrable books, but the only thing I hear from her is empty threats. These are just two examples of people who would have no trouble with the challenges if they could only do what they say they can do. The reason they don't apply couldn't be that they are lying and know it, could it?
Holy harassment, Batman! (9/3/2002)
It's been another quiet week on the harassment front. Mr William P O'Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group told a Usenet newsgroup that some mysterious authorities were coming to take my children away. It makes a change from unknown politicians investigating me or professional organisations cancelling my membership, but I suppose one thing that doesn't happen is as good as any other thing that doesn't happen. The Gutless Anonymous Liar had a problem with Caps Lock, probably caused by drooling onto the keyboard and shorting out the electronics, and said:
I'VE JUST BEEN INTRODUCED TO YOUR WEB SITE. THE BULLSHIT AND LIES YOU PUBLISH ABOUT BILL O'NEILL WILL BE DEALT WITH! HIS CLINIC TREATED FOR ME FOR ADVANCED LYMPHOMA: I WAS ON LIFE SUPPORT AND I'M NOW CANCER FREE. I'LL TRANSLATE FOR YOU; HIS CLINIC CURED ME!
I WILL FINANCE ANY LAW SUIT HE AND HIS GROUP BRING AGAINST YOU. I WILL CENSOR YOU AND I WILL MAKE YOU PAY FOR THE LIES YOU PUBLISH ABOUT HIM AND HIS CLINIC.
Getting rich quick (9/3/2002)
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had been interviewed for a radio program about get-rich-quick schemes. Following up on this, I collected emails offering me enormous wealth that came in during February. There were more than 200 of them, and those were just the ones addressed to "ratbags.com" and "gebesse.com.au" addresses! I didn't bother keeping the ones that came to the couple of Hotmail addresses I use because life is just too short for all that work. I will have an analysis of the different sorts here soon. Unless, of course, one of them is so attractive that I go off and start getting seriously rich. Unlikely, though.
My tribute sites (9/3/2002)
In a positive plethora of prolific praise for my personality, people have been prompted to produce pathetic pages about Peter. Please peruse this parcel of prurient prose on the Tribute page.
Some good news! (16/3/2002)
There is one less pyramid scheme in the world. Streamline International has disappeared, and you can get to the FTC comments here.
Yurko update (16/3/2002)
The despicable people who want to get murderer Alan Yurko out of prison held a conference and fund-raiser recently. All the usual suspects were there, spouting their vile drivel about how a ten-week-old baby gets blood in his eyes, brain and spinal cord from a vaccine administered 11 days before the assault. One of the objectives of the event was to raise some money for an appeal against the murderer's conviction and incarceration. A press release before the show said that they needed $200,000, but the best they could do with a roomful of true believers was $4,000. Even if they had managed to get the full $200,000, Yurko would still stay in prison. Evidence is evidence, no matter how many expert witnesses you pay to lie about it in court. Speaking of press releases, they all take the form of letters from either Alan or Francine Yurko (Ms Yurko married the murderer after he was convicted of beating her son to death), but they refer to the Yurkos in the third person, just the way the professional PR person writes them.
Harassment holiday (16/3/2002)
Everything has gone very quiet on the harassment front lately. Maybe the modem is broken at the GAL Secure Home for the Terminally Aphasic, or perhaps the attendants have received a new batch of darts and straps. On a previous occasion they managed to keep everyone quiet down there by promising new crayons and chin-foam bibs with initials on them, so that might be happening again. Even Mr William P O'Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group has been silent, perhaps through embarrassment or contrition. Whatever the reason, I expect everyone to chew through the restraints when the full moon appears in a few days.
Research skills (16/3/2002)
I have commented before on the level of research skills shown by the anti-vaccination liars. As an example, people who claim to have read and understood many thousands of scientific papers have had trouble finding out my name. These thoughts came back to me when I heard that someone only identified as Kathleen (with an email address of "HolisticMomma") had been talking about me on the Vaccinations list at Yahoo! Groups. (Despite its name, the list is about not-vaccinations. I have never tried to join the list, but I assumed I would be rejected if I tried.) Here is what Kathleen had to say:
I am currently researching Peter Bowditch, purveyor of crap over at the ratbags site. I've only just begun, but what I understand thus far is that he studied psychology in school. His work experience involves computers and I believe he works as some type of consultant. And that he now owns a computer company. He seems to be as zealous about pursuing alternative medicine as quackwatcher. And he admits that the anti-vaccine movement is his "pet" hate.
If anyone has any info to contribute on this guy, I'd sure appreciate it. I'm curious to know if he's gotten into any legal stuff like Barrett has. Meanwhile here's something I thought I would share:
[Kathleen then referred people to my introduction to the Healthfraud mailing list, written in January 1998.]
It seemed that Kathleen had only found one web page about me and all her "understanding" had been derived from that. She obviously hadn't paid too much attention to The Millenium Project (which would seem to be a good place to start), otherwise she might not have needed to ask about "legal stuff like Barrett". I thought I would help so I emailed her: "Your research doesn't seem to be going too well. A Google search for my name returns 1770 references (not all of them are me). It is strange that you couldn't come up with something a bit more recent than March 1998". She did not take this well and responded (to her friends on the mailing list, not to me) by saying:
Hey guys, check it out! Look at what I just received from ratbags. Bless his heart. He's so egomaniacal that he doesn't even realize that I didn't find him interesting enough to do much research on him. I'm afraid other research topics have taken priority and he has been placed on the back burner.
Hola Mr. Ratbags :)
So there you have it. Within a period of less than 48 hours, Kathleen has decided that it is too much trouble to spend 0.10 seconds at Google to find out something. This might explain why she is such a strong supporter of the murderer Alan Yurko, because it took me at least five minutes to locate his prior convictions for violent crimes. That would be considered a major research effort by people whose lack of either intellect or morals leads them to believe that vaccinations are universally and inevitably worse than the diseases they prevent.
A victory for common sense (23/3/2002)
In yet another attempted abuse of the legal system, the criminal cult of Scientology threatened to take action against the people who run the Google search engine for breach of copyright because Google contained links to sites that the cult claims contain its intellectual property. Google removed the links for a short period while they thought about it and then restored them to the archive. The idea that a search engine could be held legally responsible for the content of listed pages could only arise in the mind of someone who was either extremely arrogant or suffering from some form of insanity. But, then, we are talking about Scientologists ... Congratulations, Google, for doing the right thing.
Autism and homeopathy - the lies just get worse!
Someone I know has Asperger's Syndrome, a condition related to autism which causes people to have a strong ability to detect regular and obvious patterns and structure but an almost total inability to perceive subtle cues. A child with Asperger's Syndrome may be very good at activities like drawing, chess or mathematical puzzles and may be able to play music quite well by ear but be hopelessly inept at picking up social cues related to interpersonal behaviour. Put another way, to someone who doesn't know what's going on, an Asperger's child may appear to be a bad-mannered know-all.
Katie's mother knew as soon as her daughter was born that there was something different about her - the nurse commented on the particular way the baby attended to stimuli. Since then, she has heard all the stories about how it is caused by vaccinations, etc, but the fact remains that this is a congenital condition. Children are born with it, even if they do not exhibit the signs immediately.
Now, however, there has been a breakthrough! I read this week that a homeopath who knows that all forms of autism are caused by vaccination has seen evidence of a dramatic reversal of Asperger's Syndrome by the administration of some homeopathic nostrum. This same quack claims to be able to reverse "vaccine damage" with her magic water. These frauds have no shame, and don't care who they hurt in their insane attempts to replace medicine with voodoo.
An open letter (23/3/2002)
The following message was posted to the AVN mailing list at Yahoo! Groups (Ms Dorey is the President of the Australian Vaccination Network):
Date: Fri Mar 22, 2002 9:32 am
Subject: Re - posting on this list
Just to remind everyone, this list is a venue where everyone is entitled to state their own opinions and the research they have uncovered. The only thing that will not be tolerated here is abusive behaviour. We need this to be a place where everyone feels safe to express their opinions - even if we don't agree with those opinions. Respect is the key. I will not vaccinate my children any further - others will vaccinate fully or selectively. I respect their decision as long as it is an informed choice, and I hope that they will respect mine.
So please let's not start a flame war here. We all love children and want a healthy world. The only difference of opinion we have is how to achieve that goal. So please be nice to each other.
When someone alerted me to Ms Dorey's offer of peaceful coexistence, I wrote to her:
Dear Ms Dorey,
In a message dated 23 March, 2002, to the AVN mailing list at Yahoo! with the subject "Re - posting on this list", you said: "Just to remind everyone, this list is a venue where everyone is entitled to state their own opinions and the research they have uncovered. The only thing that will not be tolerated here is abusive behaviour. We need this to be a place where everyone feels safe to express their opinions - even if we don't agree with those opinions. Respect is the key".
The fact that I am banned from the AVN list suggests that the words quoted above are empty rhetoric or maybe just blatant hypocrisy. It is easy for you to reverse this impression by removing the ban and resubscribing me to the list (email address firstname.lastname@example.org, individual emails, plain text). To maintain the ban in light of what you said above can only lead to the reasonable implication that the matters discussed on the list are either shameful or cannot withstand scrutiny by someone who is not a true believer.
I look forward to rejoining your list shortly.
Her reply was much as I had expected, despite the sentiments expressed in her original message:
Dear Mr. Bowditch,
When you were subscribed to the AVN Discussion list, you breached our code of behaviour by being extremely abusive and disrespectful. I see no reason to re-subscribe you since you have shown no signs of ever changing that behaviour which caused you to be banned in the first place. I must therefore inform you that at this point in time and for the foreseeable future, you will not be subscribed to the AVN Discussion list.
During the time I was subscribed to the list I posted no messages of any kind to it, so it would have been impossible for me to have been "extremely abusive and disrespectful". Other list members, however, had no problem with abusing me and, as in the case of Ms Dorey herself for example, accusing me of financial corruption. Still, why should I expect anything else but hypocrisy from people who claim to like children but would rather see a million children dead or crippled than one child with a needle in his arm?
Bizarre emails of the week (23/3/2002)
The most interesting email I received in the last week contained the story of how the Blessed Virgin Mary used to regularly visit a lady in Queens, New York. I was pleased that someone thought I would like to know this, although it would be more relevant to me if the BVM were to appear in, say, Parramatta Park. I also received two copies of an empty message with an attached 36-page Word document telling me about the horrors of aspartame, which you can read here if you have nothing to do for a day or so. The most exciting email was a death threat. At least, I think it was a death threat. The entire message just consisted of the two words "death threat". To take my mind off that, I read this message from "Fluffypinkangel":
Remarkable in it's simplicity; stunning in it's accuracy. In this world of blue kool-aid and genderblender TV sitcoms, the beauty of reality is it's novelty. Not a day goes by that I don't admire the colors that are supplied by nature, the stars in their black and white simplicity at night. The beauty of nature is often occluded by the mechanisms of mankind; but a wise man will peek behind the curtain daily. It is the begining of dandelion season here in Missouri. Whenever I see one I admire its beauty and mumble a 'thank you' to God. And yet, our society sees this bright spot as a weed. Who taught us that? Patrick
Harassment hardly happens (23/3/2002)
Things are still very quiet. The only sign of harassment during the week was when Mr William P O'Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group tried to mailbomb me. Unfortunately for him, he chose an extremely lame bombing site to start at and the software there sent me only two copies of the bomb message instead of thousands. It also sent me the originating IP address plus all the details of his copy of Outlook Express. The bombing site was a truly great piece of software design.
You can't keep a good scammer down
The site belonging to Western Herb & Dietary Products used to have the title "Safe and Effective Cancer Treatments from Western Herb & Dietary Products, Inc" and operated with the domain name "www.curecancer.com", selling the quackery products of not-a-medical Dr Hulda Clark. In June 2001, the scamsters came to the attention of the Federal Trade Commission and agreed to a temporary injunction to stop pretending that they could cure cancer, AIDS, diabetes and Alzheimer's among other things. (See the FTC report here.) The site went away for a while, but now it is back without mentioning cancer in either the title or the domain name. The suggestion of possible cures is still there, but it is done in the clever way of just showing the covers of Clark's execrable books and saying that the text is "Comming soon". Any good lawyer should be able to argue before the FTC that the site is no longer offering cures or treatment (it is just selling books), isn't promising to provide these in the future (what does the word "comming" mean, anyway?), and is only offering herbal formulas (eg HIV & AIDS Formula $1176.90) without saying what these formulas do. What a clever pack of liars they are.
Predictable hypocrisy (30/3/2002)
Last week I wrote to Meryl Dorey, the President of the Australian Vaccination Network, and asked for the ban on my membership of her organisation's mailing list to be lifted. I did this because Ms Dorey had made yet another announcement of the tolerance of dissent that was supposedly a policy of the list. She refused my request and stated that I had been banned from the list because while I had been a member I had "breached our code of behaviour by being extremely abusive and disrespectful". As I have never posted anything to that list in my life, I fail to see how I could have been either. Other members of the list, however, including Ms Dorey, had no problem abusing me and suggesting that I might be some form of criminal. I have now restored all the messages about me sent to the AVN list to the anti-vaccination mailbox page. If people don't like seeing what they say about me reproduced here, they should keep quiet.
While looking for something else, I came across a site called Martin Luther King Jr. - An Historical Examination, which could be taken by the naïve as being some kind of official King site. The email address of the webmaster is a clue that it is not what it seems, because it is impossible to imagine anyone with a stormfront.org email address speaking a word of truth about King.. This site just reinforces the fact that racists, like other bigots, usually have to resort to character attack and deception because they can't offer any form of coherent intellectual argument for their position.
Harassment hoot! (30/3/2002)
The full moon didn't disappoint, and the Gutless Anonymous Liar was able to get some computer time to send me some more fantasies. It looks like the attendants down at the asylum were able to get some medication into it, because the messages almost looked like they were written in English. GAL's latest dream is that an Australian government body is going to pay some attention to me (it even said that the government had written to it, but I will believe that when a copy arrives by flying pig courier). In other dreams, GAL imagined that some court in California was doing something about me and lots of people were going to complain about me publishing their private emails. The possibility of these dreams coming true is slight, but it is enough to make this whole web site shake with fear (or is it laughter?).