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Amway needs help (3/7/2010)
I'm reading my local national newspaper the other day and there it was - a full page advertisement for the Amway opportunity. Not the products, or information about where you can buy them, but an advertisement to attract more people to join the scheme and become wealthy and fulfil their dreams. There were the usual testimonials from people who claimed to have had enormous success from participation in Amway, and again their success was measured in possessions and flamboyant lifestyles. I particularly liked the woman who said that "a ring from Tiffany's New York reminds her daily that they are on the right track". As shallow as a carpark puddle. (Oh, and the company refers to itself as "Tiffany", not "Tiffany's", but what is a little ignorance of a jewellery supplier's real name when you are trying to impress people?)
It isn't the testimonials from people who might or might not even exist claiming successes that might or might not have been achieved (have you ever met anyone who was able to retire on their Amway income?) that bothers me. This is all just standard operating procedure for all multi-level marketing scams, where a large amount of sizzle is promised but the steak is very hard, if not impossible, to find. It is the use of celebrity endorsements, where the celebrities are not mathematicians or psychologists who might be able to actually analyse the opportunity and why it might be attractive. In this case Amway have coopted two sporting heroes, swimmer Libby Trickett and cricketer Adam Gilchrist. (Amway donated $35,000 to charity following some impressive scoring by Gilchrist in the Indian Premier League. I wonder how far $35,000 would go shopping at "Tiffany's New York", but I digress ...) Both of these are very fine people who have reached the very top of their sports, and nobody would suggest that this doesn't take a lot of hard work and dedication. It irks me that this work and dedication is being used to lend a veneer of respectability to a scheme which rewards hard work and dedication with failure for all except the very few with the lack of ethics needed to reach the top of any MLM scheme.
Doctor's Data (3/7/2010)
[Some material was redacted from here in 2017 because it could have had some bearing on a court case in which Doctors Data was suing someone for telling the truth about them. You can see the outcome of the case here.]
Those fighting quackery and medical nonsense have known about Doctor's Data for a long time. They are the champions in testing for things that supposedly cause harm and always finding what they are asked to find. As an example, I was offered test results from Doctor's Data back in 2004 as evidence that vaccines contained mercury. The "laboratory" had tested some vaccines without any form of blinding and with the manufacturers' specification sheets available to the testers. Remarkably, they even detected mercury in a vaccine which has no mercury used in any stage of manufacture, but it was unclear whether this false positive was due to sloppy laboratory work, miscalibrated equipment or simply lying to give the client the desired result. You can see my correspondence with the anti-vaccination liar client here.
And here is my evaluation of those results:
Acupuncture works! (3/7/2010)
The matter of the efficacy of acupuncture was raised in my presence this week. One of the uses mentioned was the control of cigarette smoking, as apparently there have been major successes in using acupuncture to get people to give up the demon weed. I have been told that there is a point on the ear which, if needled correctly, will remove the urge to smoke. The picture at the right shows an earring in my left ear, and it is right on the "stop smoking" point recommended by auricular acupuncturists. Several times I have told acupuncture enthusiasts that I have not had a cigarette since the hole was punched in my ear. The smart ones then try to trap me by asking me if I smoked before I had the piercing done, and I honestly tell them that I did. That always satisfies them that they have seen evidence that acupuncture works, and not one has ever asked me the next obvious question. I won't tell you what the question is, but the answer is "22 years". Yeah, acupuncture works to stop smoking, and the best part is it works retrospectively. What other medical treatment can claim that?
More weekly weirdness (3/7/2010)
It wasn't just acupuncturists who reminded me this week of things or said things that made me think that people aren't thinking clearly.
Whooping cough is back (3/7/2010)
On June 23, California health officials officially declared the state to have an epidemic of whooping cough. This decision was taken after the fifth infant death from what anti-vaccination liars describe as "a mild cold". For those who might tend to agree, here is a video which might put the disease into perspective. Warning - scenes in this video might upset people who care about children.
But some people wouldn't care (3/7/2010)
The image at right is an exchange on the Australian Vaccination Network's Facebook page. You will notice that Meryl Dorey, erstwhile President of the AVN, states yet again that she "support[s] a diverse range of views and people - even if they don't agree with us". She makes this statement on a Facebook page from which I am banned. She has blocked me from following her on Twitter. I am blocked from commenting on the AVN's blog and I have been banned from the AVN's mailing list for over a decade. She responded positively once to someone who offered to stand at the door of an AVN function and stop me from entering. She has no commitment to freedom of speech unless that freedom is abused to lie to parents about the dangers of vaccines. Her citing of Voltaire is merely reinforcement of her hypocrisy. Voltaire would not have wasted a second on her if he saw her lying in the street.
The response to Ms Dorey fully exposes the tactics and ethics of the anti-vaccination liar movement. David and Toni McCaffrey lost their infant daughter to whooping cough, and the death can be directly attributable to the activities of the anti-vaccination campaigners in their locality. Ms Dorey posted offensive comments to the memorial page set up on Facebook for Dana McCaffrey, but no attempt was made to censor her vile remarks in any way. I sat in a television studio with the McCaffreys while members of the AVN vilified them and anybody else who might suggest that vaccines save lives. The suggestion of a
Choose your rebar, Johanna
And as for Johanna's suggestion about contacting employers, all I can say is "Bring it on". I have two jobs. At one of them the employer's attitude to vaccination can be seen by the policy of providing free flu vaccination to all staff. If she contacts my boss at the other job he will tell her which of her orifices would be the most appropriate place to insert a red hot length of reinforcing rod, the rustier the better.
Some bad news (3/7/2010)
It was announced this week that Christopher Hitchens is to undergo some aggressive treatment for cancer of the oesophagus. As this particular form of cancer is closely related to smoking and drinking strong liquor, wowsers and religiotics will probably be saying "Serves him right", but they can safely be ignored. My chiropractor, homeopath, naturopath and Reiki Master have all offered to fly to his bedside at a moment's notice, and my minister, priest, bishop, rabbi, imam, guru and pastor have all agreed to hold an ecumenical prayer service just in case Hitchens has a soul.
I'm a fascist? (10/7/2010)
A wonderful attack on supporters of real medicine has been circulating for the last few days. It even made it as a featured article on the Age of Autism web site, a sure sign that anti-vaccination liar paranoia is very much on the boil. I happen to run the Australian Council Against Health Fraud in what little spare time I have (and I hope to get more active with the organisation in the next few months) so I was particularly thrilled to find that ACAHF is now a "major corporate lobby group".
I am so ashamed, chagrined and fearful of the facts disclosed in the article that I have decided to publish it here so we can all see how stupid and idiotic anti-vaccination liars can get. Be prepared, though, before you start reading. Don't wear good clothes, put down some plastic so the carpet doesn't get wet, wear a raincoat to protect yourself from the boiling mouth foam and put on some welding goggles to protect your eyes from sparks of burning stupid. Oh, and a note to Martin Walker: Thank you for the heads-up to a couple of anti-vaccination liar web sites that I wasn't aware of and remember that we're laughing at you, not with you.
July 09, 2010
Health Fascism in Australia.
By Martin Walker
The sinister Skeptics group, agents of what used to be CSICOP now the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) organised from the US and linked to the major corporate lobby groups, American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) and American Council Against Health Fraud (ACAHF), which is in turn linked to the Australian CAHF) are making ground in Australia. Supported by authoritarian ideological influences in government and Big Pharma, the Skeptics are running constant attacks on homeopathy, natural cancer treatments, those who question vaccination and those who support any form of alternative medicine.
With the present world fiscal crisis, all those linked to Big Pharma and Science are fighting a bitter battle to preserve drug company competitiveness. But where fascist influences in government and health with most force come together is in attacking anyone who speaks out about freedom of choice and expression in relation to vaccination.
Over the last year the international corporate lobby Skeptics, have been behind a campaign against the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN). In 2009, one of their trolls, a lay person with no standing in medicine or government complained about the web site of the AVN to the office of the State Government funded Health Care Complaints commission (HCCC) an organisation that accepts complaints against groups found be giving out false information about health.
The remit of the HCCC, did not actually cover parent groups which discussed the pros and cons of vaccination, so the State government slightly changed the remit to satisfy the Skeptics. The government then proceeded with a year long investigation into Meryl Dorey the woman who established and runs the AVN and the AVN itself.
Dorey was asked to answer their first 30 odd page report against her and the organisation, within a few weeks. She did this with a magnificent document that argued every point with brilliance. The complaint investigation actually argued against almost every sentence that had appeared on the AVN web site. If the AVN had said that vaccines contained toxic elements, such as mecury and aluminuim the HCCC argued with pseudo science that this was not true, giving pages of bogus evidence to support the vaccine manufacturers.
Yesterday Dorey received the final 30 page answer from the HCCC to the Skeptics complaint. This inevitably reiterated all the charges brought against and included many gems of Orwellian Newspeak, such as:
'In Australia vaccination is a key plank of public health strategy. It is thus extremely important for individuals, especially parents, to be able to make informed decisions about vaccination. The AVN provides information that is misleading for the average reader by inaccurately representing information, selectively reporting information, and giving non-peer reviewed and anecdotal material the same authority as peer -reviewed literature'.
This is the hub of Health Fascism happily embraced by the HCCC evidently supported not by the votes of their constituents but by Big Pharma. The pharma-skeptics and corporate science geeks, have pushed this censorious line in Britain and America. In Britain they went so far as to draw up a set of rules suggesting that no one other than scientists or doctors should be able to write anything, or say anything in the media; no lay person was to be able to hold a view on their own health or that of others. The next step after ruling that no one other than scientists can speak about health, is the bringing into force of fascism. No discussion about compulsory vaccination - force it on people, no discussion about alternative medicine - ban it, no discussion about what constitutes democracy - bring in scientific and evidence based politics and human behaviour.
In the past Meryl and her co-workers has been subject to authoritarian style attacks by the Skeptics, her web site has been taken down and meetings she was arranged to address called off. She and her co-workers and the AVN, are presently gearing up for the media onslaught on her and her web site. The media, like vultures are circling, asking for special privileges to present her case and tell her story, but Meryl is far too intelligent to fall for any of these parasitic manoeuvres; she's a fighter. Inevitably, however at the moment she feels isolated - as those living in Australia must sometimes do! (LOL). Everyone must rally round and lend her their strength. E-mail the inappropriately named, Health Care Complaints Commission at: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone them on (02) 9219 7444. Fax them on: (02) 9281 4585. Ask the HCCC why they accept complaints from people who belong to the global corporate science lobby group, Skeptics.
Support the AVN (http://www.avn.org.au/) . Contact any independent media, film makers or journalists you know in Australia and ask them to contact Meryl. Bring Meryl and the AVN into the international fold that is fighting to maintain health freedom and stands against Health Fascism. Martin J Walker is an investigative writer who has written several books about aspects of the medical industrial complex. He started focusing on conflict of interest, intervention by pharmaceutical companies in government and patient groups in 1993. Over the last three years he has been a campaign writer for the parents of MMR vaccine damaged children covering every day of the now two year hearing of the General Medical Council that is trying Dr Wakefield and two other doctors. His GMC accounts can be found at www.cryshame.com, and his own website is, www.slingshotpublications.com
Zapper zapped! Maybe. (10/7/2010)
On June 24 the Therapeutic Goods Administration ordered an outfit named Natural Health Direct to stop advertising the Hulda Clark Zapper and to display the following notice on the front page of their web site (you can see the ruling here):
Just so the search engines can find it when they index this page, here is what Natural Health Direct are required to say:
An advertisement for the Zapper product, which we published on this website, should not have been published.
In promoting the Zapper product, we were advertising illegal therapeutic goods in breach of section 42DL(1)(g) of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989. We also unlawfully made claims that the product could have therapeutic benefits such as killing bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and could cure diseases.
A complaint about the advertisement was recently upheld by the Complaints Resolution Panel. We provided no evidence to support the claims we made, and the Panel found that the claims were unlawful, misleading, and unverified and breached the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code.
The Panel therefore requested that Natural Health Direct publish this retraction.
The full text of the Panel's determination can be found at: www.tgacrp.com.au/complaints
The order gave Natural Health Direct 14 days to comply. Sixteen days have now passed so I thought I would check on progress and compliance. To nobody's surprise there is no notice on the web site and the advertisement for Hulda's Zapper is still there
One day the government is going to give the TGA the teeth it needs to move beyond requesting that crooks stop promoting quackery and fraud and actually be able to shut these people down, with prison sentences for the offenders if they don't comply with orders. As it is now, charlatans can simply ignore (or even laugh at) orders made by the TGA and the Complaints Resolution Panel. After all, as their lawyers have undoubtedly pointed out, even the form of notice that they are asked to display says that it is only a request, and a request can be politely declined.
We don't always lose (10/7/2010)
Last December I complained to the Health On the Net Foundation that an organisation called Medical Voices Vaccine Information Center was claiming HONCode accreditation while simultaneously running a strident campaign against vaccination, in direct violation of the HONCode principles. I was reminded of that site this week when they changed their name and I can report that there seems to be no mention of HONCode on their site now and a search of the HONCode site doesn't show the anti-vaccination liars as a registered site.
And I call that a WIN! Of course, there is always the possibility that they were lying when they first claimed accreditation. Liars are like that, and they assume that nobody can or will check.
I live in the Blue Mountains and up here things can be a bit weird. Crystal shops abound, men who live here are expected to have earrings, beards and ponytails, women dress like white witches or hippie throwbacks, and wild animals roam the forests. The most famous and elusive of these is the black panther. There have been so many sightings of this animal in the district that the state Department of Primary Industry has issued a fact sheet. Containing the ominous words "Over the past few years there have been many reports of alleged large black cats roaming the Blue Mountains of NSW", the pamphlet goes on to say what to do when you see one of these cats flitting through the bush or find some signs of black cat activity.
I am pleased that my taxes are being spent on useful things like this fact sheet. You might think I am being sarcastic, but I really mean it - now when some nutter contacts the DPI about huge black cats making a home among the gum trees the officer answering the phone can simply ask for an email address, send out a copy of the fact sheet and get on with some productive work. Win all round.
Truth? Ministry? (10/7/2010)
I don't think I need to say any more about this despicable bunch of bigots and pretend Christians once you see this billboard.
[In 2014 this group of bigots had a name change to Hope For Wholeness. PB November 2014]
HCCC and AVN (12/7/2010)
The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission has released its findings into complaints made against the Australian Vaccination Network. While the findings are not as dramatic as we could have hoped for, the HCCC was able to reveal that much of the propaganda pushed by Meryl Dorey and the AVN was either inherently unscientific or could not be supported by the references provided. The HCCC made the following recommendations:
The Australian Vaccination Network should include an appropriate statement in a prominent place on its website which states:
I am very disappointed about this, because it doesn't amount to much more than a small slap on the wrist, and recommendation 3 allows any quack or alternative medicine provider to give advice as long as they are allowed to adopt the title of "health care provider". I suspect that for the AVN it will be business as usual, with the added propaganda advantage that they can claim that they are the victims of a witch hunt. I also expect the attacks on Ken McLeod and the McCaffreys to escalate, especially on overseas based anti-vaccination liar websites.
One good thing that might come out of it, however, is that the media might be a bit more careful in future when getting advice from Ms Dorey and the AVN and take what they hear from there with some very large bags of salt.
A bit more about the AVN (17/7/2010)
It's sad when your former supporters turn on you. Here is the local paper in the Australian Vaccination Network's region reporting on the recent Health Care Complaints Commission ruling on the AVN's activities. The paper used to be favourable to the AVN, but sense has broken out.
Lismore pediatrician Dr Chris Ingall has welcomed the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) report on its 12-month investigation into the Bangalow-based Australian Vaccination Network.
The investigation was triggered by two complaints made to the HCCC, a NSW authority that investigates complaints relating to the provision of health care.
The first was from Toni and David McCaffery, of Lennox Head, parents of baby Dana who died at four weeks from whooping cough (pertussis) on March 9 last year.
The second complainant was made by Ken McLeod.
The investigation found the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) provided �misleading and inaccurate information� on vaccination.
"It backs up what we have been saying about the AVN," Dr Ingall said. "It has directly affected the health of children on the North Coast."
Health academic Dr Sue Page said the report was an exhaustive study that showed the AVN's claim to be aprovider of balanced information was false.
"The report shows that they are anti-vaccination," Dr Page said. "In this local area they have had a major and negative impact."
David McCaffery welcomed the report's findings.
Part of his complaint to the HCCC was that AVN president Meryl Dorey had misrepresented the facts of Dana's death by implying the infant had not died from pertussis.
The investigation found Mrs Dorey was not �in possession of all the facts and circumstances of Dana's illness and death when she spoke with the media and postedinformation relating to Dana on her web-log�.
Mr McCaffery said the report proved the AVN �could not be trusted�.
"People need to access information that gives them the real benefits and risks," he said.
"People should keep away from the AVN because they do not tell the truth."
Mr McCaffery also said the State and Federal governments were not doing enough to provide accurate information on vaccination.
The HCCC has recommended the AVN include a prominent statement on its website to say its purpose is to �provide information against vaccination in order to balance what is it believes is the substantial amount of pro-vaccination information available elsewhere�.
It also said there should be a statement on the website explaining the information provided should not be taken as medical advice and the decision about vaccination should be made in consultation with health-care providers.
The Australian Vaccination Network has been given 14 days to comply with the HCCC recommendations.
Mrs Dorey issued a media release to say she would be �investigating all options in order to respond to the outrageous attack on free speech inherent in the recent allegations made against it by a NSW state authority, the HCCC�.
Mrs Dorey argued the AVN did not fall under the jurisdiction of the commission.
However, the HCCC found that Mrs Dorey was a health-care educator and the AVN was a health education service, so therefore fell under the jurisdiction of Health Care Complaints Act.
Mrs Dorey is yet to respond to the findings of the report and did not agree to be interviewed for this story.
FINDINGS CONCERNING THE AVN
And here is a comment from my friend Darryl.
Jack the Kook lawyers up (17/7/2010)
I have received the following threat, related to my use of the name of a person who has publicly commented about me that "I'm almost surprised that you're not buggering some young boy" and has called me "GRADE A NAZI, SCHEISS-MEISTER OF THE ART OF WEB TERRORISM" (caps in original rant):
Dear Domain Registrant (RATBAGS.COM),
Please find enclosed a letter and attachment, in .PDF format, for you to review.
This is an effort to settle a lawsuit pending against you. A settlement proposal is included.
In the event we have not received confirmation that you have found the settlement acceptable and implemented its provisions within a reasonable period of time to do so, we may proceed to pursue further remedies in any appropriate legal forum.
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.
Michael I. Levy
Intellectual Property Specialist
WORLDWIDE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
a Bell North America Company
As the kook in question (the man with the trademarked name) has pretended to be a lawyer in the past I obviously had to check, so I submitted the following enquiry to Bell North America Corporation:
I have been contacted by a Mr Michael I. Levy who describes himself as "Intellectual Property Specialist, WORLDWIDE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, a Bell North America Company".
Mr Levy used the email address "email@example.com" to threaten me with legal action (apparently I have violated trademark law by mentioning the name of a person who publicly accused me of pederasty).
Could you please confirm that Worldwide Entertainment Group is a part of Bell North America and that Mr Levy is entitled to use one of your email addresses to issue legal threats.
I ask because the person whose name is trademarked has threatened to sue me in the past and invented a lawyer at the time. I should also point out that the "Worldwide Entertainment Group" in question appears to be totally unrelated to the Worldwide Entertainment Group that has a web site at http://www.wweg.com, but instead appears at http://www.worldwideinformationsystems.com.
In addition, the following email was sent to the real Worldwide Entertainment Group:
I have been contacted by a lawyer supposed acting for an organisation calling itself "Worldwide Entertainment Group" and claiming that I am violating a trademark by mentioning the name of a man who has publicly accused me of being a pedophile.
I realise that the "Worldwide Entertainment Group" that the lawyer writes from is not you (he also claims that his company is a subsidiary of Bell North America Corporation), but I feel that you should be aware of another organisation using your name. It is particularly ironic, considering that they are making trademark violation claims against me.
You can see the web site of the other "Worldwide Entertainment Group" at http://www.worldwideinformationsystems.com
The substance of the threat went like this:
In re: Settlement Proposal — misuse of trademark and other intellectual properties
We are the owners of the Entertainment Ventures known as IMAGINATION INTERNET. An exclusive intellectual property license has been granted us which we are using in the production of a copyrighted film work in progress ("The Roswell 1947 Story"). I am enclosing the Trademark Registration (USPTO.gov) governing the Jack Shulman™ mark and related to the domain names JackShulman.com/.net/.org over which we were awarded a Final Judgment in the New Jersey State Superior Court ("Shulman v. Raney, et al.") during a case alleging identity/ intellectual property theft .
We have become aware that you are using these copyrighted works and trademark without permission in published works you've posted on your domain 'ratbags.com', leveraging the names Jack Shulman, accpc, acc, American Computer, 'Ed Wang' and various fictitious and documentary information you took without permission. You have no license to use these works. The living theater projects "Roswell 1947 Story" took place on Imagination Internet sites between 1996 and 2001. "Roswell 1947" includes the present film in production and a future series of novels.
Accordingly, upon receipt of this letter kindly remove all pages and links from Ratbags.com that reference Jack Shulman, American Computer Company, ACC, ACCPC, the fictional stories: AT&T Transistor story and Roswell 1947 story (which is part of the past living theater production you have paraphrased on your site), any related information, and any duplicates and materially similar pages from Ratbags.com, so that they may NEVER be retrieved, emailed, printed or viewed by any visitor to Ratbags.com, or visitor to any other Peter Bowditch related website/product or cache. Remove ALL of them. Here are examples:
1. www.ratbags.com/loon/mailbox/transistor.htm - Cached - Similar
2. www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/jackthekook.htm - Cached
The taking and continued usage by Ratbags.com of the fictional works and fictitious and non-fictitious names that are a part of our property, along with your making of defamatory light and intentional willfully malicious publications may result in our authorizing counsel to seek legal remedies without any prior written notice.
Kindly note that all matters of law regarding our intellectual property fall under the jurisdiction of the general business law of the State of New Jersey, United States of America and/or the New Jersey and Pennsylvania District Courts. If you have submitted any of the infringing pages to Search Engines or Internet Archives, kindly also remove them from those engines and archives as well.
In anticipation of your cooperation --
Michael I. Levy
Intellectual Property Specialist
I obviously cannot respond to "Mr Levy" until I have confirmed his association with Bell North America, but I will make the following points:
In a spirit of conciliation, however, and until this matter is settled, I have replaced instances of the trademark "Jack Shulman" throughout this site (except for its occurrence in this article or when Mr Shulman has used the name in an email of course, because that would make no sense) with the text string "Jack Shitman". That should satisfy even the most sensitive intellectual property specialist. Oh, and Mr Levy's complaint will be submitted to the Chilling Effect Clearinghouse.
Let's talk about polio (17/7/2010)
Here are a couple of videos from 1956 to remind us of how horrible polio was and how it was almost eradicated. The people who lie about the safety, efficacy and value of the polio vaccine are free to have a case of necrotising fasciitis on their faces and genitals.
The good news just keeps on coming (17/7/2010)
In May I reported that a pyramid scheme operator, TVI Express, had come to the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. It seems that, like many crooks, the scheme operators don't think that laws and court orders apply to them. Here is what the ACCC had to say on July 12, 2010:
ACCC issues contempt of court proceedings against Lualhati Jutsen
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued proceedings against Lualhati Jutsen (also known as 'Teddi Jutsen') alleging contempt of court.
Ms Jutsen is the first respondent in the ACCC's proceedings involving allegations of participation in a pyramid selling scheme referred to as TVI Express, 'TVI Team Oz'.
The ACCC alleges that Ms Jutsen breached an order made by Justice Yates in the Federal Court on 14 May 2010. This order restrained Ms Jutsen from operating a certain bank account, including making withdrawals.
The ACCC also alleges that Ms Jutsen breached an order made by Justice Bennett in the Federal Court on 20 May 2010. This order restrains Ms Jutsen from withdrawing funds from a certain bank account other than amounts reasonably necessary for Ms Jutsen's ordinary living expenses.
A directions hearing has been set down in the Federal Court in Sydney on 14 July 2010.
Release # NR 135/10 Issued: 12th July 2010
You can't be imprisoned in Australia for theft via pyramid scheme, but you can certainly be locked up for contempt of court. It makes me smile to think of Teddi Jutsen experiencing the reality of what it means to be in the "downline" of a prison population hierarchy.
"An idiot of the 33rd degree"
Mark Twain's daughter died from meningitis, his son died from diphtheria, and a few months after his wife died of heart failure Twain received a solicitation from a quack promising that The Elixir of Life could cure these ailments. He was not pleased, and dictated the following letter to his secretary.
Nov. 20. 1905
J. H. Todd
1212 Webster St.
San Francisco, Cal.
Your letter is an insoluble puzzle to me. The handwriting is good and exhibits considerable character, and there are even traces of intelligence in what you say, yet the letter and the accompanying advertisements profess to be the work of the same hand. The person who wrote the advertisements is without doubt the most ignorant person now alive on the planet; also without doubt he is an idiot, an idiot of the 33rd degree, and scion of an ancestral procession of idiots stretching back to the Missing Link. It puzzles me to make out how the same hand could have constructed your letter and your advertisements.
Puzzles fret me, puzzles annoy me, puzzles exasperate me; and always, for a moment, they arouse in me an unkind state of mind toward the person who has puzzled me. A few moments from now my resentment will have faded and passed and I shall probably even be praying for you; but while there is yet time I hasten to wish that you may take a dose of your own poison by mistake, and enter swiftly into the damnation which you and all other patent medicine assassins have so remorselessly earned and do so richly deserve.
Adieu, adieu, adieu!
The sad thing is that you could take the offending pamphlet, tidy up the language to make it sound more like 2005 than 1905 and publish it as a web site today. The only problem you might have would be Joe Mercola or Mike Adams threatening to sue you for stealing their ideas.
See Twain's letter here
See the quack's pamphlet here
Thank you to Letters of Note for the heads-up.