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David Kirby on Autism and the Military: One Very Brave Captain

Olmsted on Autism: The Decline and Fall of (Almost) Everything

DisasterBy Dan Olmsted

It's been quite the year, eh? Let's face it: We've reached the point where our government's failures -- to regulate financial institutions, protect the environment, avoid pointless wars and read the Constitution with comprehension -- are crashing into each other like cars on a foggy California highway. And the wreckage is still piling up -- crash, bang, boom! -- with no discernable end in sight. The moment of truth came for me when John McCain aired an ad in which he said, in these words or close, "Things haven't gone so well the past eight years, have they?" When the designated successor to the president of the United States says that, the verdict is unanimous and non-partisan.
This is not a political issue -- Age of Autism took no position in the presidential campaign, drawing some irritation from both sides, and we would be just as hopeful and eager to offer advice if John McCain had won. The real issue is that at this moment almost nothing touched by government -- or its inexcusable absence -- is working. People are actually paying the United States Treasury to hold onto their money, the last safe haven this side of a mattress.

On other fronts, things are just as bad. Brad Pitt is doing a better job of rebuilding New Orleans than the feds. After showing up for the party a week late, FEMA put folks in formaldehyde containers (oops, I mean temporary trailers) and their CDC buddies covered up the fallout. The politicization of science reached the point where the feckless Julie Gerberding's testimony to Congress on global warming was chopped to bits by the administration to minimize the health effects. (Even when the CDC tries to tell the truth, it can't.)

The governor of Illinois is a crook, and a dumb one at that (and a Democrat). The people in charge of our financial system, our car companies, our decision to attack Iraq and our occupation afterwards, have all blown it. Many of them have admitted as much, or at least blamed each other, which to a betrayed citizenry is a distinction without a difference.

The FDA has crumbled into institutional ruin and is risking our lives -- its own advisory committee says so. It can't protect us from gunk in milk, lead in toys or manifestly unsafe drugs like Vioxx. A lot of ideas that inexplicably seemed good at the time have turned out predictably bad -- having drug companies pay the FDA to consider new drug applications (you can thank Bill Clinton for that); taking down the Berlin Wall between consumer and investment banks so they could gamble with grandma's money and slice and dice your mortgage into oblivion.

And it's all going to get worse before it gets better. You thought the last eight years didn't go so well? The next eight months are going to make this look like our salad days -- at least, that's what President-Elect Obama says.

Amid all this rubble caused by the failure of the United States government to function competently -- to do the job we're paying it for -- we are asked to take it on faith that one pillar is still standing straight, strong and true. That would be the vaccine-development complex, the hydra-headed monster consisting of asleep-at-the-switch regulators, germ-phobic CDC martinets, clueless state public health officials, avaricious drug companies, and their protectors and benefactors in Congress and the administration and the media. Despite the eyewitness testimony of thousands of parents, despite the lack of any other probable cause, despite the decline in children's health and the rise of autism, asthma, ADD, ADHD … despite all that, all is well.

Like little children in Sunday School, this we know because Paul Offit and his ilk in and out of government and private industry and academia (what's the difference?) tell us so.  Yes, and people with similarly august imprimaturs and affiliations said it was certain -- beyond rational dispute -- that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction; that letting banks function as investment houses would be no problem; that there was no scientific evidence whatsoever Vioxx killed thousands of people when it was marketed as yummy treats for achy athletes rather than last-ditch treatment for severe arthritis.

I can't tell you how many times I've sat and listened to folks bemoan the state of the world, then turn on a dime (all some of them have left!) when it comes to defending the mad campaign to stick every baby full of genetically altered recombinant Hep B virus on the day of birth, to shoot up every one-year-old with needless, shingles epidemic-triggering chickenpox vaccine, to mix more and more live viruses without a clue as to what they do ... shall I stop now?

Might as well. None of that matters to them, because while we now agree that GM Presidents Are Idiots, CIA Directors Are Toadies, Investment Bankers Are Greedy and Reckless, nonetheless Doctors Are Valiant and Scientists Are Smart and Public Health Officials Are Wise. Always. They act in the interests of their patients and the public and the truth -- and they are immune to the catastrophes of self-dealing, myopia, sheer ignorance and incompetence that have beset us on every other front.

Why be so harsh to all these nice people who are just trying to help? Can't we all just get along?

No, we can't. What matters is not being nice. What matters is telling the truth while the truth still matters. Wouldn't it have been better if Congress got tough two decades ago on all those people running GM into the ground; wouldn't it have been kinder, karmically speaking, for the media to have yelled louder, longer and sooner about the paltry evidence for going to war in Iraq? Being nice is not the be-all and end-all in a democracy. As Patrick Fitzgerald said, sometimes it is necessary to try to interrupt a government crime spree as urgently as possible.
What too many people still don't get is that the public health debacle triggered by the vaccine-development complex is on a par with, and parallel to, these other meltdowns.

We're looking at the same kind of catastrophe and the same kind of consequences in the financial markets and New Orleans and Iraq and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the safety studies conducted by Merck and company; it's a ditto, not a different universe. The autism enablers are down to their last act, raging like a dying King Lear against the ungratefulness of the vaccine-protected herd instead of facing the reality of the neurological havoc they are wreaking.

So the fight over what happened to these kids is not a fight in isolation, nor is it a fight over the past. As Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel economist writing in the new Vanity Fair, puts it in discussing the roots of the financial disaster: "Behind the debates over future policy is a debate over history -- a debate over the causes of our current situation. The battle for the past will determine the battle for the present. So it's crucial to get the history straight."

I hope we are about to get that history straight and, in this hour of reckoning, realize the vaccine-industrial complex is the Lehman Brothers of public health. It's bankrupt. It just doesn't know it yet.

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism



Thank you, Dan Olmsted, for your work and sacrifice to make the world a safer place! And thank you for putting the overwhelming ramifications of all this into an articulate, straight-to-the-truth message. Someday, my daughter will be thanking you as well.


This is the best column I have ever read by you and I've been following your opinions for years. I couldn't summarize it better myself. We live in a society in which nobody ever admits making mistakes. There is zero accountability even after a serious disaster happens. Flaws and errors are covered up by those who make them, and most mass media turn a blind eye on them or blatantly distort the truth because they are tied up in a common web of interests with the organizations they report on. On vaccines and autism, the coverage by the NYTimes, the Washington Post and NPR is just shameful. They make the Granma Cuban newspaper appear as the epitome of free speech.

Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart to Dan and Kim and the rest of the staff at AOA. Thank you David Kirby. You have been the Nouriel Roubinis, the Paul Krugmans of the autism debate. Thanks to any decent soul out there who sees injustice being done and won't let go until it is uncovered and the guilty parties pay for the damage they've made. We are now on this second phase, the finger pointing, and I applaud your promise that the coverage should be as rough as the enormous amount of guilt behind the acts of the CDC, the AAP, pharma and any associated senators, congressmen and mass media that have helped. Vaccine induced austism is one of the worst tragedies in medical history and one that was completely preventable if there was any intent to do so more than a decade ago now. The collapse of the financial system is a joke compared to this.



This is one fine piece of work.


curt Linderman sr

Thanks for a great article Dan! I know that I can get pretty darn mean on my radio show when I talk about this very issue but you are so right, The time for platitudes and sugar coated spin are over. It's time to bust some heads (proverbial heads that is...)!



You are right. I need a drink.

Keep poking at things.

Thank you,

Louis Conte

You nailed it! Years from now when people ask about the the zeitgeist of early 2000's, this should be read.
Absolutely great writing.


Thank you, again, for your fantastic piece!


The dumbing down of America is right. Sometimes I think all of this is just a failure to do basic math.

Everyone assumes that 99.9% safe is wonderful (hell Renee Jenkins seemed to brag about vaccines being 97% safe). And it may be a great acheivement. But somehow society failed to do resulting word problem.

If you inject something that is safe for 99.9% of people into 3 million infants, how many are harmed? And what if you do that 36 times? And then repeat it over the course of a decade?

Joseph McGuire

The entire population of the United states is under attack by it's own government. Consider the following scams supported by official government position.
The vaccine scam.
The cholesterol scam.
The fluoride scam.
The chlorine scam.
The GMO scam.
The global warming scam.
Forced schooling that probably enabled the Government to pull off all the other scams.
In other words, the dumbing down of the American public.
It can safely be said that we have already lost our liberty and have mind control to contend with too.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

Speaking of history, I recently got a call from my daughter,explaining that she had purchased a book for me. Apparently this book is for doctors- telling them what to tell{those foolish} patients who believe that mercury causes autism. I said, "Throw it away", but later I changed my mind and said"Keep it- It might be an interesting historical piece" I hope that part of history comes very soon ! The autism community finds it difficult to get into the mainstream media, but I get the sense that this may soon change - Change, as in the headlines - "Autistic boy kills parents" or Parent of Autistic Child Commits Suicide. There is a very very ugly face of autism as it decimates homes and lives and Im with Tanners Dad in believing that we must be more aggressive , in a controlled and inteligent manner.


My favorite parts:
"while we now agree that GM Presidents Are Idiots, CIA Directors Are Toadies, Investment Bankers Are Greedy and Reckless, nonetheless Doctors Are Valiant and Scientists Are Smart and Public Health Officials Are Wise. Always. They act in the interests of their patients and the public and the truth -- and they are immune to the catastrophes of self-dealing, myopia, sheer ignorance and incompetence that have beset us on every other front."
"That would be the vaccine-development complex, the hydra-headed monster consisting of asleep-at-the-switch regulators, germ-phobic CDC martinets, clueless state public health officials, avaricious drug companies, and their protectors and benefactors in Congress and the administration and the media. Despite the eyewitness testimony of thousands of parents, despite the lack of any other probable cause..."

Great writing, great article -- so many good points. But so distressing. What will become of us?? May the next four years go better than the past eight -- in regard to the economy, war, and the problem of vaccine adverse effects which "is on a par with, and parallel to, these other meltdowns".

Kelli Ann Davis

"That would be the vaccine-development complex, the hydra-headed monster consisting of asleep-at-the-switch regulators, germ-phobic CDC martinets, clueless state public health officials, avaricious drug companies, and their protectors and benefactors in Congress and the administration and the media."

Dan, what don't you tell us what ya *really* think ;-)

Seriously, I think this is one of the best pieces you have ever written.

I'm forwarding it on to a key Congressional committee cuz sometimes seeing the "raw truth" all laid out -- minus the bells and whistles -- can be a very, powerful thing.

And *this* is Just. That. Good.

Ben's Dad

Thanks Dan for tying the all of the hubris together into one package. The same theory goes for our treatment of the environment. Its seems like the long-term plan for ending the autism epidemic is the complete dismantling of civilization as we know it.

We live in a time where there is a profound lack of respect for the wisdom of evolution and the determination of nature to bring about unexpected change. We are playing god with things we simply don’t understand, ignoring the damaging consequences of what we do understand, and applying hope in the one field where it does not belong. Science is on a more dangerous course today then in the days when it conjured up controlled nuclear reactions.

On top of that our rights as individuals to controlling what goes into our own bodies are being trampled like never before. It will be interesting to see if those who wish to choose the right to die when they are sick will win acceptance before those who are healthy, who choose not to attempt eternal life through less than 100% safe vaccines.

Those who want to make this out to be a genetic issue will prove themselves right if they continue to ignore environmental damage to our genes.

If I didn’t mention it earlier, one of the motivational lines for me came this fall from a fictional conversation by West Wing writer Aaron Sorkin – “You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!”.

There is no time to be nice about this autism epidemic. Kids and adults are getting really sick. It’s a question of our rights to our own bodies. It’s a matter of crumbling scientific integrity. It’s the story hubris being retold through our children.


Excellent piece Dan! Somedays I wonder if this hadn't happen to me if I would have been as comfortable as these so called, "policy makers" ignoring a population of children falling into chronic health conditions and autism at the hands of vaccines and their pushers. The fact that you haven't been affected personally just shows your true good soul, one that fights for the weary and uncovers the foul smelling truth! Never forget how much you are appreciated!

dan olmsted

thanks for the positive re-inforcement. i should say that i'm channeling ideas picked up from many people and places -- in particular, mark blaxill is the originator of the Vaccine-Development Complex phrase and often equates it to the Military-Industrial Complex, and of course Eisenhower's farewell warning about the Military-Industrial Complex. Talk about peritinent analogies!

Wendy Fournier

"Crash, Bang, Boom" is right. And we're the ones left to deal with the mess. Best to start with a shovel, once all the B.S. is out of way, the job will be a whole lot easier. Thanks Dan, you've got a mighty big shovel. ;-)


I loved this, Dan, and it's all so damn true! You have summed it all up exquisitely.

The media is past being asleep. They're idiots at this point or to reach back historically, they're feeble-minded. The agencies that they should be sounding the alarm on (and certain individuals who make bookoo bucks off of vaccines)need some big time disinfection a la Obama...or maybe Patrick Fitzgerald would like a crack at it?

Either way, thank you for your dogged perseverance, your spot on perceptions, and your unwavering faith in "the truth".


I'd read Stiglitz's article (in a waiting room: can't afford a subscription in this wonderful recession) but didn't consciously grasp the parallel until now. I reread it after reading Dan's article and now it's clear how easily Stiglitz's closing paragraph could be applied ot the epidemic:

"What has happened to the American {substitute: vaccine program for "economy"} economy was avoidable. It was not just that those who were entrusted to maintain {substitute: vaccine product for "the ecomony's"} the economy’s safety and soundness failed to do their job. There were also many {insert: pharmaceutical disaster capitalists} who benefited handsomely by ensuring that what needed to be done did not get done. Now we face a choice: whether to let our response to the nation’s woes be shaped by those who got us here, or to seize the opportunity for fundamental reforms, striking a new balance between the market and government.


Sage observations, Dan. When will people wise up to their irrational dichotomy -- believing health care professionals are excused from scrutiny due to a false perception of immutable moral rigor and altruism?

If one refuses to believe that public health administrators and doctors could whitewash vaccine safety concerns, then one should at least admit that these people are not God -- and cannot predict all intersections of pharmacologia with genetics and biochemistry.

But one would think that "health care professionals" (a term rapidly becoming oxymoronic) would at least investigate reports of vaccine injury, rather than deny them by the tens of thousands. As I've stated elsewhere, autism's mystery is not how it's caused, but why intelligent people refuse to open their minds to the unfortunate paradox of vaccine injury.

anonymous antivaccinationist

I especially enjoy the coining of your phrase: Vaccine-Industrial Complex.... profound.



Dan, don't sugar-coat it like that -- tell us how you really feel. :)

When the history of autism is finally written, you and David and a handful of others will be the heros. I admire your courage more than words can say.


I love it!!! Dan, you are a great writer. I wish the mainstream media would print your words.


I am taking a management class now and my book states, " pharmaceutical companies such as Wyeth, getting more productivity from research and development has become a top priority, so Wyeth's R&D chief Robert Ruffolo set firm targets for how many compounds must move forward at each stage of the drug development process. The clear standards have helped Wyeth boost the number of potentially hot products in its drug pipeline" and later, "If the goal was to discover 12 drugs, 11 drugs are worth no points" says Robert Ruffolo. "So far, the approach has yielded impressive results...number of drugs...increase fourfold." (Management, 8th Ed., by Richard L. Daft)

So they are cracking the whip, pumping out these new drugs, and for the love of God testing them on people?! So with thoughts like these, I am reminded of a quote from the Bible, "it is mine to avenge, I will repay (says the Lord)" and I pray for the truth to come out and for justice for all of us.

Harry Hofherr

Dan, outstanding piece of journalism. Thanks.

Harry H.

Robin Nemeth

“Crash, bang, boom!” Lol.

I turned on c-span this morning, and the talk was all about the auto industry bailout. Something about the possibility that the whole bailout bill could be unconstitutional. Something about a ‘taking claus’ in the Constitution. And how it will be violated if the government takes auto company profits and uses them to pay off taxpayers before other people who are owed money by the auto companies get paid. I thought about trying to call in but decided not to. For one thing, when I get through I am always so scared, thinking about what I have to say, that my voice gives out on me. But here is more or less what I would’ve said on air if I could’ve:

So why am I enjoying all of this so very much? (I know, I know, I just said I was scared. This is not inconsistent though it really isn’t.) The reason I’m enjoying all of this—the crash bang boom of the last year here in my country—is because I know that we’ve been headed down this road for years and years. We started down it decades ago when our legislators decided that vaccine makers were too important to hold accountable. I like the fact that now other people are discovering what it is like to be screwed by nameless faceless unaccountable people in huge bureaucracies. I saw it all coming, and I’m enjoying it now that it’s come to fruition.

When will I feel sorry for people? When will I start to feel bad for the people who’ve lost their jobs, for the people who’re unable to get credit to run their businesses, for the people who are upset that their tax money is being used to bail out banks with no transparency whatsoever? I’ll feel sorry for all of these people when they wake up one day, and their formerly happy, smiling, beautiful little three year old child no longer knows who they are.

Oh, and c-span, I keep on hearing these spots on your program, about “who pays for c-span?” Let’s be honest, shall we. Even though I never see a commercial on c-span, it is the commercials that pay for c-span and it’s programming. Pharmaceutical commercials, in the main…

Dan asks “shall I stop now?” Oh good grief Dan, please, no.

Anne Dachel

I remember an editor once responded to an email I wrote by saying that I was talking about a conspiracy between the pharmaceutical industry, federal health officials and the medical community. That could never happen; there's too much oversight for that.
The naïveté/laziness/collusion on the part of the press is also responsible for the continued lies over vaccine damage. Except for the few brave reporters I know are out there, the media abandoned our children long ago. One thing is clear now: Everything seems to be falling apart. It's the climate that raises suspicions and makes it a little too hard to blindly say, "Sure the government messed up a lot of things, but vaccines are still safe."
Anne Dachel
Media editor


Excellent commentary.
And I just have to add, it's way more then just Vioxx. Every day a new med is added to the sh*t list. The latest under the microscope are asthma meds.

Terri Lewis


This is beautifully written--and really funny! Have-to-cry-if-I-wasn't-laughing funny, and it looks like we'll all need that now.

If I were stumbling onto Age of Autism for the very first time this morning, I'd be intrigued, and I'd want to learn more.

Nice work!

Terri L.

Maurine Meleck

Wow, Dan, what a great piece. If only you could op ed it in every newspaper in the country. Well, I know it would take more than that, but at least it would be a start.
Those of us who read AOA are part of the choir. We still need to take down the evil preachers and educate the masses.

Tanners Dad

People have been critical of my posts out and about on the web as being to straight forward and aggressive. I am very thankful you wrote this piece this morning. It always helps to know that you are not in this fight alone. I posted a video I found where the child is just banging and banging his head against the wall. There are days...

Thank you again for so eloquently spelling out the issues of our day. My fear now is with all the people lining up for support and understanding, our children instead of being forced to sit at the back of the bus, they now will be pushed out the emergency door. Thanks again. Say a prayer for the families dealing with Autism. Say a prayer for Tanner and me.

Media Scholar

Vioxx - One FDA-approved pill took more American lives than the entire Vietnam War.

When we all must judge for ourselves because of this false operative notion that "we all have to take personal responsibility for our actions" skepticism is healthy and good, but just try speaking up and a thousand voices will berate you a blithering, psychotic idiot.


Thanks Dan for telling it like it is. My belief has always been and always will be that vaccine damage goes way beyond autism. It's very interesting when you look into the history of vaccination and realize that from the beginning it was a scam. Was the 1918 Spanish Flu caused by vaccines? Did smallpox vaccine cause only problems? Was polio really caused by DDT? I realize now why my mother chose not to vaccinate me but I was too stupid to listen to my mother and vaccinated my son into autism. Well, I tell everyone I know to do research on vaccines from the very begining before making a decison to vaccinate. The internet is a great tool to get all sides of the story and then make a deciison.


Bravo Dan!

Love the Rodney King quote.

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