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Kudos to The Daily Kos for Progressive Response to Dan Olmsted's Progressive Criticism

Thoughtful-banner By Dan Olmsted

The Daily Kos, probably the foremost progressive political blog in the nation, just wrote about my recent article "Why Progressives Don't Get Autism" -- and did a fair-minded and self-reflective job of it. That's probably why so many of their readers are up in arms.
A writer who goes by the name Critical Dune started his post this way: "Dan Olmsted, Editor of the blog "Age of Autism" and former wire service reporter, offers up an interesting (and pretty thoughtful) analysis,  pointing out what he thinks is a blind spot for many on the left: the issue of questioning current vaccine policy, especially as it relates to possible links with autism." (See here.)
Dune added: "Wherever you stand on this issue, or if you firmly think it's a non-issue, Olmsted points out some troubling behavior in the public health complex that should concern progressives."
That is music to my ears. The point of my article was that so many progressive outlets -- I named the Daily Kos, among others -- are so supportive of government-sponsored efforts to improve people's health that they can't believe, won't consider and completely miss the devil in the details, the devil in this case being strong evidence that excessive zeal in the service of good intentions has led to horrific unintended consequences.
The book Mark Blaxill and I just published, "The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic," shows how the reckless use of mercury -- including but not limited to mass vaccinations -- triggered the Age of Autism as well as other severe ailments over several centuries. Built on a foundation of deep research and fresh discoveries, it's not an argument that can easily be dismissed with the usual "anti-vaccine," anti-science canard, but reflexive progressives who choose to remain condescending and uninformed just can't seem to help themselves.
I wrote in my piece:

"Progressives ought to be able to make this distinction, to tease out the fundamental public good from an inadvertent and ongoing disaster and the long failure to confront and fix it. If for no other reason, they should do this because when public action fails due to mismanagement, it plays into the idea that the public sector can’t run anything as well as  private business, and the progressive movement inadvertently validates the conservative critique. Instead, public health officials are now trying ever harder to stifle the debate, preserve the status quo and their own careers and credibility; in doing so, they betray not only the children they are charged with protecting, but the progressive values that led to mass vaccination in the first place."
Dune wrote:
"As a progressive, I strongly believe in public health initiatives all over the world to aggressively fight disease but think that a robust system of checks and balances is not what it ought to be in the United States.  It worries me greatly that for some definable, and perhaps not so small, subset of kids with immune system vulnerabilites  (like Hannah Poling and others), it's plausible that some components or timing of the recommended immunization schedule may be doing more harm than good."
Here we have something rare and worth nourishing -- common ground. I welcome that, and hope it provides the basis for more discussion -- not necessarily agreement, but honest and open argument. Of note, the first of the nearly 200 comments responding to the post began with the word "Bullshit," and many were of the hostile "study after study," babies-with-deadly-diseases ilk. Why not go over to Kos and join the discussion -- and put in a kind word for the author of one of the few truly welcoming and open-minded pieces I've ever seen from a progressive outlet.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Autism Grandma

In thinking of this wonderful book, Age of Autism, this quote came to my mind:

"The heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future."

In searching for the author online I found at Wikipedia, Wendell Phillips [1811-1884] I am not a member of any political party, but in reading about this man I thought "Now here's a man I could vote for". He was anti-slavery, and supported the rights of women and Native Americans, and adamantly spoke out for these causes although this was unpopular in the majority.

In this description about him, I see that he has a lot in common with Mark and Dan: "He was an exceptional orator and agitator, advocate and lawyer, writer and debater." In writing Age of Autism and supporting our cause for our children, Mark and Dan also serve as "lawyers" in the sense that they are "taking our case to the court of public opinion."

Here are a few more quotes from Wendell Phillips that also apply to the work of Mark and Dan and so many others who are bravely taking a stand for all of us.

"What gunpowder has done for war, the printing press has done for the mind."

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

"Physical bravery is an animal instinct; moral bravery is a much higher and truer courage."

"Revolutions are not made: they come. A revolution is as natural a growth as an oak. It comes out of the past. Its foundations are laid far back."

"One on God's side is a majority."


Here, Here! Well-stated, Sylvia - I've also become an Independent.

"I am a registered Independent, and fear those that want to pat me on the head..."

Actually, it's worse than that. They want to pat you "all over" at airports these days, even after irradiating you with their TSA scanner.

What's next? Why not use various "security" check-points, e.g. schools and airports, to "dust" us with anti-fertility vaccines and "tag" us with RFID chips and nanotech devices. Ensuring compliance will NOT be a problem for the New World Order. Does anyone seriously believe that compliance will be discretionary?


The only thing I fear more than Big Pharma's continued power, is Big Public Health's continued power. Big Public Health opens the door for Big Pharma. Without them, they are cut off at the knees. Any politician that pledges to make the CDC stronger and more powerful will never get my vote. I am a registered Independent, and fear those that want to pat me on the head and tell me they know best on what I need. I will never concede my rights on what I will or will not inject into my body. Everything else is secondary to vaccine rights. When the government can force biologicals into your body against your will, you are their slave. What good is free speech when you are a slave in your very body?


Great article! Good for "Critical Dune" for writing this article and having the courage to post it in such a hostile environment. The comments are bonkers. I wanted to post something, but I don't see how to log in.

I also like the author's comment (11/18, 8:43 a.m.): "There is real damage being done to a minority of folks. How much is acceptable for the public good or herd immunity? I think this topic should be open to discussion and not ceded to the medical or public health guild. The question is whether we're doing enough to minimize damage or treating the issue as a 'sacred cow'."


I'm confused. Did you all comment on the article? I did not read one comment that supports a position similar to Dan's book. Did they delete them?
But the comments sure do support Dan's theory of the lack of progressives acting...


True progressivism crosses all political parties. It was actually brought mainstream by republicans not the democrats.

Progressivism strives for change in the form of continual improvement using governmental regulations if necessary.

Conservatism wants status quo because they realize improvement isn't always profitable and will not be accomplished except through governmental regulation.

If I had to choose one ideology that best suits autism, then it will be progressivism every time. How could it not be?

Regardless of your beliefs, conservatism took hold with Reagan and has never left us. Every single president since 1980 is conservative. Just like with our arguments against the pharma zombies, you can't change definitions to suit your needs or justify media stories.

Please take the time to research The Progressive Era and how progressives fought and died to keep large international corporations in check. You cannot change history, you can only learn it.


Please be careful. I don't see this as a Progressive vs. Liberal issue. There are pro and anti vaccine folks on both sides. I see it much more of an issue of 1) whether the politician receives a lot of $$ from big pharma, it doesn't matter which side of the aisle, 2) whether the person reads just the headlines or actually delves into both sides and 3) to make sure people realize that many of us are not antivaccine just anti the US schedule that requires way too many, way too early, manufactured with way too many metals and chemicals.

Teresa Conrick

Becky said it so well and I agree completely!

Thank you, Dan for your thoughtful and hopeful message. It is so appreciated over here in the trenches of autism. We need to move forward with both head and heart understanding this epidemic and you always do that so well.

Thanks also to Critical Dune for speaking eloquently and reasonably on such an important issue - "it's plausible that some components or timing of the recommended immunization schedule may be doing more harm than good."


Great link, Carol. I wonder what month this came out in?

Trevor de Koekkoek

Love it! A reasoned reply to a reasonable thought-provoking article. Can't say I expected reason to come from the Cos, but hey that's what I'm looking for: different sides to be able to discuss something without immediately saying the other is a quack, a shill, or an anti-"fill in the blank".

John Gilmore

I read the Daily Kos daily, mostly because they have stories about nuts and bolts politics no one else covers. And on most issues I am what most people call a liberal. But all-in-all I find the people who comment on the Daily Kos to be incredibly narrow, smug, not especially well informed and blinded by ideology, qualities I think most of the Daily Kos people would use to describe conservatives but not themselves.

I think one of the worst qualities George W. Bush brought to American politics was pushing every policy on the basis of fear. And I think the Daily Kos folks do the same thing. Perhaps it is the nature of true-believers everywhere.


Has this been on the news in the US?

Bill Gates: mobile health technology will save lives, help overpopulation

"Gates told an audience of more than 2,000 that if we could register every worldwide birth on a cell phone, we could ensure that children receive the proper vaccines. He also said the key to controlling population growth is to save the lives of children under 5; and the next big thing in technology is robots."


"Study after study proves that there's no link between thimerosal and autism." Well, not really.

From "Sorting out the spinning of autism: heavy metals and the question of incidence"

"To summarize, of the 58 empirical reports on autism and heavy metal toxins, 43 suggest some link may be present, while 13 reports found no link. Even with the tendency for null results not to be reported, it cannot be said there is no evidence for a link between heavy metal toxins and autism: although the question may still be open--in sum, the evidence favors a link."

Theodore Van Oosbree

Your readers might enjoy this column about the confluence of left and right politics because they are funded by a lot of the same interests:


Liberals and Conservatives can find common ground and work together! Again, the political labels just cloud the much bigger issues here. What’s needed is men and women of strong moral character, humility, and belief in the values that our Country was founded on. Medical freedom is IMO an unenumerated right under the Ninth Amendment. We need a new amendment which explicitly preserves our right to medical freedom, not a right to health care.

“Robert Kennedy on the Vaccine Autism Coverup”

Here’s a link to a video clip of Robert F. Kennedy Jr, titled “The Mercury-Autism Cover Up”, wherein he talks about the Simpsonwood transcript and the “sickest generation of American children in the history of our country” which began in 1989.

“A Dragon By The Tail” by Lisa Reagan on March 7, 2005.

“On the eve of an historic, billion-dollar world vaccination campaign, a leaked transcript ignites questions of vaccine safety and research corruption. Meanwhile, US senators fast-track a bill to protect vaccine manufacturers from litigation. With millions of lives at stake, and billions of dollars to lose, will a merger of philanthropy, big business and compromised science win an epic race between corporate agendas and medical ethics? In this world exclusive report, byronchild exposes how the most powerful medical research bodies in the United States compromise their vaccine safety research for vested interests, as they assist in a global vaccine policy, while a bill looms in the background to protect it all.”


Wow, what an utterly unscientific and hysterical conversation from most of those pro-science (supposedly) people. Funny!


As they say, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." Good job, Dan!

Becky Estepp

Dan, your piece may be the first steps to building a bridge to "the other side." Thank you for writing a reasonable appeal to the progressives. In the end, we need the entire public behind us. From ultra conservatives to uber progressives; vaccine injury and neurological damage has no political affiliation. Thank you for your continued dedication to our kids.


definitely sane and reasonable people there from the side that believes in evolution

Deb in IL

I vote mostly blue, and have friends on both sides of the political spectrum. I get the most resistance to the "vaccine freedom of choice" argument from my blue-ist friend. He firmly believes they've saved the world.

Hopefully he read that article and can come to the middle ground that I've found on this issue. If you believe in it, go get a shot. If you have immune issues in your family, then educate before you vaccinate.

Big Government is failing us because it's owned by Big Business, no matter who's in office. Who ever currently hold their seat is the one getting the $$ from Big Business. Senators, Representatives (save but a few) and anyone in power represent their own interests and not the interests of the public.

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