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The curious case of Patricia Finn, Esq., antivaccine lawyer

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last seven years, it’s that there are a handful of people in the “natural health” movement (a.k.a., quackery movement) who can reliably counted upon to bring home the crazy in spades. There is, of course the granddaddy of all conspiracy sites, Whale.to, and its creator John Scudamore, for whom no quackery is too quacky, no pseudoscience too ridiculous, and no conspiracy theory too outlandish. Truly, that is a high bar of crazy to surpass, but there are certainly people out there trying to do it. Perhaps the one I encounter the most is Mike Adams, creator of NaturalNews.com, a man for whom similarly no quackery is too quacky, no pseudoscience too ridiculous, and no conspiracy theory too outlandish. The difference is that Adams has not achieved the sheer breadth of crazy, given that he tends to specialize more than anything else in promoting quackery and antivaccine pseudoscience. Lately, however, he has been branching out into New World Order conspiracy theories and the like; so maybe someday he’ll get there.

Sometimes, in bringing home the crazy, Mike Adams brings up a story I haven’t heard of before and flogs it to death. Such was the case yesterday, when I came across a post entitled Vaccination rights attorney Patricia Finn threatened with criminal charges; New York State demands she surrender names of all clients. Given Adams’ track record, if he were to proclaim that it’s raining outside, I’d stick my head out the window to verify it before accepting that it is, in fact, raining outside. Let’s just say that Adams’ view of reality is–shall we say?–skewed to the point that you can’t take anything he says at face value. So let’s see what he’s saying about Finn:

Vaccine rights attorney Patricia Finn is being targeted by the Ninth Judicial District of New York State, which has threatened to strip her of her license to practice law and even file criminal charges against her. Finn is one of several “vaccine rights” attorneys across America who helps parents assert their rights to protect their children from potentially deadly vaccines. She’s considered a hero by many, but a villain by the status quo for daring to stand up against the vaccine-pimping medical police state that exists in America today.

I decided to Google Patricia Finn in order to see if I could find out some more objective information about her, given that I’ve never heard of her before. It was difficult. The first page was nothing more than rants on antivaccine and conspiracy sites about how Finn is being targeted, or how there’s a conspiracy to silence her and prevent her from standing up to the medical/pharmaceutical complex, with Mike Adams’ piece being near the top, along with Finn’s website and her Facebook page, the latter of which gives you a good idea of Finn’s proclivities, given that she has listed as “likes” pages and organizations like the Vaccination Information Network, Dr. Wakefield’s Work Must Continue, and simlar antivaccine sources. On her webpage, she proclaims that her practice areas include:

  • Vaccine injuries and vaccine exemptions (for employees, school-age children, military personnel, immigration matters and others being mandated to vaccinate).
  • Criminal defense (DWI’s, all felonies and misdemeanor crimes)
  • Education law (concentrating in special education, suspensions, IEPs, vaccination exemptions and other school related matters.

In particular, Finn seems to specialize in obtaining religious exemptions to vaccination. Now, believe it or not, I don’t inherently object to this practice. As wrong on the science Finn is, everyone, even antivaccine parents, deserves legal representation, and the law is the law. In order to make vaccine exemptions more difficult to get, the law should be changed to make that happen. Until then, given that this is a nation of laws, everyone has the right to challenge laws in court on a Constitutional basis. She’s misguided. She’s backed the wrong side from a scientific basis. But she can certainly specialize in this area of law if she likes. More searching led me to discover that Finn has been the lawyer for a number of prominent vaccine cases. For instance, she represented a nurse named Suzanne Field who sued in 2009 to try to get New York’s regulation requiring health care workers to be vaccinated. Then, of course, she was involved with a parent in West Virginia seeking a religious exemption for her child.

Adams really brings home the crazy in his next passage. Whatever the State of New York is or is not doing when it comes to investigating Finn, no one–and I mean no on–can ramp up the crazy hyperbole the way Mike Adams can:

Perhaps even more alarmingly, a letter outlining the various charges against Patricia Finn included the demand that she immediately surrender her complete list of clients to the judiciary. When I saw this, it immediately set off alarm bells. This is not merely a gross violation of attorney/client privilege; it’s also a thinly-veiled attempt for the New York judiciary to terrorize the parents who have sought legal help in opting out of dangerous vaccines.

Furthermore, it could serve as the starting point for New York State to dispatch CPS workers to the homes of all of Finn’s clients, where their children might be kidnapped by CPS and sold into sex slavery (this is a common behavior of CPS workers across the country, where low-income children simply “disappear” into the system and suffer ongoing sexual abuse by state workers or even high-paying clients, similar to what happened at Penn State). I don’t have the space to go into all the evidence that CPS functions as a child kidnapping and sex slavery ring, but the organization isn’t called “Communist Pedophile Services” for no reason.

Yes, you heard it right. According to Adams, the real reason the State of New York is going after Finn is because they want her client list so that CPS workers can find unvaccinated children, kidnap them away from their parents, and sell them into sex slavery. It would be laughable if I didn’t know that Adams is dead serious about this. In any case, one thing that is absolutely certain here is that we’re getting only one side of the story, most likely because, as Finn complains again and again, the proceedings by the NYS Ninth Judicial District Grievance Committee are confidential. This allows Finn to go to cranks like Mike Adams and Curt Linderman at InfoWars to say whatever she wants, and the court can’t respond. It’s very much the same thing as when state medical boards go after quacks. The quacks can say pretty much whatever they want about the proceedings while they are going on, and the state medical boards are constrained by the confidential nature of the proceedings from responding.

As an example of this phenomenon, take a look at this video of Mike Adams interviewing Patricia Finn for the conspiracy site InfoWars. (Sorry, I can’t embed it.) In the video, she inadvertently provides some information that might not be consistent with her claims of persecution in that apparently there were complaints made against her and there were also apparently allegations involving false advertising. After more searching I found more information, although most of it is from sites claiming The Man is out to get Finn. For instance, there is this post by Raven Clabough entitled N.Y. Threatens to Remove License of Anti-vaccine Attorney. She seems to be blaming the action on Finn’s representation of an antivaccine–excuse me, “health freedom”–group called We The Parents, who hired Finn to represent them in legal action against the state of West Virginia, which is one of the only states that doesn’t have a religious exemption for its vaccine mandate. Finn mentions in her video that she was served with papers after having appeared at an antivaccine rally in West Virginia sponsored by We The Parents, as shown in this video:

Notice how Finn has clearly completely drunk the antivaccine Kool-Aid, with a panoply of standard antivaccine tropes, interspersed with plugs for her law office.

So what’s really going on? Again, we have only one side of the story, but even that side is at times inadvertently revealing. For instance, in her interview, she reveals that in 2009 a pediatrician filed a grievance against her alleged that she was encouraging people to subvert the law and that her actions could be a public health risk and then later charged with an advertising violation. Her most recent trouble began about a week ago, when she was served with papers. Unfortunately, the only source I could find for what was contained in those papers are Infowars and her interview. According to an InfoWars article:

These most recent charges have to do with suspected false advertising where the committee questions just how many clients Patricia has represented. This is also one of the reasons that this committee is demanding a list of names from her former and current clients, a clear violation of attorney/client privilege. This committee is placing charges on this undaunted attorney because she is bucking the system. This is plain and clear to all activists within the anti-vaccine/pro vaccine choice community since we witness these tactics on a daily basis. Patricia states in my recent interview with her, that she believes that the timing of these recent complaints was “designed to intimidate me and unsteady me, in anticipation of my key note address in West Virginia.”

Finn rails against this as a violation of attorney-client privilege and even a violation of HIPAA, the U.S. patient privacy law. Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I fail to see how requesting the docket numbers of cases for which she is representing clients is a violation of client-attorney privilege, given that, if legal proceedings have been filed, it’s all public record. Moreover, the HIPAA complaint strikes me as spurious as well, because HIPAA has explicit exemption in it for legal investigations, particularly those by state medical boards. I’m pretty sure that investigations by state boards regulating lawyers and their conduct would be similarly exempt. Moreover, as Skewed Distribution observes, if you check out Finn’s website, you’ll see that she has claimed to have handled “several cases” where vaccines have caused clients injury, but the link goes to nowhere. All it says is “coming soon.” And, as discussed above in an article favorable to Finn by a bunch of conspiracy loons, the reason the committee is demanding this list of names and docket numbers is because they want to verify that she isn’t exaggerating or lying when she claims to have represented so many important cases.

Interestingly, in the very Infowars interview with Mike Adams in which she tries to defend herself, she basically almost admits that she’s played fast and loose with advertising, saying, “I’m being barred to admission to the Supreme Court because I’m accused of not stamping an envelope with ‘attorney advertising’ when it wasn’t even in my opinion an advertisement…” All of this is attributed by both Finn and Adams to what they call as the “Wakefield effect,” which they define as, “outrageous and illegal censorship and oppression dished out to anyone who takes a firm stand against the vaccine industry’s lies.” In actuality, I think Skewed Distribution gets it right when he notes:

Regarding the potential issues with advertising, the Rules of Professional Conduct for New York (8) state the following, which may or may not be of interest in this case.

Page 31. “A lawyer or law firm shall not use or disseminate or participate in the use or dissemination of any advertisement contains statements or claims that are false, deceptive or misleading”.

Arguably, this page violates that rule in that it represents as sources of reliable information on vaccines the website of the antivaccine group the National Vaccine Information Center. Remember, that’s Barbara Loe Fisher’s group, and, as I’ve documented ad nauseam right here on this very blog, not a reliable source of information. Just type “NVIC” into my blog’s search box if you don’t believe me. Skewed Distribution also notes:

Ms. Finn’s webpage goes on to state that, “Literature on vaccines is plentiful and it is hard to find neutral information”. No, it’s not hard at all. In fact, all one would need to do is log onto the CDC website.

Whether or not any of this is part of the committee’s equation in pursuing Patricia Finn, I don’t know. What I do know is that Finn is pursuing the tried and true crank technique of taking advantage of the confidentiality of professional investigations, such as legal misconduct panels’ investigations and state medical board investigations of quacks to tell only one side of the story, secure in the knowledge that these panels and boards by law can’t refute their spin. She’s also using another tried-and-true technique beloved of cranks. Basically, she’s crying “persecution” and painting her prosecution as the end result of a major conspiracy, rather than because she might have broken the law, or at the very least screwed up big time. In doing so, she’s rallying the antivaccine crankosphere around her, and this is, I believe, an intentional strategy. Not only does it have the advantage of casting her as the underdog, but it allows her to frame her prosecution as politically motivated and directed at trying to silence her “dangerous message.” I’ll conceded that her message is dangerous, but not for the reason she thinks. Finn thinks she’s threatening pharmaceutical companies and entrenched interests. What she’s really doing is endangering children.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

256 replies on “The curious case of Patricia Finn, Esq., antivaccine lawyer”

Given the governments’ size of economic share, increasing elements of force and coercion, and track record (Nifong, child grabs, some massacres, and previous mass detentions), irrespective of a lawyer’s potential misbehavior, a lot of people don’t want to be on a list placed in potentially unfriendly officials’ hands. I’ve been around places where that pot boiled over and it wasn’t pretty. Really.

Reminds me of that lawyer in CA that was suing for the Obama birth certificate. She was finally stomped on by the judiciary and ABA, not because she was being persecuted, but because she was a complete nutjob….

Apparently, Ms. Finn has even managed to generate complaints at MDC, e.g.,

When I spoke with her a few years ago, she never asked me what, if any, religious beliefs beliefs I held … not even my religious denomination. Never asked me any questions at all as a matter of fact – not one question regarding how I felt about the practice of immunization. She was very quick to try to get my credit card number and send a cookie cutter letter right out though.

She charges $600.00 to “write” a letter which contains a bunch of scripture. Apparently the laundry list of scripture is supposed to tell the story of one’s religious beliefs without ever giving an explanation of the beliefs. Also, she’s under the impression that submitting a letter on law firm letterhead is going to have some sort of magical powers over a school district in New York … it does not.

One more, from the same MDC poster:

Just a little side note, Mr. [James] Filenbaum has been disbarred in NY. Now he has Patricia Finn charging $600.00 to write letters in his place. Because Ms. Finn recently told a parent to refuse to explain her religious beliefs after the school requested the explanation, the school (public) denied her exemption and of course Ms. Finn[] got a lot more than $600 when an appeal had to go before NYS Dept. of Education Commissioner Mills.

Filenbaum is indeed listed in New York as “resigned from bar — disciplinary reason” and is even panned briefly in this cached CFIC bit. If it does come down to charging once to do something improperly in order to charge more on appeal, her problem may be worse than advertising materials.

Oh, and the three appeals Finn has brought before the Commissioner of Education in New York (15217, 15310, and 16324) have all failed. For an example of how she prepped her client for the federal version of the last one, check out the testimony here (PDF; highly recommended as an illustration of how not to go about such things).

Now, I haven’t read through the Commissioner’s decisions in a while, but it’s quite possible to survive the sincerity testing. Basically, it seems to not involve shooting yourself in the foot in feigning religiosity. If one were a competent attorney, one might follow those leads, including not blowing off the superintendant when asked for a meeting, because that’s the least strict scrutiny you’re going to be looking at for some time in case, you know, you kind of messed up the original letter.

LOL. “There they go again.” This entire article is all about Slinging mud and name calling to avoid the truth of the issue: Destruction of freedom, the Constitution, and the rule of law. When liberals lose on the issues they sling mud to divert from the truth. I agree with Hillary Clinton:
December 28, 2010 | Associated Press
“U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led a chorus of political figures in the United States and Europe in condemning the ruling, saying that it raised “serious questions about selective prosecution and about the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations.”
Using the Judicial system to terrorize the people. The THREAT of publicly exposing their actions is a coercion to attempt to force their behavior to conform, against their will and their freedom, the confiscation of the ability to control their own private lives and what is best for their children. The government and progressives, contrary to their own anointed beliefs, do not know what is best.
It is time to Legalize Freedom and Restore the Constitution.
When the people fear the government there is Tyranny. When the government fears the People, there is Liberty.

I Can capitalize RAndom lEtters Too. IT doEsn’t make youR quOteMine any more Effective.
In all seriousness, your personal freedom ends where it starts to impinge on others. IE, you can choose not to vaccinate your children, but if you do so, they will not then be given the freedom to attend a public school and expose others to infectious diseases without significant vetting. The knife cuts both ways- you have all the freedom you want when it comes to vaccines, but don’t expect others to have to compensate for your kid’s lack of immunity.

LOL. “There they go again.” This entire article is all about Slinging mud and name calling to avoid the truth of the issue: Destruction of freedom, the Constitution, and the rule of law.

What is the “truth of this issue” then stephen? We only have a notoriously anti-vaxx lawyer appealing to a consistently erroneous website with her version. How is anyone’s freedom being “destructed”? I don’t seem to recall any Constitutional right to eschew vaccines. Parents can refuse them in 48 states based upon States’ rights.

Even as a practicing NYS attorney, I can only guess the specific instances of Ms. Finn’s behavior leading to these disciplinary hearings. Proper enforcement and just adjudication of cases involving unethical behavior are difficult to implement given the confidential nature of disciplinary proceedings and self-imposed rules. However, even here can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the necessary.

NYS Rules of Professional Conduct contain certain major prohibitions as well as ineffectual suggested ethical or unethical behaviors. Among the ones applicable to Ms. Finn I can think of a restrictions on advocating breach of criminal or administrative code, which in this case involves possible fraud against the State and violations of the health code. A perjery prosecution is unlikely given the difficulty in proving scienter of the witness, Ultimately, federal Judges in the area are not uninitiated at seeing through the rouse, as Judge Jones did in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area. It is no surprise that faking an anti-vaccine religion is harder then they thought, given the mark it can have on the family lives.

It is legal and ethical incompetence for an attorney to recommend what amounts to potential perjury by a client in circumvention of a public health law. Past laws that were deemed constitutionally unjust were usually challenged head on Finn’s tactics shame me as a member of her profession.

P.S. Her client list, as long as it doesn’t contained sealed names or records or information from the client to the attorney for purposes of representation, is not covered by the attorney-client privilege. Most of this information should be public as it would be very hard to represent a client without someone taking note of attorney appearances down the line.

I have a slightly different take on Mikey: this isn’t just ranting and raving, it’s ranting and raving with a *purpose*- although he portrays himself as a *health* expert, a great deal of his articles deal with political topics. Since the economic collapse ( Fall ’08), NaturalNews has increasingly shown political and economic diatribes representing his particular point of view: libertarian, small government, low tax, non-interference.
(Null is an even worse offender- btw- he also sued NYS in 2009 over vaccines)

Alt med providers recognise that the government controls things: what you can sell, what you can claim, who can function as a medical professional, how much taxes you pay- this “interference” irks them to no end. Simultaneously these guys understand enough about people to realise that others also have an axe to grind against the government ( as well as corporations and medicine) thus they publish inflammatory nonsense to get followers who agree and support them, as well as buy their products.-continued-

It is time to Legalize Freedom and Restore the Constitution.

What is this, the legal version of alt med – alt law of sorts?

I noticed the constitutional knowledge of an average U.S. citizen extends no further then labeling every unfavorable law or SCOTUS ruling as unconstitutional. Well, constitutionality, especially with the bill of rights, has very specific implications. Not every perceived injustice is immediately an unconstitutional encroachment on some freedom.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led a chorus of political figures in the United States and Europe in condemning the ruling, saying that it raised “serious questions about selective prosecution and about the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations.

By which Clinton was referring to conviction of Kodhorkovsky who was Putin’s challenger for the presidency. YOu would know that if you bothered reading and comprehending things you blindly copy and paste. When given an example of real legal abuses occurring under a totalitarian regime without checks and balances and think it somehow relates to the political abuses in U.S. It is pathetic how little you know or care about the actual deprivation of basic freedoms, having likely been sheltered by the very principles you now deem unconstitutional.

I for one am glad that NaturalNews is looking out for us and exposing the forces of Tyranny, Coercion and Mud.

Those brave folks uncover plots everywhere, my favorite being the government raids on innocent lemon tree owners:

ht_p://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=35266

Thanks to NaturalNews I have not heard of a single instance of lemon trees (or their owners) being sold into sex slavery or forced to have Gardasil injected into their veins at gunpoint.

They appear to have three *betes noires*: the government, the medical establishment and the mainstream media- their recent forays into media are attempts to prevent followers from getting medical information from more reliable sources ( freeing them from the tyranny of reality, I suppose).

As they frighten listeners/ readers about illness they similarly invoke fears about economic diaster and political oppression- in other words,”Don’t trust your goverment, doctors or TV news- Trust me!” Tales of rampant corruption in medicine, government and media follow.

There’s talk of leading marches, boycotts, new political parties… I can’t tell whether this is purely a way to get people excited as a marketting tool or truly a reflection of their own grandiosity. They may actually believe themselves to be revolutionaries as well as brave mavericks.
After the Fall, they will lead followers in re-creating a simpler, more natural and sustainable life style: an organic farm, far from the devastated cities, free from gangs and scarcity. Now, I don’t know how they got from anti-vax to the New Jerusalem but somehow they do.

I agree with Igor about the confidentiality of client’s records. There were complaints made against her and they could even be totally unrelated to her “vaccine practice”.

Could this be a preemptive move on the part of Ms. Finn…to rev up her supporters in the anti-vax movement…when she is facing disciplinary charges for mishandling client money (dipping into escrow accounts), for instance.

There is more going on here…a lot more.

Since I am an expecting father, it bothers me that so many parents come up with excuses to avoid vaccinations required to enroll in public schools. Finn is a bit upstate from me, but close enough to be a source of concern.

@stephenwv
Your constitutional whining has fallen flat. I get a laugh at the bashing the constitution gets when it is invoked to protect religious minorities from tyranny of the majority but when a loon perceives (mostly wrongly) some personal persecution, its all restore this or restore that. Bullshit. If you want to protect the constitution, give to the ACLU. That is what they do.

Your quote

When liberals lose on the issues…

is pretty funny in that many nutjobs refusing to vaccinate are liberal in many other areas. I believe Mill Valley, CA was a hotbed of anti-vax and suffered for it. Cannot get much more liberal than that town.

As wrong on the science Finn is, everyone, even antivaccine parents, deserves legal representation, and the law is the law. In order to make vaccine exemptions more difficult to get, the law should be changed to make that happen. Until then, given that this is a nation of laws, everyone has the right to challenge laws in court on a Constitutional basis.

In case you or anyone else isn’t aware, NYS has an extremely strict religious exemption. You must have a religious objection to the practice of vaccination. Not to specific vaccines (so, no saying “we don’t do the MMR because we have a religious objection to the use of fetal cell lines.”) School districts can and do force parents to prove the sincerity of their religious beliefs; antivaccinationists like to post videos of examples. I occasionally pop into the local area on MDC and have seen multiple requests for navigating the system. Seems like fertile ground for an anti-vaccination lawyer.

The theory that fringe ends of the political conversion circle explains the frequent shared reality challeneged goals beween the fringe left and fringe right members. White supremacists and some OWS 9/11 truthers see Jewish bankers as the core of all evil, vaccinations are either a liberal conspiracy to corrupt and poison our youth or corporate reckless indifference for public health due to greed. The opposition agrees on the target issue but differs in explanatory approaches.

Personally I don’t care about the political affiliation of the fringe mindset. Vaccines are overwhelmingly safe especially when compared with the actual dangers of contacting the disease. Without some evidence to the contrary, Jesus and Huffington Post will be equally non-credible sources on the issue.

Denice Walter wrote:

As they frighten listeners/ readers about illness they similarly invoke fears about economic diaster and political oppression- in other words,”Don’t trust your goverment, doctors or TV news- Trust me!” Tales of rampant corruption in medicine, government and media follow.

One someone ascribes hidden political agendas or financial interests to their enemies, among the first things I tend to do is to wonder about their own agendas and interests. If you tell me to be suspicious, you can hardly be surprised if I’m suspicious about you.

Except lots of people, incl most of the “alt” crowd, seem to function the opposite way. If you tell them you live in a world of conspiracy, they assume you’re a beacon of honesty and transparence.

Dangerous Bacon @13 “Thanks to NaturalNews I have not heard of a single instance of lemon trees… being sold into sex slavery….”

That’s just because lemon trees have spines. Wait ’til the evil government forces go after maples, and THEN you’ll see!!

>This accusation makes absolutely
>no logical sense, of course, given that even the
>vaccine pushers claim their vaccines offer
>absolute and total immunity against infectious
>disease.

Mike Adams could at least be creative with his lies. This one is just boring. Where are the baby-eating accusations? Mike Adams has clearly sold out for mass-market blandness.

>This accusation makes absolutely
>no logical sense, of course, given that even the
>vaccine pushers claim their vaccines offer
>absolute and total immunity against infectious
>disease.

Mike Adams could at least be creative with his lies. This one is just boring. Where are the baby-eating accusations? Mike Adams has clearly sold out for mass-market blandness.

@stephenwv

When the people fear the government there is Tyranny. When the government fears the People, there is Liberty.

When the government fears the People, there is Liberty, or, y’know, the Reign of Terror. Tomato, tomahto.

alexis:

School districts can and do force parents to prove the sincerity of their religious beliefs; antivaccinationists like to post videos of examples.

I swear a few months ago I saw an article where a parent lost case where she tried to get a religious exemption from vaccines. The problem was that the school was a Catholic parochial school, and if the Vatican says that vaccines are better than the diseases, there is no religious exemption.

Unfortunately I cannot find the story, so I may have just dreamed it up. Looking a bit early, it does seem to be several. Some with Ms. Finn involved, and some parochial schools letting the kids in. Here is one I found:
http://overlawyered.com/2009/12/parents-who-wont-vaccinate-kid-sue-catholic-preschool/

@ Andreas Johansson:

Conspiracy is certainly the coin of the realm: during the darkest days of the economic crisis ( late’08- early’09- still not resolved, -btw-) alt med customers may have asked themselves,” Can I really afford expensive vites and ‘superfoods’- or should I pay the rent?” – woo-meisters began a campaign to show how truly essential their products and ideas were : they ramped up the political / economic rhetoric, relentlessly pounded governmental malfeasance, bank fraud, medical/ pharma “crimes” while painting themselves as saintly, charitable, spiritual leaders- rather than entrepreneurs.

They advise their charges to become self-sufficient and independent thinkers**: get off the grid, self-educate, grow your own food, don’t shop at malls, eschew mass media and entertainment, avoid doctors like the plague they are. They warn of up-coming cataclysms and societal breakdown *endlessly*. I have heard economic advice – that if followed- would have devastated accounts ( basically, sell stocks at lows, avoid banks *plus* buy gold and silver @ record highs).

Whatever emanates from these new media somehow involves a way to make money for woo-meisters: alt med or alt news.

** but listen to them and buy their products.

@captainahags

your personal freedom ends where it starts to impinge on others. IE, you can choose not to vaccinate your children, but if you do so, they will not then be given the freedom to attend a public school and expose others to infectious diseases without significant vetting. The knife cuts both ways- you have all the freedom you want when it comes to vaccines, but don’t expect others to have to compensate for your kid’s lack of immunity.

What does “impinge on others” even mean. Perhaps you mean when it violates the rights of others. Since no one has a right to force others to protect them from illnesses those others don’t even have, your point fails.

As to schools, the government doesn’t “give” freedom. Our right to be free predates government. The only legitimate role of government is to protect those freedoms.

As to others having to compensate for the unvaxxed, they can stay home if they find attending school with those unvaccinated children too risky. Again, as with most anything, the solution is to get the government out of the school business. Then 100% vaccinated schools would emerge in addition to school without such a silly requirement.

You don’t get to create, through force, an “educational” system, paid for by stolen taxpayer money, upon which society has become dependent, then force absurd demands upon those who have to use it and are already paying for it. Besides the public health menace extends its tentacles into private schools as well

Mr. Schecter:

Besides the public health menace extends its tentacles into private schools as well

And yet, in the state you live in a private Waldorf school closed due to a pertussis outbreak, and a public charter school had several kids come down with measles. The latter caused by a kid coming back from Switzerland with an extra infectious souvenir. One that he passed on to babies too young to be vaccinated, essentially “forcing” his illness on others.

Anyway, no good libertarian would send their child to a public school. You are welcome to create your own school that ignores any and all public health policies.

But you have been told that before. Yet, you either don’t bother to learn or you just don’t care.

Quoting the deranged health ranger

their children might be kidnapped by CPS and sold into sex slavery (this is a common behavior of CPS workers across the country, where low-income children simply “disappear” into the system and suffer ongoing sexual abuse by state workers or even high-paying clients, similar to what happened at Penn State)

Err, History revisionism, much?
I assume this refers to last year’s pedophile scandal at the Penn State University.
In this story, if the CPS is guilty of anything, it’s of not having involved itself earlier.
To their defense, they may never have heard of any complaint until last year: the crux of the scandal was that a lot of people at Penn State, from Joe the super Coach to the university police officers to the board of the university, couldn’t be arsed into investigating (or even properly reporting) a possible claim of multiple child rapes, despite one direct eye witness and a few children complaining, over a ten-year period.
The man accused of this was using his own charity society to find his victims and cover his actions.
Yeah, it’s all the fault of government interference.

an “educational” system, paid for by stolen taxpayer money, upon which society has become dependent

Curious now. Is there any difference between ‘an educational system’ and ‘an “educational” system’?
I am wondering why “education” warrants scare quotes, more than (say) the tendentious word ‘stolen’ in “stolen taxpayer money”.

@Sid – no one is forced to go to public school. Nowadays, there are plenty of options, including private and home-schooling. The only requirement is that children be provided with an education – the place where that education is received is variable & only has to conform to certain (fairly lax) standards of quality.

It is very good school policy to require vaccinations, since outbreaks tend to remove large numbers of students from the environment for periods of time ranging from a few days to several weeks, which results in those students falling behind their peers & having to work harder to attempt to catch up.

Your dyed-in-the-wool libertarian attitudes are pretty tiresome. I did see a great piece related to that – if you really want to see Liberarianism in action, I would suggest moving to Somalia – an almost perfect paradise of “government non-interference.”

Mike Adams is incorrect as usual. The children that are “abducted” in the name of “protecting” them from their “abusive” parents aren’t sold into slavery by CPS. What utter tosh!. CPS sells them to Glaxxon PharmaCOM for labor requiring tiny, dexterous hands. They are never sexually exploited, they simply have Paroxian Mind Adders placed in their ears and become docile, slaves of the Glaxxon, who treat them considerably better than Republicans would. Oh, and evidently Sid is an extreme Libertarian (redundant?). Now my crank bingo card is complete.

Having the misfortune to click on the link to Robert’s blog, I find his anti-vaccine rants to be funny, but also sad. He rejects medicine in general, doctors in particular, and seems to be perfectly fine with a return to the good old days before the AMA or government regulation of water quality, medical devices and pharmacological products, or health/safety issues in general.

Again, I would certainly point in the direction of Somalia as a prime example of exactly what Libertarianism looks like in practice.

It is one of those philosophies, like communism, that looks great on paper, but it absolutely horriic in real world applications.

Lawrence,

As usual you have hit the proverbial nail on the head without resorting to ad hominems, sarcasm or just being a snarky d-bag in general. You should work on that . . .

Sincerely,
Count Snarky Von Dbag

Bimmer

Scare quotes to the the tenious claim that children are educated in school. More like indoctrinated and/or institutionalized.

———–
Chris

You are welcome to create your own school that ignores any and all public health policies

Do you not realize private schools are subjected to the same laws as public ones?

One that he passed on to babies too young to be vaccinated, essentially “forcing” his illness on others.

Yes, illnesses are passed around when people live together
——————-
@LAwrence

I would certainly point in the direction of Somalia as a prime example of exactly what Libertarianism looks like in practice

That’s just a simpleminded collectivist taking point. Libertarians mostly support the concept of a government that defends rights not no government. And those anarcho-libertarians that would abolish the government entirely realize that a belief system must exist within a particular society that believes the initiation of violence to be immoral. That of course does not describe Somalia.
——————–

No one is arguing that these diseases aren’t more survivable today then they used to be, because of advances in modern medical science, including antibiotics to counter opportunistic infections and other care including IV liquids should they be required.

What hasn’t changed is the chance for other permanent side-effects of the diseases, including blindness, sterility, and swelling of the brain….all of which occur an order of magnitude or more often than any side effects of modern vaccines.

Trying to argue otherwise is willfully ignorant.

@Sid – yes, a belief system that looks great on paper, but doesn’t work in the real world.

I still don’t understand how you can reject modern medical science, government regulation of things like drug and food safety, and still expect that in your perfect world, mortality rates would stay exactly where they are today….

Enlightened self interest, as you most likely believe as your core value, quickly breaks down to simple self interest and selfishness in reality.

Mr. Schecter:

Do you not realize private schools are subjected to the same laws as public ones?

And yet it is the private schools where the outbreaks occur. Something I pointed out, and apparently it went right over your head.

You are a very silly little libertarian.

Scare quotes to the the tenious claim that children are educated in school. More like indoctrinated and/or institutionalized.

Sadly, any non-school modes of education involve indoctrination as well. I’m really not seeing any Platonic indoctrination-free form of education to stand as a contrast to the less-genuine school-based form, and justify the scare quotes around the latter.

The scare quotes are a useful rhetorical shorthand — a way to proclaim libertarian leanings — but they don’t say much about education systems per se.

Mr. Schecter is an example of how well libertarians use their education, they don’t. I have noticed that many have not even read all of Atlas Shrugged. Plus they think that mathematical laws are just suggestions, especially when applied to science.

a belief system that looks great on paper, but doesn’t work in the real world.

You have not demonstrated how it does not work in the “real world.”

I still don’t understand how you can reject modern medical science, government regulation of things like drug and food safety, and still expect that in your perfect world, mortality rates would stay exactly where they are today….

I don’t reject medical science

Unsafe food claims would be addressed by the courts

There is no such thing as a perfect world. When have I stated there was one?

Mortality rates improve when economic progress occurs (see China, India, Soviet Union.) In a free society, that progress could be expected to lead to a healthier population.

Since no one has a right to force others to protect them from illnesses those others don’t even have, your point fails.

actually, there are in fact many infectious diseases that if you carry them, your rights are indeed directly impacted.

go out and infect yourself with ebola and see how your rights change.

now with the case of vaccinations, the idea of rights is based on collective immunity. If enough of a population refuses to obtain vaccinations, and it only needs be in the single digits in some cases, herd immunity is spoiled, and yes, then you have in fact risked the entire community.

so, no, his point is not moot. You’re just bloody ignorant.

In a free society, that progress could be expected to lead to a healthier population.

but all experiments to that effect previously have proven otherwise.

libertarians are so simple minded.

I love how Mr. Schecter puts education in scare quotes when he demonstrates again that his own education is severely lacking. He lives in some kind of fantasy land where only the things he believe in are relevant. He likes to pick and choose what medical science to not reject, blithely forgetting that does not work in real world.

Plus he likes to rewrite history. It is pretty hilarious he the term “free society” in the same paragraph as China and the Soviet Union. Then forgetting when the Soviet Union disappeared and became more libertarian, and mortality from diphtheria increased: Diphtheria in the former Soviet Union: reemergence of a pandemic disease.

@Ichthyic

but all experiments to that effect previously have proven otherwise.

Like your comrade Lawrence, you fail to support your assertions.

Also, unvaccinated =/= infected

Finally, the role of government is not to produce the phenomenon of herd immunity.

[meta] ignoring the trolls. [/meta]
Advising your client to break the law is a big fat no-no.
If that’s what she’s done, then she deserves some level of punishment. Misrepresenting yourself in advertising is also actionable by the ethics boards. Me, I long for the days when attorneys were barred from advertising.

Like your comrade Lawrence, you fail to support your assertions.

your ignorance of all of human history is not my problem.

Also, unvaccinated =/= infected

read for comprehension fail on your part.

Finally, the role of government is not to produce the phenomenon of herd immunity.

perhaps you should take that up with NIH and the CDC.

moron.

So what happened when Japan made measles vaccination voluntary instead of mandatory (which is is now)? From Measles vaccine coverage and factors related to uncompleted vaccination among 18-month-old and 36-month-old children in Kyoto, Japan:

According to an infectious disease surveillance (2000), total measles cases were estimated to be from 180,000 to 210,000, and total deaths were estimated to be 88 [11,12]. Measles cases are most frequently observed among non-immunized children, particularly between 12 to 24 months. However, a nation-wide survey conducted in 2000 showed that measles vaccine coverage in Japan was 81.4%, which is not enough to prevent outbreaks [13]. In this context, the Japan Pediatric Association, the Japan Child Health Association, and the Japanese Association of Pediatrics jointly appealed to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to promote vaccination against measles in July 2001 [14].

It doesn’t take a large percentage skipping out on measles vaccines to cause outbreaks that kill real people. If Mr. Schecter does not understand that, it shows a typical lack of education from your average libertarian.

@ Offal:

“Mortality rates improve when economic progress occurs (see China, India, Soviet Union.) In a free society, that progress could be expected to lead to a healthier population.”

Yeah, Offal…we know what happens in “free societies” when “economic progress occurs”. We also know what happens when vaccination against diphtheria is not a priority:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2640235/pdf/9866730.pdf

I love how Sid / Robert automatically labels everyone or anyone that disagrees with his libertarian stance as a communist…hence his derogatory use of “comrade” in describing me.

He believes the government should protect his right to do whatever he pleases, with no thought to any protection afforded to society as a whole.

He wants to enjoy the fruits of all of our labors (roads, bridges, public sewers and water systems, mass transit, etc) without being beholden to any of the responsibilties for the health or progress of society as a whole.

When food industries were regulated, there was a marked decrease in food-borne illnesses. When the AMA codified medical education and utilized the scientific method to test and prove treatments, the overall health of the population was enhanced.

Sid / Robert would like people to believe that all of this came about because of free markets, but in truth, time and time again the government or associations have had to step in and enforce standards and rules, rather than a free-for-all, to guarantee even minimum standards of health and safety.

I’m not going to slag off Sid for espousing a Libertarian philosophy (there are already enough fora for that kind of exchange). And I imagine that the label covers a wide range of thought, so it is not fair to ask him for the single, canonical Libertarian position on any given issue, or expect him to account for contradictions in some other libertarian’s arguments.

But Ichthyic raises an interesting question:

actually, there are in fact many infectious diseases that if you carry them, your rights are indeed directly impacted.

Take the case of Typhoid Mary… or anyone who, through no fault of their own, has contracted an infectious disease. Should the minimalist government, in its role of defending rights, restrict that person’s right to work in food preparation? I can imagine a libertarian who accepts that kind of government role in mandatory public health.

Lawrence, talk about a strawman:

He believes the government should protect his right to do whatever he pleases

I see it like Jefferson, who said:

“rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others”

When food industries were regulated, there was a marked decrease in food-borne illnesses. When the AMA codified medical education and utilized the scientific method to test and prove treatments, the overall health of the population was enhanced.

Correlation does not equal causation. But that’s not to say “regulation” in a different form is not acceptable. For instance someone selling adulterated milk as real milk should be prosecuted as should someone knowingly selling other unsafe foods. Punishment targets the guilty, regulation targets the innocent.

@ Lawrence:
While I’m sure I’ll be labelled as a communist (weak-tea socialist might be more apropo), I beg to differ with Sid/ Robert about several issues- but I’ll limit myself to two:

Education as *indoctrination*; total diagreement-when you get a vast overview you can pick, choose and select as it *suits* you: no one can tell you how to think. I studied social sciences and can remember students’ wild, angry debates over issues and theories ( both in economics and diverse areas of psychology). A few words were enough to set off an argument: “free market” was one, so were “psychoanalysis” and “stimulus-response” or certain names- if we were all indoctrinated why was there so much debate ( screaming matches, actually)? And such partisanship?

Taxes? Well, because I’ve lived in several places and made investments I’ve paid all sorts of taxes- this will kill you, Sid- a few times in my life, I was privileged to pay a real lot of tax- *because* I made lots of extra money- one year I sold a property, in others I sold stocks and bonds at profit, etc. I’ve lived in expensive areas: I prefer to drive on maintained roads, have police and fire assistance if need be, have reasonably good schools in my area and laws to protect people. If I wanted to live in a backward place, I can always move. And I have seen awfully miserable places- even as a child, I was never sheltered from reality.

Do you not realize private schools are subjected to the same laws as public ones?

In terms of vaccine mandates, this is up to the individual states last I checked.

Once again, I find good reason to disagree with Sid / Richard. I prefer that we not have to see people get sick or die from foodborne illness before corrective action is taken….same applies to other adulterated products. I can’t see how requiring even minimum standards can be considered bad – given the track record where various industries have in the past, present, and will continue to push the limits and grey areas, if it means making a few extra dollars here and there.

Don’t get me wrong, the vast majority of businesses and business people are honest, hardworking & are rightly concerned about the quality of their goods and services. Unfortunately, there is a minority that is the proverbial bad apple in the bunch, that makes it necessary to hold industry in general accountable for the safety and efficacy of the products they produce.

We can go around and around and around again on all of this – there is just a fundamental difference on how you view the world versus the rest of us, and while we have history to back us up as far as the effectiveness of the ways things have been done, all you have is blind conjecture.

Lawrence, have you read The Poisoner’s Handbook? It has the story behind Elixir Sulfanilamide. I’m sure that Mr. Schecter will concur with the company’s owner who said “We have been supplying a legitimate professional demand and not once could have foreseen the unlooked-for results. I do not feel that there was any responsibility on our part.”

For instance someone selling adulterated milk as real milk should be prosecuted as should someone knowingly selling other unsafe foods. Punishment targets the guilty, regulation targets the innocent.

Aha. And this would be “prosecuted” by an individual? Who would have no reference standard for “real” milk, thus necessitating… what? This of course is Natural Law, so it can’t depend on the existence of refrigeration to preserve evidence. How does a plaintiff demonstrate that something was not “real” milk or, given the lack of oppression of the innocent by regulation that would crush their doe-eyed yet freedom-loving spines with a standard of testing and record-keeping, that it was even adulterated in the first place?

For instance someone selling adulterated milk as real milk should be prosecuted as should someone knowingly selling other unsafe foods.

What if they were unknowingly selling unsafe foods? Do you have to prove that they knew in order to prosecute? Without regulations requiring accurate and detailed records, how would you prove they knew?

Sid’s position seems to be, let everyone do whatever they want…until they get caught. Regulate food before it gets to market? Heavens, no! But certainly prosecute sellers of adulterated milk after people have already suffered harm.

Sid’s position seems to be, let everyone do whatever they want

I wonder if Sid extends that position to all pharmaceutical companies as well?

And, I see it like Jefferson who said:

“Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its
extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an
individual.” –Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819.

Odd, isn’t it, that some people cherry-pick Jefferson’s quotation?

“Punishment targets the guilty, regulation targets the innocent”.

Punishment targets the guilty, regulation protects the innocent.

Lilady,
Skeptics tend toward socialist government policies. It’s just they way they are. (I think it’s a control issue) Are you a socialist?
Do you understand what cognitive dissonance means? I don’t think you do.
How do you reconcile being a skeptic AND a “christian” at the same time?
Do you understand the philosophical concept of metaphysics? Do you understand non-contradiction?

Holding two opposing contradictory ideas in your head at the same time is insanity. Denice Walters will be able to confirm. At least she’s all in.

You? Not so much. You hold on to crazy. Tell us again how smart you are because you worked at the local county health department.

@Denice,
Can one be a Christian and a Skeptic at the same time?

The Health Ranger has some fuzzy copies of the disciplinary charge on a YouTube video. From what I can see, this is a false advertising claim, accusing Finn of scamming the public by having a statement on her website that her firm represents “thousands of children and parents across the U.S.” and has an “impressive record of precedent setting cases.” To make matters worse, the charges say that Finn was admonished a couple of years ago for making a similar “thousands of clients” claim, and she just blew it off and continued doing it.

Finn has been invited to rebut the charges by identifying by name and docket number these thousands of clients, and providing copies of the precedent setting cases. She says she’s not gonna do it.

There’s no apparent attorney-client privilege issue. It doesn’t look like the subject matter of her practice is a factor. Finn is just trying to deflect attention away from the fact that she’s being accused of misleading the public with sleazy lawyer advertising.

@Sauceress

I wonder if Sid extends that position to all pharmaceutical companies as well?

Of course not. They are greedy, giant, evil behemoths trying to poison us for their own gain and should be regulated into the ground! [cue dramatic thunderclap] Not like the saintly alt-medders, who give of themselves freely and without thought to personal gain. [cue angelic music]

Mike Adams is truly reliable: like Niagara or Victoria, he can be counted upon for producing endless torrents that stagger the imagination- except in his case, it’s not water.

(Today @ NaturalNews): Air travellers are ” intimately searched”, raw milk is prohibited, fluorides and aspartame poison us, vaccines are foisted upon the innocents *however* massive safety reviews will be mandated for vitamin C and ginger root, helmets must be worn on bicycles- not ski/ snow board slopes and a history of horrors unfurls: Tuskegee, chemical warfare and ( -gasp- and pearl clutch- *simultaneously*).. the Guatemalan experiments! Yes, the government itself is the greatest threat of all!

Odd, but the woo-meisters keep telling us that stress destroys health while they continuously provoke it.
( Note to Todd W.: Perhaps we should duet in the apocalyptic mode?)

Oh Augie, I can’t fathom why you are so interested in what another person believes- do you honestly think that if you were to find a “‘logical'” inconsistency that would somehow invalidate the material lilady brings? And what’s *insanity*- I think that that’s a legal concept- psychology is more concerned about how a person functions in the world. Here’s a news flash: people are not simple- their beliefs are complicated and constantly in flux- and please don’t mangle Professor Festinger’s concept- the poor man’s dead.

I hate to say this but I think that you just don’t like smart ladies- Last I checked, I’m one too… what difference does that make- if I were a lady, a gay man or even a large tawny cat.. if what I *write* makes sense. If we truly *are* spirits temporarily esconced in the material world does it really matter what we have between our respective legs?

You know Augustine, I think that you would benefit from reading more of the references that our esteemed and beneficent host ( a/k/a the Doctor) so graciously provides. You argue about the surface of issues. I am now gone. Bother someone else. That’s it. So long. Bye bye.

ugh troll:

Your freedom of action ends when it impinges upon my rights. Since I (or anyone else) have only limited temporal and physical resources to defend our individual rights we pool resources and delegate authority to do so to agencies given appropriate regulatory power – governments, in a word. Nothing socialist about it. Unless you think, say, defending rights to person, privacy and property are socialist.

Since you are asserting that your freedom of action (or the freedom of action of cranks & quacks) to lie and defraud others (in the context of medical products and services) and spread without restraint communicable diseases with non-trivial mortality & morbidity (through your anti-vaccine crankery) outweigh others’ rights to person & property, you are in fact espousing an authoritarian position, far closer to the kind of state socialism you are trying to associate others here with than with any reasonable defence of individual rights.

In short, you are a dishonest hypocrite.

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