Thursday, January 23, 2014

Musings on Anonymity and Libel

Several years ago, when I first met my dear friend, he and I spent many hours discussing a great many things. Religion, literature, science, and how the status quo, the scientific consensus, has perverted the purity of science. That last was a particular interest of mine, a fascinating sociological enigma that had already begun to occupy my thoughts. How delightful it was for me to find someone with similar interests.

He introduced me to this little blog here and asked if I would like to collaborate, something I was quite honoured to do. I was already familiar with David Gorski at that time. Many years ago, when he was on Usenet, I occasionally commented on some of his articles and/or discussions. Gorski, you see, was one of the defenders of the status quo. He ridiculed any views that were in opposition to his and was unwilling to accept evidence that was in opposition to his point of view. He attacked opposing viewpoints relentlessly, with an almost religious fervor, yet refused to scrutinize or question his own orthodoxy. He would scoff and dismiss any ideas that opposed his views instead of objectively analyzing them. His views were a perversion of science, and it intrigued me that this pretentious wind-bag was given so much credence considering that he was the very definition of a pseudo-skeptic.

Then, as now, I was anonymous, and my friend and I had many discussions (some quite heated) regarding anonymity and why he should choose to be anonymous. Sadly, he learned the hard way why he should stay anonymous after an unhinged and disturbing individual began stalking and harassing him online. He has now gone into hiding, only commenting under his real name on blogs and sites that he knows he is safe to comment on (like this one).

I will remain anonymous. I do so to protect my livelihood and my reputation. Not that I’m ashamed of anything I’m doing by pointing out how unscientific Gorski is. It’s something I’m quite proud of, as a matter of fact. No, I remain anonymous to prevent narcissistic busy-bodies like the one I will mention below from contacting my place of business in an attempt to get me fired or reprimanded, like she’s done before.

Gorski wrote an article today lamenting the tendency of people to out pseudonyms. Despite Gorski’s whining and martyrdom complex regarding how this was done to him, I mostly agree. However, this is not actually what I want to talk about.

I wanted to discuss a comment on Gorski’s blog from one of the more vile, shrill, vapid, and hypocritical fuss-budgets amongst the Pseudo-skeptics, one that I’ve written about on more than one occasion.

Lilady is one of the more humourous of Gorski’s sycophants. She bemoans how mean and cruel “anti-vaxxers” are, but then turns around and is even more cruel and vicious than they could ever be. She wails about how Jake Crosby stalks people like Gorski and Offit, yet she turns around and constantly stalks him and Anne Dachel. She also has many of the classic signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. For example, she expects everyone to believe she’s a retired nurse and epidemiologist (the latter began appearing in her numerous comments only in the past two years) and makes sure to mention it in nearly every comment she makes, which fits under the need to be recognized as superior. She expects constant attention, which is why she comments on Gorski’s site saying, “Look what I’m doing over here! I’m having an argument with anti-vaxxers!!” She lacks the ability to empathise with the people she argues with, and is arrogant towards them. She thinks she should be treated fairly and respected, yet she does not treat others in the same way.

Now, I know that writing this post will likely feed her narcissism, and if that’s the case, so be it. I still think it is important to point out her pseudo-skeptical behaviours and comment on the lack of critical thinking exhibited.

The below comment is the meat of my discussion today:

“Orac, I think I can speak for the RI Ladies to thank you for this excellent, sensitive post about “outing” a female blogger, by a man in a position of power. It is a vicious spiteful tactic designed to qwell any dissent and to put a younger less powerful woman in her place.

Your personal stalker who posts on his blog as “gambolputty”, has employed the same libelous tactics against me on his own blog and has used another pseudonym (“Caro”) to post nasty libelous comments at me on the Ho-Po and on Seth Mnookin’s blog:

It’s downright disconcerting and threatening for any blogger to resort to “outing”…doubly so, when the victim of the outing is a woman.”

First off, notice the utter fawning and blatant arse-kissery? Pretty disgusting, yes?

Secondly, I believe that Lilady needs to be edumacated on the definitions of stalking and libel. I personally find both of these accusations to be very serious, and therefore, I must address them accordingly.

Let’s start with the legal definition of stalking. I’ll use the definitions for cyber-stalking as opposed to physical stalking considering that most of this alleged activity is occurring online.

“Cyber harassment refers to online harassment. Cyber harassment or bullying is the use of email, instant messaging, and derogatory websites to bully or otherwise harass an individual or group through personal attacks. Cyber harassment can be in the form of flames, comments made in chat rooms, sending of offensive or cruel e-mail, or even harassing others by posting on blogs or social networking sites. Cyber harassment is often difficult to track as the person responsible for the acts of cyber harassment remains anonymous while threatening others online.” (1)

So, let’s look at some of her comments on Gorski’s site that fit into these criteria.

“According to Jake…he was very *respectful*, just wanted to pose a *question* (rambling statement of *facts* as Jake’s sees the *facts*) and Dr. Offit publicly humiliated Jake.

Who knows if Jake is reporting his encounter with Dr. Offit accurately. Jake has been known to *misinterpret* and incorrectly report his many stalking capers, in his efforts to curry favor with his *keepers* at AoA and with his readership at that yellow rag.

Who should be believe then? Dr. Offit who is a world- respected scientist and physician and the director of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Department of CHOP? Dr. Offit who developed a safe rotavirus vaccine and who has devoted his professional life to educating parents, physicians, nurses, and students about immunology, vaccine safety and vaccine preventable diseases?


Jake Crosby, who is clueless about Intussusception (the bowel *turns inside out*, according to Jake), who repeatedly commits libel in his writings and commits slander every time he stalks Dr. Offit and lets loose with his false accusations. Jake Crosby, who has an undying love for a disgraced former doctor, that causes him to stalk and accost Dr. Offit and other public figures. Jake who *uses* a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome to justify his atrocious anti-social behaviors that includes stalking and defamation of character.

I know Jake, his *handlers* and his readership lurk here. Just for you Jake…you are, in my opinion, a POS, you have an unnatural fixation on your hero Wakefield. And Jake, you may somehow graduate with a MPH…but you will never be an epidemiologist in the public health field.”

Anonymous? Check. Using derogatory rhetoric to harass, bully, and make personal attacks against an individual? Check. Threatening? Not really…lilady is about as harmless and inconsequential as a dung beetle. However, that last comment could certainly be taken as threatening. She constantly lurks on his site and on facebook. She digs up information about his parents, what his parents jobs are, and keeps very close tabs on Jake’s whereabouts and activities, even going so far as to speculate about his dating habits.

If that’s not stalking, I don’t know what is. Hello, hypocrisy.

Now, let’s address the libel comment. In particular, as it pertains to yours truly. Here is the legal definition of libel:

“to publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadcast through radio, television or film, an untruth about another which will do harm to that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others.” “Publication need only be to one person, but it must be a statement which claims to be fact, and is not clearly identified as an opinion. While it is sometimes said that the person making the libelous statement must have been intentional and malicious, actually it need only be obvious that the statement would do harm and is untrue.”(2)

Lilady has, on many occasions, made comments regarding Mr Crosby, Ms McCarthy and others that were untrue and with the intent to harm their reputations.

Here’s the thing, lilady…if I’m disagreeing with you and giving you a reason for my disagreement, that is not libel. Saying that I don’t believe that you are a retired nurse and epidemiologist is also not libel, especially since it’s a reasonable observation, and it’s clear that what I am expressing is an opinion. It also cannot harm your reputation because a) you’re doing that yourself with your angry, shrieking, hysterical posts and b) you are anonymous and therefore have no professional reputation to uphold. But to lilady, anyone who disagrees with her directly is posting nasty comments and is a “libelous slanderer” (yes, that’s actually one of her insults).

Continuing on, let’s look at the link she provided. This is where it gets hilarious. The comment she links to is not even directed at her, but she thinks that it’s libeling her. Talk about narcissism!

Lastly, I do not condone “outing” pseudonymous bloggers and writers. Oft-times, they do this for a reason, and I respect that reason. Just as I respect lilady’s anonymity. Gorski is already “out,” and it’s no secret who he is. Therefore, my use of his real name opposed to his pseudonym is irrelevant. I have never once done this to her, nor have I personally done it to anyone else. And I take great offense that she would accuse me of doing so.

I do not have the ability to comment on Gorski’s blog. He usually doesn’t like what I have to say about him, so he either moderates my comments (yes, he moderates selectively, despite his assurances of the contrary…if he doesn’t like what someone says, he will not let the comment through), or they get caught in his web filter (I use an anonymous proxy to hide my location from other bloggers…yes, a bit paranoid, I know. But considering what happened to my friend, I think it’s a reasonable precaution). So, I can’t post this over on Gorski’s blog as a rebuttal. I take accusations such as the one that lilady leveled at me very seriously. I strongly encourage her to refrain from making such accusations and educate herself on the terminology she’s using to accuse others. If she actually has real and concrete proof that I am libeling her in some way, then present that proof instead of trying to play the martyr and woe-is-me. If she cannot provide this proof, then it’s more evidence that she is a liar and that she’s full of shite.


  1. Did you see this comment?

    "@lilday, I don’t know how you do it. I think about you a lot, when people are rude, nasty, insensitive. You are the silent, mental hero I call upon when I get upset at ignorance."

    I almost choked!!

    It's interesting over there right now...lot of arguing and turning on each other. I rather enjoy that.

    *eating popcorn*

  2. LOL...Have you read this comment?

    "If you have an unblemished record and are licensed as a Registered Nurse, referring to that nurse as a “drug pusher” is a libelous and actionable. It took months for me to locate him in the U.K. He backed off when I told him that my husband was U.S. attorney for an international company and had colleagues in the U.K. who would sue him for his libelous defamatory remarks.

    I think he knew I would follow through…I don’t make idle threats." This woman is off her rocker!

    First of all, calling an anonymous commenter a "drug-pusher" is NOT defamatory or libelous because the anonymity prevents damage to the person's professional name...she is anonymous, so how can such a remark harm her professionally if there is no way to tie her pseudonym to her real name? If the comment had used her real name, there would be precedent. But it didn't.

    Also, considering that she has no clue about the legal definition of both stalking and libel, I have serious doubts that her husband is what she says he is. Considering that it (allegedly) took her months to stalk and find this commenter she mentions above shows that she is just as guilty of stalking people.

    When you start digging at some of the things lilady has claimed, her stories start to unravel.

    And how many times is she going to say "libelous?" Let me count the ways....

    Also, does she know that "libelous defamatory" is redundant? She's really making an effort to sound more intelligent than she actually is.

  3. Oooo...and they are now talking about yours truly!

    No, Lilady doesn't induce near-Olympic calibre of mouth-frothing for me, but more of a cynical amusement at the level of mind-numbing hypocrisy she exhibits.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Oh, and would you look at that? Gorski has chimed in!

    "Interesting. “gambolputty” mentions having encountered me on Usenet. Although I dabbled in Usenet from time to time as long ago as 1992, I was really only active on Usenet as a skeptic from around 1998 (when I discovered Usenet Holocaust denial and started countering it on alt.revisionism) to 2004 (when I switched from Usenet to blogging). I didn’t become particularly active on countering quackery until around 2000. My break with Usenet and switch to blogging occurred in December 2004, over nine years ago. That makes me wonder even more who he is. (Fear not, I would not out him even if I ever found out, nor should any of you do so if you figure out who he is.) Previously, I thought he was just Craig Willoughby taking on a ‘nym, but his writing was more unhinged than Craig’s. (Craig sometimes showed flashes of reasonableness, something I have yet to see with gambolputty.) I don’t recall ever encountering Craig Willoughby on Usenet; I think I first ran into him several months after I started this blog.

    Curiouser and curiouser. I do, however, sometimes wonder what ever happened to Craig"

    And you won't ever discover who I am...not if I can help it. I don't want the likes of lilady and Ken Reibel stalking me.

    Speaking of Reibel, that kind of goes into the heart of the matter on what happened to Craig. If you bothered to read my post, Gorski, you would see quite clearly that Craig went into hiding because he was stalked and harassed by members of your goon squad. His family became concerned for their welfare and had to move away from their home, change all of their phone numbers, and go into hiding. Interesting that you condemn others for doing this to you and people who agree with you, but it's perfectly ok when members of your sycophants do it to someone you disagree with. In fact, it was this exact reason that I chose to continue Craig's blog after he went into hiding. That, and point out that you're a bleeding hypocritical pseudo-skeptic.

  6. Oh, and another bit of verbal diarrhoea from lilady:

    "Orac is referring to the “My Socrates Note” blog formerly owned by Craig Willoughby and now owned by gambolputty. The sole purpose of that person gambolputty, is to post vile libelous remarks about Orac’s Respectful Insolence posts.

    Now scroll down to see gambolputty’s vicious libelous personal attacks on me and my advocacy activities. Gambolputty provides the links to Orac’s posts where I have posted comments and he only “thinks” that his posts have any relevance or truth. "

    And yet, she can provide no specific instances of my libelous comments, can she?

    I'll repeat; anyone who disagrees with her is apparently libeling her. It's quite funny, actually. And a little sad...

  7. "I do, however, sometimes wonder what ever happened to Craig"

    Yeah, sure you do asshole. Why don't you ask your buddy Reibel?

  8. Oh, come on now, mate...

    I'm sure there are plenty of rectums out there that would take great offense to you calling Gorski that.

  9. I'm quite familiar with this person. She's a prime example of hypocrisy in action.

    Check out her original comment, where she complains about:

    "It’s downright disconcerting and threatening for any blogger to resort to “outing”…doubly so, when the victim of the outing is a woman."

    But, look at her over here:

    "I managed to “out” one of those mommies who have come out of the woodwork to defend Dr. Harper and the parents who appeared on Katie Couric’s show.

    This rather Persistent Posting Parent posted a number of comments on Emily Willingham’s Forbes blog about her daughter’s “Gardasil vaccine injuries”, with enough information about her daughter’s purported “vaccine injury” for me to check out what her daughter’s medical history is…which the PPP had posted on SaneVax."


  10. Oh, that is brilliant! Great find!!

    There's someone over at Gorski's cess-pool who is trying to help lilady, and she's still not able to provide an example of a libelous comment toward her.

  11. Lilady is a liability for Gorski and friends' credibility. Psycho and thick.

  12. Personally, I think the "L.I." in lilady stands for "Low Intellect." Which is interesting...nurses should at least have a measurable degree of intelligence.

    It's also interesting to note that if she was subjected to the same level and degree of scrutiny that she shows Jake Crosby, she would be squealing about how unfair it is and calling people stalkers. It's actually quite funny that none of her fellow sycophants see how full of shit she is.

    Oh, perhaps here I should mention that this is my opinion, blah blah blah. If not, she'll likely accuse me of being a stalking stalker or accuse me of libelous libel.

  13. It's an interesting thought exercise to ponder the legality of libel when it pertains to anonymity. What's truly intriguing is, if lilady were to try to make do with her threats and try to sue me for libelous libel (and believe me, she will be laughed out of court), it would expose her anonymity. Not only that, but frivolous lawsuits such as that would likely reward damages to the one being accused of libelous libel (I'm stealing that, by the way...I'm never going to get tired of it).

    No, this appears to be her trying to silence people who are criticizing her by throwing out the libelous libel card.

  14. Don't forget scurrilous.

    She does appear to have a limited vocabulary.

  15. That is an interesting conundrum.

    Option 1: Ignore the alleged libel, which would make her look like a blow-hard who can't accept criticism.

    Option 2: Pursue the libel, which would likely cost her a pretty chunk of change. On top of that, it would reveal her identity, which as you suspect, would reveal that she may not be who or what she says she is. And, again, it would make it look like she's a blowhard who cannot accept criticism.

    I'm betting she's going to do the former's less damaging to her. Either way, though, it's a win win situation for you.

  16. Awww, I think we struck a nerve:

    "“Cupcake” and other armchair lawyers need to know the difference between between defamation and libel as it pertains to statements made on the internet:

    “Cupcake” and other armchair lawyers need to know that I have the evidence that has been perused by my husband and his colleagues who are attorneys, and have been advised that it is ample and actionable."

    Lilady, and other armchair lawyers, needs to know that there is ample evidence that statements made by her regarding people such as Jake Crosby and Jenny McCarthy were untrue, were meant to harm their reputations, were made without adequate research into the truthfulness of those statements, and were intentionally malicious. I'm sure if Jake or Ms McCarthy considered her in the least bit consequential as opposed to the shrill, obnoxious shrew she is, that they could easily pursue legal action and win. Especially since lilady's scurrilous libelous libel was made using their real names.

    Lilady needs to understand that using legal thuggery to silence critics is allegedly a tactic of those Gorski and his sycophants call anti-vaccers.

    Lastly, lilady has again given ample evidence that she may not be telling the truth. If her "husband and his colleagues who are lawyers" were indeed lawyers, then they would tell her that since she is anonymous, there is no legal precedent for libelous libel against her; her anonymity protects her professional reputation.

    She needs to present specific proof of what was libelous libel, prove that the person making the statement was making it as a statement of fact and not an opinion, and prove that it was harming her professional reputation.

  17. It is curious that she's not able to give a specific instance of the alleged libel. Most reasonable people would point to the libelous comment and allow the person who wrote it to correct or append the statement. But she can't, or won't do that.

    And, since these are clearly your opinions, she has no case. None at all.

    I suspect you are correct about her husband. If he was, indeed, a lawyer, he would tell her that she doesn't have a case, and that pursuing this case would remove her anonymity.

  18. This is interesting. Yet more evidence that Lie-Lady is not telling the truth. Compare her comment earlier about her husband and co-workers being lawyers to this comment here:

    "Since I retired eight years ago and I have a public pension…and health care/drug coverage from my State, I’ve been switched around every year or so for my drug plan. So yeah, my drug coverage (and my dependent-husband’s drug coverage), is now back at CVS-Caremark, as of January 1, 2014. My retirement system from whence comes my pittance pension and and our excellent medical/drug coverage provides a formulary of drugs covered (generic and name brand) in printed format and on the internet.

    So there you have it folks; the DH has a larger pension and a larger Social Security Check, but I have the benefits package…and I’m the brains behind our investments. "

    This implies that he isn't working. Very very interesting...

  19. Lilady, since I know you regularly check my site, make sure you check the newer post here on the site. There's lots of "scurrilous" and "filthy" statements that I'm making about how your story is full of shite (let's not mention that it's ok for you to make scurrilous and filthy statements about people you don't like).

    I'm putting together a betting pool to see how long it takes for the rest of Gorski's arse-kissers to realize how much of a liar and hypocrite you are.