I've decided to interrupt this blog's hiatus to bring you an important message; one that is actually uncharacteristic for this blog. And that is this: Clifford Shoemaker is a dick-face. In my opinion, that is.
Now let's go over select opinions on the matter around the blogsphere.
As many around the blogosphere have noted, there doesn't seem to be any supportable reason for this subpoena other than being a fishing expedition to try and flush out some paranoid fantasy of the Sykes that Ms. Siedel is an agent of Big Pharma or the government and/or to try and intimidate her into silence.
My sympathy is limited, however, by the fact that are lashing out seeking to blame someone, have bought into the thimerosal hysteria, have hired a bottom-feeding shyster to sue various pharmaceutical companies, and said unethical ambulance-chaser is now using the power of the subpoena to harrass and intimidate bloggers who aren't at all involved in the case, but have simply written about the absence of a thimerosal-autism link.
The next thing you know, they'll be wanting us to appear personally in court to prove that we don't have green tentacles. (Note to self: after returning from secret meeting aboard flying saucer, inspect blog sidebar picture carefully to make sure all tentacles have been completely edited out.)
Why would they want a judge (or whomever is responsible for deciding on these matters) to read all of Kathleen's work which shows their claim for what it truly is. She also details Sykes' involvement in the Griers IRB which approved their "research" on chemical castration agent, Lupron, as one of the cornucopia of supposed treatments foisted on autistic children, among them, the son of Rev. Sykes.
Given this incident, however, I would have to say there appears to be more to this whole anti-vaccine matter than meets the eye. In fact, all the subpoena has done is question the motivation behind the intimidation directed at Seidel personally. I mean, requesting personal bank records is way over the top. While I don’t necessarily agree with Seidel’s point of view on all matters, she does bring up some excellent points and I recommend readers take the time to read some of her writings.
However, if you are determined to advocate that point of view, let me advise against acting like malicious thugs. That is exactly what this is. It is a flagrant attempt to silence free speech. It is a flagrant attempt to silence the free press. It is a flagrant attempt to silence good science with fear and litigation.
Shoemaker and Sykes (if I understand the subpoena correctly) are trying to figure out if Kathleen is being led around by and paid by shadowy figures who feed her information and direct her to persecute Lisa Sykes for her religion and parenting skills or something.
If the judge allows the subpoena, then no one will be able to blog freely on any subject. We will all be afraid that everything from our tax returns to our church attendance will be on trial if someone launches a civil action that has some connection to the topic we are discussing.
A common characteristic of cranks and denialists, be they antivaccinationists or large corporations or whatever, is an intolerance of criticism for their views. All too frequently, this has taken the form of the abuse of the legal system in order to try to silence their opponents... Mr. Shoemaker is a despicable scum-sucking piece of excrement.
Instead, the first phrase that occurred to me on looking through the subpoena was "fishing expedition", and the second was "intimidation". Several clauses indicate that Shoemaker is hoping to turn up evidence that Seidel has accepted support from the federal government, or from vaccine makers, which she says she hasn't.