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Friday, August 19, 2011



This is more than unfortunate. Mr. Najera's explanations of epidemiology (on his blog and elsewhere) have been invaluable to me personally. At a time when the safety of vaccines has come under attack, his cogent and vigorous defense of immunization is truly a public service. Mr. Najera's advocacy has not embarrassed his employers, it has been a credit to them. I will miss his voice.


Well said. It's a tragedy that he has to choose between his extremely important work at his job and his extremely important work in helping to educate the public online. He's been a tremendous inspiration to me, both as a student of epidemiology and as a fighter for social justice. I hope those of us out there who have been both inspired by his work and knit together in the online community he built will stick together and use any platform we still are lucky enough to have to educate and spread the truth!

Todd W.

Well said, Liz. René is a great credit to his department, advancing the goals of public health not only at work, but also in his private life. It is truly a shame that those higher up the chain did not support and rally around him.

As for Mr. X, his actions were those of a coward and a bully. Not only did he blast an e-mail to just about everyone at René's place of employment, but he also published his work address, phone and e-mail on twitter and elsewhere. Mr. X also threatened legal action.

These are not the actions of a normal person. He went for these extreme measures rather than talking with René privately and working out the disagreement.

The tragedy of it all is that this jerk won and a voice of reason and science was silenced.


I actually felt physically ill when I read this. The more so because at the time both he and I were trying to draw this virulent mythomaniac away from attacking other bloggers, such as SkepticalOB. I'm harder to find, so preumably Ren got both barrels.

No doubt EpiRen was a little naïve in letting himself be easily identified on the Net. OTOH, this tw...erp is too, and I expect that it would be fairly easy to check up on what harassment laws exist in his vicinity.

I agree with Todd that this person seems to have serious problems. Perhaps not DM-level, but pretty bad nevertheless.


This seems to me like a violation of free speech. Just as it is illegal to fire someone because of race or religion, shouldn't it be illegal to fire someone for views expressed outside the workplace?

Liz Ditz

Woozle, I'm not an attorney so I can't say. The problem seems to circle around the fact that René named the state and the department for which he worked, and his employer felt that the disclaimer wasn't enough to make it clear that René wasn't represented official State or Department views.


I saw that exchange yesterday and I was horrified. It is irresponsible of those employers to let the anti-vaxxers succeed at this. At this time when social media is so key to messaging--silencing credible and credentialed voices is exactly the wrong thing.

It actually has bothered me a lot that the public health community isn't out in front of social media more. This is a very sad story.


Holy hell. What a loss.


This is such a poor outcome for Mr. Najera and all of us who use social media to share and generate health information. I learn so much from the honesty and courage of individual health care professionals on Twitter. It creates important dialogue among us.


@Woozle: as a labor organizer, I can tell you for a fact that unless Ren is a member of a union, he can be fired at any time for any or no reason at all, as long as it doesn't come under the EEOC protected things like race, gender or religion.

So unless Ren can prove that protecting the public's health by educating online is his religion, he can be fired for his online communication. Unless you have it protected in a union contract, you have no free speech if your employer doesn't like it.

People always think that labor laws exist... until they (or a friend) gets fired.

Nate Osit

I wonder if there's anything the healthcare social media community can do to help in this situation? As most people who participate regularly in social media would likely attest to, the best way to handle these types of situations is certainly not silence or censorship. The best solution, in my opinion, is to continue making passionate, informed statements and building communities who are interested in proliferating these types of civil discussions.

I would be interested in reaching out to the individuals who were contacted by "Mr.X", and explaining the background information of the situation. I think it's important for us as a community to address this, as this could set precedence for the rest of us. Ideally, as soon as possible while momentum builds.


Why, then, is the opposite action not also effective. Emails and letters of complaint to Mr. Najera's superiors and their own superiors complaining about his removal from the public sphere, the abrogation of his free speech rights and the rights of the public to transparency from government departments. Most especially one affecting the well being of the public?

Liz Ditz

Dear Bohemiangirl,

I am awaiting guidance from Mr. Najera on this issue. It is his continuing employment, after all, that is at issue. The situation is still unclear. Stand by for developments.

Rene Najera

Hello, everyone. I am deeply, deeply humbled by all the support I've been getting on this matter. I've talked it over with plenty of people and we've come to the conclusion that it is best to abide by the decision that came from all this. Why? Because it is more important that I remain an epidemiologist and have the ability to enter a PhD program so I can continue to do my work. It is also important to have a paycheck, to be quite honest.

I also understand where they're coming from. Anything I say or do in public DOES go back to them because I've been open to interviews, presentations, and articles where I am identified as an epidemiologist that works for the state health department. It's kind of a funny thing, but writing anonymously might have been better. But that is for a whole other discussion.

At this time, I'd like to thank you over and over for all the support. I'm very happy to have a group of friends that are willing to "go to bat" for me. I've been fielding twitter messages, emails, and your comments here and elsewhere about this, and all have been nothing but supportive. I don't think that a same number of emails or messages to people at the department would have the same effect. It would probably not make things better. So I ask that you not contact them.

If and when I do get back to writing, I'll let you all know. As for relieving my need for writing, I'll do it professionally to journals and publications. There will be less snark, but I'll be getting the message out that science desperately needs to be protected and promoted.

Thank you again.


The human voice is unmistakable (and, at least today), can not be entirely suppressed. Thanks for speaking from your truth. Transparency is a powerful cleansing agent. and social media is democratizing conversations in a way that apparently threatens some. Kudos Renee!


Pseudonymity is the way to go. School teachers almost have to do it, and unfortunately that probably goes for all GS's (Government Servants).

I've been going by this name online for 10 years, just because it seemed common sensical to me way back when. There's not much I've seen since that has made me regret not using my government name online.

Good luck Sir or Madam, and I hope your Doctorate works out! :)


I understand and respect Rene's decision, and the encouragement to *not* email/call/harass the employers.

However, it would be great to be able to turn this into a discussion of how to support our allies in public health, and encourage outreach via social media--in general.

What can we do to support and enable them to do their jobs better? And with some non-traditional reach to twitter/blogs/etc? And to protect them when they are assaulted by cranks?

Why are Mr. X and his boss being protected?

Dr Sandy Berry

Public healthcare professionals....especially epidemiologists... have a mandate...indeed, a responsibility to speak their professional opinion to the public. This is bald political harassment, probably with selfish economic motives. Create a new site with a new pseudonym, and
TELL the Truth as you see it.


As nearly as I can figure out from his online footprint, Mr. X is self-employed. So he is his own boss.

Mr. X is not "being protected".

Mr. X's actions last weekend revealed him to be a person who reacts to a mild online dustup with a response out of all proportion. It's like you cut in line in front of someone at the coffee shop, and that person responds by beating you to a bloody pulp.

I do not care to engage with him at all, or to expose René Najara to any more of his attentions.

Dr. Judy Stone

I share everyone's dismay and outrage at the injustice done to Rene. As an Infectious Diseases physician, I wanted to note that Rene's Epi Night School, has taught me more about epidemiology than anything I learned either in med school or during my Infectious Diseases fellowship. He has a fine gift as a teacher, and the rare talent of being able to explain difficult topics in an engaging manner. The Daily Ren is a valuable news source and helps me keep up to date in my practice. EpiRen’s tweets are similarly an ongoing, real-time source of public health information, and he curates information from multiple sites I would otherwise overlook.

He writes with humor and with passion about public health. He has been an ardent proponent of vaccinations. I have grown to find a sense of community as he and I and the #HandHygeine Team joust with the #pathogenposse.

EpiRen is a lynchpin of my staying current on public health and vaccine news, and is much more engaging than just reading CDC or CIDRAP reports.

Rene's posts as EpiRen are not just frivolous social banter. EpiRen provides important, real-time news and an outstanding tutorial series on epidemiology. It is a travesty that such a valuable public servant—and ardent public health advocate—has been gagged. It also sets an unfortunate precedent which will encourage others to attack and threaten rather than having a constructive dialogue.


Ok, we need Public Health Spartacus. A way for PH professionals to get the word out, with many allies. A protected mechanism to get issues to the allies, who will Spartacus them.

PHS anyone? How can we set this up?

Mr. X won and he'll win again.

rhett daniels

i am mr. x; first, i am not anti-vax; second, i didn't want epiren to stop posting, but rather to take down the defamatory blog; third, i am not done going after every individual who defames me.

you think you are safe, but all i have to do is file a john doe - or hire a cyber investigator. these courses of action cost less than $10,000 each; which means every person who is afraid of the light can be exposed.

i will not tolerate harassment, defamation, or any such action by any of you. i am very aware of all of you, and have the capital and the will to go after each and every one of you ONLY IF you defame or slander me.

i am self employed if you count owning 11 pharmaceutical companies with cum gross sales over 1/2 billion.

rhett daniels

and just so we are clear. the next person on the list is anarchic teapot. i've already hired two firms to track him down.


Goodness me. Rhett Daniels sure is a pathetic little man.


Woowoowoo anarchic teapot, rhett daniels is coming for you, coming to threaten you into shutting up because you are "harrassing" and "defaming" him... You think you are safe? He will track you down! [insert mwahahaha here]


I really have no idea what is going on. So I did a bit of googling and found a blog called "cigarhett", but it is now gone. Why is it gone, Mr. Daniels?


I'll be Googling Rhett Daniels AND blogging about him!


Hmm ... there's a Rhett Daniels who has removed both Twitter and FB accounts ... that must be him. Douchebag indeed.

Emily Willingham

Manly, that. Vile, really.

What "defamatory blog" was that, exactly?


Well, he seems to be deleting himself from the internet. I only found him here:

So I checked the 200 products and got this rather cryptic page:

All I can figure out is that they sell packaging. And the financial bit is a picture file that cannot be read at the bottom of the page.

Emily Willingham

Indeed. Once, he was known as "cigaRHETT." Also, despite an alleged English degree, he's a tad subject-verb-agreement challenged, e.g., a formerly stated goal was, "To feed 82 million Africans with my new unique ingredients that purifies water while provided demographic and staple-deficient based vitamins to provide min RDA based on regional disparities."

Oh, and here's the company:


Is this the Rhett Daniels we might be talking about? There's an active LinkedIn profile:

And FB:

Sorry, previous post, I meant Twitter and blog accounts had been removed, not Twitter and FB.


And people think I'm crazy for blogging under a pseudonym when I'm in the military…

Emily Willingham

I add that all this chest thumping appears to substitute for, pick the body part. Seems that a YouTube account, blog, and Twitter feed have all been deleted, all of which appear to belong to the abovementioned "Mr. X."

Guess what? It's hard to delete yourself from those there interwebz when Google does that grand little "cached" option.

Emily Willingham

Yep, gadfly...that'd be he. Handsome fella, yes? And so very wealthy, too!


Ah, pieces fit together. See this google cache of an old blog post. Hang in there for the autism piece:


Announcement from your hostess: this is my electronic home. I expect the same degree of robust disagreement while maintaining civility here that I do in my actual, physical home.

Violent disagreement is welcome, as long as you respect the rules: no name calling, no ad hominem attacks, and no cussing.

Alex, name-calling in links count. SocraticGadfly, no more name-calling please.

Further, to quote Pieter Breitner quoting Herbert H. Humphrey: "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously."

David Gorski added "To that I would add the corollary that the right to free speech does not include a "right" to be free from criticism."

Too often, denialists and fringe thinkers equate strong criticism of their ill-founded ideas with the idea that such criticism is a move to "stifle" their right to free speech.

Emily Willingham

Liz...I just read that somewhere else today. Vy true.

From the post that Mem linked: "Why was this my greatest success? I received a letter from a patient's mother. Their doctor had prescribed DuLeek-DP for an off-label use (see my posts on this here) had NOTHING to do with Deplin or depression. It was for autism. The patient respond well and continues to do so. I have kept in constant contact with this patient's family."

For the love of Pete...*another* off-label autism "treatment"?

In all seriousness, Rene'...I can't say how bastardized a "system" is when someone whose degree, work, and livelihood focus on public health, particularly helping children, is genuinely threatened by someone else who purports to have a grandiose goal of helping millions of children in the poorest parts of the world. Counter-productive, to say the least, and certainly nonsensical. And then the continued threats. If I sued everyone who said untrue things about me on the Web, I'd be in litigation 24/7. Self-involved behavior, that. Couldn't that throwaway alleged $10K cited by Mr. X be better used on, say, those African children?

rhett daniels

i removed info as part of my agreement with epiren. when he removed the blog so did i. i am a man of my word.
i have no issue w anything any of you have posted, it is free speech. just dont defame me my products my companies etc or i will prosecute. call me all the names in the world, make fun of my degrees, ridicule my work if it makes you feel bigger.
i am not the one hiding behind psedos...

rhett daniels

actuall, to save me $9,000 i will offer $1,000 for identify info that leads to an address where i can serve anarchic teapot (legally serve as in sheriff delivers court papers).

rhett daniels

emily, is this you?

i am impressed.

having said that i womder why someone of your stature would bash me since people like me fund projects that people like you work on? i am preparing a $50,000 grant to a university in TX...

rhett daniels

emily, i have autistic family (not immediate), and wonder how you can so easily dismiss my dugs?
there are respected scientist who are behind me on this....strange, didnt xpect someone who actually knows personally the pain of autism to be so quick to bash another?

Emily Willingham

have no clue why you'd need to delete your YouTube, Twitter, and Blogger accounts as part of some "agreement." I'll ask Rene'. Sounds weird to me.

I am not "hiding" behind a pseudo...which some people do for very good reasons, including to avoid stalkers, people tracking them at their workplaces and trying to get them fired, etc. I don't have those concerns, as I am my workplace, so I use my own name. However, I am armed and somewhat dangerous, so don't try stalking me.

I'm not interested in saving you jack, but why don't you just do the right thing and take that 10K and put it somewhere useful instead of using it to pursue a worthless and time-consuming vendetta? That gesture alone would put an end to all this and immediately quell what I can assure you is a building wave of negativity about anything associated with you.


Mr. Daniels, why did you delete your entire blog? And your youtube channel? Were you asked to remove all of them?

And what cause do you have to go after Anarchic Teapot?

Emily Willingham

Also, for anyone who is paying attention, I also live with a Very Large Viking.

Emily Willingham

Rhett, we're lucky in that we don't find autism painful. What I do find painful is the desperation that leads to unproven, off-label use of interventions for autism. We're an evidence-based house over here. It's not's genuine concern.

rhett daniels

i removed the blogs the initially offended rene. in considering the matter i determined that other posts were offnsive and dcided this was not the best use of time.
my twittet was linked to the blog.
i found my youtube fiasco as silly and embarassing as you.
emily, i have no desire to stalk you, i have no bone w you, i dont care what you do or how bignyour vikings member is.
as for anarchic teapot he just has to remove the blog he did on me, once he does that he will never hear from me again. the same goes for all of you. i want nothing to do w yoyr virtual online world. as soon as this last stuff is cleared up you all will never hear from me again.

rhett daniels

well someday when you arent so pissed at me maybe you will actually read the science behind our drugs...

rhett daniels

and you can try to fool yourself but we all know having an atistic child is painfull. i have seen it rip families apart, break marriages, deplete schools of resources, etc... you make it sound like it is a piece of cake

R. Smith, MD

Dear Rhett Daniels, I think your ridiculous behavior online has defamed your companies and products pretty seriously. And your threats to "prosecute" ? You would end up suing yourself.

But you also sound like someone who, beneath the thuggishness and bullying is seriously self destructive and unstable. I'm a bit worried - surely you realize that now you and your companies are going to be subjected to a higher level of scrutiny? Is this perhaps what you want? Your behavior online here has been bizarre - it may be a cry for help, and in its bizarreness, raises a concern about whether you are able to responsibly run a business. I think that we should carefully review your companies - and involve government regulatory agencies that oversee them - and figure out exactly what's going on. You sound sufficiently paranoid that I am concerned for your mental health. What exactly are you so afraid of? Do you have shareholders, and should they be alerted about the unprofessional, and to me, disturbing behavior you manifest in your online activities? Clearly there should be a wider discussion, perhaps letters to your board of directors, and to whichever client agencies, individuals and agencies might be interested. It is perfectly legal and appropriate for any private citizen to be concerned about your behavior and to make these concerns public. I think for starters, checking with the Better Business Bureau and checking with the state governments where your companies are located, to see if this weird thuggish behavior is part of a larger problem. I also know several investigative reporters who might be interested in looking at your activities a little more carefully.
if perhaps you get into trouble frequently.

Emily Willingham

Rhett...your writing is deteriorating considerably, and you're becoming crass. Suggest you take a break. Are you decompensating in some way here? Or is something else at work?

rhett daniels

all i want is for the defamatory blog to be removed

Emily Willingham

Then ask for that. Why all the chest thumping?


Your hostess here. I am putting all comments posted after 9:20 pm PDT on hold until tomorrow morning, when they will reappear.

Also comments will reopen tomorrow morning. It might be as early as 6 am PDT or it might be later -- depends on my schedule.

I can't change the "comments are now closed" -- it is a Typepad feature --but they will reopen. Come back tomorrow morning.

My house, my rules.

rhett daniels

i did ask many many times.


Mr. Daniels, if you are offended by what someone says to you on the Internet, then either stay off or grow a backbone.

I don't see anything on that blog to get upset over, even if they are true. You are being accused of not spelling very well, and using insults. Plus contacting the employer of a blogger. I am going on the above article and the titles of your blog posts (that I can't read), it seems you seem to use lots of insults and attempts to defame others:
cigaRHETT - Toxicological Insight: Disgusting site on Vaccines
cigaRHETT - Toxicological Insight: QuakWatch 101: Dr. Jen Gunter

I also found the picture you photoshopped of a physician who tweets. There are probably many folks here who have made screen captures of your comments, plus saved tweets, emails and blog comments. It is impossible to erase everything you say on the web.

I would suggest, sir, that you make sure that you have not committed any behaviors that you are accusing anyone else of doing before you call any county sheriff's department.

If you have ten thousand dollars to spend, pay a for a decent web designer for your company's rather sparse web presence. Because a picture of a financial report is really not very professional.

rhett daniels

he has toned down his blog. i'm OK with what's left at this point.
so, truce, good night, good bye and good riddance!

rhett daniels

R- Smith, don't know what you're talking about. do you even read my responses? if my litigations are frivolous, won't i pay in court w/ lawyer fees, etc...? why do you presuppose the courts will rule one way or the other when all the information you have been presented has been slanted from these same groups of people as they cut and chose what to post?

Emily - forgive my typos, i am more a programmer like your husband and not as good at grammar as you are.

Ms. Elizabeth O Dietz, please remove the statement by Dr. Smith - such actions would amount to greater damages than the defamation, and would be cause of action for tortious interference of business contracts. not only would this drag you in but also rene, etc... as this would then be my companies going after these individuals and not me. trust me, this is not something any of us want.

now, what I am proposing is this: we stop the petty barb slinging. Anarchic has fixed his blog. i'm fine w/ the free speech here, although the personal attacks (DM, alcohol, typos) are as childish as you say I am... with one exception, Dr. Smith's comments advocate criminal activity. furthermore, I am deleting my online presence as I see no value in engaging in this activity. i was simply occupying free time as I am retired and bored. my apologies for everyone i have offended. I regret the day I stepped in to your world and will smile the day I leave it.

so, if we can dispense with the back and forth and such, I'd like to go on with my life as i'm sure most of you are smart educated people and would do better for yourselves and your output by focusing on other matters.

if, however - i continue to get smeared i'm going to bite back; and it's going to get ugly. i'm not saying this as a threat but a fact (note: i'm advocating legal action, lien/garnishments, court, etc... unlike Emily who references guns and other harmful stuff that should be done to children on her blogs - but hey, she's disgruntled, i get it). also, i gave my word to live rene out, however from your tweets, etc... he has emails plus contact information about you so he would be the first person I would subpoena...including his office work where he admittedly blogged from).

so again, if we can all walk away from this, it would be nice for this blog post to go down, and you all will never hear from me again.




I am a pediatric critical care physician who has spent many a night watching children die from diseases fully preventable. I am fully committed to improving vaccine awareness and compliance.

I am new to this controversy but feel I must comment. I can't understand how a State Department of Health could possibly feel its OK to NOT vehemently support active attempts to immunize the population. The recent growth of outbreaks of pertussis and measles demonstrate our vulnerability as a society to allowing vaccination rates to lapse.

I am outraged that Ren has been silenced because I am an ardent proponent of helping the public (and health care workers) understand the REASONS to immunize their children and themselves.


Science and much of medicine does not fit with a "belief" model of approaching disease. The social art of being a physician is creating a partnership of both to heal or at least do no harm. Beneath the battle of the words above is this failure of such medicinal philosophies to bridge that gap.

rhett daniels

i would actually agree with you in that I don't believe he should have been silenced. to be honest, I don't care about the vax issue; i'm not anti-vax. my kids are vaccinated...don't know how I got into this except for a dispute w/ Dr. Gunter in which Rene joined it.

i had asked for the blog rene authored about me - which contained false and defaming information, to be removed. he did, and i backed off. unfortunately, things were set in motion that progressed.

on the other hand, I do think public officials should be cognizant of what they say specifically if they represent themselves as speaking on behalf of - or appear to be, a gov't position.


Is this the same person? It makes intersting reading.

David Gorski
Ms. Elizabeth O Dietz, please remove the statement by Dr. Smith - such actions would amount to greater damages than the defamation, and would be cause of action for tortious interference of business contracts. not only would this drag you in but also rene, etc... as this would then be my companies going after these individuals and not me. trust me, this is not something any of us want.

But, Mr. Daniels, Dr. Smith isn't advocating doing anything that you yourself haven't already done to EpiRen. You e-mailed EpiRen's bosses and dozens of his colleagues over what you considered to be his objectionable online behavior. In doing so, you threatened his livelihood, intentionally. She's merely advocating that others do the same to you over your online behavior. How can you possibly object? What's good for the goose, right?

No, I'm not advocating that anyone actually do that. Rather, I'm simply asking a rhetorical question in order to point out your utter hypocrisy on this issue.

rhett daniels

Cary - that was the $14 million dollar fraud lawsuit that I successfully defended myself and won. because of that case I am a case study at two law schools.

David - i would agree accept Rene is a public figure working at a government (public office). i, on the other hand, work in private industries. the laws regarding privacy, disclosure, etc... as well as tortious interference, etc... are entirely different in that sphere.

if I were a public figure working at a gov't institution I would remain silent. so, it's not utter hypocrisy. I pay my own salary, or earn it, Rene earns a paycheck from the tax payers. do you see the difference? not trying to be an ass here as I dance around everyone who wants to beat me down,,, just trying to point out the difference btw public and private sector.

having said that, i never had issue w/ the blog other than the defamatory posts; which is criminal; meaning you can't even bankrupt it.


rhett daniels

some interesting points...that draw me in to this discussion. if parents can force vaccinations on their children, why can't parents force abortions on their children?
Emily Willingham writes much on the topic of advocating for children's rights, protections... in schools etc... to be free from bullies.
Who advocates for children and teenagers who are constructively (legal term) forced in to taking vaccinations?
I remember thinking during one of the visits to have my child vaccinated... that what if i was wrong, what if the biologics approval process (note biologics not in orange book) failed to test the interactive capacity of multi-regime biologics dosing specifically overlooking age-demographic reaction discrepancies?

Heretic squirrel

Astounding but sadly not suprising. I wonder if the state agency understands that their silencing of Rene makes them look even worse than anything he could have blogged?

I am reminded of an Inluenza site I frequented during the last great pandemic awareness of 2009. There was an individual who ranted and raved and threatened lawsuits all the while promoting his own personal agenda of miraculous treatments for H1N1, which I believe involved silver - is that correct Rett?

Retirement should be for getting outside and enjoying life rather than sitting hunched over a computer getting all pissy about people who disagree with you and then speculate on your out of proportional responses.

Saddly, there are many people who get their thrills by bullying others - in school they threaten with their fists, in adult hood they threaten with their laywers

rhett daniels

David -

the difference of course is that Epiren's comments were - upon information and belief, defamatory.

why is everyone so afraid of letting the courts decide these issues? if the courts decide i'm wrong then i'm wrong and i pay my dues and move on.

but everyone else wants to hide - with a few exceptions, behind pseudo names. I don't get it. piety fears no truth - why the secrecy?

lastly, david - you claim I am a corporate bully. I acted on my own in response to what I believe were defamatory comments.


rhett daniels

Heretic - reminded of what? what exactly am I promoting that is related to vaccines?
the "vitamins" that you all love to bash address one genetic defect / polymorphism C667.
has nothing to do with vaccines.
and it wasn't I that brought up the drugs I sell but the bashers. I don't need your business, I don't want it. I don't care about your VAX stances. All i asked was for defamatory comments to be removed. which no ones seems to address...but rather bounce around.
pinning you guys down is like punching water, and crushing you is like playing wacamole.


I would like to point out that the post only referred to a "Mr. X". The post is about

1. the social-media silencing of a civil servant who used social media under his own name, not the behavior of another particular individual.

2. an addition to the ongoing discussion about the value of pseudonymity in social media, which is latterly much under discussion. See for example My Name is Me and The Reveres on pseudonymity in science writing.

Mr. X showed up in the comments and outed himself, attempted to make the topic the alleged slights that he suffered, and so on.

Mr. X is Rhett Daniels. Mr. Daniels, you are repeatedly off-topic. Stop it.


A problem is that by contacting someone's employer, it is unlikely that the matter will even be examined in court, because the employer does not want to get involved in someone's personal fight, especially against someone with the resources to make it expensive. I'm sure you know as well as anyone here that being right is no guarantee of victory in court.

So by dragging the employer into it, it changes from trying to prove yourself right, into simple bullying.

Emily Willingham

Never once mentioned guns or alcohol. Let's try not to defame others, shall we? You're already trying to misrepresent me and what I write, and tossing around your money ($50K to UT? Really? Do you think they'll notice?). As Gorski pointed out, this is hypocritical behavior. You said good riddance, so...rid yourself.

Dr. Judy Stone

Mr. Daniels,

You said, "i didn't want epiren to stop posting, but rather to take down the defamatory blog."

Given that and that you are a man of your word, perhaps you might demonstrate that by telling that to all the people at EpiRen's place of employment who you had previously contacted. That would be the just thing to do.

rhett daniels

Judy - the moment the blog was taken down I sent an email saying exactly what you propose to ALL the recipients. Did Rene not mention this fact?

i can't paste the image, but here's a copy of the email:

Reply to all
from Rhett S. Daniels, M.Sc. [email protected]
sender-time Sent at 2:38 PM (GMT-04:00). Current time there: 12:52 PM. ✆
date Sat, Aug 13, 2011 at 2:38 PM
subject Re: employee of MD acting outside their agency in capacity of vaccinations recommendations as well as defamatory actions
hide details Aug 13 (8 days ago)
my apologies for sending to Mr. tate when requested to remove, but the issue has been resolved, and Mr. Najera has removed the defaming blog.

i have discontinued legal action, as well as any attempt to pursue this matter further.

good day and sorry to bother you.

if, however, the blog goes back up then we are back on, but i believe the dispute is over. i'm willing to walk away and leave the matter to rest if Mr. Najera is.


Rhett S. Daniels, M.Sc.

rhett daniels

Emily - you said you were "well armed" and on another tweet you said to Tweek75, Epirene, etc... that I was probably drunk.

so who's playing the games? at least I admit what i say.

rhett daniels

quoting emily:
"However, I am armed and somewhat dangerous, so don't try stalking"

and from tweet yourself:
"Also, I think he's drinking or something bc his writing is deteriorating badly."

again - i have been consistent from the beginning of all this. you, however, have shown yourself - by your writings, to be somewhat crazy

Liz here: I have disemvowelled the rest of Mr. Daniels's comment as it is seriously off-topic

Second comment from Liz. Not only was Mr. Daniel's comment seriously off-topic, the disemvowelled passages were cherrypicked by him to cast Emily and her family in an unfavorable light. Mr. Daniels did not have the common civility to cite the specific blog posts from which he ripped passages. I have heard from Emily and she has given me the option of leaving the passages disemvowelled or to restore them. I choose to leave the passages disemvowelled as they are off-topic. Emily blogs at A Life Less Ordinary. It's a public blog and you can read the whole story -- rather than Mr. Daniel's warped view -- there.

n fct - hr y thrtn t hrt chld: "Th frst wrds t f tht mn's mth t ths mtng wr, "Thr dsn't sm t hv bn n ll ntnt nvlvd." M rgrt? Tht ddn't mmdtl lp nt hs dsk, rch t nd brd hs fc n thr plcs wth m fngrnls, nd thn sk, "Y tll m hw smn ds tht wtht ll ntnt." nstd, w lstnd t hm bllsht s fr n hr, dckng nd ddgng m hsbnd's pntd nd prsstnt qstns, nd thn w lft. W thn wthdrw r sn frm schl, nd h hs bnhppl hmschld vr snc." -jwllnghm " nfrtntl fr th b, TH's ncl ws thr, nd ths ncl--m brthr-n-lw--stppd n nd hndld ths lttl dpsht n xctl th rght w. Frtntl fr sd twn dpsht, ws nt thr t stp n bcs hd bn, 'm frd thr wld hv bn mr thn stppng nvlvd." - jwllnghm "Wh ds t srprs m tht sm lttl bstrd f twn wld dtct m sn's dffrncs nd dcd t mck thm n tht w?" -jw... " cn b dldd n mr. Wht hppns whn chldrn lk mn, th ns wh ftn cn "pss," wh r nt cnddts fr spclzd lvng fclts, ncntr th sshls f th wrld tsd th prtctn f ths wh lv thm?" - jw... "Th d mld th tchr, Dby, n rsh t rch th nd f th lnch ln--yp, y rd tht rght, th nd f th ln--knckd nt lttl grl n hs clss. Sh fll, bmpd hr hd n tbl, nd ltrll ws knckd t cld, t lst brfl. M sn, hvng blld b n hs clss, nw hd knckd chld t. Gd tms, ths. Dby ws hrrfd, n trs, hs tchr wrrd h ws trmtzd. srt f hpd tht h ws. Wh? Bcs h ds tht knd f thng ll th tm, rshng pst ppl, pshng hs w thrgh, thnkng nl f wht h nds t d, whr h's ntnt n gng. 'm hg cmprd t hm, s whn h pshs pst m, dn't g dwn nd sstn cncssn. Bt ths lttl grl? n th nd, sh ws fn. Bt Dby...nt s mch." - jw " S, sm ppl prbbl r gng t thnk tht ths fthr ws t f ln. thnk h ws t f ln, spcll wth th lngg nd sng, n hs trn, hs sz nd hs ngr t ntmdt ths bys. Bt n spt f tht cl ssssmnt n m prt, thr's ht lttl cr nsd f m tht spprts hs bhvr fll, rght dwn t th f-bmbs. Wh? Bcs f h ddn't scr th sht t f ths bys--lkl nsrng tht th'll t lst thnk twc bt dng smthng lk tht gn--wh wll? Crtnl nt th dlts n chrg. Wht klls m s tht th cnt shrff's dprtmnt sys th fthr, wh s fcng chrgs, shld'v clld thm. Rght. Hw mch tm nd ffrt d y thnk th'd'v pt nt nvstgtng tht? Nws rprts s tht th fthr hd, n fct, trd t rprt ncdnts t cnt schl dmnstrtrs prvsl, t n vl. Bg shck, tht. Th bllyng, ccrdng t rprts, hd bn gng n snc schl strtd." - jw

Emily Willingham

I didn't say that at the tweet, I said that I thought you had "probably been drinking" because your typing and syntax had deteriorated so badly. Had you? Because that's an honest inference from what I was seeing. I did not state that here, and you implied that I had.

In this country, as you may have heard, we have the right to bear arms, the right to arm bears, and the right to be armed with bear spray.

rhett daniels

or perhaps maybe a digital keypad and someone w/ big fingers...who was tired?

when you reference the right in an aggressive tone it comes across as threatening.

rhett daniels

listen, i like you, emily. i think you are smart, irish (like me and my wife), a good writer, a passionate mother, an endearing caregiver... i could go on and on.

in fact, until you entered the fray i was enjoying the sparing. i don't with you. i wish you would go away (nicely) and leave me alone. your situation rings to close to home.


Mr. Daniels, you are still off-topic. This post isn't about you or your actions.

This post is not about anyone's parenting or responses to threats to their children. Pulling out random quotes from Emily's blog is off-topic. Stop it.

Adhere to the topic or stop commenting.

rhett daniels

liz - it appears you are censoring the same as the criticism you said against Age of Autism?
you have discredited yourself by your censorship. the discrediting of a witness is extremely relevant to the position of the accused.

shame on you! it is clear that you are not open to dialogue. i have no respect for you, your board,

Omri Schwarz

"Rene earns a paycheck from the tax payers. do you see the difference?"

Until this week, Mr. Najera was going above and beyond, serving the public by putting valuable information online in terms laymen can understand. This included information on the dangers of falling for the sales pitches of certain vitamin supplement hawking fraudsters.

That is the very reason why we have public health departments and staff them with the likes of Mr. Najera: so they can serve the public as best they can, without accounting for every penny their actions take or bring in.

rhett daniels

once again, yet another of you fail to read my statements...

public officials, taking their earnings from the public, are beholden to the public, whereas private enterprises enjoy less public scrutiny.

can any of you actually read? i know you have degrees, but i must say that I have been nothing but embarrassed by the lack of communication in all of your rantings.

from the censorship to the rogue blogs, do you know how silly you all sound and look?


Mr. Daniels, a request to stay on topic is not a form of censorship. You, on the other hand, have demanded that blog posts be removed multiple times and have threatened legal action towards those who write things you do not like. That is censorship.

You need to remember this saying: "People in glass houses should not throw stones."

Omri Schwarz

"public officials, taking their earnings from the public, are beholden to the public, whereas private enterprises enjoy less public scrutiny."

Oh, thanks to the Internet, we can fix that. :-)


Mr. Daniels, if you had had the civility to link to Emily's particular posts from which you cherry-picked passages, I might have left your comment stand emvowelled. You didn't; the passages were selected in such a way to misrepresent Emily and her children. Further, that comment -- like others of yours -- did not address either point of this discussion. To refresh your memory, this post and the commentary aren't about you. It's about:

1. the social-media silencing of a civil servant who used social media under his own name.

2. an addition to the ongoing discussion about the value of pseudonymity in social media, which is latterly much under discussion.

R. Smith MD

Mr. Daniels,

I am not presupposing the courts will rule in any particular way.

Instead, I am expressing serious concern about your mental health and stability, and suggesting that any and all who share my concerns follow any available legal routes to ensure that the damage you are clearly capable of doing does not involve illegal activities. I personally am also concerned about the moral and ethical responsibility of anyone who reads your increasingly bizarre and threatening comments -- to try to protect shareholders in any of your companies from possible consequences of being involved in any way with your activities. They should at least be informed of what your activities are, and should be emailed copies of the things you have written, so they can make their own decisions about whether it is safe to continue to be involved with you in either a personal or professional capacity in any way.

Should any matter related to your blogging activities be presented in any courtroom, the fact that you have engaged in threatening and intimidating behavior that was intended to harm will be obvious to any judge or jury.

I implore you to get some mental health treatment from a competent psychiatrist.

Yours sincerely,

R. Smith MD

rhett daniels

Careful Mr. Smith, your words are dangerously close to advocating criminal activity; which - would include tortious interference of business as a civil matter, but defamation as a criminal.
What you are suggesting would take anything that anyone has done to quite a new level, and I would make it my life's mission to bring you to justice. And depending upon which state you are in, there is no protection for your assets.
let me be clear again. i have no qualms with anything posted here except what "Dr. R Smith" proposes, and that any actions would represent irreparable harm.
in fact, i believe you have given cause for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order.


I have a query: can Mr. Daniels sue somebody off your grid, like, say, someone in India, maybe? If he cannot, well why not outsource the hate!!! Bang-galored! ;-)

While I feel Mr. Daniels is within his rights to demand retraction of material he feels invasive of his privacy or reputation, well, whatever is left of it anyways, the distance he will go in order to gain that is startling. Its sad that he does not realize that he has just opened Pandora's box. Getting involved in #HCSM is fraught with risks and with litigious people like him prowling around as a moral guard, its been made even worse.

Oh, Mr Daniels, if only you knew what you have done... :(

R. Smith MD

Mr. Daniels,

It is also my responsibility that if you are in fact involved in some way with corporate entities that provide you with income, then you are not in fact "paying your own salary." You may not care about public health, and you may feel fine about writing bizarre and threatening posts. But if you are, in fact, a committed member of corporate America, you might feel accountable to shareholders. And whether you feel it or no, you are accountable to state and federal corporate law, and it would be entirely legal for anyone and everyone who is concerned about your behavior to make their concerns public.

Yours sincerely,

R. Smith MD



an addition to the ongoing discussion about the value of pseudonymity in social media, which is latterly much under discussion.

Indeed. Bug Girl wrote about it recently, with an interesting note on being a public employee: Sunday AI: Does Google+ hate women?.

rhett daniels

liz - why are you not censoring Dr. Smith's off topic posts?

rhett daniels

Smith, you do what you want, i'm just telling you that what you suggest would be the kind of fire that gets under my skin and gives me energy to pursue. i would have no qualms garnishing your wages, your bank, your home, and putting you and your children on the street ONLY IF you commit a crime like you seem to be alluding to.
You are way off on your assessment of the situation, you are not a psychiatrist, and you are dangerously close to committing a number of crimes - the least of which incitement.

rhett daniels

Pranab, the only place I've had difficulty getting to people has been Iran, China (but you can bring the case there), North Korea and sometimes Russia (although you have to pay for the service).
Most nations are Hague Treaty nations. so, if you commit a crime you cannot run from it.


Dammit. I knew the iron walls had SOME advantage! :P Dude, you do realize that I am probably the only person who said ANYTHING in your defense at all? Don't show me the rule books, I have no reason to run... yet!

Omri Schwarz

Mr. Daniels, barring Liz's objections, I hope you keep ranting here so the world can see what a disjointed weirdo just caused a good man to fall off the Internet.


My house, my rules.

To get back to pseudonymous blogging, as Chris mentioned:

BugGirl Does Google+ Hate Women

The cost to women, LGB people, transpeople, and civil servants:

he cost to these people {of denying pseudonym use} can be vast, including:

* harassment, both online and offline
* discrimination in employment, provision of services, etc.
* actual physical danger of bullying, hate crime, etc.
* arrest, imprisonment, or execution in some jurisdictions
* economic harm such as job loss, loss of professional reputation, etc.
* social costs of not being able to interact with friends and colleagues

Mr. Daniels's actions certainly fall into some of those categories.


This post has given me the kick in the pants that made me finally start the blog I was thinking of starting. I just had to comment on the free-speech rights of public employees in order to correct some of the inaccurate statements in some of the comments above.

If you're interested, I'd love it if you'd visit

Maybe a future post will analyze the merits of the possible claims EpiRen and the "pharmaceutical entrepreneur" might have against each other.

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