By Erin K. Costello
I'm going to try something a little different this time. Instead of writing a blog post for our readers (the few, but wonderful readers our website has), I am going to write an open letter to Kate Tietje, aka Modern Alternative Mama (MAM). She'll likely continue to pen posts talking shit about us, that's fine though. I just get tired of the bitch games. Here's my response to Kate's post concerning an open letter document written by a page and website admin of ours, then uploaded to Google docs for everyone to use as they wish. Without further ado, this one's for you, Kate.
Dear Kate Tietje,
First and foremost, Kate, I (Erin K. Costello), did not write our open letter Google doc. I realize you never came out and accused me personally of having done so, but since I am the one writing this open letter to you on our website I want to establish and inform you on the facts of the matter. I can take credit for some ideas concerning you though this is one for which I cannot take credit. Also, since our admin are members of both the male and female sex it’s quite possible that the page’s author was male instead of female. I just thought I’d point that out since comments in your group just assume the author of this letter is female. (edit by other admin: the authors are a male and female)
Seeing as though you felt this need to assume our open letter Google doc was ALL about you, let me assure you that this document was not all about you. In fact, I regret to inform you (not really), most things in life are not all about you. Our website blog and sister page (NO MAM) aren’t even about YOU necessarily. They focus on the dangers that stem from your purely opinionated posts, your grossly inaccurate and misleading claims, and on the personally biased pressure you post to page followers and group members when you tell them what they should and shouldn’t do in regard to their health and the health of their children. Your hate and vitriol against mainstream medicine appears as though it comes from a personal place, a place of vengeance.
Normally I would take this opportunity to assure you that if you were to stop publicly telling readers what they should and shouldn’t do, or who they should or shouldn’t listen to, that we would in turn stop writing about you and we would even un-publish NO MAM. However, this suggestion would fall on deaf ears because, let’s face it MAM, whether the attention is positive or negative, you fucking love it! You aim for this attention. You yourself admitted to purposely writing inflammatory blog posts (the one about loving one child more than the other) for “completely stupid and selfish reasons. Because [you] knew it would go viral” on a post in your Facebook group back in December (I think it was December? It was on one of the #pedogate threads). Wanting to go viral isn’t a bad thing. I take no issue with this. I just think we should keep shit real and honest.
Now, let us address your lies, false information, misleading assumptions, and butthurt from your Facebook group post since your post was, in fact, all about us. I’ll do a point by point explanation of your errors.
∞ We have no desire to stop anyone from making any choice simply because it is different from what we would choose, or different from what most people would choose. We like different! I appreciate and value many of those who “think outside of the box.” These are the actions that breed innovators! So please, Kate, let me assure you, the fact that you believe you are different is not something we have ever taken an issue with. The fact that you do make some choices that are different from ours is not something we give a shit about.
∞ We are not scared, though we do often worry about some of your members who have adopted your tenets, and we even worry about you at times Kate. I feel confident in making you a promise here. You. Will. Never. Scare. Us.
∞ I can’t speak for all page and site admins here, though I can admit for myself that I do have my stupid moments! I also have many subjects where I am lacking knowledge and understanding, sometimes even basic knowledge and understanding. I also admit that I don’t know everything about vaccinations and medicine. In comparison to an expert in either field I can assure you that I know very little about vaccinations and medicine. However, in comparison to you, I am not stupid when it comes to either of these interests or the things that apply to them.
∞ In regard to your remark about scare tactics, let us first define “scare tactics.” “Scare tactic: a strategy using fear to influence the public's reaction; coercing a favorable response by preying upon the audience’s fears.” Sharing links to peer reviewed studies that have been or able to be recreated by an outside source, that have complete data collected, and have conclusions that match what the data shows, are not acts that fit the definition for scare tactics. Obviously, we would never accuse such actions as being scare tactics. However, your sentence said you shared links to “actual studies.” I’m not sure what that even means. There are countless studies that have “actually” been carried out, though not honestly or responsibly. There are countless studies that have been authored where the assessments are “actually” correct, though their data is severely lacking causing these assessments to be false and useless. Point is, there are countless studies that are omitting or lacking important data, or that have manipulated data to achieve a desired outcome. These are actual studies. Though, what they aren’t are honest, responsible, reliable, and complete studies that pass peer review and can be adequately replicated by another source. In this regard, the links you often share are in fact definitive “scare tactics.”
∞ This next part, where you claim to not share, promote, or allow mention of harmful treatments such as black salve, bleach enemas, or cabbage juice, I have to say I agree with you. I can even go as far as to say I remember times where you came about against such treatments and have deleted posts suggesting such treatments. Though, regarding Jilly Juice, you did drag your feet in your condemnation of her and her protocol. To be honest, I don’t believe you considered her cabbage juice to be beneficial in any way, I just think your hatred for mainstream medicine is so strong and consuming for you that you hoped you could find a way to support her protocol simply because it was not mainstream medicine. You had hoped the enemy of your enemy could become your friend. Regardless, of all this, the open letter Google document WAS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU. The other groups listed in the letter do often share, or at least allow mention of one or more of these treatments.
∞ “This is protected speech?” Ok man let’s discuss the term “protected speech.” The definition of protected speech is, “speech that is protected from government regulation and censorship, depending upon the nature of the speech and the nature of the regulation.” First off man, how the hell can you shout “protected speech” as a defense for you and your admins blocking, forbidding, and deleting fucking speech? You are expecting to have the right to say whatever you want, regardless of whether or not what you are saying is correct, and you want this right guaranteed by the government and privately owned social media sites, yet you can’t or won’t grant the same exact thing to anyone who says something to contradict the things that you are saying. I get that these pages of yours and the group are of your creation and yours to do with as you wish. But, you come off as very cult-like when you do all you can to control and limit who says what in your group and on your pages.
I happen to agree with you for the most part, I think, when it comes to free speech and what should be allowed to be said and shared on social media. If I want to be an asshole and post on 300 people’s Facebook pages that I think they are all kinds of horrible, I should have this right protected from prosecution. Though, this also means that 300 people should have their right protected to post on my Facebook page that I’m all kinds of horrible. As much as I despise reading horrifically racist comments when I see them, their right to post them should be protected from prosecution. How else am I going to find out my neighbor is a racist, or sexist, or an otherwise hateful individual? If they aren’t allowed to express these shitty beliefs of theirs how will we know they hold these shitty beliefs and know who to avoid in times when necessary? I also question whether Facebook should have a policy that calls for such post removal. I am perfectly capable of deciding what I allow on my own personal page. Let me be clear though here, I question Facebook enacting this type of policy, though I do not question their right to enact this type of policy. None of this pertains to you though so, moving on.
Not all speech is protected from prosecution, regulation, or removal. Types of speech not protected are,
Science is never settled. Having said that, what we know at this moment regarding vaccinations is currently indisputable. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be or won’t be subject to dispute someday. It just means that it has yet to be. So, for you to claim all vaccines are dangerous, horrible, and ineffective is a false claim. These links you share as thought they prove your claims true do not prove your claims true, and at times even prove your claims false. This next part I cannot say it enough, You. Are. Not. Qualified. To. Make. Any. Such. Claims.
∞ Frankie Gray. No one was angry simply because you had a fake account. What irritated us about your fake account was that you had a fake account AFTER you published post after post calling people with fake accounts losers, pathetic, and narcissistic asshats with no life. It was not the fact that you did something we also do, but it was the fact that you bashed us for doing something YOU also do. It was, in fact, your hypocrisy that we called out.
∞ So, are you trying to deny enforcing the no mention of mainstream medicine or suggestion to see a doctor rule with the threat of a ban? Or are you trying to explain such actions as though they are understandable?
I’m relieved to see you say none of you are doctors. Even though you may have a right to dictate the rules as you see fit for your group, this doesn’t mean that doing so is without danger or consequence. No one in your group, yourself included, knows the information necessary to determine if excluding any suggestions is without harm. You do not have access to patient history, test results, health needs, health concerns, or current diagnoses. None of you, yourself included, would know how to properly proceed if such knowledge had been miraculously obtained. This is what makes your rules fucking dangerous. This danger is in large part why our Facebook pages and our website exist.
∞ Group and page numbers. You are correct that your group has about 25k members and your page has about 73k followers. However, in the google document, the author did not type out your group name. Your group name is Modern Alternative Mamas!, and your page is Modern Alternative Mama, the latter of which is typed out in the document. For granted, it is quite possible the author meant your group and not your page when typing out this paragraph. It is only difficult to be sure since both your group and page are dangerously false and misleading. Like you, giving what the paragraph states as well as the following paragraphs, I would guess the author meant your group when typing this out. However, unlike you, I wouldn’t assume this was correct without confirmation. I sure as hell wouldn’t mention this in a post without confirmation as an effort to convince readers of anything.
∞ The laws surrounding accessing and asking for health advice on-line are only clear because there are no laws surrounding the acts of seeking and asking for such advice on-line. Nowhere in our letter do we concern ourselves with the act of asking or seeking advice. It’s the whole GIVING of advice from a position of authority on the subject that we call to question, particularly giving specific advice to specific individuals concerning a specific health concern.
Yes, anyone can post any information regarding health. You don’t understand what this means though. Let me explain. Anyone can make a post, meaning a generalized post to a generalized audience, explaining whatever they wish concerning a generalized health concern or treatment option. You do this often on your MAM Facebook page and your website. As much as we disagree with most of what you post, and may even, at times, post our own rebuttal, we are not interested in contacting members of congress over these posts. Our concerns stem mostly from your Facebook group when you give answers to specific persons who call on you for your advice as though you are an authoritative figure worthy of being called upon for correct information. You make no effort to admit to those who seek you and your medical advice out that you are not properly educated in such areas. In fact, I also doubt you make any effort to admit this to yourself. Group members are not your friends who you chat on the phone with and share the latest bit of health advice you read in a magazine. They are strangers in large part, or in every sense of the word, who are posting in your group for the specific purpose of obtaining health advice given by you or approved by you. Very often when they do this they will even tag you personally for the sole purpose of acquiring your advice. You never fail to happily oblige them by giving your advice and suggesting the best course of action to take, to avoid taking, or to suggest a proper and adequate remedy to provide a desired medicinal outcome. This alone was bad enough to do, though for you it wasn’t nearly enough. You had to take this shit to an even more disgusting place.
When giving your unqualified advice wasn’t doing it for you any longer, you then decided to start making money off this racket by pushing unproven at best, and ineffective at worst, your kitchen play-time creations as a preferred method of remedying people’s health concerns. I don’t fault you for making money or trying to make money. But once again, this wasn’t good enough. You had to sink a little lower on the ethics bar once again. You and your other admins, though it’s mostly you, always make sure to suggest one of YOUR products for group members to take when they ask for advice. And in your latest effort to secure you make some bank, you ban all suggestions of seeking advice from accredited licensed physicians as well as suggestions of OTC medications. In fact, the only thing you allow is advice and instruction on taking herbal, homeopathic, and natural products in lieu of mainstream medicine. When anyone points this out to you or other group members that person is often removed from your group and you fail to acknowledge how your actions are eliminating your competition regardless of whether the competition is the correct call or not. You simply do not care what the best course of action is for a person or child. You only care about YOUR ideas and products being discussed and shared, and ultimately bought.
Let me explain a few things before I wrap this up. Health suggestions may become the practice of medicine when the advice is specific to a person’s illness or injury, specific to a person, and/or specific to a product for the purpose of obtaining a desired remedied effect. When an unlicensed individual is advising people medicinally upon request from a position of authority, it is in fact providing a medical service without proper qualifications to do so. Advising others to ignore or refuse proven effective medicines or treatment as well as adopt and purchase your own remedies and products in their place, provides a financial motive for your actions.
If you wish to claim you do not see yourself in a position of authority in these regards, let me remind you of another part of this rule. In this ban of mentioning mainstream medicine, you explain how you or other admin will be in charge when determining which of the posts asking for medical help are emergent in nature and require the intervention of licensed medical help. You don’t allow members to do this, only you and another admin. It appears you see yourself in a position of authority that qualifies you to make such determinations. Also, before you claim that suggestions to use your products for the sake of obtaining a desired medicinal affect is not the act of prescribing medicine, let me remind you that you do not allow the suggestions of OTC products in the group, or the suggestion that someone see their doctor for the purpose of obtaining an antibiotic, because you consider these suggestions to be providing a prescription to others.
Huh, I just realized something. I made it through writing this entire letter to you without once calling you stupid, crazy, a troll, scared, or other ignorant insults like a petulant child raging from a butthurt tantrum. Looks like I’m not so stupid after all.
Before I say goodbye Kate, I’d like to suggest you consider auditing a few college courses. Dozens of colleges and universities offer college course on-line for anyone to audit, free of charge. You won’t earn credit for taking these courses obviously, but you can still learn the information provided on these subjects of interest. After all, when you know better you do better, right? I’m sure as a mother you’d never deny your children the opportunity to have a better educated and more informed mommy, right? Or are you afraid you’ll discover that your self-performed research was a giant waste of your time since you not only learned nothing, but that you believed bullshit all this time? Well, you know what they say, right? “You play bitch games, you win bitch prizes.”
Erin K. Costello