Friday, August 27, 2010

Interesting Events on Cold Filter Cryonics Forum

There were some very interesting reactions to my recent post on the Cold Filter forum, regarding Alcor's membership dues. I pondered why anyone should pay membership dues, to Alcor, given that they are known to provide "last minute" services, to people who have never signed up for Alcor's services, much less paid membership dues. For example, they provided services to legendary baseball hero, Ted Williams, at the time of his death, at the request of his son, though Ted Williams had never filled out Alcor's paperwork, or paid membership dues. This is just one of many examples in which Alcor has provided services to people who have never paid membership dues. I know of at least one recent cryopreservation they performed, free of charge, and I suspect there are many others. It's my opinion that they do these cases for the sake of publicity, and I consider such cases to be a "slap in the face," to the dues-paying Alcor members, who have diligently filled out their paperwork, and have their insurance in place. (See my previous blog entry, on this topic.)

First, "FD" responded to my post, alluding to the inherent dangers of blogging. (He seems to think I'm too stupid, to have considered possible repercussions.) When I responded that he should let the people I write about make their own threats, he responded with an even more detailed expression of "concern," asking if I have media-publishing insurance, and pondering whether a judgment would be limited to the amount of my coverage, or if someone might get my insurance "PLUS all (my) life savings." (Either FD really IS threatening me, or he really DOES think I'm stupid.) He goes on to mention my blog index, as though I don't know it's there.

Then Mathew Sullivan, of Suspended Animation, seemed to be praying to the gods, (okay, so they're only "the powers that be," in an extremely small population), in a really weird post, for someone to take action against me, for what I wrote. If Mathew knew what I thought about that, maybe he wouldn't pray so hard.

Are Mathew and FD so arrogant, they believe no one else on the forum will realize they were not really giving me "friendly" advice? Surely, no one who has been reading my CF posts and my blog entries, for the last three-and-a-half years, thinks I am too stupid to realize I am responsible for my own words. I've even stated, on numerous occasions, (which I am sure FD and Mathew are aware of), that I am willing to stand behind my opinions, in any court in this land. How much more clear could I make it for them? Did either of them really think anyone was going to fall for that "we were just trying to help her with some friendly advice, and the moderator fussed at us, boo-hoo, wah, wah, wah" routine? If they thought I, or anyone else, would believe FD was genuinely concerned about my financial welfare, I'm going to have to question their intelligence.

The most interesting part of the discussion was when the moderator stepped in and indicated people had been threatening to sue him, if he did not "delete certain posts," which I can only assume to be mine, since I haven't threatened any such action against him, (at least, not recently). Now that we see Platt's post, we can only assume Mr. Platt was the person making threats against the moderator. Why are Platt, Sullivan and FD, making threats, in response to a post I made about Alcor? None of them work at Alcor, as far as I know, (though the anonymous FD might work there, I suppose), and none of them were mentioned in the post they are reacting, so strongly, to. Isn't Alcor capable of speaking for their own organization, and doesn't Alcor have plenty of attorneys, working on their behalf?

FD, Sullivan, Platt, et. al. are just trying to intimidate the CF moderator, and me, and it's just plain silly. Why should we take such warnings from those three individuals, seriously? One of them has a very long history of people accusing him of being less than honest, and one of them is anonymous. If Alcor, or anyone else, was going to sue the CF moderator, or me, I'm sure we would be receiving letters from attorneys, not "friendly advice," on Cold Filter.

I don't know about the CF moderator, but the minute I get any sort of legal notice, I am going to immediately "lawyer up," call the media, and file whatever counter-suits might be available to me. If any of my CF posts, or blog entries, (all of which I consider to be "free speech," and none which I consider to be legally "actionable"), are removed from the Internet, I will add "call the ACLU" to my list.

I'm wondering if people think my forum posts and blog entries have not been backed up and made ready to publish elsewhere, when they ask the CF moderator to remove them. Also, have they considered the possibility of others archiving my posts? I know, for a fact, someone was archiving my every published word, at least up until less than a year ago, and not at my request, (and it wasn't Johnson). I don't know, or care, if they are still doing so.

I believe there's a very long history, in cryonics, of people attempting to prevent the airing of "dirty laundry," with scare tactics, which are very transparent and tiresome. If someone wants to sue me, they should have their lawyer call my lawyer. Otherwise, these empty threats and attempts to quash my free speech, (from persons not even officially connected to the organization I have been criticizing), only encourage me to write more, (as should be obvious, at this point).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Alcor Membership Dues (Passive Resistance)

Why would anyone pay dues to Alcor? They've proven, time-and-time-again, there's really no need to. Just throw a grease-stained note in your trunk, and find a relative to promise payment to Alcor in the event of your demise. Alcor will rush right over, to pick you up in a private jet. (Or does that only work for legendary baseball heroes?) Did Ted Williams ever pay membership dues? Not that I know of, so why should anyone else?

How about Mary Robbins? Was she paying Alcor membership dues, just prior to her death? Her family claimed she had changed her mind, about cryopreservation. Wouldn't knowledge, regarding whether she had been paying her Alcor dues, or not, have been evidence of her continued interest, (or lack, thereof)?
Alcor successfully argued, in a court of law, that Ms. Robbins' contract was required to be revoked in writing, which it had not been. So, Alcor was able to collect their "anatomical gift," even though they, subsequently, elected not to pursue the collection of the cryopreservation fee. Interesting! Ms. Robbins may have been paying her dues, but she didn't pay for her cryopreservation. Fancy that! Why should anyone pay Alcor, for anything, since they are so willing to give away their services? What other companies, (if any), operating under the UAGA, requires people to pay for "donating" an anatomical "gift," anyway? That's bizarre.

I'm not a lawyer, but isn't it true that a party cannot use an argument to win a legal decision, and then use the same argument to win a contradictory decision, in another court? (I think there's a name for this...I just can't think of it, at the moment.) In other words, Alcor won the battle over the possession of Ms. Robbins' "anatomical gift," by proving she had not revoked her gift, in writing. So, I'm wondering, if someone else, (or everyone else, for that matter), who has made arrangements for an Alcor cryopreservation, was to quit paying their membership dues, how successful would Alcor be at arguing that they were not obligated to perform a cryopreservation, because a person had failed to pay their membership dues? Maybe Alcor can cancel their contracts, in writing. Would they? If they have John Doe signed up for a $150,000 procedure, and he doesn't pay his "$478 annually or $120 quarterly," do they cancel his contract, in writing? It's a fascinating question, isn't it?

"Transparency" is a word you hear, a lot, in cryonics. How transparent is it, to fly across the country to pick up a celebrity, who has never paid a penny in membership dues, or bothered to fill out Alcor's paperwork? Pretty darn transparent, if you ask me. How transparent is it, to accept other last-minute cases, performing procedures for people who have never paid membership dues? Crystal clear, again, in my opinion. So, I ask, "Why should ANYONE pay Alcor's membership dues?"

Of course, the REAL question is, "Why should anyone pay Alcor for their pseudo-medical procedures, at all?" For $150,000, you might get something like a dialysis tech playing vascular-/neuro- surgeon, and something like this: By the way, how much did they make Ted Williams' family pay? According to several accounts, they accidentally cut off his head, making him a "neuro" case, even though his son had signed him up for the "whole body" procedure, which costs nearly double the price of a "neuro." (Current Alcor prices are $80K for a "neuro," and $150K for a "whole body.")

Alcor has been around for approximately 40 years, and it looks, to me, like they charge some really high fees, while not promising anyone with even a high school diploma, much less any sort of medical credentials, will show up to attempt to preserve their members' brains. Their Chief Medical Advisor has proven over, and over, and over, again, he doesn't have a complete understanding of vascular cannulations and perfusion, (the medical procedures required to deliver preservative solutions to all the cells of the body). What a joke.

I think it's time for Alcor to improve their services, and thinking along those lines, maybe it's time for some "passive resistance." After all, "money talks," so maybe there are Alcor members out there, willing to let their membership dues speak to Alcor's directors. OH...and if you get some polite request, from Alcor, asking you to sign documents, revoking your cryopreservation contract...well, I suggest you make note of the Williams' and Robbins' cases, and other "last-minute-not-really-signed-up-for-Alcor's services" cases, and consult with your attorney.