Thursday, January 31, 2019

How can ASAN manage autism public policy when they can't manage themselves?

In the late 1930's, as baseball legend Babe Ruth's career as a player was winding down, he expressed a desire to manage the New York Yankees.  The team's owner Jacob Rupert replied to the carousing and heavy drinking Ruth, "how can you manage a baseball team when you can't manage yourself?"

This statement rings true for the premiere neurodiversity organization The Autistic Self Advocacy Network as as can be seen in their latest publicly available 2017 990 form spent more than $175,000 than the revenue they took in that year.

In previous blog posts, Ive written that despite the fact Ari Ne'eman, their former CEO, repeatedly criticized the high salaries of the top executives at Autism Speaks, he more than doubled his own salary in a four year period from $40,000 a year to nearly $90,000 a year.  His salary increase from 2011 to 2012 of $40,000 to $65,000, a nearly 62% annual increase was nearly double the increase of the organization's revenue.

Because of the organization's deficit spending, it appears they have begun to economize by paying their new CEO Julia Bascom a salary of slightly less than $70,000, a substantial decrease from Ari Ne'eman's 2015 salary of nearly $90,000 a year.

As can also be seen on the form, their net assets decreased from nearly $350,000 at the beginning of 2017 to just over $170,000 at the end of the year, or a slightly lower amount than the red ink they produced in 2017.  If their expenses versus revenue in 2018 was comparable to the previous year, they have no assets left, but owe some creditors money.

Is this an organization you'd trust to manage your business, financial affairs, public policy recommendations, etc?  A common sense answer would certainly be no.  However, if you're a prominent candidate for President of the United States or the federal government the answer which defies rationality is yes.  When Jeb Bush ran for president in 2016, he consulted this organization.  When Hillary Clinton became the democratic party's nominee in the same year, she also consulted this organization for policy advice and recommendations.  As I've written in a previous blog post Ms. Clinton made a variety of dubious autism policy recommendations after winning the democratic party's nomination in 2016.  These autism talking points were largely based on a conference call she had with ASAN.

I've also written on occasion that the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee has appointed several neurodiversity, anti treatment breakthrough autistics to make policy recommendations to the federal government while appointing zero pro-treatment anti-neurodiversity autistics, despite the fact that two of them expressed a desire to serve and were turned down.  Three of them, Ari Ne'eman, Scott Robertson, and Samantha Crane have had prominent posts within the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network.

ASAN's current autistic representative Samantha Crane, has stated the wandering behaviors of severely autistic children, often resulting in death from accidental drownings and other reasons,are merely problematized by other people, yet are perfectly reasonable.  Their current president Julia Bascom apparently believes the reason severely intellectually disabled autistic persons can't write a blog post as well as she can is that they had bad parents who sheltered and infantalized them.  Amy Lutz, the mother of a severely autistic individual with a tested IQ of 40 has invited Ms. Bascom to come to her home and teach her son how to write a blog post.  So far, Bascom has not accepted.

These are people whom I neither would want to manage my business, finances, or autism policy, though I know those in power disagree. 

But will ASAN go bankrupt in a year or two?  Is all hope lost for this organization which repeatedly engages in deficit spending?  Not necessarily.  As can also seen in their 2017 form they have a benefactor with deep pockets.  The Foundation for an Open Society donated $180,000 to them in 2017.  Though I have not linked to their 2016 form, anyone who cares to peruse it will see they donated $130,000 to them in that year.  This is an organization started by well-known billionaire George Soros.  Perhaps Mr. Soros will bail them out.  The fact that a powerful billionaire supports this philosophy may be the reason the ND movement has made such significant strides in obtaining power within the government as well as private sector organizations such as autism speaks.  This does not bode well for those of us who are part of the #autisticdarkweb.  Not to mention the fact that there are about 20 of us and maybe 5,000 of them.  But the #theautisticdarkweb will continue crusading against this movement we detest so much. 

I don't know if ASAN will spend themselves out of existence, but just in case, I hope that Sam Crane had a good bankruptcy course when she attended Harvard Law School.  I suspect ASAN may need her to do some pro bono work in that regard.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Gadfly published in spectator, a few NDs, including Silberman, mock his disability

In the I've got some good news and bad news to report department, I have, first, some of the best news I've had in a while. I've been published in Spectator Magazine in the UK.  I wrote a short piece discussing the problems with the neurodiversity movement that I've linked to.  This is a prestigious magazine and will hopefully help get the word out about some of the problems with the ND movement.  It took them six months, but they finally published it.

Along with good news, there is also some bad news to report.  My article did not sit well with some of the NDs as can be expected.  Some of them have claimed that everything I wrote about ND was wrong and that my article was poorly researched.  A few of them have stooped to apparently ridiculing my disability as demonstrated in the following screen shot taken from twitter:
It started with a vague comment I don't understand that neurodiversity proponent Sarah Kurchak made about my article which is not included in the screenshot:

I know I'm supposed to ignore these types, but come on. Someone got paid to basically write "the neurodiversity movement has too many women in it... and also I have suspicions that they might fuck." I can't just leave that alone.

An individual who calls himself autvntg joined in the fun and stated that I have an obsession about fucking and my only bitch about autism was that it was stopping me from being laid.

Even more interesting, famed journalist and best selling author of neurotribes Steve Silberman apparently wrote on twitter that autvntg was absolutely right.  Such cruelty among neurodiversity proponents is nothing new.  I did not think Silberman could go any lower than he did when he justified the analogy between autism speaks and nazis and eugenics but I suppose nothing about this man should surprise me anymore.

Since Silberman has blocked me on Twitter, I was not aware that he had even responded to Autvng's comment in this matter, until one of my followers brought this to my attention and showed me this screenshot.  Since Silberman blocked me, I was not able to embed the actual tweet but only this screenshot.  I don't think I can go into Silberman's account and verify that this is real, but I think it's unlikely it's a forgery.

Autvntg and Silberman have apparently not spent much time reading my blog where I talk about my fine motor coordination problems, inability to hold down a job, inability to get things done during the day and stop twiddling (self-stimulation) and the variety of other issues I've written about that have affected me besides celibacy which I do blame on autism.

As some who have followed me over the years know, on occasion, I've responded in an angry fashion when various members of the ND movement cussed at me, insulted my parents and ridiculed my disability. I regret that now and hope from now on I can have a "just the facts ma'am" way of doing things and just report it on this blog or social media, rather than responding in a nasty way. It's not fun to see cruel comments written about me just because I hate this disability and wish there were legitimate treatments and a cure. However, I can take solace in the fact that if I elicited this type of response from Saint Silberman, I must be making an impact. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Finished first draft of "the mu rhythm bluff" screenplay. Now what?

As some people know, nearly six years ago, I wrote and published a novel, "The mu rhythm bluff" about an autistic man who undergoes an experimental treatment to help his autism, but instead it turns him into an expert poker player.  I dreamed of it being a commercial success and being made into a movie, an accomplishment that happens with very few novels.

Getting it published by a commercial house was too difficult, so I decided to take the easy route that has become available in the 21st century, self-publishing it on Amazon.  It basically went nowhere and I probably sold not much more than 200 copies.  

Shortly after I published it, the daughter of a friend of my mom's who worked for the film maker Virgin Produced found the plot of my novel compelling.  She asked me if the rights were available and if I could send her a .pdf copy which she would pass around to her colleagues.  I happily obliged.  She wrote me an email saying 'thank you' and that was the last I heard from her.  What would have been a coup for a mediocre self-published novel did not come to fruition.

I would still be interested in having it made into a movie, so I decided to take a break from some other projects still on the burner and write a screenplay version of it.  I have now done that.  Though it is probably too long and I've written enough material for a two and a half hour movie, so it likely needs significant condensing and reworking.  A screenplay is supposed to be about 120 pages in the correct format, which comes out to approximately a two hour movie.  (A page equals a minute of film time).  With a length of more than 150 pages it is likely too long. 

I'm not even sure I got the format right, but I did my best.  I've heard about software you can buy that does formatting for you, and there's a good chance I will get it.  Next step is to have it printed out so I can have a hard copy.

Self-publishing a book is one thing, but it is probably not feasible for most people to invest in the capital to make it into a movie.  If I ever reach the step where it's ready for submission anywhere, I will certainly have an uphill battle getting it onto the big screen.  Also, I'm not sure how much I like the title "the mu rhythm bluff".  I'd like to call it something else, but I'm dumbstruck as far as thinking of a title is concerned.  I'm not sure how marketable a story about poker would be to the big screen.  There have been some poker movies, but I think most of them were low budget and did not do well.  Rounders with Matt Damon was one that saw the light of day, but was not exactly a box office success.  At the time though, No limit Hold 'Em was not as popular as it is now.

After I'd written four novels without success, I decided to try something new.  Anyone who has spent any minimal amount of time reading this blog knows that it's mostly devoted to scathing criticism of the neurodiversity movement which I detest.  Therefore, I decided I'd write a non-fiction book refuting the tenets of neurodiversity.

I thought it might be easier than fiction, because it did not require the imagination to think of certain things, and I already had a fair amount of material I could recycle from blog posts and other writings.  However, I was certainly wrong.  My disability made it hard for me to concentrate and apply myself as it always does.  The book required an inordinate amount of research and I spent over three years writing it and reading various articles to do the best research to dispute this philosophy.  It was made harder by the fact that in the last few years, more and more has been happening in the neurodiversity world and I had to update the manuscript at various points and there are new things that have happened since that I have not included in the book,  Baron-Cohen's remarks about comparing pro-cure people to nazis and Klansmen the most prominent.  

However, I managed to write a first draft, which I spent time revising and reworking.  I had a manuscript, but the question then as I pose it now was 'now what'.  It was likely not ready for submission and I did not want to spend $3,000 on an editor I could not afford who might not even be helpful, let alone greatly increasing the chances of having it published anywhere.  I did, however, send it along to a few agents who turned it down.  I decided to send it to Jessica Kingsley, which admittedly might not be the best fit for an anti-ND book.  Not surprisingly, they turned it down.

After this, I decided to take a break from the nonfiction book and write a screenplay version of my self-published novel.  Again, I thought this would be an easier project than my last two.  After all, I already had the story written out in prose form and a screenplay is less labor intense than a book length manuscript.  For the second time, I was dead wrong.  I had no familiarity with screenplay format and had to learn from a book and reading examples of screenplays which were made into films that saw the light of day.  Also, condensing a 91,000 word novel into an approximately 120 page screenplay format which would be less than a third of the length of  the novel.  I struggled with this for a time because of my disability, but have finally managed to write a first draft.

I guess the lesson learned in all this is that nothing good comes easily.   

So, again, the question is 'now what?'  I will continue working on this project, but maybe try to devote time to other endeavors, but I'm not sure how far I will go with it.  I realize it is unlikely it will ever be made into a movie, but I can dream can't I?

I may or may not keep readers updated about more work on this screenplay in progress.  However, just in case, stay tuned.