Articles by JCS
In the evolution of the chiropractic profession, it's been a tough journey not only fighting our medical/insurance/media foes at every turn, but more frustrating has been the in-fighting among our own factions. Encouraging, however, is the fact that some organizations are striving to overcome the dissension and misunderstandings that have kept our profession splintered such as we've seen with the efforts of COCSA and the WFC, two groups bringing chiropractors together rather than tearing this profession apart was we've seen with the WCA, ICA, and the Chiro Coalition.
Sadly, there are some within our ranks who work against unity not only because they are chirovangelists who are groomed like radical Islamic insurgents to automatically fight against any overture by the infidel mixers, but also because they’re vendors with a lot of money at stake. Whether it was Big $id dumbing down chiro education to sell more diplomas, or Riekeman at Palmer/Life letting his vendor friends swamp the campus hunting for consumers, err, students, or Terry Rongberg manipulating legislation to suit his financial interests, this profession has a history of those--the enemy within--who work to foment discord in order to personally profit.
A not-so-recent example of working against the best interest of this profession was evident when the ACA and ICA made overtures concerning merger to consolidate our power, staff, and revenues, an attempt voted on and approved by the majority of ICA members led by Mike Pedigo back in the 1980s. Regrettably, vendor-politicians who have nothing to gain if merger were to occur eventually thwarted it--like the "dead enders" in Iraq fighting against democracy. While credible groups work to bring DCs together in a democratic process, these vendor-politicians work to keep DCs apart for their personal profit and political ideology.
These confidence men portray themselves as "defenders of the chiropracTIC faith" when, in reality, their hidden agenda is to profit personally by disseminating propaganda to fan the flames of our differences rather than our common goals. They use their free tabloids to slant the news, foment discord, and to promote themselves as spokesmen when, in fact, they are primarily vendors selling products.
It's been a ruse that has festered for too long, but one that must be dealt with immediately if the next century is to be better than the last one. And dealing with true intra-professional harmony means confronting those evil vendors who work to destroy it.
Columnist John Ziegler (www.johnziegler.com/) wrote in a recent online commentary about his frustration of the obvious double standard by many in the media over the murder of Nick Berg in Iraq, and it reminded me of the same problem in the chiropractic press.
“Like millions of other Americans, over the past few years I have become increasing cynical about the nature of this country's news media. However, up until yesterday, I never thought that our fourth estate was actively (though I still believe, perhaps naively, unconsciously) working on behalf of our enemies.
“That all changed with the disgraceful coverage (or lack thereof) of the slaughter of Nick Berg, the American civilian whose horrific murder was carried out by elements of Al Qaeda and videotaped for dissemination on a website.
“…After watching how the world has largely failed to react to the murder of Nick Berg, it is difficult for me to envision how we can possible win this war on terror. After all, those who control the information we receive seem to be rooting for the enemy.”
May I add that the few chiropracTIC vendor/publishers are also rooting for the enemy of disunity within our profession—those “naysayers, wild-eyed philosophers, freaks, and cultists” who former ACA lobbyist Mark Goodin and attorney George McAndrews so eloquently chided years ago? My favorite McAndrews quote is: “5% of your are cultists, 5% of you are freaks, and the rest of you…keep your mouths shut.” And I think everyone knows to whom George is referring and, regrettably, the fringe publishers of free tabloids have NOT kept their mouths shut.
While reputable DCs are silently hard at work helping patients, and reputable associations like the ACA, ACC, WFC, CCE, COCSA, FCER and FCLB are working to expand our markets, improve our parity, raise our educational standards and, most of all, to improve our identity and image, saboteurs like Terry Rongberg and his Chiro Coalition of the Misguided Vendors are hard at work undermining these efforts.
Without question, "The Chiropractic Journal," his free advertising rag impersonating a peer-reviewed medical indexed journal has done more harm than any other tabloid ever printed in this profession since the days when Big $id controlled his free magazine, "Today's Chiropractic," a classic example of slanted journalism and political demagoguery if ever there was one! Hopefully under new management now, Today's Chiropractic will reflect a modern viewpoint rather than the ol' time chirovangelism that fueled the dissension that Big $id needed to keep an audience. Just don't hold your breath that anything emanating from Sydneyland will be objective!
Now that Big $id is gone, obviously TR is the main enemy within our ranks today who roots for failure as we've seen with his negative accounts of the VA and Medicare legislation in his TCJ. TR also heads the list of yellow journalism as a vendor/publisher with a self-serving agenda (CBS insurance brokerage) posing behind his so-called “journal” that consists of inflammatory editorial commentaries written by him or his columnists/vendors who “pay to play.”
If that’s not bad enough, his editorials abound with slanted information that are aimed solely to vilify his financial opponents like NCMIC insurance and political stalwarts like the ACA and WFC. TR has taken cheap shots at Lou Sportelli of NCMIC, Don Petersen of Dynamic Chiropractic, Jim Edwards of the ACA, David Chapman-Smith of the WFC, and even at lowly me, a mixer from middle Georgia.
Indeed, TR has become the Jason Blair of the chiropractic press—you simply cannot trust anything he writes to be accurate, fair or balanced—that’s just not TR’s style. His TCJ is a literary blight on our profession as he disseminates misinformation that eventually translates into intra-professional dissension, distrust and disunity. Indeed, he is the fly in the ointment on our profession’s complexion and image, and the biggest threat to our collective progress.
Letting the Cat Out of the Bag
A clear example of TR rooting for the enemy was evident at the ACA’s legislative success when Sec. Principi approved 36 of 38 recommendations from the CAC. The inclusion of chiropractic care into the VA and military health systems is a huge breakthrough for this small profession (and the first inclusion of any new service in the last 25 years), but TR in his own dementia belittled the VA’s policy in order to put down the ACA’s success to the profession.
TR couldn’t understand why DCs were not considered PCPs for direct access despite his incredulous and outdated position that “chiropracTORs only detect and correct VSC.” Although everyone on the CAC understood why DCs were cast as NMS specialists and not PCPs, he had the temerity to write to Sec. Principi suggesting to kill the entire program:
“I would rather see chiropractors excluded from the entire program rather than included for the wrong reasons. I am respectfully requesting that you reject this recommendation and accept the ‘minority recommendation’ which represents the wishes of the majority of doctors in my profession and respectfully request you allow DIRECT access for VA beneficiaries to doctors of chiropractic.”
Can you believe that TR would write to the Sec. of the DVA to scold him and recommend the entire program be scuttled only because it didn’t suit him? This saboteur and self-appointed fringe spokesman is incorrigible and an outright danger to this profession. Rather than giving credit and applauding that chiropractic now has both feet in the VA door for the first time in history, TR is willing to cut off his nose to spite the face of chiropractic, especially the ACA, because the CAC didn't follow his WCA agenda!
Undoubtedly if his phony WCA had achieved this victory of chiropractic inclusion, he would have beamed with pride, but inasmuch as he wasn’t responsible for its success and his ideas were soundly rejected by the CAC, all he could do was misrepresent the facts to disparage the outcome. He refuses to admit his non-diagnostic rap was nonsense to the CAC nor does he understand a PCP in the VA system is looking for a lot more than VSC. Indeed, his simple-mindedness is just too embarrassing, yet he persists pushing it.
This autocrat of the WCA also snubs the democratic process by requesting the “minority recommendation” from his WCA and ICA reps be accepted instead of the majority’s recommendations. He also lies to the Secretary by suggesting the he "represents the wishes of the majority of doctors in my profession." He mistakenly portrays anyone who considers himself or herself as “subluxation-based” to be in his camp, which is simply untrue. I know too many subluxation hunters who vile TR’s demagoguery, and I know many “patient-based” DCs who have total disdain for his deceptive journalism. In fact, there are more “straights” in the ACA than there are in both the ICA and WCA combined, yet you don’t hear such nonsense from the ACA that DCs should only detect and correct VSC.
Tell me, does TR represent your point of view on anything, let alone the VA issue? (Okay, stop laughing)
Indeed, TR just doesn’t get this democracy thing like Big $id, ya folla, and he again misrepresents his political base to the VA as he did to Congress on the Medicare issue. As far as I can find, TR represents 240 people that is 0.004% of this profession, yet he makes it appear that he is our leading spokesman! What gall and outright diplomatic fraud!
Adding more stink to TR’s situation, when Sec. Principi shared TR’s sentiments with his aide, Sara McVicker, who then shared it with the CAC, TR flipped his lid that his cover of deceit had been blown and wrote another nasty letter to Sec. Principi:
“Of course I understand you can share a private letter with anyone on your staff, however it seems highly inappropriate for your assistant to hand it out to the committee and ask them how to respond.
“There are several people serving on the committee who represent other political groups and she is well aware of these circumstances and the harm it can do to my self when if it is publicized in the chiropractic media by my adversaries.”
So, it doesn’t matter than TR sent the same online letter to his minions asking them to send a spam form letter to his office in protest, but when Principi shares the same letter to his staff and committee people for review, suddenly it’s “highly inappropriate” according to the double standards of TR. One can only shake your head in disbelief.
TR did hit the nail on the head when he said, “…the harm it can do to my self when if [sic] it is publicized in the chiropractic media by my adversaries.” Geez, TR, what’s the problem? You make a big stink over the VA decision even asking for its revocation, but when your meddling is revealed, you run for cover to hide once again! Why? I thought you represented the majority of DCs in this profession, so what's the worry, mate?
Except for the wily Sen. Ted Kennedy and a few other unsavory ideologues on Capitol Hill, the election of representatives with integrity and ethical behavior is of the utmost importance to those voters who don't just vote along a party line. Like our Congressmen, the ACA and WFC are stringent that its reps and committee members have no conflicts of interest that would invalidate their integrity as may have happened in the past, yet the ICA and WCA have no qualms about their leadership having financial conflicts and hidden agendas.
The diminished ICA, after 28 years under the repressive dominance of Big $id, the Evil Vendor Extraordinaire, remains today just as unseemly with its newest vendor/prez, CJ Mertz, who owns and still operates his WLP seminar and selling Chiropractic USA franchises—a clear conflict of interest that is totally ignored by the ICA. It’s become so commonplace that their “leaders” have a financial stake as well as a political agenda that no one in their membership even bats an eye!
Just like the BOT at Life, the ICA board turns a blind eye to these obvious conflicts of interest, but since many of the board members are vendors themselves, it's a situation of scratching each other's backs, such as past or present vendor/board members like CJ Mertz, Bob Braile, Dan Murphy, Big $id, and his sidekick, DD Humber. The WCA board is just as full of cronyism as the ICA loaded with vendors such as TR, Chris Kent, Matt McCoy, and TR’s wife, Cindy, and his son-in-law, Tim Feuling, VP of the WCA and president of TR’s own CBS insurance brokerage.
Sometimes I wonder if anyone in the WCA and ICA leadership is not a vendor! Can anyone explain to me why neither the ICA nor WCA enforce a code of ethics that prohibits such unethical conduct? Since the WCA is an "alliance" owned by TR and not accountable to a voting membership, he can do whatever he wants, but the ICA does have an written ethical code to follow, albeit obviously not enforced.
According to the ICA’s Code of Ethics for practitioners, CJ Mertz may have violated two statues: http://www.chiropractic.org/ica/ethics.htm
PRINCIPLE 1K. PRACTICES OR QUESTIONABLE PROPRIETY
The doctor of chiropractic shall avoid participating or assisting in all practices of questionable propriety either with his/her patients, colleagues, family or other business associates.
PRINCIPLE 2A. DEMANDS UPON THE PROFESSION
The doctor of chiropractic who is also a public official, either elected or appointed, full or part-time, should not engage in activities which are, or may be perceived to be, in conflict with their professional duties.
Certainly in the world of professional associations, such conflicts of interest among elected officials would cause immediate denunciation and the call for their resignations, but in the chiropracTIC sect, this is simply a pattern that has existed since BJ himself selling NCMs, followed by Jim Parker, Big $id, TR, Big Guy, and now CJ.
Not only has TR violated numerous ethical issues with his many impersonations, he also misrepresents his power base, he misleads legislators, and he toys with the minds of impressionable students and grads with his ideology of “separate and equal,” a social construct that the Warren Supreme Court unanimously rejected in the historic Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education, but a concept that TR and his Chiro Coalition still expect our profession and legislators to embrace. Does TR not realize that "separate and equal" is illegal whether or not you call it “separate and distinct,” it’s the same concept?
Not only is he politically incorrect in his political science, but I also wonder if he disclosed the truth about himself to Sen. Ted Kennedy or any of the Congressmen who spoke at his Summit. For example:
Inexplicably, I just don’t think he revealed any of these facts to the Congressmen because if he had, they would have laughed him out of their offices. Instead, this Great Impersonator bobbed and weaved his way around Washington like chiropracTIC Jehovah Witnesses screaming their doomsday chant, “We’re right and everyone else—the ACA, WFC, VA, CCE, FCER, AMA, FCLB—is wrong!”
Indeed, TR has learned he can fool some of the people all the time with his journalistic and diplomatic fraud, but that may be quickly coming to an end. While it’s very difficult to read his drivel knowing his standard editorial embellishment of the facts, one rather poignant remark clearly illustrated the depths of his duplicity to lie to the profession in a recent recap of his Summit when he cast himself as the Abe Lincoln of chiropracTIC:
“‘However, perhaps just as important was the fact that we proved chiropractic organizations could work harmoniously together for the good of the profession and the public it serves. Our three organizations work to complement each other, not dominate each other. We act with a united cause without sacrificing individual autonomy or demanding mergers. We respect each other and help each other succeed and grow. In this way, the entire profession will succeed and grow.’ ICA Legislative Committee Chairman Dr. Michael S. McLean agreed.”
Let’s be frank: the WCA is not a worldwide alliance of reputable orgs nor is the ICA truly international in its structure or mission. These are two small wannabe orgs run by self-serving entrepreneurs willing to misguide this profession to suit their financial scheme and political thirsts. Perhaps this is why neither will reveal their memberships since both orgs are small and ineffective, but they both bank on perception as their ally to mislead the profession and legislators. Indeed, this is clearly a situation of the tail waggin’ the dawg.
TR continues with his lies when he writes, “We proved chiropractic organizations could work harmoniously together for the good of the profession and the public it serves. Our three organizations work to complement each other, not dominate each other.”
First of all, his WCA is not equivalent to any member-driven org as he implies. And his suggestion that they "work harmoniously together" flies in the face of reason after his phony WCA refused to attend the WFC’s identity & Image conference held at Life-West in March. Apparently TR is unwilling to attend any conference that he cannot dominate, so when his little illegitimate group of vendors is just one among many legitimate international groups, he refuses to attend and then has the gall to denounce the WFC’s outcome as not representative of the profession’s wishes. How ironic is that—an autocrat denouncing a democratic body as not representative?
Realistically, TR and his vendor cronies are the problem with our identity with their constant anti-establishment attitude and his ridiculous non-diagnostic, non-therapeutic, anti-medicine, anti-education stance. No wonder he was afraid to show up at the WFC! Imagine this autocratic vendor explaining himself to the 80+ members of the WFC! I'd pay money to see him and Kent sweat in front of this body of democratically elected DCs from around the world, especially those from the 14 countries that have accused him of meddling in their affairs.
Interestingly, the WFC conspicuously left an open chair for TR at its Image & Identity conference just to show that the WFC is willing to hear all sides and suggestions even if TR was afraid to show his face or sit on the hot seat in front of his peers. Could you imagine TR explaining his many years of misdeeds to this august body of international DCs? (Okay, stop laughing again).
When his outdated chiropracTIC advice is followed by such as disciples like Joanne Gallagher, they ruin our image when their radical methods lead to tragedy! I daresay every one of her gurus should have been indicted as co-conspirators for their encouragement of her irresponsible behavior since she simply did as she was taught to do. I understand that Sherman College, her alma mater and to which she had been a trustee for nearly 20 years, has now distanced itself from Gallagher, but her “subluxation-based” mentors--Riekeman, Rongberg, Big $id, Tedd Koren, et al. have not accepted any responsibility in this case, no doubt hoping it will blow over.
Interestingly, TR’s own tabloid, TCJ, as yet has not printed one story about this travesty in an obvious cover-up.
But how many other Joanne Gallagher's are there in practice that remain a risk to their patients as they spout the non-diagnostic, non-therapeutic, anti-medicine “the body needs no help, no medication, just no subluxation, ya folla” chirovangelism? Indeed, everyone in the Chiro Coalition will be suspected of this irresponsible practice that led to the death of an innocent woman--guilty by association.
TR continues with his deception when he wrote, “We act with a united cause without sacrificing individual autonomy or demanding mergers.” Coming from the Axis of Evil Vendors, this comment is ludicrous.
First of all, the previous talks of merger have been between the ACA and ICA, not the WCA that has never been included because the ACA is well aware of its bogus nature and dictatorial structure comprised of vendors—TR, Kent, and Gentempo. Asking the WCA to merge is equivalent to asking al Qaeda to join forces with the good people in a democratic Iraq, then masquerading to the world that it's the peacemaker! How ironic that TR of all people now positions himself as a unifying agent in this profession! If pigs could fly…
Secondly, his idea of “autonomy” is undoubtedly skewed inasmuch as what he’s really referring to is his Supreme Court-styled appointment for life. Indeed, TR wants no oversight from a reputable board or voting members who may actually vote him out of office. His idea of autonomy is similar to Saddam’s idea of democracy—vote for him or else--kinda like Big $id's spineless BOT that ignored his many machinations that led to Life's loss of accreditation! Autocracy has obviously replaced democracy in these fringe chiropracTIC organizations run by vendors posing as politicians.
Lastly, the irony of his yellow journalism speaks for itself when he wrote, “We respect each other and help each other succeed and grow. In this way, the entire profession will succeed and grow.” (Okay, stop laughing again) How quickly CJ has forgotten that TR endorsed DD Humber in the last ICA election.
This statement is too absurd to read coming from a vendor/publisher who has used his tabloid as an avenue to attack his personal, financial, and political foes at every turn without any chance of rebuttal, which is standard ethics in reputable journals, but not for TR with his hit-and-run version of yellow journalism.
As well, he has lobbied for years to limit our profession to CMT only, and he asks Sec. Principi to veto the CAC's recommendations, but now he talks of this profession "growing and succeeding"? Never has he encouraged a broad scope that the majority of DCs use; in fact, he has fought against it as we saw in the Medicare and VA legislation. He fights against majority rule, and he lambastes the ACA and WFC at every turn with his journalistic fraud suggesting these truly democratic orgs will somehow “dominate” the minority groups. Again, his non-cooperative response to the WFC’s Image & Identity conference was proof of his autocratic nature and his lack of respect for this international org that has done more for chiropractic worldwide than TR can ever dream of doing with his phony WCA.
He now speaks with a fork tongue so often that he forgets his own track record, and he hopes the rest of us will forget too. Lest I remind him that of date 14 countries have told him to stop meddling in their affairs, but he continues to interfere as we now see in Germany. Indeed, TR is the most dangerous man in chiropractic because he’s a political fraud and accountable to no one. He hides his conflicts of interest, he misrepresents his WCA as a member-driven association, he deceives legislators with his diplomatic fraud, and his poisoned pen as publisher of a free advertising rag, TCJ, is perhaps his greatest danger disseminating yellow journalism throughout this profession.
TR has no respect for any democratic process or the concept of unity since his minority position would not prevail in majority rule, which he refuses to follow. This was exactly the problem with Big $id when he killed the Pedigo attempt at Merger back in the 1980s with his own brand of misinformation that was shocking to say the least. But it did reveal how one autocrat can undermine the democratic process via propaganda and demagoguery if the voting body remains unaware of the facts and hidden motivation of vendor-political hacks.
Imagine if Gov. Howard Dean and his Deaniacs behaved in the same fashion and refused to abide by the electoral process. Even as radical as Gov Dean appeared, he still had the decency to play by the rules and not spit up his milk when he was defeated. He didn’t go off and start his own rogue political party with him as the unelected dictator for life, nor did he begin his own free advertising rag to promote his own financial services, nor did he cast aspersions against the mainstream Democrats with yellow journalism because, if nothing else, Gov Dean is an ethical player even when he loses. But not Big $id or TR--both of these autocrats have no interest in democracy or unity if it means they will be voted out of power by majority rule.
Instead of taking a similar stance as merely another minority political figure with too few votes, TR has become the leading source of dissension and fragmentation in this profession illustrated by this silly Summit itself. Indeed, if TR wants brotherly love and respect, why didn’t he show up at the ACA’s NCLC, the real lobbying effort on Capitol Hill? He failed to show up undoubtedly because he would not be in charge since the ACA understands that he’s a political fraud with a pitifully small gang of gullible WCA chiropracTORs.
Just as TR is afraid to show his face at the ACA’s legislative conference and its legion of members, he’s also afraid to face my panel of colleagues in a Great Debate that I have constantly challenged him to attend in front of the COCSA assembly. Now I'm told by one COCSA rep that TR would never attend a debate, just as he avoided the previous debate at COCSA and the WFC conference since a case against him would be a slam dunk.
Plus, COCSA, which considers itself "apolitical," is afraid of another fiasco similar to years ago when the ACA-ICA-WCA discussion ended in chaos. In its attempt to be neutral, I'm afraid COCSA simply comes across as afraid to handle the big issues facing this profession, and that includes weeding out the evil vendors who are manipulating this profession for their profit and our demise.
It also appears TR will only speak when he’s in control. Obviously the man is a coward who is afraid to come before an impartial jury of peers to answer a few questions about his conflict of interests, his diplomatic fraud, his yellow journalism, and his bogus alliance. Whether or not this Great Debate occurs at COCSA, Parker, the FCA conventions, or in the parking lot at Life (which is still a dumb name for any college), it must happen somewhere to address this loose cannon. It's time to hold his feet to the fire of inquiry.
As John Ziegler mentioned, “…those who control the information we receive seem to be rooting for the enemy.”
In this case, our enemy is comprised of self-serving vendors/publishers disguised as journalists, charismatic/untrained educators, cultish vendor/chirovangelists, and the wild eyed philosophers who extol the virtue of chiropracTIC as they promote their "see a thousand patients a day" seminars and then chant the Money Hum all the way to the bank.
If you are among the many mainstream DCs and students who resent of the constant stream of corrupt vendors-political hacks who are exploiting this profession for their financial goals, I urge you to join me in the Galactic Online Alliance to fight the Axis of Evil Vendors. The evidence is clear, the need is paramount, and the future of this profession may depend upon “isolating the rascals” as George McAndrews declared.
You can join in this fight to clean up our profession, to boycott the advertisers in his TCJ, to expose the corruption within the WCA and ICA, and to end his demagoguery and political obstructionism that has held back the esprit de corps of this profession for too long.