Articles by JCS
‘tic’ and ‘tor’ slaves forever
Rongberg Spins Again
Like shooting fish in a barrel, it’s an easy task to show the chiropractic profession proof of Terry Rongberg’s never-ending journalistic fraud and yellow journalism. As editor/publisher of his free supermarket tabloid, The ChiropracTIC Journal, a rag not even allowed on most chiro campuses, every editorial he has written can be shown to be filled with so much spin that would make even Dan Rather blush.
Most reasonable DCs, even “objective” straights who reject chiro cultism, realize the damage TR has done to the culture of this profession with his incessant propaganda. He lies and misinforms naïve students with his incessant demagoguery, he misrepresents his WCA as a national org when, in fact, it’s a small (~250), non-democratic band of Evil Vendors and ideologue sycophants with TR self-appointed as its prez-for-life, his TCJ rag is filled with what’s referred to as “pay-to-play” advertisers/columnists who pay a percent of sales to TR, he obstructs and belittles any attempt by the ACA, WFC, CCE, NCLB, or FCER to improve this profession, he violates the UN standards for his phony NGO status, he has gross conflicts of interests as a so-called editor of a journal as he owns the CBS malpractice brokerage.
Yet he asks this profession to believe his journalism! (Okay, stop laughing—this is serious stuff, ya folla?)
What makes his brand of yellow journalism more dangerous than Big $id’s old magazine, Today’s Chiropractic, is that $id made no bones about his slanted editorials, unlike TR who pretends to be an objective journalist. This is what constitutes classical journalistic fraud when biased opinions are presented as fact on the front page and there’s no effort to be fair and balanced, which explains why sometime ago I branded TR as the “most dangerous man in chiropracTIC.” http://www.stoprondberg.org/MostDangerousMan.htm
His latest example of yellow journalism occurred in his January 2005 edition when he attempted to denigrate the combined efforts of Joe Keating, PhD; Tom Hyde, DC, DACBSP; Mike Menke, MA, DC; David Seaman, MS, DC; Richard Vincent, DC; and Larry Wyatt, DC, DACBR—all incredible notables in mainstream chiropractic—for writing an article that is perhaps one of the most insightful calls to this profession we’ve ever read.
Apparently Rongberg, an Evil Vendor with no higher degrees or professional authority whatsoever other than his poisoned pen, felt compelled to ridicule their article, “In the Quest for Cultural Authority,” that was published in Dynamic Chiropractic. http://www.chiroweb.com/archives/22/26/09.html In Rongberg’s response, “The 'unproven theory' of subluxation,” he showed his dogmatic attitude in the very first sentence,
“In a recent article for Dynamic Chiropractic, Dr. Joseph Keating and several of his like‑minded colleagues berated the profession for its ‘traditional dedication to a scientifically unsubstantiated (and largely untested) construct: the subluxation.’” http://www.worldchiropracticalliance.org/tcj/2005/jan/rondberg.htm
First of all, no one “berated the profession” as much as they challenged the dogmatic adherence to untested hypotheses and gave suggestions to improve our soiled image, issues that will certainly be debated in the current FSU flap. Just imagine if the FSU medical opponents like Dr. Ralph Bellamy were to quote the musings of Big $id, TR, or King Guy—Innatism, ADIO, chiro-cures-all? I daresay the FCA and Al Adams, the FSU chiro project director, would be thoroughly disarmed to counter the chiro cultism and the anti-anything-medical rhetoric these chirovangelists have long espoused.
Rather than an open-minded attitude to a very important issue we seriously need to address, Rongberg immediately casts a negative pall over this issue by suggesting that the VSC is a tenet that should never be questioned as all chirovangelists want to believe. He then cites the outdated ACC Paradigm as proof enough that if a handful of college presidents believe in the omnipotent Innate power of VSC to cure the world of all dis-ease, how dare these ragamuffins question this unalterable premise? What a crock of journalistic garbage!
What TR forgets is this profession is not a religion (or cult), but a health care science and, like all sciences, is evolving from its historical roots. He also fails to admit that he’s part of the problem with his pseudo-scientific attitude why the image of chiropractic is the lowest in the health care industry. [To learn more, logon to www.StopRondberg.org] Any discussion on improving our soiled image should be applauded, but not to TR, the renowned WCA demagogue. Just as Muslim fundamentalist clerics would never consider re-defining their hate-spewed ideology, nor will the chirovangelists like him ever consider the idea that chiropractic needs a reformation from its unheralded past.
As they say in poker, “It’s time to stop throwin’ good money in after bad,” a concept the chirovangelists have never learned.
To illustrate TR’s shameless spin on this article, he sarcastically writes, “Yet Keating et al., in their accumulated wisdom, call this cornerstone document [ACC Paradigm] ‘exemplary of this steadfast adherence to an unproved theory.’” Perhaps he thinks the “accumulated wisdom” of these six notable researchers is less than the accumulated wisdom of him, Chris Kent and Matt McCoy, all Evil Vendors/Impersonators trying to distort science to support their vested interests. TR’s impudence is overwhelming, to say the least.
Read for yourself the real intent of Keating et al. in their Problem Statement to determine if their accumulated wisdom is correct or not:
“Chiropractors yearn for greater respect and acceptance from the public, health care policy-makers and other professionals. To achieve this goal (i.e., cultural authority), DCs must first build good faith with these constituencies by developing higher standards of professional behavior, including adoption of a scientific epistemology, commitment to evidence-informed practice and accountability, frankness and balance in public relations and marketing, and a much-expanded course of rigorous scientific investigations. Indeed, this last point is an ethical mandate for any profession: to critically assess and share its clinical gifts with the rest of world.1
We believe that one of the most significant barriers to the development of "cultural authority"2 for DCs is our traditional dedication to a scientifically unsubstantiated (and largely untested) construct: the subluxation. Exemplary of this steadfast adherence to an unproved theory are the declarations concerning subluxation issued by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) in its 1996 position paper.3 Comprised of the various presidents and deans of North American chiropractic schools, the ACC defined the profession in terms of its orientation to the traditional "chiropractic lesion." Popularly known as the ACC Paradigm, the position paper and its subluxation definition were "constructed by a process of consensus to serve as a collective political statement, not a research hypothesis."4 The intended purpose of the ACC Paradigm, as we understand it, was to foster greater unity in our historically divided profession. In this respect, we suppose, it has accomplished its purpose to some extent. In the years since, the document has been endorsed by a number of national and international organizations, including the American Chiropractic Association, the International Chiropractors' Association and the World Federation of Chiropractic.
What TR fails to mention is that the ACC Paradigm was mainly a political compromise between the radical chirovangelists and rational chiro colleges; it was not intended to be a pledge of allegiance to Innate, if you will. At that time in 1996, Big $id was still in power and, as we all know, he obstructed any effort toward evidence-based care or raising the educational standards to keep his diploma mill running full throttle.
From conversations with a few chiro college presidents myself, I was told Big $id and his lackeys like Gerry Clum only agreed to the ACC Paradigm after the metaphysical chirovangelism wording was added. Even after Big $id finally signed on, the very next day he wanted to renege on his agreement, being the die-hard obstructionist that he was throughout his reign of academic terror. But the ink had dried.
Not to be outdone by the failed emperor of Sydneyland, TR has now taken upon himself the role of the chirovangelist obstructionist toward scientific progress. He laments that anyone, let alone the six intellectual authors of this paper, should dare question the a prior status of the VSC. He also misconstrues their call for legitimate research on the impact of VSC on type O disorders.
“Yet, Keating and his co‑authors claim that ‘the statements concerning subluxation offered by the ACC conflict with commonly accepted scientific standards, and function to diminish the credibility of the profession.’ Since Keating and the others purport to be researchers, it's hard to believe they are unfamiliar with the research available concerning the subluxation.”
Sarcasm from TR is hard to swallow, but typical of his caustic attitude toward legitimate researchers who haven’t drank the chiropracTIC purple Kool-Aid. Perhaps the reason why Keating et al. haven’t cited such research is because it’s either anecdotal or pseudo-scientific as we’ve seen lately whether it’s TR printing unsubstantiated anecdotal case studies or the ICA prez CJ Mertz’s infomercial touting chiropractic can cure pimples.
ChiropracTIC Junk Science
TR’s attraction to junk science to support his hope that VSC cures all is evident in the recent phony research article he circulated on the news wire by Erin L. Elster, DC from the August edition of JVSR that suggested upper cervical chiro care helped patients with MS and Parkinson’s. In the December 2004 edition of JACA, Marion McGregor, Jay Triano, Al Adams and Dana Lawrence all gave their analysis of this paper by Elster—a collective thumbs-down rejection with comments ranging from:
TR then had the gall to suggest his crony, Matt McCoy, editor of JSVR, is the man to believe on all chiropractic issues. [FYI: McCoy, like TR’s other girlyman boyfriend, Chris Kent, are both on the board of his phony WCA and known evil vendors always with something to sell, such as Kent’s “so what?” Subluxation Station, a surface EMG device he suggests will locate subluxations, ya folla? This conflict of interest is a fact that TR, himself an Evil Vender as a malpractice broker, fails to reveal in his diatribe. Indeed, can anyone believe anything these Evil Vendors say when their own conflicts of interest are paramount?]
I doubt anyone in the respectable health care research business relies upon either TR’ rag, TCJ, the JVSR or upon any research emanating from either of the Life Colleges as a definitive voice on chiropractic care. In fact, Big $id had 28 years to prove his hypothesis that VSC affected homeostasis, but failed. Yet TR begrudges Keating et al. when they failed to report on articles printed in these bogus, non-peer reviewed publications.
“Apparently, Keating hasn't had time to read those reports. Instead, his time has been spent poring over medical research reports on chiropractic for low back pain. That's why he reaches the conclusion, in the article, that ‘Although spinal manipulation has enjoyed some considerable success in controlled outcome studies and reviews of its usefulness for patients with low back pain (LBP), neither the cause(s) of LBP nor the mechanism(s) of its relief by adjusting are well‑established. Evidence of the value of spinal manipulation for problems other than LBP is less extensive, and the role that subluxation (or other forms of joint dysfunction) may play in causing and/or providing relief through adjusting is uncertain’ (emphasis added to make sure you don't miss that part!).
“So, doctors, according to Keating, you're only good for one thing and subluxations don't have anything to do with a person's health. Or at least according to the research he pays attention to. That's a pretty sorry conclusion for a so‑called chiropractic researcher to reach.”
TR’s snide remarks typify his yellow journalism. Where in Keating’s article did anyone state “subluxations don't have anything to do with a person's health”? Like Dan Rather and his biased CBS crew that were fired for journalistic fraud, TR and his sycophants are so blinded in their quest for the holy VSC that they cannot tolerate anyone who might question the validity of the omnipotent VSC. For example, what Keating et al. actually wrote was to question the validity of the claim that VSC cures all as they challenged the dogmatic adherence to untested hypotheses:
“The assertion that subluxation (however defined) causes compromise of "neural integrity" is fuzzy at best. The claim that subluxation-generated loss of neural integrity influences "organ system function and general health" is also unsubstantiated by currently available experimental data. Neural integrity is not defined in the ACC document, and it is not a neuroscience term with a generally accepted meaning. The ACC's subluxation assertions may be appropriate as hypotheses (tentative assertions) and proto-theories (from which testable propositions may be derived), and deserve our critical attention by means of research. However, to assert their validity in the absence of hard scientific data is to engage in dogmatism.”
No doubt TR exemplifies the dogmatic, chirovangelist attitude that we’ve heard from Big $id, Rev. Reggie, King Guy and BJ himself. “Don’t confuse us with the facts,” is their mantra. Instead, just believe in chiropracTIC or else you’re an evil mixer or medipractor or, according to TR, “a so‑called chiropractic researcher!” TR then stoops to the typical demagoguery used by these chirovangelists by casting aspersions at any critic:
“But what does it mean, really, to be a chiropractic researcher? In Keating's case, it means marketing yourself to the chiropractic profession, but apparently sharing little of its passion for helping optimize human health potential through chiropractic care.”
So, if you don’t espouse dogma but do encourage scientific, critical thinking to improve our downtrodden status and PR image, then you’re obviously not interested in helping humanity according to the sociopath, TR. His pathological attitude about “passion” reminds me of the Muslim suicide bombers, but also typical of your average chiropracTIC demagogue as Orval Hidde, DC, wrote about years ago in 1959 in an article, “A last-stand blast by Mr. Head Tic, Himself, fades to a faint whisper in the field” (you gotta love his irreverence):
“The most pathognomonic sign of a decaying autocracy is the rashness and irrationality of its voice and actions. Vicious libel, untruths, quotes out of context, and self-deification constitute the mal-nutritious diet upon which their pathological minds feed.”
[FYI: Orval L. Hidde, D.C., J.D. collaborated with George Haynes, D.C., M.S. to get the CCE accredited by the federal government in 1974. A graduate of the National College of Chiropractic and the University of Wisconsin law school at Madison, he was a long-time officer of the CCE, serving at various times as chairman of the Commission on Accreditation and president of the Council; he also served on National's board of trustees as its chairman for 7 years, and now quietly practices in Watertown, Wisconsin.]
To illustrate that Dr. Hidde’s definition of a pathognomonic mind can be attributed to the likes of Big $id and TR, listen to Rongberg’s remark denouncing the inherent skeptical mind that every critical thinker/researcher must have:
“When Keating's work does involve the subluxation, the tone is predictable. In another JMPT article, he wrote: “Skepticism...should therefore be a characteristic of workers in the science of chiropractic. When considering subluxation, there is good reason for skepticism.”
Sounds reasonable to me that researchers should be skeptical, but not to TR. His dogmatism does get confusing when he ridicules the normal skepticism of legitimate researchers on one hand (apparently one must totally believe in chirovangelism without any doubt, ya folla, you just gotta believe!), but on the other hand, he then elaborates on what makes “a good chiropractic researcher.”
Recall, this comes from a man who profited for years by a bogus research project. Rongberg founded a patient solicitation scheme known as the Vertebral Subluxation Research Institute (VSRI). Despite the fact that VSRI has been universally condemned as teaching illegal and unethical practices within the chiropractic profession, once again illustrating his pathognomonic mindset.
Rongberg was also found guilty and fined $6,840 for illegal campaign contributions. You can logon to www.chiroweb.com/archives/09/24/07.html to read “WCA President Admits to Violating Arizona Campaign Contribution Laws” that revealed Rongberg’s illegal money-laundering activity.
In fact, his VSRI was simply a telephone solicitation scheme to recruit unsuspecting new patients who mistakenly thought they were involved in actual research. For him to criticize any legitimate researchers like Keating et al. is absurd, but typical of this yellow journalist. To learn more, logon to: http://www.chiroweb.com/cgibin/chirosearch/chirosearch.cgikeys=VSRI&searchtype=a&r=d&Submit=SEARCH
“That brings me back to my original question of what makes a good chiropractic researcher. I do not think good chiropractic researchers should merely rubber stamp the theories supported by a century of anecdotal evidence and by existing research findings. However, I do believe that, to help advance the science of chiropractic, they should actively investigate the impact of subluxation on human health and wellness, and not enter into their studies with the foregone conclusion that subluxations are “putative” and unsubstantiated.”
Nor should any researcher except without question that chiro care cures all as our chirovangelists would have it. It’s clear that TR has a hidden agenda when he criticizes anyone who might cast skepticism at the cure-all nature of VSC by challenging the dogmatic adherence to untested hypotheses. Actually Keating et al. wrote a very sympathetic statement regarding this dilemma:
“We believe that credible and scientifically justifiable statements concerning the beliefs and practices of doctors of chiropractic are quite possible and legitimate. Moreover, we believe that it would be just as inappropriate to discard subluxation theories - before adequate research has been conducted - as it has been for the profession to assert the clinical meaningfulness of subluxation and its correction in the absence of adequate scientific experimentation. One of the hallmarks of a science-oriented health care profession, we suggest, is that tentative assertions be offered with sufficient qualifiers to make clear the provisional character of untested and/or unproven beliefs.”
The Hidden Agenda: Demagoguery
What TR wants to ignore is that the purpose of Keating et al. to improve our image is to do exactly what TR bemoans: “…actively investigate the impact of subluxation on human health and wellness…” The problem isn’t the normal skepticism all researchers inherently have, but the reality that TR is using this article as just another issue to stir the emotions and prejudices—the typical tactic of all demagogues—to position himself as the Defender of ChiropracTIC, just as Big $id had done for decades.
Sadly, what Orval Hidde said in 1959 still holds true today:
“Vicious libel, untruths, quotes out of context, and self-deification constitute the mal-nutritious diet upon which their pathological minds feed.”
TR continues with his demonization of legitimate researchers who refuse to accept the a priori status of the VSC:
“The key is to take back our profession from ‘researchers’ like Keating. We must reclaim our heritage as a healing approach that impacts the very essence of human wellness and has far‑reaching effects on every organ and system in the body.”
“…take back our profession from ‘researchers like Keating” illustrates the absurdity of TR’s statement that flies in the face of rational thought, but typical of demagogues. Considering TR’s penchant for yellow journalism and his phony VSRI scam, his vicious libel doesn’t surprise anyone who’s aware of his two decades of journalistic fraud. Indeed, TR has become an intellectual cancer in chiro journalism.
Furthermore, the cultism of chirovangelism rings loud when he states “the very essence of human wellness.” What is this “essence”? Is he once again speaking of the Life Force or the Innate Intelligence that has kept this profession in the Dark Ages of Cultism? As Keating has long mentioned, it’s exactly this type of chiro gobbledygook that demeans our profession.
This is also exactly the “irrationality and rashness” that Dr. Hidde denounced as the hallmark of chiro cultism begun by BJ. Like TR, BJ had no real interest in science to prove or disprove anything—his goal was to make himself the Pope of ChiropracTIC citing untenable meta-physical principles as fact that all chiropracTORs must believe to be worthy when standing in Palmer’s “sloganed halls of the ‘mental impulses’ and ‘innate intelligence,’ you then possess an omnipotent aura from ‘above down, inside out,’” as Dr. Hidde mentioned. “This brazen one-track philosophy has supposedly equipped his [BJ’s] ‘tic’ and ‘tor’ slaves forever.”
Obviously TR is a similar slave to dogmatism as he markets himself as the Defender to entice naïve followers to support his misguided demagoguery as he sells them his CBS malpractice insurance. Is it little wonder the reputable chiro colleges prohibit him, his SWCA, and his TCJ rag from their campuses? If anyone still considers this Great Impersonator and Yellow Journalist as a credible voice in this profession, it simply illustrates the confusion and ignorance that permeates within some circles such as the WCA and ICA—two vendor-driven insipid organizations now devoid of any credibility or political punch. Like the present Democratic Party, these far-out leftists have marginalized themselves completely out of the mainstream political thought in this profession. http://www.stoprondberg.org/WhatWentWrongICA.htm
Rather than listening to Evil Vendors like TR, I urge all to read the sobering thoughts from Keating et al. then compare them to the demagoguery of chirovangelists.
Chiropractors have struggled for more than a century for professional legitimacy and social and cultural authority. Although we have gained many of the formal markers of legitimacy (licensure, third-party reimbursement for services, federal accreditation of our colleges, some public funding for research), cultural authority eludes us. Lawmakers and policy-makers still look beyond our ranks for expert opinion concerning our special area of health care. Books, Web sites and organizations have been written or established specifically to point out the foibles of DCs.
We bring much of this ridicule upon ourselves, knowingly or unwittingly, by what we say to one another and how we portray ourselves to the public we serve. The authors are not so naïve as to suggest that interprofessional turf protection, allopathic arrogance and economic competition do not also enter into the equation. However, it does seem that a great many of the bullets aimed at us are of our own manufacturing. Much of this ammunition derives from our lack of restraint in making claims for the chiropractic healing art. We believe it is quite possible, in the words of C.O. Watkins, DC, to be bold in what we hypothesize, but cautious and humble in what we claim. In so doing, we stand to expand the scientific information available to us, improve our public and interprofessional image, and build upon the benefits we already offer to patients.
Whereas the ACC Paradigm was intended to generate unity within the profession through shared (but scientifically unjustified) position statements, we recommend that an evidence-informed orientation to the chiropractic healing art is much to be preferred. Let's tell it like it is: here's what we know, here's what we don't know, but suspect. Concentrate on clinical outcomes. Deliver service as therapeutic trials with close monitoring of patients' responses. Make appropriate referrals quickly and correctly when patients do not respond. Chiropractic excellence in health care means excellent patient care - not only chiropractic care. Clinical excellence grows from clinical evidence. Let us strive for measurable results, renounce unjustified claims for outcomes, and be cautious in attributing causation to mechanisms that have not been well-studied. Let's proceed as a first-class science and art.
As Dr. Bill Meeker16 and others have suggested, challenging discoveries will arise in committing to the path of evidence,17,18 but greater rewards will follow. Our never-ending concern with patient recruitment and education, the appeal of enchanting theories, and the impact of personalities over substance will eventually fade. From a more substantive foundation, a stronger profession can emerge; one that is prepared to participate and compete successfully in the health care marketplace. By transforming traditional "tenets" into testable propositions (hypotheses), doctors of chiropractic will acquire the authority we deserve to make even greater contributions to the health and welfare of our patients, and the subluxation's role in health and disease may be determined.
You gotta love this Afterthought; indeed, it should be the guiding light of all chiro colleges, state/national associations, and each field doc. It’s so refreshing to read such sobering and insightful remarks rather than the hum-drum of chirovangelist dogma emanating from the WCA, ICA, and Life Colleges.
As George McAndrews once said, “5% of you are freaks, 5% are cultists, and the rest of you keep your mouths shut.” Well, it’s time for reasonable DCs to speak up and that begins by “isolating the rascals” and demagogues like TR and his band of Evil Vendors who have exploited, misinformed and misled our profession for too long with their tools of propaganda and self-serving politics.
Enuf sed, ya folla?
References for the Keating et al. article: