Goodbye Netflix, Piracy still makes sense.

I’ve been a Netflix subscriber since 2014 and while I see no issue with torrenting media I’m also happy to pay a fair price for quality content. In-fact many of the DVDs and Blu-Rays that I’ve purchased over the years are a result of me having previously seen the content elsewhere either by piracy download, loan of physical copy or TV broadcast. The best thing you can do for a content creator is to share their work so others can learn of it.

However in Australia consumers who pay for content can be punished for it. Four years ago I encountered region locking on some DVDs that I had purchased in the UK which wouldn’t play in Australia. Of course that wasn’t the first time I had encountered region locking and it hasn’t been the last.

Now four years later I have encountered another hurdle while attempting to purchase content from Netflix.

netflix-block

This did not happen previously, in the past Netflix has been happy to take my money and provide the service that I paid for. But since January this year Netflix has been cracking down on VPN services. It is only today that I found my own VPN blocked.

Since I access the internet exclusively via a VPN (as everyone should) this all but shuts me out of Netflix. Because my internet traffic is routed via the United States I have in the past been able to pay for and receive the same service as a person in the US, until now.

So the result is that I am no longer a Netflix customer. Because even if I were to split tunnel out of my VPN to connect to Netflix locally I would be shoved into the inferior Australian service rather than continuing to enjoy the much larger US catalogue that I’ve been using since before Netflix even came to Australia.

Why should I continue paying for what is now an inferior service?

With Region locked media, Geo(and VPN)blocking, Digital Rights Management and all the other crap (such as un-skippable trailers) that consumers have to deal with when they pay for content. Going to a torrent site and pirating your favourite content still makes a lot more sense than trying to pay for it.

Shawn Dhu threatens to harm Reasonable Hank

Shawn Dhu is an anti-vaccination campaigner from Western Australia and an associate of Judy Wilyman. Both of whom were involved in the recent attack against the Telethon Kids Institute. Both of whom were applauded by the notorious Australian Vaccination Network for their actions.

AVN-7188-Dorey-June-1-2016-tweet-proud-of-protestors-at-Telethon

After hearing of the incident I was very tempted to write a scathing email to the Telethon Institute for their failure to provide adequate security at an event likely to attract AVN supporters (Yes, medical research has now come to this). The violent nature of AVN supporters is extensively documented with some of them being well known to the police.

However such an email would not achieve anything since whoever was in charge on that night now knows about the issue they face when dealing with the anti-vaccination movement. I personally avoid places likely to contain AVN supporters for my own safety and have for a number of years advised other people not to deal with them unless they understand the situation.

Reasonable Hank who works tirelessly to expose cranks and charlatans is no stranger to abuse from random cowards on the Internet. However recently the AVNs supporters have been taking things to the next level. Yesterday Reasonable Hank revealed that Shawn Dhu has made a public and explicit threat to assault him.

I’m coming for you mate and if I find out who you are and I can get my hands around your scrawny little neck because I bet you’re a scrawny little bastard with no soul or whoever you are reasonable Hank hear me well here del bigtree and here the world we’re coming for you mate so you better delete you goddamn facebook profile you better get the hell off Twitter and you better stop harassing victims with your bullshit because you my friend and not my friend. -Shawn Dhu

While it is not uncommon to receive threats and/or abuse from anti-vaxxers. Most offenders attempt to cower behind the veil of anonymity and are not as easily identified as Shawn Dhu. This is not the first time that anti-vaxxers have threatened physical violence and it almost certainly won’t be the last.

Chris Savage captured in New Zealand

Reasonable Hank brings word that Anti-vaxxer Chris Savage was captured by New Zealand Police and is now out on bail pending assault charges. Savage was charged by New Zealand police with assault after practising medicine without a license.

A man who claims he is a doctor has been charged with assault using a needle and is being sought by police after failing to appear in court.

Christoper William Savage, 53, has been charged by police in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, after allegedly using a needle as a weapon between April 9 and 23, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Mr Savage is a former Queensland Police sergeant who claims he’s a ‘Jedi doctor’ and has been offering medical services in New Zealand, despite not being registered with the New Zealand Medical Council – a requirement for practicing in the country. Daily Mail, 11th May 2016

We didn’t know what had happened to Chris Savage until Saturday, 4th of June when he made a plea to his fellow anti-vaxxers for money.

Savage-301-VRM-public-post-call-for-funds

In case there was any doubt as to the validity of this. Savage has even made his bail application available for us to read. (Very considerate)

Savage-297-bail-notific-May-30-2016

The bail conditions seem fairly standard and are what any reasonable person might expect. (Surrender Passport, Don’t approach victim etc.) However the one that I find most interesting is the “Not to administer alternative medicine to any other person” especially as Savage is continuing to sell his concoctions to pay legal fees.

Savage is due to appear in court on the 27th of June. This should be an interesting case and hopefully it will act as a deterrent to people who practice medicine without a license. Until then nothing can be shared that isn’t already public knowledge.

More Background on Chris Savage

Australian Vaccination Network goes public on benefits fraud

Yesterday the Australia Vaccination Network advertised on Facebook that it had located a doctor in Victoria who was willing to sign bogus medical exemption forms so that members can fraudulently claim Centrelink benefits.

avn-scam-doctor-vic

The post has since been removed from Facebook as the anti-vaxxers realise they will be subject to criminal investigation. When challenged on the “legitimacy” of the scam Meryl Dorey wrote a highly defensive response, this time signing her name to the post.

avn-dorey-defensive over-rorts

If you’re going to publicise the scam might as well go all the way and attach your name to it just in case the authorities were confused about who to prosecute. This is the type of stupidity that can only come from desperation.

Member questions responsibility

Yes April, advertising a public benefits rort on social media is irresponsible.

Anti-vaxxers have few friends in politics.

On the 9th of May the Australian Vaccination Network sent out an email to every political party they could find demanding to know what the parties stance on vaccination was. Unsurprisingly the majority of responses have been in favour of vaccination and public health.

As expected the Australian Vaccination Network is not happy about this and has sent out a newsletter calling upon their members to vote on parties that oppose public health measures.

The Federal election will be taking place in just over a month and we here at the AVN have been busy polling the political parties to find out what their views are on that basic of human rights

-AVN Newsletter, 1st June 2016

Contrary to the ideology of anti-vaccination campaigners, there is to right to threaten and endanger the community, nor is there a right to neglect the health of a child. Anti-vaxxers like to cry “Human rights, Human rights.” but only for people who embrace their ideology. Anyone else is to be suppressed and silenced.

Some of the answers we’ve received (like those from the Sex Party and the Pirate Party) could have been written by people who are members of the hate group, Stop the AVN. In fact, the Sex Party got help from members of that organisation before sending us their response.

And the larger parties – the Greens and the Liberals – who are responsible for this unconstitutional policy, never even bothered to respond which is incredibly arrogant.

-AVN Newsletter, 1st June 2016

Meryl Dorey wonders why the Greens do not respond to her when she has this abuse to hurl at their leader.

Meryl Dorey hurls abuse as B52

B52 is a common pseudonym of Meryl Dorey that she used to hurl abuse at people between 2010 and 2014 when she accidentally revealed herself to be the notorious B52 Troll by signing off as B52 under her personal Facebook account back in 2014.

Dorey exposed as b52

Dorey accidentally reveals herself to be B52 in 2014

This is the first time B52 has been seen since 2014 so I assume she has forgotten that this pseudonym is compromised.

Considering the Greens and Liberals spearheaded the No Jab, No Pay legislation I think their position on the matter is quite clear. The Australian Labor Party has also made it’s views on public health clear.

We believe the science is clear – vaccines save lives.

According to a recent World Health Organisation report, before widespread vaccination in 1980, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year. In 2013, the number of deaths from measles had fallen to around 145,000.

Vaccines mean less disease and considerably fewer deaths.

Higher rates of vaccination are vital for infant children who are too young to be vaccinated, as well as the elderly and sick that may be too frail to be vaccinated. They are also vital to people for whom a vaccine may not produce a strong immune response.

That is why it is so important we maintain and encourage high rates of immunisation across the country. Australian Labor Party

With support from the two major parties and the Greens it is almost a certainty that the next Federal Government will uphold the current legislation. No matter what the anti-vaccination movement tries to pull.

The AVN will not advise you how you should vote – that is not within the terms of our Code of Ethics.

…..

We are asking you to vote 1-12 below the line – giving preference to candidates representing any of the following 7 parties who have made this pledge. With your help, we can get 5-6 people elected to the Senate who will speak for us. -AVN Newsletter, 1st June 2016

To start off with a “Code of Ethics” is in no way compatible with anti-vaccination. That’s like training your cat to do differential equations, it just isn’t going to work. However true to form Dorey proceeds to tell her readers how to vote, right after acknowledging that it would be unethical to do so.

The Parties that the AVN are asking there members to vote for are all minor parties.

Health Australia Party
Consumer Rights and No Tolls Party
Greg Beattie, Independent (former AVN President, running for the Senate in QLD) – Website to be advised
Rise Up Australia Party
21st Century Australia
Non-Custodial Parents Party
Voteflux.org

So long as no mainstream parties are willing to oppose public health Anti-vaccination campaigners will continue to be limited in the damage they can cause. The public is not stupid and the overwhelming majority of people recognise the value of modern medicine.

Of all the responses to Meryl Dorey, most of which she posts on the AVNs blog. By far the best and most comprehensive comes from the Australian Sex Party.

The Australian Sex Party was contacted by notorious anti-vaccination campaigner and science-denier Meryl Dorey, asking for our position on “both No Jab, No Pay/No Play legislation and the right of Australian citizens to make free and informed health choices for their families without financial penalty or discrimination.” Here is our response:

Dear Ms Dorey,

I am pleased to respond on behalf of the Australian Sex Party, to your request for information on our position on vaccination issues. I’d like to request that my response be published in full, and unedited, on both your website and social media. Please do share it widely.

The Australian Sex Party believes in individual liberty, and the freedom to make choices regarding your own life. With this freedom, however, comes responsibility. As members of our community, and beneficiaries of the privileges provided by the community, we have an obligation to ensure that exercising our freedom does not put others at undue risk.

No Jab, No Pay. The Federal Government’s No Jab, No Pay measures aim to reduce the spread of preventable disease1. Knowingly and willingly putting one’s own child and others at risk of dangerous and preventable diseases is irresponsible, reckless, and antisocial. The Australian Sex Party does not believe that those who choose not to participate in our collective enterprise of disease prevention should be rewarded with tax benefits or rebates. In Australia, parents are not forced to vaccinate their children. Those who contribute to the broader community’s health by vaccinating their children (or have genuine medical exemptions), receive a contribution from the community in the form of the FTB-A end-of-year supplement, Child Care Benefit, and Child Care Rebate payments. The Australian Sex Party supports this public health measure.

No Jab, No Play. Victoria’s No Jab, No Play laws were introduced to protect public health2. The Australian Sex Party believes that if a parent wishes to use our community’s early childhood education and care services, they should be expected to play their part in protecting the community from preventable diseases. Those who choose to endanger the health of others by not vaccinating their children should not be welcome to do so in an early childhood care setting.

The right of Australian citizens to make free and informed health choices for their families without financial penalty or discrimination. The Australian Sex Party supports the right of Australian citizens (and others) to make free and informed health choices for their families. The Party does not, however, believe that going against the best scientific information available, represents an informed health choice. The anti-vaccination movement encourages parents to “do your own research”, however doing “research” by reading web-pages is not comparable to actual research done by scientists who work hard to protect us all from dangerous and debilitating disease. The Australian Sex Party rejects the insinuation that expecting all parents to participate in preventing diseases is a form of discrimination.

The safety and efficacy of vaccination is not an area of scientific controversy3. The claim that governments and scientists are all conspiring to mislead us for some nefarious purpose is absurd and irresponsible. The dangers of complications from vaccines are much lower than the dangers posed by childhood diseases such as measles4. The claims of the anti-vaccination movement have been thoroughly debunked5. Choosing not to vaccinate your children amounts to medical neglect; this is a serious ethical issue. Whilst it can be tempting to imagine that we parents have access to some special kind of knowledge that somehow eludes the scientific community, it’s just not so. We at the Australian Sex Party would like to encourage parents who are questioning what’s right for their children, to follow the advice of the scientific and medical communities, rather than charlatans and conspiracy theorists.

Regards,

Darren Austin
Senior Policy Advisor
Australian Sex Party
sexparty.org.au
References
1. http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubp/rp/BudgetReview201516/Vaccination

2. https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/immunisation/vaccine-safety-myths-facts

3. http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/no-jab-no-pay/

4. https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/immunisation/vaccination-children/no-jab-no-play/frequently-asked-questions

5. https://violentmetaphors.com/2014/03/25/parents-you-are-being-lied-to/

I think it’s fair to say the anti-vaccination campaigners have few friends in politics. They might be incredibly loud, abusive and crash public health seminars.  But in reality they are a very small minority of the population and enjoy little support from the general public. They think they can look big if they make enough noise but all I see are desperate fringe dwellers.

Anti-vaccination thugs attack vaccine information evening.

Death threats, stalking, harassment and general abuse are a few of the anti-vaccination movements favourite tools. Some of which include threatening politicians, Vilifying Parents who lose a child to vaccine preventable disease, Advocating Murder, Tearing Down posters at hospitals, Bullying Doctors and Threatening to Bomb Venues. (This is not a comprehensive list.)

So it comes as no surprise that Anti-vaccination campaigners would target the Telethon Kids Institute on Monday night where a public forum on vaccination was being held.

A public seminar on immunisation in Perth was forced to close early on Monday night after anti-vaccination activists hijacked the event and called doctors liars.

Organisers of the Telethon Kids Institute event had to stop a question-and-answer session after constant interruptions by the protesters.

…..

Professor Carapetis said yesterday he was shocked and disappointed by their behaviour, which he described as disrespectful and intimidating.

“We knew there would be people from the anti-vaccine lobby because we’ve had them before, but this was a very orchestrated way for them to completely disrupt the meeting,” he said. “We wanted to be able to put up the evidence and answer people’s questions honestly but we didn’t get a chance.

…..

Professor Carapetis said only two people had the chance to ask legitimate questions and everything else was drowned out. “We went on for as long as we could, which was about half an hour of them yelling and screaming, but speakers were paid such disrespect and everyone else in the audience was intimidated,” he said. The West

I’m not at all surprised that this happened as the anti-vaccination movement has a long and documented history of thuggish behaviour. Medical professionals dedicated to saving human life should not be subjected to such abuse. The public also has the right to receive medical information without having to fear for their personal safety.

Health Australia Party should rename to Pseudo-science Party

One of the great things about Australian politics is the ability for people to organise and form political parties provided you can get at least 500 members and pay a $500 application fee to the Australian Electoral Commission. This is a pretty low barrier to entry but it means minority groups and interests are able to have a larger voice which is overall a good thing. However when a minority group, such as Anti-vaccination campaigners have an interests that are against the public interest this low barrier to entry quickly becomes a double edged sword.

There is a new political party in Australia deceptively calling itself the Health Australia Party (HAP) a conspiracy driven pseudo-science based party that unsurprisingly has the support of many well known anti-vaccination campaigners.

The HAP believes that natural medicine should be placed on an equal footing with pharmaceutical medicine.  Australians should be able to choose between pharmaceutical medicine practitioners and natural medicine practitioners without being disadvantaged financially for their choice. Health Australia Party policies.

By “equal footing” I have to assume they mean “Special Privilege” whereby they pretend that crooks and charlatans have the same validity as science based medicine. Because they are already on “equal footing” in that anyone proposing a medical treatment must have it subjected to scientific scrutiny. In all areas of science there are claims that can be proven and claims that cannot be proven. If a claim of cure cannot be proven and supported by evidence then it is not science and should not be treated as such.

Medicine or “pharmaceutical medicine” is supported by evidence and is subject to rigorous scrutiny and regulation. So called “natural” medicine on the other hand is unregulated, doesn’t hold up to scrutiny and is not supported by evidence. Therefore the Health Australia Party is proposing to grant undeserved recognition to pseudo-science at the cost of public health.

The HAP recognises with great concern the attempts by well-resourced and influential lobby groups to stifle academic freedom within Australian universities and research institutes. The HAP will expose and oppose such attempts to prevent researchers from undertaking and publishing potentially controversial research, and will support the heads of institutions who stand up against individuals and groups who oppose academic freedom. Health Australia Party policies.

The University of Wollongong has received extensive criticism for awarding a PhD to an Anti-Vaxxer who submitted a paper full of unfounded conspiracies. The poor academic standards of Wollongong rightly deserve criticism as universities are supposed to uphold a higher standard of academic integrity, especially when awarding the highest academic degree.

However anti-vaxxers consider anyone who challenges their ideology to be part of a big brother conspiracy to silence them. Opposed to the more rational explanation that their claims simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.

The HAP recognises that our country suffers when medical research is manipulated to produce results which serve vested interests, but which is then used by politicians to form the basis of public health decisions. The HAP will expose deliberate corruption in medical research using the considerable body of evidence which already exists in professional journals and elsewhere, and will support the recruitment of researchers with proven independence and integrity to undertake needed medical research which will then be published, whatever the findings. Health Australia Party policies.

More unfounded conspiracies. If the data from your research isn’t proving you hypothesis it’s likely that your hypothesis is wrong. That’s not to say corruption doesn’t exist. For example Andrew Wakefield poster-boy for the anti-vaccination movement was outed as a fraud a few years ago and stripped of his medical license.

If Health Australia Party has a “considerable body of evidence” for corruption within the medical community then I’m sure the media and health regulators would like to see it.

The HAP believes that until nuclear energy can be produced with complete safety and until nuclear waste can be rendered completely harmless then Australia should not use nuclear energy, and instead focus on safe renewable alternatives. Health Australia Party policies.

At last something that I do agree on and in fact I have some good news for The HAP. Nuclear Energy is completely safe and the by product is reusable fuel. I have already covered the topic of Nuclear Energy and why environmentalists need to embrace it.

The more I look into the Health Australia Party the more obvious their pseudo-science, conspiracy driven narrative becomes. Perhaps the most damming of all is the response they sent to the Australian Vaccination Network following Meryl Doreys email.

HAP understands that the overwhelming majority of the huge amount of submissions both Federally, and in Victoria, were against this legislation, and that many of these came from well-respected legal, healthcare, and social justice organisations.

HAP echoes their views and opposes this legislation. It is predicated upon several demonstrably false assumptions, and flies in the face of what would be considered best practice in almost any other Western nation except the USA.Health Australia Party responce to AVN

Not actually true. The majority of the response No Jab, No Play was supportive it was just the highly vocal anti-vaccination campaigners doing the only thing they know how to do, which was to bombard the Federal Government with phone calls in order to jam the phone lines, a crime in Australia.

So given The Health Australia Party’s position of valuing pseudo-science over medical science, and use of big brother conspiracy theories to excuse their lack of evidence. This party would be more aptly named “The Pseudo-science Party” as it is clear that the they have adopted a deceptive names just as the Australian Vaccination Network did in order to confuse people into thinking they are pro-health when in fact their pseudo-science is more likely to harm public health.

Anti-vaxxers seek political party.

The Australian Vaccination Network is starting to ramp up its political campaign in time for the election. Their tactic involves contacting political parties to find out who cares the least about public health so they can direct their members to vote in a way that’s likely to cause the most harm to the public.

Meryl Dorey their Head Cretin sent out the following:

To whom it may concern:

I am writing on behalf of the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, Inc. (AVN) and our tens of thousands of members and followers across Australia to ask for your assistance in helping us distribute information that may be helpful in their decision-making process regarding the up-coming July, 2016 election.

Well it wouldn’t be Dorey of the AVN if it wasn’t full of lies. The AVN is known to of had 234 members back in 2014 so the likelihood of them having “Tens of Thousands of members” is laughable, but lying is all anti-vaxxers know how to do.

There is a Facebook page called “Fans of the AVN” which currently has 11,137 likes, but likes are not members. Also the AVN officially disowned the page (rather than appologise) after they likened vaccination to rape. They have even informed NSW Fair Trading that they do not operate the page in question (Facebook ID: avn.living.wisdom). Therefore either Meryl Dorey is lying now when she claims to have “Tens of Thousands of members”, or she lied to government regulators back in 2014 in order to avoid complying with a court mandated directive.

Of course anyone who has been following this saga knows that she is infact lying both times. The AVN has always owned its official Facebook page, and the organisation almost certainly does not have more than a few hundred members at most. But while we are on the topic of Facebook likes I should point out that Stop the Australian Vaccination Network has 16,854 likes. So if Meryl Dorey wants to play this numbers game and have Facebook likes used as a metric to leverage political pressure I will happily write to these parties myself and inform them that more people are looking the shut anti-vaxxers down than be friends with them. Also this isn’t just limited to likes on Facebook since nearly the entire scientific (especially medical) community as well as the general public would also like the see the AVN go away.

Dorey continues:

Our members and supporters believe that a parent must always have the final say in health and other parenting issues when it comes to their own children. This single issue will be a game-changer for many of them.

To help them make an informed choice on July 2nd, could you please forward by return email your written policy in regards to both No Jab, No Pay / No Play legislation and the right of Australian citizens to make free and informed health choices for their families without financial penalty or discrimination.

If your party has no written policy on these issues, please forward a statement from the party leadership that speaks to your position on these vital issues.

No parent should be permitted to neglect their child’s health by refusing to vaccinate them. I’ve stated previously that you cannot refuse to feed children so why the fuck should anyone be allowed to refuse to vaccinate them?

Back in 2013 Civil Liberties Australia highlighted that vaccination is the Right of the Child, not the right of the parent. I wholeheartedly agree that “Vaccination is a Human Rights Issue” and it is the right of every member of the community that diseases such as whooping cough, polio, measles, Haemophilus influenzae, and rubella never be allowed to return.

Since the election is less than 2 months away, we would appreciate your response no later than close of business on Monday, May 23rd.

Your responses will be posted on our website at www.avn.org.au and will be shared widely on social media as well. Should you not respond, that will be noted too.

I’m not sure what the “Should you not respond, that will be noted too.” I assume this means target practice for the trolls, thugs and online stalkers that seem to make up a disturbing percentage of the anti-vaccination movement in Australia.

It’s worth noting that the anti-vaccination political party the AVN once backed seems to have been forgotten. I still remember the time it lost its domain name.

Chris Savage on the loose in New Zealand.

Former Queensland Police Officer turned public health menace Chris Savage is now on the loose in New Zealand after fleeing from Indonesia earlier this year. The notorious anti-vaccination campaigner who calls himself a “Jedi Doctor” is now being investigated in three different countries for practising medicine without a license.

Health authorities in New Zealand have warned people not to take medical advise from Chris Savage.

Hawkes Bay Health Issues Warning Over Savage

The referral to the police is especially interesting, does this mean we can finally see this public health menace held to account for his actions? I certainly hope so. Especially now that one of Mr Savage’s victims has been hospitalised.

Health authorities were alerted to a self-styled “therapist” operating in Hawke’s Bay after a man he treated was admitted to hospital.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board issued a warning on Wednesday about Chris Savage, a prominent Australian anti-vaccine activist who also describes himself on social media as an “oxygen therapist to detox efficiently”.

The DHB said it had been told Savage was offering medical treatments in the Napier area, and advised the public not to follow any medical or treatment advice he gave, because he was not registered with the New Zealand Medical Council. Stuff.co.nz

This is certainly one kook worth keeping an eye on. Like many anti-vaxxers it looks like Chris Savage is determined to cause as much harm to the public as possible, no doubt we will be learning a lot more about him in the future. We already know how he feels about medical professionals.

Site Upgrades

I’ve just finished moving this blog and its 5+ years of posts over to a new service provider. In addition to a new service provider this blog has also been migrated to new new Content Management System (CMS), namely WordPress. The move to WordPress will provide the much needed flexibility for this blog/site to be expanded in the future. The security of the site has also been significantly upgraded in the process.

While great care was taken to avoid breaking things (especially the URL Structure) during the move it was inevitable that not everything would transition perfectly. As a result of the formatting style I previously used some of the embedded images used in blog posts aren’t aligned with the text correctly and a few “click to enlarge” images not longer function when clicked. I have checked all of the posts and all the content is here, some of it is just displayed oddly. These loose ends will be tied up over the next few weeks.