Category Archives: Politics

Censorship is becoming mainstream

Over the years I have frequently called out anti-vaxxers for attempting to suppress and silence people who expose their lies fraud and scams. Harassment is always the weapon of choice for cowards who cannot debate against the arguments of their opponents.

Over the years I’ve seen everything including:

It would take me a very long time to list even a tiny percentage of the suppression techniques that I have witnessed from various cowards over the years. I have noticed that it’s quite common for the suppressor to work in large groups as a way to intimidate those who might resist.

Fortunately my experience with such tactics has been with a small vocal minority whom the public generally despise. Therefore despite the ferocity of these attacks they tend to be contained such that they are unlikely to have significant lasting ramifications for society as a whole. If an anti-vaxxer were to silence one critic, they still have thousands of us including the mainstream media to contend with.

But over the past year I have noticed a worrying trend beginning to emerge whereby it is becoming increasingly common for internet service providers to take it upon themselves to determine what content should or should not be allowed on the Internet.

On Wednesday the service provider Digital Ocean decided to shutdown one of their clients for political reasons after receiving a backlash on social media.

Following the violent far right demonstrations in Charlottesville at the weekend, it has emerged that another two web services companies have terminated their business relationships with the Nazi propaganda website, The Daily Stormer.

The Daily Stormer, which spews racist, gender-based and homophobic hate speech on a daily basis, was used as a platform to help organize a violent white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville — and, afterwards, to celebrate the killing of anti-fascist protestor Heather Heyer, who died after a far right supporter drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors. Tech Crunch

I have never had any problems speaking against censorship when anti-vaxxers try to shut down and silence their opponents. Nor did I lack any support when a notorious homeopath threatened to sue me. But this support only exists when I speak against the repugnant trying to silence the good. I am unlikely to receive much support for speaking out against censorship of far-right groups, quite the opposite. It turns out most people support freedom of speech, but only when it is easy.

I’m a supporter of Free Speech. Anyone can claim to be in support of free speech, but most will cave as soon as speech they don’t like comes along. A persons values and integrity can only be tested in adversarial circumstances. Anyone can handle the good times, such as defending speech they happen to agree with. Or their own speech, so long as it doesn’t cost them anything.

Therefore I fully support the right of Nazi’s and other such dickheads to speak their nonsense. Just as I want my rights to criticise, anti-vaxxers, homeopaths, politicians and Nazis to be defended. Yes, there is an argument to be made that Freedom of Speech doesn’t entitle you use another persons platform. I certainly don’t allow other people to post on my blog for example.

However when the service providers of the 21st century are able to decide what platforms we can build we need to consider the possible precedents that are being set. My phone company doesn’t control what I say over the phone, nor does the water utility have a say on what I do with the water.

Today its the least desirable segments of the community being silenced. But anyone who studies history will tell you how easily that can change.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemöller

Centrelink answers less than 1 in 300 phone calls.

Anyone who has dealt with Centrelink knows that it’s hardly the most efficient system out there, in fact dealing with Centrelink is one of the worse experiences you’re likely to have with any government department. I never realised just how bad things were until yesterday when I rang them to chase up some student payments.

The first time I rang Centrelink I got the “Line Busy” status. So I tried a second time, and then a third, fourth, fifth and so on. Eventually on the 378th call I was able to connect to the phone service and was automatically placed in a que.

That’s correct 377 of these calls couldn’t even make the connection and it was only after hitting redial for a few hours that I was able to connect, only then could I be placed in a que were I would wait for another 90+ minutes on hold before reaching a human operator.

So in order to contact Centrelink it takes approximately 3 hours and 378 phonecalls to simply connect and be placed on hold then another 90 minutes or so until an operator becomes available. Once you do get the speak to an operator there is a good chance they will put you on hold again while they transfer you to someone who can actually help.

This is beyond a joke, this is a travesty. This is a system that is broken beyond repair and I hate to think what happens to elderly or disabled people in a system that requires this level of absurdity before you can get any help.

Just to top it off this is how Centrelink responds when you complain about being unable to reach them over the phone. These clowns are taking the piss at other peoples expense.

I will be following this up with the Commonwealth Ombudsman and encourage everyone else to do the same.

Don’t mark yourself Jedi this census.

1469845125305The census is here again and the Atheist Foundation of Australia is running a campaign urging non-religious persons to mark the “No Religion” box rather than identifying as Jedi or Pastafarian. The reason for this is that the Australian Government counts these as religions and records them as “Religion: Other”. Therefore the number of non-religious people become under represented in the census.

Since the Australian Government relies upon census data for policy and funding decisions anyone identifying as Jedi or Pastafarian is inadvertently  tipping the statistics in favour of religious interests.

While filling the census with bullshit can be a lot of fun. When powerful religious lobby groups begin to pressure the government (Marriage Equality, Religious Tax Exemption etc), policy makers must rely on the census statistics to try and determine the interest of the population.

So if you don’t follow any mythical fairy tale it is important that you mark “No Religion” on August 9th to ensure that you are accurately represented in government policy and decision making.

More information on the Mark No Religion website.

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.

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.

Environmentalists need to embrace Nuclear.

Without a doubt one of the most frustrating pseudo-science movements in modern society is the Environmentalist movement. People who oppose Nuclear Power have no place calling themselves “environmentalists” and groups like Greenpeace who peddle nothing but psedo-science fear mongering are best placed in the same basket as Anti-vaccination, Flatearthers and 9/11 Truthers.

Not only do nuclear reactors produce zero carbon emissions during their operation making them one of the cleanest energy sources we’ve ever had. The nuclear power industry also has an unmatched safety record with fewer deaths per Trillion KilloWatt Hours than all other sources.

Energy Source Mortality Rate % of Energy
Coal  170000 50
Natural Gas 4000 20
Biofuel/Biomass 24000 24000
Solar (rooftop)˙ 440 1
Wind  150 1
Hydro 1400 15
Nuclear 90 17

Source: Forbes – How Deadly Is Your Kilowatt? We Rank The Killer Energy Sources

It’s easy to see on the pie chart just how bad coal is, but this numbers this large it’s hard to see Nuclear, Solar and Wind. So here it is again without coal.


However this has already been argued to death by the scientific community it is a scientific fact that Nuclear Energy is both clean and extremely safe. Arguing against the use of nuclear power is akin to arguing against vaccination because you believe they contain government microchips.

Now in Paris the worlds leading scientists have come out in overwhelming favor of nuclear power. 

COP21: World must embrace nuclear power to save planet from climate change, claim leading scientists

The world has no little or no chance of escaping dangerous climate change if political leaders and environmental groups fail to embrace nuclear power as a source of low-carbon energy, leading scientists have told the climate conference in Paris.

Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power offer too little, too late, and the anti-nuclear stance of some countries and almost all environmentalists will only drive many nations towards burning more coal, oil and gas, they warned. The Independent

 

The Battle to Save the Planet May Come Down to Nuclear Advocates vs. Environmentalists

PARIS—How frustrated would you be if you had a practical solution for a climate crisis that threatens to ravage the planet and unleash social conflict that will make World War II look like child’s play, but nobody would listen?
Meet the lonely advocates for nuclear power. Here at the Paris climate summit, where the 50,000 attendees, split roughly into half official representatives and half activists, the politics have split pretty much down the middle, too. You have the government folks who are dragging their heels, and you’ve got the climate activists who are focused on using the crisis, Shock Doctrine style, to make the world a better place. The holy word of the activists has become “renewables”—never mind that renewables are still only two percent of the international energy needs and can’t possibly scale up fast enough to solve the problem. Esquire.com

 

Academics at Paris talks make plea for nuclear power.

Four leading climate scientists called for a major expansion of nuclear power as an essential measure to avoid dangerous man-made climate change over the next century. Speaking at the COP21 climate conference in Paris yesterday, James Hansen, Tom Wigley, Ken Caldeira and Kerry Emanuel urged world leaders to ensure that nuclear power is deployed alongside renewables. World Nuclear News

 

Nuclear Power Must Make a Comeback for Climate’s Sake

James Hansen, former NASA climate scientist, and three other prominent climate scientists are calling for an enlarged focus on nuclear energy in the ongoing Paris climate negotiations.

“Nuclear, especially next-generation nuclear, has tremendous potential to be part of the solution to climate change,” Hansen said during a panel discussion yesterday. “The dangers of fossil fuels are staring us in the face. So for us to say we won’t use all the tools [such as nuclear energy] to solve the problem is crazy.” Scientific American

The science is in and has been for decades. Will the environmentalists finally allow us to address this issue, or will they continue to hold us back with their brainless fear mongering? I think it’ll be the latter, but if enough rational people can be convinced not to listen to green fear mongering we could still win this and potentially save the planet.

Boycotting Indonesia over #Bali9 reeks of hypocrisy.

Last night two convicted Australian drug smugglers, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed by firing squad in Indonesia. In response to the executions two hashtags #BoycottBali and #BoycottIndonesia have started to gain traction by people opposed to the death penalty.

Although I don’t support the death penalty as a form of punishment I think it’s important to point out the hypocrisy of boycotting Indonesia over the death penalty while continuing to use services from the United Sates, which also has the death penalty in 32 states.

I have been asking people to boycott the United States by deleting their Facebook and Twitter accounts since both services are based in California, a death penalty state. However rather than having the integrity to uphold their imaginary position on the moral high ground the left make endless excuses for continuing to use United States based service providers.

There is no such thing as “Defacto Abolitionist” California still has the death penalty on its books a long with 31 other states. In fact the United States has executed 10 people this year already without any moral outcry from Australia. Therefore expressing outrage over the execution of two Australian criminals to the point of boycotting the executing country only to then refuse a boycott of the United States over the death of ten US criminals is to place a higher value on the life of an Australian Citizen then on the life of a US Citizen. 

The old “not as bad as” fallacy even makes an appearance from the left.

It’s true that the United States reserves the death penalty for more severe crimes, such as murder. However the Innocence Project shows us that the United States does occasionally put innocent people on death row. See: Innocence Project Cases

At least Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were guilty of the crime they were punished for. While their guilt doesn’t make the execution right neither does it make the Indonesian death penalty any better or worse than the US death penalty. If you’re going to boycott Indonesia for the death penalty then it stands to reason that you will also delete your Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts and refrain from using Google or watching Hollywood movies.

Unsurprisingly while the political left are happy to boycott Indonesia for the death penalty they will not boycott the United States because it causes them too much inconvenience. Some people only have principles so long as it’s not too hard.

Anti-vaxxers shoot themselves and other kooks in the foot.

Yesterday the HEALTH LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2013 was introduced to the New South Wales parliament that aims to close a loophole that was used by the Australian Vaccination Network in 2012 to overturn a decision made by the Health Care Complaints Commission.

The AVN sued the HCCC for issuing a public warning against them back in 2010 and successfully argued that the investigation carried out by the HCCC was invalid because the complaint that lead to the investigation came from someone who was not directly harmed as a result of the AVNs false medical advice. Under the current legislation the HCCC could only investigate a complaint if the complainant has suffered as a direct result of the incorrect medical advice, assuming the victim survives and is willing to jump through the necessary hoops.

This amendment aims to close this loophole so that a complaint may be filed against a health service provided it can be shown that the service it is likely to cause harm to someone. It will no longer be necessary to prove that a person has been harmed in order to conduct an investigation.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner had this to say in parliament:

As members will be aware, the Health Care Complaints Act established the Health Care Complaints Commission as an independent body to assess, investigate and prosecute complaints against health practitioners and health service providers. However, a 2012 Supreme Court decision, Australian Vaccination Network Inc. v Health Care Complaints Commission, has led to a limitation on when the Health Care Complaints Commission can investigate matters affecting public health or safety. The structure of the Health Care Complaints Act means the Health Care Complaints Commission has jurisdiction to investigate a matter only when a valid complaint has been made. Section 7 of the Act sets out whom a complaint can be made about and this list includes health service providers. However, the recent case in the Supreme Court found the Health Care Complaints Commission can investigate only if the complaint shows that the health service in question affects the clinical management or care of an individual client.

The judgement has created significant concern that a complaint cannot be investigated by the Health Care Complaints Commission if the matter raises a real likelihood of impacting on public health or safety: There must be a specific case where an individual client is affected, thereby limiting the capacity of the Health Care Complaints Commission to act in the public interest. The bill therefore amends section 7 of the Health Care Complaints Act to make clear that a complaint can be made against a health service if the health service affects, or is likely to affect, the clinical management or care of an individual client. –NSW Parliament Transcript, Page 60

So in suing the Health Care Complaints Commission the Australian Vaccination Network has opened the door to allow all Alternative “Medicine” practitioners in New South Wales to come under the HCCC’s scrutiny.  Any false information that’s likely to cause harm to another person’s health is now in the firing line.

Talk about shooting yourself (and your friends) in the foot. 

Sport is a better culprit for violence than video games.

So it didn’t take long after the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings for the politicians to start blaming “Violent Video Games”. In the United States the blame game is in full swing:

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) has taken Congress’ first step in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre toward possibly regulating access to violent videogames.

Calls for gun control immediately followed the elementary-school shooting Friday, so it was only a matter of time before violent videogames became another target.

Rockefeller is proposing that the National Academy of Sciences study the relationship between real-world violence and virtual-world violence in videogames. Reading between the lines, the idea is to perhaps acquire conclusive fodder, if there is any, from this prestigious group of scientists that there is an association between the two. Wired, Threat Level

Assholes like Rockefeller have been trying to pin the blame on video games for years. Because it’s a lot easier to demonise video games than it is to tackle the real problems of a society where school shooting have almost become a routine. 

If we’re going to look for something to blame then why not blame sports? It would make much more sense to blame the violence in society on competitive sports, after all sporting events, particularly team sports foster an “Us Vs Them” style of mentality amongst their supporters who even wear the colours and fly the banner of their favourite team.

Throughout the Middle Ages banner men flew the flags and coat of arms of the lords and kings to whom they owed their allegiance. The tradition of flying banners and flags can be seen throughout most of human history and modern day sport, or warfare is no exception.

In Australia sports spectators are quite passive, but in Britain and North America there have been numerous incidents of violence breaking out amongst supporters of opposing teams, including large scale riots. But no one seems to be willing to blame competitive sports for outbreaks of violence. Instead they choose video games as their preferred scapegoat despite the fact the violence and aggression is better linked to sport than it is to video games. Has there ever been a riot resulting from a round of Halo or Counter Strike? None that I know of.

Should we blame sports for the Sandy Hook School shooting?

No, that would be just as absurd as trying to blame video games. But if scumbag politicians want something to blame, then I think team sports are a much more likely culprit than any video game.