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September 7, 2019

A week of nostalgia

Home birth fanatics are still with us (7/9/2019)
I recently spent time with four family members who were involved one way or another with hospital births. Luckily for all concerned nobody chose to have a home birth with crystals, candles and doulas. Here are their stories.

  1. The mother went into severe pre-eclampsia very suddenly, so an emergency c-section was done immediately without spending too much time explaining why. Luckily she was already in a hospital when her blood pressure went berserk. If she'd been at home without monitoring the outcome for all concerned would almost certainly have been much worse. But what a choice to have to make – a scar, the disappointment of not having a "natural" birth and a live baby or a dead baby and "Well, I tried".
  2. The now 16 year old version of the baby in that story.
  3. This mother had two difficult births. Both were breech. The first involved a longish labour and an episiotomy (that "unnecessary assault" so hated by "natural birth" proponents) but eventually everything turned out fine. The second required two interventions to save the life of the baby and one to save the life of the mother. In none of these incidents was there time to get to a hospital or a doctor when the problem was discovered.
  4. The now 30 year old version of the second baby in that story.

My grandmother had four babies who grew to adulthood. She was a practising Catholic with all that that meant for birth control back in the early 20th century, and the family never mentioned the babies that didn't make it through the birth process. Another member of my family spent 40 hours in labour in a "birthing centre" until her father called an ambulance to take her somewhere where she could get proper treatment. Should I mention that she was a fully trained midwife?

Also, the two mothers mentioned above had great and distressing difficulty with breast feeding and had to resort to formula within a few weeks of giving birth, but I'll leave the lactavists to another rant.

And what reminded me of all this? This supposedly funny joke by someone who values the birth "experience" over the lives of the mother and child.

Ignorant atheists are still with us (7/9/2019)
Back in May I commented on how some atheists criticise the Bible without having read or understood it, although they are quick to accuse Christians of Bible ignorance. One of the hoary old straw men reappeared this week, so I had something to say. Then this happened (and yes, I know it's Numbers 14, not 13, but as nobody was going to check it didn't really matter).

"I do not believe the story but the story says that they wandered for 40 years". How can anyone argue against logic like that?

Ignorant quack fans are still with us (7/9/2019)
It might be almost ten years since egregious cancer quack Hulda Clark did the world a favour by dying but in the true spirit of alternative "medicine" where nothing ever goes away or is superseded, fans of Dead Hulda are still an extant species. One of them didn't like what I had to say about the dead charlatan.

Not-a-medical-Dr ClarkFrom: Jesus Christ Let Go Let God
Date: Sun, 1 Sep 2019 06:39:08 -0400
Subject: You are an ASSHOLE you know, right?

You would be a proctologist – stick your own finger up your aaa buddy.

Dr. Hulda Clarke was not a quack. She would've destroyed the 600 billion dollar bullshit drug industry. Actually heal people and you know it's TRUE

You do realise that Hulda Clark (for that is how she spelled it) died of cancer, don't you? She couldn't even cure herself, let alone threaten the incomes of real doctors who might know something about cancer.

Why is it that nobody will answer my question about the disposal of her carcass? She was cremated and her ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean. Did her family get EPA approval for dumping toxic waste before they fed the crumbling remains of the charlatan to the fishes?

But wait, there's more!

From: Jesus Christ Let Go Let God
Date: Mon, 2 Sep 2019 09:37:07 -0400
Subject: Re: You are an ASSHOLE you know, right?

Ratbag shows your mentality – soooo gives you away of the kind of spirit you have anyway


From: Jesus Christ Let Go Let God
Date: Mon, 2 Sep 2019 09:28:12 -0400
Subject: Re: You are an ASSHOLE you know, right?

Dick head it's parasitic. You are a dumb ass though, because you believe all you've been TRAINED to believe asshole instead of following your own inner wisdom and holistic medicine. You're stupid not to get education from countries where the pharmaceutical industry hasn't tampered with using money and incentives to coax money hungry assholes into prescriptions that just don't work. Wake up asshole

I don't think that anything would be achieved by continuing this conversation (although I was sorely tempted to reply that it's spelled "arsehole" in my part of the world – I didn't want to confuse the correspondent).

This has to be a joke, right? (7/9/2019)
Well, it might be someone's idea of a joke or satire, but I've been dealing with woonatics long enough to know that anything can be believed by someone.

And speaking of teeth and dentists ... (7/9/2019)

See more from Dan Piraro here

September 14, 2019

Those lovable anti-vaccination liars (14/9/2019)
You know how people opposed to vaccination are just misguided folk who need to be shown some science? You know how nice they are and how you should be polite to them? You know how that never resort to insults, unlike we pro-vaccine people?

Well, you are wrong, and these creatures need to be exposed, insulted and ridiculed at every opportunity.

On Monday, September 9, a mob of these wastes of oxygen protested at a session of the California State Senate. The protest took the form of throwing menstrual blood over the sitting legislators. And they have the hide to call sane people who support vaccination "extremists". You can read the story here.

There will be a rally organised by anti-vaccination liars outside Parliament House in Canberra on Monday, September 16. I had thought of doing the 500 kilometre round trip to be in the audience but my sock drawer needs reorganising and my landlord has already lent me a ladder to clear the leaves out of the guttering. Even so, I'm thinking of postponing those exciting activities and going to the rally. I wonder how long it would be after I threw red food die at one of the speakers before the cops turned up and the vermin were posting photos to Facebook loudly screeching about me being a terrorist and how all all those in favour of vaccines are evil.

Oh, and the anti-vaxxers are now claiming that it was an agent provocateur who did it just to make them look bad, and even if she was an anti-vaxxer (as her Facebook profile and photographed associations with them would suggest) she isn't a real one and nothing at all like them. (Out in the real world we call this the No True Scotsman fallacy.) Of course they are saying that – lying is what they do and every argument that ever came from them is fallacious.

Found in the wild. I'll acknowledge the creator* if someone tells me who it is.
(* Not THAT "creator". Dementia hasn't set in yet.)

When the hertz hurts (14/9/2019)
This piece of idiocy has been popping up all over the place over the last week or two.

My mind could be crumbling with age, but I'm sure Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Prince and John Lennon all did their musical things after 1953. Maybe the fact that they went against the ruling paradigm is a reason that they are all dead, but let's not get too conspiratorial here.

I see a couple of other problems here. First, if the Nazis used 440Hz to affect the thinking of others why did they need fluoride in the concentration camps? And surely they had finished Naziing well before 1953, by which time Joseph Goebbels, the supposed inventor of the idea, had been dead for eight years. Another problem is that the decision to tune to A4=440Hz was actually made in 1939, both to standardise orchestra tuning and because the BBC wanted something that was compatible with electronic clocks. Not only had the four musicians mentioned done their composing after the date, they had done all their being born, living and dying as well. Oh, and the ISO standardisation didn't become official until 1955, not 1953, but who's quibbling about that.

If you want to sample the healing qualities of 432Hz as God and Nature intended, here is a minute of it. (You can get eight hours at YouTube, but who's got (or needs) that much time to get in touch with the Earth Spirits?)

And another thing – not only did the ISO rule that A4 music should be 440Hz, forcing all orchestras to sound the same, but it also standardised A4 stationery to be 210mm x 297mm (8.27 inches x 11.7 inches for people living in the past), forcing all authors (and music composers) to use the same sized three-ring binders to file stuff. A4 and A4? A coincidence? I think not. Big Government – it never goes away and it hates individuality.

At a meeting of the Illuminati's Population Control Committee (14/9/2019)

I spend time in the psych(ic) ward (14/9/2019)
Everyone needs a bit of danger in their lives, something to raise the pulse rate and cause them to ask "What am I doing here?". So I went to see mediums Ezio and Michelle De Angelis at Penrith RSL to see how close these famous psychics (Ezio has been on television!!) could get to telling me the story of my life and contacting my departed relatives.

While eating dinner before the show I noticed a screen showing the latest Keno results and commented to my dining companion that running the interconnected Keno operation across the state was the last remaining activity of a company called AWA. Amalgamated Wireless Australia used to make radios and televisions back when Australia had an electronics manufacturing industry, moved into computers for a while (when I worked with them) and finally just became a gambling system operator. The significance of my observation about AWA became apparent later in the evening.

The way these psychics work is to be contacted by the spirits of people who have passed over to the other side, spirits attracted by the members of the audience. I must have been a very good soul magnet on the night because the following people turned up.

The next person to come through from the other side had a name starting with "I". Nobody in my family, and nobody in anyone else's either, which is why the psychic finally settled on a woman of obvious Indian appearance. India starts with "I", so close enough. (I'm reminded of a case where some famous psychic (it might have been John Edward) was looking for someone in the audience connected to a spirit with the initial "D". It was finally decided that it must be Dad. Most people have someone called that in their past.) At this point I assumed that other audience members' families had forced their way to the front of the queue to talk to the medium so I could sit back and reminisce about the days of old.

But here's the thing. None of the spirits who came through from the other side appeared for me – they were all detected while reading other audience members. Ms Psychic explained this at the end by saying that if someone else's contacts seemed familiar it was because our relatives had been watching from the other side and just observing. They would probably come forward at a future event. The statisticians among us observed that with a big enough audience (there were about a hundred people there) some hits on common names were almost inevitable. But Roy, Eva and Alice? When people report on the success and accuracy of psychic readings it is useful to remember the words of Sir Francis Bacon: "The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits but not when it misses".

There wasn't much to object to in the show. Even in the tarot reading session at the end nobody was told anything except platitudes ("Will I get the job I applied for?" "Maybe, but even if you don't there will be more opportunities in the future." "Will I get pregnant in the next twelve months?" "Babies decide their time of birth, but keep trying."). It was entertainment, and I've spent more money on less entertaining shows in the past.

One thing though – all spirits are very proud of the living and still love them. Just for once I'd like a medium to say "Your uncle Harry is coming through and he says he hated you all his life, still hates you and the best part of dying was never having to see your face again". I'd pay extra to see that.

The science underpinning reflexology (14/9/2019)

September 21, 2019

It's the Vernal Equinox where I live, and you know what that means (21/9/2019)
About this time every year I take a short break to reflect on the arrow of time as Virgo turns into Libra, so this week's update is a short one because I've got other things to do.

I once told a believer in astrology that being born on the equinox cusp between Virgo and Libra predestined me to be a skeptic (especially about astrology). This was questioned so I said "Look it up", which completely satisfied the other party. I should note that when asked for my sign at parties I like to say "Wombats next 10 km" and refer to this sign about 15 kilometres away from where I live. The response is usually met with a nervous laugh and a change of subject.

No True Liar (21/9/2019)
You know that anti-vaccination liar who threw blood over legislators in California that I mentioned last week? Remember how she was disowned by the liar movement because she "Wasn't one of us"? Remember how she was really a plant sent to make anti-vaccination liars look bad?

Here are some of the things she has posted in favour of vaccines and demonstrating how she has nothing to do with the protestors.

Speaking of anti-vaccination liars ... (21/9/2019)

Which reminds me of this old joke (21/9/2019)

See more of SMBC here

September 28, 2019

Weirdness on the horizon (28/9/2019)
I hope to be going to the Sydney MindBody$pirit Festival in a couple of weeks, so I dug out some ancient stories about trips to the event in the past. You can see something from me here and something by a guest columnist here.

MB$ is usually good fun, provided you can hold your cynicism in check and not be too rude to people selling stuff that would be better off not sold. Sometimes religious people have stands there, and I remember walking past a stand belonging to a church once when a lady asked me if they could pray with me. I replied that I'm an atheist and her response was amazingly quick: "Well then, can we pray for you?". We had a reasonable conversation and the topic of the Hillsong Temple of Mammon came up. This particular church was part of the Assemblies of God (leader in Australia at the time – the boss man at Hillsong) and there was an immediate statement of dissociation from the ideals* and principles* of that fake "church" out there in Sydney's west.
(* I know that the words "ideals" and "principles" are oxymoronic in any discussion of Hillsong, but that's how the language works.)

I notice that this year there will be a Soul Kitchen, so I hope I can get some real soul food there because I'm partial to fried chicken. One year everything was all vegan and also gluten and dairy free. There was a long queue at a coffee stall outside the festival venue where people wearing exhibitor badges were lining up to get coffee with actual milk in it. Real food returned to the next year's event.

It's of course impossible to go to an event like this without being heavily exposed to Eastern Mysticism, with people all over the place putting their palms together and saying "Namaste" (except when they say "Namaskar" in recognition of and sympathy for my lower status). To prepare myself I went to the local Botanical Gardens and sat near some palms which were together.

Another piece of preparation is to look through my crystal collection for some suitable neckwear.

Thump. Thump. Thump. Another one bites the dust. (28/9/2019)
Like many of my friends I've been disappointed in the past at the lack of action by authorities against quacks, but sometimes there's a victory. Here is a statement by the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission.

Mr Aleksander Strande – Breaches of Code of Conduct – Permanent Prohibition Order

24 Sep 2019

The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission investigated a number of complaints about the conduct of unregistered health practitioner Mr Aleksander Strande.  Mr Strande was operating a naturopath business, 'Express Healing' from his residential home in Kogarah, NSW, which offered herbal treatment for pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression and other health conditions, in addition to Reiki healing to 'relax, decongest and oxygenate the body'.

The investigation found that Mr Strande:

  • Willfully misrepresented and overstated to the Commission and to the public, the level of his qualifications. and qualifications and his competence to treat serious illnesses.
  • Made claims about the efficacy of the recommended treatment when those claims could not be substantiated.
  • Lacks the knowledge and expertise to determine whether the products he provides to clients may have adverse reactions with their prescribed medications.
  • Failed to provide information to clients regarding the herbal medicines and pressured his clients to continue treatment with him despite their complaints of adverse side effects.
  • Unwilling to seriously reflect on his practice and has no insight into the limitations of his training and qualifications and his competence to treat serious illnesses.

The investigation determined that Mr Strande breached numerous clauses of the Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners under Schedule 3 of the Public Health Regulation 2012 in respect of:

  • Clause 3(1): a health practitioner must provide health services in a safe and ethical manner,
  • Clause 3(2) (b)(c)(f) & (j): a health practitioner must-
    • Not provide health care if a type that is outside his or her experience or training;
    • Not provide services that he or she is not qualified to provide;
    • Recognise the limitations of the treatment he or she can provide and refer clients to other competent health practitioners in appropriate circumstances;
    • Have a sound understanding of any adverse reactions between the therapies and treatments he or she provides or prescribes and any other medications or treatments, whether prescribed or not, that the health practitioner is aware the client is taking or receiving.
  • Clause 5(1): a health practitioner must not hold himself or herself out as qualified, able or willing to cure cancer or other terminal illnesses.
  • Clause 7(1): a health practitioner must not attempt to dissuade clients from seeking or continuing with treatment by a registered medical practitioner.
  • Clause 10(3): a health practitioner must not provide services and treatments to clients unless they are designed to maintain or improve the clients' health or wellbeing.
  • Clause 12(1): a health practitioner must not engage in any form of misrepresentation in relation to the products or services he or she provides or as to his or her qualifications, training or professional affiliations.
  • Clause 12(3): a health practitioner must not make claims, either directly or in advertising or promotional material, about the efficacy of treatment or services provided if those claims cannot be substantiated.
  • Clause 15: a health practitioner must maintain accurate, legible and contemporaneous clinical records for each client consultation.
  • Clause 17: a health practitioner must display a copy of each of the following documents at all premises where the health practitioner carries his or her practice:
    • Code of Conduct,
    • A document that gives information about the way in which clients may make a complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission, being a document in a form approved by the Secretary.

The Commission is satisfied that Mr Strande poses a risk to the health and safety of members of the public and therefore makes the following prohibition order:

  • Mr Strande is permanently prohibited from providing any health services, as defined in s4 Of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity.

The Commission has determined to make its Statement of Decision publicly available under section 41B(3)(c) of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 but has removed material which it considers to be confidential information.

Further Information

The full Public Statement of Decision can be read here.

Rather surprisingly, there was a naturopath with exactly the same name but calling himself "Dr" operating out of Houston in Texas in 2011 and offering similar treatments both locally and remotely through a clinic called "Simply Healing". Is it possible that Mr Strande simply relocated his business? After all, liars gotta lie.

But wait, there's more. Or maybe just a coincidence (28/9/2019)
Is it possible that there are two naturopath quacks in the world with the same name – Aleksander Strande? It does seem unlikely, doesn't it, but there was another of these creatures operating out of Texas, USA, in 2011. That one now seems to have morphed into a service offering marketing and search engine optimisation advice to the quackery industry under the business name of "Simply Healing". Maybe it got too warm in Houston and Mr Strande thought that Kogarah might have better weather.

Chiropractic care (28/9/2019)
Chiropractors love the alliteration of "chiropractic care" (as well as "crack", "clicker" and "cash", of course) and an example of their caring nature came my way recently. Here's what happened:

So it seems that violence is an acceptable way for a chiropractor to deal with criticism by a real doctor. No chiropractor joined the thread to say that this is not how professionals behave, but there was a suggestion that doctors who criticise chiropractors should be referred to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency who apparently don't like medical professionals mouthing off about other medical professionals. So it's OK for chiropractors to throw bricks through doctors' windows but not OK for doctors to point out the absurdity of chiropractic? These people must think that irony is something you do to shirts after the washy gets dry.

By the way – some people have the policy on Facebook of blocking out posters' names when showing screenshots of idiocy. That policy does not apply here. Sorry Luke and Matt – you said it, you own it. Actually, not sorry at all.

Paranoia about the pricks (28/9/2019)
We all know that true anti-vaccination liars are detached from reality. (I was criticised once for suggesting that some of them are insane – apparently this detracted from the worth of people who are actually medically insane. I pointed out that at least one of the liars had the paperwork to prove her insanity.)

One of the examples of this detachment is the continual nonsense predicting mandatory forced vaccination for everybody. We people who live out here in the real world know that this is not planned by any government and is never going to happen, but that doesn't stop the paranoia. According to DSM-V, there are seven signs of Paranoid Personality Disorder, four of which need to be met for a diagnosis. Let's see how your average anti-vaccination liar measures up.

  1. The person with PPD will believe others are using, lying to, or harming them, without apparent evidence thereof.
  2. They will have doubts about the loyalty and trustworthiness of others,
  3. They will not confide in others due to the belief that their confidence will be betrayed.
  4. They will interpret ambiguous or benign remarks as hurtful or threatening, and
  5.  Hold grudges,
  6.  In the absence of objective evidence, believe their reputation or character are being assailed by others, and will retaliate in some manner and
  7.  Will be jealous and suspicious without cause that intimate partners are being unfaithful.

That looks like seven out of the seven to me. (1 is obvious. 2 and 3 - eg I have been banned from meetings and mailing lists. 4,5 and 6 – eg the AVO saga of 2012. 7 – It doesn't always apply but I have seen suggestions that marital partners have been secretly vaccinating their kids over their spouses' objections which is a sort of unfaithfulness, so in it goes.) It looks like the label "paranoia" is quite appropriate.

Then this happens.

Oh look – a suggestion of violence, possibly resulting in the deaths of the truck occupants. Almost as peaceful and gentle as chiropractors.

And another thing ... (28/9/2019)

See more from Scott Hilburn here


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