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Samoa! Sigh! (7/12/2019)
I mentioned last week that I'm suffering a bit of battle fatigue over the measles epidemic in Samoa (the death toll today has reached 65) but there was at least some good news out of that troubled country this week. The government finally acted against the most egregious anti-vaccination liar still working in the country and locked him up.
Expressions of sympathy for Edwin Tamasese have been flowing in from anti-vaccination liars everywhere and someone has set up a GoFundMe appeal to pay any legal costs. As GFM does not allow appeals for legal costs the person who started the appeal must have lied to them about the objective, but lies would of course be expected. GFM have been advised of the true purpose of the fundraiser.
Some more good news (7/12/2019)
High-profile celebrities can often help a good cause, just as high-profile celebrities can do a lot of damage. The difference between the two groups could not be made clearer than by the news this week that the nurse who recently won the Miss Pacific Islands beauty contest, Fonoifafo Nancy McFarland-Seumanu, has put her official pageant winner's duties on hold for a while and will be spending her time administering vaccines across the country. Meanwhile total waste of oxygen Taylor Winterstein is spewing out more lies about vaccines and measles every day.
A friend of mine made a meme about this.
She won't stop, will she? (7/12/2019)
I won't apologise for harping on about this harpy because she epitomises why this site exists. She lies without remorse and her activities present a danger to the public. This is Meryl Dorey, occasional President of the Australian Vaccination-[something or other] Network, someone who blocks anyone on Twitter or Facebook who might disagree with her, removes any critics from mailing lists she manages, spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get a court to censor me and most recently refused me entry to an event to which the media were offered a general invitation.
They just can't help themselves (7/12/2019)
The grand tour of the country getting people to pay to be lied to about vaccines has started. Vaxxed 2 is appearing in secret theatres and halls all around the place, with venue operators being lied to about what is going to be exhibited, locations only being announced immediately beforehand and the media being invited and then excluded if the organisers don't like the journalists. A friend of mine managed to get into one showing and we will hear all about it as soon as she gets out of therapy.
Another friend lives in the area of Australia with the lowest levels of childhood vaccination in the country so she had no trouble picking up one of the promotion pamphlets.
Some people have been laughing at the misspelling of the word "Australian" but I have pointed out that a deliberate error is often introduced into anti-vaccination literature just to make sure that it contains at least some falsehood. Total truth is anathema to the vultures.
It looks like Cyanide and Happiness but I suspect it's not.
Congratulations! You go, girl! (14/12/2019)
One of the big stories for the week has been the announcement that Greta Thunberg has been declared Time Person of the Year. This has enraged climate change deniers right up to the President of the USA - yes, that's right, Donald Trump took to Twitter to disparage and bully a 16-year-old girl, but he was probably just disappointed that he didn't get the nod himself.
The outrage has been bizarre. Everything has been brought up to explain why she shouldn't get any sort of recognition for anything she has ever done. It's all coaching by her parents, part of the hoax conspiracy, a manifestation of her mental illness (she apparently has Asperger's Syndrome, as if that has anything to do with anything), her parents have an expensive yacht (?), she's not a scientist (this coming from people who reject the words of scientists), Hitler and Stalin received the same recognition by Time so she must be as evil as they were, she needs to get some life experience before addressing the UN, her name has been mocked because it's an anagram of "great", she travels in planes and has a mobile phone, ... . About the only thing that hasn't been said about her (yet?) is that she's wearing trousers in the photo and that was one of the crimes for which Joan of Arc was executed in 1431. As Joan wasn't burnt at the stake until she was 19 Greta is safe for the time being.
What all this bullying tells me is that the deniers have no answer to anything that threatens their ideology. They have no science, they have no facts, all they can do is attack anyone who dares to speak out against them. That a 16-year-old girl should be the one doing the speaking out just enrages them more - they resent her intelligence, her lucidity, her willingness to speak to international bodies, her cheerful responses to bullies and although it's never mentioned, her gender. Most of all however they resent her age. If someone as young as Greta can see so clearly through their bullshit and lies then they must be terrified that others will do the same. And they can't let that happen.
Whoever posted this to where I found it cropped off the artist's name
but there were clues that it might be the work of Mark Parisi.
This comes from an excellent book named Taboo published in 1966. The book includes cartoons that were rejected by various publications for all sorts of reasons that we would find strange today. Obviously the cartoonist didn't have a web page back before the Internet was invented and a search now for the name Dudley and cartoons just returns a lot of listings for Dudley Do Right. I'm claiming that it was drawn by my Uncle Dudley and he's been dead for years so who is going to argue with him about it?
How not to achieve your aim (14/12/2019)
Imagine that you were offended at what people called you, so you asked them to use different words. Imagine if the response was ridicule that went viral all across social media. Well that's what happened when Crazy Mothers (yes, that was the name) asked for anti-vaccination liars to be treated with respect. The response was universally of the "plague carriers", "child killers", "disease lovers" kind. Some people even used rude words, which are of course totally appropriate when referring to these vermin. The name "Crazy Mothers" caused much amusement by its self-referential quality.
I consulted a couple of online thesauri (my old Latin teacher would arise from her grave and beat me around the head if I wrote "thesauruses", except when I did it just there for a good reason) and found that apparently there is no synonym in English for "arsehole" so I guess I'll have to stick to "anti-vaccination liars". Someone emailed me once to complain about her web site being listed under that category here and asking why this had happened. She wasn't happy with my answer, which was that she told lies about vaccines. My contrition level was down there at the Planck length.
I tried taking one for the team (14/12/2019)
I thought that the hideous Vaxxed 2 video might be available on YouTube by now so I went looking. I found a place where I can supposedly download the whole thing, but it was reached by a munged Bitly link (Bitly displayed a big warning) and when I got there I had to register (for free of course) but I couldn't use a totally fake email address because a confirmation email with a link had to be responded to. As I am not an idiot I didn't proceed (despite people who deceptively modify URLs assuring me that my email address wouldn't be sold or abused). I tried using a free, throw-away email address, but I backed out as soon as I was told that I had to supply a valid credit card number (which will never be charged, of course) to prove which country I live in. Did I mention that I'm not an idiot?
Apart from that I was dropped into what resembled a broken sewage treatment plant with hundreds of lying anti-vaccine videos. Just reading the titles was enough to make me wish I had a bath in my flat instead of just a shower, because I felt the need to soak in Dettol or some other antiseptic to neutralise the filth and contamination.
Back in history people paid to go to asylums to look at and wonder at the actions of the mad inmates. Now you just have to go to YouTube and search for "vaxxed".
Another one from the history collection in Taboo.
And yes, unlike many people who claim to be Christians I have actually read the book and know that no actual number of "wise men from the east" was specified:
Matthew 2:1 - Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
And that they didn't go into a stable to see the new born Jesus:
Matthew 2:11 - And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
And that Jesus was about two years old at the time:
Matthew 2:16 - Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
But I'm an atheist, so what would I know about who to include in a nativity diorama?
Have yourself a very merry Christmas (21/12/2019)
Sorry to go all Michael Bublé on you there, but it's that time of the year. According to the television and department store windows, it's when snow falls and we roast chestnuts over an open fire. Except that I'm writing this on the officially hottest day ever recorded in Australia, the only white stuff falling from the sky is ash from burning bushland and all open fires in the state are totally banned.
I live in the south east corner of Area 10. The picture below shows the areas burning near me (I live in Oberon near the red rectangle). If you want to know how big the fires are, the top one (Gospers Mountain) covers 450,000 hectares (three times the size of the recent fire in the Amazon forests that was threatening the survival of humanity according to some reports) and the bottom one (Green Wattle Creek) is 182,000 hectares. These are not trivial campfires. There are countries smaller than these fires.
Here's the rest of the state.
And what do those coloured signs mean? Red is "Emergency", yellow is "Watch and Act", blue is "Advice". The white markers are for traffic accidents and other things that require emergency service presence but apart from that don't really need to be worried about.
You can probably see why I'm a bit distracted today and my mind is on other things.
Have I mentioned that both state and federal governments have parties in power who deny climate change? There is a certain irony in the fact that fires made worse, bigger and more frequent by burning coal are threatening a coal-fired power station (that supplies 10% of the state's electricity) and its associated coal mine.
But let's get back to that Christmas thing (21/12/2019)
I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Fundamentalist atheists who object to this atheist using the word "Christmas" should address their concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org where they will be comprehensively ignored. There's nothing religious about my Christmas - it's a secular time for friends and family. (I did give a food donation to one of the local churches because they distribute food parcels to families who are less well off than I am. When I dropped it off I mentioned that my family lives a long way away and the church lady said that members of her congregation are happy to invite lonely people (even atheists!) to lunch in their homes on Christmas Day. Christians behaving like Christians? What next?)
I hope that Santa brings you everything you want, and if you are dyslexic and get presents from Satan I hope you enjoy those too. I'll be taking a short break (three weeks this time, not three years) and The Millenium Project will be back on January 11. I might even have some awards to present. As I've said in prior years drink sensibly, drive safely and do them on different days. I'd like you all to come back next year when I hope to do even more offending of the offensive.
Stolen Nth hand from Facebook.
And finally, last thoughts for Christmas (and for 2019) (21/12/2019)
Two more cartoons from the excellent Taboo book. As the book came out in 1966 I'm not trying to find the artists' web sites.