The Dim-Post

October 31, 2014

The idiot

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:29 am

Here’s why this Steffan Browning/Ebola/Homeopathy thing is a really big deal for the Green Party. (a) Historically they’ve been stereotyped by their opponents as a bunch of nutters (b) The main focus of the party for the past five years – at least – has been to counter that perception and convince voters that they’re a sober and credible political alternative. (c) Arguing that homeopathy should be used to cure Ebola is so fucking crazy it instantly undermines a lot of that work and reveals to the public that at least one of the MPs in the party is a total nutcase.

Just after the election someone asked me what they could do to help the Greens, and I told them to join the party and vote for candidates that weren’t deluded lunatics. Disasters like this illustrate why it’s important for sane, sensible people to contribute to the political process at a grassroots level and make sure the MPs in their party aren’t laughable weirdos.

84 Comments »

  1. On the other hand, large numbers of MPs in the ruling party still believe in trickle down economics, which is right up there with homeopathy on the voodoo belief system scale.

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 31, 2014 @ 8:03 am

  2. I guess Browning has totally gone to ground now, and we’ll never find out if he believed that Kennedy was killed with a homeopathically small dose of cone snail toxin.

    Comment by Joe W — October 31, 2014 @ 8:14 am

  3. @Sanc Is there anyone who actually believes in trickle down economics who isn’t left wing? I think it’s a myth made up by lefties to scare their children at nights.

    Comment by The Ruminator — October 31, 2014 @ 8:57 am

  4. And here we were, all laughing at Colin Craig… I have party voted 3 times for the Greens in that they seemed to be scientifically literate…Where do I go now?

    Comment by Leopold — October 31, 2014 @ 9:00 am

  5. Isnt homeopathy akin to a rockstar economy ?

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — October 31, 2014 @ 9:13 am

  6. The idiot MP doesn’t know when to shut up either.
    The on-line article on Stuff is very kind to him.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10682926/Signing-Ebola-petition-unwise-says-Browning
    They left out some more of his comments on the subject.
    In the printed DomPost he continued with the view that since the WHO did not appear to have an instant cure he hoped they would keep an open mind on every potential treatment and that this should include homeopathy. He also claimed that he had used it himself and that it had been effective in treating one of his children.
    When you are in a hole, stop digging.

    Comment by alwyn — October 31, 2014 @ 9:15 am

  7. Steffan Browning is the reason I joined the greens, in order to vote him down the list. He is usually ranked lowly by the delegates (16th this time) and then when the general membership votes moves up a couple places (to 14 this time). He is the worst example of the “anti-science” greens, and only his local support keeps him high in the list.

    Comment by anonymous — October 31, 2014 @ 9:20 am

  8. It’s one of the problems with the Greens’ democratic list process: some of the regions bloc-vote their MPs at number one on the list, which means they get a much higher list placing than their support in the party merits. I don’t know how you fix that.

    Comment by danylmc — October 31, 2014 @ 9:26 am

  9. I’m a traditional Labour voter but I voted for the Greens in the last election after doing some research on climate change and deciding that Labour isn’t environmentally-friendly enough. So I think I’d be what most would consider a ‘mainstream’ (i.e. soft) environmentalist now, who are the type of people the Greens are after. I don’t agree with Steffan Browning’s comment but it hasn’t made me regret voting Greens. All parties have people with views I disagree with and agree with. I doubt the soft environmental voters the Greens want to pick up who are concerned about climate change, clean rivers and good public transport etc are going to be that worried about Browning’s comment.

    Comment by Seb Rattansen (@seb_nz) — October 31, 2014 @ 9:45 am

  10. No one says it better than Mitchell & Webb

    Comment by SDW — October 31, 2014 @ 9:52 am

  11. Every party seems to suffer a fool or two at the bottom of their list.
    But Homeopaths Sans Frontiers is a fairly benign example of this problem.
    He has not gone large on the expenses or made a cock of himself in a restaurant like the last two national cellar dwellers.
    I would rather a deluded loon than another trougher.

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — October 31, 2014 @ 9:59 am

  12. It’s one of the problems with the Greens’ democratic list process: some of the regions bloc-vote their MPs at number one on the list, which means they get a much higher list placing than their support in the party merits.

    On the contrary, bloc vote support for MPs as number one on the list means that they get exactly the right list placing based on their support in the party. If a largish group of party members thinks you are that awesome as to rank you number one, then democratically, you should have a high list placing.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — October 31, 2014 @ 9:59 am

  13. I missed this episode of Steffan Browning’s except for a short clip on the news last night. It wasn’t the report of what he’d said earlier that got me so much as his apology on camera. He reasoned that he didn’t understand it in detail and was just suggesting it should be considered, but his reason for not understanding the effectiveness was that he was “not a doctor” and “not a homeopath” (paraphrased, emphasis mine).

    I think Sanc has it right that MPs in other parties can easily be just as bad on many topics—look at ACT MPs historic record on accepting the existence of climate change, for one, yet they’re actually accepted and taken seriously as part of the government. But the Green Party has to be an order of magnitude better than everyone else at handling this stuff because there’s so much prejudice against their competence to begin with that people will be quoting this one 10 years from now as an example of the Greens and why they’re kooky, even if it’s an isolated thing and Browning’s long gone.

    Comment by izogi — October 31, 2014 @ 10:07 am

  14. Idiocy we can live with – just move the man to the sidelines and forget about him.

    A lack of trust in our politicians is something that ought not be tolerated. Yet there they are, John Key and other Nats with immense power to harm us and our country, left unaccounted for their multiple wrongs of Dirty Politics and unfettered to continue with their ideologies.

    In focusing on the things that do not matter and turning a blind eye to the things that do, there is something sad about our society.

    Comment by John Allen — October 31, 2014 @ 10:17 am

  15. @ Seb Rattansen – You voted Green??? Does Mel know???

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 31, 2014 @ 10:30 am

  16. Oh don’t worry about that apparently she voted Green to.

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 31, 2014 @ 10:32 am

  17. As far as I can see the crazy has always been strong in the Greens. A lot of effort has gone into keeping it well concealed, which is why we don’t see folk dancing at party conferences any more, which is a pity for many reasons. But this latest brain fart from Browning just shows that the crazy is still there, lurking in the shadows. The spirit of Sue Kedgeley lives on.

    I think that when you join the Greens, or vote for them, you do it either because you embrace this stuff, or because you think it is harmless. The question for those of us who are not Greens supporters is whether the rest of the party really disagrees with Browning, or just wants him to be quiet.

    Comment by Nick R — October 31, 2014 @ 11:19 am

  18. I can see the crazy has always been strong in the Greens. A lot of effort has gone into keeping it well concealed….The spirit of Sue Kedgeley lives on…

    More certainty born of conventional wisdom, Nick R’s in a twist.

    Comment by paritutu — October 31, 2014 @ 11:56 am

  19. Well, it took just homeopathic levels of news to cure you of your hiatus.

    Comment by eszett — October 31, 2014 @ 12:28 pm

  20. This merely indicates to me that what we call ‘Green’ nuttiness is the tip of a bigger cultural iceberg. We periodically keep getting this nonsense about a new pandemic and ‘the end of the world is nigh’ stuff. Call it a new religion, or the emperor’s New Clothes syndrome, it reinforces a historically racist discourse about how ‘we’ are somehow ‘purer’, and can be the salvation of those less knowledgeable than we. But, as long as we remain the only true beneficiaries of such knowledge, and can then cite it as continuing evidence of our purity and deservedness.

    Why, it’s almost is if the pharmaceutical companies feel the need to scare their sales up every four years or so by terrifying people into believing the end is nigh. Tubercolosis, malaria, unclean drinking water, smoke inhalation, to name a few wipe out thousands upon thousands of hapless brown people year in year out. Even common or garden influenza routinely culls the elderly of every race, every year, in large numbers.

    But every so often the media gets its knickers in a knot about a handful of photogenic Europeans dying from ‘Ebola’ (a relatively non-contagious disease, but which unfortunately originates from ‘the heart of darkness’ that is Africa), and suddenly, it’s ‘all systems alert’, and we have random nutters claiming we can ‘save’ Africa with homeopathy.

    Their hearts are in the right place, but, I’ll wager we of the ‘developed world’ kill more Africans each year than Ebola ever can, with our willful ignorance. We’ll stamp out HIV/AIDS faster (but only for us, mind, Africans will continue to die in large numbers). ‘We’ are only worried about Ebola because we feel somehow it is a threat to ‘us’. and the pharmaceutical industry is happy to pander to that, and we are happy to applaud them as they use hapless Africans to test for a cure, while at the same time cowering in terror at the latest impending ‘threat’ from the great unwashed of the world.. So, whatever. Each time we use the toilet we’re going to flush more clean drinking water down the drain than many in the under-developed world get in a day.

    Yes – I can see why you’d want to put a lid on the ‘folk-dancing’.

    Comment by Lee Clark — October 31, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

  21. @barnsley bill – “He has not gone large on the expenses”

    What’s his total then?

    Comment by SHG — October 31, 2014 @ 1:28 pm

  22. I doubt that big pharma is particularly interested in this. Daily medications for chronic conditions are how they make the big money. Developing new vaccines for rare diseases is for chumps.

    Comment by Stephen J — October 31, 2014 @ 1:42 pm

  23. On the contrary, bloc vote support for MPs as number one on the list means that they get exactly the right list placing based on their support in the party. If a largish group of party members thinks you are that awesome as to rank you number one, then democratically, you should have a high list placing.

    Absolutely.

    If I were steering a bloc attempting to manipulate the Green party selection process in favour of a mid pack MP like Steffan, I would place him as No. 1. I’d then pick the top 7 possible Green MPs to rank in spots 2 to 8. Next I’d pick a bunch of no hope losers that could never garner wide approval for the spots 9 to as many as I could get away with without being blatantly obvious about it. Finally I would place his likely competitors for the spots 8 through 18 at the very bottom of the list, somewhere in the vicinity of a theoretical John Banks.

    Yay democracy!

    Comment by unaha-closp — October 31, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

  24. Agreed, but flogging big stocks of the latest ‘tamiflu-placebo’ to gullible punters is really where it’s at. ..

    Comment by Lee Clark — October 31, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

  25. Affluent, New Age Hippies. What-are-ya gonna do ?

    Whether it’s homeopathy for Ebola or buying crystals in order to “channel” some sort of mysterious “universal energies” – they’re always going to be a problem for the credibility of the broader Left these days.

    Comment by swordfish — October 31, 2014 @ 3:04 pm

  26. Whether it’s homeopathy for Ebola or buying crystals in order to “channel” some sort of mysterious “universal energies” – they’re always going to be a problem for the credibility of the broader Left these days.

    Maybe, but the most over the top crystal fondler I ever encountered was a terminally pretentious right-wing libertarian.

    Comment by Joe W — October 31, 2014 @ 3:10 pm

  27. Russel Norman has been doing a good job in Parliament holding John Key to account [re: Dirty Politics ]
    It will be a long task but it must be done

    Comment by Dorothy — October 31, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

  28. I understand Colin Craig has approached Russel and Metiria seeking to discuss a merger on the grounds of the clear compatibility of their two parties.

    Comment by Tinakori — October 31, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

  29. Tinakori: And I have it on good authority that Colin has also been in talks with David Garrett, Muriel Newman, Aaron Gilmore, Bob Clarkson, Richard Prosser, Steven Gibson, and a fair few others.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — October 31, 2014 @ 7:06 pm

  30. Developing new vaccines for rare diseases is for chumps.
    I am SHOCKED by the suggestion that market solutions are not the way to address diseases of poor people.

    Maybe, but the most over the top crystal fondler I ever encountered was a terminally pretentious right-wing libertarian.
    Lots of cross-over / crank magnetism between the anti-vaccination loons and the conspiratorial right-wing.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — October 31, 2014 @ 11:33 pm

  31. >The main focus of the party for the past five years – at least – has been to counter that perception and convince voters that they’re a sober and credible political alternative.

    Yes, how has that been working out? As far as I can tell the narrative that they’re nuts has never faltered. It’s a highly convenient thing to plant on anyone that actually has a vision, by anyone who changes their opinions with the latest polls. It wouldn’t really matter how nutty they actually were, or, for that matter, how many fruit-loops and fuckwits infest the main parties (also fairly constant). Or, for that matter, how silly the whole idea of just following public opinion in one’s choices itself is. A democracy does that, but that doesn’t mean it’s sensible for the people IN the democracy to do it.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — October 31, 2014 @ 11:34 pm

  32. Nothing compared to what John Key is going to face over the next week, now Rawshark of has come out the closet.

    But what you must remember, Ben, is that the fight for transparency is only worth it to the extent that it protects our autonomy as moral actors. And some of us want to remain hidden. Accept total transparency and be prepared to accept the birth of God – the State…

    You’ve received communications various channels over the past few weeks. Understand that some people have, although they are striving to change, personal foibles may cause them to act rashly at times. Know that some of those people only were only trying to warn you about what *they* can do to people. People, perhaps, not quite as strong as you but with you all the same.

    Kia Kaha.

    Comment by The Weatherman (thanks Grant) — November 1, 2014 @ 3:38 am

  33. Rawshark went to quite elaborate lengths to protect their identity, pointing out that if they got caught they were liable for seven years in prison. I doubt they’re going to blurt out ‘I am Rawshark’ on twitter.

    Comment by danylmc — November 1, 2014 @ 6:21 am

  34. Exactly. Good work.

    Comment by The Weatherman (thanks Grant) — November 1, 2014 @ 8:30 am

  35. One very honest opinion: Mossad.

    Comment by The Weatherman (thanks Grant) — November 1, 2014 @ 8:43 am

  36. I came here expecting a Dostoyevsky review. I’m quite disappointed.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 1, 2014 @ 8:43 am

  37. I agree that homeopathy is little more than a mythical placebo.

    http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/homeopathy-stop-ebola-outbreak/

    But we should remember that there haven’t been some spectacular failures promoted by our own health authorities.

    Remember the hysteria around the MeNZB vaccine which was used to vaccinate about a million kids here several years ago? The cost was a cool $250 million. Despite that, kids who were vaccinated contracted meningococcal disease and also died. Indeed, the health authorities subsequently admitted that maybe (maybe!) one death had been prevented by use of the vaccine.

    At least Stefan Browning hasn’t wasted $250 million of taxpayers’ money promoting homeopathy.

    Comment by Ross — November 1, 2014 @ 9:12 am

  38. in defence of Steffan Browning – being basically pure water means that homeopathic preparations are potentially useful for treating dehydration caused by ebola, if administered in sufficient quantities through an IV drip.

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — November 1, 2014 @ 10:22 am

  39. http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/tag/ben-rachinger/

    Comment by The conspiracy deepens? — November 1, 2014 @ 6:00 pm

  40. Ross, could you elaborate on this?Give me a link to an article that proves kids who were vaccinated were killed by the strain they were vaccinated against also .

    “Remember the hysteria around the MeNZB vaccine which was used to vaccinate about a million kids here several years ago? The cost was a cool $250 million. Despite that, kids who were vaccinated contracted meningococcal disease and also died. Indeed, the health authorities subsequently admitted that maybe (maybe!) one death had been prevented by use of the vaccine.”

    One of the things that really really puts me off the greens is the anti vaccination, anti fluoride pro homeopathy nutters like Ross hiding in their ranks. Nothing will convince them they are wrong, its all misinformation from “Big Pharma” and Wakefield is a hero to most of them despite the horrible unnecessary things he did to autistic children that ended up costing him his license to practice medicine.
    When the vaccine the Ross is lying about came out these sorts of weirdos were sending out emails to whoever would read them saying schools had rooms set aside with medical staff to deal with all the terrible reactions to the vaccination. No proof of any of this of course and Ross’s idiot comment about only [only?ffs really ? how many would make you shut up?] one life being saved ignores the fact it stopped the outbreaks of a horrible disease.

    I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some element of funding for alternative health treatments or recognition of things like homeopathy as a price of coalition to keep the weirdo element of the Greens onside

    Comment by Del Griffith — November 1, 2014 @ 6:04 pm

  41. And in the same league as Dr Andrew Wakefield is Sir Mansel Aylward, who’s basically a health insurance shill who thinks he’s a ‘welfare addiction’ expert.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — November 1, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

  42. One of the things that really really puts me off the greens is the anti vaccination, anti fluoride pro homeopathy nutters like Ross hiding in their ranks.

    You must have missed the bit where I said homeopathy was little more than a placebo.

    So you have no problem wasting $250 million of taxpayers’ money?

    Comment by Ross — November 2, 2014 @ 6:43 am

  43. All five children who have died of meningococcal disease since January 2005 have been vaccinated. According to the Minister of Health not a single death has occurred in unvaccinated children.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE0611/S00006.htm

    This is what Diana Lennon, who was heavily involved in the roll out of the vaccine, has said:

    “Since late 2005, in the highest risk areas where the immunisation programme began (northern New Zealand), most children are likely not to have had antibody protection against the New Zealand meningococcal epidemic strain. Despite this, the decay of the epidemic continues.10 In addition, it is well documented that serogroup B meningococcal epidemics naturally decay over 10–15 years….New Zealand’s epidemic of meningococcal disease, which began in 1991, has now largely abated…it is well documented that serogroup B meningococcal epidemics naturally decay over 10–15 years.”

    http://www.whale.to/vaccine/Lennon%20NZMA%202008.pdf

    Lennon admits that the epidemic began in 1991 and that such epidimcs naturally decay after 10-15 years. But roll out of the vaccine didn’t take place until 2004/05, when the epidemic had virtually run its course. The other point made by Lennon is that kids are unlikely to have any protection against the disease but that the “decay of the epidemic continues.” Some refreshing honesty.

    When the vaccine the Ross is lying about …

    I think readers will realise who is lying…

    Comment by Ross — November 2, 2014 @ 7:09 am

  44. The incidence and number of deaths from the epidemic strain had fallen massively prior to the introduction of the vaccine. It is unclear why the Healthy Ministry didn’t mention that during their information campaign.

    Comment by Ross — November 2, 2014 @ 7:15 am

  45. It’s interesting to see the ongoing decline in the epidemic strain among those aged over 20 years. These people did not receive the vaccine…

    Comment by Ross — November 2, 2014 @ 7:25 am

  46. Hopefully people will realise what Rawshark is: an invention of Cameron Slater in cahoots with members of the Auckland young Nats.

    Comment by Jason — November 2, 2014 @ 4:23 pm

  47. So a work of meta fiction then, after all? Or meta-meta fiction?

    Comment by Mr Nobody — November 2, 2014 @ 6:20 pm

  48. Scientific illiteracy is widespread. Poltical or financial success doesn’t suddenly impart wisdom, despite the confident utterances of our infallible leaders. http://youtu.be/gFLYe_YAQYQ

    Comment by ropata — November 3, 2014 @ 5:19 am

  49. Ross: actual published researchers have worked it out: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21803101/&ved=0CC8QFjAH&usg=AFQjCNF4_Ceq2CIONxAOjIsliFNZ2T0JCg&sig2=VgUZupt8ashWMP4Gh6-4UQ
    They estimated that the programme prevented 210 cases, 6 deaths and 15-30 severe sequelae such as loss of limbs. If you read what Diana Lennon actually says, her main criticism was that the programme wasn’t started soon enough, which is a bit hard to reconcile with her other criticism that there wasn’t enough testing, but there you go. http://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/2011/10/19/professor-lennon-menzb-delay-ethically-and-morally-defunct/

    Even if you agree that it was too little too late, it’s still a long way off spectacular failure. There’s 30 odd young people who have their lives and limbs thanks to the programme who might disagree with that. And I’d rather the people making decisions about future programmes assessed the fairly rather than through their own pseudoscientific biased lenses.

    Comment by Delia — November 3, 2014 @ 1:05 pm

  50. There’s 30 odd young people who have their lives and limbs thanks to the programme who might disagree with that.

    That is nonsense. The loss of limbs is extremely rare. The points I made are valid. Kids who died from the disease had been vaccinated.

    I suggest you look at the above graphs and explain the dramatic fall among those aged over 20 contracting the epidemic strain…these people weren’t eligible for the vaccine.

    Comment by Ross — November 3, 2014 @ 6:34 pm

  51. “A statistical analysis has calculated that in the two years after the vaccination campaign started, it prevented 54 cases of disease and 1.7 deaths.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10523208

    “The MeNZB immunisation programme delivered in 2004-2006 towards the expected natural end of a projected 15-year epidemic appears to have had an effect (difficult to prove conclusively)…failure to adequately assess vaccine effectiveness means that the contribution of MeNZB to the observed reduction in disease, particularly in those aged less than five years, will never be reliably known.”

    So we spend $250 million even though the epidemic is expected to end naturally, the effect of the vaccine is “difficult to prove conclusively” and its effectiveness will “never be reliably known”.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21996021

    Comment by Ross — November 3, 2014 @ 6:57 pm

  52. Do you realise you’re trying to use a 2008 newspaper article to contradict a 2011 published study? I’ve read Diana Lennon’s paper – like I said, her main criticism is that it didn’t come soon enough, not that it was ineffective. You seem to be saying we shouldn’t have tried at all. All epidemics are expected to end naturally, it’s just a question of what the body count is before they do.

    Newsflash: vaccines don’t all work 100 percent of the time. We know that, but that doesn’t make them useless. At some point they might not be value for money, but that’s a different question and involves putting a value on human life.

    Cherry picking the data that suits your argument in the way you have done is intellectually dishonest. Regardless of whether you make that error with homeopathy, the fact you’re making it in this subject says you’re not as smart as you think you are. And that’s a very dangerous kind of folly that should be kept as far away as possible from the corridors of power.

    Comment by Delia — November 3, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

  53. I’d also like to remind people that throughout the MeNZB campaign, Sue Kedgley was relentlessly challenging it, around the same time she was blaming her son’s croup and ongoing asthma on having received the MMR shot. She finally left Parliament after playing her part in stopping the mandatory fortification of bread with folate. She and a handful of other politicians owe roughly half the kids born with spina bifida since then an apology, because they stood aside worrying about things that weren’t real when they could have prevented suffering. So yeah, the Greens have some serious ground to make up on health issues, and it’s not just an issue of perception. Homeopathy is a harmless diversion compared to the damage this kind of thinking can do to a public health system.

    Comment by Delia — November 3, 2014 @ 10:05 pm

  54. I came here expecting a Dostoyevsky review. I’m quite disappointed.

    Perhaps Danyl will do “Notes from Underground” next.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — November 3, 2014 @ 11:49 pm

  55. @Bimler: I’d be down for “Demons” myself

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 4, 2014 @ 12:24 am

  56. You seem to be saying we shouldn’t have tried at all. All epidemics are expected to end naturally, it’s just a question of what the body count is before they do.

    Did you read Diana Lennon’s timeframe for how long the epidemic was expected to last (which began in 1991)? It’s 10 to 15 years. Bearing in mind the vaccine roll-out occurred in 2004/05, it is clear the epidemic had virtually run its course. I am not sure why you continue to ignore this – intellectual dishonesty indeed.

    vaccines don’t all work 100 percent of the time. We know that, but that doesn’t make them useless. At some point they might not be value for money, but that’s a different question and involves putting a value on human life.

    In other words, it doesn’t matter if this particular vaccine was unnecessary and or was ineffective, we should have thrown a shitload of taxpayers’ money at it anyway and we should do it again in the future. With that kind of attitude you should be an MP!

    You still haven’t explained those graphs above. I am guessing it goes against the grain for you to admit the vaccine was a gross waste of taxpayers’ money.

    Comment by Ross — November 4, 2014 @ 8:04 am

  57. the vaccine was a gross waste of taxpayers’ money.

    You can’t argue that. At most you could argue that in hindsight the vaccination programme was unnecessary but only in hindsight,

    But even then you would have to discount the possibility the vaccination do not prevent a resurgence of the epidemic.

    You’ve discounted the non-lethal effects of the disease as being “rare”. Have you seen what these can be?

    Comment by NeilM — November 4, 2014 @ 9:58 am

  58. If that’s the same Ross that got kicked off Public Address back in 07 for making the same arguments with a side order of personal abuse, he’s clearly a master in antivax trollery. I’ll bow out here with an apology to everyone else for feeding him.

    Comment by Delia — November 4, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

  59. Personally I came expecting a nice dose of Iggy Pop – I was visualizing ‘Dum Dum Boys’.

    Comment by Lee Clark — November 4, 2014 @ 3:07 pm

  60. And remember, the world is going to be destroyed (DESTROYED!) by global warming! Imagine Wellington 2 to 4 degrees warmer! It would be like Christchurch in summer: a disaster!

    All down to trace amounts of CO2. In the meantime, urban liberals buy diesel cars because they are “environmentally friendly”…

    Thankfully, global warming has “paused”.

    “20.This merely indicates to me that what we call ‘Green’ nuttiness is the tip of a bigger cultural iceberg. We periodically keep getting this nonsense about a new pandemic and ‘the end of the world is nigh’ stuff. Call it a new religion, or the emperor’s New Clothes syndrome, it reinforces a historically racist discourse about how ‘we’ are somehow ‘purer’, and can be the salvation of those less knowledgeable than we. But, as long as we remain the only true beneficiaries of such knowledge, and can then cite it as continuing evidence of our purity and deservedness.” And this is true of all scares, fads and cults. But not global warming, no siree!

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 4, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

  61. And add the “terrorist threat” which allows govts to infringe what we’d otherwise consider to be our rights.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 4, 2014 @ 3:27 pm

  62. And in other news “Some said cyber threats are being exaggerated by people who might profit most from creating an atmosphere of fear.” http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/62839579/major-hacking-attack-in-us-looms-survey.html

    “Also this week, US security researchers said in two separate reports that the … Chinese governments are likely behind widespread cyber-espionage that has hit targets in the United States and elsewhere.”
    And that makes sense: invest in substantial chunks of America, then destroy your investment via cyber attacks.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 4, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

  63. CF: “And add the “terrorist threat” which allows govts to infringe what we’d otherwise consider to be our rights.”

    Which itself seems to be a direct descendant of McCarthyist Domino Theorism.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — November 4, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

  64. CF: “And that makes sense: invest in substantial chunks of America, then destroy your investment via cyber attacks.”

    aka, the Broken Window Parable and its spiritual successor, Disaster Capitalism.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — November 4, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

  65. “…Chinese … are likely behind widespread cyber-espionage that has hit targets in the United States and elsewhere.”

    And that makes sense: invest in substantial chunks of America, then destroy your investment via cyber attacks.

    Depends on if you think you’re going to get your investment back…

    Comment by Phil — November 4, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

  66. I think Ben at #31 is onto something – while the Greens have tried to address their image problem with the sector of the public who thinks of them as anti-scientific loons, it’s debatable to what degree they’ve been successful. Although that image isn’t totally groundless, as we’ve seen here, it is to a large degree encouraged by hostile press coverage. Painting the Greens as out-there weirdos peddling proverbial snake oil is a consistent and well-worn National campaign tactic. Yes, National’s efforts are often assisted by the occasional but reliable own-goal in the Green camp, but it would be naive to think this scepticism arises entirely from people taking an unbiased look at the Greens’ policies.

    Having said that, a lot of the Greens’ efforts to address this image problem have been fairly tokenist. All too often they simply scatter a few references to science through their policy portfolio, poll a bunch of Green supporters as to whether they think the party is anti-science, and then declare that that part of their image problem is nixed.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 4, 2014 @ 8:59 pm

  67. You can’t argue that. At most you could argue that in hindsight the vaccination programme was unnecessary but only in hindsight

    Except the same points I’ve made were made prior to the vaccine’s roll out. Which might explain why Norway refused to use the vaccine and why our Treasury said the numbers didn’t stack up.

    “The Lancet medical journal reported in 1991 that the Norwegian Institute of Public Health found that the large and robust clinical trials proved the vaccine to have insufficient efficacy to justify its use in a mass vaccination program. The Lancet paper also contained data showing that the epidemic was waning naturally by the completion of the trials. The incidence had declined from peak levels by about 50%, similar to the natural decline that had occurred in New Zealand when the vaccine was approved…[a] cost benefit analysis by Treasury in 2001 showed that the cost-to-benefit ratios were seven times those normally used by Pharmac to approve funding of prescription medicines [12] and that was before the significant declines in disease and deaths that have occurred naturally.”

    “Cabinet was told that meningococcal disease would kill 20 New Zealanders per year for the next ten years, and that the MeNZB™ vaccine would avert 13.6 deaths per year. Yet since 2001, total deaths for all age groups have declined naturally by about 70 percent while case numbers have dropped by 48 percent. Deaths due to the strain of bacteria targeted by the MeNZB™ vaccine have declined by 76% since peak levels in 2001. A look at death rates across all strains of the disease show a natural decline in the disease burden and follow somewhat the disease cycle decline experienced in Norway, Cuba, Ireland and numerous other countries.”

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0502/S00064..htm

    The truth was out there. But people like Delia had their heads firmly buried in the sand.

    Comment by Ross — November 5, 2014 @ 7:47 am

  68. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0502/S00064.htm

    Comment by Ross — November 5, 2014 @ 7:49 am

  69. The best help the Greens could get is encouragement to support evidence based policy across the board, not just in public health care.

    Comment by Robert Singers — November 5, 2014 @ 9:34 am

  70. @Robert: What would an evidence based minimum wage policy look like?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 5, 2014 @ 10:16 am

  71. The best help the Greens could get is encouragement to support evidence based policy across the board, not just in public health care.

    Presumably the same advice could be given to the current Government.

    Comment by Ross — November 5, 2014 @ 11:48 am

  72. If The Greens are only for NZ humanitarian aid how do they think humanitarian aid can be delivered safely to the victims and opponents of ISIS without the protection of the military of other countries.

    Comment by NeilM — November 5, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

  73. I bet this thread makes Danyl feel much better about the credibility of the Left.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — November 5, 2014 @ 5:49 pm

  74. Turei might want talk to a few Kurdish fighters before going on about a “US-led” war against ISIS.

    She might not like Obams but surely solidarity with people who are actually fighting a war against the very worst of right wing beliefs would be a core left wing principle.

    Comment by NeilM — November 5, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

  75. Hey Neil.

    Where do the Shia militia, Hezbollah, and the Iranian Quds forces currently fighting ISIS all over Iraq fit in. Is that who we stand in solidarity with?

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — November 6, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

  76. I ask, because those guys aren;t standing in solidairity with the Kurds, much. They do for a bit, and then they stop. It’s a complicated situation, and I seek your knowledge seeing you seem to think it’s simple.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — November 6, 2014 @ 12:45 pm

  77. @Pb, I have replied but I think it’s sitting in moderation or something.

    Comment by NeilM — November 6, 2014 @ 3:18 pm

  78. Looks like it’s lost.

    It is complicated but I’ve seen that said quite a few times as if it were a revelation no one else was party to.

    I doubt Obama is unaware of the difficulties.

    But just giving aid doesn’t absolve us from the moral complexity. Getting aid to where it’s needed will often require others risking and losing their lives.

    Aiding the victims and opponents of IDIS is still taking sides.

    There are people who live in comparative safety from ISIS because of people fighting with the assistance of US air strikes,

    Diplomatic pressure from Obama helped get rid of Maliki which at least gives hope that the Iraqi govt will be more inclusive.,

    Humanitarian aid is being distributed.

    Diplomacy, aid and military action – it’s not a case of one being done at he expense of the other.

    Comment by NeilM — November 6, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

  79. There’s nothing preventing the Greens or anyone else lobbying to have military assistance given to the Kurds or for its use in protecting aid workers and aid distribution.

    Comment by NeilM — November 6, 2014 @ 5:33 pm

  80. Neil.

    At the end of the day, the facts on the ground have to matter. The war that exists in the one that you have to apply your moral judgement to. NZ is a small nation, and our influence over the way the war is fought, and it’s strategic aims can be safely estimated at ‘nil’.

    The choice we have is not ‘What war should be fought here’, but ‘should we join the war that is being fought’.

    The Greens could wax on about what war ought to be fought for months, but given no one is likely to want to fight such a war, the same question will remain that they face now. Should they support the war that is actually being fought.

    The facts are that on the ground ISIS is being fought by Iranian Qud forces and Shia militia. The new PM is very much like the old PM. He relies on the same people to maintain his power base. The air war is being fought in alliance with the gulf Sunni states who oppose Iranian influence. This is a recipe for a hot mess.

    You probably keep hearing that it is complicated because the complications are largely being ignored by those saying ‘just do something’.

    Comment by shakingstick — November 6, 2014 @ 7:37 pm

  81. I’m not too impressed with Norman’s we can protect ourselves from ISIS by not supporting Obama either.

    The main targets of ISIS have been other Muslims and women. Whether we support the US or not will make no difference to that threat.

    Comment by NeilM — November 7, 2014 @ 12:08 am

  82. Thank the Lord for feminists like NellM willing to put our male and female troops on the line for his ideas. #notallmen

    Comment by Kirsty — November 7, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

  83. Still on anti-vaxxers, “SB” writes on the Oily One’s blog – and basically replays the ex-doctor Andrew Wakefield line. (via Twitter)

    In case you’re wondering, “SB” is “Spanish Bride”, aka Juana Atkins, aka the Oily One’s wife.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — November 7, 2014 @ 11:00 pm

  84. “Still on anti-vaxxers…”

    I thought this was about Steffan Browning who made a foolish decision which at least didn’t cost taxpayers a cent, unlike the distastrous MeNZB campaign. Public policy is about weighing up the evidence and making the right decision, not about waging war with straw men.

    Comment by Ross — November 8, 2014 @ 9:39 am


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