A back­ward step

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

New Zealand gov­ern­ments have spent a small for­tune de­mon­is­ing a le­gal sub­stance, to­bacco, and made com­mend­able ad­vances in mak­ing Aotearoa smoke-free. Now we have a gov­ern­ment which is putting for­ward a ref­er­en­dum on whether we should le­galise a cur­rently il­le­gal sub­stance which is largely in­gested through smok­ing.

A back­ward step I would have thought.



They do not ad­dress the ques­tion as to whether this in­cludes the free­dom to refuse im­mu­ni­sa­tion on be­half of one’s chil­dren. Nor do they ad­dress the more dif­fi­cult ques­tion as to whether a proxy re­fusal on the grounds of per­sonal conviction might put at fa­tal risk other mem­bers of so­ci­ety, such as in­fant chil­dren and those whose im­mune sys­tem is for the time be­ing sup­pressed by medication.

In­stead, in their lat­est let­ter,

they put for­ward the ca­nard that MMR im­mu­ni­sa­tion actually caused a mumps out­break aboard USS Fort McHenry ear­lier this year. This was not the case. All 703 sailors and marines had had two doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vac­cine. In an out­break on board 28, or four per cent of the to­tal, had in­flam­ma­tion of the parotid sali­vary glands, as­sumed to be due to the mumps virus.

Most rea­son­able peo­ple would re­gard 96 per cent ef­fec­tive­ness as fairly good, when about 60 per cent of non-im­mune peo­ple ex­posed to the virus will get the clin­i­cal dis­ease. Not OGP. To them “…the vac­cine is de­fec­tive”.

They then quoted ex­ten­sively from the As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­can Physi­cians and Sur­geons, as if the AAPS rep­re­sented a main­stream body of Amer­i­can med­i­cal opin­ion. In fact, it is a body of about 5000 doc­tors and lawyers out of the 871,000 doc­tors in ac­tive med­i­cal prac­tice in the USA (0.6 per cent of the to­tal). Its main focus seems to be to op­pose abor­tion, im­mu­ni­sa­tion, universal health care and con­tra­cep­tion.

It is also a strong ad­vo­cate for HIV not be­ing caused by the HIV-1 and HIV-2 virus, in the face of ex­haus­tive, clear-cut and un­am­bigu­ous evidence that it is. It has “…con­sis­tently viewed manda­tory vac­ci­na­tion as a ‘tool of the state’ and a ‘threat to physi­cian au­ton­omy,’ while min­imis­ing the con­tri­bu­tion of mass vac­ci­na­tion to the elim­i­na­tion of var­i­ous in­fec­tious dis­eases”.

Sir, we can now recog­nise OGP by the com­pany they keep.

The risks of the dis­eases im­mu­ni­sa­tion pre­vent are over­whelm­ingly greater than the risks of harm from im­mu­ni­sa­tion. If you can­not trust doc­tors, de­part­ments of health world-wide and the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion to get the bal­ance of risk and ben­e­fit right for you, who are you go­ing to trust? Anti-vaxx con­spir­acy the­o­rists? The As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­can Physi­cians and Sur­geons? Ota­matea Grey Power? BILL MORRIS

Pukenui I was first made aware of an­thro­pogenic global warm­ing more than 50 years ago, at a time when it was only a pre­dic­tion if we con­tin­ued build­ing an economy that was de­pen­dent on fos­sil fuel. It was also con­sid­ered that even­tu­ally we could see a drown­ing of coastal ci­ties and low-ly­ing lands in the cen­turies to come.

Through this knowl­edge I have been spurred to re­spond to the many let­ters of de­nial in the North­land Age over a num­ber of years. I felt the need to ad­dress the wide­spread use of mis­in­for­ma­tion that was in­tended to mis­lead.

To quote Michael Mann, a lead­ing cli­mate sci­en­tist who has been vic­tim of much of the vil­i­fi­ca­tion: “The science that we are doing is a threat to the world's most pow­er­ful and wealth­i­est spe­cial in­ter­ests that has ever ex­isted - the fos­sil fuel in­dus­try. They have used their im­mense re­sources to cre­ate fake scan­dals and to fund a global dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign aimed at vil­i­fy­ing the sci­en­tists, dis­cred­it­ing the science, and mis­lead­ing the pub­lic and pol­icy-mak­ers.

“Ar­guably it is the most vil­lain­ous act in the history of hu­man civil­i­sa­tion, be­cause it is about the short-term in­ter­ests of a small num­ber of plu­to­crats over the long-term wel­fare of this planet and the peo­ple who live on it.”

Stud­ies have also re­vealed three prom­i­nent forms of science de­nial, namely rel­a­tive the­ory de­nial, evolution de­nial, and cli­mate science de­nial. These are party to their per­sis­tent fab­ri­ca­tion of fake con­tro­ver­sies, male dom­i­nance among its ac­tivists, and a strong connection to var­i­ous forms of right-wing pol­i­tics.

It is im­por­tant to ex­pose the fake con­tro­ver­sies for what they are, and to re­veal how these science de­niers per­sis­tently use de­viant cri­te­ria of as­sent to dis­tort the sci­en­tific process.

This has led us to a sit­u­a­tion where it has now become a mat­ter of ur­gency to dras­ti­cally cut back our car­bon foot­print to stave off the worst ef­fects of cli­mate change. As cli­mate sci­en­tist Katharine Hay­hoe states, it is an im­por­tant topic that we all need to fa­mil­iarise with and to be talk­ing about. We need to em­brace new tech­nolo­gies based on renewables. RAY PATER­SON

Kaimau­mau note and use com­mon sense when you see hazard lights flash­ing on the car up the road in front of you.

We do not just pop out on to the road with the car and put the haz­ards on for fun when we would rather be home watch­ing TV or cooking dinner or curled up with a book . . . or a lover! We do it be­cause there is a dan­ger on the road, and you, the driver of the car us­ing that road, could be hurt. Or do you think that be­cause you are so spe­cial, that black cow that got out on the road is go­ing to mag­i­cally dis­ap­pear as you whizz up at full speed?

Coun­try roads some­times have prob­lems, and just be­cause the sign says you can drive at 100km/h it is not an order, but a top limit, and any fig­ure under that limit is also al­lowed, es­pe­cially when your life is at risk.

When you see hazard lights, at least slow down till you can safely as­sess the prob­lem. And even if you can­not see any prob­lem, drive much slower till you are past any pos­si­ble hazard.

Hazard lights are for the driver ap­proach­ing, not for the car flash­ing them. SYLVIA BRYAN

Mo­tu­tangi my back injury when my friends prayed for me in Je­sus’ name. This week I am so grate­ful for more grace time here; we could have been a fa­tal statis­tic.

I am so very grate­ful to be able to see our two chil­dren who trav­elled with me un­harmed, to be with my fam­ily and visit friends again. Be­ing able once more to see the sun re­flect­ing on a blade of grass on the way to the chicken coop, gaining re­newed at­ten­tive­ness to stop and really lis­ten and en­joy look­ing at the beau­ti­ful faces of each of our chil­dren when they talk to me. Be­ing able once again to spend time with my hus­band when he comes back from a long day’s work.

No chore should ever be too bor­ing or hard again, be­cause I have a sec­ond chance to do it.

God bless you as you take care on the road and ap­pre­ci­ate and use the pre­cious gift of time you have here and now. AMMI STEENKAMP


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