We all know that "millennium" comes from the Latin words "mille" and "annus" and means a thousand years. The word "millenium" comes from the Latin words "mille" and "anus" and means something else. This web site is devoted to the millenium of sites which don't deserve a place on the Web. We are not putting them on a pedestal - we are offering them a stool.
|Offending the offensive since 1999|
November 1, 2014
Up in the sky! It's the chemtrails! (1/11/2014)
A friend of mine posted a copy of the painting below to a Facebook group devoted to fear of chemtrails, those condensation trails behind high-flying aircraft that most of us think are ice crystals formed as the exhaust from burning hydrocarbon fuel comes into contact with very cold air but which are known by kooks to be delivery systems for vaccines and mind controlling chemicals. The general consensus was that the painting showed chemtrails. What else could they be? The real question is, though, how the spraying was done in 1891 when the painting was produced, as powered flight wasn't to happen until 1903.
Well so the official story goes, but this picture was painted in Australia at about the time that Lawrence Hargrave was developing his flying machines. Could he have been doing secret trials at Corowa, with the public efforts at Stanwell Tops just there as a distraction? It might not be a coincidence that Corowa, where the bulk of the painting was done, was later chosen as the site of the Constitutional Conventions to establish Australia as a nation. Early development of chemtrails would seem a logical predecessor to controlling the minds and thoughts of people brought from all over the continent to reach agreement. Australia did not want or need a civil war so complacent politicians were a useful thing to have when hammering out a constitution that satisfied almost everyone, and it wasn't feasible to put fluoride into the water back then. Only later did the politicians realise that the tool used on them could be turned back on the sheeple (and Australia has always had a lot of sheep!) in order to keep them in line. It is no coincidence that the war memorial in Corowa is capped by a pyramid, the universal trademark of the Illuminati, or that most official photographs of the memorial do not show the cap.
See how easy it is to develop a conspiracy theory?
When you reach the nadir, keep digging (1/11/2014)
In September I mentioned how the National Vaccine Information Center had made a leap to the bottom by buying advertising space in buses. They rose towards the top of the swamp again in the last couple of weeks. The first was when they asked people to review their Facebook page. After a short period they noticed that the reviews were not as fawning as they would like so they sent out a mass appeal for people to rate the page highly and submit glowing reviews. I was only too pleased to oblige:
Unfortunately it's not possible to vote zero stars for a Facebook page of an organisation devoted to increasing the number of dead and disabled children. People often ask me how anti-vaccination liars like Barbara Loe Fisher can sleep at night when they think of the consequences of their actions and my usual reply is that people without either morals or consciences don't care. The only thing that would stop them sleeping well is too much excitement at the thought of more dead children.
Shortly afterwards the link to add page reviews was disabled. I directed a couple of Twitter messages to Barbara Loe Fisher asking her for clarification but I got no answer. (From her, at least - an anonymous anti-vaccination liar went into "screech incoherently" mode, but who cares what anonymous people think or say?)
My work there was done.
Fresh from that retreat, the following picture was posted to the NVIC page.
It was received with much appreciation by the denizens of the page, with people offering suggestions about the correct size labels to use and others offering to create MS Word templates for printing them. The idea was to stick the labels on sweets to be handed out to children on Halloween. Now Halloween is about pretending to be scared of goblins and witches, but imagine how really alarmed you would be if you found out that there was someone in your street who was insane enough to give things like this to your children. (I suggested to Barbara Loe Fisher that razor blades with the same message on them could be placed in fruit and sweets but she didn't reply to my suggestion for a marketing campaign.)
I wasn't the only person enraged by a proposal to vandalise sweets in order to spread lies, so several people contacted the manufacturers and distributors of the sweets in the picture to inform them of what was happening. Here is the nice email I received from Nestlé:
After running away from Facebook page reviews and energising and antagonising the legal department of one of the world's largest food manufacturing corporations, most people would retreat into their burrows and keep quiet about losing. but apparently all this was a victory for NVIC. Because Tim Bolen said so!
The Bolenator arrives! (1/11/2014)
Tim Bolen, spokeslesion for cancer quacks, crooked laboratories, and dentists who commit insurance fraud and grope their patients, decided to latch onto the teat at NVIC, probably hoping that there might be money to be made. The first thing he did was write to one of the people who had been critical of the NVIC and the sweet vandalism. It was addressed to the person's work email address:
From: tim bolen [mailto:email@example.com]
I was researching the recent attack on the NVIC FaceBook page and, considering your comments on the Anti Vax Hall of Shame, your name came to the fore. I have some questions for my upcoming article about this situation.
(1) Did you consult an attorney before you, and yours, designed, and executed, this anti-NVIC campaign? If so, who was it? How do I contact them? Was the term "legal malice" explained to you? Was the legal term "Jurisdiction in California" in terms of where legal action would commence regarding FaceBook issues of malice explained to you?
(2) Did you research the FaceBook Terms and Conditions before you, and yours, organized and executed, this campaign?
(3) Who is the actual owner, or controller, of the FaceBook page "Anti Vax Hall of Shame?"
(4) What is the name of your immediate supervisor there at [redacted]? Has that person authorized your activities, and/or your campus time spent, regarding the attack on the NVIC? Or any of your Anti Vax Wall of Shame activities?
(5) Have you ever been sued before? Do you own property anywhere? How many more years do you expect to work?
(6) What were the dates of your attendance at the Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas? Are the photos of you there with any of the leadership?
(7) Are you a member of any so-called "Skeptic"" group? If so, how did you come to associate with them? What is your sexual orientation?
(8) Do you get any reward, of any kind, for your activities? If so, from whom?
I’d like to get this article out to my subscriber base within a few days, so I’d like some answers as soon as possible.
Thanking you, in advance, for your cooperation…
The hilarious thing was that Tim sent the email to the wrong person. It was someone else who started the campaign. You will notice that Tim talks about two of his obsessions, attendance at The Amazing Meeting and sexual orientation, as if they have anything to do with anything. (In a Usenet post referring to this idiocy he suggested that James Randi and I have had a sexual relationship, and he has several times said that The Amazing Meeting is simply a gathering of "homoskeptuals". For someone who talks about the reach of the law he is very loose with defamatory remarks.)
When he received no response, he tried again:
From: tim bolen [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
I am REALLY disappointed in your lack if response.
Cowardice, of the first order, is something I have found in the pro-vaccine (damage as many children as you can) world, especially in the "Organized Hate Group" of primarily angry male homosexual "skeptic" functionaries. I had hoped that, here, with you and your scraggly band of society’s losers represented so well on your Anti Vax Hall of Shame, that I might draw you and yours out onto the "killing field" so to speak.
But FEAR appears to have gotten in your way.
And you and yours would have been SO MUCH FUN…
The NVIC beat you, and yours, into nothingness, so easily, and so thoroughly, you give me nothing to write about except your Ineptness..
So I will….
PS: You didn’t actually write the pro-vaccine book did you? Neither did [redacted]. How funny.
PSS: I LOVED the comments your students wrote about you. Get some psychological counseling…
Hecky darn! I love that reference to 'the "Organized Hate Group" of primarily angry male homosexual "skeptic" functionaries'. Way to go, Tim.
And write he did. This was the content of his email to his (imaginary) Millions of Health Freedom Fighters:
Inept "Skeptics" Attack NVIC FaceBook Page...
Laughter Erupts - a Story about the stumbling, bumbling activities of two nincompoops ([redacted] and [redacted]) attempting to damage the NVIC FaceBook page...
Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
I received a message from my friends over at the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) the other day, asking for some help defending against an all-out attack on their NVIC FaceBook page - an attempt to downgrade their credibility level. So, I went to investigate, in my usual thorough manner, finding, along the way, a few interesting things I didn't already know about the pro-vaccine baby killers.
The trouble was that, before I got up to speed to "reveal" the giant conspiracy against the NVIC, and call for action, NVIC stalwarts manned the barricades, intercepted the "skeptic" assault, spanked them thoroughly, and sent them home to bed without dinner. I'll let you read one of the "skeptic's" TOP STRATEGIST'S comments about what happened to them down below. You will laugh.
The first thing I did was to start tracing back the individual so-called "skeptics" who were commenting on the NVIC page. The obvious thing I found, there, was the commonality - looking at these people they all fit into the LOSER category - the kind of people who constantly criticize others to make themselves, in their rotten little no-life situation, feel better. We've all met some of them, at some time, and we are always glad to find that they don't live next door to us.
But first let's do a little background...
There is a BIG PUSH in the United States to force, or scare, every US citizen into mandatory vaccines - as many as can be delivered, as fast as possible. Why is that? it's all about BIG PHARMA income. Nothing else. There are no legitimate reasons for vaccinations, at all, much less the sort of schedule BIG PHARMA wants. I wrote about this before. Below, in italics, is what I said:
We don't see as many of those annoying drug ads on TV anymore because, simply, their patents ran out and all of those drugs became available in "generic" form at a tenth of the price. For a while the drug industry was in a panic, but then they came up with a new idea - that, for now, is working very well.
The idea that the drug industry in the US could, after their big patents ran out in 2012 and 2013, shift their profit center to an INCREASED CHILDHOOD VACCINE SCHEDULE, with NO legal liability (they can't be sued), using, what are supposed to be OUR "watchdog" groups; Federal, State, and local governments, as their marketing tool, is at best absurd...
But, that's what we have, and...
When he sent this drivel to the Usenet group misc.health.alternative he used the subject line "Another terrific Millions of Health Freedom Fighters - Newsletter for"poor peter" and his 29 other fake internet identities to whimper/shreik over...". The "poor peter" thing is how he addresses me, and for some reason he thinks that it does anything other than make him look ridiculous. The "29 other fake identities" thing relates to a declaration he made once that I use 30 pseudonyms. I continually ask him to list the names but he doesn't, of course. In the discussion that followed his Usenet post he took to declaring that everyone who posted was in the list.
Settle back with a strong drink, a puffer in case you become breathless from laughing, and some tissues to wipe the tears of laughter from your eyes and have a look at Tim Bolen descending into (even more) madness as he takes on some critics. Read the Usenet thread here.
He writes (1/11/2014)
The November issue of Australasian Science magazine is on the newsstands now, with my regular Naked Skeptic column. This month it's about food fads, specifically "A2™" milk, but I also have something to say about a couple of my pet peeves of dietary faddishness. I encourage you to subscribe to this excellent publication. The money to produce the magazine comes from retail sales and subscriptions, with almost no advertising, and it is without doubt the best popular science magazine in Australia. It's written by experts but targeted at non-experts, so even if you have no science background you will find it informative and easy to read. You can read the article here.
My column for the December issue is at the printers so I will leave it until it has been published before reproducing it here. As a teaser, the image at the left gives a hint about the topic. My interview with James Randi will also be in the December edition. Something to look forward to.
He talks (1/11/2014)
Here is the talk I gave at SkeptiCamp Brisbane in July. There is a period of silence when a song was played. This was done to avoid any accusation of copyright violation.
October 18, 2014
One of the features of alternative medicine is that nothing is ever discarded and once anything has been discovered it is true until the end of time. This even applies to things when incorrectly discovered because to retract something for being wrong is apparently the same as saying that absolutely everything is wrong. This is consistent with the Nirvana Fallacy, which says that there are only two values for the effectiveness of something and they are 0% and 100%. Examples of this are that vaccinations are useless because they are not 100% effective, antibiotics don't work because sometimes people don't get better, and as people still die from cancer therefore there is no cure for any form of cancer.
During one single week looking at Facebook I saw several things recycled which have been debunked on numerous occasions going back for many years. A few of these are reconsidered below.
Dr Otto Warburg (18/10/2014)
In 1931 Dr Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for, as it says on the Nobel website, "his discovery of the nature and mode of action of the respiratory enzyme". As is tradition, Dr Warburg presented a Nobel lecture which you can read here. You will note that the word cancer appears absolutely zero times in Dr Warburg's lecture, yet he is continually held up as someone who won the Nobel Prize for finding a cure for cancer. Part of the mythology is that he won a second Nobel Prize in 1944, although this fact seems to be something unknown to the people who actually issue the Nobel Prizes.
It is true that in 1966 when Dr Warburg was in his dotage he gave a presentation to some quack conference in which he suggested that may be there was some connection between oxygen and cancer, but that was not 1931 and that was not what he won the Nobel Prize for. In 2006 I had a discussion with a true believer about this and encountered a situation which Lewis Carroll would not have included Alice in Wonderland because it was too bizarre. I won't repeat it today, you can go here and here to read the exchange I had with someone who appeared to be brain-dead.
So here are the facts that you can present to the next person who tells you that oxygen cures cancer and that Dr Warburg won a Nobel Prize for identifying this: the details of Dr Warburg's Nobel Prize are no secret and can be found quite easily on the Nobel website, he did not win a second Nobel Prize, and his original research appeared to have nothing to do with cancer at all.
It goes without saying that had Dr Warburg in fact found the thing that causes cancer, then all the cancer quacks who claim to know the single cause for cancer and therefore have the single cure are all wrong. Another principle, however, of alternative medicine, and this goes back to my original comment about how things are not discarded even when found to be wrong, is that there is no logical inconsistency in a mass of self contradictory statements all being simultaneously true.
John of God (18/10/2014)
In November 2014 my hometown is to receive a visit from a lying, thieving, charlatan. For a price of just $295 per day (plus $14.53 booking fee) or $795 plus $25.85 for the full three days, desperate people with illnesses will be lied to by someone who claims to be a healer. This particular scamster goes by the name "John of God". And how do I know that he is a lying, thieving, charlatan you ask. Because he has been pulling this scam in Brazil for more than a decade, but even then he was recycling a scam which was going on at least twenty years before that. I first came across him in 2003 when his promoters were using x-rays to prove that he could cure cancer when even the most cursory examination of the x-rays showed that there was no evidence there at all. It's simply a fraud, designed to steal money from people who are desperate.
The normal way that he conducts his scam is to apply hands-on healing, including all the old faith healer tricks like pulling chicken gizzards out of folds in people's bodies. I'm not sure how he intends to do this in a venue which seats about 6,000 people, but I suppose he will just do what other faith healers do, which is have a few people on stage and do tricks with them and make occasional announcements that people in the audience being cured of diseases like diabetes.
In a sense faith healers like John of God are worse than even the worst of the cancer quacks, because everything is pushed back onto the sick person. If the person doesn't get better it is not the fault of the curer, it is the fault of the patient for not having enough faith.
What is particularly annoying about this money gouging trip to Sydney is the publicity that it has been given by major media outlets. Two of the leading newspapers in Australia have weekend supplement magazines and because they are magazines they are not subject to the deadlines and time limits of the news sections of the papers. Journalists writing for these magazines have time to research the stories and find out the facts. On Saturday, October 3, both of these magazines carried uncritical, laudatory stories about John of God. Much of the information was provided by a hotel in Brazil. One of John's claims is that he treats people for free, but if tradition is being observed either he or his family own the accommodation that victims stay in and the pharmacies from which they buy the medications that he prescribes. The journalists apparently didn't notice, or didn't care, that there was a massive conflict of interest in receiving information about the scam from an active participant and beneficiary.
They also hadn't bothered to see whether anybody had had anything to say about this charlatan before. I emailed the two journalists concerned:
It was surely a remarkable coincidence that your article about the faith-healing fraud should appear on the eleventh anniversary of something I wrote about him.
Only one of them bothered to reply:
The only conclusions I can draw from this reply is that the journalist in question is either too dense to understand English or he simply doesn't care about whether what he writes is correct or not.
The fraud being perpetrated by John of God is so transparent that is almost impossible to think that any responsible journalist being asked to write a story about it could not see what is happening but would instead present a story that makes it appear that there is not even an iota of doubt about legitimacy.
I headed my original article about this "Faith healer? Fraud!". Nothing I have seen in the last eleven years suggests that I might have been even slightly incorrect.
Doctors are Pharma shills? (18/10/2014)
One thing that never goes away is the story about how doctors only prescribe things because they're paid to do so and they will never prescribe anything which is not patented and can't make lots of money for Big Pharma. The list below shows the ten most prescribed drugs in Australia (it's from 2011, which for some reason is the most recent set of figures available from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme). Of the ten drugs, nine are well out of patent and are supplied as generics. They can be manufactured by any company with the capability of following the recipe and manufacturing to the required standard. The patent on the 10th drug, Rosuvastatin, expires in 2016.
Another myth promulgated by the quackery industry is that real doctors only treat symptoms, not underlying conditions (I have pointed out to people that according to the inventor of homeopathy it can only be used to treat symptoms, with underlying causes being totally ignored, but this usually just results in blank looks and repeating of the stupid statement that doctors only treat symptoms). I take three of the drugs in the list, one of which I will probably have to take the rest of my life (which isn't really a problem because it possibly adds 20 years to the "rest of"). The other two are being used temporarily and continuation of their use is evaluated on a regular basis. The conditions that these three drugs treat are almost totally asymptomatic, and can only be discovered by pathology and other tests on the body. They do not treat symptoms because there are no symptoms to treat. I should point out that apart from paracetamol and the antibiotics in the list of 10, most of these drugs treat asymptomatic conditions.
So in about ten minutes of work at the PBS website I was able to find evidence that two of the strongest myths propagated by the alternative medicine industry are in fact untrue. As many of the proponents of alternative medicine claim to have highly sophisticated research skills, the most charitable assumption one can make is that these people knowingly tell lies about real medicine. This is another case of exploitation of a fallacy, because even if real medicine was as bad as they make out it would not add one scintilla of legitimacy to quackery.
Speaking of which ... (18/10/2014)
Medicines Australia is the industry body for pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors and they have a Code of Ethics. The code is periodically examined by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the latest review addressed transparency of benefits provided to health care professionals. (I was a lay member of a consumer committee giving input to the latest review. As I was paid $60 plus lunch for this I am now an officially paid-up Big Pharma Shill, so suitable weight should be given to anything I say about real medicine.) The ACCC has looked at the suggestions for changes to the Code and has made some recommendations which will make it even stronger. You can read the ACCC media release here.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is proposing to grant conditional authorisation to edition 18 of Medicines Australia’s Code of Conduct (the Code) for five years. The Code sets the standards for the marketing and promotion of prescription pharmaceutical products in Australia by member companies.
The issue of individual disclosure has been a matter of debate for a number of years, When authorising edition 17 of the Code in 2012, the ACCC made clear that it expected Medicines Australia to complete its review of transparency and introduce greater disclosure around sponsorship and fees paid to individual doctors.
In edition 18, Medicines Australia has proposed a new reporting regime which requires reporting of ‘transfers of value’ (such as speaking fees, advisory board fees or sponsorship to attend a conference) made to individual healthcare professionals, subject to the healthcare professional’s consent.
"The ACCC supports the introduction by Medicines Australia of a regime to provide transparency about payments provided to individual doctors by drug companies," ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
"However under the proposed regime, if a doctor does not consent to the reporting then the individual payment will not be disclosed and will only be reported in aggregate."
This issue was raised in submissions received by the ACCC. While there was near unanimous support for an individual transparency regime, a number of interested parties raised concerns about ‘opt-in’ reporting.
"If a patient does not know what payments made to doctors by drug companies have and have not been reported, it will be difficult to use or rely upon the reporting. This will result in incomplete information and may fundamentally undermine the potential benefits of individual disclosure," Ms Court said.
The ACCC is therefore proposing to require changes to the Code that will mean that all relevant transfers made by pharmaceutical member companies to individual healthcare professionals are reported. To ensure any privacy issues are addressed, this will mean that member companies must confirm that a healthcare professional has agreed to have their details reported, or is reasonably aware that their details will be reported, prior to the transfer taking place.
In Edition 18 of the Code, Medicines Australia has removed the requirements to report hospitality provided by member companies and instead imposes a $120 per meal cap on food and beverages. The ACCC supports a cap on hospitality but is considering imposing a condition requiring some form of continuing transparency around the provision of hospitality, given the potential conflict of interest that can arise. The ACCC has posed several possible approaches and is seeking interested party feedback.
More generally, the ACCC accepts that the Code continues to provide a framework for interactions between pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals and that the Code is likely to result in public benefits including protecting the public from inappropriate advertising, setting consistent standards for medical and promotional material and providing the potential for greater transparency around the relationships between pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals. The ACCC also notes that the Code results in minimal detriment.
As such, subject to the proposed condition of authorisation, the ACCC is proposing to grant authorisation for five years.
Medicines Australia states that it represents the interests of the innovative medicines industry in Australia. The Code provides standards for appropriate advertising, the behaviour of medical representatives and relationships with healthcare professionals. All member companies of Medicines Australia must adhere to the Code, although membership of Medicines Australia is voluntary.
Authorisation does not represent ACCC endorsement of a code. Rather, it provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that meets the net public benefit test and that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act (2010). Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.
Further information is available on the Public Register.Release number: MR 254/14
Hillsong and the Royal Commission (18/10/2014)
Someone finally decided to take a close look at reports of child abuse coming out of various churches and other institutions, and I spent a day as an observer at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. My particular interest was in revelations about Hillsong, but I also heard testimony from a very brave lady who detailed the abuse she suffered and the dreadful way it was handled at a school run by another church. I was only there on the 89th day of the enquiry, but another journalist had attended every day and had to listen to many such stories before. One day was enough for me, so I can only congratulate and sympathise with the journalists, lawyers, commission staff and commissioners who have had to sit through the whole harrowing experience. And there is a lot of it still to come.
I will write a longer report once I have had time to read and digest the transcripts related to Hillsong's appearance, but the initial thoughts are that even though there was only one case referred to the Commission from there it was handled very badly by people with no concept of conflict of interest, no idea of what to do next, and in some cases a distorted view of right and wrong. Something can be the wrong thing to do even if there is no law against it.
I must congratulate the Commission on the amount of information made available to the public. Hearings are live streamed and all witness statements and transcripts of spoken evidence are available for free. The only thing not made public is the list of full names of witnesses who have asked to be anonymous, and they are always referred to by code. (The brave lady I mentioned above was originally anonymous but applied on the day to have her anonymity lifted.) As true anonymity can't be allowed if evidence is to be credible, an embargoed list of names and codes was provided to journalists, but anybody releasing any of the details would have to be very brave indeed - a Royal Commission is perfectly capable of punishing contempt and this particular piece of secrecy was taken very seriously indeed.
And one last thing (18/10/2014)
I probably could have included this picture as a joke and nobody would have thought it was serious. It is from the label of a can of muscle-building protein powder ("fruit punch flavour"). There is a saying of bemusement used on the Internet, and it was made for times like this: "I don't even".
September 20, 2014
Speaking of a convention (20/9/2014)
The Australian Skeptics National Convention will be held in Sydney in November this year. You can find out all the exciting details about speakers, bookings, and everything else you need to know here.
Here are the thousand links to places I don't like
and these are the sites added or changed recently
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Alphabetical | Categories | Commentaries | Archive | About | Mail | Books | Podcast | Tributes | Threats | Pictures | Awards | Blog | Site Map
Millenium Project advertising policy
|If you like this site, you might also like Quintessence of the Loon and The Green Light.|