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The Millenium Awards for 2004
There were so many people making desperate bids for infamy and ignominy during the last week of 2004 following the Indian Ocean tsunami that I have had to postpone the awards ceremony. It would not be fair on these late entrants to remove their work from consideration, especially as it was done under great time pressure. The awards for 2004 will now be announced in the update scheduled for the weekend of January 15. I apologise for any inconvenience, but I must be fair to all participants. Just think of the public outcry if the film Spongebob Squarepants were to be denied the chance of winning more Oscars than Lord of the Rings just because it was released on the last day for qualifying. The right thing has to be done!
There is nothing like a disaster to bring out the best and worst in people. I was accused of being a little insensitive for bringing up the lack of tsunami predictions by well-known psychics and astrologers, but I thought that these were fair questions to ask. Some people, however, saw the disaster in the Indian Ocean as the inevitable result of human activity.
Dear Ms Dorey,
I have a question about the Touch of Love charity. Have the people who work for the charity in developing countries been vaccinated against any of the local diseases? For example, if they were working in a country with endemic yellow fever they would have required a valid vaccination certificate to enter the country (and to return to Australia). I know that it is possible to obtain fakes of such certificates in Australia, so have the aid workers in A Touch of Love availed themselves of this opportunity or were they forced to undergo the actual jabs themselves?
Have a Happy New Year. The 750,000 children who died of "benign" measles during 2004 won't have that opportunity.
The tsunami was an adumbration of the wrath of God, a harbinger of things to come: that Great Day of Judgment. Amos 3:6 "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?" That word translated "evil" there is means distress, misery, injury, calamity. The answer, of course, to the rhetorical question posed in this verse is a resounding "NO!" See also Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;" And you wonder if this is the wrath of God? The lands affected by this judgment from God aren't just full of idolatry; we're talking about places (think Thailand) that are hot spots where American businessmen travel for the express purpose of fornicating with young Asian children. It is a thriving industry over there; many of these girls are taken into that business when they are seven years old or younger. "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:" Col 3:5-6. And you wonder if this is the wrath of God? Not to mention the fact that those Asian countries weren't the only ones affected by the tsunami. Do you realize that among the dead and missing are 3,500 Swedes and over 3,000 Americans? Sweden, who recently jailed a Gospel preacher for a month because he preached Bible verses and sentiments about the abomination that is the homosexual lifestyle from his own pulpit to his own congregation. America, who is awash in diseased fag feces & semen, and is an apostate land of the sodomite damned. And you wonder if this is the wrath of God?
Earthquakes and God (4/1/2005)
On November 1, 1755, an earthquake occurred on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Portugal. An estimated 20,000 people died within minutes as buildings collapsed in Lisbon, and about 40,000 more died as a result of the tsunami wave which struck the city half an hour later and surged beyond Lisbon up the Tagus river. The vast majority of the dead would have been Christians who believed in a benevolent and omnipotent God. On December 26, 2004, an earthquake off the western tip of Indonesia sent a tsunami across the Indian Ocean which killed at least 125,000 immediately and countless more later as disease and starvation raced ahead of the relief effort. This wave was not selective for religion, and Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Jews who were leading observant, faithful and blameless lives were swept away with the atheists, apostates and sinners.
|Unhappy mortals! Dark and mourning earth!
Affrighted gathering of human kind!
Eternal lingering of useless pain!
Come, ye philosophers, who cry, "All's well,"
And contemplate this ruin of a world.
Behold these shreds and cinders of your race,
This child and mother heaped in common wreck,
These scattered limbs beneath the marble shafts--
A hundred thousand whom the earth devours,
Who, torn and bloody, palpitating yet,
Entombed beneath their hospitable roofs,
In racking torment end their stricken lives.
Can you still believe in a just, omnipotent and benevolent God? Read this before you answer that question.
Coming soon (4/1/2005)
Because I got a bit carried away writing the piece about the Endarkenment, some of the things I was going to write about this week have been deferred so that I can give them the attention that they deserve. Not-a-medical-Dr Hulda Clark has been having a disagreement with the Federal Trade Commission, but it now seems that she is also disagreeing with herself and much of what she has taught in the past will now have to be discarded in the light of her new research. Yeah, right! I have been getting a bit of attention about what I wrote about Australia's latest multi-level marketing scheme masquerading as a telephone company. Some of the claims of success would make an Amway scout blush. Speaking of Amway, the parallels between the Amway Motivational Organisations and Scientology are uncanny, but that is not so surprising when you consider that both are mind-control cults in constant search for raw meat to keep feeding the money tree.
I have added a new category to The Millenium Project. It is "Cults" and will make it easier to classify some of the listings. Most of the stuff there might also be in the Religious Bigotry or MLM/Scams categories as well, but the new category will make it clearer what the problem is. For example, Amway and its vile motivational organisations will be listed under both Cults and MLM, whereas Mannatech (who are at least honest about what they sell) is MLM and Health Fraud, but not as far as I know a cult. I have to go through the whole database and reclassify sites where necessary, but the first pass at a Cults listing can be found here. I have also added a Cults section to the bookshop, and you can see these books here.
While we are talking about
the bookshop ... (4/1/2005)
The bookshop has been reorganised slightly, and all the non-recommended books are now on a single page. I really don't want people buying these books, even though all the commission goes to good works. A lot of new books have been added, notably in the Cults category and Religion, where I have added several relevant books by Middle East expert Daniel Pipes. His work explains the difference between Islamism, which is terrorism, and Islam, which is religion. He is not popular for pointing out that the former exists. You can see the front page for the bookshop here.
Regrets, I've had a few (4/1/2005)
The operators of the Premium Strategies betting scam are not pleased with me. Here is the latest exchange of words:
From: "Dean" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Premium Strategies
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2005 09:32:13 +1000
Before you go and do something your going to regret i would like you to call my office on 1300 135 712 in regards to your email you sent me.There are a couple of things i would like to go over with i.e.. "income tax free".I have in my hands an item that might just help you out.
I am not sure what you are implying by saying "something your (sic) going to regret". I hope that this is not a threat of some kind, but in any case I have already done it. I haven't sent the press release out yet (the one about the last scam I looked at went to finance and business writers at 190 media outlets and I received a lot of positive feedback) but I will get onto it immediately. Your mention of my possible regret will be included in the release.
Two principles I use in business are that I never deal with people with no last names and I never ring anyone on a redirected "1300" number unless I know who I am calling. If you want me to call you, you will have to provide a fixed-line number which can be dialled directly, the name under which that number appears in the telephone book (I will check), and your full name.
Your concern about the income tax implications of your scheme is a bit puzzling, as I thought I made it quite clear in my email to you that the disclaimer in the brochure, as small as the type was, provided a loophole for you to climb through should any of your clients have trouble with the tax office. I assume that you advise your clients that if the income is not taxable then the costs are not deductible.
If you have any information or documentation which you feel may be of interest to me, feel free to fax it to me. My fax number is easily obtained by a small amount of research. If what you want to send to me includes commentaries on taxation matters from your fake firm of accountants that would be even better.
As is my usual policy, your email and my reply will be published on my web site at https://ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/premium.htm
I just thought ... (4/1/2005)
Perhaps "Dean" was talking about a horse. Here is the first stanza from "The Man from Snowy River" by A. B. Patterson:
There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.
I am just one of the many subscribers to the weekly email newsletter from Internet Scambusters, but I have been concerned for some time about the acceptance on their web site of nonsense, apparently in an attempt to be fair, balanced and polite to scamsters. An example is an article about the supplement called "coral calcium". This article seems to be comparing purveyors of this stuff in order to identify sellers who are reputable. As coral calcium is quackery pure and simple, the test for integrity and reputability is just to see if someone sells it. If they sell it they have no integrity and are not reputable, so no further investigation is required. Looking for the most honest crook doesn't help anyone. The best purveyor of laetrile will not cure your cancer, and the best and most reputable promoter of a Ponzi investment scheme will not make you rich.
I realise and accept that everyone is entitled to use their own approach to fighting bad things, so I have no problem with the Scambusters people doing things differently to the way that I do them. I just don't think it helps to be so polite in your criticism that the bad guys can use your comments as testimonials.
Autism! Solved! (4/1/2005)
Everyone will be pleased to know that the cause of autism has been positively identified. The definitive answer was published on Dr Joseph Mercola's web site, and therefore, according to proponents of alternative medicine, it must be true. A close associate of God has spoken. And what is this amazing news, you ask. It is that autism is caused by drinking pasteurised milk. Just in case you missed that, autism is caused by drinking pasteurised milk. I announced the good news to an alternative medicine forum in the following words:
Mercola says Wakefield, Haley and others are wrong!
Dr Joseph Mercola, the man who cannot be wrong, has declared, by implication, that leaky-gut believers like Dr Andrew Wakefield and mercury-does-everything researchers like Professor Boyd Haley are wrong.
It seems that autism is caused by drinking pasteurised milk.
Responses from Drs Wakefield and Haley about this demolition of their positions are expected shortly. Both are expected to apologise for misleading people all this time. Well, Dr Wakefield might apologise, but we all know Dr Haley's record for this sort of thing.
News at http://www.mercola.com/2003/jul/2/pasteurized_milk.htm
The first response I received was to point me to another page on Mercola's web site where he said that autism was caused by mercury in vaccines, but I didn't accept that as a rebuttal because all it told me was that Mercola is an opportunistic hypocrite and I knew that already. The next response (from a Boyd Haley disciple) was to accuse me of lying because nowhere in the referenced URL are the names Wakefield or Haley mentioned, and therefore Mercola could not be disagreeing with them. When I explained, slowly and using short words, that contradicting someone is disagreeing with that person even if no names are mentioned, I was told "When you state what others said, you best use their own words, not your so called *deductive reasoning*". Sometimes even I am amazed at my patience, but this is a perfect example of why people believe nonsense. It is because sometimes they simply can't understand the difference between sense and nonsense.
Misdirected email of the week (4/1/2005)
The following email sneaked by the filters this week. What made it twice as funny is that it wasn't sent to The Millenium Project but was instead sent to my computer consulting business. Still, I will help Dr Eddy out by including a link to his site here.
We've looked through your site and we liked it very much, so we propose to you link exchange between our sites.
we have web site www.dreddyclinic.com which is ranked well in google, yahoo and other search engines and so have very heavy web traffic, which we would like to share with you.
Information about our site is next:
Title: Dr. Eddys Integrated Medical Clinic & Ayurveda School
Description: Our Integrated Medical Clinic and Ayurveda School is a unique healthcare facility, combining the strengths and knowledge of both traditional western and alternative medicine in a holistic manner.
The DVDs are still coming ... (4/1/2005)
I mentioned last week that there would be two DVDs available shortly on which I appear. I am still waiting for my copy of one to arrive from the US and I suppose I should watch it before telling anyone about it. The other one contains two presentations I have made about alternative medicine. The master copy I received had a problem with moving around the menus and the person who kindly put it together has been out of town for Christmas so I couldn't have the problem checked. Maybe next week.
The kind and gentle revolution
As promised, I have started reaching out to people with whom I might not agree in order to establish a dialogue, extend an olive branch, mend fences, and generally show these people that I am not the ogre I am made out to be. I am sure that when they receive my kind and gentle emails they will instantly want to leap to their keyboards to establish a rapport with me. Cut me, do I not bleed? You can see the first week's selection of emails here. I am sure that by the end of 2005 I wall have made a lot of new friends.
Some true believers do not give up easily (8/1/2005)
If I were the suspicious, paranoid kind I would be very worried about the amount of email I have been receiving lately about some comments I made about a company new to Australia whose "product" is cheap telephone calls. Generally the conversation starts out with an innocuous, disingenuous enquiry about my knowledge of marketing in general and this company in particular. When I respond, I am then told of people making fabulous amounts of money out of the company (one person even knows someone who is getting "6 figures" a month in commission, something which, according to the company's compensation plan I have, would require tens of millions of dollars worth of telephone bills to pass through that person's downline each month). The reaction to my comments about the way that the company has altered the appearance in its promotional material of the building in which it rents a small amount of office space is "Who cares about signs on buildings?" (I care, because if you can't believe the first thing they say to you, what can you believe?) It seems by the amount of attention I am getting, though, that there is a real campaign going on to block any criticism of the company.
Here are some facts for people who think that they might be able to make "6 figures" a year (or even a lifetime) by selling discounted telephone calls in Australia. The country has four major telecommunications operators and several more who are sniping around the edges. All compete on price. The second-largest company, Optus, has managed to move its market share by about one percentage point since the first anniversary of its opening for business in 1993, and it only achieved what it had then because there were huge government-supported incentives and inducements to change from the existing monopoly carrier (which is still the biggest gorilla in town). Telstra and Optus are virtually unchallenged in the fixed-line telephone market. The most visible competitors over the last few years have been AAPT and Orange. Orange are no longer a fixed-line competitor (they were in the fixed-line market with a strange hybrid system which worked like a cordless phone when you were near the base station and like a mobile phone when you were out of range - the specific technology didn't matter) and AAPT seems to now only advertise cheap overseas calls. The Big Two are required by law to sell capacity at a price which allows companies to profitably resell calls carried by the two carriers. This is where this particular company fits in. Also fitting in are the companies who constantly telemarket businesses offering to save them money if they switch their telephone billing. I get two or three of these calls a week in the office, all telling me that I can stay with Telstra but pay less, and all having the half-second delay and Peter Sellers accent that identify Indian call centres. Untrained distributors are going to compete with this and make lots of money, and they are going to do it without cold calling. Yeah, right.
The mobile phone market is an even better example of how hard it is to get people to change suppliers, because it is a lot easier to get a new SIM card than to get the exchange wires switched over. Again, Telstra and Optus have most of the market. The two most visible competitors are Vodaphone and Hutchison Whampoa (with the Orange and 3 brands). These two companies, which are huge world-wide businesses, literally fight for scraps at the bottom of the mobile phone market. Both spend tens of millions of dollars a year in advertising and offer enormous discounts ($200 worth of calls a month, plus free SMS, plus a free phone, all for $49 a month is a not-unusual offer.) Both are surviving only because their overseas owners have very deep pockets, but even then they may need help. Hutchinson's 3G network will receive a large cash injection from Telstra later this year, and I have heard of a similar planned "merger" of Optus and Vodaphone infrastructure. The corporate competition legislation in Australia discourages big companies putting competitors out of business (or even letting them go out of business by themselves), so these lifebelts to the smaller mobile providers are probably just there to satisfy the bureaucrats and the media. (Remember how Microsoft bought a lot of shares in Apple a few years back because MS feared the backlash if nature took its course and Apple went broke?)
So into this highly-expensive and highly-competitive market comes a company, with "no cold calling, no advertising" rules, and it is going to be far more successful than Vodaphone. Did I already say "Yeah, right!"? I will admit that there is money to be made. It is in collecting the startup fees from as many people as possible before the supply of potential "independent representatives" dries up.
Here's an opportunity!
I received some encouraging email during the week from people who approve of my new "Cults" category and who want me to spend more time looking at outfits like the Amway motivational organisations. Oh, yes! I plan to do a lot of talking about these quasi-criminal operations during this year. Multi-level marketing is not a single problem, it is a set of problems which come in different combinations. The cult stuff is just one of the problems, but it is the one which does the most damage. Most of the other problems just involve wasting a lot of time or a lot of money, but the cults can have you waste your friends and family as well.
Hulda Clark retracts. Or does she? (8/1/2005)
Consider the following passage from Hulda Clark's book The Cure for All Diseases:
For many years we have all believed that cancer is different from other diseases. We believed that cancer behaves like a fire, in that you can't stop it once it has started. Therefore, you have to cut it out or radiate it to death or chemically destroy every cancerous cell in the body since it can never become normal again. NOTHING COULD BE MORE WRONG! And we have believed that cancers of different types such as leukemia or breast cancer have different causes. Wrong again!
In this book you will see that all cancers are alike. They are all caused by a parasite. A single parasite! It is the human intestinal fluke. And if you kill this intestinal parasite, the cancer stops immediately. The tissue becomes normal again. In order to get cancer, you must have this parasite. (You can get a full copy of this revolting book for free here.)
Now consider what Hulda Clark says is one of the great gifts she received during 2004. It was this piece of knowledge:
These ten years finally found the culprit that starts the whole chain. It was 99.9% associated with cancer (not even 1 in 1,000 was different). It was laundry bleach improperly added to water, food, supplements, and medicine. It will lead to the greatest cleanup ever seen, comparable to replacing the out-house in cities. It could even save the biosphere. You can get started early on your cleanup. Learn to test yourself. (See http://www.huldaclark.net/Christmasletter 2004.htm for more.)
When I pointed out the apparent inconsistencies between these statements in an alternative medicine forum I received several strange, but not totally unpredictable responses. One was to simply accuse me of lying for saying that Tim Bolen, Clark's PR man, had mentioned Hulda's gifts in his newsletter and to ask me to prove that he had said anything about it. (The person accusing me of this receives the newsletter and has often quoted from it in the past.) I gave a link to Bolen's web site, from where he linked to Hulda's gift list. I was then told that I was lying because the links on Bolen's web site did not work. (They did, of course, but you had to click on them first.) Then I was told that this was not Clark's official site and I should look somewhere else for the truth. (This particular site contains an explicit statement by Clark that it is the official site.) When I was then told that it could not be true and that Clark's site had obviously been hacked by "someone like [delete name of innocent Jewish person]" I had to retreat and give up. There is nothing that the followers of this vile charlatan will not believe if it supports her and nothing they will believe if it criticises her in any way. When I posted pictures of her $15,000 a week "clinic", one supporter said that it showed "nothing except a pink building". When I said that the sign on that pink building said "Century Nutrition" the response was, "Well, so what?"
Another example of this insane, blind loyalty came up when various people commented on the Federal Trade Commission's recent successful legal action against Clark. When someone wrote about "what Hulda's henchmen had stipulated to" he was accused of lying because the judgement does not mention "henchmen" and does not say that Hulda cannot sell "gadgets, gizmos and goos". When someone else said that the FTC had come down hard on Clark's quackery, he was also accused of lying and asked to show where the word "quackery" appeared in the court document. You can read about the judgement here and see a copy here. It is almost beyond my understanding how people can continue to support, and even come close to worship, this worthless, dangerous mad woman. Surely the alternative medicine house of cards can't be so unstable that it can't stand even the lightest pressure.
Premium Grade Literacy (8/1/2005)
The conversation with the operator of the Premium Strategies betting scam continues, as he tries to convince me that even he isn't confident that a disclaimer in the brochure is enough to get past the eagle eyes of the taxation office. Here is this week's instalment:
From: "Dean" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Premium Strategies
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2005 09:58:01 +1000
knock your self out mate but you should look at EVANS V's FEDERAL COURT and BABKA V's F.C just to name two. If you thought what i wrote to you was a threat you are in dire need of friends i've never threatened or have i tryed to threaten any anyone.
It is difficult to locate the correct court cases when they are not cited correctly. There are no cases versus the Federal Court, although there are cases heard in that court. The Evans case was very hard to locate, as Evans is a common name (a search at AustLII returned 7058 possible cases and decisions), but I was able to locate the Babka case. Its correct citation is "Babka v Federal Commissioner of Taxation (1989) 89 ATC 4963". (It can be found here.)
In Babka, Mr Justice Hill followed the High Court's Martin decision of 1953 (Martin v Federal Commissioner of Taxation (1953) 90 CLR 470), where it was held that someone was not carrying on a business of gambling if the gambler operated without a betting system and placed bets randomly or at whim. In his decision, Hill J said "As I have already pointed out the decision on which horse to bet was one that was made haphazardly and with regard to no hard and fast rules. A bet placed may have been no more than the result of an impulse at the moment" and "his activities were not so considerable and systematic and organised that they could be said to exceed those of a keen follower of the turf". In other words, income from gambling is not assessable for income tax (and the losses cannot be deducted) unless the gambler follows a system and bets according to that system.
I await with joyous anticipation the first time one of the clients of Premium Strategies argues in court that his income from the scheme is not taxable and relies for his argument on Babka and Martin. I assume that your company will provide lawyers to argue on the client's behalf that the income was not taxable because the Premium Strategies system is not a system and the weekly selections are not chosen by any systematic or scientific method but are just "the result of an impulse at the moment". The client might then feel the need to ask what he had been paying for.
At the time I am writing this the Australian Taxation Office's investigation hotline is closed for the weekend, but I will be contacting them next week with the details of this conversation. I should like to remind you that in my original comments about Premium Strategies I alluded to your disclaimer about income being tax-free "Assuming profits are not a sole source of income". As you have opened the door by making the tax implications of the scheme a major issue, I feel it only appropriate that the ATO be brought up to date on what is happening.
I am relieved to know that I will have no need to regret anything. I wasn't going to anyway.
|I just thought of a song!|
|It was something 'bout the brochure. Hey!|
That CPA!, Oh, Deano!
The betting scam was plain to see.
ASIC! Oh, Deano!
Though you'll move on to another scam
There's no regret.
When I have to do the same again
I will, my friend, Ol' Deano.
Sad New Year (8/1/2005)
I turned on the email this morning to hear that baby slaughterer Alan Yurko may soon be released on parole again. The anti-vaccination liars are wetting their pants about this of course, although I can't understand how anyone can be "immediately released" on January 5 (quotes in original email) but not get out until March. I do understand, however, that people involved with the Yurko case have some trouble with the precision of dates. Francine Yurko (she married the slaughterer after he was convicted of the murder of her son) once said that she couldn't remember the baby's birthday. She had a bit of trouble with the date of conception as well, as Alan Yurko was inside a prison cell when the mythology has him inside her. I suppose, though, that if she can't remember her dead son's birthday it would be a bit much to expect her to remember details of the conception such as the date, the man involved, and whether the act took place in a bedroom, a car or was just a quick knee-trembler up against the back wall of the local K-Mart.
It looks like Yurko may have again benefited from a bureaucratic bungle which had nothing to do with him. The basis of the appeal which overturned his murder conviction was that the coroner had been careless with some cases a few years before, so the judge ordered a new trial without the autopsy evidence. (Evidence from the hospital staff would probably have been enough for a new conviction for murder, but Yurko would not take that risk and plead nolo contendere to manslaughter.) In his latest stroke of luck, it was discovered last year that there were several thousand prisoners incarcerated in Ohio who should have been eligible for parole. The officials are now justifiably careful and are probably acting much more favourably towards any parole applications.
I have written to the Ohio Department of Corrections for clarification of the "immediate" release, and I will post any reply here as soon as I get it. Also, next week I will have Yurko's full Ohio criminal record here. It is available from the relevant Clerk of Courts, but I will put it into a more concise, readable format.
One DVD is here!
The DVD of James Randi's Amazing Meeting 2 from 2004 is available, and has been given the Ratbag Seal of Approval. That means that I have received my copy and watching myself was not too embarrassing. The real reason for buying it is that there are also talks by Michael Shermer, Bob Park, Phil Plait, Eugenie Scott, Julia Sweeney and others, as well as appearances by Penn & Teller, Banachek, Lance Burton and other magicians. It was a great conference and I am disappointed that I can't go again this year. I suppose I could borrow a portable DVD player, go to my local club, sit at the bar in the room full of slot machines, watch the DVD and drink some margaritas. That would be almost like being in Las Vegas and I could catch a cab home instead of a 747.
Transparent. Dishonest. And lying, don't forget
I received the following email from a concerned parent this week:
From: "genevieve searle"
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2005 02:13:17 +1100
I'm just wondering what happened to you to make you so vehemently self-righteous and anti-choice. Perhaps you need some psychological counselling to work through some of your issues. I have been struggling with the whole 'to vaccinate or not to vaccinate issue', it's a tough one. Interestingly however your site is pushing me in the 'not to vaccinate' direction, simply because it's so unreasonable and highly sensationalist. Thank god there are other information sources because you're not doing yourself or the pro-vaccination team any favours.
From: "genevieve searle"
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 02:10:30 +1100
I notice you haven't updated your mail receipts, please do so it's very entertaining. You seem to be very defensive, to the point of being aggressive. Are you ok? would you like some counselling hotline numbers? My mum is a psychologist I'm sure she'd be happy to talk to you. You do believe that psychology is a worthy profession don't you? I'm sure you do.
I was also just wondering if you could tell me the recommended dose of the following substances, to inject directly into your infants blood stream; Mercury, Formaldehyde, aluminium compounds, carbolic acid, ant killer, methanol, acetone, disinfectant, glycerine, antifreeze, MSG, contaminant animal viruses (e.g. SV40), animal organ tissue, aborted human foetus cells, mutated human viruses, latex, GM yeast and my favourite animal, bacterial and viral DNA.
Thank you I'll be awaiting your response.
Dear Ms Searle
I am sorry that you were disappointed by my not-so-immediate response, but I do not update my web site to your schedule. If you are so desperate to see your name on a screen, you should start a blog where you can update the pages whenever you feel like it. Alternatively, if you want me to work for you I invite you to apply your awesome research skills to locating my business web site, where you can find a form to fill out (including your credit card number) in order to purchase my time.
Of course I think that psychology is a "worthy profession". I would not have studied it for so long at university if I didn't think so. My area of study was the way that people can come to absurd conclusions by employing premises which are obviously wrong (in some cases ridiculously wrong). An example would be for someone to reject vaccination because they believed that vaccines contain the cells of aborted foetuses. As there is no possibility of the premise being correct, any conclusion drawn from it must be flawed. Oh, sorry, I just noticed ...
Some people would be surprised at how you descended from cautious mother looking for answers to full-blown anti-vaccination liar in only two days, but I have been observing the species for long enough that I have come to expect this sort of thing. Being disingenuous, which is pretending to be looking for information when you think you already know the answer, is a form of deceit, but I am sure you are aware of that.
By the way, you left one very important item out of the list of things which are not in vaccines. You forgot the monkey pus. You should never forget the monkey pus. No list of lies about vaccine components is complete without it. Because of this omission I can only award you a B- for your effort. Please try harder next time.
The 2004 Millenium Awards
Apology in advance (15/1/2005)
There will be no update to this site next week because Her Majesty and I will be taking a short holiday.
Schadenfreude week (15/1/2005)
After the awful scenes from Aceh and other places around the Indian Ocean which have been filling our television screens for the past two weeks, it is pleasant to reflect on some good news for once. The next two stories are about things which brought a smile to my face when I heard about them. The first of them is about an event in December, but I hadn't heard the news so I didn't get to rejoice until now.
Obituary - Jay Van Andel (15/1/2005)
One of the things which is always stressed in any showing of the Amway plan is how horrible it is to work for a boss, because you are just working to make the boss rich, not yourself. The Amway lifestyle removes this burden from you so that you are working to make yourself rich, not someone else.
Jay Van Andel died on December 7, 2004, leaving behind a fortune of $2.3 billion which was left over after a lifetime of bribing politicians and supporting crackpot political and religious causes. You can read the good news here. Van Andel made this money by being one of the founders of Amway. Remember that one of the quintessential attractions of the Amway business is that by being in the business you are going to make yourself rich, not some boss. I wonder how many Amway distributors managed to put together more than $2.3 billion. Not many, I would think, as this sort of money made Van Andel the 231st richest person in the world. The really strange thing is that he made all this money without recruiting, without showing the plan, and without working in The Business. He just sat back and skimmed off the cream that was a condensation of the destroyed dreams of countless people who had been lied to. I notice in the article that it said that his body would be available for viewing before the funeral. This was a good thing, as it would have allowed people who had had their lives destroyed by his work the opportunity to spit on his face and assure themselves that the bastard was really dead.
I mentioned that Van Andel gave money to crackpot religious causes, and nothing could have fitted the description better than The Creation Research Society. This place says of itself that "The Creation Research Society is a professional organization of trained scientists and interested laypersons who are firmly committed to scientific special creation". When I read that I could not help but think of the Grand Academy of Lagado as described by Jonathon Swift in Gulliver's Travels. This was a place where scientists worked busily on such problems as extracting sunshine from cucumbers and recovering the original food from excrement. How much is this like the sort of research being carried out at The Van Andel Creation Research Center? You can get a free copy of Gulliver's Travels from Project Gutenberg, but I have extracted the relevant chapters and you can read them here.
Foxtab and Premium Strategies (15/1/2005)
I had a conversation during the week with someone from the company which had been supplying serviced office space and telephone answering services to the two betting scam operators which have been receiving some attention around here lately. The lady told me that her company did not want to be associated in any way with such criminal activities (she asked me to remove all clues to her company's identity from this site, and I did so immediately) and she also told me that Foxtab was no longer a client of theirs and Premium Strategies was about to obtain the same status. All those fancy brochures now mean nothing until the crooks can get the phones redirected and some new desks for the telemarketers to sit at.
Speaking of Premium Strategies ... (17/1/2005)
Some messages were left on my voice mail:
Welcome to the Vomitorium
The 2000 Anus Maximus Award was given to people who were using a dying child to advertise for a cancer quack, in this case Dr Stan Burzynski. I mentioned at the time that another site had just missed out on the award. The one which came in second was a supposed memorial site to a boy who died of cancer but it was really an advertising site for Burzynski's quackery clinic. It might surprise normal, sane people that anyone would exploit the death of their own child in an advertising campaign for a client, but the father of the dead boy turned up next writing PR material for baby-killer Alan Yurko so we can be assured that he had neither a conscience nor any sense of morality.
The father has just announced a new project, Cancer Monthly, which is going to provide a database of information about cancer and its various treatments and cures. You might say that this is a noble goal, but you can rest assured that no treatment for any form of cancer which is even remotely likely to work will be listed there except by accident or as the single exception to be produced whenever the site is criticised. This project is driven by a man who hates medicine so much that he was prepared to use his son's death to promote quackery. The site will accept advertising, but not from drug companies or hospitals specialising in cancer treatment, or, presumably anyone else who might know what they are talking about.
The site is not all bad, and there are at least two things on it which are actually funny. One is the User Agreement which visitors are supposed to agree to before using the site, and the other is a list of eight questions to ask your oncologist. I am going to email Michael Horwin to ask him how many of these questions he asked Stan Burzynski and what answers he got. These things are too long to include here, so I have created a special page for them.
Sylvia Browne vindicates herself (15/1/2005)
On December 26, 2004, an earthquake off the western end of Indonesia caused a tsunami wave which damaged coastal towns in many countries around the Indian Ocean and killed more than 150,000 people. I wondered if the world's great psychics had predicted this, so I wrote to Sylvia Browne:
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 11:01:08 +1100
I realise that Sylvia doesn't usually read emails, but I am sure that she has been asking the office staff to print this one out for her as soon as it arrives.
I have been looking all over Sylvia's web site for a warning about the earthquake and subsequent tsunami which caused so much death and destruction in the countries bordering the Indian Ocean yesterday. As it is the holiday season I know that web site updates may not be a high priority (my site, The Millenium Project, is usually updated on either Saturday or Sunday, but the schedule is a real mess for this week and next), but a notice about a disaster like this could have been put up on the site before everyone went home for Christmas.
There is, of course, the distasteful possibility that Sylvia only warned people who paid $750 for her time to do so, but as the majority of the people in the affected areas could not afford this I am sure that it is not the case.
On a brighter note, if such a term can be used in such tragic circumstances, I am sure that Sylvia will offer her services to pass on messages from the victims to their friends and relatives. I have no doubt that the Red Cross would welcome her assistance and perhaps even provide her with transport (most residents of the disaster area cannot afford to ring the US, even when the phones are working), but I have heard that Psychiques Sans Frontieres is assembling a disaster relief team and she may prefer to work through that organisation.
I received no answer, but the following appeared on her web site:
In October 2004 on the Montel Williams Show, Sylvia advised viewers to avoid travel to India due to safety concerns. On December 26th Sylvia's prediction was validated when a tsunami devastated India. Sylvia further warns that travel to the region will not be safe for another 6 months due to health issues (water purity, disease) created in the aftermath of the tsunami.
Anyone who has seen or read the news will know that only a psychic clutching at straws would say that the tsunami "devastated India". It affected a very small part of the southern tip of the country, but had no effect on the main tourist destinations or the commercial, agricultural or manufacturing areas. Saying that the tsunami devastated India is equivalent to saying that the most recent hurricanes to do damage in Florida devastated the USA. I would be much more impressed if Sylvia could point to a prediction advising people not to go to Banda Aceh. Surely the death toll there would have made a bigger ripple in whatever forces in the universe she uses to predict the future.
Back from holidays (29/1/2005)
I am back after a short break. Yes, I did have a good time, thanks for asking. The weather in Melbourne was lovely. The tennis matches we saw from our pre-booked stadium seats were interesting but not great, a known risk when booking seats for the middle of a two-week tournament. Still, the Heineken was plentiful and cold, I got to see Andre Agassi in possibly his last Australian Open, I sat this far from Mats Willander when he played in the oldies tournament, and Her Majesty forced me to watch some matches between fit young women in short skirts and sweat-dampened t-shirts, so it would have been hard not to have a good time. We also managed to see a couple of very fine art galleries which have inspired me to build up the art collection on this site. (If you can get to Melbourne between now and May 8, make the time to see the Grotesque exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.)
As always happens when anyone goes on holidays, nobody did anything at work while I was away and I had some catching up to do, so this week's update comes from the visitors' mailbag.
An anti-vaccinator steps up
to the plate (29/1/2005)
I don't think this lady likes me, but her opinions about me are just as worthwhile as her opinions about vaccination.
Subject: Your web site
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 12:47:43 -0800
Your site does more to help the anti vaccine movement than to stop it!
Your questions asked to the anti vaccine people were answered with sound logical answers, but you look like an idiot.
They were answered with the combination of arrogance, bigotry, ignorance and delusion that I have come to expect from anti-vaccination liars. What are your answers to the questions? To make it easy for you, here they are:
1. Of the vaccines in the current schedule, which ones do you believe can safely be given to children?
2. Of the vaccines in the current schedule, which ones do you believe provide protection against disease?
3. If a new vaccine could be produced tomorrow against a fatal or disabling disease, which disease would you like it to prevent?
4. Do you believe that the benefits of any vaccine currently in use outweigh the risks associated with it?
5. What would it take to convince you that the benefits of a vaccine outweigh the risks?
6. I have been told that homeopathy can be used to "reverse vaccine damage". As homeopathy is essentially distilled water, how can this work?
7. AIDS kills millions of people each year, but so far no vaccine has been developed. Do you believe that research into an AIDS vaccine should continue?
8. I have read about a man called Alan Yurko who is in prison in Florida for murdering a child. The evidence against him looks convincing and he has a criminal record for violent crimes. People are saying that the baby died from vaccine damage, not from being shaken. Do you think Alan Yurko is innocent? Why do you think this?
(Yes, I know that Yurko is no longer in Florida and is now in prison in Ohio, but I wanted to leave the questions the same. The fact of the baby's death has not changed.)
9. Dr Andrew Wakefield looked at a small number of autistic children whose parents believed that they had been made autistic by vaccination and found what he believes is a connection between MMR and autism. Very large studies examining the records of millions of children do not suggest any connection other than a coincidence of timing. Could Dr Wakefield be wrong?
10. Of all the vaccines currently given to children, which do you think has saved the most lives?
I have researched vaccines for the last 25 years and vaccines represent an assault on the human immune system...need to be stopped. The American Physicians Association called for a halt on all vaccines in 2000.
I assume that would be the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Of course AAPS would say that, as Dr Jane Orient is one of the most high-profile anti-vaccination liars. I know that she says that she is in favour of vaccines, but that is only as long as those vaccines are not given to anybody of any age at any time against any disease. If you want to impress me you will have to come up with a real medical association which opposes vaccination, not a pack of loons led by a woman whose grasp of arithmetic and reality is so tenuous that she once told me that an occurrence rate of three in ten thousand is thirty times a rate of one in five thousand.
Apparently, you are fully vaccinated and not thinking sane!
Are you suggesting that vaccination causes insanity? I have never heard that before, but I am not surprised.
You do not show one stitch of proof that these lethal shots are safe or effective.
There is plenty of evidence for safety and you only have to look around at the live children to see that they are effective. I realise that your prejudices prevent you from seeing the truth, but that doesn't stop the truth from existing. Your use of idiotic terms like "lethal shots" just illustrates how out of touch with reality you are.
Your just trying to blast those who think differently than you and you look like a fool.
I have no problem with people who think differently from me. Unless of course that difference leads them to try to talk parents out of caring for their children. When the difference can lead to the deaths of not a few but millions of children then, like all sane people, I have both the right and the duty to "blast" them.
Keep up the good work!!!
Thank you. I intend to do so until the last anti-vaccination liar is poisoned by the last laetrile salesman.
P.S. Those kids with chicken pox look happy and are much healthier now...Congratulations to the parents.
And you know this how? I didn't identify the children on my site, so for all you know they might all be dead by now. This is quite possible, as the parents you congratulate might have been just as pleased if the children caught pertussis, diphtheria or meningococcal disease.
VACCINE RESEARCHER AND LECTURER Helping Parents make fully informed vaccine decisions. MaryTocco Director of Vaccine Research and Education for Michigan Opposing Mandatory Vaccines President of The Autism AutoImmunity Project of Michigan
If autism is an autoimmune disease, how is it caused by vaccinations? If vaccinations wreck the immune system, how can it come back strong enough to attack the body itself? Is autism caused by mercury, as claimed by Professor Boyd Haley, by measles virus entering the gut as claimed by Dr Andrew Wakefield, or by pasteurised milk as stated on Dr Joseph Mercola's web site?
Oh, now I get it. You make your living telling lies about vaccination. How much do you charge to lie to a roomful of parents? Is it a good living?
I especially liked the way that you have declared yourself a "World Class Person". That takes real class to do something like that. The million-plus visitors is also a nice touch, but I can forgive you for that as the truth is not expected from you.
As is my normal policy, your email and my reply will be published on my web site.
Hillsinger has something to say (29/1/2005)
My comments about the pretend church Hillsong have attracted some mail. For people who do not live around my place, the picture at right is of the two senior pastors, Bobbie and Brian Houston, who live in abject poverty (they have no income) on several acres of land in a very expensive Sydney suburb. That's when they are not living at their other home on the banks of the Hawkesbury river at Wilberforce or in Bobbie's $650,000 flat at Bondi. Brian is so poor that he can't afford a car and has to make do with a $30,000 motor cycle. The reference to Gloria Jean's is to a chain of coffee shops which now seems to be controlled by Hillsong. My responses are in italics.
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 21:22:35 +1100
Subject: Your comments on Hillsong
I just had to email you about your comments about Hillsong.
1. the "church" has just donated $AU106,000 to help World Vision feed people in Sudan. This represents 0.3% of the "church's" admitted yearly tax-free income - this does not counter that it is a good thing as that is one of the donations of the church. Another is $400k raised for Tsunami recently. The activities of the churches foundation itself is a charity (for example helping who have been sexually abused) so they do not have to justify all donations by giving it all away as some if for the activities of the foundation itself.
$506,000 out of an income of $30 million! I am impressed. What specially impresses me is that this is more than 75% of what the church paid to buy an apartment for Bobbie Houston at Bondi. I assume the church paid for it, because as we all know Bobbie has no income because she donates her salary to the church.
in any case you are wrong about it being tax deductible ... donations for the running of the Church are not tax deductible only donations to the foundation are.
I never said anything about tax deductibility of donations to the church. I said that the income of the church was not subject to tax. This is a different matter altogether.
2. your comment about being hosted in New Jersey --- so what? does it really matter? They probably host it there because australian hosting is very expensive.
I agree. If I had an annual tax-free income of only $30 million I couldn't afford about $400 a year either. Of course, if I felt the need to get around Australia's laws on international money transfers it would be handy to have someone in the US who could issue invoices to me.
3. Your other comments show that you have not investigated the issues properly
By my "other comments" I assume you mean my comments about Peter Costello appearing at a fundraiser and Hillsong representatives deceptively using the name of a genuine charity to attract people to one of those fundraisers. What is there to investigate? Costello was there, Amnesty were not.
In any case a more important question is why you feel the need to attack the church (ask ask for donations for doing so ... on the bottom of your page)
I don't like scams of any kind. Getting money from people by pretending to be some sort of church and spending the money on lavish lifestyles is no different from any other sort of financial fraud, except that it is legal.
If you met the founders of the church you would realize that their purpose is 100% to make the world a better place, and attacking them whilst it might give you some gratification ... are you making a contribution by doing so?
It would be enormously gratifying to me and I would definitely have made a contribution if I could encourage just one person to worship God in a real church instead of a farce like Hillsong.
You are attacking quackery and unscientific medicine on your website and I can see some advantages in that, but isn't it unscientific quackery to attack a church without really knowing what you are talking about.
Fax me a copy of the church's accounts.
And one other thing quickly on the point of money ... you can't help the poor by being poor ... I am wealthy and that gives me the ability to give away a lot of money and make a difference with that money. The same is true of the Church. They wouldn't be able to do anything without money.
Excellent! Any day now I expect to see Gloria Jean's coffee shops providing free meals and coffee to indigent people. The homeless people in the Bondi area will also appreciate being able to shelter themselves in Bobbie's $650,000 shack.
Now, what was it that Jesus said about wealth and rich people ...?
Love mail (29/1/2005)
This is the entire email message. I don't know if it is a general comment on my body of work or if it refers to something specific.
May the one and only God of the universe, Jesus Christ bless you!!!!