Archive for September, 2010

Swine flu over the cuckoos nest

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

A recent editorial entitled ‘The Swine Flu Scam’ in the Journal of Public Health begins;

There is a conspiracy theory about nearly everything. So claims that swine flu was a scam come as no surprise. This was a pandemic that never really was according to Paul Flynn, MP who prepared a recent report on the flu pandemic for the Council of Europe.1 The report expresses alarm about the way the pandemic was handled. It criticizes the proportionality of the response and argues that over reaction led to waste of public money, distortion of public health priorities and unjustified fears about health risks. It identifies grave shortcomings in the transparency of decision-making processes and concerns about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry. The World Health Organization (WHO) comes in for particular criticism for failing to publish the declarations of interest of members of its Emergency Committee, the group advising director general Dr Margaret Chan on the pandemic response.

These themes are taken up by Cohen and Carter2 in theBritish Medical Journal. They found that key scientists had done paid work for pharmaceutical firms that stood to gain from advice they gave to WHO. However, declarations made by members of the Emergency Committee, and of other WHO committees that helped produce influenza preparedness plans, have never been disclosed by WHO. Even the identities of the 16 member Emergency Committee remain a closely guarded secret.

  1. FlynnP.Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee. Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.The Handling of the H1N1 Pandemic: More Transparency Needed 2010.http://assembly.coe.int/CommitteeDocs/2010/20100329_MemorandumPandemie_E.pdf.
  2. CohenD,CarterP.WHO and the pandemic flu conspiracies.Br Med J 2010;340:c2912.

This article goes on to conclude that conflict of interest is not necessarily a problem, so long as it is accompanied by transparency.

It is then followed by a declaration of interest by the author;

Conflict of interest: M.R.E. is a member of the UK Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory Committee and the UK Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies.

In light of this transparency the article may now be re-read as simply ‘DON’T BLAME US – IT WAS THEM THAT DID IT!’.

The author discounts the conspiracies as merely a ‘cock-up’, yet notes above that “the identities of the 16 member Emergency Committee remain a closely guarded secret”. So how can a conspiracy be so easily discounted? It is certainly no simple ‘cock-up’ for GSK, Merck et al., whose coffers now bulge with extra billions of taxpayer’s hard-earned. For their part, it was carefully managed business run at state and global levels to ensure maximum profitability, as it always is. Please ensure you read this article on marketing HPV vaccine if you think otherwise.

So we are left with public health and public money being manipulated for the benefit of shareholders in Big Pharma as a result of actions (or inactions) and recommendations of unknown persons within an unaccountable advisory body known to have close links to… Big Pharma. Sound like a conspiracy yet?

And today…

Pregnant women added to flu jab list

Government urges mothers-to-be to take up offer in case of a resurgence of swine flu this winter

You couldn’t make it up!

Luckily, you don’t have to, as some unnamed people working at your expense have already done so.

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The Antimix Modern Disease Mixtape is back again!

Friday, September 24th, 2010

The Antimix Modern Disease Mixtape #7


[Download Podcast]

Snarfled from http://linefeed.me/.

Northern contemplation

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Cairn

Summer. Holiday.

Monday, September 13th, 2010

A Prism of Your Own Choosing

Monday, September 6th, 2010

plastic

Blackberry Crumble

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Hammer

Monday, September 6th, 2010

It's so sad, you go mad, we're on the cover

You Might Be a Fascist

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

August 28th, 2010 by Militant Libertarian, Originally published on March 9, 2004.

by Russell Madden

Fascism: a political-economic system in which citizens retain title to their property but in which the government determines how that property may or may not be used.

    You might be a fascist if you …

  • believe that the proper way to decide whether a casino should be built in your hometown is to vote on the idea.
  • object to individuals gambling in their homes unless theyre playing the state-run lotto.
  • think that your neighbor needs the blessing of the historical commission in order to renovate his aging home.
  • feel the urge to report the guy down the street who has a painting truck parked in his drive but no orange building permit stuck to a front window.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • experienced a sense of glee when Microsoft had to spend millions in legal fees and was convicted of monopolistic policies.

  • see nothing wrong with your city government awarding a single cable franchise while those guys who sell dishes must charge extra to customers who wish to receive local broadcast channels.
  • are grateful that the FCC dictates to cable and phone providers how they can do business because you are afraid that otherwise the big media companies would have too much power.
  • would rather have the government pass a law and set up another bureaucracy to restrict telemarketers than spend fifty bucks of your own money to purchase a screening device.
  • do not object when others are forced to pay more for their goods so you can earn a higher income while your trade restrictions put other citizens out of work.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • nod in agreement that individuals must show proof of identity in order to open a bank account because otherwise the terrorists will win.

  • dont object to money laundering laws that make snitches of your banks so the drug dealers and the terrorists wont win.
  • never complain about airport security checks and bag screening and weapon confiscation in order to keep the terrorists from winning.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • tremble at the thought that the person sitting next to you in the restaurant might be carrying a gun without a license.

  • want to eliminate and confiscate all guns in private hands in order to be safe since guns cause violence, unless the cops are the ones carrying the guns.
  • applaud extra taxes on guns and ammunition, prohibition of sales between private parties, licenses for gun dealers, limits on the number of firearms someone can own or buy, and bans on brass knuckles, nunchucks, pen knives, big knives, pepper spray, stun guns, sword canes, or anything else that can be used to defend against a criminal.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • laughed when an aging hippie comedian who sold drug paraphernalia via the Internet was thrown in jail but thought a well-known talk show host addicted to painkillers should receive rehab.

  • accept the widespread drugging of young boys but recoil in horror from the thought of adults receiving pleasure or relief from illicit drugs.
  • champion zero tolerance for children who bring toy soldiers to school but think the heroes at Ruby Ridge and Waco got what they deserved when they were promoted for killing women and children.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • think that taxes are the price we pay for civilization.

  • smile when the rich have to pay an even greater proportion of taxes than they do now.
  • kid yourself that Social Security and Medicare taxes are investments or premia rather than a way to pay for more welfare for old people.
  • maintain that you have a right to health care, housing, retirement income, food stamps, or government-guaranteed student loans.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • squint your eyes at the idea of parents educating their children at home.

  • want child-free people to pay for your offsprings schooling because everyone benefits.
  • question the ability of parents to decide what their children should study, whether those youngsters should go to school at all, or how they should learn to make their own ways in the world.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • seek assistance from the government to protect you from your own mistakes.

  • ask the government to protect other people from what you believe are their own mistakes.
  • abhor the thought of foreigners flooding your country and taking jobs you dont want at wages you would refuse to accept.
  • contend that you have a right to a job but an employer does not have the right to fire you because he doesnt like the fact that youre a woman, a racial minority, fat, or handicapped.
  • think SUVs should be banned, seat belts and airbags required, gas mileage minimums enforced, gasoline formulations determined by the feds, and that more money should be spent on light rail systems that no one uses.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • see all lawyers as heroes.

  • hope to win the lawsuit lottery.
  • refuse to accept that legal questions can be properly answered by anyone other than a state-accredited lawyer.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • like the notion of mandated low-flow toilets and shower heads but see no problem with subsidized water so farmers or residents can work and live in deserts.

  • rejoice that grease monkeys can no longer put Freon in your air conditioner.
  • sneer at anything smacking of price gouging during disasters such as floods or hurricanes and would rather have shortages of goods than see someone make more than what you believe is a fair price.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • promote the idea of the government owning even more wilderness land.

  • are appalled that oil companies might drill offshore for natural gas.
  • wonder what all the fuss is when homeowners are forced to abandon their houses in the woods when the government destroys the access roads.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • support sending our troops to a foreign country that poses no imminent threat to us in order to liberate the natives and engage in nation-building.

  • declare that foreign aid helps the average citizens of those countries that receive it.
  • want others to pay for your humanitarian impulses.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • would rather police focus their efforts on arresting ticket scalpers and prostitutes than on tracking down, convicting, and incarcerating violent criminals.

  • want to impose your moral code on strangers.
  • itch to make other people act as you believe they should act.
  • do not accept that we still have involuntary servitude in this nation.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • operate from the premise that morality is relative.

  • condemn logic, reason, and objectivity as tools of white male oppression.
  • equate non-coercive choice and actions of which you disapprove with fascism.

You might be a fascist if you …

  • object to the examples in this essay.

  • think you are free.

Originally seen here.

Brent Council and ‘compulsory’ recycling

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Old Holborn has an interesting post about rubbish collection:

When I purchase something with money I have earned, I was under the impression that it belonged to me, to do with as I wished. It is my “property”.

Apparently Brent Council do not agree. With recycling now being big business, the London Council has decided if you don’t want it anymore, it belongs to them and failure to hand over valuable aluminium, glass and paper will see you the recipient of a 1000 fine. No, really.

http://www.oldholborn.net/2010/08/rubbish-police.html#idc-cover

Old Holborn then goes on to repeat the sanctions the council will use for those who refuse to recycle their garbage, which include surveillance, hand delivered letters, visits from ‘officials’ and ultimately a fine of 1000.

The answer to all of this is simple, and Old Holborn’s impression is completely correct.

The things you buy really do belong to you; that means the packaging that they were delivered in and all the goods you do not consume that become your waste.

When you throw your waste away, you should contract with a private garbage collector to remove it.

You then do not have to deal with eco loon control freak socialist councils and their absolute nonsense. I say its absolute nonsense because it is:

RUBBISH: In Palo Alto, California, citizens are ordered to separate their trash into seven neatly packaged piles: newspapers, tin cans (flattened with labels removed), aluminum cans (flattened), glass bottles (with labels removed), plastic soda pop bottles, lawn sweepings, and regular rubbish. And to pay high taxes to have it all taken away.

In Mountain Park, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, the government has just ordered the same recycling program, increased taxes 53% to pay for it, and enacted fines of up to $1,000, and jail terms of up to six months, for scofftrashes.

Because of my aversion to government orders, my distrust of government justifications, and my dislike of ecomania, I have always mixed all my trash together. If recycling made sense economically and not as a sacrament of Gaia worship we would be paid to do it.

For the same reason, I love to use plastic fast- food containers and non-returnable bottles. The whole recycling commotion, like the broader environmental movement, has always impressed me as malarkey. But I was glad to get some scientific support for my position.

Professor William L. Rathje, an urban archaeologist at the University of Arizona and head of its Garbage Project, has been studying rubbish for almost 20 years, and what hes discovered contradicts almost everything were told.

When seen in perspective, our garbage problems are no worse than they have always been. The only difference is that today we have safe methods to deal with them, if the environmentalists will let us.

The environmentalists warn of a country covered by garbage because the average American generates 8 lbs. a day. In fact, we create less than 3 lbs. each, which is a good deal less than people in Mexico City today or American 100 years ago. Gone, for example, are the 1,200 lbs. of coal ash each American home used to generate, and our modern packaged foods mean less rubbish, not more.

But most landfills will be full in ten years or less, were told, and thats true. But most landfills are designed to last ten years. The problem is not that they are filling up, but that were not allowed to create new ones, thanks to the environmental movement. Texas, for example, handed out 250 landfill permits a year in the mid-1970s, but fewer than 50 in 1988.

The environmentalists claim that disposable diapers and fast-food containers are the worst problems. To me, this has always revealed the anti-family and pro-elite biases common to all left-wing movements. But the left, as usual, has the facts wrong as well.

In two years of digging in seven landfills all across America, in which they sorted and weighed every item in 16,000 lbs. of garbage, Rathje discovered that fast-food containers take up less than 1/10th of one percent of the space; less than 1 % was disposable diapers. All plastics totalled less than 5%. The real culprit is paper especially telephone books and newspapers. And there is little biodegradation. He found 1952 newspapers still fresh and readable.

Rather than biodegrade, most garbage mummifies. And this may be a blessing. If newspapers, for example, degraded rapidly, tons of ink would leach into the groundwater. And we should be glad that plastic doesnt biodegrade. Being inert, it doesnt introduce toxic chemicals into the environment.

Were told we have a moral obligation to recycle, and most of us say we do so, but empirical studies show it isnt so. In surveys, 78% of the respondents say they separate their garbage, but only 26% said they thought their neighbors separate theirs. To test that, for seven years the Garbage Project examined 9,000 loads of refuse in Tucson, Arizona, from a variety of neighborhoods. The results: most people do what they say their neighbors do they dont separate. No matter how high or low the income, or how liberal the neighborhood, or how much the respondents said they cared about the environment, only 26% actually separated their trash. The only reliable predictor of when people separate and when they dont is exactly the one an economist would predict: the price paid for the trash. When the prices of old newspaper rose, people carefully separated their newspapers. When the price of newspapers fell, people threw them out with the other garbage.

Were all told to save our newspapers for recycling, and the idea seems to make sense. Old newspapers can be made into boxes, wallboard, and insulation, but the market is flooded with newsprint thanks to government programs. In New Jersey, for example, the price of used newspapers has plummeted from $40 a ton to minus $25 a ton. Trash entrepreneurs used to buy old newspaper. Now you have to pay someone to take it away.

If it is economically efficient to recycle and we cant know that so long as government is involved trash will have a market price. It is only through a free price system, as Ludwig von Mises demonstrated 70 years ago, that we can know the value of goods and services.

[…]

http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/anti-enviro.html

From the priceless Rockwells Anti-Environmentalist Manifesto. And of course, once you have your own garbage collected privately, you can deduct the amount that that council is charging you for their ‘service’ since you do not avail yourself of it. Old Holborn already does this for the services he does not require from his council.

Once again Libertarian principles, specifically the property right you have in things you have voluntarily exchanged for, offer the best solution to a problem as opposed to the inherently immoral solutions put forward by collectivists, coercion the state and its insanity.

But what about the economics of it all? If garbage has a value after it has been collected, then someone will sort it and extract what is valuable. This is what it looks like:

The problem with this system is that it is entirely efficient. If private enterprise sorted garbage like this, the loony left salary addicted control freaks at Brent would not be able to justify going out to people’s homes and threatening them.

Furthermore, have you ever seen a garbage compactor in the kitchen of a UK household:

One of the consequences of people having to pay private contractors to remove their waste is that normally you are charged by volume for what you have removed from your household. If you have less volume of garbage to remove, the cost of removing it is less, so there is a great incentive to squeeze as much trash as you can into the smallest possible space.

That is why in many American kitchens, you find garbage compactors; an under the counter machine that you throw your waste into day after day, that compacts it all into a very small shape that is easy to handle and which dramatically reduces your waste disposal costs and storage hassles.

These compact cubes of refuse greatly increase the efficiency of garbage disposal; trucks can carry more garbage, make fewer rounds, you use less bin liners, put garbage into external bins less often and into fewer bins etc etc.

All of this efficiency is lost thanks to the crazy as a coot collectivist crap of councils like Brent.

Even fast food restaurants use them:

The side effects of the free market in terms of efficiency are always beneficial. Other desirable side effects are that the need for nosey parkers sniffing around in your trash is completely eliminated.

That is why the statists hate private enterprise. Sadly in the UK, people are so inured to the idea that ‘the council’ is in charge of everything, from leisure to garbage collection, that it appears that they cannot imagine even the most simple solution to everyday problems without invoking the state in some way as facilitator.