Q: Provide a Balanced Perspective on Vaccines

May 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

Dear Q,

I was very disappointed by your program today.  Your so-called “discussion” on what to do about the anti-vaccination movement was very one-sided, and I expect better from the Q team.

While it’s possible that some vaccines do actually work, you can’t blame people for having doubts about what the government and big pharma wants to inject into their children’s bodies, especially considering how many people have already died due to big pharma’s negligence combined with gov’t cooperation.  I’d like to remind you that over 100 000 people die each year from taking prescription drugs as recommended.

We are currently experiencing a health epidemic, especially among children, and it’s undoubtedly due to factors in the environment.  Nobody knows exactly what is causing the explosion in autism and other chronic diseases, but one thing’s for sure — following the government’s health advice is not working.  It is absolutely arrogant to assume that none of the chronic conditions currently on the rise are caused by routine injections of heavy metals like mercury.  The pharmaceutical industry is a massive industry with tentacles in many other industries, such as the media, and one cannot be expected to get balanced information about it in the mass media.  I do, however, expect more of my favourite radio show, Q.

It seems to me as though every pro-vaccine activist merely appeals to the authority of the government and big pharma controlled organizations like the Centre for Disease Control, hide behind slogans, or mention a supposedly discredited study by Andrew Wakefield in the UK as though his was the only study linking vaccines to autism, when in fact at least 22 studies link vaccines with autism.  The worst though, is when people mention the experience of Jenny McCarthy, as though because a mother used to be a model, she is too stupid to have any insights into her child’s condition.  Pro-vaccine zealots like your guests like to imply that only crazy, uneducated people question the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, when in fact many doctors and scientists are among those with doubts and objections.  I consider it your job at Q to provide a wide range of perspectives on any given issue, and usually you do, but today on Q were guilty of subscribing to the dogma that vaccines are always safe and effective while failing to address that there are multiple billions of dollars relying on the perpetuation of this dogma and without providing any of the perspectives offered by the anti-vaccine movement.  By doing this you trivialize the experiences of vaccine damaged people and their parents, and you cheat your audience of a fair discussion.

Lucija Tomljenovic, a molecular chemist from  UBC co-authored a study at UBC showing that one is more likely to experience adverse affects from Merck’s Gardasil vaccine than contract the disease it supposedly immunizes against.  I’m sure she would have been happy to talk to you, yet you chose to air three guests with essentially the same point of view.

Please do better Q, and sharpen your bullshit detectors.

Yours,
G

To Q: Treat “Smartphones” like Drugs

November 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Dear Q,

Something in your interview with Randi Zuckerberg really resonated with me.  You know how she mentioned that she needs her “hit” of info from her mobile device every morning? Well that’s exactly what life was like for me when I was deepest in the clutches of tobacco addiction — the last thing I did before going to sleep and the first thing I did when I woke up was smoke a cigarette.  She later makes light of the apparent fact that people get together at restaurants and stare at their phones rather than being social with the people they are sitting with.  Remember when restaurants used to be filled with smokers and cigarette smoke? (ie. people engaging in antisocial behaviour in public because they’re addicts.) 98% of women would rather forgo sex for a year than shut off their phone for a weekend??  Can you think of a more glaring sign of the apocalypse? These devices are clearly very addictive, and if women would rather fiddle with their phones than engage in the natural, life-giving act of coitus we are in big trouble as a society and as a species.

We need to face the fact that mobile devices are addictive.  They act like drugs in the brain much like gambling does, and the designers of these devices and social networking sites know this and exploit it.  These devices are rewiring the teenage brain, provide access to porn to children and teens 24/7, are used to facilitate deadly bullying and harassment (think Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons), are not proven safe for human health and their manufacture necessitates environmental destruction and human exploitation.

I don’t care if I’m the only person in the world willing to say it: but we really need to rethink the proliferation of “smartphones” in our society.  They do far  more harm than good, and just because they are available on the market doesn’t mean every man, woman and child should have one. I think that, at least, there should be a legal age to own a “smartphone”.  If there’s a legal age for tobacco and alcohol, why wouldn’t there be a legal age for a product that can give you cancer, debilitates your ability to pay attention, is destructive to the earth and society, provides free pornography to children and is very, very addictive?

Thanks,

G

[Sent by email Nov 25. Q is an excellent cultural affairs show on CBC Radio]

Very Disappointed

November 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

Dear Dr. Brian Goldman,

I do not really have time to write this letter, but I was so disappointed by a segment on your recent broadcast “When Stars Get Sick: Celebrities and Medicine” that I’m taking time out of other things to write to you.  First of all, I tend to enjoy your show and I listen on purpose.  It think it’s valuable for people to hear about the inside of the medical industry.  However, when I heard the segment where you allowed your show to become a mouthpiece for the zealot who runs the “Jenny McCarthy Bodycount” website I started shaking with disgust.

For one, I would like to point out to you that, despite many interesting advances, mainstream medicine is a dogmatic, elitist system, that has been dominated by the pharmaceutical industry for a very long time.  Dogmatic systems rely on assumptions.  In this case, the pharmaceutical company controlled mainstream medical system pushes the assumption that vaccines are safe and effective, so to people within this dogmatic system any notion contrary to this assumption is immediately shunned as “unscientific” or otherwise untrue.
Let me remind you though, that doctors once prescribed or recommended cocaine, heroin, tobacco and sugar among other things.  I’d also like to remind you that hundreds of thousands of people die each year from taking prescription drugs.

Here’s another example of how dogmatic the mainstream medical system can be.  Fat is bad for you, right Dr Goldman?  Most people think this is common knowledge, but it turns out that the studies suggesting that fat is bad for people were based on bad science — on studies that inferred cause and effect.  In fact, while trans-fats are actually quite bad, other fats like saturated fat are not only good for you, they’re essential.  If you don’t believe me, pick up a copy of The Diet Cure by Julia Ross or Protein Power by Michael R. Eades and Mary Dan Eades.  To this day though, the majority of doctors will still tell you that fat is bad for you and harmfully recommend a low fat diet to people who are obese or are at risk of heart disease.
I’m telling you this to show to you how once something become assumed as fact by the mainstream medical system it is treated as truth even if it is wrong, and that someone like me, an informed citizen, is perfectly capable of collecting and interpreting information about health, even though I haven’t been indoctrinated by the medical system.  The system you are a part of has an ivory tower type attitude, whereas citizens are deemed incapable of interpreting information on their own and encouraged to defer to those of you who have been indoctrinated and follow them blindly.  In my view, someone who hasn’t been indoctrinated by your big pharma controlled industry will actually be more likely to find the truth because they will be more likely to look at multiple angles relating a particular issue.

As for the segment in question on your radio show, firstly, you claim that only one study, initially published by The Lancet, suggests that there is a connection between vaccines and autism.  This is demonstrably untrue.  There have actually been at least 21 studies suggesting this link.  I’ve included links to theses studies below.  The author of the study in The Lancet, Andrew Wakefield, has been made an example of by the British medical authorities for going against the current medical dogma that vaccines are safe and effective.  He has been very publicly attacked, much like your guest publicly attacks Jenny McCarthy, to set an example to anyone else who might consider questioning the safety of vaccines.  At this point I’d like to point out that the vaccine industry is at least a 40 billion dollar industry and has a very powerful lobby behind it.  They try very hard to convince the public that vaccines have saved humanity from every disease under the sun, when it can be argued that sanitation has halted the spread of disease, not vaccines, and the diseases the vaccine industry claims to have cured were already almost eradicated by the time the vaccines came on the scene.  As a small example of the vaccine industry’s lobbying activities, Merck has donated money to legislators in California to pressure them to approve a law allowing preteen children to be injected with their vaccine, Gardasil, without parental consent, which is essentially bribery.  This vaccine has been shown to actually pose a far greater harm to people than the disease it purports to prevent (see the link below).
Secondly, your guest said he gets the numbers for his website by looking at the CDC website and adding up all the diseases that could supposedly be vaccine preventable.  Well, even vaccine proponents will tell you that you can still get the flu if you have received the flu vaccine, and, as the link below will show you, virtually all the whooping cough cases in the USA last year occurred in people who had actually been vaccinated.  Vaccine proponents jump on any report of a rise of incidences of disease as an indicator that un-vaccinated people are the cause, rather than an indicator that vaccines are not actually effective.  Seeing how your guest doesn’t take into account the number of people who get diseases they’ve already been vaccinated for, his numbers and his website as a whole are incorrect and misleading.
I also feel the need to mention that the CDC is dominated by people with connections to the pharmaceutical industry, so it cannot be taken as an unbiased organization acting in the public interest.  This being said, the CDC did recently issue a press release admitting that the polio vaccine contained a cancer causing virus called SV40 (see links below).

Thirdly, by associating a “body count” to Jenny McCarthy your guest shows himself to be a condescending elitist.  He is suggesting that parents and concerned citizens only listen to celebrities when making health decisions for themselves and their families.  This is insulting to the intelligence of the general public and clearly not true.  I think a responsible person will look at many sides of a particular issue before coming to a conclusion, rather than simply listening to a celebrity, or simply following the orders of someone indoctrinated by a dogmatic, elitist, corporate controlled, medical system for that matter.
This is the most disgusting thing about your segment to me, that you’ve willfully participated in scapegoating.  Jenny McCarthy (I scarcely even know who this person is, by the way) and Andrew Wakefield are obviously being made into scapegoats by the vaccine industry as a way to threaten anybody who might question the safety and effectiveness about vaccines.  This culture of fear is not something our world needs more of, and I think if the vaccine industry had nothing to hide they wouldn’t so emphatically attack people who question their products.  I want to remind you that autism is a very serious issue, is on the rise and is obviously caused by something in the environment since it is such a new disease.  And since it is such a new disease, no one person is expert enough to say for sure what exactly it is or isn’t caused by.  If we’re going to tackle new diseases like this we’re going to have to keep all avenues of information open to us and not shut out any possibilities that could affect big pharma’s bottom line.

Before you dismiss any person or notion that questions vaccines as “unscientific”, I challenge you to ask yourself whether vaccines themselves are scientific.  I take it you’ve heard of homeopathy.  Well, homeopathy has been effective for many people in treating all sorts of disorders.  It’s also recently been shown by triple-blind studies that homeopathy is simply the placebo effect.  Can you show me any triple-blind studies showing that vaccines are not actually placebos?  The placebo effect is very powerful, and the more a patient, their doctor and society as a whole believes in the placebo the more powerful it is.  In the case of homeopathy though, the placebos are harmless; they are not filled with mercury, formaldehyde and who-knows-what-else and don’t have a history of adverse reactions.

In conclusion, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this letter.  While I was disgusted by the aforementioned segment on your radio program, and I’m very disappointed with you for airing it, I believe in you as a person, so I trust that you will issue a retraction on a future show, particularly regarding the demonstrably false information you provided when you said that only one study, which appeared in The Lancet, suggests a link between vaccines and autism.  Please do let me know if you will be issuing this retraction, and I encourage you to look into this issue more deeply, perhaps even dedicating a whole show to it.

Sincerely,
G

Links to 21 studies associating vaccines to autism:
http://omsj.org/reports/tomljenovic%202011.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21058170
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3264864/?tool=pubmed
http://labmed.ascpjournals.org/content/33/9/708.full.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19357975
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18482737
http://www.ane.pl/pdf/7020.pdf
http://civileats.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/palmer2008.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17454560
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12933322
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16338635
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0068444
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15527868
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16151044
http://jcn.sagepub.com/content/21/2/170.abstract
http://jcn.sagepub.com/content/22/11/1308.abstract
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14745455
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/80/6/1611.full
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12145534
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jt/2013/801517/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21623535

A study on the relative dangers of Gardasil and the Judicial Watch search page on the subject:

http://www.judicialwatch.org/?s=gardasil

An article about the resurgence of whooping cough:
http://holisticsquid.com/was-the-whooping-cough-epidemics-caused-by-unvaccinated-kids/

An archived version of a now deleted CDC fact sheet admitting that the polio vaccine contained SV40, and related articles:
http://web.archive.org/web/20130522091608/http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/updates/archive/polio_and_cancer_factsheet.htm
http://www.sv40foundation.org/CPV-link.html
http://www.realfarmacy.com/cdc-admits-98-million-americans-received-polio-vaccine-contaminated-with-cancer-virus/
http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/it-only-took-50-years-cdc-admits-polio-vaccine-tainted-with-cancer-causing-virus/

Vancouver Police: Enforce the Diamond Lane on Hastings!

September 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

Dear Vancouver Police,

Want somethings useful to do?  Would you like to give out a hundred or more traffic tickets in a day?  Enforce the diamond (HOV) lane on Hastings Street between Clark and Cassiar heading east.  From 3pm to 6pm the far right lane on Hastings street is a diamond lane reserved for cyclists and buses, and it’s clearly marked as such by overhead signs every few metres.
The last few times I rode up there, including today, several cars and trucks nearly knocked me off my bike as they zoomed by me.  It’s a clearly marked diamond lane, but since people were passing so close to me I had to hug the curb, and even then some people paused to jeer at me before zooming ahead rudely, as though I had no right to even be on the edge of the clearly marked lane reserved for cyclists and buses.
If you really want to give out a lot of fines, you should put a plainclothes officer on a bike riding east with a wireless radio connection to cruisers ahead.  The cycling officer could then radio ahead which cars passed him or her in the diamond lane and the cruiser could pull them over and hand out fines for using the HOV lane and dangerous driving.
Please do something.  The situation as it is is ABSOLUTELY ATROCIOUS, and I wouldn’t capitalize letters like that if I wasn’t really really serious.  Please do inform me of any progress you make on this.  Mark my words: people abuse that HOV lane all the way into Burnaby and it really shouldn’t go on any longer.

Thanks,
G

Reply 2 From DOXA

May 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hey G,
 
One of the great things about Vancouver is that there are so many different festivals to chose from so hopefully you can find something that is more to your taste.  It sounds like you have some great fundraising ideas too so maybe you can follow up on some of them and get a festival going yourself.
 
Cheers,
 
David.

Reply to DOXA Festival

May 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hello David,
I flat out do not believe that having Rogers (in any form) as a corporate partner could never affect your programming decisions.  By putting their logo on your posters you de-legitimize the festival in lots of peoples’ eyes, mine especially.  Your festival is clearly not independent and grassroots if it has a corporate logo on the poster.
Remember: as a rule only a minimum of one out of ten people will actually complain–the rest will simply silently take their money somewhere else, so I am just one of many people who won’t be buying tickets because of your association with Rogers.  This means that, although your tickets may be cheaper, fewer people will be attending your festival due to the sponsorship.  I suppose that’s a tradeoff you’re willing to make.
I think it is a cop-out for you to say that you couldn’t put on an affordable festival without corporate sponsors.  You could organize fundraising concerts, start an indiegogo campaign, cut costs by using a cheaper venue, or show the films outdoors.
By allowing the Rogers logo on your posters you contribute to the senseless saturation of our mental environment with corporate iconography.  You also lend support to price gouging, corporate spying and electromagnetic pollution.  Also, by allowing them to sponsor your festival, you allow Rogers to be associated with something good — a documentary festival — which allows them to deflect attention from the price gouging, corporate spying and electromagnetic pollution they’re responsible for.
I noticed you mentioned that Rogers gives money to “independent media producers”; well, the moment media producers accept money from Rogers they cease to be independent.  You are the corporate documentary festival, and you can count me out.
Bye,

G

Reply From DOXA Festival

May 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hey G,

I just wanted to take a moment to respond to your email.  I’m the Director of Development at DOXA so I handle all our relationships with sponsors and donors.
In terms of our relationship with Rogers, we have received funding from the Rogers Group of Funds since 2008 and they have been our Presenting Partner since 2009.  Rogers Group of Funds is a separate entity from Rogers Telecom with separate management and a different board of directors.  The funds are endorsed by the Canadian Media Producers Association and Telefilm Canada – who also happen to be sponsors of the festival.  They deliver $9 million in funding annually specifically targeted to independent media producers.
One thing that DOXA prides itself on is the freedom and independence we have in our programming.  Rogers Group of Funds has no say in what we program and to address your specific concern if a documentary came into the festival on any of the three topics you mentioned we would show it without hesitation as long as it met our submission criteria and was of high enough quality.
Sponsorship dollars don’t influence our programming at all, indeed there were several films submitted this year that came with sponsors already in tow, or that I knew could easily attract sponsors but we chose not to screen them because they weren’t high enough quality or weren’t a match programatically for other reasons.
The one way our sponsors do influence the festival is by keeping our ticket prices down.  Without the support of our cash and in-kind sponsors a single ticket to the festival wouldn’t be $12, it would be approximately $32.  One of our mandates is to keep the festival as accessible as possible and our sponsors, along with government funders, help us do that.
I hope that this has shed some light on our programming independence and the limits our sponsors have on influencing the festival’s content.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to be in touch.
Cheers,
David Bremner
Director of Development

DOXA Documentary Film Festival