Friday, August 28, 2015

Scientists and doctors are wrong half of the time - make sure it is not the half which injures or kills you or someone you love.

For all those who believe scientists and doctors when they say something is safe, vaccinating our children being a classic example, not to mention medicating everyone at levels never known before in all of human history, and rejecting effective and safe medical modalities like Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Herbal and Nutritional medicine, bear in mind that these pronouncements are coming from an industry which, according to noted medical professionals who should know, is WRONG half of the time.
Even if one applied 50% across the board that means vaccination is dangerous half of the time or for half of the children all of the time, that medications are at best useless or at worst dangerous and deadly half of the time or for half of the people all of the time, and that other medical modalities like Homeopathy work for half of the people or all of the people half of the time.
Modern science/medicine is only ever half-right at best and on some counts is going to be completely wrong.
Don't take your scientist or doctor's word, do the research, become informed, because 'snake oil salesmen' still abound in the world of orthodox medicine as they have always done.
And scientists and medical professionals of integrity are finally admitting to it.

Quote: The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.
Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”.
The Academy of Medical Sciences, Medical Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have now put their reputational weight behind an investigation into these questionable research practices.
The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world.
Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of “significance” pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale.
We reject important confirmations. Journals are not the only miscreants. Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication.
National assessment procedures, such as the Research Excellence Framework, incentivise bad practices. And individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

We are beginning to hear the voices of indigenous truth-tellers!

Dallas Scott is an Australian truth-teller and a man who is comfortable in the society as a whole and with his indigenous ancestry.
There are a few others out there like him, but their voices are often not heard because they are not the darlings of the Black Armband Brigade, immersed in the halls of academia, which, for their own vested agendas and unconscious racism do not want to hear truths which destroy their career and ego-propelling narrative.
But perhaps in these days when talk of changing the Constitution is prevalent and following on from the Adam Goodes controversy, we will hear more of these sensible, informed, experienced, considered indigenous Australians and they will be more prepared to speak truths which are not fashionable but which are, and always have been, truths.
I will admit that I cringe when I hear the words “Stolen Generations”. It makes me uncomfortable, because like most of the issues surrounding Aboriginal affairs, what I have to say will affect those who are close to me, and not always in a positive way.
Offence can be taken in just a few words, and although I am loathe to cause any harm to those I love, it has become a choice between a moment of possible offence, vs a much greater harm and problem we need to face. Unlike most of the topics that come up with regard to what we should be ashamed about when it comes to Aboriginal affairs – domestic violence, drug or alcohol addiction, imprisonment, poverty, racism, homelessness – I don’t know anybody that qualifies as ‘stolen’, nor am I related to anybody who is, yet I am familiar with the term, and know people that use it to describe their own situations.
For anybody who wonders, I want to clarify my understanding of the term ‘stolen generation’ for you. The “Stolen Generation”, in simplified terms, refers to a policy of removals of Aboriginal and part-Aboriginal children from their families and cultures, to be raised in white society as a means of eventually ‘breeding out the Aboriginal’.
At first, it was claimed to be a ‘White Australia’ policy, but then after the public failure of several court cases, justification for the claim – despite the lack of legal success to back it up – came by widening the narrative a little more, to explain how a law that did not exist was actually a secret conspiracy to falsify tales of neglect, and carry out their diabolical plan with the full support of the legal system instead.
As those who have read my blog before would know, I was raised in foster care, by parents who were not Aboriginal and had white skin. I was not stolen, but instead I was given with open arms by some of my relatives to the Mum and Dad who raised me. They raised lots of foster kids, some who even had a non-Aboriginal parent and were much lighter-skinned, but they stole none of them.
Instead, the phone would normally ring, often in the middle of the night, with a desperate parent on one end begging for Mums help and the next day we would have a new family member. Sometimes for a week, other times a few months, sometimes years.
Where the ‘stolen generations’ story becomes a dangerous narrative, is when you have those who use its inability to be debated, due to the highly sensitive matter of the subject, as a means to gain sympathy for those people who should otherwise be encouraged to get help and face the demons of their past.
From my own personal experience, of those who have claimed to be stolen, but instead are easing their need for sympathy for their suffering with a label instead, going along for the ride is not a positive experience. While the label might earn you quiet respect, and immediately paralyse most people into asking no questions and instead letting you share as much or as little as you like about your background, the longer you avoid your real story – whether that be in order not to have to face some hard truths, or ask some harder questions of yourself – things aren’t going to get better for you. Having a name for your pain means nothing if it’s a misdiagnosis.
I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to have been completely abandoned, but I do know what it is like to be denied parts of your history. My biological mother chose to share little of herself and her history, leaving me with gaps that I have spent years trying to fill - but am yet to feel like I’ve succeeded at accomplishing. I’ve walked arm in arm with my biological sister as she made her first tentative returns to Lake Tyers. I know how frightened she was of being accepted, and we sat for many nights where I repeatedly reassured her not to be afraid, that so many people could not wait to see her and just wanted her in their presence again, but until she had seen it for herself, her apprehension could not be eased by my words alone.
I know this because I feel this way about going to Wallaga Lake - where my mothers family are from – and where I have been only as a very small child.
This is the downside to Adoption and Foster Care for some kids, regardless of skin colour. Reconnecting can be difficult, heartbreaking, or wonderful – there is just no guarantee of which outcome you’re going to get, and the fear of rejection can be so overwhelming for some that it takes them years to even try. When the biological parent passes away before the answers can be had, it is a horrible emptiness and regret that cannot be undone, and makes the journey to find resolve seem that much more difficult and insurmountable. We should provide support and counselling to any people who are affected by these issues, rather than funding a label or narrative that is failing to deal with the deeper issues that are underlying these claims.
Blaming the white man, or the government for taking your kids away is easier for some of my relatives because they can be supported by others for being a victim, yet I am starting to realise that this is having a terrible cost to the younger generations, as they fall prey to the same answer of covering the pain and suffering we won’t or don’t talk about and resolve with honesty, by easing their confusion or emptiness with alcohol or drugs.
We’ve done ourselves no favours by trading our need for sympathy for that sense of loss or displacement by letting people class us with a label that will explain away our sadness or dysfunction or failures, to avoid talking about the things that are painful and causing us to repeat that pattern again and again.
The problem is, that sympathy is based on a lie, and the real sympathy, understanding and help they need never comes because the trade off for that comfort of a label that explains all your ills without having to look deeper is the eventual realisation that the questions never go away.
Parents who surrender their children face a suffering all their own. Since becoming a father myself, I am more in awe of what my biological father did for me, and am thankful that he didn’t pass away before I got to tell him just how much I appreciated how hard it must have been for him to give us away to give us a better life.
I hope never to be in a situation where my life has spun out of control to the point where I have to hand my children to someone more stable than myself to care for them. But if I had to, I would. I love them too much to have them suffer along with me when there are options for a better life for them.
I would not be surprised to learn that my biological mother would have considered us ‘stolen’ from her at some point in her life. From where she stood, it would have seemed the most adequate description of what she was going through during that time. She did not get a say in where we lived, in fact, was quite vocally opposed in the few small encounters we had during my childhood, and we grew up without a connection to her heritage and culture. I can only hope that she didn’t go along with the narrative though, because it wouldn’t be true, and it wouldn’t have allowed the real culprits for her suffering to wear the blame.
Who were those culprits? Not a secret conspiracy, but instead a culture that valued the opinions of one family over another, over those of the woman who gave birth to us and held us in our arms when we arrived into the world - when it came to making decisions about their children. A society that was less tolerant, less understanding, and less welcoming of Aboriginal people back then, that resulted in her isolation and allowed her own prejudices against white people to be forever formed and one day drive a wedge between us and cause our estrangement.
It was painful for her, and it must have been awful, and I have no doubt that her suffering led to her struggles with alcohol. What I can’t make excuses for anymore, is that for decades her choice to slowly kill herself with grog was allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged, excused by those who wanted to ease her suffering with an easy answer that seemed to make her happy but ultimately, didn’t help her into anything more than an early grave.
Heavy drinking devastated her life, and resulted in her enduring her final years spent missing a limb and pushed from place to place in a wheelchair as a result of the diabetes that ravaged her body. It could have been different, and if we don’t focus on making sure it isn’t for those who are still with us and suffering, then we’re going to continue the cycle of broken hearts, misplaced hate, and never moving forward and closing the gaps that count.
I am also sad that my father didn’t get the help he needed. Those who did encourage him to do so were shouted down and often ignored, as others around him enabled him and made excuses for him too. They should have to wear some of the guilt and regret that he felt , for they helped to directly cause it by their actions. Sad stories don’t need a blame narrative, they need to be dissected, understood and the right help found for the people who are suffering.
I apologise for all the times I have stood silent and let the narrative go unchallenged in my own circles. I’ve helped nobody by standing by and letting people focus on finding someone to blame, rather than healing and moving forward.


Monday, August 03, 2015

What's in a name? Quite a bit when the name is racism...

The roller-coaster ride over the past few weeks regarding racism in Australia, real and imagined, has provided some useful insights into an issue I have thought about more than once, since the ‘fashion’ appeared in recent decades for Australians to be deemed ‘racist’ in substantive terms.

We live in a time where ‘sound-byte’ reactions are a norm and we are seeing the label ‘racist’ or ‘racism’ hurled at people and situations where it does not apply. Of course there is racism in Australia because there is racism in every society, but it remains minimal and is not of the order that many would have us believe in the name of vested agendas.

We have a ridiculous situation where those crying racist are the real racists, because they are demonising Australians, simply because they do not have or do not acknowledge Aboriginal ancestry.

The real racism is in this approach, where an entire group is being attacked and demonised on ‘racial’ grounds. Somehow it is okay to have non-indigenous ‘smacked over the knuckles’ if they make a generalised comment, but it is okay for indigenous Australians to ‘tar all non-indigenous with the same brush’ and hold them responsible for acts committed by strangers or ancestors in the distant past.

The history of Australia has not been particularly racist beyond the White Australia Policy which arose in a very different era and was aimed at Chinese immigration and sourced in fears current for the times, of a Yellow Peril, or Reds under the Beds.

But the policy was never about Aborigines or in fact race per se: it was a fear of Asian immigrant numbers engulfing a small Anglo-European population. And of course the Policy ended without much fuss or bother because Australians were generally pragmatic and not racist anyway.

" The anti-Chinese movements were caused by economic factors rather than racial factors, commencing in the opposition to further transportation of convicts in the 1830s and 1840s." Takao Fujikawa - Japanese researcher into the White Australia Policy.

Because migrants and the wider Australian community really didn't have negative views of non-white migrants, the remaining aspects of the Immigration Restriction Act were progressively dismantled by the Liberal Menzies government. In 1958, a revised Migration Act introduced a simpler system of entry permits and abolished the controversial dictation test. Because the revised Act avoided references to questions of race, it allowed well-qualified Asians to migrate.


By 1964, almost all conditions blocking entry of people of non-European stock had been removed and non-traditional migration was being very well recieved by the Australian community. By 1966, there were 101,387 Asian-born migrants in Australia. (ABS 2005).”

So, how did we suddenly, in a decade or so, become racist as some now claim?  The simple answer is we didn’t.

What happened was that the definition of racism changed. It has been manipulated in the hands of the politically correct and the multiculturalism mafia and has become so broad that Australians are being called racist simply for speaking frankly? 

And often, the cries of racism are aimed at people who are not the least bit racist but are, instead, coming from a place of belief that all Australians should be treated equally, and  if someone acts in ways which should be condemned, then condemned they will be, regardless of their race, religion or gender. Simply espousing that Aboriginal aid should be needs-based not race-based, something which many indigenous Australians also support, can have you called a racist when in fact it is the complete opposite because needs-based has everyone treated as equals and race-based is racial discrimination.

In the eyes of the PC ‘police’ this is anathema because one is not meant to hold ‘victims’ accountable and the position is that indigenous Australians, even those with one-thirty-second Aboriginality from an ancestor are victims! The irony is that they are the true racists because they want to hold indigenous Australians, and some immigrant groups for that matter, to lower standards of behaviour.  They are in essence patronising them because they refuse to treat them as equals.

This was not how it was for most of Australia’s history and not how it was for creating an environment where we had the children of immigrants quickly intermarrying and assimilating and where we had indigenous Australians moving into the broader community, easily and successfully.

As a child of an immigrant family across many generations, like most Australians, and growing up in the Fifties and Sixties in very mixed communities, I can’t say I ever perceived what could be defined as racism. Where adults criticised it was on the basis of behaviour, not race and it would be the same criticism whether the individual was Aboriginal, English, Greek, Italian or fourth-generation Australian.

My first boyfriend was half Aboriginal. I don’t recall giving it a second thought and neither did my parents, siblings or friends. As a journalist living around Australia, including in country towns where there was a greater indigenous presence, I perceived still, the same basis for criticism as being behaviour from most.

I do believe I was intelligent, educated, informed and experienced enough to understand the meaning of the term racism and to identify it when it appeared. There did not seem to be much racism, and, after many years living and travelling around the world, it seemed to me that racism in Australia was amongst the most minimal.

We had and have a long history as an immigrant nation of generally fast and harmonious integration and assimilation. We have in fact the highest and fastest rate of immigrant intermarriage of any nation although I gather that in recent years where the internet makes sourcing wives overseas easier, and with more immigrants of a fundamentalist religious nature, this has diminished a little, but it still remains high.

We have an even higher rate of indigenous intermarriage and since most indigenous Australians are of very mixed race with more Anglo/European/Asian/African etc., ancestry, it is pretty clear that mixing has been going on for a long time. We have most indigenous Australians in mixed marriages and at even higher rates in some urban areas where you would expect to find more of the racism which is said to exist.

Quote: Most Aboriginal men and women intermarry with non-indigenous Australians, new research has shown. Analysis of the 2006 census reveals that 52% of Aboriginal men and 55% of Aboriginal women were married to non-Aboriginal Australians.

In Australia's larger east coast cities, the intermarriage rate was well above 70%; in Sydney, as many as nine out of 10 university-educated Aborigines had a non-indigenous partner.

Dr Bob Birrell, who led the research said: "In the US, the social divide between black and white is deep, and intermarriage rates with African Americans is 8%. We don't see any parallel here”.

How can we have such high rates of intermarriage if Australians are generally racist? One thing I have learned living around the world is that racists do not intermarry because racists do not intermix socially and the borders of social groups are firmly fixed.

It is thirty years next February since I became an expat and while there have been stints spread across eight years during that time, living back in Australia, for most of it I have been ‘outside looking in’ through windows of visits three or four times a year.

I grew up in Adelaide but have lived in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Wagga Wagga, Port Pirie and spent quite a bit of time in Sydney. I have spent time in Darwin and on remote communities in Far North Queensland and the Kimberley, as well as in Hobart, Kunnunurra, Broome, Cairns, Weipa and dozens of other small towns across the continent. I think I know Australia reasonably well across a spectrum of fifty years.

The nomadic life has had me living in Europe, Antwerp, Belgium;  London, on three occasions for months at a time, Bombay, India for more than four years; Luanda, Angola for more than four years; both Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa; Lusaka, Zambia; Vancouver, Canada and now more than five years in Malawi.

I have also spent months at a time living in the United States, and driven across a lot of it, and months at a time in Russia in both Moscow, Ekaterinburg and small mining towns. I have had a few months in Portugal, mainly Lisbon, to learn Portugese for our time in Angola.  So, I think I have had reasonable experience both around Australia and around the world of various cultures and societies to enable perspective in regard to my own country and the accusations of racism.

If you want to see real racism, spend some time living in a developing country where rigid social boundaries and religious, tribal and cultural laws make tolerance rare and change difficult. Compared to places like India and Africa, Western racism is minimal.

But here too, the locals have been turned into victims and mendicants with ‘hand held out’ and allowances made for behaviour which would not be tolerated if they were treated as equals and not patronised like helpless children as is so often done to Aborigines.

Australians have a long history of ‘calling a spade a bloody shovel’ and of being frank and open in their views in ways which few other societies are. We are more outspoken than the British, Americans, Canadians and probably the New Zealanders. The Scots might give us a run for our money, but, in general, Australians stand out as a people who are more inclined to say what they ‘really think.’

And this is what is being called racism by foreigners who judge by their own standards and their ignorance of the Australian culture, if not at times, jealousy, and by those Australians who have turned themselves into a mafia of political correctness.

Who knows, maybe we got our irreverence and ‘straight-talking’ from that mix of rebellious convicts and Aborigines. I certainly think it is the source of our laconic, ironic, irreverent sense of humour, something else the ‘PC police’ wish to censor.

I also believe there is a strong seam of common sense in Australian society which is why the screams of ‘racism’ achieve nothing  constructive, because people know when they are racist and when they are accused of something they have not done they just ignore it, until they get so pissed off about it, as some did with Adam Goodes, that they take a stand.

Bigotry is wrong. Racism is wrong. Negative discrimination is wrong – actually I think positive discrimination is also wrong but that is a digression. But, calling someone racist when they are simply speaking an unpalatable truth or demanding that everyone is treated equally as a human being is equally, if not more wrong.

And what makes it worse is where one group is considered to be guilty of racism and another is not. The other fad is to believe that only Westerners are racist when history has always demonstrated that racism is a common human affliction. All cultures, societies, nations, peoples have a capacity for racism it is simply a matter of degree. Racism is not about the colour of your skin and in the modern age, people with black skin are more likely to be more racist than people with white skin, it is about the beliefs that you hold. Racism is about culture and the social attitudes it encourages.

Australians have traditionally taken an attitude of ‘judging’ others on how they act, not who they are. Most do not care what job you do, how much money you have, what your religion is, or what colour your skin is – they care about who you are as a person and how you act. That is not racism. It is the foundation of our ‘tall poppy syndrome’ where you are not meant to ‘get above yourself’ just because you are rich, famous or powerful, which seems a pretty sensible approach.

When we begin to ‘make allowances’ based on race we are creating victims and we are creating racism.

Adam Goodes was judged by his actions as an adult and called to account. If he had not been indigenous and the child he humiliated had been Aboriginal, the crowd would have reacted the same, but the Aboriginal Industry and the Politically Correct Police would have reacted very differently. That is racism.

That is holding Goodes to a ‘lower bar’ of accountability because he identifies as Aboriginal, despite the fact that he is far more Anglo/European than he is Aboriginal in terms of ancestral inheritance. And that is racism because it is taking a position that the terrible and unnecessary humiliation of a non-indigenous child is acceptable because of her ‘race’ and ‘culture’ in ways it would not be if she, like Goodes, could find some Aboriginal ancestry, and particularly if she had been treated as she was by someone without an excuse, a non-indigenous ‘white.’

The distorted definitions of the term ‘racism’ is creating an environment which produces racism where it did not previously exist. The racism demonstrated by the Aboriginal Industry and its ‘crusaders’ where all non-indigenous are guilty of crimes done since 1788, as espoused by Adam Goodes, is destructive and divisive. It is also unfair.

It is not Australians in general who are dividing the country into ‘white’ and ‘black’ but the Aboriginal Industry supported by academia, Government and most of the media and setting the scene for a ‘race war’ without substance. Tragically, this situation does far more harm to those indigenous still in need of support than it does to anyone else.

I don’t actually believe it will lead to that because I believe most Australians, indigenous and non-indigenous are not racist and will not be turned into racists, but I do think we have reached a point where we need to think carefully about what the word racism means and not use it unless it can be substantially demonstrated that real racism exists.

Real racism is where you reject an entire group of people because of their race, religion or culture.  There are no exceptions for a racist. And on that basis, Australia remains one of the least racist countries in the world and that is what needs to be nourished, for the sake of everyone.

Here's what the data show:
• Anglo and Latin countries most tolerant. People in the survey were most likely to embrace a racially diverse neighbor in the United Kingdom and its Anglo former colonies (the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and in Latin America. The only real exceptions were oil-rich Venezuela, where income inequality sometimes breaks along racial lines, and the Dominican Republic, perhaps because of its adjacency to troubled Haiti. Scandinavian countries also scored high.