Categories
Big Government Bureaucracy Conservatarians Politics Science Self reliance

To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate, that is the question….

July 30, 2015

Dave 07Flu season is coming up in a few months; governments are stockpiling vaccine, and many of us are deciding whether or not to get our flu shots.

Hamlet’s, “To be or not to be” is unquestionably a more portentous decision than whether or not to get a flu shot, but you wouldn’t always realize it judging from the ferociousness of the debate.

On one side are those who insist that vaccinations are useless and cause all manner of serious side effects; on the other side are those who believe that if your doctor, or better yet, the government, recommends vaccination, then it must be good. I’d like to suggest that both might be wrong, and right.

Let’s take the example of measles vaccinations. Data would seem to bear out that measles vaccinations over the decades have almost eradicated the disease, which is good. There may be cases where the measles vaccine causes problems – sometimes very serious – for some children, but on balance measles vaccinations have worked, and have clearly been a good thing.

On the other hand, studies show that while the flu vaccine may have some value for small segments of the population, on the whole it has a very limited effect. Every year, there are articles that bear this out.

Here’s how a Maclean’s article, April 9, 2014, starts out: “Tamiflu™ might be the most heavily scrutinized drug in the world and one that governments have poured some $9 billion globally to stockpile in case of a pandemic. However, authors of a new study, published in the British Medical Journal this week, suggest the influenza antiviral probably works no better than aspirin and possibly causes harm.” (Italics mine)

An Australian study found that researchers that were paid by pharmaceutical companies were more likely to recommend antiviral drugs for flu. Adam Dunn who was the lead author of one Australian study, and who is a health informatics expert at the University of New South Wales, said: “We found reviewers with ties to Pharma introduced bias, as we found a disconnect between what the results showed and what they went on to recommend.”

The study found that 80% of reviews written by researchers with financial ties to the drug companies were favourable towards the drugs, while 17% of independent reviews were positive.

So much for unbiased science!  Yet governments spend billions stockpiling flu vaccine and buying advertising advising you to get vaccinated, apparently for no better reason than tradition. A far better defence against the flu seems to be to eat healthy and keep your immune system strong.

Swine-Vaccination-WaitRay Moynihan, a senior research fellow at Bond University said: “It is clear we have likely been misled about the benefits and harms of these drugs because so much of the evidence is tainted by a pro-industry or pro-drug bias. What we have in medicine is unfortunately a lot of marketing disguised as science…”   (In another field, most of the climate change/global warming industry is driven by politics and ideology, disguised as science.)

As someone with a strong libertarian bias, I believe that the final decision of whether or not to vaccinate is up to the well informed individual, or the parents.

Scientists are humans, and almost every area of science is tainted by biases, so being well-informed is key. As you know, a number of us are working together on an online community called Let’s Do It Ourselves, or LDIO™. (Pronounced el-DEE-o)

Our purpose is twofold.

  1. To provide a community where individuals and organizations who believe in limited government can unite to push back against ballooning (and bungling) bureaucracies; and foster an ethos of self-reliance.
  2. To use social media as a tool to reach out to and inform those of all ages who rely on their smart device for information.

If you haven’t already done so, please join us. http://www.ldio.org/join-ldio/  By working together, our efforts become more cost effective. And by developing a well-informed citizenry, we can begin to see some much-needed cultural change.

Thanks for your support!

Dave Reesor

Categories
Uncategorized

Socialism remembered II

Dave 07I hadn’t planned to do another blog until after the Alberta election, but there’s been such an overwhelming response to SOCIALISM REMEMBERED that I felt that I needed to make a couple of comments today.

First of all, a profound thank you to all of those who forwarded the links to this blog by email, and on Facebook, and Twitter. Our purpose of course is to stimulate thinking and conversation, and it succeeded.

We have a separate website at www.ldio.org which is the beta version for an online community called Let’s Do It Ourselves, or LDIO™. For those who are from Alberta, or Western Canada, it’s purpose will be to promote exactly what happened in High River and Calgary immediately after the flood of 2013, and before the government got involved. People came together by the tens of thousands and did it themselves. The government showed up to help and we know how well that worked out.

We hope to be ready for a roll-out of the new look and new videos by late May. In the meantime you can JOIN LDIO™ on the website, and it would be a tremendous help to us. http://www.ldio.org/join-ldio/

We’re getting a lot of feedback on this blog; most positive, but some negative. We are accused of ignoring the damage that some so-called conservative governments have done to provincial, state, and federal economies. Point taken.

But I would suggest the reason they failed is that, first of all, all governments are run by human beings, and they are all subject to letting greed and arrogance and pride get in the way of principles. But on the economic front, so-called conservative governments fail when they go whoring after votes. They all do it, because the only way they can have influence is to get elected, or re-elected. The competition in an election often boils down to making promises rather than promoting sound ideas.

It has also been suggested that I didn’t make the case to get rid of the PC’s strongly enough. That wasn’t the focus of the piece, but I did say that Alberta doesn’t need another four years of unremitting scandal. I am interested in sound principles, and in this present election I think that on every metric, Brian Jean is the best leader available.

But my belief is that a minority Wildrose or NDP government would be best at this time. The one thing that they would agree on is that priority one is to “clean out the corrals.” After 44 years of PC cronyism, that task will keep them busy for at least a year or two, and then we can have another election.

But an NDP majority would be a catastrophe.

However, the long-term solution lies with us; we must work nonstop at changing the entitlement culture between elections. For the older crowd that still reads, it can be done with blogs. For the younger set, the concepts must be transmitted via short, engaging videos delivered on smart phones and tablets.

Videos and social media are incredibly efficient ways to transmit ideas. On present trajectory, this blog, Socialism Revisited, will approach 100,000 views in three days, and we didn’t spend one penny for printing or postage.

Once again, you can support our LDIO™ community project at www.ldio.org. An email link is on the website.

And if anyone can help us with responding to emails and updating mailing lists, please let me know. It can all be done online. Several very solid references will be required.

Thank you all!

Dave Reesor

Categories
Alberta Politics Canadian Politics Politics

Trying to fix health care is stupid??

Dave 07

A few days ago I wrote a blog criticizing the Calgary Herald’s unbalanced coverage of the party leaders in the Alberta election; particularly the fact that the Herald apparently believed the Wildrose had pretty much dropped out of the race. Six or eight of you sent me a note saying you had contacted the Herald, and several of you apparently threatened to cancel your subscriptions.

The change was immediate. The Herald has since done several spreads on the Wildrose, complete with location photos. (This speaks volumes about the effectiveness of working together to bring about change.)

But the editorial page is a separate department of the paper, and yesterday’s editorial was a complete hack job on the Wildrose. It’s not signed so I can’t be sure, but It appears to have been written by Naomi Lakritz. I’ve had many back-and-forth’s with Naomi on the subject of healthcare, and she is adamantly opposed to any hint of choice in healthcare delivery, even when it means patients waiting in months long lineups to get their hips replaced or their arteries bypassed.

The Wildrose has said that if we can’t get these procedures in a timely manner, we will be allowed to have the procedure done at a local private clinic, or alternatively, seek help elsewhere, and Alberta Health Services will pay what it would cost to have it done at a government owned hospital in Alberta. PC Health Minister Stephen Mandel predictably called the Wildrose plan stupid, and the Herald editorial concurred.

The editorial claims that the Wildrose plan will only work for the rich because the cost of travel, room and board during recovery etc., etc., will be beyond the reach of low income people. The editorial ignored the fact that if a hip replacement is done in a local private clinic, there is no extra cost for room and board, or travel.

In the 20 years since Ralph Klein undertook a complete overhaul of the health care system, what have the PCs done to improve delivery? Whatever they’ve tried, it must have been stupid because lineups are just as long as ever. What is their smart plan to get it done now? If they were to put forward a believable plan, why would Albertans have any reason to believe they would know how to implement it?

The Wildrose plan points out that it doesn’t cost any more to do a hip operation within a month of diagnosis than it does to do it six or eight months later. This is stupid? I would go further and say it costs much less to do it more quickly because you have fewer visits to the doctor; and the patient endures less suffering. I know this from personal experience because of what my mother went through with a hip operation. Fewer visits to the doctor would mean less cost to the system and less suffering. This is stupid?

I don’t think the Wildrose plan is meant to be permanent, but surely it is not stupid to initiate a conversation that might lead to a genuine fix of our healthcare system. Because most industrialized countries around the world – even those that are avowedly Socialist –  have rationalized healthcare by introducing competition into its delivery.

The largest hospital in Malmo Sweden, the country’s second largest city, is privately owned. But if you suggest that privately operated hospitals might be something for Canada to consider, the Friends of Medicare, and left-wing fundamentalists like Naomi Lakritz light their hair on fire and hyperventilate about our imminent descent into a US style healthcare system. The horror! Truth be told, I’d  be horrified by us adopting US style healthcare, but how about adapting the best from Sweden and Finland and England and Germany and Singapore and Australia and New Zealand and the 25 or so other developed countries whose healthcare systems rank ahead of Canada and the United States?

Considering that our system and the American system are ranked second last and dead last  in the developed world, the left’s opposition to any idea that will move the discussion forward seems to be based purely on ideology rather than a desire to actually improve the situation for the suffering.

And that to me seems cynically cruel, or maybe even stupid?

.

Categories
Bullies Gay Rights Politics Religion US Politics

Indiana Pizza Parlor Remodels!

Dave 07Indiana passed a law last week, and since then, Indiana has been reviled, mocked, and boycotted. And what is the uproar about? According to Stanford law Professor Bernadette Meyer, the law appeared to be aimed at allowing companies to discriminate against same-sex couples or gay people. She said: “I am disturbed when that articulation of rights, as in the Indiana law, winds up trumping other people’s interests in equality.” Apparently Ms. Meyer believes that the interests of special interest groups trump the rights of ordinary people.

As soon as the Indiana law was passed, and in order to show how open and tolerant they are,  individuals, major corporations like Apple and Walmart, and even the governors of other states, widely and wildly condemned Indiana’s law, in spite of the fact that many other states including their own have similar laws. They said they feared that bigots would use the law to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

(By the way, in most cases, discrimination is a good thing. I’ve landed in my 70s through no choice of my own, yet if I now decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming, say, an airline pilot, how far along in the process do you think I’d get? They’d take one look at my birth year, 1943, and politely show me the door. And perhaps, justifiably suggest I see a psychiatrist.)

Anyway, in order to get a juicy story, a TV news reporter went into a small pizza shop owned by Christian family in a very small Indiana town. She asked the owner’s daughter a hypothetical question about their response if a same-sex couple asked them to provide pizza at their wedding. The daughter of the owner said that, because of their religious faith, they would probably decline.

A vicious Twitter campaign was launched against the pizza shop, and the next day they closed down. But the campaign backfired massively. A woman who believes in freedom of religion started a counter campaign to raise funds for the owners of the pizza shop. In two days $842,000 was raised, about eight times the pizza joint’s annual sales. They now intend to remodel and reopen. Remember that story the next time you shake your head sadly and say: “But what can we do?”

Since 1963, I have been speaking out on behalf of the rights of gay people to live their lives without interference or oppression from the rest of society. But we’ve gone way too far. The radical gay lobby now insists that their choices override everyone else’s rights, including the right to peacefully practice your religion.

In the history of marriage, has there ever been an unfettered right to marry? There has not. The right to same sex marriage is assumed by its supporters and now conferred by the government. In that, a same sex marriage is different than any heterosexual marriage in history.

Only in the case of war, or civil emergency, has anyone ever had a right to force someone to participate in something that goes against their conscience. It has been done, but only by governments we generally regard as totalitarian. Are we prepared to accept this in Western Society?

Let us concede that most gays have no choice about their sexual orientation. But without question, gay or straight, we all have multiple choices regarding lifestyle, association, and whom to marry. And whether you’re a gay couple, or straight, it’s you who makes the choice about whom you’d like to perform your ceremony, or cater to your wedding. If your choice declines, make another choice.

Because it takes a boatload of chutzpah to insist that your choice to have your same-sex wedding catered to by whomever you choose overrides the rights of another individual to practice their religion as their conscience dictates, and that the government is obligated to back your choice.

We need to push back against this nonsense, and the fact that tens of thousands got together and did, and bailed out the pizza shop, goes to prove that when we work together we can successfully push back.

Remember that, because in the next few weeks I will be asking you to join the Let’s Do It Ourselves online community so we can do just that; push back, inexpensively, pro-actively, and effectively.

For a hilarious and satirical take on the Indiana issue, follow this link to where Rex Murphy deftly skewers the Pecksniffian pretensions of the Apple and Walmart CEOs.  http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/rex-murphy-apple-and-walmart-have-no-business-casting-stones

Categories
Climate Environmentalism Science Uncategorized

Za Terminator is baaack!

Dave 07“Ve got to westoah za climate!!”  That’s Arnold the Terminator, about ten years ago. At the time I remember asking someone: “Restore it to what exactly? Cold as The Little Ice Age? Farming in Greenland like during the Middle Ages?”

This year, Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Montana, filming a documentary purporting to show that climate change is responsible for wildfires. Well of course he’s right. When it rains, forests grow; when it’s dry, forests burn. We learned that in Alberta in 2005. We had a dry March with lots of grassfires which is pretty normal. One of our local climate gurus, a Dr. Somebody, was interviewed and said: “If we don’t get rain, it will be a dry summer”. I realized immediately that I should have gone for that PhD because “rain = wet; no rain = dry!” would never have occurred to me. At any rate, in May and June it rained, and it got wet and we had floods; so I suppose he was right.

The fact is, climate change is normal.  Since the last Ice Age 18,000 years ago, the overall trend has been global warming, and thankfully, less ice. (Where I live just north of the Montana border, the ice was over a mile thick during the Ice Age; it’s chilly today; and I’m a bit nervous!) But there have been many ups and downs, temperature wise, and about 250 years ago it got almost as cold as it was during last Ice Age. So it is actually called, The Little Ice Age.

We are in the process of thawing out from that period of cold and misery and hardship. But unfortunately – according to the International Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC), which is the Vatican of the Church of Global Warming / Climate Change – there has been no warming for the past 17 years. Our thaw-out has stalled, and some scientists are worried. Let us hope that the climate doesn’t restore itself to what it was 250 years ago or we are in serious trouble. So buy that SUV! Arnold Schwarzenegger actually does drive a Hummer,so there is a bit more Hollywood hypocrisy.

Apparently, the IPCC is about to issue a report that essentially admits that all the alarmism, including theirs, was overdone. No kidding! According to the report, even if warming resumes it is likely to be significantly less than their last prediction, which was less than the one before that; all of which were less alarming than Al Gore’s predictions in his Fictionmentary called “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Here’s a link to The Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI), gives specific rebuttals to claims made by Al Gore. And don’t let those who say that SPPI is not legitimate, fool you. One claim is: “– SPPI had not been granted nonprofit status from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) 3+ years after it was formed”. Given the scandal unfolding around the IRS, I’d suggest that being stalled by them constitutes proof that SPPI is legitimate. http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/goreerrors.html

Our twenty year pandemic of insanity on climate change, warming, disruption, and extremes, has cost the world a trillion plus in dollars; and many millions of jobs; but hey! it worked great for Big Al, and he got rich! So now the Terminator is going to try the same play, and make his own documentary.

But that game is running out of steam, and credibility. Arnold’s documentary is probably too late for the big money; unless he throws in a car chase or two, and maybe Jamie Lee Curtis. If he does that, I might even watch it.

Let’s do it ourselves; and let’s think for ourselves!

www.ldio.org

Dave

Categories
Bureaucracy Politics Self reliance

THE LET’S DO IT OURSELVES MOVEMENT LAUNCHES!

IWUZ mottoOur LDIO™ website is live!Dave 07

As many of you know, I’ve spent the last year and a half researching; engaging a web design company; writing copy (with 15 or 20 revisions each); shooting the initial videos; (learning how to write a script and then speak on camera – definitely a work in progress); raising the initial capital to get the website built; etc., etc… all leading to the launch of the Let’s Do It Ourselves Movement.

Our producer, Russell Moore, has over 15 years experience in film production; both in news, and in movie making. He is one of that rare species; a Hollywood conservative.

Cindy Davidson is our researcher, and she is  cataloging backup data for those of you who like to dig. She is also teaching me Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Steep learning curve happening!

Like many – I’d guess most of you- I believe government is involved in far too many areas of our lives. We pay too much in taxes, but even then it’s not enough – witness our massive government debt. More importantly, our reliance on the nanny-state  depletes our character, and demoralizes us.

I don’t believe in “no government”. I just believe  in responsible, necessary government. Government that is, in Abraham Lincoln’s words: “by the people, and for the people”.

Be sure to visit the JOIN LDIO page on the website. WE NEED MEMBERS! Our ability to influence our society and our politicians will grow along with our membership roster.

And we are in the midst of raising the second round of capital so we can complete the back end of the website. The more members we have, the easier that task becomes.

If you share our vision of building stronger, more self-reliant families and communities, please visit www.ldio.org

We appreciate your feedback; and your ideas for future stories to cover. Please send us stories of your family or your community, Doing It Yourselves!

We absolutely can reverse the slide into nanny-statism, and regain the best of the past, including an attitude of self-reliance. At the same time, we, can look after each other and our neighbors who truly need assistance.

Heartfelt thanks to all of you who have supported and encouraged us thus far.  We are just getting started!

Dave

DW new card

P.S. Allison Diaz is a blogger extraordinaire. She is a writer extraordinaire. Her transparency is shocking. Her family’s story will inspire you. It will make you think. For a view into determination, faith and sheer guts, it would be hard to beat her blog at www.dannyandallison.com