The power of wilful ignorance cannot be overstated

Some of the secrets about how marketers make you buy what they want you to buy: Make you want it, crave it, need it.

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By using the right choice of words, marketers can focus the conversation to exactly where they want to.

By using the right choice of words, marketers can focus the conversation to exactly where they want to.

By using the right choice of words, marketers can focus the conversation to exactly where they want to.

Technique 1:  Everybody believes what’s on the label.

Technique 2:  Focus on progress.

Technique 3:  Rely on the consumers’ preparedness to look the other way.

What I’m learning in my Marketing studies…

 

… has put me off marketing alltogether.

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the power of propaganda

Timely quote about political leaders who can all too easily send the citizenry marching eagerly off to war by manufacturing crises that purportedly threaten national security by making popular appeals to patriotism.

What makes this sentiment even more disturbing is that it comes not from a venerated figure of antiquity – apocryphally attributed to Julius Caesar –  but  from a reviled twentieth century figure associated with the most chilling example of genocide in human history – Hermann Goering, Nazi Reichsmarshall (highest Nazi rank) and Luftwaffe-Chief.

Hermann Goering was perhaps the most influential person in the Nazi organisation, next to Hitler, and was considered Hitler’s chosen successor. He was one of only 12 Nazis elected to the Reichstag (Parliament) in 1928. He orchestrated the Reichstag fire on February 27, 1933 and, with Goebbels assistance, used the fire as a propaganda tool against the communists. In the mid-1930’s Goering was in charge of the Aryanization of Jewish property, a policy which extended to Jews throughout Europe.

Goering was the first Nuremberg trial which set precedence for the following trials.  He was found guilty on charges of “war crimes,” “crimes against peace,” and “crimes against humanity” by the Nuremberg tribunal and sentenced to death by hanging. However, he managed to evade the sentence by committing suicide in his cell with smuggled cyanide capsules, hours before his execution was due.

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The quote cited above does not appear in transcripts of the Nuremberg trials because although Goering spoke these words during the course of the proceedings, he did not offer them at his trial. His comments were made privately to Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking American intelligence officer and psychologist who was granted free access by the Allies to all the prisoners held in the Nuremberg jail. Gilbert kept a journal of his observations of the proceedings and his conversations with the prisoners, which he later published in the book ‘Nuremberg Diary‘ (Parts of the diary were published in 1947, and the whole diary in 1961, just before the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem).

The text is the verbatim notes Gilbert took immediately after having conversations with the prisoners, information backed up by essays he asked them to write about themselves.

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FOR THE CURIOUS:

Hermann Göring quotes at Wikiquote

Official records of the Nuremberg trials (The Blue series) in 42 volumes from the US Library of congress

Nuremberg: Nazis On Trial by Professor Richard Overy at ‘BBC History’

Hermann Goering’s Hearing at Nuremberg by Steffi Gascon and edited by Karen Phinney at UCSB

Nuremberg Trials—Closing Statement of Hermann Goering at ‘Facing History and Ourselves’

Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial – Herman Goering documentary episode focusing on Hermann Goering


Swine flu vaccine: Is it a shot in the foot?

H1N1 influenza virus

Electron microscope image of the reassorted H1N1 influenza virus. The viruses are 80–120 nanometres in diameter ie. Masks don’t help.

There is a lot of information in the media about swine flu.  To the point of overwhelming.  Although not expressly untrue, many facts are lacking and worst of all, the information is presented grossly out of context. Presenting facts selectively, and using a loaded message to produce an emotional rather than rational response spells propaganda.

Wolf-Dieter Ludwig, chairman of the German Medical Association’s drug commission, stated: “The health authorities have succumbed to a campaign by the pharma companies, which simply want to earn money from a supposed threat.”

While Mr Obama seems to think that emergency rules will make it easier to handle anticipated surge in patients.  Yes, after all that fear mongering, people are lining up for the jab.  As a result, the swine flu panic is sweeping the world.

Unfortunately, the biggest casualty of this corporate driven, politically supported, media-manufactured hysteria is – common sense.

Having sold billions of dollars worth of anti-flu drugs to the governments around the world, it’s clear the swine flu pandemic has been good news for the pharmaceuticals industry.

But, did you also know that Baxter, the US pharmaceutical giant, had been accused of fraud amid allegations that it had overpriced medicines by as much as 1300%(?)  As a result, the company reached at least seven huge settlements over the past 12 months, some for millions of dollars.

Despite the scandal, Baxter is one of two companies awarded the contract to produce 132 million doses of vaccine for Britain alone.

At this point, I’m tempted to step on my soap-box – How can we trust such abominably unethical organization with our health(?) – but I’ll refrain and stay with the facts.  My intention for this blog was always to pull the facts together to help paint a broader context. You draw your own conclusions.

FACT: Swine flu has a death rate of about 0.5%, that makes it slightly more dangerous than seasonal flu.

At the moment, the World Health Organisation (WHO) still describes swine flu as a ‘moderate’ illness, saying that most people recover without the need for hospitalisation or medical care.

FACT:  Antiviral drugs cannot cure flu.

At present there’s no good-quality research in people about how well antiviral drugs work against swine flu. All the randomised controlled trials look at how well they work against normal, seasonal flu.  And at best, the laboratory tests show that this type of flu virus (not specifically H1N1) is sensitive to two types of antiviral medicine:  oseltamivir (TAMIFLU®)) and zanamivir (RELENZA®)).

The last big summary of the research was published in 2007. It looked at three studies of children with seasonal flu treated with these antiviral drugs. The summary showed that antiviral drugs reduced the amount of time children had flu symptoms, by between 10 and 36 hours.  Reduced by about ONE day!?

Admittedly, studies also showed both these medicines reduce the chances of getting flu from a close contact (for example someone you work with), as well as relieving some of the symptoms and reducing your chances of getting complications from normal flu, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

Although the summary was not funded by drug companies, most of the original studies they included were.

NB: Tamiflu is banned in Japan.

FACT: Taking anti-flu medicines will not stop the spread of swine flu.

You will probably still be infectious while taking antiviral medicines. So really, you need to take good hygiene measures, such as regularly washing your hands.

If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better. Two types of antivirals, TAMIFLU® and RELENZA® may be effective against the H1N1 flu.  But there are known issues with both, severe enough for Japan to ban Tamiflu.

FACT: The clinical trials are inconclusive given the time, certainly not sufficient to justify vaccination of millions of people.

Many doctors and health organizations are concerned about the safety of the swine flu vaccines.

It appears the alleged cure is potentially more dangerous than the disease and ethical medical practitioners are expressing their concerns all around the world.

GlaxoSmithKline, major manufacturer of Pandemrix vaccine, confirmed that a single dose could provide a strong immune response.  However, trials are ongoing.

Wolfgang Wodarg, a doctor and a member of the Bundestag, told the BMJ that governments have created a lot of unnecessary panic. He thinks the World Health Organization “carries a lot of the burden for this.”

Should the governments have agreed to carry legal risk in the event of lawsuits by patients experiencing any negative side effects from the vaccine?

FACT:  The evidence of this strain of the flu virus circulating in pigs in many of the originally infected and pandemic declared countries is sketchy.

The lack of similarity between the 2009 A(H1N1) virus and its nearest relatives indicates this is a new type of virus, not derived from a seasonal flu virus, or any other previously identified virus, rather it appears to be a hybrid.

Although swine flu viruses are usually of the H1N1 sub-type* and nonhuman in origin, human swine flu has some elements of a virus found in pigs.  Influenza_subtypes Influenza A viruses are found in many different animals, including ducks, chickens, pigs, whales, horses and seals.  This strain is called swine flu because it is thought to have originated in pigs – a lot of conjecture involved here. The origin of the latest disease outbreak in Mexico is still under investigation.

NOTE: Sub-type means derived.  Natural mutation requires time, so derived how, in a lab?

FACT: A vaccine can only be developed when the specific strain has been identified, and then it takes several months to do so.

Strangely, the report in ‘Science’ (the World Leading Journal of Original Scientific Research), claiming the swine flu outbreak did originate in pigs, was published May 22nd 2009.  Barely a month after the first known case was reported.

Another few months later, and we have the vaccines, Pandemrix, the H1N1 vaccine produced by GlaxoSmithKline;  And, Celvapan, Baxter’s adjuvant-free H1N1 vaccine (absence of adjuvants means fewer “side”-effects), reserved for top government officials and military (hrmm…?).

Extremely fast work.

FACT:  As advised by the WHO, eating well-cooked pork does not pose a risk.

 

After the initial news broke out, the media were warned not to refer to the outbreak by its common name, swine flu, but to use N1H1, to curtail alarming drops in pork sales.

 

All I can say is, glad I’m a vegetarian.

FACT:  Under the AHMPPI, immunisation would normally mark the beginning of the next phase, or ‘control’.

However, given the moderate nature of pandemic (H1N1) 2009, and the desirability of continuing current measures under the ‘protect’ phase, a change to the ‘control’ phase will not occur ie. In Australia, vaccination is not being legislatively mandated.

FACT: In the UK, GPs will be handed £4000 bonuses as well as receive £5.25 for each jab (£10.50 per patient), however the shot will be free to patients – read: Gov’t subsidised.

Is this bribery(?)

FACT: Since April 2009, the swine flu outbreak has effected 100 countries.  WHO’s decision to raise the pandemic alert level to Phase 6 is a reflection of the spread of the virus, not the severity of illness caused by the virus.

In their own words, “Rapid reporting of human infections with novel influenza A viruses will facilitate prompt detection and characterization of influenza A viruses and accelerate the implementation of effective public health responses.

So, why is the WHO no longer updating its figures? Now it looks like the US CDC might have decided to abandon the facts as well.  Makes no sense – The pattern the spread of a disease makes, is a direct guide to the strategy for dealing with it(?)

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Look beyond fear.

The truth does not become more true
by virtue of the fact that the
entire world agrees with it,
nor less so even if the whole world
disagrees with it.  [Maimonides, 1135 – 1204]

Stay informed.  Don’t take anything for granted just because someone ‘credible’ says so.  Pull as many facts that are available together into a picture that makes sense for you. Draw a conclusion of your own.

The truth will set you free!

RELATED WEBSITES:

Swine flue vaccine supplier has to pay back millions

Dprogram.net, Countering propaganda

British Medical Journal

UK National Health Service

The Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic influenza

Australian Gov’t Dep’t of Health & Aging

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention