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Anti-Vax Ghouls – No Thanks

Ghouls are the worst. No, I don’t mean like Tokyo Ghoul, which is pretty good.

I mean anti-vax ghouls. The ones who who share news stories of young people who have died suddenly, and falsely claim that the death was caused by the vaccine even though they have no knowledge of either the cause of death or the vaccine status of the deceased.

Sadly, this is a regular tactic. Anti-vaxxers will pass on anything, no matter how far from reality, without checking, as long as they think it supports their case. They have no choice but to pass on nonsense and distortions, because there are no facts that do support their case.

More on this from Dr Susan Oliver, a real scientist and medical researcher:

Reparations for Slavery

Demands for reparations for historic slave trade and ownership have been timed to coincide with the coronation of King Charles III.

This article from the Australian version of Spectator magazine is worth reading in full. It is behind a paywall. I have copied it below, but a digital subscription to Spectator is well worth the investment.

I would add to the article that the Christian West is the only civilisation in history voluntarily to have given up slave ownership and slave trade. It did so at great financial cost. Slave ownership continues in some Islamic nations, and in some countries in Asia and Africa.

I agree that slaves everywhere should be freed, and their owners obliged to pay compensation. But none of those claiming reparations in the current bout of demands have ever been slaves, and none of those from whom reparations are being claimed have ever owned slaves. Nor have their parents or grandparents. Now read on …

The calls for slavery reparations seem to be growing louder every day. This week, indigenous representatives from 12 Commonwealth countries called on King Charles to begin the process of paying reparations. The King has personally expressed sorrow for the suffering of slaves and Buckingham Palace has said that it is taking the issue of reparations ‘profoundly seriously’. Earlier this year, a former BBC journalist committed to sending £100,000 in aid to the Caribbean to atone for her own family’s historical links to the slave trade.

The voluntary role that many Africans played in the transatlantic slave trade is ignored

The central thesis of slavery reparations is that white majority countries owe money to ethnic minorities as their ancestors may have enslaved others or benefited from a slave-system economy.

There is a problem with this though: ultimately, the great evil of slavery was practised by all inhabited continents and all races. And there will be almost no one alive today in the world who doesn’t have an ancestral link to the slave trade. This fact collapses the modern-day reparations argument.

Take the Afro-Omani slave trader Tippu Tip, who in 1895 was reported to have seven plantations and own 10,000 slaves. He was one of the largest slavers in all of East Africa.

African slave trader Tippu Tip

Tip, alongside countless fellow indigenous Africans, would capture slaves in village raids or as prisoners of war, and they would be sold at the African coast to outside traders or fellow Africans within the subcontinent. Tip’s own home country Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania) was, although small in size, a large trading empire. In 1859 alone, 19,000 slaves were imported there from the East African Coast.

Long before the transatlantic slave trade began, slavery was commonplace in many parts of the globe. As Al-Tabari, the Muslim scholar, showed in the mid-ninth century, the Basra port at al-Ahwaz alone had about 15,000 enslaved workers. Even in New Zealand, Maori chiefs enslaved prisoners of war – occasionally going as far as eating them in tribal feasts. The further you go back in history the longer the list of slavers grows, including everyone from the Ancient Egyptians to the Shang dynasty in China.

Given that many of the nations now calling for reparations also enslaved and sold others, the reparations argument when brought to its logical conclusion would have to demand that descendants of African slavers owe reparations to those who may have been the victims of slavery.

This argument could even be applied to the white descendants of the victims of the Barbary slave trade. Though undoubtedly far smaller than the transatlantic slave trade, the Barbary trade still saw over one million Europeans captured by North African pirates in slave raids between the 16th and 18th centuries.

So why is this devastating blow to the reparations argument often ignored? Politically, it seems that although we generally accept that slavery was universal in ancient history, we often pretend that only European powers practised slavery from the 16th century onwards, when this is clearly not the case. Meanwhile, the voluntary role that many Africans played in the transatlantic slave trade is also ignored.

Generally the European powers, with the exception of Portugal, lacked the resources to delve deep into the African continent for slaves. They were instead met at the coast by willing traders looking to make a profit by selling their fellow man. Though it is undoubtedly true that the rise of the transatlantic trade encouraged the growth of African slavers, this does not excuse those who took part in the trade.

Nor did slavery end in Africa when European colonialists were removed from the continent. When the Portuguese were forced off the East African Coast in 1699 by the Imam of the Omani Empire, he himself owned about 1,700 slaves.

The same is true for colonies outside Africa. In the early 1820s, Brazil broke away from the Portuguese Empire. Despite its later anti-slavery treaties with the UK, Brazil would continue importing about 750,000 slaves between 1831-1850. In 1844 it refused to renew the Anglo-Brazilian anti-slave trade agreement. Brazil’s slave trade only effectively stopped after 1850 when the UK formed a naval blockade in its coastal waters.

During the age of abolition led by Britain, the King of Dahomey (a West African Kingdom in modern day Benin) reportedly protested to a British officer that:

‘The slave trade has been the ruling principle of my people. It is the source of their glory and wealth. Their songs celebrate their victories and the mother lulls the child to sleep with notes of triumph over an enemy reduced to slavery.’

Some independent African nations and empires continued to allow slavery well after abolitionism in Europe. This was especially true in the eastern side of Africa where it was more difficult for the British to influence local politics and for the Royal Navy to enforce abolition.

From the 1860s onwards, Bemba chiefs in North-Eastern Zambia traded ivory and slaves for guns. As the supply of elephants for ivory depleted, the chiefs moved to selling even more slaves. In Barotseland, the monarch Lewanika was considered king of the Barotses, a South African ethnic group. From the beginning of his reign in 1878 until the region became a British protectorate, oral sources claim that up to a third of his subjects were slaves.

There is no question that the Euro-American trade in slaves – which began with Portugal and later included other colonial powers like France and Britain – was huge in size. This evil should never be forgotten.

But neither should we forget that people from all parts of the world, races and religions took part in what was one of the most horrid systems in human history.

In many parts of the world today, slavery is still rife. Rather than trying to create division by blaming people for the sins of their ancestors, we should instead come together to try and solve the problems we face today.

How Many Handshakes from Hitler?

How many handshakes from Hitler are you?

When I first saw this question on an internet forum I thought it was a silly question. Then I decided it might be interesting, but thought since I am a working class regional nobody from the colonies, in my case it would be many.

Then I worked it out. I have shaken hands with former Australian Governors-General Michael Jeffrey, Quentin Bryce, and Peter Hollingworth. All of them have shaken hands with Queen Elizabeth II. She shook hands with her uncle Edward VIII, later the Duke of Windsor. He met and shook hands with Hitler. I am not suggesting there was anything wrong in his doing so. At that time, in 1937, Hitler was clearly an unsavoury character, but he had not yet invaded Sudetenland, and there was still hope for long term peace.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor on their visit to Germany in 1937

So in reality, there are three people between me and Hitler, handshake wise. If you do not have a shorter or similar route, but have shaken hands with me, there are four people between you and Hitler.

Geothermal Power Dud

A $4 million geothermal power plant built in outback Queensland in 2019, touted as a “game changer” in renewable energy, has never produced any electricity. The plant was built at tax-payer expense of course. Now the manufacturers/installers are demanding over $1 million in “repairs” to get it going.

Winton failed geo-thermal power station
Failed $4 million geothermal power plant at Winton, QLD

Dune Part Two

Part Two of Denis Villeneuve’s interpretation of Dune appears in cinemas in November. If you haven’t seen Part One, and you are even remotely interested in science fiction, or what it means to be human (which is what all science fiction is about), or even just cinema or story-telling, see it now.

The Evil of the Anti-vax Campaigners

Most social media anti-vaxxers are not evil, just ignorant and irresponsible. But those who deliberately misrepresent medical data, who originate the memes and misquotes that the useful obliviates pass on without thought, they are evil. “Dr” John Campbell is one. So is Joseph Mercola. So is Simone Gold. Another is Aseem Malhotra.

One thing most of these have in common is that while railing against the profits of big pharma, they make a fortune peddling alternative schemes, programmes and medications which have no research support, and do not work.

COVID -19 scammer Aseem Malhotra is touring Australia. He promotes himself, and is promoted by anti-vaxxers, as a highly regarded cardiologist. By anti-vaxxers, yes. By other reputable doctors and researchers? Not so much.

You will note that whenever anyone takes an anti-vax view, in anti-vax circles that person immediately becomes “highly regarded,” a “leading scientist,” and “authoritative expert.” Robert Malone, who was a secondary author on two minor papers in the eighties, suddenly became the “inventor of mRNA technology.” Just so for Malhotra.

Incidentally, the so-called Australian Medical Professionals Society does not represent Australian medical professionals, but is a tiny minority group set up to spread anti-vax misinformation. This is the group that is sponsoring, and expects to profit from, Aseem Malhotra’s tour.

Grifters like Malhotra are not just wrong. They deliberately mislead vulnerable people for their own glory and profit without care for the health impacts on those who are taken in. More information here from the invaluable Susan Oliver.

Debunking Aseem Malhotra

Body Positivity

Not shaming people because of their body shape does not mean telling people it is perfectly fine to be anorexic. Nor does it mean telling people it is perfectly fine to be morbidly obese. There is nothing positive, healthy, or attractive about either anorexia or morbid obesity.

The COVID Pandemic is Not Over

I keep seeing people write “Now that the COVID pandemic is over..”

The COVID pandemic is far from over.

Ceasing mandated distancing and masks means far higher infection rates of influenza and other respiratory diseases are likely. Take care, for yourself, and especially for older or otherwise vulnerable people.

Why People Don’t Trust the Media

Are Illegal Immigrants Texans Now?

What would you think about the perpetrator as you read that headline? If you were in the vicinity is there anything that would help to identify and avoid this person? Are illegal immigrants Texans now? When does leaving information out become deliberate deception?

Australian Mothers in Syria?

The Guardian reports today that Australian mothers trapped with their young families inside one of Syria’s brutal detention camps say they are desperate to get their children out, fearful they will be taken from them, or they will die.

“The kids are shaken each time they see a soldier holding a gun,” one mother in the camp said. “And each night, when the boys hear a car, they can’t sleep, afraid they will be taken away from their mother.”

About 40 Australians – 10 women and 30 children – remain held within the Roj camp in north-east Syria, near the Iraqi border.

They are the wives, widows and children of slain or jailed Islamic State fighters.

A woman and a child in the Roj detention camp in northeast Syria

I am sympathetic to anyone in difficulty. But I do not understand how people who left Australia, repudiated their Australian citizenship to join the caliphate, and supported murderers and torturers, have any claim on the goodwill or finances of Australian tax-payers.

No Truth to Anti-vaxxers’ Claims Linking COVID Vaccine and Sudden Cardiac Arrest

You may have seen posts on social media, or even received emails from from anti-vaxxers, claiming evidence has shown they were right all along. The only place this is true is in their own dangerous delusions, and in the darker reaches of the internet.

In the real world, research by real doctors and scientists shows a vanishingly low number of ill effects which can genuinely be attributed to COVID or any other vaccines, and huge number of lives saved.

This article from the Sydney Morning Herald (paywalled but copied below in full) is just one piece of large-scale research from thousands of research programmes around the world…

The COVID-19 vaccine does not cause sudden cardiac arrest in young people, according to new research that dispels a persistent and unsubstantiated claim from anti-vaccination activists.

Researchers from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute examined more than 2000 instances of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Victoria before and during the pandemic, and found no change in the median monthly rate of cardiac arrest among those aged under 50.

New research shows that there is no association between the COVID-19 vaccination and sudden cardiac arrest.

Dr Liz Paratz, a cardiologist at the institute, began the study, which has been published in the journal Circulation, after being besieged by abusive emails from anti-vaxxers following the publication of separate research into sudden cardiac arrest.

“They said I was a child-killer participating in state-sponsored genocide,” she said.

It didn’t stop there. A US Republican senator accused the cardiologist of a cover-up and the producer of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight asked Paratz to share her database so it could be examined more closely.

“We realised that there was this intense interest in whether vaccinations were causing sudden cardiac death,” Paratz said.

A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating.

The Heart Foundation says 20,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur out of hospital in Australia every year, and the survival rate is just 10 per cent.

It can be caused by genetic mutations, a blockage of the coronary arteries or a weakness in the heart muscle. In about 20 per cent of cases, the cause is unknown.

Using data from a registry set up to investigate cardiac arrests among Victorians aged under 50, Paratz looked at 2242 instances of cardiac arrest from April 2019 to the end of March 2022.

She divided the data into three periods: before the onset of COVID-19 in Australia, during the pandemic but before the rollout of a vaccination program, and following mandatory vaccination.

No variation was seen in the median monthly rates of cardiac arrest – it ranged from 61 to 63 deaths per month – or myocarditis, where there were just 13 cases over the three-year study period.

Previous research has linked the coronavirus vaccine to rare complications such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and pericarditis (swelling of the membrane around the heart). But it has also found that COVID-19 infections are much more likely than vaccines to cause these heart complications, and when they do occur, they are more severe.

Paratz said the majority of myocarditis or pericarditis episodes associated with the vaccine were mild, and her research showed they had not led to a rise in deaths.

“This is an incredibly reassuring amount of data for people who’ve been vaccinated,” she said.

“Extrapolation can be the enemy when you say, ‘vaccinations may cause a cardiac issue, therefore, cardiac deaths are going to go up’ … we’re not seeing that borne out. ”

Paratz also examined the deaths of 38 people who suffered cardiac arrest within 30 days of their COVID vaccination. No differences were observed in the underlying causes of their deaths when compared with age-matched data, and no one in this group had myocarditis.

Professor Jason Kovacic, the executive director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, said the research convincingly showed there was no increase in sudden cardiac death linked to the COVID vaccine.

Kovacic, who is also a senior cardiologist at St Vincent’s in Sydney, said he had also observed this clinically.

“I am aware that there’s been a couple of people around the world who have had a serious cardiac issue related to vaccination,” he said.

He has treated a handful of people with vaccine-related myocarditis and said they had all made a complete recovery following a short stay in hospital.

He has also treated patients with heart issues linked to COVID infections and said they had spent much longer in hospital, and some had never recovered.

“There is no question the vaccination has saved many, many lives, is very effective, and has been the thing that has helped us get out of this pandemic.”

Qohel Blog History

Qohel has been in operation for fifteen years. The first post was in 2008. That makes it one of Australia’s most resilient blogs.

I get a lot of visitors. Perhaps because of the sheer volume of material – 1500 posts, just under a million words, on topics from sport to PC and console games, to philosophy, literature, art, mathematics, science, health, stock scams, and politics and current affairs.

The downside is that I also get a lot of unauthorised admin login attempts. That is, people who want to remove posts they find annoying, or because they want to take advantage of site traffic to boost their own schemes. We must be doing something right!

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