Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.


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Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

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Clinton’s CGI shows UN how to do it

Giving is good, and Clinton leads world in how to get it done

$1 billion pledged by Norway and Holland

Bigger targets get more but fantasy meme maintains hold

billclintonpresident.jpgAs noisy helicopters overhead herald the arrival of international leaders to the UN Assembly, former President Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative, his ambitious initiative leading prominent corporate chieftains and political leaders in many private projects to fight global poverty and ills, entered Round III today in Manhattan.

In a remarkably short time, Clinton has established himself as the world leader in coaxing and pressuring business and political leaders to contribute personal projects to raising up the lives of the underprivileged around the world.

In fact, if the business and political leaders who attend his jamboree don’t pony up and follow through, they are not invited back:

Attendees are required to make specific commitments to address one of the topics and report back to President Clinton on the progress made throughout the course of the year. Attendees who do not make or keep their commitment will not be invited to attend future meetings.

Here’s the gen this morning issued by CGI as we prepare to go down there and swim among the rich and influential whales, sharks, porpoises and small fry from the press.

Notice the improvement in balance that is being achieved by the Clinton effort, which is accelerating the spread of charitable rescue efforts in Africa and elsewhere well beyond AIDS to other ills. While the African First Ladies are banding together to make sure that as many pregnant black Africans as possible get the drugs they need to combat the HIV meme, the ten million children who die annually from pneumonia, sepsis, diarrhea, malaria, malnutrition and newborn complications globally are going to be the target of a special effort called Survive Until Five, which is going to spend nearly four times as much:

Clinton kicked off the third annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) with over one thousand leaders of business, government and non-governmental organizations representing over 70 countries and including 52 current and former heads of state. During the opening session, Clinton announced five new commitments, including over $1 billion by the Norwegian and Dutch Governments to reduce maternal and child mortality.

“I’m gratified today because it’s clear to me that this model of philanthropy and giving, which began as an experiment in 2005, has proven itself in only two short years. Since our first meeting, more than 600 commitments have been made by CGI members, impacting 100 countries and millions of lives,” he said. “In its third year, CGI is evidence of something that I have always believed— that people are inherently generous, that giving makes you feel good, and that the only thing most of us are looking for is an opportunity to make a difference.”…

Save the Children US and UK
Save the Children and its partners will create a Survive to 5 campaign, driving awareness and action on behalf of the almost 10 million children who die annually from pneumonia, sepsis, diarrhea, malaria, malnutrition and newborn complications globally. Former US Senate Majority Leader, William Frist, will serve as the chair of the campaign as part of Save the Children’s commitment to global leadership will work closely with key governments to significantly reduce preventable child deaths. The five-year campaign will launch in fall 2007 and is estimated to cost $75 million.

Maureen Mwanawasa, First Lady of Zambia
The Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS, and their President, the First Lady of Zambia, Mrs. Maureen K. Mwanawasa, will champion the expansion of programs and funding for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child-Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS. Supported by $20 million over 2 years, their “Save the Unborn Child” campaign and will be implemented by 40 African First Ladies in their respective countries and will save millions of lives by preventing one of the most easily preventable forms of HIV/AIDS transmission.

Clinton kicked off the third annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) with over one thousand leaders of business, government and non-governmental organizations representing over 70 countries and including 52 current and former heads of state. During the opening session, Clinton announced five new commitments, including over $1 billion by the Norwegian and Dutch Governments to reduce maternal and child mortality.

“I’m gratified today because it’s clear to me that this model of philanthropy and giving, which began as an experiment in 2005, has proven itself in only two short years. Since our first meeting, more than 600 commitments have been made by CGI members, impacting 100 countries and millions of lives,” he said. “In its third year, CGI is evidence of something that I have always believed— that people are inherently generous, that giving makes you feel good, and that the only thing most of us are looking for is an opportunity to make a difference.”

Joining President Clinton in the opening panel discussion, titled The Need for Global Action which explored the capacity of businesses, governments, and NGOs to collaboratively develop and implement global solutions, were the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; Vice President Al Gore; President and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., H. Lee Scott Jr.; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; and President of The World Bank Group, Robert B. Zoellick.

President Clinton announced the launch of MyCommitment.org, an interactive website challenging everyone to take action, make commitments and grow a grassroots movement around public service.

“This year, in an effort to inspire millions of people to engage in citizen service, we’ve developed a new online tool to help those who want to give back do so, either in their own communities or half a world away,” President Clinton said. “MyCommitment.org is intended to provide people across the globe with the opportunity to give to others as well as to tell others their stories of giving.”

The commitments made during the opening session included:

* The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health: The governments of Norway and the Netherlands are committing $1 billion and $175 million respectively to launch “Deliver Now for Women and Children,” a campaign aimed at a two-thirds reduction in the rate of child mortality and three-quarters reduction in maternal mortality by 2015.
* Florida Power & Light: FP&L is investing $2.4 billion in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. As part of the project, FP&L will build new solar power plants that are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 2 million tons over 5 years, they will also provide smart meters to their customers along with an education program designed to help customers reduce their carbon footprint.
* The Darfur Project: PNC Foundation, Blue Mountain Capital, TONIC, the Bridge Foundation, Goldman Sachs Foundation and Merrill Lynch are partnering in a $2 million commitment funding eight airlifts to take much needed humanitarian relief to Darfur and Chad. The flights will be made available for partner organizations wanting to send essential supplies, with the first four flights completed by the end of the year.
* Scojo Reading Glass Microfranchises: In this $1.57 million commitment the Scojo Foundation is committing to more than triple the scale of its program for training entrepreneurs in developing countries to sell affordable reading glasses by expanding to ten additional countries. In total 3,000 entrepreneurs will develop new sources of income providing 300,000 people with new glasses and other eye care products.
* Interpeace: Partnering with President Ramos-Horta and the Peace and Democracy Foundation, Interpeace is investing $1.2 million to implement a nation-wide program designed to enable the Timorese to become the architects of their own future by empowering them to identify the underlying drivers of the violence and un-rest in their communities and to find ways of addressing them in a non-violent and sustainable manner.

Among the additional CGI commitments expected to be announced today:


Save the Children US and UK
Save the Children and its partners will create a Survive to 5 campaign, driving awareness and action on behalf of the almost 10 million children who die annually from pneumonia, sepsis, diarrhea, malaria, malnutrition and newborn complications globally. Former US Senate Majority Leader, William Frist, will serve as the chair of the campaign as part of Save the Children’s commitment to global leadership will work closely with key governments to significantly reduce preventable child deaths. The five-year campaign will launch in fall 2007 and is estimated to cost $75 million.

Maureen Mwanawasa, First Lady of Zambia
The Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS, and their President, the First Lady of Zambia, Mrs. Maureen K. Mwanawasa, will champion the expansion of programs and funding for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child-Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS. Supported by $20 million over 2 years, their “Save the Unborn Child” campaign and will be implemented by 40 African First Ladies in their respective countries and will save millions of lives by preventing one of the most easily preventable forms of HIV/AIDS transmission.

Merck & Co.
Merck will establish a $375.5 million program providing access to its HPV vaccine, Gardasil, in lowest-income countries. By donating a minimum of three million doses of the vaccine over a five-year period Merck will ensure that an estimated 1 million women receive the three-dose regimen and are protected from cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases. This initiative is an extension of a 2006 CGI commitment by Merck to donate rotavirus vaccine to the Nicaraguan Government in an effort to cover every newborn in the country for three years.

Acting as a convener and catalyst, CARE USA will mobilize a global coalition of public and private entities to make sustainable improvements in maternal health and the nutritional status of children under the age of two. These coalitions will, through CARE’s signature eight-year program, “Empowering Women for Good Health,” develop services for low-income women that will help them realize their rights to a safe pregnancy and childbirth, as well as provide information and resources that will help new mothers give their babies a healthy start. The program will be globally focused and has the potential to reach 70+ countries where CARE works. It is anticipated that project implementations will occur in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Central and South America.


BRAC, Nike, NoVo and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
BRAC USA, as well as the Nike, NoVo and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are mobilizing $271 million to provide education opportunities ranging from primary schooling to graduate degrees and life skills training to 7.5 million children over the next five years in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Uganda and Southern Sudan. The project hopes to mirror the success of last year’s $250 million commitment to provide comprehensive health, education, microfinance and empowerment programs to individuals in five African countries.

Academy for Educational Development
The Academy for Educational Development (AED) will increase the access and quality of education for girls in Liberia, Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea and other African countries. Their Leadership for Education and African Development (LEAD) project will introduce the tools necessary to update the local curriculum and teaching methods to enhance community participation and improve education quality. The project’s goal is to significantly improve the educational opportunities of at least 3 million children by 2015.

Center for Development and Population Activities
CEDPA commits to improving the education and health situations of 20,000 South African girls by adapting its successful life skills curriculum and proven youth development framework to townships in Southern Africa. Utilizing the support of anonymous private funding, CEDPA will expand its programs from its five pilot sites by working closely with local partners to successfully integrate its programs into each location.


National Geographic Society
National Geographic, working with partners Ashoka and the U.N. World Tourism Organization, will launch the Global Geotourism Network in March, 2008 to encourage tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place. Over the next three years the Network will develop a series of initiatives including two geotourism summits, the Ashoka Changemakers Competition to identify innovators and social entrepreneurs, an annual Places Rated destination stewardship survey distributed through National Geographic readers, and a specially designated website offering local tourism services and products.

XL Results Foundation/The Hunger Project
XL Results Foundation will contribute $5 million to implement a five-year strategy, to build the capacity of 50,000 elected women leaders who are directly responsible for improving access to health, education, nutrition and higher incomes for 15 million people in rural India. The project will also mobilize local populations to increase the effectiveness of local government, build federations of elected women leaders for advocacy and action and mobilize the power of the media to create public support for strengthening local democracy. Each million dollars raised enables The Hunger Project to provide training and ongoing support to 20,000 elected women representatives, who in turn will mobilize the energies of more than 6 million rural people for poverty eradication.

Hashoo Foundation
In December 2007, the Hashoo Foundation will launch the Honeybee Production project in the Northern Areas and Chitral (NAC) regions of Pakistan, which are amongst the poorest and most isolated in the country. Women account for 55% of honeybee producers in the NAC, but receive only 35% of the total income generated by honeybee production. With a strong focus on developing the production of by-products and creating linkages with markets, the Honeybee Project will allow local women to increase their income and provide for themselves and their dependants while expanding their future prospects.


Pratt Industries
In a $1 billion commitment Pratt Industries will build at least three new paper mills, four waste-to-energy plants and 30 materials recovery facilities over the next decade. Working with municipalities and sanitation departments it aims to avoid millions of tons of CO2 emissions.

Equator Environmental, LLC
Equator Environmental commits $100 million to establish a private equity fund investing in projects that are environmentally friendly, sustainable and directly preserve ecological assets. By monetizing these “eco-products” the fund will enhance the viability of the natural environment and showcase the importance of ecosystem preservation.

Green for All
Through the ground-breaking “Green for All” initiative, The Ella Barker Center for Human Rights is committing to help lead 250,000 Americans out of poverty and into “green-collar” jobs. With the continued growth in the building, solar, urban forestry, and bio-fuels sectors, a highly-trained “green-collar” workforce is needed to meet rising demand. Green for All will advocate for a national commitment to greater job training, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities – especially for people from disadvantaged communities. This transition could boost the U.S. economy, generating new opportunities for wealth and work.

American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)
With funding from Rockefeller Brothers Fund, ACORE is committing to advance a more robust policy and economic case for renewable energy solutions and amplifying influential voices to strengthen public understanding of climate change. The commitment will create RECAP-the Renewable Energy Communications and Policy (RECAP) program-a three-year campaign that will put forward critical policy and economic analysis on energy supply, environment and climate, economic development and jobs, and national security. This unique work builds on ACORE’s 2006 commitment to host a world meeting on renewable energy, which has now been successfully funded, and is scheduled to be held as the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008) on March 4-6, 2008 in Washington, D.C.

The Clinton Global Initiative is a project of the William J. Clinton Foundation that brings together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI has approximately 1,000 members, diverse and influential leaders from all over the world, who make tangible commitments to create or support projects within CGI’s areas of focus. During the three-day Annual Meeting, attendees participate in workshops and meetings focused on four main topics: Global Heath, Education, Poverty Alleviation, and Energy & Climate Change. Attendees are required to make specific commitments to address one of the topics and report back to President Clinton on the progress made throughout the course of the year. Attendees who do not make or keep their commitment will not be invited to attend future meetings.More later, with details of any interaction with the topmost figures of key influence in the world encountered at this great event.

25 Responses to “Clinton’s CGI shows UN how to do it”

  1. MartinDKessler Says:

    Bill Clinton is the perfect politician – his principle is to have no principle – that way he can change direction and appear consistent using his genius ability to tap dance out of just about any situation except Monica Lewinski. With AIDS, unless media/public opinion changes – his funding will always be directed to where that wind blows.

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    Hold on a minute. A good politician gets things done only if he is able to sense which way the wind is blowing, and tacks accordingly if he is sailing against it.

    Besides which, gathering large numbers of activist heads of state, celebrated politicians and business kings and princes may be easy for someone with Clinton’s star power but remember this: he sorts through the ideas as well as the personalities, leads them on stage by being master of ceremonies where even the award process is a process of explaining and exhorting, with Bill standing and handing out the awards, summing up, listening to the chiefs of the four different areas (global health, global warming, edication and poverty) as they explain what was said and accomplished – this man is not just being a figurehead, he is leading them and the world to a better place, where charity and giving become dynamic and integrated with the best ideas and policy initiatives.

    Gee maybe I should apply to join his pr department, but that seems to me to be the case. Some children of talent and privilege give back and however Clinton is taking advantage himself of his prominent celebrity ($40 million in speeches so far, but this is dwarfed by Rudy’s $100 million) he is working hard and putting things together which otherwise would not exist, and they are keys to the future.

  3. MacDonald Says:


    As Tara Smith has become increasingly involved with AIDStruth, to the point that she is now their official parrot in all but name, so have her “intellectual strategies” become ever more transparent. One is tempted to speculate that she has been required to follow the law laid down AIDStruth godfather John Moore’s Declaration of War on dissidents: “This IS a war, there ARE no rules”.

    There are several circumstances that reveal Tara Smith’s political connections with AIDStruth.org. For instance, it has always been a popular blog sport with some to try and guess who is behind different names and monikers used by Commenters, but Tara Smith takes it one step further in providing Commenters’ unpublished email addresses specifically to members of AIDStruth.org on request.

    She has also banned posters from her blog or deleted Comments, which is her prerogative, but anyone who has ever followed a discussion on Aetiology will know that it is exclusively dissidents who find themselves in danger of being banned or censored.

    Further proof that Tara Smith increasingly considers herself a soldier in the AIDStruth army rather than an objective scientist is easily gained from her own contributions in the discussion threads. Tara Smith is perfectly within her rights to agree with some posters and disagree with others, but she increasingly uses her privileged position like a field commander rather than a scientific Commenter. To wit her latest answer to some very well made points from Commenter “Chuck”.

    “Chuck” is Charles L. Geshekter, who resurfaces here from time to time under various names. Don’t expect to change his mind at all, or even have intelligent discussion. The only reason I countered his point is for any fencesitters out there, not because I thought it would actually be responded to honestly by “Chuck.”

    First, Tara Smith publicly identifies the Commenter so her gang would know exactly who they are up against. Next she instructs them how to deal with “Chuck”: “Don’t expect to change his mind at all, or even have intelligent discussion.” Translated from AIDStruth speak this means, “Guys be careful about debating Chuck on the issues; he knows what he is talking about. Drown him in ad hominems and ridicule regardless what he says. You have free reins.”

    Related to these tactics there always seems to be a few Commenters ready on the sidelines whose only function is to boo, cheer, ridicule or express faked outrage. Their insights can always be found at the beginning of a thread. The following 6 responses are among the top 8 on the page:

    That is truly amazing.
    Why are these people like this? What is wrong with their brains?
    Posted by: Jeb, FCD | September 19, 2007 8:26 AM

    Once again, I wonder how long it will take the HIV/AIDS denialists to hijack this thread.
    Posted by: SLC | September 19, 2007 8:29 AM

    Wow, that just seems… over the top. Is it fear of the disease itself that causes that kind of denialist, angry reaction?
    Posted by: Jim | September 19, 2007 9:17 AM

    [Is it any wonder that HIV researchers are so outraged by these people?]

    No it isn’t, Tara. I’m not even a researcher and I’m outraged by this clown. I’m outraged because, at the present time, people like this Michael are able to get the ear of public officials.
    In that sense, HIV/AIDS denialists are becoming inimical to public health. Witness the public disaster that has become South Africa because Mbecki believes what these morons have to say.
    Posted by: Guitar Eddie | September 19, 2007 11:13 AM

    This just in, being a moron causes AIDS!
    Posted by: apyy | September 19, 2007 10:03 AM

    “Is it any wonder that HIV researchers are so outraged by these people?”

    Nope, no wonder at all. Especially when the comment in question starts:
    “Hello Tara and all of you HIV promoting Terrorists”

    That had me spluttering in rage before the first full stop (period to the USAians). “HIV promoting”? “Terrorist”? I sure as hell don’t wish HIV, or AIDS, or any disease on anyone. I godsdamn ain’t a terrorist or other criminal. But I am now enraged.
    Posted by: blf | September 19, 2007 10:19 AM

    Most members of this chorus of outraged and contemptuous Commenters disappear from the “discussion” as soon as they have expressed thus eloquently their scientific positions.

    Tara Smith has also introduced a peculiar practice of “holding” certain Commenters Comments for “moderation”. In this way she apparently believes she can keep up the pretense of free debate and avoid charges of censorship. Here is her politician’s answer in one of her last Comments:

    Tara, are you censoring dissidents comments to this thread again? My own comments will not post unless I either use someone elses email address in the email sign-in or use a different computer than my own to leave posts. Any posts I leave using my own email address comes back as “Held For Approval” by you.
    Other dissidents have emailed me that their comments are coming up the same as my own: “Held For Approval” by you.
    Whats up? Are you terrified that a “denialist” might be the 500,000th comment Tara? Or are you just censoring debate again?

    Posted by: Michael | September 29, 2007 12:26 AM

    Censoring debate “again”? When have I ever? Hell, I’ve even banned you before and let you come back as long as you keep it somewhat restrained. The only comments I’ve removed are ones you falsely attributed to “Tony Fauci.” I don’t have any in my junk folder from you or any held in moderation, so I’m not sure what’s going on but it’s not on my end.
    Posted by: Tara C. Smith | September 29, 2007 12:49 AM

    Buried in this rather poor attempt at faked innocence is the admission that Comments ARE being “held in moderation” at times determined by the whim, or rather the politics of Tara Smith, although she tries to obscure it by pretending Michael’s charge is that Comments are being held in moderation at the time of writing.

    Significantly, what she also fails to address is that this perceived need for moderation exclusively concerns dissidents’ Comments. The sudden holding up of selected Comments mid-argument creates an uneven playing feld in such a competitive and negative atmosphere. The Commenter cannot get on with his/her argument or deliver further answers before he/she knows the last Comment has gone up, by which time it may already have been buried or superseded in the fast paced exchanges. Or it may simply make the Commenter look like he/she doesn’t have an answer.

    Tara Smith’s stated purpose with incessantly posting on HIV/AIDS dissident topics is to make the dissidents look bad. Here is her immediate response hundreds of Comments down in the thread to yet another outraged gentleman who apparently came too late to join in the initial chorus of 6.

    You really brought ’em out of the woodwork, Tara. I’d have banned Lisa after the second post for the thoughtless and repetetive issuance of really, really lame insults. Adso? Dr. Smearah Tit?
    Jesus. Frelling. Christ. That has got to be the stupidest thing I’ve seen on science blogs, ever. Maybe even on the whole internet.

    Posted by: Leni | September 29, 2007 12:20 PM

    Yep; the best and brightest come out to play. Nothing’s more destructive to their cause than their own advocates, IMO.
    Posted by: Tara C. Smith | September 29, 2007 12:37 PM

    Yet again we see that what is on Tara Smith’s mind is not the science but the politics. She may think that “nothing’s more destructive to dissident’s cause than their own advocates”, but it is equally obvious she feels, like John Moore, that the AIDStruth desperately needs a deck deliberately stacked in its favour to come across as such. . . It may be worth noting in conclusion that the thread, from whose abundance these quotes are taken, was started by a blog post by Tara Smith which consisted in nothing more than linking to a previous Comment made by Michael in another thread – Yes the same Michael who is one of those barred from Commenting directly.

  4. Truthseeker Says:

    Very nice clarification, MacDonald, thanks for that.

    It exposes the extraordinary unwillingness and lack of ability to discuss serious points fruitfully on the part of the cute Tara (slightly less cute, it turned out in New York City, than suggested by her flattering blog pics, which one mentions simply because it forms a parallel to what turns out to be the slightly less scientific nature of her mind and attitudes than we might have assumed when first viewing her credentials). That this lovely young creature should expose the horrid internal workings of her political nature to the world with such blatant clarity suggests that she is very unused to better minds and does not know that she is making a fool of herself.

    The unwitting self exposure is mildly entertaining, as all such comedies are, until we remember that she is cretinously shoring up an extremely dangerous assumption which rewrites often lethal drugs as “life saving”, and subjects unborn infants to them. The gross irresponsibility of this kind of anti social behavior is striking and baffling until one realizes that thinking for oneself is viewed as disagreeable behavior in so many circles to day that ideas are really no more than lapel badges of club membership in whatever gang one wishes to belong to, and Tara’s choice of gang is as clear as you have made it above.

    The great value of the Internet is that so many such perfidious undercurrents in human nature which have long been hidden from public view are suddenly paraded in the light of day, and those whose natures are exposed are the ones who publish their own self condemnation, and boast proudly of their sins.

    This strange impulse is so widespread that it must lead to a sea change in society, though who on earth can predict what the final result will be. Given all the other trends to reduce privacy to zero, with cameras everywhere and so forth, and the increasing lack of shame to do with prison or other failure, it seems that we won’t need Christ to forgive our sins any more, we will do the job ourselves, partly because no one will have any idea at all what the general rules are for humane social behavior. All they will know are the rules of their particular social or professional gangs.

    In this case it seems clear Tara is an advanced social being who has traveled far along the path the rest of us will follow, for she seems to know only the rules of her gang, led by John P. Moore.

  5. MacDonald Says:

    Thanks TS. Actually it was meant to go in “FROG 5”, but looking at the preceding Comments here, maybe this tread is appropriate.

    Tara is indeed an advanced social being, for this mindset/behaviour has brought her a great deal of success. PLoS and The Times of London are suitably impressed with her political antics, as is science blogger, Hank, who was bowled over by this creature’s sincerity and authority. Her blog fame and respectability (Aetiology, Panda’s Thumb) are now such that she has been approached with deals from PBS/Wired Magazine. It is only a question of time before this advanced social being gets her own TV show in the Stossel vein. That is why I wanted to put things in perspective by comparing with what kind of blog Aetiology actually is – and the fact that Tara has zero writing skills. It is indeed frightening that you can reach for the stars from the top of a censored dung heap in Bush’s America.

  6. Nick Naylor Says:

    We should also keep in mind, as Big Pharma gets their cut of the CGI (Maureen Mwanawasa – First Lady of Zambia, Merck & Co & HPV disease), that debates over viral isolations are not just intellectual table talk for techno-geeks. If a leading scientist, regardless of his intent, confirms the existence of HIV mother-to-child-transmission, many reasonable and giving people who don’t have time for the details will conclude that “lifesaving drugs” are a necessary humanitarian response.

    And some of us are still going to insist that we’ve had our legs cut out from under us by the actions of this member of the National Academy of Sciences. So if “we” are serious, isn’t it obligatory to continue to challenge someone who apparently believes his “reputation” is more important than the political realities that MacDonald so eloquently summarized. That is, the deep hole paradigm dissenters now find themselves in.

  7. Truthseeker Says:

    Well, I am sure that thousands here would join you in your call to arms if they could interpret what on earth your last paragraph meant, Nick. Which member of the National Academy do you have in mind? Also which someone should we challenge – Clinton? These are our best guesses after calling a full staff meeting including our fully bevy of highly paid consultants and examining the entire range of possibilities over a long lunch.

    (Why is it that the sharpest critics of the paradigm are the most obscure in their comments, as if clarity was a sign of foolishness because it can be read by fools? We urge these distinguished gentlemen to reconsider – genius is usually recognized by completing the circle through complexity back to simplicity again, a la Einstein and Feynman, or perhaps the host of this obscure blog, which is why we insist that the few journalists who boil things down so that the outsider can understand them are public servants who deserve to be honored for their illumination of dark places where antisocial con games may be going on, even in science. In this case in particular, those clever, perceptive and attentive enough to see what is going on behind the scenes have a public responsibility to get with the program and lay out what they have to say in terms that their grandmother can follow without rereading three times. This is only good practice after all for their future role as witnesses in front of the Congressional hearings into this matter which will be held before they reach old age, we confidently predict).

  8. Nick Naylor Says:

    Very good TS, I appreciate the humor in these dark and gloomy times for science.

    Perhaps there’s a dichotomy between “puposeful obfuscation”, a colorful term that my grandmother might have understood as “he’s just whistling Dixie”, and a necessary precision in language to overcome this practice; say at least directing the critique to a level – presumably above that of an “average intelligence” – that our representatives should understand, .

    BTW, at this point, does the term “purposeful obfuscation” need to be explained to journalists?

    You see, TS, a common medical sense is now established in the tautology HIV causes HIV disease, a most ingenious meme that bypasses all of your excellent debunking of the CD4 model in the Rodriguez et al thread.

    Since I know YOUR capabilities in the competent exercise of due diligence to get to the bottom of things, I prefer to remain cryptic for now on which scientists have the best set of answers in countering this particular mind virus. Can we agree that the mutation of a CD4=>AIDS meme to an “HIV disease” meme is capable of infecting a normally critical journalistic mind? When this happens, are they more or less likely to be sympathetic to the Moore/Wainberg arguments that “denialists” are a threat to the public health?

  9. Truthseeker Says:

    Nick, you are forcing us to abandon being earnest, the importance of which seemed to us paramount until we started writing this blog, and even now we were still trying. Instead we are taking refuge in revisiting a golden age of certainty which we briefly experienced once where shared truths were eternal verities enshrined in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, by playing golden oldies – currently “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby, It’s The Only Thing I’ve Plenty of, Baby” by the Mills Brothers – the simplicity of whose timeless rhymes will bring us a feeling of security once again and a sense that the world and your post is intelligible, and we will tackle it anew with the help of the local brains trust, all seven of them, and Pimm’s No 1.

    But what you may not have at the forefront of your active and penetrating mind is that all this ratiocination is of little or no interest to the vast bulk of humanity, for all that is involved is a single casual assumption, which saves the effort of analyzing anything at all when mouthing platitudes about the world’s worst pandemic, especially anything about gay sex, disease, death and other unpleasant topics which are not normally part of the dinner table conversation.

    Perhaps the rich and powerful have developed a tendency to take an interest in Africa as something to throw money and ideas at, and AIDS is part of that, but after my visit to the Sheraton and hobnobbing briefly with my celebrated and influential betters, it has become crystal clear that anything more complicated that the simplicities they were using as models for the world would meet instant resistance for one very good reason. As Ted Turner cried, when I asked him if he was interested in this debacle, “No time! No time!”

    After all, these people make their living by talking and making deals among themselves, and pontificating in public about the intellectual rationalizations that are needed as the basis for the deals. That is what leadership means in politics and business.

    The AIDS meme is nothing but a working assumption – that’s the word to use, rather than belief – which is part and parcel of everyone’s limited interest in talking of this horrid story, even to save Africans. The AIDS meme is a simple shared working assumption, and to question it merely disturbs the smooth process of dealing with such problems by throwing money at them. Moreover, any “denialist” explanation will have to involve science, God forbid, and even the unacceptable idea that some few people are accusing the most respected institutions and people in science of misleading us. Both these are equivalent to throwing giant spanners in the tiny works of what passes for an operating mind among the celebrated rich and powerful, who mostly earn their living by talking among themselves about what to throw money at, and pontificating on platforms such as the CGI on the general rationalizations to use as launching platforms.

    Any questioning of the assumption merely interferes with the process of parading one’s humanity and concern in front of the media and anyone else watching and of changing the world for the better by funding some worthy project. The only people interested in such things are the few who have the quirk of skepticism about common assumptions and like to investigate the possibility that they are wrong. In general these are antisocial people who should be kept out of meetings at the highest level unless they foresee some radical change which may affect the political and business fortunes of the deal makers.

    if it is of any comfort to the denialists however they might be told that Gandhi once said that “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” But how long does it take? He didn’t say.

    However, my point here is that scientific explanations and analysis do not do it. You need sound bites on a different plane. this is why I urge simplicity and transparency on the members of the brains trust here.

  10. MacDonald Says:

    gay sex, disease, death and other unpleasant topics

    I like the constellation TS, and personally I haven’t been able to pick the odd one out, but others might differ. . .

    I am sad to see that your revelatory experience with the brusque Ted Turner has resulted in only partial insight. Indeed you need sound bites on a different plane, but it is not the sound bite itself but the carrier of the sound bite that needs to be on a different plane.

    Ted Turner refuses to listen to you and Nick because you are plebs pure and simple. It has nothing to do with how you wrap the message; you remain plebs. And when do celebrated and influential betters, concern themselves over the plebs? When production does not go well and/or revolution looms. Enter your Gandhi quote.

    But where is the revolution at? The NAR office with the neat little Clinton picture next to that of the family? Hardly. Get out of your swivel chair, comrade, hobnob with the plebs if you want your celebrated and influential betters to lend you an ear.

  11. Truthseeker Says:

    MacDonald, let’s hope that your opinions are usually formed on the basis of more information than you currently have about our political machinations, but even so, your reasoning is obscure. You tell us that Turner marked us as a pleb and thus didn’t want to hear more about a topic we brought up, which is wrong, but then you state the answer is to hob nob with plebs.

    Clearly one of the handicaps of the AIDS denialists is that they cannot make their logic clear, as this illustrates. Do you mean lead the plebs, with oratory, perhaps? Hob nobbing with plebeians is exactly what one wants to avoid, if you wish to influence leaders short of influencing their voter base or other democratic support. This is why we avoid posting on down market sites such as Tara’s, which merely detract from the reputation of anyone who appears on them, since they evidently don’t have something better to do than wrangle with idiots and try to influence onlookers who cannot tell the difference.

    We don’t sit in a swivel chair in our office, by the way, far too plebeian. Our throne is an antique Chinese armchair of classic design in wood, with a suitable tasseled cushion. to protect our elite bottom. We threw out our $700 swivel chair from the TED conference as inferior to hand craftmanship, as is so often the case with modern substitutes for traditional design which has served for thousands of years, eg the wok, possibly engineering’s highest aesthetic achievement in marrying form to function, but entirely ignored by the West.

    But we didn’t mean to interrupt. What was it again that you thought was the open sesame to the highest elite?

  12. MacDonald Says:

    What was it again that you thought was the open sesame to the highest elite?

    The People’s Revolution. A country full of plebs – does one really have to explain what one means by that word? – inferiors by virtue of their race and collective plight…. what? “Darn”, you say, you can’t think what country that might be that rebelled and really got AIDStruth quaking. O well, I”ll just retain my Sphinx-like posture here in my $10 traditional bamboo chair and let you pour over the various hit pieces listed under “news” on AIDStruth.orgy, see if you can determine the direction of the heavy artillery.

    And by the way, it ain’t the voterbase the current admin is worrying about in the Middle-east, it’s the well-being of the domestic production apparatus. You’re an economist aren’t you. So is Greenspan

    Would you like to import traditional handicraft from China and vicinity by the way – straight from the local manufactuer to you? sounds like you might be able to strike a bargain and do a good deed bypassing some of the usual exploitative measures imposed on the plebs.

  13. Truthseeker Says:

    MacDonald, are you suggesting going into business importing Thai wickerwork? or are you referring to some trend in defense measures at AIDSTruth that suggest a panic there in your fevered mind, perhaps informed by certain commodities widely available in Thailandif the price is right? We haven’t deigned to visit AIDSTruth recently so as usual your reference is lost on us. Extraordinary how informative challenged the great minds among denialists can be. Are the Chinese up in arms against Moore? Will they be our saviors, those of us who wish innocents well and desire that truth reign over falsehood in medicine and science?

    Short of those 1.3 billion unlikely converts, it seems to us that denialism is whistling in the wind, and John P. Moore is the victor to whom the spoils must be conveyed. Happy to be wrong, but we know nothing of any countertrend. Since you are willing to go down the man holes and survey the subterrean chambers of science in your hip length wading boots, we await your report.

  14. Douglas Says:


    Your humor and your barbs are not lost on me. I just want you to know that eventhough I have been critical, the fact is, I click on your blog at least three times per day to see what’s new and gain some insight from you and your cohorts. I still rank your website, the best on the internet.

  15. MacDonald Says:

    TS, the furniture and the HIV/AIDS rebellious country are completely unrelated issues. Gee, if you were Oedipus, Thebes would still be under the curse of the Sphinx; if you were a wickerwork producer the world would still be waiting for its first chair.

    As regards Thailand, I believe hardwood furniture and leather goods are more in vogue than wickerwork as export items. However, neighbouring countries might be cheaper these days. What you might want to consider is custom made goods. Even given a more or less universally priced raw material like gold, if you were to spoil your paramour with an intricately designed unique piece, the price of labour here, I imagine, would still make the total half the US price.

    Of course if a more appealing solution for you is to import a brand new as yet unspoilt, hence low maintenance paramour rather than expensive knick-knack (incidentally the name of the Thai dwarf in The Man With The Golden Gun), I am definitely your man. How about a Darin (the ‘r;’ pronounced asian style), Pornsak (only half male), or Chew Mee (The naked girl in the swimmingpool also from The Man With The Golden Gun)?

  16. MacDonald Says:

    I owe our Chinese friends, who have so succesfully embraced the basic tenets of the capitalist mode of production based on their profound understanding of the free self-correcting market philosophy. . .


    . . . that they are indeed threatening the AZT league’s monopoly on HIV cure:

    Sydney, (ANI): Scientists from Australia, Europe and the US have found that a Chinese herb, which has been used to treat snakebites and boils for centuries, has the potential to fight HIV/AIDS. The researchers say that an Asian violet known as Viola Yedoensis contains tiny proteins that appear to kill off infected cells. Such anti-HIV and anti-bacterial qualities, say the researchers, make the plant a target for new drug therapies to treat the HIV virus

    Fortunately, our multinational pharma corps. seem to be on top of the situation making sure no cheap unpatentable cure for AIDS will ever hit aforesaid free market:

    (But) it may be that we can use the lessons of nature to create synthetic drug designs to help people with the virus,” Professor David Craik added.


  17. Truthseeker Says:

    MacD, you are making some intriguing suggestions here. I was working on wicker, and now you have diverted me to grander vistas of a totally new life employing Thai slaves of svelte and comely attributes. Or is my inflamed imagination beguiled by misunerstanding, as is my wont?

    Douglas, not only am I completely unaware of any barbs sent my way from your direction but you appear to be the first person to actually speak publicly to the positive quality of this humble blog, so at the very least that remark will be recorded for posterity on the Reviews page. When we recover from this unexpected encouragement we will try to post something worthy of your interest, though this seems suddenly a very daunting prospect. Suddenly we understand why novelists very often get writers block for ten years or more after hitting the jackpot with their first effort.

    But we are up to the task, for you have fortified us immeasurably after a constant diet of strictures from MacD, who seems unable to appreciate that we are all children at heart, and praise and appreciation have much more effect on raising dismal performance than cracks of the bull whip, even on a British public school graduate hardened into Spartan immunity to insults by icy immersion in freezing water at dawn and caning which raised welts for three months across our — wait a minute, I was going to write “innocent 14 year old bottom” but I realize that the alternative life style fraternity will get unwarrantably excited so I will have to leave that sentence incomplete, and remind all who peruse this response that this is a serious political and scientific blog where all salacious interpretations of any entry are forbidden without exception.

  18. MacDonald Says:

    I do believe any fantasy of an English public school boy’s bottom still being innocent at the age of 14 is highly unwarranted eve for a member of the alternative fraternity. However, now that Douglas has assumed the role of the ever loving maternal presence, I shall remain to the Oedipal blog host a stern and vaguely threatening patriarch to ensure regression to the second psychosexual phase of the child at heart does not occur.

  19. Truthseeker Says:

    Only females are complimentary in your version of existence, MacD? They certainly are delightful creatures in that respect. But it is not unknown for males to be appreciative and encouraging to hacks who strain to record something more than public relations for their subjects. A truly great man is kind to his followers, we believe. Since you evidently aspire to greatness we shall expect nothing but kindness from now on. Let us hope that a life of sado-masochism has not ruled this out, if that is your tragic experience. Of course, we have no data to say so either way, since you have not revealed more than a sentence or two about your own existence, even though the blog host has been most indiscreet about his own, hoping to tempt you out of your defensive armor. Do you have the courage to reveal yourself in the same manner? Do you realize that any attempt to maintain privacy is doomed to failure sooner or later in the age of the Internet, so any reluctance is anachronistic?

    All will be recorded long after you are gone. So we suggest putting a smiley face or two in the record, before future generations conclude that your curmudgeonly aspect occluded your genius.

  20. MacDonald Says:

    A truly great man is kind to his followers, we believe. Since you evidently aspire to greatness we shall expect nothing but kindness from now on.

    Alas, if I only had any followers I should be the kindest of taskmasters. As it is I don’t even have my own Chew Mee around the house, for woman’s compliment is ever vain. And so my fragile flesh is but wingless vehicle unhappily wed to soaring aspiration.

  21. hhbauer Says:

    Re mother-to-child transmission (Nick Naylor Oct 3), please note

    http://allafrica.com/stories/200710040478.html, accessed 5 October 2007

    Not Investigating HIV Riddles Puts Lives At Risk

    Business Day (Johannesburg)

    4 October 2007
    Posted to the web 4 October 2007

    By David Gisselquist

    A RECENT report by the AIDS Law Project lists 42 children with HIV infections whose mothers are HIV-negative.


    Re life-saving drugs, someone recently alerted me to the October 2006 revision of the NIH HIV/AIDS fact sheet, National Institutes of Health. HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet, updated October 2006; http://www.nih.gov/about/researchresultsforthepublic/HIV-AIDS.pdf, accessed 26 September 2007:
    “the use of antiretroviral therapy is now associated with a series of serious side effects and long-term complications that may have a negative impact on mortality rates. More deaths occurring from liver failure, kidney disease, and cardiovascular complications are being observed in this patient population”

  22. MacDonald Says:

    Re. that last one, the AIDStruth oracles, when consulted on Aetiology on the strange use of the word “now”, claimed that it means it has taken this long for the side effects to manifest themselves. An alternative interpretation would be that it has taken this long to admit it so openly. Regardless of one’s opinion on that, it is still a peculiar formulation -“is now associated with. . . “

  23. Truthseeker Says:

    What the mind doesn’t see, MacD, the heart doesn’t grieve over, as long as no one holds up a mirror.

  24. Nick Naylor Says:

    “sound bites on a different plane” (10/4, 3:54AM)

    Indeed TS, I understand full well the problem you are describing and I have more than a few in my pocket.

    But insisting on intelligibility throws a nice big monkey wrench into your idealization.

    For example, throw some terms that everyone is familiar with into a discussion: the human genome project is not complete, because there is more than one “DNA code”. Or virology is really toxicology.

    These “different plane” nice sounding catch phrases – notwithstanding that each term is understood by an edumacated person – are, I submit, still unintelligible to those who “have no time” and require sound-bites that ring true to their ears.

    Why do the “leaders” not have any time, say, to actually read legislation before they pass it, etc?

    And why is there no time to deal with the toxic environment and disease? Wouldn’t a truly self governing people set aside the time and resources to engineer the solutions instead of perennially funding an obsolete research cartel?

  25. Nick Naylor Says:

    And a hearty thanks to Henry Bauer for a “different plane” posting based on Gisselquist, who scores points but doesn’t go the distance with his iatrogenic reinterpretation of “transmission” in Africa.

    It’s really a problem that dwarfs HIV/AIDS, Mr. Turner you see, because we have REAL NUMBERS on doctor-caused mortality and morbidity.

    It’s preventing the “medical endangerment” (the aidstruthiness heavy artillery MacDonald was referring to, TS) caused by Big Pharma style doctoring that saves lives sir, with all due respect to your investments in the pharmaceutical industry.

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