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Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm

By   /  October 31, 2014  /  36 Comments

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Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”.

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Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”.

We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the last Campaign, for instance, virtually nobody in the country was going to bat an eyelid if ColiCraig declared he’s suddenly sighted Elvis; while making a habit of believing in six impossible things before breakfast is almost a requirement for membership of the ACT Party. (Although this usually restricts itself to mad economic sentiment like “Privatize EVERYTHING!” rather than curious philosophical defences of legalized incest) There’s also Richard Prosser.

But the one that really, seriously took the cake for me this past twenty four hours (other than certain MANA supporters) was Green MP Steffan Browning’s bizarre series of comments in relation to homeopathy as part of the possible response to Ebola. I appreciate that signing an online petition is hardly tantamount to a declaration of lunacy; but it’s his response to journalists outside the House this afternoon which really caught my eye.

When asked whether he thought that the World Health Organization should be looking into homeopathy as part of its response to Ebola, he asked “Why not?” before going on to assert that “while I am not an expert” – clearly – “I assume they will look at [homeopathy] as much as a number of other options.” 

Or, in other words, he’s worked out signing the petition wasn’t a good look (probably after a fun conversation with his Leader) … but he somehow missed the bit where telling the country he’s perplexed as to why you *wouldn’t* consider homeopathy for inclusion in the response to Ebola … really doesn’t help ditch the spacey vibe.

The Greens’ leadership team will be rather annoyed by this for exactly the same reason I tend to get rather annoyed every time Winston makes a risque joke. Just as NZF grapples with a legacy of being perceived as holding extreme and unpopular views on immigration (thanks in no small part to incidents like former Deputy Leader and immigrant to our fine shores from the UK Peter Brown stating in his plummy English accent various things about other migrant groups), the Greens are struggling to ditch the appearance of being a party of, by and for weed-smoking organic-fabric-wearing vegan-cooking Age-of-Aquarius-singing alternative lifestylers called Galadriel.

This involves shifting public perceptions and the stereotype of what Green people believe in from things like the anti-vaccination movement, anti-fluoridation or a zero growth economic agenda to more mainstream palatable concepts like broad population and public health, and some sort of “smart” green sustainable capitalism. (although I note their health policy still maintains the line about supporting an independent study into fluoridation’s effects, support for an opt-out from fluoridation option, and absolutely no mention of the word “vaccine”.)

Having an MP publicly running around stating as much tacit and tantamount support for alternative medicine (which, as I believe Tim Minchin originally put it, would be simply called “medicine” if it worked as explained) as he’s now allowed to … does not help the Greens to do this. On the other hand, as proven by Peter Dunne over the years, there is potentially an electoral payoff to being able to connect with small but passionate groups like homeopathy-adherents or the anti-fluoridation lobby.

Still, Browning’s gaffe is mostly harmless. He’s not really in a substantive position to influence the actual fight against Ebola; and for this, the planet should possibly be grateful. However, there are obvious population and public health implications inherent in a Parliamentarian – or, for that matter, I suppose *any* sufficiently positioned public figure – choosing to endorse such an *ahem* placebo-dependent form of “medicine”; potentially, in the minds of constituents, at the expense or in alternative to more conventional remedies and responses.

Of potentially greater concern, however, is when people who actually *can* influence outcomes do this sort of thing.

My generation, of course, grew up with our teenage years backdropped by the phenomenon of the Bushism; and the idea that somewhere in Texas a village was missing its idiot … who’d then somehow made it into the White House … certainly made for an eloquent – if overly simplistic – explanation for the geopolitics of the day.

This pales, of course, in comparison to Bush Snr’s Vice President, Dan Quayle … but apart from mentioning he reputedly made H.W Bush “impeachment-proof” by, inter alia, insistently correcting a student spelling of the word “potato” to “potatoe” while judging a primary school spelling beepostulating a breathable atmosphere for humans on Mars thanks to the “canals” he believed existed thereondeclaring the US to be part of Europe, and displaying a surprising degree of candor in describing American success in the First Gulf War as “a stirring victory for the forces of aggression” … we’ll just gloss over him by noting he was no Jack Kennedy.

To bring it back to the New Zealand context, and remind why it’s occasionally quite scary when our MPs and decision-makers start giving us tangible evident of how daft they can be … look no further than Energy Minister Simon Bridges describing environmental preserve regulations and protections as “emotional clap-trap”. Then opening up the protected space to mining.

Another (now former) MP who’s served as a Minister in Key’s government with a history of problematic statements in an area of policy they may be able to influence is Tariana Turia. Here she is in 2004 describing high Maori teen pregnancy rates as something that’s entirely non-problematic and preferable to “an excessive focus on controlling our fertility”, while also suggesting that a woman’s fertility is “not meant to be the responsibility of one person, alone”. She’s then subsequently tried to influence the exercise of the nation’s laws in an overtly pro-life direction by attempting to have a rigidly anti-abortion doctor appointed to the Abortion Supervisory Committee.

See how MPs with curious beliefs can produce sketch outcomes?

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"Part Apache; Part Swede. Part Attack Helicopter; Part Kitset Furniture."

36 Comments

  1. Greg C says:

    Hi,

    I’m in two minds about this.

    Obviously the rational healthcare worker in me says simply that homeopathy is quackery with absolutely no proven efficacy for curing anything. But at the same time the democracy loving citizen says that people should be entitled to have their own opinions about things no matter how stupid, and politicians should be of the people.

    Yes this guy has some nutty ideas, just as many people in society do. But can I truly expect that people who have nutty ideas shouldn’t be allowed to vote for other people and parties who share their views?

    I have a feeling that this may simply be the price we pay for living in a democracy. I just pray he never becomes the minister of health!

    Cheers, Greg.

  2. jennifer says:

    you brought the msm set up.
    a lot of people use homeopathy, if you dont know how it works google it, the epitome of orthodoxy your crappy queen swears by it and uses it all the time, so what is the real issue here, its the journalism of catching some one out on a non issue and beating them up with it to undermine the green party in this case thereby raising the stature of national in a nutshell, for greens to tell the guy to retract says a lot about green, another national wanabee like labour has become.

    • Gosman says:

      Google Homeopathy to find out how it works???

      I don’t think that is going to help you as even Homeopathic practioners can’t explain this. They make reference to some sort of effect caused by quantum physics and memory or water but it is vague and nonsensical.

      • jennifer says:

        im not selling the idea of homeopathy, its as whacky as any idea including your alopathic mainstream medicine, which is a mutation od herbalism, adapted to a commercial model, where nothing is cured it is managed for profit, your illness becomes of commercial interest – google it

        • Aaron says:

          There’s no point arguing with Gosman, he’s not here to learn.

        • Gosman says:

          You stated that if someone wanted to find out how it works they should Google it. It is quite clear from Google (and other sources) that noone knows how it is supposedly meant to work beyond something closely akin to magic. So explain again why people should Google it please?

          • Lara says:

            this may be the only time I completely and utterly agree with you Gosman, so, yeah, just wanted to point that wee gem out

            the lack of scientific literacy for many NZers is disturbing, and the distrust of science is alarming.

            the “alternative” medicine industry is a huge multi billion dollar industry. if they could have used the scientific method (to date the best method we know of to find answers to questions of how things work) to prove that homeopathy works, they would have done so. its not a lack of funds.

            its a lack of will. because they know it doesn’t work.

            anyhoo… to use the logic of homeopathy (an oxymoron, I know, but bear with me here) if water retains a memory, and it is this memory which may be used to affect us if we take homeopathic “remedies”, then how come the water I drink from my tap doesn’t contain “memory” of all the things which have been in contact with it to date? and it the more dilute it is the more potent it is, then my tap water must be so potent it may even be highly toxic to life?

            I’ve looked up how homeopathy is supposed to work. the dilution process involves a careful ritual of mixing, in different directions, for different times… it really is ridiculous.

            I’ve also looked for well conducted peer reviewed studies which use good methodology and show homeopathic remedies to have an effect beyond that of a placebo, and I can find none. Not. One.

          • Dan says:

            Seriously, as the world scrambles to stop the spread of this disease, it is clear the Green dude has saved us all by suggesting this homeopathy thing. We must remember that New Zealanders, over the years, have invented several important things like the bungy jump, the jet boat, and there must be more. Why is it so hard to believe a Greenie couldnt invent a cure for Ebola?

            • jennifer says:

              they appear to be trying to get the idiot vote which key has got, that will be an uphill battle, some how greens have missed a whole demographic that may have voted for them, they ones that value ethics, think outside the square, dont just beleive something because its on tv or the pm says its true, and other flat earth people behaviours that vote for key.

              • elle says:

                What bothers me about the Greens is them saying they approached to Key work with the Nat government on things the Greens would like to get through parliament.
                Keys reply was its not in the offing unless Greens promise Key support in the future.
                Of course Key will only use them if someone else lets Nats down. what a micky mouse outfit parliament is .

  3. mary_a says:

    Well as it seems nothing else cures or relieves Ebola, I can’t see that Homeopathy is going to do any more harm.

    I can’t see what the big deal is here. Traditional medicine is not the answer to every disease or ailment. So why not consider an alternative?

    • Mary, you say ‘nothing cures ebola’, but the body’s immune system itself is quite good at killing the ebola infection. In the US, where they have good medical technology for treating the symptoms of ebola so that patients’ bodies are not killed by the symptoms, something like 80% of patients have recovered.

      • Lara says:

        I do not think that there have been enough human beings infected with this strain, or any strain, of Ebola, within the USA for the CDC to determine a survival rate of 80%.

        There is more than one strain of Ebola.

        Most testing of Ebola on US soil is done by the CDC under very strict conditions on other mammals, commonly other primates. That’s monkeys. Not humans.

        So no. No evidence whatsoever that 80% of patients have recovered in the USA. Because not enough cases.

    • Gosman says:

      Do you think people should use Homeopathy to protect themselves from Malaria or as a contraceptive?

      • Ovicula says:

        Speaking of contraception, there’d be a huge market for homeopathic Key jizz, going on how much guys like Gosmann worship the creep.

      • cleangreen says:

        Grossman, tell us why medicine education was privatised by Carnegie & Rockefeller in 1908 with their own money

        For profit that’s all!

        http://sntp.net/fda/piper_griffin.htm

        He Who Pays the Piper – Creation of the
        Modern Medical (Drug) Establishment
        by G. Edward Griffin

        One can be sure, however, that there is total control over what is not taught, and that, under no circumstances will even one of Rockefeller’s shiny dimes ever go to a medical college, to a hospital, to a teaching staff, or to a researcher that holds the unorthodox view that the best medicine is in nature.

        Because of its generous patron, orthodoxy always will fiddle a tune of man-made drugs.

        Whatever basic nutrition may be allowed into the melody will be minimal at best, and it will be played over and over again that natural sources of vitamins are in no way superior to those that are man-made or synthesized.

        The day when orthodox medicine finally embraces the field of nutrition will be the day when the cartel behind it also has monopolized the vitamin and food product industry essential to it – not one day before.

        In the meantime, while doctors are forced to spend hundreds of hours studying the names and actions of all kinds of man-made drugs, they are lucky if they receive even a portion of a single course on basic nutrition.

        Many have none at all. The result is that the average doctor’s wife or secretary knows more about practical nutrition than he does.

        Returning to the main theme, however, we find that the cartel’s influence over the field of orthodox medicine is felt far beyond the medical schools.

        After the doctor has struggled his way through ten or twelve years of learning what the cartels have decided is best for him to learn, he then goes out into the world of medical practice and immediately is embraced by the other arm of cartel control The American Medical Association.

  4. you say nothing cures ebola’, but the body’s immune system itself is quite good at killing the ebola infection. In the US, where they have good medical technology for treating the symptoms of ebola so that patients’ bodies are not killed by the symptoms, something like 80% of patients have recovered.

  5. jeSSJ says:

    Regardless of your views on homoeopathy, think the real question here is why is this news? Is it really news that someone digitally signed an electronic petition. Whats next – newsflash MP joins/likes a facebook group? Surely there are more important things going on in the world than this.

  6. Aaron says:

    Here we go, another subject like Fluoridation and Vaccination where there seems to be no hope of reasonable debate. It’s like people are arguing for their very existence when this stuff comes up, does anyone know why this is?

    • Lara says:

      scientific illiteracy?

    • Dan says:

      It is news because it is the extreme left being silly again , and the sensible left not having the guts to dismiss it (Key dismissed it – of course, Russel Norman sort of did, didnt hear anything from Labour – but please correct me if I am wrong

  7. Ross Clark says:

    Regardless of where you sit as far as mainstream verse alternative health issues, why do we waste so much energy when someone makes an off the cuff gaffe/comment – right or left. What human doesn’t. I admit I did not read the full article – I turned off. Aren’t there far more important issues that we should be discussing?

  8. cleangreen says:

    This is Big Pharma beating up on alternative medicine as a preparation for TPPA sign up and a forced agreement to ban all alternative medicine’s as part of the Big Pharma having designed the TPPA agreement already.

    I was chemically poisoned in a workplace in North America 20yrs ago and had to recover from it using alternative medicine and homeopathic medicine!

    “Conventional” medicine so called as Allopathic is expensive patented industrial complex that is very powerful and corrupted called “big Pharma”.

    Most is synthesised in the laboratories from natural remedies, and is instead then made from petrochemicals that would have killed me, if it had been used on me as my system was already poisoned.

    So Gasman or Gossman is an idiot or a stoolpigeon for big Pharma, – the latter probably.

    Follow the money Gossman and look back to who banned “natural” medicine in America a century ago!

    Yes it was your big elitist mate Andrew Carnegie who snuffed the centuries old remedies the founding generations brought over centuries before as he controlled with his money the Universities and banned education of this age old medicine for a profiteering agenda which still exists today.

    Gossman probably benefited from this natural medicine as a child although he would not admit to it.

    I grew up with Baxter’s cough medicine (now gone) and molasses when I had a cold and many more natural remedies are still still used on farming animals.

    Those generations that lived through two world wars and the biggest depression in history.

    They had to relearn how to exist on cheap alternative medicine and today generations are thanks to the likes of Carnegie.

    The Military abroad, today uses forms of natural medicine for survival in the bush when needed.

    Don’t be fooled by that media banditry they are paid by Big Pharma to beat up on any natural medicines as they prepare us for TPPA.

    Banning of those cheap medications compared to highly priced patented Allopathic synthesised drugs which in US cause 83. 000 deaths annually in the Hospital medical system according to AMA studies.
    The British Army during the first world war had a large group of diseased troops fighting in Asia and had run out of medication so in desperation they gave dying troops Hydrogen peroxide IV administration to hopefully help the troops and 78 % recovered and you can find it on the web also Gasman-Gosman, look under H2O2 the miracle treatments. Don’t tell your Government as they will ban us using H2O2 also as you know it is natural elements found in lesser quantity in the air we breathe. It is used in milk products dentistry and the wine industry. I was an electrician not a medical person just in case you thought I was pushing some financial agenda like you do.

  9. Stuart Munro says:

    “nothing cures ebola”

    It kills in much the same way as cholera does, by inducing dehydration. If it reaches NZ in force, which is a sporting certainty with a useless pack of deleted expletives like the Key et al running things, the last ditch defence is to keep plenty of water and electrolytes handy. If it doesn’t kill you quickly, you get to kill it.

  10. cleangreen says:

    John D Rockefeller also banned teaching Natural medicine in his universities along with Carnegie under his endowment but looking at Rockefeller his motives were more evil.

    Rockefeller became the most powerful part of large sections of US chemical oil companies whom benefited by the advancement of allopathic chemical based medicines he pioneered through his Universities founding programs.

    Follow the money Gossman.

    Funny though the US is now recognising a combination of both Natural and Allopathic “Conventional” medicines is a new recognised standard so perhaps we need to think a little more kindly at natural medicines as the Germans do also.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrative_medicine

    History[edit]
    In the 1990s physicians in the United States became increasingly interested in integrating alternative approaches into their medical practice, as shown by a 1995 survey in which 80% of family practice physicians expressed an interest in receiving training in acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and massage therapy.[11] In the mid-1990s hospitals in the United States began opening integrative medicine clinics, which numbered 27 by 2001.[11] The term “integrative medicine” was increasingly popularized by, among others, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, and Prince Charles.[12] The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine was founded in 1999 and by 2014 included 57 members, such as Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine, and Mayo Clinic. The goal of the Consortium is to advance the practice of integrative medicine by bringing together medical colleges that include integrative medicine in their medical education.[1][13][14] The American Board of Physician Specialties, which awards board certification to medical doctors in the U.S., announced in June 2013 that in 2014 it will begin accrediting doctors in integrative medicine.[15]

  11. Bryan says:

    so the green guy believes in homeopathy and you dont .. so you put him down ?.. a lot of people believe in homeopathy .A real lot . lots and lots and lots …Homeopathy works is why .. bottem line , the green guy has an open mind and you dont mister curwen ares .and he has probably used homeopathy with some success and you have not. so he would know what he is talking about and you would not .

    Absurd and outlandish ? where have you been these past few years ? what planet are you from ? dont have to ask whos side you are on . not on the side of democracy and progress thats for sure ..writing stuff like this , part attack helicopter and part bigot I would say . part of the problem and no solution , A one white flag , one white shopping bag kinda guy.

    homeopathy rocks and green is good ..closed minded people are not so good …. all asleep and wearing blinkers .historically homeopathy Worked way better with the ww1 flu epidemic than aleopathic medicine .. go and do some real research ,Homeopathy saved lives , Aleopathy did not , dig deep, read books . find stuff out .

    .

  12. elle says:

    An American lady told me they are treating ebola in America with massive doses of vit c.
    A lot of people believe ebola is over reported to scare people while other agendas are pushed through,a false flag in other words.
    Its strange than John Key never defends TPP when he himself was all for it, now its Grosser who is negotiating , when people realise we’ve been had if the deal is signed , Key can blame Grosser,Key always has a fall guy.
    Natural remedies don’t kill as chemical medicines do,how many people have died in comparison to natural remedies , none I don’t think , if one person died as the result of a natural remedy, the FDA would ban all remedies like a shot ,its a crooked world we live in now.

  13. Pigster says:

    So this Curwen guy thinks he knows everything there is to know about Ebola? How does he know that homeopathy doesn’t work?

    Also, why does this guy even get to write on this blog? He worships Robert Muldoon and Winston Peters and then thinks he’s somehow left-wing? He’s either in the wrong party or he’s actually a secret National party supporter, and I reckon it’s the latter. Would be nice if he just followed the lead of his beloved dictator and went and cuddled up to Cameron Slater instead.

  14. Pete says:

    “Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm…”

    Browning has a long way to go.

    Virtually every week I go Hmmmmmmm at Rodney Hide’s latest utterances.

    Not just at what he says, but at the fact he even has the nerve to pretend he knows which way is up, finds someone who publishes it as if he were some type of authority on anything, expects that anyone could take him seriously, then has some quoting him as if his word were important.

    A question: Is going to Rodney Hide for suggestions on improving anything in our society better or worse than going to a homeopath for treatment of Ebola?

    Now that’s really Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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