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My call for a Sustainable Irish Transport Revolution

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Our health, our modern lifestyle, our economy (urban & rural) and the ever increasing availability of groundbreaking ride sharing technology requires that we tear up the rule book of our transport system and start over again. 

 

I’m a regular Dublin Bus commuter, cyclist, travel enthusiast and general technology geek that would like to share with you my vision of Dublin as a smart commuter city and my idea of a transport revolution for Ireland and why we need nothing short of a ground breaking cultural shift and widespread change in how we think of commuting in our daily life.

Commuter stress

Lets talk about commuting stress

The health consequences of long commutes are grim. A raft of new evidence suggests that long term commutes are extremely damaging to people’s health so much so that this phenomenon may well be the new smoking in terms of morbidity. Recent studies have shown that long commutes involving inactivity are not only damaging to our health because of sedentary lifestyle but also carry an inherent health risk due to commuting stress. One only needs to be sitting or standing on Dublin Bus for long periods in gridlock to get an idea of what this study means in practical terms. Commuting stress has been implicated in an increased risk of high blood pressure (Hypertension) and associated risks which include heart disease, stroke etc. Our commute maybe in fact killing us. That is before we even factor in the loss of quality time & sleep deprivation which of itself carries health risks. For further details on the negative effects long commutes have on our bodies take a look at this article from Time Magazine. Further research on quality of life indicators regarding long term commuting from The Guardian. One of the biggest ever studies on the implications of long commutes and cardiorespiratory fitness was the 2012 Texas study published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine. You can read it here.

 

HSE

Now onto the matter of our dysfunctional Health service. Successive Ministers for health have consistently failed to improve health services, hospital waiting lists, rising drug prices and ever increasing health insurance premia. While undoubtedly many politicians are incompetent, the failing of health services cannot be completely attributed to the political ineptitude of successive health ministers. Medical inflation, better diagnostic tools, lab tests and drugs combined with an aging and growing population all push up the cost of delivering a modern health service. This is and will greatly be exacerbated further by an obesity epidemic of which Ireland now ranks among the top in Europe with regard obesity rates. All of these reasons are why I believe that this particular ministry is a poisoned chalice and that by far the best way of delivering the best service we can is by reducing demand at source. In short I would refuse the office of Minister for health if I couldn’t commandeer the ministry of transport along with it. In my opinion our transport system and how we commute is the low hanging fruit that has not yet been picked, the proverbial elephant in the room when it comes to massively reducing the demands on our ailing health services. Aside from the public health initiatives introduced by the Department of Health such as the smoking ban, alcohol awareness etc; I believe that a smart transport revolution could save us millions per year by reducing hospital admissions and treatment for conditions resulting from obesity and sedentary lifestyle. I am convinced that a smart transport revolution for the entire country is possible if the political will is there. I also believe that many of the recommendations I am about to make will ultimately be forced upon us by market forces and sheer necessity. If we don’t take action now we will undoubtedly suffer years more unnecessary commuting stress along with its dire health and economic consequences.

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You are probably thinking well that’s all good and well but what do you propose? So here is a summary of what I believe needs to happen. As I said many of my proposals involve far reaching changes and not merely tweaking at the edges. Many of these ideas will not be popular with groups such as motorists and the Taxi lobby but I believe that although radical & disruptive they are nonetheless essential if we are to improve the quality of commuting in Dublin and elsewhere.

The Proposals. 

1) A massive reduction in the number of cars in Dublin achieved through a 10-20% increase in VRT and road tax throughout the country and other taxation measures. With a growing population, the problem of traffic congestion is only going to get worse until we take decisive measures to drastically reduce traffic that is grinding Dublin City to a halt and rendering existing methods of mass transit completely ineffective. We will not have an elaborate subway system anytime in the medium term future so freeing our streets of gridlock by every means possible is paramount. All other proposals are dependent on achieving this. By taxing cars off the road we increase the demand for public transport and ridesharing hence more funding for these areas as well as allowing these to actually move.

2) A congestion charge for cars entering Dublin City Centre. Other cities in Europe including London do not allow unlimited traffic to flow through the city centre. I would impose a daily charge of €15 for cars entering the city centre. Those wishing to shop there could avoid this charge by using public transport, taxis or ridesharing services such as Uber or Lyft which need to be allowed and encouraged to fully enter the market.

3) Further Increases in VRT and yearly road tax on cars within a 3KM radius of Dublin City Centre. Inner city roads were not built with cars in mind and I would discourage the ownership of cars which unnecessarily take up road space. I would then place out a tender to car rental providers to offer these residents a substantial reduction in car rental when they need a car to drive longer distances outside Dublin.

4) An act passed mandating that all money received by these measures be ring fenced for public transport and other sustainable transport measures. Transparent measures outlining the funding of these projects should be part of the yearly budget accompanied by regular audits on the use of this revenue directly under the remit of the minister for transport.

5) A complete U turn by the NTA in its approach to ride sharing technology that has the potential to offer the benefits of car ownership to the disabled, the blind, the elderly in rural communities and make a massive impact on the problem of drink driving. Legalise Taxi pooling and allow anyone who has passed a criminal background check by the same authorities that license regular taxis to drive for Uber, Lyft and any other acceptable ride sharing company that enters the Irish market.
App based taxis can be made even safer than current regulated taxis as new technology can now match lady drivers with lady passengers etc. Empty taxis are part of the problem of traffic gridlock. Antiquated laws result in far less uptake of taxi services than what potentially could be a mass form of public transport instead of the occasional lift to the airport or expensive lift home after a night out. Again taxi pooling technology can pair lady passengers with other lady passengers etc and if one still wants to travel alone in a taxi for the full fare you can. Its all about choice. Dashcam technology should be mandatory in all taxis and ride share cars for the protection of both drivers and passengers.

6) Pilot studies regarding the feasibility and implementation of ride sharing technologies should be undertaken as a matter of urgency.

7) The development of park and ride facilities and what is known as last mile technology.  This refers to such things as folding electric bikes, electric kick scooters etc that can conveniently be stored in cars or public transport and rapidly deployed for easy transport into population dense areas or regions inaccessible to public transport.

8) The promotion of cycling to an even greater degree and continued investment in cycle lanes.

9) Better facilities for carrying bikes on Intercity trains and public transport.

10) The promotion of walking. Dublin City Council and others could develop an app outlining the distances and walking times between various focal points in the city. Those within walking distance of work should be encouraged to walk.

UberLyftBlabla carwundercar

Ride sharing is the future and where the need arises, services such as Uber and Lyft need to be fully liberalised. Taxis in their current form are the fossil fuels of the transport sector. They are unsustainable. Predominantly empty taxis add to traffic gridlock and will eventually lose the battles they are facing across Europe right now with ridesharing technology providers. Strong Unions have held this back in many regions to a certain degree but as more customers become acquainted with ridesharing technology and governments fully realize its potential, traditional taxi services will either be forced to adapt or die.

I firmly believe ride sharing technology such as that developed by Uber, Lyft, BlaBla Car, Wundercar and others that is currently aggressively fought by the NTA, has the potential to be the greatest development in road transportation since the invention of the car itself. Most people are familiar with the concept of self driving autonomous vehicles. All major car makers have staked their future in this technology and they tout it as having the potential to allow the disabled, the elderly and blind to enjoy most of the benefits of car ownership.

I believe that if we as a country are ready and willing and possess the innovative skills required to deeply integrate ride sharing technology into our society instead of fearing it; we can become a world leader in its development and implementation and can achieve most of the benefits attributed to autonomous vehicles years if not decades before they become commonplace on our roads.

 

NTA

Sooner or later the NTA will lose the war it is waging against ride sharing technology as will other European countries who rail against it. It is like the last blacksmith fighting the invention of the automobile. 

Public Service Vehicle regulation is outdated. We can address the safety issues and other practical concerns around ride sharing technology. For example the law could state that for a driver to be licensed to drive an Uber or Lyft they must pass the same criminal background checks by the same authorities that license regular taxi drivers. Whether licensed taxi driver or Uber employee, in ear app navigation gives drivers turn by turn directions to their destination. It is time to realize that most people who have passed a driving test and have no criminal background who own a relatively decent vehicle are more than capable of delivering a service on a par with traditional drivers who had to pass a geographical area theory test. In the vast majority of instances this is no longer necessary.  Consistently poor performing drivers will be flagged by the passenger reviews on ride share apps.

Others have brought up potential insurance issues. Again the State could put this out to the insurance market or failing an acceptable policy, it could offer its own insurance similar to the uninsured drivers fund. We already have an example of a State insurance scheme. This insurance would only kick in once a driver accepted a passenger and would revert to their normal insurance once the passenger leaves. The driver could contribute on a per passenger basis to this scheme or by a percentage of revenue earned.

Dublin non taxi-licensed ride share company drivers would be subject to maximum earnings of €3000 per year to prevent them from becoming professional drivers. Rural drivers would not be allowed participate in the Dublin market but would be granted an ability to generate unlimited income from ride sharing with the first €6000 being tax free. 

I would propose a cap on ride share earnings of €3000 per year (tax free) for those with a Dublin address and to earn anymore one would have to become a conventional licensed taxi driver. This would prevent a flood of other alternative taxis clogging up Dublin streets. Those without a Dublin address would not be allowed offer these services in the greater Dublin area under any circumstances and would be charged and prosecuted as per current laws for offering an illegal taxi services. The same rules would apply to other big cities.

I would have vastly different rules for rural Ireland and would essentially allow anyone who passes the standard criminal background check and has a decent vehicle to drive for these ride share companies without restriction. I would go even further and double the tax exemption to €6000. Further earnings would be taxed as regular income. This would result in a public transport revolution for rural Ireland where other public transport options are not economically feasible. This would be revolutionary by even global comparison as even within the US, ride sharing technology has not yet successfully penetrated rural areas. I believe if the political will is there we can essentially give rural dwellers the same if not better access to efficient transport on demand as their urban counterpart. This could prove to be of enormous benefit to the rural economy.
Such technology could greatly contribute to the revival of the rural pub and Post Office as well as providing a means of social interaction for the elderly.

 

commuting stress2

Conclusion

In summary I believe city drivers will ultimately be forced to address their addiction to the car. Even automobile manufacturers now realize that the traditional model of car ownership for all will greatly reduce as city populations grow even further and innovations in ride sharing technology greatly reduce the necessity of owning a car. City planners will likely introduce strategic taxes and charges similar to what I have proposed to help achieve this objective and raise much needed revenue for sustainable transport projects. If this does not become the cultural norm in Dublin, traffic congestion will become an even bigger public menace, public transport will stagnate and the challenges facing our dysfunctional health service will become much greater. The cost of treating increasing rates of chronic illness will test the limits of the health service even further. It is likely the city’s population will suffer from increased rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke. I look forward to a brighter, better future for Dublin and the rest of the country. Do you?

The Real #Bernieorbust: America I need to ask for a favor?

Berniesanders

This Irish guy is asking his American friends a big favor. I want you to vote for Bernie Sanders so I can win a bet. The proceeds of this bet I intend to use to travel to Bernie’s inauguration on January 20th 2017. Today I placed €200 on Bernie Sanders to be the next president of the United States of America. I have made a reservation for a hotel in Washington where I intend to be on January 20th 2017 when he is sworn in on Capitol Hill.  This Irish guy believes America and the world need Bernie Sanders now more than ever to combat the serious threat that America faces by a Donald Trump presidency. The latest Quinnipiac poll makes it blatantly clear who is best placed to face down the unrelenting threat Donald Trump poses within American and global politics.

America you face a choice between goodness, hope and prosperity under a leader worthy of international recognition or the alternative which is the unfettered growth of a dangerous anti-intellectual and malignant type of politics; a brand of politics that I believe poses as big a threat to American society as international terrorism.

Bernie Sanders is good for America and even better for the rest of the world. I want to be there to share his inauguration with you and that is what I intend to do with my winnings. Please share this blog and help me to party with you in Washington on January 20th 2017.You can read my original Bernie Sanders blog here.

 

America let’s make this happen

Ireland stands with New Hampshire & Bernie Sanders.

NH Primary

 

Last Monday Feb 1st. Bernie Sanders achieved what many believed was impossible, when he tied with Hillary Clinton in the Iowa Caucus. I was not one of the many. Since I first heard about Bernie last August I was convinced that he had what it takes to go all the way to the White House. I believe he is one of the most inspiring politicians of our time, not just for Americans but anywhere in the English speaking world. He is remarkable in terms of his selfless commitment to a noble and economically achievable political vision and for his unwillingness to accept power at any cost.

Whether it is Ireland, America or anywhere else, a politician should never be taken on their word. More than once, politicians of every stripe and colour have used the word revolution unjustifiably.  However Bernie Sander’s political career has shown that he is not merely a man of shallow words and fake pretences. By declaring himself a socialist under the Reagan government, he effectively disqualified himself from running for president indefinitely. This action alone sets him apart from the others. Most politicians fit their ideas to the time and their degree of popularity whereas genuine leaders wait for their ideas to be accepted and shun popularity for its own sake.

There is an abundance of online material showing the depth of political and economic wisdom Bernie Sanders possesses. He unconventionally schooled the former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan about the impending financial collapse and economic recession in 2004 much to his disgust. Three years later he would be proven correct and the leader of Americas most financial elite club would be forced to eat his words. His now famous video outlining the consequences of the invasion of Iraq has shown the degree to which he can be trusted as a leader of sound judgement when it comes to US foreign policy which is in stark contrast to his opponent Hillary Clinton.

 

New Hampshire now has a choice. It is between an America of the rich and wealthy or one for all its citizens. Do you reward those who are self-serving or those who have demonstrated a selfless impassioned commitment to the common good?

 

Please get out and vote in your primary next Tuesday. Voting is the single biggest act of resistance any individual can do no matter how hopeless the situation may seem. Electing Bernie alone will not solve all Americas or the world’s problems but it will demonstrate a palpable commitment to change.  Read my original Bernie Sanders blog here.

Bernie NH

New Hampshire get out the vote every single ballet counts!

Iowa: Ireland and the world stands in solidarity as your State makes history next Monday Febuary 1st

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Today Iowa will become the 1st US State to put Bernie Sanders on a path to the White House; be a part of history and caucus.

In the final hours before the people of Iowa caucus Bernie needs everyone in Iowa to be a volunteer. If enough Afro-Americans Latinos and Young voters come out and caucus, Bernie will win in Iowa. If he wins in Iowa nothing will stop him. Please get your workmates classmates friends and family out. 

People of Iowa, Ireland and the world stand with you next Monday when you go to make history by setting Bernie Sanders on the path to becoming the 45th president of your great Country. You have the opportunity to make history. For too long the US political right have hijacked the term patriot for their own nefarious ends. Sending kids to war instead of college is not patriotic. Denying the sick and elderly the medical care they need is not patriotic. Locking up disproportionate numbers of Afro-Americans and having the highest numbers of incarcerated citizens on earth is not patriotic.  Having soaring numbers of children living in poverty is not patriotic. State sanctioned murder is not patriotic. Making women second class citizens in terms of pay or their reproductive health is not patriotic. Creating the type of society that allows mass shootings on a level that is not found in any developed nation on earth is not patriotic. Creating a government made up of Christian theocrats contrary to the wishes of the founding fathers of America and its constitution is not patriotic. Income inequality on a scale that is not found anywhere else on earth is not patriotic. Denying science and global warming to a degree that poses an existential threat to our planet and disproportionally affecting the poorest people is not patriotic. This is what Republicans stand for. It is not the America the rest of the world grew up to admire.

 

I have met countless Americans both within the US and around the world on my travels over the last 20 years and this is not the country they want to live in. I have long known that America would eventually consign this disturbing legacy to the dustbin of history. Ireland was once too a place made infamous for its Catholic repression and all too often a nation defined by religious bigotry and theocratic government but the Ireland of 2016 is better than that. Our generation strived to change the course of our history from one of an outdated country scourged by religious repression, ignorance and bigotry to a new secular and inclusive path. We still have a lot of work to do in terms of our abortion laws and access to secular education but we have shown a strong and determined commitment to right the wrongs of our past.

 

I have every belief that the people of Iowa will carve a place in US history next Monday by setting Bernie Sanders on the road to become your next president. I believe he stands placed like no other candidate for this role and has been heroically steadfast in his commitment to building a just and fair society. What other candidate can boast to claiming to be a democratic socialist during the Ronald Reagan era? Bernie did not court popularity instead popularity found him. Everything about him shows it is a political vision that motivated him to enter politics and not a lust for power. This sets him apart from any politician on either side of the Atlantic ocean.

 

Ireland and the world is with you Iowa. Let’s get out the vote

taxi

 

Let’s make history next Monday. Get your family and friends to vote. I have every belief that there are enough liberal progressive people in your State to place Bernie on the path to the White House. During our referendum on same sex marriage in Ireland in 2015, people came home from far and wide to vote. If you have family and friends further away please beg them to come home to vote. If you are a taxi business please consider offering free rides to the polls for Bernie as happened in Ireland in what became known as the drive for equality.

 

Bernie is loved not just by Americans but by the whole world.

 

Bernie Sanders heroic commitment has not only been noticed by Americans but by almost every country on earth. Well wishes from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India and many more have been a consistent hallmark of his facebook page. It will give joy to countless people around the world to watch Bernie take on Donald Trump or whoever wins the Republican ticket in the forthcoming presidential debates. Not only in my estimation but by nearly every reliable poll, he is more capable than Hillary Clinton to defeat the Republican nominee.

 

Iowa you will show that the politics of greed, fear and hatred does not define America. You have the golden opportunity to tell corporate America that they are not stronger than the American people or their government. I have every faith that the people of your State will go out in their thousands and make history. America and the world are ready for Bernie on January 20th 2017.

iowa

Atheist versus Agnostic: Why it is necessary for Atheism to win this war of ideas.

agnostic

 

As an outspoken Atheist If I received a euro every time someone put it to me that the Universe is a big place and that I don’t have all the answers, I would undoubtedly be a very wealthy man. All too often when it comes to religious ideas, sitting on the fence is perceived as the safest and most intelligent option. The 17th century French mathematician, physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal proposed what would become known as Pascal’s wager. It essentially declared that the intelligent man should live as though god exists on the basis of the notion that if he doesn’t, then very little is lost whereas if god is real the individual would risk eternal damnation.

 

There is a difference between theoretical and practical Agnosticism

dawkins

 

When Richard Dawkins declared himself an Agnostic in principle there was a media frenzy. In Febuary 2012 the Daily Mail published the headline ‘I can’t be sure God DOES NOT exist’: World’s most notorious atheist Richard Dawkins admits he is in fact agnostic. In relation to the same story the Daily Telegraph in Britain went with the line “He is regarded as the most famous atheist in the world but last night Professor Richard Dawkins admitted he could not be sure that God does not exist”.   Because the press and secular activists don’t make for good partners, the media on this instance yet again failed to illustrate the very important message that Richard Dawkins was trying to deliver.  There is a world of difference between being agnostic in theory and agnostic in practice. Like Dawkins, I too am agnostic on the issue of god. I am also agnostic in my position of whether or not the stories of those who claim to be abducted by aliens are true.  Im agnostic in my position of whether or not ghosts exist or whether or not David Koresh who established the Davidian religious cult in Waco Texas is indeed a prophet of god.

 

No doubt if I was as high profile an Atheist celebrity as Dawkins, the media would seize on my last paragraph and have me declared insane. Yet theoretical agnosticism is the hallmark of all scientists and skeptics. We must remain agnostic to all things that cannot be disproved. If sufficient evidence existed for any of these claims I could in theory be convinced of their validity. The reason why I am so sceptical of the idea of god or any other of these claims is precisely because of a lack of supporting evidence when taken in the context of our 21st century understanding of science and human behavioural psychology. Of course neither the Daily Telegraph or Daily Mail mention this, as the idea of militant Atheism spreading across Britain is a far more sensational headline and of course the militant Atheist of their imagination could never be convinced of anything other than their rigidly held irrational beliefs. In the eyes of the media and all too often society in general they are perceived as being overly dogmatic like religious extremists. The greatest irony is that articles like these are the very reason people like Dawkins feel the need to promote science and reason so vigorously. However if this theoretical position of agnosticism moved further to what practical religious agnosticism means and where people genuinely feel a pressing need to question whether David Koresh is a prophet or whether or not god is telling you to do things or that he will punish someone in an afterlife for believing the wrong thing about him then I believe this has pushed the boundary between a sane version of Agnosticism and its paranoid brother. The word agnostic refers to lacking knowledge of a subject matter. In theory no one can know whether or not god exists and in theory we can never know whether or not we will be invaded by aliens. Yet if your life is governed by a genuine uncertainty of whether or not aliens are going to attack us, then a visit to a psychiatrist might be advised. There lies the difference between scientific agnosticism and its religious paranoid version.

A question for religious agnostics; Do your fear an alien invasion?

alien.jpg

 

If you believe uncertainty is the best approach to the question of god as advised by Pascal then shouldn’t we be entertaining the possibility of an alien invasion? Im sure Dawkins and most other scientists would argue the same case that they cannot be certain that malevolent extra-terrestrials are not about to invade earth any day now. By the same token we cannot be certain that there are not monsters of the sea that pose a danger to mariners that have yet to be discovered. How do we know that everyone we certify as insane for declaring themselves prophets and messiahs are not in fact telling the truth? I am presuming that by now you get the idea that the distinction between a theoretical lack of certainty and an uncertainty that alters how you perceive the world are two entirely separate world views. No doubt most people will be in agreement that we shouldn’t sit on the fence when it comes to any of these examples. These examples are not far fetched. The idea that a book such as the bible being the ultimate form of truth is less convincing to me than the prospect of our planet being attacked. Needless to say I do not live in fear of being visited by E.T but even less so for doubting the edicts of any religious texts.

 

Being a scientist and a skeptic makes me both Agnostic and Atheist.

bill NYE

 

By now Im hoping most people will realise that the terms Atheist and Agnostic are not mutually incompatible. Until science has a theory of everything we must be open to new objective evidence and must be willing to change our position on the basis of new evidence. This is the very essence of being agnostic. The scientific community achieves this to a degree greater than any other branch of human affairs. This is not a weakness or a failure of science as would be perceived in any other field of human endeavour but it is precisely what makes science so incredibly useful in finding out how things work. By the same token science doesn’t need to have a theory of everything to form an objective opinion. When all prevailing theories point in one direction the scientific community will state such things as our best available evidence leads us to believe that …………………..   That is why science has taught me that it is very unlikely that intervening beings alter the laws of physics and human behavioural psychology has taught me why so many people believe that they do. Probability teaches that we cannot explain one set of improbable circumstances by creating an even greater improbability as a conclusion. The known universe is less complex and therefore more probable to exist than a universe creator. Atheism is merely the outcome that blind faith and gut feelings do not trump objective scientific evidence even if on occasion science gets things wrong. The relatively small failings of science do not legitimise non evidence based beliefs. We need only look at the history of humankind to understand that religious faith will not tell us with any degree of reliability what happens when we die or whether or not god exists. Religious texts that do not understand such things as basic evolutionary biology are very unlikely to provide an intelligent counter argument to 21st century neuroscience etc. As any objective scientist would state I can’t know for certain what happens when we die but science will offer no compelling reason to believe anything other than loss of consciousness. This is a scientific question as much as a religious one and seeing as religion has never created a working knowledge of our world it is incredibly unlikely to be a source of knowledge as to what happens after death. In short the same set of skills that lead me to being agnostic also lead me to be an atheist.

 

Atheist activists are required because religion and other forms of evidence denial are destroying our planet and threatening our species with extinction.

ISIS

I am an outspoken Atheist because all the evidence suggests that we should be more scared of our infinite ability to deny evidence with earth shattering consequences than we should be of imaginary beings passing judgement on our thoughts and beliefs. Our susceptibility to psychological cognitive biases are no longer a subject for debate within psychology and are used by political despots, con artists and advertisers the world over. I used many of them myself to demonstrate just how easy it is to influence vulnerable people in my Shooting the Messenger blog on Lorna Byrne. These psychological predispositions include 1) authority bias which leads us to be more inclined to believe those we perceive as figures of authority. A direct consequence of this is our insatiable appetite for celebrity culture. All too often the irresponsible and ignorant rants of clueless public figures falsely lead us to ignore science and data. There are countless examples such as climate change denial in the US Republican Party, Jenny McCarthy contributing to anti-vaccine hysteria etc.

2) Social bias leads us not to question evidence denial within our own cultural and social group. We are predisposed to believe dangerous dogma coming from our own social and cultural group and to be more sceptical of ideas that were not born of our tribe. This is one of the root causes of religious wars. Even within political strands within US politics the right/left political divide come with their own set of pseudoscientific beliefs. The left all too often point out the legitimate failings of the US right leaning political class when it comes to such things as fantastical religious claims or their history of climate change denial yet the political left have their own set of scientific falsehoods that they cling to such as GMO paranoia and Monsanto conspiracy or that cannabis does not cause any harm or that the pharmaceutical industry is against so called natural remedies. It is easier for both groups to accept these beliefs as they are a common badge of belief within their community.

3) The confirmation bias makes it easier for us to believe things that fit neatly within our existing set of beliefs. If people are taught from an early age that religion is good and that it is necessary for having a moral compass then when someone comes along and says that Atheists are bad, it will be much easier for that group to whip up hatred towards them. We need only look at Donald Trump’s sheer ability to stir up anti-Muslim hatred among evangelicals. Furthermore the yearning of people to have their belief system validated makes them dangerously exposed to being negatively influenced. This psychological technique has been used by politicians since the dawn of time.

type1 error

4) Type 1 bias. Humans and other vertebrates are creatures of superstition. A type one error in psychology refers to our inherent bias towards seeing intention when it isn’t there. If we win a raffle we see ourselves as being lucky. If a number of unfortunate events happen in close succession we wonder if we are jinxed. I have often told the story when I thought of being in a RTA only to turn on the TV and the news reporting about a road death. If I were not a skeptic I would have possibly drawn the wrong conclusion. I am not psychic and that event although unusual was a product of coincidence. Decades of research have shown this but yet so many believe in psychic experiences and premonitions or the idea that we can tempt fate.

 

Practical agnosticism is not hedging your bets, it is a failure to confront what is often dangerous religious delusion where it is obviously present and granting a sense of intellectual legitimacy where none is warranted. Knowledge is like wealth and is not spread evenly. It is undermined when for cultural sake we pretend tribal religious beliefs in the absence of scientific inquiry represent counter arguments to those made on the basis of science and evidence.

 

Rejecting all religious texts for the glaringly obvious reason that there is nothing within them that could not have been written by the people of their time is not the other side of the false coin as those who dogmatically believe they are inherently divine. We need not spend any more time debating whether or not a book that calls for the stoning of non-virgin girls by their father on their wedding night is the word of god. A book that clearly has nothing to say about evolution or genetics or that believes that all creatures were once vegetarians demonstrably knows nothing about the origins of life. A book that fails to point out the evils of slavery or child marriage has nothing to teach 21st century humans about ethics. The fact that millions of people cannot see this is not cause for celebration of tolerance of intellectual diversity but an existential threat to mankind.

 

Evidence denial exists in many forms but religion is the only form that makes it a virtue. Religious leaders like to pretend that religion is compatible with scientific inquiry and social progress, however the data refutes this.

 

 There is more than ample evidence why we should not make a virtue out of evidence denial. Islamic leaders are keen the point out that Islamic culture invented algebra and other fields of mathematics or Christians often cite the fact that Isaac Newton was a devout Christian. However it is in spite of this that they became brilliant minds. It would have been near to impossible to be openly Atheist in these periods and because pseudoscience was still rampant in the time of Newton even he was unable to resist the false charm of pseudoscientific baloney such as alchemy and belief in psychic powers and the occult. Even today within the Islamic world many doctors and medical professionals are so devoted to the religion that they join Islamist terrorist groups. Ayman al-Zawahiri is a qualified surgeon and leader of Al Qaeda.

Donald Trump

In the 21st century the US remains the only openly devout religious country in the developed world. We need only look at its political system to realise that it is anything other than ethical or just. The entire Republican party has fallen into the hands of mobs of religious extremists, fascists and bigots. People like Donald Trump exploit the easy prey that this religious society has given him. Christian societies in Europe gave us the dark ages. In Ireland the Catholic Church left an horrific legacy that to this day has infected our political system. India is a country governed by superstition and corruption and its neighbour Pakistan is a near wasteland and home to the Taliban. Across the Middle East and Persian Gulf, cultures that have remained for thousands of years have been gutted and broken by religious mobs in ISIS.  I declare myself Atheist because it is intellectually wrong to entertain what in any other context would openly be considered nonsense worthy of laughter at best but most importantly because I consider religion like every other form of cultural delusion to be extremely dangerous and worth fighting against. Our inherently flawed psychology that gives rise to such irrational belief is reason in itself to believe that even if such a god like being did exist he would probably not come in peace.

 

Feeling the Bern in Dublin: An Irish Man’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders for President

JFK

 

Good luck on Tuesday New Hampshire!! 

The year is 1961 a politician by the name of John Fitzgerald Kennedy is about to be sworn in as the 35th president of the United States of America on a bitterly cold January morning as Pennsylvania Avenue experiences its worst traffic jams in living memory due to heavy snow fall.  The inclement weather could not dispel the jubilation of the Irish people both at home and abroad. This day would be defined as the pinnacle of success for Irish Americans. The Irish people had advanced from being the unwelcome outcasts that arrived on coffin ships fleeing the Irish potato famine in 1847 to finally having one of their ancestral citizens elected leader of the free world.

This was a nostalgic period not only for Irish Americans but for the entire country. Just as President Obama does today; President Kennedy had a strong and courageous outward vision for Americans and for America’s place in the world. Just as African-Americans are proud that president Obama of Kenyan descent, proclaims a vision of America being at the forefront of science and technology and a country where regardless of color, creed, or politics, all Americans are equal, so too were the Irish  at their president who echoed the exact same sentiment. Just as President Obama has always strenuously promoted the separation of Church and State so too did President Kennedy. He was in no doubt that both the American people and the American constitution demanded that his Catholic faith should have no place at the heart of government and that he would be a president for all people. His commitment to a secular America could not be more obvious than when he gave a speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association at the Rice Hotel in Houston Texas on September 12 1960.

“So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again — not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me — but what kind of America I believe in.  I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute — where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote — where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference — and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him”

It wasn’t only president Kennedy’s commitment to secular values that made him remarkable; his advancement of science and technology would see America enter the space age. Barely five months into office; in May 1961, President Kennedy made the following speech to a joint session of congress. View his congressional address here.

It was Kennedy’s vision and the quintessential American spirit of optimism that would give rise to one of the most defining moments in 20th century history. A mere 8 years after President Kennedy made his appeal to Congress; on July 20th 1969 people across the world from the remote corners of Ireland to every other corner of the globe, huddled around their television sets to witness Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin herald a new chapter in human history as they became the first humans to set foot on the moon.

Corporate Greed, Religious Fundamentalism & the Downward Spiral of a Great Nation

money-roll

The America of the 1960’s was a golden era in economic terms where the middle class were able to pursue the American dream. They were upwardly mobile and could easily provide for a family on a single income. It would be reasonable of parents to expect their children’s generation to be financially better off than their own. People were paid an honest wage for an honest days work. It would seem in the intervening years that the American people became the biggest victim of their own country’s economic success. The unrelenting growth of American capitalist ideology, the rise of Christian extremism and rampant unregulated capitalism often expressed in quasi-religious terms has resulted in America’s economic system morphing from being an extremely sensible fiscal model to one that is now giving rise to an uncontrollable transfer of wealth from both the American working poor & middle class to the top 1%. US conservatives often cite their fear of redistribution of wealth yet this is happening already but in reverse. It is socialism for the rich whereby working people fund the super-rich to an ever increasing degree.

America: A Corporate State

corporate america

I believe that uncontrolled capitalism (not its healthy regulated form that I subscribe to) has lead to the United States of America becoming a corporation in all but name. The ambitions of a corporation should be economically and morally radically different to those of a State governed by democratic government. The objective of a company is to maximize profit on investment whereas the fiscal objective of a democratic State is to generate enough wealth so as to provide for all its citizens in a fair and transparent manner.

Imagine you are the CEO of a new company “America PLC” that has recently commenced trading on the stock exchange. Your obligation as CEO is to maximize profit for your shareholders. The first thing you might need to do is assess your earning potential. This could easily be achieved by determining the GDP of the US which currently stands at around $17 trillion.  The first problem you will encounter as CEO of America PLC are the people of America themselves and secondly those they elect. The American people represent a drain on your resources because their economic agenda is very different to yours. Human nature being what it is will mean that there are approximately 320 million people who represent a financial liability by seeking to use your potential corporate earnings to enhance their own financial wellbeing and that of their family.  How would you tackle this problem? The elected leaders of America in corporate terms represent competition. Politicians are supposed to be the CEO’s of the State who are running a competing business but this time for the benefit of the people themselves. How does big business deal with competing business? They acquire them. Your first major investment as CEO will be to buy out the political system. Now you have law makers as your employees whose job description is to enact laws that will maximize profit for your shareholders. This acquisition can easily be made due to  inherent weaknesses in the system of political funding in the United States and through investment in lobbying.

You have now made the first major strategic investment but your problems are far from over. Politicians cannot merely take from an enlightened people as they are heavily outnumbered. People will not willingly give up their hard earned income without a serious fight which could pose the very credible threat of civil unrest which is not good for business. You decide to hold a boardroom meeting to get the best minds together. You need a workable plan that will dampen down the will of the people to resist your corporate ambitions. To put it bluntly you will need to develop a system of mass mind control and propaganda. So long as people can think freely they simply will not consent to giving you their money and their elected leaders will be unable to force them. Now that you have come to the conclusion that mass mind control is necessary the next step will be to undertake a case study on best practice. Have any other countries achieved your objective and if so how do they do it? There are no shortages of examples of political despots using mass mind control to persuade the masses that their political objectives are in the people’s best interest. Probably one of the most infamous examples is Nazi Germany. On March 14th 1933 Joseph Goebbels established the Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. One of the first tasks of this branch of government was to assume total control of Germany’s broadcast media and to use it for their own political ends. Once you own the media you need to use well established means of mind control psychology using the carrot and stick approach. You need to make the masses feel special and give them a feel good factor. According to the Nazis, white Germans were very special because they were superior to other races. You also need to instill fear of those who pose a threat to the system by means of creating a scapegoat based mentality. Once these have taken root then and only then can you start the gradual process of reducing people’s wages and the amount of money spent by central government. Once the case study is complete, its author gives a boardroom presentation. They assure those in attendance that the project is doable and despite the fact that nowhere else in the world will citizens of a country willingly embrace poorer living standards to support corporate ambitions, America will be a first. Once this pioneering form of entrepreneurship is successful your corporation can enjoy almost unlimited success. The conclusion of the boardroom is unanimous America PLC is to start acquiring as much of the public media as possible.

Unfortunately this is not merely a fictional scenario as the following article from the business insider shows. View the article here.

Needless to mention I do not subscribe to new world order or any other non-evidence based conspiracy theories. This media acquisition by the rich is merely the inevitable outcome of a society like no other on earth that worships free market economics as if it were a one size fits all solution to all the world’s economic problems.

The result of this is the Donald Trump phenomenon. Nowhere else in the world do the impoverished and those on the minimum wage cheer on a blundering bigot megalomaniac billionaire and become willing participants in their own financial downfall. The downtrodden are cynically lied and manipulated to an extent that should never happen in a normal healthy democracy. It is a flashing red light that should concern most free thinking Americans. Despite Donald Trump topping the polls I do not believe Americans are inherently stupid for the same reason I don’t believe Afghans who vote for the Taliban are intellectually challenged. It is simply cause and effect. The US media and the ruling class have convinced the American people who possess an admirable get up and go attitude, to willingly embrace a political system that offers no hope for them. Just as North Koreans believe their country is special, so too do millions of Americans who are undereducated and underpaid who believe that someday they too can become like Donald Trump. They are fed a diet of false hope and fear of those who are the scapegoat of the day. One time it was Irish Catholics, today it is Mexicans and other immigrants.

America PLC is not merely an idea made up by me but a reality in all but name. The numbers of shareholders in this enterprise are becoming increasingly smaller and wealthier to the social and financial detriment of everybody else.

Bernie Sanders made his political career from pointing out this uncomfortable truth

Bernie Sanders

Coming from Ireland and growing up in the era of Charlie Haughey, like most Irish I have an innate skepticism when it comes to politicians. Most of them have over inflated egos and many lack even a degree of common sense. They start off with noble ideas only to become institutionalized by the system. However Bernie Sanders is no ordinary politician. When I first heard him describe himself as a socialist, I immediately thought either this man is crazy, brave beyond belief or a combination of both. This is a quote taken from the Washington Post that he made in 1983. Bear in mind this was during the Reagan era when his political administration actively demonized the idea of wealth redistribution to the poor. These words were uttered 6 years before the fall of the Berlin wall. This quote alone makes it clear beyond any doubt that Bernie Sanders is a man motivated by the purest form of political integrity. He is a politician that has no obvious parallels in Ireland, Britain or the US. He is a man whose politics transcend the cynical vote catching rhetoric that almost all politicians are guilty of.

“I am a socialist, of course I am a socialist,” he told a Democratic opponent in a mayoral debate, according to an Associated Press story in 1983. “To hold a vision that society can be fundamentally different, to believe that all people can be equal, that is not a new idea. … I don’t think there is an administration in the country that is more progressive than this one.”

Bernie Sanders possesses the laudable trait of being a politician who patiently waits for time to catch up on his politics whereas almost every other politician mould their politics to that of which the electorate want at any given moment in time. To me this is a defining characteristic of a Statesman and leader.  All too often politicians try to present themselves as being a man of the people yet their policies are unconvincing at best. Bernie Sanders is not only a genuine American patriot who opposed most US lead wars yet tends to the veterans whose lives have been ruined in combat and has been photographed in the middle seat of a commercial flight, but he is also a politician that has been consistently right on the issues and those who have attacked him have been proven consistently wrong.  The most recent example was the Wall Street Journal where they made the outlandishly bogus claim that Sander’s health policies would bankrupt America when in fact the economist whose work they were quoting had said that Sanders proposals would actually cost considerably less than what the US currently spends on health. Here is an article in the Washington Post where that argument is thoroughly debunked.

There are countless other examples of Bernie Sanders political convictions simply being years ahead of their time. They are clearly available to be viewed on-line.

1)   Bernie Sanders schooled former Fed Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and predicted the economic collapse in 2003.

Alan Greenspan

 The footage is available on youtube or can be viewed here.

2)    Bernie Sanders has been in favor of gay marriage since the 1990s.

bill clinton

When the Clinton administration introduced the defense of marriage act in 1996, Bernie Sanders opposed it.

3) Bernie Sanders warned of the consequences of invading Iraq and vehemently opposed the war that Hillary Clinton endorsed. 

iraq

This video is a moving testimony from a genuine patriot. He essentially predicts the formation of ISIS and the entire destabilization of the Middle East, not to mention the cost of this senseless war in terms of lives of those that served on the battlefield. View the youtube video here.

4) Bernie Sanders was heavily invested in the black civil rights movement as early as 1962 whereas Hillary Clinton worked on Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign.

Hillary civil rights

Goldwater was a Republican presidential candidate who opposed the civil rights act of 1964.  It took the assassination of Martin Luther King to convince Hillary Clinton to defect from the Republican party. One has to question the moral wisdom of any politician who would openly support a candidate who believed in racial segregation.  The clip below has modern day relevance in terms of Kim Davis. Note the protester carrying the sign God demands segregation. Bernie Sanders yet again not only displayed the moral wisdom to realize this was wrong but possessed the same courage he shows today in resisting racial inequality. View a clip of a documentary on Barry Goldwater here. 

5) Keystone Pipeline

keystone pipeline 

Few issues reveal just how much Hillary Clinton panders to populism than the Keystone pipeline fiasco. This regarded the proposed building of an oil pipeline from Alberta Canada to Houston Texas. Some phases of this are already complete and are operational but a 4th line has given rise to environmental concerns and work on it has been suspended. The fears were based on the potential impact it would have on the Sand Hills region of Nebraska. Hillary Clinton has had no less than 5 positions on the Keystone Pipeline project. This indecisiveness and inability to show leadership makes her much less capable than Bernie Sanders in my opinion. Sander’s view on the project was expressed from the very onset of the debacle. He firmly and resolutely opposes the new pipeline. View the history of Hillary’s indecisiveness on this issue here. 

American politics affects Ireland and the rest of the world but we do not get a vote in US elections

union

I stand with American liberals and those who are trying to make their country better. The American people work longer and harder than their European counterpart and they get little or no paid vacation time. In Ireland most employees receive between 4-5 weeks paid leave. Should a woman become pregnant, she will get little or no paid maternity leave from her employer in the US. Here in Ireland we get 6 months paid maternity leave and the option of another 6 months unpaid leave. In Ireland we take it for granted that we will be seen by a doctor if we get sick and will get a degree of treatment even if our health service is overstretched and under resourced. Americans who are under-insured or not insured don’t have this privilege. The genuine hard working people of America have much of their tax dollars spent on needless wars and squandered unnecessarily on corporate welfare. It is time for the entire world to oppose this economic apartheid in America that is due to massive wealth inequality and the subsequent erosion of the middle class.

anglo

The bailout of Anglo Irish Bank and others resulted in Ireland being forced to fund the biggest bailout of banks per capita in the world.

Even more alarming for those in Ireland and the rest of the industrialized world is the fact that despite having much stronger levels of social welfare/social security, our income and wealth divide is now beginning to mirror that of the US. America PLC  is so strong that its financial system is starting to cause the same erosion of capital among the middle classes outside of the US. The practices and the excesses that started on Wall Street are now accepted around the world and what Wall Street started Ireland made worse. In 2009 the nationalization of Anglo Irish Bank and others lead to Ireland having the unenviable title of being the country that signed off on the largest bank bailout per capita in the world. The entire sum came to approximately €68 billion and resulted in the country going under the stewardship of the IMF. The human cost of the bailout came to €9000 for every man, woman and child in the country and is borne by the working people of Ireland. Three of the staff from Anglo Irish bank were jailed here, marking the first case of its kind in Irish history but the former CEO of this rotten institution David Drumm is currently residing in the US. A Boston judge saw through his lies and outright fraudulent activity when he tried to file for bankruptcy there.

david mcwilliams

David McWilliams outlined the similar economic challenges facing the middle class in Ireland and the US and the growth of the super-rich.

Last week one of Ireland’s leading economists David McWilliams presented a fantastic but depressing documentary on Ireland’s wealth divide. The entire documentary amounted to a stunning endorsement of Bernie Sanders economic agenda and is well worth looking at if you can get it online outside of Ireland. Among the shocking economic statistics that emerged were 1) the top 5% in Ireland earned almost twice that of the next 60% in 2014. 2) The bottom 20% own a mere 0.2% of our national wealth. Just as in the US, the median wage of the middle class has fallen dramatically in the last decade. View an article from the Irish Independent in relation to the documentary here. 

refugees

The War in Iraq has ultimately resulted in the biggest displacement of refugees since WWII. Ireland pledges to take 4000.

US wars affect Ireland and are putting the security of Europe at risk. The human legacy of GW Bush’s invasion of Iraq is currently being felt all over Europe. The consequences of the invasion of Iraq that Bernie Sanders so movingly spoke of are now being experienced here in Ireland. Our government has pledged to take in at least 4000 Syrian refugees. As Syria descends into chaos under ISIS tyranny, open borders will undoubtedly allow some ISIS terrorists enter Europe despite the best security measures being taken. However we cannot turn a blind eye to the plight of innocents fleeing for their lives.

ssm ireland

Crowds celebrate Ireland’s historic vote to legalise same sex marriage outside Dublin Castle. 

The Obama administration ushered in a wave of liberal thinking across the west that probably helped bring about the political atmosphere necessary for Ireland to be the first country in the world to legalize same sex marriage by popular vote. The expression when America sneezes the world catches a cold has more than just mere economic connotations; it is also of major significance in the culture wars. The people of Ireland who endorse secularism overwhelmingly have a vested interest in stemming the growth of Christian fanaticism in the US. Take for example Ireland’s abortion laws that are one of the most draconian in the world. A recent poll showed that even 64% of Irish farmers want some progress made in this area. Farmers either in Ireland or the US are not noted for their liberal thinking, yet a majority of them see the need for change. Despite a growing demand for a change in the law, our government continually refuse to bring about the opportunity to hold a constitutional referendum for fear of splitting up the main party in government over this politically sensitive issue.

abortion

US Christian extremists fund Irish “Pro Life” movements to a massive extent and US citizens account for the majority of their on-line membership. 

American Christian fundamentalists see Ireland’s abortion laws as a template for what they wish to impose on America. American Christians are heavily invested in Irish so called pro-life movements such as Youth Defence and the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC). It is estimated that around 70% of Youth Defence membership is made up of Americans Christian fundamentalists who wish to use Ireland as a role model for the introduction of punitive limitations on the reproductive rights of women. Much of (If not a majority) the funding for these groups comes from American donors. The continuing laws around abortion in Ireland remain not only a human rights embarrassment for Ireland but an existential threat to secular values in the US. Here is an article from the Atlantic outlining just how intertwined American and Irish religious fundamentalists are when it comes to our abortion laws.

jesus

Electing a non religious president and leading by example is the best way to tackle the growth of religious extremism both in USA and around the world. Bernie Sanders would be the 1st secular agnostic president in modern US History. 

I have long argued that the best strategy for America to tackle the growing menace of religious extremism both within its borders and around the world is to elect a president that is not only secular but one that is above religion and one that will not publicly feign religious belief for electoral gain. Bernie Sanders has the courage and sheer political honesty to come out publicly as a secular agnostic and that is yet another reason why I like the guy immensely. For sure Bernie Sanders throws lavish praise at Pope Francis who I feel has many questions to answer, but what is different to any of the other candidates is he will only do it politically where he and Pope Francis share a common political objective as in dealing with income inequality and the threat posed by man-made global warming. Bernie Sanders does not do religion in the public space and that in itself is both remarkable and historic.

I believe that Bernie Sanders represents everything that is good about America. He has shown courage and backbone to a degree that is almost unheard of in political life. He overcame extreme adversity being the son of the last remaining Jewish family member to survive and flee the Nazi holocaust. He grew up in a run-down apartment and was unrelenting and fearless in speaking out for what he believed was right. It wasn’t political expediency that saw him get elected as mayor of Burlington Vermont. Speaking unapologetically about his socialist convictions during the Reagan era was almost as if he was trying to be the architect of his own political downfall. It wasn’t flag waving or saying how much god influenced his decision to enter politics that got him elected either. Bernie Sanders spent his political career shunning political orthodoxy. He became Mayor despite holding views that only represented a tiny minority of those that elected him purely on the basis of his loyalty to those he represents. Bernie Sanders is a hero to his constituents. He is a genuine patriot in a country that all too often uses the term to a nauseating degree and to promote actions that are anything but patriotic. His bravery, loyalty, proven political & economic wisdom and the fact that he has shown himself to be inspirational to an unfathomable degree is why as an Irish man I am asking the American people to do as Bernie Sanders himself has always done and shun the political, religious and economic dogma that has for too long run contrary to the great ideals expressed by president Kennedy.

I believe Americans in their millions will ignore the scaremongering, the vested interests of big media, corporate government and the naysayers and will elect Bernie Sanders as the 45th president of the United States of America to the justified applause of the Irish people and the rest of the world.

bernie

Finally a message from Bernie 

Please share by clicking on any of the links below

Campaign against the Genesis II Church of Health & Healing in Ireland: Politicians, Medical Professionals and You have an important role to play. Please get involved.

genesis2

Please lend your support to our campaign on twitter by tweeting using the hash-tag #bleaching4jail. Our twitter handle is sayno2quackery. Join and like us on facebook.com/bleaching4jail. 

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Following a moving phone call with Fiona O’ Leary a few days ago regarding the Genesis II Church of Health & Healing (otherwise known as the bleaching cult) and the writing of my own blog on the issue, I feel compelled to take matters into my own hands. Fiona has worked tirelessly over the last year to try and achieve justice on this issue. She has made superb gains getting the issue highlighted on the Prime Time investigates documentary and having a facility belonging to this lunatic cult raided. However I firmly believe the time for dialogue is now over. This cult will not go away until it receives the full force of the State acting against it. The process has already started, and as the national press have reported, the Gardai are now involved. However this is not even close to enough.

mms

For my part I wish to declare war on this movement. I do not believe mere threats and Garda investigations will stop the activities of these people.  I propose the State enact new laws to put the activities of this group of deranged lunatics on a par with the trafficking of drugs and legislate for a minimum three year jail sentence for anyone knowingly profiting either directly or indirectly from this type of scam. However the activities of a handful of people are unlikely to bring about a change in the law. That is why I believe we must form a coalition of medical professionals and the general public to force the government to bring about the necessary legislation without delay.

I intend to start this process by writing to the three politicians (I know of) currently serving who are qualified medical doctors Leo Varadkar, James Reilly and Professor John Crown and bring this despicable scam to their attention. If this is unsuccessful, I then intend to form a coalition of unity among all trade unions in the healthcare sector to press for reform. I intend to find interested parties throughout the entirety of the Irish healthcare system to help bring this about by lobbying their respective trade union. A number of healthcare workers have already become proactive in this campaign and undoubtedly many more will be eager to get on-board.

As for the general public your help will be absolutely essential. Please write to your local TD and highlight this issue to them as a matter of urgency. If you like you can use the standard letter (Letter  file) below by simply double clicking on the word Letter and print and sign. Thanks for your assistance. Finally my message to anyone thinking of selling or promoting MMS in Ireland in the future is simple stop now or face a considerable time behind bars.

Letter

Finally please spread the word by sharing this and making an effort to write to your local TD. My personal letter to Professor John Crown, Leo Varadkar and James Reilly as parliamentarians who are qualified medical doctors are below.

Thank You

Cyril

Dear Professor Crown

I am writing to all the qualified medical doctors I know of in the Dail and Seanad on behalf of Fiona O’ Leary and her heroic work that  lead to the Prime Time Investigates documentary that chillingly exposed the sinister activities of the lunatic cult known as the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing founded by ex-scientologist Jim Humble.

I wrote a blog “Pseudoscience gone toxic” (which can be googled) praising Fiona’s valiant efforts and lengthy dedication to do everything in her power to fight the activities of this insidious movement. I am very proud of the fact that it moved Fiona so much as to get back to me through facebook. Following a half hour phone call in which she described a living nightmare and witnessing the poisoning of children in the sick and ghoulish belief that Autism has a parasitic basis and can be remedied by ingesting Master Mineral Solution (MMS) which amounts to laboratory grade industrial bleach when acidic food or drinks are consumed.

The sheer narcissism of Jim Humble and his henchmen can be readily seen by taking a cursory glance at the cult’s official website. He claims no less than to be on a quest to grant health to all mankind. The organisation even has a wiki-like page with an A-Z list of diseases it claims to be able to cure.

Fiona’s brave work and dedication to the cause of fighting this band of “Jim Jones” type cult (to use Fiona’s own expression) convinced me within minutes of ending the phone call to take up her mantle and summon the full force of the Irish State to crush their activities and send a loud and clear message that anyone engaging in poisonous quackery can expect a lengthy prison sentence and have their assets seized by the criminal assets bureau.

I trust that as a medical doctor and as someone in a position of authority that you will heed my warning on the dangers of this toxic cult and request a debate in the Dail and Seanad on the passing of emergency legislation to destroy the capacity of this organisation to do any further harm to the most vulnerable people in Irish society.

I propose the following legislation

  • A new criminal offence to be created for knowingly profiting directly or indirectly from the sale of substances hazardous to health as determined by public health officials and tested in a State laboratory.
  • The offence should be independent of labelling as the organisation got around some States laws by labelling MMS as a water purifying agent while simultaneously marketing it as a medicine.
  • The conviction should carry a three year minimum mandatory prison sentence for a first offence.
  • Power should be granted to the Gardai to arrest, detain and charge overseas individuals suspected of entering the country for the purposes of committing the above crime.
  • Irish based websites, banks and other commercial organisations should be subject to the above penalties if they are knowingly in receipt of money from the sale of toxic substances marketed as medicine.

Cults who engage in these types of activities require legislation on a par with counter-terrorism measures and the trafficking of illegal narcotics. This is why on behalf of Fiona O’ Leary; I am requesting you to instigate an appeal for cross party support for an imminent introduction of this urgently needed law reform.

A dedicated facebook page (facebook.com/bleaching4jail) and twitter account (sayno2quackery) have been set up along with the twitter hash-tag #bleaching4jail for the purposes of this campaign.

Yours sincerely

……………………..

Cyril Butler