Reality bites

Reality bites

Great, now that my World Cup bubble has been so cruelly and tragically burst, reality, so successfully and blissfully ignored, comes flooding back in.

A reality where our armed forces are still participating in the Great War Crime that is Iraq.

Where US Marines still summarily execute women and children.

Where four new coal mines have just opened around Woolongong to supply an exponentially burgeoning Indian economy.

Where my local federal member is still an ultra right wing pig of a politician.

Where David Hicks still rots in some American torture chamber, and where our toad of a Prime Minister fire bombs the last pockets of parliamentary democracy.

God damn it all (and that bloody referee, hell all those bloody referees) to hell.

Oh, and Mark Viduka with $500 cash in his pocket couldnt score a bag of pot in Nimbin.

Tim Somerville

Lismore

Waste in question

Let confusion reign appears to be the motto of Lismore City Council with its innovative waste management system.

The system is so innovative that it completely ignores the requirements of the disabled and the elderly, who are tenants in housing units. Would Northern Rivers Waste answer the following questions:

How is a mobility challenged person supposed to sort the waste, place it in one of the three bins and then get the 59kg loaded bin to the pick up area?

How is an elderly frail person supposed to place his or her three bins out and back then clean the bins when they are empty?

When there are water restrictions how are the green bins supposed to be hosed out, on the non existent lawn or garden area?

How is an intellectually handicapped person supposed to understand a waste management brochure that has numerous contradictions?

I strongly suggest that Northern Rivers Waste consult the Department of Disability and Ageing, the Department of Housing and the Department of Health, and get your brochure and system sorted out for the benefit of all citizens.

P Harbord

Lismore

Dispelling fluoride myths

For reasons best known to themselves, a small number of people cling to unsupported claims that water fluoridation offers no oral health benefits and even harms human health (last weeks Echo front page, Fight against fluoride begins).

The myth that the fluoride used for water supplies is impure and artificial should be debunked once and for all. In fact it is sourced from natural supplies and has to meet stringent purity standards before it can be used by councils. Moreover, the fluoride in the water is monitored daily, along with everything else in it.

The safeguards are stringent and have stood the test of time for half a century in NSW and even longer in other places. Anyone who has had anything to do with water supply authorities would know this.

Fluoride is the 13th most common element and we are exposed to it all the time, sometimes at much greater levels than in the drinking water in fluoridated areas (such as the Tweed). For example, sea levels are higher, as is ordinary tea.

It was highly misleading for the fluoride opponents to dismiss the results of water fluoridation in Yass after contacting a local school there. A better source of information would have been Sydney Universitys Associate Professor Robin Woods and Dr Peter Barnard, whose extensive epidemiological research of Yass children between 1962 (six years after fluoridation began) and 1978 showed the average decay level to have dropped by three quarters.

Importantly, the published research into water fluoridation is commissioned by health authorities from independent researchers in order to monitor its status. It is not commissioned to justify this important public health measure, but to ensure its safety. The research is rigorous and frequent. It is the misunderstanding and/or misrepresentation of the research that gives fluoridation opponents their ammunition and the community will be the loser if the scare campaigns influence local government decision makers.

John Irving

North Coast Teeth for Life Program

Fluoridation miracle

After comparing your page one story of June 22 to Cr Tomlinsons in letters to the editor, its clear which one is a true representation of the facts regarding fluoridation.

I have always believed in the benefits of fluoridation because my three daughters, now in their early thirties, have no fillings or decay in their teeth. They grew up in Bathurst, NSW, a town with a fluoridated water supply. When we moved to Lismore I was disappointed to see we did not have a fluoridated water supply and had to get tablets at the Council Health Department. From memory that stopped, I think due to anti-fluoridationist quacks at the time, and deprived many children of a simple protection measure against tooth decay. We had to then purchase fluoride tablets from the chemist for our children.

If your anti-fluoridationists are sincere I would advise them to read the article Flouridation: Dont let the Poisionmongers Scare You at www.quackwatch.org.

Reading it certainly confirmed my view that there is no health danger to what amounts to a minuscule adjustment to the fluoride ion concentration of our drinking water, and, with the opportunity to have this funded by state government and not by Council I feel our elected representatives would be ignoring their duty of care, their fiduciary responsibilities, and doing great disservice to our children and grandchildren, if they did not support fluoridation.

To those that see this as an imposition on a minority that are strongly opposed to fluoridation, I say that is fair. They still have access to tank and bottled water and the like, while the greater majority has the best protection that is available.

To quote from the above article, if you live in a community with fluoridated water, consider yourself lucky. If you do not, dont let the poisonmongers scare you. Fluoridation is still a modern health miracle.

John Simpson

Lismore

Wheres our say?

So by now we all know that the super powers of this region, ie. Lismore and Ballina Council and health experts, are all for fluoridating our water and now with the enlisted support of Rous Water it looks all but decided.

The point is who are they to decide what the public needs without so much as an open forum night let alone a vote?! We as the consumers of this soon to be poisoned water seem to be left out of one of the biggest decisions concerning our health and wellbeing! Why is it we dont get a say? Theyre happy to turn around and say that we as ratepayers will be footing the bill! Where is the fairness in that? From all the local talk about this issue it seems to me that nobody except these super powers actually wants this stuff in our water! And with no public support you have to ask yourself why? Whats in it for them?

J Smith

Lismore

In the beginning...

I wonder if this is how it all began.

Capitalist to CEO: The disposal of the toxic waste resulting from our industrial processes is the greatest financial burden the company faces.

CEO: Is fluoride really that bad?

Capitalist: Yes sir. You wouldnt want a teaspoon in yer wheaties. It can be sold as rat poison.

CEO: So basically we need to create a need for it. Turn a cost into a profit.

Capitalist: But how do you create a market for poison?

CEO: Its easy, people are stupid. Id even bet if you pumped a few hundred million into academics to produce research showing fluoride is good for say, teeth, the idiots will pay for it. I wouldnt be surprised if you could put it in their water supply.

Capitalist: Get them to drink it?

CEO: Yup, diluted, whole worlds water supply. We convince them its for the children, for their teeth.

Capitalist: What about the dangers?

CEO: They are not in the companies interest.

Capitalist: Meaning?

CEO: Fluoride is safe.

Marcus Davis

North Lismore

Give us the vote

Cr David Tomlinson,

Having just read your letter in The Echo I feel I must write to you.

As I do not dispute your right to vote as you see fit, I do question your right to vote on something that all Lismore residents should have a right to vote on.

While not disputing what you quote you were told by all the authorities, I do question the accuracy of some of it.

Did any of them point out the effect on the human skeletal system? Probably not.

Like most proponents of anything they dont bring up anything against what they want, or is it only what they have been taught?

You say you have an open mind on this. Well so have I.

Vote to give all residents a vote and then we can all abide by the results.

Too many things have been done and used in the past only to find out later it has not been in the best interests of the population.

Look at all the pesticides they said would not harm humans only to find later that they did. For all the knowledge we have at present it appears we are only destroying our environment and humanity as well.

Please do the right thing and give us the vote on this. Allow each and every person to be responsible for our and our offsprings fate.

RJ & J Lemon

Lismore

Fluoride reasoning

As readers would be aware Lismore Council, at its meeting on June 14, voted to add fluoride to the Rous Water supply at Rocky Creek Dam. The decision means that only Byron Council has resolved against fluoridation. With the anti-fluoride lobby pushing their views in the media, I felt that readers might like to hear my reasons for supporting fluoridation.

As a teacher of young children, my first priority is their health and welfare and I believe that fluoridation is the single most cost-effective measure a community can take to improve the dental health of its children. While I accept that the consumption of sugar is a major cause of decay and the lack of affordable dental care is deplorable, the simple act of drinking fluoridated drinking water can achieve a beneficial outcome without requiring a change in behaviour.

At the meeting, I initially voted for a referendum to allow the community to decide whether it wanted fluoridation because I had some concerns that the two Health Department surveys, whose results were quite valid, were not as comprehensive as they could have been. That vote was lost 4-8.

Council then voted 8-4 to support the addition of fluoride. My reasons can be summarised as follows:

1. There is no credible evidence of damage or health risk from one part per million of sodium fluoride in drinking water;

2. Areas with no fluoride in NSW have two and a half times times more children aged 0-4 hospitalised for general anaesthetics to remove decayed teeth than neighbouring shires with fluoride; and

3. Professional contact over 13 years with local preschools where significant numbers of children have rotten teeth causing poor health, social development and speech and language.

In addition, the New South Wales Council of Social Services, to which the Northern Rivers Social Development Council (where I am president) is affiliated, supports fluoridation.

In preparation for this vote, I read widely and carefully considered both sides of the debate. In the end, despite their loud voices, I did not accept that opponents should be entitled to impose the risks, damage and costs associated with failure to fluoridate on the community at large. My personal experience in Melbourne with my two children now aged 25 and 22 with no fillings was also a factor in my vote.

I hope this explains my reasons for voting as I did. From time to time each of us must take a stand on things we believe. The community at large will have the opportunity to express its opinion of the decision of each of the councillors at the next election. If the voters decide that my decision to support fluoridation is not acceptable, then of course I will accept their right to place their votes elsewhere.

Cr Jenny Dowell

Goonellabah

Stand up and be counted

Much debate is currently in our local press regarding the fluoridation of our water supply. I am vehemently opposed to this. Much evidence is available to those who take time to investigate the pros and cons. The fact that a group of people can actually make the decision to do this and foist it upon the entire community angers me. We are constantly assured we live in a democracy so how come we cannot have our say in a referendum? The reason given for the need of this poison to be added to our drinking water is poor dental health of our children. What happened to good old fashioned discipline, parents supervising what their kids ingest for example and the word no? All concerned have the opportunity to overturn this decision by attending a meeting at the Lismore Workers Club tonight (Thursday, June 29) at 6.30pm.

Freedom of choice has been won at a huge cost by those who have had the gumption to stand up and be counted over the years. Lets speak up.

Gloria Lee

Alstonville

Ill-informed

Response to David Tomlinson.

Mr Tomlinson, if fluoridated water has such a huge effect on teeth, what makes you think its not having ahuge effect on the body? You say in your letter around 90 per cent of the NSW population drinks fluoridated water without any ill-effects. How do you know that they havent got ill effects? How do you know that the effects arent subtle and cumulative, and are slowly, over time eroding the bodys power to resist all manner of disease?

Youtake as your authorities, in matters of health, the Australian Dental Association, the Australian Medical Association, the National Health and Medical Research Council, all State Health Ministers andthe Federal Health Minister, the US Surgeon General etc. All these bodies are competent in administering macro policy but they all, without exception, epitomise the very heart and soul of the status quo, do they not? Does that not give you cause to ponder? I personally wouldnt turn to the AMA, the State or Federal Health Minister or for that matter to the UK Government or the US Surgeon General if I needed to improve my health. Why do you think there is such an explosion of natural therapies in the western world today? People dont trust the Surgeon General, the Public Health Association, governments and the orthodox medical establishment to look after their health, and who would? These organisations are made up of a multiplicity of individuals who have an investment intowing the line. Theyre inextricably linked to business and industry andare part of a social order which is in decline.

I identify with your concern for the poorer members of our community who may not be able to afford dental care and for whom fluoride in the water may offer some protection against tooth decay, but Mr Tomlinson, theyre the very people who have little protection already from the stresses and toxins in their environment and who are not ina position to buy expensive filtration systems. If they do not want fluoride in their water theyre stuck with it. That is why it is important that Councilrespect our democratic rightsto freedom of choice. If people want fluoride tablets they can buy them butwe dont wantmass medication.

Lydia Connelly

Goonellabah

Conspiracy theory

Councillor David Tomlinson (Echo, June 22) points out that a company is only going to make around $10,000 profit annually, then assumes there is no conspiracy. The actual potential that can be made from all public drinking systems amounts to millions. I would set up a conspiracy for that. Fluoride is also a toxic waste liability that was previously a dumping expense. I believe that the professional term used is externalisation.

Fluoridation is in someone elses interest, not ours. This damn local government faction-led ruling is simply not democracy. Still it is going to cost us close to $100,000.

Also, I am enjoying the same sex marriage debate vigorously being pursued in this very paper. It has nothing to do with sex obviously. It is about the economic control of the proletariat dummies. Lets face it, sex is the one thing God put on this earth that can be done without talking about it or communications between those involved at least. What everyone must mean is the same economic advantages. And we can all get that by being economically independent. Once upon a time I used to believe in families but living independently is much more liberating than any sexual orientation that Ive ever met. Maybe all married couples should have a room of their own. Like us asexual kids.

Keith A Stone

Lismore

Fair choice

Ban fluoride. Use new technology alternatives. There is a single, painless, five-minute topical treatment that has the potential to offer life-long protection from tooth decay.

It is known as Probiotic3, developed by Professor Jeffrey Hillman, University of Florida Oral Biology Unit, over 20 years.

It has been tested on laboratory animals and proved as effective as claimed, and is expected to be available for public use in 2007/8. It is based on genetic modification of the lactic acid bacteria that cause tooth decay. It seems to good to be true? Dont take my word. Go to www.oregenics.com. Click press room then probiotics technology and see for yourself. Another one is Recaldent, an ingredient derived from casein, part of the protein found in cows milk. It works to safely strengthen teeth by delivering calcium and phosphate, the building blocks of tooth enamel, in a unique soluble form to remineralise the teeth. It is available now in Australia. A multimillion dollar clinical trial is being carried out on it across 27 Victorian schools. It has been developed by Professor Eric Reynolds over 15 years at Melbourne Uni. Check it out. Go to Google, type in eric reynolds or recaldent. Another alternative, go to xylitol.com.au then click Spry Dental at the top.

When exceptionally effective alternatives are available that are non toxic, non poisonous and with no adverse effects, why expose people to the risk of decreased bone density, cancer, infertility, brain or learning and behavioural disorders, fluorosis, or allergies from the toxic poisoning from fluoride when it can be avoided?

It is irresponsible to push ahead with fluoridation against the will of the people and against the Constitution, particularly when fluorosilicilic acid has never been tested as safe for human consumption (Ref: from the worlds leading independent medical journal, The Lancet 2000:355:1644-1645).

Councillors, please show responsibility and respect for your people, have a referendum and give us a democratic fair choice.

Col Bilston

Alstonville

The truth is out there

Cr David Tomlinsons list of supposedly trustworthy national and international organisations, upon which he based his support for fluoridation, might once have been legitimate. But this is not the case anymore.

For a number of years now we have been seeing before us an amazing and rapidly escalating phenomenon where the en-masse (especially Western) public is actively relishing itself being seduced by lies and deception from governments and authority bodies. This trait runs so deep it reveals strong similarities to sadomasochism and bondage, where being totally subjugated and possessed is the elixir of desire.

Australia, the UK and the US all recently re-elected governments whose lies, deception and outright criminality were clearly conspicuous. In Australias last federal election, greed was certainly a major factor, seducing people to sell their souls to John Howard, but there was also a more profound under current of en-masse cowering submission. It is as though a compulsive obsession of self destruction has developed in the nation. Deep down it knows it is being deceived and steered towards catastrophe. But it ignores the moral and ethical evidence signalling it to change course, and instead relishes more and more the titillation derived from its own irresistibility to being trapped and possessed. Presumably it yearns irresponsibility my country, or my leader, right or wrong!.

This trait establishes itself from individuals into organisations which then reflect the same submissive traits. Their leaderships even believe they are truthful and honourable. The US Surgeon General, the medical associations, legal firms, WHO, are all fully complicit, if not instigative, with the crime and atrocity perpetrated by their governments. The governments themselves are dictated to in some pecking order leading from those in charge of the New World Order. John Howards support for George Bush is more than politics. It is outright religious devotion to a man who claims he has a hotline to God. These people are so trapped in their extremism, they are banking on having no accountability for their crimes. They are so besotted to the conviction they are invoking Gods will, the end justifies their means.

No current organisation or government can any longer be trusted as having the best interest for the public. What we are left with is our own individual integrity, whatever condition that may be in. Truth will ultimately, in one way or another, release us from our bondage and blindness, but we must make a conscious decision to remain negotiable with truth. And importantly be prepared to suffer the austerities our decision brings us. In regards to the fluoridation issue, it seems that society is already not coping with the multitude of strange additives being ingested. Adding another seems like more cowering to industry and their peers.

Marijonas Vilkelis

North Lismore

No brainer

One has to ask how is it that after years of debate on fluoride that over half the Council is still pig ignorant about the health impacts of fluoride? I would have thought that the extra money they pick up every year for the honour of making informed decisions for the communitys benefit would oblige them to find out the facts before making decisions that effect literally thousands of peoples health. Anyone with half a brain and an internet connection can get up to speed on the fluoride scam with one search just look at www.fluorideaction.org if you dont believe me. It will take you all of 30 minutes to get the real story on fluoride. The information I gleaned from this and other related sites (and were talking literally dozens of them) inspired me to climb a tree at last years Lismore Herb & Health Festival with a homemade megaphone and try to inform my fellow citizens of the dangers of fluoridation. After early release from Richmond Clinic later that evening (which is where I ended up for my exercise in free speech) I vowed that I would make plans to flee the Lismore area as soon as possible knowing that flouridation was only a matter of time. Ask yourself this: If little kiddies teeth are what the uninformed section of council is worried about why not implement a program of supplying pharmaceutical grade fluoride in pill form to children at all Lismore schools(?) and not the bulk fluoride from an Australian fertiliser factory (which will have trace elements of other heavy metals in it) which is where the sludge the poor people of Lismore will be drinking comes from (ask some of the opposing councillors who turned up at the behind closed doors meeting with council in relation to fluoridation who was there from a NSW superphosphate factory handing out business cards?). Has the Council done the maths to see if it could possibly come in under the $100,000 price tag that the citizens of Lismore will dole out in increased ratesto purchase fluoride tablets for the local children? That way real science could be conducted on the supposed health benefits for childrens teeth and Lismore could be world famous for something by finally proving the facts one way or another on the health benefits of fluoride, instead of being known as the bland little town full of suburbanites just outside Nimbin. The idea sounds very simple doesnt it and Im not even a health professional taking home $100,000 a year. Just an ordinary person with half a brain.

Mark Jago

ex-Lismore ratepayer

Irony at work

Nice one Nigel (Dole-bludging drivel, Echo, June 22). Thank you for your response, but it seems my letter bemoaning Mr Magoo was simply over your head. Its a shame your self-professed pride and initiative didnt lead you to phone and check a few facts before rushing to print. Had you done so you would have learned that: I dont and never have received the dole, I have no interest in surfing, and I take no pride in my qualifications.

Moreover, if you wish to bandy your dirty hands in public, then I can probably match you, grubby nail for grubby nail. Over the years Ive hand-forked many tonnes of sheep shit, carried a zillion hods of bricks and barrowed more concrete than I care to remember. In the absence of paid work I spend my time trying to rehabilitate 60 hectares of weed-ridden and degraded paddock. So I have no problem in shaking your dirty hand, or joining you in the trenches. Its just a shame you didnt put your brain into gear before giving me that tired old, knee-jerk dole-bludger routine.

Wake up, Nigel, my letter was about irony. Its ironic that people like you and Mr Magoo automatically assume unemployed people live off the public purse. Its ironic that you and Mr Magoo assume unemployed people do nothing constructive with their time. Worse, its ironic that a few people like you with your hard-earned manual skills appear to scorn equally hard won skills in other areas of endeavour.

Unfortunately, the biggest irony for us all is that Mr Magoo holds such an important and influential position within our community at a time when we so desperately need vision and leadership.

Chris Greenaway

Lismore Heights

Enlightening up

In response to Lee Andresens concern for the spiritual welfare of those who oppose his views on same sex marriage (Echo, June 22) I offer the following observations, a challenge and a possible way forward.

I dont believe that at any time in the debate so far have I asked anyone to believe the things I believe religious or otherwise other than the principles of logic, consequence and the common good.

What I have consistently challenged in my letters is the logic of the arguments used by same sex marriage proponents and I have invited readers to seriously consider the consequences for marriage, family and society that such a change to these laws will bring.

I give Lee credit for the recognition that same sex unions raise deep questions and acknowledge that there may well be issues of social justice and equity that need to be addressed. I also warm to the anonymous writers desire to look after and protect those who mean the most to them. I just dont believe that marriage is the right instrument to use to address these concerns.

Despite the erosion of the past decades, marriage still has a vital role to play in our society. But if marriage can now mean anything, then marriage will in effect mean nothing. If you presently think that this is not important for the future shape and welfare of our society then I challenge you to think again.

Lee, I welcome your reference to Jesus and the good books teaching and I would be only too pleased to conduct the debate about same sex marriage on that level should you wish.

But rather than continuing to conduct any further debate about any of the issues in the sterile environment of print, can I suggest to you or any of those who have contrary views to mine that we have a good heart to heart over a cup of coffee (or a beer if you like) where we can have more time to discuss any of the issues involved?

Despite our differing sexuality, I believe we still have much in common. I promise there will be no ranting, sophistry or casuistry just respect from my part and the desire to learn more. I believe it could be enlightening for us all.

I will leave my phone number with the paper.

John Hannaford

Ballina

Telling it like it is

Christine Minkovs letter (Echo, June 16) was very much to the point and very honest. Her list of the many ways in which she and her partner, as lesbians, are discriminated against both legally and financially would have been an eye-opener to most of us. There would even be a lot of straights out there wondering why the Howard Government refuses to do anything about it.

I admire her attitude. Shes obviously comfortable with her sexuality. Doubtless that gets up the noses of those sniping, bigoted, narrow-minded people whose letters are often to be found in the press. What she has to say, she doesnt need to parody or dress up like a fairytale as some who denigrate homosexuals do. She knows what its like to be discriminated against and tells it like it is.

I very much agreed with the sentiments expressed in the letter from Name and address supplied (Echo, June 22) but I dont know that I agree with the anonymity. (I soon eliminated the names of George Pell and Peter Jensen and, after much agonising, even crossed John Hannaford off my list of suspects.) Maybe the writer had good reason to withhold his/her name but when it comes to combating prejudice, discrimination and, in this case, homophobia, coming out either as a player or a supporter can make you feel good about yourself.

It was a pleasant change not having to read one of John Hannafords silly letters. Im sure he realises how lightweight his arguments are so feels the need to disguise them as parodies about checkers and chess and Bill and Ben and then has the audacity to talk about better arguments. Hes become a modern day Aesop. But I daresay hell be back. Hes imaginative if nothing else.

Barry Walsh

Lismore


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