Letters to the editor - Nov 12

Pushing the limits
Mr Woods from Dunoon seems to have confused the “Letters” page with the “Opinions” page. His letter in last week’s Echo ran to 843 words, enough for a middling-sized article.
He needs also to modify his writing style. Sentences of more than 50 words (of which he had 10 out of 14) are a challenge to the average reader. After studying his letter, I am still unsure what he was trying to say.
Whatever happened to the standard 200-word limit on letters?
Rosie Gibbons
Lismore Heights



All tricks, no treat

I gave money from my pension to children who came around in daylight hours for Halloween.
Then from 8.30-8.45pm a barrage of trick or treat callers came by banging and kicking my front door and shouting trick or treat.
Being elderly and on my own I do not answer the door at night unless it is someone I know. When I didn’t respond they banged louder and walked around my flat shouting. It was most frightening.
I don’t even believe in Halloween. It is American not Australian.
Rita Toddy
Girards Hill



Super rip-off

Just received my superannuation statement. I have been charged nearly $80 for a 3.25% loss. I wonder what other industries charge you to lose money? Next time I take my car for a service, will the mechanic put in dirty oil and a used air filter then charge me for the privilege? The money system needs a serious overhaul. Why are these people getting away with such absurd practices?
J Peachey
East Lismore



Court out

I refer to the Echo article 5/11/09 in regards to Mr Ian Cohen’s refused application to the High Court.
I am very pleased that the defamation proceedings brought by me against Mr Ian Cohen have finally concluded. The High Court on 3/11/09 refused Mr Cohen leave to appeal an earlier ruling entering judgement in my favour and rejecting all of Mr Cohen’s defences.
These proceedings were never about money. I brought these proceedings to stop what I regarded as a campaign by Mr Cohen to destroy my reputation and my business.
Mr Cohen did not give evidence at the three-week trial, but I did and was cross-examined for several days.
Before the trial, in 2004, I offered to settle these proceedings for $4,500. Mr Cohen did not respond to that offer, and, as a result, was ordered to pay the bulk of my legal costs (which were minimal in 2004) on an indemnity basis.
Mr Cohen, who has himself brought a number of defamation actions in the past, only has himself to blame for the predicament he finds himself in.
I look forward to the prompt payment of my legal costs.
Jerry Bennette
Ballina



Folate furphy

If you expect the fortification of folate into bread to help prevent neural tube defect/spina bifida, here’s what you need to do.
1. Plan your pregnancy.
2. Eat 11 slices of bread a day, following the recommended time period for supplement increase for at least one month before falling pregnant, then for three months into the pregnancy.
The window of opportunity to bath the developing spine in the necessary folate to develop completely is a matter of days within the first few weeks from conception, and once the defect is formed there’s no healing it with high doses of folate.
So good luck with that!
There is some evidence of NTDs connected to heredity, there’s some evidence of those with a history of having been exposed to (environmental) nuclear contamination or exposure to the likes of agent orange.
I figure that rules out the majority.
There is no known cause or cure.
Neural tube defects are the number one birth defect globally.
The compulsory fortification of folate into staple foods is a feel-good justification, keeping up with the Jones’s (other countries’) political, researchers, mad science thing.
You’re not likely to overdose on folate, so they’re safe.
Sean O’Kane
Goonellabah
Spina bifida for 51 years strong!



Fall of the wall

Monday is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and communism that divided Germany for many decades. Young people today do not understand the terror of communism; if you were shot trying to cross the wall you would be left to die and your family forced at gunpoint to remove your decomposing body, then to add deep insult to the family they were billed for the cost of the ammunition used to kill their loved one.
Years ago I received a call from a lady wishing to be married at midnight. I said, “Great, that sounds interesting.” Whereby she burst into tears and told me she had phoned other marriage celebrants and was told they would not have any of that midnight stuff and refused. It was a special privilege to solemnise their wedding. They had escaped from East Germany and both had crossed the border at different points – their rendezvous was midnight at a chapel in West Berlin – their life really began at midnight on that day, so midnight was the time of memories for two lovely brave people to begin their married life together.
Hans Schulte, a lifelong friend, was visiting his family in Paderborne in 1989 when the Wall came down. He brought back the photo and a piece of the wall, a piece of history that few young people understand.
G J May
Tyalgum



Live fully here and now

I write as a comment on last week’s Here & Now. In Greek mythology it was a fate called Echo who led a willing Narcissus (the original hippy) to the underworld.
If you choose not to believe in the concept of God, the unexplained, the inexplicable and therefore lose the concepts of gratitude and humility. If you are a worldly, knowledgeable person then the onus of responsibility becomes a huge burden far outweighing the pleasures of life.
Many aspects of this world we live in are beyond the powers of the individual for good or bad. Always have been, always will be. Be thankful for what you have, not guilty. Never believe that you are the only one who sees the misery. Concentrate on the beauty instead. Truly focus on it. Yes, there is an obligation on us all to help the established agencies do their work either by financial donation or by joining their ranks, but please stop focussing us all on miserable happenings locally or around the world that are utterly beyond our abilities and power to deal with. Live the life you have chosen to the fullest and with a clear conscience. Creating enormous blisters on your shoulders carrying someone else’s burden is hard work, painful and boring.
Hugh Moore
Larnook



The job of speaking out

Through the eyes of an American immigrant, one of the most disturbing anti-democracy rules is contractual employment prohibiting employees from speaking publicly.
This was recently highlighted when Dr Wagner and other doctors were considered courageous in challenging in the public arena statements from the local health chief Chris Crawford.
This contractual obligation literally removes a person’s right to freedom of speech.
I wonder if this is contrary to law. Before pre-nuptial contracts were legalised, any marriage contract signed into was not legally binding as people are not allowed to sign away rights. For example, it would not be legally binding if a woman signed a contract that upon divorce she would ask for no more than 5% of the assets though it could be proffered as evidence.
So is signing away your right to free speech for employment legal? Has it been challenged in court? Does contractual law as currently legislated allow this? I’d love to hear from legal beagle BDSS on what they think/feel is the legal situation?
This state of affairs is culturally analogous to another political reality that breeds mediocrity. Namely, parliamentarians faking a united front, keeping disagreements in the party room. Even The Greens Party, who promised a different politic, do this. How unnatural and inimical to a viable democracy is choking off legitimate differences of opinion.
Every vote in every parliament should be a conscious vote!
Paul Recher
Dorroughby

PS: Do you believe you have a greater right to per capita energy resource consumption than a Bolivian, Chinaman, German, Nigerian, Swede or Russian?
If you answered yes, you are a racist.
If you answered no, you are a communist.


Climate scam

Since the vice presidency of Al Gore and his subsequent “inconvenient truths” a strange pall has enveloped the planet and set people against one   another as they argue the validity of the science. Much has been written in these pages, claim and counter claim, and yet the issue remains muddy and most people are becoming suspicious that the whole thing is another scam by financiers and governments to set up a new taxing system, carbon credits and emissions trading scheme which makes these companies look “green” while funnelling more profits into their bank accounts. This starts with the billions of dollars the Australian government is giving to the biggest polluters in the form of free polluting licences. It is therefore incumbent on the Rudd government to clearly state and present the science behind the notion of climate change because what governments are asking us to do is empower them with a carbon tax on economic activity while shifting wealth into the hands of the same financiers who have been responsible for the collapse of the world’s economic system. Can they be trusted? This coupled with the potential loss of jobs, business collapse and the shaky science on which this issue is based makes debating it even more important as it involves transferring power to carbon corporates who have hijacked the environment movement. In the US there is much distrust of extranational institutions taking over sovereign control of a nation’s ability to create and control wealth. In fact this is very much antithesis to the notions of free enterprise and individual effort, and is also one of the problems the Australian Opposition is having passing Rudd’s schemes. We the public need better information and our local federal representative needs to come clean on this issue and spell out the effects of the proposed schemes being discussed at Copenhagen.
M Mizzi
Tabulam


Choose life, not drugs
A long time contributor to your ‘Letters’ was my late son Robbie, who died recently in Lismore hospital. Kathy Noonan devoted a whole page in her Saturday column in Brisbane’s Courier Mail as an epitaph to him, with reference to your paper too. Our own Southern Downs area Southern Free Times did likewise. However their use of the emotive term “junkie” leaves an impression of a derelict, as, undoubtedly, are some alcoholics and drug users, whilst the majority actually pursue productive lives in respected professions and occupations. Beautiful Robbie never raised his voice nor fist, was highly intelligent, with a gift for creative writing.
But he did die from liver cancer brought about by many years of drug use. Primarily the drug was the government-supplied methadone, which he took to keep away from heroin.
It is not generally realised that whilst you can die, either swiftly from an overdose or slowly but surely from all manner of illicit drugs, it is just as dangerous when using legally obtainable alcohol, tobacco, or as in this case, methadone. In the long term they are all just as efficient a killer.
The body can absorb just so much toxin into the liver before giving up. I don’t expect any appeal from myself, or the example of my son, along with so many others, will deter the foolish from thinking they will not succumb to the ravages of drug use, legal or not. If you have been fortunate enough to have inherited a healthy body, why abuse it? If you haven’t, there is even more reason to take care of it.
An overdose can remove one from life very quickly, or even leave you mentally or physically damaged. The long -term slow physical deterioration from either legal, or non legal, drug consumption with eventual death will still leave parents, siblings and loved friends grieving for what might, and should, have been. I thank those in the Northern Rivers area who spoke on his behalf, at his funeral, expressing their sorrow at the community’s loss of his talent, personality and contribution to their lives. I could ask for no better epitaph. I would sooner not have lost him.
Sadly Tom Edgar
Glen Aplin, Queensland



Eating humble pie
For four days and nights I could not sleep, my mind played an endless loop: “I screwed up. I’m never making another bush tucker film again! It’s time to crawl back into the bush and stop trying to pass on what I know.”
Then one day I realised it was of no benefit to anyone if I ran away from this issue. This was merely an indicator of how effective and powerful this work had become. Thousands of people have been profoundly affected by the DVDs and criticism is a natural component that comes with the territory. The few mistakes I have made in over four hours of content in relation to plants such as billy goat weed and general statements about species that are safe to consume have been dealt with with disclaimers and notices printed and included on all DVDs on sale. This issue has inspired me to lift my standards and eliminate any mistakes from future copies of my DVDs. I would like to thank all those who have offered me constructive information, especially local highly respected plant expert Peter Hardwick. In hindsight it would have been prudent to have him review my work before publication. One of the main driving forces behind my desire to make these films was to fulfil a need within me to pass on my knowledge as an elder to young people, especially children who, it has been my experience, take to this information like ducks to water. One particular film that I have lost a lot of sleep over was made some years ago and has not been actively promoted or sold by me for quite some time titled Bush Tucker with Koa. It encourages both billy goat weed and wild tobacco berries to be eaten in a survival situation. It worried me greatly that this information could encourage children to eat plants that could injure their health. Luckily both these plants even when mature have a very unpleasant taste and it should be remembered all of the DVDs were designed to give people food options in a “survival” situation. These DVDs were never designed as a culinary guide to daily eating in the bush. Because of this concern over $16,000 worth of stock is now collecting dust in their boxes. After all is said and done on this issue, I still strongly believe that eating easily identified plant material from the wild is far less dangerous than buying processed preservative laden foods from industrial food suppliers at your local supermarket.
Humbly yours,
Koa Windsong
Nimbin



Our city deserves a chaplain

In reference to the redundancy of the hospital chaplain I wish to voice my opinion of the incompetency of the Lismore Base Hospital management. The Reverend Ivan Dehnert provides a vital service to the hospital. As Mr Crawford stated that regional hospitals do not have a full time chaplain but Mr Crawford also should note that Lismore Base Hospital is not just a regional hospital. It is a major hospital for the area. If the hospital is not a major centre then why are extensions being done? Staff are being been redundant; who is going to work in those wards? Are there other staff redundancies that the hospital has planed and who will go next?
Mr Crawford also noted that volunteers could do the job. Mr Crawford if you were in a situation that involved a trauma like losing a child or a car accident where a partner died and was going through grief and bereavement would you like the assistance of an unqualified person? Dealing with people in different situations at a difficult time is not to be treated lightly.
The Lismore Base Hospital Auxiliary assists in the buying of equipment for the hospital and for an example they have brought hospital equipment to the value of over $50,000 in 2008/09 that the government would not supply due to their budget. There are other organisations that the hospital relies on for donations for the benefit of the hospital such as Our Kids, the Rescue Helicopter and the wishing well in the foyer. If these donations were not made available where would our hospital system be?
As the chaplain position is non-denominational everyone can make use of the assistance when needed. The Reverend Dehnert made visits to patients and their families in hospital, even attended the morgue, was on call for the hospital when trauma accidents occurred, even on long weekends, and attended patients while under treatment such as in the cancer unit. Is the next step to rid the hospital of the chapel? Where do the budget cuts stop and do I ask the doctor next time I go to emergency if they are a volunteer? Is Mr Crawford going to give his time for emergencies? Volunteers also have to make a living – do you interrupt a volunteer chaplain while they are performing a funeral to comfort a trauma victim at the hospital?
Lismore is dying. There are no jobs (by the empty stores), there is no transport (the trains) and now there is no hospital system. Give us back what every Australian deserves – one person that can help in a time of need. We are Lismore residents, we do not have to be like sheep and follow everyone else, referring to Mr Crawford’s statement on page one of The Echo dated Thursday, Nov 6, in relation to Coffs and Tweed hospitals and volunteers.
I say let Lismore be the city that it deserves to be!
J Dorsett
South Lismore
 



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