W.H.O. declares Africa Polio Free

http://www.gbcghana.com/1.12020379

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Posted in Anti-antivaccination | Tagged , ,

When Cheezburger is mocking you, you’ve lost

Last month and this one, I saw three articles on Cheezburger that attack antivaxxer opinions.

16 Times Anti-Vaxxers Really Stunk the Place up with Ignorance

Anti-Vaxxer Gets Eviscerated Trying To Shut Down People Who Are Pro-Vaccine

12 Brainless Bullsh*tters That Got Called Out For Their Lies Items 9 to 13.

This is great. If even Cheezburger is mocking the antivaccine, they’ve lost.

It also highlights the change in the Public’s perception of the antivaccine. The outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases have got people to realise that such viewpoints are not merely silly, but actually dangerous. Once, people with stories of vaccine injured children would get a free pass. Now, their claims are questioned and challenged.

Updated

And some more.

6 Morons that need to quit their BS like Yesterday First item on the list

Stubborn Anti-Vaxxer Battles Hard Truths In Ridiculous Facebook Thread

11 People Who Are Relieved Their Ex Is An Ex No. 11.

Mouth Breather Gets Shut Down By The Logic Of Science Over Idiotic Status

26 People Raised By Anti-Vaxxer Parents Share Their Stories

13 Times Anti-Vaxxers Infected Social Media with Pure Insanity

41 Ex-Anti Vaxxers Share What Turned Them Against Vaccines

Trigger An Anti-Vaxxer Into The Next Century With This List

8 Times Crazy Anti-Vaxxers Poisoned Social Media with Their Lies

20 Times Moronic Anti-Vaxxers Reached Unprecedented Levels Of Stupid

20 Times Anti-Vaxxer Stupidity Took a Leap into the Stone Age

Tattoo Artist Kat von D Gets Shredded In Comments Section After Revealing She’s An Anti-Vaxxer

Posted in Anti-antivaccination | Tagged ,

Autism awareness should be by autistics for autistics

April is Autism Awareness Month, World Autism Awareness Week takes place from March 26th to April 2nd, and tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day.
I learnt of three relevant new Twitter hashtags.
#SaidNoAutistic #SaidNoFather #SaidNoMother
“Said no Autistic” attacks the attitudes and mindsets expressed by curebies and those who belittle autistics who self advocate. Here are some I created.
“You’re right. Even though I’m autistic and you’re not, you’re the better advocate for your autistic child.” #SaidNoAutistic
“I’m pleased you think I’m too eloquent and articulate to be autistic.” #SaidNoAutistic
“Indeed. I’m capable, so I can’t possibly advocate for those who are severely disabled.” #SaidNoAutistic
“Right. My stories of problems I face must be lies because I can pass for normal for hours at a stretch.” #SaidNoAutistic
If you want to see more, there is a Facebook Group “Said No Autistic“.
The hashtags “Said no Father” and “Said no Mother” were created by antivaxxers. The tweets contain sarcastic remarks about how they’re happy that their “vaccine injured” children won’t be subjected to diseases. After reading just a few, I had to stop. The logical fallacies and obnoxiousness were just too much.
To the anger of the antivaxxers, they have been getting pushback. Medical Professionals and autistics on Twitter have been challenging them, pointing out that their claims lack evidence and plausibility, and that vaccines do not cause many of the things (like autism) the “Said no Father” and “Said no Mother” tweets say they do.
The hashtags come across as an attempt by antivaxxers to stay relevant. Since the striking off of Andrew Wakefield, they have steadily lost the hold they once had on autism advocacy and the public narrative. This has been further loosened by recent outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases. The General Public now realises that the antivaccine are both wrong and foolish, and no longer takes them seriously.
Despite the fact that it was an original proponent for Autism Awareness Month, Autism Speaks has dropped from view. On its website, the most recent posts for Autism Awareness are for 2016. The death of Suzanne Wright was a body blow. And I am glad.
Autism Speaks was a terrible organisation for autism advocacy. It held to the view that vaccines cause autism long after that viewpoint ceased to be tenable, consistently repeated the “autism as tragedy” narrative even after autistic self advocates urged it to stop, failed to appoint autistics to positions in it and, when it did appoint John Elder Robison to its board, did not consider his input. It was also notorious for spending a very low percentage of donations on education and autism research.
Perhaps now, autism awareness can be driven by autistics.

Posted in Anti-antivaccination, Autism Awareness | Tagged , , , , , ,

On Presuming Competence

There is a phrase I recently learnt of for people who interact with the disabled and the non-neurotypical.

Presume Competence

Presuming competence means “believing that a child, regardless of disability, is intellectually capable and has the skills and motivation to manifest just as anyone in daily life.” Also, that just because someone can’t demonstrate competence doesn’t mean he or she isn’t competent.
On Respectful Insolence I recently faced a rather obnoxious antivaxxer named Stewart. After I responded to a few of his comments, he flat out declared that he didn’t believe I was on the spectrum. According to him, I was forceful and arrogant, among other things. Infuriated by his rudeness towards me, other RI commenters tore into him.
This is not the first time I’ve been told online that I’m not autistic. Apparently, being a very articulate and eloquent writer is impossible for autistics. Never mind that I’ve been blogging for almost eight years now. And never mind that I have learnt a technique to structure my writing in an elegant and coherent way. Nope. My condition should make that impossible, according to some.
People who don’t know me personally don’t know how it really is for me. They don’t hear me talking bluntly because stress has caused my filters to fail. Or my physical coordination and fine motor control being reduced after a long day. Or my focus and concentration going out the window because thoughts I didn’t want crowded my head and I couldn’t get them out.
Dismissing autistics as incompetent, or accusing them of not being autistic when they show a level of ability one wasn’t expecting, simply exposes doubters as ignorant, patronising and obnoxious. It also belittles the challenges we face in day to day life.

Posted in Autism Awareness

Rabies has broken out in KZN

There is an outbreak of rabies in KwaZulu-Natal.
At least 5 people have died.
If you are in that area, please keep safe.

Posted in Anti-antivaccination | Tagged ,

When “advocacy” isn’t

A word of advice for those who wish to advocate for groups they are not members of: before saying or doing anything, first talk extensively to members of that group. Failure to do this can result in “advocacy” that is useless or even harmful. Examples include the misguided Communication Shutdown in support of autistics, and in a recent article I saw on the Health24 section of the News24 website.
The article was about how to teach your child how to talk to a disabled person. It seemed to give quite sound advice. But then it recommended person first language. Concerned, I scrolled down. There was a grid of what to say to people. And sure enough, it recommended saying “person with autism”, and not “autistic person”.
I was annoyed and exasperated. The majority of us prefer to say “I am autistic” and not “I have autism”. This is a textbook example of what happens when people assume instead of checking. When it came to autism, the article recommended the exact opposite of what it should have.
I was sufficiently unhappy to upload an article to MyNews24 outlining my objections to the article. I uploaded it on Wednesday. It is Saturday now, I have just checked News24, and my letter still isn’t up.
If you would speak for us, first listen to us.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Mbeki gave us Zuma

At just before 11 PM on the 14th February, Jacob Zuma announced his resignation as President of South Africa, bringing to an end the most rotten and corrupt Presidency in South African History.
The move was typical Zuma. Just like he did in the Court Cases about the reinstatement of charges he faced and the Public Protector’s Report into upgrades at his home in Nkandla, Zuma fought and stalled as long as he could, only to submit before he would inevitably have lost. In this case, the ANC had decided to support a Motion of No Confidence put forward by the EFF. Knowing that this time he would be voted out, Zuma decided to forestall things at literally the eleventh hour.
I have no sympathy for the ANC. It shielded Zuma for years, as it has consistently done with delinquents in its own ranks. While it finally did the right thing, it took far too long to do it.
Thabo Mbeki is probably feeling a great deal of schadenfreude over Zuma’s resignation, given that he himself was made to step down from the Presidency by Zuma. Yet he shouldn’t gloat too much. Mbeki, through his actions, gave us Zuma and gave him the tools to rob the country.
Andrew Feinstein is a former ANC MP. According to him, when SCOPA (the Standing Committee on Public Accounts) was instructed to investigate the Arms Deal, Mbeki interfered with SCOPA’s investigation, rendering the committee unable to do its job. Zuma followed this precedent with the Seriti Commission, a laughable whitewash.
In the 1997 ANC Convention where Mbeki was chosen ANC President for the first time, Cadre Deployment was introduced. Cadre Deployment is the ANC policy of appointing ANC members to key posts in State Owned Enterprises and the Civil Service. It violates the separation between Government and State and Political Party and State, and has been declared illegal by the Courts. It also helped Zuma no end in his capture of the State. By appointing people he knew would do his bidding, he ensured that contracts would go to the Guptas, the family who were paying him off. He also wrecked the investigative capacity of the SAPS and SARS among other institutions.
When Vusi Pikoli, the then National Director of Public Prosecutions, laid charges against then National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi, Mbeki ordered him to drop them. Pikoli refused. Mbeki then demanded Pikoli resign, and when he refused, suspended him and appointed the pliant Moketedi Mpshe in an attempt to protect Selebi.
Zuma again followed the template laid out by Mbeki. When Mxolisisi Nxasana proved to be an independent and competent National Director of Public Prosecutions, Zuma used chicanery, forced him to accept a Golden Handshake, and replaced him with Shaun Abrahams, who so far has been an absolute joke in the position. A recent Court Case ruled that the removal of Nxasana and the appointment of Abrahams were illegal and set them aside.
Mbeki was, and is, a very intelligent man. Unfortunately, like very many intelligent people he was and still is a very arrogant man who assumed he knew better than everyone else, even the experts, and disregarded evidence that refuted his beliefs. Shortly before the 2007 Polokwane Conference, he decided he would run against Zuma. Because he had surrounded himself with sycophants who told him what he wanted to hear, nobody told him just how unpopular he was and just bad an idea that was. A wiser, humbler man would have realised just how ominous this would have seemed to everyone else, and stood down.
Not so long ago, I learnt that in 2007, shortly before the Polokwane Conference, people approached Mbeki to persuade him to step down and have a compromise candidate run against Zuma. Mbeki refused, believing that he was the only person who had a chance at challenging Zuma.
Mbeki’s arrogance on this can not be overstated. The claim does not stand up to even rudimentary scrutiny. The thought that he was the only person in all the ANC who could overcome Zuma, given the number of card holding ANC members at the time, is astounding. Even if Cyril Ramaphosa was unwilling to put his name forward, it is unthinkable that people like Tokyo Sexwale wouldn’t have.
It is typical to look back to the past with rose tinted spectacles, but frequently unwise. Zuma built a monument to corruption, but Mbeki laid its foundations.

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