Comment: What YouTube has been doing is despicable. Remember this video when the next eejit says we have free press and freedom of speech in this ignominious corporatocracy. The only hope is for other video sharing outlets to take up the slack that YouTube created. We the people deserve freedom from these bloated corporations.
9 May 2017
It has now become crystal clear that the You Tube ‘Adpocalypse’ is just phase one of a far more sinister plan to sabotage successful You Tube channels in order to kill competition, robber Barron style, so that the corporate, legacy and mainstream media can yield more power, control and eyeballs on You Tube. What’s being done to the SGT Report You Tube channel can be quantified by alarming statistics which prove, the fix is in. As John D. Rockefeller famously boasted, “Competition is a sin.”
A class action suit against the infamous OxyContin pushers ended with Purdue Pharma agreeing to fork over $20 million—a drop in the bucket for this billionaire company that single-handedly started the American opiate epidemic.
The Canadian lawsuit involved allegations of “over-marketing,” which happens to be Purdue’s modus operandi, AKA, flooding the market (including knowingly supplying the black market) with their addictive pills and misleading information about them.
Purdue will pay up but with no admission of guilt.
“By resolving the suit, Purdue Pharma (Canada) makes no admissions of liability,” Sarah Manley Robertson, Purdue’s director of communications, said in an email per CBCnews.
The allegations, according to Canadian lawyer Ray Wagner, whose firm launched the class action suit in 2007, said Purdue was not informing users that OxyContin was addictive—a minor detail to leave out of the contraindications.
“Information in our allegation was basically that they were underreporting the addictiveness of the medication,” Wagner said.
He noted that his clients were typically prescribed OxyContin by a family physician for short-term injuries such as a sprained ankle.
But an addictive painkiller doesn’t work that way.
Some people found out the hard way. For others, it was too late.
“It near took my life away,” said Steven MacGillvary, 53, who was first prescribed OxyContin after he shattered a clavicle on the job in 2000. “Not only did it take the pain away, it took a lot of things away. It took my worries away and cares away and at the end of it, it near took my life away.”
Wagner explained how Oxy addiction has hit all sectors of society, from Olympic athletes to Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, workers and the elderly.
What the report doesn’t mention, is what percentage of drugs were in a person’s blood stream or even if drugs were just found on a passenger. Fyi, there are no scientific tests to determine how much marijuana will make a driver impaired.
It’s as though the liquor companies are following the tobacco companies playbook. Tobacco companies funded their own doctors and research and spent millions to keep the public from discovering the truth about cancer.
The only difference between the two is, liquor companies have the justice system and law enforcement working with them!
This is what happens, when the Feds allow corporations to become more powerful than the state.
FAAR pays police to look at motorist’s eyes to determine what type of drugs they’re on
Page 30 of a report titled ‘Drug-Impaired Driving’ reveals, that FAAR has spent $80,000 to train cops to become ‘Drug Recognition Experts’ (DRE). DRE’s can allegedly tell what kind of drugs a person is on simply by looking at their pupils! (To find out more about DRE’s click here & here.)
So what’s the truth about drugged driving?
Two years ago, I wrote an article revealing how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) admitted that drunk and drugged driving is on the decline. And last year, during a congressional hearing on the threat posed by stoned drivers, a representative of the NHTSA was asked how many crash fatalities are caused by marijuana each year…
They now gobble up the vast majority of internet advertising dollars — about 85 percent, as my colleague Jeff Spross writes — and a great many media outlets have been forced to move to direct subscriptions or other business models.
Google and Facebook manage this because they are platform monopolists. They can exert tremendous influence through their control of how people use the internet — and crush productive businesses in the process.
Like any monopoly, it is long since time that the government regulated them to serve the public interest.
The latest example of monopolist platform abuse comes from Adrianne Jeffries with the story of CelebrityNetWorth.com. This was a small business started by a man named Brian Warner, who found in 2008 that there was no good data on how much Larry David was worth.
After some digging, he figured it out — and discovered that there was tremendous demand for information about celebrity wealth. He started a small media business, eventually hiring a staff of 12 to conduct detailed investigations — sometimes even corresponding with the celebrities themselves.
Not, perhaps, the most noble pursuit in the history of journalism. But it was manifestly serving a public demand, and keeping a dozen people productively employed. Entrepreneurship!
Then Google came up with an idea for “Featured Snippets,” which places answers to search queries at the top of the search page. Instead of having to click through to find the answer to a question, it will simply tell you a summary of the top search results.
Before rolling it out, Google asked Warner if they could scrape his data and credit him. Warner declined, but Google did it anyway.
The algorithm they use for the snippets is notoriously error-prone — and worse, the celebrity net worth ones often failed to credit his site. Many would scrape other sites that had themselves aggregated CelebrityNetWorth.com. The overall result was devastating:
“In February 2016, Google started displaying a Featured Snippet for each of the 25,000 celebrities in the CelebrityNetWorth database, Warner said. He knew this because he added a few fake listings for friends who were not celebrities to see if they would pop up as featured answers, and they did. “Our traffic immediately crumbled,” Warner said.
“Comparing January 2016 (a full month where they had not yet scraped our content) to January 2017, our traffic is down 65 percent.” Warner said he had to lay off half his staff. [The Outline]
Now, it is true that Warner was getting most of his traffic from Google in the first place — which brings me right to the core of the case for regulation.
Many would argue that it’s Google’s (or Alphabet’s, as it were) search tool, and they have the right to do whatever they want with it, end of discussion. But this fails to understand the true roots of Google’s position and strength.
Google is indeed a pretty nifty search tool. But it is not that much better than Yahoo or Bing — indeed, its algorithm is so present-biased that I find DuckDuckGo a superior tool when looking for less immediate material.
What gives it roughly 80 percent of the online search traffic is first mover advantage.
Back in the mid-’90s when Sergey Brin and Larry Page started the company, there were many other search tools jostling for position.
Google was just a little bit better than the others, and far more importantly, rolled out at crucial time when the internet was exploding in size and in popular consciousness.
When people first learned about trying to find things on the internet, Google was generally where they were sent. With a single, unified internet, search is largely a winner-take-all service. Soon, “google” became a verb.
That leg up gave them a huge advantage on other companies trying to compete in the search space. Microsoft has been flushing money away on Bing for years and years and barely made a dent, and Yahoo has been slowly killed off by all the ad money flooding into Google and Facebook.
Second, what makes Google’s search dominance profitable is network effects. Without a large internet to index, and a huge number of people looking for things online, even the best imaginable search would be worthless.
The upshot here is that both Google’s overwhelming search dominance and their profitable exploitation thereof are almost wholly unmerited in terms of their actual product. Google is a fine tool, but what defines the company is luck.
Its profits come from a largely unearned strategic position within a socially-created communication medium.
Devouring a small business that provided Google and the internet writ large with quality research simply to keep people fenced onto their own portion of the internet is just one particularly egregious example how this position can be abused.
How this might be prevented is an interesting question. It could be that careful anti-trust action could build a market with several search competitors, and thereby create some competition.
But certainly all search platforms should be forced to follow something like a railroad’s common carriage rules, where websites are not allowed to be ranked according to how much they might profit the platform itself, and get fair access to search traffic.
Only one thing is certain: All monopolies are regulated. The only choice is between private regulation on behalf of executives and shareholders, or democratic regulation on behalf of the public.
“It’s been noted that a survey conducted by the National Safety Council reveals more than 70% of workplaces in America are feeling the negative effects of opioid abuse. Nearly 40% of employers said employees are missing work do to painkiller abuse.”
Today, the fashion for medicines the fashion to use various drugs can only be surpassed for the women’s clothing fashion. There so-called Big Pharma has been booming for years and it’s not over just yet. In fact, we are witnessing today can as well be described as drug epidemics. There’s an heavily advertised drug for every condition, no matter real or imagined, the drugs have become a new fetish. And not only in the eyes of those who are being treated, but also in the eyes of those who are treating. The patient doesn’t visit a doctor to receive a piece of advice anymore, instead he comes for a prescription.
The Future in the form of the fourth-generation drugs, obtained through the use of genetic engineering, is already here. But it’s often tragic that in a pursuit of a new panacea it is often overlooked that the same drug can achieve various results, with an unexpected and often tragic result usually to follow. Today, mortality rates from the use drugs in developed countries, are at the top of the list, along with such death causes as cardiovascular and lung diseases, cancer, trauma and poisoning.
At it’s been noted by the Daily Caller, a disturbing majority of businesses in the US are being negatively impacted by prescription painkiller abuse and addiction among employees.
It’s been noted that a survey conducted by the National Safety Council reveals more than 70% of workplaces in America are feeling the negative effects of opioid abuse. Nearly 40% of employers said employees are missing work do to painkiller abuse. Record pill abuse in workplaces is coming at a time when Americans are taking more opioids than ever before. For instance, Opioid deaths contributed to the first drop in US life expectancy since 1993 and eclipsed deaths from motor vehicle accidents in 2015.
But opioids is not the only drug to kill. According to a study conducted by the French government a drug that was aimed at reducing epilepsy levels that was sold under the name of Depakine to pregnant French women since 1967, has been the cause of numerous congenital malformations in children. Aside from attempts to reduce epilepsy levels, French doctors would usually prescribe this drug for the treatment of bipolar disorder and severe headaches. According to experts of the National Agency for the Safety of Drugs and Medicines, the drug has resulted in a total of 4 thousand people suffering various congenital diseases today. This drug can still be bought in France, although first suspicions about its possible side-effects appeared several years ago.
Medical experts are convinced more than half the number of trials that study the effectiveness of of drugs could be tainted by financial conflicts of interests. There’s a study that shows that a total 58% of principal investigators had financial ties to the drug industry – including travel expenses, honorariums, payment for advisory work, or stock ownership. The authors behind it point to possible mechanisms linking industry funding, financial ties, and trial results such as bias by selective outcome reporting, lack of publication, and inappropriate analyses.
However, few people do comprehend the fact that bio additives can be quite as dangerous as the drugs that we use in our day-to-day life. This is indicated by numerous studies about the side effects that they have. It turns out that some of these allegedly non-medical drugs often contain components that can cause gene mutations, permanent kidney and liver damage, anaphylactic reactions and other life-threatening conditions. Occasionally, an examination would find highly toxic substances in those bio additives, although none of these are mentioned in an instruction or annotations that accompanies the drug. Other dangerous components are listed in instructions, but most consumers wouldn’t recognize it with a proper training before it’s too late. For example, animals tissues that are contained in bio additives are listed in the annotations that they come with, however nobody warns customers that those tissues can can be containing pretty dangerous infections, such as, for instance, bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Unfortunately, we are treating drug therapy too light-heartedly. But should we be aware of the fact that any drug treatment is an intrusion into the natural way our body works, that is why it requires a lot of precaution even if some doctor says it’s okay to take all sorts of pills.
Grete Mautner is an indepenent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
Attorney Troy Bouk was recently interviewed by Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins to discuss the shingles vaccine Zostavax, the issues related to its effectiveness and the problems that are associated with the product, including the fact that the drugmaker’s vaccine seems to cause the very affliction that it seeks to prevent — and, according to a massive lawsuit, thousands of victims agree.
While we have everyone from attorneys to biologists, to political scientists who contribute to the Free Thought Project, none of us are doctors, so we do not make recommendations about what you and your family should do in regards to vaccination. That being said, the drug makers have an incentive for you not to see this information which means it will not be reported on in the mainstream media as their advertising dollars are tied directly to these companies. So, we find that it is our duty to spread this information and with your help sharing it, we can have a massive effect.
In the interview with Cousins, Bouk explained that Zostavax is made with a live strain of the shingles virus and described the complications that are associated with shingles. Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chicken pox. The varicella-zoster virus lies dormant in people who have had chicken pox, but sometimes the virus reawakens and produces shingles.
The virus often manifests as a painful rash, and can also lead to encephalitis, vision loss and postherpetic neuralgia. Bouk said that the virus sometimes “tends to get into your central nervous system, and then, once in there, it wreaks some havoc by usually causing swelling which ends up with these other medical problems. That’s the situation with the vaccine itself, is that Merck hasn’t warned anyone about those indications.”
Cousins asked Bouk about the effectiveness of Zostavax, to which Bouk replied:
“The FDA has approved the vaccine for people 50 years of age and older, whereas the CDC only recommends that those individuals 60 years of age and older get it. The reason is that once you have had the Zostavax shot, the FDA says it only lasts for about four years. It’s not proven to last any longer than that. Let’s say you’re 55 years old. It may stay in your system till you’re 60, but you actually are at the greatest risk of getting shingles when you’re in your 60s. That’s why the CDC recommends that you really don’t get it until you’re in your 60s, because that’s probably when you’re going to need it the most.”
Book’s claim regarding the CDC’s recommendation is indeed correct. According to the CDC’s website, the agency specifically advises Zostavax to be given to people aged 60 and older and does not provide a recommendation for people between the ages of 50 and 59. The CDC warns that people in the 50-59 age group who receive the Zostavax shot may lose the vaccine’s protection benefits by the time they reach age 60, stating that “adults vaccinated before age 60 years might not be protected later in life when the risk for shingles and its complications are greatest.”
Despite the CDC’s caution against administering Zostavax to people under 60, the FDA approves the vaccine for people age 50 and older, and Merck uses the FDA’s approval to market the vaccine to that age group. Zostamax sales reached $749 million in 2015.
The true efficacy of Zostavax is unclear. The CDC states that the drug “reduced the risk of shingles by 51%” based on a study of 38,000 people age 60 and up. Reuters reported that Zostavax’s effectiveness “varies between 18 and 70 percent, and it declines noticeably in older people.”
A second shingles vaccine from drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, Shingrix, may be available if the FDA approves their filing. Shingrix, a two-dose vaccine, distinguishes itself from Zostavax because it’s derived from a protein of the virus rather than a live strain. The efficacy of Shingrix is more impressive, as Reuters noted that “in clinical trials, GSK’s vaccine remained 90 percent effective in people over age 70, even four years after injections.”
Merck has explicitly stated that those who receive the Zostavax vaccine “may still get shingles.” However, Bouk argued that some people may be contracting shingles as a side effect of the vaccine itself due to the live virus strain in the vaccine, not because people are experiencing shingles despite the vaccine.
Bouk went on to say that “there is a study out there that shows that in 50% of the patients that actually get the vaccine, that sometimes they don’t get shingles — the virus goes straight to manifesting in the central nervous system. It’s possible that you could get the vaccine and get meningitis or encephalitis without ever actually exhibiting shingles.” Bouk advises that patients weigh the risks of Zostavax before receiving the vaccine.
While GSK seeks approval of Shingrix, which could lead to their product edging out Zostavax, a large number of claims have been filed against Merck. The Mark J. Bern Partners law firm “is currently representing nearly 5000 claimants and has thousands more filings to follow.”
Marc J. Bern said that his firm has been “investigating this drug for quite some time. We steadfastly believe in the merits of this litigation. This vaccination is at best 50 percent effective. Either it is not effective or it causes shingles or a host of other side effects.” Bern added that “what is most troubling is that Merck had a better alternative on hand when this product was released.”
The creators of This is Spinal Tap, the most influential mockumentary ever made, have been paid almost nothing. The rock gods are angry.
In comedy, as in rock ’n’ roll, nothing is quite as easy as it looks. And so it makes sense that several years before the 1984 release of the legendary rock ’n’ roll mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, director Rob Reiner and stars and co-writers Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer first had to make a shorter version of the same movie: a sort of sample-size Spinal Tap, meant to whet the appetite of studios that might bankroll the real thing. Titled The Final Tour, this 20-minute demo reel about a past-its-prime, unselfconsciously ridiculous band makes for an uncanny viewing experience today, if for no other reason than how fully conceived the idea already was.
if you’re curious:
There’s Reiner as the band’s earnest interlocutor, Tony Hendra of National Lampoon as the hapless manager, and Bruno Kirby as the cranky limo driver with a thing for Sinatra. There’s the drummer who dies in a bizarre gardening accident—and the other drummer who spontaneously combusts. There’s Shearer’s airport metal-detector scene, where the problem is in his pants. There’s the touching piano number with the surprisingly bawdy title that can’t be printed here. And there are most of the memorable songs: Big Bottom, Sex Farm, Gimme Some Money, Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight, and, of course, Stonehenge, fully staged, complete with that catastrophically tiny prop (they’d expected 18 feet and got 18 inches) and two costumed little people dancing around it.
“I was amazed when I last looked at it,” says Shearer, who plays Derek Smalls, the band’s bare-chested, mutton-chopped, pipe-smoking bassist. “We had this little pittance”—a $60,000 screenplay fee from a company that eventually rejected the idea—“to shoot characters and performances.” He remembers his long black wig costing about $5, and that it took an hour and a half to remove once the shoot was over (the costumer had used super glue). Shearer, Reiner (who plays Marty DiBergi, the fake documentarian), Guest (as lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel), and McKean (as vocalist David St. Hubbins) had been nursing and developing the idea since 1978. They first performed as the band in a 1979 variety show called The T.V. Show. Then they wrote seven new songs, played a few gigs in costume in Los Angeles, and worked out a complete band history to ensure that their improvisations had a narrative spine they all could rely on. “Michael McKean, I believe, still has the napkin on which the possible names and the possible misspellings were outlined,” Shearer recalls, “because I think at one point we thought maybe S-p-y-n-a-l?”
Armed in 1980 with that demo reel, Reiner and the others were rejected by every studio they pitched. Finally, in 1982, they got $2 million from Embassy Pictures Corp., a tiny studio run by Norman Lear, whom Reiner knew well from his days in the cast of All in the Family. (Lesson No. 1 in Hollywood: It helps to have powerful friends.) By the time the movie came out, Lear had left Embassy, which was on the verge of bankruptcy. Despite an appearance by the band as musical guest on Saturday Night Live, the movie performed anemically in theaters and faded quickly.
But then a funny thing happened: Tap refused to die, thanks in no small part to repeat viewings on VHS. “We may have been the first nonporn home video to do well,” Shearer says. In just a few years, This Is Spinal Tap became a sort of comedy-nerd Casablanca, a classic so infinitely quotable that it practically generated its own language. (If anyone has ever told you that something “goes to 11,” you probably haven’t required an explanation.) And like a low-IQ, longhaired Pinocchio, Spinal Tap transformed into the real thing, recording albums and even touring. “The thing that we joke about is called the Spinal Tap curse,” Shearer says, “where we have to go through everything that we’ve made fun of.”
It’s hard to think of another movie from the past 50 years that’s had a bigger impact on modern comedy. Spinal Tap pioneered a mock-doc genre that’s influenced everything from the long run of improvisational films directed by Guest (Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show among them) to docu-styled sitcoms such as The Office and Modern Family. This made it all the more surprising when, about four years ago, Shearer became the first of his fake bandmates to learn lesson No. 2 in Hollywood: No matter how well your movie does, there’s no such thing as net profit.
In one major respect, Shearer seems the least likely of his collaborators to be chasing after riches from Spinal Tap. He earns a reported $300,000 per episode for his work on Fox’s The Simpsons, inhabiting the characters of Montgomery Burns, Waylon Smithers, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, and dozens of others. Given that, rummaging behind the couch cushions of an old cult movie can seem unnecessary, even unseemly.
On the other hand, Shearer might also be the Tap member most given to righteous indignation. He seems to make a habit of falling out with people, from Albert Brooks (Shearer co-wrote Brooks’s first feature, Real Life) to McKean, whom he suggested during a 2015 interview on Marc Maron’s podcast wasn’t exactly a friend. An unnamed colleague from one of his stints on Saturday Night Live was once quoted calling him “brilliant, funny, and detestable.” Among the cast of The Simpsons, Shearer has long been the malcontent-in-chief, openly complaining about how Fox fails to appreciate the show. In 2015 he announced he was quitting because, he said, the network had introduced language into his contract that curtailed his freedom to do other work. He says he changed his mind and stayed only after the language was removed.
Sometimes it takes a malcontent to disturb something as intractable as Hollywood accounting practices. By the terms of the contract they signed in 1982 with Embassy Pictures, the four creators of Spinal Tap are entitled to a portion of income from the film, including merchandise and music, provided certain benchmarks are hit. Given the wild afterlife of This Is Spinal Tap, it seems impossible that anyone with a piece of the movie hasn’t made money. And yet this is Hollywood, where studios have claimed that some of the highest-grossing films—hits such as Return of the Jedi, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy—somehow haven’t turned a profit. As David Zucker, one of the creators of Airplane!, once said of his own sleeper hit, “It made so much money that the studio couldn’t hide it fast enough.”
With Embassy out of business, the theatrical rights to Spinal Tap bounced around from Coca-Cola to De Laurentiis Entertainment Group to a L’Oréal property named Parafrance to, around 1990, Studiocanal, a subsidiary of the French company Vivendi SA. The home-video rights followed a separate path and landed with Sony Music Entertainment. None of those companies paid the four creators, and no one did anything about it until Shearer finally lost his patience. “We were approaching the 30th anniversary,” he says, “and this low-burning lightbulb begins to go off—‘Hey, wait a minute, what’s going on here?’ ”
A friend referred him to Amanda Harcourt, a U.K.-based intellectual-property consultant with a specialized practice helping artists secure the rights to their creations. “I always thought record contracts were mind-bogglingly abusive until I started reading movie studio contracts,” she says. Most of Harcourt’s clients don’t want to be identified publicly. Shearer does. “He said to me right at the beginning, ‘One of the reasons I want you is you’re not in Hollywood,’ ” Harcourt says, “ ‘because I don’t care who I upset.’