Have you ever wondered who controls the mainstream media? In America today, we are more “connected” than ever. The average American watches 153 hours of television a month, and we also spend countless hours watching movies, playing video games, listening to music, reading books and surfing the Internet. If someone could control the production of all of that media, that would make them immensely powerful. They would literally be in a position to tell people what to think. Well, what if I told you that there are just six enormous media conglomerates that combine to produce about 90 percent of all the media that Americans consume. Would that alarm you? It should alarm you. The truth is that our attitudes, opinions and beliefs are greatly shaped by what we allow into our minds. After all, they don’t call it “programming” for no reason. Even those of us that realize that we are connected to “the matrix” probably greatly underestimate the tremendous influence that the media has over us. We live at a time when it is absolutely imperative to think for ourselves, but most Americans are being absolutely overwhelmed with information and seem more than content to let others do their thinking for them. Sadly, this is greatly contributing to the downfall of our society.
And of course the mainstream media desperately does not want you to look at “the man behind the curtain”. They just want you to stay plugged into the “programming” that they are feeding you without asking any questions.
Fortunately, a growing minority of Americans are waking up and are starting to reject the mainstream media. An increasing number of people are beginning to recognize that the mainstream media is the mouthpiece of the establishment and that it is promoting the agenda of the establishment.
So why is the mainstream media so bad? The following are 7 things about the mainstream media that they do not want you to know…
#1 The Mainstream Media Has Very Deep Ties To The Establishment
Did you know that the president of CBS and the president of ABC both have brothers that are top officials in the Obama administration?
The big news networks have developed an almost incestuous relationship with the federal government in recent years. But of course the same could be said of the relationship that the media has with the big corporations that own stock in their parent companies and that advertise on their networks.
This is one of the reasons why we very rarely ever see any hard hitting stories on the big networks anymore. The flow of information through the corporate-dominated media is very tightly controlled, and there are a lot of gatekeepers that make sure that the “wrong stories” don’t get put out to the public. As a result, many of the “big stories” that have come out in recent years were originally broken by the alternative media.
#2 The Mainstream Media Gets Things Wrong Very Frequently
Even prominent members of the mainstream media admit that this is the case. For example, during a recent speech at Quinnipiac University CBS anchor Scott Pelley confessed that journalists in the mainstream media “are getting big stories wrong, over and over again”…
“Let me take the first arrow: During our coverage of Newtown, I sat on my set and I reported that Nancy Lanza was a teacher at the school. And that her son had attacked her classroom. It’s a hell of a story, but it was dead wrong. Now, I was the managing editor, I made the decision to go ahead with that and I did, and that’s what I said, and I was absolutely wrong. So let me just take the first arrow here.”
#3 The American Public Does Not Consider The Media To Be Very Trustworthy
Trust in the mainstream media has definitely been slipping. In fact, a Gallup poll taken last year found that distrust of the media had reached an all-time high. According to that poll, 60 percent of Americans “have little or no trust” that the media is reporting the news accurately.
A separate Rasmussen Reports survey found that only 6 percent of all Americans consider the news media to be “very trustworthy”.
Hopefully this trend will accelerate and a lot more people will stop trusting the media blindly.
#4 The Mainstream Media And The Politicians That They Worship Hate The Fact That They Cannot Control Internet News Sites
In the old days, the mainstream media had a virtual monopoly on the news. But these days, anyone with an Internet connection can put up a news site, and this is driving the establishment absolutely bonkers.
For example, Barack Obama is known to have a great dislike for the alternative media. The following is from a recent WND article…
NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd says President Obama was making it “clear” at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner over the weekend how he feels about the rise of Internet news sites like Politico, Buzzfeed and … well, WND.
“He hates it.”
Appearing on “Meet the Press” Sunday morning following Saturday night’s media, politics and celebrity soiree, Todd explained the president’s disdain for independent online news sources was showing during his speech.
“It did seem … I thought his pot shots, joke-wise, and then the serious stuff about the Internet, the rise of the Internet media and social media and all that stuff – he hates it, OK? He hates this part of the media,” Todd said. “He really thinks that the, sort of, the buzzification – this isn’t just about Buzzfeed or Politico and all this stuff – he thinks that sort of coverage of political media has hurt political discourse. He hates it. And I think he was just trying to make that clear last night.”
#5 The Mainstream Media Is Extremely Liberal
When it comes to politics, the mainstream media is far more liberal than the general population is.
For example, one survey found that 41 percent of American voters believe that the average reporter is more liberal than they are, while only 18 percent believe that the average reporter is more conservative than they are.
A very disturbing UCLA study on media bias discovered that the vast majority of media outlets are “left of center”…
Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.
And even MSNBC has confirmed the liberal bias of the media. According to MSNBC, mainstream journalists are far more likely to donate their own money to Democrats than they are to Republicans…
MSNBC.com identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.
#6 Six Mammoth Media Corporations Produce About 90 Percent Of The Media That Americans Consume
As I mentioned at the top of this article, there are six giant media behemoths that control almost all of the media that we consume. These corporate giants own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, video game makers, music labels and even many of our favorite websites.
The media ownership chart posted below originally comes from a previous article that I authored entitled “Who Owns The Media? The 6 Monolithic Corporations That Control Almost Everything We Watch, Hear And Read“, but it has been updated to reflect some of the latest information. The power that these companies have is so vast that it is hard to put into words…
Home Box Office (HBO)
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
ABC Television Network
The History Channel
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
277 Radio Stations
Buena Vista Games
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Country Music Television (CMT)
Nick at Nite
The Movie Channel
Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
My Network TV
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
STAR TV India
STAR TV Taiwan
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands
CBS Television Network
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CW Network (50% ownership)
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network
NBC Television Network
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Studio Home Video
#7 The American People Are Absolutely Addicted To The Mainstream Media
When you allow that much information to be downloaded into your brain, it is going to have a dramatic impact on how you think.
Americans are more “connected” than they ever have been before. This is especially true of our kids. They are constantly on one sort of electronic device or another. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article by Daniel Taylor…
According to a 2010 LA Times report, young people spend on average 53 hours a week watching TV, playing video games, and sitting at the computer.
Facebook users spend about 15 hours a month on the social networking site.
If that Los Angeles Times report is true, that means that our young people are spending more than 200 hours a month connected to the media.
But we are only awake for about 480 hours a month.
When it comes to influencing the American people, nobody has more power than the big media companies do.
And until we can break this sick addiction to the mainstream media and get people to start thinking for themselves, we will never see widespread changes in our society. As long as people are being “programmed” by the mainstream media, they will continue to express the opinions, attitudes and beliefs that have been downloaded into their minds.
Please share this article with as many people as you can. It is crucial that we wake as many people up as possible while we still can.
View full post on The Economic Collapse
Crony Hollywood really wants the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, And they don’t want you know about it.
SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, CISPA, the freedom of the Internet is under assault from crony industry and governments. It’s about control. It is about the reining in of information. It is about restricting innovators and protecting dinosaur business models.
Hollywood knows that the way it is built will not survive in the 21st century. The studio model, with heavily unionized work forces just doesn’t make sense when it costs 1/100th of what it used to cost to make a quality film or show. The cronies in Southern California know that their expiration date is up. Their time is over. But they still have a lot of money and with it a lot of political influence. These guy’s desperately want the TPP and the expansion of copyright to go through. They don’t care that it will stifle innovation and make the world a worse place. Hollywood has decided to use the state to protect them from the public rather than innovate.
Thankfully the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and of course many others, is paying attention to the ongoing, and very secret negotiations going on at the Trans Pacific Partnership talks.
(From Black Listed News)
As during the ACTA negotiations, Hollywood and other Big Content industries have a stronghold over international policymakers. As a result, U.S. trade delegates are pushing forth provisions that, if enforced, would have huge chilling effects on everyone including innovators, hackers, makers, students, researchers, and people with reading and learning disabilities. These provisions are designed to limit how anyone can share and interact with digital content so they will impact everyone.
View full post on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org
The CBC is in crisis. Canadians deserve to know why
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May. 02 2013, 11:05 AM EDT
Last updated Thursday, May. 02 2013, 3:24 PM EDT
What does Kirstine Stewart know about the future of the CBC that the rest of us don’t?
Why does anyone leave a job as the most powerful and influential media executive in the country to sell ads for Twitter Canada? And why leave immediately, without prior notice?
Ms. Stewart has spent seven years as a senior executive at the CBC, hired by the much-maligned Richard Stursberg to head up CBC television. She wound up replacing her boss as vice-president of all English language services when Mr. Stursberg was fired by the current CBC president, Hubert Lacroix in 2011.
That’s seven years on the public payroll, in charge of the country’s single most important cultural institution.
As usual, the CBC is as forthcoming about the circumstances of her leaving as a mafioso is about a death in the family. All we get is the usual PR blather about how she “really understands the role of the public broadcaster and has been a fierce proponent of its distinctive place,” [Lacroix], and how she’s “proud of what we’ve done together these past seven years,” and how she’ll “miss the CBC family dearly [Stewart].”
When it comes to public communication, the CBC itself is a lost cause, too deeply immersed in the issues of commercial secrecy and proprietary information to offer insight without a federal warrant. But we have a right to expect more of Ms. Stewart herself. She owes us.
The citizens of this country need and deserve a full explanation of current conditions within the CBC, and how management is responding. The corporation is facing an existential financial and cultural crisis – a crisis of leadership and purpose – and the people who fund it need to know exactly what’s going on.
It’s time for the silence and obfuscation to end. The country is in peril of losing its public broadcaster, in any recognizable form, and we need to know how to prevent that from happening. We need a say in the crucial decisions that will be made over the next year or two as to what direction our public service broadcaster ought to be taking in response to overwhelming financial pressures.
Here’s what Mr. Stursberg says about his hiring of Stewart in his recent tell-all CBC memoir Tower of Babble:
“We needed … someone who would manage the television schedule and define what was required from the drama, documentary and reality departments…someone with a deep knowledge of all the different genres, and excellent grasp of audience needs, a keen sense of flow within the schedule and brutal competitive instincts. We needed a programming thug.”
During the hiring interview, Mr. Stursberg says, “we talked about audiences. We never talked about the mandate of public broadcasting or the trade-off between quality and popularity. We focused exclusively on audiences.”
That phrase, “the trade-off between quality and popularity” is a cop-out that occurs repeatedly throughout Mr. Sturberg’s book, and was a mantra of his enormously destructive, six-year stewardship of CBC English-language programming on radio and television.
It is a false dichotomy, a bogeyman. It is of course not the case that public service programming is either popular or of high quality. CBC radio proves the point – it’s both at the same time. And in television one need only look to the BBC and the many public broadcasters in Europe and around the world that produce TV programs that are both of exceptional quality and enormously popular.
The problem that is killing the CBC is the fact that, on television, it is not a true and authentic public broadcaster. It is an unmanageable hybrid. It must serve a poorly-defined public service mandate, but at the same time it is saddled with commercial sponsorship for half its income.
The commercial mandate demands that advertising revenue be maximized. The public service mandate demands excellence in information and entertainment – which means reflecting the country’s values, interests and aspirations in all genres of programming. The job of the public broadcaster is to make popular programming excellent, and excellent programming popular. The job of a commercial broadcaster is to do whatever it takes to maximize advertising revenue.
Sometime within the next two years, the CBC is almost certainly going to lose its single largest source of advertising revenue, NHL hockey. It will be out-bid for the contract by one of the country’s enormously wealthy commercial broadcasters, probably Bell Media. That will mean a loss of 40 per cent of the corporation’s total annual ad revenue, but also a loss of something close to 400 hours of Canadian content programming – a hole that will have to be filled. Already bled white by decades of funding reductions from successive federal governments, the CBC is in no position to survive this blow.
With a decidedly unfriendly sponsor in Ottawa, we can expect what will amount to a privatization of the public broadcaster. This is a process that has been underway now for nearly a decade, under the stewardship of former CBC president Robert Rabinovitch, the current president Hubert Lacroix, and vice-presidents Richard Stursberg and Kirstine Stewart.
By privatization I mean the sidelining of the public service mandate for excellence in favour of the commercial mandate for ratings and profit. As Mr. Stursberg himself puts it in his memoir, under his reign the CBC was re-oriented in a purely commercial, ratings-driven direction, just like the surrounding hoard of commercial broadcasters.
The standards by which programs would be judged at the CBC would be identical: “It would be a brutal standard,” he boasts. “It would no longer allow [programmers] to fudge the meaning of success by talking vaguely about ‘mandates,’ and ‘quality.’ It would be a standard by which shows, producers, stars and executives would be judged.”
And then, of course, there’s the fact that the CBC has applied to the CRTC for permission to introduce advertising on Radio 2. The decision is imminent.
It’s hard to believe that all of this did not play into Stewart’s decision to jump ship. Canadians need to know, and she has a duty to tell.
Wade Rowland is author of the newly-released Saving the CBC: Balancing Profit and Public Service (Linda Leith Publishing).
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Fri May 03, 2013 1:23 am
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
If the economy is getting better, then why does poverty in America continue to grow so rapidly? Yes, the stock market has been hitting all-time highs recently, but also the number of Americans living in poverty has now reached a level not seen since the 1960s. Yes, corporate profits are at levels never seen before, but so is the number of Americans on food stamps. Yes, housing prices have started to rebound a little bit (especially in wealthy areas), but there are also more than a million public school students in America that are homeless. That is the first time that has ever happened in U.S. history. So should we measure our economic progress by the false stock market bubble that has been inflated by Ben Bernanke’s reckless money printing, or should we measure our economic progress by how the poor and the middle class are doing? Because if we look at how average Americans are doing these days, then there is not much to be excited about. In fact, poverty continues to experience explosive growth in the United States and the middle class continues to shrink. Sadly, the truth is that things are not getting better for most Americans. With each passing year the level of economic suffering in this country continues to go up, and we haven’t even reached the next major wave of the economic collapse yet. When that strikes, the level of economic pain in this nation is going to be off the charts.
The following are 21 statistics about the explosive growth of poverty in America that everyone should know…
1 – According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty. The number of Americans living in poverty is now at a level not seen since the 1960s.
2 – When you add in the number of low income Americans it is even more sobering. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income”.
3 – Today, approximately 20 percent of all children in the United States are living in poverty. Incredibly, a higher percentage of children is living in poverty in America today than was the case back in 1975.
4 – It may be hard to believe, but approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are currently living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
5 – Poverty is the worst in our inner cities. At this point, 29.2 percent of all African-American households with children are dealing with food insecurity.
6 – According to a recently released report, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.
7 – The number of children living on $2.00 a day or less in the United States has grown to 2.8 million. That number has increased by 130 percent since 1996.
9 – Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.
10 – One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.
11 – At this point, approximately one out of every three children in the U.S. lives in a home without a father.
12 – Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
13 – Today, there are approximately 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
14 – About 40 percent of all unemployed workers in America have been out of work for at least half a year.
15 – At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.
16 – There has been an explosion in the number of “working poor” Americans in recent years. Today, about one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the poverty level.
17 – Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. And that does not even include Social Security or Medicare.
18 – An all-time record 47.79 million Americans are now on food stamps. Back when Barack Obama first took office, that number was only sitting at about 32 million.
19 – The number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.
20 – According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
21 – Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, close to one out of every six Americans is on food stamps. Even more shocking is the fact that more than one out of every four children in the United States is enrolled in the food stamp program.
Unfortunately, all of these problems are a result of our long-term economic decline. In a recent article for the New York Times, David Stockman, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, did a brilliant job of describing how things have degenerated over the last decade…
Since the S&P 500 first reached its current level, in March 2000, the mad money printers at the Federal Reserve have expanded their balance sheet sixfold (to $3.2 trillion from $500 billion). Yet during that stretch, economic output has grown by an average of 1.7 percent a year (the slowest since the Civil War); real business investment has crawled forward at only 0.8 percent per year; and the payroll job count has crept up at a negligible 0.1 percent annually. Real median family income growth has dropped 8 percent, and the number of full-time middle class jobs, 6 percent. The real net worth of the “bottom” 90 percent has dropped by one-fourth. The number of food stamp and disability aid recipients has more than doubled, to 59 million, about one in five Americans.
For the last couple of years, the U.S. economy has experienced a bubble of false hope that has been produced by unprecedented amounts of government debt and unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve.
Unfortunately, that bubble of false hope is not going to last much longer. In fact, we are already seeing signs that it is getting ready to burst.
For example, initial claims for unemployment benefits shot up to 385,000 for the week ending March 30th.
That is perilously close to the 400,000 “danger level” that I keep warning about. Once we cross the 400,000 level and stay there, it will be time to go into crisis mode.
In the years ahead, it is going to become increasingly difficult to find a job. Just the other day I saw an article about an advertisement for a recent job opening at a McDonald’s in Massachusetts that required applicants to have “one to two years experience and a bachelor’s degree“.
If you need a bachelor’s degree for a job at McDonald’s, then what in the world are blue collar workers going to do when the competition for jobs becomes really intense once the economy experiences another major downturn?
Do not be fooled by the fact that the Dow has been setting new all-time highs. The truth is that we are in the midst of a long-term economic decline, and things are going to get a lot worse. If you know someone that is not convinced of this yet, just share the following article with them: “Show This To Anyone That Believes That ‘Things Are Getting Better’ In America“.
So what are all of you seeing in your own areas?
Are you seeing signs that poverty is getting worse?
Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…
View full post on The Economic Collapse
Daniel J. Mitchell
Sigh. Even when they’re sort of doing the right thing, Republicans are incapable of using the right argument.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, has unveiled his proposed budget and he and other Republicans are bragging that the plan will balance the budget in 10 years.
That’s all fine and well, but good fiscal policy is achieved by reducing the burden of government spending, and that means restraining the budget so that federal outlays grow slower than the private sector.
It’s good to balance the budget, of course, but that should be a secondary goal.
Now for the good news. The Ryan Budget does satisfy the Golden Rule of fiscal policy. As you can see in the chart, federal spending grows by an average of 3.4 percent annually, and that modest bit of fiscal discipline is enough to reduce the burden of government spending to 19.1 percent of economic output by 2023.
It’s also good news that the Ryan Budget calls for structural reform of entitlement programs, including Medicaid block grants and Medicare premium support. The budget also assumes the repeal of the costly Obamacare program.
And there’s also some good tax policy. Not bold tax reform like a flat tax, but top tax rates would be reduced to 25 percent and many forms of double taxation, like the death tax and capital gains tax, presumably would be reduced or eliminated.
Let’s be clear, though, that this is not a libertarian budget. Federal spending will still be far too high. Indeed, the budget will consume a larger share of the economy than it did when Bill Clinton left office.
And while Republicans do a good job of restraining spending in the first couple of years of the new Ryan Budget, outlays rise far too rapidly beginning around 2016.
Moreover, there’s no Social Security reform.
Equally worrisome, the budget assumes that the federal tax burden should remain at about 19 percent of GDP, higher than the long-run average of 18 percent of GDP and—for all intents and purposes—permanently enshrining Obama’s fiscal cliff victory.
And it’s depressing to see that the Ryan Budget has gotten weaker each year.
- Two years ago, he put forth a budget that limited spending so that it grew 2.8 percent per year.
- Last year, he put forth a budget that limited spending so that it grew 3.1 percent per year.
- Now, spending will climb 3.4 percent per year.
At this rate, it won’t be that long before the GOP budget and Obama budget converge.
Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But the moral of the story is that the Ryan Budget is a step in the right direction, but much more will be needed to restore limited, constitutional government.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2013 AT 5:58PM
Friday evening when no one was supposed to pay attention, Google announced that Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt would sell 3.2 million of his Google shares in 2013, 42% of the 7.6 million shares he owned at the end of last year—after having already sold 1.8 million shares in 2012. But why would he sell 5 million shares, about 53% of his holdings, with Google stock trading near its all-time high?
“Part of his long-term strategy for individual asset diversification and liquidity,” Google mollified us, according to the Wall Street Journal. Soothing words. Nothing but “a routine diversification of assets.”
Routine? He didn’t sell any in 2008 as the market was crashing. He didn’t sell at the bottom in early 2009. And he didn’t sell during the rest of 2009 as Google shares were soaring, nor in 2010, as they continued to soar. In 2011, he eased out of about 300,000 shares, a mere rounding error in his holdings. But in 2012, he opened the valves, and in 2013, he’d open the floodgates. So it’s not “routine.”
Liquidity, Google said. In 2012, he reaped about $1.2 billion from stock sales, and if he can sell this year’s portion at the current price, he’ll reap $2.5 billion. $3.7 billion in total. What exactly would he need that kind of liquidity for? He could buy a Boeing 787, if it ever becomes airworthy again, plus a few castles, dozens of handmade exotic cars…. And it would barely scratch the surface.
Diversification, Google said. Sure, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Though he didn’t need to diversity from 2008 through 2011, he now needs to diversify urgently. The landscape has changed. And he is reacting to it.
He could diversify into treasuries, for example, which would guarantee him a loss after inflation, thanks to the Fed-imposed financial repression that governs our crazy lives. Or he could buy lots of gold or a myriad of other assets that he thinks make more sense than holding Google stock at the current price.
So, we’re left wondering if there’s something waiting to happen at Google that prescient execs with a phenomenal understanding of the company and the industry can see on the horizon. Google has plowed a lot of money into startups, green energy, and other mind-boggling projects. He might be worried that they won’t pan out, that they’ll have to be cleared off the balance sheet with a huge write-off. He might be worried about a million things.
Yet the fact that he sold practically nothing during the bull market of 2009-2011 suggests that he may see something beyond Google: the hoped for Great Rotation, for example—from those who know to those who don’t. From the Eric Schmidts to mom-and-pop retail investors. And once that’s accomplished….
Small investors lost a bundle in the last crash. At the end of their wits, they got out at the bottom, and stayed out during the subsequent run-up. But now, they’ve been driven to desperation by the Fed’s zero-interest-rate policy, as inflation has hammered their CDs that yield almost nothing. In order to stop losing money slowly but surely, they’re jumping into the stock market once again, buying the very shares Schmidt is selling—or so the smart money hopes—only to face once again the risk of losing a lot of money fast.
That was the Fed’s policy every time. They didn’t care in 2000 that the market demolished a bunch of young upstarts that had gotten unjustifiably and unnecessarily rich. Let them crash. They did it again during the financial crisis. Let them crash. Only when it started taking down their cronies, did they get nervous—and handed them trillions.
Mr. Schmidt isn’t alone. Corporate insiders were “aggressively selling their shares,” reported Mark Hulbert. And they were doing so “at an alarming pace.” The buy sell-to-buy ratio had risen to 9.2-to-1; insiders had sold over 9 times as many shares as they’d bought. They’d been aggressive sellers for weeks. That they dumped shares in December, when the sell-to-buy ratio was 8.38-to-1, could have been the result of the fiscal-cliff theatrics, but the latest sell-to-buy ratio was even worse.
Instantly, soothing voices were heard: “don’t be alarmed,” they said. But Mr. Schmidt and his colleagues at the top of corporate America, multi-billionaires many of them, are immensely well connected, not only to each other but also to the Fed, whose twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks they own and control.
For the mere public, there have been vague and mixed signals that the Fed might finally stop its drunken printing frenzy—that the only thing it is waiting for is the completion of the Great Rotation of equities from the smart money to mom-and-pop money. Once that’s completed, to heck with the markets. But for Mr. Schmidt and his buddies, the signals might not have been vague and mixed, but clear and actionable.
At the other end of the income spectrum: with the average cost of attending college at $120,000, a family of four should expect their children’s college to cost more than a home. Optimism about the value of education provided justification for students to borrow $42 billion from the US this year. Yet many of them will end up as student-loan debt slaves.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:16 am
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Michael F. Cannon
NPR asked libertarian, vegan, author, and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey whether ObamaCare is a form of socialism. Mackey responded, thoughtfully:
Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it — and that’s what’s happening with our health care programs and these reforms.
Mackey then discussed how Whole Foods is working with Michelle Obama to improve Americans’ diets. The story on NPR’s web site closes with this paragraph:
So our question to you, dear readers, is this: How big a role does a business leader’s personal philosophy play in your decision to buy products from his or her company? Tell us in the comments section below.
That’s funny. NPR didn’t ask its dear readers to comment on the politics of health insurance giant CIGNA’s CEO after he praised the Supreme Court’s decision not to strike down the law, or said, “I don’t believe focusing on repeal right now is in anybody’s best interest.” Or on Aetna’s CEO after he advocated tax increases and gobbling up as many ObamaCare subsidies as his company could. Hmm.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
China, as we’ve written many times before is the ultimate crony capitalist state. We’ve also said many times that one should be very weary of any official information coming out of China. They country has been slowing for 7 quarters. That we know. But it could be a bigger slowdown than many think.
The country is polluted to the point that in many industrial areas people can’t even go outside. There has been a black cloud of particulate matter hovering over Beijing for a week. The only reason we know about it is because it can’t be hidden. There is so much filth in the air even the Communist Party of China can not dispense with it.
The Party can however fudge economic numbers for a very long time, and they have been doing it for a very long time. The question is at what point will the accounting pollution become visible? The economy seems already to be choking.
Finally, that China is openly making up numbers is no surprise: it will continue doing that until, like everywhere else, the discrepancy between perception and reality (usually manifested in the case of China by a lot of angry people breaking something or simply rioting) becomes too glaring for even the most optimistically inclined to ignore.
What is a surprise is that it is none other than the banks – the primary carriers of the status quo gene – who are implicitly pulling the rug out from beneath the economy that is supposed to once again, as in 2008 and 2009, provide the bridge from a contracting “here” to a growing “there.”
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Doctors, dentists, pharmacists: The mistakes you can’t know about
Published on Friday January 11, 2013
DALE BRAZAO/TORONTO STAR
Toronto colonoscopy doctor Harry Himal was cautioned regarding the length of time he planned to wait to perform a follow-up colonoscopy for a patient who later died of complications from colon cancer. When contacted by the Star, Himal declined to comment.
More than 2,000 secret cautions were issued to Ontario’s health-care professionals — doctors, nurses, dentists and others — for mistakes or improper behaviour in the past five years.
The cautions, mostly prompted by patient complaints, were handed down by the colleges that regulate the province’s front-line health workers and are kept permanently on their records.
But patients have no way of finding out from the colleges if their health-care providers have been cautioned.
That’s because a provincial law that governs the province’s health professions does not require cautions to be made public.
Colleges can deal with verified complaints through public disciplinary actions and, as the Star found, by issuing secret cautions.
Colleges argue they are not permitted to publicly disclose details about cautions under the law.
In rare cases, the details of cautions become public when they are appealed to a provincial review board, but the outcomes of these appeals — posted online — do not contain the names of practitioners. The Star had to make a special request in writing to obtain names in cases where patient care suffered.
In one case, Toronto doctor Harry Himal, who performs colonoscopies, was cautioned concerning the “follow-up of abnormal test results and delay in diagnosis and management of colon cancer with liver metastases.”
His patient, Bert Gabriel, died of complications from the disease. Gabriel’s widow, Rosemarie Rohrbach-Gabriel, filed an appeal arguing a caution was not enough.
“Somewhere there is a flaw in this whole system,” Rohrbach-Gabriel told the Star. “Just a caution, when the public doesn’t know about it, it’s not good enough.”
The College of Physician and Surgeons said it was concerned with the length of time Himal planned to wait to perform a follow-up colonoscopy when he found inflammation in Gabriel’s lower bowel.
When contacted at home by the Star by phone and in person, Himal declined to comment and referred all questions to his lawyer, Jeffrey Freedlander. He, too, declined to comment.
The Star’s investigation found that the province’s 21 health regulatory colleges issued 2,205 cautions — either written or oral — to health-care workers between 2007 and 2011. There are approximately 267,000 regulated health-care professionals in Ontario, including psychologists, massage therapists, optometrists, midwives and physiotherapists.
Among the other previously secret cases uncovered by the Star:
Toronto doctor Faith Patricia Feinberg was cautioned regarding her management of a patient’s vaginal bleeding, “including her failure to follow up on abnormal test results and to document appropriate and thorough discussions with the patient regarding management of her concerning symptoms/findings.”
The patient saw Feinberg, a general practitioner, on several occasions in 2004 and 2005 complaining of vaginal bleeding. An ultrasound revealed a mild thickening of the lining of the uterus, while a urologist recommended the patient see a gynecologist if the bleeding continued. The patient continued to experience vaginal bleeding into late 2005 but was not referred to a gynecologist until early 2007 following severe pelvic and hip pain and more bleeding. A biopsy revealed the patient had advanced endometrial cancer.
Despite surgery and chemotherapy, the patient died in November 2007 at the age of 77 from effects of the disease.
Following a complaint by the patient’s daughter, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario investigated and issued an oral caution to Feinberg. In its decision, the college’s complaints committee said it found “troubling deficiencies” with Feinberg’s care and said the doctor should have considered cancer a possibility.
Feinberg declined to comment when contacted by the Star.
In her response to the committee, however, Feinberg said she made appropriate referrals and advised the patient to see a gynecologist on four occasions but that the patient would not agree to do so until February 2007.
The committee noted that Feinberg did not document any gynecological referrals in the patient’s record, but added notes about referrals in an addendum to the patient’s record after the cancer diagnosis.
Ottawa-area chiropractor David Covey was cautioned and advised to “refrain from engaging in fear mongering which is designed to induce fear and apprehension” after he sent a letter in 2009 to a female patient telling her that a “reversed curve” in her spine “decreases your lifespan by at least 10 years” and that “if you do nothing, or don’t know to do anything in ignorance, that you will pay with a lower quality of life and a shorter life.”
Covey told the Star he believed it was his professional obligation to do “everything in my power” to make sure the patient was aware of his diagnosis for successful treatment to take place.
“The college saw it one way, I saw it another way,” he said. “I feel really bad for the lady. She didn’t understand. I didn’t have a chance to sit down with her and explain what we do and why we do it. I felt it was very serious for this lady.”
Toronto dentist Gary Glassman was cautioned after he failed to review a patient’s complete medical history when prescribing an antibiotic that triggered a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction in the patient.
In September 2009, the patient contacted Glassman to schedule a root canal the following month. The patient and a staff member at Glassman’s office exchanged emails to arrange the appointment and determine the appropriate prophylactic antibiotic before the treatment.
When the patient indicated to the staff member that she was allergic to penicillin, Glassman prescribed Clindamycin instead without referring to the patient’s chart, which was located off-site. But the chart indicated that the patient was also allergic to Clindamycin. The patient began taking the medication shortly before the appointment and developed a severe reaction, resulting in hospitalization.
The patient complained to the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, which issued Glassman an oral caution and stressed that “in the absence of a previously completed medical history, the member is obligated to obtain a new medical history prior to prescribing medication.”
When contacted by the Star, Glassman referred questions to his lawyer, Symon Zucker, who criticized the college’s investigation into the complaint for failing to consult any other dentists or doctors about prescription practices.
“Doctors routinely prescribe over the phone,” Zucker said. “There’s got to be some accountability on the part of the person who’s calling and saying I want treatment.”
Zucker stressed that Glassman followed general protocol.
“Most of the time, the cautions are justified. In this case, it wasn’t. That’s why it’s unfortunate that Gary’s been caught up in it.”
London pharmacist Paul Yip was issued a caution in 2010 stressing the “importance of ensuring that the correct type and quantity of medication is dispensed to the right patient with the correct instructions.”
The caution stemmed from a complaint made by a customer who alleged that she filled a prescription for six tablets of Amerge, a migraine medication, but upon opening the package at home discovered the blister pack contained only two tablets.
She claimed that when she phoned the pharmacy to correct the error, Yip questioned whether she was sure she had picked up the medication at that exact location, and was told there was no record of her name in the pharmacy system, that the packaging did in fact contain six tablets and the package she described did not exist. The pharmacy eventually agreed to provide the additional tablets.
The Ontario College of Pharmacists complaints committee cautioned Yip that “a vital part of the dispensing process is checking that the right medication and quantity is being dispensed. Any failure to follow careful and thorough checking procedures is a significant departure from the standards of practice of the profession.”
Yip told the Star he couldn’t comment specifically on the case.
“The most important thing I do is care for the well-being of my patients,” Yip said. “In health care, any type of discrepancy is serious and in my practice everyday I do what’s best for the care of my patients.”
Alliston-area medical radiation technologist Luis Fernandez was cautioned regarding “the standards of practice as they relate to professional boundaries, sexual abuse prevention, and the importance of communicating with a patient before touching the patient.” The patient alleged that during a 2009 appointment Fernandez “rubbed his pelvis against her back and did not move away when she asked him to move away.”
The patient also complained that Fernandez “positioned her head by pulling back on her neck and causing her pain.”
Fernandez, who is now retired but occasionally fills in for staff absences at various medical imaging centres in the Alliston area, said he treated the patient “perfectly normal” but declined to discuss the case in further detail.
“I don’t really feel like starting again with any of this,” he said. “It really put me quite down.”
Presented with some of the Star’s findings, Health Minister Deb Matthews said she would look into the issue of cautions and talk to the colleges.
“I need to respect that these are self-regulating professions, but I do think the world is changing in terms of expectations around transparency,” Matthews told the Star. “I think we all expect more information and I think it’s important that colleges keep up with the expectations.”
Under Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act, colleges are not required to make cautions public or publish the complaints that spark the warnings. Colleges publish the number of cautions issued every year, but keep details and names of the professionals involved secret.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons issued the most cautions to its members with 1,211, followed by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons with 251, and the Ontario College of Pharmacists with 202.
Complaints are reviewed by a panel of at least three members of a college’s complaints committee, at least one of whom must be a member of the public appointed by the province.
If a college upholds a complaint, it can issue a caution, or, if there are allegations of incompetence or professional misconduct, such as sexual abuse, it can refer the complaint for a public discipline hearing.
Colleges consider cautions advisory or remedial in nature. Cautions are, however, kept permanently on members’ records and can be referred to by the colleges if subsequent complaints are made.
The only time cautions become public is in rare cases when they are appealed to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board, a provincial panel that reviews decisions by the colleges. Complaints are usually appealed by either the patient, patients’ loved ones or the health worker themselves.
According to his public profile on the College of Physicians and Surgeons website, Harry Himal, the Toronto colonoscopy doctor, has a clean record.
There is nothing to indicate that he was cautioned by the college in relation to his treatment of Bert Gabriel, a 65-year-old patient who saw Himal in late July 2008 for a colonoscopy.
According to the provincial appeal and review board, Gabriel saw Himal following a CT scan that found a thickening of Gabriel’s bowel wall, as well as a colon condition called diverticulitis and a 4.8-centimetre spot on his liver, among other things.
During Gabriel’s colonoscopy, Himal found what he described as a “funny lesion” suggestive of what the provincial appeal and review board called an “inflammatory mass.” This caused a narrowing of the colon and prevented the scope from moving further, and the full procedure couldn’t be completed.
Himal told the college he conducted “biopsies” but the result of only one biopsy was ever reported. The result suggested no cancer, but rather “inflammatory changes.” Himal suggested a full colonoscopy in October.
Gabriel continued to experience pain and diarrhea and in late August, he returned to see Himal, who scheduled an ultrasound and a chest X-ray. The results indicated a 6.5-centimetre lesion on his liver suggestive of a tumour.
In early October, before a full colonoscopy could be completed by Himal, Gabriel was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook hospital with an acute bowel obstruction, which turned out to be a cancerous tumour. Doctors removed the tumour, but it was too late.
Gabriel was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer with lymphatic involvement and liver metastases. Despite several months of aggressive chemotherapy, radiation and surgery on his liver, Gabriel died of complications from the disease in May 2009.
His widow, Rosemarie Rohrbach-Gabriel, complained to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, believing that Himal should have further investigated her husband’s symptoms more quickly when the initial colonoscopy couldn’t be completed.
Following her complaint, the college decided to caution Himal. In its ruling, the college’s complaints committee said it was concerned with the length of time Himal planned to wait after Gabriel’s first colonoscopy before scheduling another one, especially in light of the CT scan that showed a liver lesion.
“This led to an unnecessary delay in the diagnosis of Mr. Gabriel’s cancer,” the committee said in its ruling.
The committee’s second significant concern was that a single biopsy of the lesion Himal discovered in Gabriel’s colon was “insufficient.”
“Multiple biopsies are usually required for a large mass like this to sample it adequately. There is no information before the committee to explain why, if Dr. Himal took multiple biopsies, results for only one are reported,” the committee stated.
“Dr. Himal’s management was suboptimal in his failure, as a surgeon, to appreciate that the inflammatory mass could be colon cancer. Dr. Himal could have, and should have, acted sooner and more definitively in ordering appropriate investigations and referring Mr. Gabriel as necessary.”
Rohrbach-Gabriel appealed the college’s decision to the provincial appeal and review board, arguing that an oral caution against Himal was not an appropriate remedy. But the provincial board agreed with the college, saying an oral caution was reasonable.
At the provincial appeal and review board hearing, Himal’s lawyer, Jeffrey Freedlander, argued that an oral caution was considered serious for a member of a regulated health profession and that the warning would serve to improve the quality of patient care.
Kathryn Clarke, a spokeswoman for the College of Physicians and Surgeons, said the college was prohibited under legislation to comment on the case.
Linda Gough, president of the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario, says all of the colleges she deals with are “committed to ensuring that the quality of practice is maintained for the public.”
“We’re all in the quality business dealing with very complex issues, but the purposes of the colleges are always the public interest,” Gough said.
She stressed that cautions are intended to be remedial and do not indicate findings of professional misconduct.
When asked if she thought it would be in a patient’s interest to learn if their health-care provider had been cautioned, she said there has to be a “balancing of transparency with the reasonable privacy rights of members.”
Markham medical malpractice lawyer Amani Oakley says cautions should be made public so that patients can make informed choices. She says patients looking up their health-care providers on the college websites are often led to believe the professionals have exemplary records when that may not be the case — a situation she calls “disturbing.”
“If a complaint is upheld, it should be made public, it should be accessible,” Oakley said. “There is absolutely nothing that says that they cannot release details to the public. In fact, that’s the role of the college. The role of the college is a watchdog for the public.”
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:02 am
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