That was certainly my reaction upon coming across the link to this article somewhere (maybe Twitter).
One thing is for sure, there is definitely a lot going on here. No less than 5 trademarks and the alleged words of 1 internationally renowned celebrity. Let’s go further.
If you thought 2020 couldn’t get any more wild meet 96-year-old Beth Stanson, who in her advanced age has been somewhat of a homebody. In a time where we’re told to keep our distance from family and friends Beth spent many hours watching TV and surfing the web but her grand-children became curious about what she was up to all this time.
She revealed that over the past few months she had been secretly amassing an enormous wealth. So much so that all of her 16 grand-children would be able to quit their jobs so they could pursue their dreams.
The interesting thing is exactly how she was able to make so much money. Beth used a new automated bitcoin trading platform that she had seen on TV.
I admit that I stumbled into this out of pure curiosity, drawn to the link by a photo of Gordon Ramsay (as I’m sure is the case for many people). Though it held the feel of a local news story for the first paragraph, this quickly fell apart when I read “so much so that all of her 16 grand-children would be able to quit their jobs so they could pursue their dreams.
Which made me curious (as did all of the testimonials running down the right side of the page). Automated bitcoin trading platform?
Also, what does Gordon Ramsay have to do with this?
Multi-Michelin star celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay just bought his ninth Ferrari using money he earned not from his hosting shows or restaurants – but from a new controversial investment he revealed on live television.
During our exclusive interview with the “Hells Kitchen” chef himself, Ramsay admitted he earned $13.5 million last year through a new controversial system he shared with Phillip and Holly on ITV’s This Morning.
Here’s what the superstar chef himself has to say about his secret money-making methods:
Listen, I’ve been wanting to do something different. Something special. You see, I’ve been blessed to live my dream life because I’ve had the privilege of owning my own restaurants and staring on reality TV shows.
Today, I want to give back and show everyone EXACTLY how I’ve made millions of dollars over the last few months outside of my regular businesses. It’s something I’ve been doing on the side, and something anyone in the UK can do, and it’s made enough for me to buy my ninth Ferrari.
My passion will always be cooking, but recently I’ve been learning about investing. I stumbled upon a new system called The News Spy that’s made me more money in the last 6 months than any of my other buinesses. And the best part is, this amazing opportunity just became available to regular folks in the UK so I have to share it with everyone.
I’ll explain what The News Spy is in just a bit. But first, to prove how amazing this system really is. Holly, I’m going to give you £195 to deposit and try it for yourself right now.”
Ramsay then wrote a check to Holly for £195 ($250 USD), which she deposited into the system to try for herself. Within minutes, Holly‘s jaw dropped open as she began making a real profit – on live television!
While I don’t know Ramsay personally, I’ve never seen him driving a Ferrari in any of his shows older to fairly recent shows. In most of his older shows (Boiling Point, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Behind Bars) he drives an Audi sedan, and in the newer American shows, he’s usually in a GM SUV of some sort (almost always black). Though I seem to recall him pulling up to the Hell’s Kitchen studios in a Ferrari, that hardly seems his MO.
But that is just the conjecture of a Ramsay fanboy. What is more important is, did he actually say that? And if so, is there footage?
Speaking of footage, why not share THAT instead of just a screencap?
Before I go digging again, let’s see what else Gordon has to say.
“Now I know what you’re thinking Phllip and Holly. You probably think this is a trick or it doesn’t make sense. You may have seen Bitcoin or Ethereum on the news, and maybe even invested into it yourself. Maybe you think it’s a scam because you don’t understand it or lost money.
Well, what I do to earn at least 6 figures every month is something completely different. I use this The News Spy to cash in on the Bitcoin boom with absolutely no investing or technology experience. And the best part is, anyone can do the same.
You just saw for yourself how fast this works”
Before Holly could even muttor a word, Ramsay continutes…
“Look guys, I love to cook and help up and coming chefs improve thier cooking. I don’t have time to sit in front of a computer and trade cryptocurrencies all day. That’s why I use The News Spy to do it for me automatically. It’s is backed by Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg – some of the smartest tech minds on the planet.
See, most people think the Bitcoin boom is over. But in fact, it’s just getting started.”
If there is one thing I can say about that Ramsay live TV segment, it does not sound natural to him at all. Even his commercial selling for Rogers was more authentic than that!
I hate Rogers Communications with a passion, but this was the only place I could find the video, so Rogers tweet it is. No, this is not an endorsement. FUCK ROGERS!! FUCK your monopolistic, parasitic, greedy shit show of a company. And to all the current day Shaw customers out there . . . I pity you. I really do. You didn’t ask to be part of the Rogers march to becoming the Comcast of Canada!
Just in case it’s not clear by now that this isn’t an endorsement . . . FUCK ROGERS !!!!!!!
Either way, getting back to where we started, I seem to have found the video clip the article is referring to. At least it has a matching thumbnail to the one used in the article.
Though the video was 7 minutes long, not one mention of Bitcoin, finances, or anything related. Just a conversation about food, family, and other far more Ramsay-esk subject matter. Also, who on earth is Philip & Holly?
Also morning show hosts, according to Wikipedia and other sources. Like other such variety shows, the rooster of main hosts seems to alternate due to various factors. Either way, irrelevant, since the clip has nothing to do with shilling bitcoin or anything else aside from the benefits of healthy living.
I don’t know what Holly is looking at, but I’m almost certain that it isn’t the shocking returns on her investment of Gordon’s pocket change. I mean . . . really. I’ve tipped more percentage-wise to service workers than Gordon gave Holly to invest.
But again, that is irrelevant since its obvious that Gordon has nothing to do with this. With that in mind, let’s see where else this journey takes us.
The News Spy is backed by Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg
“Now I’m not going to bullshit you or your viewers. Not every trade is a profitable one. See, theautomated software using advanced machine learning and data modeling to make trades. To be honest, I barely know what that means besides it works very well.
However, the system does mess up sometimes. Nothing is ever going to be right 100% of the time. Yet even with it’s mistakes, I’m still profitable about 80-89% of the time. That means for every 1 losing trade, there are about 9 winning ones.
It’s trading hundreds of times per hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you can imagine how that much adds up. On an average day, I’ll make about $5,000 to $8,000 profit. Unbelievable right? What I do is take out about half for play money – travel, cars, toys. And then I reinvest the other half. That’s how I’m able to earn more and more money over time.
Now, as Gordon continues to explain the risks and benefits of whatever the fuck, 3 more names have been dropped, AND another trademark has made an appearance. But it does help make my job a little easier.
Every part of this scam is designed to rob you of your dignity and savings.
We will also explain one more thing – how the News Spy actually fits in. it may or may not be run by the same people as the boiler room. The scammers offer huge affiliate link payouts to these sites like the News Spy when they are run by other entities. Typical payouts for a victim that they have a working phone number for hover around the $700 USD mark so competition is strong. If you can find them a few victims per day from a static website and a few Google Ads, you are making a very tidy salary. This is why these people are so hard to stop. They make a fortune for Google, Facebook and Twitter as the ads are highly fought over. Often you can see the same advert being run by the same scammer on all three ad slots on Google search for keywords like ‘The News Spy’ or ‘Bitcoin Rush’ but now you know. Now you know the scam and the tactics so stay safe and fly straight!
Good luck brothers and sisters!
Good luck indeed.
But now you know. I may have click baited to get you here, but now you are just a little more aware than you were before. When it comes to the internet, you can never be too careful. There are many fingers that would LOVE access to your wallet.
Today, we will explore an article outlining the coming supply shortages anticipated for this Christmas holiday shopping season. Following this will be an idea for an alternative to the shop till you drop nature of what the modern-day holiday season has become.
The supply chain meltdown will make holiday shopping messy this year. Here’s what you need to know.
Expect delays, limited inventory and higher prices but, most importantly, start early
The pandemic is haunting the global supply chain and, by extension, shoppers.
Two months out from the peak holiday shopping season, consumers are encountering empty storeshelves, rising prices and shipping delays that seem to stretch into oblivion. Container ships are clogging ports, awaiting cargo or unable to get past the gridlock to unload their goods. Some factories have gone dark, lacking raw materials and hands to run machines.
Shoppers are beginning to fret: A third of the more than 5,700 people recently surveyed by Oracle, which provides cloud services for such large retailers as Prada and Office Depot, worry they won’t get everything on their wish lists and will be paying more when they do. Here’s what you need to know to avoid a holiday shopping nightmare.
That is interesting wording, considering that I was under the impression that holiday shopping tended to be a nightmare for most people, supply chain restrictions or not. Hence the reason why stress and substance abuse tends to skyrocket during the lead-up and the peak of the holiday season.
But I digress . . .
Why are so many store shelves already empty?
The coronavirus pandemic has been wreaking havoc on global supply chains since it began nearly two years ago, with suppliers and retailers wading through a sea of challenges — keeping the virus out of offices and factories, navigating shutdowns and business restrictions. Then there’s the steady rise of raw materials prices and skyrocketing shipping costs. The nation also is short on truck drivers and warehouse workers.
The tangle of pressures has driven inflation to a 13-year high of 5.4 percent, forcing many companies to pass costs along to consumers.
Problems have been compounded by a labor shortage that has intensified in recent months, as more warehouse and retail workers become part of “The Great Resignation” — a phenomenon driven by pandemic burnout and an existential reassessment of life and work. A record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August, Labor Department data shows, and big box stores and local retailers alike are struggling to fill positions and store shelves.
All the while, demand is on the rise:Retail sales rose unexpectedly the past two months despite a resurgence in covid cases brought on by the delta variant, which had a dampening effect on business activity. Last month, U.S. retail sales hit $625.4billion as consumers flocked to shops, bars and restaurants, federal data show. Gasoline sales were up 38 percent compared with the same period in 2020.
This is certainly an interesting trifecta of factors.
A pandemic still wreaking havoc with production and shipping around the world. A revolting labour force fed up with putting their lives on the line for consumers and employers that don’t give a flying fuck about anyone but themselves or the bottom line. And an energetic newly released public that is anxious to live it up in a way they haven’t been able to since 2009.
Virus + Fatige + Excitment = Pandamonium.
Holiday retail sales are projected to climb 7 to 9 percent, according to Deloitte’s annual forecast, to as much as $1.3 trillion this year.
Marwan Forzley, chief executive of Veem, a payments platform that works with thousands of U.S. retailers, said the outlook is promising given that more people are comfortable shopping in stores and dining out amid rising vaccination rates.
“We can expect this to continue into the winter months,” Forzley said in commentary emailed to The Washington Post.
Do I really need to start shopping now?
If you have specific gifts — especially trendy ones — in mind, yes.
Mark Kapczynski, chief marketing officer of Gooten, a supply chain solutions company, said that consumers should plan to get their shopping done well ahead of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday window if they want gifts to arrive on time.
He pointed to the record backups at U.S. ports due to covid protocols and labor shortages, adding that the delay of raw materials will cascade through supply chains and create shortages across many product categories.
Good luck, folks. You are already too late!
President Biden recently called on the Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest port, to stay open round-the-clock to ease some kinks in the supply chain. The White House even weighed tapping the National Guard to fill in the gaps across the country’s sprawling network of ports, planes, ships and trucks, The Post has reported.
Recent changes at the U.S. Postal Service will lengthen delivery times. On Oct. 1, the agency implemented new “service standards,” or the amount of time it says it should take for a piece of mail to get delivered, and raised prices for a variety of services.
“All of the major carriers — USPS, UPS, FedEx — are not guaranteeing any specific delivery times this year, so absolutely shop ahead as much as possible,” Kapczynski told The Post in an email.
Though this is strictly speculation on my part, I have to wonder how much of the current situation with the USPS is rooted in the sabotage efforts of its Post Master General under the previous administration. Though I don’t doubt that Biden stopped the bleeding, did he reverse the changes (such as the removal of sorting equipment)?
Holiday shopping season has been starting earlier and earlier since 2014, when big box stores first opened their doors for Thanksgiving Day deals, according to Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry adviser for the NPD Group.
This year, more than half of shoppers surveyedplan to start their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving Day, according to NPD’s Holiday Retail Outlook.
Consumers are expected to spend $785, on average, in 2021, which is higher than either of the past two years, according to NPD. The uptick reflects how they have “settled into the current phase of pandemic life,” Cohen wrote in commentary Wednesday, “and are balancing a new sense of comfort alongside remaining concerns.”
Early shoppers plan to spend more money, and have already started picking up consumer electronics, clothes and gift cards, according to NPD’s research. Retailers have catered their events and deals to the early birds: Amazon started hawking its “Deals for Days” promotion in early October. Nordstrom is opening its in-store holiday shops on Oct. 18. Lowe’s is having its “Season of Savings” kickoff on Oct. 28 and wheeling out its Christmas trees and twinkly lights in November.
Anxiety about delays and scarce inventory will motivate many shoppers to “grab what they want when they see it,” Cohen wrote, “instead of waiting for better deals later in the season.”
I will end my quotation of the article here since you know all that you need to know already. That is, if you thought that holiday shopping was stressful in a normal year, this year will be WAY worse.
This brings me to the amount that the average consumer is predicted to spend during this round of holiday-related consumption . . . $785. And this is only the average. Early shoppers are spending even more as retailers push the start of the holiday season further and further back in the year. Given the state of the supply of many items, it would not surprise me to see scalpers buying up trendy items and scalping them on auction and marketplace sites for WAY more than their original MSRP in the coming weeks and months (this became a major issue for the tech industry recently). For the truly desperate, this can only drive the $785 figure even higher.
It makes me wonder how many people actually want to participate in the whole gift exchange thing, to begin with.
This is where I propose my alternative.
Consider the gifts you received throughout the Christmas holidays in the past few years (if not indefinitely). How many have you actually made use of? How many ended up being tucked away in a cupboard, drawer or basement? And after this stage in the process, how many of these items end up being thrown in the trash due to non-use? Sure, things can and do get donated. But given the glut of stuff that such organizations always have coming in, what is the chance that your likely outdated product is going to make the cut?
How many Christmas gifts have you used to the point wherein they actually get disposed of due to wearing out?
Then there is the alleged faux pas that is the re-gifting of undesirable items. How often have you simply passed on an item the next year (or at the next holiday function)? How many items end up in this endless loop before finally getting trashed?
Break the cycle of perpetually spending money we don’t have to buy crap that people around us don’t need. Instead, consider how that money could be better utilized.
For example, instead of loading up on consumer products, why not write a few cheques to charitable organizations that could use the cash?
If you like, you can tailor these donations to the interests and/or preferences of those for whom you would be buying gifts for.
If your family is one that actually enjoys one another’s presence more than once or twice a year, what about using that cash to purchase some activities that everyone can enjoy and that promote even more gathering opportunities?
For example, a pool or shuffleboard table or a videogame console. Such an investment can provide your immediate family entertainment at any time, and provide entertainment for family gatherings and party guests for years to come.
And of course, there is the option of not spending anything at all. Your reasons don’t matter since it’s a personal choice.
Not everyone will be on board with such a move. Once your new view of the holidays is known to your wider circle of friends and family, reactions may vary from “Whatever, Mr. Grinch!” to “We are no longer friends!”. Nonetheless, I can assure you that this new rocky social reality is still better for all involved than the old status quo.
Sure you will have your mindless critics that have likely never put a second thought into any of their collective traditions or practices. But I sense that this should be a short-lived problem. Give it a year or 2, and most should just accept your choice. After all, boiled right down, it’s just the mutual expectation of wanting nothing, and expecting nothing in return.
As for those that do still take issue . . . tell them where to go. I get that this can be much easier said than done (particularly in a familial context), but chances are if the person is selfish enough to take issue with this, then this is likely not the only area of your life that they are causing trouble in. Existence is too short to live with petty BS like that.
But overall, no matter how you choose to spend the holidays, try to enjoy yourself and have a good time. Whether that means meeting with the family, having a quiet day by yourself, or making it magical for the kids, try and stay positive.
I used to be one of those people that dreaded the period between around October 31st right through to the 24th (if not January 1st) because of all the Christmas overload. Since my career has primarily been within the service and retail industries, much of this animosity was on account of the nastiness of everyday people in the lead-up to the big day. Never have I met a more miserable human being than the fellow dawning a badge proclaiming Keep the CHRIST in CHRISTmas!! .
Whatever happened to Merry Christmas?! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!
Then there are the “It’s not the same as when I was a kid!” crowd. People who decided that it’s all changed WAY too much, and therefore they will inflict their holiday misery on everyone else around them. There is no looking for silver linings or making the best of it, Christmas is RUINED! It may be only November 5th, but they have decided that the whole thing is a loss because they are not in the christmas spirit.
I get that. The holidays lost their magic way back when I was a teenager, in large part due to my then acceptance of my atheist stance. From grade 9 throughout the rest of high school, Christmas was a time of a lot of guilt for me. Though I was surrounded by and participating in the same religious rituals as the rest of the family, I felt some guilt in doing so. As though I was lying, and didn’t deserve to be part of the joy.
Of course, this all changed 2 years out from high school (of all times, a MONTH before Christmas!) when bad privacy settings on Facebook led to an image I commented on being shown to my entire friend’s list (this nsfw image). I ended up skipping out on that years gathering, and the one next year was a bit awkward (a few obviously still had an issue with the stance). But that has all evaporated now. If anyone cares, then they either have long forgotten or moved on.
Either way, as an adult, we will naturally assign magical details to our childhood experiences that will never live up. Not only has a lot changed since then, it’s also a function of our brains not being accurate. I can almost guarantee that even if a good effort was put in to accurately capture the atmosphere of the childhood celebrations, it still won’t feel the same. There will be details that you have long forgotten, and there will be negative details that you long ago scrubbed from mind.
There is no reliving the past, hard as one tries. There is only finding out what can make the experience positive in the modern era. Whether that means going to see the family, or staying home and cracking a bottle of booze (or partaking in some legal cannabis!), the choice is yours. You don’t need to involve family OR drugs, it’s whatever suits you.
I will probably spend my holiday under the relaxing intoxication of one or 2 cannabis-infused beverages while doing some housework (or writing) to pass the time. That is what works for me.
Today, we will be exploring an article titled Dead Celebrities are being digitally resurrected — and the ethics are murky, written by Jenna Benchetrit and published by CBC News. While it’s not the first time I have heard of this concept (nor seen it explored in pop culture, as in the case of Black Mirror), I have never really stopped to consider the implications. That is to say, how I would respond to coming across one of my cherished idols or artists digitally resurrected for my enjoyment.
Being the nature of the subject, the resulting conclusions can only be subjective. We will all naturally come to a different stance based on the many things that make us all . . . us. As such, this will be (for the most part) more an act of personal exploration than ethical vetting. Nonetheless, feel free to share your views in the comments if you wish.
Hologram performances, artificial voices and posthumous albums pose tough ethical questions, critics say
It’s a modern phenomenon that’s growing increasingly common with innovative technology and marketing appeal: the practice of digitally resurrecting deceased celebrities by using their image and unreleased works for new projects.
Michael Jackson moonwalked at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards years after his death; rapper Tupac Shakur performed at the 2012 Coachella music festival, though he died in 1996; and late singer Aaliyah’s estate spoke out recently after her record label announced that some of her albums would be released on streaming services.
A slew of recent controversies have renewed complicated questions about whether projects involving the use of a deceased celebrity’s likeness or creative output honours the artist’s legacy or exploits it for monetary gain.
Prince’s former colleague released a posthumous album comprised of songs the artist recorded in 2010 then scrapped; an artificially-engineered model of Anthony Bourdain’s voice was used in a new documentary about the chef and author’s life; and a hologram of Whitney Houston will perform a six-month Las Vegas residency beginning in October 2021.
Interestingly enough, this brings to mind a conversation (a debate of sorts) I had with a friend some years back at work. Him being a fan of old school grunge and the Seattle scene, he hated the reincarnation of Alice In Chains with the presence of a new lead singer. At the time, I recall viewing the sentiment towards the name as kind of silly (what difference does it make?). I happened to like the music of both configurations of the band, so the sentiment that they should have proceeded under a different name seemed . . . purist.
Then around 3 years later, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park fame died by suicide. Upon considering my previous viewpoint at some point later, I was struck by the realization that I had similar reservations about someone else fronting Linkin Park in place of Chester Bennington. I had no real rational reason for this. It just felt weird for someone else to step into the role that of someone that I had become familiar with since my teen years. Hybrid Theory and Meteora came out when I was in high school. I literally grew up with this band as part of the soundtrack of my life.
Even though I stopped paying as much attention to most of the releases after Minutes To Midnight, it still felt . . .weird.
But that was years ago. Having not thought about it since probably 2017, I’ve realized that most of the sentiment towards the name Linkin Park (likely a result of the death being so recent at the time) is gone. Which it seems is not a moment too soon since the rest of the group (mostly on hiatus since 2017) is starting to release remixed and new material starting in 2020. So far there has been 1 track re-released in August 2020 and a remixed released in January of 2021. We will see what goodies the rest of LP have for us in the coming post-pandemic years.
This isn’t even the first time I’ve had this inner dialogue, either. It also occurred back in 2016, when I heard (with horror at the time) that Axel Rose of Guns & Roses infamy was set to replace ACDC’s Brian Johnson, who was forced to retire due to hearing problems. This was not on account of sentiment either (remember that Brian Johnson replaced the deceased Bon Scott back in 1980). More, it was due to the volatile and infamous nature of Rose himself. Though his antics are well known and documented (up to and including inciting a riot in Montreal), even my aunt has a story of annoyance associated with working security at a G &R show (the band came on stage an hour late).
An interesting side note of the Montreal riot . . . lost to history is the fact that Axle was also suffering from a torn vocal cord at the time of the incident, which seems to have weighed into the decision. This, along with the fact that only around 2000 people (of the 10,000ish in attendance) were thought to have participated in the riots.
This is also something that I have not thought about for a long time. Probably because, as it turns out, the 23 show ACDC collaboration appears to have gone off without a hitch. And though the group was on hiatus since 2016, the 2014 lineup reunited in 2020 to release Power Up, an album that I enjoy. Not that ACDC has ever put out an album that I didn’t enjoy.
Sure, the music is simple in comparison to the various shades of metal that I’ve since moved on to. Yet, it also remains enjoyable since the group is delightfully unserious when it comes to songwriting, never fearing to tread into the low brow. As evidenced by the 2020 track Money Shot, a tune that made me laugh out loud. And one can’t complain much of the simplistic nature of the pub rock genre, because if you want something more, look no further than Airbourne (like ACDC. they also started in Australia). Though it is obvious who their influences are, they certainly take things to a whole other level.
Sticking to the topic still, we come to another band that I grew up with that changed frontman. Three Days Grace.
Growing up, I used to think of the first 2 3DG albums as another soundtrack to my teenage years. I also liked (and own) the subsequent 2 albums under the original lineup. But when lead singer Adam Gontier left the group and was replaced by Matt Walst of My Darkest Days, it took some (who am I kidding . . . MUCH!) persuasion to appreciate the new Three Days Grace.
Or, Nu 3DG as it were.
But as it turned out, the unexpected change of lineup was not the awful thing that times closer to the change made it out to be. Under the lead of Matt Walst, Three Days Grace has moved into a newer and more interesting sound. And Adam is heading an equally interesting project in St. Asonia. The best of both worlds.
Also worth noting is the Foo Fighters. While I am almost certain that Courtney Love would NOT have let Dave Grohl and the rest of the trio continue forward under the Nirvana brand, it would be interesting to see what the results of a different timeline would have been. For example, the ACDC timeline.
Would fans embrace the new frontman (as seems the case with ACDC)? Or would they detest the new configuration (as with AiC)?
Whatever the case does not matter, anyhow, since the Foo Fighters did perfectly fine even without the old brand behind them.
Looking back at this, it’s funny that I once looked at my friend’s distaste of NU-AiC as amusing and purist. As it turns out, I am just as human in my distaste of the alterations of the familiar. Hell . . . it’s one of my biggest critiques of many baby boomers that I know, and of the generation in general. The lack of interest in even trying to accept the new, let alone accepting that the old way is largely on the way out. Often for good reason.
So much have I pondered this that I now conclude that change is almost always actually a good thing for a band.
The first example of this that comes to mind is Seether. Their first 3 albums were also part of the soundtrack of my teenage years, with the 4th coming out just as I was coming of age as an adult. Though I still liked the fourth album despite its slight move away from what one was used to, I can’t stand anything released afterward. The same goes for Theory of a Deadman. I liked the first 2 albums, but what followed was Gawd awful. I don’t normally throw away music that I own, but I did toss The Truth Is because, for the life of me, I didn’t know why I spent $15 or $20 on it.
Remember buying CDs?
Yeah . . . I don’t miss it either. I do miss the days before people like me and streaming sucked much of the money out of the music industry, forcing artists old and new to resort to commercials and advertising as a steady income stream. But I suppose that is a different entry altogether.
Either way, rare is the musician from my childhood that has continuously put out new material, yet avoided the pitfall of toning it down for mainstream popularity. So rare is the case that only Billy Talent comes to mind as an artist that bucked the trend.
No matter the backlash, when artists decide to do the seemingly unthinkable and make a big change, the results are almost always alright. Another example that I just recently discovered was Aaron Lewis. Best known by me (and probably most people) as the lead singer behind Staind, imagine my surprise in discovering Country Boy in a country playlist. I can’t say that I like it, per se. But it’s certainly different, and Aaron is suited for the genre.
Considering that I used to hate country, the fact that I’m starting to get accustomed to some of it is shocking in itself. And I do in fact mean some of it. Though I like a couple Dierks Bentley songs and a Joe Nichols tune that most people likely know among some others, the pickings are slim. Aside from learning that a coon dog isn’t an incredibly racist lyric, I still find the formulaic nature of much of the country genre to be annoying.
To be fair, much of what I am describing is prescribed to a category within Country music that many call Bro-Country. Having said that, even the old-time stuff tends to lean in this direction. Hence why also can’t stand Alan Jackson or Toby Keith (he irked me long before the Red Solo Cup abomination).
I am very selective indeed . . . but it’s a hell of a change from a year ago. Not to mention that I figure it would be hard to find someone that has everything from Slipknot, to Weird Al, to Dierks Bentley on the same playlist.
But at long last, I come to the topic that the readers have come here for . . . holograms.
Michael Jackson moonwalked at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards years after his death; rapper Tupac Shakur performed at the 2012 Coachella music festival, though he died in 1996; and late singer Aaliyah’s estate spoke out recently after her record label announced that some of her albums would be released on streaming services.
* * *
Prince’s former colleague released a posthumous album comprised of songs the artist recorded in 2010 then scrapped; an artificially-engineered model of Anthony Bourdain’s voice was used in a new documentary about the chef and author’s life; and a hologram of Whitney Houston will perform a six-month Las Vegas residency beginning in October 2021.
This is certainly an interesting thing to ponder. Though I CAN think of 1 reason why I would not want to see Micheal Jackson moonwalking in a show post-humously, the ethical reasoning has nothing to do with him being dead. Frankly, the same goes for anyone that would want to present a holographic Kobe Bryant. I find the continued praise and worship of both those people to be problematic, but again, that is a whole other post.
2.) Micheal Jackson was NOT proven innocent, contrary to how Twitter recently reacted. The court only dismissed the notion of the victims that 2 companies representing Jackson’s interests had any bearing of responsibility towards their safety and welfare. Nothing more.
Moving on from that red hot potato, I come to Tupac Shakur and Whitney Houston. When it comes to these 2, I am neutral. Assuming that neither said anything in life against the concept of post-humous holograms and assuming the concept isn’t going against either majority fan or estate wishes, I see little issue with it. It is but a new medium for the broadcast and display of recorded media, after all. In my opinion, no different than watching a Whitney Houston music video on YouTube. Or as I happen to be doing at this moment, listening to the long-deceased Johnny Cash in MP3 form.
I know . . . who still does that?!
Speaking of times changing, we come to the release of dead artist’s music on streaming platforms. Short of the artist taking issue with it in life (as seems would be the case with Prince), I have little issue with it. For all intents and purposes, the cat is already out of the bag. In fact, it has been since the debut of Napster in 1999, continued to be so in the early 2000s with the decentralized P2P platforms, and continued ever beyond in the realm of torrents and discographies. Today, people scrape YouTube videos for audio.
And even that isn’t really correct anymore, with most people using ad or subscription-based streaming services. My preferred choice is YouTube Music since it comes with fewer limitations than Spotify (though I use Spotify for podcasts).
Any artists refusing to join the streaming platforms at this point are just pissing into the wind. This is not to say that the modern monetary sharing scheme is optimal (cause it’s not. It’s even more shit than it was in the past!). Nonetheless, however, when even the Nirvana and Tool catalogues can now be streamed, you know we’re in a different era.
As for using machine learning algorithms to reanimate the voice of the now-deceased Anthony Bourdain, however . . . THAT IS WHERE I DRAW THE LINE!
Yeah . . . just kidding.
Personally, having seen Desperate Housewives back in the day (remember the homophobia of seasons 1 and 2? That didn’t age well ), the idea of a show narrated by a character deceased from the plot is interesting. As much as I’d love the Bourdain doc to open with a line like “Guess what, guys! I’m dead!” (I can see him doing something like that!), it probably wouldn’t go over well with the normies among us.
No one seems to take issue with a dead Paul Walker showing up in a run of the mill Holywood movie, but throw a dead guy joke into a Bourdain documentary . . .
Ethical and legal ramifications
It’s a matter of both ethics and law, but the ethical concerns are arguably more important, according to Iain MacKinnon, a Toronto-based media lawyer.
“It’s a tough one, because if the artist never addressed the issue while he or she was alive, anybody who’s granting these rights — which is typically an executor of an estate — is really just guessing what the artist would have wanted,” MacKinnon said.
“It always struck me as a bit of a cash grab for the estates and executors to try and milk … a singer’s celebrity and rights, I guess, for a longer time after their death.”
According to MacKinnon, the phrase “musical necrophilia” is commonly used to criticize the practice. Music journalist Simon Reynolds referred to the phenomenon of holographic performances as “ghost slavery,” and in The Guardian, Catherine Shoard called the CGI-insertion of a dead actor into a new film a “digital indignity.”
This is indeed an almost cut and dry case when it comes to copyright law. Though it sounds like one single area, what copyrights equate to are a great many single rights.
Say I am writing a book called “Crazy Cats of New Haven”. The moment the pen hits the paper (or the finger hits the keyboard), the resulting document in its entirety is covered under international copyright law. However, beyond just being your proof in a court of law, having this control over the main copyright also means you have control of any other rights whether currently available or future. For example:
theatrical (movie? play?)
The reason I am aware of this is on account of a short copyright course I took aimed at aspiring authors. Instructed by a seasoned and published author, the goal was to introduce us to a sample book contract and ensure we are aware that not all contracts are alike. Like every other area of the media and entertainment industry, not all publishers are equal.
This is where the future rights portion of this comes in. Though I have yet to come across my first contract at this point, most are said to automatically include every right that is available and future rights. Or in normie speak, if the project ever blows up and goes cross-platform (eg. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter), the publisher is often in a much more powerful position than the author or writer.
And this isn’t uncommon either. The writers in the music industry often make peanuts even if they write hits.
Songwriters are guaranteed a royalty from every unit sold (CDs, vinyl, cassette, etc.).
These royalties are paid out differently in different countries, but in the U.S., they come out to $0.091 per reproduction of the song – nine cents every time a song is reproduced/sold.
In other countries, the royalty is paid out at 8 to 10% of the value of the recording.
What does this equate to?
Take the song “Pumped Up Kicks” – a huge hit for Foster The People. The track sold 3.8 million copies and the album itself sold 671,000 copies.
The frontman of the band Nate Foster has the sole writing credit on the song, so he collects every penny of the mechanical royalties, which would come out to around $406,861.
And that’s just the mechanicals. There are other ways that song was making money – it received a ton of radio play and was licensed on TV shows like Entourage, Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries, which added to Foster and the band’s earnings.
Digital Download Mechanical Royalties
Digital download mechanical royalties are generated in the same way physical mechanical royalties are generated, except they are paid whenever any song is downloaded.
iTunes, Amazon, Google Rhapsody, Xbox Music, all generate and pay these royalties to songwriters whenever a song is downloaded.
Again, these are paid out at a rate of $0.091 per song.
Streaming Mechanical Royalties
Streaming mechanical royalties are generated from the same Reproduction and Distribution copyrights, but are paid differently.
They are generated any time a song is streamed through a service that allows users to pause, play, skip, download, etc.
This means Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, Pandora, etc.
In the U.S. (and globally for the most part) the royalty rate is 10.5% of the company’s gross revenue minus the cost of public performance.
An easier way to say this, is that it generally comes out to around $0.005 per stream. Less than a cent!
Now that we have explored all the reasons why MB Man will never be writing any songs anytime soon, let’s move onto the movie industry. We will now explore the shady realms of Hollywood Accounting. How to turn a multi-billion dollar grossing blockbuster into cash bleeding loss.
On today’s Planet Money, Edward Jay Epstein, the author of a recent book called The Hollywood Economist, explains the business of movies.
As a case study, he walks us through the numbers for “Gone In 60 Seconds.” (It starred Angelina Jolie and Nicolas Cage. They stole cars. Don’t pretend like you don’t remember it.)
The movie grossed $240 million at the box office. And, after you take out all the costs and fees and everything associated with the movie, it lost $212 million.
This is the part of Hollywood accounting that is, essentially, fiction. Disney, which produced the movie, did not lose that money.
Each movie is set up as its own corporation. So what “lost money” on the picture is that corporation — Gone In 60 Seconds, Inc., or whatever it was called.
And Gone In 60 Seconds, Inc. pays all these fees to Disney and everyone else connected to the movie. And the fees, Epstein says, are really where the money’s at.
May I first note that the last name appears to be coincidental in this case. Unsurprising, given my doubts that Jeffrey Epstein would like having an investigative journalist around the island of rich pedos.
ANYWAY . . .
That is how you turn a billion-dollar grossing moneymaker of a film into a cash-losing flop. And as usual, I veered off-topic.
Well, sort of. We now know the stance of the entertainment industry in terms of ethics . . . there are none. Given the power afforded to the rights holder, I suspect that we will see a lot more deceased celebrities doing everything from performing in Vegas to selling coffee and toothpaste on TV commercials.
Just kidding . . . clearly the cash is now in YouTube and Spotify ads.
Richard Lachman, an associate professor at Ryerson University who researches the relationship between humans and technology, said that as artists age and develop a better sense of their legacies, they may take the time to protect their images and file appropriate contract clauses.
But not every artist will grow old. Indeed, a common thread between many of the artists whose works and likeness have been used in this capacity is an unexpected or accidental death.
Prince died in 2016 of an accidental opioid overdose, Anthony Bourdain died by suicide in 2018 and Whitney Houston drowned in her bathtub in 2012 as a result of heart disease and cocaine use. Tupac, Amy Winehouse and Aaliyah all died unexpectedly at young ages.
Lachman said if this is the case, then it’s possible that clauses accounting for image use didn’t get written into wills. He also noted that artists who die prematurely don’t grow old, giving an impression of perpetual youth that reminds audiences what an artist looked like in their prime.
And while fans might be protective of the artists they love, they’re also the primary consumers to whom these digital resurrections appeal.
“Yes, we know that [a hologram of] Whitney Houston is not the real Whitney Houston,” Lachman said. “But it’s a chance for us to engage in some of that fan behaviour, something that binds us to one another.”
I agree with the final sentence.
As explained earlier, I am not against the concept of posthumous holograms. Even taking the Whitney Houston hologram example and replacing her likeness with Chester Bennington or Warrel Dane (2 artists that mean much more to me than Whitney Houston), I still don’t really find myself against the concept. Assuming that the family and/or next of kin is on board with the process, this seems to be just an ultramodern example of what we have been taking for granted for decades. The ability to store information onto various mediums.
First came the song. Then the video. Now, potentially, the whole experience. Whether the experience is to be predetermined (akin to a pre-recording) or interactive (play out based on the audience, presumably) depends on the technology.
Though I can see why this kind of thing may be considered horrifying by some, consider the opportunity. Before now, if your favourite artist were to die, that is it in terms of opportunities for interaction. Though there may be shows if their surrounding act decides to continue, the opportunity of seeing the artist live will never happen again. Particularly notable when it comes to solo acts.
For people who have never seen that artist live, this may well be the opportunity of a lifetime. Indeed, it’s not the REAL thing. But it’s a very special opportunity nonetheless. An opportunity that my grandfather (who died in 1998) did not have in his lifetime.
For this reason, those in charge of these shows will have to be extra careful when it comes to smooth and flawless production performances. Not only will these performances serve as a typical live show, they will also serve as the farewell tribute that many of us wish we could have had with long-lost loved ones (beloved celebrities included). Auditoriums housing such performances may be wise to keep lots of tissues on hand.
For some, releasing archived material might not seem as harmful as resurrecting a person with virtual reality, MacKinnon said.
“I think there’s different degrees and a spectrum of uses that can be made of dead performers.”
There is no doubt no comparison between the 2. If it was not explicitly trashed by the artist, it may well have ended up released later in their career anyway.
The Prince example from earlier has to be mentioned, however. The posthumous release of an album of songs written by (and scrapped by!) Prince. Prince’s feelings towards the material were clear. Any person of ethics and integrity would know to leave the trash in the trash.
So naturally, they took the other path and cashed in on the fanbase for some cash.
There will always be unscrupulous actors in an industry devoid of ethical and moral virtues. Thus, it is important not to let their actions dictate our opinion of anything we are speaking of. Unscrupulous people will always be unscrupulous, after all.
Prince is an artist who’s been on both sides of that spectrum.
Last month, his posthumous album Welcome 2 America was released to fanfare. But there was another controversial incident in which it was rumoured that a hologram of Prince would perform alongside Justin Timberlake at the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show. The plans were eventually scrapped, with Prince’s ex-fiancée Sheila E. confirming that Timberlake wouldn’t go through with it.
The incident renewed interest in a 1998 interview with Guitar World, in which Prince said performing with an artist from the past is “the most demonic thing imaginable.”
I don’t know who had the bigger say in this decision, but if it was Justin Timberlake, good on him for seemingly honouring the wishes of Prince. Seemingly, because I can only imagine how much public pressure was driving the decision. This is the age of social media and Twitter, after all.
Sarah Niblock, a visiting professor of psychology at York St. John University in York, England, who has long studied Prince and co-wrote a book about the artist, says efforts to dig into his vault and use his image for profit are in contention with his publicly expressed wishes.
“He was fully in control of his output, sonically and visually, and the way everything was marketed, and of course, those who performed with him and all of his artists that he produced,” Niblock said.
The situation is further complicated because Prince didn’t leave a will when he died. Without one, “a person’s estate can exploit or license those rights if they want to,” MacKinnon said.
While the legal boundaries are relatively clear, the ethical question of whether an artist is being exploited or not is subjective.
For Niblock, digital resurrections that enrich the estate and its executors at the expense of an artist’s known wishes cross a line.
“Trying to somehow use that death to create a mythic quality that the artists themselves would have not necessarily intended, to then market that for money … I mean, it’s extremely cynical and disrespectful.”
There is no respect in capitalism. Only profits.
Legal considerations must be made before death
While promoting his new documentary Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, director Morgan Neville said he had recreated Bourdain’s voice using machine learning, then used the voice model to speak words Bourdain had written.
The incident prompted a wave of public discussion, some of it criticism levelled at Neville.
A tweet from Bourdain’s ex-wife suggested that he wouldn’t have approved. A columnist for Varietyconsidered the ethical ramifications of the director’s choice. And Helen Rosner of The New Yorkerwrote that “a synthetic Bourdain voice-over seemed to me far less crass than, say … a holographic Tupac Shakur performing alongside Snoop Dogg at Coachella.”
Recent incidents like the Bourdain documentary or Whitney Houston’s hologram residency will likely prompt those in the entertainment industry to protect themselves accordingly, said MacKinnon.
Having considered things a bit (and watched the Tupac Coachella appearance), I would hardly consider it as crass. The audience in attendance certainly didn’t. Nor do most of the people in the YouTube comments. Nor do the 274k people that liked the video (verses around 6k dislikes). I’d say the only people that cared were exactly where they should be . . . NOT AT THE SHOW!
Feel free to check it out for yourself. It was linked in the CBC article, believe it or not.
“I think now, if they haven’t already, agents, managers, lawyers, performers are all going to be telling their clients that if they care about this, if they care about how their image is used after they die, they need to be addressing it right now in their wills.”
Robin Williams is a notable example of a public figure who foresaw these issues. The late actor, who died by suicide in 2014, restricted the use of his image and likeness for 25 years after his death.
It’s cool that Robin Williams had the foresight to consider this before his tragic demise. While I am not as averse to the thought of a post-humous Robin Williams comedy special as I would have been closer to 2014, the man has spoken.
We have indeed entered a new era.
A passing thought . . . though we will never know what opinion past comedians like George Carlin or Bill Hicks would have of this technology, I sense that both would have a lot of fun with it.
Hologram technology improving
According to both Lachman and MacKinnon, artists would do well to make similar arrangements, as the technology behind these recreations will only get more sophisticated.
Holograms of Tupac at 2012 Coachella and Michael Jackson at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards were produced using a visual trick from the Victorian-era called “Pepper’s Ghost,” named for John Henry Pepper, the British scientist who popularized it.
In the illusion, a person’s image is reflected onto an angled glass pane from an area hidden from the audience. The technique gave the impression that the rapper and the king of pop were performing on stage.
Nowadays, companies like Base Hologram in Los Angeles specialize in large-scale digital production of holograms. The recreation of Bourdain’s voice was made possible by feeding ten hours of audio into an artificial intelligence model.
Lachman said that it will become “almost impossible” for the average consumer to know the difference between a hologram creation and the real person.
He said that while the effects are still new and strange enough to warrant media attention, digital resurrections will continue to have an uncanny effect on their audience — but not for much longer, as audiences will likely grow accustomed to the phenomenon.
Though he said there may be purists who disagree, it seems like audiences have been generally accepting of the practice.
“It seems like the trend is we’re just going to get over it.”
I agree. This phenomenon, as somewhat creepy and new as it is, ain’t going anywhere. But as far as I’m concerned, that is a good thing.
There will no doubt be people that will take advantage of this technology so long as celebrities don’t take precautions. Such is the world we live in. Aside from that, I’d say we have a very unique opportunity.
Certainly for tasteful send-offs of beloved stars and musicians (imagine something like a Whitney Houston final Farewell tour). Beyond that, really, the sky is the limit.
In a pleasant change of topic from my previous series of posts published last month, I came across an interesting statistic as reported by Irina Slav of the platform Oilprice.com. As noted in the title of this post (and the article I am giving commentary on), allegedly EV’s are not the game-changer that 18% of Californians thought they would be. Coming from a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry, there really must be something to this news.
Let’s find out!
Close to a fifth of all EV drivers in California have switched back to gasoline cars because charging their electric cars was a hassle, according to a new study bound to send ripples across an industry that has plans for market domination.
The study from the University of California, published in Nature Energy, looked at drivers who bought EVs between 2012 and 2018 and found that 18 percent of battery electric vehicle buyers switched back to gasoline-powered cars, as did 20 percent of plug-in hybrid buyers. The main problem cited by respondents to the surveys that the authors conducted was with charging times.
Insider, in a report on the study, quoted Bloomberg’s car analyst Kevin Tinan as explaining that he had just tested a Mustang Mach-E. It had charged—in a household outlet—at a rate of just 3 miles of range per hour. This makes just 36 miles of range for overnight charging, Tinan noted.
The technicalities of EV charging rarely make the headlines, and the reason is that they are a bit inconvenient for EV proponents. If you buy an EV that you use every day, you won’t be able to do it by charging it at home. The reason is that household outlets give out some 120 volts of power, which makes for the aforementioned rate of charging.
Public charging points, in comparison, put out 240 volts, which means faster charging. Then there are Tesla’s Superchargers, which give out 480 volts. Yet even with a Supercharger, it would take an hour to “fill up” an EV batter. This compares to just a handful of minutes to fill up a gasoline-powered vehicle.
I am unsure if it is deliberate or not, but there is already a small bit of misinformation about available charging infrastructure (as in available to the consumer!) at this point. While it is true that most home charging of EVs likely does occur at the painfully slow 120V’s of a household outlet, 240V/208V charging can be installed for home/business/condo use. While the tier 1 or 2 single-phase charging infrastructure available to households is indeed slower at adding miles (or kilometres in the rest of the world) than 3 phase level 3 systems, 240V/208V can be installed in residential settings. There is just an extra cost for doing so.
Yes, you do have to pay an electrician to come to your home and properly wire everything into place. Though these rates may fluctuate depending on where in the US one lives, this Home Advisor article puts the total cost at around $3000 or below.
The national average for installing a standard electric vehicle charging station ranges between $456 and $1,072, while the median cost is $759 each. The price of the stations alone runs $400 to $2,000, depending on whether you choose a Level 1 or a Level 2. Hardwiring a Level 2 or installing a circuit for plug-in types adds another $500 to $1,500.
Since I am speaking of level 2 charging equipment, using the upper end of the costs as represented here brings us to around $3,500 plus taxes (unless rebates are available). Indeed, it is definitely NOT nothing. But at the same time, assuming it to be a one-time purchase that will be usable for all future vehicles (assuming you stick to EV’s AND don’t move), it’s not that great of an expense. You are shelling out $40,000 to $60,000 or more for the vehicle, after all. It’s not much to take onto the car payment itself and pay in installments. And if you can’t, then EV manufacturers should get on that!
I’m sure electricians all over North America and beyond would jump at the chance of being the official electrition of *EV BRAND HERE*. Who doesn’t like guaranteed business!
According to Edmunds.com, most consumers drive their brand new vehicles for about 6 and a half years and used vehicles for around 5 and a half years. In that time, on top of oil changes, fluid flushes, and various other maintenance (depending on the make and model), most consumers will be shelling out at least $2,000 for gasoline per year. Indeed, this number will vary for everyone, and electricity (your new ongoing cost) isn’t free. But it’s a whole lot cheaper than gasoline. And again, this is NOT including other maintenance costs of internal combustion engines.
* * *
While a paragraph such as this:
Insider, in a report on the study, quoted Bloomberg’s car analyst Kevin Tinan as explaining that he had just tested a Mustang Mach-E. It had charged—in a household outlet—at a rate of just 3 miles of range per hour. This makes just 36 miles of range for overnight charging, Tinan noted.
. . . isn’t EXACTLY misleading (no one should expect a reporter OR Ford to pay the cost of a level 2 install just for a test drive), it indeed is leaving details out.
Another area that I should also touch on is the study that is being cited. Using the abstract, we can determine the main factors for the reversal of the adoption of EVs in California.
We show that discontinuance is related to dissatisfaction with the convenience of charging, having other vehicles in the household that are less efficient, not having level 2 (240-volt) charging at home, having fewer household vehicles and not being male.
We are keenly aware of the first reason and somewhat aware of the 3ed reason. However, the other 3 reasons are somewhat surprising and borderline irrational (particularly not being male. That isn’t how I would have thought that bias would play out!).
Not being sure how one would tackle those issues, i’ll stick to the convenience factor. Though owning an EV can be made a somewhat viable experience for everyday use, at present there is always a catch. In order to gain the maximum amount of convenience out of your experience, you need to shell out for a level 2 charging station. And when it comes to the road trip scenarios (or just needing to travel long distances a lot), charging stops have to be factored in. While it’s easy for me to just say “go with the flow! Enjoy the downtime!”, this won’t cut it for some people. A factor that must be taken into consideration going forward.
Obviously, the current EV landscape is not for them as it stands. However, this would seem to be easily alleviated simply by creating some kind of battery swap or rent-a-battery program. Pop the drained one out, plop the fresh one in, and off you go for another 300 or so miles (or whatever the capacity is, minus cabin comforts). Depending on the configuration of these vehicles, I can see this as being an even faster process than waiting for a tank to fill with fuel., thereby eliminating one of the few selling points petroleum as a fuel source has left.
We will see how the EV industry tackles this problem. I don’t see it as being the impediment that the oil industry would like it to be, however.
What’s more, according to the study from the University of California, two-thirds of EV drivers didn’t use public charging stations, although the reasons for this were not specified.
Such studies don’t bode well for the future of EVs.
Not exactly correct, but I know who is paying your salary.
When I consider the Nature study linked above, most of the problems are fairly easily remedied when factors of convenience are eliminated. 2 of them are essentially the same (other inefficient vehicles in the household, fewer household vehicles) and will eventually be solved by obsolescence. And is not a male can easily be tackled by marketing. Hell, all of these can be easily reversed by a good marketing campaign. After all, if a good marketing campaign can sell a consumer into an irrational activity or habit, then it can certainly sell a sensible one!
The fossil fuel industry is great at this marketing trickery (“We don’t sell Oil or Coal, we sell Energy!“). Remember when BP tried to rebrand itself Beyond Petroleum, but a massive pipeline spill in Alaska (not to mention the Deepwater Horizon disaster) smashed that facade like a brick through a window? If Big Oil can attempt to sell us on what they are not, then EV’s can sell themselves as the viable alternatives that they are.
I am nothing if not pragmatic.
The Biden administration—and the state of California—have superambitious plans for EV adoption, and so have all big carmakers. But studies such as the one from nature Energy suggest success may not be as certain as some would like it to be. Car dealers are already aware of that: a recent article in the Wall Street Journal noted EVs still make up a tiny minority of total car sales and cited one car dealer as saying, “The consumer in the middle of America just isn’t there yet.”
This is fairly true. I live on the Canadian Prairies, which are fairly comparable to many northern middle American agricultural states (Nebraska, Montana, etc). And indeed, very few people here (outside of people like me who keep their finger on the pulse of this stuff) view EV’s as anything more than a futuristic technology. And a not-insignificant number of people simply scoff at the idea of EVs entirely.
While this IS indeed the reality, it must be considered that most people are coming to these conclusions based off of outdated and/or misleading information. While there does exist a cohort that proudly proclaims that they will never go EV, most people are far more receptive once they learn what is now available.
While range limitations are in fact still a legitimate consideration for people such as farmers or anyone with a very long commute, the vast majority of the populace of most states and provinces lives much of their lives either in or near an urban center. As such, the average driving need of most people can easily fit within the limitations of many new EV offerings.
Part of the reason why so many people are still running off of misinformation lies with the car manufacturers themselves. Aside from the offerings of a handful of largely newly minted and unknown EV-only manufacturers (with Tesla and Rivian at the forefront), the automotive industry has been slow to embrace and push EVs. While the reasoning for the hesitation is understandable from the business perspective of legacy automakers (re-tooling isn’t going to come cheap, and there WILL be casualties along the way. No industry as large or complex as the modern-day auto industry can turn on a dime), even the EV-focused manufacturers have failed to sell themselves adequately.
Having just browsed the offerings from both Rivian and Tesla, it’s easy to see why many label them as more providers of a status symbol than leaders of a revolution in automotive manufacturing. When it comes to Tesla, you have the choice between 4 sedans and a god-awful monstrosity masquerading as a pick-up truck (or is it an SUV? Uh). Rivian has a truck that actually LOOKS like a truck, but alongside that . . . essentially a Hummer clone on wheels.
Some people don’t mind a sedan, and some people don’t mind an ungodly monstrosity on wheels. But left out are most average folks, driving SUVs and crossovers ranging from small, to medium to roomy. And most of all, missing is the familiarity of an already trusted model. Until the existence of this giant cohort is acknowledged, EV sales will drag.
Right to Repair
While it is tempting to draw this post to close, it occurs to me that there is another segment of the population that the EV transition risks alienating. That is backyard (and otherwise amateur) mechanics. While the transition itself will not necessarily affect them (skills can be upgraded if they so desire), the manufacturer’s stances on right to repair may have a negative effect on such individuals.
First of all, I should explain what is entailed by the term Right to Repair. Essentially, it is your right to either self repair your device, or to bring the device to a source other than the manufacturer for repairs. However, this is often made very difficult (if not impossible!) by various manufacturers by way of hardware or software blocks, warrantee clauses, and other trickery. Though the most notorious 2 offenders sell products designed in California and manufacture green farm equipment, the trend is spreading all over the manufacturing space.
Though the above video is primarily focused on the technology industry as opposed to the automotive industry, it should be noted that Tesla is one of the companies that does all it can to prevent outside repairs and modifications (including software) to its vehicles. While this stance on software can rightfully be defended on one hand (it would be easy to cause potential instability, with Tesla taking the blame for the failure no matter why it occurred). However, given that the range of some models can be increased with a paid software update (or during emergency situations), is it wrong to want this capability out of the vehicle you purchased WITHOUT paying the thousands extra?
In its newly updated Model S sedan, Tesla is selling a 70kWh battery that is secretly a 75kWh battery. The company has been selling them for almost a month, and is just now telling the world about it. Even better? If you bought one of those 70kWh Model S sedans, you can pay $3,250 to “unlock” the extra juice. Bizarre? Absolutely. But maybe brilliant, too.
There’s a long history of “upgrading” cars to give them more horsepower or better cosmetics. It’s just that most of those upgrades are usually done by adding physical bits to the car — a new turbocharger or better tires or an exhaust system. The idea of upgrading a car with software via an over-the-air update is something totally new, especially when the hardware is already in place. There is one physical upgrade made to the car, though: Tesla says it will swap the 70 badge on the back of an upgraded Model S for a 75 badge the next time it comes into a service center.
As you can see, this is old news (pre-Trump. VERY old news lol). Nonetheless, it is interesting how Tesla selling the EV equivalent of a preinstalled expandable gas tank that is about a quarter less volume than a typical tank is considered Brilliant. I get that people love Elon, but bloody hell . . . If any of the big 3 tried this crap, Elizabeth Warren would have their CEO’s in front of congress.
Either way, I’ve strayed from right to repair. So back we go.
As outspoken advocates have known for years, it is hard to put Right To Repair on people’s radar. While various media platforms and individuals like Louis Rossman (you may remember him from my post outlining the GME/AMC amusement of 3 months back) try their best, it can be hard to make people care. Having grown up in this throw-away era, and having little interest in fixing my own stuff (despite purchasing some equipment for the purpose at one point!), I get it.
Having recently shattered the camera lens on my nearly brand new Motorola Razr flip phone (yes, this is a thing), I also see what people like Rossman are trying to do for consumers. Such a form of damage would void the warranty of the device (unless my research is incorrect). However, given that it is so new, I am not even sure if repair shops (be it Rossman, or any independents located in my city) would even have the part yet. Fortunately, the camera still can see through the damage, so I didn’t lose any functionality. Given thatI am carrying around a device with several loosely held shards of razor shard glass, however, I hope someone can do something about it.
I’m reminded of the first-gen Blackberry Curve I had years ago which I had to repair with tape. The plastic cover over the sunken screen somehow got cracked, so I quite literally ended up with a Crackberry. Good ole Blackberries . . . most of the males around me that bought them back in the day ended up with moto razer’s within around 6 months. As it turns out, 18 to 20-year-old males are hard on devices initially designed for the business cautious.
How things change.
Getting back to Right to Repair and the EV transition, however, we have to focus on a group that I would normally be tempted to write off. A group that I referred to earlier in fact. The cohort of the driving public that insists they will never operate anything but a good ole internal combustion engine.
Though some people are this way because of preference, there is another reason to adopt this attitude. The older the ICE vehicle model and engine they have, the easier they are to fix. While the sentiment is common amongst car enthusiasts, mechanics or otherwise people that don’t like wasting money, you can also find this sentiment on farms all over North America.
Not only do older vehicles, combines and other farm equipments tend to be easier to work on than more complex newer models, they are also unencumbered by the industry’s recent trend towards monopolizing repair of said machinery. Though I have to thank Louis Roosman for bringing this to my attention, it’s something I have heard about anecdotally from working with people connected to the agricultural industry. A really unfortunate thing since most farmers don’t have the time to screw around with going to a dealer and waiting on repairs in the middle of the working season. Time is money, and no farmer can afford downtime.
Given the way that agricultural equipment manufacturers are behaving, it isn’t hard to see why many would prize their older but still functional equipment over new, expensive, and more technological (and also, impossible to repair on the fly) equipment. The elimination of the internal combustion engine may well take away the last machine that they can legally work on without ramification.
Though one of the selling points of EVs is their overall lack of moving parts (and as such, the ease in repairing them), the bad ethics demonstrated by arguably the industry’s leader in terms of the right to repair is not a great precedent to be setting.
While right to repair isn’t on most of our agendas (nor is the EV transition, really), it really should be. Because this is not just a problem of farmers, out of towners and otherwise people most of us don’t consider in our day to day consumer activities. It is a problem for all of us, because pricy repairs WILL eventually affect all of us, and planned or forced obsolescence WILL affect all of us. And to think big picture, planned and forced obsolescence is terrible for the environment. Though many components of technology can be reclaimed and technically recycled into new products, the process is hardly clean. Most residents of western nations tend to not see that part of the electronic life cycle since so much e-waste tends to get dumped in 3ed world nations. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is.
Obsolescence is not just unnecessarily expensive and resource-intensive, it has effects on local economies and ecologies long after the item leaves your local blue bin, donation box, or e-waste collection facility. While no one can guarantee that the used lithium-ion batteries of this most recent crop of EVs won’t meet a similar fate, all one can do is pay attention. Don’t let out of sight mean out of mind.
Like any of the other resource depletion topics outlined above, right to repair ain’t sexy. But neither is infrastructure, on which the entirety of a functioning society is built. If we allow our infrastructure to fall into disrepair, then we all suffer the consequences. The same goes for unethical repair behaviours by manufacturers.
I admit it. I am somewhat of a contrarian thinker. Unlike the sheeple that surround me and make up the white noise on the internet, I am a unique spec of frozen water sitting on the window sill.
I hate Elon Musk.
When it comes to former tech darlings turned silicon valley douche bags, none are inducing of more conflicting feelings in me than Elon Musk. Whilst close friends of mine may raise their eyebrows at the lack of “No homo!” in that last sentence, I can assure you that is not the case. Elon annoys the hell out of me. And the only thing that is more annoying than him is his fandom. Sorry, folks . . . your not going to Mars just for virtually kissing your idol’s feet.
I don’t know what to tell you.
Unlike his peers like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos or the ghost of Steve Jobs (I suppose saying Tim Cook would be less disrespectful. As if I give a fuck), it’s hard to outright HATE Elon Musk (indeed, despite using those very words previously!). Unlike most in his class of industry (big tech), one can actually see the potential of many of his industrious activities for the future of the commons. Unlike the social media heavyweights that are turning personal information into the new oil (ironically as real-life oil is on the cusp of a terminal decline in valuation), Musk’s projects seem to be taking on many of this era’s (along with future era’s) biggest problems and threats, even when there is little profit in it.
The most obvious example of this is Tesla. Before Tesla, the company that comes to mind as being most forward-thinking in the category was (oddly enough) GM. Between 1997 and 1999, they built and released 1,117 units of a vehicle they called the EV1. Though the unit tended to be a hit among its consumer adopters (remember that charging infrastructure was less than half of what currently exists. Talk about range anxiety!), GM reclaimed and destroyed most of the units it built (though some were donated to museums and educational institutions). Though a clear reason was seemingly never given, many people have come to their own conclusions, often with the help of films like Who Killed The Electric Car.
“Threat? Of course not! We are not a vindictive company. All we are saying is, sometimes, accidents happen . . .“
Either way, the end of the EV 1 would come in 2003 when GM officially started forcefully taking them back from the lessees, with the majority being seemingly returned by 2006. It was just as GM and the rest of the vehicle manufacturers were set to flood the market with large Sedans and SUVs since gas prices were low and consumer’s demands for space were high. Though the American automotive industry thrived for close to a decade on these aluminum monstrosities, the enormous spike in the price of gasoline near the end of the 2000s (not to mention the financial crisis) quickly made short work of those nearsighted gains.
Either way, enough of that. Though GM apparently decided that short-term profits were preferable to being the drivers of long-term change, Elon Musk had no such inclinations. Though Tesla was also launched in 2003, was it because of the EV1’ss withdrawal?
Tesla would not release it’s first vehicle until 2008. And just over a decade later, many of those vehicles (along with early model S’s, and pretty much everything else released since) are still on the road and holding their value fairly well. This is saying something, considering how many 10 to 20-year-old models of any manufacturer I see my buddy Coyboy crush at any one time. There is never a shortage of 2000’s era suvs and sedans on his loaders forks.
Cowboy calls all his subscriber’s buddies, and always opens with a “Howdy! Howdy!” and closes with a “Be careful and be kind!”. He’s a good-natured, hard-working Texan with many interesting or amusing things to say, all against the backdrop of the surprisingly therapeutic aesthetic that is automotive recycling and destruction. Not to mention the interesting cast of characters around him (like his sidekick, Mario).
Show him some love with a sub and a comment, and he might do a shout-out (crush a vehicle of your choice with your name on it!). He crushed one for me awhile ago!
In any case, while I have heard the argument made that companies like Tesla are simply helping to keep perpetuating the resource-intensive suburban sprawl-driven status quo of the last era, I can’t help but view the electrification progress in a positive light. Even if the consumer-owned passenger vehicle market could be made redundant by easily fetched self-driving equivalents in the future, we’re far from that reality now. Not to mention that advances in battery technology are only going to be good when these are eventually applied first to the freight transportation sector, and then the power grid (in terms of creating storage capacity).
I don’t know if Tesla is going to keep holding its ground as the EV leader as more and more automakers and start-ups we have yet to encounter throw their weight behind electrification in the coming years. However, I suspect that they are better positioned than many traditional auto manufacturers given the resources that will need to be put towards retooling.
Given that Tesla is essentially the pioneer after GM dropped the ball, I like that they should have a place in the new era they helped create (though I suspect as an acquired subsidiary of some future conglomerate). However, it’s STILL kind of a bittersweet feeling, knowing who got the ball rolling.
Another Elon project that I also admire is Starlink, which is his planed and recently deployed network of satellites which aim to provide modern-era grade broadband to users near and far from traditional sources, whilst also providing another option for users in monopolized ISP service areas (WRONG! More on that, later). Whilst it was thought that Google was on the path to breaking ISP monopolies with its fiber services, that rollout was paused after reaching 6 metropolitan areas in 2016.
Interestingly enough, some speculate that Google’s goal with the project was less affordable broadband crusader than it was a net neutrality backstop. In a nutshell, the more Google services that can be delivered VIA direct connections to ISP’s (as opposed to coming in with the rest of the incoming internet traffic), the less they have to worry about paying for their traffic to move in a tiered future. This approach is already fairly common, with many services being served out of either self-deployed or contracted CDN’s (content delivery networks). While many larger websites like Google, Facebook and Netflix use their own, platforms like Cloudflare provide the service for a fee. In some cases, it’s to improve the user experience (no matter where you log in, there is a server reasonably close to your location). In other cases (like that of Netflix), it’s to try and keep high bandwidth processes off the open internet. For example, when you cue up the majority of offerings on Netflix, the source server is located right within your ISP.
According to early users of the Starlink service, it is so far proving more than capable of handling everything from average to heavy household bandwidth workloads (as showcased by Linus Tech Tips HERE, along with some praise in this CBC article). And with its prosed price being about $100 per month for uncapped access to up to 100Mbps, the price is quite reasonable. Where the concept of Starlink bothers me is in its lack of competition with anything comparable in many instances. In places of monopoly, this service could well serve to push prices down and service quality up (how else will companies like Comcast compete?). However, it will be the default monopoly for (I suspect) a vast majority of its service area. Given this, I can’t help but be highly suspicious. While many people seem to have the complete opposite feelings that I have in regards to how this will affect net neutrality (“Musk will save net neutrality!”), I don’t share the same faith in the man that Reddit (and the media generally) clearly does.
For one, because satellite internet service is the perfect candidate for why tiering of bandwidth-hogging data streams may be argued to be necessary. Unlike cable, DSL, and fiber (where CDNs can help somewhat with congestion), everything has to be sent up to (and through) the Starlink satellite network. Unless that bottleneck has already been considered, I can’t help but see this as eventually being an issue as more unconnected households become heavy bandwidth consumers on the service (and applications keep becoming more bandwidth-intensive in the future). Which could mean either blocks, tiers, or caps down the road.
My other reason for mentioning this is that even the Elon Musk subreddit can not give us any quotes on what Elon thinks about net neutrality. The closest we can get is people making assumptions because he is logical. Considering all the other subjects that the man has run his mouth on (including AI), I find this lack of commentary oddly suspect.
I would also be remiss to not mention one unfortunate drawback of the growing Starlink network of satellites. Their increasing existence and movements may end up driving telescopic space exploration out into space itself.
Whilst the aversion that many astronomers (and scientists in general) have towards philosophy has soured most of the interest I once had in that area of study, even I can’t help taking issue with this. Even if only because getting past this new obstacle may well cost the taxpaying public billions more. Ideally, Space X should have to make up the cost as a form of reparations for clouding what was once the commons for profit. But I’ll be VERY surprised if that ever happens.
Next on the list is the Boring Company, of which I don’t really have a strong opinion. Well, aside from the whole concept seeming to be hellishly expensive AND fairly limited in scope (compared to the potentials of both Tesla and Space X).
Ah yes, Space X. Elon Musk’s personal NASA program.
While I don’t have all that much of an opinion on Space X itself, my concern lies in the reason for its reason for existence. That is, as a vehicle for the eventual colonization of the Moon, Mars, and who knows what next. Whilst he is among the many (including the late Stephan Hawking) to emphasize that the survival of the species depends on our finding a new home planet, I suspect a somewhat more libertarian (authoritarian?) agenda behind this push.
Elon Musk has his sights set on Mars with SpaceX leading the charge and pushing its Mars mission into the stratosphere. But what about the laws on the Red Planet, who makes them up? Who defines them, enforces them? It’s a great question.
Musk plans a Mars colony that will not be ruled by any “Earth-based government”, and that it will follow its own “self-governing principles”. SpaceX will use its Starlink internet project to give those that colonize Mars access to internet services, and these people will not be forced into recognizing international law.
While this isn’t exactly new behavior (most Wall Street crooks have some sort of Jeffry Epstein-esk “I’m going to buy an island with no laws, and YOU can’t touch me!” getaway plan that fails once the SEC comes knocking), Elon certainly takes the concept to a new whole level. Even the Catholic church didn’t have the resources to focus on shifting its most troubled faculty literally off the face of the earth.
Note: In no way am I insinuating that Elon Musk is a wall street crook (aside from maybe brushing with the law accidentally, usually by way of a wayward tweet). Nor am I putting him on par with the Catholic Church. Clearly, when it comes to pure and unadulterated evil, the Catholic church is the winner, hands down.
Having said that, though, it says something when even that bastion of organized crime (of which has essentially a small country of its own!) is still usurped by a rich guy from South Africa.
“SPACE PROGRAM! Why didn’t we think of that before buying all this gold & big ass pointy hats!”
When it comes to why I don’t exactly trust the judgment of rich fucks to play fair and humane when allowed to create their very own playgrounds of excess, one needs to look no further than locations right here on earth. If you want to see the indentured servitude, rampant abuse, and other blatantly unprogressive problems that often accompany these meccas of influence, look no further than Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Though Seth McFarlen made light of this middle eastern phenomenon in the American Dad episode Stan Of Arabia, it’s hardly a laughing matter for anyone caught in the trap. In a nation where even bankruptcy laws are non-existent, even Westerners aren’t free from the reaction of the state. This can lead to fascinating phenomena such as a glut of abandoned supercars.
Since the previous paragraph runs the risk of sending completely the wrong message (“We are so much better in the west than those OTHER places with communism and SHARIA LAW!”), I should clarify.
1.) Dubai and the UAE appear to be starting to be slightly more forgiving of debts accumulated. I’m guessing that hauling hundreds of abandoned supercars to the world’s richest junkyard wasn’t exactly the best look in terms of selling life in the Emirate.
Granted, according to this blogger, your mileage may vary. Drastically.
2.) Whilst it would be easy to make this all about Western values VS Sharia Law, I will not bring the conversation in that direction.
And not out of fear or moral relativism, either. Whether the power structure is in a Western or Islamic context, as they say, absolute power corrupts absolutely. No matter what guidelines Musk may set out for the newly autonomous lunar and/or martian society, how do you keep to that trajectory? What is there to keep the elites from turning it into another state of indentured servitude?
Hell . . . what guarantee do we have that Elon won’t himself turn into the dictatorial figure? After all, in the past few years, many of his actions have not always been all that different from those of Donald Trump. The big difference is that Musk generally does not catch hell from most of the public when he does things like drastically sway stocks by speaking (or Tweeting) freely.
This brings me to another moment of . . . mixed feelies. The sight of Elon throwing gasoline on the fire that WallStreetBets had already lit under the GME stock. An action that I find hilarious since he seemingly knows all too well what it’s like to be on the short end of the hedge fund balance sheet. But on the other hand, it’s hard not to view it as a form of market manipulation (the same type as caused by Donald Trump, when an unscripted interview sent a stock reeling). Whilst it is certainly protected under the American first amendment, one can’t help but consider this as a fascinating case of testing old laws and norms in a new reality. Never before have even YouTube personalities had a bigger voice, nor have everyday people had more access to the stock market. Even I am in the markets now!
Speaking of market manipulation . . . Bitcoin. I had recently decided to give it a shot (trusting the referral of a friend), downloading an app and grabbing a small amount of both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Something that was a huge step for me, considering that I wrote THIS a little over a year ago. Though I only had both for a short time (less than a month), I decided to sell and jump back out of crypto on account to thinking that the Biden Administration was going to start attempting to regulate the sector. In particular, it was Jannet Yellen’s use of the phrase misuse of bitcoin that startled me. Assuming that it was going to cause the already volatile currencies to tank, I sold.
Not more than a few days after, Elon Musk (through Tesla) dumped 1.5 million dollars worth of rocket fuel into Bitcoin, sending the valuation to the moon. I missed out, my buddy made around $50 (fucker). And Elon raised even more eyebrows by committing what many see as a blatant act of market manipulation.
Few figures inspire a more fascinating and yet infuriatingly irritating mix of emotions as Elon Musk does in me. On one hand, the fact that someone like me (a hater) would take the time to actually put all of this to paper is telling (though it’s not my first time trashing the guy). It illustrates a bit of what drives the infamous Elon fanboyism within myself, obviously. And honestly . . . who can’t say they don’t feel even a little bit envious of the power of the man and his attempts to shape the future with his pocketbook.
On the other hand, however, how can someone who says something as idiotic as “I think CBD is fake” possibly be someone’s idol?!
Rogan, who relocated his podcast headquarters from California to Texas last year, noted that his new home state has not yet legalized marijuana, but “CBD is legal here.”
“CBD doesn’t do anything. Does it?” Musk said. “I think that’s fake.”
When Donald Trump pulls shit like this, every news organization from Canada to Australia publishes an in-depth fact-checked article. Indeed, Trump never happens to have the friendly corrections of Joe Rogan (or anyone even remotely sane, for that matter) around when he slips up. Nonetheless, the differences are not always as clear as they ought to be.
The lesson that we can all learn from Elon Musk (and from any other human, really), is to never put people above their innate humanity. Whilst many of us tend to hold those we view in esteem to a higher (and often irrefutable) standard, this is bad etiquette when used in the context of humans that are vulnerable to the same pitfalls that we are. Whether people are accidentally incorrect or maliciously disingenuous, the result is the same if you are lapping it all up without a 2ed thought.
Though this week had initially been devoted to another entry, current events ended up pushing something far more fascinating to the forefront. A story involving Redditors, hedge funds, 2 companies employing thousands, and a boatload of money. Billions of dollars, to be precise.
Though I have seen this come up in the media a time or 2 (and even happened upon a surprisingly unbiased take on CNBC a couple days ago), my first encounter was through the Rossman Repair Group Youtube channel. Hosted by Louis Rossman, the man uses the channel to disseminate information about Macbook repair, and pretty much anything else the man feels like putting out to the world. Though I have found great amusement in both his many detailed takedowns of people involved in New York City real estate and Apple (be it the company itself, or its brain-numbing fanboys), he recently brought this far more fascinating phenomenon to my attention. Though the video series in itself is enlightening (and will be shared below as it evolves and grows), I decided to write this in order to bring myself more clarity on the situation.
I’ll start with Rossman’s video.
Though Louis obviously didn’t intend on becoming a sort of unofficial narrator of this moment/phenomenon (whatever we want to call it), it’s safe to say that he has become an important source of information none the less. While it is true that neither he nor I are experts in the field of finances, there is no need to take our words at face value. Unlike the hedge funders on the flip side of this picture, I encourage you NOT to take our words at face value.
Do some research. It’s Good for you.
While I try not to ever use George Carlin as a means of confirming my personal ideological bias (“Clearly, George Carlin would think Trump supporters are ____________!”, “Carlin would think these ______________ are so hilarious!”), I can’t help thinking that this movement would be highly amusing to the man. Though I always consider his acts about us all having ringside seats to the freakshow when considering “Carlin would _____________” statements, even I admit that this moment is funny enough to grant a Carlin reaction.
After all, what is not to laugh about a bunch of foul-mouthed Redditors completely wrecking the week of a gaggle of hedge fund parasites? Considering that 2020 begun with almost World War 3, a plane crash and then an ongoing plague of doom, I’ll take it 2021! Let the decade OFFICIALLY begin!
Anyway, now that my unashamed bias has been made clear to everyone, we can begin.
We will start with a concept that I initially struggled with understanding as the week commenced. That is the concept of short selling, or shorting a stock. What exactly does this entail?
Traders may use short selling as speculation, and investors or portfolio managers may use it as a hedge against the downside risk of a long position in the same security or a related one. Speculation carries the possibility of substantial risk and is an advanced trading method. Hedging is a more common transaction involving placing an offsetting position to reduce risk exposure.
In short selling, a position is opened by borrowing shares of a stock or other asset that the investor believes will decrease in value by a set future date—the expiration date. The investor then sells these borrowed shares to buyers willing to pay the market price. Before the borrowed shares must be returned, the trader is betting that the price will continue to decline and they can purchase them at a lower cost. The risk of loss on a short sale is theoretically unlimited since the price of any asset can climb to infinity.
Note:I am not an expert in financial services advice. All investment information that follows is strictly theoretical. If I knew what I was talking about, ide be on CNBC. Consider yourself warned.
Though Louis explained the concept well in one of the videos above, this about sums up the situation for even the most confused layman. If you suspect that there is another Enron or Leiman Brothers playing fast and loose in the stock market, you can potentially gain by borrowing high priced shares, then returning them when the stock price tanks. I specifically mentioned Enron as it’s precarious position was initially exposed by in-depth researching short sellers.
While the man who predicted (and made bank from!) the demise of Enron has reportedly been losing his shirt in shorts of Tesla stock, I find this choice highly fascinating. If there were any companies that I personally would be banking on failing, I would personally focus on . . . any other automaker!
Frankly, if you made me pick one . . . Chrysler. Though I have a sense that all of the American automakers are going to have a rough go of it in the next few years to a decade, none seems less prepared for the EV transition than Chrysler. Or should I say Stellantis NV, the market name of Stellantis, the parent company of Fiat Chrysler and a handful of car companies that I have never even heard of (including some high-end brands). Someone feels that this multi-national entity is not just worth a rising stock price, but also an increasing credit rating. So maybe not the best stock option to short right now, after all.
Either way, you get the picture. If the Trump Organisation was not a privately held firm, I would have started shorting the hell out of that sucker over a year ago. Or if I wanted to make money off Boeing, jumping on board after the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes would have made for one hell of a payday.
Of course, a payday bathed in the blood of 346 people. But that is just a minor detail, after all. Everyone has to die sometime. Whether it be at the hand of stock bolstering cost-cutting measures, or natural causes. After all, if there is one trait that is more prominent on Wall Street than greed, it’s psychopathy.
This brings us to both Gamestop and AMC, GME and AMC.
The reason why these companies would be selected for shorting the stocks is relatively apparent. AMC is mainly known for its chain of theatres, an industry of which COVID has given a shit-kicking. And Gamestop is a brick and mortar gaming retailer in an era of direct downloads and Amazon. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what the short-sellers concluded.
From what I have come to understand, however, the short-sellers here went above and beyond what was just business as usual. If I understand correctly, the stock was being shorted so much that its level itself would start to present barriers for the company itself to continue its day to day operations. For example, it may become more and more difficult to obtain credit to cover operating costs. Which could theoretically push the business into bankruptcy, and earn the short sellers a maximum of margin, being first in line once the company is carved up and auctioned off.
The party was great while it lasted. All it took was the unwashed masses through their little subreddit slash discord server(s) to bring the music to a stop, however.
After a quick browse of the subreddit (as well as adding myself to it, because fuck the system!), I have come to a similar conclusion as Louis Rossman did. This is not a hacker collective or a group of alt right-leaning bigots. This appears not unlike many other subreddits of which I have seen, or are a part of. It is made up of a mish-mash of everyday people, just as many collectives on the internet and elsewhere are. And like those other places, they don’t always speak as though they are on prime time TV. If you go there and expect not to see fuck, shit, retard, dumbfuck etc. . . expect to be disappointed.
It’s all in the name. . . Wall Street bets. Big Tenders of today being AMC, GME (Gamestop), NOK (Nokia) and BB (Blackberry). All of which many are barred from purchasing shares into to prevent market volatility.
Because the more of the shares everyday investors purchase and hold, the bigger the losses of the people who shorted the stock.
Remember that the losses from stock shorts are theoretically unlimited since there is no limit to how much a stock can grow. As such, limiting the growth of the stock only serves the best interests of the short-sellers. It does not serve in the best interests of the investors (all of whom KNOW the risk of investment). Nor is it in the best interest of the company itself, which could leverage its newly found sky-high stock price as a way to find a way back to profitability VIA further investments. Looking at it from this angle, limiting sales of stocks to stem volatility in the markets (to quote the brokerage houses) is both antithetical to a truly free market and bad for both investors and companies (short of shorters, anyhow).
As of this writing, Melvin Capital (the fund that had originally shorted Gamestop) has apparently purged itself of the now painfully valuable stock positions it once held. But not before taking a healthy kick in the balls in terms of money lost on the investment. Or to put it another way:
I also came across this interesting article excerpt:
Seeking fast profits by gambling on heavily shorted stock isn’t a new investing strategy. But thanks to the easier access to stock trading provided by retail trader platforms like Robinhood in recent years, the impact of retail traders has grown into a full-blown phenomenon that’s actually pushing some hedge funds into bankruptcy and seriously worrying professionals.
Melvin Capital, which has lost billions of dollars on GameStop alone, is joining forces with other hedge funds, receiving a $2.75 billion cash infusion from Steve Cohen’s Point72 and Ken Griffin’s Citadel to help it weather the storm.
On Tuesday, famed “The Big Short” hedge funder Michael Burry, whose bullish position on GameStop in 2019 laid the foundation for a retail investor frenzy, posted a now deleted tweet condemning the craze on GameStop stock as “unnatural, insane, and dangerous” and called for legal and regulatory action against those involved.
First of all, there is NOTHING natural about the stock market. As for how he can see the like between the insanity and danger of every OTHER part of the system, and this bewilders me. But that is not what this is about.
What we see here is interesting. Though I had never heard of Robinhood before today, I have seen ads for these digital trading platforms all over the place online. In fact, I was even invited to one by a friend recently. A friend no doubt attracted to the market by all of this. The markets are no longer just for the rich fucks, or whoever is commanding my company administered pension fund. Anyone can seemingly sign up, jump on, and start buying and selling. Democracy in action on Wall Street.
Makes me feel like getting in on a few airline stocks.
Anyway, the quoted article says a lot more than that if you read between the lines. The first lesson is that you can BET that these hedge fund assholes are not going to learn their lesson. They have enough money and institutional power to keep attempting to drag the status quo back into their favour. But more importantly, they have enough media presence to take full advantage of the average citizen and lawmaker’s complete ignorance in terms of how the market works. This is not hacking. This is not market manipulation in a negative sense. And this is certainly not the dastardly shenanigans of the Alt-right, or otherwise, people trying to make a statement aside from “FUCK PARASITIC HEDGE FUNDS!”. What this is is just, the market working the way it does. And for once, seemingly the little guy getting a lead over the giants of trading. If money equals free speech then it is the ultimate in the democratization of Wall Street.
That the short stock investment in GME went tits up based on the voluntary and COMPLETLY legal stock purchases of many retail equities purchasers (my retirement portfolio calls its stock options an Equities Fund) is just bad luck.
You wouldn’t think that I would have to quote an oldie from Kenny Rogers to these veterans of Wall Street.
You gotta know when to hold em’,
know when to fold em’,
know when to walk away,
and know when to STOP SHORTING THE STOCK TO THE POINT THAT A BUNCH OF NAMELESS PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS CAN LIBERATE YOUR ASS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS SIMPLY BY PURCHASING A FUCKING STOCK!
I don’t know how long Gamestop, AMC or any of the other companies on the Wall Street shortlist are going to last in the open market after all of this settles and the world moves on, but I can feel assured that their many employees still have jobs at least in the near future. Though it can’t be denied that both companies exist in industries that are FAR from future proof, at least the vultures that want to speed up the process of demise seem to have been scattered.
One thing is for sure, however. This has put the US on the precipice of . . . something. And a large part of where this ends up is likely going to be tied up in who is driving the narrative. If it is the Wall Street firms and insiders, then expect a tidal wave of anti-competitive retribution. If it’s driven by facts and reality . . . then frankly, I don’t know what to expect.
I would LOVE to see the US government be just as aggressive in reining in the often livelihood wrecking and reckless actions of Wall Street Hedge Funds as they are with companies like Boeing playing fast and loose with aviation regulations. But I would settle for the simple NON-vilification of a group of investors that royally screwed over one of Wall Streets’ more notorious firms.
Whatever happens, what a nice pallet cleanser this has been to the previous 3 to 4 years.
Stock GME/AMC/BB & Other Stock Purchase Blocks
I had mentioned earlier in this piece that some brokers had initially blocked any traders from purchasing several of the so-called volatile meme stocks in the past day or so, which came across as suspicious. Though it was SAID to be in the best interest of the traders, any other circumstance would have those traders lose every dime since they signed on the dotted line and should have known the risks. Which makes it seem as though it’s to keep the hedge funds (like Melven capital) in the clear.
However, aparently it is not that simple. If I am understanding it correctly, there exists an entity between brokerage firms called clearinghouses. Standing between buyers and sellers of financial instruments (as these things are called), they help facilitate the transaction between the 2 parties.
What Is a Clearing House?
A clearing house is an intermediary between buyers and sellers of financial instruments. It is an agency or separate corporation of a futures exchange responsible for settling trading accounts, clearing trades, collecting and maintaining margin monies, regulating delivery, and reporting trading data.
Role and Function of a Clearing House
A clearing house takes the opposite position of each side of a trade. When two investors agree to the terms of a financial transaction, such as the purchase or sale of a security, a clearing house acts as the middle man on behalf of both parties. The purpose of a clearing house is to improve the efficiency of the markets and add stability to the financial system.
I came across this information in yet another Rossman video, wherein he was trying to answer the same question posed here (“Why stop the purchase of shares?”). And the answer is explained more or less in this video. If you don’t have the time or the patients that I do to watch it, I’ll go through the information afterward.
If I understand it correctly, it goes like this.
The investor decides they want to short AMC, GME, BB, Boeing, whatever fledgeling company stock. The broker takes and registers the trade with their clearing house (be it an internal or an externally contracted entity, such is the case with most app-based trading platforms).
If the stock does the unthinkable and goes UP, the broker covers the loss and goes back to the trader with a bill (if it’s not already settled). If the bill can’t be settled, small amounts are written off as a loss and such is the cost of business. If the brokers end up with enormous losses it can’t cover, however, the clearinghouse steps in.
The problem here is that allegedly, the shorts that Melvin Capital had incurred on GameStop were so risky as to involve more cash than even the clearinghouses could provide, had the sales gone through. Everyone had no choice but to limit the sale of a few shares because Melvin Capitals’ actions could have stalled the entire marketplace. Not only would people not be able to buy AMC/BB/GME, etc, no one would be able to buy anything.
In theory, a portion of my retirement plan (which is 50% invested in equities!) would not be able to function properly because of a few reckless idiots pushing for an even bigger payday.
That there is no crime here is shocking. Actually, not really. Of course, we didn’t learn anything from the 2008 debacle!
Robinhood & Other Trading Platform Auto-selling GME Stocks “For The Benefit Of Traders”
I came across this allegation on Twitter late last night, and it really caught my attention. Whilst one could skew blocking the purchase of some company stocks as its own form of market manipulation (or even the censorship of the free speech of individual traders, if we take that route), if this allegation proves factual, it’s much worse. I can’t see it as anything short of theft.
Imagine your bank shows up and takes your car (of which you have made the majority of, if not all of, the payments on!), claiming they sold it for your own good. They thought you couldn’t afford it on your budget, they thought . . . it doesn’t matter. If there is no insolvency involved, I don’t see how this ISN’T theft.
To look into this, I hit up my favourite search engine, the first link sending me back to WallstreetBets.
Man . . . of all the places I wouldn’t have expected to cite as a source on trading. But none the less, it seems apparent in the way it’s explained here. Purchases on margin are basically purchases on credit. Which would seem to make this a way for Robinhood to keep its liabilities under control. Considering that this phenomenon is likely eventually to end at some point, I can’t fault a broker for not wanting to be stuck with a ton of accounts that are in arrears.
I do not understand what the term Margin call implies, however.
What Is a Margin Call?
A margin call occurs when the value of an investor’s margin account falls below the broker’s required amount. An investor’s margin account contains securities bought with borrowed money (typically a combination of the investor’s own money and money borrowed from the investor’s broker). A margin call refers specifically to a broker’s demand that an investor deposit additional money or securities into the account so that it is brought up to the minimum value, known as the maintenance margin.
A margin call is usually an indicator that one or more of the securities held in the margin account has decreased in value. When a margin call occurs, the investor must choose to either deposit more money in the account or sell some of the assets held in their account.
Though it seems that the margin call on these accounts is quite convenient (as noted not so eloquently by the WallStreetBets participants), this seems like more of an unfortunate standard procedure than anything else. One driven by an unusual situation (removal of the option to buy a stock is not a regular occurrence).
This is the line that Robinhood is telling the media, despite users submitting seemingly contradicting data.
A spokesperson for Robinhood said these small sellers are wrong about how their shares were sold. “I can confirm that claims that Robinhood proactively sold customers’ shares outside of our standard margin-related sellouts or options assignment procedures are false,” the spokesperson told The Verge.
On Wednesday, Robinhood warned some investors with options in GameStop and AMC that it may automatically sell off their stakes to reduce risk, the spokesperson said. But these investors told The Verge they didn’t have options in GameStop or AMC and hadn’t purchased the stocks on margin. They had purchased the shares outright, they said, and were planning to hold onto them.
Margin orders occur when an investor borrows money from the broker (in this case Robinhood) to complete a sale, and brokers can call in those shares if they’re worried the investor can’t pay up. According to Robinhood, most of its actions have been calling in options to purchase shares — a more aggressive move, but not unprecedented. But if users fully owned their shares, as these traders claim they did, selling the holdings would be far more unusual.
The Verge saw screenshots from six traders indicating that their purchase of GameStop or AMC stock had been filled within Robinhood. Six traders sent screenshots showing that their stock in these companies had been sold, with four clearly indicating that they had been sold today. Another trader sent screenshots showing a purchase of Naked Brand stock being filled and then sold within the app. The screenshots don’t indicate how the purchases were funded or how the sales were initiated, but in several of them the app displays a message saying, “We’ve received your order to sell [#] shares of [stock] at the best available price.”
Traders who spoke with The Verge said they were disappointed to lose their stake in these companies. The traders had been planning to keep the stock for longer, and several said they certainly wouldn’t have sold it at the point that they believe Robinhood pushed through the transaction, as GameStop’s stock was faltering from a nearly $500 high.
“It’s extremely dishonest trade on their part and unacceptable,” Ian Q., who said Robinhood unexpectedly sold his shares in GameStop this morning, told The Verge.
I sense that this is less a case of malicious practice than it is new user ignorance of policies. But I could be wrong (this going for anything covered in this post).
Anyway, I think I have covered pretty much everything that I had intended on touching on with this post. If you think I got something wrong (or otherwise just have something to say) feel free to drop by the comment section below.
This has only been up for an hour or so and I already feel a need to make a change to it. While I ended this by giving many involved the benefit of the doubt, recent information tells me that may have been a mistake. Though it starts with yet another installment of Louis Rossman coverage, I’ll back the findings with other links as well.
And again, I find myself heading over to Wall Street Bets. Because, why not.
For those confused what this chart means, this is the options chain for all BB options that expire tomorrow (1/29). Look at the Open Interest (OI) column, this indicates the total number of option contracts that are held by investors in active positions. The Volume represents the number of options contracts being exchanged between buyers and sellers.
There is a huge drop off in options contracts below $15. If BB closes tomorrow below $15, then all these contracts will expire worthless. If BB closes above $30 tomorrow, then all these contracts will be ITM and Wallstreet will have to fork over a pretty penny to pay these out. They are manipulating the stock for their benefit.
Edit: Getting a lot of private messages about this, If you have to ask which option you should buy tomorrow, just buy shares. This is just my person opinion and not professional investment advice.
Edit2: For those asking if we don’t hit $30/$20/$15 today, still hold your positions. Wall Street is trying to scare us into selling. The higher the price today, the maximum the pain to their wallets, but this stock trends with GME/AMC. Once they go up we go up. The squeeze is not over!
At this point, I can’t YET find anything else to confirm or deny the accusation being made by Rossman or the WSB poster I quoted above. But stay tuned. This isn’t over yet!
Edit #2 (02/03/21)
It’s been about 4 days since this post went live, and I/We have learned quite a bit more about the situation. In particular, I now realize that my grasp of what is shorting a stock does not seem to be presented correctly. Given that nearly every single news commentator (short of the financial press) seems to have had the same problem, however, I don’t feel all that dumb.
I’ll just try again.
I do some research into company A and decide that based on my findings, the company is likely on a downward trend. So I use my broker to borrow a stock (or likely, more than 1 stock) in the company (to be paid for at a later date), then sell these stocks back onto the open market. The bet here is that the companies value will decline, and the stock price will go down with it. Since the stock price has gone down in value in the time since they were borrowed, the price you have to pay to buy back the stock (and return it to the original stockholder) is reduced. Leaving the leftover as your return.
If the stock goes the other way, however (Up!), then things get dicey for those in a short position. Without getting into interest or other penalties that brokers change, at the very LEAST, you will be paying more for every share of stock that you borrowed and sold on the open market.
Say you borrowed 100 at $60 a share, that is $6000 to start with. If the price goes bullish and ends up at $250 a share just before you have to return your borrowed shares, that’s $25,000. If you are a hedge fund that borrowed 1 million shares at $60 a share, that is $250 million dollars. And this isn’t considering interest or any other factors!
So, I think I’ve FINALLY have that figured out.
When it comes to the other issues surrounding this situation (mainly Robinhood), I don’t know enough to really have a say that is anything beyond speculation (hehe). I sense that we will learn more once the FTC, SEC and other entities start sorting out this matter in the coming months and (maybe) years.
As for who is in the wrong here, I’ve seen an interesting mix of opinions. On one hand, some (mainly those with Wall Street interests, but not exclusively) view the Wall Street Bets subreddit and Discord servers as causing market manipulation by way of collusion. There is in fact a legal precedent for collusion, even if it occurs on platforms open and accessible to anyone. However, this view is heavily challenged by every person’s right to free speech, their right to openly post about what stocks and companies they would like to see rocket to the moon. To my surprise, even people like Jim Cramer and Kevin O’Leary are siding with WSB and retail traders on this one.
Whatever the case may be, this has all proven very fascinating and interesting. Far from the only time in the past 4 years wherein even the most well versed in federal law couldn’t give us a clear answer in terms of whether an act was lawfully incriminating or benign. For once, though, the crime isn’t incredibly self-serving and/or stupid, and the public generally is on the winning side. As opposed to yet again watching the corruption of a rich sore loser get away with something again.
Though this is far from the end of this story, I’m ending my exploration of it here. It certainly has been a fascinating ride.
And now, we wait and see what comes of this. More importantly, we wait and see which interests are prioritized by the entities under the Biden Administration. Will we see more regulation of hedge funds to prevent the shorting of more stocks in companies than actually exists?
Or will we see regulators clamp down on retail trading brokers like Robinhood, thereby making it harder for everyday people to get into the Wallstreet game with the big boys?
I hope that the answer lies somewhere in the midst of those 2 extremes. But I also am cynical when it comes to government actions in the presence of huge amounts of lobbyist cash. Particularly when the cameras go away and people stop paying close attention to this story.
I want to thank the Montreal Simon blog for the delightful out of context imagery. This is what you get when you search “Jason Kenny Donkey”
Now that the silliness is out of my system, I can turn back to the real purpose of this post.
As readers of the recent years content of this blog know, I am not a fan of Jason Kenny. I am not a fan of any of the people that the PPC has to offer, but among them, Jason Kenny is one of the most idiotic. Having said that, however, even I have to admit that his attitude is completely in line with what I have come to expect from Alberta. A province filled with citizens proclaiming an inflated sense of importance based on a single economic resource of decreasing value in the overall worldwide marketplace. A delusional house of cards that seemingly can only end badly once the reality of the situation becomes impossible for even the most blinded to recognize.
Like a banana republic in an age where the world has moved on from consuming bananas in massive quantities. The sales are still there . . . just not nearly what they were in 2006 (or even 2019). Thus, investing in such an industry becomes asinine.
But this post is not really about Alberta, Prairie or Canadian petrol politics. It’s not really even about Jason Kenny’s policies. It is more about Kenny’s speechwriter. Or for clarity, my personal quest to see if the man should face reprimands for his actions. It would be easy to make the decision on a partisan basis. But since I get annoyed when people on the right do this, I won’t become a hypocrite of my own creation.
At least not in this instance lol.
I will be basing my quest on this CBC News article on the subject, published and posted on June 26th, 2020.
Kenney speechwriter said homosexuality is ‘socially destructive’ and called First Nation an oppressive regime
Government spokesperson said Paul Bunner’s views have evolved over time
Further writings by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s speechwriter came to light Friday, columns stating that homosexuality was “individually and socially destructive” and characterizing an Alberta First Nation as an “oppressive, collectivist regime.”
Calls by the Opposition NDP for the firing of Paul Bunner were resisted by Kenney on Thursday after a column from 2013 resurfaced wherein Bunner dismissed the “bogus genocide story” of Canada’s residential school system and said Indigenous youth could be “ripe recruits” for violent insurgencies.
Multiple other columns and articles written by Bunner, shared with media by Alberta’s NDP, span a period starting in the late 1990s up until 2016.
Kenney hired Bunner in early 2019. Bunner worked as a speechwriter for former prime minister Stephen Harper from 2006 to 2009.
Harrison Fleming, a spokesperson with the premier’s office, said the overwhelming majority of the articles released by the NDP were decades-old.
“As I am sure you can appreciate, societal norms have changed greatly over time. For example, NDP ‘saint’ Tommy Douglas previously called homosexuality a ‘mental illness,'” Fleming said in an email to CBC News. “People’s views have evolved over decades — and that includes Mr. Bunner.”
Fleming said the matters addressed in the columns “have long since been settled law.”
During a news conference held Friday, NDP Children’s Services critic Rakhi Pancholi called for Kenney to fire Bunner and issue a public apology.
“Today, we know that Mr. Bunner has a long record of writing racist, sexist, Islamophobic and homophobic articles,” Pancholi said. “The sheer volume of prejudice he has published over the years is stunning.”
Oh wow, a reference to Tommy Douglas.
Don’t get me wrong . . . he does have some dabblings into eugenics that took me completely by surprise upon looking him up some time ago. However, this was in the 1930’s (and he later rejected the hypothesis). This was LONG before the late 1990s and 2016.
In a column posted in the conservative weekly newsmagazine Alberta Report in August 1997, Bunner wrote that “AIDS gets more ink than it deserves” and in a subsequent editor’s note attempts to pre-empt incoming criticism for a cover story.
“The story is an attempt to figure out why [Ralph Klein’s] government seems bent on delivering wards of the state to homosexual households, to summarize the arguments against gay parenting, and to search for some backbone in the ostensible social conservatives in the Tory cabinet and caucus,” Bunner wrote on Aug. 11, 1997.
That same year, Bunner wrote that a columnist was correct in his assessment that “100,000 abortions a year in Canada is a social tragedy, that homosexuality is individually and socially destructive.”
In 1998, Bunner wrote an editor’s note reflecting on criticism the Alberta Report received for a 1993 cover story with the headline “Can gays be cured?”
According to Bunner, that cover story provoked a flood of critical letters and phone calls, while others launched a campaign against Alberta Report’s advertisers to boycott the publication.
“The piece placed us about as far out on the ‘cutting edge’ of journalism as you can get,” Bunner writes.
Citing a Newsweek story published in 1998 titled “Can gays convert?”, Bunner appeared to celebrate the piece, writing, “If Newsweek is taking our angles, are we becoming mainstream?” and pondering whether then-premier Ralph Klein will notice a “golden opportunity for a thorough debate” on the future of homosexuality in the province.
“When [Klein] notices that the Republican party in the United States is standing firmer against the radical gay agenda than it has for years, and that an increasing number of bright, articulate homosexuals are either abandoning the lifestyle or urging their perpetually angry, dangerously hedonistic friends to tone down the political rhetoric and show a little sexual restraint,” Bunner writes, “perhaps Mr. Klein will let voters in on a discussion that for too long has been dominated by lobbyists, academics and journalists, human rights tribunals and the courts.”
Pam Rocker is the director of Affirming Connections in Calgary, a group that supports inclusive ministries and faith organizations.
Rocker said Bunner’s comments were unsettling given his position in the government.
“It’s extremely unsettling to know that somebody who is planning what our leader is saying and talking about, and how it’s being talked about, [is] somebody who has this history,” Rocker said.
And we’re just getting started.
On First Nations
In September of 1997, Bunner wrote about the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, writing about a provincial judge’s “bold call” for an investigation into the “scandalous political goings-on” at the reserve.
Citing what Bunner refers to as “unsolicited calls” from members of the First Nation and from information provided by “dissidents,” Bunner criticizes the First Nation and its leaders.
“A community of people who are willing to give up their personal freedom to an oppressive, collectivist regime is a pretty sorry excuse for a culture. Moreover, it is a perfect recipe for real genocide,” he writes.
Two years later, writing about the same First Nation, Bunner refers to its leaders as “corrupt despots” who “keep their subjects ignorant, sickly and poor in order to control them.”
Cora Voyageur, a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and professor specializing in Indigenous sociology at the University of Calgary, said Bunner’s articles revealed a mean-spirited and unhelpful point of view.
“I think that Paul Bunner should be let go. Because what I’ve read in the various articles that he’s authored, there’s a trend there,” Voyageur said. “And it doesn’t necessarily show Indigenous people in a good light.”
On gender roles and feminism
In 1998, writing about the Eaton’s department store chain in Alberta Report, Bunner laments recent changes to the store’s marketing and corporate image.
“Post-makeover, the new Eaton’s men are either light-in-their loafers aesthetes, pathetic cuckolds or stay-at-home choreboys,” Bunner writes.
“The women are executive ice queens or wanton nymphs, universally young, sexy, skinny, tough and liberated from the stifling roles of mother and wife. There is no doubt who’s on top in the new Eaton’s culture: estrogen rules.”
That same year, Bunner expressed his doubts about the efficacy of attempting to recall childhood memories in the field of psychology, partly attributing such methods to feminist ideology.
“The hysteria surrounding child sexual abuse was swamping reason. And feminist ideologues were flooding into the counselling field, their barren hearts bent on overthrowing the patriarchy, whatever the cost,” Bunner wrote.
One thing is for sure . . . there appears to be no group that is oppressed by white, male, patriarchal cultural norms that Bunner doesn’t have strong opinions about. Long before online phenomenons like the Intellectual Dark Web became a thang and brought these (and all other) opinions straight to our collective fingertips, Paul Bunner was saying it.
We will now switch with the article to how Jason Kenny and how the Alberta Conservatives have chosen to handle this situation.
Speaking Thursday and commenting specifically on Bunner’s writings on residential schools, Kenney said that column did not reflect or change the policy of the government of Alberta.
Kenney said his government had worked to solidify the relationship between the province and Indigenous communities, investing in projects like the Indigenous Opportunities Corporation.
Voyageur, a residential school survivor, said Bunner’s writings were extremely unhelpful.
“I know what went on there. I saw it, I experienced it,” Voyageur said.
“To have other people say this didn’t ever happen, is … I don’t even know what to think about it.”
Paul Bunner is on the same level as a holocaust denier, a flat earther, or a climate denier. As a citizen of Canada, he has the right to make all of these views publicly known without interference from the federal government. Just as I have the right to call Jason Kenny an arrogant and ignorant twit, along with the rest of the naive supporters of bitumen in Canada who refuse to listen to both reason and read the market tea leaves.
To quote Elizabeth May and the Green Party, in the most ballsy public showcase of this viewpoint yet:
Like a true partisan, I hath gone on a tangent again. Whoops lol.
Anyway, Jason Kenny is thus far refusing to fire Paul Bunner as his speechwriter, despite calls from Rachel Notley’s Alberta NDP (among others) to do so. An action that isn’t surprising, given that the man was once Stephan Harper’s speechwriter. There is nothing more boomer and conservative then banking on traditions (be they based on calendar days or biases).
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday that he “fundamentally disagrees” with the contents of an article written in 2013 by his speechwriter that dismissed the “bogus genocide story” of Canada’s residential school system.
But Kenney did not commit to firing speechwriter Paul Bunner for the article, titled “The ‘Genocide’ That Failed,” written for the online magazine C2C Journal.
“Somebody who was a journalist for 40 years undoubtedly wrote things with which I disagree,” Kenney said. “That does not reflect or change the policy of the government of Alberta.”
He said his government had worked to solidify the relationship between the province and Indigenous communities, investing in projects like the Indigenous Opportunities Corporation.
Uh. The Canadian elected official equivalent of “I TOTALLY have a native American friend! I am NOT racist!”.
“Somebody who was a journalist for 40 years undoubtedly wrote things with which I disagree,” Kenney said.
Yes, I am sure that is the case for a great many of us in terms of journalists. However, with which we disagree doesn’t typically include flat out homophobia, racism, sexism and an otherwise refusal to see ones own privileged status.
As for my personal take . . .
Paul Bunner has the right to say whatever stupid, idiotic, biased and outdated shit that he chooses to publicly. Just like the rest of us. However, someone with his recent and constant history of standing by toxic vitriol should be FAR from ANY official capacity to influence the power structure.
Though the Alberta conservatives earlier argue that many of these articles are quote decades old, that is hardly the reality of the situation. Since he published most of his articles starting in the mid to late 90’s, that puts the oldest of them at 25 to 30 years old.
If I cite Tommy Douglas (as the Alberta Conservatives did earlier) . . . he wrote his thesis in 1933. 87 years ago . . . otherwise known as decades ago.
But even aside from the semantics generated by the timeframes involved, people can change. If people are always to be held to their old set standards and their changes in tune always diminished, how can we hope to gain any momentum towards the changes we seek? If the person started in the wrong place but is working towards bettering themselves, then that needs to be considered.
However, that is not the case. Though Paul Bunner started his controversial writing career 25 to 30 years ago, his most recent article of biased controversy was published in 2013. While that may seem like a century ago in both Trump and COVID years, it’s only 7 years ago.
7 years ago, this was his conclusion:
The dangers in this ought to be obvious and can hardly be overstated. Already, vast swathes of the public education system are uncritically regurgitating the genocide story as if it were fact, thereby adding to the legions of Canadian voters who will be suckers for future Phil Fontaines and Harold Cardinals and their never-ending demands for more tax dollars and greater political autonomy. It will slow any progress on integration, democratic reform and financial transparency on reserves and do nothing to reduce the terrible social pathologies afflicting Indians on and off the reserves. Worse, if future generations of young Aboriginal people are indoctrinated in the belief that Canada wilfully tried to annihilate their ancestors, some of them, at least, will be ripe recruits for radical segregationist movements, perhaps even violent insurgencies as imagined in Douglas Bland’s frighteningly plausible 2010 novel Uprising, about Aboriginal terrorism in near-future Canada.
The man should be nowhere near any levers of power. Certainly not if he is making his bread and butter off of the taxpayer’s dime.
The fact that the man has had such a lucrative career in Canadian Conservative politics says a lot about the Conservative party in itself. Really, a message between the lines that those aware of these things were already aware of. None the less, it’s never too late to be the bringer of positive change, Jason Kenny.
Don’t get me wrong . . . appeasing them Millenial (and now, Zoomer) snowflakes isn’t exactly high on the agenda of the Boomer dominated Conservative Party. None the less, we are the future. The current conservative base is . . . the future up to 2050.
Julian Assange arrested after U.S. extradition request, charged with hacking government computer
British police invited to Ecuadorian embassy after asylum withdrawn
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police on Thursday in the Ecuadorian Embassy where he’d been holed up since 2012 after the United States requested his extradition, London police say.
London police confirmed Assange was arrested “on behalf of the United States,” which requested Assange’s extradition, as well as for breaching British bail conditions.
U.S. prosecutors said they have charged Assange with conspiracy in trying to access a classified U.S. government computer with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010.
The U.S. indictment accuses Assange of assisting Manning in cracking a password that helped the former intelligence analyst infiltrate Pentagon computers.
Assange faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.
On Thursday, Assange was found guilty at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court of skipping bail in 2012 after an extradition order to Sweden over an allegation of rape. Assange, who pleaded not guilty, will be sentenced at a later date when he will face a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison for the offence.
The prick has been arrested. And it’s about fucking time.
My opinion towards Julian Assange has changed a lot in the past 3ish years. Up until late 2016, I didn’t give him all that much thought really. Back in October 2016, I viewed him in a manner that turned out to be borderline delusional.
To quote me:
Which makes me wonder . . . is Assange holding out because he views (as many people of intellectual capacity have in recent months) Trump as genuinely dangorous? Is he holding out because he does not want to interfer with the democratic process of a nation? Or was it all just a bluff after all?
I don’t beat myself up too badly for misjudging that one, because pretty much everyone bows at the altar of Julian Assange, Free press advocate for the masses. It would not be until later that I realized how completely wrong I had gotten it. And unlike seemingly 99.9% of his followers, admitted it fully and openly.
Sure, he’s for that. . . for one side.
Hesitant to interfere with the democratic happenings of a sovereign nation?
Not a fucking chance.
And then there are the rape cases in Sweeden, which even many respected femenist journalists like Christopher Hedges like to either ignore or downplay.
Assange took refuge in the embassy to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where authorities wanted to question him as part of a sexual assault investigation. That probe was later dropped, but Sweden’s prosecution authority said Thursday the legal counsel of the alleged victim has requested that the preliminary investigation be reopened. That request has been assigned to a prosecutor who will determine how to proceed.
Assange hadn’t left the embassy since August 2012 for fear that if he steps off Ecuador’s diplomatic soil he will be arrested and extradited to the U.S. for publishing thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks.
He was running from a rape charge. But the United States just so happened to come up as a convenient scapegoat to avoid prosecution. Fortunately for Assange, one of the cases has already been closed on account to the statute of limitations running out. The other one times out next year, however. Though that likely won’t matter either, since he will be spending 5 years in prison (apparently the maximum sentence for the crime. Which fits . . .it’s a computer crime).
Speaking of his sentence:
Assange faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.
On Thursday, Assange was found guilty at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court of skipping bail in 2012 after an extradition order to Sweden over an allegation of rape. Assange, who pleaded not guilty, will be sentenced at a later date when he will face a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison for the offence.
5 years! Really, he fled to avoid a 5-year sentence?!
What a goddamned pussy. Jesus Christ.
But the fun doesn’t stop there, oh no. The reason why the Ecuadorians eventually decided to give him the boot is even more hilarious. Primarily in its exposure of how much of an entitled jackass the man is.
In a statement earlier Thursday, London police said they arrested Assange after being “invited into the embassy by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.”
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said Assange’s diplomatic asylum was withdrawn for repeated violations of international conventions. Ecuador received a guarantee from Britain that Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face the death penalty, Moreno said.
Ecuador’s foreign minister also announced that Assange’s Ecuadorian citizenship was suspended.
And then there was this:
Assange’s relationship with his hosts collapsed after Ecuador accused him of leaking information about Moreno’s personal life. Moreno had previously said Assange has violated the terms of his asylum.
So, not only did he not stop attempting to meddle in the affairs of other soverign nations whilst in their embassy (putting Equador in an extremely diplomatically awkward position), he also directly bit the hand that feeds him. Granted, it was a new administration that wasn’t as friendly to his presence as the previous one.
None the less . . . Jackass.
As reported before, a certified roommate from hell. But also a roommate from hell that actively targeted you and your friend’s personal lives in order to post the goods on facebook and twitter. To any of us, a scumbag worthy of landing on the street without our remorse. To a nation-state granting assylum, a potential risk to national security.
Now, despite all of the barbs in which I have tossed towards Assange, I admit that I am not sure that I agree with why he has become the martyr that he now is.
Should the alleged rapist have to face the music in Sweeden?
Should he have to face the music for his part on bringing some transparency to the otherwise opaque entity that is the American military-industrial complex?
I don’t know. Even the way I worded that is quite, slanted. Not untrue . . . just very biased.
Either way, should he (and others involved) be punished for bringing some transparency to the citizens of the United States (and the world)?
Again, I don’t know.
The idealists and the free speech absolutists would likely say that the answer to that question is obvious. Maybe for them. But much like my view of free speech absolutism itself, I need more information before I can make a judgement.
In the case of free speech, are the potential downstream ramifications worth the open and unchecked platforms?
And in the case of Wikileaks and Assange, was the damage done and the doxing of informants worth the release of the information in its entirety?
Of course, the Department of Justice and the US Government are going to stick to one extreme, and the Assange and Wiki followers to the other, with likely no hope in hell of some sort of rational compromise being discussed in the middle. None the less, I live in the middle. Even if it often leads to my stance on a great many issues being very . . . uncommitted.
Either way, if you are one that STILL worships at the altar of Jullian Assange, I implore you to do a little digging. Even aside from matters in his personal life, the man is hardly a non-partisan actor in the worldwide political scene.
He may have once had credibility. But it is now LONG gone.
I recently received a promotional email from the platform Patheos (I am on a few of their mailing lists) which was interesting to me.
This has happened before (also on patheos) when I saw an ad for a product that allegedly had the cure for dementia. This latest addition brings up another so-called medical marvel.
This time, however, for diabetics. Sent on behalf of a company called Constitutional Health, let’s get into it.
Interestingly, though they use proprietary Youtube logo’s both in the email and within the link, I couldn’t open the link in youtube itself (and therefore directly embed the video here). Possibly explainable legitimately. But also a red flag, since universally recognized logos can lend legitimacy to the material they are associated with.
The video is essentially a testimonial of a man named Jacob’s experience with this so-called miracle diabetes reversal method called The DWD Protocol (DWD meaning Done With Diabetes).
I use the word miracle because of the nature of the video, obviously aimed at those of faithful sensibilities (the main Patheos userbase). And yes, yet another tri-acronym protocol.
This is aparently brought to us by a physician named Dr. Roy Taylor (more on the aparently later). According to the video, the protocol reboots the pancreas to quote do what God intended it to do, aka keep your blood sugar levels healthy and reverse insulin resistance.
This new protocol allegedly sharply reduces the need (or even eliminates!) the necessity of medication.
Though I would normally watch the provided video webinar to its conclusion, I just . . . couldn’t. Though these things always beat around the bush right to the very last second, this one had no end in sight. With a healthy dose of fearmongering, conspiratorial allegations against drug companies and the American Diabetes Association, AND promotion of distrust in people’s personal physicians, I couldn’t hear it any longer.
I already have extracted the most important details that I needed.
The DWD Lifestyle Blueprint focuses not on treating symptoms but addressing the lifestyle factors which lead to type 2 diabetes in the first place—the same factors that ensure it remains a chronic, ongoing disease. With step-by-step guides, natural nutritional support, and behavioral strategies firmly grounded in psychology, the Lifestyle Blueprint provides the tools people need to achieve long-term healthy change.
The four-module Success Blueprint addresses the most important lifestyle factors for type 2 diabetics, fostering healthy habits by giving them the education they’re missing and the tools for consistent success. Community support ensures that users stay on target. And the powerful DWDX3 supplement, clinically-proven to support insulin sensitivity, offers physical support for recovery from the damage done by type 2 diabetes.
So it looks like we’re dealing with a sort of educational and nutritional manual in combination with a proprietary supplement.
The core of the program is the very low calorie DWD reversal diet, based on groundbreaking studies 1,2,3 showing that very low calorie diets of 600 to 800 calories per day can reverse type 2 diabetes. But where other such diets employ meal-replacement shakes to achieve their goal, the DWD diet takes users through eight weeks of very low calorie eating based on real food. For the duration of the program, users will prepare their own healthy low-calorie meals, aided by the dedicated cookbook included with each module. They will also learn to calculate their unique energy and macronutrient needs. By the end of the program will have all the tools they need to maintain a healthy weight—and blood glucose–long-term.
But diet is only one factor affecting the development of type 2 diabetes. Each of the four modules addresses one important aspect of lifestyle and is designed to bring about positive change in that area. Each day, users will be given education, activities, and exercises intended to highlight the behaviors which contribute to type 2 diabetes and modify those behaviors organically.
I can’t see all that much wrong with this so far. There is nothing wrong with encouraging people to take responsibility for their own health and well being. There are other ways to get this information than paying these guys for it but to each his own.
Hint: Use a search engine. The vast library that is the resources of the internet is a godsend to almost anyone inquiring into almost anything.
The final component is the concentrated DWDX3 supplement. This proprietary formula is comprised entirely of vitamins, minerals, and botanicals clinically proven* to support healthy blood sugar levels and protect against the damage caused by type 2 diabetes.
This is the part that has me curious. The supplement.
As a rule, I don’t trust supplements because they are regulated differently than other food and drugs (at least in the US and Canada), so you are often at the mercy of seller honesty when you are purchasing this type of stuff. Consider the Alex Jones example. Or for that matter, that it’s not all that uncommon for supplements to claim to contain ingredients that they don’t actually have.
From frozen dinners to vitamins, the labels on our foods are sometimes incorrect. Earlier this month, the attorney general of New York accused GNC GNC, -2.47% , Target TGT, -0.34% , Walgreens and Wal-Mart WMT, +1.34% of selling herbal supplements that claimed to contain ingredients they didn’t actually contain; indeed, DNA tests of some of these stores’ supplements found that just 21% contained DNA from the herbs and plants listed on the label.
The New York review wasn’t the first to reach such conclusions. A study released in 2013 in the journal BMC Medicine — in which 44 bottles of herbal supplements from 12 companies were tested — found that one-third of the supplements tested didn’t contain the supplement advertised (so, for example, a bottle of St. John’s wort didn’t actually have any St. John’s wort herb in it). Many other supplements contained ingredients like wheat and rice that weren’t even listed on the label—even though they can cause allergic reactions in some consumers.
The final sentence is particularly disturbing. Allergies can literally be a death sentence for some people. Making this problem far worse than a simple issue of deceiving a consumer for profit.
Let me be clear . . . I am not making any claims of certainty about the DWDX3 supplement. All I am telling readers of this blog is that they should exercise caution in terms of supplements because not all participants consider your wellbeing as their top priority.
Consider this legal disclaimer that was prominently displayed on the webinar video I referred to earlier.
Either way, time to look into this.
Interestingly enough, the first link I found was to a Medium article reviewing a book (and process) called the diabetes protocol, which is entirely different than the one I am looking into. That protocol and book were created by Dr. Kenneth Pullman. Interestingly, the links to materials on Pullman’s official site are now broken. The review was written back in September 2014.
Though the link went dead sometime in 2016, thanks to the way back machine, we can have some insight into what the page looked like.
Where have I seen this before . . .
Next on the docket is . . . a review of Done With Diabetes. Here, however, the product is credited to a Dr. Eugene Koprowski (as opposed to Dr. Roy Taylor). Interestingly, most of the references I found in the wilds of the search engine results also credit a Dr. Koprowski. Only the video and email distributed to Patheo’s users seems to credit Dr. Roy Taylor from Newcastle, England.
I found this link through a video testimonial that came up with my first search query.
Here, I suspect yet another common form of digital marketing trickery. This time, I will pass the baton to CBC’s Marketplace. Allow them to highlight why you should be careful of these everyday person type reviews and testimonials.
And for this matter, online reviews in general.
Next, we have . . . yet another book by yet another doctor (Dr. Neal B. Barnard). Given your newfound education in analyzing online reviews, did anything seem amiss?
It seems that there is no shortage of doctors promoting different diabetes fixes. A regular cottage industry, it seems.
The most obvious question that comes to my mind is can diabetes be reversed, PERIOD? Seems like a good jumping off point (being that it covers everything past and present, DWD included).
A Time magazine article from September 2017 claims that the answer is yes, based on a newly released paper.
An analysis published in TheBMJ aims to let doctors and the public in on a little-known secret: Type 2 diabetes, in many cases, is curable.
People can reverse their diabetes by losing about 33 pounds, say the authors of the new paper, despite popular belief that the diagnosis is always a permanent one. If more people were striving for this goal, and if more doctors were documenting instances of diabetes remission, complication rates and health-care costs could both be reduced dramatically, the authors say.
The analysis is based on evidence from recent clinical trials. In one from 2011, people who were recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes returned their blood sugar levels to normal when they lost weight on a calorie-restrictive diet. In a 2016 follow-up study, people who had been diabetic for up to 10 years were able to reverse their condition when they lost about 33 pounds.
Mike Lean, professor of human nutrition at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, is an author of both the new analysis and of those earlier trials. He says a person’s likelihood of remission from diabetes is greatest in the first five years after being diagnosed.
Type 2 diabetes, he wrote in an email, is a disease “best avoided by avoiding the weight gain that drives it.” For people who do develop it, he believes that evidence-based weight-loss programs could help them achieve lasting remission.
“Not all can do it, but they should all be given the chance with good support,” Lean writes. “Taking tablets or injections for life to reduce blood sugar is a poor second rate treatment.”
Current guidelines for the management of type 2 diabetes include reducing blood sugar levels and lowering risks for heart disease, primarily with medications and general lifestyle advice about diet and exercise.
But many people don’t attempt to lose weight and keep it off, Lean says—and that may be because because they don’t realize they can become non-diabetic again. Many doctors don’t know this either, he says, so they don’t give patients the proper guidance and encouragement.
So, a probable yes?
I hesitate to go all in based on this for a couple reasons. First off, it looks like it’s a fairly small sample size. And secondly, the media is known for misrepresenting the findings of scientific studies, often times unintentionally. I’ll again let John Oliver explain this phenomenon to you.
Imagine that . . . a reference to Time Magazine.
Moving on, when it comes to the big question (can diabetes be reversed?), I found a small panel of experts that have various answers to that question, but the majority lead to the same ultimate answer (No).
There is no reversing of type 1 diabetes, period. It is an autoimmune disease. The pancreas, in this case, has never produced any insulin, so there is no treating that without taking insulin.
Type 2 on the other hand, is caused by the body developing a resistance to insulin due to the overproduction of it on account to constantly high blood sugar levels. This constant overworking of the pancreas can eventually lead to it slowing (or even ceasing) production of insulin. Being that it’s driven largely by lifestyle, type 2 can generally be managed by making good diet and lifestyle choices. Obesity tends to be associated with this disease (they see the most benefit from exercise), however, one doesn’t need to be obese to develop the disease.
Interestingly, this was something I warned a family member about (I know they consume ALOT of sugar in a day). But it was a warning they didn’t heed until their doctor warned them that their blood glucose was higher than it should be.
Once a person enters pre-diabetes where their hemoglobin HbA1c starts rising above 5.7% they have entered the disease process. The patient – if made aware that they have pre-diabetes and has access to educational support – has the opportunity to prevent the pre-diabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes.
They will always have the pre-diabetes diagnosis and have the potential to develop type 2 diabetes if aggressive dietary, exercise and or medication is not followed. It is possible to achieve a normal non-diabetic HbA1c after this – virtually not having any clinical evidence of the pre-diabetes, however the disease process is still there and being held at bay.
If the person stops the interventions or is predisposed to having diabetes due to risk factors out of their control, they can and will develop type 2 diabetes. It’s worth noting that there are genetic and other non-adjustable risk factors (ethnicity for example) that contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.
It is also worth noting and all of this advice can be followed and a person can still develop type 2 diabetes. Following strict guidelines and taking medications is not a 100% promise that type 2 diabetes will be prevented.
A patient diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (HbA1c of 6.5% or above) will always have type 2 diabetes. Interventions such as medication (including insulin), staying active and making good diet choices must be maintained to prevent the disease from progressing further. However, even if the patient undergoes strict medication, diet and exercise adherence and manages to lower the HbA1c they will still have type 2 diabetes.
The idea of “reversing” is describing the well managed type 2 diabetes that can be maintained without the outcome of complications (eye disease, kidney disease, etc.). And it is totally possible to have type 2 (or type 1 diabetes for that matter) and have no complications – however, this takes careful management and is largely driven by the patient and their access to quality healthcare.
So, can you “reverse” diabetes? No – but you can manage it very well with the help of a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a knowledgeable primary care physician or endocrinologist. There are even prescription apps available to bridge the care that your clinicians can give you between visits and apps that offer virtual CDE’s for greater assistance.
Molly McElwee-Malloy, RN, CDE
This one, while similar, offers a word of warning to all those seeking help from miracle protocols. Though one can theoretically achieve remission enough to allow the discontinuation of diabetic medications, you still can not let your guard down. Likely why none of these proposed protocols ever use the word cure. Because despite being able to reverse many of the worst symptoms, there is no going back to square one.
From my professional experience as an inpatient diabetes educator, many patients are able to reduce or stop their diabetic medications through lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. Through these adjustments their A1C improves, they lose weight, and do not require the same interventions as when they were diagnosed.
Many of my patients with several comorbidities elect to have weight loss surgery, such as gastric banding, in order to lose the amount of weight needed to improve their diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other risks that follow obesity.
However, once someone has a tremendous improvement and no longer needs to take diabetes medications they do not need to assume it is “gone for good.” Different factors can cause their glucose to rise again, such as gaining weight or not following a diabetic diet.
Therefore, once a person has been diagnosed with diabetes they need to always check their glucose at home and follow-up with their PCP to have their A1C monitored regularly.
Amanda L. Gilbert, RN, MSN
I pulled that one to let anyone looking into any diabetes protocol (past or future!) know to be careful of words like reversing, in the context of type 2 diabetes. The video that drove me to write this piece didn’t overly emphasize the importance of monitoring one’s condition even AFTER the protocol seems to be kicking in (or at least that wasn’t what I came away with, anyway).
To conclude, I never came around to any solid conclusions about what I first set out exploring, the Done With Diabetes protocol. Really, I don’t have to.
If I were in such a situation, I would not purchase it. For one, the price.
What is the price of freedom? $60 a bottle apparently.
While I am at it, I may as well show you another thing to watch for in terms of these kinds of sites. First off are the ads for CBD oil that are front and center. If not CBD oil, than any substance. I don’t have to do a long form to tell you that laundry list of cured ailments is a load of scheiße.
Is a website that pushes this kind of nonsense a place where you want to be purchasing ANYTHING, let alone medical necessities? I know my answer.
Yes, this is just one independent retailer of this product (likely unaffiliated with its manufacturer). But the fact that one would need to resort to a place like this says a lot.
The second is the language. The presence of many errors that a native English speaker would not make tells me that this wasn’t written by someone with English as their native tongue. Though it is hosted in Las Angeles (I dug up the IP Address and checked), you can’t go by that.
Take this blog. It is run by a content creator in Canada but hosted by a company called Automattic in San Francisco.
Either way, if you are type 2 diabetic or prediabetic, no matter what the true status of the supplements in the Done With Diabetes protocol, they are not necessary. Frankly, neither is the protocol itself if you are to be paying for it. First and foremost, your doctor should be your first stop in your quest. If they are uninterested in much more than pulling out the prescription pad (it happens. Burnout or greed can affect members of any profession), consider a second opinion from another doctor.
As for implementing a healthy lifestyle, consider how you got here. Chances are you were looking into some supposed diabetes protocol or other easy solution to a terrifying health problem. Instead of looking for something to buy, consider looking for advice. Try terms like “healthy living with diabetes” or “living with diabetes”.
By the looks of many of these protocols, you will likely be following many of the same steps anyway. Only without the added expense of the literature and questionable additional supplements.
After polishing this off, I found a reference to Dr. Roy Toylor buried in the hyperlinks of the Time magazine article I utilized above. The man is indeed a legitmaite doctor that ran a legitamite study. I suspect that his work being refrenced as sales material for a supliment is not with his permission (possibly even knowledge).
I also have some concerns about his findings as described even on his Universities website, because they seem to contradict with other medical literature. Namely that a pancreas that has been dysfunctional for as long as 2 decades can start working as normal just with the removal of excess fatty tissue.
Indeed, I am not the doctor here. None the less . . . the claim seems a bit premature. Particularly from a physition.
Back on April 6th, as most of us know by now, a traffic accident claimed the lives of 16 people.
The reactions from both Canadians and (primarily) hockey fans around the world has been swift. Endless thoughts and prayers and memes posted, a huge cash windfall for the team crowdfunded online.
I am somewhat critical of this visceral reaction owing to the fact that it is solely based on the cohorts involved (let’s be honest!). Canadians, and Hockey fans. Two overlapping groups of some of the most conformist groups one will come across. Eliminate the latter of the 2 variables, and I doubt I would still be seeing constant Breaking News updates. Note that a plane crash in Algeria yesterday killed 257 people, and I didn’t get a breaking news update for that!
Either way, it is what it is. People will behave as they may, despite the fact that what this boils down to is just another run of the mill traffic accident with fatalities. And I don’t know why people feel the need to donate $10 million to the team (hockey is not a cheap sport. They don’t need the help!), but whatever.
Spend your money and emotional capital however you like. That is not my biggest concern of the moment, anyway.
Enough of this already.
This message is mostly for the media vultures sucking all the ratings they can out of this story, but also for the Canadians creating the demand with which they are fulfilling. It’s time to step back and let these people grieve.
Arguably, the time for that was 24 to 48 hours after. But again, it is what it is. Leave the families to mourn in peace.