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"I think I've lived long enough to see competitive Counter-Strike as we know it, kill itself." Summary of Richard Lewis' stream (Long)
I want to preface that the contents of this post is for informational purposes. I do not condone or approve of any harassments or witch-hunting or the attacking of anybody.
Richard Lewis recently did a stream talking about the terrible state of CS esports and I thought it was an important stream anyone who cares about the CS community should listen to. Vod Link here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830415547 I realize it is 3 hours long so I took it upon myself to create a list of interesting points from the stream so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, although I still encourage you to do so if you can. I know this post is still long but probably easier to digest, especially in parts. Here is a link to my raw notes if you for some reason want to read through this which includes some omitted stuff. It's in chronological order of things said in the stream and has some time stamps. https://pastebin.com/6QWTLr8T
"The last month has convinced me, that we are going to be heading into a dark place for Counter-Strike esports in 2021."
"I think I've seen the scene essentially kill itself."
"For the past 5 to 6 years, we've basically been in a holding pattern of people coming into our game wanting to run it, wanting to run all of the esports and wanting to profiteer and its been sort of a concerted effort to drive them off and push them away."
"We're spread way too thin."
"If Riot don't get involved and stop the scumbags that have moved over to Valorant from getting their feet under the table, Valorant is going to have real problems."
RL thinks too much has happened all at once for us to do anything except watch it play out, like:
Recent CSPPA strike against BLAST
ESIC failures and them not being supported enough
Teams cheating i.e. coaches/bugs
Widespread match fixing
"People who try to hold bubble events are so incompetent and fuck up and people get the 'rona and its their fault."
"People who say Flashpoint is a bubble is full of shit and is a lie and people are now suffering for that lie."
"To save money they let people go home and break the bubble for a week."
"Not just Flashpoint peoples decision, they have a partner that handles the production." (hinting FACEIT)
"People are trapped in hotels essentially under house arrest because of COVID restrictions and has fucked peoples lives up."
"It's all too much, all of this incompetence, all of this greed, maybe we ride it out."
RL says he has talked to the Riot devs (the ones working on Valorant) and says, "They are so cognizant of all the fuck ups and all the problems we have in Counter-Strike."
He continues to say that this is factored into their business plan and that we never had a competitor, but just so happens to have one coincide, when we are at our worst.
CSPPA - Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association
"Who does this union really fucking serve?"
RL believes that the CSPPA is a mockery.
He points out the hypocrisy that they wouldn't strike for the pros who were kicked out of ESL Pro League, or for Jamppi or dream3r.
He also says ESL paid CSPPA and are racketeering and many other TOs have to pay them to get their "seal of approval"
He says they would strong-arm TOs saying "well if you don't give us the money, these guys are so we'll just have to commit to playing their event."
Also points out that they will strike against a competitor they are not in agreement with (Flashpoint)
RL: "It's what it says about every other time you haven't done it and it's about every time you don't do it now moving forward." "The issues they've chosen to ignore this year alone are embarrassing."
Then he points out that there was no strike for Valve qualifiers even if we have no major but Jamppi and dream3r can't play in them.
"and Valve have said 'Oh yeah we know actually their stories are accurate, Jamppi didn't cheat, now in a legally binding document. Yep dream3r did have his account hacked in a LAN café', but they still can't play. Where is the fucking solidarity? Gone. Doesn't exist. It's not important [because] it doesn't affect you." "That's what the union does right now, it looks after all the tier 1 people."
He says the CSPPA doesn't represent all players all the time and has driven a divide where you have the haves and have-nots
"We have a tier of players that operate with impunity and do not help their tier 2 or tier 3 players out at all." "If you are not a tier 1 player you do not matter, they don't event ask your opinion."
He tells chrisJ to admit and own the fact that the reason he didn't speak up during the ESL Pro League debacle is because it didn't affect him
"They are looking after some players at the expense of other players. How the fuck is that a union?"
He says the BLAST situation is a reasonable dispute and supports the players but is not the right time for a strike and have not even identified the correct enemy
He thinks players are lashing out now due to previous incidents and are upset that BLAST are working with ESIC
He stated that CSPPA shouldn't beefing with ESIC and they should be working in harmony
He says what they need to do is talk with the teams/organizations that have sold that right to BLAST
RL: "Your employers, the people who pay you that massive exorbitant salaries, when you don't stream and you don't do interviews and you offer no value beyond your ability to click heads and you get 25k dollars a month." "Why don't you talk to them about it? Oh right. You're happy to take away BLAST's paper, but you don't want to risk your own."
"I am seeing such unbelievable cowardice from the players here with the battles you choose."
"Where was the strike action when in the qualifiers for the world championship, there were teams and players engaged in huge conflicts of interest?" "Where was the strike action when your image rights were taken and sold to every league you've ever been in every union type organization you've ever been associated with like, WESA, to your org every time you sign a contract, to the leagues you play in."
"Your image rights are essentially worthless now, there's about 10 fucking separate parties that have them, and how many of them are giving you anything for it? Not much pretty much your org by the way."
"That's a big issue. Your image is you, your image is your brand. What are you doing about that? Nothing."
He is also angry at SirScoots who is "popping off" at people on Twitter who all want the same thing, which is 'A unified Counter-Strike scene for everybody, that works for everybody, that has a sustained ecosystem that nourishes everybody.' "We don't have that now."
He also says their rankings are a joke
"Just so happened, oh look TACO, that very important prominent member of the board, we pushed his team artificially up when they weren't even in the fucking top 20, not by a long shot."
He also says the ineptitude of the CSPPA cost Flashpoint a monitor sponsor
"Is it really a player association or is it like a fucking agency at this point"
ESIC - Esports Integrity Commission
"They have been put in an impossible position."
RL says that Ian Smith, the founder of ESIC and who was done work in mainstream sports, is a good and honorable man who has dedicated his life to integrity and sports. He takes on both sides, ensuring match fixers are punished, but also doing appeals and ensuring those punishments were fair.
"ESIC is a tiny organization" and are in need of money, "They didn't run a grift like the CSPPA did."
"Saying 'you want our support and you want the players to turn up you better pay us.' They don't do that."
"Had startup seed money from MTG and since then they've been pecking shit with the hens."
Ian Smith made sure that the money given by MTG (Modern Times Group, parent company of ESL, ESEA, DreamHack) was nothing more than startup money and wouldn't be in debt to them
Ian Smith sat down with other TO's not part of MTG and wanted to partner with them. They declined and called ESIC "ESL spies and we will never align ourselves with you"
"They only were just able to afford, hiring a PR guy on a full time salary to deal with the press and send out those releases you've seen, this year."
"They have a tiny group of staff investigating these things and they have taken on the biggest problems in our scene: the cheating, the match fixing."
ESIC have had "unprecedented levels of cheating to deal with, because there's something wrong with our scene ever since we went online. There's something wrong with it, everyone's lost their fucking pride and self-respect and they got no passion for it anymore, so they think fuck it, what's in it for me?"
He calls out coaches who are talking about players rights when they would rob and steal from them.
Also says more coaches being banned are coming
He also points out flaws in community's reaction to the punishments to coaches bans: "Half of the cunts still have jobs and some of the cunts got new jobs. We didn't even shun the cheating coaches."
ESIC have "found I think another 2 or 3 exploits like that one and they are investigating them all right now, it's going on right now."
"I know that there are going to be more names getting banned, again."
"So they're doing that on a skeleton crew while, investigating 3 continents worth of match fixing in MDL and semi-pro level CS." "They're doing this with half a dozen people." "They don't have any money or any help. People barely even fucking cooperate with them, they are treated like pariahs. It's ridiculous."
"Why are the CSPPA popping off at ESIC on my Twitter timeline, when you should be working together." "because its all about what's in it in for me." "2020, the online era of CS: 'What is in it for me?' How can I cheat, how can I get my paper, how can I bleed this scene one last time before I fuck off and play shooty shooty bang bang Riot Games babys first fps."
RL says that in the CIS region, teams have gone to tournaments and have been eliminated multiple times by the same team. We found out they were cheating and those players who lost, have been cut from their roster, careers ended because of cheaters.
"They're all at it in the online era, they're all at it, they're all cheating, they're all using exploits, probably that see through smoke bug got used a bunch of times"
RL talks about how there is no integrity from dead (the player), always denying when caught doing something
On the topic of 'BLAST never said we couldn't stream snipe': "Lies, BLAST never said you could do that, they had to sort of retcon it." "because what happened after that they fucking started snitching and squealing"
"Suddenly you had like, 10 of the top 15 teams in the world, staring into the abyss of being banned for 6-12 months in line with ESIC recommendations."
He says that ESIC was put in a tough situation and couldn't enforce the bans because it would have resulted in killing CS. What resulted was, BLAST, ESIC, and teams came together and gave them a warning and told them, in RL's words "don't do this again or you're gonna get got."
He then says the top teams brushed this off and didn't give a fuck
The new MiBR team playing Flashpoint, that wasn't involved in the previous incidents are doing it again (stream sniping). He gave credit to Flashpoint for the quick resolution and punishment and respect for cogu's response to the situation.
"ESIC came out and said, once more, 'Guys, zero tolerance from now on.'" RL then got upset at community's reaction calling ESIC "pussies" for their non enforcement and said if we want competitive CS we cant ban the top 10 teams.
He points out how players have no integrity and will do anything for an edge as long as they won't get detected or banned or it's within a grey area.
"All of this shit was mad avoidable, even in the pandemic era."
He talks about why aren't we filming them. Why aren't there representatives for leagues and tournaments making sure players aren't cheating?
"How many years have we let our scene be fucking pillaged by these greedy cunts?" "We just let it happen."
RL says that gambling and skins betting which existed in moderation was "accelerated and blown up by the Call of Duty greedy fucks."
"Never forget TmarTn was on the board of EnVyUs." "His website, CSGOLotto, they had a bunch of off-the-books sponsorships." "NBK promoted them. People forget."
"Those people who had access to the skins, go to the players" "Even people like s1mple, best player in the world, even he scammed knives and skins off fucking fans."
Owners of skin casino sites would approach pros and lend them skins to use in tournaments and possibly keep them after reaching a deal
Players would tip off inside info about matches and teams in exchange for skins. Info such as: roster changes, how they played in scrims
They would use this info to bet and subvert the odds on their sites. "That happened religiously, I can't even tell you how many times it happened."
"I had access to the biggest database of information, from an inside betting circle in NA, and it would take information and screenshots from other pro players, who were feeding them info in exchange for money or skins."
"Some of these players are still playing." "Incredibly, there are players still in the CSPPA today, complaining about the BLAST recordings, that were embroiled in this murky shit back then."
RL also says that there were tournaments where teams contrived with each other, who should throw, who should win.
"There's a handful of people that are trying to fucking clean it up, and you think you get something over the line and you see something like the CSPPA and it's run by corrupt fucking chuckle heads, and now you've got another corrupt body you have to fight on a fucking daily basis, it's demoralizing."
"It's too far gone. Our entire semi-professional scene is compromised."
"It's rife guys, I'm not going to lie any more. It's not just China, it's not just Russia, it's here, it's NA, it's Europe, it's Australia, so much more than you think, so much more than we can prove."
"I get sent chat logs all the time […] and they're morons, these players, short-sighted, amateur, morons and they're doing it on WhatsApp." People would get cut from the bets because they want to make more money, then they leak the logs. He says, from the chat logs, they spread "little" bets across every site they can (400 to 1k dollars) to prevent shifting odds
He says the scumbags who've fucked off to Valorant will do the same there if Riot doesn't do something and says Valorant "is an esports scene heading for a very early fall based on the sheer volume of scumbags that are already there."
"That's tier 2 CS in a nutshell these days. They know they're never going to play in a major, so what's the punishment?"
"All of these tier 2 fucks that are fixing games now they are like the fucking mafia compared to iBuyPower" "These guys are working with organized criminals to fix entire seasons worth of games. That's what's going on in your tier 2 CS."
"I'm literally being told that there are players fixing games at all levels of Chinese esports and motherfuckers with guns are turning up to team houses and stuff."
"Everyone in NA has left we've lost a continents worth of support during this pandemic and Valve haven't said a fucking word."
RL says the Call of Duty "goblins" that destroyed CS for years are the same people who are now trying to leave CS. "The nerve to treat a game where the fans, and the community, and the TO's were nothing but good to you." "To just kick the players out now and go and leave and say 'It just doesn't make financial sense.' Oh you'll slither back when we have a major though for them stickers won't you."
There's a cascading effect in NA where people don't bother with CS anymore and people like Chaos suffer.
He says NA team owners are incompetent for always wanting it easy and always wanting a guarantee on their investment without skill or nuance.
RL says he would be able to market a team correctly and would have a good ROI and also points out how TSM wouldn't even be bothered to tweet that their team, which was one of the best in the world, was playing at the Major.
He also says not all NA owners are like that, compliments and respects Jason Lake who nearly lost everything to keep Complexity going.
He then calls out the incompetence in Infinite Esports when they acquired OpTic Gaming and bought an Indian CS team.
He says HECZ is not to blame here and that they couldn't tell forsaken was cheating when it was so obvious.
They measured his reaction time to the likes of dev1ce and s1mple
When an enemy showed up on his screen he won that duel something like 44% of the time
"was like the number 1 player in the world statistically"
He brought a laptop to their bootcamp and refused to use the high end PCs that hey provided
He respects Andy Miller (NRG CEO) and HECZ but says that the attitude of not being able to easily monetize their teams is "piss weak" and there needs to be a risk.
He says Chaos EC shouldn't be cutting their roster and should be competent enough to be able to figure out how to make money off their team.
He says there are still opportunities in NA and people are panicking and pulling out, and says Valorant will be the same if not worse.
He also says "bums" who couldn't even get out of groups in NA competitions, are making crazy money in Valorant and says it will continue to inflate.
He also said that he heard rumors that EG (Evil Geniuses) are done.
He also thinks that the rumors of a Valve franchised league from before was sparked up from "these lazy fabled weak NA fucking team owners basically trying to see if Valve would bite at the hook if it was dangled and they didn't"
Slasher says NA team owners are really in favor of franchised leagues because they want to make more money. "Most of the powerful team owners right now are on board with ditching this third party organization structure, or they are trying to play this power politics with all the TOs, and that is contributing to a lot of the problems there"
RL says that Riot has proved they can run a franchised league (LCS) and will be profitable in 2021 which is what a lot of team owners care about and says the competition will only serve to snatch people away from CS.
RL continues to say, "I am so sick and tired of what we have done to this scene, I am just exhausted with it." "I think we have legitimately fucked it, I really think we have. I think we're staring into almost like a CGS (Championship Gaming Series) wasteland in NA." "Counter-Strike esports is a fucking joke."
"TO's have treated CS talent like absolute human garbage for years now."
RL says that people like Sean Gares and ddk switching over to Valorant isn't for financial reasons because they are making less over there.
He points out that TO's can't even give talent a 3 month in advance calendar.
Because of the pandemic TO's won't hire certain people and some people are working more hours for the same money.
He says we as a community don't respect journalists enough which is why we don't have good journalists.
He also says DeKay is leaving the scene soon and that Thorin is close to leaving also
He says he had to talk a caster down from quitting and was struggling to find reasons.
He says that DreamHack told Vince they would hire him but not if he wants to stick with dusT and says that this is the norm in esports. "Constant leveraging of people against each other." and says this is why we don't have a talent union.
New gen casters are getting put into shit situations and the community's reaction to them is adding fuel to the fire
He says the reason Moses left was because of the terrible conditions
He says that Anders had to constantly leave his family and kid because someone fucked up or broke promises and had to constantly tell his kid to their face that "daddy can't be home this weekend."
He says that esports has always been a lie to sell you this dream, "Meanwhile there's about 2% of the cunts getting all the checks."
"Anything that Riot does, is better than Valve's inaction"
Slasher says that the larger aspect of esports as a whole compared to other entertainment mediums and Valve's lack of inattention are the bigger problems. He continues saying that the fact that Valve let their game be ran as an esport, they need to take on the responsibilities of it.
Both Slasher and RL wants Valve to take control but not on the level of Riot Games, there needs to be a balance.
In case it was ever a question: Gabe Newell has been to 0 CSGO Majors.
RL calls Valve out saying they could have done something during the gambling era.
He says Valve used to come to the majors, but doesn't think they do anymore.
RL had met with Valve at the Cluj-Napoca Major and had tried to appeal iBP's indefinite punishment and had also gave Brax's life story:
A recent family member passed away, they had lost a lot of income, they had to live in trailer, iBuyPower did not pay any salaries, and was pressured by family to make money who didn't support his career.
RL said that Valve told him, "How dare you try and make us feel guilty." "We shouldn't feel bad about enforcing the only thing that matters that we need to make players afraid of: cheating and match fixing"
RL also tried to share other info about match fixing and nothing came of it
RL points out that Source 2 or a new engine is not something you will want based on the experience of transitioning from CS 1.6 to CS:S. "Valve's track record with brand new engines being launched, not fucking great from what I remember."
Slasher says "If there is anything the community should do, is pressure Valve to hire a community manager."
They say that we need a commissioner, a community manager (not the person who runs the Twitter who posts memes all day), then we need to have a circuit
RL reiterates that Valve doesn't care about CS esports and says they need to change the culture at Valve to make them care about CS esports
Slasher says a systemic problem is making it so working on CSGO would be a bad decision for you as an employee for Valve
He also hasn't talked to Valve in ages and have sent over bugs and cheats and doesn't get emails back anymore
Slasher says we should be directing attention at the developer leads, pointing out Ido Magal, if he even is still the project lead
RL thinks that Ido and Brian are the only people that "vaguely even give a fuck about CS" and were the only people that RL recalled that actually read Reddit and paid attention from time to time
"It is really fucking precarious. Somebody has got to step the fuck up and start giving a shit"
Slasher suggests org owners, with CSPPA, with ESIC, with TOs have a concerted effort against Valve
"Riot Games are doing better things than Valve in the esports space" which is something RL didn't think he'd say.
"People who used to be talent, working with unions, arguing with other talent, when the unions fucked them over, can't understand their perspective, TOs fucking over broadcast talent, broadcast talent wanting to leave and go and work for orgs, orgs having no money, Valve might take coaches away because all the coaches are cheating, ESIC has about 4 people in a fucking call doing the investigations, everyone thinks they're spies for ESL, ESL are just the evil fucking overlords wanting to rule the scene and will just somehow, like cockroaches outliving a nuclear bomb, and Valve are in a fucking holiday in Hawaii thinking about the next Dota character because they don't give a fuck about us."
"We've peaked. If we want to sustain and exist, now is the time to figure it out. No esports lasts as long as this, we've already done 8 years. We've already broke the records. We have got to figure out a way to coexist and drive the negative forces out and we need to do it as a collective and we're not doing that."
RL compared the Counter-Strike scene to the people on the Titanic who ran around with guns robbing people while the boat was sinking.
"We have given up on being a respectable esports scene." "We are now a conduit to make money for those who want to just milk it, just have one last ride, one last roll of the dice. It's done." "What a fucking mess. What have we done to our fucking scene?"
"There's just too much self-interest driving all of this." "I don't see a way we stop the dominoes." "When it's that bad, when there's that many dishonest people that ESIC have to come out and say that if we punish them all there's no one left. What does that tell you?"
"How many opportunities have we had to clean house? How many times have we said, 'this must never happen again', and another scandal." "The entire skins betting operations was the biggest criminal conspiracy in esports ever executed and no one has been punished for it." "The people who could be driving that don't want to."
"Right now people are fans of those organizations because the scene has value. It is worth being a fan of Astralis because they are excellent at Counter-Strike. It is worth being a fan of s1mple because he is the best player in Counter-Strike, maybe the exception of ZywOo. If the scene is devalued, if the scene loses its meaning, those things lose its meaning too, and people will leave, people will stop tuning into the games. I have seen it happen in multiple esports, this is not my first time at the rodeo. I am getting big Brood War vibes right now and I don't like it."
"The role you play in all of this as fans, as viewers, as listeners, as consumers of esports content, it's absolutely imperative that you know who the good guys are. It's absolutely imperative that you use your voice. It's absolutely imperative that when things are bad, you know who, at least, is trying to make them good, and you have to apply your criticism to the right targets."
He continues saying it's no good in continuing to attack ESIC and saying how they are bad, ESIC have it hard
He says CSPPA are on the right side of the argument on BLAST but have been on the wrong side of many arguments many times.
"If you are not willing to stand along side the weakest member of the union, with the least amount of influence, and the least amount of power, then it is not a union at all and you shouldn't pose as one." "You wanna serve a bunch of special interest do it, everyone else in esports fucking does, but do not pose as something you are not." "We love the players. I've been fighting for players rights for as long as I've been able to, but the CSPPA is not what we needed."
"They are not applying the pressure to the right people, they are not fighting the right battles, they are not helping their weaker members."
He says what orgs have done by keeping or hiring coaches is bad. "When you give up on holding an appreciable standard, you've lost the scene" "Competition matters, rules matter, punishments matter, achievements matter, excellence matters" "If you start stripping that away, you have nothing" "You guys need to take that knowledge and apply it sensibly."
"Valve has sold you all down the river, they sold everyone in the esports scene down the river, tournament organizers are selling their talent down the river. Don't hate on them for sounding tired after a 16 hour day. Don't hate on them because the hype for a matchup they've seen for the 20th time in the past 3 months, they can't be as excited or it sounds contrived. Support your guys, they're there for you, these are your people."
"This community has got to start acting like one for the first fucking time. Just put the petty shit away, let's try and fix this fucking scene while we still have one to save."
"You can't rely on Valve, you can't rely on ESL, you can't rely on the CSPPA, you can't rely on anyone." "Once again, it's gonna be the likes of us, the amateurs, the people who give a fuck, rolling up our sleeves and grafting." "I'm old and tired and I don't want to have to do it again. People need to pick up the torch and do it."
"Like Michal did, like Dudenhoeffer did. You see something wrong, fix it. You see somebody doing something wrong, call it out. If you think something could be better, let people know."
"Vote with your wallets if you're not happy with the direction Valve goes in. If when we do get to the Major, they serve up another subpar, same old bullshit stickers and signatures package again, do not buy it."
"You're a powerful block and if you use it correctly we can fucking avert this disaster."
"I'm not doing another year in this broken, bust-up fucking scene, where everyone is miserable, everyone is broke, everyone is tired, and everyone is trying to fucking rob everyone else, blind, while the fucking people who are meant to be protecting you, are just fucking enhancing it and lining their own pockets."
"I'm not doing it anymore and you shouldn't want to do it either."
"I stand by every fucking thing I said. I mean it, because this game fucking matters to me, this scene fucking matters to me. I put my life into this, my adult life, and to see it in this state is fucking sad."
Jan/3/2021 news: __ Top-10 anti corruption charges of 2020 __ POW & search __ Russian aid __ Refugees return __ Protecting the church __ Artsakh's international recognition __ Oil & gas news __ Chess & soccer events __ Guinness World Record __ Importing more Iranian products __ Syunik borders __
Your 7-minute Sunday report in 1743 words.
10 notable anti-corruption cases in 2020
10) SIS concluded the investigation of former president Serj Sargsyan's alleged embezzlement of ֏500 million in agricultural subsidies in 2013. Serj appeared in court as a defendant in February. The case continues. 9) ex-HHK MP and ex-Soccer Federation Chief Ruben Hayrapetyan (oligarch Nemets Rubo) was charged with large-scale embezzlement. In February, he was charged with embezzling $1.5 million-worth lands belonging to the Soccer Federation. (he was earlier implicated in the case about organizing the kidnapping, extortion, and torturing of a man who allegedly stole from his restaurant) 8) ex-Yerevan Mayor and Transport Minister HHK Gagik Beglaryan was charged with embezzling ֏230 million in state property. He was also interrogated as part of a ֏23 billion embezzlement in the North-South highway construction project. His brother is implicated in a ֏85 million embezzlement case. 7) ex-Culture Minister Hasmik Poghosyan (wanted) and ex Israel Ambassador Armen Smbatyan (paid a bail) are charged with using an offshore scheme to embezzle the state property. 6) Serj Sargsyan's brother Alexander was a defendant in the case of the 14 stolen paintings by Martiros Saryan. Pashinyan announced that Alexander's $30 million bank account was frozen. Alexander agreed to return the funds to state coffers. $26 million was recovered. $7.5 million was recovered as part of Martiros Saryan's painting case. Another $19 million was recovered -- or as he says, "donated" -- for the army modernization. 5) Powerful Churchman Archbishop Kchoyan (Bentley guy) was charged as part of an investigation of the forceful appropriation of another businessman's property by using an offshore firm, which was run by several individuals, including the churchman and allegedly the former Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan. More on that here. 4) Felony case was launched over the purchase of $42 million in weapons that turned out to be dysfunctional. Pashinyan mentioned this on several occasions, blaming the former regime for "wasting resources instead of developing the army." More recently, Pashinyan criticized General Movses "Mosi" Hakobyan, saying the waste took place under his administration. 3) Serj Sargsyan's chief bodyguard Vachagan Ghazaryan and his alleged accomplices had their felony tax-evasion charges dropped after compensating ֏3 billion ($6.3 million) to state coffers. 2) Serj's son-in-law Mikael Minasyan (Povar Ishik) was charged by IRS in March after the "revelation of an unprecedented level of corruption in modern Armenian history". Minasyan is accused of illegal enrichment. The investigation continues. Minasyan is residing in Russia, which won't extradite him due to close connections. Details on Mishik's case here, here, here, here (laptop recovered with 9000 files), here, here, here, here, maybe here, definitely here, here, here, 1) BHK leader Gagik Tsarukyan was charged with organizing an election fraud during 2017 and financial crimes by his casino Shangri La. The investigation began in late 2019 after a construction firm, with ties to Tsarukyan, paid a bribe to a Yerevan official in an unrelated incident. Tsarukyan likely learned about the pending charges against him and launched a major opposition campaign against Pashinyan, to then frame his charges as "political persecution" for being critical to the government. https://www.civilnet.am/news/2021/01/03/2020-ի-10-քրեական-գործերը/414983 https://www.evnreport.com/politics/the-political-rise-and-fall-of-tycoon-gagik-tsarukyan
Armenia will import 2250 types of products from Iran instead of Turkey, amid the 6-month ban on Turkish product imports. "This will be a good opportunity for Iranian producers. In the next step, [Armenia] will supply its required raw materials from Iran," said the chief of the Iranian trade agency. The govt had earlier met Chinese representatives to discuss the replacement of other Turkish items with Chinese ones. https://en.mehrnews.com/news/167965/Armenia-to-import-2-250-goods-from-Iran-instead-of-Turkey
border "demarcation" process continues in Syunik
The process to install Armenian and Azeri troops continues on the new borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the Syunik province. The border was formerly Syunik (Armenia) - Qashatag (formerly Artsakh). Syunik's Shurnukh and Vorotan were built on the immediate internationally-recognized border, and some of them were on the Azeri side. As a result, a dozen buildings will go under Azeri control. Shurnukh village mayor complained about losing several houses and Azeris being too close. Syunik governor said border guards have been installed in areas surrounding Shurnukh. Russian and Armenian guards are placed in certain parts of this 21 km border. https://factor.am/325886.html
European Court for Human Rights has approved a petition by Armenia to implement emergency measures to require Azerbaijan to share information about the conditions of 23 POWs. "So far, such petitions were approved for 80 POWs, 18 of whom have already returned home," said Armenia's representative in Court. Armenia's HR Ombudsman Tatoyan criticized Aliyev for calling Armenian POW soldiers "terrorists" and for keeping them arrested, which delays the swap process. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039433.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039480.html
New Years Eve memorial concert in Yerablur Pantheon:
... in the Fizuli region that went under Azeri control during the war. Azeri prosecutors launched an investigation. In turns out, some Azeri civilians visit these areas without allowing the sappers to clear the areas from landmines first. So far, 10 Azeris have died or received injuries from such explosions after the ceasefire. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039473.html
They built the second rapid-deployment modular mini-town in Getavan, after finishing one in Stepanakert earlier. Another one will be built in Berdashen this month. The blocs will house 300 peacekeepers. They will have access to various convenience shops. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039452.html
Russian humanitarian aid in Artsakh
Russia sent 5,000 m2 glass for window replacement, 70 tons of metal parts, 34000 bedding items, to Martuni and Martakert cities. Earlier they sent 20 mobile electricity generators to help the areas that were cut off from the main electric grid. Russian doctors have so far treated 1044 Artsakh residents with various complaints. There are medical teams that travel in rural areas to provide care, including mental health services. The doctors received New Year's gifts from the medical administrator Oleg Bagayev. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039453.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039463.html
Ara Ghazaryan from Los Angeles built the world's smallest chess and made it into the Guinness World Records book. It's 8x8 millimeter. "Ara Ghazaryan is an Armenian American artist who uses jewelry to express his art and formerly held this record title. The chess board itself is made from 18 k yellow and white gold with Armenian apricot wood and rests on a frame made of platinum, 18 k yellow gold, rubies, and diamonds. The figures measure in height from 1 mm for the pawns to 2.4 mm for the kings." Photo: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/78603-smallest-handmade-chess-set https://factor.am/325695.html
The All Armenia Fund has transported 600 Artsakh children and their parents, residing in various provinces of Armenia, to watch performances in Yerevan's Tumanyan Puppet theater. Santa, Dzyunanush, and the Elves surprised the children with gifts in the end. The Foundation will help thousands of children by the end of January. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039451.html
News Heading into Wednesday August 19th 2020 NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT YOLO THE VARIOUS TICKERS WITHOUT DOING RESEARCH. THE TIME STAMPS ON THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES MAY BE LATER THAN OTHERS ON THE WEB. THE CREATOR OF THIS THREAD COMPILED THE FOLLOWING IN A QUICK MANNER AND DOES NOT ATTEST TO THE VERACITY OF THE INFORMATION BELOW. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR VETTING YOUR OWN SOURCES AND DOING YOUR OWN DD.
GNCA Genocea -1.8% as holders file to offer 21.39M shares
VRNA Verona Pharma Initiates Multiple Dose Part of Phase 2 Clinical Trial with pMDI Formulation of Ensifentrine in COPD (Overnight News).
AXDX Accelerate Diagnostics up 13% on FDA emergency use nod for COVID-19 test (Overnight News).
CYDY CytoDyn requests “Fast Track Approval” in U.K for COVID-19 trial (Overnight News).
HUD Dufry to buy rest of Hudson in $311 million deal (Overnight News).
BTG B2Gold Continues to Operate Unimpeded at its Fekola Mine in Mali (Overnight News).
REGN Regeneron teams with Roche to triple supply of its COVID-19 drug (Overnight News).
MTP Midatech Pharma Announces Exercise of Warrants and Issue of Equity (Overnight News).
ON ON Semiconductor Announces Upsize and Pricing of Private Offering of $700 Million of 3.875% Senior Notes (Overnight News).
RXT Rackspace Technology Announces Results of Global Cloud Budget Survey, Uncovers the Hidden Complexities of IT Spend Management (Overnight News).
GS Booking app Omio raises $100 million in travel recovery bet (Overnight News).
CHGG Chegg Prices Offering of $900.0 Million of 0% Convertible Senior Notes Due 2026 (Overnight News).
FUTU Futu Announces Pricing of Offering of 9,500,000 American Depositary Shares (Overnight News).
BCOV Streamed Video Content Dominates Media and Entertainment Consumption According to the Brightcove Q2 2020 Global Video Index (Overnight News).
ORCL Trump Expresses Support for Oracle to Buy TikTok (Overnight News).
BX Takeda preparing to sell Japan consumer health unit to Blackstone: Kyodo (Overnight News).
NOVA GAF Energy and Sunnova Launch Strategic Partnership to Expand Roof-Integrated Solar Options for Homeowners (Overnight News).
EQNR Equinor’s share saving plan allocates shares (Overnight News).
AAPL Apple Revamps Music Radio Service With A Rebranded Beats 1, And Two New Stations (Overnight News).
World’s largest shipping firm says demand will ‘significantly decline’ this year(Overnight News).
NI NiSource Inc. Announces Pricing and Preliminary Results of its Any and All Tender Offer
WU Western Union Now Available at CARD Bank (Overnight News).
INBX Form S-1MEF (registration adding securities to prior form s-1 registration [rule 462(b)]) filed with the SEC
GILD Gilead comes up empty with U.S. application for filgotinib for rheumatoid arthritis
MIDD The Middleby Prices Upsized Offering of $650 Million Convertible Senior Notes Due 2025
U.S., China to expand airline flights between them to eight per week. (UAL, DAL, CEA, ZNH)
JUUL MO Juul E-Cigarette Getting FDA Review to Stay on the U.S. Market
HRMY Form S-1MEF (registration adding securities to prior form s-1 registration [rule 462(b)]) filed with the SEC
CDNS Cadence's John Wall to Present at KeyBanc Future of Technology Series
EHTH EHealth chief bullish on future, increases stake to 703K shares
ZNGA Zynga Becomes Largest Mobile Game Maker by Market Share
CNDT Conduent +3.2% as it names Icahn's Gary to board for settlement
RMAX RE/MAX 2020 Broker Owner Conference Features Memorable Speakers, Valuable Lessons and the Launch of New Tools, Training and Technology for its Global Network of Entrepreneurs
CNNE Cannae Holdings Announces Investment in Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp. II’s Recently Priced $1.3 Billion Initial Public Offering
BFT Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp. II Announces Pricing of Upsized $1.3 Billion Initial Public Offering
RIO Rio Tinto cuts 2020 refined copper outlook on smelter restart delay in Utah mine
AR Antero Resources Announces Pricing of $250 Million Offering of Convertible Senior Notes
III Asia Pacific Sourcing Slumps in Q2 on Pandemic Concerns
QHRC Quest Resource Holding to Present Virtually and Host 1x1 Investor Meetings at the 11th Annual Midwest Ideas Investor Conference on August 26th & 27th
REV C Citi Resigns Role on Brigade CLO Deal Amid Escalating Loan Feud
REV C Citigroup wins freeze on funds mistakenly sent to Revlon creditors
RDFN Late-Summer Housing Market is Unseasonably Hot, Prices Up 10% and Pending Sales Up 13%
RPAI Retail Properties Of America Prices $400.0 Million Offering Of Senior Unsecured Notes
SRNE Sorrento Therapeutics -10.4% after CFO's ouster
STAR iStar Pricing $400 Million of Senior Unsecured Notes
CWT California Water Service Group Honored as Silver Stevie® Award Winner for COVID-19 Employer Response
JNPR Archdiocese of Brisbane Selects Juniper Networks to Provide AI-Driven Wi-Fi Solutions Across Its Operations
ROP Roper Technologies Prices Public Offering Of $300 Million Senior Unsecured Notes Due 2022, $700 Million Senior Unsecured Notes Due 2025, $700 Million Senior Unsecured Notes Due 2027 And $1 Billion Senior Unsecured Notes Due 2031
TTEK Tetra Tech Wins $29.7 Million USAID Renewable Energy Contract
SPKE Spark Energy Announces Class A Common Stock Share Buyback Program
DMYD dMY Technology Group II Announces Closing of Underwriters’ Over-Allotment Option in Connection with its Initial Public Offering
GVA Granite Inliner receives C$12M sewer maintenance project in Canada
BPYU Brookfield Property REIT Inc. Announces Final Results of Tender Offer
I am 36 years old, make $66,900, live in Portland OR and work as a Data Coordinator.
Section Zero: Background Hello all, happy hoildays! I stumbled upon this subreddit not long ago and have enjoyed the commentary and experiences everyone's shared. Wanted to add another perspective from a mid-30s first-gen American. I've had some missteps regarding careers and finances, but I feel like I'm in a slightly better place now. I tried YNAB in the past but I wasn't consistent enough with it. These days I use Mint to monitor my finances and have a "Finance Friday" each month to review all my accounts and spending. I currently live with my partner TJ and his dog RR. We do not combine finances, but he has been unemployed since March. I have helped him with some bills and basic necessities here and there until he finds his next job or career. My current financial goals are to just maintain a status quo and not get any debt until pandemic times are over. Then I will focus on a house remodeling fund and savings for taking care of my parents. Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances? My parents taught us about money from a frugal perspective. They are immigrants who worked in food service/factories. There was always this “save save save” mentality. Even when they started their own small business, we saved like there was no tomorrow. In high school, my calculus teacher bought us all “The Millionaire Next Door” book and had us read it as an assignment - that was my first structured introduction to finances. Did you worry about money growing up? No, there was always food on the table and a roof over our heads. I knew that our extended family would support us if needed. Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? Yes. My dad didn’t finish the high school-equivalent in their country, while my mom did finish high school, but no college. My older and younger siblings took a different path in life after high school. I am the first and only in my family to graduate from college. My parents covered all tuition for my two bachelor degrees with the agreement that I support them fully during their retirement and send them gifts/extra money whenever I can. I feel very lucky and privileged that they were able to provide that education for me. At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net? 24 when I went on a work holiday abroad. My family was always available to help when needed, but the experience abroad helped me stand on my own feet. As an adult, I also inherited that “save” mentality and put a lot of my earnings towards savings. I didn’t date until my 30s, lived frugally, didn’t go out to eat/hangout with people, shopped thrift stores, and had very few hobbies. I am starting to “live a little” now though. Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? Aside from the tuition, my parents have helped with a down payment for my first house and living costs during periods of unemployment. Section One: Assets and Debt Retirement Balance If the place I was working at offered a 401k, I would always contribute up to the company match. I started my IRA in my mid-20s and would try to contribute the yearly max. I've stopped that the past 2-3 years though. My Other Brokerage is some play money, but I got tired of staring it and switched to index funds. I haven't contributed anything to it in a few years.
401k: $34,127 (5% company match on contributions)
Brokerage: $22,421 ESPP
Roth IRA: $40,615 VTIVX
Rollover IRA: $15,760 VTTHX
Other Brokerage: $7,235 VTI
Coinbase: $1,286 ETH (mostly just playing around with it)
Equity if you're a homeowner Purchased my first home for $382,000 with 20% down, right before lockdown earlier this year. Perfect timing, right?? I plan to live here until my retirement. My parents contributed $15k while I used most of my savings for the rest.
Current Equity: $80,371
Savings account balance: $3,073 Checking account balance: $7,800 Credit card debt: I charge everything on my credit card for the points, then pay it off each month using my checking account balance. Student loan debt: Traditionally no student loan debt as mentioned in Section Zero. Section Two: Income Income Progression (listed as gross income with cost of living area): High School
$11/hourMCOL - Helped with small family business.
College and first “career” job
$12-19/hour MCOL - I did events/banquet serving after classes and had an internship doing software administration.
$22/hour MCOL - Junior web developer. I realized after a year that programming was not my calling.
Mental health break
$12/hour LCOL - Work holiday abroad. I got a steady banquet server job for that whole time. It was enough to live minimally in a hostel, do weekend trips, WOOF and figure my life out.
College (again) and second “career” job
$12-15/hour LCOL - Decided to go back to school for a different bachelor's degree. While pursuing that degree, I worked at hotels and events as a banquet server again. I also did “search engine evaluation” whenever there were tasks available.
$36,000/year salary LCOL - Software administrator at a casino after graduation.
$39,000/year salary LCOL - Systemsanalyst at same casino. I left after 2 years, feeling disillusioned with the casino industry. I moved back home with my parents until I could get back on my feet again.
Third “career” jobs
$20/hour HCOL - Entry level advertising role. I was applying to all types of office jobs and that was my only bite.
$45/hour MCOL - Cold-called from a global company who needed someone with my software administrator experience from the casino job. It was an 8 month contract. Although I was starting to love my advertising job, the increase in pay was no question.
$65,000/year salary MCOL - After the contract ended and a few months of unemployment, I landed my current job at the same company. It is an “early career” role according to their job levels.
$66,900/year salary MCOL - Cost of living and merit increases after 2 years on the job. Pre-COVID we got a $5000 bonus each year. They have now stopped bonuses as well as all COL and merit increases.
Main Job Monthly Take Home: Monthly Net (paid bi-weekly): $2,758 Deductions:
Side Gig Monthly Take Home: No side gigs at the moment, but I am thinking of signing up on Upwork.com and doing Excel/data entry projects to help pay the mortgage. Other Income: TJ’s friend will be staying with us for a month in January, who will pay rent of $800 including utilities. Depending on how that goes, we may take on a roommate in the spare bedroom long-term. Section Three: Expenses Mortgage - when I bought the house, the plan was that I would charge TJ a portion of the mortgage costs as “rent”, but since his unemployment I am now covering it all myself. Regular Monthly Payment: $1677.57
Taxes & Home Insurance: $326.52
HOA: $30/year Retirement contribution: Nothing additional than what's been mentioned. Savings contribution: I used to do $50-100/month, but since COVID I’ve stopped contributing to my savings account. Investment contribution: None at this time. Debt payments: $100/month towards TJ's credit card balance of $2,307. Donations: $10-20/month, usually towards Omaze or Planned Parenthood. Utilities:
Natural Gas: $30-80/month
Xfinity internet: $60/month
Cellphone: On my parents plan. Subscriptions:
LinkedIn: $29.99/month for TJ’s job search - he’s found it very useful.
Amazon/Netflix/Hulu: We piggyback off family and friends’ accounts.
Nintendo Switch Online: 19.99/year
Gym membership: Pre-COVID I did Orangetheory for a year. I started to pick up free exercise equipment from Craigslist this year, so we have a small garage gym now and utilize YouTube exercise videos instead. Pet expenses: $10/month. TJ has stockpiled some Costco canned dog food before unemployment, but once that runs out I will likely cover the costs. We also started to make homemade dog food to help supplement. Car insurance: $460 every 6 months. Car is paid off. Regular therapy: I will start in the new year. Not sure what the costs are yet, but I will use my HSA to pay. Vitamins/Medications: $20/month Groceries & household items: $75/month Miscellaneous (eating out, house purchases, gifts, etc): $100/month Section Four: Money Diary Monday 6:30am Neighbor starts up their truck. We joke that it's our natural alarm clock. They idle for about 15 minutes before heading off. I go back to bed. 9am My real alarm goes off. I put the electric kettle on for some morning tea. While it's boiling, I do my morning routine: drink glass of water, take synthroid, use bathroom, brush teeth, quick shower. I then make tea - Jasmine Pearl English Breakfast with dark forest mix. I started ordering loose leaf tea in large amounts back in March instead of small bags or single serving packets. Seems more economical since I drink it daily. I let the dog out into the backyard so he can do his morning routine. 9:30am I go through my daily tasks for work. They entail checking processes and reports to make sure they ran successfully overnight. I then answer some emails and catch-up on Slack channels. 12pm Lunch is leftover roast chicken and quinoa from Saturday. I heat it up in the instant pot. Love that thing! Almost every meal of ours involves the instant pot. We hardly use the stovetop. We then walk the dog to the business park across from our neighborhood. There's a very short trail that runs along a drainage creek by the business park. It's quite muddy, but has a nice woodsy feeling. Over the summer, we saw sumac trees there as well. Free sumac spice! 1:30pm Department meeting on Zoom. Our director announces his resignation on the call. Everyone is shocked! Layoffs were announced for next year but this was not a part of it. I think it's a good move for him and he doesn't have to have this worry of layoffs over his head. 3pm I meet with an engineer from another team and talk about a data source they are in charge of. He helps me out in understanding it and we identify most of the fields that I need for a project I’m starting. 5:30pm I check in with my partner. He's been watching LinkedIn tutorials on internal recruiting, job coaching and general computeoffice skills. It's a career change that he wants to make - something where he can talk to and help people. He doesn't have a bachelor's, only an associates, and hopes these tutorials will get him a leg up in the job search. I sent him some entry level HR admin roles the other day and remind him to apply. I then heat up leftovers: homemade chana masala and rice. I add some butter and coconut milk to thin it out, so there's enough for both of us. 10:30pm I take some magnesium, vitamin D and Airborne. I say goodnight to the dog who sleeps in the office. Then I say goodnight to TJ. He sleeps in the spare bedroom on weeknights due to his snoring keeping me up. I'm a light sleeper while he is a pretty deep sleeper. Daily total: $0 Tuesday 9am I check Reddit Secret Santa. My match seems like a really good person. Not sure what to get, but most likely will purchase something off their wishlist. I wish I was more creative with my gift giving. 11am Meeting with business stakeholder. She submitted a few changes to an existing data process about a month ago. I make the change while on the call and have her test. Success! Marking it off the todo list. I love when we can finish things directly on a call. 12:30pm I come out of my office to make lunch. I notice my partner is not home. I check my messages and see that he's stepped out to pick up a few things. I ask for celery, carrots, and kombucha. $17. I make a quick charcuterie board for lunch: Costco salami, cheese, homemade hummus and Triscuits. It's a simple, fast meal that’s always in our rotation. 2pm My partner is back and we take the dog out for a walk and quick round of disc golf at a nearby park. We mask up and play only a few holes. Disc golf is a pretty frugal activity, you only need 2-3 discs to get started. TJ remarks that my throws are getting better, but then again they weren't great to start with. We talk about Christmas/Birthday gifts on the way back home since he was born on New Years Day. He mentioned snowshoeing but asked to not spend that much. I'll do some research! 5pm I think about personal career projects. Should I put up a portfolio of projects somewhere? I decide to try and pull some Yelp data. There’s not a lot of data points that I was interested in. Regardless, I tinker with it for an hour. TJ asks if I'm hungry. I said not so much, but felt thirsty. Maybe some ginger soup tonight? 7:30pm Dinner is served - ginger carrot soup made in the instant pot. We eat some rice crackers with it. Lately I feel like we've been eating more vegetarian dinners. It definitely helps stretch our food budget. We end the evening by finishing Fargo season 3 on Hulu. Daily total: $17 Wednesday 1:30am I'm woken up by the dog. He's been sneezing a lot and wheezes at random intervals. TJ doesn't have the money for a vet visit but I've offered to pay as long as he calls to make the appointment. I give the dog some coconut oil, rub his belly until he seems better and go back to bed. 7am Garbage day. We usually put it out the night before but I forgot. I get up to go, but TJ handles it. I think, at least. I'm too sleepy to pay attention and go back to bed. 9am I wake up and rinse some dishes that have piled up and put them into the dishwasher. We both grew up in households that had a home dishwasher, but forbade from using it. It was drilled into us that hand washing saves more water, unless you had a restaurant/industrial dishwasher. I think with modern home dishwashers, that's changed, so I wanted to try it out with our dishwasher and monitor the water bill. Don't have any dishwashing pods or powder, so I put some OxiClean in it. 12:30pm I overhear TJ on a call with a recruiting agency. It seems to be going well, lots of laughing. I heat up some taco lasagna that I freezer meal-prepped last month. 2pm Collaborate on a project at work with an engineer. My manager put me on this project since I was asking for an assignment on a more technical team. I'm learning tidbits here and there, but I don't feel like it's structured enough. 5pm I do an Orangetheory-At-Home workout and try to break a sweat. It's not the same as going to their studio. 6pm Charcuterie for dinner. Our fridge is full of store-bought and homemade pickles that go super well on a charcuterie board. Daily total: $0 Thursday 7am I wake up tired. The house has been feeling more cold, which woke me up a few times. We keep the temp at 72F during the day, at night around 68F since we thought the bedrooms keep the heat in pretty well. My mistake! 9am I do my usual morning routine and login to work. My team mostly spends the morning sending each other emojis. 11:30am Lunch today is mini quiche, frozen chicken and veggie entree, and hot dogs. Not the most cohesive meal, but it fills the belly. 12:30pm TJ heads out to his mailbox that's 30 minutes away. He is still waiting on his tax return and a 401k withdrawal. His taxes had to be filed by mail for some reason, then the IRS office shut down due to COVID. So he wanted to see if it arrived yet at the mailbox. He also takes the dog to the vet's urgent care on his way. They didn't have any regular openings available until the end of the year, and the dog seemed to be getting worse. I give TJ $40 to mail a gift package to a friend in France and also reiterate that I'll cover the vet bill when he gets it. 4:30pm I pay some bills, my favorite activity (not)! Sewer bill: $59.44 (billed every 2 months). Geico bill: $459.60 billed every 6 months. Then I follow up with my mortgage officer over email. I had sent her some documents for a refinance quote last week, but haven't heard back. Rates keep dropping, so I'm told, but what does that really mean? I do some research on realestate. 5pm TJ messages me and says he'll be back for dinner. I ask him to pick up some Popeyes via drive thru since we both don't feel like cooking today. Popeyes is currently our fancy “going out to eat” food. $24.17 for a 4pc dinner meal and a 2pc dinner meal. Daily total: $583.21 Friday 8:30am Busy morning at work. My phone is buzzing with emails and Slack messages. I try to answer them while I make tea. 10am Zoom Department happy hour. We reminisce about our director and then play those Jackbox party games. Some of them are hard! 11am TJ asks if he can make me anything for lunch. He suggests savory oatmeal, quick and easy. I tell him that I really appreciate him making meals/doing chores/etc without me prompting. We've been having conversations about "house project management" and mental load because I did most of the chores or I had to continually remind/tell him to do it. I'm really happy to see us progress on this front. I decide to work through my lunch break so I can end the day early. I don't often do that, but I'm ready to get the weekend started. 2pm I check on TJ in the spare bedroom and ask if the dog has been fed yet, since he was nipping at my feet. I notice something off about TJ and ask how he is doing. TJ is depressed about his personal life, career, finances. He doesn't know what to do, spends half the day meditating and reflecting on past trauma. I've been prodding him to get a therapist but he is confused about his insurance. He makes an appointment with a primary care doctor first. I feed the dog some homemade dog-friendly beef stew. 4pm My mom swings by the house (but doesn't enter). She currently works at a school who distributes free USDA food boxes since March. There's often many boxes leftover that would go to waste, so she will grab a box for us. Onions, potatoes, beets, turnips, eggs, cheese, butter, frozen veggies and frozen chicken. She also brought her vintage pasta maker. I asked last week if she ever used it these days and her reply was “no, feel free to have it”. I love pasta and noodles and figure it would be great to make it ourselves as a frugal hobby. 8pm We catch up on Mandalorian and watch silly Youtube videos before heading off to bed. Daily total: $0 Saturday 9am I open up my web browser and look at Craigslist and NextDoor for free stuff. I've been scouring for free landscape rocks, pegboards, and wood for house projects. I had this grand ambition to redesign our backyard. It faces our neighbor and currently the fence is pretty low. They can see into our kitchen and bedroom and we can see them. But y'know, COVID and going from dual income house to single income means it all has to be put on hold. So I've been looking for free items in the meantime. Over the past months, I've gotten planter pots, plant cuttings, a raised bed, stepping stones, all from free listings. I don't see anything worthwhile so I go and make some tea. 11am I look at Amazon and make some purchases for Reddit Secret Santa. A foodie kit, DVD of their favorite movie, and some cute pens for their writing hobby. $54. I hope they like it! 12pm TJ heats up leftover stir-fry for lunch for us. I put on some Binging with Babish and we watch how to make pasta. We have a plan - TJ makes the pasta, I make the sauce. Perfect date night activity at home. We watch some more videos on pasta and noodles to educate ourselves. 4pm I start prepping veggies. Big batch of onions, canned tomatoes, ground beef and butter in the instant pot. Meanwhile, TJ works on the pasta by following Babish's instructions. 7pm We gorge on fresh made pasta and bolognese sauce. It's so good! We end up watching Fargo. 11pm Usually I'll be in bed by now, but it's a Saturday and not tired yet (probably because of all that pasta). We play some Kirby's Dream Course on the Switch. Daily total: $54 Sunday 10am Quick walk around the neighborhood with the dog. He's on a new routine now with the medicine he's taking. It seems to be helping his breathing issues. 11am The pasta maker and flour is still out since we didn't clean up yesterday. There's some old pie crust in the fridge so I roll it out with the pasta machine for mini quiches. (Sally's Baking Addiction blog is my go-to place for her all-butter crust and quiche recipes btw). TJ helps by mixing up the eggs. 3pm I play some Genshin Impact (GI) on my phone while TJ plays Starcraft in the office. I don't usually play gacha games, but the Zelda BotW-style of GI appealed to me. A gacha game is a game with randomized characteitem boxes that you use real-money to purchase a “pull” or to spin the wheel. I know the gacha parts of the game can be a real money sink if you get addicted to them, it’s almost like gambling. My main team is Fischl, Bennett, Barbara and Noelle. I level up to AR 22 and look up free-to-play tutorials for the game. 6pm There's some leftover pasta from yesterday, enough for both of us. I throw in some roasted beets to round out the meal. We watch more Fargo while eating. Almost done with Season 3! 10pm I find a tour operator who offers a small, socially-distant snowshoeing tour up on the mountain. I reserve for two people - this will be TJ's Christmas/birthday gift. $75. Off to bed for another workday. Daily total: $75 Weekly Total: $689.79
Food + Drink: $41.17
Fun / Entertainment: $75
Home + Health: $59.44
Clothes + Beauty: $0
Section Five: Reflections Aside from the car insurance bill, this was a typical week for me, COVID or not. We make the majority of our meals at home and usually splurge on drive-thru/delivery once every other week. I may have overspent on the Secret Santa gift, but I don't often give gifts out to friends. It's not something our family does either. For TJ’s Christmas/birthday gift, we usually talk upfront about costs. I’ve gifted him fancy restaurant experiences the past 2 years, since we can share that experience, but obviously can’t do that now. Snowshoeing is a nice change of pace. The conversations with TJ this week have given me thought on how to approach him differently about finances and working together in a relationship. I’m still unsure about the future financially, particularly as my parents near retirement age and that TJ has pulled out his 401k to pay his debts. I don't know if I can support both my parents and TJ together, so I am finding ways to upskill and/or side hustles without becoming a workaholic or bogged down by stress. Writing this money diary was also the first time where I really paid attention to my past income and current income. I might be contributing too much into ESPP that could go towards the 401k or mortgage instead? I also seem to have been underpaid for what I did in past jobs, even in a LCOL area.
[Let's build] d100 events caused by magical manifestations/creatures/beings that happen in a Modern City.
Hey everyone! I'm trying to put together a game where my players will be apart of an organization that protects the human world (or really just the city they'll be playing in) from otherworldly/magical/etc. threats. The city seems to be a focal point for strange occurrences, magical creatures and beings, portals, etc. If anyone remembers Special Unit 2 from the early 00's, it's like that. (Man I loved that show.) And this is the map I'm using, just changing the name but the layout and places of interest are mostly staying the same. Edit: Wow! Thanks guys! Totally didn't expect this to get as many as it did, this is a wealth of sidequests. Thank you so much! If you want to check out SU2 I'm pretty sure there are some episodes on YouTube. Its heavy on the cheese and it'll be really dated by today's standards but it was a good time.
A connection to the Feywild has happened in one of the city parks. An elf finds his way through and finds it entertaining to enlarge small animals.
Thieves have stolen an artifact from the history museum, reanimating a mummy in one of the exhibits.
An unusual amount of sharks have been seen near the docks. Boats are being attacked by Sahuagin raiders.
A surge of chaotic magic bursts and causes the creation of multiple Mephits. (Depending on location)
An edgy teen visits a graveyard to perform a necromantic ritual. He doesnt know that the "spell book" he has actually contains an incantation that raises several undead and is now in over his head.
A dead body found, torn apart, all signs point to someone summoning a low level demon and using it as the murder weapon.
Somebody figured out how to brew love potions and now they are selling them on the streets.
A portal to the elemental plane of water opened in the city's water supply. Now wild water elementals are pouring out of showers, sinks, and fountains.
A skyscraper acquires an elemental spirit. The movements start off so subtle that they could be mistaken for the wind, but they become stranger and stronger with each passing day.
Zoo animals begin take on dire traits and break out their enclosures.
Goodberries become an invasive plant through runners, never flower, never fruit, just keep branching out.
Turns out the royal family were lizardfolk.
An a little person (Halfling arcane trickster) is hitting up all the casinos.
A cleric poses as the second coming of christ, oh he also caused covid 19.
An artificer constructing his own personal army of modrons.
Strange events in a swimming pool, several people have died by drowning (Water Weirds).
Rust monster moves into a construction site, eats and rusts the supports and the workers equipment.
The Native American Thunderbird is finally spotted, its a Roc.
Boogey man sighted by many families. An Oni is skulking between houses, looking for something or someone.
Monsters take up residence in an abandoned circus. Medusa in the house of mirrors. Rakshasa tending to tigers. An ogre in the strongman tent. A hag in the psychics caravan.
Kraken spotted near the mariana trench.
Running of the bull - a famous giant bull statue is turned into a gorgon and roams the streets.
A wizard has become a modern day frankenstein, constructing a flesh golem.
The gargoyles of a famous landmark come to life at night.
Duergar have been building tunnels in the underground and taking the tracks to increase their metal stores.
A dryad protects a park after witnessing too many people littering in its home.
A young shadow dragon takes offense at all the lights at night, ruining it's stealth and plans.
Barlgura takes a woman hostage and climbs to the top of a skyscraper.
A Bulette is reaking havoc on a nearby junction. The cars are disturbing its young.
Some jackass decided to magically enlarge a chicken so he can have bigger drumsticks. The spell worked, in fact it worked too well. The chicken's the size of an allosaurus and is rampaging down town!
The low income tenement housing is a blaze and the fire departments are having a terrible time putting out the flames ... largely due to the presence of an accidentally summoned fire elemental. Thankfully the elemental will return to the Plane of Fire in an hour when the spell ends.
A real live dinosaur walks through the screen at a viewing of Jurassic Park.
A few real zombies turn up in the middle of a walking dead (costume party / filming / LARP).
A group of adventurers walk through a portal. They end up attacking a group of larpers.
Dinosaur skeleton at a museum animates.
Men are disappearing around the (canals, docks, river, etc). Mermaids are luring them into the water.
Giant rats in someone's basement.
Terracotta soldiers at a museum animate.
Statues around the city have begun animating seemingly at random.
A group of pixies has developed a fascination with cars and keep stealing parts from them.
3 people have gone missing on the 39th floor of the Enigma Enterprises office on 11th street. The building is only 35 stories tall.
The public library’s chief librarian just won her 1,402nd consecutive Employee of the Month award.
A local graffiti artist has starting to use a new tag that incorporates a design they saw in a museum exhibit on ancient writings. These tags begin acting as portals to... elsewhere.
A grafitti artist who has been illegaly spraying his art work around the city has suddenly started incorperating dangerous runes into his art that have several anomulous effects (like low gravity in an area or being part of a summoning ritual).
An amusement park has to shut down the log flume and other water rides due to an infestation of water weirds.
A subway tunnel collapses and traps a subway train after a portal opens and releases a Purple Worm into the tunnel, weakening the ceiling. Luckily another portal opened up soon thereafter and the purple worm was transported back to whichever fantasy world it came from.
A user posted the true name of a powerful demon on an old forum, and cultists are trying to steal the forum's retired servers from a warehouse before the data is overwritten.
A local shut in has accidentally started and broken a contract with a brownie
A blink dog is making a habit of stealing dog toys from dogs at the park
A water elemental gets stuck in the sewers due to the amount of human garbage
A gnome alchemist has been dosing coffee pots in cafes around the city with various potions for entertainment
An elven druid has convinced the local pigeon populace to fight back against corruption in office, targeting a mayoral candidate. the druid is working for another mayoral candidate who is forcing her to work for him by holding her pet familiar hostage
An artificer who came to our world has discovered firearms and has developed the world's first eldritch cannon, as such he is now being hunted by human military agencies that want his prototype
Beans from a bag of beans have somehow been mixed into a shipment of green beans to a grocery store
An annual dwarfism awareness event is populated almost entirely by halflings who entered the modern world illegally
A magical disease that causes those afflicted with it to dance even without music until they eventually collapse from exhaustion
Telepathic conversations are being picked up by cellphone calls, the snippets of audio are indicative of a plan to assassinate city's head of communications
An assistant at the local morgue has been found beaten to death, and several bodies are missing. There are spots of clay all over the morgue, and all the missing bodies are of women between the ages of 18-30. A lonely and insane wizard has created a clay golem and is now using it to find the parts he needs to make a flesh golem bride from himself.
There's been a series of mysterious deaths in the local red light district. Several Johns, and even a few Janes, have been found dead with no obvious cause, the only links between them is that they were all found in a state of undress, and they all had a look of horror on their faces. One of the prostitutes is actually a succubus in disguise, and she has been sucking the souls or her clients.
There's been talk about a changeling in the city who, for a price, will take the form of whoever you request and frame them for various crimes.
The rivalry between the goblin gang, The Sons of Gobbo, and the kobold gang, Tucker's Kobolds, is threatening to escalate to the point of gang warfare. Either peace is to be made between the two gangs, or a crackdown on one or both gangs is required.
A mated pair of wyverns are staking out the local park for a nesting ground. We've got to run off those wyverns before they settle down or else we'll have to call in the national guard... again.
Some poor fool bought what he thought was a monkey's paw, only for it to turn out to be the Hand of Vecna. We need to get it from him before he decides to do something stupid, like actually use it!
An artist's inspiration turns out to be extraplanar in nature, causing their gallery opening to becoming a summoning ritual.
A jewel heist takes a sinister turn as the pieces in question fit into a dangerous artefact. It's a race against time to find the exact location this artefact will be used and stop it.
A building demolition releases Dao who originally carved out the subway system. You've either got to banish them, or offer them something they want more than vengeance.
A tanker needs to be rescued before it can reach port. The cargo manifest points to illegal trafficking of Yuan-ti.
A local crime boss sparks a war in the streets. His motivation is a new found patron that has given him "unique" powers (level 1 spells at best).
Renovations of the university library uncovers tomes of magic causing a Revenge of the Nerds style scenario with pranks played on the local sports teams.
An artist's inspiration turns out to be extraplanar in nature, causing their gallery opening to becoming a summoning ritual.
A jewel heist takes a sinister turn as the pieces in question fit into a dangerous artefact. It's a race against time to find the exact location this artefact will be used and stop it.
A building demolition releases Dao who originally carved out the subway system. You've either got to banish them, or offer them something they want more than vengeance.
A tanker needs to be rescued before it can reach port. The cargo manifest points to illegal trafficking of Yuan-ti.
A local crime boss sparks a war in the streets. His motivation is a new found patron that has given him "unique" powers (level 1 spells at best).
Renovations of the university library uncovers tomes of magic causing a Revenge of the Nerds style scenario with pranks played on the local sports teams.
Someone is putting religious scrolls in the heads of the statues around town. They are coming alive as golems.
A necromancer has set up shop in the Natural History Museum. They tunneled into the back so are in the Human Origins exhibit, but they are headed towards the dinosaur bones.
Someone is making the paintings come alive!
Harpies are nesting in the dome of the Capitol building!
A siren in the river is causing drivers to drive off the bridge.
A bullette has fallen in love with one of the subway trains.
The Botanical Garden has come alive! Awakened trees and myconids and spore servants are causing panic!
If you were in NYC or Kentucky, a dragon has sniffed out the Federal Gold Reserves and is trying to make it his lair.
When you’re in the metro system, which is naturally full of graffiti, one of the graffiti symbols lights up. It’s a rune that’s about to explode.
The newspaper reports that every single McDonald's in the area has a working ice cream machine. It's deemed a miracle by many in the city. The newspaper credits it to hard-working corporate engineers who have perfected the cleaning and disinfection process. You, however, know the real reason. With some investigation, it turns out that the $1 $2 $3 dollar menu has a perfect storm spell coded into the registers. The codes for specific items, when entered in a specific sequence in a customer's order, are actually a conjuration spell that summons a Mimic, and, as we all know, Mimics have a fondness for soft serve.
Lightning/Electric elementals have found junction boxes to be tasty snacks causing blackouts around the city. Remove them so the engineers can fix the grid.
A minotaur has found the "Bull in a China shop" analogy to be racist and is now sitting in said shop and refuses to leave. The owner is distraught, and hesitant to say anything due to the red interior and the possibility of a fight breaking out. Remove the minotaur without causing any damage.
Pixies have found photo bombing models to be the new prank for anyone that wants to be popular. Here's a net, catch them and give them an alternative to photo bombing.
Vampires have been found in front of many Old Town homes, we believe that they are trying to either buy the home or enjoy the look of the neighborhood. In any case, the home owners want you to be there for protection while talking to the vampires.
There are cultists holding rallies in the park. I need you to separate out the ones that can do harm and the ones that are less likely to be harmful. Also they need permits to do that so every one of them gets a ticket.
Some wizard decided s/he was going to set up residence in the middle of the road. S/he said something about ley lines or some such being good there. Stop them from doing so and show them around town so they can find an alternative spot, they'll be a strong ally so work with them please.
Ratmen have been found in the subway system. In order for the population to not explode, I need you to organize them to some degree. Find a representative that can speak for them and bring them here so we can talk.
Tribes dispute reservation where a $1B casino is planned
This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 78%. (I'm a bot)
The recently revived Mattakeeset Massachuset Tribe argues it's the rightful heir to the land in Taunton set aside by the federal government for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which is planning to build a hotel, casino and entertainment complex. The Mattakeeset Tribe currently has a few hundred members, according to Fisher, but does not have federal recognition or a land base like the Mashpee Tribe, which was federally recognized in 2007 and has roughly 3,000-members. ADVERTISEMENT.Fisher, a 33-year-old Boston-area substance abuse counselor, said his tribe has no quarrel with the half of the tribe's roughly 300-acre reservation that's located in the town of Mashpee on Cape Cod, where the tribe has operated a government center and other tribe services for years. The state Commission on Indian Affairs hasn't officially waded into the debate, but John Peters, the agency's executive director and a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, was skeptical of the rival tribe's claim. Peters, the spokesman for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, said he and other tribe scholars haven't reviewed Bangs' book. He said the tribe has invited Fisher for a sit down to review the Mashpee Tribe's land claim evidence, which he said is detailed in more than 14,000 pages the tribe submitted for its federal land in trust application.
Government, Trump and other top 1% Exposed!!! Towards bottom is why the IRS is illegal with proof. Sorry it’s so long, please read carefully.
So Russia and China share a border though they fight they have to get along. Russia and Germany are divided by Poland, have an up and down relationship, but ultimately depend on one another (they are building this pipe connecting them together). Then there is China and the USA who has an up and down relationship or so it seems, when in reality they were working together. Then there’s the USA and Russia, it seems like they don’t get along, but in reality behind the scenes trump is always a business man first. Some say he has that dirty Russian money. And here’s how.. He owns multiple business under the name “The Trump Organization,” which owns a group of about 500 different business entities.” 5 names of these businesses are called the Trump National Doral (real estate/hotel/golf course), Trump Old Post Office LLC (which is now the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. with the clocktower that reminds you of the movie Back to the Future), Trump Ruffin Tower LLC (casinos/real estate/hotels/spas), the Trump Turnberry (golf course in Scotland/ he also has one in the UK), and Mar-a-Lago Club L.L.C (clubs/spas). The trump organization as a whole is mainly composed of real estate. If one owns one single large corporation (The trump organization) and then uses that organization to disguise his smaller companies (the 500 other businesses he owns under different names) one would own a monopoly since every smaller real estate company belonged to a larger company, that belonged to an even larger real estate company until, it reaches its mother company aka the trump organization. The trump organization files it’s own taxes since it is a privately owned corporation (how do we know the numbers reported are Accurate?) ￼and he doesn’t have to publicly release the tax documents either, instead they get sent straight to the IRS. This is highly concerning considering he owns most of the real estate companies in the country, which is where most of his money lies. If one owns all the buildings and companies just like in the game monopoly one would be the ruler of the land aka how he became president. Ever wonder how the Simpsons knew 20 years before that he would be president? Bc the elite already knew he owned most of the estates and land in the country. Land is after all the most valuable. What better way to disguise it then by marketing it as different business that all ultimately belonged to a single entity. Well how would one hide all his money if he had a lot of money and didn’t want to loose it? By building golf courses, spas, casinos, and hotels to cycle the money through and also launder it. If one owns so many businesses, it is quite easy for the business to “accidentally loose money.” How? By holding two separate accounting books or setting up a fake robbery, for example. One could then use this “lost” money and invest it somewhere else or even set up a hidden Swiss bank account, for example. Well since the money cycles through his different businesses all across the country and even world, he builds his famous golf courses he emphasizes he loves so so much. One could only wonder why. The answer was simple, to launder money into a different country through his other golf courses located in Scotland and UK. Suddenly the money didn’t fall under us laws anymore, and thus could be used in a different country with different laws allowing it to be transferred to a Swiss or German bank (Deutsche bank, for example). Russia has done the same and randomly stored $330 million dollars at the German bank a couple years ago. It would be quite simple for Trump to have the dirty Russian money transferred into his foreign bank accounts. ￼ It is very important to note that the first major bank the Deutsche bank was owned by the Rothchild family. The Rothchild family was like the Trump Monopoly, they owned ALL the banks around the world including in Afghanistan, China, Italy, Japan, France, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The list of owned banks was actually so long and all over the world, one could not possibly list them all. They were just like The Trump Organization who owned all the real estate companies. The Rothschilds owned all the banks under different names throughout the world, which is what made them the richest of course and gave them world control. One who owns all the banks, that own all the different types of money of the world, owns almost everything. And if you happend to be part of the top 1% with all the money and control in the world, you would want to keep control over the money and world somehow, but in this modern world you have to plan it out Intricately￼, one could compare it to them having a criminal mind. So you work with other top 1% families to circulate the money back and forth between the families who controlled everything. These families owned banks, real estate (land/, transportation( railroads/cars/planes), water supply, ￼electricity, and electronic devices including computers/phones/tablets/gaming consoles.￼ What is very interesting is that the Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is the one of the richest people in the world. Warren Buffett also fall under that umbrella. Buffet owns BNSF Railway Co., owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which is North America’s biggest railroad. Bill Gates is the largest shareholder of the Canadian National Railway Company. Though they make it seem like they go separate ways in businesses, behind the scenes, together they controlled All of the railroads across the country. ￼￼So now, we have Bill Gates and Buffet working together. Buffet controls the railroads bc Bill Gates also has Microsoft aka half the electronic devices under their control. The electronic devices such as gaming consoles, phones, and computers are worldwide. Once again, a monopoly hidden under different names and businesses. One who controls the land and the railroads and technology controls all. Let’s not forget the Andrew Carnegie Steel Company, which is now part of the United States Steel Corporation. They produce the following: steel, coal, coke, flat-rolled and tubular steel products, railroad rails. The US Steel Corporation (mother company) is now owned by David Boyd Burritt. This means that since steel is needed to build railroads, used in factories, and real estate (steel used to build buildings) all comes from one source, the Coal is mainly used as fuel to generate electric power in the United States. One who controls the power aka the electricity controls everything. So now we also have the steel corporation. The top 1% had to continue cycling (recycle) the money through their money pool somehow to stay rich and powerful, by working together. Now we have the US steal corporation who supplies the railroad and other steal companies and supplies the coal for energy (electricity), we have Bill Gates who owns Microsoft electronics which needs power for the electric devices, (so he must work with the US steel corporation for his railroads and electricity from the coal to power up the railroads, computers and other electronic devices). And then we have Warren Buffet who owns the BNSF Railway Co. meaning he must also be working with the US steel corporation and Bill Gates’ Railroads in Canada (bc the railroads connect) and they needed coal to power their railroads so the money goes round and round. It’s just like the game monopoly, but in real life, the 1% worked together under different names and corporations to build a monopoly, so they would have control over the whole world. The Rothschild owned all the banks and used Foundations to launder money and to get out of paying taxes. Any foundation created was a way to launder money and not pay taxes, since the money donated into the different charities went right back into their hands, bc they owned the foundations and the corporations. All the different elites including Trump, Rothschild (owner), Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, David Burritt, Germany, Russia aka Putin, even elites in China, India, Afghanistan used the banks the Rothschild owned to store their money...one could call it a money pool. Steve Jobs’s widow (largest shareholder and owner of Disney) and Tim Cook who was the largest shareholder of Apple. Apple was founded by Steve Jobs and his widow owned Apple and Disney. Apple used China to build their devices, which means that Disney and Apple was working together with China. This allowed China to get its hands on everyone. They also controlled the Entertainment industry through Disney and all the electronics including Apple and Microsoft since they produced the electronics. Jeff Bezos owner of Amazon, first worked with China and was now o after India (one of the highest populations) to make/sell his products as he does all around the world. Some of the products he sells and uses require power and needed to be transported via mail/plane/fedex/ups/etc. aka transportation. So he worked with the other elites to make it happen. It destroyed many businesses and gave the 1% even more control over us. I want to note that the Rothschilds own the Federal Reserve of the USA since they owned all the banks. What is the Federal Reserve System? It is the central banking authority of the United States. It is part of the U.S. government, it controls the reserve accounts of commercial banks, and oversees supply of currency, including coin and the U.S. Mint. This would mean that the Rothschilds are the owners of the USA government! This would explain how Trump got away with filing his taxes for all his businesses Privately through his Trump Organization. In order for Trump to become President he had to liquidate all his assets. The issue was that since he owned a lot of real estate and also owned the trump organization that owned all these real estate businesses he could not liquidate them since he was the owner, so he gave control to his 2 sons who now owned the Trump Organization and all its businesses. They allowed Trump to get money any time he needed from a separate account they owned. The icing on the cake is that the United States IRS is illegal. How so? I will prove it to you. What is the IRS? the IRS is the government authority which collects taxes and enforces the Treasury Department's revenue laws, through the collection of taxes. The Federal Reserve is a nonprofit company aka a Charity, who pays its remaining profits to the department of treasury. This charity is owned by the Rothschilds and as stated above ANY Foundation or charity was fraud, bc it circulated the money back into the 1% pockets, it was simply many different companies under different names owned by one mother company or entity. According to the article, ‘31 Questions and Answers about the Internal Revenue Service,’ “The IRS was NOT an organization within the U.S. Department of Treasury.” The treasury department was organized under laws now classified in Title 31 of the US code, called “31 U.S.C.” The IRS is only mentioned once in the US code in Title 31 sections 301-315. Title 31 U.S.C. 301 states, that the president may elect, “an Assistant General Counsel in the US Department of Treasury to be the chief counsel for the IRS. In 1979, the case of Chrysler Corp. v. Brown (441 U.S. 281), the U.S. Supreme Court admitted that no organic Act for the IRS could be found. The Guarantee Claude in the U.S. constitution guaranteed the Rule of Law to all Americans (we are to be governed by law not arbitrary bureaucrats). See article IV Section 4. Since there was no Organic Act creating it, the IRS is NOT a lawful organization.” So what is the IRS? Mitchell states, “The IRS appears to be a collection agency working for foreign banks and operating out of Puerto Rico. It is money laundry, extortion racket, and conspiracy of racketeering activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1951 & 1961 (“Rico”).” There is no known Act of Congress, nor any executive order,** giving the IRS lawful jurisdiction to operate within ANY of the 50 states of the Union.” In other words, since the IRS was not legally within the USA, bc it’s headquarters were located in Puerto Rico, it didn’t fall under the US laws. The department of Treasury and the IRS simply had an “agreement” to work with one another. The issue is that since the IRS in NOT a lawful organization within the US department of Treasury it would be illegal for the IRS to send mail through the U.S. Mail for fraudulent purposes. That would mean that, “every piece of U.S. mail sent from the IRS with “The Department of Treasury” in the return address is one count of mail fraud. See also 31 U.S.C. 333. Although the U.S. Department of Justice does have power of attorney to represent federal agencies before the federal courts, the IRS is not an “agency.” Why? Because, “the IRS is residing in Puerto Rico, it is thereby excluded from the definition of federal agencies which can be represented by the Department of Justice.” So, we have the Charity the Federal Reserve System owned by the Rothschilds, we have the IRS which is not located within the USA making it unlawful, we had the department of Treasury working with the IRS and the Federal Reserve System, and the Department of Justice who can’t represent the IRS even though they make it appear as if they are all within the USA following the same laws. And now we also have our President Trump who owned the Trump Corporation, which was privately owned, so it didn’t have to publicly release its tax documents and audits, bc they were directly sent to the IRS. Ever wonder how he could lose so much money, not be concerned, and gain it right back? Because he was part of the 1% money pool. The money was always recycled, so it didn’t hurt to loose it, bc it ultimately would always come back. Him becoming president was all part of the plan, because of the part he plays in the elite club. I must also mention that I am sure that some of these families disguised themselves with different last names, so it would be harder to spot. I can also show very specific laws stating animal testing, abortion, prison laws, etc. which are major issues and have been decided on and made into law a long time ago and hidden within the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, which also mentions the War on Drugs and how fertilizers (radioactive poisons—see other posts in my history) are used for coca aka cocaine eradication in the USA. They are committing genocide, which I can also explain in further detail with step by step examples. Everything is a lie, the government is a lie and people need to know the truth, before it’s to late. It can be different, but we need to work together to change it. **executive orders are BAD. They give the president full control. He can write any law he pleases and NOT need the house and senate to vote on them. This means the president has full control. This is very dangerous. One must also be aware of how FEMA can take over the president, government, all the people, and the country instantaneously if the president were to declare a national emergency executive order. This means he has no power allowing fema to take over and not give back control. Suddenly, overnight it would turn into a living hell military environment for the people and it would eventually turn sour and create a genocide like environment. We do not want this! We should not vote. We should take control away from the top 1% instead of allowing them to continue dividing the people. Things can be different. We as a whole can build a newer and better system for the world, where we head towards future technological advances, while having a clean earth instead of the toxic earth the 1% are creating with us the people through the inhumane corporations and trash created (we must build recycling incentive programs worldwide to clean our Earth as a collective). Electricity and water should be made free for everyone, instead of using it as greedy leverage to make money and control the world. And yes it is possible to have unlimited electricity it works hand in hand with Earths magnetic field. We could even have water powered cars without carbon monoxide emissions, but again, greed is a powerful thing, so we make no new strides as humanity as a whole, since the 1% wouldn’t want to loose their place in the real-life monopoly game. In the comments will also be the link to the full article that explains why IRS is illegal.
[Lost in the Sauce] Trump admin hides Paycheck Protection program details; lawmakers benefit from loans
Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis. Title refers to: The Trump admin is blocking IGs from getting info on over $1 trillion in relief spending, including corporation bailouts. The admin is also withholding PPP info from Congress, meaning we don't know if Trump or his family took taxpayer money. Additionally, we learned that at least 4 members of Congress have benefited from PPP money, but aren't required to disclose it. Housekeeping:
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Inspectors general warned Congress last week that the Trump administration is blocking scrutiny of more than $1 trillion in spending related to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the previously undisclosed letter, Department of Treasury attorneys concluded that the administration is not required to provide the watchdogs with information about the beneficiaries of programs like the $500 billion in loans for corporations. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin refused to provide Congress with the names of recipients of the taxpayer-funded coronavirus business loans. After criticism, Mnuchin began to walk back his denial, saying he will talk to lawmakers on a bipartisan basis “to strike the appropriate balance for proper oversight” of PPP loans “and appropriate protection of small business information.” At least 4 lawmakers have benefited in some way from the Paycheck Protection program they helped create.Politico has been told there are almost certainly more -- but there are zero disclosure rules, even for members of Congress.
Republicans on the list include Rep. Roger Williams of Texas, a wealthy businessman who owns auto dealerships, body shops and car washes, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, whose family owns multiple farms and equipment suppliers across the Midwest. The Democrats count Rep. Susie Lee of Nevada, whose husband is CEO of a regional casino developer, and Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell of Florida, whose husband is a senior executive at a restaurant chain that has since returned the loan.
Mick Mulvaney dumped as much as $550,000 in stocks the same day Trump assured the public the US economy was 'doing fantastically' amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Mulvaney unloaded his holdings in three different mutual funds, each of which is primarily made up of US stocks. The next day, the value of the mutual funds tanked.
Cases rising in many states
Good summary: There was supposed to be a peak. But the stark turning point, when the number of daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. finally crested and began descending sharply, never happened. Instead, America spent much of April on a disquieting plateau, with every day bringing about 30,000 new cases and about 2,000 new deaths. This pattern exists because different states have experienced the coronavirus pandemic in very different ways…The U.S. is dealing with a patchwork pandemic. As of Friday, coronavirus cases were significantly climbing in 16 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Oklahoma is experiencing a massive increase in coronavirus cases just days before Trump’s planned rally in Tulsa. In Tulsa county itself, 1 in roughly 390 people have tested positive. Yet Trump plans on cramming 20,000 people in an event with voluntary face mask policy and no social distancing. Attendees must sign a waiver that absolves the president’s campaign of any liability from virus-related illnesses.
On Monday, Pence lied saying that Oklahoma has “flattened the curve.” As you can see at any of the resources immediately below, this is not even close to true. Over the past 14 days, the state has seen a 124% increase in cases and reports 65% of ICU beds are in use.
Tulsa World Editorial Board: This is the wrong time and Tulsa is the wrong place for the Trump rally. "We don't know why he chose Tulsa, but we can’t see any way that his visit will be good for the city...Again, Tulsa will be largely alone in dealing with what happens at a time when the city’s budget resources have already been stretched thin."
Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that he is a victim of double standards when it comes to perception of his decision to resume campaign rallies in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, declaring that attempts to “covid shame” his campaign “won’t work!”
Resources to track increases: There are many different sites with various methods of visualizing the spread of coronavirus. Here are some that may be particularly useful this summer… Topos COVID-19 compiler homepage and graphs of each state since re-opening. How we reopen Safely has stats on each state’s progress towards meeting benchmarks to reopen safely (hint: almost none have reached all the checkpoints). WaPo has a weekly national map of cases/deaths; the largest regional clusters are in the southeast. On Monday, Trump twice said that “if we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any,” (video). Aside from the fact that cases exist even if we don’t test for them, we cannot explain the rising number of cases by increased testing capacity: In at least 14 states, the positive case rate is increasing faster than the increase in the average number of tests.
Reminder: In March Trump told Fox News that he didn't want infected patients from a cruise ship to disembark because it would increase the number of reported cases in the US. "I like the numbers being where they are," Trump said at the time. "I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault."
Fired scientist Rebekah Jones builds coronavirus dashboard to rival Florida’s… Her site shows thousands more people with the coronavirus, and hundreds of thousands fewer who have been tested, than the site run by the Florida Health Department.
Equipment and supplies
More studies prove wearing masks limits transmission and spread of coronavirus… One study from Britain found that routine face mask use by 50% or more of the population reduced COVID-19 spread to an R of less than 1.0. The R value measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the disease on to. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth. The study found that if people wear masks whenever they are in public it is twice as effective at reducing the R value than if masks are only worn after symptoms appear. Meanwhile, Trump officials refuse to wear masks and Trump supporters copy his behavior… VP Mike Pence, leader of the coronavirus task force, published a tweet showing himself in a room full of Trump staffers, none wearing masks or practicing social distancing. Pence deleted the tweet shortly after criticism. A poll last week showed that 66% of likely-Biden-voters “always wear a mask,” while 83% of likely-Trump-voters “neverarely wear a mask.”
Trump’s opposition to face masks hasn’t stopped him from selling them to his supporters, though. The online Trump Store is selling $20 cotton American flag-themed face masks.
Yesterday, we learned that South Carolina Republican Rep. Tom Rice and family have tested positive for the coronavirus. Just two weeks ago, Rice was on the House floor and halls of the Capitol without wearing a mask.
Internal FEMA data show that the government’s supply of surgical gowns has not meaningfully increased since March… The slides show FEMA’s plan to ramp up supply into June and July hinges on the reusing of N95 masks and surgical gowns, increasing the risk of contamination. Those are supposed to be disposed of after one use. Nursing homes with urgent needs for personal protective equipment say they’re receiving defective equipment as part of Trump administration supply initiative. Officials say FEMA is sending them gowns that look more like large tarps -- with no holes for hands -- and surgical masks that are paper-thin. More than 1,300 Chinese medical-device companies that registered to sell PPE in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic used bogus registration data… These companies listed as their American representative a purported Delaware entity that uses a false address and nonworking phone number. Florida is sitting on more than 980,000 unused doses of hydroxychloroquine, but hospitals don’t want it… Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered a million doses of the drug to show support for Trump, but very few hospitals have requested it.
Native American communities struggle
The CARES Act money for Native American tribes, meant to assist people during the pandemic, came with restrictions that are impeding efforts to limit the transmission of the virus. For instance, the funds can only be used to cover expenses that are "incurred due to the public health emergency." On the Navajo Nation, the public health emergency is inherently related to some basic infrastructure problems. 30% of Navajo don’t have running water to wash their hands, but the money can’t be used to build water lines. Federal and state health agencies are refusing to give Native American tribes and organizations representing them access to data showing how the coronavirus is spreading around their lands, potentially widening health disparities and frustrating tribal leaders already ill-equipped to contain the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has turned down tribal epidemiologists’ requests for data that it’s making freely available to states. A Hospital’s Secret Coronavirus Policy Separated Native American Mothers From Their Newborns… Pregnant Native American women were singled out for COVID-19 testing based on their race and ZIP code, clinicians say. While awaiting results, some mothers were separated from their newborns, depriving them of the immediate contact doctors recommend. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that state officials would investigate the allegations.
Personnel & appointees
Former IG Steve Linick told Congress he was conducting five investigations into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department before he was fired. In addition to investigating Pompeo's potential misuse of taxpayer funds and reviewing his decision to expedite an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, Linick’s office was conducting an audit of Special Immigrant Visas, a review of the International Women of Courage Award, and another review "involving individuals in the Office of the Protocol."
Pompeo confidant emerges as enforcer in fight over watchdog’s firing: Linick testified that Undersecretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao, a decades-old friend of Pompeo’s, “tried to bully [him]” out of investigating Pompeo.
Trump has empowered John McEntee, director of the Presidential Personnel Office, to make significant staffing changes inside top federal agencieswithout the consent — and, in at least one case, without even the knowledge — of the agency head. Many senior officials in Trump's government are sounding alarms about the loss of expertise and institutional knowledge. Trump’s nominee for under secretary of defense for policy, retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, has a history of making Islamophobic and inflammatory remarksagainst prominent Democratic politicians, including falsely calling former President Barack Obama a Muslim. Amid racial justice marches, GOP advances Trump court pick hostile to civil rights.Cory Wilson, up for a lifetime seat on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, has denied that restrictive voting laws lead to voter suppression and called same-sex marriage “a pander to liberal interest groups.” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has indefinitely extended the terms of the acting directors of the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service, sidestepping the typical Senate confirmation process for those posts and violating the Federal Vacancies Reform Act,
Courts and DOJ
The Supreme Court declined on Monday to take a closer look at qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that shields law enforcement and government officials from lawsuits over their conduct. Developed in recent decades by the high court, the qualified immunity doctrine, as applied to police, initially asks two questions: Did police use excessive force, and if they did, should they have known that their conduct was illegal because it violated a "clearly established" prior court ruling that barred such conduct? In practice, however, lower courts have most often dismissed police misconduct lawsuits on grounds that there is no prior court decision with nearly identical facts. The Supreme Court ruled that federal anti-discrimination laws protect gay and transgender employees. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s liberals in the 6 to 3 ruling. They said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes LGBTQ employees.
Alito, writing more than 100 pages in dissent for himself and Thomas, accused the court's majority of writing legislation, not law. Kavanaugh wrote separately: "We are judges, not members of Congress...Under the Constitution and laws of the United States, this court is the wrong body to change American law in that way."
Just days before the SCOTUS opinion was released, the Trump administration finalized a rule that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people when it comes to health care and health insurance. The SCOTUS ruling may make it easier to challenge the changes made by Trump.
The Supreme Court also declined to take up California’s “sanctuary” law, denying the Trump administration’s appeal. This means that the lower court opinion upholding one of California's sanctuary laws is valid, limiting cooperation between law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, two of the Court's conservative members, supported taking up the case. A federal appeals court appeared unlikely Friday to stop a judge from examining why the Justice Department sought to walk away from its prosecution of Michael Flynn. "I don't see why we don't observe regular order," said Judge Karen Henderson. "Why not hold this in abeyance and see what happens?" Judge Robert Wilkins told Flynn's lawyer that if Sullivan doesn't let the government drop the case, "then you can come back here on appeal."
Good read: Fiona Hill on being mistaken as a secretary by Trump, her efforts to make sure he was not left alone with Putin, and what the US, UK and Russia have in common. “It’s spitting in Merkel’s face,” said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat who’s now a foreign-policy analyst. “But it’s in our interests.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry welcomed Trump’s plan to withdraw more than a quarter of U.S. troops from Germany.
Op-Ed: Why cutting American forces in Germany will harm this alliance
According to a new book, the Secret Service had to seek more funding to cover the cost of protecting Melania Trump while she stayed in NYC to renegotiate her prenup - taxpayers paid tens of millions of dollars to allow her to get better terms. Additionally, NYPD estimated its own costs conservatively at $125,000 a day. Georgia election 'catastrophe' in largely minority areas sparks investigation. Long lines, lack of voting machines, and shortages of primary ballots plagued voters. As of Monday night, there were still over 200,000 uncounted votes. Fox News runs digitally altered images in coverage of Seattle’s protests, Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone Fox News Mocked After Mistaking Monty Python Joke for Seattle Protest Infighting In addition to holding a rally on the day after Juneteenth (originally scheduled the day of), Trump will be accepting the GOP nomination in Jacksonville on the 60th anniversary of “Ax Handle Saturday,” a KKK attack on African Americans. Environmental news:
Ruling against environmentalists, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the federal government has the authority to allow a proposed $7.5 billion natural gas pipeline to cross under the popular Appalachian Trail in rural Virginia.
Trump administration has issued a new rule blocking tribes from protecting their waters from projects like pipelines, dams, and coal terminals.
The EPA published a proposal in the Federal Register that critics described as an assault on minority communities coping with the public health legacy of structural racism. The rule would bar EPA from giving special consideration to individual communities that bear the brunt of environmental risks — frequently populations of color.
The Trump administration is preparing to drill off Florida’s coast, but says it will wait until after the November election to avoid any backlash from Florida state leaders.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection used emergency funding meant for migrant families and children to pay for dirt bikes, canine supplies, computer equipment and other enforcement related-expenditures… The money was meant to be spent on “consumables and medical care” for migrants at the border.
ACLU files lawsuit against stringent border restrictions related to coronavirus that largely bar migrants from entering the United States.
Under Trump’s leadership, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has mismanaged its finances so badly that it has sought an emergency $1.2 billion infusion from taxpayers. When Trump took office, USCIS inherited a budget surplus. A large amount of funding is drained by its deliberate creation of more busy work for immigrants and their lawyers — as well as thousands of USCIS employees. These changes are designed to make it harder for people to apply for, receive or retain lawful immigration status.
Asylum-seeking migrants locked up inside an Arizona ICE detention center with one of the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases say they were forced to clean the facility and are 'begging' for protection from the virus
ICE plans to spend $18 million on thousands of new tasers and the training to use them
Gravity's Rainbow Group Read | Sections 22-25 | Week 7
Slothrop's Hawaiian Shirt by Zak Smith (2006). I just want to begin by thanking u/Bloomsdayclock for coordinating this endeavor, for all of the previous posts thus far, and for the enthusiastic interaction and scholarship that’s been happening in the comments for each post. This group read has rekindled my love for this book and is helping me understand it in so many different ways and in such greater depth that it's honestly like I’m reading a different book at this point. Also, kudos to each previous poster for creating a coherent post! The book is complex enough on its own but once you start going down the rabbit hole, sussing out the references, reading through some of the scholarship, etc., I almost found myself paralyzed by information overload (kinda feeling a bit like Charlie Kelly trying to figure out who “Pepe Silvia” is :) ). When this reading group started, I was like, “damn, I’m trying to read this insanely complex novel and the group posts are just as long, dense, and complex” and now I’ve gone and written some super long and dense post, too. To paraphrase either Blaise Pascal or Mark Twain (or Woodrow Wilson or apparently a rather large number of dead white guys from history): I would have written a shorter post if I’d had the time! Apologies in advance! Anyways, this post will (attempt to) cover the start of the second section of the novel, Un Perm’ au Casino Hermann Goering. The events that transpire are zany and sinister, titillating and deeply sad. There is a mix of images both gorgeous and disgusting and much of the planning and plotting that took place at “The White Visitation” during the first section are starting to come to fruition in part deux. For each “Episode”, I will provide a general summary of the “action” and then some commentary and we’ll finish this post up with a few discussion questions. Let’s begin! Episode 22 Summary Slothrop is on furlough/leave at a casino in Monaco (from what I’ve read...I thought it was France before, still not completely sure) that’s been renamed in honor of the big fat slob that led Hitler’s air force during the war. He’s in paradise but wakes up “...[waiting] for a sudden noise to begin his day, a first rocket” (p. 181). His friend Tantivy Mucker-Maffick and a somewhat suspicious friend of his, Teddy Bloat (“[there’s] something about the way he talks to Slothrop, patronizing? Maybe nervous…” (p. 182)), are staying down the hall. They’re talking about meeting some girls but, as the first song of the section reminds us, Englishmen can be very shy. Slothrop is happy to help his “buddies” out, but tells them not to “expect [him] to put it in for [them]” (p. 183). Classic Slothrop! Slothrop decides to wear a hideous (or amazing, depending on your sensibilities) genuine Hawaiian shirt that he received from his brother Hogan in the Pacific. The shirt seems to emit a glow (once he steps into the sun, it “blazes into a refulgent life of its own” (!) (p. 184), so Tantivy, “friend” that he is, tries to convince Slothrop to cover it up with scratchy Savile Row coat. The trio hit the beach and the ladies are on them already. They’ve got food and booze and are ready for a nice day on the beach. The morning seems too good even for a bit of the “early paranoia”. And then Bloat ruins everything by drawing Slothrop’s attention to the woman down the beach being attacked by “the biggest fucking octopus Slothrop has ever seen outside of the movies”. Slothrop rushes off to intervene and, left without recourse, starts trying to bash the cephalopod on the head with a wine bottle to no avail. Thankfully, Bloat just happens to have a big, tasty crab on his person, which he tosses to Slothrop with the advice, “It’s hungry, it’ll go for the crab. Don’t kill it, Slothrop.” Slothrop uses the crab to bait away the animal from its current prey, noticing that it does not seem to be in good mental health. He eventually tosses the crab, like a discus, into the sea, and the octopus follows. The damsel has been saved, Slothrop is championed as a brave hero and his first thought is where in the fuck did that crab come from. The exchange: “Tantivy smiles and flips a small salute. “Good show!” cheers Teddy Bloat. “I wouldn’t have wanted to try that myself!” “Why not? You had that crab. Saaay-where’d you get that crab?” “Found it,” replies Bloat with a straight face. Slothrop stares at this bird but can’t get eye contact. What th’ fuck is going on?” (p. 187). The damsel thanks Slothrop. Her ID bracelet identifies her as Katje Borgesius. Slothrop feels like he knows her and “...voices begin to take on a touch of metal, each word a hard-edged clap, and the light, though as bright as before, is less able to illuminate….it’s a Puritan reflex of seeking other orders behind the visible, also known as paranoia, filtering in…” (p. 188). How does Slothrop deal with this? By dividing up his present company into a dichotomy: the increasingly drunk Tantivy, “a messenger from Slothrop’s innocent, pre-octopus past” flirting with the girls and Bloat, “perfectly sober, mustache unruffled, regulation uniform [on the fucking beach!], watching [him] closely” (p. 188). And then there’s Katje, who, with her glance, makes Slothrop think she knows something (what?), asking him “Did you know all the time about the octopus? I thought so because it was so like a dance-all of you” (p. 188). Well, fuck me! Katje then tells “Little Tyrone” to be “very careful” and that “Perhaps, after all, we were meant to meet…” (p. 189). Now that’s a “meet cute” for ya! Commentary/Questions
Is the casino fully owned and controlled by Them at this point (is César Flebótomo (Spanish for “sandfly”) a(n) (un)willing patsy in Their employ?). Is it the “lab” for this “phase” of the Slothrop experiment. Or is it just secured enough to ensure the results of the experiment aren’t tainted by some unforeseen variable/interference?
Teddy Bloat seems like a purposeful pun in reference to the bureaucracy of government/intel agencies
Songs are one way that Pynchon fills his book with “the language of the preterite”, a term from Weisenburger used to describe the “slang, underworld cant, songs, games, folk-genres, and material culture” used by Pynchon to pit “open, unsanctioned, and “low” languages” against the “closed, orthodox, privileged language of a culture”. This idea is expanded on by literary critic/philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin who notes that the “heteroglossic” aspect of novels allows them to be radical, open-ended artworks filled with a variety of voices that each embody a particular time and place (his term for this idea is a “chronotope”).
The whole episode is just soaked in paranoia, from beginning to end. Whatever Slothrop thought he thought he was feeling in Section 1 has been taken up a notch. He senses a plot but keeps playing along.
Is “Borgesius” a tribute to J.L. Borges?
“Little Tyrone” echoes “Baby Tyrone” from Jamf’s experiments and maybe is supposed to make us realize that while the antics in this episode could possibly be construed as a “loss” of Slothrop’s “innocence” that was actually taken from him as a baby.
Episode 23 Summary Dr. Porkyevitch (“Porky the pig”?) and “Grisha” (“[frisking] happily in his special enclosure”) stare back at the “blazing bijou” of the Casino from their ship, contemplating their future now that they may no longer be of use to Pointsman, yearning for traces of the Russia they’ve been exiled from. To the casino: Katje is a vision in shades of green and is escorted by a two-star general and a brigadier. Is it Pudding? RHIP :) Slothrop and Tantivy in the dining room. Slothrop raises the “The Ballad of Tantivy Mucker-Maffic” to get the room singing of his friend’s drunken exploits so that he can speak to Katje who uses the cacophony to invite him to her room after midnight! Slothrop then probes his buddy to see if he notices anything funny going on. Tantivy brushes him off a bit (“there’s always, you know, an element of Slothropian paranoia to contend with…”(p. 192)) but then concedes that the bastard Bloat is receiving coded messages. Ha! And it turns out Bloat has become a bit of a different man over the last few years, something more than being “Blitz rattled”. He’s also warned Tantivy away from Katje (“I’d stay clear of that one if I were you” (p. 193)) and Tantivy feels used by Bloat (“being tolerated for as long as he can use me” (p. 193)). The encounter ends with Tantivy telling Slothrop to be careful and, should he need help, he’ll be there for him. At midnight, Slothrop leaves for his rendezvous with Ms. Borgesius, “ascending flights of red-carpeted stairway (Welcome Mister Slothrop Welcome To Our Structure We Hope You Will Enjoy Your Visit Here)” (p. 194). Arriving, he teases her about her date at dinner and then about their slightly sinister “meet cute” while examining her closet which is absolutely filled to the brim with a variety of outfits. The “Too Soon To Know (Fox-Trot)” before they get down to it. As he is undressing her, he notices “...the moonlight only whitens her back, and there is a still a dark side, her ventral side, her face, than he can no longer see, a terrible beastlike change coming over muzzle and lower jaw, black pupils growing to cover the entire eye space till whites are gone and there’s only the red animal reflection when the light comes to strike no telling when the light-” (p. 196). Yikes! As they fuck, she wonders if his “careful technique” is for her or “wired into the Slothropian Run-together they briefed her on”. Either way, “she will move him, she will not be mounted by a plastic shell” (p. 196-197). Then, a slapstick fight with a seltzer bottle (planted by Them?) that has Slothrop looking for a banana cream pie to toss (classic!) after which they fall asleep, lying like two Ss. In the morning, their post-coital bliss is interrupted as Little Tyrone is rudely awakened by the sound of someone robbing his pants in the room next door. He chases after the thief, first naked, then dressed in a purple satin bedsheet. As he’s chasing, from way down the hallway, “a tiny head appears around a corner, a tiny hand comes out and gives Slothrop the tiny finger” (p. 199). Haha! He chases the thief up a tree only to have the tree cut down while he’s in it. The thief escapes and Bloat and some general find Slothrop a mess. Bloat takes Slothrop to his room where, “every stitch of clothing he owns is gone, including his Hawaiian shirt. What the fuck. Groaning, he rummages in the desk. Empty. Closets empty. Leave papers, ID, everything, taken… Hogan’s shirt bothers him most of all” (p. 201). Nobody knows where Tantivy’s gone off to. Bloat gives Slothrop a uniform (“a piece of Whitehall on the Riviera” (p. 201)) which doesn’t fit but the book advises, “Live wi’ the way it feels mate, you’ll be in it for a while” (p. 201). Slothrop ponders the meaning of the architecture and design of his surrounds, but “shortly, unpleasantly so, it will come to him that everything in this room [The Himmer-Spielsaal, no less] is being used from something different. Meaning things to Them it has never meant to us. Never. Two orders of being, looking identical….but, but….” (p. 202). THE WORLD OVER THERE. Against this realization Slothrop issues the only spell he knows, a defiant “Fuck You”. Walking, rainstorm, entertainment at the casino, no one has seen the dancing girls from the drunken breakfast, Slothrop is “finding only strangers where he looks” before freaking out in the casino, then getting wet in the rain, then returning to Katje, the only place he knew to come. Commentary
I love “The Ballad of Tantivy Mucker-Maffic” and would like to write a similar tune about the inebriated shenanigans committed by my best friend and I during college.
The bit about Oxford and Harvard not really existing to educate was a nice touch (p. 193)
“Snazzy” is an “Americanism” in the 40s! (p. 195).
Slothrop ponders an impending loss of innocence (but, again, it seems like that has already happened). He has nothing and no one in a foreign country and the sensation that his life is being purposefully, possibly nefariously influenced by forces he can vaguely perceive. “It’s here that saturation hits him, it’s all this playing games, too much of it, too many games: the nasal, obsessive voice of a croupier he can’t see...is suddenly speaking out of the Forbidden Wing directly to him, and about what Slothrop has been playing against the invisible House, perhaps after all for his soul, all day - terrified, he turns, turns out into the rain again where the electric lights of the Casino, in full holocaust, are glaring off the glazed cobbles.” And then, “How did this all turn against him so fast? His friends old and new, every last bit of paper and clothing connecting him to what he’s been, have just, fucking, vanished. How can he meet this with any kind of grace?” (p. 205)
The word “holocaust” is used quite a bit in this story
Setting this all in the casino is a nice touch: there is the illusion of chance and luck in a casino but the house always wins.
The juxtaposition of the comic (seltzer fight) with the tragic (Slothrop alone, trying to understand what’s happening) heightens both effects.
Episode 24 Summary They wake up with Katje calling slothrop a pig, which responds to by oinking. At breakfast, he is taking a refresher course in technical German and learning about The Rocket. His tutor, Sir Stephen Dodson-Truck (who speaks 33 languages!) aiding his understanding of German circuit schematics by way of ancient German runes. Slothrop understands immediately that Dodson-Truck is in on the plot but not sure how (“There are times when Slothrop can actually find a clutch mechanism between him and Their iron-cased engine far away up a power train whose shape and design he has to guess at, a clutch he can disengage, feeling then all his inertia of motion, his real helplessness… it is not exactly unpleasant, either. Odd thing. He is almost sure that whatever They want, it won’t mean risking his life, or even too much of his comfort. But he can’t fit any of it into a pattern, there’s no way to connect somebody like Dodson-Truck with somebody like Katje…. The real enemy’s somewhere back in that London anyways” (p. 207). Back in the Himmler-Spielsaal: “in the twisted gilt playing-room his secret motions clarify for him, some. The odds They played here belonged to the past, the past only. Their odds were never probabilities, but frequencies already observed. It’s the past that makes demands here. It whispers, and reaches after, and sneering disagreeably, gooses its victims. When they choose numbers, red, black, odd, even, what did They mean it? What Wheel did They set in motion? Back in a room, early in Slothrop’s life, a room forbidden to him now, is something very bad. Something was done to him and it may be that Katje knows what. Hasn’t he, in her “futureless look,” found some link to his own past, something that connects them closely as lovers?” (p. 208-209). “It is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the parabola.” No more news from London or Achtung. Bloat is gone now, too. Sir Stephen and Katje with their identical Corporate Smiles to dazzle him while they rob his identity. But! “He lets it happen” (p. 210). Slothrop is getting hardons after his rocket study sessions and then goes looking for relief with Katje. Sir Stephen appears to be timing these erections! So, Slothrop gets the smart idea to get him drunk via a drinking game and many, many people end up getting sloshed on some high class bubbly. Half the room is singing the “Vulgar Song”. Slothrop and Sir Steve get pretty hammered and start walking through a nice sunset, where Slothrop sees robed figures, hundreds of miles tall, on the horizon. Sir Stephen informs Slothrop that he’s got “potency issues” (which makes him the perfect observer for Slothrop’s sexual misadventures… “no nasty jissom getting all over their reports, you know” (p. 216)). He’s about to tell Slothrop the secret of “The Penis He Thought Was His Own”... ...but then starts waxing nostalgic about Sir Stephen’s son and his wife, Nora and her “Ideology of the Zero”. An interlude with Eventyr, Sachsa, Leni… “but where will Leni be now? Either we didn’t mean to lose her - either it was an ellipsis in our care, in what some of us even swear is our love, or someone has taken her, deliberately, for reasons being kept secret, and Sachsa’s death is part of it too” (p. 218). More on Sachsa’s death. Then, Sir Stephen vanishes (“but not before telling Slothrop that his erections of high interest to Fitzmaurice House”). Katje is pissed that Slothy got Sir Steve drunk enough to dish on the plot. They fight and then fuck. More rocket study sessions. The rocket taking off looks like a peacock, def pfau. Slothrop pressing for more information, Katje rebuffing, warning/advising“Oh, Slothrop… You don’t want me. What they’re after may, but you don’t. No more than A4 wants London. But I don’t think they know...about other selves...yours or the Rocket’s. No more than you do. If you can’t understand it now, at least remember. That’s all I can do for you” (p. 224). Then, “They go back up to her room again: cock, cunt, the Monday rain at the windows” (p. 224) (Oh, Tom, you romantic!). And finally, a bit of kazoo music, a final night together, and Katje disappears, too. Commentary
Slothrop makes an important connection to his childhood and wonders if Katje knows about it/whether she’s with him because of it (ol’ Pynch even manages to work in the rocket, too!): “You were in London while they were coming down. I was in ‘s Gravenhage while they were going up. Between you and me is not only a rocket trajectory but also a life. You will come to understand that between the two points, in the five minutes, it lives an entire life. You haven’t even learned the data on our side of the flight profile, the visible or trackable. Beyond them there’s so much more, so much none of us know” (p. 209).
More on the import of setting the action in the Casino: “The Forbidden Wing. Oh, the hand of a terrible croupier is that touch on the sleeves of his dreams: all his life of what has looked free or random, is discovered to’ve been under some Control, all the time, the same as a fixed roulette wheel-where only destinations are important, attention is to long-term statistics, not individuals: and where the House does, of course, keep turning a profit…” (p. 209).
A beautiful passage: “‘Holy shit.” This is the kind of sunset you hardly see any more, a 19th-century wilderness sunset...this anachronism in primal red, in yellow purer than can be found anywhere today, a purity begging to be polluted...of course Empire took its way westward, what other way was there but into those virgin sunsets to penetrate and to foul” (p. 214). Always dualities in this book.
“A pornography of blueprints” (p. 224). is a nice turn of phrase.
Foreshadowing: “She has her hair combed high today in a pompadour, her fair eyebrows, plucked to wings, darkened, eyes rimmed in black, only the outboard few lashes missed and left blond.
Connection to Nabokov: I really do think “Signs and Symbols” influenced this novel. Lines like this, “Here it is again, that identical-looking Other World - is he gonna have this to worry about, now? What th’ - lookit these trees - each long frond hanging, stuny, dizzying, in laborious dry point against the sky, each so perfectly placed…” (p. 225) remind me so much of the atmosphere in the story (itself about paranoia (“referential mania”)). This is a key excerpt from the Nabokov ditty: “In these very rare cases the patient imagines that everything happening around him is a veiled reference to his personality and existence. He excludes real people from the conspiracy - because he considers himself to be so much more intelligent than other men. Phenomenal nature shadows him wherever he goes. Clouds in the staring sky transmit to one another, by means of slow signs, incredibly detailed information regarding him. His inmost thoughts are discussed at nightfall, in manual alphabet, by darkly gesticulating trees. Pebbles or stains or sun flecks form patterns representing in some awful way messages which he must intercept. Everything is a cipher and of everything he is the theme.” Obviously this guy is, uh, slightly more clinical, but I still think the atmosphere/tone is similar between the two.
Episode 25 Summary We begin this episode with a Pavlov lecture about the physiological symptoms of hysteria and one of Pointsman’s poems (which he never shows to anyone). Then to the “White Visitation” chaps (Pointsman, Grunton, Throwster, Groast) rumor-mongering about their future. Things are looking bleak. Pudding might cut off funding, “Slothrop’s knocked out Dodson-Truck and the girl in one day” (p. 227), and Sir Steven’s got the P.M.’s son-in-law making embarrassing inquiries. But Pointsman is calm. Very calm. In fact, “[b]y facing squarely the extinction of his program, he has gained a great bit of Wisdom: that if there is a life force operating in Nature, still there is nothing so analogous in bureaucracy. Nothing so mystical. It all comes down, as it must, to the desires of individual men. Oh, and women too, of course, bless their empty little heads. But survival depends on having strong enough desires - on knowing the System better than the other chap, and how to use it. It’s work, that’s all it is, and there’s no room for any extrahuman activities - they only weaken, effeminize the will: a man either indulges them, or fights to win, und so weiter” (p. 230). And then we find out that Pointman’s figured out how to play Pudding to keep his support (more on that in a bit…) as he’s figured out Treacle, Groast, and Throwster, how to use them and manipulate them to get what he wants. What a fucking devious guy! Webley Silvernail sticks around after the meeting and imagines the lab animals putting on a beguine performance of a song called “Pavlovia” (right after this realization by Silvernail: “From overhead, from a German camera-angle, it occurs to Webley Silvernail, this lab here is also a maze...but who watches from above, who notes their reponses?” (p. 229)). And it’s all song and dance for a bit but since it’s Pynchon, it’s followed by an incredible poignant/tragic moment of clarity: “They have had their moment of freedom. Webley has only been a guest start. Now it’s back to the cages and the rationalized forms of death-death in the service of the one species cursed with the knowledge that it will die…. “I would set you free, if I knew how. But it isn’t free out here. All the animals, the plants, the minerals, even other kinds of men, are being broken and reassembled every day, to preserve an elite few, who are the loudest to theorize on freedom, but the least free of all. I can’t even give you hope that it will be different someday - that They’ll come out, and forget death, and lose Their technology’s elaborate terror, and stop using every other form of life without mercy to keep what haunts men down to a tolerable level - and be like you instead, simply here, simply alive….” The guest star retires down the corridors” (p. 230). What a soliloquy. [Tangent: almost 50 years later, how prescient is this passage?! This little monologue filled me with so many conflicting emotions: hope (because humans like Pynchon exist to dream this stuff up) and also dread because this paragraph describes a fundamental aspect and egregious flaw (or flaws) in human nature. Reading and re-reading this passage depresses me a little (hence my question about mental health below). Now Pudding is sneaking about the bowels of “The White Visitation”. He heads past the cells of loonies on his way to a secret rendezvous. It seems like Pointsman may have drugged him at some point to get at hidden desires. We watch as our dear old Brigadier putters from room-to-room, finding items left for him by Pointsman that mock him and describe his descent into a personal hell (for info on the symbolism, the Weisenburger book is quite helpful). In the final room, Pudding drops to his knees at the feet of his Domina Nocturna (with “her blond hair...tucked and pinned beneath a thick black wig”... “naked except for a long sable cape and black boots with court heels” (p. 233)). Pudding is thinking of the night they first met. He saw “her” “...through the periscope, underneath a star shell that hung in the sky, he saw her….and though he was hidden, she saw Pudding. Her face was pale, she was dressed all in black, she stood in No-man’s Land, the machine guns raked their patterns all around her, but she needed no protection. “They knew you, Mistress. They were your own. And so were you” (p. 233). And then he offers her a “nice” memory of a legion of Franco’s troops killing and getting killed at a massacre at Badajoz for which he is “rewarded” with her beating and then pissing and shitting in his mouth… … … … However off-putting this may be for some (most), it does something for Pudding. He needs pain. “They have stuffed paper illusions and military euphemisms between him and this truth, this rare decency, this moment at her scrupulous feet….no it’s not guilt here, not so much as amazement - that he could have listened to so many years of ministers, scientists, doctors each with his specialized lies to tell, when she was here all the time, sure in her ownership of his failing body, his true body: undisguised by uniform, uncluttered by drugs to keep from him her communiqués of vertigo, nausea and pain. Above all, pain. The clearest poetry, the endearment of greatest worth…” (p. 234-235). Munching down on a hot turd makes Pudding think of the horrible smells of his service during WWI: putrid mud, rot, death, “...the sovereign smell of their first meeting, and her emblem” (p. 235). After eating her shit, he jerks off (his release), in a style that Domina Nocturna has learned from watching Captain Blicero and Gottfriend (at this point, it is safe to say, Domina Nocturna is Katje. Will we ever be able to look at her the same?). Pudding is then dismissed to “...a late-night cup of broth, routine papers to sign, a dose of penicillin that Pointsman has ordered him to take, to combat the effects of E. Coli” (p. 236). So thoughtful, that Pointsman... Commentary
The Silvernail hallucination/phantasmagoria seems like something straight out of “The Big Lebowski” had Jodorowsky had a bit of influence over the Coen Bros. art direction. Many of the songs in this section feel “Lebowski-esque” but this one especially so to me. Maybe its the detailed choreographic notes: “They dance in flowing skeins. The rats and mice form circles, curl their tails in and out to make chrysanthemum and sunburst patterns, eventually all form into the shape of a single giant mouse, at whole eye Silvernail poses with a smile” (p. 230).
The Franco bit is a nice way of linking facism and death worship
Pudding eating Domina Nocturna’s shit really, to quote an earlier passage, gave “de wrinkles in mah brain a process!”. There is so much symbolism there! Instead of ascending to heaven, Pudding heads down to hell. We have so many dualities linked in the act: between young and old, sacred and profane, pleasure and pain, pleasure through pain, WWI and WW2, man and woman, life and death, the general as a slave, even the food transformed through Katje into waste, all linked through the act of eating shit. For a moment they are linked so intimately, so delicately. No parabolas, a circle. And, of course, there’s also the diabolical Pointsman in the background, pulling the strings and manipulating to keep Pudding in line. I remember reading this for the first time and just being shocked and confused and now reading it again and finding so much meaning. That ol’ Pynchon is a devious bastard, hiding such loaded symbolism in such an obscene encounter. The Pulitzer committee had no idea what was coming for them!
So, if you’ve reached this point, congratulations and I am sorry! Here are my discussion questions. Looking forward to future posts! Discussion Questions Both On Topic and Tangential
Why is paranoia described as a “Puritan reflex” in Episode 22?
In Episode 23, as Slothrop peruses Katje’s extensive wardrobe, what is the significance of the line, “Aha! wait a minute, the operational scent in here is carbon tet, Jackson, and this wardrobe here’s mostly props” (p. 195)?
In Episode 24, what’s the significance of “the watchmen of world’s edge”? Is this an intrusion of the spirit world? Is Slothrop just hallucinating?
In Episode 24, when Peter Sachsa gets the blow to the temple from Schutzmann Jöche, why is his last thought, “How beautiful!” (p. 220)
In Episode 25, there’s a line in the part where Pudding is sneaking around: “A voice from some cell too distant for us to locate intones:...” (p. 231). Why us here? Why the change in perspective?
How’s this book affecting everyone’s mental health (you know, given that we’re in the end times right now)? Seriously, though, there are times when this book makes me so happy to be alive and proud of humanity and also times where it depresses the everloving shit out of me and makes me think that, as a species, we’re doomed to continue making the same mistakes, over and over again, until we end up destroying ourselves.
In a similar vein, do you think people as prodigiously talented and brilliant as Pynchon have any responsibility to counter the evil they see in the world? Is writing books enough or should they do more (lead, teach, etc.) to fight against the awful things they are able to see before the rest of us do?
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