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Do you really like your beer, or are you just a victim of Capitalist Propaganda? How you can learn how the free market works while you guzzle some suds, and how beer can help you to understand the vast conspiracy that is slowly degrading America.
TL;DR - I use the craft beer industry as a way to understand Capitalist Propaganda, how Capitalism and Socialism are inextricably linked to each other, and how through the use of propaganda, companies use the "illusion of choice" to coerce you into believing that you prefer the products that are most favorable to them. In order to change this into the consumer's favor, you need to be an informed consumer in the free market, and raise class consciousness to overthrow the tyranny of Capitalist Propaganda, that is called "Marketing". *************************************************************************************** You can't understand Capitalist Propaganda unless you have a solid understanding of what Capitalism is beyond the literal definition of the word, which is just an abstract ideal. Propaganda plays off of the discrepancies between the ideals of Capitalism, like the free market, which is another abstract ideal, and the reality of Capitalism in practice in America, which can be characterized as Trickle Down Economics. Capitalism sought to be a pragmatic alternative to its economic predecessors, a fact which drives Capitalist Propaganda. However, through layers of abstraction throughout the years, it has become more of a religion, as critics refer to the increasingly ideological concept as "Supply Side Jesus", meaning you give all the money to the rich, it'll trickle down to the poor, and they can "vote" on the actions of the capitalists through monetary interactions in the free market. Capitalist Propaganda is engrained in America, because at the time of our founding, Adam Smith wrote "Wealth of Nations", which is considered the Bible of the Free Market. This groundbreaking work utilized Newton's Laws of Physics, which were en vogue at the time, to describe how interactions in the marketplace would balance each other out, just as the laws of Newtonian Physics do. The very noble purpose of Wealth of Nations was not create the oligarchy we have today, but to do the opposite. He wanted to describe a system that would protect individual freedoms and be truly democratic. Just as Lenin and Stalin bastardized the works of Marx, so too have capitalists in America bastardized the intentions of Adam Smith. Capitalism and Socialism are best learned side by side, in my opinion, to avoid falling into the trappings of either ideology that our brains like to do. Which one is better? It depends on the market, but the answer is almost always somewhere in between. Through learning how Socialist concepts can be applied to problems in Capitalism, you can cut through the propaganda and will see for yourself that these problems can be solved if we just drop the labels and do what's best for society and the individual. The problem is always finding the proper balance. *************************************************************************************** *************************************************************************************** WHAT? CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM ARE JOINED AT THE HIP? Yep. You can never live in a pure economic system. Purity is always an illusion. If you want something to be pure, you have to put a lot of energy into making it that way. Nature likes to mix stuff up. This is why ideologies around racial purity and fascism always fail. There are people who want a "pure" economic system, but they are usually the people at the top and would only get richer from more purity while the rest of society loses freedom and slowly starves. In a nutshell, Capitalism promotes laws that benefit those with money, while Socialism promotes a safety net that benefits everyone. Every single human is born into Socialism. As a baby, you need food, someone else works for it and gives it to you, but then at some point, you are expected to exchange labor for capital, and buy your own food. See? The two are forever bound as the yin and yang. You can also grow your own food, but for that you need land, which is capital. These interactions are very tricky. I only want to tell you enough so that you can start to see Capitalist Propaganda, because right now, you're like a fish in water that can't see water. I often use this line to describe a person who can't see their own homegrown propaganda. The best way I found to study Capitalism is by relating it Socialism, the "air" above the "water" of Capitalism, if that makes sense. I always find it best to look at a microcosm to understand these concepts. And today, that microcosm is beer. Mmmm....Beeeeeeeeeerrrrrrr..... *************************************************************************************** *************************************************************************************** CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE Before I poison your mind with my own propaganda, picture you're on vacation and you walk into a bar and want to order a beer. If you really want to understand the power of propaganda in your own life, really think of this before we break this all down. Really think, what makes you decide which beer to order? Do you like to look at the labels on the tap or bottle? That's obvious propaganda. It has absolutely nothing to do with the taste or quality of the beer itself, but sways your opinion toward logos you've seen before, which is why you see so many beer advertisements, which means that money that could've gone into quality is instead going into propaganda, and you're already biased towards an inferior product. Interesting. You really can't help being swayed by marketing, but at least you can be conscious of that fact, and that's important in order to be an informed consumer. Do you ask the bartender for a recommendation? Why would you do that? You don't know the bartender any better than the beers in front of you. How do you know they aren't paid more to offer you a beer that sucks and is 12 years old and the owner wants to get rid of it? Do you ask for a certain style of beer? Do you ask for a local beer? And once you finally narrow it down to a few choices, do you ask for samples so you can make up your own mind? You should always do this. Then we get into "flavor propaganda", which we'll discuss later. Jeez. Did you every realize there was so much complexity behind being an informed consumer and just ordering a simple beer? Maybe you'll give in and just tell the bartender to pour whatever. Choice is difficult sometimes. If you really visualize this and take a minute to let this sink in, you'll start to understand how external forces hijack the processor in your mind to manufacture desire through the illusion of choice. However, your health and enjoyment of the beer is not the goal for these external forces, they only want you to purchase. The perfect example is fast food. They know their product sucks, but they know you'll keep buying it, but that doesn't keep them from lying about how delicious it is in their ads. There is far more at play behind the curtain. There is a science behind addicting you to things, this is reinforced by a corporate tax and subsidy system that contorts the free market pushing centralization of production through homogenization and use of chemicals to hide the homogenization, and simply because there is more than one option, they make you feel like you have choice. This, in a nutshell, is how the illusion of choice works in the free market. It's not about what YOU want. The producer manipulates you to think you want what they have. Through this, they deceive Americans into buying products with a list of ingredients that a person would never freely choose to consume. So if you want to order a beer with no shit in it, then you're shit out of luck in America. You could in Germany, but we'll discuss that later. While you're standing at that bar, you aren't conscious of the fact that your interests are in direct opposition to those of the bar owner's. Capitalists hide this fact with their perfect smiles, but Marx described this in detail. You want the best beer for the cheapest price, and the bar owner wants to sell you the cheapest beer at the highest price you'll pay. It doesn't stop there. The bar owner flips roles in the same situation with the beer distributor, who does the same with maybe another level of distribution, and continues to the brewer, then goes to the brewer versus supplier, supplier to farmer, and even though you'd think it stops there, the farmer has to deal with suppliers of equipment and seeds, and on and on. Add to this list their auxiliary staff of HR, drivers, managers, brewers, bottle/keg makers, and of course owners, none of them care whether you actually like the beer you're drinking as long as you keep buying more. That's the big driver here. Did you ever realize that every time you buy a beer, your own capital is partially responsible for creating and sustaining all of these jobs involved? You, my dear beer drinker, are the true job creator. Budweiser can brew all they want, it means nothing without buyers, who are the true engines of capitalism. Instead, you're treated as a rube by suits in a boardroom somewhere. Capitalist Propaganda tells us the billionaires are job creators, but this is a lie. Jeff Bezos can't drink enough beer to sustain all these jobs. So why do we let him hoard all the money? Wouldn't the economy do better if we spread out Jeff's money so more people could buy more beers and more jobs would be created? According to Socialist Economics, yes. That's actually, quite simply, a Socialist Free Market. Did you even know that existed? The power hungry greedy people who are too lazy for manual labor go to such great lengths to make sure you don't learn it. They want you to think that only Capitalism allows you choice in the market. I'm sure you can guess why they say that. Capitalism maintains itself by exulting the wealthy who use their economic power to punch down. The only way this system won't fall into fascism and fail is if the consumers start to punch back. Where Marx envisioned the Dictatorship of the Proletariat as they usurped power from the Bourgeoisie, a modern alternative is just teaching people to understand the system we live in, so that we can just start making changes in the way we live and to whom we give our money. See that? Capitalism and Socialism can get along nicely, so long as the consumers are informed. *************************************************************************************** *************************************************************************************** CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE ALIENATION OF LABOR CAUSING LONELINESS IN SOCIETY What I described within the previous section is what Marx called "Alienation of Labor". Each step in the process of making your beer is isolated from the others, so no one feels ownership over the end product or a true connection to the consumer, or job creator. Even the bartender selling it is alienated from the profit of their labor in serving the beer, so they only focus on the service aspect of giving you the beer, because that is where they earn their tip. They can't really fix anything about a shitty beer other than to offer you a different brand. The capitalist owner is usually not there. Their only interaction is setting the rules for everyone in the bar to follow, and pay themselves more than everyone who has to follow those rules. This is part of the conflict between the classes. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, I'm just pointing it out. The bar owner themself has to spend money on propaganda to attract customers that could be spent in other places, so has to find ways to cut costs. Unfortunately, they buy cheaper beer...and this is why you end up with IPAs. No one is connected to the products, so they only look at prices and find the cheapest, passable product. This is the race to the bottom of Capitalism. Compare this to when brewpubs were a new thing. The brewer would come out and talk to you about the beer, you would give feedback that could effect future batches and it connected everyone to each other through commerce. It makes business "social" and I think nearly everyone enjoys that, but it is losing out in competition with chain breweries that enforce isolation and make cookie cutter propaganda and cookie cutter business models so they can turn owners into managers and suck all the profit back their corporate headquarters and offshore accounts. They kill the experience and make everything transactional. And all the kitsch they hang around their cookie cutter chain bar is just to hide the fact that no one in that place cares about anything other than not getting fired. Everyone is effectually alienated from everyone else. It's worth a read to check out this page on Marx's Theory of Alienation. This alienation is the root of a lot of misery in society. Humans are communal animals forced to live in a society of individuality and alienation. As they mope around, they seek an escape. And that is why advertising is so nefarious. It seeks to manipulate you in that state. Imagine driving home from your alienating job to you empty home, but looking up and see a billboard with bunch of actors laughing and drinking beer. They take pictures that make these actors look like friends. It's just for show. They aren't selling beer to those laughing people in the picture. They're tempting lonely people to drown their sorrows. Capitalist Propaganda is used so your brain doesn't understand what it wants. It wants friends, then sees the words Bud Light. So when the bartenders asks...Make it a Bud Light. Look at how much money they spend to manipulate and capitalize on people's suffering. Propaganda in Communist countries is controlled by the government, so it's clear who the enemy of your freedom is. Capitalist Propaganda hides behind the layers of complexity of the same economy you rely on to survive, so you never know what's propaganda or where it's coming from. Marketers find every way imaginable to get their disinformation in front of your eyes, even enlisting your friends on Facebook in annoying MLM schemes. Propaganda invaded everything that can be legally monetized. It's in the media, and not just commercials anymore. There's product placement, stories injected into the news, and even movies and social media created an entire industry of "lifestyle propaganda", telling you how to live your life and indulge in overconsumption. It's REALLY hard to get away from Capitalist Propaganda. There is so much money and research behind it and so much depth, even this long post is only barely scratching the surface. I just want to open your eyes to it. I can't make you see all this. No one can. I can only describe it as best as I can. What you will experience when you understand this is what I call "Economic Enlightenment", similar to what Marx called "Class Consciousness". Once it happened to me, the world looked amazing, and the shitty propagandists selling us false hope all look like clowns in a very odd circus of vanity, despair and mediocrity. Once I understood this, I saw clearly how we are increasingly trapped in a form of Corporate Slavery, led by seriously ridiculous oligarchs like Mark Zuckerberg, who thinks he's the reincarnation of Augustus Caesar or something. That's why he has that haircut! This is a guy who stole a company and hired "screen psychologists" from Las Vegas to get you hooked on Facebook the same as casinos do with slot machines. He wants to be the funnel for propaganda throughout the world. He wants to be the kingmaker, decide what people buy, who they like, what views they hold. He can only do this because so many companies spend so much money to put their propaganda on that platform. They can only have this much money because the free market is not actually free. It's bought and paid for on platforms like Facebook and Amazon. The money that was supposed to "trickle down" is instead being spent on Capitalist Propaganda on these platforms, to get the proletariate to trickle their money up through endless, nonsensical online purchasing and local businesses who send the town's money to people who can't do anything with it but buy up properties that increase your rent and cost of living. When people get drunk on the power of propaganda, they forget the lessons of the past. Propagandists always fall prey to their own delusions over time. In reality, your life is better without Facebook. There isn't anything on there that is healthy. Even if you just want to talk to a few friends, you are going to fall for the propaganda there. You can't help it. And if your bar advertises on Facebook, just think, that money could've gone into purchasing higher quality beer then sold at the same price, instead of going to Mark Zuckerberg so he can drop $30 million to buy the houses around him so no one can spy on him while he spies on you. You really gotta watch out for a guy who combines spying and propaganda all into a single app and thinks he's going to bring 200 years of peace to America. History is littered with knuckleheads like that. It's best to get off Facebook and encourage everyone else to do the same. Zuck only wants to lead himself to the Promised Land, and he's using your ignorance to fuel his own delusions by deluding you into thinking you want what he has to offer. Let's get back to beer. *************************************************************************************** *************************************************************************************** IPAs AND THE FREE MARKET VS THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM I like beer. When I worked in Germany, it was easy to walk into a bar and, like Farva, just order a liter o' beer. Often, there would only be two choices, light color or dark. As a matter of fact, even at the most famous beer festival in the world, Oktoberfest, people mostly drink the same standard type of beer, and no one complains about the lack of choice. It's quite easy. You can order with one finger. No need to see a menu or ask what's in it. It's simply beer. This worked for centuries. Consumers are fine with it. Prost! Have you ever shared a story like this and people say, "Oh, that would never work in America. Americans want choice." Yeah. Because we are flooded with Capitalist Propaganda. So if consumer choice isn't pushing for a selection, why would a free market call for it? Imagine there are two bars and one of those bars says "30 beers on tap" and the other doesn't. You're more likely to choose it, and the other bar will have to compete in some way, often by copying. This forms trends, and people mistake this for something customers wanted. Trends are always marketing. Don't believe me? What happened to fidget spinners? So now you have a bunch of beers that no one asked for, yet will now demand. Competition creates more Capitalist Propaganda to create demand for something you never even wanted, but makes you think you do. And that's the best propaganda. You think you are thinking for yourself. This is the fallacy of consumer choice. If you want to understand just how important that last paragraph is, consider this, "consumer choice" is the same propaganda they used to get you to carry around a device that spies on you 24/7 and sends that data to people you don't know, and you can't stop it, can you? You chose that. You wanted it. Not only that, but you paid $1,000 for the device to opt into their spying program, for the privilege of being mind controlled by the propaganda their AI selects for you. Did you read the Terms of Service? As bad as you may have thought Communist Propaganda was, Capitalist Propaganda is far better, and far stealthier. You believe you have freedom of choice. But your only choice is usually take it, or leave it. Oh, you need it for work? Maybe find a different job. Or just succumb to mass surveillance, and next year, you can drop another grand on a device with a marginally better camera. There is a way to free yourself. You just have to understand the nature of propaganda. It took me a while, but I eventually broke free. Under Socialism, there would be laws against the exploitation of consumers. Capitalist Propaganda tells you that this takes away your freedom. This is a lie. Regulations give you the freedom to not have to worry whether the beer you're drinking has poison in it. Germany has a lot of regulations on beer. It has the Reinheitsgebot (purity order), a law passed in 1516 that states that beer can only consist of water, hops and barley. Note, this is a different use of the word "purity" from earlier, as beer is itself a mixture of things. Historically there have also been regulations where beer could only be sold regionally, so no matter what part of Germany you were in, you only got a certain brand of beer at the bar, but it didn't matter because they all had the same ingredients. They could make wheat beers or unfiltered, but they were generally variations of pilsners and lagers. One meaning of the word "Lager" in German is "storage", meaning the beer was brewed in a way that it could be stored, allowing them to brew in bigger batches and store it. Lagers use a more complex brewing process, so only larger breweries would make them, but this worked because of protected territories. America has a similar system, because each state has its own regulations on alcohol, but this is changing as corporate lawyers fight to homogenize the rules favorable to them, but the consumer loses control. Big brands tend to be lagers as they have general appeal to a wide audience. Did you notice this is the second time I pointed out that corporations create homogeneity? Without regulations, corporations create Fascism. That is why I tell people that we already live in the NWO but corporations rule the world instead of governments. Why do you think so few conspiracy theorists make this connection? Propagandists are paid a lot of money to keep even our small community confused about the reality of what's happening. Now, check out conspiracy and you'll see what I mean. They are spreading propaganda for the NWO over there and don't even know it. I tried to point that out and they finally banned me. Oh well. They'll figure it out in their own time. In America, in 1978 it became legal to brew beer at home. This is what led to the explosion of new beers in the US decades later. Americans don't have purity laws, so could test new recipes. But people didn't generally like IPAs before, so how did they become so popular that they control 30% of the market? Marketing, of course. Create the market and tell people what they want. IPA stands for India Pale Ale. It was invented by the British as an easy way to make a beer that they could drink in India. People only drank it out of necessity, as the other beers couldn't make the trip. IPAs are very easy to make and very forgiving, because if you mess it up, it already tasted bad anyway. As people started trying to get into microbrews, they often didn't have the capital to make lagers at small scale, and also wanted a simpler process so they didn't have to hire or train expert brewers, IPAs are cheap and easy to make at smaller scale. In order to make it drinkable, brewers experimented with many different flavorings. This created a cult following of craft IPAs, where people would drive hours to stand in line for hours to try the newest concoction. The trendy nature of the craft beer world kept people training their palate to adapt to the taste of an IPA, making people start to actually like them. The flavorings made people think they were different, so even if they didn't like it, marketing tactics kept people coming back to try the latest blend. Your palate can adapt A LOT. Swedish people love Surströmming, but watch this video of Americans trying it for the first time. They tried to get me to eat it several times, but I would rather sit in a sauna until Tuesday to avoid smelling it while watching them eat it. It really smells that bad. IPAs enticed people with popular, aromatic ingredients like bananas and pineapple. This is what I call "flavor propaganda". It's not bad in and of itself, but it can be easily misused to cover issues with quality or hide the taste of preservatives. Since we don'e have laws like Germany, you're left to rely on the knowledge and honesty of the bartender to find out. They don't make this info readily available, which is another form of Disinformation. So if you think you actually like IPAs, just remember, you are just like a Swede eating rotten fish. A lot of propaganda went in to making IPAs popular, but it's the cheapest, easiest product to make that can be sold at the highest price, so they become popular. This is what business students call a business plan. To overcome the bad taste, IPAs were marketed as "classy" to shame you if you choose the more expensive to produce and more appealing pilsners and lagers, which were given a bad name due to being associated with major brands like Bud Light. This makes it harder to market microbrew lagers, which can only fetch a certain price due to association. And this is what is referred to as the "race to the bottom" in Capitalism. Instead of trying to innovate ways to produce the beers you want, they just figure out how to get you to pay more for an inferior product, just like they do with BBQ. They make you think you want it. From this you can understand why "food" is full of junk that you wouldn't feed your dog. Whatever legal poison helps cheapen the product is considered "smart business", another propaganda term designed to hide the reality of doing immoral and harmful things to other humans for profit. If you make money on it, it's good. As if there aren't better choices we could come up with if there truly were a free market with an informed consumer. *************************************************************************************** *************************************************************************************** STRENGTHEN THE FREE MARKET BY BEING AN INFORMED CONSUMER We don't need a Communist Revolution to make positive changes, so take off your ski masks and put your Antifa flags down. I like microbrew culture and still enjoy IPAs, but understanding the marketplace is how I do my part as an informed consumer and job creator to help create the world that I want to live in. I encourage you to do the same. Vote with your dollars. Don't let the Zuck-type sociopathic, corporate people in a distant land decide what you consume by looking at ads on his platform. Visit local breweries and talk to the brewmaster. Don't reinforce alienation from labor. Connect with the people who make the things you buy. Support independent entrepreneurship. These are the paths to a brighter future where we share in the abundance of wealth. Discover Economic Enlightenment for yourself and realize that We The People are ultimately in control. Wealth inequality is greater than it was in France before the French Revolution. Don't let this train take us into the depths where another Lenin will arise and spend the night shooting people. How you choose to spend your money today is what decides what will become the society of tomorrow. And remember, you always have the choice to buy nothing at all. I never saw a billboard that said that. *************************************************************************************** *************************************************************************************** LET THEM DRINK BEER! I hope this gave you a glimpse behind the curtain of Capitalist Propaganda. Propaganda isn't just political, it has invaded everything and it's at full blast right now. I hope you can piece together how Capitalist Propaganda is actually designed to make you subservient by controlling what you want so they can maximize their own profit and teach you to accept whatever they offer, the homogenization of choice. However, your life is your own and you should remain in control of all aspects of it, including your desires. Richard Wolff is an economist who studied at three elite universities in America and discusses how he was not able to even learn about Socialist Economics in the ivory tower, even though Capitalist Propaganda calls universities leftist. He found no department in America that is even willing to teach it or study it. Capitalist Propaganda censors these ideas, especially at the university. People in power don't want the serfs to learn about themselves. Check him out on YouTube. You'll realize that unchecked Capitalism leads to Fascism and Slavery, which is why they want to get rid of the minimum wage, so that we can return to sharecropping which is already increasingly happening in America under different names, like "student debt", "mortgages" and "insurance". Don't you think it's odd that a person has to go into debt so they can generate profits for corporations who really ought to be paying for this education themselves? If you have to go into debt before they'll hire you, it's much easier to negotiate against you. If you want to see other examples of propaganda, check out this random tweet from one of America's Top Capitalist Propagandists. These are very odd pictures, and the only thing I can see in them is that they must be promoting those outfits, likely the blue dress, maybe those men's outfits as well. One thing you know is that she didn't become a billionaire by letting any single opportunity to enrich herself at the expense of others pass her by. I didn't look it up, but I am certain they sell that blue dress, or whoever does paid her to post this. That's the main reason celebrities use social media. It's marketing. Their whole schtick is to sell garments made in a sweatshop in a foreign country by people who can't even afford a beer to Americans who are facing bankruptcy and homelessness themselves. Read the replies of the tweet. These people have influence that vastly outsizes their understanding of their impact on the world. There are guillotines in the comments. There usually are. I'm seeing them a lot lately. This type of propaganda is everywhere. And it's destroying America. Just like propaganda led to the demise of Nazi Germany, we could be looking at the same thing, but worse. It could start off as famine. If you're having trouble deciding between the beers you are being offered, it's probably because you don't want anything at all, in which case the proper choice is: nothing. Or, try tap water. Maybe you're just thirsty. Now ask yourself, when you envisioned yourself at a bar, did you ever think to order water instead? Did you entertain the idea that you didn't even want a beer. That's the power of suggestion. What if the rest of the world just cut America off from the means of production outsourced to areas with cheap labor? We would have our own famine and likely war. And if we have a revolution here, with the masses in the country being so disinformed about everything and not having any sort of class consciousness at the moment and instead stuck in alienation, the leader that rises here will likely lead to something horrifying. And we censor ourselves from pointing out the simple fact, that the only way America will survive is to tax the deluded royalty like Kim and Mark back to reality, so they can't indulge their reckless, childish delusions by selling off the very fabric of our nation to the highest bidder. That doesn't make me a Socialist, that just makes me honest. Enjoy your beer! *************************************************************************************** *************************************************************************************** Thanks for reading and I hope I helped you understand how you can empower yourself. I'm excited about the one I wrote for Election Day tomorrow to keep our NOPOL spirits up while all the politics clouds the airwaves. Cheers!
A Long-form Analysis of MGM and It's Assets: What Would Its Suitors - Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Comcast - Be Getting?
By now I think you've heard the big news about the Lion: They are looking into getting sold. After a solid decade of Hollywood perks, Anchorage Capital manager Kevin Ulrich is looking to off-load MGM in the midst of a pandemic after a series of tumultuous valuation drops. Among the potential acquirers were Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Comcast. Among those, three are tech companies and one is a more traditional Hollywood media company. There are some major hurdles to a potential deal, however. Danjaq, the IP holding company that owns Eon Productions and is run by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, owns merchandising rights and shares greenlight authority for all Bond movies. Distribution rights for movies like Creed and Casino Royale are divvied up between different companies. Reality TV assets, which were brought in to bolster their holdings, include Big Fish Entertainment, which among other things produces the now-cancelled Live PD. Debt hides in the balance books; any purchase would include about $2b, making the purchase that much harder to stomach. For fun though, let's take a look at each of these four buyers to see how it could play into their strategies. Apple: The much ballyhooed content lack for Apple might've motivated a deal back in the day, especially in 2019; indeed, the article notes that a deal with Apple that would've valued MGM at $6b was almost reached in 2018.
In 2018, Mr. Ulrich, by then the board chairman, and others on the board fired Mr. Barber for having early, unsanctioned conversations with Apple to sell the studio for more than $6 billion. The preliminary talks fell apart when he was ousted. Minority shareholders protested, with Owl Creek founder Jeffrey Altman sending a letter to the board saying Owl Creek and other shareholders wanted a deal.
From an accounting perspective, there are some serious perks to buy MGM. Say you spend 8b to get The Lion plus debt; assuming 4,000 movies and 50 100+ hour TV shows, that means you got 13,000 hours for about $600k per hour, pretty cheap all things considered and a fraction of what it would have cost to get the equivalent amount of content at Apple TV+ production prices (seriously where does that money go I don't see it on screen). Plus you get a full-fledged studio with Emmy credentials on the TV side and blockbuster franchises on the feature side; Fargo and Handmaid's Tale alongside Rocky and Bond. Now here's the question: will Apple actually buy MGM? Their biggest M&A to date was the acquisition of Beats for $4b, and that came with technology that they could use for Apple Music. This $6b offer came in 2018, before Apple had an in-house studio and any library to speak of. So far, they've been weathering the pandemic surprisingly well; they've managed to keep a steady drip of content between stuff like Ted Lasso and Tehran, while also building up their own in-house production arm (presumably at significant expense). What this gets Apple now is a still not-insignificant franchise portfolio as well as a library of 4,000-ish movies plus TV shows. That's nothing to sneeze at, but it's still a far cry from the benefits that would've come from acquiring MGM earlier. If your only goal is library, then you don't spend $6b on it. Indeed, I don't think Apple will. Whether Ulrich will be willing to accept a deal for, say, $4b is an open question. My bet would be no. Amazon: Same deal for Apple, though slightly less urgency because they already have a homegrown studio. Facebook: Now this is interesting. Facebook exited the scripted content business pretty recently but there is a cognizance that content keeps users coming back to platforms and they need that content. Buying MGM would get them a fairly significant unscripted division with producing roles or control over valuable formats; among other things, they would own Botched! and have producing roles in several Real Housewives franchises, Survivor, and Shark Tank. That having been said, I see any deal that involves the House of Zuck to involve a private equity company like Vine Investments or something that will take command of the library and other such assets - that way, Facebook isn't overpaying for one component. Comcast: And the more traditional content company. There are interesting synergies that come with ownership by Comcast, but also big stumbling blocks. Their justification for buying Dreamworks was turning a low-margin business like movies into high-margin businesses like consumer products and theme parks. Similar thinking wouldn't be applicable to MGM, at least with regards to Bond; as mentioned before, Danjaq controls Bond's merchandising rights, and Comcast is pulling back investment in Theme Parks hard in the wake of the pandemic (many, many people got fired recently, unfortunately). Still, control of Bond is important when Comcast is the owner of Sky, a European media company. That alone may end up making a lower-valued deal for MGM "worth it" for the cabler. A sale of MGM might also spur Danjaq to sell the rest of their rights to the property, though I wouldn't hold my breath. An Mi-6 land in Comcast's planned "Epic Universe" Theme Park in Orlando could make a great replacement for the now problematic Fantastic Beasts/Ministry of Magic land that was planned before. Additionally, weetening the deal for Comcast are a myriad other smaller-scale IPs and franchises that could help beef up their portfolio and generate lucrative TV or movie revivals; among them are Stargate: Atlantis, Teen Wolf, Rocky, Robocop, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Addams Family, Jump Street, Pink Panther, Legally Blonde, Carrie, Bill & Ted, and Poltergeist. Rights to adapt the musicals to film would also be taken; Dirty Rotten Scoundrel and Legally Blonde: The Musical are tantalizing possibilities. Tolkien properties like The Hobbit are presumably still tied up in rights tangles with New Line and the Saul Zaentz company, as well as Tolkien's estate. So far as I can tell, Zaentz owns merchandise, New Line has license for the film rights - but not necessarily/fully TV? - and the Tolkien estate own Theme Parks. Look, if MGM had sole rights, it'd be a Disney subsidiary by now. In terms of TV: Epix, I assume, would be on the chopping block. Steve Stark's MGM/UA Television appears built to be a prestige-outlet (Fargo, Perpetual Grace LTD, Vikings, Handmaid's Tale, though they're programming more sci-fi and general interest stuff like Clarice and Condor) and can thus complement the more genre/thriller-y UCP. By the same token, Orion TV would get retired. The dedicated formats division could be a component of Universal Alternative; Evolution Media, producer of Botched, can be kept as a separate division. Other assets, like Christian Film and TV producer Lightworkers, Live PD producer Big Fish, Mexican Media joint-venture Gato Grande, and Linear Channel Impact, can be sold. MGM Films could go either way, De Luca has a relaxed relationship with Donna Langley so I could see her protecting him for a while. The best case scenario for him IMO is a FOX 2000 type situation where the team is dedicated to producing a small slate of good, lower-mid budget movies that are intended for Oscar season. Trouble is, Fox 2000 had like, 16 employees including assistants, and MGM is a full-on studio, so the overhead's gonna be a lot higher. Distribution and Marketing would also presumably gonna get pink-slipped, unfortunately; unlike Disney, Universal has ample infrastructure for distributing those sorts of movies. Not helping him would be if any of MGM's movies bomb. Overall, I think MGM has a strong enough brand to where it'll survive as Universal's New Line Cinema, a smaller-scale division with occasionally unclear branding (ironically, De Luca was NLC's President of Production). I am, however, left wondering if execs like Pam Abdy would tolerate being in charge of a glorified boutique when they signed on to be part of a studio. Orion Pictures is in an awkward place in the case of a Uni merger. Their historical brand is as a genre outfit and said brand was revived in recent years with releases like the 2019 Child's Play and The Prodigy. However, they've recently pivoted to making it an outlet for underrepresented voices... but haven't had the chance to actually make that pivot public with some theatrical releases (or even projects). That leaves Langley and co with a choice regarding what to do Orion: keep it as a genre label, keep it as a minority-focused label, or retire it completely. Now the plus side is that the overhead is likely to be small; the downside is that unlike say, Sony, Uni has little patience for prodigious numbers of labels (hence how short-lived experiments like reviving Gramercy as a label were, and stuff like selling off Rogue Pictures), so that bodes ill for the continued survival of Orion. Uni also already programs tons of minority-focused movies in general, so it's unclear if the brand would stand out in the broader company. On the flipside of that, Universal's large number of minority-focused Overalls (Will Packer, Jordan Peele, Malcolm Lee, Eva Longoria, SpringHill, Justin Lin) could help feed Orion's pipeline; I would imagine people like Michael B. Jordan, Taika Waititi and The Rock being wooed over to a producer deal with Universal by the presence of a dedicated minority-voice division designed to put out passion projects related to their heritage. The real test of whether or not Uni would want to nurture Orion as that kind of brand would be if they put out the next Jordan Peele movie through them. Overall, it might be worth it to keep Orion around and see where it goes. If it doesn't work out, they can always just promote Alana Mayo as an EVP in Universal proper and retire the label completely. If Universal really wanted a genre label that badly, I would suggest taking a minority-stake in Blumhouse first.
EXTENSIVE write up on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women- Is there a serial killer on the Yakama Reservation?
Missing and Murdered Indigenous women If you have spent any time reading about true crime, you probably know that American Indian/ Native American women go missing from the United States and Canada at alarming rates. On some reservations, women experience violence and are victims of homicide at 10x the rate of women in other communities. It is a complex issue with prejudice and jurisdictional issues playing major roles. If you want to know more about the root of these issues, I suggest Missing and Murdered” podcast by Indigenous Canadian journalist Connie Walker, who explains the issues much better than I ever could; that podcast is linked below. Today, I want to highlight the stories of some of these women, specifically those missing from the Yakama community. Background Washington state is home to the fifth largest Indian reservation in the United States, the Yakama reservation, which is home to the Klickitat, Palus, Wallawalla, Wenatchi, Whishram, Wanapum, and Yakama people. According to the US Census Bureau, only the Osage, Puyallup (also in Washington state), Navajo, and Choctaw reservations are more populous. The Yakama reservation is located in South Central Washington state, just south of the city of Yakima. Of the 31,000 people who live on the reservation, 11,000 are enrolled tribal members. Most people who live on the reservation claim Hispanic/Latino, white, or mixed-race ancestry, but Hispanic is by far the most common ethnic group. There are also small Filipino, Japanese, and Korean communities nearby. The Yakama reservation is located just south of the town of Yakima, Washington, a large farming community of 100,000 people. Apples, cherries, peaches, pears, and hops are all grown in the dry surrounding region. Harvest time brings thousands of migrant workers to the area, so the population is always in flux. Outside of Yakima is the town of Union Gap (Pop. 8000), which is partially on the reservation, and partially off it. There are two other proper towns on reservation, Toppenish (pop. 8000) and Wapato (pop. 5000). Other small communities such as Satus, Harrah, White Swan, and Granger all boast several hundred residents each. All in all, the Yakama nation consists of 2,200 square miles of sprawling, rural land stretching from south central Washington nearly to the Oregon border. But from this unassuming patch of high desert and grassland, more than 30 Native women have gone missing/were murdered. If we add Native men to the equation, the number jumps to nearly 50 unsolved disappearances, deaths, and murders. If we add the deaths and disappearances of non-native people missing from the reservation, the number grows yet again. Although the land is vast, the tribal population is small. From my estimates over .5% of native people on the reservation are missing or murdered. Like many tribal communities, unemployment and poverty is common, appropriate housing is scare, and according to the tribal council "disregard for the rule of law and general civil unrest" as well as gun violence and substance abuse is common. In 2019 a youth curfew was instated after a particularly bad shooting. According to the Washington State Patrol, the Yakama nation has the highest percentage of missing people of any Native community in the state, even though they are not the most populous. The FBI created a task force in 2009 to investigate the possibility of serial killer among the Yakama, but the investigation determined that a serial killer was unlikely, but not impossible. This was because the causes of death were so different from victim to victim. The investigation did close two cases on the reservation after DNA on both women linked them to a man serving life in an Oregon prison, but the man is not believed to be responsible for any other crimes in the inquiry. Whether a serial killer is loose on tribal land or not, this issue is complex and long standing and demonstrates how much substance abuse, domestic violence, and random crime affect the Native communities in this county at 10x the rate of other communities. Some progress has been made such as state bill 2951 which allows Washington state authorities to track cases and help investigate and search for missing individuals on tribal land. Because tribal lands are usually under federal jurisdiction, state authorities are not able to help, despite being more familiar with the area than the FBI. This is only one small step in the right direction and although awareness is growing, the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people will not simply go away. The mystery of vanishing people still stands. Many people have heard of this epidemic, but few know the names of the victims; today it is time to change that. Below are the profiles of 35 women who are missing, murdered, or who have suffered mysterious deaths. For some of the women very little information is available. The list below is not necessarily complete. If you know of other unsolved cases let me know in the comments below. Quick guide: Yakima- large town near, but not on, the reservation Yakama- the tribe and people group NOTE: all cases organized most to least recent and are broken down into missing, murdered, and mysterious categories Missing Tiana Cloud went missing from Yakima on April 7th, 2018. She was 17 years old at the time. She may be in local area, and she may have been located. She is a Native female, 5'4 ft, 162 lbs., brown eyes and brown hair. She has large dimples. Tiana was last seen Yakima WA. Very little information is available. Yakima police are investigating. Freda Knowsgun or Knowshisgun has been missing since October 18th, 2016. Freda was from Montana and was registered with the Crow Agency. In the months before her disappearance her family reported that she was acting strangely and began drifting around the Northwest and spending time in southern Washington state. Freda was still close to her aunt and talked to her children sometimes, but was distancing herself from the rest of her family. Freda was last known to be at a customer service desk at a Walmart in Kennewick, Washington. Freda used her cell phone to call a friend to ask for money. She wanted to travel back home to Montana to spend Halloween with her children. Freda’s friend sent her the money but the money was never picked up. When she called Freda 15 minutes later, Freda’s cell phone was disconnected and no one has heard from her since. She did not return to Montana for Halloween or for her aunt’s funeral in November and she was reported missing. Freda’s family believes that she was abusing drugs at the time of her disappearance and they believe that Freda’s new friends in the drug scene may be involved with her disappearance. Law enforcement has reported that Freda’s new friends have not cooperated with the investigation into her disappearance. Freda may have been seen in Billings, Montana in December 2016 and she may be traveling with a black male named Mike. Freda is reported to be a 34-year-old Native American female with dark brown hair that is waist length which she wears in a ponytail or high bun. She has brown eyes, a scar on her right elbow, weights 160 lbs. and stands 5’5” in height. She has the following tattoos: the names "Lyrical", "Trinity" and "Mason" on her back between her shoulder blades, the cartoon character Mickey Mouse with a basketball on her right calf, and a flower on her right shoulder. She may use the last name "KnowsHisGun" and many accounts refer to her by that name. Her case is being investigated by Crow Agency Bureau of Indian Affairs. Rosalita Faye Longee disappeared from her grandmother’s home in Wapato, Washington on June 30th, 2015 at 10 pm. Rosalita who went by Rose was 18 years old at the time. She is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes in Montana but had lived with her grandmother on the Yakama reservation since age 2. Rose visited her grandmother on the night of June 30th asking to stay with her but her grandmother refused as Rose was high on drugs at the time, and she had a rule that Rose could only live there when she wasn’t using. Rose may have been with friends at the time. Rose had struggled with addiction for years and had been in and out of rehab centers since age 16. This was the last time Rose was ever seen alive. Rosalita is described as a Native American female, 5’6”- 5’8” in height and about 130-140 lbs. She has black hair, brown eyes, pierced ears and lip, and scars on both wrists and both her chest. At the time of her disappearance she enjoyed taking photos and posting them on her Facebook page. Yakama Nation tribal police are investigating. Roberta Jean Raines, 19 was last seen in Toppenish on July 10th, 2001. Roberta was with a man named Jose Merced Zamora at that time. In 2002, this man killed a teenage boy and fled the county going to Mexico. Roberta was apparently with him at the time. It was around this time that Roberta’s family realized they had not seen her in a while and they reported her missing. Jose was arrested in 2007 in Idaho and taken it custody for the murder of the boy. Jose Merced Zamora told the authorities that the last time he saw Roberta she was in Mexico and that they parted ways. Authorities do not believe this story. Roberta is described as Native American female, 5’2”-5’3” in height and 120 lbs. She has very arched eyebrows. Toppenish Police are investigating. Karen Louise Johnley, sometimes referred to as Karen Johnley-Wallahee, was reported missing November 7th or 8th, 1987 by her cousin. She was last seen by a friend at the Lazy R Tavern in Harrah on the Yakama reservation. Karen’s cousin describes Karen as a 29-year-old female, five feet tall and 100 lbs. She was last seen wearing pink barrettes in her hair, a pink tee shirt, a Levi’s brand denim jacket, and white tennis shoes. She had long black hair and brown eyes. Her cousin expressed worried about the person Karen was last seen with. No pictures are available of Karen and she does not even have a Charley Project page. Tribal police are investigating. She remains a missing person. Daisy Mae Tallman or Daisy Mae Heath age 29, was reported missing on October 29th, 1987. When her family was questioned it came to light that no one had seen Daisy since the end of August, 1987. Daisy’s sister remembers her as very independent, often leaving the reservation to visit friends and family on a different reservation in Warm Springs, Oregon, or leaving the area to go fishing. Daisy was a high school basketball player and was the youngest of 6 sisters who were all raised by their maternal grandparents. At the time of her disappearance, Daisy was staying with relatives in either Toppenish or White Swan. A year after she disappeared a set of keys and a backpack believed to be Tallman’s/Heath’s were found in a closed area of a reservation called Soda Springs. 7 years after her disappearance she was declared legally dead. One source mentions that one of Daisy’s sisters was murdered before her disappearance but I could find no corroborating source. Daisy is described as a Native American female aged 29 with black hair that extended down her back and brown eyes. She was 5’5’ and weighted 185 lbs. She also has given birth in the past. No pictures are available of Daisy and she does not even have a Charley Project page. The FBI is investigating. She remains a missing person. Janice Marie Hannigan a sophomore at White Swan high school was the oldest of 7 children. In 1971 Janice’s parents had recently separated and Janice was living with her father in Harrah, Washington but visited her mother and younger siblings often. Janice was nominated to be Queen of the Veteran’s day parade in November 1971 and the newspaper even ran an article about her and the other nominated girls. According to her interview in the paper, Janice enjoyed beadwork, cooking, and watching football. A few weeks later on December 21st Janice was admitted to the hospital for the treatment of contusions on her head and torso. On December 24th she was released from the hospital in stable condition. The cause of Janice’s injuries, as well as the location she was treated at is unknown. Janice never made it home from the hospital; this was the last time anyone ever saw Janice alive. Strangely, this was not the first time Janice had been reported missing. Janice may have been reported missing in February or March of 1971, although she was determined to be visiting relatives in Idaho with her father at that time. Because of this some agencies report that Janice went missing March 1st 1971 but that is not accurate. Some agencies report that Janice is a possible runaway as she was upset about her parent’s separation, although Janice had never runaway before. One Law Enforcement office reports that Janice’s father is a person of interest in her case, but Janice’s sister Traci Clark denies this notion and says it is “not possible.” Traci was only 8 years old the last time she saw Janice, but she still looks for her big sister any chance she gets. Murdered Angela Marie Heath of Toppenish, aged 41 died on April 5th, 2019. Her death is an unsolved hit and run. Very little information is available. Washington state patrol is investigating. She may (key word may) be related to Daisy Tallman-Health located above. Rosenda Strong a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, was last seen on October 2nd, 2018 climbing into an acquaintance’s car, reportedly an older Nissan, heading to Legends Casino in Toppenish. Legends is an alcohol-free resort and Casino on the reservation popular with locals and tourists alike. Rosenda never returned from the Casino and sadly her body was found in a discarded refrigerator nine months after she was last seen in July 2019. Her death was ruled a homicide but no other details have been released. Rosenda’s sister said that at first tribal police did not take the disappearance seriously as Rosenda had past problems with drugs and they believed she would come home soon. Rosenda’s sister, Cissy Reyes nee Strong, believes that the murderers are the fellow tribespeople Rosenda was last with and complains that she still sees them “walking the reservation free” and refusing to talk. Cissy remembers her sister for her big, loud laugh and she hopes that someday Rosenda will get justice. The FBI is investigating. Jedidah Moreno was last seen alive in September, 2018 by her family in the city of Yakima, which is not on tribal land. The 30-year-old was reported missing in late November 2018. Her body was found in early December and she had been dead at least a few days. She had died from a gunshot wound in a rural part of the reservation that was closed to non-tribal members. One report (a blog) claims that Jedidah was a member of the Yakama nation but no other sources state this, so take this information with a grain of salt. Her case remains unsolved. City of Yakima police and the FBI are investigating. Little information is available. Linda Dave 39 of White Swan, was last seen alive in late 2016 or early 2017. On February 15th 2017, a woman was found dead under a bridge in Toppenish. It was determined that the woman died from a gunshot wound to the stomach and had been dead approximately six weeks. The woman was identified via DNA as Linda Dave. Linda was a mother and grandmother who enjoyed spending time with family, cooking, and dancing. She is the niece of Janice Hannigan, the first woman detailed in this piece. One local funeral home called Heggie’s has a website where people can share condolences to the family or stories about the deceased. In a cruel twist of fate one of the messages on Linda’s page is from murder victim Rosenda Strong. The FBI is investigating Dave’s case. Minnie Andy was a 31-year-old Yakama woman who enjoyed fishing and swimming. Minnie was found beaten and close to death near 70 Egan Road in Wapato, Washington on July 9th, 2017. She had been badly assaulted earlier that morning and she tragically succumbed to her injuries at Astria Regional Medical Center in Yakima several hours later. Her cause of death was blunt force trauma. Christopher Lagmay was indicted for her murder shortly thereafter but he would be released from jail in 2019 without prejudice, meaning if new evidence arises, he could be re-tried. Her murder is still unsolved. Destiny Lloyd, aged 23 disappeared on Christmas day 2017 from her home in Wapato. Her body was found in Harrah, Washington four days later. Initially, it looked like Destiny had died after slipping and falling on the concrete, causing a head wound but a full autopsy would reveal that her death was a homicide and that she died from blunt force trauma. Destiny worked at Legends Casino as a childcare worker. Her co workers remember her fondly and hope her case will be solved. The FBI is investigating. Naoma George mother of six from Wapato, Washington was found dead in 2013 from trauma to her abdomen. Her death was ruled a homicide. Naoma was a traditional Yakama who did bead work and gathered traditional plants to keep the Yakama culture alive. Naoma was laid to rest in a traditional ceremony at the Longhouse surrounded by friends and family. Her case is unsolved and little information is available. Yakama Nation tribal police and the FBI are investigating. Barbara Celestine aged 44 was a tribal member who lived in Wapato, Washington. She was found dead of blunt force trauma outside a housing project in town in 2013. Her death was ruled a homicide. The Yakama Nation police and the FBI are investigating the murder. Very little information is available. Skeletal remains found in late 2008 in a remote part of the Yakama Reservation are believed to be those of a murder victim. The Doe was unknown until the FBI Seattle office mentioned the remains in early May 2009, when announcing the results of the FBI's approximately two-year-long analysis of reservation deaths which was spurred on by a March 2006 meeting with then-United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Until that point the fact that a doe was found was not public knowledge. The bones were found in a remote area near the backpack of missing person Daisy Mae Heath (Tallman). In early May 2009, Special Agents were awaiting mitochondrial DNA test results on those remains, which they said then might be those of Daisy Mae Tallman/Heath. The tests were inconclusive and there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the bones belonged to Daisy. The FBI has not released further information on the remains. This Jane Doe is on no public databases (NAMUS, Doe Project) as far as I can tell. The FBI is investigating. The triple homicide of Charmaine Sanchey, 47, Toni Marie Green, 43, and Steve Alvarado, 52 is still unsolved. Their beaten and stabbed bodies were found in a small trailer outside Toppenish on Jan. 16, 2003 by their landlord who came over to collect their rent check. He found the women dead in the bedroom and Steve dead in the main living area. The trailer was on the reservation but it is unclear which victims (if any) were tribal members. Authorities say that they have few leads and few suspects. Later, Charmaine Sanchey’s brother, Arthur Joseph Sanchey, was the primary suspect, but was acquitted of charges in July 2004. The brutal triple homicide is still a mystery. Sandra Lee Smiscon did not die on the reservation but I believe her case deserves a spot in this piece. In the year 2003, Sandra was a 45-year-old mother of 3 children who split her time between Wapato and Seattle. After high school, Sandra got a job in a nursing home and mothered three children. After her personal relationships fell apart Sandra became lost and her children were placed in the custody of their fathers and other family members. She often traveled to Seattle and did odd jobs but was basically drifting around. According to her brother Walter, Sandra was a “party animal” who loved having a good time but sometimes let the drinking get the better of her. Despite her flaws he remembers his sister as a somewhat shy individual with a huge, bright smile who taught her younger daughter the art of traditional dance. Sandra traveled home regularly for family events and holidays but never stayed for long. One day Sandra and her companions were sleeping near 4th and Yesler streets in Seattle when a man, angered by nearby fireworks shot into the homeless camp aimlessly, injuring a few people and killing Sandra. Her 2003 murder is still unsolved. Sandra’s name is part of the Fallen Leaves memorial, a place of remembrance for deceased homeless individuals as a way to give them dignity and a place to be remembered. Her case is still unsolved. The suspect is described as young man in his 20-30s with a dark complexion but of unknown race. Seattle police department is investigating. Shari Dee Sampson Elwell age 30, had not been seen for weeks when her battered and sexually mutilated body was found in a remote area by hunters near White Swan. Her body was found during February 1992 in the middle of a blizzard. She had been beaten, mutilated, and strangled. Little has been done to solve her case and very little information is available. Skeletal unidentified Native woman believed to be in her late 20s or early 30s were found on Feb. 16, 1988, near Parker Dam in Union Gap. Her cause of death has not been determined but her case has been ruled a homicide. She had been dead from 2-10 months. She is described as a Native female, 25-40 years old with dark brown hair that had been bleached light brown in the front. She was wearing lavender colored pants, a long sleeve shirt with a Mexican label, and brown bowling shoes, one with a black sole and one with a white sole. She was slight and short 4’11” to 5’1”. She is not Daisy Tallman/Heath or Karen Johnley. Despite her heritage she is NOT believed to be Yakama; she may be from Mexico and perhaps a migrant worker as her clothing had Mexican labels. JoAnne Betty (Wyman) John the 44-year-old mother of eleven children, was reported missing on August 1st, 1988. A partial skeleton was a discovered in February 1991 which was determined to be John’s. Her cause of death was ruled “homicidal violence.” Little information is available in her case. The FBI are investigating. Rozelia Lou (Tulee) Sohappy, 31, of Brownstown was last seen alive New Year’s Eve of 1988. Her partially clothed body was found March 13, 1989, in a remote ravine along the south slope of Ahtanum Ridge north of Brownstown. She was identified through dental records, and an autopsy concluded she had been strangled. Very little information is available. Jenece Marie Wilson was 20 years old in August 1987. The young woman who lived in Toppenish, when to a party one night and then left the next morning to hitch hike to her boyfriend’s place in Sunnyside, Washington but she never made it. On August 9th a farmer found the body of a woman in his orchard which was so severely beaten it was hard to establish her identity. Dental records confirmed that the body belonged to Jenece and she had died from a blow to the head. In 2009, twenty-two years later DNA evidence was run through the system and there was a hit. The DNA matched an Oregon convict, Samuel Posada. Samuel had attended the same high school as Jenece but the two did not appear to know each other. He was arrested and charged with murder and rape. Strangely, Posada waived his right to jury trial but was acquitted of all charges by the judge in his 2011 trial. Jenece’s case has been cold ever since. Babette Crystall Greene was 26 years old and lived in the town of Toppenish but was last seen in Yakima, Washington in October 1986. A member of the Warm Springs tribe in Oregon, her skeletal remains were found during the summer of 1987 off North Track Road near Wapato, Washington. Her cause of death is listed as “homicidal violence.” Very little information is available. Clydell Alice Sampson age 25 of Klickitat had not been seen alive since sometime in 1984 when her skeleton was found by hunters near Hambre Butte, south of Granger, Washington in December, 1986. Her death was ruled a homicide and she died from a gunshot wound. Very little information is available; there are no pictures available of Clydell. Mavis Josephine McKay was a member of the Confederated tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon. She was 33 years old when she was found murdered in an irrigation ditch on August 13th, 1957 in Satus, a very isolated area of the reservation. Because her case is so old, very little information is available. Mysterious deaths Echo Kay Littlewolf was 31 years old when she was last seen alive. Echo is described as a tomboy who loved camping, animals, and being outside. Echo was homeless at the time of her disappearance and lived in a tent on the reservation but contacted relatives often, at least twice a week. She would pop into her parents’ or grandparents’ house to shower and do odd jobs for money for friends and relatives but always returned to her nomadic lifestyle. On August 15th, 2017 Littlewolf’s grandmother had not heard from her in a week and contacted Echo’s mother, Jeanette Osborne, who drove to her daughter’s campsite. As soon as she smelled decomposition, she called tribal authorities who found the body of Echo Kay Littlewolf. Her body was badly degraded due to the hot weather. Her death was ruled “natural causes” and Echo was cremated. Jeanette believes little investigation was done because Echo had used drugs in the past. According to Jeanette, her daughter’s body looked like she had been standing and then fell over after being hit with an object, nevertheless an autopsy was never ordered by authorities. Echo’s family now wishes she was buried and an autopsy could have been performed. Her suspicious death has never been solved. Angela Babette Billy, 41, of Pendleton, Oregon was an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation. She also is known as Angela Shippentower and Babette Shippentower. According to the one article I could find Angela who went by “Babette” was a victim of domestic violence. Right before she went missing Babette confided to family members that her boyfriend was abusing her. Right after that her boyfriend left her to be with a woman he had been seeing on the side. Babette’s body was found in late May 2013 in the Umatilla River near Mission, Oregon. She had been missing for over a week. She was found by two people on horseback while they were conducting a private search for her. The area was accessible only by foot, horse or four-wheelers, from one side of the river. The area in which she was found was behind the home of her boyfriend’s new romantic interest. This woman, who remains unknown to the public, also had a reputation for drugs and violent behavior. Billy’s cause of death was drowning and while her death has not been ruled a homicide it is considered “suspicious” and not simply an accident. According to family members police did not take her disappearance very seriously at first- a mistake that may have cost Babette her life. Alice Ida Looney, 38 of Toppenish was reported missing after she was last seen in Wapato in the early morning hours around Aug. 16 or 17, 2004. A hunter found her body Nov. 30, 2005, wedged under a tree on a small island in Satus Creek, about 12 miles southeast of Toppenish. Looney had family on the Cowlitz and Puyallup reservations. The FBI lists the cause of her death as inconclusive. High school and college athlete Rosy Fish, a distance relative of Looney’s, ran four races at a state track tournament (and won 3). Each race was dedicated to a missing or murdered female native relative of Fish’s, which shows the breadth of this issue. Fish’s actions have spurred other native athletes to do similar tributes. Looney’s death is still unsolved. Looney’s family also says they were never interviewed by law enforcement. Teresa R. Stahi age 25. July 27th 1987 marks the day Teresa Stahi’s body was found drowned in a canal. Her clothed body was pulled from a fish screen in a diversion canal off Toppenish Creek south of Granger. An autopsy concluded she drowned and had been in the water less than 12 hours. The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office said it ruled out foul play. However, an FBI memo listed Stahi’s case as a “mysterious death matter.” Law enforcement now says her death is “inconclusive.” Very little information is available. Sara Dee Winnier age 24 had recently moved back to the reservation after living in California. She was found at 3:30 a.m. July 22, 1985, sitting upright in the driver’s seat of a burning car off McDonald Road about half a mile from U.S. Highway 97. Her body was badly burned and the coroner used dental records to identify her. Winnier lived in a remote part of the reservation and worked at the Save More Grocery in Wapato. Her death is suspicious and unsolved. Little information is available. Celestine Spencer, 21 sometimes called Celestine Yallup, of Wapato had been missing two weeks when her body was found at the bottom of a gully in a field off McCullough Road along the north slope of Ahtanum Ridge. She was found Nov. 11, 1982, at the bottom of a hill near a field. Her death while somewhat suspicious was determined to be hypothermia was deemed a probable accident. Celestine’s aunt was awarded custody of her son, Roland, who had some disabilities and various medical problems. Tragically, less than two years later Roland (age 3) disappeared in a child abduction in Wapato and has not been seen since. His Charley Project page is here- http://charleyproject.org/case/roland-jack-spencer-iii. Lesora Yvette Eli was only 19 years old when a farmer found her fully clothed body along Parton Road near Toppenish on Feb. 2, 1982. She was face down in a drainage ditch. While the County Coroner’s Office listed the death as accidental drowning, FBI investigators claim it is a possible homicide. Her death has never been solved and very little information is available. Sheila Pearl Lewis, a 33-year-old social worker who worked at DSHS in Yakima was found dead in August of 1980 near Parker Dam in Union Gap. An autopsy showed that she died of massive internal injuries most likely from being hit by a large car or truck. Even though her death is most likely a hit and run, it is classified as suspicious rather than a homicide. Sheila lived on the reservation. Very little information is available in her case. What happened to these people? Is there a serial killer on the loose? Or simply an epidemic of violence towards women? Hopefully, these cases can one day be solved. I have been thinking of writing up the stories of missing men and boys on the reservation, if you would be interested in a write up on that let me know in the comments below. If you are interested in this issue as a whole, I suggest this podcast by Canadian journalist Connie Walker who explains and dives deeply into the issues discussed in the piece. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/findingcleo/missing-murdered-who-killed-alberta-williams-1.4556030#:~:text=Sparked%20by%20a%20chilling%20tip,in%20British%20Columbia%20in%201989. If you are interested in the cases of other missing Native Americans, my write ups on the Teekah Lewis and Bryce Herda cases can be found here on my reddit profile. https://www.reddit.com/useQuirky-Motor Special thanks to these sources: https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/murdered-missing-and-mysterious-deaths-of-native-girls-and-women-on-and-around-the-yakama/article_46068a45-4f5f-5f8e-b37d-198fd98ac5a5.html https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/we-have-so-many-missing-people-coroner-tests-remains-found-on-yakima-river-island-as-families-wait-hope/ https://kimatv.com/news/local/over-one-third-of-missing-indigenous-women-in-wa-disappeared-from-yakima-county-wsp-says http://lostandmissinginindiancountry.com/Newsletters/July2019.pdf https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/seattle/press-releases/2009/se050609-1.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakama_Indian_Reservation http://www.yakamanation-nsn.gov/ https://www.thesciencehippy.com/health/mmiw-the-women-she-represents http://charleyproject.org/
Hello Mr Reddit and the REEEEEE army. I originally posted my story in EntitledPeople but I would love to share my story of 4 years of absolute hell (yes, this is permission to make a video of my story), and if anyone wants to read it there also, go ahead. I can guarantee there are a few details there that I forgot to include here, and vice versa. This is the story of a manipulative gaslighting ass (EX, currently 27 M) who saw a girl (me, currently 26) with stars in her eyes and saw an opportunity to crush them one by one. Maybe it can give someone else hope of escaping a bad situation. My story will be split into each year (each year starting with June 13 as that was our dating anniversary), and what happened when. I might not remember exact dates, as my divorce was finalized in 2017, but I will try my hardest to remember. Cast: Me, a hopeless romantic that has grown enough to recognize and not put up with BS...... and EX, the entitled ass whom this entire story is about (things I now recognize as RED FLAGS will be labeled), and others will be introduced when they come up.... TLDR: Gaslighting, narcissistic, manipulative EX preys on my naivete, and makes 4 years become 1950s subservient housewife slavery, forcing me into bedroom activities, and getting angry when I don't cater to every little thing that pops into his ego-inflated head Backstory: I have always lived with my parents. I have also always had a great relationship with them, and we were always close-knit. My siblings (21M, and 19F) never really had as close a relationship with our parents as I did. They always preferred to hang out with their friends rather than their family. I was always the "weirdo" in school and didn't really have friends because middle schoolers can be bitches. My parents had a one-in-a-million relationship, until my dad died this past April. It was pretty much a match made in heaven. They met in 1992 and just KNEW they would be married, and together forever. A week later they started dating. I came along in 1994, but due to some government mumbo-jumbo they couldn't get married or else they would lose their food stamps (they find a loophole a year later, and I pick their wedding date with chocolate pudding covered fingers). They had been married until my dad's death 25 years, and didn't argue EVER (amazing I know, I can hardly believe they were so lucky). I always hoped I would find a love like that. BEFORE DATING: We first met when I was a freshman (15) and he was a sophomore (16). We had gym class together, and would usually talk before the end-of-class bell with a mutual friend R who went to church with me (I no longer go to that church). He was gone a lot, but I didn't really know him back then, so I really didn't care whatsoever. YEAR 1: One day, about a month or so after I turned 19 (either late March or early April 2013), I was at Wal-Mart with my mom, my sister, and a female cousin (who was living with us at the time). We were looking at makeup, nail polish, hair products etc. At this Wal-Mart, the Beauty section was right next to the Pet section. I walked down to the pet section to look at the fish with my little sister, and a mutual friend J1 snuck up behind me and gave me a hug. I noticed EX was with him, along with J1's mom (who is literally batshit crazy), and someone else who I also went to school with, J2. We talked for a good half an hour before I had to find my mom, and they (J1, J2, EX) had to go. I thought nothing else of it. Another month or so later, I got a message on Facebook from EX's brother. He said that EX sent him a letter, and he wanted his brother to send it to me on Facebook. It was sweet, and he said he wanted us to start dating, and he would even ask my parents if he could. He did. In June, he showed up on my front porch (I would later learn that he had come to my house straight from jail, which sweet, simple, hopeless romantic me had no clue was a RED FLAG), I invited him in, and he asked my parents if he could have the honor of dating me. They said yes, and we were exclusive. He was very sweet at the beginning. Always buying me pop (soda, for all you non-Michiganders) and my favorite candy bars. Our first Halloween as a couple was spent with me sick on the couch, and him being allowed to spend the night to take care of me. Our first Christmas as a couple was spent with him in jail for unpaid fines (RED FLAG), and after he got out, we spent the entire next week together from the time I woke up, until I reluctantly crawled into bed. He would come over before I awoke, and he wouldn't leave until I was wrapped in my blanket and I could hear him telling my parents good-night. It was great. In May 2014. he had some problems with his grandma (she wasn't really his grandma. He was living at her house with his cousins (C, the "main" cousin, we add to the cast), and she was THEIR grandma, so EX just called her grandma), so my parents, EX and I had a discussion and my parents said he could move in. So, we move a spare bed into the basement (at this time the cousin we had living with us had moved out, and there were only 3 other people living with us), sharing with another couple (also cousins) living with us. So, after he moved in and being young and in love, we started THAT (this will come into play later). I soon found out that he had a "job" of sorts, helping his cousin's dad (CD) cutting down trees and splitting them for firewood (reliable side income for many in Michigan). Over the next 4 months, he would go to help them with firewood. Sometimes I went with him, just to get out of the house. YEAR 2 (starting 3 weeks or so after EX moved in): Within those 4 months mentioned in the previous "year", any time I went with him, CD would take his wife, C, and EX to "reward EX and C at the casino for hard work"....... And CD and wife would have me babysit their 4 brats while they were gone (putting it nicely, they were the definition of crotch goblins). So I didn't go much. One day in September we YEAH, and I went home the day after. He came home the day after I did. (NOTE: THIS IS WHERE THAT COMES INTO PLAY) About 3 weeks later, we went to his cousin's mom's (CM) place, because EX had agreed to help his cousin (C2, C's younger brother) clean his room. I was kind of chatting, small talk with CM. I had mentioned to her that we YEAH a few weeks ago. She asked me if I wanted to take a pregnancy test. I said "Sure, why not. Can't hurt. The worst is it could be negative" (ever since I was a little girl, I had always wanted to be a wife and mother). So I peed on it, and BIG REVEAL, IT'S POSITIVE! Very faint, but enough to tell it was there. I told EX because he was done helping C2, and he was just as happy as I was. But at the same time, he kept saying "Your dad's gonna kill me, isn't he?" So we went home. I pulled my parents out on the porch, and EX and I break the news "You're gonna be grandparents!" They were a little disappointed that we didn't wait until we were married (but they didn't either, so......). The next day I made an appointment to see my family doctor to confirm. He confirmed I was about 4 weeks along. He also said that since most of the OBs and midwives around that took medicaid did an ultrasound on the first visit, they would schedule my first visit about 7 or 8 weeks. I finally made an appointment for a midwife visit and starting WIC. I passed the next 3 weeks telling my friends and family. Everyone screamed with excitement, and offered congratulations. Finally my midwife appointment came! I excitedly relayed all the needed information, took in all the information she gave me, and then we headed down the hall to the ultrasound room. Imagine my surprise when I see on the screen TWINS!!!! EX was in the room with me first, and then I asked him to get my mom, but tell her it's a surprise. My mom came in the room and she was also very excited. But it was not all happy. Only one twin was alive. The other measured as though it had died within the previous few days. But still, I had a child inside me. I was growing a life. And I felt great. I had a relatively easy pregnancy. No morning sickness, no back pain, not really anything uncomfortable. But it was after my 2nd or 3rd midwife appointment that EX decided to go to CD's place more often (RED FLAG). His excuse was always "I don't want to stress you out" or "They need my help with XYZ". At the time I thought, ok, whatever. I guess he thinks it helps me. But no, I found out that every single time he went over there, they went to the casino, and he spent every last penny that he was "paid" for "helping" (RED FLAG). We finally ended up getting married a couple weeks after my 21st birthday (side note: I kept telling everybody "I can't drink, you do it for me!"). After we got married, I had a few labor scares. At the end of April, I had another labor scare (I was only at 34 weeks). Mom and EX took me to the hospital, and I was then sent to another hospital that had a NICU just in case my baby came early. EX got mad at ME for constantly having to drop everything and "take my ass to the hospital", and then said "I'm going to CD's house, I'm not talking to you, and when I get back this shit better be under control" (RED FLAG). Like, dude, I CANNOT CONTROL THIS!!!! Everything settled down, and at my next midwife appointment, they told me that I had mono, and that is what caused my labor scare. Little did I know that shortly after that I really would go into labor.... May: Labor started around 2AM. I woke EX, and he kept saying "Go back to bed". Uh, no, this is the real thing, no mistake this time. I wouldn't let it go, so we both got up. I was excited to finally meet my baby! We woke up his mom (EXM) (who had come for my baby shower 2 days prior, and we were letting her stay for 2 weeks). My dad was already awake, as he always had intuition about stuff like that. I remember when we walked out of our bedroom, my dad immediately said "You're in labor aren't you?" So I gave him a wide smile and a thumbs up. I called Maternity, to the midwife on call and explained what was going on. She said to come in, and that it sounded like it was go time. I told her that I would let my mom finish her shift at work, and we would be in shortly after. She said to call her before we leave, and she would let staff on the floor know that she would have a patient here in about 2 hours. After my mom pulled in the driveway, EX and I met her outside and I said "Don't bother turning the van off. It's time". From 2AM, 19 1/2 hours later my beautiful baby girl was born. My mom was the hero of the day, not EX. He went down to the main road every hour or so to smoke a cigarette. He slept through my worst pain because "he was tired" (no shit, you think I'm not????) (RED FLAG both). My mom was by my side the whole time. She held my hand through everything. Asshole EX couldn't be bothered with caring for his laboring wife..... Hell, my mom even cut my daughter's cord because "Damn that's gross!!!".... Through our next 48 hours (hospital policy), he was at the main road to smoke, or walking to Taco Bell more than he was in my room. It was like he didn't even care. When my mom came to pick all 3 of us up, she brought with her my grandma (my maternal grandmother), and EXM. Funny side note: while waiting for my release paperwork to be brought around, EXM told EX "I didn't know you could make something that cute" (XD). After I was released, EXM paid for all of us to get McDonalds. We got home and everyone was waiting to see my little princess (EX and I ACTUALLY AGREED that no one could post pictures, and that we wouldn't post pictures either, until after we returned home). My other grandma (paternal grandmother) and my aunt were helping my cousin (aunt's daughter, not the same cousin from the beginning of my story) (I also have stories about them, but they will be told some other time) at our house. My aunt and my cousin went to Wal-Mart the previous day to buy a bed (play yard/playpen with bassinet insert) for my baby, as my parents weren't able to buy it yet, so aunt and cousin basically saved them some money by buying my daughter's bed. Everyone oohed and aahed. We were happy. But after the excitement wore off a few days later and everyone went home, EX..... Well..... He was complaining about my siblings spending too much time on games, and tried using force to get them off the games (RED FLAG). A huge fight ensued after my sister basically called him a hypocrite (because in all honesty, he was being one. He was on his own games just as much, if not MORE than my siblings). Things got heated, he went to CD's house, and I went with him (though I now know I should have stayed home because the whole time we were at CD's house, he complained about the fight and tried to defend himself for being in the right.... No, no you were not EX) (RED FLAG). We stayed at CD's house and went back home the next day. Things were kind of tense at home. EX was gone a lot more than usual. After we took his mom back home, everything in our relationship took a turn for the worse. RED FLAGS everywhere. He would be gone all day with his friends, smoking weed and playing Magic the Gathering (a card game my family and I had long given up), or with C and CD. When he was with his friends, he would come home just shortly before or after sunrise. If I was awake he would badger me for YEAH. If I didn't relent, he would huff down to the basement to "relieve himself". That would also happen if I was asleep, or pretended to be. Many times he would fall asleep downstairs and I would have to wake him up to fix himself, to make sure my kid sister (or anyone else for that matter) didn't see him indecently. YEAR 3 (starts when my daughter is about 6 weeks old): RED FLAGS continuing from previous year: Whenever he was gone during the day, or staying with C and CD, he would demand I clean everything on an unwritten list, but who gives a damn if I have to take care of a newborn? I needed to clean first! Let her cry!!! I didn't clean what was on his damn list. I was taking care of my baby, doing my best to give her the best start in life. Oh, no, he didn't care. To him I was nothing more than a slave, put on this earth to cater to his every whim and satisfy his every need. "Take care of the baby on your own time! Worship the ground I walk on!"....... If I didn't have done what HE wanted done, he would yell, punch walls, pretty much everything short of shooting a gun (that if he did, he would be in violation of probation). He would always say "I'm going to CD's house. I don't know how long I'm staying there, but I'm turning my phone off. I'm not messaging you, I'm not calling you. I think I might have them take me to the courthouse so I can file for divorce!" See, every time His Majesty didn't get what he wanted, his number 1 tactic to "get me to change" was threaten divorce (this will be important later). This went on for quite a while. I was starting to realize I was happier when he was gone, but I thought it was because I didn't love him enough..... In mid to late December (maybe around the 20th?) we went to pick up EXM, so she wouldn't have to be alone for Christmas, and she would stay with us until after New Years. On the 23rd, EX got into a verbal fight with pretty much my entire family. With my parents over his constant use of the basement (which EX constantly called "his man cave"). With my uncle, B, over his poor treatment of me, EXM, and my daughter and how he's never home like a man should be. With my siblings, over what I can't remember now, but EVERYONE was pissed off at EX. So he did what he ALWAYS did, he called CD and begged to be picked up. EXM followed us into our bedroom so she could talk with EX. He turned to me (a few times while waiting for CD to get him) and said "Are you gonna be a good wife, and show them that you're on my side, and come with me?"...... No. No, I absolutely will not. We had plans for Christmas Eve, to visit family that we rarely got to see, and DAMMIT I AM NOT SHRUGGING OFF A VISIT WITH MY FAMILY SO YOU CAN THROW A PITY PARTY!!!!! So he left. We took EXM with us to visit my extended family, and everyone enjoyed themselves (I had a nice healthy cry of bottled up emotions over EX's outburst the previous day and him not being there with me). But I felt better afterward and joined my family once again. We all left in high spirits. EX came back early Christmas morning, and acted like everything was fine. It was not. He refused to apologize for anything. The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The tension was there to stay. In a couple of months, for our anniversary, he went to CD's house again. This time it was only for a few hours. He came back with pop (soda), my favorite candy bar, and a small bouquet of flowers, trying to erase all his wrongdoings. It didn't work. Those "thoughtful" things were only a bandaid solution to the real problem... Things would only get worse. For the rest of this "year" he was gone more than he was home, "because he couldn't stand being married to a lazy useless wife who doesn't do her job right, or any job at all", but he asked for YEAH less, and for that I was happy. YEAR 4 (starts when my daughter is just over a year old) (Here comes the roller coaster, so buckle up for a long bumpy ride): He was gone 90% of the time. When he was home, he was starting fights with my family over stupid shit. He never apologized for anything. Hell, he STILL never apologizes for anything. But to be fair, I have him blocked on Facebook because of non-stop harassment..... Anyway, it was at this point I became almost apathetic in my marriage and relationship with him. I clung to my family and my daughter. They (and my dogs) were the only things that brought me joy. The final straw was Halloween (which we don't celebrate anymore, because reasons). Now, where I live, getting ready to trick or treat on Halloween is pretty much an all day thing. So I was getting my daughter and myself ready. EX headed toward the door and said "I want X Y and Z taken care of before I get back, or you can just take those damn costumes off right now." I didn't care, so I continued getting my daughter and I ready. He came back and said in a sickeningly sweet voice "You didn't get (tasks) done, but, because I love you sooooooooo much, you can still go. I'm probably gonna be at CD's before you get back, and I'll probably be gone for a couple days, because they need my help." So we went trick or treating. Then when we got back, I went to my bedroom to get my phone, as I had left it home to charge because I didn't have a vehicle charger. I went in my bedroom, and there, sitting on my charging phone, was his wedding ring. I was confused. I was hurt. I called EX, because I thought surely there must be some explanation. "Oh, yeah. It slipped off as I was putting on my jacket"..... Yeah, I called BULLSHIT!!!! That ring was so tight on his finger that it took some serious muscle to pull off. It COULD NOT just slip off. It was put there on purpose. I was stunned, and I ran to my parents for comfort. They dried my tears, and gave me courage. (Here is where the divorce threatening comes into play) They said "Well, if EX wants a divorce, give it to him. You know we're behind you and support you 100%." So I messaged him "I am done. I am leaving your things on the porch. You can get them and then leave." Within 20 minutes, he was in the driveway, trying to sweet talk his way back into my heart. My dad and uncle B were backing me up. I pushed EX away while handing him his things. EX got irate and started yelling, threatening to kick my dad's bad leg, accusing my parents of brainwashing me. No, EX. I haven't seen or thought more clearly in a long time. YOU have been brainwashing me..... The next weekday (I can't remember if it was Nov 1, or what date), I filed for divorce. Due to BS "squatter's rights" (because he lived at our house more than 6 months) my parents had to formally evict him. He had to be out within 30 days. Over the course of November, I spent most of the month at my paternal grandmother's, just down the road, because when I would stay at home, EX would wait until my dad and uncle were asleep, sneak into my bedroom, and sweet talk his way into YEAH. After he finished, he would go to his friend's house, and when my dad and uncle woke up again, they asked me what happened. We all agreed that shouldn't happen anymore. My dad told me that when EX was at home, milking that eviction notice for all it was worth, he would constantly play games on his phone. If he noticed anyone watching him, he would cry and mourn our marriage. Whenever EX left, my dad would call grandma's house and tell me it was safe to come back home. I would hand my daughter over to my mom, and get on the computer to check Facebook messages and whatnot. As soon as EX saw that I was available and online, he would rush back, and I would rush back to my grandma's. When there was about a week left before his final date, he walked down to my grandma's house. I answered the door, and EX was all smiles for my daughter. He was talking to her, but it was loud and directed at me "Daddy's got a lawyer, I'm getting a job soon, and my own apartment. Daddy's doing a good job to get you back!" I took my daughter back from him, and my grandma took her from me (note: fiery redhead with a temper to match) while she said to him "THE HELL YOU ARE! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE ON MY DAMN PORCH?!?!".... and a loud argument ensued. My cousin (aunt's daughter) and her kids were also staying for a little while (her husband has a job that he's only home on the weekends). I brought all 3 kids inside, mine and her two, while grandma, cousin, and aunt were giving EX the ass-chewing of a lifetime. As he walked away down the road, grandma yelled after him "YOU STEP FOOT ON THIS PROPERTY AGAIN, I'M CALLING THE COPS ON YOUR SORRY ASS!". A few days later, he came back. This time it was night. Cousin's two kids were sleeping, my daughter was sleeping on my shoulder. I took my daughter inside when I saw him because I knew there would be yelling. There was. A lot. The cops were called, and they agreed to take him back to my parent's house because "with each party of a domestic dispute at different addresses, there's nothing we can do, except to return the wrong party to the rightful location" (fucking cops in my area, dumb as a box of rocks.....) So, EX finished out his notice, and had a memo notarized saying he would give up all rights to the house and property at (our address). For many nights in a row, I sat awake in terror, because I could smell weed outside my window. One night, he knocked on the window at 3AM begging me to let him in. It was because of that night, that my daughter (only about 19 months old at this point) began to suffer from night terrors. Sometimes, she still does to this day.... I woke my dad, the cops were called, and EX was caught a few houses down the street from matching boot prints. Every time I smelled weed outside my window, I woke my dad, and we called the cops. It took 3 times doing that before he went to jail. When he got out again, he didn't sneak around outside my window anymore. He just rode his bike by my house all the time, camped in our bushes out in the backyard (but we never actually caught him doing that, as he wasn't there at daybreak). When it was close to my birthday, EX decided that he was going to start his visitation AN OVERNIGHT THE DAY BEFORE MY BIRTHDAY......... I was devastated. It shattered my heart. I knew he only wanted to do that BECAUSE it was going to be my birthday... I cried, but I got my daughter ready that morning. She screamed bloody murder when he took her out the door with a smug look on his damn face. Throughout the day, he called the house to brag. Every one of my family members were in tears. Then, gloriously, EX called and asked if someone could pick them up. My heart was mended and a million times lighter! My mom, dad, uncle B, grandma, and me piled into the vehicle because I'M BRINGING MY BABY HOME DAMMIT!!!!!! We get to where he stayed that night, and my daughter was overjoyed to see me. He tried to be sneaky and kiss me, but I nipped that in the bud. On the way back home, he said "When we get back, she's sleeping in the living room with me. It's still my visit." When we got home he changed his tune "Ok, she can sleep in the bedroom"... I slept very well that night. Throughout the next 2 months, he would take his visits, but call me shortly after his time started or before his time ended giving me some excuse why he couldn't finish. One overnight visit, I seriously wish he would have called me, because he messed up her mental health.... The day after that overnight visit when he brought her home, he bragged that he got her to eat hamburger..... by shoving it down her throat (which she now has PTSD from, and is afraid to try new foods). And he bragged he got her to sleep by herself...... by shutting her in a dark, strange bedroom where she screamed from 8PM-2AM until she exhausted herself (which is why she now will not sleep without her TV, and is currently terrified of her bedroom at night because the cord to the VCR broke). The next day visit after that, he decided he would take at our house. Everything was going as well as could be expected. I left my phone on the table as I took my daughter to the bedroom to change her diaper. When I had finished, EX glared at me from across the room........ Then I noticed my phone in his hand. "Who the hell gave you the right to look through my damn phone?!?!?!" At this, he started screaming like a banshee "Our divorce is not fucking final. You are still my wife. I have every right to look through your phone, and you are talking to another guy?!?!?! WE'RE STILL MARRIED! THIS MEANS YOU'RE CHEATING ON ME!!!" At this, my dad woke up and bellowed in his deepest voice "YOU WILL NOT DISRESPECT MY DAUGHTER OR MY GRANDDAUGHTER IN MY HOUSE! YOU DO NOT LIVE HERE ANYMORE! YOU CAN GET YOUR SHIT AND LEAVE THIS HOUSE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!" I comforted my daughter because obviously a booming voice terrifies a child. He missed his next two visits. His visit after that, he asked me if I would stay with him and my daughter at his friend's house. I agree, if only to protect my daughter. That was a BAD mistake. We went over there, and EX sat my daughter in front of his friend's daughter's toys, and led me to the couch. He tried to cuddle with me, my resolve melted, and I let it happen, which I didn't want. When I finally left, he asked me if I could come for the next visit too. I did, to protect my daughter. One day in April, he sweet talked me into reconciliation. I really wish I hadn't, but I digress. It was a month and a half of staying overnight at EX's friend's house at least twice a week. I hated it. The only part I liked was when EX's friend put him in his place...... The very last time I visited with him, was May 27, 2017. My brother graduated high school. So did EX's friend's sister (S). EX showed up at the school gym. I thought he was being thoughtful when he held my daughter through the ceremony. But it was not thoughtful at all. Afterward, when everyone was trying to leave, he said to my daughter "Tell mommy bye and you'll see her in a few days!" OH HELL NO! I tried grabbing her out of his arms but he tightened his grip. "Uh, uh, uh, you can get her if you come to my friend's house for the night"..... So I did. S was sitting at his table drinking a beer in celebration. As I picked up my daughter I thought to myself "Young lady, you are not old enough to drink. I should call the cops right now. I mean they're just across the street". Things were going fine. I tried keeping to myself. After everyone that needed to left, and everyone else settled down to sleep, I laid quietly for a few hours. At around 6:30 or so in the morning, I got outerwear and shoes on myself and my daughter, and we snuck home. Thank God my dad was awake and unlocked the door for me. The two of us took a long nap, and I awoke to a message from EX "Hey, you need to apologize to S." "Why? What did I do?" "She and a couple other people heard you saying that she's way too young to be drinking" "But I didn't say it. I may have thought it, but I didn't SAY it." (Were they all mind-readers?!?!) "I don't care if you said it or not. Get your ass over here and apologize" (Why? You never apologized to my family for shit we all heard you say) "Fine, I'll be over in a bit" I left my daughter with my mom at home so that there wouldn't be any incentive for EX to entice me to stay. So I went back there, and apologize "Hey S, I'm sorry. I don't believe I said that, but you heard me, so I offer my apologies." And then I left to walk back home again. Through the next month, I pretty much gave myself house arrest. I didn't step foot outside my house, unless it was going to Wal-Mart. FINAL YEAR PORTION (June - October): When I finally decided to venture out into town, my mom, daughter, and I were going to meet up with her best friend, my auntie (Sh) her husband (T) and her 4 kids at a local park. Everything's going well, until speak of the devil, EX shows up. I handed my daughter over to my mom. EX tried to kiss me (in hindsight, I should have slapped him, and I would have had witnesses it was self defense), and he had a fit because "I didn't trust him with his own daughter" (damn right I don't!). He didn't leave, despite multiple warnings T would call the cops. EX didn't leave, so T made good on his threat and called the cops. Cop arrived, we all explained we were enjoying a cookout until EX started harassing us. Then EX stated outright "If I get my hands on (daughter), I'm gonna kidnap her". Cop told him to go to the court if he wanted his daughter so bad. He also told us that since we didn't rent the pavilion, EX had every right to be there, same as we did. So EX sat down with a smug look on his face, mentally gloating "I won, you can never get rid of me." I finally had enough, so I went to my mom's van under the guise of changing my daughter's diaper and her clothes, but really, to hide and hope EX would go away. T asked my mom to borrow her keys, went to the van, and said "Let's go for a ride". So we did. When we returned to the park, my dad and uncle B were there with mom and Sh. Dad asked about what happened, and when I got to the part about EX trying to kiss me, he said "Report his ass for sexual harassment". Dad helped me call the non emergency line of the sheriff's department. They sent out a police officer to mom, me, Sh, and T to give us statements to fill out, and told us to take them to the sheriff's department when we were done. On July 7, a police officer stopped by to let us know that because our 4 statements lined up with each other, that EX was arrested that morning. It was then that we all banded together, without threat of EX, to protect my daughter and I. Sh took us to the courthouse the next day, and I stopped the reconciliation. A few days later, my dad took me to the courthouse and I got a PPO (personal protection order) and he was not allowed within 100 feet of me or my daughter. He was arrested a few times for PPO violation. He sent me message after message on Facebook, and that was also PPO violation. When he was arrested for that, we had a hearing at the courthouse (for what exactly I can't remember), but as he was hauled up the stairs, he yelled to me "HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY BITCH" (yes, yes I am). The friend of the court (bitch on a power trip who thinks all moms are petty bitches) yelled at me about "the stunt I just pulled, having EX arrested while he was waiting for the hearing as I should have been"..... To be completely honest, in my mind I was throwing rose petals and making petal angels. It was sweet revenge after years of mental torture. We all celebrated that one. It was the last time I saw him (the last time my daughter saw him was the day at the park). After that, and serving his sentence, from what I heard, one of my relatives (don't know exactly which one as I have dozens in that area alone) scared the daylights out of EX by telling him "You leave OP and that baby alone, because you don't want to know what will happen". So EX has not tried to contact me whatsover, in any capacity, in over 3 years. No fake Facebook accounts, no asking friends to message me, nothing. I am happy to say that I am currently in a long distance relationship with a man who is the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of EX. Thanks for reading my story. I know it was long, but I feel better getting it off my chest to complete strangers on the internet :)
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[Counter Response To] THAILAND IS RACISTS BECAUSE FARANG CAN'T BUY LAND and THAIS GET DISCOUNTS AT PARKS.
Thailand is not a Democracy yet I feel more free in the Kingdom than in California. Another day another thread or comment is posted on reddit about a FARANG talk crap about Thailand. Yet THAILAND has 3 of their cities in "Most Traveled to Cities in the World" Visa did a stats on this and many other sources corroborated. Why is that? Racists? Xenophobe? Rude culture? Then why do people come? Allow me to play Devil's advocate: 1) FARANG can't buy land not because of racism but because of CAPITALISM. THAILAND PROTECT KING'S LAND for ITS PEOPLE to purchase at affordable price per Rai. Examples: Look at California coastal cities to Oregon to Washington to Vancouver BC. Most of THE LANDS ARE OWNED BY MULTI NATIONAL CORPORATIONS BANKERS. It baffles me when citizen of its own country who parents live in the area cannot afford rent where they grew up. Some old ass landlord dude bottleneck the whole zip code innovation from young people by purchasing up all land and making rent more than 50% of young people's income. People work to pay rent rather than live their life doing passion or other services. So many people are now doing "VaN LiFe, LiveLovePrayTraveltoThailand90daysVisaHopsElepahantPants" Young people suffers from: No private property, no care, no sense of belonging at all. So much pressure for young men, so high suicide rates and divorce due to RENT. It's always comes down to roof over your head. Look at Facebook owner Zuckerberg. He owns half the island in Hawaii. Look at Jamaica and other islands around it. All resorts own by few rich dudes. People can't access most beaches only one public beach. Look at Manila. Homeless Citizens everywhere eating PAG PAG aka throw away KFC in trash while landlords gets fat. Same constitution as USA. Facsimile. Look at Burma, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Rich military men has multiple wives Helicopters for medivac. Regular citizen get snake bit in the field. No BTS. NO SPEED TRAIN. Good luck fighting cobra bite on motor bike for 45 minutes to "Hospital". 10 Families own half Florida land mass. Al Jazeera UK usually anti Thailand just released in Youtube video praising Thailand Swiztzerland has program sending their elder to Thailand to lives rest of their lives with nuero disease. It's great news but it's kinda funny how they outsource their elder to other country and Switz and Sweden supposed to be best country in the world LOL. Thailand last resort https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7yeiO-UZoM Read the comments how many Switz praise Thai ways of respecting elder. Look at California. City of Irvine. 4th safest city in United States. 90% own by Irvine Company. It's a big slum lord company with crazy HOA with high tax. You can never own especially with student loan. Look with San Francisco. You can make 100k per year and live in a shack 3k per month. You think an average Thai can afford that life style? Western born people even can't afford land in country like the United States land of the FREE so how can Thai? Unless you wanna live in Tornado alley where your life saving can be wiped in 1 shot. Then yes you cann buy a Mcmansion for a 100k. You yourself will likely pay way more once Thailand becomes democracy. Lands are not gonna be affordable like you think. With outside money, China will swiped right the whole coasts and turn it into Casino like in LAOS, Cambodia and Vancouver Africa. Those videos that FARANG JOE posts on youtube for $200/month BEACH FRONT RENTAL PROPERTY IN PRACHUAP KIRIKHAN etc will be all GONE. It will be like $200 a night bungalo cut out from street with all kind of HOA laws and everything will costs 3 times more due to permit. 30 BAHT street food bowl of BAH MEE MOO DANG from mom and pops shops? Low rent means cheap food. LMAO now 90 BAHT with RENT MARK UP TO GO TO IPO COMPANY WHO JUST ENTERED SP500. Look at USA LANDSCAPE nothing but malls, starbucks, and amazon warehouses. It takes 16 licenses to open a lemonade stand in California. Costs ramification is a lot to an average person. It's not racism at all. Thailand wants Thai to be self reliant and proud business owner. Capitalism kills small businesses Ask Jeff Bayso who during COVID 19 Earnings in first three months equivalent to $33m an hour. If you want to own property buy condo or buy land but do it the right way and marry a good woman or man. You gonna pass it on to your sons and daughters anyway so who cares. Make babies, plant flag and hold down your land with your wife. If you marry a bar girl and she leaves you, you cannot blame Thailand. You lost your virginity and felt in love with your first warm cherries pie and then it's on you. Bar girls slept with 10,000 dudes by the time she retires at ripe age of 30. I get some people don't care about body count as long as no STD but generally they are harder to bond with. Think about it, would you hire someone to manage your business who leaves his job every week for a new job on his resume? No loyalty. They will run and find another sucker. Don't blame anyone but yourself. 2) Thailand has CONSCRIPTION aka ALL MEN MUST SERVE. United States has VETERAN DISCOUNTS almost everywhere and has PX for active duty services and VET only electronic stores and booze and cigarettes no tax. Memorial days discounts and perks. Wear a dress Blue??? Free meals all day. A group of Marine got on the same boat with me and my buddies from Long Beach to Catalina island fishing for scorpion fish. We paid $100 each for 4 hours fishing. Marines all paid 25% less than us due to military discount. I AM PERFECTLY FINE WITH THAT. They served, gave up few years of their youth for service. GOOD FOR THEM HOORAH. Many average male in Thailand including your sons has to serve unless u hide him from Thailand until he is 30 years old. Many of them also has to be a monk one season for "GrAnDPaRenTz GoeS To HeavEn FamILy HappY" My point is they don't just get the perks. They have to serve 2 years guarding Cambodian, Laos, Burma, and Malaysia boarder and has to be a monk too. I AM ABSOLUTELY OKAY WITH PAYING 100 BAHT AKA 3 BUCKS to enter National Parks and Somchai can pay 30 BAHT aka 1 DOLLARS. I did not serve. My GDP is higher. I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH PAYING FARANG PRICE. The Thais are not racists but are weeding out unorganized grab-asstic Cheap Charlies and sociopath takers who pack the attitude to be confrontational in their beloved Thailand. If you can't save up 800k BAHT aka 27k USD, you have no business leaching and retiring in other countries that you didn't put into the system. People who qualify to retired in Thailand TODAY has a lot higher quality of life than the former Thailand of 20 years ago. Seems like many Farang with Asian wife in particular ran from Neo-Liberalism-Bigbrother-nopersonalfreedom politics with high tax high rental costs and high divorce rate in the west. So why try to make Thailand Democracy like your home you ran from? Which eventually becomes high propety tax like California. Stay out of politics. Everytime USA bring Democracy, someone gets bombed. You're a guest go fix your home. Old people can't even afford medicare copays and rent off SSA. What kind of society just let their elder dies in massive body count during COVID19 in USA hospice. Thais cares way more about old people and even bow to them and answer KRUP OR KRA after every sentence. CHUCKIE AND PAIGE from NOTIME2BESAD just paid 1k PER YEAR for PPO INSURANCE in THAILAND. Thai doctors can make a dude turn to hot ladyboy. Your tumor or nose job is nothing. Them surgeons working in King's hospital are mostly Farang and or Western Medical Educated Thais and only cost a fraction of the US pricing. Retired at 50 years old no need to work hard all your life to 70 years old and break health to make money, then the spent the made money to save health.
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. Figuring out how to divide the COVID-19 content from the “regular” news has been difficult because the pandemic is influencing all aspects of life. Some of the stories below involve the virus, but I chose to include them when it fits into one of the pre-established categories (like congress or immigration). The coronavirus-central post will be made again this Thursday-Friday; the sign up form now has an option to choose to receive an email when the coronavirus-focused roundup is posted. House-keeping:
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Let’s dig in!
Congress passes stimulus
Last week started out with a Republican-crafted stimulus bill that was twice-blocked by Senate Democrats, who objected to the lax conditions of aid to corporations, too little funding for hospitals, and a $500 billion “slush fund” for big companies to be doled out by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin with no oversight. Conservative-Democrat Joe Manchin (WV) even criticized the GOP bill:
“It fails our first responders, nurses, private physicians and all healthcare professionals. ... It fails our workers. It fails our small businesses… Instead, it is focused on providing billions of dollars to Wall Street and misses the mark on helping the West Virginians that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.”
Through negotiations, Democrats shifted the bill in a more-worker friendly direction. The version that passed includes the following Democrat-added provisions: expanded unemployment benefits, $100 billion for hospitals, $150 billion for state and local governments, direct payments to Americans without a phase-in (ensuring low-income workers get the full amount), a ban on Trump and his children from receiving aid, and oversight on the “slush fund” (see next section for more info). Senate Democrats also managed to remove a provision that would have excluded nonprofits that receive Medicaid funding from the small-business grants.
Further reading: After Senate Democrats blocked the Republican-crafted bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the House Democrats in releasing their own version, a best-case scenario of their dream coronavirus stimulus bill. It is interesting to contrast what the Democrats prioritized to what the Republicans focused on: “How the House Democrats' stimulus plan compares to the Senate's”
Echoing sentiments expressed during debate on the previous coronavirus bill (the second, for those keeping track), Republican senators derided the $600 a week increase in unemployment payments as “incentivizing” workers to quit their jobs. Sens. Ben Sasse (Neb.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) delayed passage of the bill in order to force a vote on an amendment removing the extra unemployment funding. "This bill pays you more not to work than if you were working," Graham said. Fortunately for American workers, the amendment failed and the improved bill passed the Senate and the House.
Note: In 2009 only three Republicans helped Obama pass his stimulus bill in his first month in office.
The giveaways in the bill
While Senate Democrats were able to add worker-friendly provisions, the bill still required bipartisan support to pass the chamber and some corporate giveaways remained in the final version.
NYT: “Senate Republicans inserted an easy-to-overlook provision on page 203 of the 880-page bill that would permit wealthy investors to use losses generated by real estate to minimize their taxes on profits from things like investments in the stock market. The estimated cost of the change over 10 years is $170 billion.”
NYT: “...if a company owns multiple hotels, even if the overall hotel or restaurant chain has more than 500 employees — the limit to qualify for treatment as a small business — it will still be able to take advantage of the small-business benefits offered in the rescue package. ...The provision could benefit the Trump Organization, which operates a relatively small chain, with six hotels in the United States in cities including New York, Washington and Chicago.”
“A provision for the FDA to approve ‘innovative’ sunscreens—which would benefit L’Oreal, which has operations in Kentucky—appeared in the bill, which was steered in the Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.”
“The $25 billion allocated in loans and loan guarantees for the airlines will also benefit eligible businesses "approved to perform inspection, repair, replace, or overhaul services, and ticket agents.” The last two words — ‘ticket agents’ — mean that travel agents who book flights will also be able to apply for a piece of the $25 billion.”
“The credit reporting industry got a win by defeating a total ban on negative credit reports during the crisis. Instead, a watered down version made it into the final bill: Consumers wouldn't get a negative credit report if they have an agreement with a lender to delay payments or make partial payments.”
Trump’s signing statement
While signing the latest coronavirus relief bill, the president also issued a signing statement undercutting the congressional oversight provision creating an inspector general to track how the administration distributes the $500 billion “slush fund” money. The newly-created inspector general is legally required to audit loans and investments made through the fund and report to Congress his/her findings, including any refusal by the executive office to cooperate. In his signing statement, Trump wrote that his understanding of constitutional powers allows him to gag the special IG:
"I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the [inspector general] to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required" by Article II of the Constitution.
The signing statement further suggests that Trump does not have to comply with a provision requiring that agencies consult with Congress before it spends or reallocates certain funds: "These provisions are impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement with respect to the execution of the laws," the statement reads. While some have said that Congress fell short in this instance, one Democratic Senate aide told Politico that Congress built in multiple layers of oversight, including “a review of other inspectors general and a congressional review committee charged with overseeing Treasury and the Federal Reserve's efforts to implement the law.” Legal experts have pointed out that a signing statement is “without legal effect.” But that ignores the fact that oversight is not equal to enforcement. The problem, in my opinion, isn’t that Congress won’t be notified of any abuses of power by Trump. The problem is that congressional Republicans and the judiciary have largely failed to hold him accountable and enforce our laws even after learning of his abuses.
Concerns about the IG
Another potential weakness in the oversight structure is the inspector general position itself. The special inspector general for pandemic recovery, known by the acronym S.I.G.P.R., is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. As we’ve seen from Trump’s previous nominees, particularly judicial, many unqualified individuals have been confirmed. The Democrats will not have the power to stop the president and Mitch McConnell from jamming through a loyalist to fill the SIGPR role.
Former inspector general at the Justice Department Michael Bromwich: “The signing statement threatens to undermine the authority and independence of this new IG. The Senate should extract a commitment from the nominee that Congress will be promptly notified of any Presidential/Administration interference or obstruction.”
You may recall that Trump has already proven that he’s willing to interfere with the legally-mandated work of an inspector general. When the Ukraine whistleblower filed a complaint last year, the IG of the Intelligence Community, Michael Atkinson, investigated and determined the complaint to be “urgent” and “credible.” Atkinson wrote a report and gave it to Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to hand over to Congress. However, the White House and DOJ interfered and instructed Maguire not to transmit the report to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. Chairman Adam Schiff had to subpoena Maguire to turn over the report and testify before his committee. Further, there are already five IG vacancies in agencies that have a critical role in responding to the pandemic. The Treasury itself has not had a permanent, Senate-confirmed IG for over eight months now, and Trump hasn’t nominated a replacement. The Treasury Dept. has taken a lead role in the coronavirus response, with Secretary Mnuchin handling most of the negotiating with Congress on Trump’s behalf. The fact that the lead agency doesn’t have IG oversight should be troublesome in itself; replicating the situation with a special IG doesn’t seem to be a promising solution.
The other four coronavirus-related agencies without a permanent IG: Department of Health and Human Services’ IG has been vacant for nine months, Department of Defense’s IG has been vacant for four years, Department of Education’s IG has been vacant for one year, and Office of Personnel Management’s IG has been vacant for four years. Overall, there are twelve IG vacancies in the 37) presidentially-appointed offices.
UPDATE: The nation's inspectors general have appointed Glenn Fine, the Pentagon's acting IG, to lead the committee of IGs overseeing the coronavirus relief effort.
This is one of several oversight mechanisms built into the new law. They include: A committee of IGs (now led by Fine), a new special IG (to be nominated by Trump), a congressional review panel (to be appointed by House/Senate leaders)
Included in the stimulus bill is a $1200 one-time direct payment for all Americans who made less than $75,000 in 2019 (less than $150,000 if couples filed jointly). More details can be found here. I have read that the Treasury will use 2018 information for those who have not filed yet this year, but I am not 100% sure that’ll happen. Mnuchin has said that Americans can expect to receive the money within three weeks, but many experts expect that timetable to be pushed into late April. Additionally, that only applies to Americans who included direct deposit information on their 2019 tax returns. Those who did not include their bank’s information will have to be sent a physical check in the mail… which could take anywhere from two to four months. Other options are being discussed, including partnering the Treasury Dept. with MasterCard and Visa to deliver prepaid debit cards. Venmo and Paypal are reportedly lobbying the government to be considered as a disbursement option. Future payments? House Speaker Pelosi is already planning another wave of direct payments to Americans, saying that the $1,200 is not enough to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic: “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of direct payments.” Republicans, meanwhile, are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, using the next couple of weeks to measure the impact of the $2 trillion bill passed last week.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “What concerns me is when I listen to Nancy Pelosi talk about a fourth package now, it’s because she did not get out of things that she really wanted...I’m not sure you need a fourth package...Let’s let this work ... We have now given the resources to make and solve this problem. We don’t need to be crafting another bill right now.” For the fourth legislative package, Democrats have said they would like to see increased food stamp benefits; increased coverage for coronavirus testing, visits to the doctor and treatment; more money for state and local governments, including Washington, D.C.; expanded family and medical leave; pension fixes; and stronger workplace protections.
Trump’s signature Normally, a civil servant signs federal checks, like the direct payments Americans are set to receive. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Trump has told people that he wants his signature to appear on the stimulus checks.
War on the poor continues
Amid the coronavirus crisis, Trump has defended his continued support of a Republican-led lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which would result in 20 million Americans losing health insurance if successful. The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the case this fall. Contrasting with his position that the ACA is illegal, Trump is considering reopening enrollment on HealthCare.gov, allowing millions of uninsured individuals to get coverage before potentially incurring charges and fees related to COVID-19. Joe Biden called on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the charge against the ACA, and President Trump to drop the lawsuit:
“At a time of national emergency, which is laying bare the existing vulnerabilities in our public health infrastructure, it is unconscionable that you are continuing to pursue a lawsuit designed to strip millions of Americans of their health insurance and protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the ban on insurers denying coverage or raising premiums due to pre-existing conditions.”
The Trump administration is also pushing forward with its plan to kick 700,000 people off federal food stamp assistance, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The USDA announced two weeks ago that the department will appeal Judge Beryl Howell’s recent decision that the USDA’s work mandate rule is “arbitrary and capricious." Additionally: The Social Security Administration has no plans to slow down a rule change set for June that will limit disability benefits, the Department of Health and Human Services still intends to reduce automatic enrollment in health coverage, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will continue the process to enact a rule that would make it harder for renters to sue landlords for racial discrimination.
Lawmakers’ stock transactions
The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are beginning to investigate stock transactions made ahead of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. CNN reports that the inquiry has already reached out to Senator Richard Burr for information. “Under insider trading laws, prosecutors would need to prove the lawmakers traded based on material non-public information they received in violation of a duty to keep it confidential,” a task that won’t be easy. Sen. Burr is facing another consequence of his trades: Alan Jacobson, a shareholder in Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, sued Burr for allegedly using private information to instruct a mass liquidation of his assets. Among the shares he sold were an up to $150,000 stake in Wyndham, whose stock suffered a market-value cut of more than two-thirds since mid-February.
Using the pandemic as cover, the Trump administration has begun to more aggressively roll back regulations meant to protect the environment. These are examples of what Naomi Klein dubbed “the shock doctrine”: the phenomenon wherein polluters and their government allies push through unpopular policy changes under the smokescreen of a public emergency. On Thursday, the EPA announced (non-paywalled) an expansive relaxation of environmental laws and fines, exempting companies from consequences for pollution. Under the new rules, there are basically no rules. Companies are asked to “act responsibly” but are not required to report when their facilities discharge pollution into the air or water. Just five days before abandoning any pollution oversight, the oil industry’s largest trade group implored the administration for assistance, stating that social distancing measures caused a steep drop in demand for gasoline.
Monday morning update: In an interview with Fox News this morning, Trump said he was going to call Putin after the interview to discuss the Saudi-Russia oil fight. A consequence of this "battle" has been plummeting prices in the U.S. making it difficult for domestic companies (like shale extraction) to turn a profit. It's striking that the day after Dr. Fauci told Americans we can expect 100,000 to 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 (if we keep social distancing measures in place), Trump's first action is to talk to Fox News and his second action is to intervene in an international tiff on behalf of the oil and gas industry.
Gina McCarthy, who led the E.P.A. under the Obama administration, called the rollback “an open license to pollute.” Cynthia Giles, who headed the EPA enforcement division during the Obama administration, said “it is so far beyond any reasonable response I am just stunned.” The EPA is also moving forward with a widely-opposed rule to limit the types of scientific studies used when crafting new regulations or revising current ones. Hidden behind claims of increased transparency, the rule would require disclosure of all raw data used in scientific studies. This would disqualify many fields of research that rely on personal health information from individuals that must be kept confidential. For example, studies that show air pollution causes premature deaths or a certain pesticide is linked to birth defects would be rejected under the proposed rule change. Officials and scientists are calling upon the EPA to extend the time for comment on the regulatory changes, arguing that the public is unable to express their opinion while dealing with the pandemic.
“These rollbacks need and deserve the input of our public health community, but right now, they are rightfully focused on responding to the coronavirus,” said Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Other controversial decisions being made:
A former EPA official who worked on controversial policies returned as Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s chief of staff. Mandy Gunasekara helped write regulations to ease pollution controls for coal-fired power plants and vehicle emissions in her previous role as chief of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. In a recent interview, Gunasekara, who played a role in the decision to exit the Paris Climate Accord, pushed back on the more dire predictions of climate change, saying, “I don't think it is catastrophic.”
NYT: The plastic bag industry, battered by a wave of bans nationwide, is using the coronavirus crisis to try to block laws prohibiting single-use plastic. “We simply don’t want millions of Americans bringing germ-filled reusable bags into retail establishments putting the public and workers at risk,” an industry campaign that goes by the name Bag the Ban warned on Tuesday. (Also see The Guardian)
Kentucky, South Dakota, and West Virginia passed laws putting new criminal penalties on protests against fossil fuel infrastructure in just the past two weeks.
The Hill: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Friday that it will extend the amount of time that winter gasoline can be sold this year as producers have been facing lower demand due to the coronavirus. It will allow companies to sell the winter-grade gasoline through May 20, whereas companies would have previously been required to stop selling it by May 1 to protect air quality. “In responding to an international health crisis, the last thing the EPA should do is take steps that will worsen air quality and undermine the public’s health,” biofuels expert David DeGennaro said.
NYT: At the Interior Department, employees at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been under strict orders to complete the rule eliminating some protections for migratory birds within 30 days, according to two people with direct knowledge of the orders. The 45-day comment period on that rule ended on March 19.
WaPo: The Interior Department has received over 230 nominations for oil and gas leases covering more than 150,000 acres across southern Utah, a push that would bring drilling as close as a half-mile from some of the nation’s most famous protected sites, including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks… if all the fossil fuels buried in those sites was extracted and burned, it would translate into between 1 billion and 5.95 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide being released into the air. That upward measure is equal to half the annual carbon output of China
Press freedom case Southern District of New York District Judge Lorna Schofield ruled that a literary advocacy group’s lawsuit against Trump for allegedly violating the First Amendment can move forward. The group, PEN America, is pursuing claims that Trump “has used government power to retaliate against media coverage and reporters he dislikes.” Schofield determined that PEN’s allegation that Trump made threats to chill free speech was valid, providing as an example the White House’s revocation of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press press corps credentials:
”The threats are lent credence by the fact that Defendant has acted on them before, by revoking Mr. Acosta’s credentials and barring reporters from particular press conferences. The Press Secretary indeed e-mailed the entire press corps to inform them of new rules of conduct and to warn of further consequences, citing the incident involving Mr. Acosta… These facts plausibly allege that a motivation for defendant’s actions is controlling and punishing speech he dislikes.”
Twitter case The president suffered another First Amendment defeat last week when the full 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals declined to review a previous ruling that prevents Trump from blocking users on the Twitter account he uses to communicate with the public. Judge Barrington D. Parker, a Nixon-appointee, wrote: “Excluding people from an otherwise public forum such as this by blocking those who express views critical of a public official is, we concluded, unconstitutional.” Trump-appointees Michael Parker and Richard Sullivan authored a dissent, arguing the free speech “does not include a right to post on other people’s personal social media accounts, even if those other people happen to be public officials.” Park warned that the ruling will allow the social media pages of public officials to be “overrun with harassment, trolling, and hate speech, which officials will be powerless to filter.” Florida’s felon voting U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ripped into Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s administration for failing to come up with a process to determine which felons are genuinely unable to pay court-ordered fees and fines, which are otherwise required to be paid before having their voting rights restored. “If the state is not going to fix it, I will,” Hinkle warned. He had given the state five months to come up with an administrative process for felons to prove they’re unable to pay financial obligations, but Florida officials did not do so. The case is set to be heard on April 28 (notwithstanding any coronavirus-related delays).
ICE, Jails, and COVID-19
ICE One of the most overlooked populations with an increased risk of death from coronavirus are those in detention facilities, which keep people in close quarters with little sanitation or protective measures (including for staff). Last week, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ordered the federal government to “make continuous efforts” to release migrant children from detention centers across the country. Numerous advocacy groups asked for the release after reports that four children being held in New York had tested positive for the virus:
“The threat of irreparable injury to their health and safety is palpable,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in their petition… both of the agencies operating migrant children detention facilities must by April 6 provide an accounting of their efforts to release those in custody… “Her order will undoubtedly speed up releases,” said Peter Schey, co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the court case.
On Tuesday, 13 immigrants held at ICE facilities in California filed a lawsuit demanding to be released because their health conditions make them particularly vulnerable to dying if infected by the coronavirus. An ACLU statement says the detainees are “confined in crowded and unsanitary conditions where social distancing is not possible.” The 13 individuals are all over the age of 50 and/or suffering from serious underlying medical issues like high blood pressure.
“From all the evidence we have seen, ICE is failing to fulfill its constitutional obligation to protect the health and safety of individuals in its custody. ICE should exercise its existing discretion to release people with serious medical conditions from detention for humanitarian reasons,” said William Freeman, senior counsel at the ACLU of Northern California.
Meanwhile, ICE is under fire for continuing to shuttle detainees across the country, with one even being forced to take nine different flights bouncing from Louisiana to Texas to New Jersey less than two weeks ago. That man is Dr. Sirous Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor from Iran, who was acquitted last year on federal charges of stealing trade secrets. The government lost its case against him, yet ICE has had him in indefinite detention since November.
Asgari, 59, told the Guardian that his Ice holding facility in Alexandria, Louisiana, had no basic cleaning practices in place and continued to bring in new detainees from across the country with no strategy to minimize the threat of Covid-19...Detainees have no hand sanitizer, and the facility is not regularly cleaning bathrooms or sleeping areas…Detainees lack access to masks… Detainees struggle to stay clean, and the facility has an awful stench.
Jails State jails are making a better effort to release detained individuals, as both New York and New Jersey ordered a thousand people in each state be let out of jail. The order applied only to low-level offenders sentenced to less than a year in jail and those held on technical probation violations. In Los Angeles County, officials released over 1,700 people from its jails. A judge in Alabama took similar steps last week, ordering roughly 500 people jailed for minor offenses to be released to lessen crowding in facilities. Unlike in New York and New Jersey, however, local officials reacted in an uproar, led in part by the state executive committee for the Alabama Republican Party and Assistant District Attorney C.J. Robinson. Using angry Facebook messages as the barometer of the community’s feelings, Robinson worked “frantically” to block inmates from being released.
Reuters: As of Saturday, at least 132 inmates and 104 staff at jails across New York City had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus… Since March 22, jails have reported 226 inmates and 131 staff with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a Reuters survey of cities and counties that run America’s 20 largest jails. The numbers are almost certainly an undercount given the fast spread of the virus.
Tribe opposed by Trump loses land
On Wednesday, The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs announced the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s reservation would be "disestablished" and its land trust status removed. Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell called the move "cruel" and "unnecessary,” particularly coming in the midst of a pandemic crisis. Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.), who last year introduced legislation to protect the tribe's reservation as trust land in Massachusetts, said the order “is one of the most cruel and nonsensical acts I have seen since coming to Congress.” The administration’s decision is especially suspicious as just last year Trump attacked the tribe’s plan to build a casino on its land, tweeting that allowing the construction would be “unfair” and treat Native Americans unequally. As a former casino owner, Trump has spent decades attacking Native American casinos as unfair competition. At a 1993 congressional hearing Trump said that tribal owners “don’t look like Indians to me” and claimed: “I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations” to gambling. More than his past history, however, Trump has current interests at play in the Mashpee Wampanoag’s planned casino: it would have competed for business with nearby Rhode Island casinos owned by Twin River Worldwide Holdings, whose president, George Papanier, was a finance executive at the Trump Plaza casino hotel in Atlantic City.
In the Mashpee case, Twin River, the operator of the two Rhode Island casinos, has hired Matthew Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a vocal Trump supporter, to lobby for it on the land issue. Schlapp’s wife, Mercedes, is director of strategic communications at the White House.
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