Intelligent Casino Management System Market 2020 : Global
Vendor Landscape: Casino Management Systems Info-Tech ...
Global Casino Management Systems Market Research Report With
Casino Technology: Player Tracking and Slot Accounting Systems
Cass Information Systems Integrated Payment and ...
Alexander Saam - Project Manager Casino Management and ...
Casino - Dallmeier
Casino Management Software & Systems Casino Enterprise ...
Casino Security Exposed: An Inside Look
KingCasino offers a large collection of casino games and table games of all types. All user information and cryptocurrencies in the system are safe from malicious attacks by using HSM technology and cryptography. The platform is a completely transparent system - all transactions are saved.
KingCasino offers a large collection of casino games and table games of all types. All user information and cryptocurrencies in the system are safe from malicious attacks by using HSM technology and cryptography. The platform is a completely transparent system - all transactions are saved.
Background Environment: Casino Information Systems Tech I, I don't work on Slot Machines, my responsibility starts after the Bank Controllers connect to the switch before getting routed upstairs to the servers. We had a old Wheel of Fortune machine on the slots floor, this thing was massive and had a actual spinning wheel with I think four seats on it. It wasn't popular, but it was mesmerizing to watch that big wheel spin whenever I passed it. The plan was to decommission it and put in the newer Wheel of Fortune game that used a 70" TV with two 32" TV's vertically set on both sides, saving space and updating the floors feel of not being painfully behind the times. Old machine was ripped out (I was heartbroken, for some reason... they didn't even let us in IS play on the machines during our off times) and the vendor, a setup contractor, and our slots department started installing the new shiny one. Day goes by, still in pieces. Not my department, not my issue. Day Two goes by, Poor slots, I wonder whats taking so long? Day Three..... what? It was either Day three or four when I happened to be passing by and Slots, the Vendor, the Setup contractor dude, and the Gaming Commission were all standing around the sprawled out pieces of the game system. The Contractor and Vendor were arguing over something. The Vendor was saying the TV was bad AGAIN (again?) while the Setup Contractor was saying the display machine was broke. The Slot Techs and the Gaming Inspector were just standing there, and I was on good terms with them so I stopped by and asked what was going on. Apparently they had just overnight another 70" TV on a special courier truck and it still was not working. None of it was anything that Slots or GI (who literally had just the job of watching the show) could do anything about.
ME: Sooo, has anyone tried a different machine to plug into the TV or another monitor to plug into the display port to see which it is?
ME: Yeah, I have a spare machine upstairs that we use for the POS system if you want to try to figure out which it is? Gaming Inspector: Do it. (He's a great guy, use to work in IT for a bank, and was my primary contact for any "funny business" that popped up on the IT side of things for the Casino.
I go upstairs and collect the spare machine, it had a DVI output that was the same as they were using for the TV, so it was worth a shot. I get back downstairs, and have the GI make the call to Surveillance to explain what I was doing before I stepped into the cordoned off area. I plug the TV into the machine and turn it on, screen shows the BIOS and normal start-up stuff. Contractor guy starts getting giddy.
ME: Alright, now lets try the other way.
I plug the Display machine into the monitor of the POS and tell them to start it up. Boots perfectly, could see the main display show up and "Wheel of Fortune" pops up. Death Stares ensue between Slots and Gaming and the two outsiders. I look at the cable they were using for the TV and Display machine, tell them I'll be right back, and run back up to the Tech Shop and grab a newer DVI cable with both A and D pins and hand it to them and tell them to try this. (Disclaimer, I don't remember exactly which one it was, but it was better than the wonka cable they had) They quickly rig it up between the Display and TV, and voila, its working. TL;DR A simple DVI cable caused 3 days worth of yelling and a couple thousand dollars worth of unnecessary parts/shipping and time. (This is my first OP on Reddit, so yeah....)
"I think I've lived long enough to see competitive Counter-Strike as we know it, kill itself." Summary of Richard Lewis' stream (Long)
I want to preface that the contents of this post is for informational purposes. I do not condone or approve of any harassments or witch-hunting or the attacking of anybody.
Richard Lewis recently did a stream talking about the terrible state of CS esports and I thought it was an important stream anyone who cares about the CS community should listen to. Vod Link here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830415547 I realize it is 3 hours long so I took it upon myself to create a list of interesting points from the stream so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, although I still encourage you to do so if you can. I know this post is still long but probably easier to digest, especially in parts. Here is a link to my raw notes if you for some reason want to read through this which includes some omitted stuff. It's in chronological order of things said in the stream and has some time stamps. https://pastebin.com/6QWTLr8T
"The last month has convinced me, that we are going to be heading into a dark place for Counter-Strike esports in 2021."
"I think I've seen the scene essentially kill itself."
"For the past 5 to 6 years, we've basically been in a holding pattern of people coming into our game wanting to run it, wanting to run all of the esports and wanting to profiteer and its been sort of a concerted effort to drive them off and push them away."
"We're spread way too thin."
"If Riot don't get involved and stop the scumbags that have moved over to Valorant from getting their feet under the table, Valorant is going to have real problems."
RL thinks too much has happened all at once for us to do anything except watch it play out, like:
Recent CSPPA strike against BLAST
ESIC failures and them not being supported enough
Teams cheating i.e. coaches/bugs
Widespread match fixing
"People who try to hold bubble events are so incompetent and fuck up and people get the 'rona and its their fault."
"People who say Flashpoint is a bubble is full of shit and is a lie and people are now suffering for that lie."
"To save money they let people go home and break the bubble for a week."
"Not just Flashpoint peoples decision, they have a partner that handles the production." (hinting FACEIT)
"People are trapped in hotels essentially under house arrest because of COVID restrictions and has fucked peoples lives up."
"It's all too much, all of this incompetence, all of this greed, maybe we ride it out."
RL says he has talked to the Riot devs (the ones working on Valorant) and says, "They are so cognizant of all the fuck ups and all the problems we have in Counter-Strike."
He continues to say that this is factored into their business plan and that we never had a competitor, but just so happens to have one coincide, when we are at our worst.
CSPPA - Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association
"Who does this union really fucking serve?"
RL believes that the CSPPA is a mockery.
He points out the hypocrisy that they wouldn't strike for the pros who were kicked out of ESL Pro League, or for Jamppi or dream3r.
He also says ESL paid CSPPA and are racketeering and many other TOs have to pay them to get their "seal of approval"
He says they would strong-arm TOs saying "well if you don't give us the money, these guys are so we'll just have to commit to playing their event."
Also points out that they will strike against a competitor they are not in agreement with (Flashpoint)
RL: "It's what it says about every other time you haven't done it and it's about every time you don't do it now moving forward." "The issues they've chosen to ignore this year alone are embarrassing."
Then he points out that there was no strike for Valve qualifiers even if we have no major but Jamppi and dream3r can't play in them.
"and Valve have said 'Oh yeah we know actually their stories are accurate, Jamppi didn't cheat, now in a legally binding document. Yep dream3r did have his account hacked in a LAN café', but they still can't play. Where is the fucking solidarity? Gone. Doesn't exist. It's not important [because] it doesn't affect you." "That's what the union does right now, it looks after all the tier 1 people."
He says the CSPPA doesn't represent all players all the time and has driven a divide where you have the haves and have-nots
"We have a tier of players that operate with impunity and do not help their tier 2 or tier 3 players out at all." "If you are not a tier 1 player you do not matter, they don't event ask your opinion."
He tells chrisJ to admit and own the fact that the reason he didn't speak up during the ESL Pro League debacle is because it didn't affect him
"They are looking after some players at the expense of other players. How the fuck is that a union?"
He says the BLAST situation is a reasonable dispute and supports the players but is not the right time for a strike and have not even identified the correct enemy
He thinks players are lashing out now due to previous incidents and are upset that BLAST are working with ESIC
He stated that CSPPA shouldn't beefing with ESIC and they should be working in harmony
He says what they need to do is talk with the teams/organizations that have sold that right to BLAST
RL: "Your employers, the people who pay you that massive exorbitant salaries, when you don't stream and you don't do interviews and you offer no value beyond your ability to click heads and you get 25k dollars a month." "Why don't you talk to them about it? Oh right. You're happy to take away BLAST's paper, but you don't want to risk your own."
"I am seeing such unbelievable cowardice from the players here with the battles you choose."
"Where was the strike action when in the qualifiers for the world championship, there were teams and players engaged in huge conflicts of interest?" "Where was the strike action when your image rights were taken and sold to every league you've ever been in every union type organization you've ever been associated with like, WESA, to your org every time you sign a contract, to the leagues you play in."
"Your image rights are essentially worthless now, there's about 10 fucking separate parties that have them, and how many of them are giving you anything for it? Not much pretty much your org by the way."
"That's a big issue. Your image is you, your image is your brand. What are you doing about that? Nothing."
He is also angry at SirScoots who is "popping off" at people on Twitter who all want the same thing, which is 'A unified Counter-Strike scene for everybody, that works for everybody, that has a sustained ecosystem that nourishes everybody.' "We don't have that now."
He also says their rankings are a joke
"Just so happened, oh look TACO, that very important prominent member of the board, we pushed his team artificially up when they weren't even in the fucking top 20, not by a long shot."
He also says the ineptitude of the CSPPA cost Flashpoint a monitor sponsor
"Is it really a player association or is it like a fucking agency at this point"
ESIC - Esports Integrity Commission
"They have been put in an impossible position."
RL says that Ian Smith, the founder of ESIC and who was done work in mainstream sports, is a good and honorable man who has dedicated his life to integrity and sports. He takes on both sides, ensuring match fixers are punished, but also doing appeals and ensuring those punishments were fair.
"ESIC is a tiny organization" and are in need of money, "They didn't run a grift like the CSPPA did."
"Saying 'you want our support and you want the players to turn up you better pay us.' They don't do that."
"Had startup seed money from MTG and since then they've been pecking shit with the hens."
Ian Smith made sure that the money given by MTG (Modern Times Group, parent company of ESL, ESEA, DreamHack) was nothing more than startup money and wouldn't be in debt to them
Ian Smith sat down with other TO's not part of MTG and wanted to partner with them. They declined and called ESIC "ESL spies and we will never align ourselves with you"
"They only were just able to afford, hiring a PR guy on a full time salary to deal with the press and send out those releases you've seen, this year."
"They have a tiny group of staff investigating these things and they have taken on the biggest problems in our scene: the cheating, the match fixing."
ESIC have had "unprecedented levels of cheating to deal with, because there's something wrong with our scene ever since we went online. There's something wrong with it, everyone's lost their fucking pride and self-respect and they got no passion for it anymore, so they think fuck it, what's in it for me?"
He calls out coaches who are talking about players rights when they would rob and steal from them.
Also says more coaches being banned are coming
He also points out flaws in community's reaction to the punishments to coaches bans: "Half of the cunts still have jobs and some of the cunts got new jobs. We didn't even shun the cheating coaches."
ESIC have "found I think another 2 or 3 exploits like that one and they are investigating them all right now, it's going on right now."
"I know that there are going to be more names getting banned, again."
"So they're doing that on a skeleton crew while, investigating 3 continents worth of match fixing in MDL and semi-pro level CS." "They're doing this with half a dozen people." "They don't have any money or any help. People barely even fucking cooperate with them, they are treated like pariahs. It's ridiculous."
"Why are the CSPPA popping off at ESIC on my Twitter timeline, when you should be working together." "because its all about what's in it in for me." "2020, the online era of CS: 'What is in it for me?' How can I cheat, how can I get my paper, how can I bleed this scene one last time before I fuck off and play shooty shooty bang bang Riot Games babys first fps."
RL says that in the CIS region, teams have gone to tournaments and have been eliminated multiple times by the same team. We found out they were cheating and those players who lost, have been cut from their roster, careers ended because of cheaters.
"They're all at it in the online era, they're all at it, they're all cheating, they're all using exploits, probably that see through smoke bug got used a bunch of times"
RL talks about how there is no integrity from dead (the player), always denying when caught doing something
On the topic of 'BLAST never said we couldn't stream snipe': "Lies, BLAST never said you could do that, they had to sort of retcon it." "because what happened after that they fucking started snitching and squealing"
"Suddenly you had like, 10 of the top 15 teams in the world, staring into the abyss of being banned for 6-12 months in line with ESIC recommendations."
He says that ESIC was put in a tough situation and couldn't enforce the bans because it would have resulted in killing CS. What resulted was, BLAST, ESIC, and teams came together and gave them a warning and told them, in RL's words "don't do this again or you're gonna get got."
He then says the top teams brushed this off and didn't give a fuck
The new MiBR team playing Flashpoint, that wasn't involved in the previous incidents are doing it again (stream sniping). He gave credit to Flashpoint for the quick resolution and punishment and respect for cogu's response to the situation.
"ESIC came out and said, once more, 'Guys, zero tolerance from now on.'" RL then got upset at community's reaction calling ESIC "pussies" for their non enforcement and said if we want competitive CS we cant ban the top 10 teams.
He points out how players have no integrity and will do anything for an edge as long as they won't get detected or banned or it's within a grey area.
"All of this shit was mad avoidable, even in the pandemic era."
He talks about why aren't we filming them. Why aren't there representatives for leagues and tournaments making sure players aren't cheating?
"How many years have we let our scene be fucking pillaged by these greedy cunts?" "We just let it happen."
RL says that gambling and skins betting which existed in moderation was "accelerated and blown up by the Call of Duty greedy fucks."
"Never forget TmarTn was on the board of EnVyUs." "His website, CSGOLotto, they had a bunch of off-the-books sponsorships." "NBK promoted them. People forget."
"Those people who had access to the skins, go to the players" "Even people like s1mple, best player in the world, even he scammed knives and skins off fucking fans."
Owners of skin casino sites would approach pros and lend them skins to use in tournaments and possibly keep them after reaching a deal
Players would tip off inside info about matches and teams in exchange for skins. Info such as: roster changes, how they played in scrims
They would use this info to bet and subvert the odds on their sites. "That happened religiously, I can't even tell you how many times it happened."
"I had access to the biggest database of information, from an inside betting circle in NA, and it would take information and screenshots from other pro players, who were feeding them info in exchange for money or skins."
"Some of these players are still playing." "Incredibly, there are players still in the CSPPA today, complaining about the BLAST recordings, that were embroiled in this murky shit back then."
RL also says that there were tournaments where teams contrived with each other, who should throw, who should win.
"There's a handful of people that are trying to fucking clean it up, and you think you get something over the line and you see something like the CSPPA and it's run by corrupt fucking chuckle heads, and now you've got another corrupt body you have to fight on a fucking daily basis, it's demoralizing."
"It's too far gone. Our entire semi-professional scene is compromised."
"It's rife guys, I'm not going to lie any more. It's not just China, it's not just Russia, it's here, it's NA, it's Europe, it's Australia, so much more than you think, so much more than we can prove."
"I get sent chat logs all the time […] and they're morons, these players, short-sighted, amateur, morons and they're doing it on WhatsApp." People would get cut from the bets because they want to make more money, then they leak the logs. He says, from the chat logs, they spread "little" bets across every site they can (400 to 1k dollars) to prevent shifting odds
He says the scumbags who've fucked off to Valorant will do the same there if Riot doesn't do something and says Valorant "is an esports scene heading for a very early fall based on the sheer volume of scumbags that are already there."
"That's tier 2 CS in a nutshell these days. They know they're never going to play in a major, so what's the punishment?"
"All of these tier 2 fucks that are fixing games now they are like the fucking mafia compared to iBuyPower" "These guys are working with organized criminals to fix entire seasons worth of games. That's what's going on in your tier 2 CS."
"I'm literally being told that there are players fixing games at all levels of Chinese esports and motherfuckers with guns are turning up to team houses and stuff."
"Everyone in NA has left we've lost a continents worth of support during this pandemic and Valve haven't said a fucking word."
RL says the Call of Duty "goblins" that destroyed CS for years are the same people who are now trying to leave CS. "The nerve to treat a game where the fans, and the community, and the TO's were nothing but good to you." "To just kick the players out now and go and leave and say 'It just doesn't make financial sense.' Oh you'll slither back when we have a major though for them stickers won't you."
There's a cascading effect in NA where people don't bother with CS anymore and people like Chaos suffer.
He says NA team owners are incompetent for always wanting it easy and always wanting a guarantee on their investment without skill or nuance.
RL says he would be able to market a team correctly and would have a good ROI and also points out how TSM wouldn't even be bothered to tweet that their team, which was one of the best in the world, was playing at the Major.
He also says not all NA owners are like that, compliments and respects Jason Lake who nearly lost everything to keep Complexity going.
He then calls out the incompetence in Infinite Esports when they acquired OpTic Gaming and bought an Indian CS team.
He says HECZ is not to blame here and that they couldn't tell forsaken was cheating when it was so obvious.
They measured his reaction time to the likes of dev1ce and s1mple
When an enemy showed up on his screen he won that duel something like 44% of the time
"was like the number 1 player in the world statistically"
He brought a laptop to their bootcamp and refused to use the high end PCs that hey provided
He respects Andy Miller (NRG CEO) and HECZ but says that the attitude of not being able to easily monetize their teams is "piss weak" and there needs to be a risk.
He says Chaos EC shouldn't be cutting their roster and should be competent enough to be able to figure out how to make money off their team.
He says there are still opportunities in NA and people are panicking and pulling out, and says Valorant will be the same if not worse.
He also says "bums" who couldn't even get out of groups in NA competitions, are making crazy money in Valorant and says it will continue to inflate.
He also said that he heard rumors that EG (Evil Geniuses) are done.
He also thinks that the rumors of a Valve franchised league from before was sparked up from "these lazy fabled weak NA fucking team owners basically trying to see if Valve would bite at the hook if it was dangled and they didn't"
Slasher says NA team owners are really in favor of franchised leagues because they want to make more money. "Most of the powerful team owners right now are on board with ditching this third party organization structure, or they are trying to play this power politics with all the TOs, and that is contributing to a lot of the problems there"
RL says that Riot has proved they can run a franchised league (LCS) and will be profitable in 2021 which is what a lot of team owners care about and says the competition will only serve to snatch people away from CS.
RL continues to say, "I am so sick and tired of what we have done to this scene, I am just exhausted with it." "I think we have legitimately fucked it, I really think we have. I think we're staring into almost like a CGS (Championship Gaming Series) wasteland in NA." "Counter-Strike esports is a fucking joke."
"TO's have treated CS talent like absolute human garbage for years now."
RL says that people like Sean Gares and ddk switching over to Valorant isn't for financial reasons because they are making less over there.
He points out that TO's can't even give talent a 3 month in advance calendar.
Because of the pandemic TO's won't hire certain people and some people are working more hours for the same money.
He says we as a community don't respect journalists enough which is why we don't have good journalists.
He also says DeKay is leaving the scene soon and that Thorin is close to leaving also
He says he had to talk a caster down from quitting and was struggling to find reasons.
He says that DreamHack told Vince they would hire him but not if he wants to stick with dusT and says that this is the norm in esports. "Constant leveraging of people against each other." and says this is why we don't have a talent union.
New gen casters are getting put into shit situations and the community's reaction to them is adding fuel to the fire
He says the reason Moses left was because of the terrible conditions
He says that Anders had to constantly leave his family and kid because someone fucked up or broke promises and had to constantly tell his kid to their face that "daddy can't be home this weekend."
He says that esports has always been a lie to sell you this dream, "Meanwhile there's about 2% of the cunts getting all the checks."
"Anything that Riot does, is better than Valve's inaction"
Slasher says that the larger aspect of esports as a whole compared to other entertainment mediums and Valve's lack of inattention are the bigger problems. He continues saying that the fact that Valve let their game be ran as an esport, they need to take on the responsibilities of it.
Both Slasher and RL wants Valve to take control but not on the level of Riot Games, there needs to be a balance.
In case it was ever a question: Gabe Newell has been to 0 CSGO Majors.
RL calls Valve out saying they could have done something during the gambling era.
He says Valve used to come to the majors, but doesn't think they do anymore.
RL had met with Valve at the Cluj-Napoca Major and had tried to appeal iBP's indefinite punishment and had also gave Brax's life story:
A recent family member passed away, they had lost a lot of income, they had to live in trailer, iBuyPower did not pay any salaries, and was pressured by family to make money who didn't support his career.
RL said that Valve told him, "How dare you try and make us feel guilty." "We shouldn't feel bad about enforcing the only thing that matters that we need to make players afraid of: cheating and match fixing"
RL also tried to share other info about match fixing and nothing came of it
RL points out that Source 2 or a new engine is not something you will want based on the experience of transitioning from CS 1.6 to CS:S. "Valve's track record with brand new engines being launched, not fucking great from what I remember."
Slasher says "If there is anything the community should do, is pressure Valve to hire a community manager."
They say that we need a commissioner, a community manager (not the person who runs the Twitter who posts memes all day), then we need to have a circuit
RL reiterates that Valve doesn't care about CS esports and says they need to change the culture at Valve to make them care about CS esports
Slasher says a systemic problem is making it so working on CSGO would be a bad decision for you as an employee for Valve
He also hasn't talked to Valve in ages and have sent over bugs and cheats and doesn't get emails back anymore
Slasher says we should be directing attention at the developer leads, pointing out Ido Magal, if he even is still the project lead
RL thinks that Ido and Brian are the only people that "vaguely even give a fuck about CS" and were the only people that RL recalled that actually read Reddit and paid attention from time to time
"It is really fucking precarious. Somebody has got to step the fuck up and start giving a shit"
Slasher suggests org owners, with CSPPA, with ESIC, with TOs have a concerted effort against Valve
"Riot Games are doing better things than Valve in the esports space" which is something RL didn't think he'd say.
"People who used to be talent, working with unions, arguing with other talent, when the unions fucked them over, can't understand their perspective, TOs fucking over broadcast talent, broadcast talent wanting to leave and go and work for orgs, orgs having no money, Valve might take coaches away because all the coaches are cheating, ESIC has about 4 people in a fucking call doing the investigations, everyone thinks they're spies for ESL, ESL are just the evil fucking overlords wanting to rule the scene and will just somehow, like cockroaches outliving a nuclear bomb, and Valve are in a fucking holiday in Hawaii thinking about the next Dota character because they don't give a fuck about us."
"We've peaked. If we want to sustain and exist, now is the time to figure it out. No esports lasts as long as this, we've already done 8 years. We've already broke the records. We have got to figure out a way to coexist and drive the negative forces out and we need to do it as a collective and we're not doing that."
RL compared the Counter-Strike scene to the people on the Titanic who ran around with guns robbing people while the boat was sinking.
"We have given up on being a respectable esports scene." "We are now a conduit to make money for those who want to just milk it, just have one last ride, one last roll of the dice. It's done." "What a fucking mess. What have we done to our fucking scene?"
"There's just too much self-interest driving all of this." "I don't see a way we stop the dominoes." "When it's that bad, when there's that many dishonest people that ESIC have to come out and say that if we punish them all there's no one left. What does that tell you?"
"How many opportunities have we had to clean house? How many times have we said, 'this must never happen again', and another scandal." "The entire skins betting operations was the biggest criminal conspiracy in esports ever executed and no one has been punished for it." "The people who could be driving that don't want to."
"Right now people are fans of those organizations because the scene has value. It is worth being a fan of Astralis because they are excellent at Counter-Strike. It is worth being a fan of s1mple because he is the best player in Counter-Strike, maybe the exception of ZywOo. If the scene is devalued, if the scene loses its meaning, those things lose its meaning too, and people will leave, people will stop tuning into the games. I have seen it happen in multiple esports, this is not my first time at the rodeo. I am getting big Brood War vibes right now and I don't like it."
"The role you play in all of this as fans, as viewers, as listeners, as consumers of esports content, it's absolutely imperative that you know who the good guys are. It's absolutely imperative that you use your voice. It's absolutely imperative that when things are bad, you know who, at least, is trying to make them good, and you have to apply your criticism to the right targets."
He continues saying it's no good in continuing to attack ESIC and saying how they are bad, ESIC have it hard
He says CSPPA are on the right side of the argument on BLAST but have been on the wrong side of many arguments many times.
"If you are not willing to stand along side the weakest member of the union, with the least amount of influence, and the least amount of power, then it is not a union at all and you shouldn't pose as one." "You wanna serve a bunch of special interest do it, everyone else in esports fucking does, but do not pose as something you are not." "We love the players. I've been fighting for players rights for as long as I've been able to, but the CSPPA is not what we needed."
"They are not applying the pressure to the right people, they are not fighting the right battles, they are not helping their weaker members."
He says what orgs have done by keeping or hiring coaches is bad. "When you give up on holding an appreciable standard, you've lost the scene" "Competition matters, rules matter, punishments matter, achievements matter, excellence matters" "If you start stripping that away, you have nothing" "You guys need to take that knowledge and apply it sensibly."
"Valve has sold you all down the river, they sold everyone in the esports scene down the river, tournament organizers are selling their talent down the river. Don't hate on them for sounding tired after a 16 hour day. Don't hate on them because the hype for a matchup they've seen for the 20th time in the past 3 months, they can't be as excited or it sounds contrived. Support your guys, they're there for you, these are your people."
"This community has got to start acting like one for the first fucking time. Just put the petty shit away, let's try and fix this fucking scene while we still have one to save."
"You can't rely on Valve, you can't rely on ESL, you can't rely on the CSPPA, you can't rely on anyone." "Once again, it's gonna be the likes of us, the amateurs, the people who give a fuck, rolling up our sleeves and grafting." "I'm old and tired and I don't want to have to do it again. People need to pick up the torch and do it."
"Like Michal did, like Dudenhoeffer did. You see something wrong, fix it. You see somebody doing something wrong, call it out. If you think something could be better, let people know."
"Vote with your wallets if you're not happy with the direction Valve goes in. If when we do get to the Major, they serve up another subpar, same old bullshit stickers and signatures package again, do not buy it."
"You're a powerful block and if you use it correctly we can fucking avert this disaster."
"I'm not doing another year in this broken, bust-up fucking scene, where everyone is miserable, everyone is broke, everyone is tired, and everyone is trying to fucking rob everyone else, blind, while the fucking people who are meant to be protecting you, are just fucking enhancing it and lining their own pockets."
"I'm not doing it anymore and you shouldn't want to do it either."
"I stand by every fucking thing I said. I mean it, because this game fucking matters to me, this scene fucking matters to me. I put my life into this, my adult life, and to see it in this state is fucking sad."
The Hound of Hounslow (How an Autist Broke the Market)
On May 6, 2010, Jim Cramer’s brain broke. “That is not a real price,” he yelled to his monitor. “OK? That is not a real price.” Proctor & Gamble had just fallen 25% in a manner of minutes, then 29%, then 31%. Cramer had never seen such a shiny knife, such a beautiful buy, and he searched frantically for the right camera to beg his followers to add PG to their portfolio. There weren’t enough buttons on Cramer’s soundboard to fully capture how he felt about the quickest drop in Dow Jones history. In what would later be dubbed “The Crash of 2:45” or simply “The Flash Crash,” over a trillion dollars was wiped from the stock market in a manner of 15 minutes. The odd thing was, despite dropping more than 9% at one point, the market would rapidly recover a bit after 3 PM and would close only 3% lower for the day. In the ensuing days and weeks, journalists and financial commentators and United States Congressmen would try and determine where this volatility had come from. Something weird had just happened. # In the investigations that followed, regulators would consider a couple of theories. Was this a “fat-finger trade” where a trader inadvertently placed a large sell order, triggering a domino effect of sorts where algos would in turn sell? Was this a well-coordinated cyberattack, aimed to cripple American institutions? Was it simply a dip exacerbated by high-frequency traders? Had Janet Yellen forgotten to change the printer toner? Nobody knew. But five months after the flash crash, the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) released a joint report that on May 6, 2010 the market was “so fragmented and fragile that a single large trade could send stocks into a sudden spiral.” They stated that a group called Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. had inadvertently played a role in the crash by initiating a sale of 75,000 E-Mini S&P contracts ($4.1 billion total) as a hedge to an existing position. This, the report said, coupled with the high-frequency traders trying to sell the long futures contracts they had just picked up from Waddell & Reed, led to a game of “hot potato” where the contracts were resold to other HFTs. The report though was leaving out a crucial player. # In 2005, Navinder Sarao was living the dream. At 27 years old, he still lived with his parents in Hounslow, a working-class suburb outside of London, demanding tendies to be delivered to his bedroom by his sweet emigrant mother. To the people who knew him, Navinder, or Nav, was known to be quick-witted and quick to anger. He was dominant at Halo and FIFA, and he had a proclivity to focus on one task for hours and hours on end until he mastered it. He was almost obsessive in his interests. Despite still living with his parents, young Nav had aspirations. In 2006, he responded to an ad in the Evening Standard that read, “Wanted: futures traders. Must work well under pressure.” That’s it. That was the ad. And Nav, with no experience and a honey mustard-stained tie, went to the FutexLive headquarters—a drab office situated above a supermarket 45 minutes outside London—and successfully hid his Asperger’s and got the job. He was now a professional trader. Nav picked things up quickly. Realizing that he was surrounded by day-trading retards, he moved his desk to the corner of the shabby trading floor and bought a pair of noise-canceling headphones. He’d found success trading E-mini S&P Futures, which is the primary futures trading vehicle for the S&P 500. And with his noise-canceling headphones, Nav would follow the orders that would enter and leave the markets. His coworkers would marvel at the autist in the corner and the returns he was regularly pulling in. Then 2008 happened. By the time the financial crisis was in full swing, Nav was almost thirty and had decided to leave Futex. He had accumulated $2 million from his trades the last couple of years, and he figured the most prudent move as a budding millionaire was to set up his command center in his bedroom. He still lived with his parents. # Nav realized something early on in the mortgage crisis that not everyone else did. He realized that governments would be forced to step in and save these retarded institutions, and he knew the banks wouldn’t be allowed to fall. And he bet $2 million—his whole net worth at the time—that he would be right. He made this bet on a Friday, and the following Monday, George Bush announced the TARP plan. Prices proceeded to recover 19% over the next couple of weeks, and Nav rode the wave and turned his $2 million into $15 million. Did he rest on his laurels? Fuck no, this kid’s retarded! Nav didn’t want a wife and a home with a couple of kids running around. He wanted GLORY. # Around 2010, the markets were seeing an influx in high-frequency trading, and Nav took personal insult to these robots. People were getting scalped by these algos, and those scalps belonged to Nav. Those profits were rightfully his. In order to beat the robots, Nav decided to build his own robot. And unsurprisingly, fueled by Code Red and autism, Nav’s algo worked magnificently. Pretty soon, he was regularly pulling in half a million a day. All the while living in a cramped bedroom of his parents’ home that cost $300,000. # May 6, 2010, started out as a regular day for Nav. The markets were sliding a bit, and Jim Cramer was flailing about his studio as though he were fighting a cloud of bats, but this was roughly on par for the time. Nav’s algo was pumping E-mini sell orders into the market—$200 million worth of orders to be exact—which ultimately resulted in a loss of liquidity (don’t ask me how this worked, I’m still confused why my PLTR 12/11 40C aren’t printing). At around 1:40 EST, or 6:40 in Hounslow, his mother called from the bottom of the steps to inform Nav that din-din was ready and would he please come down. So Nav logged off. And exactly one minute after that, the market began to fall at a rate that had never seen before. Nav had no idea though; he was in an argument with his father about why he needed to chew with his mouth open in order to let the scalding tendy fumes out. A trillion dollars had been wiped from American markets, and the instigator of it all was too retarded to know what he’d done. The tendies were good though. # The trillion-dollar loss turned out to be not that big of a deal. The DOW snapped back from the 9% freefall like a rubber band, like any stock that Andrew Left has deemed to be a casino. But the NYSE and NASDAQ officials proceeded to meet over the next couple of months to try and determine what caused the nosedive and rapid recovery. In the reports that they would write, regulators made no reference to manipulation and no reference to Nav. In fact, he wasn’t even aware there was an investigation going on. He wasn’t aware he did anything wrong. But regulators eventually began to notice that Nav was canceling a lot of orders. The CFTC sent him an email and asked if he could explain what he’d been up to. What was the reason for his canceling an obscene number of orders? That’s what big banks did. And that’d usually be fine and all, but Nav was a singular trader and that made it suspicious. Nav wrote back to the CFTC explaining in careful terms that he had nothing to apologize for and that the CFTC could kiss his ass. He actually sent that. He told the CFTC to kiss his ass. Which, in hindsight, might’ve been a bad idea but the regulators were still too stupid and boomery to charge him with anything at the time. Nav would’ve gotten away with it too if it weren’t for a blabbermouth desk trader in Chicago who months later reported a different block of Nav’s trades to the CFTC, rekindling the case against Nav. The investigation and case were dragged out over months and years, and I know 99% of you were too impatient to get this far, so I’ll give the cliff notes for the rest. Basically, Nav would eventually be charged with “spoofing,” which is the purchase of a large block of orders with the intent to cancel them. Spoofing artificially drives prices higher or lower. So the FBI and other concerned parties showed up on the doorstep of Nav’s Hounslow townhome in 2015, and he was extradited to the U.S. The judge learned he was worth $50 million, so he set bail to $7.5 million. Curiously enough though, Nav couldn’t access the $50 million or pay bail, and it was later determined that he’d somehow lost the fortune, seemingly to various shady investment advisors who promised to keep his money safe. (I personally like to think he’s stashed his earnings into a Caribbean account and that he’ll return to his private island once things blow over) Over the next couple of months, Nav worked with investigators and taught them how market abuse happens. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s by a prison doctor, and the judge, sensing the moral dilemma of incarcerating an autist, and sensing Nav had received punishment enough from being scammed out of his $50 million, recommended a year of house arrest. So Nav is currently serving his year of house arrest in the same bedroom where he amassed $50 million. But now he’s penniless at 41. TLDR: Some autist beats the system, but the casino is angry and creates new rules to retroactively punish him for his winnings.
Genshin Impact: Don't let yourself fall victim to a predatory monetization model
So I originally had little to no intention of making a thread like this, instead wishing to stay silent and watch as the storm inevitably blows over. However, a few recent events have convinced me to act. Just so you all have some insight, I’ve played MMOs and gacha games for basically all my life since I could get on the internet (over 10 years now), and have experienced things from Nexon’s horrible monetization models from Maplestory to Vindictus, to the casino rate odds of Black Desert lategame, to being actually respected as a consumer in Azur Lane. Guess which one I’ve spent the most money on? While I love this game, and fully wish to be able to support MiHoYo for their wonderful work, the fact of the matter is that the gacha rates in this game are beyond predatory, and this monetization model they’re currently running beyond exploitive, and as a result, I find myself unable to even give a cent of my hard earned money to support these dubious business practices. Yes, you can enjoy the game without premium characters. Yes, the exploration can be completed with everything they give you for free. You can sink tens of hours into this game without paying a dime. But you can’t have the full player experience, to sate your curiousity with new characters or just have fun with the characters whose design you love, without either shilling out untold and unreasonable amounts of money, waiting almost a year for a ‘pity pull,’ or spending countless hours rerolling until you get a starting roll that you enjoy, which isn’t playing the game. When a new 5 star character comes out, are players going to make new accounts and reroll to try to get them too, abandoning all their previous progress? At this point they’ll be more obligated to participate in this predatory gacha system, by which point so you know, the pull rate get the specific character you desire off banner right now is about 0.06% (estimated), while banner has about a 0.3% chance without pity. If you want an RPG horror story, just try to calculate how many rolls on average it will take to get a specific 5 star character that you want, and then convert the cost into whatever currency you use. Then realize you need 7 copies of said 5 star character to truly experience them at their full potential. Thinking about these costs unironically makes me shiver. But in this capitalist society with which we find ourselves, money speaks louder than words. This is why I come to you all with a proposition; I ask the community to please stop spending on this game until we, as consumers, are better treated and given the respect we deserve. Until the rates and the built in gacha system are improved upon, and we are seen as real people and not just a convenient source of income from which MiHoYo can trick into this terrible economic loop, I ask of you as a community to stop buying the ingame micro transactions and the various season passes, so that MiHoYo can get the message. Yes, whales will be whales and continue to spend huge, but even whales will run out of steam (and money), and a system that’s supported by a few whales is unsustainable in the long run. That’s not to say stop playing, but just stop spending. After all, this game can be enjoyed fully as F2P. Don’t be pressured to spend by big shot streamers and YouTube upstarts pouring thousands into this game. In a separate post below, I will include useful links with information regarding gacha comparisons rates and in depth calculations. I ask that everyone also approach this thread respectfully, and keep the discussion that is to follow respectful as well. Thank you for your time in reading my post, and I hope that it has been a constructive endeavour.
Covid-19 Update for December 8: 1,727 new cases, 1,397 recoveries, 9 deaths + Announcement of additional mandatory measures
Data is taken from the Covid-19 portal and today's availability by Dr Deena Hinshaw, Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro, and Minister of Jobs Doug Schweitzer. Dr Hinshaw's next availability is tomorrow. There are currently enhanced measures in effect for multiple regions of Alberta and have been enhanced as of today. This link provides a quick summary of which ones are in effect for different regions of Alberta. Top line numbers:
For values where "Current" and "Total" are the same, I have left results under Total
Cases with "Unknown source"
10,575 (83.9%) in last 7 days
+19,071 (~9.06% positive)
+45/+35 based on yesterday's post/portal data
+9 (4x 70-79, 5x 80+)
Spatial distribution of people tested, cases, and deaths (since yesterday):
All other values are compared with respect to yesterday
New People Tested
Spatial distribution of cases for select cities and regions (change since yesterday) (cities proper for Calgary and Edmonton):
High River county
I.D. No 9 (Banff)
Wood Buffalo municipality
Rest of Alberta
Other municipalities with 10+ active cases is given at this link Schools with outbreaks are listed online. Quick numbers (as of today):
108 schools are on Watch (+2)
141 schools have 2-4 cases (+10)
Spatial distribution of hospital usage (change based on yesterday's post):
Hospitalization zone are where the patient is receiving care, not zone of residence
Statements by Premier Kenney Opening Statements
Here to lay out additional health measures which are necessary to protect healthcare system and save lives
Alberta has faced most of the year with lower levels of spread, hospitalizations, and fatalities
Having said that, last few weeks are different
Incredible work is being done by healthcare workers in face of this
Delays in surgeries have occurred, which for some may result in a shorter lifespan
Not doing anything now will result in continued growth of hospitalizations and further strain on healthcare
On advice of chief medical officer, restrictions have occurred. Government realizes that this can impact businesses and cause adversities
Knows many feed policies are unjust and why provincial government has stressed education first instead of using policy
On the other hand, while space can be made, it will have further health impacts (e.g. running out of capacity in hospitals)
If stronger action isn't taken now, hundreds or thousands more Albertans will die
Data appears to suggest a stabilization (around a reproductive factor of around 1.2), but that isn't enough
As of today, all outdoor and indoor social gatherings are banned
The mask mandate will expand to all indoor places, with exception of rental homes and farm operations
As of December 13th, 12:01 AM:
(1) Retail, grocery stores, and shopping malls are restricted to 15% of capacity, down from 25%. Kiosks are open for takeaway service only. Malls cannot be used for socialization and shopping only
(2) Places are worship to 15% occupancy with previous restrictions applying. Online and drive-in services are still recommended
(3) Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes are restricted to takeout and delivery services only. This will open up their access to provincial and federal supports
(4c) Indoor entertainment (e.g. libraries, science centres, water parks)
(4d) Trade centres
The restrictions do not apply to service visits, healthcare, or childcare .
(5) All Alberta employees must work from home unless employer requires physical presence for operational reasons (up from a recommendation)
No changes to schools beyond what was previously announced
These are all province wide and will be in effect for 4 weeks
Goal has been to be targeted. However, the whole province is seeing significant spread
Knows the holidays are important for many people
The hard truth is that the single source of spread is at-home gatherings
If we let people gather for Christmas, we'll see a spike in cases
We can't let that happen, so please follow the gathering restrictions previously noted (only in-household or with 2 close contacts if you live alone)
Increased Enterprise Support
This isn't the fault of anybody who followed the guidelines
Until the contact tracing system was overwhelmed, we didn't see it being the fault of business owners
But we are seeing spread so widespread, it doesn't matter how careful you were
These are decisions are a last resort
Knows this impact will be real. So financial support for small and medium size enterprise
4x growth in small and medium enterprise relaunch grant, while lowering eligibility from 40% of revenue lost to 30%. This will also be retroactive to March
Thanks Albertans for their work for most of the past 9 months
We are seeing the end with vaccination possibly beginning in weeks...the end is in sight
Why now, instead of two weeks ago?: Goal is to reduce contacts, assuming Albertans respond. This should be a very strong message and reduce transmissions. Measures have been increasingly harsh because each restriction creates harms, will hurt people who have sunk all their money in a business, and potentially increase self-harm. So this is a last resort
Why keep retail open instead of just curbside?: Encourages curbside, but some people may not be able to live without basic goods. Even most stringent policies around the world have kept retail open in some capacity. Feels the designation of essential and non-essential businesses in spring was a mistake
Why is cabinet being transparent about the reproductive value (R or Rt)?: Are preparing ways to publicly present this data, as well as healthcare capacity. Targeting next week
Do you think the softer measures before will cost lives/make economic recovery more difficult?: Shutting down early would have had significant impacts. Thinks it'd be a huge mistake to draw correlations between strictness of restrictions and outcomes and that there is a reasonable balance being stuck
Since you defined Covid representing "a tiny percent" of deaths, 300 deaths have occurred. There have been significant growths in hospitalization and cases. Do you take personal responsibility?: Rejects the premise of the question and calls it more of an "NDP speech". Feels the province has done more than other jurisdictions, especially early on. Also notes that BC, who has a government of opposite end of the political spectrum, has had a similar approach
Statements by Minister Shandro Additional Details on Health Measures
Goal is to limit in-person interaction
Retail restriction has a floor of 5 people
Ski hills can remain open, provided restrictions are followed
Realizes that this is a lot to take in, but person-to-person exposure is fuelling the spread
We need limit contacts and be aware of the situation around you (even outdoors or at the grocery store)
How does outdoor gathering ban even work?: Goal is to restrict social gatherings. So do not socially gather indoors or outdoors. If they gather in a park or on the sidewalk, that isn't allowed. Difficulty will certainly lie in enforcement and hopes it won't need to be used. It will be up to law enforcement to determine if they feel they need to use it
(Additional comment by Dr Hinshaw: Intention is to prevent group social activities. Not prohibited is fitness activities provided distancing occurs)
Statements by Minister Schweitzer Opening Statements
Wants to make people aware that there will be significant impacts. This is not lost on anyone in government
Knows many people are impacted because people have ignored public health orders.
Additional Details on Small Business Supports
40% may not be able to re-open after these closures without supports
Small businesses may now qualify for $20,000 support (up from $5,000) with a decrease in revenue lost to 30%
An additional 15,000 businesses should be able to qualify for this (totalling 500 million dollars)
How many people will be affected with these restrictions?: ~30,000 businesses will be affected. Will be seeing how many people
Statements by Dr Hinshaw Cases
426 schools have active cases (~18%) with total of 1,701 cases
108 schools on watch list (5+ active cases)
The Royal Alexandra Hospital has decided to place facility on "Watch" status as a precautionary measure
Hospitals are safe places to receive care, but be aware that staff are under extreme stress
Edmonton Zone will enact additional measures:
(1) Postponing up to 60% of non-urgent surgeries (up from 30%)
(2) Diagnostic imaging may be reduced by up to 40%
(3) Ambulatory visits and procedures may be reduced as needed
AHS will contact those who are impacted
This is why these measures are needed and a sign of how Covid may impact more than the ill
Scope of the Situation
If you gathered all the people who have tested positive, it would be the 5th largest city in Alberta
1/3 people have been tested
On October 8, positive rate was 1.34% with 184 cases in province
Today, positive rate is 9% and 7 day average is 1,785
Outbreaks in almost all group settings
People from 1 to 108 have been infected
Knows restrictions will impact many people
The fastest way to get there is to embrace these restrictions
Knows many people have embraced already, but everybody will need to do more
Why do we think these measures will work, after the last two rounds?: This is the most significant round of restrictions. Points to Israel as an example (who shrunk their cases faster than even their first wave). Target will be to bring the health system out of risk
If someone is coming in from out of province, is that allowed?: If it's someone from out of province, it isn't allowed
A follow up question noted an example of family members in Alberta were quarantining were 2 weeks before Christmas. Challenge is that enforcement of a "quarantine" will be difficult to control. Province is saying "gathering for Christmas" won't be allowed with people who don't live in the home. Knows it's a big imposition but any suggestions like in the question may cause a Thanksgiving-like increase in spread
Ended my gambling career (for now) on a high note - jackpot handpay to end 2020. My thoughts and ramblings as a now-retired gambler.
Warning: long rambling stories ahead. I am bored and waiting to get through my first day back at work since before Christmas. You've been warned! I've been going to the casino pretty regularly for the past few years. Before that, I played occasionally. I exclusively play slots. I view it as a night out - first with friends back when I brought $50 and played penny denom minimum bet spins and prayed to win $20, and then eventually shifting my mindset to playing higher bets and denominations. I hit my first jackpot handpay a couple of years ago. I hit $3700 on a $27 bet on a Geisha machine. I've hit a few other jackpots here and there, culminating with my biggest jackpot ever this past summer. I hit $12K on a $50 bet on a Pompeii slot machine. Well, the long story short is that I have fallen out of love with gambling. I have somehow managed to have a positive ROI on gambling. I track my withdrawls and win on a spreadsheet. To put it bluntly: I have been extremely lucky over the past few years. I know that slots are not a viable way to win money in the long run, so I made a decision a few months ago to "retire" from gambling at the end of 2020. I went to my local casino last Wednesday. It just so happens when I hit a jackpot that I usually do it within the first half hour or so I'm at the casino. Well, it happened again. After going up $600 or so on another slot machine (I don't remember the name), I went to one of my most hated/favorite old school slots - Zeus dollar denomination. One of my worst moments in all of gambling was a few years ago. I got a bonus round on the Zeus dollar denomination on max bet of $45 a spin. I was BEYOND excited. I've seen Youtube videos where people have won tens of thousands of dollars in that exact scenario. Much to my shock, I won nothing. In that game, you don't win anything for triggering the bonus. So I actually *lost* $45 on getting the bonus. I cashed out and left immediately. Anyway, last week I hit a modest $4500. It was exciting...but not as exciting as I thought it should be. I was cool, calm, and...detached. The wins didn't mean much to me, and the losses mean absolutely nothing. My wife and I are in the EXTREMELY fortunate position that losing $500 or so every week or two at the casino is affordable. I'm not ignorant to how lucky we are to be in this position. After getting paid out, I played a bit longer. But that hand pay drove home the realization that I had a few months ago: it was time to stop gambling. If I can't get pumped about a big win like that, and if I'm not even phased a little bit by losing, it's just not worth gambling any more. I used to go for entertainment, but even now gambling doesn't provide that much. As I sit now, I am up roughly $18K over three years of slots. Not bad, but not life changing. Enough that I bought my wife a Burberry and Louis Vuitton handbag on separate occasions. The rest if stashed in savings or in an investment account somewhere. But I am 100% committed to being done. At least for 2021, and probably longer. If anyone is interested in hearing my thoughts on how to win...I don't have any insight to share. It's luck. I got lucky. I know I got lucky. The usual tropes about setting win and loss thresholds is good advice. Sometimes I chased payouts and hit them. Sometimes I chased and lost. But I managed to hit more than miss, and for that I'm lucky. And thankful. Anyway. I don't have a major takeaway or anything. I don't have many people I can talk about this with in my personal life, so I figured I'd share a bit of my story here. If you do gamble, please do so responsibly. Good luck, and try to have fun. If you're not having fun, it's probably not the right way to spend your time or money. EDIT: I just wanted to say to anyone who reads this in the future that I appreciate the nice responses and PMs from people. It's nice to share a positive experience with others! I sincerely hope that if any of you choose to play in the future, you choose to do so responsibly. Gambling can be a hugely problematic lifestyle for some people. Stay safe. (end of preaching here). I also want to take a second to address some comments from some people about slots being skill based. This is 100% false. The concept of slots being skill based in any way is demonstrably untrue with three seconds of reasonable thinking. If we accept that there is a hypothetical slot game which is based on skill and not pure luck, what are the consequences of that? First of all, this information would leak out. There would be no way to contain it. If one person can solve the system, another an as well. Subsequently, someone would write a book on the subject. Think about all the poker and blackjack strategy books out there. These are games where skillful play can increase your odds of winning. Last I checked, there aren't any books or Supersytem-level analyses from prominent individuals willing to stake their names and reputations on publishing a "slot technique" book. There's a reason for this. And also - think about this: casinos still carry blackjack tables for a reason: they still have an edge to win. If there is a surefire way for individuals to win when playing slots, casinos would 100% for sure take these games out of circulation. Casinos are not in the business of giving away money. Any claim there is a foolproof way to win money playing slots does not make sense when critical thinking is applied to the circumstances. Slots are not like card games. Finding and playing only games where there is a "must win by" progressive is not the same thing as skillful play. That's more akin to something like card counting in blackjack. Many people who design slot machines and engineer the software behind the scenes have posted on Reddit and elsewhere that wins are based on random number generators running behind every spin. There is literally no skill involved - you win or lose each spin based on pure random luck. I am saying this because there are a number of people who come to this subreddit to look for ways to cheat the system and get easy money. I see posts like this fairly often, and I'm only browsing this subreddit occasionally. Gambling is not, and should not, be a way for anyone looking to make a quick buck. If you're looking to get an edge playing slots because you need to pay bills or make a quick buck, you are already in serious trouble. Do not buy into the delusion that you can get an edge or guarantee a win. People saying this are snake oil salesmen who do not care for you or your well-being. Anyway. I'm going to stop monitoring this post. I'm still open to receiving PMs or messages, but I've had my fun with this so far. I could do with fewer trolls, but this is the internet. I knew what to expect. Bon chance, everyone!
COVID-19 Update Press Conference: December 22, 2020 (Scheduled for 1pm - Notes included)
COVID-19 Update: December 22, 2020 Scheduled for 1pm. Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will join Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy to provide an update on COVID-19. Link to livestream and recording
This fall when the region saw an increase in infections MA responded by deploying teams to support and test nursing homes, rolled back reopening, issued a stay at home advisory, strengthened the face covering mandate, restricted what type of procedures hospitals could perform, worked with hospitals to increase their capacity, and opened up two field hospitals.
This added hundreds of hospital beds, and slowed the growth in November.
Administration has released guidance urging people to spend this year celebrating with only those in their household. If you don't, practice good hygiene, socially distance, and wear a mask.
Since thanksgiving hospitalizations and cases have skyrocketed. This has slowed slightly, but not enough.
Before thanksgiving our hospitals acute beds were 67% occupied; by December 15th they were 83% occupied, and we have only recovered 1% since that peak.
The hospitals are under incredible pressure as we head towards another holiday season which will see another spike unless everyone plays a very different game than we did at thanksgiving. As a result we think its appropriate to take action now to slow that spread in a way that will avoid overrunning our hospital system.
Today we are announcing new statewide restrictions which will be in effect for at least two weeks starting Saturday Dec 26th, in addition to the stay at home advisory, face mask mandate, and early closures that are already in place. The intent of these restrictions will be to pause activity and reduce mobility so we can reduce the spread of the virus without closing schools or businesses.
Capacity limits reduced to 25% for most industries including restaurants, personal services, theaters and performance venues, casinos, office spaces, places of worship, retail, driving and flight schools, golf facilities for indoor spaces, libraries, lodging for common areas, arcades and indoor recreation, fitness centers and health clubs, museums, cultural facilities, and guided tours.
Workers and staff will not count towards the occupancy counts for restaurants, personal services, places of worship, and retail businesses such as grocery stores. All other rules and restrictions in each sector specific guidance will remain in place.
Indoor and outdoor gathering limits will be reduced to 25 people outdoors and 10 people indoors. This applies to private homes, event venues, and public spaces.
All hospitals must postpone or cancel all non-essential inpatient elective invasive procedures unless postponement would lead to high-risk for significant clinical decline of patient health. Hospitals should not schedule any new inpatient non-essential elective procedures until further notice from DPH.
Non-essential elective invasive procedures are those which are scheduled in advance because the procedure does not involve a medical emergency, and where delay would not adversely effect an individual's health. It will be clinical judgement that will judge situations on a case-by-case basis what can be postponed and canceled.
We are not shutting down healthcare; ambulatory, outpatient treatment, and preventive procedures such as mammograms, pediatric appointments, radiology, cancer screenings are not impacted. Inpatient and emergency services remain open.
We take this next step to preserve inpatient bed capacity and our clinical resources including staffing to prepare for flex surge capacity as needed. We must ensure our healthcare system can meet any acute care demands for our residents.
Nothing announced today impacts K-12 education. As the science and medical data has made clear, all school districts, including those with high infection rates, can and should bring students back into the classroom. These restrictions will help bring students back, and bring them back soon.
We are continuing to stand up Field Hospitals as alternate care sites. These hospitals provide acute care for covid-19 positive patients who need a low to medium level of care.
Worcester field hospital at the DCU Center currently has 26 patients with a staffed capacity of 50 beds. Since opening they have treated and discharged 100 patients with an average length of stay of just under 4 days. While the facility can accommodate 200 patients when completely full, it has been designed in units which can be stood up independently in 25 pod units.
In the coming weeks the second field hospital will begin accepting patients in Lowell. We are calling out for Nurses and Patient Care Associates to apply for this very important work. Visit Lowell general response .com.
The decision to reduce capacity to businesses was a difficult decision which carries very negative ramifications on peoples livelihoods and their families.
The economic package that was passed by congress will go a long way in addressing some of the financial damage that these restrictions will have on individuals families and businesses.
More help is needed for businesses, and our administration is putting together a significant economic relief fund for our commonwealth's small businesses (details coming tomorrow).
No dashboards will be posted Friday 12/25 and Friday 1/1. They will be updated Saturdays.
Lost in the Sauce: Barr's DOJ shut down investigations of Trump and admin officials
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. Housekeeping:
HOW TO SUPPORT: I know we are all facing unprecedented financial hardships right now. If you are in the position to support my work, I have a patreon, venmo, and a paypal set up. No pressure though, I will keep posting these pieces publicly no matter what - paywalls suck.
NOTIFICATIONS: You can signup to receive notifications when these posts are done.
On Saturday, Trump announced on Twitter that he has put his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in charge of his campaign's long-shot post-election legal challenges. Other people on the team include Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis.
Giuliani worked with a Russian agent to smear Biden. diGenova and Toensing tried to get the Justice Department to drop charges against corrupt Ukraine oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Powell represents Michael Flynn and champions "deep state" conspiracies. Ellis said gay marriage leads to pedophilia.
NYT: Mr. Trump turned to Mr. Giuliani earlier on Friday in reaction to the latest setback he faced in court, this one relating to votes in Maricopa County, Arizona… A half-dozen other Trump advisers have described Mr. Giuliani’s efforts as counterproductive and said that he was giving the president unwarranted optimism about what could happen… In an Oval Office meeting with aides on Thursday, Mr. Trump put Mr. Giuliani on speakerphone so the others could hear him. He angrily accused the aides of not telling the president the truth
Giuliani’s conspiracy-riddled rant at Four Seasons Total Landscaping was so disastrous that it “scared off many of the lawyers” recruited to argue election-related lawsuits.Politico: “Campaign officials described the episode as disastrous...there are widespread concerns within Trumpworld and GOP circles that Giuliani’s antics are thwarting the president’s legal machinery from within.” Two major law firms have withdrawn from Trump campaign cases as his legal challenges crumble. Arizona’s largest law firm Snell & Wilmer dumped the RNC and Trump campaign effort to challenge votes in Maricopa County. Porter Wright Morris & Arthur is abandoning Trump’s attempt to block Pennsylvania's popular vote for Joe Biden.
In one day (Friday), nine cases meant to attack President-elect Joe Biden's win in key states were denied or dropped - seven in Pennsylvania, one in Arizona, and one in Michigan.
The new federal chief information security officer, Camilo Sandoval, has already taken leave from his day job to participate in a pro-Trump effort to hunt for evidence of voter fraud in the battleground states. The group, Voter Integrity Fund, is a newly formed Virginia-based group that is analyzing ballot data and cold-calling voters. Sandoval was officially appointed on Nov. 4, 2020, but lists his starting date at October on his personal LinkedIn page.
WaPo: Sandoval is part of a hastily convened team led by Matthew Braynard, a data specialist who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign. Another participant is Thomas Baptiste, an adviser to the deputy secretary of the Interior Department who also took a leave to work on the project. Braynard said in an interview that several other government officials on leave are also assisting the effort, but he declined to identify them.
Facebook Cut Traffic To Leading Liberal Pages Just Before The Election: Liberal page administrators who spoke with BuzzFeed News said that their reach declined by as much as 70%, and still hasn’t recovered.
Facebook Live Spread Election Conspiracies And Russian State-Controlled Content Despite Employee Fears: The social network’s live video tool has recommended videos featuring misinformation and the hyperpartisan views of Trump allies leading up to and following election day in the US.
In the week after the election, Trump’s postings dominated Facebook, accounting for the 10 most engaged status updates in the United States, and 22 of the top 25. “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” was his top post.
YouTube Is Doing Very Little to Stop Election Misinformation From Spreading
Social media app Parler receives financial backing from conservative hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, The Wall Street Journal reported. Parler turned into a kind of de facto home for conservatives’ protests against the election— including the persistent “Stop the Steal” campaign— after the race was called for former Vice President Joe Biden. Several high-profile conservative social media personalities encouraged people to abandon Twitter and Facebook because of their moderation policies, and instead follow them on Parler.
Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, still hasn’t signed the official letter that would allow the incoming Biden team to formally begin the transition. House Democrats are assessing options to force the GSA’s hand, which could include summoning Murphy to the Hill to testify or suing her. “Obviously, Congress could file suit against the GSA administrator for failing to do her duty. We could seek to get a court to, in fact, issue an order
Her ascertainment is the legally necessary precursor to the government’s assistance to the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Team. It releases $6.3 million dollars to the team, which is funded by public and private money; a loan of expanded federal office space and equipment; access to government agencies that will begin sharing information and records about ongoing activities, plans and vulnerabilities; national security briefings for the president; and other support.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently confirmed that it is not providing national security briefings to the president-elect. The Defense Department has also reportedly indicated that it will not meet with the Biden-Harris transition team until Murphy formally affirms the apparent winner.
One of the officials fired in Trump’s latest purge was helping prepare for the transition to the new administration. USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick was removed abruptly to make way for a Trump loyalist after she had been supportive of transition planning, including the preparation of a 440-page manual for the next administration. The GSA’s refusal to enact the transition has locked Biden’s team out of crucial Covid-19 pandemic data and government agency contacts. The president-elect’s Covid-19 task force has been trying to work around the federal government by connecting with governors and the health community.
The head of Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui, called on the White House to allow contact with the Biden team, saying “It is a matter of life and death for thousands of people.”
White House’s Office of Management and Budget is considering 145 new regulations and other policy changes they could enact before Biden’s inauguration - rules that will be challenging to undo once they are finalized. Critics and supporters of the administration say they expect a final burst of regulations to be finalized in the weeks before Jan. 20.
The rules under development include policies that the incoming Biden administration would probably oppose, such as new caps on the length of foreign student visas; restrictions on the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of scientific research; limits on the EPA’s consideration of the benefits of regulating air pollutants; and a change that would make it easier for companies to treat workers as independent contractors, rather than employees with more robust wage protections.
Last week, both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said they’re preparing for a second Trump term. “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Pompeo said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon (clip). Pompeo then doubled down on Fox News (clip). “We are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption there will be a second Trump term,” Navarro said on Fox Business Friday (clip).
Attorney General William Barr stopped career prosecutors in DOJ’s Public Integrity Section from investigating whether President Trump broke any laws related to his conduct with Ukraine last year. The section was initially given the green light to pursue “a potentially explosive inquiry” into Trump, but after the Senate acquitted the president during impeachment proceedings, Barr sent the case to the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn. Prosecutors in DOJ’s Public Integrity Section were also prevented from bringing charges against former interior secretary Ryan Zinke by political appointees atop the Justice Department. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told prosecutors that they needed to gather more evidence and refine the case against Zinke for lying to Interior investigators.
The investigation into Zinke stemmed from his decision to block two Native American tribes—the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan—from opening a casino in Connecticut. Zinke’s office had been lobbied heavily by MGM Resorts International, which had been planning to open its own casino very close to where the tribes intended to break ground.
Sixteen assistant U.S. attorneys specially assigned to monitor malfeasance in the 2020 election urged Barr on Friday to rescind his memo allowing election-fraud investigations before results are certified. "It was developed and announced without consulting non-partisan career professionals in the field and at the Department. Finally, the timing of the Memorandum's release thrusts career prosecutors into partisan politics," the prosecutors wrote. An internal Justice Department investigation found that federal prosecutors who oversaw a controversial non-prosecution deal with Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 exercised “poor judgment” but did not break the law. “They just say he used poor judgment, and that's their way of basically letting everyone off the hook while offering some sort of an olive branch to the victims that we acknowledge weren't treated perfectly,” said Brad Edwards, who sued the DOJ in 2008 on behalf of Epstein accusers.
Eastern District of New York Judge Nicholas Garaufis (Clinton-appointee) ruled that Chad Wolf was not legally serving as acting Homeland Security secretary when he signed rules limiting DACA program applications and renewals. Therefore, in a win for Dreamers and immigration activists, Garaufis said the changes were invalid.
The judge described an illegitimate shuffling of leadership chairs at the Department of Homeland Security, the agency responsible for immigration enforcement, for the predicament of Wolf's leadership and that of his predecessor, Kevin McAleenan. "Based on the plain text of the operative order of succession," Garaufis wrote in the Saturday ruling, "neither Mr. McAleenan nor, in turn, Mr. Wolf, possessed statutory authority to serve as Acting Secretary. Therefore the Wolf Memorandum was not an exercise of legal authority."
There's a renewed push to get Chad Wolf confirmed as Homeland Security secretary -- a position in which he's been serving in an acting capacity for a yearr -- before Inauguration Day. In the past week, Homeland Security officials spoke to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office about bringing the nomination to a floor vote in the coming weeks.
Within the last six months, as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the US, the Trump administration filed 75 lawsuits to seize private land along the US-Mexico border for the border wall." People right now are having to choose between their health and their homes," said Ricky Garza, a staff attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project, a legal advocacy group. After a series of price increases, Trump’s border project will cost taxpayers $20 million per mile of border fence. A review of federal spending data shows more than 200 contract modifications, at times awarded within just weeks or months after the original contracts, have increased the cost of the border wall project by billions of dollars since late 2017. DHS has expelled unaccompanied immigrant children from the US border more than 13,000 times since March,using the coronavirus as an excuse to deny children their right to asylum. Previously, unaccompanied children were sent to government-run shelters as they attempted to pursue their asylum cases. Migrant children from Central America are being expelled to Mexico, where they have no family connections. The expulsions not only put children in danger - the policy violates a diplomatic agreement with Mexico that only Mexican children and others who had adult supervision could be pushed back into Mexico after attempting to cross the border. The House Judiciary Committee released a report on the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border, revealing that the federal agency that cares for migrant children was not told about the policy. The chaos contributed to the inability to later reunite parents and children. The Trump administration is trying to deport several women who allege they were mistreated by a Georgia gynecologist at an immigration detention center. Hours after one detained woman spoke to federal investigators about forced hysterectomies at a Georgia detention center, she said ICE told her that it had lifted a hold on her deportation and she faced “imminent” removal. Six former patients who complained about Dr. Mahendra Amin had already been deported. Northern District of Illinois Judge Gary Feinerman (Obama-appointee) blocked a key Trump administration policy that allowed officials to deny green cards to immigrants who might need public assistance Advocates who had feared that the policy would harm tens of thousands of poor people, particularly those affected by widespread job loss because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Microsoft said it has detected attempts by state-backed Russian and North Korean hackers to steal valuable data from leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers. “Among the targets, the majority are vaccine makers that have COVID-19 vaccines in various stages of clinical trials.” Two census takers told The AP that their supervisors pressured them to enter false information into a computer system about homes they had not visited so they could close cases during the waning days of the once-a-decade national headcount. The Supreme Court on Tuesday signaled it’s unlikely to tear down Obamacare over a Republican-backed lawsuit challenging the landmark health care law. Chief Justice John Roberts and Trump appointee Justice Brett Kavanaugh strongly questioned whether the elimination of the mandate penalty made the rest of the law invalid. Kavanaugh appeared to signal on several occasions that he favored leaving the rest of the law intact if the mandate is struck. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) was sued last week by four whistleblowers claiming that he abused his office to benefit himself, a woman with whom he was said to have had an affair, and the wealthy donor who employs her before retaliating against the members of his staff who reported him to the FBI. The Trump administration is rushing plans to auction drilling rights in the U.S. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the inauguration of Biden, who has vowed to block oil exploration in the rugged Alaska wilderness. Biden’s efforts could be complicated if the Trump administration sells drilling rights first. Formally issued oil and gas leases on federal land are government contracts that can’t be easily yanked.
The USA PATRIOT Act: The Story of an Impulsive Bill that Eviscerated America's Civil Liberties
The USA PATRIOT Act provides a textbook example of how the United States federal government expands its power. An emergency happens, legitimate or otherwise. The media, playing its dutiful role as goad for greater government oversight, demands "something must be done." Government power is massively expanded, with little regard for whether or not what is being done is efficacious, to say nothing of the overall impact on our nation's civil liberties. No goals are posted, because if targets are hit, this would necessitate the ending or scaling back of the program. Instead, the program becomes normalized. There are no questions asked about whether the program is accomplishing what it set out to do. It is now simply a part of American life and there is no going back. The American public largely accepts the USA PATRIOT Act as a part of civic life as immutable, perhaps even more so than the Bill of Rights. However, this act – passed in the dead of night, with little to no oversight, in a panic after the biggest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor – is not only novel, it is also fundamentally opposed to virtually every principle on which the United States of America was founded. It might not be going anywhere anytime soon, but patriots, liberty lovers and defenders of Constitutional government should nonetheless familiarize themselves with the onerous provisions of this law, which is nothing short of a full-throttle attack on the American republic.
What’s Even in the USA PATRIOT Act?
What is in the USA PATRIOT Act? In the Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11, then Rep. John Conyers cracked wise about how no one had actually read the Act and how this was in fact par for the course with America's laws. Thus, before delving into the deeper issues surrounding the PATRIOT Act, it is worth discussing what the Act actually says. Here’s a brief look at the 10 Titles in the PATRIOT Act:
Title I: Enhancing Domestic Security Against Terrorism: This provision dramatically expands the powers of the President, the military and the intelligence community whenever the specter of "terrorism" is invoked. Bizarrely, it contains a provision condemining discrimination against Arabs, Muslims and South Asians, which seems to have very little to do with protecting Americans from terrorism.
Title II: Enhanced Surveillance Procedures: Title II contains the meat of the Act with regard to massive, industrial-scale surveillance on the American public. Beyond the simple spying on Americans and their communications, Title II increases the ability of federal intelligence agencies to share your private communications with one another.
Title III: International Money Laundering Abatement and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act: Not simply a section of the USA PATRIOT Act, Title III is an Act of Congress in its own right. You might have noticed how much more difficult it is to open a bank account or send a wire transfer after 9/11. You can blame this provision, which shredded banking privacy rights in the United States.
Title IV: Protecting the Border: Other than expanding the number of federal employees (of course), the provision of the USA PATRIOT Act charged with protecting America's borders does little other than point toward paths for future action and study. It is worth noting that the weakest provision of the Act is the only one explicitly authorized by the Constitution -- protecting the border.
Title V: Removing Obstacles to Investigating Terrorism: Title V authorizes bounties for the apprehension of alleged terrorists, broadens government power to conduct DNA analysis, allows for greater data sharing between law enforcement agencies and, perhaps most disturbingly, requires private telecommunication carriers to comply with government requests for electronic communication records whenever requested by the FBI. It also expands the power of the Secret Service to investigate computer fraud.
Title VI: Providing for Victims of Terrorism, Public Safety Officers and Their Families: Perhaps the most innocuous portion of the USA PATRIOT Act, Title VI provides for a victims' fund for victims of terrorism and their families.
Title VII: Increased Information Sharing for Critical Infrastructure Protection: The subtitle of this section of the Act is a rather wordy way of saying that the United States federal government is allowing for law enforcement agencies to share information across jurisdictional boundaries in an easier fashion than was previously legal. To that end, the Bureau of Justice Assistance was given a $50,000,000 budget for 2002 and a whopping $100,000,000 budget for fiscal year 2003.
Title VIII:Strengthening the Criminal Laws Against Terrorism: Title VIII is where the rubber meets the road: What exactly is terrorism, according to the federal government? Unfortunately, this Title does little to clarify what terrorism is, instead focusing on declaring a number of actions (such as attacks on transit) as “terrorism,” regardless of intent.
Title IX: Improved Intelligence: The section subtitled “improved intelligence” largely expands the powers and responsibilities of the Director of Central Intelligence.
Title X: Miscellaneous: When the federal government titles a segment of a law “miscellaneous,” you know it’s going to include everything and the kitchen sink. And so it does: The definition of electronic surveillance, additional funds for the DEA in South and Central Asia, research on biometric scanning systems, a limitation on hazmat licensure and infrastructure protections are all addressed in Title X, which is a catchall for everything the federal government forgot to address in the first nine sections of the law.
Most of the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act were set to sunset four years after the bill was passed into law. However, the law was extended first by President George W. Bush and then by President Barack H. Obama. The latter is particularly scandalous given that, at least in part, a rejection of the surveillance culture that permeated the Bush Administration was responsible for the election of Obama in 2008.
Passing the USA PATRIOT Act
Next, it’s important to remember the environment in which the USA PATRIOT Act was passed: Post-9/11. It is not the slightest bit of exaggeration to label the environment in which the PATRIOT Act was passed as “hysterical,” nor is “compliant” a misnomer for the Congress of the time. Opposition to the Act was slim and intensive review of one of the most sweeping Acts of Congress in American history was nonexistent. All told, Congress took a whopping six weeks drafting, revising, reviewing and passing the PATRIOT Act. That’s less time than Congress typically spends on totally uncontroversial and routine bills that don’t gut the Fourth Amendment. The final vote found only 66 opponents in the House and one (Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold) in the Senate. The entire passage of the PATRIOT Act, from start to finish, took place behind closed doors. There were no committee reports or hearings for opponents to testify, nor did anyone bother to read the bill. “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” is the bloated and overwrought full name of the bill, crafted by a 23-year-old Congressional staffer named Chris Cylke. This ridiculous name puts the focus not on the surveillance aspects or the erosion of basic civil liberties enshrined in Western society since the Magna Carta, but on patriotism. At the time of its creation, the messaging was very clear: Real patriots support massive intrusions on civil rights. As President George W. Bush said at the time, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” This sentiment very much seemed to apply to American citizens. While the argument that if you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t fear investigation is anathema in a Constitutional republic with regard to citizens, it should be standard operating procedure when it comes to our organs of government. If we cannot expect transparency from the United States Congress – elected officials charged with representing the will of the people and protecting the Constitution – then we certainly can’t expect it anywhere else.
The Unfortunate Growth of the USA PATRIOT Act
It’s no surprise to those in the liberty movement that given an inch, the government (in particular the military-intelligence community) took a mile. Even the nebulous definition of “terrorism,” largely centered around a long litany of acts rather than the motivation behind them, has expanded to include receiving military training from a proscribed organization (without actually committing any terrorist acts or even acts of violence of any stripe) as well as “narcoterrorism” – the latter particularly convenient, as the United States government continues its losing “War on Drugs.” Indeed, in many ways, the War on (Some) Drugs was the template for the War on Terror. Both wars have no defined enemy, no defined terms of victory. Instead, they are waged against a nebulous concept, while enjoying bipartisan support for their ever-expanding budgets. What’s more, it didn’t take long for the Feds to start using the USA PATRIOT Act for things it was never intended for, including prosecuting the War on Drugs. Perhaps the silliest application of the USA PATRIOT Act is the prosecution of Adam McGaughey. McGaughey maintained a fansite for the television seriesStargate SG-1. The Feds charged him with copyright infringement and computer fraud. In the course of their investigation, the FBI leveraged the PATRIOT Act to get financial records from his website’s ISP. This was made possible by the USA PATRIOT Act amending the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, allowing for search and seizure of ISP records. The New York Timesdiscovered in September 2003, that the USA PATRIOT Act was being used to investigate alleged drug traffickers without what would otherwise be sufficient probable cause. These were investigations into non-terrorist acts using a law ostensibly designed to investigate terrorism. There was some suspicion that the Act was being used to investigate crimes occurring before the Act was passed, violating the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution. In one of the biggest power grabs (excluding virtually everything we know from Edward Snowden – more on that below), the FBI sent tens of thousands of “national security letters” and procured over one million financial records from targeted businesses in Las Vegas. These businesses were primarily casinos, car rental bureaus and storage spaces. The data obtained included financial records, credit histories, employment records and even people’s personal health records. The FBI maintains and databases this – and, indeed, all information collected through the USA PATRIOT Act – indefinitely. In the good old days before the PATRIOT Act, the Feds were compelled to destroy any evidence they collected on someone later found not guilty of a crime. Note that the aforementioned data collection brought to public attention by Edward Snowden (which, again – we’re getting to that) falls under this provision. Not only is the government collecting obscene amounts of private and personal information about you, they’re also storing it indefinitely with no plans to stop. What’s more, the FBI has approached public libraries to turn over the records for specific terminals, collecting information not about specific users who might be under investigation, but about anyone who has ever used the computer at the public library. Libraries, to their credit, have been very much at the forefront of resistance against the PATRIOT Act, with some litigating compliance despite operating on small budgets and others posting “canary letters,” which effectively say “The FBI Hasn’t Been Here Yet.” The removal of such a letter would warn patrons that the FBI has been sniffing around in their records. Indeed, the greatest criticism of the PATRIOT Act is the simplest and perhaps most obvious: Why does an Act ostensibly passed to fight terrorism so drastically expand the government’s power to investigate virtually everyone else? The PATRIOT Act is not merely unconstitutional, it is an unprecedented expansion of state power in the Anglosphere, a culture based on restricted government and the primacy of individual rights. An excellent example of this is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) expansion. Most people are familiar with the term “FISA court,” but very few people actually know what it is – a special federal court created under the Carter Administration that grants approval of electronic surveillance of both citizens and resident aliens in the event that they are accused of acting in the service of a foreign power. The last part of this sentence is very important: The FISA courts are not simply for allowing surveillance of anyone that it might be expedient to collect information about. The scope of their powers is very, very limited. Or was. The PATRIOT Act lowered the burden of evidence required to obtain a FISA warrant for electronic surveillance and expanded the overall scope of the FISA courts. Any savvy federal agent can now drape his charges in the garb of (what else?) “national security” and obtain electronic surveillance privileges hitherto only dreamed of by investigators. FISA courts have become pliant tools in the hands of the Feds, gladly approving their requests to monitor phone and internet surveillance, as well as access to medical, financial and educational records.
The Future of the USA PATRIOT Act
Do we still need the PATRIOT Act? Did we ever? All laws are certainly a product of their times. But this seems much more acutely true of the USA PATRIOT Act, which was passed in a rush and under duress without due consideration. Particularly in light of the revelations from Edward Snowden – that the government is spying on everything they possibly can – it’s worth asking if there’s any walking back. He points out that the police state apparatus was originally for drug dealers, then for terrorists, but ultimately ended up being applied to anyone and everyone. What’s more, Bob Bullard notes another frightful aspect of the USA PATRIOT Act: Terrorism-related cases are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This means that there is little or no oversight. There is no surer hallmark of a police state than an all-powerful domestic surveillance agency with no transparency or oversight. While the USA PATRIOT Act might not create an American Stasi as such, it certainly paves the way for one. Continue readingThe USA PATRIOT Act: The Story of an Impulsive Bill that Eviscerated America's Civil LibertiesatAmmo.com.
The Pretty Idiot's Guide to Human Space: Rugen (part 1)
The salvo of coilgun shells smashes into the complex of bunkers on the opposite riverbank, sending a spray of charred dirt, sandbags, and timber flying into the air. A sloped bastion caves in, burying the rifle pits at its base. One leg of a watchtower is blasted away and the whole thing sways drunkenly before twisting and collapsing across the trenches, the flagpole on its roof somehow landing upright and leaving the enemy's blue-and-gold standard waving in the debris-laden breeze. The Human artillerymen beside me let out a cheer and jump up and down, slapping each other's outstretched hands. The army of Humans watching from beyond the battery all jump around and cheer, too, their yells loud even compared to a half-dozen high explosive shells. And... so do the Human gunners on the hillside across the river, and the army behind them. They all cheer and applaud. Even though they are, in fact, the enemy whose defenses are getting blasted into pieces the size of a poet's paycheck by the aforementioned coilguns. So... I cheer my lovely green head off right along with them, because things are exploding and stuff is burning and apparently the Humans on this planet just generally approve of that sort of thing. My name is Solontha reValthinna, and I'm the Felra who goes to the places nobody else wants to and learns about them the hard way so you can learn about them the easy way. That's my angle as an author, and that's why I'm the Pretty Idiot. ---- "Solontha, darling, I've got just the destination for your next Pretty Idiot's Guide!" My business agent only sounds that chirpy when she's found some new way to try to get me killed. I'd like to think it's because the more trouble I get into, the better the resulting books turn out. That, or she still hasn't forgiven me for that topless dance I did at the Publishers' Guild dinner party she took me to. In my defense, they provided the liquor. I just happened to drink a lot of it. Also in my defense, my topless dancing is godlike. "Not back to the Tarq Imperium, I hope? They said they'd shoot me if they ever caught me inside their borders again." My agent clucked at me. "They said no such thing. They just heavily implied it. And that was only because you wrote that they were a bunch of pointlessly brutal totalitarian fuckwads." I snorted. "That's right. And it was the 'fuckwad' part that they objected to." "Nobody likes being called a fuckwad, Solontha. Fuckwads least of all. But, no, I'm thinking we send you to write about a Human planet this time." Humans? Interesting... The few I've known, I've mostly liked. Well, I don't hate them, anyway. And they look kind of like us Felra, at least a little bit. If you took a Felra and eliminated everything behind her forelegs -- and kept her from dying from lack of some important organs, obviously -- you would have something that still doesn't look particularly like a Human. So, dye her green skin an earthier color, replace her beautiful tresses of feathery-branching tvan with coarser, single-stranded hair, remove one pair of breasts, and take a digit from each hand. She still doesn't look quite Human. Make her face a bit rounder and flatter, thicken her bone structure, and Congratulations! You've surgically converted a Felra into something that could possibly maybe pass for a Human in really poor lighting. Also, you're a sick fuck for doing such a thing. Point being, Humans are sufficiently similar enough to us that they can be cute, in a goofy bipedal sort of way. And immersing yourself in an alien culture can be more rewarding if you can also immerse yourself in some attractive alien nookie along the way. Any aspiring travel writers who are reading this can consider that a pro-tip from the Pretty Idiot. "So, any particular Human world? Somewhere with casinos, maybe? Or some place run by the Church of Giving Money, Liquor, and Carnal Pleasure to Sexy Alien Visitors?" That last bit caught my agent off-guard. "Is that an actual religion?" "If it was, do you think I'd still be working?" "Of course you would. You love travel, trouble, and remunerated smart-assery too much to just quit." Ah, I'm such a lucky Felra. Most agents charge extra for that kind of quality banter. "The place I've got in mind for you is Rugen, a frontier-level colony world well off the outer fringe of the Arm." "The tail-tip of nowhere, in other words. And what's the attraction for a Pretty Idiot to play tourist there? Societal collapse? Rampaging Felra-eating predators? Pandemic-level clown outbreak?" "How about the longest-running ongoing war in the Known Galaxy? Two hundred eighty-seven common years and no end in sight." Yow. I'm passingly familiar with war, having wandered through five or six of varying size and awfulness while sightseeing -- and writing about said sightseeing -- and three centuries is a lot of war, especially confined to one planet. I could only imagine how that could twist and scar a world and its people. The devastation. The tragedy of wasted lives and resources. The sheer dysfunctionality of societies raised for generation after generation on bitter vengeance and the never-ending march towards victory and a peace they can no longer even properly conceptualize. A world of bloodlust, paranoia, and the threat of sudden brutal death staining every moment of every day. Why, the possibilities for misery were endless. It sounded perfect for a vacation getaway. ---- I took regular commercial liners as far as Thielbarra, but had to buy passage from there to Rugen on an independent freighter that was slightly more reputable than a spaceport prostitute, just not as hygienic. There were only three other passengers headed to my destination, including a Kreevin botanical researcher who ignored everybody and a not-very-sober Zharg who worked for one of the big interstellar communications providers and who must have fucked up his job just badly enough to get sent to an isolated hole-in-the-void posting, but not quite badly enough to be fired. I ended up sharing a cabin with the only other quadruped, an adorably optimistic Iraitrian missionary who was going to Rugen to set up a temple to the Harmonious Gods and try to get a congregation going. Being the cynical agnostic wretch that I am, I just had to ask how much demand she thought there would be for a doctrine of cooperative religious pacifism in the middle of a war zone. "You offer food to the starving, not to those with bellies already full," she told me. "Our beliefs are meant to be applied in the world, not just agreed with in the temple." And did she expect to end the war all by herself? "I hope to make a difference to someone. Whether it's by teaching the Way, by being an example, or just by offering a person who needs it a roof, a meal, and a sympathetic ear. If even one person considers their life to be better for having known me, my mission will be worthwhile." Damn. I had been entertaining myself with the idea of flirting mercilessly with her for the whole trip, but all that earnestness. All that simple, undeniable goodness. Even my cynicism and libido combined couldn't look that in the face. So I flirted with the ship's captain, instead. Not that there was any real challenge in it, as despite Felra not being four-armed lizard people, Jixavan males are completely enamored of our tails, which are both more voluptuous and generally more exposed than those of their own females. Pro-tip from the Pretty Idiot: if you're a Felra and need to manipulate a Jixavan guy, buy one of those tail-stockings their women wear. Even the biggest ones will be too tight and short for you, so cut a bunch of slashes in it and pull it as far up your tail as it will go. Then wear a skirt short enough to expose the top hem of the tail-stocking and enjoy your newfound powers of persuasion. I ended up getting twenty percent off my fare and three marriage proposals. Captain Akothin had made a few runs to Rugen before, so I was able to ask him some questions about the place. If you've never read one of my Pretty Idiot's Guides before, part of my schtick, if you will, is lack of prior research regarding the places I go. My self-imposed limitation is that I can only obtain information by seeing for myself or asking someone with firsthand experience. No encyclopedias or hyperweb research. That media stuff is, at best, quarter-truths and agenda-driven grazershit, anyway. By going into a place without 'knowledge' of it, I go with fewer preconceptions. That's the 'Idiot' part of the title. The 'Pretty' part is because I am. And if you have to face life as an idiot, it really does help to be a pretty one. The good captain had never actually made planetfall on Rugen, always conducting business from orbit. Sensible. Boring, but sensible. I therefore confined my inquiries to spacers' matters. Like, were we going to have any issues with pirates or paramilitaries on our way in-system? "No pirates. Not enough shipping in or out for those guys to make a living raiding it and too far from any active lanes to make a useful base. Pirates operating across star systems have to really watch their fuel expenditures." Captain Akothin then proceeded to give a suspiciously well-considered dissertation on how to turn a profit in space piracy, which I will not share here but have filed away for future reference should too many of my books bomb on the market. And as for paramilitary ships affiliated with the warring factions? "I've never seen any." What about orbital defenses? Would there be minefields to be tensely navigated? Would we be subject to stop-and-search by military patrol craft? "Rugen's a frontier-level system." The captain looked at me like I was a moron, albeit a moron with an incredibly sexy and distracting tail. "There ain't even a transshipment station, just a few cheapo weather and comm satellites. I just put the ship in a parking orbit and they send shuttles up. But it's not like the shipments are ever so big you'd need an orbital dock anyway, and shuttles are fine for passengers. Of course, that also means no orbital repair yard and no fuel depot, but that's not much worry since Rugen is just a long detour off our Thielbarra-to-Rialto route and I always do a refuel and refit at Thielbarra for safety's sake and, um, will you marry me?" ---- The shuttle ride down was as uneventful as such things generally are and afforded a chance to take in the view of Rugen from medium-high orbit. It was not a particularly exciting planet seen from 18,000 miles above its equator -- under the sparse clouds, some smallish seas, broad smears of iron-red in the right places to be deserts, accented by patches and streamers of an odd green that was almost an indecisive blue, and some blink-and-you'd-miss-them polar caps. But the thing is, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference how many planets you've seen out the porthole, or how much of an undifferentiated dirtball the one below you is. There is no such thing as 'ordinary' when it comes to the sight of a whole damn world suspended in space right in front of you. It's a moment of magic, every single time, and anybody who says otherwise is lying, or is a soulless shithead. Or, since those aren't mutually exclusive, they could be both, like a corporate journalist or a Rybathi. I used the flight time to mentally review what firsthand knowledge of Humans I possessed. Pro-tip-slash-caveat: members of a species often behave very differently in their own polities than they do in foreign or more cosmopolitan settings. Expatriates or visitors to your world are typically trying to get along in your society and tend to adjust their behavior accordingly. Their behavior when they are in the majority and they get to decide what's normal may be radically different. That said, there were a few truths I felt comfortable in ascribing to Humans in general based on experience. For starters, sexual dimorphism. Humans born biologically male or female remain that sex, unless medically altered. Females are usually smaller and are the ones with slightly inadequate breasts. Males tend to be bigger, stronger, and coarser-looking and, like most mammaloid males, have completely inadequate breasts. This dimorphism leads to the most basic social structures being built around male-female pairings and their offspring -- family -- rather than the looser pack-based structure of Felra. These family structures appear to have a relationship similar to, though vastly more complicated than, the Felra mother-daughter bond. Basically, if you wrong a Human, you may face retribution not just from her, but from her entire bloodline. Except sometimes you won't, because, like I said, complicated. Second, though many Galactics tend to use the terms 'Human' and 'Terran' as synonyms, Humans emphatically do not. Among Humans, the word 'Terran' refers specifically to an inhabitant of the Terran Commonwealth, the oldest, largest, and apparently most detested Human stellar nation. Humans who are not Commonwealth natives tend to have negative reactions to being called 'Terrans'. In this context, the term 'negative reactions' seems to cover a range from 'cold and profane verbal correction' to 'assault with a power-nailer'. Maybe this trip would offer a chance to find out why that might be? I'd also been told that actual Terrans react poorly to being called 'Human', though I've never met any Commonwealth Terrans and can't say for sure if that's true. Third, Humans tend to be territorial, and therefore possessive. They have a strong impulse to guard things they have laid claim to. Don't try to make use of anything a Human regards as their own without asking permission first, even if you intend to give it right back. This impulse extends quite strongly to their romantic or sexual partners as well and attempting to bed, or even flirt with, a Human who has been claimed by another will tend to be met with hostility. You could try asking for permission, I guess, but that just seems to lead to socially awkward hostility. And if you don't know why socially awkward hostility is worse than the regular kind, then obviously you've never been in a fistfight with a drunken Dahu who was sporting a clingy wet kilt and a massive erection. next **** More Known Galaxy stories
Dec/29/2020 news: \\ political party law reformed: idea > individual; transparency; female % \\ Pashinyan responds to "not being enough pro-Russian" \\ who owns which business? \\ protests & snap elect. \\ burglary case & HHK MP \\ humanitarian aid for Artsakh \\ Vitalik flexes muscles \\ bills pass
Your 14-minute Tuesday report in 3589 words.
Pashinyan about pre-war negotiations and "avoiding" the war:
The idea that a flexible foreign policy could have avoided this war is being constantly circulated. Those [former officials] who believe in this thesis must answer at least one question: as a result of their "flexible" policy, why was it not possible to avoid the war of 2016, which was preceded by the unprecedented escalation of 2015 and 2014? The "flexible" policy adopted by Armenia for many years led to the introduction of Russian proposals in January 2016, which proposed the return of 7 territories (5 + 2) without any legal status for Nagorno-Karabakh. Why did Russia make such an offer? For one simple reason, as a result of Armenia's "flexible" policy, the Madrid process had come to a standstill because Artsakh could receive a Status outside Azerbaijan only with the consent of Azerbaijan. It was obvious to Russia and everyone else that Azerbaijan would not agree to this, so it was necessary to find ways to break the deadlock. And, by the way, if certain people claim that Armenia's foreign policy after 2018 was not sufficiently pro-Russian and this was the reason for the war, then why in the conditions of the "sufficiently pro-Russian" policy of 2016 were Russian proposals born and why did the April war take place? There was only one way to prevent this war: return the regions and forget about Artsakh's legal status. Now, after the war is over and we know the outcome, the number of supporters of [giveaway of 7 regions] is growing. What they forget is that if we gave away the lands to avoid the war, we would have the same situation in Syunik borders. They used to accuse us of "selling lands" [he means the contradictory statements like Nikol sold the lands, and why didn't Nikol sell the lands earlier to avoid the war]. The biggest failure by the supporters of the "flexible policies" is that they spent years trying to avoid a war instead of preparing for it. Our biggest failure is that we weren't able to recover enough embezzled public property in the past 2.5 years to help us better prepare for the war. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039231.html
businesses owned by opposition leaders
What are the known businesses owned by some of the famous people you might have seen in the public square lately?
20% share in Lorva Amrots Ltd which plans to operate two hydro-power plants on Dzoraget river. Manukyan purchased the shares in 2011 after being appointed by Serj as the head of the Public Council. In 2015-2016, he owned 30% shares in Vanavka Group. In 2015-2017 he had 30% shares in Jermakunq Group. These companies extracted and bottled water. At the time, the director of these companies was charged with illegal bottling and causing ֏55 million in damages to the state. The corruption case was sent to the IRS, which terminated the investigation after "not finding a crime". The companies export the products mostly to Russia.
Vanetsyan is a poor boy, according to the public declarations database. But if you have time, take a look at the investigative report I covered in Ap29/2020 news, according to which Vanetsyan's family allegedly used offshore firms and owns mining shares. More on that here. Here is a Hetq investigative report. Vanetsyan's father owns AV Group flower importing business. About a year ago, the police investigated several flower sellers near a stadium. An opposition outlet claimed that the sellers were "beaten and forced" to testify that Vanetsyan's father was running an underground business. This was never properly proven and the opposition's claim that Vanetsyan was about to be charged did not happen. The police confirmed that there was an investigation against several flower sellers. These flower sellers ended up hiring Vanetsyan's co-party-creator Arsen Babayan as a lawyer. Vanetsyan's father owns 50% shares of A B Export oil import company that began operating in 2017. It was a minor player that quit the market in 2019. Vanetsyan's father also owns 60% of A B Trans transportation company. In Nov/2019, CivilNet wrote about Arthur Vanetsyan's cousins' possible involvement with Zangezur Copper factory (massive business). The same offshore firm in Cyprus, which purchased Zangezur shares, was tied to Vanetsyan's cousins' another business in the same offshore. Vanetsyan's cousins also own a Switzerland-based Exoil wholesale cooking oil and shipping company. In 2019 it had a revenue of $148 million (11 billion Rubles). The cousins don't do this business in Armenia. Per 2019 registration, Arthur Vanetsyan himself owns one apartment, $10,000, and ֏1 million. Media reported in May/2020 that Vanetsyan's cousin purchased a ֏300 million mansion in Yerevan, which was donated to then-new political party "Hayreniq", co-founded by Arthur Vanetsyan and Arsen Babayan (the guy who is accused of helping HHK to fabricate documents in 2018 to hijack the Constitutional Court by appointing HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan as a judge). Arthur Vanetsyan's mother served as the chief of the personnel-management department in Serj and Pashinyan administrations, before quitting and working as Serj's aide. Vanetsyan's wife owns Villa Montessori preschool in Yerevan. She also runs the Young Education Center Ltd.
ARF Ishkhan Saghatelyan
Pashinyan appointed Saghatelyan as Gegharquniq governor for a brief period after the 2018 revolution, when Pashinyan created a unity-government, represented by all political parties. The honeymoon soon ended and each party went their way. Saghatelyan owns shares in i-mega Service Ltd. It's a tourism agency founded in 2006. It operates in Armenia, Artsakh, and Georgia. Saghatelyan founded Navasar company and serves as director. It's owned by his father. Saghatelyan family owns the Tsovasar hotel complex on Lake Sevan shores. It's 10,000 m2 (a hectare?). As of 2018, Saghatelyan declared ownership of 8 pieces of land, 2 apartments, ֏18.5 million, $45,000, and €15,000. Saghatelyan's father is the mayor of Gegharquniq's Geghamavan settlement. This municipality had recently sent a letter demanding Pashinyan's resignation. Saghatelyan used to be a shareholder of Shiman Ltd which is no longer active.
BHK leader Gagik "dodi gago" Tsarukyan
BUCKLE UP, KIDS! Overall, Tsarukyan runs 54 companies. Студент, комсомолец, спортсмен, u наконец, он просто красавиц. His business empire was covered in details here. Textile, gas stations, malls, Multi Group empire, Shangri-La Casino, Ararat Cognac & Wine Factory, BMW official office Euromotors (also Hyundai, Gazel, Niva), Multi Motors, Magas Invest, Multi Wellness, Olimpavan sports complex, Kotayk beer factory, TechnAlyumin door & window factory, Multi Rest House hotel chain, Paravon luxury restaurant, Onira Club, Zvartnot's airport's upper-level service company Avia Service, Farm Adama, Multi Pharm pharmacy, Multi Leon gas stations, Multi Solar solar panels. He owns shares in Frank Mueller Yerevan watch company, Fortsa, Multi Gold, Multi Diamond jewelry firms, several fish-breeding businesses. He also runs businesses in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Czechia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia. Per official declaration, he owns $168 million, €29 million, ֏675 million, 14 pieces of land, 6 houses, 2 public buildings, 1 apartment.
Details for BHK MP Mikael Melkumyan and HHK Vahram Baghdasaryan in the link below.
The street demonstrations, organized by the former regime and its allies, continue. They demand Pashinyan's resignation and the appointment of their candidate Vazgen Manukyan as the Prime Minister for the duration of a year, after which they agree to hold new elections. ARF leader Artsvik Minasyan said they don't plan to discuss snap elections with Pashinyan. "Right now, our only demand is Pashinyan's resignation. We demand SIS to immediately hold every criminal accountable". The demonstrators gathered in front of the SIS building to present the demands. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039316.html
Pashinyan meets leaders of several opposition parties
felony case: ex-HHK MP charged with armed attack on ex-IRS official
In August of this year, Russia extradited a former HHK MP Alraghatsi Lyovik to Armenia. He was wanted for allegedly burglarizing and shooting at a senior IRS official a decade ago. At the time, his case was "frozen". It was relaunched in 2018. (magic wand) NSS says: suspect Lyovik, with the help of citizens AK and AN, organized an armed burglary against IRS Chief (?) Avetisyan in 2008. AK was in the United States. In 2004, he stole $150,000 from jewelry shops in Los Angeles. He got caught but managed to flee to Armenia. Once in Armenia, AK colluded with policeman AN to organize a similar criminal ring in Armenia. [MP] Lyovik personally knew AK, and learned about their burglaries. Since Lyovik had bad relations with the IRS chief (victim), he decided to punish the victim by urging AK to burglarize his house. Lyovik revealed the plot to his brother-in-law, who happened to be the victim's personal aide. The latter gave all the personal habits and details about the victim to the burglars. [read the article for the full story, or wait for a Hollywood movie in theaters near you] The burglars and organizers are charged with felonies. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203835 , https://youtu.be/brdozVbwQ6A , https://factor.am/274836.html , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183522 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203835 ,
Russian Orthodox chapel will be built
... in the Armenian settlement near Nakhijevan where Azerbaijan had earlier shut down a Russian helicopter, which killed and wounded Russian pilots. It'll be on a hill in Yeraskh. Construction starts on January 6th. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039259.html
Vitalik Balasanyan will return the lands, kicks junkies, and restrict Facebook
Artsakh President Arayik earlier announced that he will allow his opponents to take jobs in the new coalition government. Kocharyan-ally Vitali Balasanyan became the Security Council chief. Vitalik: we will return Hadrut and Askeran region with the help of Russian and Armenian military-political efforts. We are in a better situation now to solve territorial issues. We will soon create border guard forces. It will report to MoD, which will report to the Security Council (his office). Drugs have no place in Artsakh. Drug users must quit or leave Artsakh now. We need to return to traditional values of giving women as wives after asking if the man had served in the army. No public official will be allowed to use Facebook during work. More: https://youtu.be/DceHyi4AB5g https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/289056/
search operations are paused / the "welcome to Azerbaijan" sign
Azerbaijan received criticism for refusing to allow search teams to enter the Hadrut region yesterday. They also prevented UNESCO from checking the status of several Armenian cultural sights, after complaining that UNESCO was "biased" against Azerbaijan during the war. HR Ombudsman: Any untrue information can not be a reason to disrupt the humanitarian process [referring to unconfirmed rumors on social media that Armenians opened fire at Azeris in Hadrut. An unofficial Iranian social media channel claims 3 Azeris were killed but due to an internal fight.] The Human Rights Ombudsman also criticized the Azeri troops for installing a provocative "welcome to Azerbaijan" sign on part of a road that went under Azeri control near Syunik borders. The Ombudsman says it's meant to intimidate the locals. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039233.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039237.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039244.html , https://factor.am/325511.html
Context: BHK MP Naira Zohrabyan referred to the majority of Armenian voters as human trash *(or as she says: impure), and called for the establishment of forced re-education camps so people won't vote for a "wrong party" again. The ruling QP party launched a process to terminate her chairmanship in Parliamentary Human Rights Committee. Read yesterday's thread for more details.* QP MP Arthur: the law states that the Parliament can appoint and terminate the chairman. The termination of this seat does not require the same procedures as in the case of MPs and Judges. Armenian Constitution states that in Armenia, human beings are of the highest value, and inalienable human dignity is the inseparable basis of their rights and freedoms. MP Zohrabyan's public conduct is against it. // The law gives the second-largest political party the mandate to appoint the chairman of this particular Committee. BHK, being the second-largest party, said they wouldn't appoint a replacement if Zohrabyan is voted out. QP MP Arthur: per rules, if BHK refuses to appoint a new candidate, the largest (QP) party will receive the mandate. // Parliament voted 78-4 to terminate Zohrabyan's chairmanship. BHK and LHK did not vote. BHK MP Zohrabyan: this termination was a Constitutional crime. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039245.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039264.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039304.html , https://factor.am/325132.html
Parliament votes: registering parties becomes easier / ideology instead of person / financial transparency
The goal of this reform is to have political parties that are more about ideology and less about an individual. The reform will boost internal democracy within parties; it will expand the powers of the Party Assembly. Parties will be required to add more anonymous voting mechanisms. The law also requires more financial transparency. The required membership to register a party is lowered from 800 to 300. Some of the public funding given to political parties will depend on the % of female members in the administrative boards. Parliament voted 99-1 to approve it. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039270.html , https://youtu.be/bPuZViCCCxo
Parliament votes: monthly fees towards soldiers' recovery are raised
Most workers pay a monthly 1000 Dram towards the Soldiers' Fund, which takes care of wounded soldiers and families of those who died. The govt found it necessary to raise the fee to cover thousands of new recipients. Here are the new fees and salary brackets: ֏1,500 for < ֏100k/month ֏3,000 for < ֏200k ֏5,500 for < ֏500k ֏8,500 for < ֏1 million ֏15,000 for > ֏1 million Parliament voted 89-0 to approve it. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039296.html
Parliament votes: ban on public smoking is delayed until 2022
The govt had adopted a law to ban smoking in public cafes and the public display of cigarettes in grocery shops. The ruling party wanted to delay parts of the bill that were set to go into effect in January, citing possible financial issues for businesses caused by the pandemic. QP MP: the cigarette industry pays $383 million to state coffers. Healthcare Ministry: it will be a mistake if you delay this bill for the sake of $10 million in tax revenues. Parliament voted 86-0 to delay the anti-smoking bill until 2022. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039295.html
Parliament votes: no tax on goods donated to Armenia
QP MP: When you donate a charitable product to the Republic of Armenia, you are exempt from customs duties and other tax payments, except for one payment, which we are trying to exempt with this bill as well. // Parliament voted 80-0 to approve it. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039297.html
how is the Judicial Branch doing?
The Supreme Court protects or punishes judges. It also handles complaints. It's separate from the Constitutional Court. bad boys 19 complaints against judges were heard, 14 of which were petitioned by Justice Ministry and 4 by Judicial Ethics Board. 10 judges ended up receiving disciplinary penalties, 3 received a warning, 3 were reprimanded, 2 were terminated, 4 were cleared. the system is overloaded 61 judges are handling 6470 felony cases. 86 judges handle 175,940 civil cases. 24 judges handle 17,390 administrative cases. The number of Arbitration cases rose from 3100 to 9900. finances This year, Supremes appointed 20 new judges. Supreme's budget remained the same this year. They returned ֏607 million in savings back to state coffers. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039249.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039284.html
anti-corruption: SIS busts an IRS agent
SIS says: IRS border inspector took a bribe from a citizen to help him avoid paying Millions of ֏ in import taxes by splitting a large load into smaller pieces, so each piece would fall below the taxable threshold. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039293.html
Police and Nature Ministry have set up additional checkpoints as part of measures against whitefish poaching in Sevan. 24/7 monitoring on all alleys leading to the lake. They will also travel across markets to catch contraband whitefish. Why? It's the egg-laying season. Fishing is banned for now. The legally-allowed fishing tools were temporarily removed from the lake. https://youtu.be/8ZyRGpEazMQ https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039339.html
...the rest should have access to other jobs. There is an opportunity now because many businesses operate remotely. Call Center workers don't have to visit an office. Businesses would rather pay less to hire a rural remote worker than more to hire someone in a Yerevan office. The High Tech Ministry has an ongoing program to teach IT to 5,000 citizens. We must help workers to expand their skillset. We're working on a program to allow a worker to quit the job, not worry about the food on the table, and have enough time for education and learning new skills. The villagers should ideally lease their smaller lands to large agricultural producers," said Economy Minister Qerobyan. Full interview: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039319.html
State regulators bust another price-fixing ring: fruit mafia
Yesterday, the Economic Competition Committee busted the egg industry's alleged price-fixing and anti-competitive practices. Today they say a similar collision was observed in the orange, mandarin, kiwi, lemon industry. The companies Best Fruits, Art-Fruits, and Promout were slapped with a ֏39 million in penalties for colluding to raise the prices for the products that had an increased demand during the pandemic period. http://www.competition.am/.../resources/Vo370_17_12_2020.pdf https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039269.html
Lenovo slapped for "anti-competitive practice"
The Economic Competition Committee heard a petition filed by Oazis Computer company against Lenovo. The latter was issued a warning for anti-competitive behavior. Public Regulator: "Lenovo" company had the ability to influence the process of importing Lenovo computers to Armenia from non-EAEU trade bloc countries. "Lenovo" took steps to reduce the import of Lenovo computers from non-EAEU states, by discriminating against Oazis Computer importer. Lenovo is given a month to correct the issue and fix the requirement and standards related paperwork. (Facebook next?) https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039333.html
Artsakh will also increase childbirth benefits
First child: ֏300k instead of ֏100k Second child: ֏300k instead of ֏200k (or ֏500k if one parent is disabled) As for monthly child care subsidy payments, it goes from ֏15k to ֏27k until the child turns 2. https://factor.am/325487.html
700 Artsakh families continue to live in 40 settlements of Gegharquniq province. The All Armenia Fund (HimnaDram.org) has provided food and household items to 241 families ahead of New Year. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039313.html
daily life in Syunik bordering villages Shurnukh and Vorotan
Casino Management Systems (CMS) have become more than just slot management, but the market remains dominated by a handful of vendors. While many smaller, independent vendors have developed scaled-down CMS products, established vendors have maintained a stranglehold in North American casinos with full-function solutions. Our Advice Critical Insight. The CMS should be your single version of the ... Further, Jeff Jonas, founder and chief scientist of Systems Research & Development, argues that limitations in casino security systems may not be related to technology, but casinos’ desire for profitability. “They spend the minimum amount of money on security and surveillance. They’d rather buy three more slot machines and make money. They only mess with you if you’re really, really ... The global Casino Management Systems market size is expected to gain market growth in the forecast period of 2020 to 2025, with a CAGR of xx%% in the forecast period of 2020 to 2025 and will ... Seamless Technology for Casino Property Management In a cluttered technology marketplace, Agilysys is the single resource for integrated solutions that power intelligent guest service and efficient casino resort operations. Achieve a 360-degree view of your entire enterprise, so you can address needs quickly and deliver an exceptional guest ... LGS Casino Management Systems 8. Micros Systems (Oracle) 9. Table Trac, Inc. 10. Win Holding Limited The global intelligent casino management system market is segmented on the basis of type and ... Project Manager Casino Management and Information Systems. Einloggen und ganzen Eintrag ansehen 2 Jahre und 6 Monate, Feb. 2017 - Juli 2019. Sales. Einloggen und ganzen Eintrag ansehen 1 Jahr und 1 Monat, Feb. 2016 - Feb. 2017. Trainee. Novomatic AG. 1 Jahr und 5 Monate, Sep. 2014 - Jan. 2016. Business Development. SHT Haustechnik AG. 1 Jahr und 1 Monat, Sep. 2013 - Sep. 2014. Assistenz der ... Cass Information Systems, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2020 Earnings. Cass manages invoices, makes supplier payments and delivers detailed information and reporting for freight, telecom, cloud, utilities, and waste costs. We also provide integrated payment solutions for fintechs and other network payment providers. Trusted With > $ 60 Billion. in annual disbursements, managed by over 1,200 ... systems to aid in keeping casino properties up-to-speed with all the technological advances. Gaming device manufacturers are not the only ones who contribute to the tracking software market; companies who specialize in data acquisition and information systems offer player tracking and slot accounting software, as well. Many of these companies do not only offer one type of tracking system, but ... casino is a computer program system for performing quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) electronic struc- ture calculations that has been developed by a group of researchers initially working in the Theory of Condensed Matter group in the Cambridge University physics department, and their collaborators, Dallmeier has planned and realised the biggest real-time IP systems in casinos worldwide. Dallmeier Smart Casino Solutions combine the leading Panomera® Mulitfocal-Sensor technology with recording and software modules to increase overall casino efficiency in a wide variety of applications - from gaming to surveillance to marketing optimisation and more.
How to Create Pharmacy Management System in Java NetBeans - Using If Statement, jTable, JTextbox, JLabel, JCheckbox, imported libraries and Java NetBeans Bui... CISA Training Video: The Process of Auditing Information SystemsDomain 1 from CISA accounts you 21% of the exam and it talks about, how to conduct an Audit?C... This video taken in real money play mode demonstrates one of the bets of my own personal roulette system. Win rate of this streets bet is 96%. My roulette system contains 7 bets and was 10 years ... Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. Visit the YouTube Music Channel to find today’s top talent, featured artists, and playlists. Subscribe to see the latest in the music world. This channel was generated automatically by YouTube's ... Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. #casio Hi! I made a whimsical beat with my Casio SA-46 portable keyboard. Yes, it is quite awesome. Chopping up the drum sample was definitely my favorite pa... share Channel to get great videos and fresh information , join channel now. Welcome to What The Hale$ What The Hale$ is where you'll be EDUCATED, EQUIPPED and ENCOURAGED on the Storage Unit Auctions and other Side Hustles (with a dash of humor on the Side)! If you LOVE ... Slot machine video from casino expert Steve Bourie that teaches you the insider secrets to winning at slot machines and how a slot machine really works. Also...