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"I think I've lived long enough to see competitive Counter-Strike as we know it, kill itself." Summary of Richard Lewis' stream (Long)
I want to preface that the contents of this post is for informational purposes. I do not condone or approve of any harassments or witch-hunting or the attacking of anybody.
Richard Lewis recently did a stream talking about the terrible state of CS esports and I thought it was an important stream anyone who cares about the CS community should listen to. Vod Link here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830415547 I realize it is 3 hours long so I took it upon myself to create a list of interesting points from the stream so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, although I still encourage you to do so if you can. I know this post is still long but probably easier to digest, especially in parts. Here is a link to my raw notes if you for some reason want to read through this which includes some omitted stuff. It's in chronological order of things said in the stream and has some time stamps. https://pastebin.com/6QWTLr8T
"The last month has convinced me, that we are going to be heading into a dark place for Counter-Strike esports in 2021."
"I think I've seen the scene essentially kill itself."
"For the past 5 to 6 years, we've basically been in a holding pattern of people coming into our game wanting to run it, wanting to run all of the esports and wanting to profiteer and its been sort of a concerted effort to drive them off and push them away."
"We're spread way too thin."
"If Riot don't get involved and stop the scumbags that have moved over to Valorant from getting their feet under the table, Valorant is going to have real problems."
RL thinks too much has happened all at once for us to do anything except watch it play out, like:
Recent CSPPA strike against BLAST
ESIC failures and them not being supported enough
Teams cheating i.e. coaches/bugs
Widespread match fixing
"People who try to hold bubble events are so incompetent and fuck up and people get the 'rona and its their fault."
"People who say Flashpoint is a bubble is full of shit and is a lie and people are now suffering for that lie."
"To save money they let people go home and break the bubble for a week."
"Not just Flashpoint peoples decision, they have a partner that handles the production." (hinting FACEIT)
"People are trapped in hotels essentially under house arrest because of COVID restrictions and has fucked peoples lives up."
"It's all too much, all of this incompetence, all of this greed, maybe we ride it out."
RL says he has talked to the Riot devs (the ones working on Valorant) and says, "They are so cognizant of all the fuck ups and all the problems we have in Counter-Strike."
He continues to say that this is factored into their business plan and that we never had a competitor, but just so happens to have one coincide, when we are at our worst.
CSPPA - Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association
"Who does this union really fucking serve?"
RL believes that the CSPPA is a mockery.
He points out the hypocrisy that they wouldn't strike for the pros who were kicked out of ESL Pro League, or for Jamppi or dream3r.
He also says ESL paid CSPPA and are racketeering and many other TOs have to pay them to get their "seal of approval"
He says they would strong-arm TOs saying "well if you don't give us the money, these guys are so we'll just have to commit to playing their event."
Also points out that they will strike against a competitor they are not in agreement with (Flashpoint)
RL: "It's what it says about every other time you haven't done it and it's about every time you don't do it now moving forward." "The issues they've chosen to ignore this year alone are embarrassing."
Then he points out that there was no strike for Valve qualifiers even if we have no major but Jamppi and dream3r can't play in them.
"and Valve have said 'Oh yeah we know actually their stories are accurate, Jamppi didn't cheat, now in a legally binding document. Yep dream3r did have his account hacked in a LAN café', but they still can't play. Where is the fucking solidarity? Gone. Doesn't exist. It's not important [because] it doesn't affect you." "That's what the union does right now, it looks after all the tier 1 people."
He says the CSPPA doesn't represent all players all the time and has driven a divide where you have the haves and have-nots
"We have a tier of players that operate with impunity and do not help their tier 2 or tier 3 players out at all." "If you are not a tier 1 player you do not matter, they don't event ask your opinion."
He tells chrisJ to admit and own the fact that the reason he didn't speak up during the ESL Pro League debacle is because it didn't affect him
"They are looking after some players at the expense of other players. How the fuck is that a union?"
He says the BLAST situation is a reasonable dispute and supports the players but is not the right time for a strike and have not even identified the correct enemy
He thinks players are lashing out now due to previous incidents and are upset that BLAST are working with ESIC
He stated that CSPPA shouldn't beefing with ESIC and they should be working in harmony
He says what they need to do is talk with the teams/organizations that have sold that right to BLAST
RL: "Your employers, the people who pay you that massive exorbitant salaries, when you don't stream and you don't do interviews and you offer no value beyond your ability to click heads and you get 25k dollars a month." "Why don't you talk to them about it? Oh right. You're happy to take away BLAST's paper, but you don't want to risk your own."
"I am seeing such unbelievable cowardice from the players here with the battles you choose."
"Where was the strike action when in the qualifiers for the world championship, there were teams and players engaged in huge conflicts of interest?" "Where was the strike action when your image rights were taken and sold to every league you've ever been in every union type organization you've ever been associated with like, WESA, to your org every time you sign a contract, to the leagues you play in."
"Your image rights are essentially worthless now, there's about 10 fucking separate parties that have them, and how many of them are giving you anything for it? Not much pretty much your org by the way."
"That's a big issue. Your image is you, your image is your brand. What are you doing about that? Nothing."
He is also angry at SirScoots who is "popping off" at people on Twitter who all want the same thing, which is 'A unified Counter-Strike scene for everybody, that works for everybody, that has a sustained ecosystem that nourishes everybody.' "We don't have that now."
He also says their rankings are a joke
"Just so happened, oh look TACO, that very important prominent member of the board, we pushed his team artificially up when they weren't even in the fucking top 20, not by a long shot."
He also says the ineptitude of the CSPPA cost Flashpoint a monitor sponsor
"Is it really a player association or is it like a fucking agency at this point"
ESIC - Esports Integrity Commission
"They have been put in an impossible position."
RL says that Ian Smith, the founder of ESIC and who was done work in mainstream sports, is a good and honorable man who has dedicated his life to integrity and sports. He takes on both sides, ensuring match fixers are punished, but also doing appeals and ensuring those punishments were fair.
"ESIC is a tiny organization" and are in need of money, "They didn't run a grift like the CSPPA did."
"Saying 'you want our support and you want the players to turn up you better pay us.' They don't do that."
"Had startup seed money from MTG and since then they've been pecking shit with the hens."
Ian Smith made sure that the money given by MTG (Modern Times Group, parent company of ESL, ESEA, DreamHack) was nothing more than startup money and wouldn't be in debt to them
Ian Smith sat down with other TO's not part of MTG and wanted to partner with them. They declined and called ESIC "ESL spies and we will never align ourselves with you"
"They only were just able to afford, hiring a PR guy on a full time salary to deal with the press and send out those releases you've seen, this year."
"They have a tiny group of staff investigating these things and they have taken on the biggest problems in our scene: the cheating, the match fixing."
ESIC have had "unprecedented levels of cheating to deal with, because there's something wrong with our scene ever since we went online. There's something wrong with it, everyone's lost their fucking pride and self-respect and they got no passion for it anymore, so they think fuck it, what's in it for me?"
He calls out coaches who are talking about players rights when they would rob and steal from them.
Also says more coaches being banned are coming
He also points out flaws in community's reaction to the punishments to coaches bans: "Half of the cunts still have jobs and some of the cunts got new jobs. We didn't even shun the cheating coaches."
ESIC have "found I think another 2 or 3 exploits like that one and they are investigating them all right now, it's going on right now."
"I know that there are going to be more names getting banned, again."
"So they're doing that on a skeleton crew while, investigating 3 continents worth of match fixing in MDL and semi-pro level CS." "They're doing this with half a dozen people." "They don't have any money or any help. People barely even fucking cooperate with them, they are treated like pariahs. It's ridiculous."
"Why are the CSPPA popping off at ESIC on my Twitter timeline, when you should be working together." "because its all about what's in it in for me." "2020, the online era of CS: 'What is in it for me?' How can I cheat, how can I get my paper, how can I bleed this scene one last time before I fuck off and play shooty shooty bang bang Riot Games babys first fps."
RL says that in the CIS region, teams have gone to tournaments and have been eliminated multiple times by the same team. We found out they were cheating and those players who lost, have been cut from their roster, careers ended because of cheaters.
"They're all at it in the online era, they're all at it, they're all cheating, they're all using exploits, probably that see through smoke bug got used a bunch of times"
RL talks about how there is no integrity from dead (the player), always denying when caught doing something
On the topic of 'BLAST never said we couldn't stream snipe': "Lies, BLAST never said you could do that, they had to sort of retcon it." "because what happened after that they fucking started snitching and squealing"
"Suddenly you had like, 10 of the top 15 teams in the world, staring into the abyss of being banned for 6-12 months in line with ESIC recommendations."
He says that ESIC was put in a tough situation and couldn't enforce the bans because it would have resulted in killing CS. What resulted was, BLAST, ESIC, and teams came together and gave them a warning and told them, in RL's words "don't do this again or you're gonna get got."
He then says the top teams brushed this off and didn't give a fuck
The new MiBR team playing Flashpoint, that wasn't involved in the previous incidents are doing it again (stream sniping). He gave credit to Flashpoint for the quick resolution and punishment and respect for cogu's response to the situation.
"ESIC came out and said, once more, 'Guys, zero tolerance from now on.'" RL then got upset at community's reaction calling ESIC "pussies" for their non enforcement and said if we want competitive CS we cant ban the top 10 teams.
He points out how players have no integrity and will do anything for an edge as long as they won't get detected or banned or it's within a grey area.
"All of this shit was mad avoidable, even in the pandemic era."
He talks about why aren't we filming them. Why aren't there representatives for leagues and tournaments making sure players aren't cheating?
"How many years have we let our scene be fucking pillaged by these greedy cunts?" "We just let it happen."
RL says that gambling and skins betting which existed in moderation was "accelerated and blown up by the Call of Duty greedy fucks."
"Never forget TmarTn was on the board of EnVyUs." "His website, CSGOLotto, they had a bunch of off-the-books sponsorships." "NBK promoted them. People forget."
"Those people who had access to the skins, go to the players" "Even people like s1mple, best player in the world, even he scammed knives and skins off fucking fans."
Owners of skin casino sites would approach pros and lend them skins to use in tournaments and possibly keep them after reaching a deal
Players would tip off inside info about matches and teams in exchange for skins. Info such as: roster changes, how they played in scrims
They would use this info to bet and subvert the odds on their sites. "That happened religiously, I can't even tell you how many times it happened."
"I had access to the biggest database of information, from an inside betting circle in NA, and it would take information and screenshots from other pro players, who were feeding them info in exchange for money or skins."
"Some of these players are still playing." "Incredibly, there are players still in the CSPPA today, complaining about the BLAST recordings, that were embroiled in this murky shit back then."
RL also says that there were tournaments where teams contrived with each other, who should throw, who should win.
"There's a handful of people that are trying to fucking clean it up, and you think you get something over the line and you see something like the CSPPA and it's run by corrupt fucking chuckle heads, and now you've got another corrupt body you have to fight on a fucking daily basis, it's demoralizing."
"It's too far gone. Our entire semi-professional scene is compromised."
"It's rife guys, I'm not going to lie any more. It's not just China, it's not just Russia, it's here, it's NA, it's Europe, it's Australia, so much more than you think, so much more than we can prove."
"I get sent chat logs all the time […] and they're morons, these players, short-sighted, amateur, morons and they're doing it on WhatsApp." People would get cut from the bets because they want to make more money, then they leak the logs. He says, from the chat logs, they spread "little" bets across every site they can (400 to 1k dollars) to prevent shifting odds
He says the scumbags who've fucked off to Valorant will do the same there if Riot doesn't do something and says Valorant "is an esports scene heading for a very early fall based on the sheer volume of scumbags that are already there."
"That's tier 2 CS in a nutshell these days. They know they're never going to play in a major, so what's the punishment?"
"All of these tier 2 fucks that are fixing games now they are like the fucking mafia compared to iBuyPower" "These guys are working with organized criminals to fix entire seasons worth of games. That's what's going on in your tier 2 CS."
"I'm literally being told that there are players fixing games at all levels of Chinese esports and motherfuckers with guns are turning up to team houses and stuff."
"Everyone in NA has left we've lost a continents worth of support during this pandemic and Valve haven't said a fucking word."
RL says the Call of Duty "goblins" that destroyed CS for years are the same people who are now trying to leave CS. "The nerve to treat a game where the fans, and the community, and the TO's were nothing but good to you." "To just kick the players out now and go and leave and say 'It just doesn't make financial sense.' Oh you'll slither back when we have a major though for them stickers won't you."
There's a cascading effect in NA where people don't bother with CS anymore and people like Chaos suffer.
He says NA team owners are incompetent for always wanting it easy and always wanting a guarantee on their investment without skill or nuance.
RL says he would be able to market a team correctly and would have a good ROI and also points out how TSM wouldn't even be bothered to tweet that their team, which was one of the best in the world, was playing at the Major.
He also says not all NA owners are like that, compliments and respects Jason Lake who nearly lost everything to keep Complexity going.
He then calls out the incompetence in Infinite Esports when they acquired OpTic Gaming and bought an Indian CS team.
He says HECZ is not to blame here and that they couldn't tell forsaken was cheating when it was so obvious.
They measured his reaction time to the likes of dev1ce and s1mple
When an enemy showed up on his screen he won that duel something like 44% of the time
"was like the number 1 player in the world statistically"
He brought a laptop to their bootcamp and refused to use the high end PCs that hey provided
He respects Andy Miller (NRG CEO) and HECZ but says that the attitude of not being able to easily monetize their teams is "piss weak" and there needs to be a risk.
He says Chaos EC shouldn't be cutting their roster and should be competent enough to be able to figure out how to make money off their team.
He says there are still opportunities in NA and people are panicking and pulling out, and says Valorant will be the same if not worse.
He also says "bums" who couldn't even get out of groups in NA competitions, are making crazy money in Valorant and says it will continue to inflate.
He also said that he heard rumors that EG (Evil Geniuses) are done.
He also thinks that the rumors of a Valve franchised league from before was sparked up from "these lazy fabled weak NA fucking team owners basically trying to see if Valve would bite at the hook if it was dangled and they didn't"
Slasher says NA team owners are really in favor of franchised leagues because they want to make more money. "Most of the powerful team owners right now are on board with ditching this third party organization structure, or they are trying to play this power politics with all the TOs, and that is contributing to a lot of the problems there"
RL says that Riot has proved they can run a franchised league (LCS) and will be profitable in 2021 which is what a lot of team owners care about and says the competition will only serve to snatch people away from CS.
RL continues to say, "I am so sick and tired of what we have done to this scene, I am just exhausted with it." "I think we have legitimately fucked it, I really think we have. I think we're staring into almost like a CGS (Championship Gaming Series) wasteland in NA." "Counter-Strike esports is a fucking joke."
"TO's have treated CS talent like absolute human garbage for years now."
RL says that people like Sean Gares and ddk switching over to Valorant isn't for financial reasons because they are making less over there.
He points out that TO's can't even give talent a 3 month in advance calendar.
Because of the pandemic TO's won't hire certain people and some people are working more hours for the same money.
He says we as a community don't respect journalists enough which is why we don't have good journalists.
He also says DeKay is leaving the scene soon and that Thorin is close to leaving also
He says he had to talk a caster down from quitting and was struggling to find reasons.
He says that DreamHack told Vince they would hire him but not if he wants to stick with dusT and says that this is the norm in esports. "Constant leveraging of people against each other." and says this is why we don't have a talent union.
New gen casters are getting put into shit situations and the community's reaction to them is adding fuel to the fire
He says the reason Moses left was because of the terrible conditions
He says that Anders had to constantly leave his family and kid because someone fucked up or broke promises and had to constantly tell his kid to their face that "daddy can't be home this weekend."
He says that esports has always been a lie to sell you this dream, "Meanwhile there's about 2% of the cunts getting all the checks."
"Anything that Riot does, is better than Valve's inaction"
Slasher says that the larger aspect of esports as a whole compared to other entertainment mediums and Valve's lack of inattention are the bigger problems. He continues saying that the fact that Valve let their game be ran as an esport, they need to take on the responsibilities of it.
Both Slasher and RL wants Valve to take control but not on the level of Riot Games, there needs to be a balance.
In case it was ever a question: Gabe Newell has been to 0 CSGO Majors.
RL calls Valve out saying they could have done something during the gambling era.
He says Valve used to come to the majors, but doesn't think they do anymore.
RL had met with Valve at the Cluj-Napoca Major and had tried to appeal iBP's indefinite punishment and had also gave Brax's life story:
A recent family member passed away, they had lost a lot of income, they had to live in trailer, iBuyPower did not pay any salaries, and was pressured by family to make money who didn't support his career.
RL said that Valve told him, "How dare you try and make us feel guilty." "We shouldn't feel bad about enforcing the only thing that matters that we need to make players afraid of: cheating and match fixing"
RL also tried to share other info about match fixing and nothing came of it
RL points out that Source 2 or a new engine is not something you will want based on the experience of transitioning from CS 1.6 to CS:S. "Valve's track record with brand new engines being launched, not fucking great from what I remember."
Slasher says "If there is anything the community should do, is pressure Valve to hire a community manager."
They say that we need a commissioner, a community manager (not the person who runs the Twitter who posts memes all day), then we need to have a circuit
RL reiterates that Valve doesn't care about CS esports and says they need to change the culture at Valve to make them care about CS esports
Slasher says a systemic problem is making it so working on CSGO would be a bad decision for you as an employee for Valve
He also hasn't talked to Valve in ages and have sent over bugs and cheats and doesn't get emails back anymore
Slasher says we should be directing attention at the developer leads, pointing out Ido Magal, if he even is still the project lead
RL thinks that Ido and Brian are the only people that "vaguely even give a fuck about CS" and were the only people that RL recalled that actually read Reddit and paid attention from time to time
"It is really fucking precarious. Somebody has got to step the fuck up and start giving a shit"
Slasher suggests org owners, with CSPPA, with ESIC, with TOs have a concerted effort against Valve
"Riot Games are doing better things than Valve in the esports space" which is something RL didn't think he'd say.
"People who used to be talent, working with unions, arguing with other talent, when the unions fucked them over, can't understand their perspective, TOs fucking over broadcast talent, broadcast talent wanting to leave and go and work for orgs, orgs having no money, Valve might take coaches away because all the coaches are cheating, ESIC has about 4 people in a fucking call doing the investigations, everyone thinks they're spies for ESL, ESL are just the evil fucking overlords wanting to rule the scene and will just somehow, like cockroaches outliving a nuclear bomb, and Valve are in a fucking holiday in Hawaii thinking about the next Dota character because they don't give a fuck about us."
"We've peaked. If we want to sustain and exist, now is the time to figure it out. No esports lasts as long as this, we've already done 8 years. We've already broke the records. We have got to figure out a way to coexist and drive the negative forces out and we need to do it as a collective and we're not doing that."
RL compared the Counter-Strike scene to the people on the Titanic who ran around with guns robbing people while the boat was sinking.
"We have given up on being a respectable esports scene." "We are now a conduit to make money for those who want to just milk it, just have one last ride, one last roll of the dice. It's done." "What a fucking mess. What have we done to our fucking scene?"
"There's just too much self-interest driving all of this." "I don't see a way we stop the dominoes." "When it's that bad, when there's that many dishonest people that ESIC have to come out and say that if we punish them all there's no one left. What does that tell you?"
"How many opportunities have we had to clean house? How many times have we said, 'this must never happen again', and another scandal." "The entire skins betting operations was the biggest criminal conspiracy in esports ever executed and no one has been punished for it." "The people who could be driving that don't want to."
"Right now people are fans of those organizations because the scene has value. It is worth being a fan of Astralis because they are excellent at Counter-Strike. It is worth being a fan of s1mple because he is the best player in Counter-Strike, maybe the exception of ZywOo. If the scene is devalued, if the scene loses its meaning, those things lose its meaning too, and people will leave, people will stop tuning into the games. I have seen it happen in multiple esports, this is not my first time at the rodeo. I am getting big Brood War vibes right now and I don't like it."
"The role you play in all of this as fans, as viewers, as listeners, as consumers of esports content, it's absolutely imperative that you know who the good guys are. It's absolutely imperative that you use your voice. It's absolutely imperative that when things are bad, you know who, at least, is trying to make them good, and you have to apply your criticism to the right targets."
He continues saying it's no good in continuing to attack ESIC and saying how they are bad, ESIC have it hard
He says CSPPA are on the right side of the argument on BLAST but have been on the wrong side of many arguments many times.
"If you are not willing to stand along side the weakest member of the union, with the least amount of influence, and the least amount of power, then it is not a union at all and you shouldn't pose as one." "You wanna serve a bunch of special interest do it, everyone else in esports fucking does, but do not pose as something you are not." "We love the players. I've been fighting for players rights for as long as I've been able to, but the CSPPA is not what we needed."
"They are not applying the pressure to the right people, they are not fighting the right battles, they are not helping their weaker members."
He says what orgs have done by keeping or hiring coaches is bad. "When you give up on holding an appreciable standard, you've lost the scene" "Competition matters, rules matter, punishments matter, achievements matter, excellence matters" "If you start stripping that away, you have nothing" "You guys need to take that knowledge and apply it sensibly."
"Valve has sold you all down the river, they sold everyone in the esports scene down the river, tournament organizers are selling their talent down the river. Don't hate on them for sounding tired after a 16 hour day. Don't hate on them because the hype for a matchup they've seen for the 20th time in the past 3 months, they can't be as excited or it sounds contrived. Support your guys, they're there for you, these are your people."
"This community has got to start acting like one for the first fucking time. Just put the petty shit away, let's try and fix this fucking scene while we still have one to save."
"You can't rely on Valve, you can't rely on ESL, you can't rely on the CSPPA, you can't rely on anyone." "Once again, it's gonna be the likes of us, the amateurs, the people who give a fuck, rolling up our sleeves and grafting." "I'm old and tired and I don't want to have to do it again. People need to pick up the torch and do it."
"Like Michal did, like Dudenhoeffer did. You see something wrong, fix it. You see somebody doing something wrong, call it out. If you think something could be better, let people know."
"Vote with your wallets if you're not happy with the direction Valve goes in. If when we do get to the Major, they serve up another subpar, same old bullshit stickers and signatures package again, do not buy it."
"You're a powerful block and if you use it correctly we can fucking avert this disaster."
"I'm not doing another year in this broken, bust-up fucking scene, where everyone is miserable, everyone is broke, everyone is tired, and everyone is trying to fucking rob everyone else, blind, while the fucking people who are meant to be protecting you, are just fucking enhancing it and lining their own pockets."
"I'm not doing it anymore and you shouldn't want to do it either."
"I stand by every fucking thing I said. I mean it, because this game fucking matters to me, this scene fucking matters to me. I put my life into this, my adult life, and to see it in this state is fucking sad."
Lost in the Sauce: Trump, Cruz, and Gohmert team up to incite election-related violence
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:
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I put the latest info on Trump's phone call to Raffensperger in this comment.
According to experts, Trump’s conduct has potential criminal exposure:
A federal statute makes it a crime when one “knowingly and willfully … attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process, by … the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held.” A Georgia statute similarly provides that a “person commits the offense of criminal solicitation to commit election fraud in the first degree when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony under this article, he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.” …The hard part for prosecutors would be proving Trump’s state of mind, because the statutes require proof of knowledge and intent. Prosecutors would have to show that Trump knew that Biden fairly won the election, and Trump was asking for Georgia officials to commit election fraud. And it’s not clear prosecutors could make that case.
At least 12 Republican senators plan to challenge Biden’s Electoral College win on Jan. 6, when Congress is set to officially count the votes. The effort is being led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and includes Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), as well as new Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). Separately, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) is pursuing a similar plan.
"Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed," the senators said in a joint statement. “Accordingly, we intend to vote on Jan. 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed."
Their plan is not going to succeed in preventing Biden from taking office, as majorities in both the House and the Senate would need to support a challenge against a state’s electoral votes. For an objection to be made, at least one member of both the House and Senate would need to submit it in writing. Then, the House and Senate separately convene to consider the issue. Debate is limited to two hours for each objection. After debate concludes, the House and Senate vote to uphold the objection and throw out the state’s votes. If the majority of the House AND the majority of the Senate does not uphold the objection, the state’s electoral votes are counted as cast.
Vice President Mike Pence’s role is simply to preside over the joint session, opening and presenting the certifications from each state. In his absence, the Senate pro-tempore Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) will lead the session. At the end of the process, the presiding officer announces who has won the majority of votes for president and vice president.
The most immediate danger from Trump and Cruz’s doomed election gambit is rightwing terrorism and general violence: Trump, in particular, is inciting his supporters to swarm D.C. on Jan. 6. “JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!” Trump tweeted last week. Four rightwing rallies are scheduled, including one headlined by George Papadopoulos and Roger Stone. The Proud Boys and other extremists are planning to attend the rallies and may set up an “armed encampment” on the National Mall, according to the Washington Post. On social media platform Parler, the leader of the Proud Boys said that members will be there “incognito” and may “dress in all black” to impersonate leftwing protestors.
Enrique Tarrio: "The ProudBoys will turn out in record numbers on Jan 6th but this time with a twist...We will not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow. We will be incognito and we will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams."
Rep. Louie Gohmert has more explicitly tried to incite violence, saying the failure of his legal challenge to the election means “you gotta go the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM.” (clip)
At the same time, pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood suggested that Pence could “face execution by firing squad” for “treason” if he doesn’t go along with the attempt to subvert the election.
Obstructing the transition
Biden’s transition director has accused the Office of Management and Budget of stonewalling the incoming administration’s team. OMB Director Russ Vought is not allowing key staff to meet with the transition team to help prepare the president-elect’s first annual spending plan, a move that could delay major proposals. Vought pushed back on the charges, saying that his agency needs to focus on finalizing the Trump administration’s regulations before the president leaves office.
“OMB leadership’s refusal to fully cooperate impairs our ability to identify opportunities to maximize the relief going out to Americans during the pandemic, and it leaves us in the dark as it relates to Covid-related expenditures and critical gaps,” [Biden transition Exec. Dir. Yohannes] Abraham said.
Earlier last week, Biden himself said Trump officials are not cooperating with his team, singling out the Defense Department for obstructing information on crucial national security issues. “Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility,” Biden said. The Defense Dept. finally scheduled meetings with the incoming team this week, after not briefing the transition for weeks.
The timing of the resumption in meetings is notable because it comes after the one year anniversary of the U.S. assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3. NATO officials are reportedly worried about the lack of coordination from the Trump administration: "We need the incoming Biden administration to be fully briefed and ready to deal with these very dangerous issues facing NATO's security."
Sabotaging the Biden Administration
U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack is taking steps to keep control of Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia during the Biden administration. As chairman of the boards of Radio Free Europe and Asia, Pack and his fellow members have added binding contractual agreements that will make it impossible to remove him or other pro-Trump allies from the board in the next two years.
In other words, although President-elect Joe Biden has already signaled he intends to replace Pack as CEO of the parent agency soon after taking office in January, Pack would maintain a significant degree of control over the networks.
The State Department is likely to designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism “as an 11th hour effort to create hurdles for the incoming Biden administration.” The label, which requires the approval of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, would undo a major accomplishment of the Obama administration. To take Cuba back off the list, the Biden team would need to conduct a formal review, a process that might take several months.
Such a designation would impose restrictions on US foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales, certain controls over exports and various financial restrictions. It would also result in penalization against any persons and countries engaging in certain trade activities with Cuba.
The Trump administration has been rushing to finalize a myriad of rules before Biden’s inauguration. Since Election Day, the Trump administration has issued about three to four times as many new regulations as it did during other periods of Trump’s presidency. Rules that haven’t been finalized or taken effect can be suspended by an incoming president, which Biden has said he intends to do. By contrast, rules that are finalized can take months, or even years, to undo.
“As a general rule, it takes at least as much process to undo or modify a rule as it does to put the rule in place,” said Jonathan H. Adler, a professor and an administrative law expert at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. “The Trump administration is magnifying that challenge for the Biden administration.”
Trump loyalists are urging the president to stymie Biden’s efforts to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. Sens. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham are working to get the agreements submitted to the Senate for ratification, requiring a two-thirds vote, with the goal of failure. While such an outcome wouldn’t prevent Biden from rejoining the accords, Cruz and Graham hope it would make their resurrection more problematic.
A vote against them would signal GOP opposition to the world and, they hope, undermine any unilateral action by Biden to rejoin the agreements. One senior congressional aide told RCP that sending them to die in the Senate “would be the final nail in the coffin.”
Further reading: “Biden To Be Saddled With Trump’s Payroll Tax Deferral Mess,” Forbes. Further reading: Biden will inherit a backlog of tens of thousands of visa requests from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and a bureaucratic tangle that refugee advocates say President Trump ignored or made worse.
Trump money and properties
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is employing forensic accounting specialists to examine Trump’s finances and business operations. Vance is looking “for anomalies among a variety of property deals” and trying to determine “whether the president’s company manipulated the value of certain assets to obtain favorable interest rates and tax breaks”.
The analysts hired by Vance probably have already reviewed various bank and mortgage records obtained from Trump’s company as part of the ongoing grand jury investigation, and they could be called on to testify about their findings should the district attorney eventually bring criminal charges
In yet another shady business deal connected to Trump, the United States sold the ambassador’s residence in Israel for more than $67 million. The person who bought the residence is none other than Trump mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. The property only became available due to Trump's controversial decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem. Furthermore, State Dept. representatives reportedly lied to Congress about the sale, perhaps to hide that Adelson purposefully overbid.
For now, there is no alternative residence for the ambassador, David Friedman, Trump’s former lawyer, who currently uses a suite at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel or rooms at the former Jerusalem Consulate General when he spends nights in Jerusalem… As a result, the United States appears likely to end up leasing the residence it has owned since 1964 from the GOP-affiliated casino mogul. “It is very strange that we are now paying Sheldon Adelson,” a congressional aide told The Daily Beast. “It is not above board. We have a number of questions. Did they get two independent appraisals? Was it a sweetheart deal? Was Adelson the highest donor? Was there a reason to sell it now?”
Trump’s businesses have taken in $10.5 million of donor money over the course of his presidency. $8.5 million came from the Trump campaign and related entities that Trump controls directly; $2 million came from other Republican candidates and committees. The biggest beneficiary was Trump’s NYC hotel, taking in $3,039,979 over the four years of his presidency, with $891,003 of that in just the final four months of the campaign. Trump’s DC hotel is ramping up room prices and requiring a two-night minimum stay for two key events this month, as the president tries to squeeze more profit out of his office. On Jan. 6, when Congress is set to formally count the votes cast by the Electoral College, room rates are listed at over eight times the price of surrounding dates. Trump is encouraging his supporters to attend a protest of Biden’s win on the 6th. A room during the inauguration costs five times the normal rate, at $2,225 per night. Trump’s Turnberry Resort in Scotland posted a £2.3 million ($3.1 million) loss in 2019, marking the sixth year in a row it has failed to turn a profit under his ownership. Since Trump took over the historic property in 2014, its losses now total nearly £45 million ($61.5 million).
The fact Turnberry remains in the red comes in spite of significant tranches of payments it has received from the US government during Mr Trump’s single term in office… the US Secret Service spent nearly £25,000 to accommodate its agents at the resort during business trips by Mr Trump’s son, Eric, an executive vice-president of the family firm. Since Mr Trump’s election, the property has received close to £300,000 from the Secret Service, US State Department, and US Defence Department
A Florida state lawmaker is calling for Mar-a-Lago to be penalized - and possibly shut down - for flouting coronavirus restrictions during a New Years Eve party. While Trump and the first lady did not attend, son Don Jr., attorney Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Fox News personality Jeanine Piro were captured on video among the maskless crowd. Guests paid as much as $1,000 for access to the ballroom to be entertained by Vanilla Ice.
State Rep. Omari Hardy: “My constituents are not snowbirds like @DonaldJTrumpJr & @kimguilfoyle. My constituents live here. This is their home, and they're going to have to deal w/ the consequences of a potential super-spreader party at Mar-a-Lago long after Junior & wife leave here on their private jet.”
Are you ready for a Donald J. Trump Airport? According to the Daily Beast, Trump has been asking aides about the process of naming airports after former U.S. presidents. Further reading: “Jared Kushner’s family real estate business wants to raise at least $100 million in capital through Israel’s bond market… Kushner has helped spearhead a series of moves that have been applauded by the conservative pro-Israel community, including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and recognizing Israeli sovereignty in disputed areas such as the Golan Heights. Kushner also has close ties to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.”
The Census Bureau missed it’s end-of-year deadline to produce numbers that determine representation in Congress and the Electoral College for the next decade. The agency is working toward Jan. 9 as an internal target date for completing the current stage of processing records. "If we miss Jan. 9, it's hard to envision that we would get apportionment done before inauguration," a Census employee told NPR.
The final timing of the 2020 census results' release could undermine President Trump's efforts to make an unprecedented change to who is counted in key census numbers before leaving office… If the first census results are not ready until after Trump's term ends on Jan. 20, it would be President-elect Joe Biden, not Trump, who would get control of the numbers, which are ultimately handed off to Congress for certification.
throwaway, also on mobile if that matters I (16F), got a job a few months ago. It's been nice having extra money, and as of right now it's all mine because I don't have any bills or responsibilities. I am also starting to save for a car. My mom (37y.o) has never been the saving type, lives paycheck to paycheck and uses credit cards instead of a savings account. She isn't a gambling addict but, any extra money she has goes to the casino. She also frequently borrows hundreds at a time from my grandmother to throw in a slot machine. I highly disagree with this lifestyle and want more financial security in my life when I get older. If there's ever an emergency, my mom either has to use her nearly maxed out credit cards or borrow money from my grandma which only causes more stress and debt. [One of her biggest stressors is her car, for some reason she has the worst luck and has to put a few hundred into it every few months, which she uses her credit card for.] Whenever I comment on it she says it's her money and I have no right to be in her business because her bills are paid on time and there's food on the table, so after a while I left it alone. My problem started a while ago when she low-key asked me to borrow money to go to the casino. I laughed it off and said no, but I've had a bad feeling ever since. The other day she asked if I'd let her borrow a few hundred if something happened to her car, and I said yes but I really don't like the idea. I don't want her to start borrowing money from me like she does my grandma, I don't want her financial irresponsibility to be my problem, especially as I enter adulthood. She could easily have a savings account but chooses not to. I also don't want to borrow money from her ever because I hope to plan my finances in a way that provides stability and backup plans that don't include other people. On the other hand though, she has provided everything I've needed and plenty more throughout my life. I can't tell if I'm just being a selfish, entitled daughter. So I guess my question would be, is this sort of money-borrowing relationship something that should be expected as I start having an income? And would I be the asshole for cutting her off from my income entirely? sorry if I rambled alot, im not the best at summarizing Edits: I'd like to clarify because I might've given her too bad of a rep, she would never steal my money. If I borrowed her money she'd give it back at tax time. (which would maybe be okay now, in December, but say she tries this stuff in march or something- I am really not comfortable waiting a whole year) That being said though, since she's more comfortable with my grandma, she'll try to persuade my grandma to let her keep some of the money instead of having to pay it back, and my grandma lets her sometimes. And I don't want her to expect that sort of treatment from me, ever. At the same time though she's poured thousands into me over my lifetime so maybe giving her a few hundred wouldn't be the worst... I don't know Edit 2: I see alot of people saying if she really NEEDS the money, I should give it to her. But my thing is- she always would've had the money, she just allotted it poorly and is now in a bad situation. It's not like she doesn't make enough for the things she needs, she just chooses to spend her money elsewhere so idk. Does that still count? like I feel like maybe I'd be more open to helping her out of bad situations if she actually attempted to change her lifestyle but it seems like money down the drain when I know she's just gonna do it again. She's a very stubborn lady haha edit 3: oh my god everyone is calling my mother an addict. I dunno how to feel about that. maybe here ill provide some more specific numbers because maybe you guys are picturing something worse. I'll let you decide so before covid, she'd go to bingo (lmao bingo) around twice a week. Each session costs $100-200 and atleast part of it each time would be borrowed from my grandma I think. every year when she gets her tax returns she pays off some of her bills and uses pretty much the rest for slots, which is more expensive (she'd reasonably spend $2k on it probably, whether all at once or not) since covid only slots are open so when she can borrow money from my g-ma she will go with her. I think my grandma likes this system because she doesn't get that much taxes back anymore, but now she gets a big wad of cash from her daughter (probably around $3k?) I dunno I might've overexaggerated it in my original statement. It's probably self destructive because she doesn't have the money for it, but Im not so sure it's gambling addict behavior. You would think addicts would spend more and go more often. she hasnt been going as much since covid but she still spends money she doesn't have on it. very on the fence about it right now I guess :/
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
+3000% in 2020... My Journey to the Golden 7 Figure Mark
Hey Folks, My first ever Reddit post and I guess I chose to make an essay of it. This post is about how 2020 has been a stellar year for me in the stock market. For context, I'm 32 and have a been trading for about 7 years. I started in 2013 with stocks and then in 2016, I switched to options trading which had disastrous consequences at first, but is also the reason I eventually managed to hit the million dollar mark. Disclosure: I have a pretty stable career completely unrelated to the finance world so a lot of this is mostly self taught, which I am sure is also the case with most readers :) I will preface this post by saying that I am aware that there have been a bunch of success stories in the market in 2020 and by no means do I intend for my excitement and elation in sharing my story to come of as chutzpah. 2020 has been a crazy year considering the adjustments we have had to make to our lives because of Covid. The "benefit" of this has been the ability to wfh and this lifestyle change has spawned a whole new population of day traders. As an inhabitant of an area that follows Pacific Time, the 2.5 or so hours before work officially begins has been an absolute blessing for me. This additional time coupled with super favorable market conditions, gumption/balls of steel and a good technical understanding or experience of the stock market are the factors that probably led to my success. I will also say you need A LOT OF LUCK in this process. Sometimes things just work out for you in life and you ABSOLUTELY need that to even come close to achieving something like this. Point to note: This post is going to ignore the injection and removal of some of my own funds along the way. You can assume the highest "baseline" amount I ever had in the account was around 140k. I mention starting at 11k but please note in no way is this post saying I went from 11k to >1 million. Here's this year's action and the next few images summarize/document my crazy journey to get to this point. BOOM portfolio as of 10/1/2020. 3000%. You can do it too! I started trading 7 years ago. Mostly stocks. It was all good but humans have a propensity for risky behavior and I am human after all. This tendency meant that I couldn't just let my money sit in an account and grow gradually. I will admit I have a gamblerisk taker mentality and you must realize how critical this characteristic is to achieving success like this. Anyway, started dabbling in options in 2016 and I probably went about it the wrong way. My first foray into the options space was via long calls (which I realized later is actually only recommended for Options "Veterans" and not for those starting out as novice traders). Got burned A LOT along the way . I start with 11k in 2015ish and built that to about 39k by May 2017 and then literally lost more than 50% by 2019. Yuck! I know. Trust me there were days I would hate myself for being so incompetent or just displaying terrible money management. For this post, let's assume you only start seeing the action from Jan 8 2016 (image below) The starting value here is reflected as ~100k It's not so obvious anymore because the scale has been affected massively by the spike this year. But for clarity, my lowest point was Sep 2019 (See image below). I was heavily leveraged and this was where I was basically ready to give up. Thank god I didn't. So what changed? Read on! https://preview.redd.it/l5ugxjuhuiq51.png?width=566&format=png&auto=webp&s=032d472e0e912f43b35547214eacdae371870311 So in retrospect, I think we were in a very bearish environment between 2018 and 2019. People don't reference it as a bear market because lots of stocks did climb in that period (and it technically wasn't a bear market) but the tariffs on the Far East really messed with a lot of trading strategies and just market movement in general. My favorite stock in the early part of wealth building was AMD! I used that to build my portfolio and get out of the rut, post 2019. I basically took all my 80-90k (46k + 100% margin) and bought long AMD calls with strikes very close to the market price it was trading at in June-Sep 2018 and expirations 4-6 months out and just waited. POTUS did us all a great favor by ending the damn tariffs and that's when this party started. By March 2020, right before Covid, I hit 292k or so and was loving life and every minute of what I had pulled off. I will admit somewhere along the way between Oct 2019 and March 2020, I had traded NVDA and a few other large cap growth stocks given I now had all this additional purchasing power. BUT Guess what? My dumbass didn't take any profit! Or if I did, I reinvested it into the market. Remember what Mathew Mcconaughey's character says in WoWS? " They're all f**ing addicted. As brokers, we take their money out from 1 stock and dump it in another and just keep making money. Who cares about the investor!" .... So anyway, Covid strikes and BAM! my portfolio fell back to around 105k. I was pissed (I am sure many of you suffered the same fate). Thankfully, we have had a V shaped recovery (or K depending on what your political affiliation is) and I basically used the next 6 months from March till today to supercharge my portfolio to what you saw in the first image. So here's what I learned along the way: Disclaimer: None of what I mention in this post should be taken as financial advice. I accept no responsibility for how you do/do not use this information in your own trading strategies
The power of compounding is a beautiful thing. People understand this but don't full appreciate what this can do for you. If you start at 10k, you should aim to get to 20k first before trying to fly to 100k. When you get to a 100k, make sure you don't lose a single cent and have to start again from scratch. 100k with 100k margin = 200k. That can get you an ROI a helluva lot larger than if you were to start with 10k again. Grow your money in steps but know that in the casino, to win more, you have to bet more, which in this case would be your new principal amount after you have made profit.
Don't waste time trading rubbish. I see lots of new investors chasing the dollar stocks hoping they reach $10. Yes I did it with AMD but when I started trading AMD it had already gone from $3 to $16 in a year so the story was starting to build up! Penny stocks/pink sheet stocks are trash. Please don't waste your time on that. Large cap growth is the best way to make money. It's all about %. One option of TSLA or NFLX or AMZN purchased at the right time will make you a lot more than 1000 shares of a trash penny stock.
Technical Indicators are your friends. Learn how to use them, particularly in a bull market. I personally love Bollinger bands and RSI. These coupled with understanding the trend in a market will give you a significantly higher chance at making money than just speculating. Also, use these to either take profits off the table or to let your winners ride. 95% of all price action takes place within the +/-2 sigma bollinger bands(hence the definition). Don't believe me? Plot the chart yourself. Use the daily indicator for short term trading. Use the 3min or 5min chart for intra day trading.
If you are interesting in options trading, please go read or watch YouTube videos to understand how to get started. There is SO MUCH LITERATURE available for free. DONT PAY ANYONE to learn how to trade unless you want to contribute to the downpayment for their next Aston Martin :). Also, the Greeks didn't just give us great Mediterranean food, they are also the most important parameters in options trading. Delta and Theta should be with you at all times but dont' ignore gamma and vega. Alos understand how IV impacts your trading. The most successful/profitable strategy for me was (once I learned to do it correctly of course), buy call/put options with expiration>=2 months from the day you purchase them at a strike very close to the money. Don't worry about straddles and iron condors till you have mastered what the basics mean. Also, once you understand options and start buying them, know that writing Calls and Puts is a great way to collect premium as you grow your account. If you own shares, there's no reason you shouldn't be collecting extra income from writing calls against them. If a stock flies up too high, sell puts at 10% below the current price. In a bull market, you'll be hard pressed to find a growth stock that doesn't recover after tanking 10% in a 2 month time period.
Margin is your friend. Think of margin as the mistress/boy toy. He/She can give you unreal levels of pleasure but if he/she rats you out/bails on you, RIP. Use it wisely. Finally, trust nothing but your own instinct - No one but you is responsible for how you grow your account. Don't blindly follow people unless you understand what they are proposing. Most of us learn this the hard way (including me).
Take profit off the table but also let your winners run! Set yourself targets when you are in the very early stages of building your wealth. Remember the point I made about compounding? If you start at x, and make 20% on that, you are now at 1.2x. If you make 20% on that, you are now at 1.44x. I know you want to make 8x eventually but is it better to be realistic and try and grow 1.44x to 8x or go back down to 0.5x and then have to make your initial capital back and more? If your winners are up 20%, TAKE YOUR PROFIT. If you want to let it run, fine go ahead. But if you are now suddenly 50%, wtf are you waiting for? Are you going to stare at the screen hoping you suddenly see $1,000,000? That's not going to happen. Now, that said - in the current market climate which is a SEARINGLY HOT bull market, it is not unreasonable to see stocks climb 5-10% in a day. So? Take advantage of that of course but never ever let FOMO be the reason you lose out on profit.
Much like point 6, realize that you need to cut your losses when things don't work out. Go check out the CANSLIM method for some guidance on what targets to set yourself. E.g. in your early stages set tell yourself that no matter what, you will take profit at 20% upside and cut losses at -10% downside. On paper, with this math you can never lose. Of course, executing this requires curbing 10 different stages of human emotion which is why most never make consistent profit in the stock market.
Be greedy when others are fearful. I am at a stage now where I LOVE RED DAYS. Why? Because I know that in 24-48 hours the large cap growth stocks are going to recover and I will basically make close to 100% gains on my initial investment. Don't chase when others are chasing. Most of retail doesn't know wtf they are doing. Keep cash handy for days like this. Never be 100% invested with your entire portfolio and never be invested in a single stock unless you are very very sure based on technicals that you will see a rebound. And don't be scared to hit the buy button on a red day. Trust me, once you see it work you will instantly feel vindicated.
Finally, and most IMPORTANTLY. The risk taking mentality/gambler mentality is CRITICAL to making money. You won't hear this much and it might even be a controversial statement to make but your end goal should be to place a bet on a trade which you know, based on experience, will have a favorable/profitable outcome in the near future. To execute this you need to have the guts and the belief in what you are doing but also very low aversion to risk. I will add again that YOU NEED A LOT OF LUCK and a brazen assurance in your own abilities. These will come with time and you will likely make lots of mistakes along the way. But, if you are patient enough, you will reach that level where you stop second guessing your decisions and that's the day you are on your way to your dream portfolio.
Okay, I could probably write much more and I might edit this again in future but I will stop here for now. I hope you were able to take something from this. I respect your opinions so feel free to disagree with anything, everything I have said. I am just sharing my story and always happy to hear yours too! Good luck folks. I hope you all make boatloads of money and have very happy, enjoyable lives regardless of whether you are motivated by money or not! -Phantas EDIT: Thanks for the comments everyone. I appreciate both the love and the hate. Many of you make excellent points and valid arguments both for and against what I have done. I saw a few posts about how this might be fake. I understand that this is my first post and so it does create some doubt. Video proof below for those who had concerns on the legitimacy of the screenshots. I apologize in advance for the disparity in the numbers. Due to this morning's gains, the portfolio value in the video is significantly higher than when I made this post. https://reddit.com/link/j3fx2video/dteq0s1njpq51/player
Covid-19 Update for November 24: 1,115 new cases, 916 recoveries, 16 deaths + Announced Restrictions to Limit Covid-19 Spread
Data is taken from the Covid-19 portal and today's media availability by Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro, and Dr Deena Hinshaw. Minister of Eduation Adriana LaGrange, Deputy Minister of Eduation Andrew Courbold, and AHS CEO Verna Yiu were also present, but did not speak. Dr Hinshaw will be available every day this week. There are currently enhanced measures in effect for multiple regions of Alberta. 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"
7,538 (88.0%) in last 7 days
+13,617 (~8.19% positive)
+20/+15 based on yesterday's post/portal data
+4/+1 based on yesterday's post/portal data
+16 (3x 60-69, 70-79, 10x 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
Municipalities with 10+ active cases is given at this link Schools with outbreaks are listed online. Quick numbers (since yesterday):
65 schools are on Watch (+1)
117 schools have 2-4 cases (+3)
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
Pandemic is "once in a century" event that has affected everyone
Has received lots of heartbreaking/heartfelt letters and read some out of them in the meeting last night
Letters include concerns about family impacts and economic impacts, as well as the loss of life
Has phoned front line healthcare workers over weekend and sought out their advice
Has noted the hesitation of further restrictions before and focus on targeted measures. The vast majority of Albertans have worked to the guidelines
Spread is speeding up and is significant at long term care. We need to do "everything we can" to protect them. That requires dedicated work from the community
Must also protect healthcare system. Healthcare system is at risk, and Edmonton Zone is an example of the trade offs that now must be made. Other services will have to be put on hold if the trend continues, even with the spending in it
Measures below were not taken lightly. These are the "minimum restrictions needed" right now to protect healthcare system and avoiding widespread damage to livelihoods
Declaring a State of Public Health Emergency in the province of Alberta
Series of mandatory measures also approved:
For social gatherings: No indoor social gatherings will be permitted in any setting and outdoor social gatherings will have a limit of 10 people
For funerals and weddings: 10 in-person limit and no receptions will be permitted
Social events have been one of the biggest driver of cases. Weddings and funerals are one of the biggest widespread drivers of transmission ("This is just a reality")
These social gathering restrictions are province-wide and can be subjected to fines
An emergency alert will be sent to all Alberta phones this week to make Albertans aware
Gatherings of worship services will be capped of 1/3 of Fire Code with mandatory masking if region is under enhanced status. This is now mandatory. This will be evaluated mid-December
Effective Friday, for regions under enhanced status, three temporary restrictions will be added at businesses and services:
(1) The following will be closed: banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, concert venues, community centres. All levels of sport too, but must apply and have an approved exemption
(2) Retail businesses and services will be limited to 25% of occupancy limit
(3) Hair salons, personal wellness services, hotels, and professional services will be limited by-appointment
In-person dining and bars can continue, but must abide by guideline. Each dining tables will be limited to 1 household
Asking all workers that can work from home to do so. Government of Alberta will do so
These will be reviewed in mid-December
On November 30th, Grades 7-12 will end in-person schooling for 2020 and Winter break will begin December 18. In-person learning will be delayed until January 11, 2021
Effective immediately, masks are mandatory in Edmonton and Calgary Zone
The measures are tough, but necessary to protect Albertans from a "crushing lockdown"
Knows this will be hard and encourages people to shop local
Will give a chance to review before Christmas
If the measures do not have meaningful impact, further restrictions will be made in December
Q&A - Announced Restrictions
Alberta has had some of the least stringent measures and highest cases rates. Is today's announcement that it failed? Why are we doing the "minimum"?: Thinks the response has been effective for a long stretch of time. Obviously an issue has cropped up in the past few weeks. Also notes a "chase after 0 [cases]" shutdown won't be the goal and that restrictions and interventions, in accordance with Charter of Rights, should be limited to minimizing infringement of rights to achieve a goal
How will you enforce gathering restrictions?: No "snitch line", but will be expanding enforcement officers (Level 1 and 2 peace officers) to enforce orders and writing the tickets (up to $1,000/person). Anticipates officers will see if obvious "large gathering signs" will be noticed
How is in-person dining not "indoor gatherings"? How do you feel about doctors recommending closing in-person dining?: Notes dining is one household and limited spread in dining centres and asks those with a secure paycheck ("particularly a government paycheck") to think about those who sink life savings in dining services
Why are stores being restricted if they are not a significant cause of spread?: Compares well to other provinces who have fully closed retail. Thinks it was a grave mistake to allow big box stores to remain open because they had grocery/pharmaceutical sections while small businesses must close. That said, restrictions must be made to limit social spread
Due to challenges with Albertan spread information, what data is being used to make the decisions?: Points to data from previous 8 months
Are you confident that these measures will control cases by December 15?: Yes. Notes the challenging balance between infringement of rights and controlling cases. Also hopes this will be a "wake up call" to those not following the guidelines
(Interjection - I felt this was important and it needs to be separated from the above question). Kenney recognizes he will get quite a few people "on [his] Facebook page" angry at the restrictions. Wants to emphasize this is not a lockdown. Nor is this an abstraction. If you know someone waiting for surgery, this is to protect them. It's not about politics, but for them. It's not something he wants to do and is upset about the situation. But it's not enough to complain. Challenges people to explain how to grapple with timely healthcare access if Covid continues to spread and more need care
Q&A - Future Restrictions
How bad will it have to be to announce a lockdown?: Would like to avoid it if possible. Key metric will be hospitalization (in particular, ICU), measured against capacity. (Interjection - The wording of the rest of the response was focused on more targeted measures if these restrictions do not limit spread within 3 weeks)
Are there specific thresholds for lift measures/add more measures?: On 15th of December, reproductive value (R) must be <1 to lift measures. Ideal target is 0.80. We are currently at 1.3 in Edmonton, 1.1 in Calgary
Q&A - Other
Where is Alberta when it comes to vaccine and rapid testing?: Alberta depends on the federal government. Notes disappointment in the slow roll out of rapid testing (though 577,000 tests have been delivered). Hopes to announce more roll out details in the week. For vaccine, Oxford trial has also headed to mass production (giving Canada 3 incoming vaccines). When it arrives, will likely begin with healthcare workers and vulnerable populations
Statements by Minister Shandro Further details on the above guideline
Indoor social contact should be limited to you household. If you live alone, you may have two non-household social contacts
Indoor social gathering gatherings doesn't apply to home based services
Funeral/wedding gathering limits can result in $1,000 fine, up to $100,000 through courts
Additional details for restaurants/bars/pubs/lounges: Must follow 4 points: (1) 6 person/table limit, all from one household, (2) same note as above for single person household (and limited to the same two people), (3) only seated eating/drinking allowed, (4) no other services are allowed (e.g. billiards/darts)
Encourages takeout/delivery/curbside pick up when possible
Enhanced screening of measures will begin
Retail services extends to bingo halls, fitness, pools, etc. No group fitness is allowed, nor team practice or games
Casinos can be open for slots only and follow the liquor laws of bars and casinos
Why Goons are the "Good Guys" of Eve - An essay by Asher
Quick note: This post took me a long time to write, many hours between conception, editing, and execution. If you would be so kind as to not downvote it strictly because you disagree with me, I’d appreciate it. If you think this is a low effort post, or doesn’t contribute to discussion, then please do. This started out as more of a bullet point list of reasons but as I rewrote it became more of a story of my experiences as they relate to Goons. I hope you all enjoy it more this way. One of the conceits of the war from the PAPI front is that “Goons are the bad guys of Eve”. I’ve found this narrative vexing, because over the last five years I think Goons have swung from comical Eve bad guys to the best of the large alliances in Eve. I’ll explain why I believe this is so. But first let’s address some things: One of the disadvantages of being around for so long is that we have to carry around all of the bad baggage from years past. There are a lot of “old twitter posts” some of which are pretty awful. Bad people, bad memes, and the like. Some of it is just stupid in retrospect, some of it deeply embarrassing. The positive news is that I think the alliance has become the leading example of what a large alliance should be in the game. Good to its members and a fun adversary to an outsider. Going back to 2015 Goons had gone through 1 “cultural revolution” which had defanged a lot of the casually terrible stuff that was common in Eve back then (ie: jewing was a common term for ratting/krabbing) but still had a lot of vestiges that wouldn’t be fully swept away until cultural revolution 2 (where we probably landed on the side of too heavy handed, but that’s a story for another day). However it was, in my opinion, peak “bad Goon” in terms of gameplay philosophy. Sion had just pushed the Viceroy plan - something I considered one of the most ill-conceived efforts to get content in quite a while. “Helldunks or blueballs” was the byword, and Reagalan snapping the phrase at some unremembered skirmish commander saying just that was the talk of the Eve subreddit. Spin was, in the most generous terms, pretty far-fetched. Line members were considered pretty dumb and the apparatchik were fairly devoted to passing down the party line. At the time I was an up-and-coming FC. I had already formed my Reavers SIG about a year before in Oct. 2014 and had won some heavily outnumbered fights against most expectations. I was getting a big push from alliance leadership and kept winning fights as I got sent out on mainfleets I was quickly got promoted into bigger roles to the point where I was running main fleets as the main FC. Laz was mostly AFK after winning B-R5 and trying to do the streamer thing, but still around for big fights. Not long after Vily left Goons. A few months later Endie, Elise and others would start aggressively lobbying me pretty hard to leave Goons and I started getting BIG CASH OFFERS on the table from other people as well. This was the start of the Casino War. At this point I think Mittens started sensing the sharks circling and promoted me to ‘skymarshal’. This is a mostly tongue in cheek position but one that meant you were in charge of the Goon military. At this point I had a lot of problems with the way some things were being handled in the alliance military, but I was fully committed to making change from inside rather than leaving my group behind (I had only been playing Eve seriously since 2013, but I’ve been a Goon since the early 2000s). One of my biggest problems was the “helldunks or blueballs” philosophy. I thought it was a great way to win one war but a terrible way to retain members. During much of 2015 I had the feeling that we were rotten to the core, that our strength was mostly fleeting. Although there were some specific moments that I felt could have stopped the Casino War before it started, (mostly by counteracting SMA’s mind boggingly bad decisions) I felt that theViceroy program and the disasterous lowsec campaign had already exposed a lot of our weakness to the whole galaxy. Despite the losses, the Casino War turned out to be a huge boon to Goonswarm and our allies that stuck with us. It got us out of Deklein into Delve which was (at the time) much better space. We would have never got rid of Deklein otherwise. It taught us a lot of lessons about sprawl and not fighting over-extended. It showed us the flaws in our organizational structure. But most importantly it opened minds to re-evaluating certain dearly held doctrinal beliefs. One that I wanted to challenge almost immediately was helldunks and blueballs. I felt that our guys being generally unchallenged lead to us having great numbers of fair weather friends who could be relied on for dunks but would split when the going got tough, both in Goons and throughout the other alliances in the CFC. In our exile to Saranen, we saw exactly that. My doctrinal belief was, and still is, that regularly placing your guys in tough positions results in better pilots and in people who are happier overall. We grow personally and as a group by overcoming challenges. A helldunk is a Pepsi Cola. A struggle overcome is a 14 year old scotch. After the Casino war we moved to Delve and were in pretty bad shape resource wise but you knew every person who stuck with you was true blue. I’ve never had more fun than my days in Saranen as the war wended its course to an end, and part of that reason was you knew that every person who was with you in Saranen would ride with you against all odds. I was determined to capture the ‘Saranen Spirit’ for people who were there and for those who would start playing or join us later. It took a while though. When we first arrived in Delve PGL followed us there with the goal of destroying us once and for all, but by this point there was no fat left. Every single person was battle hardened and the money and will to follow us had run out. We stopped his campaign pretty quickly. Change came slowly at first. We had a lot of wounds to lick, a lot of data to process and people were just tired. The first turning point against helldunks/blueballs came with our Hakonen deployment. We took a shot at Tribute with just carriers and dreads versus an enemy supercap force that clearly outnumbered us. It was a very fun deployment for us but we did eat a ton of negative publicity about how “bad” we were. I think it bothered Mittens a bit (maybe a lot) and I don’t think he had yet realized the value we gained out of it. After seeing GOTG’s impressive subcapital and supercapital contributions during the Hakonen deployment, we decided to deploy some of our combat SIGs to Pure Blind to begin harassing our enemies on that front, once again committing to an offensive in a deliberately handicapped fashion. For almost a year, we whittled down multiple alliances with relatively tiny subcapital fleets and the odd dreadbomb. All of this built up to a climax in 2017. X-47 was one of the most consequential fights in recent memory, and once again we put ourselves in a rough spot to get it. We started the titan fight with dead-even numbers against an enemy with Keepstar advantage and all that entails. Less remembered but even more significant was the oppressive tether doomsday bug/feature, which put our super fleet at a significant disadvantage. In the armor timer, we gave them the opening volley and it started off really poorly for us, but we ended up pulling out a victory. The hull timer was a much more lopsided victory in terms of Titan kills, , and the Keepstar death all but ended serious resistance in the war. Still, I remember the anxiety going into the fight, I don’t want to sound over-dramatic but I spent the whole night before prowling my house, unable to sleep. I had figured out the value of the Imperium supercapital fleet and it was in the millions of dollars if you converted it to plex. It’s a huge amount of pressure on the shoulders of the FC to know that if you mess up you could lose that for the people who put their trust in you. It’s also a very small group of people in video game history who can make a statement like that so it’s a fun and unique cadre to belong to and my respect to those of you who have shouldered that burden before. Throughout all of these campaigns, I think it became more and more clear that this new military philosophy was the superior one, and ditching the ‘helldunk’ strategy was the correct move. Over time I slowly pulled Mittens towards my view point on this - that there is something of more value than just numbers. Our doctrines started evolving too. This might sound comical, but for a long time Goons had avoided cap chains. It was thought that the Goon line member couldn’t handle it. Now when I see our fleet spreading ewar really effectively, and our very effective cap chaining logi, and multiple FCs all doing different tasks, I can’t help but smile. Hard work pays off. After X-47 we wrapped up that war and went home. We would come back in the not too distant future to finish the work we had started. We expected a stronger response in Tribute, but after an initial hard fight the regions were vacated and we glassed it. Unlike every other group in the game, we didn’t immediately find some renters or delegate an underling to occupy the space. We left it fallow and a really healthy ecosystem of small alliances has flourished. We didn’t know exactly what would happen in this space, but since we left Deklein we have very conspicuously and openly avoided taking space and sprawling out. And I was very satisfied to see what can happen when you leave some space open for anyone to use. After that last northern campaign, we went home again during the chaos era before we started our GEF campaigns the following year. Once again, we deployed against superior enemy numbers with capital superiority and fought outnumbered in two separate campaigns. At this point it felt like we had burnt away all vestiges of helldunks or blueballs. Coming into July I had this short convo with Mittens, and I think it illustrates how our relationship has grown and the trust that you can build even with people who initially had vastly opposing views on how things should be run: https://i.imgur.com/YyIE1bs.png I’d like to address a few more points that I think lie strongly in our favour: Supercaps – Goons have been opposed to them for as long as I can recall. All our CSMs have publicly come out in favour of them being nerfed, even though it’s long been to our strategic benefit for them to be strong. Over the last few years we’ve lost people in comparison relative to other alliances. Some people have aged out, some didn’t like the way we fought wars and went to climes that agreed with them more, but we’ve always had the most supers and we’ve constantly argued that they are unhealthy for the game. I have personally lobbied for them to be nerfed, in public and in focus groups with Devs, because it’s our belief that they are unhealthy for the game. Part of why we are being attacked is because our enemies believe that dreads can be used against titans much more effectively than in the past, and they can flex their numbers advantage in that area on us. If we end up losing because of this, we’ll have lobbied ourselves into that position. I think part of the gulf in perspective between us and our enemies, especially the TAPI FCs is that they just fundamentally view the game differently than we do. But at one point we were much closer. Vily left in 2015 in the middle of helldunk/blueball and copious spin and he’s brought the Goons culture of 2015 to Test. There’s a Test poster – who I won’t name because I’m pretty sure he gets off on being recognized – who has been making the argument that Test are more Goonie than Goons. And to him I say: I agree with you. Test have inherited the mantle of Goons and we became something else. Vily is Goons without the growth. PGL tried to destroy us in 2016 and thought we’d cave in like a rotten pumpkin because that’s what happened with his alliance. When we didn’t I believe he was shocked but he thinks it will be different this time. Well, I’m going to be the bearer of bad news for him because this group has been through much worse than we had in 2015. We have a lot of people who have been fighting consistently against people who had every advantage over them and they’ve come out the other end stronger. Will it be enough to beat 3x our numbers? Who knows, but I know these guys will be with me no matter what happens. I’ve been hearing the same story over and over in my fleets, I have pretty open comms (sorry Euros that I annoy with this policy) and people have been more reflective as of late. And I kept hearing the story from one guy after another about how they thought that Goons were the bad guys until they joined them. So tonight I asked my fleet to X up if they thought or had heard that Goons were the bad guys before they joined, this was the result: https://i.imgur.com/mJCEiS7.gif I’ve been pondering this, and wondering why people would join the bad guys. Every story varied but often people had tried other things and were unhappy and Goons were an unhappy choice initially but once they were in they saw how things actually worked and were happy with it. Some ended up by chance through a corp moving or just a friend invited them and that overcame their doubts. The point was that even though they heard we were the bad guys once they were here and got to experience our culture they saw it was different than what they had elsewhere. That’s partly why I think a lot of our guys are really passionate, they feel unfairly attacked. Now I’ve come a long way, but I want to address the 5 ton elephant in the room: The Mittani. I’m very aware that he said something stupid almost a decade ago. I addressed my thoughts in much more depth here. I don’t believe it was said with malice, but it still was an awful thing to say. However in my time interacting with him he’s always been a very passionate guy but I’ve never seen him suggest an untoward thing. He wants to win, he wants to use whatever legal way possible to do it and he’s a guy who’s shown a lot of growth personally. If he wanted to do something I thought was immoral I would hear about it and I wouldn’t support it, but I’ve never once been put in that position. I think a lot of you don’t understand that he’s a wrestling promoter. He can’t help but play a heel. He’s fantastic at it. And he’s fantastic for the game, lots of you guys on the other side want to win so you can wipe the smug smile off his face. This is awesome. More leaders should be like this, there are a few I really would like to do the same to (or have done in the past) and it’s great to have people that motivate you to fight them. The worst thing for this game would be a bunch of staid boring diplomats who didn’t inspire any vitriol. This game is about fighting after all. Another good thing about Goons and the Imperium is our diplomatic stance, although I don’t want a bunch of diplomats running the game I am very keen on keeping our words and Goons have done this more than any other group. Sister Bliss was talking with me about why Init has stuck with Goons and he said something about how every other group in the game had promised Init the world then screwed them when it was convenient and Goons were the only one who stuck to what they said and he values that. A few quick more bullet points:
Goons do not like renting. Of all the big alliances we’ve had the smallest rental program, we only reluctantly got into it when OTEC was broken and had to secure some income. We closed our rental program, but we kept out word and grandfathered our old renters so that they could stay and not lose what they’d agreed to. I think renting is a net bad thing for the game, actually very bad so I’m proud of this one. Culturally Goons have always opposed rental programs.
We forced the game into taking on all players regardless of skill point level. Groups like Brave, Horde, etc followed in our footsteps on this one. I firmly believe that getting players into groups that have the bandwidth to teach them the game with proven programs that know how to retain people is the best way to do it, rather than just hoping they join random highsec corp #1850 and hoping they aren’t run by toxic incompetent people.
Goons don’t sprawl. We’ve held 4 regions but 2 of those were more out of necessity than any desire to hold them. In one region we did the Querious Fight Club which has launched over 20 corps into nullsec alliances around the game or independently. Right now Pandafam covers 12 or 13 regions and is renting out many of them to aggressively botted alliances. If you look at the MER Frat is making more money than any other nullsec group and it’s not even close. Because of how densely packed we are our space is terrible for botting, probably the worst space in the game for it, which is another tick for us.
This is a personal one but Goon doctrines are more interesting. Screw Munnins, down with boring arty doctrines. I’m really happy we’ve been iconoclastic in our doctrinal decisions and have seen success with those choices.
So, that about wraps up my voluminous tome. What should you do with this information? Well, I hope no matter what side you were on you found it an interesting read. I’m not trying to convince anyone to not fight us. Jay and I were talking right as the war was starting about how we were in the perfect spot, no one expects us to win so if we do it’s more credit to us but if we lose it’s to be expected. If we end up back in an NPC station then I get to just replay my favorite time in Eve ever. But I hope I have shown you a little bit about why I believe Goons are one of the best alliances in the game right now, thanks for reading.
[WARNING, LONG POST] I thought I'd share my story and a concrete solution to handling your gambling and the problems that come with it; the emotion, the debt, anything that would give you the same (temporary) relief it gave me
Hi, so my story is very similar if not worse than most of the people who post on this sub. I wanted to share because I want to be able to tell others, that you're not alone, youre not unworthy, you need to be more forgiving of yourself and the steps I personally took to get to a better place in my life. So here it goes: I was an occasional gambler, played with maybe 100 dollars a month on the blackjack table and didnt think I had a problem until one day I decided to play with a bigger bank roll. Went in with 1000 and by the end of 2 days, I was up 15K. But I wouldn't be here if I had a happy ending. Saw that I could turn 1000 into 15K so easily, why not turning 15K into 150k? It's pretty much the same thing! WRONG. TOTALLY WRONG. Started making bigger bets, putting down 1K on BJ hands, doubling down and splitting it like it was nothing. Turns out, the Casino always wins. I lost that 15K and to make it worse, I thought I could go back in with another 1K, maybe make 5K and call it. I wanted it back. BADLY. So I started playing big hands as if I still had that 15K. Lost that 1K in a span of 10 minutes. Went back in with the attitude, I won't be dumb and play like that again. Played it small, 50 dollar hands at most. Guess what? WRONG AGAIN. Lost another 1K in 6 hours. I was so pissed and so determined that I could win it back again because I've done it before. It was not a question of if, it was a question of when. And lo and behold, I actually managed to get to 10K. But the devil never rests. I wanted more. So I played more. And even after been given a lifeline, I STILL BLEW IT. I lost ANOTHER 10K. I was shell shocked but my go to attitude was that I was not going to lose. That risk taking part you love about yourself? Where you throw all caution to the wind? It spoke so loudly in my body, I drained all my savings of 5K to win that money back. And guess what? I lost that too AND IT STILL DIDNT COMPUTE. But it doesn't end there. I did the one thing I said I wouldn't never do and started pulling money out of my credit card. 10K limit. You can already see how this one goes. Lost that 10K. And to be honest, I can't even recall how long it took but when I tried to make another deposit and the screen told me I had been declined, I finally looked at my bank statement and realized I had literally maxed out my 0 debt credit card at the casino. Plus money advance. In a span of a few days, I spent 3 years of saving to pay down my debt and have some actual cash on hand all because of one decision fueled by greed and illogical emotion. I hated myself. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. I even thought about killing myself because I couldnt even look at myself in the mirror and see that the person in the mirror could be THAT stupid. I remember going into work thinking, "I could have quit this job, I don't have to work 60 hours a week anymore" but now, it was "I'm gonna have to find 3 jobs and work 80 hours a week, fuck that, I will go off myself; that's way easier than this torture". I was living paycheque to paycheque, could barely afford rent, barely afford food, stopped paying the minimum on my credit card and wallowed in despair. I can speak about it in hindsight with less heaviness but at the time, it was without a doubt the most serious I had ever been about really hurting myself. Luckily, I had enough. I knew that wasnt the answer. But I still didn't know how to handle how I felt and how to deal with all my negative emotions and thoughts. So I reached out. I reached out to my kid brother and told him everything. I was ashamed. My kid brother doesn't look up to me but between him and I, I am the one who is responsible, sensible, doesn't put my problems on others. My kid brother was the one who dropped out of high school, did some unsavory things for money, got tattoos and rebelled against our parents. But he was the only one I could speak to earnestly to and I'm lucky I could, because without him, I wouldn't be here. I told him, and tho I recommend finding someone who would cast no judgement, my brother is the exception. After some choice words, he laughed, said I was stupid and told me something I will never forget. "It's just money, whats done is done" And that was it. It's just money and I can't relive the past and change it. He gave me an answer so succinct and without question that I felt this relief. It wasn't the end of the world. But life moves on and all you can do is push forward instead of looking back. And I know maybe I shouldn't speak about money so causally but the reality was that money comes and goes. Sometimes you have alot and sometimes you have a little. But the most important thing is that you're alive and well. As long as you have that, money problems aren't impossible problems because there are real solutions. And it may feel impossible but the key word, is MAY. It is possible and I am here to help you see that. There is hope. It's always there. You just have to believe in it and reach for it. After telling my brother, I had a better sense of where I was and what I needed to tackle next. Which was the financial consequences of my actions. Living paycheque to paycheque with this 10K (and climbing) credit card with an interest rate with a minimum payment that was going to outpace my earnings no matter what was daunting. I could already see that either I find a bag of drug money behind my apartment to pay it off or I was gonna go bankrupt within a few months. The first thing I did was EXCLUDE MYSELF FROM EVERY SINGLE GAMBLING WEBSITE AND CASINO. YOU CAN ALSO CALL YOUR BANK TO BAN YOUR CARDS FROM BEING ABLE TO DEPOSIT INTO THESE PLACES. The solution was work more hours, finding another job, sell my kidney or start robbing people. (I know you might think of this as a joke, but I do vividly remember seeing someone walking past me on the sidewalk with a TV and thought, what if I stole that, sold it, and it could help pay my debt. I was never serious but its already an issue when you would consider actually doing it, even if you thinking you're "joking"). I stopped going out to eat, I started cooking more at home (tho I am still eating as if I was in university again eating rice, ramen and noodles to survive but that was the price of gambling) and picked up more shifts at work while still maintaining a healthier balance (you still need to sleep). But I needed to deal with the credit card right away. And I found one. Another credit card. Now, it sounds crazy and it sounds really reckless, but this solution hinges on the fact that you are NOT GOING TO GAMBLE AGAIN. There were promotional credit cards that offered very LOW INTEREST RATES for a few months if you BALANCE TRANSFER. I was lucky and when I applied, I had good enough credit score to qualify (most of them were 0 income credit cards) and I received in total, 15K Credit limit with 0% APR (Annual Interest for 1 Year) to balance transfer for a balance transfer fee. So I transferred over 10K onto 2 cards, paid the balance fees (which is normally 3-5% of the balance being transferred, which amounted to 1 (240 dollar) minimum balance payment) to receive 0 interest for one year. And the moment I did it, that drowning feeling went away and I finally had time to breath. Because of that decision, it gave me more time to focus on finding more work or another job and not always be awake at night, counting my pennies to see if I had enough food for the week. That alone was worth the application. I could budget, save money and start lowering the principle amounts so when the promotional APR ended, I could actually manage the minimum payments. Currently, I put down roughly 35-40% of my monthly earnings into my credit card debt and live off of the rest. At this rate, I am on track to pay off that 10K debt by the end of the next year. And if you are wondering, my take home is just under 2500 a month 40hours a week excluding any extra shifts or overtime that I may be able to work (which is put 100% into my debt). Now I don't know if any of you guys are in the same position where you could apply for a credit card, get a good balance and stick to the plan but without it, I wouldn't be able to live my life not feeling enslaved to this 16 digit square in my wallet. And to be honest, I am going to continually apply to more credit cards that offer a promotional balance transfer interest because again, its just money and without leveraging this opportunity, I would not be able to actually pay off the principle and be forced to only make interest payments while the banks keeps laughing. If you've made it this far, you read this post because you felt a kindred spirit with me. That you're in the same position as me but don't know where to start. And thats ok. You aren't alone. You're still here and you're only human. We all make mistakes and live with the consequences of our actions. But without forgiving yourself, you will never be able to move on and you will be trapped in the purgatory of reliving this whirlpool of negativity. I wanted to share how I dealt with my emotional and financial problem because anything helps. This post may not speak to some of you but if it reaches only one of you, this was well worth the time. If you ever need to speak to someone with no judgement (unlike my brother) please feel free to PM me and I will give you my ear. TLDR: Forgive yourself for the mistakes you've made. Reach out to a loved one to unburden yourself. Come up with a solid solution to your financial problem (BALANCE TRANSFERS) and you will give yourself hope that there is an end to this madness. And there is. It just takes time.
I can’t wrap my head around how this makes sense so posting here in case someone can help or other people may need help as this is getting more common. Scenario: Deposited $250 into a popular sportsbook/casino. Played for one night on and off for a few hours in casino and sports bets and after a few bad bets lost it all. Looking at the win/loss statement it says: Wins:$5K Losses: $5.25K Googling and looking at how this impacts taxes I would have to claim the $5k as “Other Income” and itemize my losses as deductions but standard deduction is higher. Do I really have to pay $1.2K (24% of winnings) in taxes on winnings I don’t even have? If this is the case it seems VERY flawed to even use online casinos and honestly will never touch them again as a few hours on blackjack basically cost me $1200.
Hello all, I am a graduate student in finance with a bachelor's degree in Accounting. I wrote my thesis on how macroeconomic policy affects US equity markets (equity markets = stock market). I've spent the last 3 years studying this stuff and I'd say that I am not qualified in any sense to give sound investment advice. What that should tell you is that the stock market is an extremely complex landscape and takes years to understand. Even the best of the best lose money. With that being said, this comment is for informational purposes and not to be taken as investment advice or direction. I originally wrote this post as a comment to another user, but thought that it may be beneficial for others to use. It's very surface level, but I think it does a good job of answering some more abstract questions that people may have about equity markets. I also think it does a good job of establishing a solid, albeit basic idea of value investing and financial analysis. --- Understand that the last ten years does not accurately represent equity markets historically. From 1925 to 1941, if you invested in the S&P 500 index, you would have seen an average annual return of less than 5% with several of those years being negative- over the next ten years. Same goes for 1960 to 1975. (Disclaimer: Before people tear me apart saying you can't invest in the S&P 500 directly, I know. I'm using it as an example.) We've experienced a remarkably strong bull market over the last ten years, with 20% annual returns on the S&P 500 index; however, just because we've had a strong market the last ten years does not mean it will stay that way. Consider Japan in the early 1990s. Their bull market turned into a bubble (google: financial bubble) and for the next 10 years they saw no long term growth in their equity markets. They call the 1990s in Japan, "the lost decade". So this begs the question: if there are 10, sometimes 15 year long periods where we have almost no growth, or perhaps negative returns, when, where, and why should I park my money in equities? The first thing I think we should understand is risk. Risk is at the heart of almost all things "investing". If you go to the casino, and place $5,000 straight at the roulette table, your payout is a massive 35:1. If your bet hits, you walk away with $180,000. But statistically, your chances of winning are less than 3%. The risk is massive. Alternatively, if you buy a 3-month US treasury bill, the payout is around .1%. Meaning you would made $5 on a $5,000 investment. Why? The risk is so low. Also, what is a 3-month US treasury bill? Let me explain. A US Treasury bill is a short-term government debt security. Here's how it works. You give the US government $5,000. They now owe you $5,000 PLUS interest at a future date. In this example, it's 3 months. The US government says, "Thank you! We will give you $5,005 back in three months!" In three months, they give you the money back. Ask yourself, if you had to guess the percentage likelihood of the US government collapsing in the next three months, what would it be? Pretty low, right? That's why the return is so low. The United States government has the power, means, right, and infrastructure to tax the wealthiest population on the planet. Also, they aren't going out of business anytime soon. Therefore, that $5 return on a $5,000 investment is essentially guaranteed. Check out this chart. All stocks sit somewhere on this line of risk and return. But, how do we know the risk and return? Great question. How do we assess the value of an asset? An asset's worth is the sum of its future cash flows discounted to today's dollars. Read that again. An asset's worth is the sum of its future cash flows discounted to today's dollars. This is what we call "Net Present Value". Here's a video over it.Here's the NPV formula. Let's say we have a machine that spits out one dollar every year for 5 years. What is the value of that machine assuming a 2% inflation rate every year? Let's find out! Remember our NPV formula? Let's do the math. [$1 / (1+ .02)1] + [$1 / (1+ .02)2]+ ... + [$1 / (1+ .02)5] = $4.71. In this example, inflation rate is the discount rate; however, the discount rate can be many other things. We won't go into that right now though. So what does this mean to you? It gives you perspective. All those price movements in the stock market are the product of huge investment banks, mutual funds, and hedge funds moving money in and out of equities in massive quantities, with those decisions backed by hundreds, if not thousands of hours of research with private data that you can't access even if you had the money too. One of the big ways they (big banks) make these decisions is by using the NPV formula with Net Income in the numerator to determine the value of the asset and a rate to discount the cash flows at (there are ways to do this, again, we won't go into it). Then they use more complex methods to assess risk. Other methods of valuation may be used, but again, this is one of the big ones. So far, we've learned that risk and reward are positively correlated and companies are valued by their earnings. But, if companies are valued by their earnings, then why do bubbles happen? Why does the market tank sometimes? Shouldn't the market accurately reflect all companies at any given time? In theory, yes. But humans are irrational creatures, and often wrong. Therefore, stock prices are not always appropriately valued. I am going to introduce you to two financial ratios: earnings per share (EPS) and price to earnings (P/E) ratio. NOTE: EARNINGS = NET INCOME. Earnings per share is the net income of a company divided by it's number of outstanding shares. EPS = Net Income / Shares Outstanding. So let's say my company has a net income of $100 for the 2020 year and there are 100 shares outstanding. That would mean that my company's EPS is $1. Let's look at a real example: Apple. Click on this link. In the top left hand corner, click on sections>financial statements>consolidated statements of operations. Find EPS. Apple's EPS is 3.31. That's pretty solid. EPS puts a companies earnings in perspective with respect to the number of shareholders it has, which allows you to compare a companies earnings to its competitors, whether they be smaller or larger. Next, the price to earnings ratio. This is easy to calculate. It is just the share price divided by the EPS. PE = Price / EPS. What this does is puts the price of the stock in perspective with respect to its earnings. Consider the example where my company had an EPS of $1. Let's say the price of my stock is $30 per share. That would mean my PE ratio is 30 (PE raio of 30 = $30/$1 EPS). For some perspective on the PE ratio- the average P/E ratio in the S&P 500 is 25-30. But they can be as high as 1,000 (like Tesla) or as low 4 or 5. What the PE ratio does is says, "Hey man, here's a metric to determine how justifiable the price of this stock is considering how much the company makes." Generally speaking, investing in companies that have low PE ratios tend to show higher returns. Why? Because there is more of an acceptable margin (historically) for the price to increase with respect to earnings. For example: Five years ago, Apple's PE ratio was around 10. Now it's 40. This means the price went up, the earnings went down, or both. Over the last 5 years, Apple's EPS has increased. Therefore, because it's PE ratio is increasing as well, this means that it's price of the stock is increasing faster than it's earnings. Reference this chart. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just means that the big boys like Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, etc. think that Apple is going to do really well over the coming years as of right now. But let's say that tomorrow Apple was outed as a front for a money laundering scheme and they were going to be audited by the SEC and FBI. The price would tank. Why? Because people would be questioning if Apple would even exist as a company in the following years. They (the big boys, the government, me and you) would doubt their earnings. Rightfully so, I should add. What I (and many others) do is look at companies and determine:
Are their earnings sound? (Is it positive? If not, will it be positive? Will the company grow? Will another company come in and do whatever this company is doing, better?) This will help you determine if the return will be solid.
What is the current price of the equity in relation to the earnings? (What's the PE? Is it going up? Is it going down? Why?) This will help you determine how risky is your investment.
A solid company is generally one that has a high EPS, a low PE ratio, and is expected to grow. The reason Tesla has a PE ratio of >1,000 is because people expect it to grow. Like, they expect it to be the largest electric vehicle company by net income in the next 10-20 years AND expand into other markets like solar energy and batteries. Will they be right? I guess we'll see! This is the tip of the ice berg when it comes to investing. If you truly want to learn how to capture returns without exposing your investment to a large amount of risk, you are going to have to spend time learning how to do this. Here are some resources:
The Intelligent Investor (with Commentary) by Benjamin Graham. Read it entirely, the commentary first, then the chapters (Commentary, chapter, commentary, chapter, ...). Then read the commentary again and make notes.
Learn how to read three financial statements: The balance sheet, the income statement, the statement of cash flows.
Watch Martin Shkreli's investing lessons on Youtube. Specifically the first 5 or 6. Yes, he's done some bad stuff. But he really is an excellent teacher and extremely smart.
In my opinion, experience is a great teacher. Play with a small amount of money. Throw $100 at a stock you like and see what happens to it. If it drops 10% in a day, figure out why. If it goes up 10% in a day, figure out why. If it goes up steadily over the next six months, figure out why. If it doesn't do anything- figure out why. I'd like to note again that these opinions do not constitute investment advice. They are my personal opinions and do not guarantee any sort of returns. This is how I personally approach the stock market. Investing in any asset carries risk and all investors should conduct their own due diligence and analysis before investing. "Be fearful when others are greedy; be greedy when others are fearful." -Warren Buffett Cheers
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