Top 20 Affiliate Networks 2016 | mThink

Fifty-two books in fifty-two weeks for 2019!

/52in52 is a place for people every week, for a whole year, **to read and discuss a particular book together as a community**. There are twelve themes and three books from each theme + one free for all book, read throughout the year! Come join a great new years resolution for 2020, or expand your literary horizons!

In 2016 I made $316,154.15 via the Amazon Affiliate program. AMA!

Obligatory proofs:
First - I'm not selling or promoting anything. No backlinks to blogs here. In my day to day life I don't get an opportunity to network with people in this space or adjacent industries and people I know don't really have a clue what it is I do so I simply enjoy sharing my insights for the sake of contribution and occasionally discovering opportunities from others I didn't know about.
Second - the net profit on this amount is approximately $216k. The costs were spread out over 2015 and 2016 and were approximately $100k altogether +/- 5k.
There are tons of guides on the internet and a bunch of case studies of varying success/investment at /juststart that are mostly related to Amazon affiliate marketing specifically.
A little bit about who I am and background:
I'm 30, married, no kids. I dropped out of college the end of my 3rd year as a music major (I played Trumpet/Euphonium).
I came from a fairly impoverished family whom I am mostly all but completely disconnected to now. I grew up in an old beat up trailer on a piece of property that was literally used as a garbage dump that my parents got for around $10k and between the two of them made around 15k a year until they got divorced and my dad went to prison for manslaughter.
I moved out when I graduated HS at 17 and never went back with about $100 in my pocket.
I worked 50-60 hours per week (80 during the summer) after I turned 18 doing night shifts, weekend shifts, and shift I could get between and after classes to have enough money to support myself and still failed miserably, it was barely enough money to keep my car running and keep my health together (I was very unhealthy and overweight, had a lot of health problems around 18-19 and no health insurance). I did adult foster care in group homes, where there were usually six extremely MR adults (can't talk, wear adult diapers, basically can't function at all except pace around making noises and eat) for around $5.50 an hour. Had to bathe them, give them their meds, feed them, ect. The hardest part was they had to be taken out into the world on "outings" to eat and stuff. I think the most embarassing thing that ever happened was taking them to Pizza hut and one of them jumped out of the booth into a families booth and just started shoving all their pizza down his throat furiously and ripping all the food off their plates in literally a 5 second time frame.
I had a huge interests in computers, somehow by the grace of the old gods and the new my parents bought us a computer when I was around 9 with Windows 95 on it and since I really had nothing else to do as a kid I spent literally every waking moment learning how every nook and cranny of the computer worked until we got dial up internet around 3 years later.
The internet changed my world really, it was my connection to the outside world and let me see that a world did actually exist out of that trailer in the woods and there was a wealth of information.
I taught myself HTML and created my first websites hosted on Geocities and Angelfire when I was around 12 and also pirated my first copy of Dreamweaver even though it took 3 days to download on 56k.
From 2000-2010 I built several forums and websites for gaming communities I was a part of, namely Half-Life/Counter-Strike, Everquest, and Lord of the Rings Online. I never once thought of my skills as "monetizable" and figured pretty much anyone could do that stuff.
Sometime in 2008 I started getting serious about getting healthy, I was an insane 330 lbs, and got down to about 190 after getting really involved with the community at It was there I stumbled about a thread about SEO and Affiliate Marketing some time in late 2010 which spurred basically a 7 year marathon of content absorption around the topics and everything related to them.
It took four years and probably over 100 domains and iterations to create a website I could actually consider a success.
I worked as an IT guy at a bank and a chemical company after I dropped out of college. I managed to get an entry level helpdesk job for $13 an hour and worked my way up to $21 after 7 years and several job changes I used to leverage little promotions and raises.
At the end of those 7 years I moved to Washington DC area and did the same job for $38/hr at a bank.
After 3 years of doing that job I quit at the end of Q1 2016 to focus on building profitable websites and explore new business opportunities.
I'm not an especially materialistic person and I don't really feel like I need much more than I have now at 30. Happily married, no kids, no debt other than a mortgage that is about 30% paid off (about 250k left on it). My wife and I bought a house about an hour out of the city and she works at home remotely now.
We're trying for kids but so far it hasn't been successful so I'm not sure if that is 100% in the cards or not yet.
For fun I'm mostly lifting weights and playing Heroes of the Storm (can't put this game down), or reading reddit/blogs/forums.
I spent a lot of time traveling when I worked for the bank, and also spent a lot of time traveling recreationally over the past 4-5 years and had a lot of great experiences, but sadly I feel like I'm all traveled out and it's not something I look forward to like I used to.
I got to a point where I was sort of asking myself what's next, so I turned my basement into a small warehouse and am launching an ecommerce store just to get my feet wet. I've been sending everyone else sales for the past few years I figured I'd see what it's like to drive some of my own.
AMA about internet marketing/SEO/Amazon affiliate program, working from home, quitting your job, relocating your life, or HOTS - just here to network and chat since I don't have a lot to do today while I'm waiting for China to ship me dozens of samples for the new store.
UPDATE: Thank you all for the awesome questions! It was a lot of fun and am surprised by the amount of participation, there are clearly lots of you interested in Internet Marketing/SEO/Amazon Affiliate. Thanks for the gold strangers. I may get around to creating an online resource for this sort of thing and if I do I'll stop by to let you know about (Maybe Q2 this year).
Best of luck with all of your businesses and aspirations and here's to a productive and prosperous 2017 for us all.
submitted by themadentrepreneur to Entrepreneur [link] [comments]

In 2016 I made $316,154.15 via the Amazon Affiliate program. AMA!

In 2016 I made $316,154.15 via the Amazon Affiliate program. AMA! submitted by Malnourished1 to Thoardingclub [link] [comments]

In 2016 I made $316,154.15 via the Amazon Affiliate program. AMA!

In 2016 I made $316,154.15 via the Amazon Affiliate program. AMA! submitted by IamABot_v01 to AMAAggregator [link] [comments]

Reputation Management and Affiliate Programs at Affiliate Summit East 2016

Reputation Management and Affiliate Programs at Affiliate Summit East 2016 submitted by Frenchbum to Marketingblogs [link] [comments]

10 Ways to Make Your Affiliate Program Stand Out at Affiliate Summit East 2016

10 Ways to Make Your Affiliate Program Stand Out at Affiliate Summit East 2016 submitted by Frenchbum to Marketingblogs [link] [comments]

Advice on buying 2016 Wrangler Sport through the Chrysler Affiliate Rewards program?

Hi! Long-time lurker in this sub - didn't expected to be in a position to buy so soon but I think this may be the year!
On that note: does anyone have experience using the Chrysler Affiliate Rewards Program to buy a new Wrangler? It notes 1% below factory invoice + a $75 administration fee, which as I've read so far is a pretty good place to start. I don't know much about negotiating at dealerships, but people seem split between the 1% below factory being a "no-haggle" price vs. starting there to push to 2% or more.
I'm looking to buy in the SF/East Bay region, and target price depends on the features I settle on. I don't have much of a commute for work so it'll be a light DD (with the occasional road trip to LA), as well as many weekend camping trips + light off-roading. Also please convince me why I should get manual..I'm willing to learn because auto = $_$, but ehh.
Any advice here would be greatly appreciated - can provide further context as requested!
submitted by andrewnacho to Wrangler [link] [comments]

Advanced Program Management Tactics at Affiliate Summit East 2016

Advanced Program Management Tactics at Affiliate Summit East 2016 submitted by Frenchbum to Marketingblogs [link] [comments]

Companies connected to Trump received large taxpayer-funded forgivable loans: A list

Yesterday, the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department disclosed the recipients of 660,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans. The list only includes those who received at least $150,000 in funding, which is less than 15 percent of the total number of loans. The administration originally tried to hide this information.
Recipients do not have to repay the loan if they keep (or re-hire to meet) their pre-COVID-19 levels of employment and compensation and spend the funds on approved expenses.
Explore the list yourself: The Washington Post turned the original spreadsheet into an online searchable database.
This post is about the relevant “highlights” from the list. Some of the connections to politicians are stronger than others. However, the point isn't so much that certain politicians are unethically profiting - the point is that the American people deserve to know where their money is going. Especially when so many "average" Americans are struggling. In other words, draw your own conclusions from the data.

Connections to Trump & family

A New York shipping business (Foremost Group) owned by the family of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the wife of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, received at least $350,000. “Ms. Chao has no formal affiliation or stake in the business, but she and Mr. McConnell have received millions of dollars in gifts from her father, James, who ran the company until 2018.”
Kasowitz Benson Torres, founded and run by Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, received a loan for between $5 million and $10 million. Mr. Kasowitz and the firm represented Trump during Mueller’s investigation and for decades before Trump was elected president.
The American Center for Law and Justice, whose chief counsel is Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, got between $1 million and $2 million. Sekulow also defended Trump during the Mueller investigation and impeachment proceedings.
Jared Kushner connections:
  • Esplanade Livingston, a Kushner family entity that owns the land in Livingston, N.J., where the family’s Westminster Hotel is, got between $350,000 and $1 million. Esplanade Livingston’s company address is the same as that of the Kushner Companies real estate development business.
  • Princeton Forrestal, a real estate entity owned by various members of the Kushner family not including Mr. Kushner, received a loan of between $1 million and $2 million. It is at least 40 percent owned by Kushner family members.
  • The New York Observer, the news website that Kushner ran before entering the White House and is still owned by Kunsher’s brother-in-law’s investment firm, was approved for between $350,000 and $1 million
  • In addition, up to $2 million was approved for the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, a nonprofit religious school in Livingston, N.J., that’s named for Jared Kushner’s grandfather and supported by the family.
In April, a bank approved a loan of between $150,000 and $350,000 for the Pennsylvania dental practice of Albert Hazzouri, who golfs with Trump and frequents Mar-a-Lago. In 2017, Hazzouri used his access to the president to pass him a policy proposal on club stationery on behalf of the American Dental Association. He addressed the note to Trump “Dear King.”
A firm that raises money for Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee received a loan of more than $1 million, according to the data set, while a company that produces Trump’s political advertisements received between $350,000 and $1 million.
  • The New York Times does not identify these companies by name. I tried to figure out which companies they were referring to but could not be sure. We already knew that Phunware, a Trump re-election campaign data collector, received $2.85 million — nearly 14 times the PPP average of $206,000 (reported in April).
Billionaire property developer Joe Farrell, a prominent Republican fundraiser, received up to $1 million in taxpayer coronavirus relief funds. Farrell, a developer in New York's exclusive Hamptons beachfront community, has thrown fundraising parties for Trump… Farrell this year rented out his 17,000-square-foot, $40 million East End estate, Sandcastle, for close to $2 million to a wealthy Manhattan family trying to escape the coronavirus for six months.
Dozens of tenants at buildings owned by Trump or managed by his companies received funds… More than 20 businesses listed at 40 Wall Street, an office building that Trump has owned since the mid-1990s, also reportedly received government loans totaling at least $20 million. Among the recipients were law offices, financial service firms and nonprofit organizations.
Sushi Nakazawa, a restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, received a loan of between $150,000 and $350,000.
Churches connected to President Donald Trump and other organizations linked to current or former Trump evangelical advisers received at least $17.3 million in loans… City of Destiny, the Florida church that Trump’s personal pastor and White House faith adviser Paula White-Cain calls home, got between $150,000 and $350,000. First Baptist Dallas, led by Trump ally and senior pastor Robert Jeffress got between $2 million and $5 million. Other loan recipients included several churches and organizations connected to allies who joined Trump’s evangelical advisory board during his 2016 campaign.
A company with a name matching one listed on the 2017 financial disclosure of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos received at least $6 million.
Perdue Inc., a Bonaire, Georgia-based trucking company founded by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, received a PPP loan of between $150,000 and $350,000. An Agriculture Department spokesperson said the company is owned indirectly by a trust of which the secretary’s adult children are 99% stakeholders.
American Media, the publisher of the National Enquirer, received a loan in April from Bank of America Corp. of between $2 million and $5 million, records show. American Media is run by Trump’s longtime friend David Pecker. Furthermore, American Media is owned by Chatham Asset Management, a New Jersey-based hedge fund that oversees about $4 billion.
Cottage Hospital, a 25-bed critical access facility in Woodsville, New Hampshire, received between $2 million and $5 million in PPP loans. The hospital’s CEO, Maria Ryan, is a longtime close associate of Rudy Giuliani’s. Ryan currently co-hosts a talk radio show with Giuliani called “Uncovering the Truth.” Cottage Hospital’s annual revenues typically exceed $30 million, according to its most recent publicly available federal tax return. Ryan’s salary, the last filing shows, is nearly $300,000.

Congress and other political connections

Wineries partly owned by Rep. Nunes, R-Calif. Nunes listed on his 2018 public financial disclosure forms roles as a limited partner with investments in Phase 2 Cellars in San Luis Obispo, California, and Alpha Omega Winery in Saint Helena, California. The PPP data shows the wineries received loans of $1 million to $2 million.
KTAK Corp., a Tulsa-based operator of fast food franchises owned by Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), received between $1 million and $2 million. Hern had advocated increasing the size of loans available to franchisees, including in a March letter to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) benefited when three of his car dealerships, located outside of Pittsburgh, received a combined total of between $450,000 and $1.05 million. Kelly is a multimillionaire.
Several plumbing businesses affiliated with Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), all based in Broken Arrow, Okla., each received between $350,000 and $1 million.
Rep. Rick Allen’s (R-Ga.) construction company in Augusta received between $350,000 and $1 million
EDI Associates, a company the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invests in, received between $350,000 and $1 million.
Rep. Nita Lowey’s (D-N.Y.) husband's law firm Lowey Dannenberg P.C. received a loan between $1 million and 2 million. Her husband, Stephen Lowey, is listed as chairman emeritus on the firm's website and is retired from the firm.
Lobbying and policy group Waxman Strategies, which is run by former Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and his son Michael, which received a loan of $350,000 to $1 million.
Before the release of the data Monday, three members of Congress said they or their spouses had received PPP loans: Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas; Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo.; and Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev.
An affiliate of Americans for Tax Reform, the influential conservative group that has been a vocal critic of government spending, received between $150,000 and $350,000. ATR founder Grover Norquist has criticized the unemployment insurance provision of the CARES Act, which he said “delays recovery,” and signed a letter urging lawmakers not to approve a second stimulus bill.
The Ayn Rand Institute, named for conservative philosopher Ayn Rand, received a loan of between $350,000 and $1 million, which it called “partial restitution for government-inflicted losses."
Citizens Against Government Waste, one of the country’s most prominent anti-government spending organizations and a frequent critic of the CARES Act, took between $150,000 and $350,000 in loans as well.

Other noteworthy recipients

More than 5,600 companies in the fossil fuel industry have taken a minimum of $3bn in coronavirus aid from the US federal government. The businesses include oil and gas drillers and coal mine operators, as well as refiners, pipeline companies, and firms that provide services to the industry.
Yeezy, which California business filings show is a holding company registered to Kanye West, received between $2 million and $5 million to support 106 jobs. West is estimated to be worth $1.3 billion.
Washington lobbying shops, high-priced law firms and special-interest groups also received big loans, according to the administration, the latest indication of how the government’s centerpiece effort to shore up mom-and-pop shops set off a race by organizations far afield from Main Street to secure federal money.
  • Wiley Rein, which has a large lobbying practice focusing on trade issues, received between $5 million and $10 million
  • Van Ness Feldman and Beveridge & Diamond, two law firms that focus on helping energy industry clients push their agendas in Washington, received loans between $2 million and $5 million
More than 100 law firms received loans ranging from $1 million to $10 million, the data showed. The list included well-known names like Boies Schiller Flexner, the high-priced law firm run by David Boies, which received between $5 million and $10 million.
A number of prominent private schools were listed as loan recipients, despite the controversy over whether such institutions should take the money. Some also have political connections in DC.
  • In New York City, St. Ann’s School took a loan valued between $5 million and $10 million.
  • Kent Place School, a private school in New Jersey, was reported to have received a loan worth between $1 million and $2 million.
  • Sidwell Friends, which has educated the children of presidents, received a loan worth between $5 million and $10 million.
  • Georgetown Preparatory School, which the Supreme Court justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch attended, received a loan worth between $2 million and $5 million.

The more you know

Fair distribution? There was no apparent link between the amount of economic damage suffered by states and how successful the small businesses in them were at getting the loans from the program. North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas all saw loan approvals of at least 90 percent of their eligible small-business payroll, even though they rank among the least-affected states in terms of unemployment claims during the crisis.
Just a small fraction of the bailout. Keep in mind that the Paycheck Protection Program is just one part of the government’s bailout. There are other, bigger, bailout efforts that the federal government is not required to tell us about.
Here are some articles about the bigger business and financial sector bailouts:
  • ProPublica: How the Coronavirus Bailout Repeats 2008’s Mistakes: Huge Corporate Payoffs With Little Accountability
  • Brookings: What’s the Fed doing in response to the COVID-19 crisis? What more could it do?
  • NYT: How the Fed’s Magic Money Machine Will Turn $454 Billion Into $4 Trillion
submitted by rusticgorilla to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

Blogging & YouTube Income Report for 2020 So Far ($16k per month)

Hey all, it's been a while since I posted an income report here. If anyone is interested, here are links to my previous posts on /Entrepreneur:
Idk why I stopped posting here...sorry about that.
I did publish a 2018 year-in-review and income report on my actual blog (The Modest Man), which you can read right here if you'd like.
My name is Brock, and I run a content site ("blog") called The Modest Man, along with a YouTube Channel under the same name. I did this part time for a few years before going full time about 4 years ago.


2018 Revenue: $117k (Halfway through that year, I partnered with a menswear brand, getting a small equity stake and joining the team part time. So my content business was sort of on the backburner for the second half of the year, hence no growth YoY.)
2019 Revenue: $126k (Last year, I was still working at least half time - often more - for the menswear brand, but I did see a little bit of growth with my content business. The position forced me to get better at outsourcing in my own business. I decided to leave that position in December to focus on my business full time again. Luckily, the business was in better shape than ever
2020 Revenue Jan-Jun: $96k
2020 Monthly Profit So Far: $12,198 (roughly 75% margin)
This comes from Ads, Affiliate Programs and Sponsored Content. If you want the nitty gritty on these categories, see my Q1 report and Q2 report.
Ironically, working for someone else for a while really lit a fire under my butt to get things streamlined for growth in my own business.
In 2020, I've been focussing on "e-mything" my operation as much as possible, although there's still a long way to go.


Hiring professional writers is worth it, and ProBlogger is the best place to find professional freelance writers. If you want to see the process I use to hire via ProBlogger, here it is.
It's a numbers game once your site is established. If you have a blog (content site) with decent domain authority, the name of the game is publishing more content. This includes refreshing old content (here's a case study/process for that).
Publishing a new post is like taking a shot on goal. More shots on goal = more chances to score.
Yes, your content has to be good, but not Pulizter Prize good. Quality is always a good play, but quality + quantity is how you get rich in the digital media game.
I focus on different metrics now. Rather than looking at traffic, I keep an eye on the number of keywords my domain is ranking for. I want to see this number increase over time. This is a leading indicator for traffic. I use Ahrefs to track this.
While I still look at top line revenue, I keep a close eye on truly passive income. This is income from my website (not YouTube or social media) that comes from affiliate programs and display ads. It doesn't include sponsored content because that's not passive.
I focus on this number because it matters most to potential buyers, and I'd like to sell this website at some point in the future. They want to buy money-making websites, not influencer businesses or YouTube channels.
So, even though on paper Q2 2020 was revenue was down from Q1, passive income was actually up. Good news!


Now, I'm still making YouTube videos and taking on sponsors when it makes sense. It's not passive, but it definitely brings in cash that I can use to live and fund the business.
My main goal is to grow the website with a more aggressive publishing schedule (3 posts per week), which is only possible with a great team of freelance writers, plus two assistants who do all the formatting, etc.
I'm currently putting about $2-3k per month into content and focusing on content with plenty of organic potential and/or affiliate opportunities.
If you have any questions about my business or the digital media game in general, feel free to ask!
submitted by themodestman to Entrepreneur [link] [comments]

Opinion: Removing the Power Adaptor and EarPods From iPhone Packaging Would Be a Responsible Move - a Designer’s Perspective.


Apple wants a circular economy for its products, but packaging and accessories are not often reused and recycled like devices. Removing the power adaptor and EarPods could reduce up to 13,454,000 kgs of e-waste while avoiding the manufacture of 160 million sets of non-recyclable plastic and reducing the carbon footprint of delivering every new iPhone.
[Note: rather long read]


In 2017, Apple announced a new initiative to create a "closed loop supply chain”, where products are built using only renewable resources or recycled material. A goal later associated with a circular economy in their environment webpage.
Circular economy describes a product lifecycle model that attempts to mimic nature. Its three most fundamental principles, as proposed by the EllenMcArthur foundation, are to design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems. The idea is that all manufactured goods should be reused and recycled to the greatest possible extent.
The ultimate goal is to achieve a future where every Apple product would be made from 100% recycled material, where every part of every product—including the product itself, its packaging, products used in manufacturing, as well as accessories—would be reused or recycled. This cycle model is as opposed to the status quo—a linear model—where products, packaging and accessories are made, used, then discarded. At the time, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson, admitted that they did not yet know how to achieve this, nonetheless, pledged to make an effort to work towards such a system.

Existing Progress.

In the years before, and after, Apple has made various steps to improve the recycling and reuse of both their materials and devices. From disassembly robots like Liam and Daisy, to encouraging returns through the iPhone upgrade program and trade-ins, Apple showed progress towards this goal with the promotion of recycling-enabling subscription-like systems also used by other circular economy companies. By 2018, Apple announced that they had started using 100% recycled Aluminium in some of their products. By 2019, 100% recycled tin for solder in the main logic boards of 11 products. They also claimed to have refurbished more than 7.8 million devices and recycled more than 48,000 metric tons of e-waste in the same year.
However, when considering packaging, there are some added challenges.
Unlike the devices they protect, packaging is not often reused, and the materials they use are often not recycled effectively. The rigid structure needed to make the smooth, compact, papers and card used for Apple’s premium packaging necessitate the use of a large percentage, or a sole blend, of virgin paper—“new” paper. This is as recycled paper often loses structure, strength and density; why it’s most often used in soft papers like office paper, toilet paper and receipts or mixed with virgin paper for lower grade secondary packaging like cereal boxes.
While trade-ins and the iPhone Upgrade program require you to return the iPhone, boxes and accessories are not typically returned even though you receive new sets. This prevents them from being recycled effectively. General recyclers cannot recover materials as effectively because they cannot optimise their processes for a specific product or material like a manufacturer can.

iPhone Packaging, Today.

This brings us to iPhone packaging. Observing the packaging I have from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone XS Max, while the width and heights of the boxes have changed dramatically with iPhone dimensions, the depth, or thickness, hasn’t. Apart from the depth of the boxes, there’s one other thing that hasn’t changed significantly. Weight.
With all usable contents removed, leaving only the box and paperwork, the iPhone 4S box weighs approximately 194 grammes. The iPhone 5 box: 203g. iPhone 6 box: 213g. iPhone 7 box (sans paperwork): 192g. iPhone 8 Plus box: 253g. iPhone XS Max box: 240g.
By comparison, the iPhone 5—the lightest in the list—weighs 112 grammes. The iPhone XS Max—the heaviest—weighs 208 grammes. The boxes iPhones ship in, has, for almost a decade, weighed at least as much as the device itself, to almost double what the device it’s protecting weighs. Even the accessories with all their packaging—XS Max ones, none of which were counted in the box weights—only weigh about 82 grammes total.
Inside, there’s a notable transition away from plastics and a shift away from adhesives. Apple’s 2019 environmental responsibility report claims that they have reduced plastic use in their packaging by 48% in three years. However, when looking at the insides of the boxes I have, it’s notable that the deepest holes are for the charging adaptor (Type G plugs). At 40mm in a 60mm box, the adaptor is easily the thickest item in the packaging. The charging cables? They’re only 10mm tall in the wrapped configuration Apple ships them in.

What If?

So, what can be gained from removing the adaptor and earphones from the box? For starters, it reduces the weight of the accessories by over 70%, from 82 to 20 grammes—the weight of the remaining charging cables. Next, it eliminates the need for potentially 30 mm of depth in the iPhone boxes, allowing them to be (almost exactly) half the depth they have been for a decade—presumably also significantly decreasing its weight.
What does this mean? For one, it reduces the shipping emissions of each iPhone, when considering the packaging, due to weight. Taking the estimated number of iPhones shipped in 2018 (217 million), removing the 62 grammes of accessories alone would contribute to the potential reduction of 13,454,000 kgs of e-waste and associated shipping emissions yearly. Moreover, it allows for twice as many iPhones to be shipped in the same volume when compared to before. Seeing that shipping by volume also matters due to the inherent fuel consumption of the transports used, this further helps reduce the environmental impact of the transportation stage in the product lifecycle.
In fact, this has been done before. Fairphone 3 by Fairphone ships with only the phone, a screwdriver, bumper and documentation. They pride themselves on human rights and environmental consciousness, providing their USB cable, earphone and charger separately specifically to reduce environmental impact. Nokia tried something similar in 2009 with the N79 Eco. The effects? A smaller and lighter package when compared to the version that shipped with a charger.
Even today, a large number of popular personal electronic devices are shipped without a power adaptor. Most commonly battery-powered audio equipment like Bluetooth headphones and speakers. Flagship premium Bluetooth headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM3, Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, Beats Studio3 Wireless and the B&O H9 3rd Gen all ship without a USB adaptor. Even B&O’s high-end Beolit 17 wireless speaker does not include a power adaptor in the box.
But what about convenience? Many of you have wondered what would happen when you need to charge your new iPhone. iPhone has used USB cables since the very beginning, and lightning since 2012. In the past 8 years, if you’ve bought an iPhone, you already have a USB power adaptor and a lightning cable. If you’ve been using Android devices, you’ll also have either a USB-A or USB-C power adaptor, if not both. If Apple includes just the lightning cable, you’d likely be able to cover both camps.
In 2020, it is estimated that there are 3.5 billion smartphone users. This is expected to grow by 300 million in 2021. Approximately 1.5 billion smartphones were sold each year between 2016-2019. Assuming a steady rate, 20% of smartphones sold next year will go into the hands of first-time users.
Reversing that statistic, 80% of you possibly already have a compatible adaptor. If evenly distributing the cumulative smartphone sales of the past 6 years, assuming they all included USB adapters, you would have enough adapters for every person on the planet with leftovers. With the maturity of the market, even cars, planes, hotels and new houses have started integrating USB power plugs to respond to our need to keep our electronic devices powered. Besides, this doesn’t take into account the fact that a portion of these new owners will likely be youth. They likely have adults in the family with existing, possibly spare, USB adaptors, especially when you consider that iPhone falls in the premium category and has users that are generally more affluent or enjoy relatively high purchasing power (globally).
And the cherry on top? Transportation is only 5% of Apple’s carbon footprint, 74%, is in manufacturing. Removing the power adaptor has the potential to reduce 80% of Apple’s manufacturing needs for the 200+ million iPhone power adaptors it currently includes in the box. I think that would likely be a non-negligible figure. Also, the casing used for Power Adaptors? It’s a thermoset plastic due to safety reasons. That means it can’t be easily melted, recycled and remoulded. So every extra adaptor Apple manufactures, is one more piece of plastic that will likely not be recycled.


By not including accessories that many of us already have, Apple stands to reduce e-waste, manufacturing waste, manufacturing emissions as well as iPhone shipping emissions, all playing into the bigger picture of Apple achieving their goal of a zero-waste circular economy.

[Disclaimer, I am not affiliated with any of the mentioned companies or organisations, links are provided only to aid additional reading, many of the mentioned facts can be found in Apple's various environmental responsibility reports, opinions are my own]
submitted by ChristopherLXD to apple [link] [comments]

Converge files for largest IPO in Philippine history (Monday, July 6)

Happy Monday, Barkada --

The PSE closed up 9 points to 6373 ▲0.13%.

Daily meme

COVID Update

WW: 11375043 PH: 41830 

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  1. Converge ICT files for largest IPO in PSE history
Now that is a spicy meatball. The timing is right for this kind of play, as there is so much capital sloshing around that is looking for a home with massive growth prospects. Home broadband is that kind of market. But, if the opportunity were so great, why are the lead shareholders selling their own shares so substantially, instead of going with a primary-heavy offering to assault the nation with an aggressive campaign of unrelenting capex? Perhaps The Other Dennis is looking for a massive/immediate lifestyle upgrade, and is content with the majority ownership that he will still enjoy even after closing the largest IPO in Philippine history. Then there’s also the matter of this whole “70% of the deal aimed at foreign investors” thing; what’s that about? Stay tuned, this is going to be a fantastic voyage.

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The truth behind Puskás Akadémia FC - How Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán stole a legend, built a stadium in his backyard and guided his team to Europe

The 2019/2020 season of the Hungary’s National Football League (NB1) – being one of the first leagues to restart play - came to an end on 27 June. If a casual observer (for whatever reason) decides to check out the final standings, he would be not surprised at the first two positions: record-champion Ferencváros defended their title, while regional powerhouse Fehérvár (Videoton) came in second. However, the third place team, Puskás Akadémia FC might seem unusual and one could think that there is a story behind that. Is there a team named after Ferenc Puskás? Did some academy youths make an incredible run for the Europa League qualification? Well, the observer is right, there is a story behind all this, but it’s absolutely not a fun story. It’s a story about how one powerful man’s obsession with football stole a legend, misused state funds and killed the spirit of Hungarian football. (Warning: this is a long story, feel free to scroll down for a tl;dr. Also, I strongly advise checking out the links, those images are worth seeing).
Naturally, political influence in football has been present ever since the dawn of the sport and we know of numerous state leaders who felt confident enough to use their influence to ensure the successful development of their favored clubs – Caucescu’s FC Olt Scornicesti and Erdogan’s Basaksehir are well-known examples of such attempts. However, I fear that very few of the readers are aware of the fact that Puskás Akadémia FC is nothing but Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s grandiose project for establishing his hometown’s club as one of the country’s top teams. Considering that Orbán managed to achieve this goal using state funds in an EU member democracy in the 2000s, one might even say that it might be one of the most impressive attempts of cheating your way through Football Manager in real life. Now that Puskás Akadémia FC escaped the desolate football scene of Hungary and is getting ready for the European takeover, I feel that it’s high time to tell its true story.

Part 1: Part time striker, part time PM

Our story begins in 1999 when the 36-year-old striker Viktor Orbán (recently elected as the country’s Prime Minister) was signed by the sixth-tier side of Felcsút FC residing in rural Fejér County. It might sound surprising that an active politician would consider such a side job, but given that Orbán has been playing competitive low-level football throughout his whole life and has always been known as a keen football enthusiast, people seemed to be okay with his choice for a hobby. Orbán spent most of his childhood in the village of Felcsút (population: 1,800), so it seemed only natural that he would join the team after one of his old-time acquaintances became team president there.
Orbán’s arrival to the club seemed to work like a charm as Felcsút FC immediately earned a promotion to the fifth league. The Prime Minister’s busy program did not allow him to attend every training session and game but Orbán did make an effort to contribute as much as possible on the field – there is a report of a government meeting being postponed as Orbán was unavailable due to attending Felcsút FC’s spring training camp. The 2001/2002 season brought another breakthrough for the side as Felcsút was promoted to the national level of the football pyramid after being crowned the champion of Fejér County. Sadly enough for Orbán, he suffered a defeat on another pitch – his party lost the 2002 election and Orbán was forced to move to an opposition role.
No matter what happened on the political playing field, Orbán would not abandon his club. Just before the 2002 elections, Felcsút was surprisingly appointed as one of the regional youth development centers by the Hungarian FA. Orbán continued contributing on the field as well (he had more spare time after all) but his off-the-field efforts provided much more value for the team as he used his political influence to convince right-wing businessmen that they should definitely get sponsorship deals done with the fourth-division village team.
Club management was able to transform the influx of funds into on-field success: Felcsút FC was promoted to the third division in 2004 and achieved promotion to the second division in 2005. Although these new horizons required a skill level that an aging ex-PM is not likely to possess, Orbán regularly played as a late game sub and even appeared in cup games against actual professional opponents. The now-42-year old Orbán did not want to face the challenge of the second division, so he retired in 2005 – but this did not stop him from temping as an assistant coach when the head coach was sacked in the middle of the 2005-2006 season.
Success on the playing field did not translate to political success: Orbán lost the elections once again in 2006. However, this was only a temporary loss: the ruling party committed blunder after blunder and by early 2007 it became absolutely obvious that Orbán would be able return to power in 2010. Now confident in his political future, Orbán opted for the acceleration of football development in Felcsút – by late 2007 he took over the presidency of the club to take matters in his own hands. Sponsors seeking to gain favor with the soon-to-be PM were swarming Felcsút FC, so the club was able to stand very strong in an era where financial stability was a very rare sight in the Hungarian football scene, accumulating three medals (but no promotion) between 2007 and 2009.
On the other hand, Orbán realized the value of youth development as well, and started a local foundation for this purpose back in 2004 that gathered funds for the establishment a boarding school-like football academy. The academy opened its doors in September 2006 (only the second of such institutions in the country) and Orbán immediately took upon the challenge of finding an appropriate name for the academy.
He went on to visit the now very sick Ferenc Puskás in the hospital to discuss using his name, but as Puskás’ medical situation was deteriorating rapidly, communication attempts were futile. Luckily enough Puskás’ wife (and soon to be widow) was able to act on his incapable husband’s behalf and approved the naming deal in a contract. According to the statement, naming rights were granted without compensation, as “Puskás would have certainly loved what’s happening down in Felcsút”. However, there was much more to the contract: Puskás’ trademark was handed to a sports journalist friend of Orbán (György Szöllősi, also acting communications director of the academy) who promised a hefty annual return for the family (and also a 45% share of the revenue for himself). Ferenc Puskás eventually died on 17 November 2006 and on 26 November 2006 the football academy was named after him: Puskás Academy was born.
Orbán shared his vision of the whole organization after the opening ceremony: “It’s unreasonable to think that Felcsút should have a team in the top division. We should not flatter ourselves, our players and our supporters with this dream. Our long term ambition is the creation of a stable second division team that excels in youth development and provides opportunity for the talents of the future.” Let’s leave that there.

Part 2: No stadium left behind

Orbán became PM once again in April 2010 after a landslide victory that pretty much granted him unlimited power. He chased lots of political agendas but one of his policies was rock solid: he would revive sports (and especially football) that was left to bleed out by the previous governments. The football situation in 2010 was quite dire: while the national team has actually made some progress in the recent years and has reached the 42nd position in the world rankings, football infrastructure was in a catastrophic state. Teams were playing in rusty stadiums built in the communist era, club finances were a mess, youth teams couldn’t find training grounds and the league was plagued by violent fan groups and lackluster attendance figures (3100 average spectators per game in the 2009/2010 season).
Orbán – aided by the FA backed by business actors very interested in making him happy – saw the future in the total rebuild of the football infrastructure. Vast amounts of state development funds were invested into the football construction industry that warmly welcomed corruption, cost escalation and shady procurement deals. In the end, money triumphed: over the last decade, new stadiums sprung out from nothing all over the country, dozens of new academies opened and pitches for youth development appeared on practically every corner. The final piece of the stadium renovation program was the completion of the new national stadium, Puskás Aréna in 2019 (estimated cost: 575 million EUR). Orbán commemorated this historic moment with a celebratory video on his social media that features a majestic shot of Orbán modestly kicking a CGI ball from his office to the new stadium.
Obviously, Orbán understood that infrastructure alone won’t suffice. He believed in the idea that successful clubs are the cornerstone of a strong national side as these clubs would compete in a high quality national league (and in international tournaments) that would require a constant influx of youth players developed by the clubs themselves. However, Orbán was not really keen on sharing the state’s infinite wealth with private club owners who failed to invest in their clubs between 2002 and 2010. The club ownership takeover was not that challenging as previous owners were usually happy to cut their losses, and soon enough most clubs came under Orbán’s influence. Some clubs were integrated deep into Orbán’s reach (Ferencváros and MTK Budapest club presidents are high ranking officials of Orbán’s party) while in other cases, indirect control was deemed sufficient (Diósgyőri VTK was purchased by a businessman as an attempt to display loyalty to Orbán).
Pouring taxpayer money into infrastructure (stadium) projects is relatively easy: after all, we are basically talking about overpriced government construction projects, there’s nothing new there. On the other hand, allocating funds to clubs that should be operating on a competitive market is certainly a tougher nut to crack. The obvious solutions were implemented: the state media massively overpaid for broadcasting rights and the national sports betting agency also pays a hefty sum to the FA, allowing for a redistribution of considerable amounts. However, given that the income side of Hungarian clubs was basically non-existent (match day income is negligible, the failed youth development system does not sell players), an even more radical solution was desperately needed. Also, there was definite interest in the development of a tool that would allow for differentiation between clubs (as in the few remaining non-government affiliated clubs should not receive extra money).
The solution came in 2011: the so-called TAO (“társasági adó” = corporate tax) system was introduced, granting significant tax deductions for companies if they offered a portion of their profits to sports clubs – however, in theory, funds acquired through TAO can be only used for youth development and infrastructure purposes. Soon enough, it became apparent that state authorities were not exactly interested in the enforcement of these restrictions, so some very basic creative accounting measures enabled clubs to use this income for anything they wanted to. Companies were naturally keen on cutting their tax burdens and scoring goodwill with the government, so TAO money immediately skyrocketed. Opportunistic party strongmen used their influence to convince local business groups to invest in the local clubs, enabling for the meteoric rise of multiple unknown provincial teams (Mezőkövesd [pop: 16,000], Kisvárda [pop: 16,000], Balmazújváros [pop: 17,000]) into the first division.
Although it’s not the main subject of this piece, I feel inclined to show you the actual results of Orbán’s grandiose football reform. While we do have our beautiful stadiums, we don’t exactly get them filled – league attendance has stagnated around 3000 spectators per game throughout the whole decade. We couldn’t really move forward with our national team either: Hungary lost 10 positions in the FIFA World Rankings throughout Orbán’s ten years. On the other hand, the level of league has somewhat improved – Videoton and Ferencváros reached the Europa League group stage in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Too bad that the Instat-based top team of 2019/2020 Hungarian league consists of 10 foreigners and only 1 Hungarian: the goalkeeper.

Part 3: Small place, big game!

As seen in the previous chapter, Orbán did have a strong interest in the improvement of the football situation Hungary, but we shouldn’t forget that his deepest interest and true loyalty laid in the wellbeing of Felcsút and its academy. Now that Orbán had limitless means to see to the advancement of his beloved club, he got to work immediately. Orbán handed over formal club management duties to his friend / protégé / middleman / businessman Lőrinc Mészáros in 2010, but no questions would ever arise of who is actually calling the shots.
First of all, no club can exist without a proper stadium. Although in 2011 Orbán explicitly stated that “Felcsút does not need a stadium as stadiums belong to cities”, no one was really surprised in 2012 when the construction of the Felcsút stadium was announced. Orbán was generous enough to donate the lands just in front of his summer home in the village for the project, locating the entrance a mere ten meters away from his residence. Construction works for the stunningly aesthetic 3,800-seater arena (in a village of 1,800 people) started in April 2012 and were completed in April 2014, making Felcsút’s arena the second new stadium of Orbán’s gigantic stadium revival program.
The estimated budget of the construction was 120 million EUR (31,500 EUR / seat) was financed by the Puskás Academy who explicitly stated that they did not use government funds for the project. Technically, this statement is absolutely true as the construction was financed through the TAO money offered by the numerous companies looking for tax deduction and Orbán’s goodwill. However, technically, this means that the country’s budget was decreased by 120 million EUR unrealized tax revenue. Naturally, the gargantuan football stadium looks ridiculously out of place in the small village, but there’s really no other way to ensure that your favorite team’s stadium is within 20 seconds of walking distance from your home.
Obviously, a proper club should also have some glorious history. Felcsút was seriously lagging behind on this matter as though Felcsút FC was founded in 1931, it spent its pre-Orbán history in the uninspiring world of the 5th-7th leagues of the country. Luckily enough, Orbán had already secured Puskás’ naming rights and they were not afraid to use it, so Felcsút FC was renamed to Puskás Academy FC in 2009. The stadium name was a little bit problematic as the Hungarian national stadium in Budapest had sadly had the dibs on Puskás’ name, so they had to settle with Puskás’ Spanish nickname, resulting in the inauguration of the Pancho Arena. But why stop here? Orbán’s sports media strongman György Szöllősi acted upon the contract with Puskás’ widow and transferred all Puskás’ personal memorabilia (medals, jerseys, correspondence) to the most suitable place of all: a remote village in which Puskás never even set foot in.
While the off-field issues were getting resolved, Orbán’s attention shifted to another important area: the actual game of football. Although academy players started to graduate from 2008 on, it very soon became painfully obvious that the academy program couldn’t really maintain even a second division side for now. In 2009, Orbán reached an agreement with nearby Videoton’s owner that effectively transformed Felcsút FC into Videoton’s second team under the name of Videoton – Puskás Akadémia FC. The mutually beneficent agreement would allow Videoton to give valuable playing time to squad players while it could also serve as a skipping step for Puskás Academy’s fresh graduates to a first league team. The collaboration resulted in two mid-table finishes and a bronze medal in the second division in the following three seasons that wasn’t really impressive compared to Felcsút FC’s standalone seasons.
It seemed that the mixture of reserve Videoton players and academy youth was simply not enough for promotion, and although Orbán had assured the public multiple times that his Felcsút project was not aiming for the top flight, very telling changes arose after the 2011/2012 season. Felcsút terminated the Videoton cooperation deal and used the rapidly accumulating TAO funds to recruit experienced players for the now independently operating Puskás Academy FC (PAFC). The new directive worked almost too well: PAFC won its division with a 10 point lead in its first standalone year which meant that they would have to appear in the first league prior to the completion of their brand-new Pancho Arena. Too bad that this glorious result had almost nothing to do with the academy - only two players were academy graduates of the side’s regular starting XI.
Orbán did not let himself bothered with the ridiculousness of an academy team with virtually no academy players being promoted to the first division as he stated that “a marathon runner shouldn’t need to explain why the other runners were much slower than him”. Orbán also displayed a rare burst of modesty as he added that “his team’s right place is not in the first league, and they will soon be overtaken by other, better sides”.
The promotion of PAFC to the first division made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Supporter groups were united in hatred all along the league and not surprisingly, away fans almost always outnumbered the home side at PAFC’s temporary home at Videoton’s Sóstói Stadium (demolished and rebuilt in its full glory since then). One of the teams, however, possessed an extraordinary degree of anger against PAFC: supporters of Budapest Honvéd – the only Hungarian team in which Ferenc Puskás played – felt especially awkward about the transfer of their club legend’s heritage to Felcsút. Tensions spiked at the PAFC – Honvéd game when home security forced Honvéd supporters to remove the “Puskás” part of their traditional “Puskás – Kispest – Hungary” banner – the team answered the insult with style as they secured a 4-0 victory supported by fans chanting “you can’t buy legends”.
Despite Orbán’s prognosis, other better sides did not rush to overtake his team, so PAFC, now residing in their brand new Pancho Arena, came through with a 14th and a 10th place in their first two seasons. Naturally, conspiracy theories began to formulate, speculating that government-friendly owners would certainly not be motivated to give their best against PAFC. However, as the league size was reduced to 12 for the 2015/2016 season, PAFC found themselves in a dire situation just before the final round: they needed a win and needed rival Vasas to lose against MTK in order to avoid relegation. PAFC’s draw seemed to be unlucky as they faced their arch-enemy Honvéd at home, but Honvéd displayed an absolute lackluster effort – fueling conspiracy theories – and lost the fixture 2 to 1 against a home side featuring four academy players. Vasas, however, did not disappoint, their 2-0 victory resulted in PAFC’s elimination and a very relaxed sigh all over the football community.
PAFC’s relegation seemed to be in accordance with Orbán’s 2013 statement, so public opinion supposed for a while that Orbán’s project came to a halting point and the Academy would go on to actually field academy players in the second division (especially as rostering foreign players was prohibited in the lower leagues). However, if you have read through this point, you know better than to expect Orbán to retreat – obviously, PAFC came back with a bang. With a ballsy move, PAFC didn’t even sell their foreign players, they just loaned them across the league, promising them that they would be able to return next year to the newly promoted team. The promise was kept as PAFC went into another shopping spree of experienced players (easily convincing lots of them to choose the second division instead of the first) and easily won the second league.
Orbán – now aware of his negligence – opted for the doubling the team’s budget, making PAFC the third most well-founded club in the whole country (only coming short to his friend’s Videoton and his party minion’s Ferencváros). With an actual yearly influx from TAO money in the ballpark of 30-40 million EUR, PAFC management had to really work wonders in creative accounting in order to make their money look somewhat legitimate. The books were now full of ridiculous items like:
Naturally, in the country of no consequences, absolutely nothing happened: PAFC went on with its spending and signed 35 foreigners between 2017 and 2020. They did so because they could not hope to field a winning team in the first league consisting of academy players, despite the fact that Puskás Academy has been literally drowning in money since 2007. This seems to somewhat contradict Orbán’s 2013 promise, stating that “Puskás Academy will graduate two or three players to major European leagues each year”. To be fair, there have been players who managed to emerge to Europe (well, exactly two of them: Roland Sallai plays at Freiburg, László Kleinheisler played at Werder Bremen) but most academy graduates don’t even have the slightest the chance to make their own academy’s pro team as it’s full of foreigners and more experienced players drawn for other teams’ programs.
Despite their unlimited funding, PAFC could not put up a top-tier performance in their first two years back in the first division, finishing 6th and 7th in the 12-team league. Many speculated that the lack of support, motivation and even a clear team mission did not allow for chemistry to develop within the multinational and multi-generational locker room. Consistency was also a rare sight on the coaching side: club management was absolutely impatient with coaches who were very easily released after a single bad spell and there were talks of on-field micromanagement request coming from as high as Orbán.
Even so, their breakthrough came dangerously close in 2018 as PAFC performed consistently well in the cup fixtures and managed to reach the final. Their opponent, Újpest played an incredibly fierce game and after a 2-2 draw, they managed to defeat PAFC in the shootout. Football fans sighed in relief throughout the country as ecstatic Újpest supporters verbally teased a visibly upset Orbán in his VIP lounge about his loss.
Obviously, we could only delay the inevitable. While this year’s PAFC side seemed to be more consistent than its predecessors, it seemed that they won’t be able to get close to the podium - they were far behind the obvious league winner duo of Ferencváros and Videoton and were trailing third-place Mezőkövesd 6 points just before the pandemic break. However, both Mezőkövesd and PAFC’s close rivals DVTK and Honvéd fall flat after the restart while PAFC was able to maintain its good form due to its quality roster depth. PAFC overtook Mezőkövesd after the second-to-last round as Mezőkövesd lost to the later relegated Debrecen side. (Mezőkövesd coach Attila Kuttor was fined harshly because of his post-game comments on how the FA wants PAFC to finish third.)
PAFC faced Honvéd in the last round once again, and as Honvéd came up with its usual lackluster effort, PAFC secured an effortless win, confidently claiming the third place. PAFC celebrated their success in a nearly empty stadium, however neither Orbán, nor Mészáros (club owner, Orbán’s protégé, now 4th richest man of Hungary) seemed to worry about that. While Orbán high-fived with his peers in the VIP lounge, Mészáros was given the opportunity to award the bronze medals (and for some reason, a trophy) to the players dressed up in the incredibly cringe worthy T-shirts that say “Small place, big game!”. Big game, indeed: in the 2019/2020 season, foreign players’ share of the teams playing time was 43.6% while academy graduates contributed only 17.9%.
On Sunday evening, less than 24 hours after PAFC’s glorious success, György Szöllősi, now editor-in-chief of Hungary’s only sports newspaper (purchased by Orbán’s affiliates a few years back) published an editorial on the site, stating that “the soccer rebuild in Felcsút became the motor and symbol of the revitalization of sport throughout the whole country”. Well, Szöllősi is exactly right: Felcsút did became a symbol, but a symbol of something entirely different. Felcsút became a symbol of corruption, inefficiency, lies and the colossal waste of money. But, hey, at least we know now: you only need to spend 200 million EUR (total budget of PAFC and its academy in the 2011-2020 period) if you want to have a Europa League team in your backyard. Good to know!

Epilogue: What's in the future?

As there is no foreseeable chance for political change to happen Hungary (Orbán effortlessly secured qualified majority in 2014 and 2018, and is projected to do so in 2022 as well), PAFC’s future seems to be as bright as it gets. Although consensus opinion now seems to assume that Orbán does not intend to interfere with the Ferencváros – Videoton hegemony, we can never be really sure about the exact limits of his greed. One could also argue that entering the European theater serves as a prime opportunity for making splashy transfers who could be the cornerstones of a side challenging the league title.
However, as all political systems are deemed to fall, eventually Orbán’s regime will come apart. Whoever will take upon the helm after Orbán, they will certainly begin with cutting back on the one item on Orbán’s agenda that never had popular support: limitless football spending. Puskás Academy, having next to zero market revenue, will not be able to survive without the state’s life support, so the club will fold very shortly. The abandoned, rotting stadium in Felcsút will serve as a memento of a powerful man who could not understand the true spirit of football.
But let’s get back to present day, as we have more pressing issues coming up soon: PAFC will play their first European match in the First qualifying round of the Europa League on 27 August. We don’t have a date for the draw yet, but soon enough, a team unaware of the whole situation will be selected to face the beast. I hope that maybe one of their players does some research and maybe reads this very article for inspiration. I hope that the supporters of this club get in touch with Honvéd fans who would be eager to provide them with some tips on appropriate chants. I hope that other teams gets drawn as the home team so Orbán wouldn’t get the pleasure of walking to his stadium for an international match. But most importantly, I very much hope that this team obliterates PAFC and wipes them off the face of the earth. 5-0 will suffice, thank you.
And if this team fails to do that, we don’t have to worry yet. Due to our shitty league coefficient, PAFC would need to win four fixtures in a row. And that – if there’s any justice in this world – is a thing that can’t, that won’t happen. Ball don’t lie – if I may say.
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán redirected some 200 million EUR of taxpayer money over 10 years to fuel his ambition of raising a competitive football team in his hometown of 1,800 people. He built a 3,800-seater stadium in his backyard, expropriated football legend Ferenc Puskás’ trademarks and heritage and built up a football league where almost all clubs are owned by his trustees. His team, Puskás Akadémia FC was originally intended to be a development ground for youth players graduating from Orbán’s football academy, but eventually the team became more and more result-orianted. Finally, a roster full of foreign and non-academy players came through and finished third in the league, releasing this abomination of a team to the European football theatre. Please, knock them out asap!
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Collusion, fraud, spam accounts, and more: The month long story of UCLA's most controversial student election

The following was adapted from posts originally made to SubredditDrama and may overexplain issues for students who are already familiar with UCLA culture. However, new admits should be able to follow along given the extra context.
If there are any subscandals I missed that you think contribute to the story in a significant way, please link the appropriate posts and I'll try to work them in.

Key Terms

North Campus: The northern half of the campus that houses humanities and social science departments. Colloquially used to describe anything related to the humanities.
South Campus: The southern half of the campus that houses the science departments. Colloquially used to describe anything related to the sciences.
USAC: Undergraduate Students Association Council, the undergraduate student government at UCLA. Known for being filled with north campus majors.
Daily Bruin u/daily-bruin: A student run newspaper. Known for being filled with north campus majors.
Slate: UCLA's version of a political party


Due to low engagement, last years spring elections saw 3 unfilled seats in USAC that required a special election during the fall quarter. A south campus major, Orion Smedley, ran on a platform to bring back a bus connecting UCLA to LAX that had been discontinued due to low usage several months before. In their election endorsements, the Daily Bruin wrote
The board does not endorse Smedley because of his narrow focus on small-scale visions and his lack of comprehensive understanding of the position. Smedley’s goals – such as organizing a bus between UCLA and LAX – showed him to be out of touch with student needs, as the lack of student use caused the FlyAway bus to be phased out earlier this year.
Orion went on to win a seat in the special election making him one of the few political outsiders as most USAC members are voted into the council after years of working their way up a slate.

The Referendum

On April 8th, the Daily Bruin reported that USAC had approved candidates and referenda for an online ballot due to campus closures in the wake of COVID-19. In this ballot was a particularly contentious referendum, Cultivating Unity for Bruins (CUB). The CUB referendum would increase student fees by $15 per quarter and $9 per summer session in order to fund the creation of a Black Resource Center, maintain meditation spaces, and offset the rent of the Transfer Student Center.
A post was made onto UCLA the next day calling for students to vote down the referendum. The post garnered much attention as many students were unaware that these measures had been passed. The referendum sparked backlash as many had recently lost their jobs, campus resources would not be accessible due to closures, and the Community Programs Office had $2.7 million unaccounted for. The subreddit began to fill with threads demanding accountability from USAC President Robert Watson.
In response to the outcry, USAC ordered its affiliates to make reddit accounts to downvote threads that were bringing negative attention to the CUB referendum. These messages were instead posted onto UCLA which only served to further foment backlash against the CUB referendum.
Students began to dig into USAC financials only to discover other information of which many had been previously unaware. In particular they discovered most accounts were overfunded even accounting for spring quarter expenses. Many were also shocked to learn that USAC officers were paid stipends of up to $10K a year for serving on the council.
After this story broke, students flooded the USAC public meetings that had been moved to Zoom. During the meeting immediately following the backlash against the CUB referendum, all USAC officers, save Orion, voiced their continued support for CUB. Orion stated he did not think the time was appropriate for a fee increase but planned to abstain from voting as he was running for USAC president in the coming elections. Throughout the meeting, other officers berated Orion for not supporting the referendum (Timestamps in the comments). During the Zoom meeting, a participant vandalized the chat with racist remarks which prompted the hosts to remove students from the meeting. Soon after, USAC officers took to other forms of social media, where they had more support, to continue attacking Orion. Students responded by shaming council members that had attacked Orion and removed students from a public meeting.
In response to USAC's mishandling of the CUB referendum backlash, the Daily Bruin wrote an article chastising members of USAC.
Student representatives are supposed to focus their offices’ firepower on students’ problems, not on one another. But recently, the voice of the student body has largely been composed of Twitter rants and screenshot exposes. Tensions between Undergraduate Students Association Council members have boiled over into the public social media sphere over the Cultivating Unity for Bruins Referendum, a proposed referendum on the upcoming USAC election ballot.
Soon afterwards, an unrelated scandal was brought to light by Orion. He claimed that on March 10th, USAC voted against an independent judiciary with only he and another officer in opposition.

The Election

In the same article that announced the CUB referendum would be on the ballot, it was revealed that Orion had formed his own slate, Cost Cutting Innovations (CCI), and would be seeking the presidency. He would be facing Naomi of For the People (FTP), the slate with the greatest representation in USAC, and three other Independent candidates. The fallout over the USAC's mishandling of the CUB referendum gave Orion and his slate an unexpected surge of support. He became the posterchild of reduced student fees after he was the only one to state his opposition to the referendum.
As election week approached, UCLA was rocked by several instances of fraud, where students posing as members of both Naomi and Orion's campaigns made unsanctioned posts. The moderators stepped in and began requiring verification from users claiming to represent candidates.
As election week was about to kick off, the Daily Bruin released their endorsements of candidates. To the dismay of many, the Daily Bruin endorsed FTP candidates nearly straight down the ballot. Users were quick to notice the amateurish reporting of the editorial board and called out discrepancies online.
In their endorsement for FTP's Zuleika over CCI's Deven they cited both of their lack of experience in student government as transfer students but gave very different spins.
While she lacks experience on USAC, Bravo has a wide range of leadership experience working with the Students with Dependents Program and the Transfer Leadership Coalition.
Additionally, her lack of experience within USAC raises concern given the rigorous and sometimes toxic environment of student government, and we worry that her ideas may get lost in the transition.
A user pointed out that the USAC and the Daily Bruin had strong incentives provide legitimacy for each other. The user observed that south campus majors are less inclined to participate in student government because it is not in line with their career goals. The growing threat to USAC due to an increased number of south campus majors running on the CCI slate this year revealed to many students that the initiatives of previous administrations had merely been for show and were not focused on real student issues.
South campus majors don't run for office. More importantly they don't vote. So when it comes to it, USAC is filled with the same people who push initiatives that stroke the "woke" ego that is so pervasive among the self proclaimed journalists at the Daily Bruin while the few [who] do push for South Campus specific plans get called "out of touch". It's absurd that a candidate can run on a campaign that wants to restore a tangible service to students and gets called out of touch while another candidate is praised for adding seats for students we don't know to a senate we've never heard of.
This message resonated with the UCLA userbase that skews heavily towards south campus. Students attacked the Daily Bruin and USAC for working together to maintain a system that allowed faux politicians and journalists to push unrealistic agendas for the purpose of advancing their careers and to the detriment of real student's problems. They alleged USAC and the Daily Bruin were out of touch with the student body after they had repeatedly endorsed candidates with the same type of lofty, good-on-paper agendas over candidates with realistic, sensible plans.
The start of election week was plagued by several more scandals. On Sunday, students also discovered that the the elections board, u/uclaelectionsboard, had paid for actors Brian Baumgartner and Lena Headey to record videos encouraging students to vote. Students complained this was a waste of student fees during a contentious election currently being fought over student fee raises.
On Monday morning, an email, seeming to address incidents of racism, was sent out to all UCLA students. The email stated that racist attacks had been made against the CUB Referendum, citing specifically the incident where racial slurs were used during a public Zoom meeting. The USAC President, Elections Board Chair, and leaders of various ethnic student groups signed on to urge students to participate in the current elections.
Students accused USAC of violating election codes by sending partisan information to students over a service to which all students are required to subscribe.
If you believe that USAC president Robert Watson violated campaign guidelines by sending an email to all undergraduates encouraging a 'yes' vote on the CUB referendum, click here [go to 'report a violation'] to file a complaint.
I recommend you cite Regulation 2.1.a.i of the Social Media Guidelines.
The Social Media Guidelines for campaigning, Regulation 2.1.a.i, state that campaign literature cannot be sent to email lists that all students are required to subscribe to." [note: such as the undergraduate student directory]
Campaigning is defined in the election code, section 8.2.1.a (page 27) as:
[A]ny effort by any individual or group to influence the decision of any student in support of or against any USAC candidate, slate, initiative, referendum, recall, or constitutional amendment appearing on the ballot in the next election through the use of verbal or nonverbal interaction, electronic correspondence of any kind, or the use of physical materials. (emphasis mine)
Students called upon the Elections Board, the independent administrators of the election, to investigate the incident. Despite high activity in encouraging students to vote just hours before, the Election Board account went silent.
Further violations of election code occurred when students posted screenshots of unsolicited texts messages they had received from an individual endorsing the FTP slate.
After a two day investigation, the elections board found the complaint to be invalid.
The Board first makes it clear that the main reason behind its approval of this letter was to take a clear stand in solidarity against incidents of hate speech that have occurred as a result of the ongoing debate about the CUB referendum
Many of the petitioners took issue with the sentence “These instances further highlight the inadequacy of space where Black students are able to feel safe and welcome on and off campus.” The Board agrees that this line itself could possibly be construed as campaigning as one of the components of the referenda is the construction of a Black Bruin Resource Center, which was mentioned in the email. On the other hand, the Board also agrees that this line itself could be construed as entirely factual by others and that the inclusion of “off campus” makes it so that racism as a whole is being addressed, with “on-campus” being used as a reference to the University. The Board acknowledges the petitioners’ concerns but this is ultimately a matter of subjective interpretation.
They also wrote
The third paragraph of the email discusses the CUB referendum, but only in the context of the racist incidents that have occured; these incidents are among the ones that the Board denounced in a April 15th statement.
Many students responded by repeatedly asking for examples of racist incidents other than one in the Zoom meeting. Students also noticed a lack of justification on why the email was not sent immediately after the incidents happened.
Allegations of conspiracy grew when a screenshot of the USAC President claiming he had been given information on the current state of the election was posted onto UCLA. Fury continued to mount against the elections board for this perceived impropriety. However, in this thread, the elections board defended itself by claiming they had no knowledge on the results, only the number of votes cast. Students continued to take issue with this statement asking why this information had only been made available to members of USAC.

The Results

At 6 PM Friday, five hours after voting had concluded, the elections board announced the results of the election. With the highest voter turnout since 2016:
Unexpectedly, the results were a mixed bag with many projecting a sweep by either side, contingent on the pass or fail of the CUB referendum. Despite both sides gaining and conceding ground, drama continued to ensue.
Shocked that CUB had failed, supporters of the referendum took to twitter and began accusing UCLA of racism. Reddit users also posted and criticized screenshots of several tweets by Naomi.[1]
As the fervor over the elections died down, some took the opportunity to remind the student body of the alleged misconduct of USAC, the elections board, and the Daily Bruin. However, it is unclear if the student body will have the momentum and memory to hold the newly elected USAC accountable to transparency and real change after this particularly contentious election.
[1] : It is the opinion of the author that the second tweet can be construed as frustration at middle class people for not joining the plight of lower class people. Whether it is true, that middle class people do not support lower class people, is subject to debate.

Author's thoughts

Since this section is my own opinion, I won't be adding sources unless its about an event that actually happened.
First I would like to start off by disclosing my biases. I completed my undergrad at UCLA and am currently a graduate student in a south campus major. Graduate students are governed by the Graduate Students Association (GSA) and have no stake in USAC. I also happen to know some members of the Daily Bruin's editorial board and their political beliefs; although, I have not been in contact with them for the duration of this event.
I'm extremely disappointed by USAC, the elections board, and the Daily Bruin for their behavior during this election cycle. While much of the evidence regarding collusion is circumstantial, it's hard to give them the benefit of the doubt, especially when many of these organizations have obtained notoriety for engaging in playground politics.
USAC and supporters of the CUB referendum have failed in every attempt to engage in civil discourse with the opposition. As a somewhat liberal individual, I probably have voted in favor of CUB, if I were an undergrad, barring a pandemic and the unaccounted $2.7 million. USAC and supporters refused to attack the argument: a student fee increase during a pandemic and by the least transparent USAC in recent history is a bad idea, opting instead to call all detractors racist. If these students wish to be future leaders and activists in America, they need to do better. On an unrelated note, this is why no one takes liberals, and by proxy college students, seriously. If your first reaction to disagreement is to scream racism, you don't know what you're doing.
If you take your role on USAC seriously, and I know many do because it's what many want as a career, you have to be accountable. Real governments are accountable to the people they serve. If you read this story not knowing that it was a college government, you would think it was a democracy on the verge of collapsing into a totalitarian state. Which is kind of ironic considering how dyed in the wool liberal some of these people claim to be.
Despite actively engaging with students on UCLA in the days prior to election week, the elections board has been eerily silent since allegations of franking came out on Monday. I read the full Notice of Findings and am obligated to believe that a thorough investigation was conducted by an independent board. However, that is not to say that their actions were not incredibly suspect. As students, we know who is friends with who and it makes it very difficult to believe that members of the elections board did not have a personal stake in CUB despite statements to the contrary. However, in a democracy, they are entitled to the benefit of the doubt and the court of public opinion has brought nothing but circumstantial evidence. If this new USAC takes transparency seriously, I think commitments to increasing oversight would be a much needed reassurance.
With regards to the Daily Bruin, I hate being misinformed. So much that if you knew me in real life, you might be able to guess who I was based on how much I insist people go directly to the source material. I understand that journalists are not paid just to report the facts but also to give their opinions. But with that said, many of writers who covered this story let personal politics affect their ability to report the facts first.
There was a sub scandal that I didn't cover in the main story where students alleged that the Daily Bruin deliberately put off reporting on the fee increases as to not bring attention to its negative impacts. Several people[2], [3] asked the Daily Bruin to report on the story when it first came out. But it took three weeks for the article to come out and it came out after voting had already started. While I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt, I wouldn't put it past the editors I know to strategize like this and others were keen to keep track as well
But it looks like they never got around to it. How tf could they fail to cover something so substantial? And boy, how convenient was that... considering that they also recently announced that they endorse the fee increase (referendum).
There was a UCLA student in the comments of the SubredditDrama post that said I was being unfair to the Daily Bruin. I openly admit I don't much like the Daily Bruin and agree their opinion pieces hot garbage. But their investigative pieces have been incredibly lackluster as well. Their report on the unaccounted $2.7 million was the best I'd read from them but they failed to report on its connections to concerns of transparency as it relates to the recent election.
Another thing that is incredibly concerning is the lack of south campus representation in USAC and the Daily Bruin. It was pointed out in the comments of the SubredditDrama post that the Daily Bruin does employ south campus majors in the stack, their data visualization and tech blog. I spoke to a friend who is a graduated member of the Daily Bruin about this story and they said they weren't surprised. The south campus staffers were not really concerned with campus politics and mostly kept to themselves.
Which leads us to south campus representation in USAC. It's true that internships and research experience is way more valuable careerwise to south campus majors so they don't really bother with USAC. But I hope that changes after this year. The bigger issue is with the USAC establishment denying representation of the south campus perspective, as evidenced by the tweets linked above
... my platform will explicitly include banning south campus majors from running for office or voting ...
Hyperbole aside, it's disconcerting that people are trying to paint the result of the referendum as a north vs south argument. There is north vs south culture at UCLA which is discussed mostly as a joke but sometimes seriously, e.g. north campus majors are attractive but unhireable and south campus majors are goblins but will be rich, the north side of campus looks beautiful and the south side is trash, etc. But that north vs south culture isn't the reason CUB failed. It's the reason referenda like CUB are allowed to exist to begin with.
No one is doubting that marginalized communities need our support. But if you read the linked threads and articles, you would have seen dozens of acronyms, CPO, CRC, SIOC, CEC, CSC, SREC[4], CAC, CTP, AAC, AAP, MO, TLC, UCSA, SWC, CAPS, and more. There is not a single "run of the mill" student that can tell you what each of these stand for, what they do, and how some of them are different from each other. I also made one of those up and challenge anyone to tell me which one is fake without looking them up.
UCLA is a huge school and I get that there needs to be a lot of groups to cater to some large populations. But it's alarming how easily some groups are made to serve a seemingly niche purpose, funded all on the student's dime. If I didn't know any better, I would think that some of these groups were made just to push some esoteric social justice agenda and make resume padders for friends of officials. South campus demands realistic and practical goals, as evidenced by CCI's slate. But when south campus doesn't participate, the runaway north campus effect goes on to create groups after every color of the rainbow spending money on things students don't know about.
If USAC wants referenda to pass or fail on their own merits, they have to engage the other half of the campus while they're being written. There is no point in north campus throwing referendum after referendum at the student body for it to be voted down after south campus grows tired of increased fees without representation. If USAC wants students to take future referenda seriously, they can't disenfranchise south campus.
USAC, do better.
u/uclaelectionsboard, do better.
u/daily-bruin, do better.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.
Erratum: [4] CREC should be SREC.
submitted by cafmc to ucla [link] [comments]

Have you ever wondered why someone would defect and join the other side during a war? I'm here to answer all of your questions about the Kit Carson Scouts during the Vietnam War (1966-1973)!

Hello everyone!
My name is Stefan Aguirre Quiroga and I am a historian currently affiliated with the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Some of you may know recognize me as one of the moderators over at /AskHistorians. I am here today to answer your questions about what I have been researching since 2016: The Kit Carson Scouts during the Vietnam War.
The Kit Carson Scouts was a name given to a group of defectors from the People's Army of Vietnam (also known as the North Vietnamese Army, NVA) and the armed wing of the FNL (The People's Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam, more commonly known in the West as the Viet Cong, VC) who volunteered to undergo training to serve alongside American and later Australian, New Zealand, Thai, South Korean and South Vietnamese forces in the field. The role of the Kit Carson Scouts was to serve as scouts, guides, and interpreters. Kit Carson Scouts often walked point, scouting for hidden booby traps, hidden weapon caches, and signs of the enemy.
The Kit Carson Scout Program (1966-1973) has long remained a curious footnote in the history of the Vietnam War, yet the presence of Kit Carson Scouts proliferate in accounts by American veterans. I was fascinated by the idea of understanding why soldiers from the PLAF and the PAVN would make the choice to not only defect, but also to volunteer to fight against their former comrades. In addition, I felt that investigating the motivations of the Kit Carson Scouts could nuance the otherwise monolith representation of the PLAF and PAVN soldier as faceless hardcore communist believers or nationalist freedom fighters. The agency of these South or North Vietnamese soldiers and the choices they made shows them as historical actors who were not passive and who actively made choices that shaped their own lives as well as that of the war that surrounded them.
My research into this question resulted in the article Phan Chot’s Choice: Agency and Motivation among the Kit Carson Scouts during the Vietnam War, 1966–1973 that was recently published online in the scholarly journal War & Society (with a print version to come shortly).
The abstract reads as follows:
Through a focus on agency and motivation, this article attempts to reach conclusions about the choices made by PLAF and PAVN defectors for continuing their lives as combatants in the employment of the United States Armed Forces as part of the Kit Carson Scout Program. Using predominantly fragmentary personal accounts found in divisional newspapers, this article concludes that Kit Carson Scouts joined for a variety of personal reasons that included the desire for better working conditions, the opportunity to support their family, the search for revenge, and political disillusionment. Additionally, the importance of the individual scout’s choice is emphasised.
I am very excited to share all of this with you. This is only a small part of my research into the subject and I am looking forward to keep writing about it. For those desiring a copy of the article, send me a PM and I will send you a link where you can download it. I am also happy to answer any other inquiries.
AMA about anything related to the Kit Carson Scouts!
submitted by Bernardito to history [link] [comments]

What am I? Webdesigner? Developer? Photographer? Fool?

I'm freelancing since 2016. I never studied anything that has anything to do with Web Development or any creative field.
At first i started making websites for myself (Affiliate Blogs) and earned some money of it. This was about 2008. Then i started to get interested in photography and getting more creative in customizing themes with wordpress. Then a friend asked if i build websites, i said yes, not knowing if i would actually be able to. For the first website i received about 200€. At the time i was still studying, but somehow people kept coming and asking if i could make them a website, every time i didn't know if i would be able to, but was surprised by myself that i could do it, with help of the internet and youtube tutorials of course. As time passed on, people came and asked for different stuff, like can you edit this pictures, can you make this image into a vector, etc. and every time (again, not knowing if i could actually do it) i said yes and so i learned, depending on the project different programs like Adobe Indesign, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Lightroom, After Effects, Premiere Pro, etc. .
Website requests got more complicated, shops, booking systems or multilanguage websites had to be made, so again, i got nervous but i got shit done. Every time getting a little more confident in my work i started to wonder if i could make my living with freelance work. So again, i just said yes, and everything kind of worked out. I do have enough projects, but not enough to have kids, and our dream is to have kids.
My idea is to get a part time job and still do my freelancing on the side. I'm about to start searching for agencies, but i don't know what i could actually tell them what i do and what i am. Here are some of the things that i have done:
Those are just some of the things i have done. I feel like i can do a lot of stuff but i can't do something 100% perfectly. What i enjoy most is talking to clients, listening to what they actually want and then giving them ideas, either with words or with sketches and them making the actual website/menus/posters/etc. I enjoy most of my work but i don't know how i could be someone to start working in an agency in a normal position. If someone is looking for a webdesigner, am i a webdesigner?
I feel like a restaurant that offers everything from pizza to hamburger and then some asian food on the side.
submitted by dudeins to web_design [link] [comments]

Trump-connected firms received large loans through small business coronavirus-relief program

The government's $349 billion small business lending program (Paycheck Protection Program, "PPP") was designed to keep merchants afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. The program quickly ran out of money as large publicly traded companies with thousands of employees scooped up millions, leaving the real small businesses struggling to stay open.
In the past week, we've learned more about the companies that obtained these low-interest, taxpayer-backed loans. It appears that a key to success is to (1) have ties to the Trump administration, and/or (2) already have lots of money.

Ties to Trump

Numerous companies with connections to President Trump and his administration received small business loans, despite reaping millions in profits each year.

The biggest loan in the nation

The top recipient nationwide of coronavirus relief aid is an investment firm that hired a pair of D.C. lobbying firms stacked with Trump fundraisers and White House alumni. Ashford Inc., an asset management firm based in Dallas, has collected $53 million from the small business loan program.
[Ashford] hired its first-ever Washington lobbying firm, Miller Strategies. That firm is run by Jeff Miller, who was a finance vice-chair of President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee. He has raised more than $2.8 million for the RNC and a Trump joint fundraising committee so far this cycle, including $2.5 million in the first quarter of 2020 alone…
On the same day that Ashford hired Miller, it inked a separate lobbying deal with another Trump-connected firm. Bailey Strategic Advisors is run by Roy Bailey, a Trump fundraiser who served as finance chair of pro-Trump super PAC America First Action and on the board of an affiliated dark money group, America First Policies. (DB)
Ashford’s chairman, Monty Bennett, has “given over $200,000 to the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, and a joint fundraising committee supporting both of them since last year. He chipped in even more in support of Trump’s 2016 campaign.”

Three Trump-connected companies

An analysis by NBC News found three companies with ties to the Trump administration received a total of $18.3 million under the program.
  1. Hallador Energy, a coal company, snagged $10 million under the program. Last year, Hallador hired former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to lobby on its behalf. “Hallador also shares a director in common with another loan recipient, Ramaco Resources… [which] received $8.4 million” despite the company’s valuation of at least $100 million.
  2. Energy services company Flotek Industries received a $4.6 million loan. Trump’s current acting director of national intelligence and ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, worked as a consultant for Flotek.
  3. MiMedx Group, a maker of skin grafts, received $10 million. MiMedx's former chief executive, Parker H. Petit, was Trump's finance chairman in Georgia in 2016. Both the company and Petit are in trouble with the Justice Department. Just three weeks ago, MiMedx agreed to pay $6.5 million to settle DOJ accusations it had overcharged hospitals run by the VA. Petit is under indictment for securities fraud and awaiting trial.

Trump’s app creator

Last week, the Trump campaign released a new app using “gamification to drive voter outreach and valuable data collection.” Users perform actions like sharing a Trump tweet to collect points - these points can be used to get discounted campaign swag or, for 100,000 points, to get a picture with the president.
The app was made by a digital tech company with about 60 employees called Phunware. Through the small business program, Phunware obtained a $2.85 million loan - nearly 14 times the current PPP average of $206,000.
The speed of Phunware's loan is notable, too… The company received its loan funds two days after applying… Phunware was paid nearly $3 million in revenue from the Trump re-election campaign last year, or roughly 15% of its nearly $20 million in total sales, according to a filing with the SEC. In 2018, 66% of its $31 million revenue at the time came from work for client Fox Networks.

The rich get richer

NYT: As part of the economic rescue package that became law last month, the federal government is giving away $174 billion in temporary tax breaks overwhelmingly to rich individuals and large companies… Some of the breaks apply to taxes that have long been in the cross hairs of corporate lobbyists.
  • Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) - along with over 30 co-signers - called for a repeal of the tax break: While most Americans will get a one-time economic impact payment of $1,200, the small number of wealthy individuals eligible for this tax break stand to gain an average tax break of $1.6 million.

Big companies win

NBC News: At least 15 companies that reported receiving money under the program have stock market values of at least $100 million, according to a report from Morgan Stanley — even though Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday the program was not meant to benefit "big public companies that have access to capital."
Other analyses found that
(1) at least 75 companies that have received the aid were publicly traded and received a combined $300 million in low-interest, taxpayer-backed loans;
(2) at least 32 companies with CEOs making over $1 million received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program;
(3) Nearly all of JPMorgan’s large business customers received loans, while only 6% of the smaller businesses were successful. And it's not only JPMorgan...

Banks prioritized their wealthy customers

Last Sunday, four banks - Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and US Bank - were sued for allegedly failing to process PPP loans on a first-come first-served basis.
Each bank "concealed from the public that it was reshuffling the PPP applications it received and prioritizing the applications that would make the bank the most money," each of the four lawsuits said.
As a result of this "dishonest and deplorable behavior," the lawsuit said thousands of small businesses "were left with nothing" when PPP ran out of money earlier this month.

Banks win

Speaking of banks, NPR reported that:
Banks handling the government's $349 billion loan program for small businesses made more than $10 billion in fees — even as tens of thousands of small businesses were shut out of the program… For every transaction made, banks took in 1% to 5% in fees, depending on the amount of the loan.
submitted by rusticgorilla to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

The Perversion of Critical Theory: Nadia Bolz-Weber

This particular concept is leading many astray and we must confront it everywhere it pops up. Having endured my University’s Critical indoctrination program for the past 3.5 years, I decided to write something up about it and how this relates to our faith, enjoy. (5-minute read)

Many issues in the modern Church that we talk about (the attack on masculinity, biblical roles etc) stem from something called Critical Theory. So I thought it would be better to rebuke false teachers such as Nadia Bolz-Weber by exposing their worldly philosophical framework first, then we will see clearly to reject their theology, deceptive practises and thus, clear its outworking from our Churches.

Critical Theory and Bolz-Weber
Critical Theory is a social theory that critiques and changes society by targeting its power structures and the concepts that hold these together. Critical Theory and the principles within it can really be applied to anything, and it absolutely wreaks havoc when applied to Christianity.
“You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-20)
Here are some of the fruits of Critical Theory and its adherents:
All of these have something major in common, they are united in their rebellion against an established authority. That authority may be different in each case, for feminism the authority is the patriarchy. In the case of the sexual revolution – purity and marriage. But the really devastating rebellion is this: rebellion against the authority of established truth.
Postmodernism is most blatantly affiliated with this rebellion, and many people are unknowingly affected by its core thesis in some way. The thesis: ‘the truth is what you think it is’ which basically translates to: ‘The truth is what feels good to you’. (Sounds pretty similar to Judges 21:25 huh)
You can see this thesis at work in the life of Bolz-Weber.
Here is a teacher who is rebelling against 2000 years of widely accepted Christian thought. Indeed, she referred to the life work of Augustine of Hippo as a ‘dump’, and Paul’s writings as ‘snotty opinions’. Bolz-Weber is trying to dismantle established Christian thought surrounding sex via a sexual reformation based on the arguments of Martin Luther.
Where does her authority to say and do such things come from? Herself and her own ‘spiritual revelation’. After an abortion and divorce, she got back with an old boyfriend and essentially said that “the sex was so good it made me question the relationship between sex and religion”.
Martin Luther right now.

How Critical Theory affects our Evangelism
The philosophy behind this error is not just exclusive to Bolz-Weber. It is being widely proliferated in many different Christian denominations. The Catholic organisation I am indirectly employed by has adopted a ‘be your best self’ humanistic psychology. The leader said in a recent zoom meeting that we are not preaching the gospel, but encouraging students to embrace ‘who they are’ -> whether that be atheist, Muslim etc.
This is in line with the vision of human flourishing: a recent heretical teaching that has its roots in Critical Theory as applied to the Great Commission. Christians have always been for helping the poor and needy but due to ‘new interpretations’ of Jesus’ words, in the year 2020 the Great Commission has been translated to helping everyone flourish in their lives on earth.
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)
Whether you are flourishing in life or not, you need to repent in the name of Jesus. This is not just a once-off deal, but a continuous commitment to walk by faith and follow Jesus’ commands.
Pointing people towards this is the number 1 way that we help them, other than attending to their basic needs. So when we neglect to point people toward the ONLY way for their salvation, we are like the servant given a single talent who then buried it in the ground. Critical Theory justifies disobedience.

How Critical Theory affects our Christianity
Critical Theory lends itself to something CS Lewis referred to as ‘Chronological snobbery’. That is, the view that by virtue of its recentness, any position is more authoritative than old and established positions.
When teachers bring us new interpretations of scripture we cannot merely quote scripture back at them, their argument lies in their interpretation, their interpretation lies in their worldview/doctrine. These new claims must be weighed against Biblical canon as a whole. That means they must be weighed against established worldview/doctrine. That is, established interpretations based on Authorial intent – not what some feminist suddenly thinks Paul really meant in Ephesians 5.
The primary objective of the enemy is to undo the work of Jesus Christ, and what did Jesus Christ come to do? To destroy the work of the devil: sin. (‘I have come that they may have life’).
One of the most important things Critical Theory does to Christianity is undercut the Gospels power by attacking the concept of sin. It does this by either saying something isn’t a sin (changing established doctrine) or it downplays the gravity of sin. Nadia Bolz-Weber and many other ‘Christians’ do so in a matter that is utterly disgraceful, bringing the gospel into disrepute and trampling on the cross.
‘How do we know what sin is?’ Bible + right interpretation. ‘We know the Bible is reliable, but how do we know what the right interpretation is?’ Authoritative figures + Authorial intent. ‘I get Authorial intent, but how do we know which authoritative figures are Godly?’ By their fruits. ‘What’s the main fruit to look for?’ Whether or not they teach repentance via the cross. Repentance that leads to forgiveness, and forgiveness that leads to life evidenced by righteousness.

Critical Theory applied to Faith alone
Critical Theory has absolutely destroyed Faith alone, and the newly defined concept enables many modern heresies. Faith alone now apparently justifies (among many things) Vagina sculptures, homosexuality, abortion, idleness, and a dead and useless belief. Further, it is the single biggest point of confusion and division within Christianity. Those ‘Christian’ women sleeping around that we all complain about? ‘Don't judge bro, they are just as holy as you.’ How the devil has deceived us!
There is no salvation without faith. Likewise, there is no faith without repentance. No repentance without confession of sin. No confession without admitting that we have a sinful heart (and indeed that sin exists in the first place).
True and transformative faith will lead to righteousness (evidenced by fruits and good works) and a renouncement of the world and its desires. So let’s not get bogged down once again in the faith vs works non-debate. Open your eyes. Without action your faith is dead!
In the words of Martin Luther himself:
“Saving faith is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever...Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire!”

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
And of course, Jesus’ first public announcement:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

Hopefully this has provided you with some insight into the framework that our opposition uses, and how this has crept into our faith at a theological level and thus affected many brothers and sisters. Wherever you’re at, be encouraged, admonished, awakened, but for the love of God: grow. (2 Peter 1:5-11).

submitted by UpTanks to RPChristians [link] [comments]

[Ballroom Dance] A Decades Long Blood Feud Between Dance Governing Bodies Because of the Olympics

Hopefully everyone's been enjoying their quarantine! But if not, maybe this next installment of ballroom dance drama will help! This is actually pretty much a research paper at this point, so you might want to settle in or take it in chunks. I may actually divide it up.
Anyway, I’ve been teasing for a while about this installment so hopefully it lives up to expectation. The Olympic bid on the part of ballroom dance goes back decades, meaning this post is just a small glimpse into the drama that’s created.
A few additional installments are going to come out of this, including USA Dance's micromanaging and ruining one of their biggest competitions and the Great Italian Judging Scandal of 2010 and how USA Dance ruined their biggest competition! The Italian judging scandal is gonna take a while, since, well, it's all in Italian and google translate isn't that great.
So let’s dive into the fever swamp that is how one governing body's Olympic bid is ruining ballroom dance for everyone around the world! Good times...
Some Background
The world of competitive ballroom dance -- also called “DanceSport,” — lest ANYONE forget that this is a sport now and we’re SERIOUS — is overseen by two governing bodies globally and another two governing bodies in the US. They maintain syllabuses on dance styles and determine what moves are allowed at what level. Dancers also register with one or more of these organizations to compete at levels higher than your good ol’ collegiate competitions.
These governing bodies originally had different purposes. Some would only govern professional competitions and the others focused on amateurs. This division of power brought peace to the DanceSport world. Until the Olympic committee attacked.
A quick aside -- if you follow ballroom dance long enough, you’ll hear about Blackpool. This is the most prestigious dance competition in the world, held in Blackpool, England. It goes back to 1920 and is basically its own thing. The champions of this competition basically set styles for everyone downstream. You can trace popular variations back to Blackpool.
Alright, this part is kinda boring but there’s gonna be a lot of acronyms tossed around, so if you get confused, come back up here and maybe this will help.
NDCA -- The oldest governing body is the National Dance Council of America (NDCA), established in 1948. Their job for decades was to foster competition between professional dancers. They are WDC’s associated body in the US.
WDC -- Next is the World Dance Council (WDC). This was established in 1950 in Scotland, also to govern professional competitions but on a global scale.
WDSF -- Seven years later, the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) was established to govern ameature competitions, also global. They used to be called the IDSF, so if some of the links talk about the IDSF they mean the same thing.
USA Dance -- Finally, entered USA Dance. In 1965, a group of ameatures got together to petition the Olympics. USA Dance joined forces with the other amateurs governing body -- WDSF -- to help in this Olympic bid. They thought it would benefit the competitive ballroom dance scene to compete alongside the world’s greatest athletes (and make money from the IOC *cough* *cough*), so why not? What could POSSIBLY go wrong???
So, just to recap because that’s a lot of acronyms, USA Dance and WDSF are the regional and international bodies that govern amateurs. NDCA and WDC are the regional and international bodies governing professionals.
Another side note -- along with this division of power, came a difference in style. WDSF/USA Dance has become much more stylized, faster paced, and flashy. Its critics say their dancers’ forms are bad, causing the moves to look sloppy in their attempt to “go big.” Meanwhile, WDC/NDCA has remained more conservative, sticking more closely to the “correct” forms as found in the syllabuses, and it is therefore more boring, according to its critics. Check out here and here for some videos and some uh -- interesting -- sylzizing found in WDSF.
The Olympic Quest
As you can imagine, getting a new sport into the Olympics is no easy feat. There are a TON of hoops to jump through, so even though WDSF/USA Dance started their drive to get ballroom dance into the Olympics back in 1965, it was only in 1997 that they finally made some tangible progress. After decades of negotiations, the IOC declared that they recognized WDSF as the sole governing body for competitive ballroom dance worldwide. This meant that if ballroom dance ever made it into the Olympics, it would only be competitors registered with the WDSF -- and by extension, USA Dance.
That was fine though -- everyone was pretty chill about that since most everyone was registered to both organizations anyway! Amateurs competed in the WDSF/USA Dance while their judges and coaches were registered through WDC/NDCA.
But it wasn’t good enough for the WDSF. To play it safe, its board members said, "you know, we should REALLY show the IOC that we are ballroom dance’s ONLY amateur governing body. So why don’t we make sure our dancers are completely and totally loyal to us and only us!"
To prove to the Olympics that they really were the only governing body for amateur dance, they banned their members from dancing in competitions that are not registered by the WDSF (or USA Dance in America).
These unregistered competitions are the first casualties in the long war of DanceSport. Unregistered competitions include things like collegiate competitions and dance festivals like Blackpool (which the WDSF didn’t DARE ban its members from competing in; it was one of a few exceptions. So that was safe for a few years). There are a ton of these unregistered events, so this had the potential to wipe out a massive outlet for dancers to do what they love.
The WDC/NDCA saw a need (and an opportunity) so they responded by creating their own amateur division obligatory “with blackjack and hookers!”. Some say this was a deliberate move to drive WDSF out of business, others say they were filling a void left by the WDSF making a dumb rule that hurt dancers. It doesn’t really matter, because things got worse from there.
The WDSF/USA Dance saw this as a direct challenge to their Olympic authority. So they retaliated by also challenging their rival on their own turf. The WDSF started their very own professional division in 2007. Sorry to throw another acronym at you but they did this by creating the IPDSC -- despite being created by the WDSF, this organization was actually independent. The IPDSC was also a program to license new judges. Before 2010, all dance competitions were pretty much judged by those certified with the WDC (or the NDCA in America), since they were the only professional league.
Once again, the war in competitive ballroom dance reached a standstill. At this point, the only people really hurting were the WDSF dancers who couldn’t compete at unregistered events. For professional judges, this just meant getting certified by two governing bodies and making money from multiple leagues.
But then, in 2010, the WDSF absorbed the IPDSC. In doing so, they put pressure on their amateurs to “stay in the family” and go pro with them and NOT the WDC. With this move, the ballroom dance civil war came to America.
Also around this time the WDSF seems to have increased their bans. In response, disgruntled dancers banded together to create the "Freedom to Dance" movement. More on them later.
The Ballroom Dance Civil War Comes to America
So let’s back up just a little. The NDCA is America’s professional league. They carved out their turf a long time ago with USA Dance. Both parties agreed at the time that the NDCA would cover professionals and USA Dance would cover amateurs. Until now, I’ve sort of been lumping USA Dance and the WDSF together, but really they are separate bodies. USA Dance is an independent organization affiliated with the WDSF. Similarly, NDCA is independent but affiliated with WDC.
When the IPDSC came along, instead of USA Dance joining them, the NDCA did. After the WDSF absorbed the IPDSC, the NDCA got nervous. Since the WDSF is primarily the amateur league, they are run by people who are not professional dancers. The NDCA was afraid that these big wigs out in Europe would start handing down dictates to American dance professionals about how to run their studios and competitions. So, the NDCA began to distance itself from the WDSF.
The WDSF then started to put pressure on their branch in America: USA Dance. With pressure mounting to join the darkside and launch their own amateur division, USA Dance broke ranks. In 2012, they teamed up with a bunch of other organizations including the US Olympic Committee to push back on WDSF. They released a statement criticizing WDSF’s policies that banned dancers if they compete in other organizations’ events. It read, in part:
>. . . athletes should not be used as pawns in disagreements between sports organizations. Stated in another way, athletes should not be used as a way to gain an advantage by one organization over another. This not only is in violation of the athlete’s right to practice sport, but merely causes retaliation by both organizations against athletes who compete in the other organization’s events, placing the athletes in the middle, without recourse and without having committed any wrong, except fulfilling their desire to compete. It further ignores that competition among organizations can be beneficial to sport.
They went on to say that this threatened the WDSF’s compliance with the Olympic bylaws.
With pressure continuing to mount, the WDSF caved and rescinded their bans in 2012. USA Dance also complied with the WDSF’s request to create a professional league.
So yay! The war’s over! Good guys won, pack up your bags, go home!!! However, once everyone simmered down over the next couple years, the WDSF had themselves another meeting...
With everyone satisfied -- and probably some new lawyers better at drafting dumb rules -- the WDSF reinstated the bans in 2014! However, they left it up to the national bodies to implement, which allowed them to sneak around the IOC’s less than concerned eye. USA Dance has declined to adopt this rule.
Going Nuclear
Before the dust settled on the 2014 rule change, the NDCA took the war to another ring on the escalation ladder. They went full nuclear in 2014 and prohibited any judge they certified from judging USA Dance competitions. A few judges tried to call their bluff and were summarily executed by the NDCA.
The extent of their ban is huge because the NDCA had a total monopoly on the professional league in America for years. Judges (who are usually other coaches) make money at competitions throughout the year. By threatened to blackball any judge that adjudicates a USA Dance event, the NDCA effectively threatened to deprive these judges of a lot of income. Sacrificing their non-NDCA judging circuit meant giving up about 2/3rds of their income as a judge (if one forum post is to be believed). So if you were a professional instructor and wanted to put food on the table and dance shoes on your feet, you had to comply.
The WDSF then moved to protect their allies in USA Dance by banning NDCA judges from WDSF events, even removing a panel of judges a week before a major competition in New York. The NDCA responded again by ending all co-hosted events with the WDSF.
This is one area I’m a little fuzzy on. Evidently there was a lot more cross pollination going on than it seems when I intuitively started researching all this. So like, the NDCA would fairly often have joint events with the WDSF to bring in professional competitors from abroad. Similarly, the WDSF relied on NDCA certified adjudicators for their events in America. All that ended with this round of broadsides.
USA Dance, however, was fed up with the war. They now have to import judges from overseas -- since literally every single American judge is banned from their competitions. This raises the cost and likely reduces the number of comps held by USA Dance. In 2015, USA Dance wrote another letter criticizing the WDSF and NDCA, saying that all of this is in violation of the Olympic spirit and that the US probably needs to pass legislation granting people the right to compete so long as they qualify athletically.
This is actually a common refrain among dancers in the “freedom to dance” movement that rose up in response to the initial bans back in 2011. They say that competition and athletic events are human rights, denying access to these is a violation of basic human dignity. Remember kids -- mustard gas, targeting civilians, and dance bans are among the greatest human rights violations of our time!
For the average ballroom dancer, though, none of this really meant a whole lot. They just wanted to dance! They didn’t care if it was with the NDCA, USA Dance, WDSF, WDC, WWE, NAACP -- whoever! Though a lot of dancers complained on forums, they didn’t take action. That was the case until 2015.
2015 -- The Year to End All Years
Picture it. You’re on the board the the WDSF. You’ve spent the better part of your career trying to get ballroom dance into the Olympics. The war you fought to get there has bled the community dry -- in fact, your very own regional bodies are now revolting against you. But surely, if your aims were accomplished, all this tumult would be worth it to stand on that podium with the gold medal from a KILLER samba!
Well, in 2015, the Olympic committee declared they would accept a total of six new sports into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo! This could be the moment ballroom dance has waited for! Dancers around the world lept into action and put pressure the IOC. Thousands signed petitions and posted on social media. A lot of that took place in the "Freedom to Dance" Facebook page that was started as an anti-WDSF group in the early 2010s. This petition had an uphill battle though, since DanceSport was competing against 26 other noble, historic, and culturally significant sports like bowling and skateboarding.
That same year, the Toronto Pan-American Games requested that ballroom dancers perform during their closing ceremony. This small, micro Olympic exhibition probably added some momentum to dancers’ hopes of getting to Tokyo.
But things got even more complicated in 2015. You see, the Association for International Sports for All (TAFISA) was in secret talks with the WDC at the Blackpool Dance Festival in May. TAFISA is also an Olympic recognized body. TAFISA and the WDC announced during the Blackpool Dance Festival that they formed a new partnership and that TAFISA agreed to declare the WDC -- NOT the WDSF -- the sole governing body of ballroom dance in the world. This meant that the IOC now officially recognized both the WDSF AND the WDC as governing bodies over DanceSport!
But hey, if you’re back at the WDSF, that’s chill. You’ve been working with the IOC for decades now and finally they’re about to add another six sports to the Olympics, so surely, they’d recognize all your hard work and efforts and give you the one thing you’ve destroyed your sport over.
The WDC, however, was on a roll. The "Freedom to Dance" Facebook group switched from petitioning the IOC to admit DanceSport into the 2020 Olympics around early June to starting a whole NEW petition to strip the WDSF of their IOC recognition in the middle of that month!
Since this Facebook page was established as an anti-WDSF group, it has a lot of WDC board members actively participating in it. So it's no wonder that, though the petition only had 661 signers, it was shared by a world Latin dance champion and PRESIDENT of the WDC. Some on Facebook appeared to support the WDC president, others came down hard on him saying that “bullying” rivals should be above such a professional.
Two weeks later, however, the big day came. The IOC announced their decision on who would make the next round of considerations for the 2020 Olympics!
\drum roll**
The IOC declared that, of the 26 sports petitioning to enter the 2020 Olympics -- they were cutting ballroom dance first.
Once again, dancers’ dreams were crushed and the WDSF proved themselves inept at making sacrifices for “the greater good” of getting us into the Olympics. The WDC president -- the same one who got slammed/hailed for sharing the petition -- roasted the WDSF, saying that after 60 years, kicking DanceSport off the short list of new sports has a better chance of becoming an Olympic sport than ballroom dance itself!
It’s been a while since that tumultuous year, and for the most part, the dance community seems to have just eased into a level of learned helplessness. Some people called for a boycott on a prominent dance forum, saying we need to quit being “rhythmic passivists” and do something. So far, the most anyone has done has been to share petitions, complain, and create a “Freedom to Dance” coordination body back in the early 2010s that hosts a few competitions here and there. No one really talks about them, so I Just assume they're small and not very influential. As long as the governing bodies provide a service that would cost thousands of dollars and hours to do without them, it’s unlikely anything will change.
Ironically, in their bid to get dancers into the Olympics by removing the competition, the WDSF has actually doubled the amount of governing bodies and made a mess of competitive ballroom dance. To sum up this two decade long war, one professional wrote, saying “20 years of policy making and tinkering by the WDSF so they could get there, not only has drastically changed the format, the ethics and shaken the very soul of our beautiful art, but has deeply divided our world. For what? To get leapfrogged by bowling.”
Hope you enjoyed this one! There’s probably a bunch of details and stuff I haven’t found, but this at least is an overview of the fight. I’m adding some sources at the end because this feels like a research paper. You might be able to get a few more nuggets that way.
USA Dance has had some problems recently and there’s been a kerfuffle with a major competition called the “Ohio Star Ball” because it was one of those joint events that had to pick a side. There’s a really, REALLY good story about USA Dance’s problems in New York that I’ll share later. Also, I spoke with one of the Great Old Ones in my dance club so be on the look out for an update to the drama that unfolded in our club a few years ago.
Overview of the Olympic bid plus problems caused by applying IOC rules to dance
Overview of the blood feud between NDCA-USA Dance and WDC-WDSF
Details on the debacles of 2015 -- including WDC's new recognition by the IOC, the petitions, and Facebook groups.
Reactions to the NDCA's judging ban
Some forum posts from between when WDSF banned dancers from going to unsanctioned events to them pawning that off on their regional bodies.
submitted by RonTheSpear to HobbyDrama [link] [comments]

Covid population control

They say it’s a small world and, according to worldwide population statistics, it’s only getting smaller as human population continues to rise and available resources continue to dwindle. It’s the kind of problem with no easy solutions, but some world leaders may have found one in Covid-19. If it sounds a little far-fetched, strap in, because the evidence is undeniable.
Our timeline begins in 2015, when Xi Jinping laid out his 30-year plan to transform his country and surpass the US to become the biggest global superpower, in the hopes of securing world domination. That same year, he met with Bill Gates, wherein,
Xi Jinping pointed out that preventing and controlling public epidemics is a common challenge to the international community and requires the international community to strengthen cooperation on joint control. We attach great importance to enhancing public health service and securing people's health, which constitutes an important task of the Chinese government. China is ready to continue cooperation with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in this respect.
Three years later, in 2018, the US and China began a trade war in which President Trump started imposing tariffs and other trade barriers on China. This did not go well for the US. A year after that, on December 13th of 2019, both countries announced that an initial deal where new tariffs were to be mutually imposed on December 15th, would not be implemented. China made a new statement saying that they would “buy more high quality of American agricultural products," while the United States said that it would halve the existing 15% tariffs on Chinese trade.
Despite the fact that the two initially seemed to be at each other’s throats during the trade war, Trump was later quoted as saying, “I’ve developed friendship,” in reference to his meeting with XI Jinping. It’s notable that the US was not the only country getting close with China around this time. Back in 2017, Chinese president Xi Jinping called for “stronger relations” with Sweden and met with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven under the guise of trying to foster closer cooperation on clean energy, life sciences, green finance, high-speed rails, and space technology.
In 2018, Trump also met with Löfven and was quoted as saying, Asked if he stood by his comments, Trump said he did. “You have a wonderful prime minister,” he said but added “you have a problem with immigration. I was one of the first people to say it, I took a little heat for it but I was right,” he claimed, adding “I know the problem will slowly disappear.”
Sweden, a relaxed and welcoming refugee country, currently has a large Syrian and Somali population. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has been very vocal about his feelings on the Syrian nightmare occurring in Sweden, but the tension continues to build between Swedish citizens and Syrian refugees.
As if following directly in Xi Jinping’s footsteps, Trump also met with Bill Gates in March of 2018, a meeting that took place at the Whitehouse and was closed to the press. It was reported that Trump offered Gates a position in the oval office as Whitehouse Science Advisor, but allegedly Gates rejected the offer siting, “that’s not a good use of my time.” Later, in an interview with USA Today, Gates said the following,
“Americans don't want to have pandemics, and Americans don't want to have to send soldiers to restore stability in Africa,” he said. Gates has met with Trump before, during the transition at Trump Tower and last March at the White House where they discussed a “shared commitment to finding and stopping disease outbreaks around the world.”
Following that meeting, Trump’s focus seemed to shift from foreign affairs to healthcare in October of 2019 when he signed an executive order which demanded that the government investigate the possibility of raising Medicare reimbursement rates. This order is predicted to raise the cost of the program, undermining its finances, not to mention potentially increasing the amounts seniors need to pay over time. At the same time, Trump’s plan – also contained in the executive order – encourages more use of Medicare Advantage, which could ultimately push seniors toward narrow medical networks, cutting access to doctors and restricting their options for healthcare services.
Fast-forward to late December of 2019, when the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Wuhan, China. The first case of Covid-19 in the US was reported on January 19th, 2020 in a Washington state retirement home. The virus began to spread exponentially while President Trump sat back idly. Controlled media started spreading fear, causing many states to declare a state of emergency, asking their citizens to shelter in place to avoid transfer of the virus to high risk individuals such as the elderly.
Shortly afterwards, Dr. Charles Lieber and two Chinese nationals were arrested in the US on January 28th, 2020 in connection to their affiliations with China; more specifically with the Wuhan University of Technology. Lieber had been accepting money from Chinese officials to help set up laboratories in the Wuhan district dating all the way back to 2010.
Currently, Sweden is the only place in the world without tight restrictions on social interactions. All information and precautions on staying safe during the pandemic was distributed exclusively in Swedish. In Stockholm, of the first 60 to die of Covid-19, 35 were either Somali or Syrian. Now, Sweden has adopted a laissez faire approach in their response to the coronavirus. It comes to no surprise that the world was watching Sweden, and it didn’t take long at all before people started to find holes in their government’s response to the pandemic.
Their Swedish-only publications on public safety during the pandemic put refugees who didn’t speak Swedish at a severe disadvantage, conveniently bringing Trump’s dark prophecy to fulfillment. This is not a coincidence. In 2016, Sweden’s Prime Minister declared that he no longer wanted to take any more refugees, and a year later Stefan Löfven met with President XI Jinping, then with Trump in 2018 when Trump made his comments about immigration slowly disappearing.
I know it’s a lot to take in, so let’s summarize: The Earth is currently in the midst of a population boom it can’t handle, while resources become more and more scarce. In 2015, Chinese leader Xi Jinping declares his plan for world domination and begins strategically collecting allies around the world—something he hasn’t done in decades. In the span of four years, Xi Jinping met with Bill Gates, who made comments about the devasting effects of a possible future pandemic, Löfven, who had an immediate overpopulation problem, and Trump, who suddenly decided to sabotage healthcare and disband the US’s pandemic response unit, also mysteriously commenting that Sweden’s refugee problem would soon be solved. Then, we suddenly have a huge pandemic, and all three countries have incredibly slow and inadequate responses, including Sweden’s blatant refusal to prepare its overcrowded refugee population and prevent spreading of the disease among them. Meanwhile, the disease continues to spread across the world, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives, mainly in the demographics these leaders have been targeting—like the elderly in the US who now have restricted access to healthcare and the refugees in Sweden who weren’t provided with the information they needed to prevent spread. There is clearly something ENORMOUS going on here. The question remains: Who’s calling the shots? Donald Trump or Xi Jinping?
There is much more evidence and more to be revealed. This is just the first edition. More to come depending how this is met.
Works Cited
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