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For a quick, easier search - has compiled this whole thread. Special thanks to u/SHIFTnSPACE. - This is now a part of the sidebar as a button widget!

What is an MLM?

Multi-level marketing (MLM), also called pyramid selling, network marketing, and referral marketing, is a marketing strategy for the sale of products or services where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce selling the company's products/services, while the earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped or binary compensation commission system. ​
If you see a company and are not sure that it belongs on this list, please reach out. I have compiled this list from the sources listed at the bottom along with input from community members. This list may not be 100% accurate but the goal is to get it as close as possible.
31 - Bags
5Linx - Home & Business Services
Abby & Anna - Clothing
ACAN Pacific - Utilities
ACN - Utilities
ActiLabs - Skincare/Health
Adornable.U - Accessories
Advocare - Dietary Supplements
AeroGrow - Garden Tools
Agnes & Dora - Clothing
AIM Global - Nutritional Supplements
Akasuka (Japan) -
Alcone - Beauty
Alice's Table - Flower Arrangement Classes
All'asta - Home Goods
Allysian Sciences -
Aloe Vera of America (Young Living) - Nutritional Supplements
Aloette - Beauty
Alphay Int - Nutritional Supplements
AlureVe - Skincare/Health
Amare Global - Nutritional Supplements
Ambit - Utilities
Amelia James -
Ameo - Essential Oils
American Income Life - Financial
Amsoil - Motor Oil
Amway - Health/Beauty/Home Goods
Ann Summers - Product
Ann Summers (UK) - Adult Novelties
Anorak (UK) - Home Goods
Anran (China) -
Apollo (India) - Juice
Apriori - Skincare/Health
AquaSource UK - Nutritional Supplements
Arbonne - Skincare/Health
ARIIX - Water Purification
Arsoa Honsha (Japan) - Fitness/Weight Loss
Asea Global - Nutritional Supplements
Asirvia (shut down) - Marketing
Aspire/Digital Altitude - Marketing
ATC Coin - Crypto Currency
Athena's - Adult Novelties
Atomy - Skincare/Health
Ava Anderson -
Ava Rose - Clot
Avisae - Weight Loss
Avon - Beauty
b:hip Global - Health
Bachar Nutrition - Nutritional Supplements
Bamboo Pink - Jewelry
Barefoot Books - Books
Bath.Ologie - Bath Bombs
Beach Body - Fitness/Weight Loss Videos
BearCereju (Japan) - Cosmetics
BeautiControl -
Beauty Counter - Cosmetics
Beauty Society - Beauty
beCAUSE Cosmetics - Cosmetics
Become International (US & AUS) - Cosmetics
Bedroom Kandi - Adult Novelties
Beever (UK) - Hair Care
BelCorp (Latin America) - Cosmetics
Bellame - Skincare/Health
Bemer - Appliances
Better Way Design/Imports - Clothing
Biogreen Argentina -
BioPerformance - Automotive (Fuel Pills)
Bod-e Pro - Nutritional Supplements
Body by Vi/Visalus - Health
Body Shop at Home - Beauty
Boisset Collection - Wine
Boston Finney (shut down) -
Bounce Life/Network - Insurance
Bud Star (Canada) - CBD/THC Products
BurnLounge (shut down as pyramid scheme by FTC in 2012) -
Buskins - Clothing
Butterfly Beauty - Cosmetics
Cabi - Clothing
Cambridge Weight Plan/Diet - Dietary Supplements
CAN - Utilities
Captain Tortue - Clothing
Carico Int - Home Goods
Celebrating Home - Home Goods
Cellements - Skincare/Health
CEO Movement (Not MLM but scammy) -
Chalk Couture - Chalkboard Signs
Chalky & Co - Home Goods
Chandeal (Japan) - Clothing
Charle (Japan) - Clothing
Charlie's Project - Clothing
Chef's Toolbox (AUS) (Insolvency) - Kitchen Accessories
Cherish Natural Products -
Chloe & Isabel - Jewelry
Clever Container - Home Goods
Close to My Heart - Scrapbooking
Cloud 9 Parties - Adult Novelties
Cobra Group/Appco -
Cocoa Exchange - Food
Color by Amber - Jewelry
Color Happy -
Color Street - Nail Wraps
Colour Me Beautiful (UK) - Clothing
Compelling Creations - Jewelry
Conklin - Roofing
Cookie Lee (shut down) -
Cosway (Malaysia) - Health/Beauty/Home Goods
Country Scents - Product/Candles
Create Your Life - Health
Creative Memories - Scrapbooking
Credit Repair USA - Financial
Crunchi - Cosmetics
Cutco - Knives
CVSL - Multiple Companies
Daisy Blue Naturals - Personal Care
Damsel in Defense - Product/Self Defense
Darceys - Candles
David Lerner Associates, INC - Financial
Dazzle and Daze - Clothing
Deutsche vermögensberatung/Dvag (Germany) - Financial
Diana (Japan) -
Dione Cosmetics - Cosmetics
Direct Cellars/DC Nation - Wine
Discovery Toys - Educational Toys
Divvee/Nui -
Dot Dot Smile - Clothing
DoTERRA - Health/Oils
Du Northing Designs - Clothing
Dubli Network - Financial
Dudley Beauty - Cosmetics
DXN - Health/Beauty/Home Goods
Dynamic Essentials -
EcoWarehouse - Home Goods
Elepreneuer -
Elk River Soaps - Personal Care
Ella Tina - Clothing
Elli Kai - Clothing
Elvacity - Nutritional Supplements
EmGoldEx/Global Intergold -
Enagic/Kangen Water - Ionized Water
Endless Xpressions - Clothing/Accessories
Enersource Int - Nutritional Supplements
Enjo (AUS) - Cleaning Producs
Envy Jewelry - Jewelry
Epicure (Canada) - Food
Equinox International (dissolved in 2001) -
Ergo (Germany) - Insurance
Essante Organics -
Essential Bodywear - Clothing
European Grouping of Marketing Professionals/CEDIPAC SA (dissolved 1995) -
European Home Retail (dissolved 2007) -
Evanescence Network - Health
EVER Skincare - Skincare/Health
Evolution Travel - Product
EvolvHealth - Health
Faberlic (Russia) - Health/Beauty/Home Goods
Family First Life - Insurance
Family Heritage Insurance - Insurance
Fantasia - Adult Novelties
Fantasia (Canada) - Adult Novelties
Farmasi -
FES Connect - Financial
Fibi & Clo - Footwear
Fifth Ave Collection - Jewelry
First Fitness Nutrition - Dietary Supplements
Fit4Mom - Clothing
FITTEAM Global - Dietary Supplements
Flamingo Paperie - Art
Fleuresse -
FM World (UK) -
For Tails Only - Pet Supplies
Forever Living - Health/Oils
Forex Education (iMarkets Live branch) - Crypto
Forex Entourage - Financial
Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (dissolved 2013) -
Four Oceans - Health
Fragant Jewels - Bathbombs
FreeLife - Nutritional Supplements
Frontrow -
Fuel Freedom Int - Automotive
Fund America (Bankrupt 1990) -
Gano Excel - Nutritional Supplements
GelMoment - Beauty
Gemstra - Jewelry
Genesis Pure - Nutritional Supplements
Global Legacy Initiative -
GoDesana - Pet
Gold Canyon - Product/Candles
Golden Days (China) - Health
Grace & Heart - Jewelry
Green HoriZen - CBD
Greeting Cake Company - Cake Kits
H2O At Home - Personal Care
Hale - CBD Oil
Hanky Panky Parties (Canada) - Adult Novelties
Happy Coffee - Coffee
Harvard Risk Management (Legal Shield) -
Hayward's Gourmet Popcorn - Food
HB Naturals - Health
He(L)o - Health
Healthy Peach - Dietary Supplements
Heavenly Chia - Food
Heka Corp - Fitness
Helo Wristbands - Health
HempWorx - Health
Herbalife - Health
Heritage Makers - Scrapbooking
Hinode - Cosmetics
Holiday Magic (shut down) -
Home Interiors - Home Goods
Honey - Beauty
Honey & Lace - Clothing
Hualin Biotech (China) - Health
iCoinPro - Crypto Currency
ID Life - Health
Igniting Passion (Canada) - Adult Novelties
iMarketsLive - Financial Trading Software
Immunotec - Health
Imperial Candles (UK) - Candles
In a Pikle - Bags
Income Advantage -
India Hicks - Product/Accessories
Infinitus - Health
Initials, Inc - Bags
Inkd Up Nails - Beauty
innov8tive nutrition - Nutritional Supplements
InteleTravel - Travel
Intimo (AUS/NZ) - Adult Novelties
Isagenix - Dietary Supplements
ItWorks! - Health
J. Elizabeth - Clothing
J. Hilburn - Clothing
J.R Watkins -
Jafra - Beauty
Jamberry - Beauty
Jamby - Clothing
Jamie at Home (shut down) -
Janice Collection - Home Goods
Java Momma - Coffee
Javita - Coffee
Jbloom - Jewelry
Jequiti - Cosmetics
Jerky Direct -
Jeunesse - Beauty
Jewel Kade (31) - Jewelry
Jewelscent - Product/Candles
JK Apparel (Canada) - Clothing
Jordan Essentials - Beauty
JoyMain (China) - Health
Joyome (Plexus) - Beauty
JuicePlus - Nutritional Supplements
Jump Natural - Health
Kaesar & Blair -
Kalaia - Skincare/Health
Kalo & Co - Pearl/Jewelry
Kangen Water -
Kannaway - CBD Oil
Karat Bars - Gold
Kaszazz - Scrapbooking
Keep Collective - Jewelry
Keep Me Safe - Cos
KETO (Pruvit) -
Keto Coffee - Coffee
Ketones - Health
Kirby - Vacuums
Kleeneze - Home Goods
Kobold (Vorwerk) -
Kyani - Health
Labella Baskets - Home Goods
Lady Godiva Beauty - Cosmetics
Lavylites - Beauty
L'BRI - Beauty
LeadUp Consulting -
Legal Shield - Legal Services
LegArt (Canada) - Leggings
Legend Age (China) -
Legging Army - Clothing
Legging Girl - Clothing
Lemongrass Spa - Beauty
LeReve (Canada) - Cosmetics
Le-Vel (Thrive) - Health
Lia Sophia (dissolved) - Jewelry
Life Abundance - Pet
LIFE Leadership - Financial
Life Tree World - Food
LifeBrook -
LifePlus (US/Germany) - Dietary Supplements
Life's Abundance - Pet Supplies
LifeVantage - Dietary Supplements
Lilla Rose - Jewelry
Limelife - Skincare/Health
Limu - Health
Limu - Nutritional Supplements
Linen World - Home Goods
Lion Crown -
Lipsense - Beauty
Liv International - Travel
Live Sore - Clothing
Longabeger Company - Baskets
Longrich (China) - Beauty
Lorraine Lee Linen - Home Goods
Love Winx - Adult Novelties
LR Beauty & Health - Beauty
LuLaRoe - Clothing
Lulu Ave - Jewelry
Luminess - Cosmetics
Lyconet/Lyoness -
Lyoness - Financial
M. Global (Jamberry) - Jewelry
M. Network - Nutritional Supplements
Maelle Beauty - Beauty
Magnabilities - Jewelry
Magnolia & Vine - Jewelry
Makeup Eraser - Cosmetics
Man Cave - Kitchen Accessories
Mannatech - Dietary Supplements
Mark. - Financial
Market America - Health/Beauty/Home Goods
Marly Ray - Pearl/Jewelry
Marvelous Mouse Travels - Travel
Mary & Martha - Home Goods
MaryKay - Beauty
Maskara - Beauty
Matilda Jane - Clothing
Max & Madeleine - Skincare/Health
Maxwell Clothing - Clothing
MCA - Financial
Medifast - Nutritional Supplements
Melaleuca - Health/Beauty/Home Goods
Metabolife (dissolved in 2005) -
MiA Bath and Body (Closed) -
mialisia - Jewelry
Miche EU - Accessories
Miki (Asia) - Nutritional Supplements
MOA Nutrition - Nutritional Supplements
Modere -
MojiLife - Essential Oils
Monat - Hair Care
MonaVie (went into foreclosure 2015) -
Morinda Bioactives - Personal Care/Dietary Supplements
Motives Cosmetics - Cosmetics
Multpure - Water
My Club 8 - CBD Oil
My Daily Choice - Nutritional Supplements
My LALA Leggings - Clothing
myEcon - Financial
National Safety Associates - Dietary Supplements
National Wealth Center - Education
Natura (Brazil) - Cosmetics
Nature Direct (AUS) - Essential Oils
Nature's Sunshine Products - Dietary Supplements
Neal's Yard Remedies Organic - Beauty
NeoLife - Dietary Supplements
Neora (Nerium) -
Nerium - Skincare/Health
NeVetica - Pet Supplies
New Era (China) - Nutritional Supplements
New U Life - Health
Neways - Personal Care
Nikken -
Noevir - Beauty
Nomades - Jewelry
Noonday Collection - Jewelry
Norwex - Cleaning Producs
Nouveau Riche (real estate investment college) (dissolved 2010 -
Nspire Network - Feminine Products
NuCerity - Skincare/Health
NuSkin - Tooth Paste/Personal Care
Nutriboom -
NXIVM - Financial
Nygard - Clothing
Omnilife - Dietary Supplements
One Hope Wine - Wine
Optavia - Health
Opulenza - Jewelry
Organo Gold - Coffee
Oriflame - Personal Care
Origami Owl - Jewelry
Our Hearts Desire - Jewelry
Paid 2 Save - Travel
Pampered Chef - Kitchen Accessories
Paparazzi - Jewelry
Paperly - Paper
Park Lane Jewelry - Jewelry
Party Girl - Candles
Party Lite - Candles
Party Time Mixes - Food
PartyLite - Candles
Passion Parties - Adult Novelties
Pawtree - Pet
Paycation - Travel
Peach - Clothing
Pearl Chic - Pearl/Jewelry
Peekaboo Beans - Clothing
Perfect (China) - Cosmetics
Perfectly Polished - Beauty
Perfectly Posh - Beauty
Personally Poetic - Jewelry
PHP - Insurance
Pierre Lang - Jewelry
Pink Zebra - Candles
Piphany - Clothing
PixieLane - Clothing
Plexus - Health
Plumeria Bath - Beauty
Plunder - Jewelry
PM International - Health
Pola (Japan) - Skincare/Health
Poofy Organics - Beauty
Powur - Solar Panels
Premier Designs - Jewelry
Premier Financial - Financial
PrimeMyBody - Health
Primerica - Financial
Princess House - Kitchen Accessories
ProDoula -
ProYoung - Health
Pruvit - Health
Pulse Cosmetics - Cosmetics
Pure Haven - Cosmetics
Pure Romance - Product
PureHaven - Home Goods
PUREly - Essential Oils
Purium - Health
Qnet - Nutritional Supplements
Quanjian Natural (China) - Food
RadiantlyYou -
Rain International - Health
Rainbow Vacuum - Vacuums
Real Time Pain Relief - Health
Red Aspen - Beauty
RED Safety - Security
Regal Home and Gifts - Home Goods
Reliv - Health
Reliv - Nutritional Supplements
Renatus Real Estate - Education
RevitalU - Coffee/Health
Riway - Deer Placenta
Robert Kiyosaki -
Rodan+Fields - Beauty
Roland (Vorwerk) -
Rolmex (China) - Kitchen Accessories
Royal Tongan Limu (dissolved in 2003) -
Royaltie Gens - Marketing
Ruby Ribbon - Clothing
Saba - Health/Beauty
Sabika Jewelry - Jewelry
SafeGirl Security - Self Defense
Salad Master - Home Goods
SARSO (India) -
Scentsy - Health/Oils
Schneider's Gourmet World - Food
Scout & Cellar - Wine
Seacret - Beauty
SendOutCards - Gift Cards
Senegence - Skincare/Health
Shakeology (BeachBody) - Dietary Supplements
Shaklee - Dietary Supplements
Shopping Sherlock -
Shrimp & Grits - Clothing
Signature Homestyles - Home Goods
Silpada - Jewelry
Silver Icing - Jewelry
Simple Man - Personal Care
Simply Success Elite -
SimplyFun Games - Education
Skinny Body at Home - Dietary Supplements
SkinSanity/Tomorrow's Leaf - Skincare/Health
Smart Circle -
Smartway -
Solavei (dissolved 2015)[ -
Solvei (bankrupt) -
Sophie Paris (France/Asia) - Clothing
South Hill Designs - Jewelry
Southern Living at Home - Home Goods
SouthWestern Advantage - Education
Sseko - Clothing
Stampin Up - Paper
Steam Energy - Utilities
Steeped Tea - Tea
Stella & Dot - Clothing
Stream Energy - Financial
Style Dots - Jewelry
Success University - Education
Sun Hope (China) -
Sunrider - Health/Beauty/Home Goods
Sunset Gourmet - Food
Sunshine Empire (dissolved 2009) -
Surge 365 - Travel
Sweet Legs - Clothing
Sweet Minerals - Beauty
Symmetry Financial Group - Insurance
Syntek Global - Automotive
T.O.P Marketing Group -
TAG Team Marketing -
Taisei/Green Planet/Kaikisui (Japan_ - Purifiers
Tara at Home - Home Goods
Tastefully Simple - Food
Tavala - Health
Tealightful - Tea
Team National - Financial
TeDivina - Tea
Telecom Plus (UK) - Utilities
Telexfree (bankrupt 2014) -
The Advert Platfrom - Crypto Currency
The Body Shop at Home - Beauty
The Landmark Forum - Health
The Super Affiliate Network - Marketing
Thermomix (Vorwerk) -
Thirty One - Bags
Thrive - Health
Thrive Life - Food
Tiber River Naturals - Beauty
TKO WorldWide -
Tocara (Canada) - Jewelry
Tom James - Clothing
Total Life Changes/TLC - Health
TouchStone Crystal - Jewelry
Touchstone Essentials - Dietary Supplements
Tracy Negoshian - Clothing
Trades of Hope - Jewelry
Tranont - Financial
Transformational Beauty - Cosmetics
Travel Evolution - Travel
Traveling Vineyard - Wine
TraVerus Global - Travel
TriVita - Nutritional Supplements
Tropic Skin Care - Skincare/Health
True Peak Revolution (Europe) -
Truvision Health - Health
TS-Life - Nutritional Supplements
Tupperware - Tupperware
Unicity - Health
United Sciences of America (dissolved in 1987) -
United Warehouse (UK) -
US Health Advisors -
Usana - Nutritional Supplements
Usborne - Books
Utility Warehouse (UK) - Utilities
Valentus - Dietary Supplements
Vantel - Product/Pearls
Vasayo - Health
VectoCutco - Knives
Vemma - Dietary Supplements
viaOneHope - Wine
ViBella - Jewelry
VIC Cosmetics -
Vida Divina - Tea
Vie at Home (closed) -
Virtuity Financial Group (World Financial Group) -
ViSalus (Body by VI) - Dietary Supplements
Vitality Extracts - Essential Oils
VivaMK - Cleaning Producs
Volo - Health
Vorwerk - Home Goods
Votre Belle Maison (UK) - Giftware
Voxxlife - Health
Wakaya Perfection - Health
WakeUpNow (dissolved 2015) -
Watkins Inc - Health/Home Goods
Wealthperx - Travel
Wikaniko - Home Goods
Wildtree - Food
Willing Beauty - Beauty
Winasun - Health
Wine Shop at Home - Wine
Wines for Humanity - Wine
Wink Naturals - Health
World Financial Group/Pinnacle Leadership Development - Financial
World Leadership Group (dissolved in 2008) -
World Ventures/Wealth Wave/TKO WorldWide - Travel
WoTaBu - Travel
XanGo/Ziji - Health
Xerveo - Dietary Supplements
Xoom Energy - Utilities
Xooma - Weight Loss
Xstream Travel - Travel
Xyngular - Health
Yanbal Int - Jewelry
Yandi (China) - Nutritional Supplements
Yelloow - Beauty
Yevo (closed) -
Yofoto (China) - Health
Yoli - Health
Yoonla -
YOR Health - Weight Loss
Young Living - Health
Youngevity -
Younique - Beauty
YTB International - Travel
Zepter -
Zija - Health
Zilis - Health
Zinzino (Scandanavia) -
Zrii - Skincare/Health
Zurvita - Health
Zyia - Clothing
Zyn - Travel
TOTAL COUNT = 594 ​ This list will be continually updated (5/19/2020).
2018 Archived MLM Mega Thread

Sources: , Special thanks to u/Copacetic1515 (I could not stick your thread)

For income disclosure information: Updated 2019 Thread

Other Helpful Links: Discussion about World Financial Group
submitted by antiMLMmod to antiMLM [link] [comments]

Psylisa's Guide to Beadle & Grimm - 7/16/20

Welcome all, to another edition of Psylisa's Guide! I'm extremely tired, and after a long wait, we've finally got Beadle & Grimm to a relatively bug-free state to where I can examine what they bring to the table. Plus I can't sleep tonight, so might as well knock out the guide for everyone's beautiful glowing faces tomorrow. So let's have a look under the hood, shall we?   First up, I want to discuss Beadle and Grimm a bit mechanically. Each is a separate, unique hero but occupying a single slot. Using their Ultimate will allow you to switch between them, and the longer one isn't being utilized, the stronger he will become when you do switch them out. That's the gist of it, anyways. They also share another unique mechanic, in that if either of them qualifies for a variant or Patron or some other restriction, then they BOTH qualify. This allows you sneak in Beadle or Grimm as long as one of them meets the requirements. Nifty!  

CNE Blog Highlight

----- Core Stats Beadle -----
Race: Dwarf Class: Rogue/Wizard Alignment: True Neutral
Age: 91 Affiliation: None
STR: 13 DEX: 17 CON: 12
INT: 16 WIS: 10 CHA: 8
Role: Support/Gold
----- Core Stats Grimm -----
Race: Human Class: Barbarian Alignment: Chaotic Good
Age: 26 Affiliation: None
STR: 18 DEX: 12 CON: 16
INT: 12 WIS: 9 CHA: 14
Role: DPS, Support
Eligible for Patrons: Mirt the Moneylender, Vajra Safahr, Strahd von Zarovich.


Special Order - Chicken (Beadle) - increases gold dropped by the enemy Special Order - Brew (Grimm) - increases damage taken by the enemy Special Order - Brew Filled (Grimm) - 10 stacks of Brew debuff  


Magic Wand (Beadle): Beadle bonks a random enemy with a wand (dealing half damage). This unleashes two magic missiles that fly out and hit two other random enemies for full damage.   Giant's Bane (Grimm): Grimm cleaves through the nearest enemies with his two enormous greatswords.   Get Buff: Beadle and Grimm increase the damage of themselves or the Champions around them. Beadle — increases the damage of Champions within 2 slots of himself by 100%.
  Grimm — increases the damage of Grimm by 100% for each Barbarian in the formation, stacking multiplicatively.
  Special Order: Beadle and Grimm provide a utility to help the party.
Beadle — Whenever Beadle damages an enemy that is not at full health, that enemy will drop 25% more gold when it is killed. Does not stack with itself.
  Grimm — Enemies damaged by Grimm take 25% more damage until they are killed (except from ultimates). Can stack additively up to 10 times on a single enemy.
  Long Rest: While Beadle is active, Grimm's buff increases by 1 stack every 10 seconds. While Grimm is active, Beadle's buff increases by 1 stack every 10 seconds. When a Champion swaps out using their Tag Team ultimate, their stacks are reset, and while they're in-play their stacks reduce by 1 every 10 seconds. Stacks are additive.
Beadle — Increase the effect of Beadle's Get Buff by 10% per stack.   Grimm — Increase the effect of Grimm's Special Order by 10% per stack.
  Inseparable: Beadle and Grimm are so inseparable that if either one qualifies for an adventure restriction based on their tags, ages, ability scores, then both can be used.


1st Specialization Choice (Beadle) As Quick As Me: Increase the effect of Beadle's Get Buff by 100% for each Champion with a DEX score of 17 or higher, stacking multiplicatively and then applying to Get Buff multiplicatively.   As Clever As Me: Increase the effect of Beadle's Get Buff by 100% for each Champion with an INT score of 16 or higher, stacking multiplicatively and then applying to Get Buff multiplicatively.
  2nd Specialization Choice (Grimm) Chip Away: Increases the effect of Grimm's Special Order by 100% (up to 50% per stack) Strongman Contest: Grimm's Get Buff now also adds a stack for any Champion with a STR score of 18 or higher.

Ultimate Ability

  Tag Team: Their ultimate attack changes based on who is currently in-play.
Beadle — Grimm leaps into the fray, smashing a random enemy and all nearby enemies before leaping back into the formation while Beadle teleports into the shadows to recover. Grimm — Beadle teleports into the center of the battle and explodes with arcane magic, damaging and stunning all enemies. He then slips quietly back into the formation as Beadle leaps away for a brief rest.


Get some Rest Use the Tag Team Ultimate to bring either Beadle or Grimm into the game with 1000 or more stacks of Long Rest.


Slot 1: Self DPS buff Slot 2: Global DPS buff Slot 3: Get Buff buff Slot 4: Special Order buff Slot 5: Long Rest buff Slot 6: Ultimate Damage buff

Who should I focus on?

My advice: 1) Beadle and Grimm 2) Shandie 3) Xander

My Thoughts

Beadle and Grimm pack a punch. There's no other way to say it. The gameplay seems a bit complex due to the swapping mechanic, but ends up fairly basic once you realize the game can do the work for you. Optimally, you'll want to swap yourself and not use the automated method, as doing so will result in some MASSIVE buffs that couldn't be had otherwise.   Here's an example: Base Get Buff for Beadle - 2.87e5% with 3 qualifiers for specialization and 40% feat Buffed Get Buff for Beadle - 2.18e7% with 3 qualifiers for specialization, 40% feat, and 40 stacks of Long Rest.   As you can see, taking advantage of Long Rest leads to some very large buffs for a small stack count. 40 stacks is just 400 seconds, or about 6 and a half minutes for a 100x increase in damage. This is with absolutely no gear, as well.   The fun starts when you realize that if you place Grimm in first and build up stacks of Special Order to 10, they then persist when Beadle comes in. This means you'll get the best of both worlds; Grimm's Special Order buff on top of Beadle's Get Buff buff when you swap. I found the optimal play here is to start with Grimm in your lineup and farm as much Long Rest as you want. Do make sure he's within 2 slots of your DPS, so when you swap you instantly gain Beadle's Get Buff without needing to readjust your formation. 10 minutes for me seemed to be the sweet spot, yielding about a 200x boost without gear. Go to the stage you want to kill, then ensure he inflicts 10 stacks of Brew on the pack of enemies. Use his Ultimate to swap to Beadle, and nab your very large Get Buff along with Grimm's persistent stacks of Special Order. You win! This also becomes especially deadly if you are using Stoki's Ki Explosion or another ability that can double-dip into debuffs. After you clear, you'll need to swap back to Grimm to restart the process.   The only downside to this type of gameplay is that when you push like this, you reach a point where the only progress you can make in killing new levels is to repeat it for each new level; and all that time waiting for their Ultimate cooldown as well as powering up Long Rest adds up. Simply placing a familiar on their Ultimate does an adequate job, just not min-max optimal. It's certainly easier to do that, however!   If you don't mind the swapping/yo-yo DPS mechanic, Beadle and Grimm will fit nicely in your formation. Even if you're just leaving them idle, they'll be a decent addition, especially with proper formation placement and a familiar on their Ultimate. I don't think players can go wrong with these champions.   Since Grimm is tagged as DPS, I guess I'll mention him here. Bottom line: don't use him as DPS. While he's not a terrible DPS, the entire point of Grimm and Beadle is that you swap them (either actively or passively with a familiar on their Ultimate). When you utilize Grimm as a DPS, you short-change yourself of Beadle's buff as you can't have both simultaneously. And while Grimm can power up similar to Krond for having strong champions in your party, it's so much more restrictive and such a lower buff value that it's not worth it. The only thing useful about Grimm as a DPS is potential with Artemis; but again, I say potential. The problem here is the Grimm provides absolutely zero buffs that can be Observed, so he really only functions as a springboard for other buffers to work their magic and to be Observed on him. Certainly not what you are seeking from a Support/DPS for Artemis play.   And I suppose Beadle is a Gold champion; he's much better at that than Grimm is at DPS, mostly because it's a rather automatic function that just happens. Don't expect anything mind-blowing here, he's just a free gold buff much like Donaar. Slot him in, apply debuff directly to the forehead, then slot him out for gold finders that need to be active in your party (like Nrakk).
EDIT: I missed the fact that Beadle's Gold ability is tied to his Special Order ability, which has a gear slot available for improvement. I've upgraded his Gold score, thanks all!


Support: 10/10 Gold: 9/10 DPS: 5/10



Open Bugs

submitted by Psylisa to idlechampions [link] [comments]

How to Switch from Weightlifting at the Gym to Resistance Bands at Home (with loop bands)

This post is a compilation of the information I would've wanted when I was switching from weights to resistance bands. All this information is available spread out online and on Reddit, but not in a single place. I'm putting it here in hopes that maybe it helps someone else.
(Product links in the middle and video links at the end.)
Due to the current global health crisis, most gyms are closed leaving people to figure out routines at home. There are some great and compact weight sets available for home use, but not everyone has the room or money for weights. If you're in an apartment, the noise of things thumping on the floor might also be untenable.
Enter resistance bands. They are like weights, but without the noise and can fit in a backpack.
NOTE: I am neither a physician nor a fitness trainer, and I'm also not affiliated with any brands. Just a dude who needed a new routine. This is information I've gathered online - follow it at your own risk. I do not know what I'm talking about.

What are resistance bands?

Resistance bands are basically just giant latex rubber bands.
They come in three forms: ribbon, tube, and loop. There are pros and cons to each, and they excel at different things. I found that loops offered the most flexibility for me, and that is what I will be discussing in this post.

Can you build muscle with resistance bands?

Yes. Whether you can become a powerlifter is debatable, but you can definitely build muscle.
In layman's terms, your body builds specific muscles when you repeatedly do activities that require them. Resistance bands require you to exert a lot of force to stretch them, and your body needs muscle to do it. Doing this repeatedly will build more muscle to make it easier.
They work differently than weights (see next question), but conceptually the muscle building process is the same.
(Yes, I know this explanation does not describe the scientific process by which muscles are built (tears, repair, etc), but the general trigger is correct.)

Aren't resistance bands basically just like light weights (e.g., 5-15 lbs) or meant for women, yoga, pilates, etc?

No. Some go up to 300lbs.
Sure, there are ones that can be used for lightweight movements and body tone, but if you think they are too easy then you haven't tried the right ones. Even a powerlifter will struggle with some of these bands.

Can resistance bands replace weightlifting?

Probably, but it's not going to be a 1:1 replacement of your current routine.
Weights work via gravity. The object is heavy, and you are trying to lift it. It is just as heavy at the bottom of the chest press as it is at the top of the chest press. The force needed is consistent throughout the entire motion. Depending on your form it might be easier or harder, but that's because you're relying on different muscles based on how you move. The weight lifted remains the same and is relatively easy to document and measure (e.g., 3 sets of 10 reps at 45lbs per hand).
Resistance bands work via stretchiness. The more you stretch them, the more they push back. Just like a rubber band. They have "variable resistance", which means the force required to stretch them dramatically increases the more they are stretched.
The tension at the bottom of a resistance band chest press is light (not stretched), and the tension at the top of the chest press is strong (stretched far). It is not consistent throughout. Smaller muscles used at the bottom of the press receive less tension, and bigger muscles used at the top of the press are hit with a lot of tension. This means it fatigues your muscles differently than weights. It's debatable whether its better or worse, but the upshot is that you need to do many reps in order to reach real fatigue. A stronglifts 5x5 won't work here. You need to do at least 15-20 reps.
In addition, holding it just 1 inch lower than the ends will substantially change the force needed to stretch them, as will stepping on the band with a wider stance. So will your height and wingspan. While the bands do have "weight ranges", they are largely useless because it is impossible to consistently measure how much you actually lifted when you consider all those variables.
What is important is the strength of the band (extra light to XXX heavy), that you feel tension as you do the motion, and that you push your muscles to fatigue.

Can I do my current routine with resistance bands?

Sort of. You can do a similar routine, but weightlifting exercises will not work on resistance bands as is.
The bands have nothing to do with gravity, so even similarly named exercises will have different body motions to get the right tension. Pretty much every weightlifting routine and workout you have in your arsenal will be irrelevant for bands. You will need to learn new exercises. (See the bottom for some links.)
That said, you can find a set of exercises that is functionally equivalent to your current routine.

Can I use resistance bands in addition to weights?

Absolutely. You and mix both exercises into a routine, and there are even some exercises that incorporate bands into weightlifting or bodyweight exercises for added variable resistance.
For example, bench presses with a set weight on the bar and a band holding the bar down will get harder as you push up but lighten quickly as you drop down. You can also use bands to do assisted pull ups if you aren't able to hold your own weight easily.

Can multiple bands be used together?

Yes, but it isn't so comfortable with loop bands.
You can add extra bands to increase the resistance required to stretch them. Depending on the exercise, this isn't always so comfortable and can get unwieldy. It works best when you're standing on the bands or anchoring them to a heavy object. (Meaning it works poorly with bands around your back, as they are in a chest press.)
The tube bands are the best or this type of thing. Their clip mechanism makes it easier to make them behave as one.

What are some advantages of resistance bands over weights?

  1. Bands are safer. It's a lot harder to hurt yourself with a resistance band (but not impossible).
  2. You probably don't need a spotter. The risk of a heavy bar falling on your neck is nonexistent with bands. The moment your arms drop, so does the tension of the band. Unless you're doing something extreme or using incorrect form, it's pretty safe.
  3. Bands have variable force. Very often people end up doing fewer reps with weights because their supporting muscles fatigue before their big muscles. With bands, the supporting muscles aren't hit with as much weight - allowing you to do more reps.
  4. Bands don't require a squat rack or workout bench. Resistance bands have nothing to do with gravity, and therefore a chest press is just as effective standing up as it is laying down.
  5. Bands are small and portable. You can actually do a bunch of these workouts from literally anywhere, including the beach, a park, or your bedroom. They fit in a little backpack.
  6. Bands are lightweight and noiseless. You can use them in an apartment, at night, and easily take them on an airplane. They also won't damage your floors when they drop.
  7. There's probably more I'm not thinking of.

What are some disadvantages of resistance bands over weights?

  1. Bands can be confusing. It's not that they are harder, but people aren't as familiar with how to use them correctly.
  2. Weights are more direct. It is possible to get super strong with resistance bands, but weights are more popular for a reason. They are just a less complicated way to get there.
  3. Weights have consistent force. It is much easier to measure your progress or do short bursts of heavy force with weights. Your form may change the leverage and muscles used, but the weight lifted is the same. A 5x5 stronglifts routine works with weights but not bands.
  4. Bands look funny. There is no way around this. They look goofy. They are giant rubber bands. Weightlifting looks cool.
  5. Theres probably more I'm not thinking of.

What bands should I buy?

It depends what you want, but you should probably just get a kit of several bands.
Bands range in force and vary by brand, but the general breakdown is this:
You will need from Light to Heavy. Extra Heavy is helpful for weightlifting, especially if you're strong. Extra light is helpful both for some exercises that are harder than you'd think, and to add a bit more resistance in combination with one of the other bands. (Yes, multiples can be used together, though it isn't super comfortable. See above.)
The best quality ones are those made of layered latex vs a solid mold. The layers will start to fray before they snap (as a warning). If you have a latex allergy, there are some that are latex free.
Here are some brands you can buy. They are mostly all available directly on Amazon too. (I am not affiliated with any of these companies and am not getting an affiliate fee or commission. Just sharing some links.)

What size bands do I want?

Probably 41".

What accessories do I need?

You don't need any, but you'll probably want some.

Why do so many resistance band "systems" seem sketchy?

🤷‍♂️ Welcome to the wonderful world of fitness.

Should I get the Undersun set?

Sure, if you want them. You can get any brand though.

Should I get the X3 Bar?

Sure, if you have the money to spend. You don't need it though.

What are some alternatives to the X3 Bar?

If you dont want to spend hundreds of dollars for the X3 Bar, there are a few options that might help.
To be honest though, you really don't need the X3 Bar - or any bar. Using your hands works just fine, though you may want workout gloves to protect the sides of your palms. Your hands are also more portable. The bar only really starts to make a difference when the bands get uncomfortably wide and difficult to hold (XX Heavy and up).

What exercises can I do with resistance bands?

Lots! But they are different than the ones you do with weights, even if they have the same name.
There are several types of resistance band exercises:
  1. Free Standing
  2. Anchored
  3. With a Bar
  4. With Mini Bands
  5. With Large Bands
  6. With Deadlift Bands
You can get a great workout with just 1, and an amazing workout with 1 and 2. You do not need 3-6, though they can be good depending on what you want.
Here are some example exercises you can do with 41" bands (I'm deliberately not including details because you need to learn proper form from a video):
There are obviously more exercises. These are the ones I know about. If you want to know more, Google them or look at the links in the last section.

How many sets and reps should I do, and how long should my workouts be?

There's no single answer, but generally at least 15-20 reps. 5X5 or 1 Rep Max workouts aren't really effective with resistance bands.
Most people assume 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps, with a 60 second rest between each set.
The X3 system is to do one set of as many reps as you can, slowly stretching the band less and less until you've reached full fatigue of all your muscles. This will come to about 1 set of 40 reps.
Whichever way you go, it is important to remember that resistance bands do not fatigue your muscles the same way weights do.

I'm using the heavy bands but they aren't very difficult...

That's because you're probably holding them wrong. These things pack a lot of force when used correctly.
You should have some tension at the start (weak point) of every exercise. The band should never be loose. If there's not enough resistance, shorten the band. You can do this by:
In addition to holding the bands correctly, you also need to mentally focus on contracting the muscle you're targeting during your movement. There are many ways to make a band stretch, and if you don't intentionally move the correct muscle you might be accidentally supporting the movement with a different muscle. This same principle applies to weights too.

Where can I learn how to do resistance band exercises and build a routine?

There are many free resistance band exercises available on YouTube.
You can also purchase a paid program from Undersun, Bodylastics and a few other brands, as well as some charts on Amazon.
submitted by WOWSuchUsernameAmaze to ResistanceBand [link] [comments]

Cyrus, Cellular Support

Cyrus, Cellular Support

1 - Gameplay

1.1 - Gameplay Statistics

In-Game Name: Cyrus
Role: Support
Health: 75
Shields: 125
Hitbox: Medium- Large

1.2 - Passive: Cellular Armour

When your shields are gone, you gain a damage reduction and speed boost.
If your shields are depleted, you gain a speed boost and damage reduction until you have shields again.
Damage: -30%
Speed Boost: +30%

1.3 - Primary Fire: Cyto Beam

Fire a close range beam of cells that restores allies health and damages enemies.
Fire a linear and short beam that heals allies and damage enemies over time.
Type: Linear Beam
Damage: 60/s
Healing: 60/s
Range: 8m
Ammo Usage: 5/s
Ammo: 60
Reload Time: 1.4s

1.4 - Secondary Fire: Overdrive

Overdrive your cell beam, increasing its healing, but also it's ammo consumption. This no longer damages enemies.
Fire a short range and linear beam that does lots of healing over time, but also uses lots of ammo. this doesn't damage enemies and uses the same ammo pool as Cyto Beam.
Type: Linear Beam
Healing: 90/s
Range: 8m
Ammo Usage: 20/s

1.5 - Ability 1: Cell Link

Link the cells of you and an ally, giving them a damage and speed boost.
Link yourself with an ally. While linked, the ally gains a damage and speed boost. Losing LoS or range with the ally will immediately remove the link and give it a cooldown. If you switch it to another hero, it wont go on cooldown.
Type: Targeted Link
Damage Boost: 20%
Speed Boost: 20%
Max Range: 12m
Cooldown: 6s

1.6 - Ability 2: Cleansing Cells

Give cleansing cells to yourself or an ally, giving the target a small heal and CC reduction for a short time.
Target an ally or yourself (if your not targeting anyone) to give them a small burst of healing and then a heal over time, and a CC reduction for a short time. The cooldown will only start after the CC reduction ends.
Type: Targeted Buff
Cast Time: 0.3s
Healing: 30 burst, then 50 over 2.5s
CC Reduction Duration: 2s
Max Range: 8m
Cooldown: 12s

1.7 - Ultimate: Cellular Blessing

Bless 3 chosen allies with specialised cells, giving them a healing over time and CC reduction for a short duration.
Target 3 allies on a selection screen, and give them a healing over time buff, and CC reduction for a short time.
Type: Selected Global Buff
Healing: 150/s
Duration: 6s
Charge Time: Slow - Medium

2 - Gameplay

2.1 - Quick Profile

Name: Cyrus
Age: 42
Nationality: Greek
Base of Operations: Oasis
Affiliation: Oasis
Occupation: Head of Cytology

2.2 - Lore/Backstory

As a child, Cyrus was abused and bullied for being a nerd and a know-it-all, and no one ever loved him. But when he was 16, he met Lydia. He thought they would be together forever, and when he was 25, he got into Oasis and became the youngest Head of Cytology, and him and Lydia got married. She and him where perfect, and they went on for 4 happy years after that.
Until his 29 birthday, when Lydia was diagnosed with Cancer. They caught it late, and he tried to use and develop his Cell technology to save her, but it was too late. He tried to bring her back but he couldn't. The best he could make was healing cells that could help people and make them stronger and faster.
Now, he's trying to use his technology to help other people how he couldn't help Lydia, but he is still trying to bring her back, and probably will be forever.

2.3 - Appearance

He is wearing a white and quite formal suit, with blue accents. There is an old Overwatch hero design from the Recall cinematic, that I think would fit well with it.

2.4 - Link with Hero Forge Theme

I based Cyrus on a song by Imagine Dragons, called Birds. The obvious idea would be to make a hero that uses birds, but that was obvious, easy and probably would get many points in the Hero Forge, so I decided to go deeper into the songs theme and lyrics.
The obvious link to the song is the themes or death and/or separation from a loved one. This is seen heavily in his lore, and is the core of his character. His ability theme of Cells also links with the talk of death, birds and separation in the song.
As well as this link, the song itself is quite slow paced and sad, which is reflected in his struggle and grief he is faced with in his backstory.
Although it's not obvious, I think he heavily reflects the song and does a good job of representing the song.
submitted by AJ70694 to OverwatchHeroConcepts [link] [comments]

Covid-19 update Monday 20th April

Good morning from the UK. I am late today but with good reason, my wife has had a really tough time this weekend with mental health (she is on meds for OCD, anxiety and Bipolar Type 2). Lockdown is tough for us all, but believe me it’s harder still for those with pre-existing mental difficulties. It could be worse, one of her friends (who has been sectioned before for mental breakdowns) is having to manage her mental health whilst fulfilling her duties as an A&E (ER) doctor in Wales. How my wife’s friend does it I have no idea, the stories coming out of UK hospitals are deeply disturbing (this link is 2 weeks old).

Anyway, onto supply chain; this morning I read an article from Forbes about the problems supply chain disruptions can cause. Here’s a lengthy quote:
“Our firm recently polled executives at major corporations around the world to ask them about the operational risks they perceived to their supply chains, and the response strategies they had in place. The results were enlightening. Executives identified a broad range of risks (see chart below), from volatile commodity prices (which 43% considered a major challenge), to protectionism (31%), to piracy (just 7%). That executives identified such a broad range of risks told us that global supply disruption is indeed a top-of-mind issue for managers of global corporations.
When we asked a subsequent question about the strategies in place to mitigate these risks (see chart below), we found no favorites. Rather executives were across the board, choosing a number of different approaches, but not necessarily those best suited to the operational risks they were facing: 33% of respondents indicated that they would make no changes to their supply chains, 20% intended to decrease the number of production locations, and 15% planned to increase the same; and a range of other options as well.
Given the nature of the modern, global corporation and the complex supply network that has developed around it, it is unsurprising that executives have not aligned on a unified strategy to mitigate supply chain risk. No longer does a supply chain consist of a simple process from factory to warehouse to delivery (if indeed it ever did). Rather, as new sources of supply have arisen, new markets have opened, and companies have sought greater scale and specialization. Supply chains have evolved into a network of hundreds of suppliers, sub-contractors and distribution centers, adding tremendous complexity…
...I was recently at a conference of supply chain executives in the United States who told me that planning is dead – the best they could hope to do was respond to risks as they arose. Who has the time, and what is the benefit, of planning in a world of continuous change, demand-driven marketing, and intense pressure for instantaneous responses?...
...In an environment where changes in global supply chain can be as sudden as they are unscripted, companies have to arm themselves with both foresight and peripheral vision, an understanding of the long-term, and agility to deal with the short-term. More than ever, companies have to provision for multiple scenarios and they can only do that by engaging in a dynamic and multi-dimensional scenario-based strategic planning process.”
I like the last two paragraphs of the article in particular. In case anyone wants to read the rest of the article, it’s dated May 2010 and written in reaction to the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull and the chaos it caused to supply chains around the world. Plus ça change; it seems some boardrooms didn’t adjust their supply chains after that black swan event (maybe due to the cost and the resulting negative shareholder pushback). Link to the story.

Virus news in depth

Our Pandemic Summer: The fight against the coronavirus won’t be over when the U.S. reopens. Here’s how the nation must prepare itself. - The Atlantic has written a lengthy article about what the mid-long term looks like for the US in relation to getting back to normal after Covid-19. “I think people haven’t understood that this isn’t about the next couple of weeks,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota. “This is about the next two years.” The article goes on to look at the pharmaceutical supply chain; “According to a University of Minnesota analysis, about 40 percent of the 156 drugs that are essential parts of critical care are becoming limited. Many of these depend on supply chains that involve China (where the pandemic began), Italy (the hardest-hit region in Europe), or India (which halted several exports)” … “Albuterol, the drug used in asthma inhalers, is scarce. Antibiotics, which control the secondary bacterial infections that afflict COVID-19 patients, are being depleted. Basic painkillers and sedatives, which are needed to keep patients on ventilators, are being exhausted. Hydroxychloroquine, the drug that Trump has repeatedly touted as a COVID-19 treatment despite a lack of good evidence, is running out, to the detriment of people with lupus and arthritis who depend on it. “It’s like everything we give to patients, we’re in short supply of,” said Esther Choo, an emergency physician at Oregon Health and Science University. “We’re now scrambling to find the backup medications, and we’ll run out of those too.””
(cont’d) If it turns out that, say, 20 percent of the U.S. has been infected, that would mean the coronavirus is more transmissible but less deadly than scientists think. It would also mean that a reasonable proportion of the country has some immunity. If that proportion could be slowly and safely raised to the level necessary for herd immunity—60 to 80 percent, depending on the virus’s transmissibility—the U.S. might not need to wait for a vaccine. However, if just 1 to 5 percent of the population has been infected—the range that many researchers think is likelier—that would mean “this is a truly devastating virus, and we have built up no real population immunity,” said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist and immunologist at Harvard. “Then we’re in dire straits in terms of how to move forward.” The article is lengthy and also discusses options for reopening the economy and society in the USA.

Virus news in brief

My usual sources are as normal The Guardian and CNN live blogs unless otherwise specified.

Personal note: If you are on the Eastern seaboard of the US and in a hurricane prone area, it would be a good idea to review your hurricane plans and supplies now, e.g do you have a generator and does it work, spare fuel, batteries, candles, do you have enough long life food already stored + cleaning products, do you have an alternative method of cooking food, what’s your evacuation plan, etc etc. See for help with this and note FEMA is already under a lot of strain due to the virus and would thus likely struggle with a major hurricane impact on the US seaboard - see also this USA Today article dated 6th April this year on that topic).

Supply chain news in depth

Susceptibilities of Solar Energy Supply Chains - The Global policy journal has written a detailed review of the supply chain disruption faced by the solar panel industry here. Whilst manufacturing was significantly reduced from January to March in China (down 13.5%) and is now almost fully recovered, its reliance on materials from around the world mean the supply chain is exposed in other parts. China has the majority market share in the mining or processing of most minerals used in solar panels, such as: silicon, aluminum, selenium, tellurium, arsenic, cadmium, and gallium. However, China still depends on many other countries to complete their solar panels, such as Peru for copper, Saudi Arabian oil for energy, and Japan for silicon wafers. In mid-March, Chinese owned mining company MMG Ltd reduced operations at its Peruvian copper mine after Peru declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus. Due to the damaged mining link in the supply chain, an initial spike in solar module price is expected due to shortages of materials for solar wafers and module glass, affecting the solar industry for months to come. Kangping Chen, the CEO of the top solar module supplier in the world, JinkoSolar, stated that around 400-500MW of Q1 2020 shipments are likely to be postponed to Q2 2020. The 500 MW postponement is approximately 14% of JinkoSolar’s 3.6GW quarterly solar panels production last year. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) stated that “before the pandemic hit, the solar industry was poised to set a record for deployment in 2020,” with solar installers being America’s fastest growing profession. A new SEIA survey now suggests cancellation rates for residential solar systems in the US are now at 19%, with postponement rates hitting upwards of 50% in some areas.

Illinois adjusts on the fly to meet medical supply needs in a coronavirus ‘Wild West’ - The Chicago Sun Times details a story from about two weeks ago where Illinois officials tracked down a supply of 1.5 million potentially life-saving N95 respirator masks in China through a middleman in the Chicago area and negotiated a deal to buy them. One day before they were expecting to complete the purchase, they got a call in the morning from the supplier informing them he had to get a check to the bank by 2 p.m. that day, or the deal was off. Other bidders had surfaced. Realizing there was no way the supplier could get to Springfield and back by the deadline, Illinois assistant comptroller Ellen Andres jumped in her car and raced north on I-55 with a check for $3,469,600. That’s just a taste of the “Wild West” world of emergency procurement taking place over the past several weeks as the state fights for equipment and supplies to protect frontline workers and patients in the battle against COVID-19. Most of that work is being performed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration through a rapid-procurement strike team, pulling together procurement specialists from around state government under the auspices of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. As Pritzker has made clear at his daily briefings, it’s an effort made all the more difficult by the absence of a strong, coordinated White House response. That’s left Illinois competing against other states, foreign nations and even our own federal government for the same materials. They’re all looking for what we have come to know as PPE or personal protective equipment — masks, gloves, gowns and face shields — plus coronavirus testing kits and swabs and, most prized of all, ventilators to help those most seriously ill keep breathing.

SWABS, STAT! Inside the Maine factory racing to supply America with virus test swabs. - If you’ve ever used a home DNA kit, opened wide and said “ahh,” or measured the depth of a knife wound in a stabbing victim, chances are you’ve used a device made by Puritan Medical Products Co, says Bloomberg. And if you’re tested for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, it’s quite likely that the swab used to collect a sample from inside your nose will have been made by Puritan, too. Located in Guilford, Maine (population 1,521), Puritan is one of two companies that make essentially all of the swabs used for coronavirus testing. (The other, Copan Diagnostics Inc., is in Italy, an epicenter of the deadly virus.)
(Cont’d) “Swabs could be a weak link in broadening testing,” former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted on March 16. That was four days after Puritan first started getting calls from the U.S. government, according to Timothy Templet, executive vice president for global sales, who entered the conversations himself shortly thereafter. “I’ve been on the phone since Saturday with many government organizations—Health and Human Services, FDA, working groups—just trying to provide accurate information regarding the ability to produce as many swabs for the country as we possibly can,” he says. The federal government, however, doesn’t buy directly from Puritan. Instead it helps coordinate with Puritan and other medical suppliers and distributors to get the swabs where they need to go. “We are ramping up to produce and wrap a million swabs a week that we need to put into the supply chain across the U.S.,” Templet says. His problem? Not enough machines or labour to meet demand.

**In Pursuit of PPE (**Or if you prefer, “how I managed to buy some PPE on the American black market for my hospital”) - The New England Journal of Medicine is not something I often read (Actually I’ve never read it before in my life) but this article caught my eye: As a chief physician executive, I rarely get involved in my health system’s supply-chain activities. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed that. Protecting our caregivers is essential so that these talented professionals can safely provide compassionate care to our patients. Yet we continue to be stymied by a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the cavalry does not appear to be coming. Deals, some bizarre and convoluted, and many involving large sums of money, have dissolved at the last minute when we were outbid or outmuscled, sometimes by the federal government. Then we got lucky, but getting the supplies was not easy.
(Cont’d) A lead came from an acquaintance of a friend of a team member. After several hours of vetting, we grew confident of the broker’s professional pedigree and the potential to secure a large shipment of three-ply face masks and N95 respirators. The latter were KN95 respirators, N95s that were made in China. We received samples to confirm that they could be successfully fit-tested. Despite having cleared this hurdle, we remained concerned that the samples might not be representative of the bulk of the products that we would be buying. Having acquired the requisite funds — more than five times the amount we would normally pay for a similar shipment, but still less than what was being requested by other brokers — we set the plan in motion. Three members of the supply-chain team and a fit tester were flown to a small airport near an industrial warehouse in the mid-Atlantic region. I arrived by car to make the final call on whether to execute the deal. Two semi-trailer trucks, cleverly marked as food-service vehicles, met us at the warehouse. When fully loaded, the trucks would take two distinct routes back to Massachusetts to minimize the chances that their contents would be detained or redirected.
(Cont’d) Hours before our planned departure, we were told to expect only a quarter of our original order. We went anyway, since we desperately needed any supplies we could get. Upon arrival, we were jubilant to see pallets of KN95 respirators and face masks being unloaded. We opened several boxes, examined their contents, and hoped that this random sample would be representative of the entire shipment. Before we could send the funds by wire transfer, two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrived, showed their badges, and started questioning me. No, this shipment was not headed for resale or the black market. The agents checked my credentials, and I tried to convince them that the shipment of PPE was bound for hospitals. After receiving my assurances and hearing about our health system’s urgent needs, the agents let the boxes of equipment be released and loaded into the trucks. But I was soon shocked to learn that the Department of Homeland Security was still considering redirecting our PPE. Only some quick calls leading to intervention by our congressional representative prevented its seizure. I remained nervous and worried on the long drive back, feelings that did not abate until midnight, when I received the call that the PPE shipment was secured at our warehouse.

Supply chain news in brief

Good news section

Deserted Thai beaches lure rare turtles to build most nests in 20 years - Thailand has found the largest number of nests of rare leatherback sea turtles in two decades on beaches bereft of tourists because of the coronavirus pandemic, environmentalists say. In Thailand, with 2,765 infections and 47 deaths, travel curbs ranging from a ban on international flights to an appeal to citizens to stay home have brought a collapse in tourist numbers, but freed up the beaches for wildlife. The 11 turtle nests authorities have found since last November were the highest number in 20 years, said Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, the director of the Phuket Marine Biological Center. “This is a very good sign for us because many areas for spawning have been destroyed by humans,” he told Reuters. No such nests had been found for the previous five years. Leatherbacks are the world’s largest sea turtles. They are considered endangered in Thailand, and listed as a vulnerable species globally by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They lay their eggs in dark and quiet areas, scarce when tourists thronged the beaches. People have also been known to dig into their nests and steal eggs. (link)

Minnesota trooper's roadside gesture during traffic stop brings doctor to tears - A state trooper pulled over a doctor for speeding on an east-central Minnesota interstate, told her she should know better and sent her on her way grateful for receiving only a warning and not a ticket. The trooper also gave her a fistful of coveted N95 medical masks that were issued for his protection from the deadly coronavirus pandemic. “I burst into tears,” Dr. Sarosh Ashraf Janjua, a Boston native and cardiologist, wrote in a detailed Facebook account of the traffic stop on March 21 along Interstate 35 in North Branch as she traveled from work in Duluth for a break in Minneapolis. “I think he teared up a little as well before wishing me well and walking away.” Janjua also saw the masks handed to her as having value beyond their role in stemming the virus’ spread. “This complete stranger, who owed me nothing and is more on the front lines than I am, shared his precious masks with me, without my even asking,” she wrote. “The veil of civilization may be thin, but not all that lies behind it is savage. We are going to be OK.” (Star Tribune link)
submitted by Fwoggie2 to supplychain [link] [comments]

I think I know what's going on with covid-19

I've stopped watching television entirely, I hear the same message over and over.
Some information about my background and why I came to this conclusion.
I have academic and personal concentrations in medival history and pagen cultures (a way to connect with my mom and uncle.). I have been studying independent science articles about the spread of the plague and the pervasion of recorded infections during conflicts or internal strife, according to the evidence there is a marked increase in cases leading to death or sterilizations. The difference was in many of these cases the plague hadn't gotten to many of these areas when specific deaths and barrens were blamed on them. People are using social media even then to control the narrative to do what they wanted or to escape blame.
During the great fire of 1666 townfolk were witnessed setting fire to neighbors houses and blaming it on the conflagration
During the first world war most casualties were presumed to have died from fecal illness or exposure but they were listed as Spanish flu fatalities, no record I have found identifies what specific conditions led to death, most we're never autopsied.
My hypothesis: covid is not a disease but rather a label to rationalize world-wide government and plutocratic abuses.
How I came to this conclusion:
A cough and a fever are vague symptoms that identify with more than 200,000 known diseases according to the WHO. There is no discernable evidence collected externally that highlights any specific strain of contagion outside of common virulent strains on viral pathogens (your body gives you a fever regardless of the infection you have and 97% of 'colds' have a cough associated with them.)
Zero public records have been released showing how this disease is atypical to a known viral agent from a non-zoogenic transfer.
Any number of intentionally released toxins can reproduce most if not all of these results with any number of governments having targeted thier own or nieghboring citizens with little if any rationale for thier behavior.
There has been a 600% rise in the stock market form 2017 to 2019, during this crisis there have been steep declines among automakers and futures companies, but Pharma, Telecom, and Defense after being cited again and again for intentionally abusing thier customers have brought nearly all of them out of any serious accountability because we're all afraid of something no one outside if a government agency can confidently identify.
What most newscasts won't tell you is that many of the lawsuits against all of these companies are on indefinite hold because of the pandemic and no public hearings that are still being held are being aired for free and public transparency.
My conclusion:
In most countries citing a major loss due to this disease, pharma, Telecom, and defense have made serious advances of productions without public accountability. Those countries that don't have these major affiliates are seen as the least affected by this contagion strangely enough.
Personal friends in New Zealand, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and others have admitted seeing little change in the governments reactions to the scare except that they are following the guidelines from global health communities that require them to comply, very few people are dying and most are preparing for mild recoveries. Most countries with a heavy military, pharma, and/Telecom connection are suffering a great deal more than collectively the 'happiest countries on Earth'.
Why is it when you treat your people like they matter, they don't freak out when something unexpected affects them?
I could be entirely wrong, I am willing to be educated on the subject, but objectively and without personal emotional connection the pieces seem to fit exactly as clumsily as corporations and governments ineptly operate.
What do you think?
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Lee Kuan Yew Book Review, Part Four: The Pathway to Power

Hey, /singapore! I'm back for one last look at From Third World to First, this time focusing on how and why Lee Kuan Yew remained in charge in Singapore and was able to create a stable mostly-one-party system in a democracy. I've had a lot of fun sharing this review series with you all and getting commentary and perspective from you all. Thanks for reading!
This is part four of a four-part series. If this is your first time seeing this, parts 1-3 provide useful context.
Part one: Growth & redistribution
Part two: You are free to agree
Part three: Race, language, and uncomfortable questions

The Pathway to Power

So far, my review has mostly left out one massive elephant in the room. Lee Kuan Yew was Prime Minister of Singapore from 1959 to 1990. When he stepped down from office, he went straight into a close advisory role, sticking around the government in some official capacity until 2011. How was he in power so long? What was his approach to opposition and to political disagreements, beyond lawsuits? Where did he fall on the scale of democratically elected leader to dictator?
As with every other topic, LKY is pretty candid about this all. The best place to start, though, is likely not with the overt political battles. Instead, I'll focus where he focused early: the unions.
This section will dive into the weeds a bit more than most of my writing. It's for a good cause, I promise.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Singapore had, to put it bluntly, a union problem. Between July 1961 and September 1962, the country faced 153 strikes. In LKY's telling, most unions were under communist control, and all "had turned combative," having learned from British trade unions "all the bad habits and practices of how to squeeze employers for more pay and benefits regardless of the consequences to the company." (83)
So Lee Kuan Yew, ardent reactionary that he was, tore unions down, stripped protections and regulations away, and ushered in a new and gloriously productive era of unfettered capitalism.
Those of you who've followed this review so far won't be surprised to hear that's just about exactly not what happened. This chapter came early in the book, and it's where LKY's personal story started becoming really, really interesting to me. Why? Well, it's when he casually mentioned his political experience before becoming Prime Minister:
He was a legal advisor and negotiator, fighting on behalf of trade and student unions (and, unrelated to our current focus but fun to note, moonlighting as a free speech defender when a university socialist club published a "seditious" article). You might remember the quote from part one of my review, when a Labour party leader emphasized how committed a socialist LKY was. What did that mean when he took charge and faced trouble with unions? As he was urging unions to abandon some destructive practices, he was facing down against policies he was responsible for, protections he had fought for when his country's workers were being exploited, but that were damaging his country enough he regretted his decision.
He cites as an example triple pay on public holidays, which "led to cleansing workers deliberately allowing garbage to accumulate before public holidays to ensure that they would have to work on these holidays." (84) Elsewhere, he cites the trouble of employers investing in expensive machinery to minimize need for workers, leading to "a small group of privileged unionized workers getting high pay and a growing band of underpaid and underemployed workers." (84) With these and related concerns in mind, he went in 1966 to a meeting of union leaders from around Asia, asked them not to "kill the goose whose golden eggs [they] needed," (84) and got to work encouraging changes like pay for performance over time on job.
Union leaders objected. He pushed forward, but "took care to meet the union leaders privately to explain [his] worries... [in] off-the-record meetings [to] make them understand why [he] had to get a new framework in place." (85) That actually worked for most. Step one, then: come up with a careful plan, explain it in private, draw support. Step two?
Well, it's Singapore. One "irrational and ignorant" (85) union leader over cleaners and other daily-paid workers delivered an ultimatum asking for a pay raise and then called for some 2400 cleaning workers to strike. LKY ordered the dispute to arbitration to make the strike unlawful. When the union went on strike anyway, the police arrested the leader and 14 others. The union registrar issued notices of potential deregistration to the union. The ministry of health told the workers they had sacked themselves and could reapply for employment the next day.
And, the next day, ninety percent of the workers applied for reemployment, LKY had the support of the public, and union culture started to shift to a give-and-take. He went first to the union leaders, then to employers, urging cooperation and fairness, and emphasized that "unless [they] made a U-turn from strikes and violence toward stability and economic growth, [they] would perish" (88).
On to step three. In 1968, Singapore passed comprehensive laws covering leave, bonuses, and other points of contention. In 1969, they had their first full year without strikes. In 1972, they established a council between union members, employers, and government to determine annual wage increases. LKY requested his colleague Devan Nair return to Singapore to lead the union congress, and under his lead union delegates decided to focus their attention on setting up co-ops in taxis, supermarkets, insurance, and afterwards a strikingly broad array of industries.
The whole thing, at least in LKY's telling, was a spiraling and mutually beneficial arrangement. As union leaders got experience directing co-ops, they gained greater appreciation for the role of good management. To help "reduce the feeling that workers belonged to a lower order," (91) the government subsidized union land purchases for clubs, resorts, and other facilities. To nurture talent, the unions set up a labor college per LKY's urging, and he encouraged talented students returning from overseas to work in the unions and strengthen them.
Why do I emphasize this in so much detail? Primarily to underscore this quote:
Strict laws and tough talk alone could not have achieved this. It was our overall policy that convinced our workers and union leaders... but ultimately it was the trust and confidence they had in me, gained over long years of association, that helped transform industrial relations from one of militancy and confrontation to cooperation and partnership. (88)
And later, this reminder of his guiding ethos as he discusses the checks and balances of unions:
The key to peace and harmony in society is a sense of fair play, that everyone has a share in the fruits of our progress. (93)
As in tensions around race and language, as he approached the unions Lee Kuan Yew balanced strict, hard policy with the reassurance that he understood his people and wanted to help them--and, we Westerners don't fail to note, a side of authoritarianism. Reason and careful negotiation for most, coordinated and overwhelming force when negotiation breaks down, and pragmatic, prosperity-centered policy in the aftermath. It's a pattern you can see again and again. This pattern is one major reason to focus on the unions. The other is that both LKY and his greatest early rivals had their roots in that movement.
Disclaimer: I am entirely unqualified to provide a thorough, balanced account of Lee Kuan Yew's rise and the controversies in Singapore's early history. My intent here is to present the story largely as LKY writes it. For other sides of the story, consider this BBC article, Wikipedia on the opposition Barisan Sosialis, biographies of those LKY names as communists in his book: 1 2 3 4 5, a couple of reddit threads 1 2 3 plus a journal articleScihub if you're feeling particularly ambitious. tl;dr: There was definitely strong communist influence in Singapore; some LKY accuses of being communists vehemently deny it and likely shouldn't be considered communist; even these non-communist leftists were heavily influenced by Mao and the Cultural Revolution.
Here's an understatement for you: Lee Kuan Yew was not fond of communism. Understandable, given that China went through the full sweep of the Cultural Revolution as he rose into influence. Throughout his book, he speaks of communists with a fascinating mix of fear and respect.
In his telling, the early history of post-colonial Singapore is framed almost entirely as a struggle between his People's Action Party (PAP) and communists. In the 1950s, there was a sort of uneasy alliance between LKY's moderate wing of the PAP, a left wing headed by Lim Ching Siong, and the underground communist organizations in place in Singapore, all eager for independence from Britain. As soon as the PAP became the majority party in 1959, though, that alliance splintered. By 1961, the PAP expelled its left wing (13 of its 39 members), which became the Barisan Sosialis. That's where the real fun began.
If you ask the Barisan, they were non-communist leftists. If you ask LKY, they were a front organization for communism. He takes evident delight throughout a chapter of his book outlining the rise and collapse of their party. The government was contested through the 60s, in and out of an attempted union with Malaysia. In 1968, though, the Barisan declared Singaporean elections illegitimate and refused to participate, electing instead to take inspiration from Mao and call the people of Singapore to "smash all the trammels that bind them and rush forward along the road to liberation" (Cheng 226). The people did not smash the trammels. Instead, the Barisan left the PAP virtually unopposed, granting it uncontested control of the government, and faded quickly from relevance. LKY mentions that it was this "costly mistake... [that] gave the PAP unchallenged dominance of Parliament for the next 30 years." (110)
From there, as he tells it, communist influence shifted into terrorist attacks and bombings during the 70s and a relentless "hardcore following of some 20 to 30 percent of the electorate" (111), as Maoist organization worked throughout the Chinese-speaking part of Singapore. LKY rushes through this, preferring to more specifically outline the falls of several of their leaders (and a few overt communists). Each spent years to decades in jail or exile, only permitted to reenter Singapore upon cutting links with the party and disclosing all past activity.
That may be too passive. Put more bluntly: LKY tossed them in jail, with British approval but without trial, and makes no secret of having done so. He is extremely open about his willingness to take whatever measures necessary to stop communism. His description of their conflicts sounds, simply, like an all-out war:
We learned not to give hostages to our adversaries or they would have destroyed us. (112)
Could we have defeated them if we had allowed them habeas corpus and abjured the powers of detention without trial? I doubt it. Nobody dared speak out against them, let alone in open court. (113)
They were formidable opponents. We had to be as resolute and unyielding in this contest of wills. ...Their ability to penetrate an organization with a cadre of influential activists and take control of it was fearsome. (114)
Despite ruthless methods where the ends justified the means, the communists failed, but not before destroying many who stood up against them, and others who after joining them decided that their cause was mistaken. (119)
From 1963 to 1989, Singapore detained some 690 people, often holding them for years without trial. They required any political actors to affiliate with parties explicitly to "force [communists] out into the open and make them easy to monitor" (115). LKY spoke of the impossibility of progress while "communists retained their baleful influence" (108). In short, he did everything he possibly could to stamp communism and Maoist influence out of Singapore. Your level of comfort with these decisions will likely depend either on your opinion of communism or your commitment to free expression. Charitably, LKY saw the horrors of the Cultural Revolution and determined to stop it within his sphere. Uncharitably, he saw an opportunity to destroy his opposition and take absolute power, and he took it.
For me, though, far more compelling than his opposition to communism was his commitment to learn from their methods.
See, even while LKY lays out his fight against communism, you hear fascinating hints of respect in his descriptions of them. He describes how the PAP, when they took office, were "sickened by the greed, corruption, and decadence of many Asian leaders" (157), and how a similar disgust led Chinese-school students in Singapore to support communism. They "saw the communists as exemplars of dedication, sacrifice, and selflessness, the revolutionary virtues displayed in the spartan lives of the Chinese communist leaders." (157) Later, when describing his conviction that "candidates must not need large sums of money to get elected" (164), he again cites communists, pointing out that they didn't use money to win votes.
Much earlier, when discussing his own need for security, he mentions that while "threats from racial fanatics [were] unpredictable... the communists were rational and calculating and would see no benefit in [attacking his family]" (5). And return to his description of communists failing. He mentions "the skillful and tough methods of the unyielding communists... were unforgettable lessons in political infighting." (112) When dismissively comparing a later opponent to them, he mentions they were "formidable adversaries... serious men, committed to their cause." (125)
Why am I harping so much on this point? Well, much has been made of Singapore's near–one-party system. From a two-party system like the USA, or the multi-party systems in much of the rest of the developed world, it's hard to picture a setting where one party wins every election, time in and time out, without assuming corruption. Lee Kuan Yew provides an explanation for it, and as with many of his lessons in the groundwork of politics, it comes straight from his encounters with the communists. This next quote is pretty long, but I'm sharing it in full because it strikes me as one of the most important insights LKY provides, one that is relevant for every ideological movement:
We had learned from our toughest adversaries, the communists. Present-day opposition leaders go on walkabouts to decide where they will do well, based on the way people respond to them at hawker centers, coffee shops, food courts, and supermarkets, and whether people accept the pamphlets they hand out. I have never believed this. From many unhappy encounters with my communist opponents, I learned that while overall sentiment and mood do matter, the crucial factors are institutional and organizational networks to muster support. When we went into communist-dominated areas, we found ourselves frozen out. Key players in a constituency, including union leaders and officials of retailers' and hawkers' associations, and clan and alumni organizations, would all have been brought into a network by communist activists and made to feel part of a winning team. We could make little headway against them however hard we tried during elections. The only way we could counter their grip of the ground was to work on that same ground for years between elections.
I emphasize this quote so strongly because it speaks directly to my own frustrations with ideologies. Anyone who steps away from an ideology because they believe something in it is untrue will almost inevitably notice, and grow frustrated, with just how many people brush off those same untruths. Lee Kuan Yew doesn't present a new concept here, but he articulates it clearly and directly: Absolute truth is mostly disconnected from success. Organized ideas thrive; scattered ideas fail. People need rallying flags. They lunge for teams. Truth matters a bit, yes, but much more importantly, what are you doing for people? Good organization beats a good idea every time.
If you want the best ideas to win, organize for them.
Did Lee Kuan Yew have good policy ideas? From my angle, yes. There's nothing remarkable about that, though. Plenty of people have those ideas. What truly sets him apart as a figure worth studying, in my eyes, is not just the quality of his ideas but the way he combines them with a depth of understanding of institutions and power.
And in part, he had his deepest adversaries, the communists, to thank for it.
So how did he do it? Why, 60 years later, does the PAP still hold 83 of 89 seats in Singapore's parliament?
Staying in power
After winning all the seats, I set out to widen our support in order to straddle as broad a middle ground as possible. I intended to leave the opposition only the extreme left and right. We had to be careful not to abuse the absolute power we had been given. I was sure that if we remained honest and kept faith with the people, we would be able to carry them with us, however tough and unpalatable our policies. (111)
Our critics believed we stayed in power because we have been hard on our opponents. This is simplistic. If we had betrayed the people's trust, we would have been rejected. (121)
What do you do, as a new political party struggling to gain a foothold, then an abruptly dominant force, to get the trust of everyday citizens? How do you organize?
One tool LKY used was the People's Association (PA). He intended the association to be a hub, not just of political activity, but of useful community resources in general: literacy classes, technology instruction, cooking courses, so forth. To aid in this, he invited influential community members from "clan associations, chambers of commerce, recreational clubs, and arts, leisure, and social activity groups" (122), and set up more than a hundred community centers throughout Singapore.
Next came the "welcoming" and "goodwill" committees--activists in local communities called up to discuss things like road improvements, street lights, and drains on the one hand, delicate race relations on the other. Successful and eager members of these turned into leadership for community centers and "citizens' consultative committees" who received funds to provide public works, welfare grants, and scholarships.
None of these institutions were explicitly partisan. They were aimed at the maintenance tasks of community life, the uncontroversial but useful background structures. LKY mentions that many wanted to avoid active association with political parties, largely as a holdover from colonial times and threats of retribution. These institutions allowed the government to work with "elders who were respected in their own communities" (123), making it easier to reach out to people at all levels. Recall the time LKY worked with Malaysian community leaders to create plans for education--this structure was the means by which he managed it.
Add government housing to this (with its own "residents' committees", and you begin to see the strength of this soft power: layers and layers of semi-political community figures, helping people day-to-day, working alongside the People's Action Party even when not directly affiliated with them. As LKY puts it, "Opposition leaders on walkabouts go through well-tended PAP ground." (123) He credits his own political strength to public speaking skill, which he took advantage of in an annual unscripted address in Malay, Hokkien Chinese, Mandarin, and English, and in rallies around the country.
Voting another party into power, then, would mean in part needing to figure out a whole new system of organization at all levels. The PAP wasn't shy about using this sort of advantage, either. LKY rather proudly mentions one election where they promised priority public housing upgrades for constituencies that voted more strongly for the PAP, then follows it up with one of those lines that could only come from him:
This was criticized by American liberals as unfair, as if pork barrel politics did not exist elsewhere.
Honest. To a fault.
Viable opposition came in a few districts, eventually. That, too, he aimed to turn to his advantage. He spends time on one opponent voted into one precinct in 1981, a "sound and fury" (124) demagogue who took mostly opportunistic stands and who "probably kept better opponents out" (125). Realizing that some MPs hadn't ever faced serious opposition, LKY says, he "decided he was useful as a sparring partner" (125). There's a great moment, too, when he mentions a "shrewder" opponent who apparently reflected the population better by saying the PAP was doing well, but "could do better and should listen more to criticism." (125) In response, the PAP was respectful, aiming to encourage "nonsubversive opposition."
As much as my American instincts lead me to look at this all and want to talk about how controlling and oppressive the idea of this sort of single-party rule is, I find it difficult to do so without proving too much. The US, after all, has two major political parties and a bunch of nearly inconsequential competitors, choked out by organization and history and election rules. On Singapore's scale, one-party leadership isn't unusual here. My home state of Utah has voted for the Republican party since 1968. Chicago, only a little smaller than Singapore, has been under one party since 1927. Organizing, providing services to encourage people to keep them around, criticizing opposition, and promising to help those who support them sounds like, well, every political party on the planet. And when measuring corruption, Singapore compares rather favorably to the US--and, well, almost anywhere else.
Take one element LKY focuses on: money and special interests in politics. Singapore made voting compulsory in 1959 and has enforced strict spending limits in elections throughout the PAP's time as majority party. LKY mentions that neither communists, nor the PAP, nor opposing parties have ever spent much money to win elections. In 2015, the PAP spent $5.3 million between 89 general election candidates. Sticking with Chicago as a point of comparison, their most recent mayoral elections saw a single candidate raise more.
LKY is dismissive as well of the idea of anchoring ministerial salaries low. He explains: "Singapore will remain clean and honest only if honest and able men are willing to fight elections and assume office. They must be paid a wage commensurate with that men of their ability and integrity are earning for managing a big corporation or a sucessful legal or other professional practice." (166) He points out with distaste the "revolving door" system in the US, where high-paid private sector workers are appointed to posts by the president, then return to the private sector with "enhanced value". Part of avoiding this was the decision to remove most perks and allowances and provide benefits as lump sums. The rest was a gradual process: freezing ministerial wages until 1970, then raising them from S$2,500 to S$4,500 monthly while his own was "fixed at S$3,500 to remind the public service that some restraint was still necessary." (168) In 1995, after periodically raising wages, Singapore fixed salaries of senior public officials at two-thirds of their private sector equivalents.
Despite this relative high pay, he shares several stories of times he persuaded people to take salary cuts for government work: a bank GM making S$950,000 per year who he persuaded to become minister of state at a third that salary; a chief justice who went from making S$2 million a year as a banker to S$300,000 in the court, who according to LKY "accepted [the] offer out of a sense of duty" (218).
Most interesting, for me, is how LKY closes his chapter on maintaining control in the political system:
Will the political system that my colleagues and I developed work more or less unchanged for another generation? I doubt it. Technology and globalization are changing the way people work and live. ...Will the PAP continue to dominate Singapore's politics? How big a challenge will a democratic opposition pose in the future? This will depend on how PAP leaders respond to changes in the needs and aspirations of a better-educated people, and to their desire for greater participation in decisions that shape their lives. Singapore's options are not that numerous that there will be unbridgeable differences between differing political views in working out solutions to our problems. (134)
I get the sense that in aiming to maintain power, as in all else, LKY was a pragmatist. He did not aim to set up a dynasty that lasted generations or seek to obtain glory at all costs. He found a system that suited his country's needs at the time and put it in place, anticipating that Singapore would change as it needed to. Make no mistake: he wielded near-absolute power, and he knew it. But he did not abuse it.


One last question remains to be answered, not about Lee Kuan Yew, but about this review:
Why have I spent 12,000 words and the better part of a month poring over the policy of a tiny country of five million, and a leader who hasn't formally been in charge since 1990? What's my agenda?
Put simply, I think it's worth paying attention to. Not the specifics of the policy, so much: Singapore is a unique country, and solutions adapted to its culture and position are unlikely to translate perfectly to other environments. More than that, I am fascinated by the way LKY's approach cleaves at right angles the modern Western political landscape. Three points stood out from Lee Kuan Yew's achievement in Singapore:
  1. It was not inevitable. It's easy to frame things like this in retrospect as certainties of history, but I honestly think that's the wrong view of Singapore. It came close to collapsing in the 60s, and while it used its unique advantages as a port city to the full, LKY took it where he did with a series of careful, rational decisions. Policy specifics like welfare and health care, measured approaches to racial and political tensions, and the others detailed through the book could have gone a myriad of other ways under different leadership, resulting in a very different city even if it still developed. His political power came because he organized and planned for it.
  2. It was not evil. Growing up, I knew little about Singapore, but what I heard could be summed up as "clean place, pretty developed, freaky authoritarian, canes people, bans chewing gum." I've heard it referred to as "China lite" and generally seen, if not outright dismissal, at least heavy skepticism. I think some of that is unwarranted. Lee Kuan Yew had some 50 years in a position of influence to show his true colors, and from what I can see seems to have spent that time sincerely and single-mindedly focused on his country's welfare. Don't get me wrong, his approach has flaws and clearly doesn't align fully with US values, but I cannot find more to object to in his politics than in any other politician's.
  3. It was not reactionary. I said this before and deliberately emphasize it again. Lee Kuan Yew was not looking to the past and pushing against social change. He stood at the vanguard of his country's growth, mixing traditionally progressive and traditionally conservative ideas in surprising ways. One of the most consistent of LKY's messages was a focus on the future: short-term sacrifices for long-term gain, relentlessly pushing to apply new ideas and change his approach rather than seeking to preserve or return to the past. Framing it as reactionary instead of pragmatic leads to poor predictions and a distorted view.
We focus on political issues through the lens of our own culture. For Americans like me, that means viewing things in terms of constitutional rights, red and blue states with their increasing cultural divide, and confidence that we are positioned neatly at the center of the world. I enjoy looking at Singapore both to see when its challenges and responses mirror US ones and to notice where they diverge. For someone like me, dissatisfied with political systems close to home, not fitting cleanly into any local political subculture, feeling disenfranchised, it serves as both an example and an admonishment.
As an example, it is more personal. Lee Kuan Yew is one of the first politicians I've found who almost always discusses and solves problems in a way that makes sense to me and aligns with my ideals. While there are meaningful criticisms to aim towards him, I am mostly not the one to make them. I admire him and believe the world would benefit if more political movements shared his level-headed approach to difficult problems. If the US had a political party with principles similar to LKY's, I would join.
The admonishment, though, should speak to all who would like to see the world change somehow. I repeat it from above. The sheer frequency of people gaining power only to abuse it should warn against any notion that LKY gained and won influence because he was good or right. He gained influence because he understood influence, and his country was fortunate that he chose to use it for their good. Movements don't win influence because they are true or good. They win because they organize to fill people's needs. So what should you do if you want truth, effective policy, or your ideals to gain ground? Organize. Build structure. Help people.
Thanks for sticking with me through this review! My notes can be found here, for anybody who wants yet more and is curious about Singapore's military, banks, or other areas I didn't touch on. If you're interested in reading the book for yourself, particularly if you'd like to see the extensive foreign policy review that takes up the latter two-thirds or write a more scathing critique, I'd encourage you to go pick it up.
I'll close my review quoting Lee Kuan Yew one last time, this time the final paragraph of his book:
The future is as full of promise as it is fraught with uncertainty. ... That we have succeeded in the last three decades does not ensure our doing so in the future. However, we stand a better chance of not failing if we abide by the basic principles that have helped us progress: social cohesion through sharing the benefits of progress, equal opportunities for all, and meritocracy, with the best man or woman for the job, especially as leaders in government. (691)
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Orange, MTN, STC among 12 vying for Ethiopia licences

Orange, MTN, STC among 12 vying for Ethiopia licences

Ethiopia confirmed nine international mobile players submitted initial applications for telecoms licences, with MTN Group, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company, Etisalat and a consortium comprising affiliates of Vodacom Group, Safaricom and Vodafone Group among the contenders.
Also submiting the expressions of interest were Telkom SA, Madagascar-based Axian Group, international wholesale provider Liquid Telecom and Snail Mobile, which runs an MVNO in China.
Vodafone companies applied under the name Global Partnership for Ethiopia.
In addition to businesses already in the mobile sector, the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) received applications from financial, health and education technology specialist Kandu Global Telecommunications and Electromecha International Projects, a company specialising in construction and infrastructure investments based in Kuwait.
The ECA noted it also had an incomplete submission, taking the total number of interested parties to 12.
At the initial stage prospective bidders were required to supply information on their company structure, global operating footprint and number of mobile subscribers served among other details.
The ECA said the expressions of interest would “help the authorities assess the strength of potential bidders and determine the adequate level of qualification criteria to select the type of operators that would fit best into the Ethiopian market”.
Operators are competing for one of two telecommunications licences being offered by the ECA, which is charged with opening the country’s mobile market. Currently the only player is state-owned Ethio Telecom.
In addition to issuing licences, the state is also assessing the possibility of offering stakes in Ethio Telecom to outside investors. The licensing process was originally meant to be completed in Q1.
Originally published by Chris Donkin | June 29, 2020 Mobile World Live
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"Flamboyant, attention-seeking individuals representing themselves as multitalented supermen are at the center of Japan’s most successful new religious movements"

I found this little gem in an article, "The Prophet Motive" (Get it? Get it? Provocative title, neh?), about the pre-WWII Japanese New Religion Oomoto. You may remember that we touched on the subject of Oomoto in the discussion about the significance of New Religion leaders, like Oomoto's leader, like Soka Gakkai's leader, riding white horses to review their troops, how this was regarded as a challenge to the Emperor's authority.
A case study of Oomoto thus broadens the view of Shinto in existing Western scholarship. In explaining Oomoto success, I argue that in its heyday, Oomoto became the most conspicuous and fastest growing new religious movement for three primary reasons: charismatic leadership, innovative use of technology and the mass media, and flexible accommodation of social concerns and cultural interests not addressed by the state or mainstream religions. These three elements constitute what I call “charismatic entrepreneurship,” a term that suggests a combination of spiritual authority, an intuitive grasp of the religious marketplace, savvy management skills, and a propensity for risk taking. Charismatic entrepreneurship, which I will discuss in more detail below, is a critical concept for understanding the rise and growth of new religious movements, not only in Japan, but throughout the world. A third objective of the book is to demonstrate that [Oomoto's leader] Onisaburò provided an important model and legacy for new religions that followed in postwar and contemporary Japan. The postwar Japanese constitution may have established radically different circumstances for the freedom of new religions, but there were also important continuities between the prewar and postwar periods. By noting the continued importance of charismatic personalities and entrepreneurial leadership, we gain a different understanding of new religions across the World War II divide. Whether in intentional imitation of Onisaburò or not, flamboyant, attention-seeking individuals are at the center of Japan’s most successful new religious movements. In the immediate postwar years former Oomoto followers, like Okada Mòkichi and Taniguchi Masaharu, liberally appropriated Onisaburò’s ideas and techniques in their own new religions, Sekai Kyûseikyò (known in English as the Church of World Messianity) and Seichò no Ie (Truth of Life Movement). Kitamura Sayo, the cross-dressing founder of Tenshò Kòtai Jingukyò (Religion of the Shrine of the Heavenly Goddess, popularly known as odori shûkyò, the dancing religion), captured public attention for her scathing critique of the Occupation and her promotion of ecstatic dance as religious practice. Jikòson, founder of Jiukyò, claimed she was possessed by the sun goddess Amaterasu and famously recruited celebrities for a fictive government cabinet she hoped to lead.
Note that there is abundant evidence that Daisaku Ikeda hoped to ride Toda's Soka Gakkai's popularity all the way to a takeover of the Japanese government, being barred from running for public office by law due to his ethnicity and thus unable to mount any sort of political campaign as a candidate himself.
And since the 1960s, Japanese religious leaders representing themselves as multitalented supermen abound; they include Sòka Gakkai’s Ikeda Daisaku, Kòfuku no Kagaku’s Okawa Ryûhò, Kiriyama Seiyû of Agonshû, and even the notorious leader of Aum Shinrikyò, Asahara Shoko. Each of these leaders embodies a critical tension between religious idealism and business acumen, between the call of the divine and the call of fame. This tension is a defining feature of charismatic entrepreneurs. While deeply committed to personal religious visions, they believe these are best actualized through aggressive growth, made possible through entrepreneurial, self-aggrandizing actions. This tension characterizes charismatic religious entrepreneurs throughout the world. By examining similarities between Onisaburò and leaders of other new sects both in Japan and abroad, we can begin to question notions of Japanese exceptionalism, at least with respect to new religions. Scholars of Japanese religion sometimes help reify notions of difference, presenting Japanese religiosity as a phenomenon difficult to understand from the Judeo-Christian or Islamic perspectives about worship and the divine. They present Japanese beliefs about kami, sacred space, and permeability between the human and spirit worlds as valid, if alternative, religious worldviews, and they present the pervasive emphasis on practice and ritual, including the pursuit of practical benefits (genze riyaku), as an equal alternative to emphasis on sacred texts or individual relationships with God. While such an approach has been extremely valuable in opening new directions for research, I take a slightly different tack. Rather than highlighting exceptionality and difference, I prefer to point out commonality—namely, how global economic, social, and technological forces shape cultural phenomena in disparate regions in similar ways. Many Japanese religious beliefs and practices are indeed culturally specific, but religious actors in Japan respond to many of the same developments encountered in other modern nations. In the first half of the twentieth century these included urbanization and agrarian distress in the face of rapid industrialization; the emergence of consumerism, popular entertainment, and the mass media as religion’s competitors for public attention; and the public’s heightened desire for world peace and for easing the suffering of the unfortunate following World War I and worldwide depression. My approach to meeting the objectives described above is to place Oomoto’s rise within the larger historical context of developments in Japan and in the wider world during the first half of the twentieth century. I pursue a historical, rather than religious, understanding of Oomoto growth, emphasizing how its beliefs and proselytization activity shifted with prevailing conditions and attitudes. Oomoto’s evolving strategies for growth reflected domestic opportunities and constraints, areas of interest that transcended national borders via new transportation and communication technologies, and inexorable historical forces, such as those mentioned above. Under Onisaburò’s leadership, Oomoto responded to dynamic intellectual and cultural currents. In its formative years, it drew on Nativist rhetoric and residual disappointment that the Meiji Restoration had not resulted in a more equitable society. In the 1910s and ’20s, it highlighted spiritualism and internationalism, worldwide trends that the Japanese public had also enthusiastically embraced. In the 1930s, it was swept up in the national mood of heightened patriotism. Mapping Oomoto’s rise against historical developments enlarges the narrative of modern Japanese history by uncovering an “alternative” history suppressed by the teleology of Japan’s rapid rise as an industrial and military power. It helps to tie the heterodox and “alternative” to the mainstream developments of standard historical narratives. Identifying such counter-hegemonic traces remains important as a means to challenge neat, evolutionary models of national history. In short, this study questions the standard portrayal of the Japanese during this period as monolithically dominated by emperor-centered and state-defined nationalism, rather than deeply embedded in affective ties to nonstate organizations, whether a religious sect, local community, ethnic nation, or even family. Oomoto provides a window into popular consciousness that upsets received notions that imperial Japan was homogeneously nationalistic and unquestioningly enthusiastic about imperialism. This study does not minimize the intentions or actions of the state, but rather reminds readers that the possibilities for social participation and creative change exist even in the face of intensifying state authority. There is, however, usually a price to pay for defying or ignoring authority. Charismatic entrepreneurs who aim to survive in authoritarian societies are also adept at defensive strategies, casting controversial beliefs and actions in ways that are least likely to result in official repercussions. Throughout his career, Onisaburò attempted to manage the risks of propagating his fundamentally subversive views, cultivating establishment contacts and religious alliances, writing allusively and in code, and engaging in public patriotic activity. Such creative techniques allowed Oomoto to flourish for several decades despite advancing authoritarianism in imperial Japan.
Oomoto is considered a “new religion” (shin shûkyò). In Japan the term denotes religious movements that were founded after the mid-nineteenth century, distinguishing them from older, established religions legally recognized prior to that period. As “new religion” is a chronological category, greater specificity in defining new religions is difficult because they are a very diverse set, rooted in different traditions and engaging in a wide variety of practices. They are often said to share certain characteristics, such as charismatic founders and a combinatory approach, fusing elements from Buddhism, Shinto, Confucianism, Taoism, folk religion, and other aspects of the larger religious environment. It is important to note, however, that such syncretic tendencies are also strong among Japan’s established religious traditions. Conventional periodization arranges the emergence of new religions into waves or phases in modern Japanese history, reflecting periods of intense socioeconomic insecurity, including rapid modernization, overwhelming defeat in World War II, and the bursting of the economic bubble in the 1980s. Current scholarship identifies five distinct phases: the latter half of the nineteenth century, the prewar period (1920s and ’30s), the postwar period (1950s and ’60s), the post oil-shock period (late 1970s and ’80s), and the current post-Aum Shinrikyò period following the heinous subway gassing incident by a new religion in 1995. New religions are considered the most dynamic element in Japan’s current religious environment, reportedly involving as much as one-fifth, one-third, or even half of the Japanese population at their peak in the 1960s. For this reason, studies of Japan’s new religious movements constitute a major field in both Japanese and Western scholarship. Nevertheless, Western scholarship has been dominated by a social-scientific approach, categorizing sects and their characteristics or providing ethnographic accounts of single sects. Historians of Japanese religion to date have not fully investigated the context and key historical factors that help account for the rise of new religions in each of the phases described above.
New religious groups had to affiliate as a subsect of an official group; otherwise they would be labeled heretical or false religions (inshi jakkyò, ruiji shûkyò) and harassed by the police and Home Ministry.
This is a major cultural legacy that explains why affiliation with Nichiren Shoshu loomed so large over the Soka Gakkai's consciousness.
Oomoto opposed these policies of religious control and the artificial separation they erected among ritual, private belief, and public action.
"Faith Into Action", anyone? "ENGAGED Buddhism", anyone?
Its teachings, rituals, and political stances represented attempts to reintegrate belief and action into an organic whole rooted in the ceremonies and practices of “lived” religion. Oomoto called this reintegration saisei itchi, the unification of rites and governance, a slogan championed by the nineteenth century Nativists, who called for the restoration of the emperor. Many followers joined Oomoto despite its heterodoxy because it embraced elements of popular Shinto—such as faith healing and spirit belief—that had been consciously abandoned in the creation of modern, emperor-centered State Shinto. The state’s religious policy, influenced by Western Protestant views, tended to devalue elements that traditionally formed the very core of religious life in Japan—rituals, festivals, pilgrimages, and spiritualist practices. Oomoto capitalized on the state’s sterile view of Shinto by offering a richer, more traditional alternative. Oomoto’s Shinto rituals, like the Tsukinamisai, were vibrant, performative, and deeply infused with a sense of art and traditional aesthetics. Furthermore, they were enacted not by a specialized, professional class of priests but, like traditional community rituals, by lay members of the congregation who volunteered to participate.
This happened with the Soka Gakkai as well, where the laity basically usurped all the functions except for bestowing gohonzons and officiating at weddings and funerals. They did not permit much fraternizing with the priests in order to strengthen the membership's dependence upon the Soka Gakkai.
Oomoto’s prewar blend of religion and politics anticipates the political orientation of many new religions in the postwar period. Freedom of religion in the postwar constitution meant religions could begin to participate more directly in political and social activism. The most notable religious participation in politics was from Sòka Gakkai, currently Japan’s largest and most powerful new religion, which began its political activity in order to help realize a world that featured the unity of government and Buddhism, a goal that resonated with the ideal of saisei itchi.
We call that "theocracy".
Oomoto was frankly political, not in the narrow sense of campaigns or elections, but in its advocacy of social and economic justice. Oomoto’s assertion of a Neo-Nativist ethnocentric and cultural identity opposed the imperialistic, statist nationalism represented by the modern bureaucratic state. In other words, popular ethnocentrism did not equate with loyalty to the state and could even act as the basis for critiquing and opposing the modern state. For many members of society, “Japaneseness” was not measured in terms of the modern nation-state, which sought equality and identification with Western nations, but by the continuity of idealized cultural practices that differentiated Japan from the West. Proponents of popular ethnocentrism identified practices and beliefs, from language to divine ancestry, that made the Japanese population special in comparison to other nations. It is this sense of cultural, rather than statist, nationalism that remains the more potent today.
This is why, within the SGI, it is the Japanese members and especially leaders who form the highest caste, who are promoted faster, who are considered to have some innate ability to understand their religious beliefs, who consider themselves the elites within the SGI.
The patterns of his [the Oomoto leader's] life story fit within earlier Japanese traditions of hagiography and provide a model for later leaders of new religions.
That's probably the inspiration for Ikeda to have his ghostwriters get busy churning out content for "The Human Revolution" and "The NEW Human Revolution". The peripatetic Ikeda had no patience or inclination toward sitting and writing - scholarly pursuits were of absolutely no interest whatsoever to him.
Like Konkòkyò’s Kawate Bunjirò and Tenrikyò’s Nakayama Miki (1798–1887) (among others), Onisaburò demonstrated early aptitude and interest in religious matters, suffered serious illness, and was chosen by God as a prophet to deliver a message of salvation and to criticize established religious traditions.
Isn't that pretty much the blueprint of Ikeda's self-created ascent? From that "poem" he supposedly recited at what was supposedly his first encounter with Toda, with those all-important words, "I emerge from the earth" - OBVIOUSLY he was destined. And that "serious illness" shtick? Toda had tuberculosis, too, and he didn't think it was any big deal. But it's presented to the credulous believers as "Doctors said he wouldn't live past 30." Bullshit. Japan had the medical technology and medicines to cure tuberculosis before Ikeda's appearance on the Soka Gakkai scene - public health measures to control and treat tuberculosis were implemented in Japan in 1930, when Ikeda was just 2 years old - and provided it to everyone FOR FREE.
Also, linking back to that earlier comment about the success of the New Religions:
innovative use of technology and the mass media
Ikeda's version of this was all his private publishing companies and his silly, self-glorifying, hagiographic historical revisionism, his Mary Sue pseudo-autobiographical-novelization-fanfic, "The Human Revolution" and "The NEW NEW NEWEST OF ALL NEW Human Revolution", in which the Ikeda-glorifying tall tales just get taller and taller, to the point of trying to sanitize Ikeda's appearance, to the point of trying to make Ikeda himself appear taller.
His multifaceted artistic inclinations are reflected in the later activities of Sòka Gakkai’s leader Ikeda Daisaku, Sekai Kyûseikyò’s Okada Mòkichi, and Kofuku no Kagaku’s Okawa Ryûhò (among others).
Ikeda: The Magical Photographer and World Poet Laureate :snerk:
Ikeda: Wannabe piano-playing virtuoso LOL
Now that the "mission" of that international poetry organization the SGI purchased just to bestow its "World Poet Laureate" award on Ikeda has been completed, it's out of business.
Oomoto’s new version of Nativism testified to the historical changes Japan had faced in the tumultuous decades of the Meiji period. It reflected dissatisfaction with state policies designed to encourage industrial development and manage ideology, such as the new taxation system and the establishment of State Shinto. It further reflected increasing popular alarm over the state’s engagement with the West and its handling of international affairs. It valorized Japanese cultural identity and asserted a special mission for the Japanese nation.
So did Toda's Soka Gakkai some decades later.
Moreover, the charter commented negatively on government management of religious groups, and it criticized the officially approved Shinto sects for their capitulation to the state. Onisaburò derided the thirteen sects, his primary competitors, as “resigned to being tax collectors for income from spells, prayers and divination.” By contrast, the charter proclaimed the DNS would promote a “pure” Shinto that included not just religion and ritual but the “four imperial paths of governance, education, tradition, and creation.” Such a broad purview was forbidden to officially approved sects, who agreed to limit their activities strictly to religion as narrowly defined by the state.
I see a parallel here in how the Soka Gakkai's Komeito political party was forced to re-organize ca. 1970 without any of the religious elements that had formed the basis for its political orientation, marking the end of its growth phase.
Onisaburò used kotodama, the belief in the magical power of sounds and words—literally, “the spirit of the word”—to elucidate the Ancient Way of the Gods as contained in the Kojiki, just as Motoori Norinaga had employed philological techniques on the same text for the same goal. ... Onisaburò’s view of the Kojiki was not fundamentalist. He believed that the text contained “a myriad of truths” that required esoteric decoding to understand their signficance for a given age.
Isn't this what Nichiren did in supposedly discovering "hidden truths" within the Lotus Sutra that weren't actually written there?
Using the power of kotodama, one could reinterpret the classics for contemporary perspectives on “history or philosophy, religion, politics, literature, medicine, economics, astronomy, calendrical studies, anthropology, metallurgy and minerology, geography, physics, and science.” ... Through the use of kotodama, Onisaburò could inject secret meanings into his own works, available to adepts but lost to most of us today.
"The Human Revolution is a mysterious book; it is not too much to say it is the complete modern-day Gosho. Within the author's life, Nichiren Daishonin's spirit is aflame. All the teachings are incorporated without any compromise and come to blossom in The Human Revolution. I'd like to repeat again, The Human Revolution, is today's gosho. There is a mysterious kechimyaku† between Nichiren Daishonin and the book. In all honesty, I must say it is more than just coincidence."
† - "Kechimyaku" = Heritage from Nichiren, lifeblood, lineage, etc. This has always been the prerogative of the Nichiren Shoshu priests, who continued the priestly tradition from Nichiren (himself a priest). Here, the Soka Gakkai is attempting to usurp this tradition and legitimacy for itself. Source
Before we further describe Onisaburò’s reinterpretations of mythology or the Kòdò program, it is necessary to provide some additional explanation on kotodama, a little understood topic in Western studies of Japan because of its esoteric and slippery nature. The belief that words have special powers—particularly in prayers, curses, and incantations—and that ancient texts can be decoded to yield hidden truths can be found the world over. The overwhelming popularity of “Bible code” and Kabbalah studies today attests to the lasting power of this belief. In Japanese practice, however, kotodama is viewed as a unique cultural tradition with a foundation in folk belief. Some scholars consider kotodama belief an extension of animism, reaching beyond belief in the soul or spirit of plants and animals to inanimate objects such as words. The origins of kotodama belief are traditionally ascribed to the confusion around the word koto in the Manyòshû, the earliest extant collection of Japanese poetry, composed from the early fifth to mid-eighth centuries. Koto could indicate either a word or a thing, and the ancient poets were therefore thought to believe in a special relationship between name and thing. The introduction and spread of esoteric Buddhism (mikkyò) in Japan, in its use of chanted magical formulas—that is, mantras and dharanis—undoubtedly contributed to furthering kotodama belief. Buddhist leaders such as Saichò, Kûkai, and Gyòki claimed that they could enrich and protect the state through the power of special incantations. In the popular mind, kotodama is often associated with rhyming games and wordplay, widespread phenomena deeply embedded in Japanese popular culture from at least the Edo period forward that occupy an important role in both serious and parodic literature and drama. Owing to the number of homophones in the Japanese language, the possibilities for wordplay using a mixture of kanji characters and kana alphabet are endless. Popular kotodama, rooted in esoteric Buddhist practice, also has a magico-religious aspect, the idea that words or sounds chanted by mouth can affect occurrences in reality. Such beliefs and the use of wordplay are part of the standard rhetoric of new religions. ... The followers of new religions were often attracted by the ingenious use of rhyming games and wordplay to explain teachings, as these techniques allowed them to enjoy themselves at familiar cultural activities while absorbing doctrine. Nativist scholars interested in kotodama studies in the nineteenth century privileged the Japanese spoken language over difficult Chinese characters. They believed that every sound of the Japanese syllabary had meaning and that there was a mystical relationship between sound and meaning. Power did not inhere in all sounds and words but was present in norito prayers, incantations for purification (haraekotoba), ancient imperial proclamations (semmyò), and ritual words intoned at key junctures in the lives of the people, such as when fishermen set off to sea, when rice was harvested, or when fields were burned.
Onisaburò recounts that he soon grew weary of the sect [Myòreikyò], as its primary practice was to repetitively chant the syllable “myò,” meaning miraculous or mysterious, while a preacher beat a taiko drum. He later complained: “Whether there was a flood or parents died or children died, it was just ‘myò, myò, myò.’ When the neighbor’s house burned, ‘myò, myò, myò.’ . . . Even the god who cured my toothache must be sick of all that ‘myò, myò.’”
That's the same "myo" as in "Nam myoho renge kyo". There's a whole lot of SGI blahblah about "myo"; it pretty much means anything someone wants it to mean.
Clearly, "chanting" has much more of an established basis within Japanese culture than within American culture, despite the fact that Catholics recite (chant) the rosary. There is simply no cultural tradition, no "conditioning experiences" of a spiritual practice involving chanting here, which goes a long way toward explaining why it's so difficult for SGI to gain converts in the west and why virtually all of them quit - it's just not normal for us.
In Japan, Oomoto’s success in employing visual technologies of proselytization was not forgotten by the new religions that proliferated in the postwar and contemporary periods. While many extensively employ print media and audio cassettes in their missions, it is the visual spectacle or image—whether art museums, elaborately staged rituals and events, big-budget animation, or elaborate Web sites—that remains the most notable instrument for attracting attention. The majority of Japan’s successful new religions deploy mass media and visual spectacle to gain public notice and reinforce the charismatic aura of leaders. Sòka Gakkai hosts a myriad of highly publicized cultural activities and institutions, including the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum and the annual World Peace Festival (Sekai Heiwa Bunkasai), featuring musical revues and mass games performed by tens of thousands of youths in orchestral performances throughout Japan. Leader Ikeda Daisaku’s interests in music, art, and photography are prominently featured in sect publications and exhibitions throughout the world.
New religions based on the Lotus Sutra, such as Reiyûkai (established in 1925), often repeated Nichiren’s claim that the state must adopt the Lotus Sutra as the basis for national policy or face ruin. Under growing state authoritarianism, however, by the mid-1930s Reiyûkai and other emerging Lotus Sutra-based religions, such as Risshò Koseikai and Sòka Gakkai, tempered their message, avoiding criticism of national policy and usually conforming to State Shinto dogma.
That's what we've been saying.
Sòka Gakkai’s initial motive for political activity was clearly religious—to establish a state-sponsored national platform for ordination (kokuritsu kaidan) at its sacred headquarters. It believed this could occur only when there was unity of government and Buddhism and Japan was fully converted to the Nichiren faith, so it engaged in aggressive proselytization to this end. Although Kòmeitò severed formal ties with the parent religion in 1970 to stem criticism by its opponents, it retains the underlying beliefs of Sòka Gakkai, evoking the relationship between Oomoto and the Shinseikai. Unlike the Shinseikai, the new Kòmeitò carefully avoids religious language and has separated the leadership and finances of the two groups. ... Party language is often semireligious in tone, calling for “an end to politics without ideals or philosophy” or pledging “a new dawn . . . that will promise the bright light of a new era.” Furthermore, it is clear that Ikeda Daisaku, Sòka Gakkai’s charismatic leader, retains heavy influence among the Kòmeitò leadership.
That's what WE'VE been saying.
So there you have it, a summary of sorts of that much longer article, picking out the aspects that are of interest to our specific focus here at SGIWhistleblowers. If you managed to wade through it, thanks for reading :D
submitted by BlancheFromage to sgiwhistleblowers [link] [comments]

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