My 1 Year Anniversary of Full Time Day Trading. 3 Years In The Business. What I Wish I Could Tell Myself Years Ago.
This industry has a lack of transparency so I'm more than happy to say I will provide lots of that throughout this post with screenshots. There are LOTS of imgur links to back what I say so it's not just words on a post expecting you to just believe what I'm typing. This post I suppose is "Part 2" my post back in April, "After 2 years of Daytrading. 7 months full time. Here's my advice". I'm doing this to update everyone who came/comes across this in the future. Yes, it is possible. No, it won't be easy. You will pay homage to the rite of passage into this career. I'll also provide some examples of styles of trading so for the newer aspiring traders, there will be some things I rarely see discussed on forums. So here's to 1 year of Full Time Day Trading TL;DR - You'll become desensitized to trading. Stubborn to other strategies (There are biggebaddemore lucrative strategies. Don't chase them. Why fix what's not broken? I know what works for me and I'm content with it. No strategy is better than another. It's a personal choice. ). Losing individual trades won't faze you, they're inevitable. Profiting certainly feels better. After a while, you won't be as enthralled to trade every morning, it'll become just another part of your day). Trading is just managing your money through a statistic and the medium to execute it is trading on your platform. Think: "If. Then. Because". Your trading plan should be that black and white. Ask "Why" for everything you do and use. If you can't answer it with documented results, drop it. I get a bunch of messages all the time from people asking - . Out of those who follow me and chat me seeking further tips through my previous posts. I'll be answering the FAQ's and addressing things I see frequently in this sub as far as trading axioms Disclaimer: I won't sugarcoat anything. I'll share my experiences and add pieces of advice I'd give to those who are currently experiencing the same thing becoming a full time day trader and what day to day life is like, the occasional distress, (DRAWDOWNS). Some of you follow my Twitter for the past few months where I post my daily watchlists with a snippet that reveals my DayTradingBuyingPower. I do this not to brag but to demonstrate that the account does yield growth, I pay myself, and there are days where the balance does not move because there was no edge. I also do this since nobody else shows their account performance. (Yes. You, Mr. YouTube gurus and wannabe gurus). We do this for income, the numbers on our accounts are real. Treat it as such. Get your initial capital out of your account THEN try to "Scale your account" with your profits AKA The Market's Money. I'll go over: •FAQ's that I get in my inbox (I'm still welcome to further questions if I don't answer here) •Decision Fatigue (You will experience this) •The previous year (2019-2020) of ups and downs •How to use my watchlists that I post on Twitter in the morning to your advantage •The pivotal moment that changed my trading career (NFLX 10-17-19) •The road to becoming a full time trader. (It won't be fun unless you're handed the money) •You'll have a better grasp of my strategy (Between ProTip 4 and 5. ProTip 8.) There are 10 "ProTips" throughout the post that I wish I could tell myself years back and I'll periodically throw them in here as the post goes on. I make posts long in order to segregate those serious about this business and those who will just become another statistic in the failure rate of this business. At the end of this post, I'll go over the frequent questions I receive such as: (Answers to FAQ at bottom of post.)
"How do you prepare for a trading day?"
"What would you go back to tell yourself?"
"Books?" (The most abused question, but I get it. I could start a public library with just trading books I bought over the years)
"What is your background?"
"What is a normal day for you?"
"How did you discover your strategy?"
"What did you do/How did you get started?"
"What is your % return?" (Not a fun question since a trading account is not an index or investment account. Intraday traders do not measure performance in %. Most are measured in "R".)
"Is enough to start trading?"
"Why do you need so many monitors"? (This one is rarely asked but I do see it discussed on platforms and people trading on mobile phones love giving flack to anybody who trades on multiple monitors. Hint: Everyone's different. Whatever works for the individual. There are no rules in trading. The only rule is that it works.)
Background: I heard about daytrading during the 2008 crash while in high school. We all want to make more while working less. I entertained day trading from time to time but always realized I never had enough money. Horrible mindset because I could have still researched WHILE saving money to put into my trading business. 2015 -I opened my first trading account with Scottrade while in the Marines. Apparently if you have a net worth of over $1,000,000 you can get out early (Biggest rumor ever). I frivolously bought crap penny stocks. In short - I was a hair away from gambling. What made it NOT gambling was the fact that at least I owned something tangible (Securities of a company) and anything can happen. Buy low sell high was my strategy. Didn't work obviously. No idea what I was doing. I'd buy and hold hoping to wake up to the stock price being way higher and it never happened. •ProTip #1 : If you hold a trade overnight... It is not daytrading. Stop turning into an investor because you can't admit a minor defeat. 2017 - I started taking this business seriously while working in the oilfield as a Logistics Planner (If you're wondering what company since I am asked this from time to time, Google: "World's largest oilfield services company"). No kids, girlfriend/wife or financial obligations. I worked 10AM - 7PM CST and would trade the open from home for roughly 1 hour. Later I was offered to be a Data Analyst... Only downside was... I couldn't trade since I had to be at work now at 8AM CST during the market open. In the moment of signing the offer letter, I was bummed thinking, "No more trading," That wasn't the case though. You can still build your trading business with a 9-5 and while never making one trade. The data is there. •ProTip #2 :We all see the same data. It's there forever. Many strategies show their edge both live and in hindsight the same. (Especially if you trade patterns). You CAN build your business as a trader without even taking a trade. You CAN build your strategy while working a 9-5. Just because you're not trading, does not mean you can't build your business through research. You won't know how you'll react to the losses but at least you can diagnose the raw data with a large enough sample size for assurance and confidence. If you have a 9-5 and want to go fulltime into this business. Stay for a bit, save, live so far beneath your means that it is almost miserable, (depending on your expenses, area you live, family etc) and get a few hundred sample sizes of your strategy! And for your PTO/days off... trade the open. I sacrificed my vacation days to trade. After 2 years in corporate America, eating cheap food, never going out, saving relentlessly, I made the decision to just do it and resigned. I went straight into the ring of fire known as trading. That was on: September 23rd, 2019 ""(Sound familiar?) When you hear these types of comments.. your response should be: "Nobody put the time I put into this. The 90%+ who fail, don't have it all written out, computerized backtests, manual backtests, statistics, SOP manuals, JUST like the job I have which is a business, I'm just another cog in their wheel. I'll just be wearing all the hats in my trading business. Instead of Oil&Gas, it's just for trading". One thing I see here a lot is people saying to trade X amount of months/years or make X. •ProTip #3 -Think in man hours, not calendar. Example: Trader A puts in 1 hour of study/work/research everyday for 1 year. (365 Hours) Trader B puts in 12 hours of work every day for 4 months. (~1,450 Hours) Trader A lives in a major city while Trader B lives in the middle of nowhere. (Think cost of living) 2 totally different living expenses and 2 different calibers of dedication. I'd put my money on Trader B because he put in more man hours. (~1,000 more hours on the clock to be more exact). ProTip #4 - Have a cushion in your account AND your personal bank account. Having a strategy is great but you won't know entirely if you can fulfill and execute your plan until you experience the ups and downs both short and long term. A strategy is constant over long periods of time... there will be days, weeks, and perhaps a month here and there where you aren't making much money. We hear all the time, "Trade like a casino". Casinos don't make money day after day but the odds are in there favor over the long haul. Month 1 of full time trading was great: Immediately after going full time, the first month (September 2019 to October 2019), I did super well. Business as usual. No stress. Everything going as planned. No turbulence. At least not like I had ever experienced... The 2 prerequisites I had before resigning was:
Show consistency in returns. Consistent Sharpe Ratio.
Make a 4 figure trade (I achieved this while short 100 shares on ROKU September 20th, 2019 and even made a victory post if you scroll down my profile's posts.)
First life-changing trading lesson learned as a full time trader: That money printing spree ended on NFLX October 17th, 2019. Less than 1 month of being a full time trader. Deviating and going against my plan I actually made $500 in a matter of 4 minutes. If you follow my watchlists on Twitter, I always trade with the direction of the gap. If I notate, "Long Watches" that means I will only trade it IF (and only IF) I see a long biased pattern. Likewise I will only be looking to short my "Short Watches". Plenty of times I'll call out a ticker and it immediately goes the other way. No harm no foul because there was no long biased pattern to confirm my thesis. On 10-17-2019, I went against my plan and it worked.. NFLX gapped up to resistance and I went short when it tanked off of a short pattern.(This is known as fading). The market gave me a free lunch and then some. So now I'm walking on air in my mind: "I'm an absolute unit" "I'll do it again and clear another $500 to make it a 4 figure day before 9:30AM Central" "Should have quit my job way earlier being this good." Within 30 minutes of the open. I gave all $500 back. Yes I wanted to trade it back. Never have I had the desire to smash anything but I do understand those who do! Yes I stood there and felt like each passing second was wasted opportunity. The next 24 hours were long! ProTip #5:It's circumstances like that that help you in the long run. FunFact: I never once deviated from my plan since. Not ever again. "I could have paid for my groceries and electric for the month after 4 minutes of trading if I just took the free pass the market gave me" I felt dumb but in hindsight, I'm glad at what happened. It was this exact instance that married me to my strategy/business plan. The next day and the 7 trading days following. I didn't make 1 profiting trade. My longest ever drawdown - 11 straight trades. While researching I found out this was Decision Fatigue (I'll go over this shortly below) Put yourself in that situation... You have bills and your income is strictly trading. I don't care how much a robot you think you are or how strongly you believe in probabilities, when you were in an office less than a month ago making almost 6 figures sitting in an air conditioned office knowing direct deposit is on its way every other Friday no matter how well or poorly you performed at work.. Now you're in the hot seat. Its a bottomless feeling. Now all of your friends and families words are ringing in your head. But just like a boxing match.. you gotta take a hit to get a hit. Win some, lose some, shake hands and get back to normal life. Water under the bridge. Mind you: •No guaranteed direct deposit every 2 weeks. •No more medical/dental insurance. •401K retirement is no longer being matched. 11 trades is nothing. You only require ~5.5 trades at 2:1RRR to make it back OR 3.5 trades at 3:1RRR. It's nothing especially in your research because you can easily just scroll a little more and see, "Oh that's just a drawdown. No big deal". How will you react in real time? Will you buckle or choke? But the thing is, I was skipping trades out of fear and JUST so happened to be picking all of the unsuccessful ones. (Decision Fatigue) Think about those 2 weeks of being in a drawdown. Half of the month. You're not just stagnant, your account is bleeding slowly but surely. Next time you're looking at your spreadsheet/backtest/predictive model/research.. try to put yourself in those days of drawdown. It's not just 11 boxes of red with "-1R" or "Loss" in them. The screenshot above on Imgur is just a recent example. Think about your daily routine, going to the gym, hanging with friends, grocery shopping, cooking, going to bed, waking up, doing a routine, then losing again.. and again.. and again. Try to think of life during those 300+ hours (Weekends too) of, "I haven't made money. I've lost money. And I still have bills. After paying them, I'll be closer to my set Risk of Ruin". Here's a lesson you won't learn before going fulltime but I'll do my best to emphasize it here: Pick a strategy. And stick with it. It can literally be anything. Don't spread yourself thin watching 20+ tickers and be a jack of all patterns/tickers. Be a master of 1 pattern and master of 1 circumstance. There's this real thing called "Decision Fatigue" which explains exactly why what happened.. happened. The article explains that the 2 outcomes of this mental strain known as "Decision Fatigue" is:
Sound familiar? Does it kind of make sense now? As a new trader you have YouTube, Facebook, StockTwits, Twitter, "gurus", books recommended on Amazon, all throwing their ideas/strategies around, the market has opportunities littered all over.. Decision Fatigue is inevitable for the unprepared. Decision Fatigue happens in every profession. If you mess up at your 9-5, its just a blunder, your paycheck will remain the same. Just a slap on the wrist and move on. With trading, you make a mistake.. it's less food on your table, lights don't stay on, and/or water isn't running. That pressure adds up. No wonder so many fail... The signs of Decision Fatigue: •Procrastination. •Impulsivity. •Avoidance. •Indecision. When you find what clicks with you AND its either statistically or performance proven, have the courage to risk a healthy sum of your capital into it. There are strategies/patterns/styles of trading littered all over the internet: Very broad example: "IFcircumstance happensTHEN"Execution". Stoploss is XYZ. Target is XYZ.BECAUSEover a series of Y trades, I will make $X,XXX.xx". ProTip #6 :Strategies are all over the internet. It's your account/money, backtest it. People share their strategies here all the time and although I don't agree with them because I know what works for me, it's something to chew off of for you newer traders. YouTube is a harbor with people who give just enough info to figure their style out.You will lose trades. Sit for some screen-time and pay homage to the edge that you discover. All in due time. Insert key metrics and find correlations. This is how you create checks and balances to create/formulate a black and white trading plan. When I first started doing this, my spreadsheet(s) had so many columns it was annoying and would kill my desire to continue working. You'll find things that are imperative and some that are unimportant. For a lack of more colorful terms: "Throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks"Trim the fat. Rinse and repeat.
Here's some things I used to remind myself of and perhaps it'll ring some bells for you:
•Surrender your capital to your edge. If you truly accept the risk and trust your proven edge, losses don't feel like anything nor do profits. Although we're not here to put on losing trades and yes it does feel nice to profit. I still from time to time will excited when I hit target after a series of multiple profiting trades depending on my mood. •If you're nervous or your heart starts beating quicker when you hear the sound effect of a trade getting entered/filled. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you're truly accepting the risk. •Things you can't take to the bank:
Number of trades.
"This one great trade that I hit target in less than 30 seconds and I got filled better than expected"
All of these are integral metrics. But you're trading to make money. It's up or down, green or red, profit or loss, TRUE or FALSE. So with that said, find what works flawlessly and is easy to follow. Checks and Balances. Then allocate a good sum of risk into it. I read it here all the time, "Don't risk too much" and that's great and true for new traders. But don't sell yourself short. Push yourself over the edge and admit that you know your stuff. Think of Trader A and Trader B. If you've put the time in.. don't sell yourself short. You've built enough courage to learn a business so many fail at. This business has such a negative connotation. But remember that not everybody can handle meritocracies and that's exactly what the market is. Don't try to be the best, just work harder than everyone else and the output of your input will be relative. ProTip #7:YouTube trading ads from gurus... they're subconsciously making you think you're a novice trader.It's in their marketing. They study marketing psychology. The EASIEST things to sell:
People that are desperate for those things are the most vulnerable and these "Traders" marketers are fantastic at portraying all 3 of those things at once. •ProTip #8 (Broken record alert) :Write a business plan. Your strategy shouldn't take longer than 4 sentences to explain to another trader. When you have a plan that's proven through a statistic and WAIT for it to happen, you feel100Xbetter taking the trade. You don't even care too much when it results in a loss. Because that was your plan, you accept it much better, and you know it was just an expense for a winning trade. Want my strategy? "I scan for stocks with a market cap of over 250M, 10k shares premarket, gapping to support or resistance, priced over $10, and I look for a pattern biased to the direction of the overnight gap. It isn't rocket science. Check my Twitter, look at the dates I posted, and you'll notice the gist. Yes this is an edge but not the entire edge. How fast can you sift through 15 time frames? How long does it take you to fill out your order ticket? Your Fibonacci time extensions with 5 EMA's and Bollinger Bands aren't helping you. They're lagging. If they work for you, great. In my experience, they hindered my visibility. Pro Tip #9: Yes statistics are highly applicable to trading. Patternsdowork. All patterns do is tell you WHEN to enteexit, and how many shares. Humans will never think differently of money. Be the frontrunner of the market's emotions. Nobody remembers the indecisive leader. Risk taking is a commonality amongst leaders. Trading requires courage and it's O.K. to show a bit of confidence as long as you also have the humility to admit when you're in a bad trade.(Notice how I didn't put, "wrong". You're only "wrong" when you deviate from a proven strategy.) ProTip #10:Risk management is 24/7. I've never heard anyone mention this but think about it a little bit. Having financial obligations can become stressful regardless of how you earn your income but its far more stressful while running a business. Not just any business, but a business where you can go to work on your A-game, do every single last thing right, trade without emotion etc... and still walk away with less money than what you came to work with. Meanwhile somebody who JUST started trading made a 4 figure profit not knowing what the heck the difference betweenETB, HTB, or NTB. Think of it like this, a JV high school baseball player can hit a homerun off of an MLB pitcher once.. but how will he fare at the end of the season? Traders don't predict stock prices, traders predict the outcome over hundreds of trades. People chat me asking what TO do rather than what NOT to do. You don't learn labor intensive jobs or how to fly a plane by what to do.. you learn what NOT to do to stay alive. That's all I have. Once you have a trading plan underway and you're executing it, you don't have much time when your hobbies are cheap but I still do respond to chats/messages. I do get asked from a previous post when I'll build a website and to answer that: I'm learning how to build a site on rainy days. Can't put a definitive date on it. I will say that its coming, if you don't give up on this business in the next year or so, you'll see it. What I plan on putting on there:
Position size Calculators
Dictionary with examples
I just don't want some generic WordPress site. I want my website to be stellar and a great resource for aspiring traders. Something I didn't have learning this business. I want it to be something I'd consider a staple in a trader's resources. Perhaps one day it will be referenced on this sub frequently. FAQ:
"How do you prepare for a trading day?" I get behind the computer about 20 minutes before the bell. Reason being: "If you study long. You'll study wrong". If the chart isn't grabbing my attention and gets me excited, then I flick to the next ticker. I don't even know the companies I trade half the time nor do I care about a news report some journalist wrote. Also there is no magic news outlet that lets you know about "Major events that affect stock prices". If there was, I wouldn't be here because we're all subscribed to the same edge nor would I be trading my style.
"What would you go back to tell yourself?" Get more data. Save a little more, your hairline and sleep schedule will thank you. Take only perfect trades and don't feel forced to trade. There will be days you don't touch an order ticket. And days where you are busy and have tunnel vision. Next thing you know its time to shut it down for the day.
"Books?" - I try to humble myself when answering this but off the cuff, they're all mediocre. Andrew Aziz's was ok, definitely get it, it's only a few bucks on Kindle. Just don't expect it to give you strategies BUT it will give you ideas. If you're brand new, it is good as it will teach you the common vernacular of a day trader. Mark Douglas was interesting but his YouTube seminar recordings are much better. No book, Facebook group, YouTube channel is going to be the end all be all perfect strategy. Expect losses. Don't be a one hitter quitter after suffering a few tiny losses/paper cuts. Stick to it. Most books will help you familiarize yourself with the common vocabulary amongst traders and will hint ideas. It's your job to formulate the strategy and template for research.
"What is your background?" I was a logistics planner for a major oilfield services company. Later I then became a data/buyer analyst so yes, data analytics/research was a 2nd language for me entering trading. I did have that upper hand and did shave off months if not years for me.
"What is a normal day for you?" I'm always done trading after 10:30AM Central. I will hold onto a trade until right before the bell if it hasn't hit either target or StopLoss by the time I leave the house but it is absolutely closed in entirety by 2:55PM Central. After I trade, I enjoy the day. No I'm not riding around in my Lambos posting IG/Snapchat (I have neither) stories of my profits with my private jet waiting on a runway trying to sell an $7 eBook or a $100 membership (HINT HINT). I grill/cook, read, workout, ride my motorcycle, attack my other sources of income (small businesses I'm building), hit the driving range, shoot guns, etc. I live in Texas. Life is cheap and fun here.
"How did you discover your strategy?" I bought TradeIdeas premium, went through all of their computerized backtesting patterns, tested them. Then did what I mentioned earlier... Tried to find correlations in metrics. It distilled the trades to a strict criteria and here I am. I post on average 4-5 tickers on my watchlist. 7 max. I do not like spreading my attention thin across multiple tickers. I do not recommend buying TradeIdeas, it does have lots of bugs.
"What did you do/How did you get started?" Was a data analyst, was good at research and applied it to trading. My incentive was, "I could have made more money trading rather than sitting in 2+ hours of roundtrip traffic and 9 hours in an office. The data is there. Everybody sees the same charts all over the world. There are ways to make this possible"
"What is your % return?"(Not a fun question since a trading account is not an index or investment account. Intraday traders do not measure performance in %) I trade to make money AND pay myself, so my equity curve will look like a small loss or small gain after I pay myself. % return? I measure my account's performance in Sharpe Ratio and Risk Units. My Sharpe Ratio is ~1.85. While I yield roughly .8 - 1 R per trading day. Some weeks I make 10R. Some weeks I lose 2R. Yeah one week I might make $2,500. But the next week I might lose $300. The following week my strategy will yield $0 and the last week I might make $1,000. Some weeks suck. Some weeks are great. But overall. Just shy of 1R per trading day. Some days I'm super busy taking trade after trade. Some days I'll shut it down after 5 minutes without even filling out an order ticket. Some days I won't even see the open because there is no edge for me.. Keywords... "For me".
"Is enough to start trading?" Depends on where you live. Are you restricted to PDT? If not then how much are you obligated to expenses? I live in Texas. Things are cheap here. If you live in NYC or The Bay Area your expenses will be astronomical compared to mine. A $30,000 account is totally doable for a single Texan with low monthly expenses. Now if you're in California or New York? I'm sure you'll fall below 25k if you have 1 bad month. Also depends on if you have other sources of income or a full/part time job. I encourage every trader and aspiring trader to have multiple sources of income, don't rely solely on trading. Not just for the sake of mitigating pressure but also for sanity. If you have a family to provide for, I don't know what that's like, you never know when Little Johnny is going to randomly pick up Trombone lessons for a school program/play while little Suzie needs transmission work in her car because a simple solenoid went out. $1,700 later.
"Why do you need so many monitors?"I use 3 for trading. The 4th is for music. The other 2 are useless while trading. That's for trading though. When I made the decision to go full time, I knew I was about to go off the chain with research. And sifting between spreadsheets, a platform to see multiple timeframes for a pattern to backtest. My attention span is short, I'll lose my train of thought before I open the other tab to input data. But the main reason was for research. It's such a time saver and is a headache repellant when doing research while everything is laid out in front of you. Now that I have a system. I'll most likely be treating myself to 2 ultrawides for Christmas.
As always, thank you to everybody who takes time out to message me and letting me know some people read these and show appreciation. I would say, "Good luck" but there is no luck in trading. Just statistics. Remember that! In conclusion: Yes. Full time trading is possible, depending where you live/monthly expenses and obligations. You're more likely to become a profitable trader than a professional athlete. There is a level of uncertainty each day, perhaps each week, doubtful each month, and definitely not each year. If I ever want a raise, I just consult my business plan and financials, then decide if I can handle it mentally. If you have medical issues, get a part time job for the benefits. If you're healthy, just be careful. All the best! -CJT2013
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Unibet is an all-in-one gambling site. They have a sportsbook, casino, live casino, poker room and bingo hall. I was real impressed with each of their products. While some are better than others, I have no doubt that most of our readers will be happy here regardless of what they want to play. So, if you live in one of the few countries who can play here (which we cover who is and isn’t below), you should really consider it. Read our review from start to finish to see all the reasons why. You won’t regret it.
Who owns and operates Unibet Casino? How long have they been in business?
Unibet is part of the Kindred Group. They’re one of the largest gambling companies online with 13 different brands, one of which is 32Red. And by large, we mean 650+ employees large – which helps them serve the 9.5 million customers they have in 100+ different countries. They got their start back in 1997. So, this year marks their 20-year anniversary.
How’s their reputation? What do others think of them?
It’s pretty good. At first glance, it might not seem so. If you do a Google search for Unibet scam, you’ll come across a few forum posts and reviews that say Unibet has done shady things, such as close accounts on a whim or seize player balances. But I have a couple issues with these accusations – one, there’s hardly any proof; and two, several of these complaints are 2-3+ years old. It’s hard to skewer a company without any proof. And any accusations or complaints more than a few months, maybe a year old, have little relevance today. Once you get past this stuff, though, you’ll see that Unibet has a pretty solid reputation amongst watchdog and review sites. Most of the complaints that went unresolved were a result of Unibet deciding that the identification documents sent in by the player wasn’t good enough, thus they closed the accounts (per their T&Cs). There was one case where AskGamblers.com said they didn’t feel as if Unibet had enough proof the player did anything wrong. They recommended the player go to the gaming authority (Malta) and file a complaint. I can see where AskGamblers.com is coming from. It’d be helpful to see more proof or a more detailed explanation of what these players are doing wrong (ID check-wise). That way maybe players can do a better job of preparing and sending in documents in the future. But with so many customers, I’m sure Unibet has too much on their plate (dealing with fraud and fraud prevention) to justify explaining everything in detail, much less on a 3rd party website. Other than that specific case, I didn’t see anything wrong. In fact, most reports were positive (namely about their fast and consistent cash outs).
Unibet Customer Support
You can contact them using: Live Chat or Email ( [email protected] ). They no longer offer phone support. I have seen reports from others who say they waited 15-20+ minutes to speak to someone via live chat, and 24 hours for an email. But these reports weren’t consistent – your mileage may vary.
Unibet Casino Banking
What payment and cash out methods does Unibet accept?
and 20+ more options!
Min deposits starts at £5. The max is £10,000. For cash outs, the min is around £15, and the max can be as high as £50,000. It just depends on the option you use. >>Register and getfree bonuses<<
Royal Vegas Casino Canada 50 free spins bonus on jackpot games
Royal Vegas Casino Full Review Looking for free spins to Royal Vegas Casino Canada? Here you are: 50 free spins on Mega Moolah Abslolootely Mad Jackpot? In addition, get $1200 welcome offer across your first 3 payments. >>Play Free Spins Now<<
Bonuses & Promotions
We appreciate the bonus and promotional program that this casino has put together for its players for a few reasons. The first is that the site and the program are not overwhelming and packed with a reload bonus here and a reload bonus there and throw in some free spins three times a day as long as you make ten deposits a week. You know, that type of thing… Instead, there’s a standard welcome bonus package that’s nothing different than most that you’ll find through internet casinos. But, what creates some real value add opportunities are the loyalty program plus the limited time promotions. We’re going to detail the current promotion for you in just a minute but, what’s great about it is that there’s no deposit required If you’re on the site to do some betting, you can get in on the action and have some fun participating and spinning the wheel for prizes. It’s frustrating to see some great rewards up for grabs but then read the small print and find out that it’ll cost you hundreds to even get in the running, and that’s not the case here. Play your favorite game and wager as you normally would, and you’re part of the promotion. >>Play Free Spins Now<<
$1,200 Welcome Bonus Package + 50 Free Spins
New players can get in on a three-part reward that includes both a deposit match plus some free spins on three different designated slot games. That’s good news. The not quite as good news is that you have to rollover the bonus 40 times before you can cash anything out. This site offers two types of tracking, though, so you’ll need to get further clarification on meeting any wagering requirement and find out if you’re on a percentage tracking system or in protected bonus mode as it will make a difference.
The Welcome Package
#1: 100% matching bonus up to $400 plus 50 free spins on MEGA MOOLAH
#2: 100% matching bonus up to $400
#3: 100% matching bonus up to $400
Limited Time Promotions
Royal Vegas features a current promotion that runs for about a month or so, and it also provides information on past contests so new players can get a good idea of what to expect in the future. When we checked in, the current promotion was “Wild Wins” with a €300,000 instant prize pool at stake. This is the kind of bonus that we like to see because it’s not tied into a deposit requirement. Those types of things get old. You want some extra value while you’re playing instead of having to fund your player account over and over again. So, the way Wild Wins works (say that three times fast) is that you log in and play your favorite game in the casino. The more you bet, the faster you fill your progress bar with rewards points. Every time you get up to 100% on that meter, you get a spin on the jungle wheel The jungle wheel has prizes that include free spins, rewards points, or a trip to the bonus round where you can get in on the big stuff. They’re all instant prizes, and you can spin as many times as you fill that progress bar. >>Play Free Spins Now<<
Royal Vegas Rewards Program
If you’re familiar with online casino VIP programs, you’ll immediately understand this one. It’s a four-tiered club, and every new player is automatically enrolled as soon as they complete registration of their betting account. The tiers are:
Silver is the starting point and, just to get the ball rolling, new members get 2,500. From there, points are earned based on your betting, with slots providing one point for every credit bet. Some table games provide at a rate of one point per five credits but, when you get to Classic Blackjack and All Aces Video Poker, you need to do some substantial wagering. It takes 100 credits to earn one point when you play those two games. As soon as you earn 10,000 in one month, you hit the Gold status and then you’ll receive a birthday present, accelerated earnings, and a monthly loyalty bonus. Get all the way to Platinum with 75,000 points in one month, and all of those rewards are multiplied significantly. Plus, once you reach 5,000 points you can convert them to cash whenever you want. They exchange at €1 for every 1,000 points redeemed. Cash to points and points to cash.
Money Transfers – In and Out
If you’ve read some of our reviews, you may have noticed that we like full disclosure when it comes to banking. We want to see options right up front for everyone to review and not hidden behind a password so that customers need to register to find out if they can even deposit using their financial accounts. While this casino does provide a good, detailed list of all of the available financial providers that they use for deposits and withdrawals, what it doesn’t provide is accurate information on their turnaround times for processing and any fees that may be imposed. It does say that some fees may apply, and we do know that there is a minimum 24 hour waiting period before an internal approval is made on cash out requests, but that’s the extent of it. We’re putting the focus on this because cash outs with Royal Vegas are one of the most discussed topics in player forums about the casino. You will see some very complimentary comments stating they had money in hand within seven days. But, you’ll also find some people report that they went through a very lengthy withdrawal process and didn’t feel that customer service did much to help them or clarify things. Just like opinions, money issues will vary from person to person so we can’t give a definitive answer here, but you will want to keep this information in mind if you are someone who demands a quick turnaround as you may not find one through this site. >>Play Free Spins Now<<
It’s typical for a casino to have many ways to deposit and fewer withdrawal methods and that is also the case here. But, there are so many withdrawal options that the expanded “cash in” list goes on and on. Unless you are a Bitcoin user, your preferred banking method is surely on this list. The minimum deposit for all of these methods is 10. However, you can sign up with a lower minimum deposit, but then forfeit the free spins that are included in the welcome bonus package. That’s quite a list, isn’t it?! There are some other currency restrictions but just click on banking and then the deposit tab and you’ll be able to review the currency options that specifically apply to you.
There aren’t specific guidelines on payout approvals and fees. The internal approval takes a minimum of 24 hours and could take longer and then it’s in the hands of the payment processor or bank.
Visa Credit Card
Visa Debit Card
Instant Banking by Citadel
CartaSi by Moneybookers
GiroPay by Moneybookers
Solo by Moneybookers
Nordea by Moneybookers
Sofort by Moneybookers
As far as fees, we contacted customer service and were told that any charges depend on the method that you’re using. They don’t have published guidelines, so you will want to keep that in mind. We highly suggest contacting customer service and providing your country, currency, the financial method you’re selecting, and approximate transfer amount and get all of the details up front, so you’re not disappointed later.
Thumbs up to Royal Vegas for providing a great variety that includes specialty, video poker, some unusual table games, and both reel and video slots courtesy of Microgaming. Not all of them appear in the mobile casino, so specialty players need to pull up the full website version.
Audio and Video Quality
As long as you have Flash installed first, the user interface is very easy, and the quality is as good as it gets with these particular titles. We found them to be fast loading and the graphics crisp and clear.
171 games appeared for us on an Android device. While we couldn’t find the specialty games, slots, table games, video poker, and the full live casino area were all ready to go for us with a clear picture and touchscreen operation.
Slots: 350 (148 on mobile)
The slot banks are all together as there aren’t different versions separated out, but you can sort them alphabetically or search for a particular title to quickly locate your favorite. Slots can also be played in free play mode so you can try out some without risking money at the same time.
A Few of the Newer Games Include
108 Heroes – Multiplier Fortunes
Oink Country Love
You can even filter the games with a Hot and Cold designation. If you use that particular function, you’ll get a new list of games with either flames or a snowflake next to them, which is kind of a fun way to narrow down your selections.
Some of the Reel Slots
Bar Bar Black Sheep
Wheel of Wealth
And, what Microgaming is known for, those intricate video slots with amazing graphics and video, and featuring some unusual bonus games.
Jungle Jim El Dorado
Jekyll and Hyde
MegasSpin – Break da Bank Again
Game of Thrones
Wheel of Wealth – Multiplayer
When you talk about slots provided by Microgaming, the focus is usually more on the progressive jackpots as this software giant offers some of the more well-known big money games. Royal Vegas provides a running total of the current combined progressive amounts available on the site. Just in case you were wondering, it was $6.2 million when we last checked.
Mega Moolah Isis
Lots a Loot
Major Millions, Fruit Fiesta, and Lots a Loot each have two versions, a three reel and a five reel but boast the same top payout amounts.
Video Poker: 26 (seven on mobile)
It can get monotonous to talk about video poker as it’s typically not well-represented on online casinos compared to its presence in brick and mortars. When it is online, there are usually only a few of the most basic games like Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild. While this site’s video poker collection isn’t what you would call massive, there are some fun variations that we appreciate, as it gives those poor neglected poker players some choices.
Tens or Better
Deuces Wild 4 Up
Aces and Faces Poker
Deuces and Joker Power Poker
Bonus Poker Deluxe
Aces and Eights
Table Games: 50 (eight on mobile)
When you access the table game area, you’ll see 58 tables as opposed to 50 but that’s because the live dealer tables are also included, and we’re breaking them out so you can get a better picture of what this casino has to offer. A few of the “non live” options include:
Double Exposure Blackjack
Vegas Strip Blackjack Gold
Big Five Blackjack Gold
Multi Wheel Roulette Gold
Three Card Poker Gold – Single Hand
Hold ’em High Gold
European Blackjack Gold Series High Streak
Scratch Cards: 20 (zero on mobile)
Although we didn’t find any of these games on our smartphone, there are plenty of specialty type games on the full website for instant or download play.
Plunder the Sea
Offside and Seek
Dawn of the Bread
Casual Games: 33 (zero on mobile)
Another section that we couldn’t find in the mobile casino, but this casual games section has a lot of variety to it
Four by Four
Whack a Jackpot
Max Damage and the Alien Attack
Pick ‘N Switch
Live Casino: eight (eight on mobile)
Although live casino doesn’t appear in the middle menu where all of the other gaming menu items are featured, there is a live casino selection from the top menu. Oddly enough, though, when you click on it, it takes you to the main slots area. At first, we didn’t think there was a live casino, but when we headed into the table game section, there were eight live tables in action. Except for Live Dream Catcher, the tables in the in this area are provided by Evolution Gaming.
Live Dream Catcher
Private Blackjack (2)
Live Casino Hold ’em
Live Caribbean Stud Poker
Live 3 Card Poker
Contact Email: via contact form
Contact Phone (Canada): 1-866-7452416
Contact Phone (Australia): 1-800-658640
Contact Phone (other areas): different numbers per language in the contact us area
WhatsApp: +27 76 073 9635
Skype: Link on Contact Page
Live Chat: Available 24/7
We did make contact with the customer service department to clarify a few things about their banking minimums and fees. In some forums, we saw that players weren’t answered promptly, but our live chat started within one minute. The most we waited for a reply to one of the questions was three minutes. On the other hand, we weren’t overwhelmed with the quality of the responses. It was like pulling teeth to try to get an answer and, when we did, it was short and barely scratched the surface of what we asked. So, we can certainly understand the frustration that some people experienced, especially if they were trying to get information on a payout they’re owed.
When we look at a casino that features one and only one software provider, it’s difficult to be creative in our assessment. Microgaming is a top company and offers some of the best games around, so slot players who know these games already know what to expect. If you pull up the Microgaming website and look at their top “creations,” you’ll find most, if not all, of them on Royal Vegas, not to mention those big jackpot providers like Major Millions. We do like that this site offers more than just a focus on slots. The specialty games area is chock full of possibilities for people who would rather play something different. There are a lot of players who enjoy keno or bingo or scratch offs, and they’re all set as long as they play the full site version and aren’t mobile casino players. Video poker and table games are plentiful and have a good variety in addition to a suitable quantity. Evolution Gaming is behind the live dealer tables, and it’s one of the best for this type of “real person” table action, so that’s another feather in Royal Vegas’ cap. Taking a look the rest of the service, though, there are some positives and negatives. >>Play Free Spins Now<<
The hunt for Xavier Ligonnès is enough to drive you crazy. It’s like looking for a lost object, a bank card for example, of which we can determine the exact moment of disappearance: we used it to pay, it was there, and the next moment it is not there anymore. Logic dictates that we look for it where we usually store it (a wallet, a handbag), then where it could be (a back pocket of pants, a hall cabinet), and the less we find it , the more we seem to see it everywhere. Faced with absence, the brain constructs images (the credit card in an office drawer, as a bookmark in a book, forgotten on the counter of the last store) but these are fictions or mirages; they encourage further research but they do not provide a solution. Xavier Ligonnès’s apparent volatilization follows the same logic and produces the same effects on the investigation. The more weeks and months go by, the more places to look get smaller. Emmanuel Teneur ends up leading the investigators to the Société Générale agency on Place Royale in Nantes, but the safe he holds there is simply empty. A request for information on Joven Soliman is sent to the security attaché for the French Embassy in the Philippines. He is a sedevacantist priest, a fringe of traditionalist Catholicism who considers the Pope to be an imposter. The attaché transmits the hours of mass where he officiates. A trip to the Philippines is being considered, but that would mean going to the other side of the world to look for a needle in the thousands of islands of the archipelago. If this track has never been closed, nothing has supported it to date. Since we must push logic to the end, the investigators even contact the American authorities to corroborate or contradict the story of protected witnesses told by Ligonnès in his famous letter. The DEA has never heard of the individual, and the liaison officer based at the Miami consulate assures us that his last trip to the United States was in 2003: Ligonnès arrived in Florida on July 18 and left on August 22. The study of his entourage also did not highlight anyone capable of providing false papers to the fugitive, and if he had gone through a criminal network, the police believed that an informant would undoubtedly have warned them to protect himself. Then there are the news reports: the portrait of Ligonnès goes around France, and even if he has undoubtedly changed his physical appearance, his hairstyle, perhaps had even resorted to cosmetic surgery, someone, somewhere, might recognize him one day. After all, that’s how John List, a New Jersey insurance salesman who killed his wife and mother in 1971, was arrested. He waited for two of his children to return from school to coldly shoot them, then attended his youngest son’s football game before shooting bullets through him at home. He evaded justice for 18 years until a co-worker recognized him from a report on America’s Most Wanted. Rarely has a criminal case given rise to as many appeals as that of Ligonnès, because his stalking not only bewitches the police, it torments an entire country. More than 1000 reports, thousands of pages of depositions, letters, verifications. You have to imagine the miles of printed paper that this represents when they are stacked on a desk. The most recent: in July, after the broadcast of a Netflix documentary on the subject in the United States, the producers of the film claimed to have received an interesting lead in Chicago; but it’s just one more drop in the bucket. Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès has been seen in Annecy, Nancy, Cholet, Corsica (several times); on the side of a road, thumbs up, by a French tourist in Las Vegas; disguised as a chimney sweep in Nîmes; in a hotel in Cantal and in a pizzeria where he paid cash in a hurry; seen again in Germany, in Italy, and heard on the telephone by the reception of the psychiatric hospital of Troyes. Since he disappeared looking like the ordinary neighbor, since he was a representative and his profession has taken him to all corners of France, there is no less reason to see him in Mulhouse than in Roche-sur-Yon, and you can simply see him everywhere. Aire de Lançon-Provence in July 2020 Extracts: “It was the same look, except that he looked very sad, in the west, but he had the same glasses as in the photo you are showing me”; “He looked like a man like everyone else, but there was something odd in his eyes;” “Yesterday, around 1:00 pm, I was watching the news on television on the TFI channel. I saw a report where an individual killed his children and his wife before disappearing into the wild. (...) Seeing the gentleman in the photo, I made the connection with the person whom I had crossed Sunday afternoon because he had the same smile.” At the Vauvert tourist office: “I hardly look at the news, but Thursday evening I saw the photo of Mr. Ligonnès, I had the impression of having already seen him, my heart was racing.” Between Carpentras and Avignon, when he comes back from the bakery, the manager of one of Nicolas Sarkozy’s brothers crosses paths with a man with a beige bob, which he is certain is the fugitive. “I flashed,” he says. “For me, there is no doubt. This is him.” Still more letters are sent to the police to offer them help. An amateur astrologer requests a copy of the suspect’s birth certificate to establish a birth chart, a woman in child-like writing recommended a great medium who had helped her find her daughter who had become a junkie in Marseille. A prisoner asked in writing to be sent to Guinea to go hunt him down in the jungle, attaching to his letter a list of the necessary equipment, including infrared glasses and a “samurai sword.” With each letter, with each phone call to report a suspicious individual, investigators attempt to cross-reference the information. They patiently collect the testimonies of the depositors to know where Xavier Ligonnès was seen, if he was accompanied or not, what was his size and his outfit. Inconsistent testimonies or those referring to individuals who are too young (Ligonnès would be 59 years old today) and too small (he measures a little over 1.80 meters) are discarded. For the others, investigators check the CCTV recordings, when they have not been erased and when the cameras have actually recorded on tape. If the person has been spotted pumping gasoline, in a Géant Casino, or in a Courtepaille, they trace the means of payment used and seize the duplicates of bank cards. They give priority to the restaurants, especially the Buffalo Grill, Ligonnès’ favorite establishment. And when the trail is still hot and the dishes haven’t been done yet, they collect DNA from the plates and cutlery. A few months after the start of the investigation, the investigating judge in charge of the case will even be forced to ask them to slow down, the seals starting to take on the appearance of a china cabinet in a large restaurant. The Total service station in Lançon-Provence, July 2020 The PJ of Nantes believed on several occasions to finally have in hand the winning ticket and to be on the point of intercepting Ligonnès. This was the case in Borgo, where a photo taken from the video surveillance of a supermarket in this small Corsican town was very similar. Upon verification, it was only a local. They believed in it even more in January 2018 when they were told that an individual with a strong resemblance to Xavier Ligonnès was at the Saint-Désert Notre-Dame de Pitié monastery near Roquebrune-sur-Argens. About twenty police officers raided and searched the premises until they came across Brother Jean-Marie Joseph, who certainly looked disturbingly like Ligonnès, but who was not him. In still other cases, the police were never able to “close the track,” and it is perhaps Ligonnès who was seen. For example, in Lançon-Provence, April 26, 2011. That day, at 2:44 am, Mahjoub B., a handler by profession, parks his vehicle at the Total service station after the Lançon-Provence toll. He fills up, then goes to the store to pay. On his way, he passes a 45- to 50-year-old man, about six feet tall, who hangs out there between the gas pumps and the store. When he returns to his vehicle, his colleague asks him if he has seen the man, whom he is convinced is the one everyone is looking for, the one who killed his family in Nantes. Mahjoub then takes a new look at the individual, notices that he is wearing glasses, light jeans, that he has brown hair a little graying and a beard of a day. At his feet, four rigid shopping bags, one red, one white, one brown and one whose color he cannot distinguish. Inside the store, employees also noticed the individual. He’s been out for almost three hours. At one point, he walks in to ask for free coffee, as part of a promotion. Behind her cash register, Jocelyne H. notes a detail: he is missing a tooth. “The second on the left, I believe,” she says when heard by investigators. This is information that has never filtered out and yet, it’s true – a little detail, Xavier Ligonnès was missing a tooth. Little by little, the space has filled in, but you can always see it when he smiles. The images from the station’s surveillance cameras are confusing: if this man is not the one we are looking for, it must be his twin brother. At 3 a.m., the cameras show him hitchhiking by a Volkswagen Combi, which investigators quickly find. The driver’s name is Christophe B. He has not heard of the case, and he must be one of the only ones in the country; but Christophe is no longer listening to the news because, he says, “the news is bad all the time.” From the hitchhiker on the night of the 25th to the 26th, he remembers that he “did not smell very good” and that he had a growing beard. They didn’t discuss much. The man simply told him that he was coming from Paris where he had gone to see “his sick old father,” and that he wanted to take the train to Aix-en-Provence. Christophe dropped him off at a motorway exit, the 30 or the 31, between 4 a.m. and 4.15 a.m. The surveillance cameras at Aix train station allow you to get back on track. He is filmed on the forecourt at 6 am, he wears light pants, a dark jacket. He buys a ticket at 1.20 euro, free destination. Then we lose track. Despite all the checks, despite all the cameras, it will be impossible to track this man perfectly resembling Dupont de Ligonnès, who could nevertheless have confirmed that he was, at least on this date, still alive. How can one suddenly evaporate in plain sight, and how could a man who has collected chess all his life accomplish this feat? The XDDL mystery makes it possible to scaffold all the theories. These flourish in books, in docudramas and, of course, on the Internet. We imagine Ligonnès protected by the secrecy of a monastery, flown to the United States, where he can go unnoticed thanks to his English without an accent, or even on the escape alongside a woman he would have manipulated. The police officers in charge of the case do not work on theories or psychological profiles, but according to a scientific approach: they always start from a fact, which opens a track, which they then explore until the end, close, and move on to another. This method is also a way to protect yourself from endless guesswork, or insanity, but it doesn’t always work. Several times, the track looks like a highway towards the fugitive, and the police are convinced that they will finally close this investigation. But they end up stumbling upon the worst thing ever, as was the case with the allusion to Emmanuel Teneur’s sailboat: coincidences. Coincidence number 1. When the Ligonnès C5 was discovered in the Formula 1 car park in Roquebrune, the night watchman informed them that two reservations had been made in the name of Dupont Xavier, one on April 5 and the another on April 14. The hotel manager then specifies that the first reservation was actually made for April 6. That day, however, XDDL was in Nantes, probably digging the grave of Thomas, murdered the day before. Had he thought of accomplishing his crimes earlier or had he reserved a room for an accomplice, who might have been hiding something for him? The videos of April 5 and 6 are no longer available, but payment for the room was made with a Crédit Agricole credit card. The number gives a name, Faiçal E., and an address. Could it be an accomplice? The checks are launched immediately lead to a man who simply used “Dupont Xavier” as an assumed name - like Ligonnès - to book a night in the same hotel, the same year, the same month, within ten days. Coincidence number 2. The liaison officer in Miami launches research around the various aliases used by XDDL, for operations of “mystery shopper” or to stay in hotels. In the FBI file, he finds a certain Xavier Laurent, one of Ligonnès’s favorite nicknames, installed in Jacksonville, north of Florida. Jacksonville is not just any city. This is where Hugues, the cousin of XDDL lived, and it is also this locality that Ligonnès and his friend Michel Rétif declared to customs in 1990 during their trip to the United States. At the very end of the personalized letter sent to Michel on April 8, Xavier Ligonnès seemed to allude to it: “I will think about you there.(Not the right to tell you where, but you went there with me...in November 90…a clue to dig.LOL).” But this Xavier Laurent is another twist of fate: the police come across a certain Evan Shaffer, a petty criminal who has chosen this alias to commit crimes. Coincidence number 3. Ten days before the crimes, XDDL reconnects with a childhood sweetheart, Catherine K., whom he met in Versailles in the 1980s. Between March 22 and 24, they exchange text messages and try to find a date to meet the week of April 12, in Chamonix. These messages intrigue the investigators, some answers seem surprising, almost illogical, and they suspect Ligonnès of having wanted to ensure a logistical relay in his escape. A little later, a certain Patrick O. reports having seen XDDL in the queue of a Sixt car rental agency at Nice airport on April 17, 2011. By peeling the names of dozens of people having rented a car that day, the police officers miss the infarction: in capital letters, white on black, appears the surname of Catherine, who would have rented a vehicle at 1:30 am. A few hours later, their heart rate drops again: it was only a perfect disambiguation. Each coincidence causes the same chain of reactions. First a eureka!, the certainty of having finally found the tiny detail from which to trace everything. The police then cast their nets like fishermen on the high seas, telephone or banking requisitions, requests for listings, identity checks. Then they wait. It can last from a few hours to several weeks, and inevitably it is a burning, nagging wait, tense by the fear that the track will fly away. Finally, there is the immense disappointment and the obligation to face reality again: Xavier Ligonnès is still nowhere to be found, a track has flown again, and we have to hoist the rock up the mountain again. Those who have worked or are still working on the affair strive to maintain a cold, rational, police facade. But little by little, by dint of chasing a shadow - not even a shadow, a ghost - obsession lurks. One of them, a police officer with a professional Protestant pastor, now out of the investigation, still returned until recently to consult the investigation file every week, saying he simply wanted to put the 12,000 pages of documents in order. For a year, a criminal analyst has also been mobilized. He enters all the elements of the file in a software which digests them and spits out, perhaps, new threads to draw. In the meantime, the two police officers who are still following the investigation - one at the PJ in Nantes, one at the OCRVP, in Paris - “live” the case, as their colleagues say. Among these thousands of pages there is no doubt a clue that has gone unnoticed or, better, a lead that has not yet been explored. Track number 1. Who typed “fraternité saint-thomas becket” on Google on April 3 at 11:34 pm, before clicking on a link in the Cité-Catholique forum? Is it the same person who, the same night at 2:01 am, from an iPhone, did the search for “communion state mortal sin,” bringing it to the same forum? On April 8, the user of this phone will in any case send the search engine the request “hello Chacou”, which will lead him (her) again to the Cité-Catholique forum. Chacou was one of the pseudonyms of Xavier Ligonnès. Investigators saw crazier coincidences, but still: can it really be someone other than Xavier Ligonnès, who himself connected to Cité-Catholique almost every day of his escape? The last article published on the site about Saint-Thomas Becket, an ultra-traditionalist fraternity which practices mass in Latin, dates from January 2009. It indicates the name of its founder, Father Jean-Pierre Gac, and specifies this: “Born in the diocese of Blois where there are two communities (…), the fraternity has also extended in the diocese of Toulon - a parish is also entrusted to them in Ollioules.” Ollioules is located six kilometers from La Seyne-on-Mer, where XDDL spent its penultimate known night, and 94 kilometers from Roquebrune. Jean-Pierre Gac was questioned by the police but claimed to have never been in contact with the fugitive. Investigators have always believed in the possibility that Ligonnès took refuge in a monastery in the Var. They considered to search them one by one, before understanding that there are dozens and dozens of brotherhoods and fraternities, that they are not always castles of the Purple Rivers but sometimes simple farms, lost in the hinterland. To mount a search, it would be necessary to ensure that they do not communicate with each other, and therefore to visit them all at the same time. The examining magistrate quickly tempered the fervor of the police and declared the operation impossible. Track number 2. Xavier Ligonnès had two secret Facebook accounts. The first is named after his favorite country singer, Waylon Jennings. One of his nieces had also found him a month before the crimes, sending him a message, “but who is behind this nickname?,” to which XDDL had immediately replied “How did you manage to arrive on the Waylon Jennings Facebook profile? Too clever! Microsoft Advantage??? Kiss.” The second account concerns a certain “George Town” residing in Nantes and is linked to one of Ligonnès’ many email addresses, [email protected]. The police send a requisition to the management of Facebook in Palo Alto to obtain the creation and connection logs of the two profiles. The answer comes in days: the first was created in February 2010, the second in December 2007, when France had barely discovered the social network. Above all, the response indicates that Ligonnès connected to the two accounts on the night of April 4 to 5, between the first assassinations and that of Thomas. The profiles have since been deleted but suggest he could have used them to communicate with a third party. Catherine K., the youthful lover that XDDL contacted a few days before the tragedy, also reported to the police that she had been approached by a certain Philippe Steiner, whom she did not know, around May 20. He sent her a strange message, suggesting that they might have had a relationship in the past. When she went to respond, the profile had already been deleted. Today there are almost 100 Facebook accounts on behalf of Waylon Jennings, some are created and deleted every day. Track number 3. When the Ligonnès family is having their last meal on April 3, 2011, around 9 pm, a young woman walks through the glass doors of the police station on Place Waldeck-Rousseau in Nantes. Originally from a small village near Vannes, Julie is a BTS student and comes to file a complaint: the Twingo that her father lets her drive has been broken into, probably during the night. There was not much inside, but Julie reported the theft of her car radio as well as the vehicle’s logbook, which she normally stored in a small Renault gray faux leather pouch. This same pouch was found on April 22 in the dresser of the Ligonnès living room where Xavier used to store his papers, during the investigation the day after the discovery of the bodies. The police did not follow this track: they put the break-in of Julie’s car on the account of one of the Ligonnès sons, Arthur, who had already been arrested for theft of a bicycle and driving under the influence of cannabis. But why would Arthur have taken the vehicle papers with the car stereo, and why would he put them in the middle of his father’s papers? And if the theft was committed by Xavier Ligonnès a few hours before killing his family, how can this be explained? Was he able to steal other identity papers to facilitate his escape? In this case, it is always about cars. Those imported by XDDL from the United States, the Citroën C5 from the escape, the vehicles he claimed had been stolen over the years: the first at the Brest police station in 1998, while living in Pornic, a second at the same time at the Saint-Nazaire police station, and then again, in Nantes, on May 17, 2006, a Golf convertible finally found then sold a few months later to a mechanic, a friend of Cédric M. Cédric M. is never far away when it comes to cars. He is also a mechanic, that’s how Ligonnès met him in Vannes a few years earlier. He is one of the recipients of the departure letter, therefore a close friend. He was even the first employee of the RDC. Ligonnès regularly went to visit him in Locmalo in the heart of Morbihan, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Nantes. With Cédric and his partner, Renaud, they went to the local creperie. They had lunch there together on March 31, 2011, four days before the crimes. In the village, it is said that Ligonnès took care of the dark accounts of the “guys,” who have quite a reputation. Could he have built up a slush fund there that no one would have found until now? Cédric and Renaud’s garage is not indicated by any sign. It is at the end of a road. In the yard, wrecks of American cars and a goat on a leash. Inside, Renaud is working on a shiny yellow Cadillac. His attitude is confusing. He is angry with the police who have never come to question him when he is, according to him, “the last to have seen [Xavier] alive. But I will not tell you when, because that the date is important,” he adds before returning to his Cadillac, wrench in hand. To date, Renaud has still not been heard by investigators. At the same time, reports continue to flow. Ligonnès seen in Mulhouse, on the four lanes between Saint-Brieuc and Rennes in a Peugeot 308 and overtaking on the right, Ligonnès seen again in Tunis and Toulouse. Ligonnès seen, but never caught. Next Section-Part 2D
https://preview.redd.it/v5bkwbaev5x51.png?width=1850&format=png&auto=webp&s=77e79333c34945a5faa8039338d8343afa2357ce GCLUB as the first live dealer casino in Thailand and Southeast Asia. It started 15 years ago in Poipet, Cambodia streaming live 24hr a day from a real casino. It offers the most played card game in Thailand which is called Baccarat with more than 50 tables along with other popular games such as roulette, Sic-Bo, and Dragon-Tiger. In recent years, it added some table games, electronic games, and online slot games. Pharaoh Slot and Panda Slot are very popular from more than 100 slot games. The opening accounts can be done easily via LINE(messenger) or Telephone. You can top-up via almost all popular Thai banks via an automatic deposit channel. We have new promotions every month such as top-up promotions and offer free games and chances to win real credit. I have been participating in online casino gambling since its inception. It began right around the time that the Internet became a household fixture. Like all gamblers, I've had some great sessions that I'll remember for a long time. You know what I mean, the dealer is busting left and right, I'm drawing five-card 21s, and the stack of chips in front of me gets bigger and bigger. But I've also had horrible sessions where the opposite happened and nothing went my way. It's all part of the game. It's a roller coaster ride that you better be prepared for mentally. The key to long-term success in online casino gambling is to try to smooth out the peaks and valleys to gain some consistency. Sometimes a betting system can really help out. Now a lot of knows what all gamblers might say that he thinks systems are for amateurs. But you'd be doing yourself a huge disservice by engaging in online casino gambling without going in with some sort of game plan first. You see, online casino gambling differs from traditional gaming establishments in a very important way, many times they offer better odds or give you financial incentives just to draw you in as a player. As a gambler, you know that even the slightest variation in odds will affect basic playing strategies for games such as blackjack and Jacks or Better video poker. Because so many of these gambling sites offer incentives you don't really need to put as much to come out ahead. Taking these factors into consideration means that for GCLUB online casino gambling, you can chuck everything you thought you knew about blackjack, slots, roulette, poker, and craps out the window and adapt an entirely different game plan. To develop a sound betting strategy you will need to consult credible reference materials. You can find excellent books and on the Internet that will benefit you greatly. The good news is there are enough math and computer wizards interested in blackjack and other games that we're in no danger of running out of strategy guides tailored to online casino gambling. He sure to make sure whatever system you are looking at that the author, or creator of that system, it is an experienced gambler himself and has shown the system to be credible. What I've discovered is that many of these guys are making money from selling their systems rather than using their own advice to win at online casino gambling. That should give you some idea of how "valuable" their systems really are! Some people make all the money writing about things as opposed to actually doing them. These are the types of people you want to avoid. But if you dig in and do some checking, you'll find that there are a few choice strategy guides out there that are quite effective at helping people earn a fairly steady income from online casino gambling. A great place to look for advice and resources are Internet forums where gamblers gather. Usually, at least one member of the forum has tested a particular strategy guide and would be more than happy to give you an honest review of the system. Once you find a winner, you will no doubt you much better about your chances for success in online casino gambling.
The company is fairly new to the online gambling business, having started in 2008 under Malta’s jurisdiction, although it’s obviously racked some years under its belt already. Now that I think of it, we rarely review sites younger than ComeOn!, probably because you need to see how a site treats its customers for consistent period of time. To make it as an online gambling site, you need to provide years and years of consistently honest and high-quality service to get us to write about you. (We wish some of the other informational gambling sites followed the same principles – when dealing with real money, it’s better to be safe than sorry.) You might assume that ComeOn is diving deeper into the UK market by agreeing to a sponsorship deal with Liverpool – however, the sponsorship is mainly used to promote ComeOn! to Liverpool’s Scandinavian fanbase, which is quite significant considering that John Arne Riise (Norway) and Sami Hyypia (Finland) were important first-team players within the Liverpool squad, and both were in the starting line-up when Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005.
About ComeOn Casino
ComeOn and play! With a name like ComeOn!, you’re already off to a fun start. ComeOn! offers both a Casino and Sportsbook with Live Betting in each, and its name reflects its personality. I was excited to see a fun, lighthearted approach to online gambling. After all, what other casino mentions Shakespeare in their “About” section? The attractive website featuring clever explanations and instructions especially shines through on the promotions page and in the sportsbook. You’ve got enough information to keep you satisfied, but not too much to bore you. The bonuses and rewards offers are abundant, well-organized and explained. The sportsbook has one of the most user-friendly layouts, and that can be tricky when you’re featuring endless numbers. I certainly don’t want to leave out the casino as it features a combination of the top software companies. The result is a total of over 500 gaming favorites including some of the life-changing progressive slot jackpots like the “Megas” – Fortune and Moolah. You’ll also find Hall of Gods, and ten others that you may be familiar with if you’re a slot aficionado. >>Claim Free Spins Here<<
Who Can Play at ComeOn! Casino?
I’m on the UK-version of the casino that offers the most significant variety for players, as some of the gaming is restricted in other geographical areas. Although the site is open to customers from most countries, it does not allow players from the following countries:
I think it’s a benefit when a casino provides games from a wide variety of software companies. It not only boosts the number of games and the variations, but it allows for more of the top progressive jackpots. For example, using both NetEnt and Microgaming allows ComeOn! Slot players access to both of the all-time big money games, Mega Fortune and Mega Moolah. The casino offers selections from Evolution Gaming, Microgaming, NetEnt, Play ‘n Go, Playtech, WMS, and Yggdrasil. The sportsbook features Sports Betting Tech software. There is a list of exclusions in the terms and conditions area that come with each of the companies. Each software developer has its individual licensing and restrictions, so the game catalog will vary depending on where you live. In the case of Microgaming and NetEnt, there are also some specific game restrictions. So, where you may see some of their offerings, a few titles will be removed based on location. The same applies to Sports Betting Tech and the sportsbook access. >>Claim Free Spins Here<<
The Good Stuff
2,000+ Game Casino
Not only are there plenty of gaming options, but I like the combination of the top providers like NetEnt and Microgaming used as players can choose from their all-time favorites in one place. There is a wide range of games for the slot, table game, and video poker players but, specialty games is notably missing from the menu. The addition of some scratch cards, keno, bingo, and parlor games would take the casino to the next level.
If you’re using Skrill or Neteller as your financial method of choice, you can have your cash on hand in about a day. There’s a 24-hour internal processing window. But then, while credit cards and bank transfers could hold up the process for a few more days (or even up to seven), e-wallets have immediate transfer capability. Compared to some sites that take a week or two to pay, a 24-hour turnaround possibility is a considerable benefit.
Highly Recommended For Sports Bettors
Not only is the sportsbook extremely functional and, even the absolute beginner can navigate him or herself around easily, but this operator focuses on promotional opportunities for sports punters and provides an “odds boost” section. Players who use both the sportsbook and casino won’t miss out on anything by having to choose one over the other. The welcome bonus package and other offers aren’t “either or.” Clients can take advantage of all of the offers but just can’t combine the types of betting when meeting a wagering requirement.
The Bad Stuff
While I wouldn’t exactly call the mobile casino “bad,” it was disappointing. While there are plenty of gaming options, just over 400 to be more precise, it lacks the sorting mechanisms and information provided on the full website. A list of promotions isn’t available, and the casino was somewhat challenging. All of the games are grouped together in one area. You can isolate new games and jackpots but, whereas the full website has top-notch filtering, everything is combined on smartphones and tablets. It was surprising that the casino didn’t even separate out table games from slots and video poker. Fortunately, the mobile casino provides an option to pull up the regular website. You won’t then have the best mobile translation of the games, but you will have the ability to get to the promotions and to isolate some gaming possibilities.
This banking requirement came as another surprise to me. It’s extremely rare that a gambling site charge deposit fees unless it’s targeting Americans who don’t have much of choice in the matter. While there aren’t fees imposed for every option, bank transfers, Paysafecards, and Skrill will cost you 5% of your total deposit. Two free payouts per month are available, and then subsequent ones come with a €5 fee each.
The ComeOn! sportsbook is one of the more conveniently laid out books that I’ve come across, especially for new and recreational punters regardless of being on the full site or mobile. Across the top link bar of the sports betting section you have access to live betting, today’s events, and also results. It’s rarer than you might think to have a site that gives you the results of your bets, so it’s nice to be able to find all of that here without having to go to the news or a sports site to get that information if you happen to miss watching your game. The results section allows you to filter by sport, and what time the game or event was (last 24 hours, last 48 hours, last 4 days, or last 7 days). Along the right-hand side of all the pages in the sportsbook section, you can see live scores of popular games in progress. It’s nice to see an online sportsbook doing a little reporting instead of just taking bets and expecting you to go somewhere else for your results and updates. While most of you will be watching the games you’ve bet, it’s still a nice perk in case you get pulled away for something and have to miss the game. With 30+ sports to choose from, you should have no problem getting action on your favorite game. They have all the major sports that you’d expect to see with a quality sportsbook and also some less popular sports like bandy, darts, sailing, and table tennis. We aren’t saying these sports aren’t popular (and awesome), we’re just saying it’s rare to see them on a sports betting site these days. Football matches, especially in England, offer more than 100 markets each and cover everything from Premier League, to Isthmian Premiere and Super League Women. ComeOn! has a ton of specials bets for you to choose from that include politics, Christmas specials, and even the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. This book really gives you the ability to bet on anything that you want. The minimum bet is just 40p, and this bookmaker does impose a £100,000 daily maximum win rule. So, if you’re a higher stakes bettor, grab your calculator and do the math first. That way you don’t lose out on anything above that mark. The interface of the betting section is clean and easy to find the bets you are looking for. When you select a bet, it automatically pops over onto a slip on the right-hand side of the screen. From there, you can input your bet amount, and the program will automatically tell you how much you should expect to get back with a correct pick. You can type in your bet amount or click a plus or minus sign to jump up in convenient increments ($5, $10, $25, $50, $100, etc.). This is nice if you’re looking to get a quick bet in. You can easily add multiple bets to your tickets to create parlays. When you create a parlay with ComeOn! they give you some bonus odds that are a few more percentage points in your favor. It looks like the more teams that you add to a parlay, the higher percentage bonus odds you will receive. This can be anywhere from 1% all the way up to 50% depending on your tickets. With three bets, we got an additional 5% in bonus odds for our bet. One other feature that ComeOn! has that we feel should be industry standard but is not is the ability to switch all of the odds on the site between decimal, fractional, and American. This makes things easy for you in case you like to use a format over another. Some sportsbooks in today’s world still don’t have the ability for you to do this or force you to do it individually for each bet you’re making. Big props to ComeOn! for taking care of this one. Overall, we were big fans of the sportsbook here. It was clean, well laid out, and had an enormous number of betting options to choose from. Their less popular sporting options and crazy specials bets were fantastic to see and not something that you’re going to get with just any book on the web. If you’re looking for a new sports betting home, this could be a slam dunk for you. >>Claim Free Spins Here<<
ComeOn Casino Game Selection
The casino offers over 2,000 games combined in the regular and live dealer areas. Just as with most sites, slots are the primary focus, and ComeOn! provides 1,000 different ones from which to select. If you’re an avid slot player, you’ll recognize most of the names but, there could be a few mixed in to surprise you. What I liked most about this casino are the extended sorting features. The jackpot games are in one section, but you can also search per name or filer them by the software company or via game bundle like “high stakes” or “classics.” Below every game, there’s also a highlighted feature to help you pick the best one for you. It’ll say if there are sticky wilds, win both ways, the amount of the multiplier, high paying, multiple jackpots, 3D graphics, etc. I think those designations not only help new players but the experienced ones as well, find a new game based on what they enjoy most about slot play.
ComeOn Mobile Casino
Just over 400 of the 558 total games are transferred over for playing on the go, but they can be challenging to locate. The mobile casino offers large, colorful graphics, but you have to comb through hundreds of gaming options to narrow down your choices. PLEASE NOTE Oddly enough, there isn’t a separate section for slots, table games, and video poker. They’re all combined. You can access the ten-game jackpot section, but everything else is a mish-mash.
ComeOn Sportsbook Promotions
Usually, I find that gaming sites emphasize promotions for casino players and leave sports bettors pretty much out in the cold. However, on this site, you’ll see more rewards for sports punters. There’s a Free Bet Club as well as ever-changing offers that are posted on the main sportsbook page. Sports bettors are also included in the welcome bonus and limited time promotions. They also have enhanced odds specials to boost the value of the betting experience with comeon.com. >>Claim Free Spins Here<<
When it comes to banking for ComeOn’s customers, there are plenty of options, especially for UK residents. What I was surprised to find, though, was a fee assessed to a few of the deposit methods. Paysafecard is one of them and it doesn’t make sense as to why any charge would be incurred. It’s a prepaid method so, essentially, the player is transferring in cash. The minimums are low, though, so recreational players will be pleased. If you’re looking to deposit the highest amount, you’ll need to opt for a Neteller or Skrill transfer. I would recommend Neteller as it provides for a £8000 deposit and no fees are assessed. There isn’t a bitcoin option, but Apple Pay is one of the accepted payments, and it’s not always easy to find a site that takes it.
Regardless of which financial option is selected, the funds should be immediately available to you in your betting account.
Online Bank Transfer By Skrill
Skrill and Skrill 1-Tap
Withdrawals are processed internally within 24 hours, which is relatively fast. I read through some player forums, and most people backed up that 24-hour window. However, the money will only be in your hands within that period if you opted for Neteller or Skrill as your deposit method. Your payout uses the same system as for deposits and opting for these e-wallets eliminates a lengthy external processing. Regarding fees for payouts, if you do a quick glance at the information table, you won’t see any listed. However, I did note that in a separate area comeon.com publicizes that only two free withdrawals are allowed for every 30 days. After that, there is a €5 charge for all subsequent cash outs.
The customer service department is reachable by live chat or email only. There isn’t a posted email address. You will need to use their prepared form if you don’t like the chat option. As a tip, though, there are some great FAQs hidden in the help area. I searched to find these and came up empty until I clicked the tiny little green question mark on the right side of the screen that I thought would initiate a chat. Instead, I found a comprehensive help section tucked in there including all of the banking information that I previously couldn’t locate either. So, your questions may be answered just by reviewing that information. But, if you do need to get one-on-one assistance, the service agents are known to be fast responding, courteous, and very helpful.
Sometimes it’s not the money it’s the principal. And I truly wish I knew whether or not I can swear in this post because holy heck do I want to unload. I have been playing poker since I was 14, slots not far after, sometimes as hobby, and years at a time as profession. Black Friday for the US crippled me, I was at a point that I was so determined to play the wsop 10k ME that I had 4-5 of the top “Steps tickets” worth 2k each and 1 win away from MAin event entry. Along with that prob 5-10k that I would get approx 1/3rd of back nearly 2 years later. On poker rankings I was consistently top 99%, partly because I played all day everyday, and partly because I was decent. After gov seizures I went on a crazy tilt, downward spiral where I degened away close to 100k of funds. These were any funds I could get my hands on, not all I could really pay, and mostly lost online. I played pokeslots online basically 24/7 for months straight. At the end I hated myself, hated my life, and knew I was effed in the a. But the next 3-5 years of not playing anything I was atleast comforted knowing or feeling like it was myself responsible for my own success, having once turned my very first deposit of 200$ into 22,000$ on full tilt, and unbelievably still $1.86 to nearly $30,000 on poker stars in 3 weeks. However the comfort came from also knowing I was the reason for my own failure and poor poor decision making. Atleast I didn’t feel cheated. Here we are what feels like 10 years later, I did manage to scrap together 1,000$ 5 years ago for a live satty at the rio, and right as the main event started I won a seat. Busted day 2. Pretty much hasn’t played since. Recently my bracelet winning friend got me to follow him around all over the state and neighboring states to check out his slot grind. I quickly got back into it and in downtime turned to gambling online. I struggled so much on the last sites I had known that were still around, but my faith will never waiver from them again. And after the bs I encountered I will never stray again. In any case I stumbled on these shoddily thrown together sites (it seems) such as Planet7 and Coolcat casino to be specific out of a long list of Royalaces, casinoextremes, captain jacks. Now I can’t say for sure the gameplay is rigged, but I will say for the 1000 or 2 thousand of dollars I’ve put into them, I have been able to withdrawl exactly 0$ dollars. When I signed up on coolcat, it was from my phone, when I went to login on my computer, it appeared I had a really old previous account but I couldn’t figure out the password. I have the chat screenshotted when I went to support straight away and told them that I believe I had opened multiple accounts and asked what I need to do, if I could play, and if it could potentially come back to bite me later on. The agent assured me and even transferred me to another who also assured me, I didn’t need to do anything accept stick to the account I was on now, never log into the old one, and only deposit from the one I just contacted them. They happily took my deposits, 1 after another. Until I hit for just under 2k with no bonus restrictions to pull bs with or max cashout to cap my winnings. Over the next 30 days I submitted and re submitted each document they requested. 12 days in the withdrawal was cancelled, and I was informed “since you’re doing BTC withdrawal you actually need to complete this other completely different verification process” 15 more days of pick and chose what documents the new support person would say I was missing and repeat the phrase “please wait 5-7 days for a response” and 5-7 days went and never once did I get a response. I took to complain on several forums as it was very clear my identity matched my account and everything was in perfect working order. The day after my complaint was posted on the forums for the casino to respond.... I go to access the casinos... Suddenly I’m not allowed access to my accounts, my accounts are closed, my funds are taken, and they will tell me this and only this.... “We regret to inform you that your casino access has been revoked. The decision is unfortunately, irreversible. Any casino account can be closed solely at our discretion as part of our policies to ensure game fairness, the safekeeping of company assets, and our third party payment service providers. I nor any of my supervisors can give you any further information or explanation” service provider left the chat That’s it, that’s all, that’s forever it seems what it will be. They happily took my money, confirmed in support that I have the pictures and transcripts of. Heck they even gave me a $50 no deposit bonus when I asked because the chat agent assured me, “I can offer this $50 chip because you have never opened an account here with us” well turns out both Planet7 and coolcat are full of it, and the whole 5-7 days withdrawal is dishonest at best but more likely is a straight up lie. I plead for anyone considering playing there, DONT! In 17 years I have never once been treated in this fashion, what feels like straight up mugged in the streets. I’ve had a gun put to my temple for 30 dollars, and still that doesn’t give me the sinking hopeless feeling of anger and despair this does. Atleast the addict with the gun had to get off his a** and put in the effort to steal my money. Shit had he not brought the gun I’d almost have respect that he got it. This just feels like some prince of Nigeria finally managed to suck me in and scam me, or my windows service tech was actually a Indian scammer all along. Surprised picachu Yet this is the only thing I can do because what the heck else can I do? If I could hire a lawyer, I would spend the money. If I could file complaints I would take the time. If I could deposit again and no I would be able to cashout, I would try to take every dollar, penny, and pixel they are worth until the site disappears. Nothing would make me happier than to put my foot soooooo fing far up there pooper that I’d tickle their tonsils with the tip of my toe.... instead “We regret to inform you that we told you you’d be okay, we gladly accepted your deposits for several months, we happily updated your address when you moved and emailed us updated address verification documents, we cheered when you won, and then we robbed you of every dollar you made.” Oh did I mention “There’s not a single thing you can do about it” Don’t take the risk. If you need legit gambling sites as a us player I can give you several other solid companies that actually care and actually payout and actually want you as a customegamer. You may not get 40090990% percent deposit bonus * (see terms and conditions) 1$ max cashout But atleast you’ll get the full experience of playing.
I’ve been completing some deeply disturbing crosswords
I latch onto specific problems and when I do everything else around me diminishes into nothingness until I complete the task at hand. I line these problems up and solve them, one-by-one, and I find updating the task list awfully difficult. If I am on my way to do a job, breaking off to attend to something else is almost impossible. I once finished buttering my toast before putting out a fire by the stove. I once lost a girlfriend after she trapped her fingers in a food processor, and I quietly went over to the fridge and put the milk away before turning to help her. She couldn’t believe that I hadn’t rushed over straight away, but of course it wasn’t really like that. I was unable to review or address my priorities until my mind had freed itself from the current task. I have to manage these tendencies. And I learned at an early age that it helps to focus on discrete tasks that, if things get really bad, I can remind myself don’t matter. That, at least, limits the anxiety of abandoning them. I have my work and that gets me through the day, but outside of those hours I need other things to pull me through. I can paint and read and they’re involving, for sure, but they don’t tend to have the sense of completion that I get from a simple puzzle. Jigsaws, sudoku, word searches, videogames; these all make up part of it but oddly enough it’s crosswords that have taken over my mind. It started because they weren’t too taxing and if I was pushed to cheat then it didn’t really matter. They let me say things like, “Right, I’ll do 9 across while on the toilet and that’s it.” Like most things I put my mind to, I quickly turned the hobby into an obsessive pursuit of completion. The harder they were, the better. If I had to watch a film, read a book, or even visit a real-life location to get an answer, I would. And I credited it all with pushing me out of my comfort zone in order to experience new things. I would have never watched Breakfast at Tiffanies, read Little Women, or visited the London Museum of Natural History without needing to get answers from them. And they were all new experiences for me, some better than others, but I enjoyed the feeling of expanding my little bubble with each new puzzle. Crosswords, like everything, have communities surrounding them and I even found a few friends online. For some, the compulsion to get obscure answers was a vital lifeline to the outside world, and you’d be surprised at some of the cultures lurking at the fringe. A good crossword is more than just a puzzle, it’s a curated string of experiences picked to evoke a deliberate journey. A common example might be the kind of thing some tourists could use to guide them around a city: Below the Phoenix of a Blinded Saint, 8 down. Resurgam – the answer can be found carved on a stone beneath a statue of a phoenix at St Paul’s Cathedral. But what about something like the following: The final song of a thunderous singer, 5 across. The answer was Toxic, the final song lip-synced by a Drag Queen (Daytona Thunder) at a popular club in Manchester. I went a long way for that one and had a surprisingly good night, albeit one a little outside my wheelhouse. But still, I got the answer and it wasn’t like I’d find it just by reading the forums (posting answers is a big no-no if you want to get into the best clubs). The creator was a well-known Queer academic working out of London who has a popular following in the community. I appreciated their work but perhaps not as much as those by one anonymous Berliner. A companion’s lips tasted through the looking glass, 6 across. Her name was Alice and she was an escort for an agency called Intimate Companions. She was wearing Cherry lip gloss, something I found through a process of elimination. Over the last few years I’ve discovered more about myself than I ever would have at home. I have learned that I can lie very well, that when I know who I am meant to be, who others want me to be, I can be confident and even charming. I have learned that I am not a jealous person, that I am not a vain person, and that there are times when I can be as reckless and adventurous as anyone else. I just need a reason to, a job to complete with routes to success I understand. The name of a one-eyed watchmen’s gun, 12 across. There was a policeman—with two eyes, I might add, but the unfortunate Christian name of Dick—and the answer was the serial number of his gun, converted to letters. That was an odd one, but absolutely invigorating. The crossword had been made with clearly defined geographical boundaries which helped (many of us attended it as a communal event although I largely acted alone), and for a moment I almost thought the policeman was in on the game. Right up until he tried to shoot me. Like I said, the experiences can be invigorating. But the good ones, the really good ones, they can be a struggle to find. You have to be accepted into the right groups, often you’ll be vetted, even tested, but the reward can be worth it. I’ll never forget the day I had a hand-delivered envelope deposited at my doorstep and the anticipation I felt opening it, unknotting the brown twine so delicately tied around the heft. God, some of them even had wax seals. I liked those the most. I found the violet and crimson seals delicious to look at. But they were so, so much more than simple puzzles. A principled affair, 5 down. The headmaster of the local school was having an affair with her sister-in-law, Sarah. It was hard to find that out. It wasn’t exactly public knowledge. Frankly, I had to resort to stalking and it wasn’t a good look, but it was a new experience nonetheless and the few times I nearly got caught were quite exhilarating. But what was truly amazing was that this was at the school just a few blocks from my house! You have to understand, it wasn’t just a template handed out to everyone. I still don’t know how big any of these communities really are but I imagine they’re quite small and involve people from all over the world. It was truly remarkable to think someone had laboured over a tailor-made puzzle just for me. There are quite a few groups I belong to now. Some aren’t even organised online, instead requiring that you ferret them out, sometimes as clues in other puzzles, sometimes as their own elaborate games. But there are always more to be found and in the best circumstances, they find you, choosing you out of all the people in the world to rise to the challenge at hand. The right ones will push you to do things you never thought possible. A baker’s jewels, 7 down. Harriet Baker who died in 2012 at the age of 86 and was buried with an emerald necklace in the local graveyard. I still have it, kept away somewhere in a special drawer along with news clippings of the crime. It even has some of the soil from the grave still muddying its shimmering gems, and admittedly they do still smell a bit. But I bet that I know something most people don’t, and that’s what happens to little old Grandma five years after being sealed up in a box beneath the Earth. Not just the abstract, either. I know the specifics, I know exactly what she looks like, smells like, and even what her cold lumpen flesh feels like. I spent years as a child wondering what happened to the many relatives of mine who passed away, but it was an adult I finally found the answer. People have lived their whole lives looking down on me. Teachers assumed I was slow at learning, my parents mourned that I cared more about organising my wargaming miniatures than I ever did about girls or friends, everyone around me treated me like I was a timid mouse in a world of thundering giants. But I’ve lived a more exciting life than they could ever imagine, and it hasn’t been in spite of who I am. Only someone like me could pursue these clues to such dogged ends and I gladly take the bad with the good. The colour of the tea plates served by the Biellier Historical Society, 9 up. Don’t let the name fool you. The Society is a private organisation for some rather unusual gentlemen who serve tea after their annual conference is finished. Crazy bastards, I can see why they need a drink once they’re finished and I’m not surprised half of them didn’t take a seat during refreshments. I’m just not sure I’ll ever look be able to look a farm animal in the eye again. Oh, and turquoise, by the way. That was the answer. I know things very few people know. That’s a rare privilege and, like I said, it comes with a price. It would be ridiculous to think one might look upon the fraying edges of our world without having to face some uncomfortable sights. And you might think the worst of it is a leather-bound orgy in a dungeon or perversions you can safely find on Wikipedia, but there are other lingering truths buried in the Earth and I am one of the few who have seen them. There is always more to learn, always another word to find, another puzzle to complete. And I have come a long way in my education since I first received that letter on my doorstep years ago. The inheritor of Maeson’s oldest home, 6 down. Albert. Albert was the named inheritor of the first house built and designed by obscure architect Harold Maeson. It was not, as almost everyone first expected, the current owner’s first born son named Alexander, but instead the old man’s male sexual interest Albert who was a rather unwilling 17 year old. Perhaps the old man thought it made up for his actions towards the boy he had kept around as a family friend for years, disguising his abuse as mentorship. Either way it caused a tremendous uproar and poor Albert wasn’t exactly thrilled to have his face all over the papers. No one could have possibly known he would be the inheritor. The will was written up in total secrecy, something I spent considerable resources finding out. Credit where it’s due, the old man put up a fight but his death was the only way I would get my answer. I can’t speak for others, but I found the experience quite a revelation. I felt as if I’d learned profound hidden knowledge, a truth about reality found in the glassy bloodshot eyes of a man violently dying. There’s something in there, you know, something that lies just beneath our own reality. I saw a glimmer of it that night, just like I had so many others before it. It’s quite beautiful, a confusing glittering mess of contradictions and unknowable madness. It is, by definition beyond our ability to every truly know but you can still see facets of it, one bit at a time. It’s beautiful. But… well, it’s not always so painless. The missing piglet counted right to left, 5 up. Eight. That was the answer. I spent all night researching fairy tales and children’s rhymes only to fall asleep at my desk sometime around 2 in the morning. When I awoke I had been moved to the sofa and my left foot was raised on the armrest and bandaged heavily. The whole tingled from anaesthesia and it wouldn’t be until noon before I could walk on it again. Anxiously, I undid the white swaddle of blood-tinged gauze and winced at the sight of my mutilated foot. The middle toe on my left foot had been amputated cleanly, the wound sewn up neatly like a cross-stitched grin. Counting right to left, I noticed it was the eighth toe missing and I have to admit I pumped my fist in the air and rejoiced at having the answer. But the experience caught me off guard, and it might not surprise you to know that I have since looked into slowing down and maybe even taking a short break from this hobby. I’ve had to manage these tendencies in the past and I suppose this one should be no different. But there have been some difficulties. For one thing, they won’t stop sending new puzzles to me and it’s all but impossible for me to ignore them. And for another, the clues are becoming increasingly pointed. A sea of white and flakes of gold to flood a castle of ivory, 6 down. Cereal, right? That’s what I thought, at least until I had the unpleasant surprise of discovering a needle hidden in my cornflakes. That, it turned out, was the correct answer and I was lucky to catch it before it wound up anywhere near my mouth. The thought of that thing sliding down my throat or catching in the roof of my mouth, spearing the gum and cartilage, left me riddled with an ever-growing anxiety. Clubs have pushed things in the past, boundaries take a backseat when it comes to pursuing the absolute limit of knowledge. But it felt like such an odd inclusion for the latest puzzle, one that didn’t necessarily teach me anything. If I had the ability to trace it to a single group I might have a better sense of what it was meant to mean, but then again anonymity was always kind of the point. The currency of a strategic withdrawal, 3 up. I initially thought of the military, but in fact the answer was Yen and it turned out that around £50,000 worth of them had been withdrawn from my account (by myself, somehow) at the bank. God knows how that was possible, but it happened and there’s not a lot I could really do about it. I’ve written to some of the groups but as far as I can tell they’re playing coy. I am sorry, one replied. But our puzzles are sent out as part of a weekly newsletter via e-mail. We’re not sure we’ve ever offered bespoke crosswords but we’d be fascinated to hear more if there’s anyone out there who does. It’d interest quite a few of our members, myself included. I received similar variations to this message from just about every organisation I had listed in my ledger and frankly I found the suggestion ridiculous. I’d always assumed those newsletters were part of a front, making it appear as though the focus was on banal little puzzles about obscure military defeats while secretly directing us to brothels and illegal casinos. It made sense, perhaps, that they would maintain the ruse but an acquaintance I called wasn’t exactly reassuring. “Well of course they’re a front,” he said. “Don’t you get the packages? I’ve had a few seedy adventures with those!” “Oh that’s good!” I laughed while breathing a deep sigh of relief. “I was beginning to think… well, I’m not sure what I was thinking.” “Oh yes the packages are very real,” he replied. “The Spring edition was quite a naughty affair, don’t you think?” “Invigorating,” I smiled. “I didn’t even know where to buy a burlap sa—” “Strawberry!? Can you imagine? The Mrs and I had a delight trying out the different flavours.” “What?” “Oh come now man, no need to be shy. It’s quite normal to use… lubricant,” he whispered it like a dirty secret. “Agnes suggested we try it on toast!” I hung up with his laughter still bellowing down the other line. My Spring edition of our shared club was not anything like his. I told myself that it made sense it wouldn’t, they were meant to be custom made for each participant, but it alarmed me to hear that his activities were so dreadfully banal. Most of the clues in that edition had directed me to the consumption of a range of meats including something I scraped off the side of a suspension bridge. Nothing my friend had said to me rang true. Rightly, I should have stopped there. But… but the thing is… it was never really an option, not then and not now. I’m sure you think it’s a silly compulsion or anxiety but it’s not. I can’t do it. It’s simply not in my nature especially not now I know that God-knows-what could be lurking around the corner. I’ve explained this to myself and others before – I am task focused. I needed to finish the job at hand. PO Box 19777, open it from within, 9 down. I found the box with ease but there was no key nor any means to open it from within. Whatever the rationale was behind the puzzle, I thought at the time that the whole affair was beginning to frustrate me. I didn’t see any significant challenge to tracing the address, aside from finding the key which, it would turn out, was very much part of the clue. In fact, I’m still not entirely sure how they did it. I awoke to a sort of gagging sensation one night, dreaming that I had swallowed a tangle of wet hair. Only the terrible retching sensation wasn’t entirely dreamed up. Tied to my canine was a line of floss that I painfully had to pull up from my stomach. It was unnecessarily long, spooling out of my throat in a bloody tangle for a good few metres while I vomited and cried from the struggle. It took nearly half an hour to inch it out while I choked and retched but eventually I regurgitated the key, collapsing afterwards to the floor to heave and sob as I recovered. There was a teddy bear in the locker and I didn’t find it particularly amusing. And, yes, okay, there was a mild satisfaction to getting the answer, but the rest of me was filled with a deep begrudging. I felt like the punchline to a joke that wasn’t funny. A starry orchid’s window of choice, 7 down. The answer was eyeball, and it turns out the consumption of the flower in question causes bloody secretions from the tear ducts, not to mention renal failure. It wasn’t easy to explain that one away, and I didn’t much appreciate the stay at a hospital. The price for that answer may one day be dialysis, but for now I hope that I may still see myself clear of such things. The doctors couldn’t say for sure what the chances were. At the very least I hoped that I might find some respite while interred in a hospital bed, but if anything it made things worse. I was not prepared to be incapacitated for so long with the knowledge that the puzzle was but one clue from completion. I was itching furiously for the last few days, and my doctors were confounded by the state of my heart and were blind to the other tell-tale signs of anxiety. There would be no rest for me until I had finished the puzzle and I swore to myself, swore blind on my mother’s grave, that it would be the last. If things got much worse, I reminded myself, it might not be me who decides what will be my last puzzle. When I arrived home it was with the kind of relief I never thought possible. I am forever learning more about myself and those first few steps through the front door made it clear to me I was in the thrall of some kind of addiction. No matter what the price was, I told myself over and over again that I would pay it and move on. I would change addresses if I had to or pay someone to physically slap the damn pencil out of my hand if I went to complete another crossword! God knows I have the money. I will climb this final hurdle, I told myself, and see it through. And yet… I don’t know. I half-expect there to be some ghoulish double-entendre hiding in the words but for the life of me I cannot see one. It seems more like a hideous joke - one I don’t really understand. I have a possible word choice and it certainly fits but… It’s been weeks and I can’t bring myself to write it in. This is the final clue! The final step at the end of this increasingly desperate adventure and I can’t figure it out. I’m half-tempted to say that I won’t see another answer because I don’t want to finish it. That might be it, surely? I’m an addict. I’ll admit that all too readily and this wouldn’t be the first time I took things too far. It’s just… The handwriting these clues have been written in, 4 down. I keep expecting some terrible interpretation to come true, to find a severed hand by my door, or to awake missing most of my fingers. It’s a strange thing but I have come to find myself ruminating often on the look in the old man’s eyes. For while I am sure that I saw something terrible and beautiful deep within the popping veins of those suffocating retinas, it had not occurred to me until now that something was looking back. And it’s waiting for me to write in the final answer, though God knows it must be wrong for it simply cannot be possible that the answer is ‘mine’.
Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis. Figuring out how to divide the COVID-19 content from the “regular” news has been difficult because the pandemic is influencing all aspects of life. Some of the stories below involve the virus, but I chose to include them when it fits into one of the pre-established categories (like congress or immigration). The coronavirus-central post will be made again this Thursday-Friday; the sign up form now has an option to choose to receive an email when the coronavirus-focused roundup is posted. House-keeping:
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Let’s dig in!
Congress passes stimulus
Last week started out with a Republican-crafted stimulus bill that was twice-blocked by Senate Democrats, who objected to the lax conditions of aid to corporations, too little funding for hospitals, and a $500 billion “slush fund” for big companies to be doled out by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin with no oversight. Conservative-Democrat Joe Manchin (WV) even criticized the GOP bill:
“It fails our first responders, nurses, private physicians and all healthcare professionals. ... It fails our workers. It fails our small businesses… Instead, it is focused on providing billions of dollars to Wall Street and misses the mark on helping the West Virginians that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.”
Through negotiations, Democrats shifted the bill in a more-worker friendly direction. The version that passed includes the following Democrat-added provisions: expanded unemployment benefits, $100 billion for hospitals, $150 billion for state and local governments, direct payments to Americans without a phase-in (ensuring low-income workers get the full amount), a ban on Trump and his children from receiving aid, and oversight on the “slush fund” (see next section for more info). Senate Democrats also managed to remove a provision that would have excluded nonprofits that receive Medicaid funding from the small-business grants.
Further reading: After Senate Democrats blocked the Republican-crafted bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the House Democrats in releasing their own version, a best-case scenario of their dream coronavirus stimulus bill. It is interesting to contrast what the Democrats prioritized to what the Republicans focused on: “How the House Democrats' stimulus plan compares to the Senate's”
Echoing sentiments expressed during debate on the previous coronavirus bill (the second, for those keeping track), Republican senators derided the $600 a week increase in unemployment payments as “incentivizing” workers to quit their jobs. Sens. Ben Sasse (Neb.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) delayed passage of the bill in order to force a vote on an amendment removing the extra unemployment funding. "This bill pays you more not to work than if you were working," Graham said. Fortunately for American workers, the amendment failed and the improved bill passed the Senate and the House.
Note: In 2009 only three Republicans helped Obama pass his stimulus bill in his first month in office.
The giveaways in the bill
While Senate Democrats were able to add worker-friendly provisions, the bill still required bipartisan support to pass the chamber and some corporate giveaways remained in the final version.
NYT: “Senate Republicans inserted an easy-to-overlook provision on page 203 of the 880-page bill that would permit wealthy investors to use losses generated by real estate to minimize their taxes on profits from things like investments in the stock market. The estimated cost of the change over 10 years is $170 billion.”
NYT: “...if a company owns multiple hotels, even if the overall hotel or restaurant chain has more than 500 employees — the limit to qualify for treatment as a small business — it will still be able to take advantage of the small-business benefits offered in the rescue package. ...The provision could benefit the Trump Organization, which operates a relatively small chain, with six hotels in the United States in cities including New York, Washington and Chicago.”
“A provision for the FDA to approve ‘innovative’ sunscreens—which would benefit L’Oreal, which has operations in Kentucky—appeared in the bill, which was steered in the Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.”
“The $25 billion allocated in loans and loan guarantees for the airlines will also benefit eligible businesses "approved to perform inspection, repair, replace, or overhaul services, and ticket agents.” The last two words — ‘ticket agents’ — mean that travel agents who book flights will also be able to apply for a piece of the $25 billion.”
“The credit reporting industry got a win by defeating a total ban on negative credit reports during the crisis. Instead, a watered down version made it into the final bill: Consumers wouldn't get a negative credit report if they have an agreement with a lender to delay payments or make partial payments.”
Trump’s signing statement
While signing the latest coronavirus relief bill, the president also issued a signing statement undercutting the congressional oversight provision creating an inspector general to track how the administration distributes the $500 billion “slush fund” money. The newly-created inspector general is legally required to audit loans and investments made through the fund and report to Congress his/her findings, including any refusal by the executive office to cooperate. In his signing statement, Trump wrote that his understanding of constitutional powers allows him to gag the special IG:
"I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the [inspector general] to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required" by Article II of the Constitution.
The signing statement further suggests that Trump does not have to comply with a provision requiring that agencies consult with Congress before it spends or reallocates certain funds: "These provisions are impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement with respect to the execution of the laws," the statement reads. While some have said that Congress fell short in this instance, one Democratic Senate aide told Politico that Congress built in multiple layers of oversight, including “a review of other inspectors general and a congressional review committee charged with overseeing Treasury and the Federal Reserve's efforts to implement the law.” Legal experts have pointed out that a signing statement is “without legal effect.” But that ignores the fact that oversight is not equal to enforcement. The problem, in my opinion, isn’t that Congress won’t be notified of any abuses of power by Trump. The problem is that congressional Republicans and the judiciary have largely failed to hold him accountable and enforce our laws even after learning of his abuses.
Concerns about the IG
Another potential weakness in the oversight structure is the inspector general position itself. The special inspector general for pandemic recovery, known by the acronym S.I.G.P.R., is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. As we’ve seen from Trump’s previous nominees, particularly judicial, many unqualified individuals have been confirmed. The Democrats will not have the power to stop the president and Mitch McConnell from jamming through a loyalist to fill the SIGPR role.
Former inspector general at the Justice Department Michael Bromwich: “The signing statement threatens to undermine the authority and independence of this new IG. The Senate should extract a commitment from the nominee that Congress will be promptly notified of any Presidential/Administration interference or obstruction.”
You may recall that Trump has already proven that he’s willing to interfere with the legally-mandated work of an inspector general. When the Ukraine whistleblower filed a complaint last year, the IG of the Intelligence Community, Michael Atkinson, investigated and determined the complaint to be “urgent” and “credible.” Atkinson wrote a report and gave it to Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to hand over to Congress. However, the White House and DOJ interfered and instructed Maguire not to transmit the report to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. Chairman Adam Schiff had to subpoena Maguire to turn over the report and testify before his committee. Further, there are already five IG vacancies in agencies that have a critical role in responding to the pandemic. The Treasury itself has not had a permanent, Senate-confirmed IG for over eight months now, and Trump hasn’t nominated a replacement. The Treasury Dept. has taken a lead role in the coronavirus response, with Secretary Mnuchin handling most of the negotiating with Congress on Trump’s behalf. The fact that the lead agency doesn’t have IG oversight should be troublesome in itself; replicating the situation with a special IG doesn’t seem to be a promising solution.
The other four coronavirus-related agencies without a permanent IG: Department of Health and Human Services’ IG has been vacant for nine months, Department of Defense’s IG has been vacant for four years, Department of Education’s IG has been vacant for one year, and Office of Personnel Management’s IG has been vacant for four years. Overall, there are twelve IG vacancies in the 37) presidentially-appointed offices.
UPDATE: The nation's inspectors general have appointed Glenn Fine, the Pentagon's acting IG, to lead the committee of IGs overseeing the coronavirus relief effort.
This is one of several oversight mechanisms built into the new law. They include: A committee of IGs (now led by Fine), a new special IG (to be nominated by Trump), a congressional review panel (to be appointed by House/Senate leaders)
Included in the stimulus bill is a $1200 one-time direct payment for all Americans who made less than $75,000 in 2019 (less than $150,000 if couples filed jointly). More details can be found here. I have read that the Treasury will use 2018 information for those who have not filed yet this year, but I am not 100% sure that’ll happen. Mnuchin has said that Americans can expect to receive the money within three weeks, but many experts expect that timetable to be pushed into late April. Additionally, that only applies to Americans who included direct deposit information on their 2019 tax returns. Those who did not include their bank’s information will have to be sent a physical check in the mail… which could take anywhere from two to four months. Other options are being discussed, including partnering the Treasury Dept. with MasterCard and Visa to deliver prepaid debit cards. Venmo and Paypal are reportedly lobbying the government to be considered as a disbursement option. Future payments? House Speaker Pelosi is already planning another wave of direct payments to Americans, saying that the $1,200 is not enough to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic: “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of direct payments.” Republicans, meanwhile, are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, using the next couple of weeks to measure the impact of the $2 trillion bill passed last week.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “What concerns me is when I listen to Nancy Pelosi talk about a fourth package now, it’s because she did not get out of things that she really wanted...I’m not sure you need a fourth package...Let’s let this work ... We have now given the resources to make and solve this problem. We don’t need to be crafting another bill right now.” For the fourth legislative package, Democrats have said they would like to see increased food stamp benefits; increased coverage for coronavirus testing, visits to the doctor and treatment; more money for state and local governments, including Washington, D.C.; expanded family and medical leave; pension fixes; and stronger workplace protections.
Trump’s signature Normally, a civil servant signs federal checks, like the direct payments Americans are set to receive. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Trump has told people that he wants his signature to appear on the stimulus checks.
War on the poor continues
Amid the coronavirus crisis, Trump has defended his continued support of a Republican-led lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which would result in 20 million Americans losing health insurance if successful. The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the case this fall. Contrasting with his position that the ACA is illegal, Trump is considering reopening enrollment on HealthCare.gov, allowing millions of uninsured individuals to get coverage before potentially incurring charges and fees related to COVID-19. Joe Biden called on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the charge against the ACA, and President Trump to drop the lawsuit:
“At a time of national emergency, which is laying bare the existing vulnerabilities in our public health infrastructure, it is unconscionable that you are continuing to pursue a lawsuit designed to strip millions of Americans of their health insurance and protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the ban on insurers denying coverage or raising premiums due to pre-existing conditions.”
The Trump administration is also pushing forward with its plan to kick 700,000 people off federal food stamp assistance, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The USDA announced two weeks ago that the department will appeal Judge Beryl Howell’s recent decision that the USDA’s work mandate rule is “arbitrary and capricious." Additionally: The Social Security Administration has no plans to slow down a rule change set for June that will limit disability benefits, the Department of Health and Human Services still intends to reduce automatic enrollment in health coverage, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will continue the process to enact a rule that would make it harder for renters to sue landlords for racial discrimination.
Lawmakers’ stock transactions
The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are beginning to investigate stock transactions made ahead of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. CNN reports that the inquiry has already reached out to Senator Richard Burr for information. “Under insider trading laws, prosecutors would need to prove the lawmakers traded based on material non-public information they received in violation of a duty to keep it confidential,” a task that won’t be easy. Sen. Burr is facing another consequence of his trades: Alan Jacobson, a shareholder in Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, sued Burr for allegedly using private information to instruct a mass liquidation of his assets. Among the shares he sold were an up to $150,000 stake in Wyndham, whose stock suffered a market-value cut of more than two-thirds since mid-February.
Using the pandemic as cover, the Trump administration has begun to more aggressively roll back regulations meant to protect the environment. These are examples of what Naomi Klein dubbed “the shock doctrine”: the phenomenon wherein polluters and their government allies push through unpopular policy changes under the smokescreen of a public emergency. On Thursday, the EPA announced (non-paywalled) an expansive relaxation of environmental laws and fines, exempting companies from consequences for pollution. Under the new rules, there are basically no rules. Companies are asked to “act responsibly” but are not required to report when their facilities discharge pollution into the air or water. Just five days before abandoning any pollution oversight, the oil industry’s largest trade group implored the administration for assistance, stating that social distancing measures caused a steep drop in demand for gasoline.
Monday morning update: In an interview with Fox News this morning, Trump said he was going to call Putin after the interview to discuss the Saudi-Russia oil fight. A consequence of this "battle" has been plummeting prices in the U.S. making it difficult for domestic companies (like shale extraction) to turn a profit. It's striking that the day after Dr. Fauci told Americans we can expect 100,000 to 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 (if we keep social distancing measures in place), Trump's first action is to talk to Fox News and his second action is to intervene in an international tiff on behalf of the oil and gas industry.
Gina McCarthy, who led the E.P.A. under the Obama administration, called the rollback “an open license to pollute.” Cynthia Giles, who headed the EPA enforcement division during the Obama administration, said “it is so far beyond any reasonable response I am just stunned.” The EPA is also moving forward with a widely-opposed rule to limit the types of scientific studies used when crafting new regulations or revising current ones. Hidden behind claims of increased transparency, the rule would require disclosure of all raw data used in scientific studies. This would disqualify many fields of research that rely on personal health information from individuals that must be kept confidential. For example, studies that show air pollution causes premature deaths or a certain pesticide is linked to birth defects would be rejected under the proposed rule change. Officials and scientists are calling upon the EPA to extend the time for comment on the regulatory changes, arguing that the public is unable to express their opinion while dealing with the pandemic.
“These rollbacks need and deserve the input of our public health community, but right now, they are rightfully focused on responding to the coronavirus,” said Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Other controversial decisions being made:
A former EPA official who worked on controversial policies returned as Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s chief of staff. Mandy Gunasekara helped write regulations to ease pollution controls for coal-fired power plants and vehicle emissions in her previous role as chief of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. In a recent interview, Gunasekara, who played a role in the decision to exit the Paris Climate Accord, pushed back on the more dire predictions of climate change, saying, “I don't think it is catastrophic.”
NYT: The plastic bag industry, battered by a wave of bans nationwide, is using the coronavirus crisis to try to block laws prohibiting single-use plastic. “We simply don’t want millions of Americans bringing germ-filled reusable bags into retail establishments putting the public and workers at risk,” an industry campaign that goes by the name Bag the Ban warned on Tuesday. (Also see The Guardian)
Kentucky, South Dakota, and West Virginia passed laws putting new criminal penalties on protests against fossil fuel infrastructure in just the past two weeks.
The Hill: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Friday that it will extend the amount of time that winter gasoline can be sold this year as producers have been facing lower demand due to the coronavirus. It will allow companies to sell the winter-grade gasoline through May 20, whereas companies would have previously been required to stop selling it by May 1 to protect air quality. “In responding to an international health crisis, the last thing the EPA should do is take steps that will worsen air quality and undermine the public’s health,” biofuels expert David DeGennaro said.
NYT: At the Interior Department, employees at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been under strict orders to complete the rule eliminating some protections for migratory birds within 30 days, according to two people with direct knowledge of the orders. The 45-day comment period on that rule ended on March 19.
WaPo: The Interior Department has received over 230 nominations for oil and gas leases covering more than 150,000 acres across southern Utah, a push that would bring drilling as close as a half-mile from some of the nation’s most famous protected sites, including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks… if all the fossil fuels buried in those sites was extracted and burned, it would translate into between 1 billion and 5.95 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide being released into the air. That upward measure is equal to half the annual carbon output of China
Press freedom case Southern District of New York District Judge Lorna Schofield ruled that a literary advocacy group’s lawsuit against Trump for allegedly violating the First Amendment can move forward. The group, PEN America, is pursuing claims that Trump “has used government power to retaliate against media coverage and reporters he dislikes.” Schofield determined that PEN’s allegation that Trump made threats to chill free speech was valid, providing as an example the White House’s revocation of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press press corps credentials:
”The threats are lent credence by the fact that Defendant has acted on them before, by revoking Mr. Acosta’s credentials and barring reporters from particular press conferences. The Press Secretary indeed e-mailed the entire press corps to inform them of new rules of conduct and to warn of further consequences, citing the incident involving Mr. Acosta… These facts plausibly allege that a motivation for defendant’s actions is controlling and punishing speech he dislikes.”
Twitter case The president suffered another First Amendment defeat last week when the full 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals declined to review a previous ruling that prevents Trump from blocking users on the Twitter account he uses to communicate with the public. Judge Barrington D. Parker, a Nixon-appointee, wrote: “Excluding people from an otherwise public forum such as this by blocking those who express views critical of a public official is, we concluded, unconstitutional.” Trump-appointees Michael Parker and Richard Sullivan authored a dissent, arguing the free speech “does not include a right to post on other people’s personal social media accounts, even if those other people happen to be public officials.” Park warned that the ruling will allow the social media pages of public officials to be “overrun with harassment, trolling, and hate speech, which officials will be powerless to filter.” Florida’s felon voting U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ripped into Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s administration for failing to come up with a process to determine which felons are genuinely unable to pay court-ordered fees and fines, which are otherwise required to be paid before having their voting rights restored. “If the state is not going to fix it, I will,” Hinkle warned. He had given the state five months to come up with an administrative process for felons to prove they’re unable to pay financial obligations, but Florida officials did not do so. The case is set to be heard on April 28 (notwithstanding any coronavirus-related delays).
ICE, Jails, and COVID-19
ICE One of the most overlooked populations with an increased risk of death from coronavirus are those in detention facilities, which keep people in close quarters with little sanitation or protective measures (including for staff). Last week, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ordered the federal government to “make continuous efforts” to release migrant children from detention centers across the country. Numerous advocacy groups asked for the release after reports that four children being held in New York had tested positive for the virus:
“The threat of irreparable injury to their health and safety is palpable,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in their petition… both of the agencies operating migrant children detention facilities must by April 6 provide an accounting of their efforts to release those in custody… “Her order will undoubtedly speed up releases,” said Peter Schey, co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the court case.
On Tuesday, 13 immigrants held at ICE facilities in California filed a lawsuit demanding to be released because their health conditions make them particularly vulnerable to dying if infected by the coronavirus. An ACLU statement says the detainees are “confined in crowded and unsanitary conditions where social distancing is not possible.” The 13 individuals are all over the age of 50 and/or suffering from serious underlying medical issues like high blood pressure.
“From all the evidence we have seen, ICE is failing to fulfill its constitutional obligation to protect the health and safety of individuals in its custody. ICE should exercise its existing discretion to release people with serious medical conditions from detention for humanitarian reasons,” said William Freeman, senior counsel at the ACLU of Northern California.
Meanwhile, ICE is under fire for continuing to shuttle detainees across the country, with one even being forced to take nine different flights bouncing from Louisiana to Texas to New Jersey less than two weeks ago. That man is Dr. Sirous Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor from Iran, who was acquitted last year on federal charges of stealing trade secrets. The government lost its case against him, yet ICE has had him in indefinite detention since November.
Asgari, 59, told the Guardian that his Ice holding facility in Alexandria, Louisiana, had no basic cleaning practices in place and continued to bring in new detainees from across the country with no strategy to minimize the threat of Covid-19...Detainees have no hand sanitizer, and the facility is not regularly cleaning bathrooms or sleeping areas…Detainees lack access to masks… Detainees struggle to stay clean, and the facility has an awful stench.
Jails State jails are making a better effort to release detained individuals, as both New York and New Jersey ordered a thousand people in each state be let out of jail. The order applied only to low-level offenders sentenced to less than a year in jail and those held on technical probation violations. In Los Angeles County, officials released over 1,700 people from its jails. A judge in Alabama took similar steps last week, ordering roughly 500 people jailed for minor offenses to be released to lessen crowding in facilities. Unlike in New York and New Jersey, however, local officials reacted in an uproar, led in part by the state executive committee for the Alabama Republican Party and Assistant District Attorney C.J. Robinson. Using angry Facebook messages as the barometer of the community’s feelings, Robinson worked “frantically” to block inmates from being released.
Reuters: As of Saturday, at least 132 inmates and 104 staff at jails across New York City had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus… Since March 22, jails have reported 226 inmates and 131 staff with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a Reuters survey of cities and counties that run America’s 20 largest jails. The numbers are almost certainly an undercount given the fast spread of the virus.
Tribe opposed by Trump loses land
On Wednesday, The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs announced the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s reservation would be "disestablished" and its land trust status removed. Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell called the move "cruel" and "unnecessary,” particularly coming in the midst of a pandemic crisis. Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.), who last year introduced legislation to protect the tribe's reservation as trust land in Massachusetts, said the order “is one of the most cruel and nonsensical acts I have seen since coming to Congress.” The administration’s decision is especially suspicious as just last year Trump attacked the tribe’s plan to build a casino on its land, tweeting that allowing the construction would be “unfair” and treat Native Americans unequally. As a former casino owner, Trump has spent decades attacking Native American casinos as unfair competition. At a 1993 congressional hearing Trump said that tribal owners “don’t look like Indians to me” and claimed: “I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations” to gambling. More than his past history, however, Trump has current interests at play in the Mashpee Wampanoag’s planned casino: it would have competed for business with nearby Rhode Island casinos owned by Twin River Worldwide Holdings, whose president, George Papanier, was a finance executive at the Trump Plaza casino hotel in Atlantic City.
In the Mashpee case, Twin River, the operator of the two Rhode Island casinos, has hired Matthew Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a vocal Trump supporter, to lobby for it on the land issue. Schlapp’s wife, Mercedes, is director of strategic communications at the White House.
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