Betting on Politics at William Hill - BangTheBook

Betting on today's US Election has 'smashed all political betting events' say William Hill

Betting on today's US Election has 'smashed all political betting events' say William Hill submitted by t44s to politics [link] [comments]

A punter has placed a £400,000 bet on a No vote in the Scottish independence referendum in what is believed to be the largest political bet ever staked, bookmaker William Hill has revealed.

A punter has placed a £400,000 bet on a No vote in the Scottish independence referendum in what is believed to be the largest political bet ever staked, bookmaker William Hill has revealed. submitted by ionised to unitedkingdom [link] [comments]

A man has placed a £400,000 bet on a No vote in the Scottish independence referendum in what is believed to be the largest political bet ever staked, bookmaker William Hill has revealed.

submitted by ionised to worldnews [link] [comments]

Putting an asterisk on every VFL/AFL premiership ever

Recently there's been a bit of a debate around the traps concerning this 2020 season and whether or not the eventual premiership should have an asterisk next to it. And that's a silly debate, because of course every VFL/AFL premiership ever can have an asterisk next to it. Just pick and choose the asterisks that you personally believe should exist:
Year Premier Reason this premiership gets an asterisk
1897 Essendon didn't even have a Grand Final
1898 Fitzroy general clusterfuck
1899 Fitzroy too much rain
1900 Melbourne Melbourne winning the flag from 6th so bullshit they changed the final system in response
1901 Essendon umpiring error gives Essendon the semi-final 'win' - should have been Fitzroy in the GF
1902 Collingwood season tainted by Essendon's 'Goodthur' controversy
1903 Collingwood Collingwood's captain was called "Lardie" that's not even a real name
1904 Fitzroy Crapp umpiring
1905 Fitzroy MCG too wet and soft
1906 Carlton fake Grand Final, was just the prelim in disguise
1907 Carlton fake Grand Final, was just the prelim in disguise again - also illicit Geelong pre-season affair with the VFA's Richmond clearly taints the whole season
1908 Carlton Essendon clearly psychologically scarred by vicious Fitzroy riots
1909 South Melbourne Argus system 'challenge match' is kinda bullshit
1910 Collingwood season tainted by Carlton bribery scandal
1911 Essendon season tainted by player expenses shenanigans
1912 Essendon rules tinkering: players have to be branded with numbers on their backs so that fascist 'Stewards' can report them - I mean what is this, the Napoleonic occupation of Iberia???
1913 Fitzroy silly finals system allows Fitzroy to play St Kilda again in the GF after losing to them in the prelim
1914 Carlton Jamieson illegally in the back of Bollard, South robbed, #justice4bollard
1915 Carlton comp too imba after University pulls out
1916 Fitzroy wrong for spooners to also be premiers
1917 Collingwood season compromised by WW1
1918 South Melbourne Carlton too distracted by the Allies thumping the Kaiser to perform well
1919 Collingwood season clearly unbalanced by the winless Melbourne having their first professional season (ie. with paid players) eight years after the rest of the comp
1920 Richmond a player debuts in the Grand Final for Richmond and plays a key part in the result? that's too implausible to be true
1921 Richmond Richmond's season tainted by ball-stabbing incident in R7
1922 Fitzroy season tainted by Richmond fans death-threating an umpire into retirement
1923 Essendon Grand Final played on Caulfield Cup day? that's not even close to September
1924 Essendon nonsense round-robin finals system that was immediately scrapped
1925 Geelong compromised draw with the three expansion teams
1926 Melbourne Collingwood into the GF without winning any finals - a contrived win for Melbourne
1927 Collingwood GF the lowest-scoring match in 20th or 21st centuries, not good enough to count as a real GF
1928 Collingwood Pies players under a bribery cloud
1929 Collingwood Pies hoarding all the goals and premiership points actually the cause of the Great Depression? #wakeupsheeple
1930 Collingwood Geelong defeats Collingwood in the Preliminary Final but the Pies get to go again because the Argus system is a joke
1931 Geelong R6 was played in two halves, either side of R7 and R8? you can't count 1931! how do we know who even really won?
1932 Richmond uh... Melbourne playing three games for premiership points at the Motordrome and losing all three clearly tainted the season in ways we can't fully appreciate
1933 South Melbourne Bloods deviously importing so many players from WA they should be called the "Swans"
1934 Richmond I mean technically Richmond kicked more goals on the day but that's no match for Bob Pratt's 150 goals in the season
1935 Collingwood Bob Pratt taken out by a brick truck the Thursday before the GF and you can't prove it wasn't a Collingwood player driving the truck
1936 Collingwood Gordon Coventry rubbed out for 8 weeks and missed finals but clearly he was just a fall guy and they should have suspended the whole team
1937 Geelong Sellwood? Hawking? Abbott? if the Cats were going to time travel modern champions back to take the cup at least they should have come up with better fake names
1938 Carlton MCG 12,000 over capacity? some people actually watched the game from on the grass inside the fence? well that's just unsafe
1939 Melbourne rules tinkering: VFL trying to get holding the ball called more often - now you can't just drop the ball when tackled!
1940 Melbourne if you don't think St Kilda winning the Patriotic Premiership was the real premiership that year then you might as well go kiss A-dolf Hitler's boot
1941 Melbourne season compromised by WW2
1942 Essendon season compromised by WW2
1943 Richmond season compromised by WW2
edit: Methuen's suggestion - Jack Broadstock shouldn't have been on the field: went AWOL in order to play and was arrested by military police before Jack Dyer intervened
1944 Fitzroy season still compromised by WW2 (no MCG)
1945 Carlton Bloodbath
1946 Essendon some of the Bombers' record 11 third-quarter goals have to be fake, it's statistics
1947 Carlton season clearly should have been called off in shame after the Big V went down to WA in Tasmania of all places
1948 Melbourne clearly the season should have ended on the drawn Grand Final, 69 to 69
1949 Essendon Coleman kicks his 100th goal for the season in the concluding minutes of the GF - a story stolen directly from Jack Titus in 1940, you have to ask what else was faked about Essendon allegedly 'winning' this premiership #fakenewsflag
1950 Essendon Essendon's captain was the biggest Dick ever to play Aussie rules
1951 Geelong Coleman set up by Caspar
1952 Geelong season tainted by weather so wet and muddy they had to introduce white balls mid-season
1953 Collingwood Cats' full-forward caught having an affair and forced out of the team, they then lose the GF and you can't prove it wasn't a Collingwood player in disguise sent to seduce him
1954 Footscray season tainted by Fitzroy betting scandal
1955 Melbourne Melbourne's kamikaze tactics
1956 Melbourne season compromised by accommodations for the Olympics
1957 Melbourne allowing everyone to compete for the night series clearly tainted the real finals somehow
1958 Collingwood MCG bias
1959 Melbourne uh-oh, Essendon implementing a special high performance training regime, sounds suss
1960 Melbourne Melbourne shouldn't have been able to play a Grand Final with no opponent, that's clearly unfair
1961 Hawthorn just the expansion teams playing, doesn't really count
1962 Essendon medical shenanigans
1963 Geelong whole of round 11 postponed due to weather, season obviously invalid after that
1964 Melbourne Fitzroy clearly should have won the premiership: their lay down misère (zero wins, #1 worst offence and #1 worst defence) was clearly the highest bid
1965 Essendon crowd support drove the Dons to the prelim win and a GF berth after a brutal attack off the ball on one of their players but was it a false flag operation?????
1966 St Kilda timekeeper was a big St Kilda fan you say? oh sure, we can toootally trust that the siren was correctly sounded in this close fought St Kilda game
edit: showmanic also suggests St Kilda kicking the ball out of bounds deliberately (legal until 1969) to use up time at the end of the match
1967 Richmond competition clearly unbalanced by players wanting to play for the Galahs rather than compete for the premiership
1968 Carlton too windy
1969 Richmond VFL tinkering with the dang rulebook again to try to boost scoring: now you get a free kick if the opposition kicks it out of bounds on the full??
1970 Carlton Syd Jackson probably should have missed the game through suspension
1971 Hawthorn R21 Fitzroy v Carlton played in zero-visibility fog clearly a sign of interference by ghosts, season should have been abandoned
1972 Carlton too many goals
1973 Richmond take your pick of option 1, cheap hits and punches take out three Carlton players or option 2, Francis Bourke and Royce Hart not supposed to be playing but played anyway
1974 Richmond Tiges tainted by R7 brawl at Windy Hill
1975 North Melbourne season ruined by pointless rules tinkering: bizarre, wacky centre 'square' introduced to replace sturdy, traditional centre diamond
1976 Hawthorn pre-equalisation era resource disparity: Hawthorn had a complete monopoly on former captains tragically about to die from cancer at too young of an age as a source of motivation, North Melbourne forced to rely on just wanting to win the premiership
1977 North Melbourne rare second-ever drawn GF clearly contrived for the advantage of the first TV broadcast
1978 Hawthorn political interference: North Melbourne supporters clearly too exhausted from booing Malcolm Fraser in R20 to effectively encourage the team to victory
1979 Carlton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6orWbfMkWDI&t=8s
1980 Richmond bottom of the ladder Fitzroy had more points for than top of the ladder Geelong? clearly a fake season
1981 Carlton Garry Sidebottom misses the bus
1982 Carlton Carlton illicitly obtains special powers from Helen D'Amico
1983 Hawthorn Morwood/Foschini transfer clusterfuck making a mockery of VFL transfer rules - plus the Big V goes down to both SA and WA, just call off the season already
1984 Essendon season destabilised by breakaway competition rumours
1985 Essendon season tainted by biff: Lethal breaks Neville Bruns' jaw, John Bourke for the Pies reserves gets suspended for 10 years and 16 matches
1986 Hawthorn illegal Tasmanian bank account
1987 Carlton compromised draw with the new expansion teams
1988 Hawthorn compromised draw with the new expansion teams
1989 Hawthorn illegal Tasmanian bank account
1990 Collingwood replay of drawn Pies v Eagles QF pushes back whole finals schedule, disadvantging Essendon
1991 Hawthorn take your pick of option 1, you can't play a legitimate GF at Waverley or option 2, match tainted by Bound for Glory
1992 West Coast Vic teams get their zones taken away and a foreigner team wins as a result #AntiVicBias
1993 Essendon Baby Bombers bust their way through the salary cap
1994 West Coast rules tinkering: arbitrarily changing the length of quarters from 25 to 20 minutes
1995 Carlton Diesel Williams the recipient of not only payments outside the salary cap but also one of the first ever racial vilification charges
1996 North Melbourne West Coast forced to play 'home' semi final at the MCG
1997 Adelaide psychological warfare: Port Adelaide entering the comp and blasting innocent ears with their terrible club song - Crows unfairly advantaged by being already partly immune to Port bullshit - alternatively steroids in the AFL
1998 Adelaide Crows somehow allowed to win flag from 5th on the ladder edit: and while losing their first final, just like Carlton the next year
1999 North Melbourne finals system is so shit that Carlton finishes 6th, loses first final, yet progresses to semi-finals where they play West Coast who are once again forced to 'host' a semi at the MCG - Blues make it to the GF where they're rolled by Norf
2000 Essendon season compromised by accommodations for the Olympics (and retrospectively, Lions' intravenous saline scandal and Carlton's salary cap breaches)
2001 Brisbane Lions Lions' intravenous saline scandal (and retrospectively, Carlton's salary cap breaches)
2002 Brisbane Lions six games not involving Carlton forcibly moved to Princes Park after Carlton moves games to Docklands - meanwhile Carlton wins the spoon and then has their salary cap cheating exposed, fuck 2002 Carlton basically - also Adelaide forced to 'host' a semi-final at the MCG
2003 Brisbane Lions all the non-Vic teams made finals #AntiVicBias
2004 Port Adelaide Brisbane forced to 'host' home prelim at the MCG - also because Port's win triggers insufferable debates about whether to count SANFL Port's flags
edit: lbguitarist's suggestion - St Kilda's PF momentum ruined by ground invasion after the G Train's 100th
2005 Sydney Barry Hall escaping suspension after the prelim
2006 West Coast druuuuugs
2007 Geelong 1) Cats commit murder in broad daylight and get away with it, 2) disgraceful Melbourne v Carlton spoonbowl with priority draft pick at stake, 3) 'Guttergate'
2008 Hawthorn morally bankrupt Hawthorn triple team Fev to stop him also getting to 100 goals
2009 Geelong take your pick of option 1, season tainted by Melbourne's tanking or option 2, Hawkins hitting the post
2010 Collingwood St Kilda robbed in broad daylight and the police did nothing about it
edit: NitroXYZ's suggestion - St Kilda robbed of momentum by replaying the GF the following week rather than playing extra time, replay replaced with extra time from 2016 season onwards
2011 Geelong tainted by Meatloaf and the lavish Gold Coast concessions
2012 Sydney season tainted by Essendon doping regime and the lavish GWS concessions
2013 Hawthorn season tainted by revelation of Essendon doping regime
2014 Hawthorn Brendon Bolton coaches Hawks to five wins from five games while Clarko out with Guillain–Barré syndrome yet nobody tests Bolton to see if he's some kind of cyborg or superman (though clearly swapped back for the real human version to go coach Carlton)
2015 Hawthorn treatment of Adam Goodes puts a stain on the whole comp
2016 Western Bulldogs umpiring so biased the AFL had to apologise for it
2017 Richmond THEY'RE WEARING THE WRONG JUMPER
edit: NitroXYZ's suggestion - Cats forced to play 'home' QF at their opponent's home ground; veryparticularskills' suggestion - Cotch dodges suspension after PF
2018 West Coast Sheed played on
edit: PyrrhicNicholas' suggestion - Maynard was blocked
2019 Richmond Gilstapo intimidation
2020 ? pandemic-affected season
submitted by spannr to AFL [link] [comments]

Lost in the Sauce: DHS hides intelligence that reveals Trump using Russia's playbook, again

Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis.
Housekeeping:

Trump’s playbook is Russia’s playbook

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in July withheld an intelligence bulletin warning of a Russian plot to spread misinformation regarding Joe Biden's mental health. The bulletin, titled “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of U.S. Candidates to Influence 2020 Election,” was blocked by the office of acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf on July 9.
  • The bulletin states that analysts had “high confidence” in their conclusion. However, a DHS spokesperson tried to defend the “delay” in issuing the document by saying it did not meet the agency’s standards. This is curious because just a week later, on July 16, DHS circulated a bulletin on anarchists in Portland that officers admitted they had “low confidence” in. Why was the Russia memo held back but the Portland one released?
  • Trump has been pushing the same line of attack against Biden for months - yet another instance of Russia and Trump operating from the same playbook. For instance, in March Trump said there was “something going on” with Biden; in June Trump ran selectively edited ads asserting that Biden is “unfit to serve as Commander in Chief”; last month Trump ran a digital ad portraying Biden as perpetually confused and mentally unstable. Most recently, Trump said questions about his own health are only in the news because “they want to try and get me to be on Biden's physical level."
DHS is just the latest agency in the Trump administration to erode election security, following actions by the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) last month. DNI John Ratcliffe announced he was ending in-person congressional briefings on election security ahead of November and AG Bill Barr removed a leading career official at the Justice Department’s national security division, replacing him with an inexperienced political appointee.
The ODNI’s decision to halt congressional election briefs may have been influenced by top White House officials. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, among others, have repeatedly discussed in meetings with staff and with Trump “how to restrict and control the flow of information on such sensitive topics to Capitol Hill.”
One White House official told The Daily Beast that Meadows has for months been wary of the type of briefings on Capitol Hill that Democratic sources can potentially use to try to make Trump look bad through surreptitious leaks to media outlets.
Meanwhile, interim Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Marco Rubio (R-FL) said last week that his committee will be granted an exception to the ODNI’s new policy and continue to receive in-person briefings from top U.S. intelligence officials about election-security issues. This essentially means that only Democrat-led committees have been cut out of the process ensuring election security.
House Democrats wrote to Ratcliffe insinuating if his office does not provide the previously scheduled briefings this month they will issue subpoenas and/or defund the ODNI in the appropriations bill due by the end of the month. Read the letter here.
In addition to attacks on Biden’s health, DHS has determined that Russia is seeking to “amplify” concerns over the integrity of U.S. elections by promoting allegations that mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud. Intelligence analysts say this strategy has been underway since at least March, coinciding with Trump’s own assaults on mail-in voting.
  • For instance, in March Trump said if he agreed to funding vote-by-mail expansions in the first coronavirus stimulus bill, the U.S. would see “levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again” (clip). Fact check: Neither party has historically benefited. On April 7, at the White House press briefing, Trump claimed: "Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they're cheaters… They're fraudulent in many cases" (clip). Fact check: There is no evidence that mail ballots are dangerous or fraudulent.
At a White House press briefing on Friday, Trump denied there is any proof that Russia poisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Instead of backing the German government's analysis of Nalvany's illness, Trump then redirected the criticism from Russia to China (clip).
"I don't know exactly what happened. I think it's tragic. It's terrible; it shouldn't happen. We haven't had any proof yet, but I will take a look. It is interesting that everybody is always mentioning Russia - and I don't mind you mentioning Russia - but I think probably China, at this point, is a nation that you should be talking about much more so than Russia. Because the things that China's doing are far worse.”
Trump then went on to say he’s “taken stronger action against Russia than any other country in the world,” but added “I do get along with President Putin” (clip).
  • RELATED: Leaked notes obtained by the Telegraph say that when Theresa May asked for Trump to take a strong stand after Russia poisoned Sergei Skripal, Trump replied “I’d rather follow than lead.” He pushed May to “put together a coalition” first.
The Trump administration plans to deport a Russian national living in America, a move experts say is in response to a politically motivated request by Russia. Gregory Duralev was persecuted by the Russian state for exposing corruption. He fled to America and applied for asylum in 2015. While waiting for a decision on his application, he was arrested by ICE and jailed for nearly 18 months. His case is now in court.
“DHS has acted no better than the Russian authorities,” Duralev said. “They simply fabricated charges against me for violations I never committed — and if DHS can trump up charges against immigrants with impunity, nobody can guarantee they won’t start doing it” to regular Americans. “So that’s the main message I now hope to send.”

Michael Cohen & Peter Strzok

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok has a book coming out called “Compromised.” In it, he alleges that FBI investigators came to believe it was “conceivable, if unlikely” that Russia was secretly controlling President Trump after he took office:
“We certainly had evidence that this was the case: that Trump, while gleefully wreaking havoc on America’s political institutions and norms, was pulling his punches when it came to our historic adversary, Russia,” Strzok writes. “Given what we knew or had cause to suspect about Trump’s compromising behavior in the weeks, months, and years leading up to the election, moreover, it also seemed conceivable, if unlikely, that Moscow had indeed pulled off the most stunning intelligence achievement in human history: secretly controlling the president of the United States — a Manchurian candidate elected.”
He now says he doesn’t believe that Trump is literally a Russian spy: “I don’t think that Trump, when he meets with Putin, receives a task list for the next quarter,” Strzok said, referencing the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. “But I do think the president is compromised, that he is unable to put the interests of our nation first, that he acts from hidden motives, because there is leverage over him, held specifically by the Russians but potentially others as well.”
In an interview with Politico, Strzok confirms that he and then-deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, opened a counterintelligence case on the president, but that it likely was never pursued. Two weeks ago, NYT reported that Rosenstein secretly closed it.
As if there weren’t enough political books coming out this summefall, Michael Cohen is releasing his, called “Disloyal: A Memoir.” The following a couple of quick takeaways:
Cohen says that he, Trump, Aras Agalarov, Emin Agalarov, and others, watched a strip show in Las Vegas where one performer simulated peeing on another performer, who pretended to drink it. Trump reportedly reacted with “delight.” Aras Agalarov, a Russian real estate mogul, is a trusted associate of Putin and reportedly served as a liaison between Trump and the Russian president during Trump’s trip to Moscow.
WaPo:
On Russia, Cohen writes that the cause behind Trump’s admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin is simpler than many of his critics assume. Above all, he writes, Trump loves money — and he wrongly identified Putin as “the richest man in the world by a multiple.” Trump loved Putin, Cohen wrote, because the Russian leader had the ability “to take over an entire nation and run it like it was his personal company — like the Trump Organization, in fact.”
...According to Cohen, Trump’s sycophantic praise of the Russian leader during the 2016 campaign began as a way to suck up and ensure access to the oligarch’s money after he lost the election. But he claims Trump came to understand that Putin’s hatred of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, dating to her support for the 2011 protest movement in Russia, could also help Trump amass more power in the United States.

USPS & mail voting

According to a Washington Post report yesterday, Postmaster Louis DeJoy engaged in campaign money laundering, also called a straw-donor scheme, at his former logistics business. Five of his former employees told WaPo that they were “urged” to donate to politicians in North Carolina and would be paid back through bonuses from DeJoy. Such a plan would allow DeJoy to illegally circumvent campaign donation limits.
“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” said David Young, DeJoy’s longtime director of human resources, who had access to payroll records at New Breed from the late 1990s to 2013 and is now retired.
“He would ask employees to make contributions at the same time that he would say, ‘I’ll get it back to you down the road,’ ” said [another] former employee.
...A Washington Post analysis of federal and state campaign finance records found a pattern of extensive donations by New Breed employees to Republican candidates, with the same amount often given by multiple people on the same day. Between 2000 and 2014, 124 individuals who worked for the company together gave more than $1 million to federal and state GOP candidates. Many had not previously made political donations, and have not made any since leaving the company, public records show.
More than one million mail-in ballots were sent late to voters during the 2020 primary elections, an audit by the USPS IG’s office determined. Most of the ballots were late, the USPS says, because local election boards sent the ballots to voters at the last minute. Official press release.
[The audit] found the problems during primaries had been most pronounced in Kentucky and New York, where a combined 628,000 ballots were sent out late. In 17 states, the audit found, more than 589,000 ballots were sent from election boards to voters after the state’s ballot mailing deadline. In 11 states, more than 44,000 ballots were sent from election boards to voters the day of or the day before the state’s primary election.
One particularly troubling situation, auditors found, unfolded in Pennsylvania, where 500 ballots were sent to voters the day after the election.
Furthermore, only 13% of the ballots were mailed with the recommended bar code tracking technology.
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) was blocked from attending two scheduled tours of USPS facilities last week. Local Postal Service officials informed her and union leaders waiting to accompany her into the building that national USPS leadership had directed them to bar the group from the building. A Postal Service spokeswoman said they simply needed more notice for a tour.
Many states, including important battleground states, are not legally permitted to process mail-in/absentee ballots until Election Day, leading to concern that results will be delayed by days or weeks. For instance, in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan election officials cannot even begin processing ballots until Election Day. Processing involves opening envelopes, flattening ballots to run through the scanning machine, and prepping for the scanning.
"When voters have to wait so long for results, it erodes trust in the process and leaves room for partisan bad actors to dispute the will of the people," said Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, a nonprofit organization.
AG Bill Barr made three stunning false claims about mail voting during an interview with Wolf Blitzer last week. First, Barr wouldn’t even acknowledge that voting twice is a crime - because just hours earlier, Trump encouraged his North Carolina supporters to vote twice to “test” the state’s mail-in voting system (clip).
BLITZER: It sounds like he’s encouraging people to break the law and try to vote twice.
BARR: It seems to me what he’s saying is, he’s trying to make the point that the ability to monitor this system is not good. And it was so good, if you tried to vote a second time you would be caught if you voted in person.
BLITZER: That would be illegal if they did that. If somebody mailed in a ballot and then actually showed up to vote in person, that would be illegal.
BARR: "I don't know what the law in the particular state says.”
BLITZER: You can’t vote twice.
BARR: "I don't know what the law in the particular state says.”
Then, Barr tried to assert that foreign countries could fake ballots, but when challenged he admitted he had no evidence (clip).
BLITZER: You’ve said you were worried that a foreign country could send thousands of fake ballots, thousands of fake ballots to people that it might be impossible to detect. What are you basing that on?
BARR: I’m basing — as I’ve said repeatedly, I’m basing that on logic.
BLITZER: Pardon?
BARR: Logic.
Finally, Barr cited a supposed incident of mail-in voting fraud in Texas. Too bad it doesn’t exist.

The payroll

Charles Rettig, the Trump-appointed IRS Commissioner who has refused to release President Trump’s tax returns, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars renting out Trump properties while in office. Rettig makes $100,000 - $200,000 a year from two units at Trump International Waikiki. When first nominated, Rettig failed to disclose his financial ties to Trump Waikiki. When questioned by Congress, he did not directly answer concerns about the properties.
CREW: With Trump’s name removed from some buildings as it began to hurt property values, we can only imagine how toxic it would become if a bombshell in his tax returns were released. Which means the IRS Commissioner has a vested interest in the success of the Trump brand—and of preventing anything that could damage it.
Voice of America staffers say Trump appointee Michael Pack is threatening to wash away legal protections intended to insulate their news reports from political meddling. Since arriving, Pack has fired the network's leaders, pushed out agency executives, refused to approve allotted budgets, and refused to renew visas for foreign employees.
  • Further reading: “Deleted Biden video sets off a crisis at Voice of America,” Politico.
Pack suggested the staff he fired and foreign journalists he essentially kicked out may have been foreign spies, without offering any evidence to support his claim. A group of 14 senior VOA journalists are openly disputing his explanation:
“Mr. Pack has made a thin excuse that his actions are meant to protect national security, but just as was the case with the McCarthy ‘Red Scare,’ which targeted VOA and other government organizations in the mid-1950s, there has not been a single demonstrable case of any individual working for VOA — as the USAGM CEO puts it — ‘posing as a spy,’ ” they wrote.
The White House is searching for a replacement for Federal Trade Commission Chair Joe Simons, a Republican who has publicly resisted President Donald Trump’s efforts to crack down on social media companies. Simons, a veteran antitrust lawyer, cannot legally be removed by the president except in cases of gross negligence. But the White House has already interviewed at least one candidate for the post.
  • RELATED: The Justice Department plans to bring an antitrust case against Google as soon as this month, after Attorney General William P. Barr overruled career lawyers who said they needed more time to build a strong case.
Richard Grenell, formerly the highest-ranking out gay official in the Trump administration, has joined a law firm founded by Pat Robertson that has a history of opposing LGBTQ+ rights. Grenell also recently joined the Republican National Committee to do outreach to LGBTQ+ voters.
The Trump administration has quietly named a new acting State Department inspector general. Matthew Klimow, the U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan since mid-2019, is the third acting IG since Trump and Pompeo ousted Senate-confirmed IG Steve Linick in May.
Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s current special envoy to Northern Ireland, former Chief of Staff, and former acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is starting a hedge fund focused on financial services regulation. Ethics experts say Mulvaney explicitly using his knowledge of CFPB to place bets for and against companies gives him an unfair and perhaps illegal advantage.

Court and DOJ matters

Court cases
The Trump administration must, for now, stop winding down in-person counting efforts for the 2020 census, a federal judge in California ordered.
The three-judge panel hearing a challenge to Trump’s new anti-immigrant census policy seemed hostile to the government’s arguments in a hearing last week.
A federal judge has stopped the Trump administration from enforcing a rule change that would let health care providers deny medical services to LGBTQ patients on the grounds of religion.
Justice Department
Federal prosecutors are preparing to charge longtime GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy in connection with efforts to influence the U.S. government on behalf of foreign interests. Broidy helped raise millions for Donald Trump’s election and the Republican Party.
Barr ordered another round of changes to FISA rules, tightening the use of government surveillance on political candidates or their staffers — a move conservatives will likely cheer, as they have long criticized how the FBI investigated the Trump campaign in 2016.
Before conducting physical searches or wiretaps of a federal election official, members of the official's staff, candidates for federal office, or their staff or advisers, the FBI must now consider giving them a "defensive briefing," to tell them that they could be the target of foreign influence.
submitted by rusticgorilla to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

Megathread: William Taylor, envoy to Ukraine, testifies Trump tied Ukraine aid to politically motivated investigations

The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine testified on Tuesday he was told that President Donald Trump made the release of security aid to Ukraine contingent on Kiev publicly declaring it would carry out politically motivated investigations that he sought, according to a copy of his statement to lawmakers.
Link to opening statement

Submissions that may interest you

SUBMISSION DOMAIN
US' top diplomat Taylor was told Trump wanted aid withheld until Ukraine said it would investigate Biden edition.cnn.com
Diplomat’s Testimony Drew “Direct Line” Between Military Funds and Biden Probe motherjones.com
William Taylor testifies about deep-seated push for Ukraine quid pro quo politico.com
Diplomat says he was told U.S. aid for Ukraine tied to request for probes: Washington Post reuters.com
Read:Top US diplomat to Ukraine's opening statement for impeachment inquiry cnn.com
Bill Taylor’s Testimony Paints a 'Damning' Picture of Trump's Ukraine Quid Pro Quo; "It was the most damning testimony that I've heard so far" says Wasserman Shultz vice.com
US’ top Ukraine diplomat testifies he was told ‘everything’ depended on Ukraine announcing investigations wgno.com
Diplomat says he was told that Ukraine military aid was linked to investigations into Bidens and 2016 election cnbc.com
Read: Taylor’s Damning Testimony On Ukraine Pressure Campaign talkingpointsmemo.com
Top Diplomat Confirms There Was Quid Pro Quo Demand In Trump's Ukraine Call: Reports huffpost.com
Donald Trump 'lynching' comment on impeachment probe is condemned as US diplomat William Taylor testifies abc.net.au
Opening statement of Ambassador William B. Taylor washingtonpost.com
Top diplomat Bill Taylor gave 'disturbing,' 'explosive' testimony on Trump's Ukraine dealings, Democrats say — Democrats said a "direct line" between the president's demand for an investigation by the Ukrainians into his political rivals and U.S. military aid. nbcnews.com
Diplomat says Ukraine aid was tied to political investigations thehill.com
3 takeaways from Bill Taylor’s crucial opening statement washingtonpost.com
U.S. envoy: Trump tied Ukraine aid to Biden, DNC investigations axios.com
Ukraine ambassador says in 'damning' testimony that he was told Trump wanted quid pro quo deal, report says independent.co.uk
Ukraine Envoy Testifies Trump Linked Military Aid to Investigations, Lawmaker Says nytimes.com
Today’s Impeach-O-Meter: Gasp-Inducing Testimony Confirms Corrupt Quid Pro Quo for Billionth Time slate.com
Democrats Say Ambassador William Taylor's Testimony On Ukraine Is 'Disturbing' npr.org
Ambassador testifies he was told "everything" depended on Ukraine announcing investigations edition.cnn.com
Trump Wanted Zelensky to Publicly Say He Was Investigating Biden thedailybeast.com
‘Sighs and gasps’ from House Members Hearing Latest Testimony in Impeachment Inquiry ijr.com
Volker urged Ukraine’s Zelensky to convince Trump he would investigate corruption - Weeks before Trump July 25 phone call, U.S. diplomat discussed investigations with Zelensky at a Toronto meeting marketwatch.com
Volker pressed Zelensky to convince Trump he would launch investigations before call: Report thehill.com
I was told Trump wanted quid pro quo deal, Ukraine ambassador reportedly testifies – live - US news theguardian.com
Taylor: Sondland And Volker Separately Compared Trump’s Ukraine Aid Holdup To A Biz Deal talkingpointsmemo.com
Top US diplomat in Ukraine tells Congress investigating Bidens and election interference tied to aid money abcnews.go.com
Ambassador William Taylor Ties Ukraine Aid Holdup Directly To Trump wuwm.com
The Top US Diplomat To Ukraine Was “Alarmed” The US Insisted Ukraine Help Trump With Investigations In Exchange For Aid Money buzzfeednews.com
Legal Experts Sum Up U.S. Diplomat’s Testimony on Ukraine as ‘Devastating’ for Trump lawandcrime.com
Testimony by Top Diplomat Bill Taylor on Trump and Ukraine Elicits 'Holy Sh*t' Responses From Members of Congress commondreams.org
Bill Taylor may be blowing the Trump-Ukraine scandal wide open washingtonpost.com
6 Key Revelations of Taylor’s Opening Statement to Impeachment Investigators nytimes.com
The 5 Bombshells From Bill Taylor's Testimony on Trump and Ukraine vice.com
White House Attacks ‘Radical Unelected Bureaucrats’ After Explosive Taylor Testimony talkingpointsmemo.com
William Taylor's testimony should be game over for Trump theweek.com
Diplomat Bill Taylor testifies Trump used Ukraine aid, White House meeting as leverage for probes foxnews.com
Highlights: Top U.S. Diplomat In Ukraine Delivers Explosive Statement To Congress npr.org
Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine offers damning testimony yahoo.com
Amb. Bill Taylor's 'Devastating' Opening Statement Draws 'Direct Line' To Trump - Deadline - MSNBC youtube.com
Bill Taylor opening statement: Read the full text of the top U.S. diplomat's statement to Congress - Top diplomat tells lawmakers Ukraine aid was directly tied to investigations cbsnews.com
Diplomat worried Trump would stiff Ukraine after leveraging favor msnbc.com
Ukraine ambassador William Taylor’s testimony backs Senate Republicans into a corner washingtonexaminer.com
‘The directive had come from the president’; Longtime diplomat details quid pro quo with Ukraine bostonglobe.com
5 explosive lines from Bill Taylor's statement edition.cnn.com
Every major TV network except Fox News thinks William Taylor's testimony was just awful for Trump theweek.com
US diplomat: Trump tied Ukraine aid to demands for probes aljazeera.com
Trump launches lackluster attack against Bill Taylor after testimony theguardian.com
Trump and Rudy just got nailed: Bill Taylor unveils the whole sleazy Ukraine scheme. Acting Ukraine ambassador's Capitol Hill testimony blows the lid off Trump's conspiracy — and hints at much more salon.com
Trump impeachment inquiry catch-up: where we are right now. The president’s denial of dirty dealings in Ukraine took a serious hit on Tuesday with Bill Taylor’s closed-door testimony. theguardian.com
Bill Taylor’s testimony removes any last plausible line of defense for Trump theguardian.com
Taylor’s Testimony Goes Way Beyond Quid Pro Quo slate.com
When We Investigated Benghazi, We Longed for Evidence This Clear: If Mike Pompeo and Jim Jordan had received the kind of bombshell testimony we heard from William Taylor, they would have moved to impeach. theatlantic.com
Taylor Testifies Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Investigation of Hunter Biden democracynow.org
Key GOP senator: The "picture coming out" of diplomat's testimony is "not a good one" cnn.com
Watch: GOP Rep. Yells At CNN Reporter When Asked About Bill Taylor’s Testimony talkingpointsmemo.com
Top Senate Republican Calls Impression Of Taylor Testimony ‘Not Good’ talkingpointsmemo.com
Nolte: Adam Schiff Desperate to Hide William Taylor Testimony that Would Kill Ukraine Hoax breitbart.com
Team Trump Is Withholding Bill Taylor's Detailed Ukraine Notes From Congress vice.com
Trump impeachment odds hit record high of 75% on popular betting website after diplomat's 'damning' testimony businessinsider.com
“The Walls Are Closing In”: Bill Taylor's Testimony Puts Trump's Impeachment in Overdrive vanityfair.com
Bill Taylor's Ukraine testimony left "jaws dropped," says Democratic congressman: "This wasn't just a smoking gun, it was a smoking cannon" newsweek.com
Republican lawmaker 'destroyed' Bill Taylor's testimony says McCarthy foxnews.com
Sondland seeks to align himself with Taylor after bombshell testimony politico.com
No. 2 GOP senator: 'Picture coming out of' diplomat's testimony 'not a good one' thehill.com
Team Trump Is Withholding Bill Taylor's Detailed Ukraine Notes From Congress vice.com
Trump calls Pompeo-appointed Ukraine ambassador Bill Taylor a "Never Trumper" axios.com
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Top Ten Greatest Male Players in Challenge History - No. 7 - Derrick Kosinski

Honorable Mentions Pt. 1 - Wes, Jamie Murray, Brad
Honorable Mentions Pt. 2 - Theo, Dan, Abram, The Miz, Turbo
No. 10 - Alton Williams (Real World: Las Vegas)
No. 9 - Mark Long (Road Rules: USA - The First Adventure)
No. 8 - Darrell Taylor (Road Rules: Campus Crawl)
No. 7 - Derrick Kosinski (Road Rules: X-Treme)
 
If The Challenge had a Player Efficiency Rating system, Derrick’s Career PER would be at the very top. He’s one of the most consistent elite challengers ever.
 
Derrick has participated in 10 challenge seasons. He’s either made the final challenge or lost right before the final eight out of ten times. The other two times, he was sent home fifth. If you go back and analyze every individual Derrick performance, you’ll soon come to realize that he’s never had a bad season under his belt.
 
Missions Performance-Wise, Derrick was: 2nd best on Fresh Meat (after Evan), 2nd best on Cutthroat (after Abram), 3rd best on Inferno II (after C.T. and Landon), 3rd best on Gauntlet II (after Landon and Alton), 3rd best on Dirty Thirty (after C.T. and Nelson), 4th best on Inferno III (after Abram, Alton, and Johnny), and 5th best on the Duel (after Evan, C.T., Wes, and Brad). The Island had no missions, but Derrick was the clear-cut number one competitor (Ring Wrestle and Ball Buster are cold hard evidence). The missions on the Ruins were too team-oriented to determine a ranking system, but Derrick was at the very least top five and you can make an argument he was in the top three. That’s 9 out of 10 seasons where Derrick was a top five male performer.
 
The only season where Derrick wasn’t a top 5 male competitor was on his rookie season, Battle of the Sexes II. But even on that season, Derrick still left his fans with a career highlight moment in his short stay. And it was in his the first mission he’s ever participated in, Dangle Drop. In this mission, competitors had to hold on to a punching bag dangling above a lake for as long as possible. Derrick (alongside Abram) won the competition for the Guys, by outlasting everyone in his preliminary heat and then beating Coral and Rachel in the final heat. Young Derrick’s cockiness and drunken behavior didn’t rub off too well within the males team on the first day of Sexes II. If he would’ve just performed average in Dangle Drop, he was potentially the first boot. But Derrick proved to the rest of the team that he was a worthy competitor with a whole lot of fight in him. Derrick became a victim of Elimination Hill on Sexes II after the fifth mission (regardless of having outperformed Mike the Miz up to that point). Mike was an established veteran who had strong social ties to the Men’s team upper echelon, and because of this, he was saved.
 
Derrick’s showing on Dangle Drop (Sexes II) was a sneak peek to his ATG mental strength, Surf Torture (Inferno II) cemented it.
 
Surf Torture was the premier mission of Derrick’s sophomore season. In Surf Torture, pairs made within both the Good Guys and Bad Asses teams had to endure physical tests that were assigned to them by highly trained navy seals. The series of physical tasks ranged from wheelbarrows to having to lift heavy logs up and down the shore of a beach. When physical fatigue kicked in and the pairs were no longer performing the exercises in a sufficient manner, they were eliminated from the competition.
 
When Surf Torture commenced, pairs dropped left and right because of how physically demanding the tasks were. The final 2 pairs came down to Abram/Derrick (Bad Asses) and Landon/Mike The Miz (Good Guys). You couldn’t have written a better final showdown for a mental strength competition. Determination. Drive. Heart. Those four guys embody those intangible qualities better than anyone else in Challenge History.
 
Here’s what the four mental strength titans had to say during Surf Torture’s final showdown: “I’m dying, so I know they’re hurting just as bad as I am” (Abram). My hamstrings are starting to cramp up and I’m trying to get myself away from thinking about [the pain]” (Landon). “[My] whole mind is saying ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this anymore” (Mike The Miz). “It’s coming down to the wire. As much as this mission is torturing us, as much as I’m hurting, I’m not gonna give up to the Miz or Landon” (Derrick).
 
The last physical exercise of Surf Torture was the upper body decimator, the wheelbarrow. The first mission of the season literally weighed on Derrick and Mike’s shoulders, chest, and arms (All Abram and Landon had to do was hold onto their partners legs). Derrick was far from an empty gas tank. He was maneuvering up and down the shore with at least a quarter of his inner drive left, nodding his head from side to side whenever the navy seal asked if he was ready to quit. The Miz was a whole another story. He was running on fumes. Derrick was on his hands in a push-up position, meanwhile Mike was dragging his entire body through the sand (elbows and belly touching the floor). Mike’s engine eventually shut down and the navy seals eliminated him and Landon, giving Derrick, Abram, and the rest of the Bad Asses the first mission win of Inferno II. Derrick’s drive in Surf Torture is a frontrunner for greatest display of mental strength in a Challenge ever.
 
Other than Surf Torture, Derrick was the shining star of two other Inferno II missions. (1) Time To Ride: Players had to drive miniature motorcycles through a zig zag course above water. Derrick posted the fastest time out of all seven males and the times weren’t close. Derrick - 57 seconds, Landon - 1 min. 49 sec., C.T. - 2 min. 50 sec., Darrell - 3 min. 16 seconds, Abram and Mike Mizanin DQ’ed. Derrick put on a clinic for other all-time greats. (2) Dodge Yer Balls: Derrick and C.T. looked like professional dodgeball players, whereas Brad, Darrell, Landon, and Mike Mizanin performed as they had just picked up a dodgeball for the first time. Derrick and C.T. wiped out the entire Good Guys Team all by themselves in easy fashion. Although it was a joint effort, production made an error in giving C.T. the life shield. Derrick deserved it as he eliminated four Good Guys as opposed to C.T. eliminating three, and Derrick also had two game winning catches (C.T. had none). So, in actuality, the life shield ratio between C.T. and Derrick on Inferno II should’ve been 5 to 3.
 
On the Gauntlet II, Derrick makes it known that when all is said and done, he’ll go down as pound for pound the greatest challenge player ever in America’s Fifth Sport.
 
For about the entire first half of his career, Derrick weighed in at about 150 lbs. In the Challenge, that’s the lightest weight to ever exist in the men’s division. The other notable names I can think of within Young Derrick’s weight class are Adam King, Ryan Kehoe, and Luke Wolfe. None of these guys hold a candle to what Derrick has gone on to accomplish in the first half of his career. The club of 150 pounders is always viewed as the bottom of the food chain for Challenge heavyweights to devour. The smallest guys every season are always called into elimination first and are picked off rather easily. Young Derrick was an exception to this design within the game. More times than none, he wasn’t the heavyweights prey. It was the complete opposite. He was the one who preyed upon those bigger and stronger than him.
 
On the Gauntlet II, Derrick went into five physical eliminations. Derrick was victorious in the first four. The opponents he feasted on were: 170 lb. Brad, 180 lb. Adam, 190 lb. Ace, and 220 lb. Syrus. He defeated Adam Larson and Brad in Name That Coconut (a trivia game and a physical battle mixed into one) and beat Ace and Syrus In Beach Brawl (a sumo wrestling contest on sand). The Derrick vs. Syrus elimination was highly believed to be “Derrick’s swan song”. However, the combination of Derrick’s drive and wrestling experience helped him shock the world as he came out on top against Syrus, 3-1. Derrick suffered season-ending defeat in his fifth elimination, versus a 200 lb. Timmy in the final male gauntlet before the final challenge.
 
Derrick’s one hell of a regular season on Gauntlet II earned him nickname “The Pitbull”. He also received a nod of approval from the most respected veteran in the game, Mark Long. Mark praised Derrick for “[having] so much heart, and being the guy who went against the monster every time and [slaying] the monster”. Mark Long declared retirement at the G2 reunion, but as he was doing so, he passed his signature bandana over to Derrick (to represent a passing of the torch). “From the First Road Ruler to the Last Road Ruler”, Mark knew that Derrick was ready to be at the front and center of the Challenge’s future.
 
After Gauntlet II, it was just a matter of time before “The Pitbull” would get his first challenge victory. The only question was when.
 
On Fresh Meat, Derrick was paired with Diem and they placed 4th overall out of 13 teams. Together, they won three missions (the second most out of any team behind Coral/Evan). They won Batten Down The Hatches (agility based), Jump Down Under (swimming based), and Deep Blue (tested ability of holding breath under water). Derrick continued to prove how well rounded of a competitor he was to add to his bulletproof mental strength and tip-top wrestling ability.
 
Derrick’s fifth challenge was The Duel. Although he was eliminated at the halfway point, he still gave us some moments to be proud of. Derrick did something we thought he would never do and that’s win a puzzle elimination. Derrick’s intelligence has always been his biggest weakness, so him winning Ascender vs. Tyler is a nice outlier experience we can appreciate in his long line of work. We also got traditional Derrick in Push Over, a mission where players, having their hands tied together, had to wrestle one another off a large plank that was attached to the end of the boat. Derrick did what Derrick knows best and that was get low and use leverage to push his opponents off. The mission was done tournament style with 8 male participants. Derrick managed to take out C.T., Big Easy, and Brad to win Push Over. I have Derrick’s low man execution in Push Over as the third best mission highlight of the Duel (behind C.T. in Flying Leap and Wes in Sunken Treasure).
 
On the next season to take place, Inferno III, Derrick gets called in as a replacement for C.T. who punched Davis the first night in South Africa. Derrick didn’t expect to be on the season, which probably means he didn’t do any prep training in the off-season and it best explains why his mission performances on the Inferno III were teetering more towards middle-of-the-road than being the number one guy on his team. He didn’t win a single life shield, but still managed to put up solid numbers in the mission stat sheet. Derrick’s finest showing on I3 was his Cornerball win vs. Davis, where he roughhoused Davis in a 1-on-1 game of rugby. After six valiant efforts, Derrick finally got his long awaited championship on Inferno III.
 
Throughout his career, Derrick’s pitbull mentality has piled up a phenomenal highlight reel. On the flip side, Derrick’s social mechanics are one of the best the game has ever seen.
 
In his ten season career, Derrick only had 2 seasons where he was at the bottom in terms of social positioning (Sexes II and Gauntlet II). The other 8 seasons Derrick has been on, he was at the top of the totem pole in terms of alliances. For example, on I2, Derrick/C.T./Brad/Darrell kept each other safe from ever calling one another out for the elimination. Three of four of these guys never saw an elimination and made the final (Derrick was one of them). This was the only secret alliance on the I2, as alliances were considered taboo during the Golden era. On Fresh Meat, the main alliance that ran the entire second half of the game was Derrick/Diem, Darrell/Aviv, and Theo/Chanda. On Cutthroat, Derrick was the most well-connected player on the Blue team, and could’ve gone without seeing an elimination the entire season had Ty never been such a catastrophe.
 
Derrick’s social game on his second and third championship seasons (The Island and The Ruins) were perfect.
 
On The Island, from the public perception, there were village leaders (Kenny, Johnny, Paula, Johanna, Dunbar) and the rest of the village were outsiders. Derrick was the only player on the entire island who was happily welcomed by the leaders group, but also had a great relationship with the rest of the outsiders. Derrick was great friends with Kenny and Johnny, but unlike the two of them, he never bullied Robin, Tonya, or Evelyn. These people were his actual friends who thought highly of him. For this reason, Derrick’s key was never in consideration to get taken throughout the entire season. You couldn’t say the same for Kenny, Johnny, Dunbar, and Paula (all of whom either had their key stolen or were in danger of getting it stolen). Derrick’s untouchable social game on the Island is best highlighted when he threw a face-off just to give Johnny a key. Late in the season, people without keys were jumping at each other throats to get into the face-off, but yet, no one batted an eye when Derrick who already had a key volunteered for a second time. Had anybody else done this, it would’ve been seen as cynical, but because it was Derrick, people genuinely didn’t seem bothered by it. The plan of Johnny getting his key worked, and Derrick won a 10-1 landslide vote versus Cohutta. Derrick was respected so much that Cohutta’s plea was him essentially telling everyone that Derrick was a better fit for the final boats.
 
On the Ruins, Derrick was the third member to the J.E.K. coalition. He was the silent partner in crime (hence his first name initial not being included in the alliance name). Derrick benefited from all of Evan and Kenny’s political moves without being seen as a member of the alliance. Derrick had the strongest social ties in the game (Along with J.E.K., he was great friends with all the old schoolers - Syrus, Darrell, Katie, Tonya, Veronica, and Ibis). Derrick had to conform with the J.E.K. political movement by sacrificing old school friends in order to get his way to the end. Derrick, however, was not punished for his actions, because after all he was just doing what was best for his game (Derrick was a respectful sportsman to everyone unlike the rest of his J.E.K. associates).
 
Derrick’s overall player qualities stood the test of time on Dirty Thirty.
 
When our beloved all-time greats come back from a grand layoff (5 season break or more), the narrative arc in their comeback season is always the same: They fall short of the final challenge. We seen it with Darrell on Invasion, Mark on Exes, Alton on Seasons II, and Brad on Vendettas. Derrick broke the curse on Dirty Thirty. Although he had been missing in action for nine seasons, Derrick made it all the way to second place behind his all-time great comrade Jordan.
 
Dirty Thirty was an extremely mentally strenuous season with all types of twists and turns. The season also has one of the most stacked male casts of all-time, but this didn’t seem to bring out a single ounce of ring rust in Derrick. He was the only male to never be sent to the redemption house. Derrick won three missions, an elimination, and was apart of the top alliance of the house (with Bananas/C.T./Jordan/Tony/Leroy). Derrick’s well-connected social game was best highlighted in Veronica going to bat for him by turning the vote towards Leroy in the greatest political move of the season.
 
Derrick is the true elimination king, not Wes.
 
Wes’ 14-8 elimination record is the most padded and highly overrated statistic in Challenge history. His win against Derrick in Pole Wrestle is praiseworthy, but his best wins after that are beating Zach/Zahida in Lights Out or Jamie in blindfolded soccer (those victories aren’t much to write about for a second and third best of a hailed “elimination king”). He also has five exile wins that are basically non-canon in these debates (as him and Casey had 40 lbs. less luggage to carry, per average, than their opponents). Wes’ seven other victories were versus: Chet, Nick Brown, Davis/Tyrie, Brandon/Ty, Nate/Priscilla, and Nate/Christina. In Wes’ 8 losses, he was dominated four times: twice to Leroy, once to Bear, and once to Big Easy (although he was at a large weight disadvantage). His four other losses were versus Bananas in a crapshoot, Dario in an agility contest, Cohutta in a strategy based elimination, and his stamina failed him in an exile where the luggage factor was no longer benefiting him (versus Luke/Evelyn).
 
Derrick, on the other hand, is 8-4, arguably 9-4 (if you count his mercenary win against Joss in Vendettas as an official elimination). Derrick’s three best elimination wins are (1) vs. Joss in Crazy Eight: The Pitbull came out of the doghouse one last time and it’s jaw was locked to the 8-figure that him and Joss were fighting for. There was no letting go, and after 20 rounds of back-breaking battle, Joss’ mental fatigue kicked in and Derrick prevailed in the Vendettas death match. (2) versus Syrus in Beach Brawl (3) and versus Bananas in Reel World. The other opponents Derrick has knocked out throughout his career were Adam Larson, Ace, Brad, Brandon, Davis, and Tyler.
 
Derrick’s four losses are the most honorable Challenge deaths imaginable and take nothing away from him as a competitor. (1/2) He lost to Timmy and Tyler in strictly weight based eliminations (otherwise known as eliminations that hold the least amount of weight in judging competitors, no pun intended). Derrick was at a 50 lb. disadvantage in both contests, and there was nothing he could’ve done to win. No physical contact was allowed. It was just push or pull with all of your body weight. (3) Derrick/Diem lost to Darrell/Aviv on FM1 exile. Derrick/Diem had 75 more lbs. of luggage to carry than Darrell/Aviv. They stood no chance before the elimination even began. Fresh Meat exiles, in general, are considered unlawful in all-time great discussions. (4) Derrick lost to Wes in what people call today, the most memorable elimination to ever go down in Challenge history. Derrick’s performance here is a moral victory. Wes, in his post-elimination confessional, said he wanted Derrick to be The Godfather to his first child because of how much respect he had for Derrick after their elimination.
 
Although a prime Wes beat Derrick head-to-head, Derrick is not only the one to have knocked out the bigger names throughout their elimination career, but he’s also won more beautifully and lost more honorably. This is why Derrick rightfully deserves to sit on the throne for Elimination King (only C.T. and Darrell challenge him for a seat).
 
Derrick’s Overall Assessment.
 
In the league of Challenge legends, Derrick is seventh best. Most challenge fans would probably disagree with having Derrick one spot ahead of Darrell. But in my eyes, the only thing Darrell really has over Derrick is championship belts. Derrick has had a more consistently efficient career with more competitive highlights. When you break down their careers side-by-side: Derrick’s best competitive seasons (Inferno II, Gauntlet II, Fresh Meat) are greater than Darrell’s best (Inferno, Fresh Meat, Invasion). Derrick’s best social game performances (Island, Ruins) are better than Darrell’s best social game seasons (Inferno, Inferno II). Derrick’s worst showings (Sexes II, Duel) are a whole lot more memorable than Darrell’s (Fresh Meat 2, Dirty Thirty).
 
Derrick has ATG mental strength, aggression, and wrestling ability, whereas Darrell has ATG physical strength and stamina. Both have poor intelligence. Although they’re both close competitively speaking, Derrick edges out Darrell by being more well rounded in other areas such as agility and balance (two areas Darrell is inconsistent in, since he’s afraid of heights).
 
In eliminations, you can’t go wrong with picking either or. In missions, I’d take Derrick. In a final challenge, I’d take Darrell, but the question is would Darrell even get there? Derrick has shown time and time again he’s in for the long haul, whereas Darrell has been sent on the first flight home one-fourth of his career. This, along with a more well-connected social game is why I believe Derrick is the slightly safer choice between the two.
 
Derrick’s ceiling is the 7th position. His highly questionable intelligence molds him as a second place finisher in Challenge finals today (Dirty Thirty is proof of this). To be in consideration for the Challenge Mount Rushmore, you have to be a betting favorite to not only make it to the end, but also win a modern final all by yourself. The rest of the six legends that have yet to be revealed have all shown to be more than capable of enduring an entire season and accomplishing a first place finish. They’re also a lot more independent in constructing their own destinies from beginning to end, whereas you can always argue Derrick’s winning legacy might’ve not been as decorated if he never would’ve joined forces with Kenny Santucci (Derrick’s three championships have all been with Kenny on his team, who was always politically in charge of the game’s operations).
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Welcome to Gettysburg (Day One)

Day Two Here
Day Three Here
Gettysburg is by far my favorite battle of all time.
First, it is an all-American battle in an all-American war, and myself being an old school nationalist it carries significance that other battles simply don’t; I may find Austerlitz or Stalingrad nifty, but nobody there was my people.
More, it was an extraordinarily clean fight. At any point, a soldier on either side could hurl down their rifle and grab some sky and be reasonably assured of having their surrender accepted without reservation, and for that matter their captor could rely on their new POWs to trudge back to the rear under light guard in good faith. Even though much of the fighting took place in an urban environment with embedded civilians, only one civilian died in the fighting. Let me tell you, the more military history you read up on, the clearer it is that massacring civilians before, during, and after a rough fight is par for the course. One might even say that butchering unarmed men, women and children of the enemy tribe is the de facto military objective more than half the time; it might be some weird, half instinctual, proto-game theory going on: “We told them to surrender or else. They didn’t surrender, we won anyway, and now there’s gotta be an ‘or else’ to persuade the next batch of holdouts that we mean business.” In the long run, butchering the first village usually made it morelikely the next three villages would get the message and surrender without a fight, saving the invaders men, materiel, and time. Or perhaps it’s that killing civilians has always been pure bloody-mindedness. But not at Gettysburg. Gettysburg is where the American platonic ideal of soldiers fighting soldiers and leaving the civilians be actually happened.
Another aspect to the battle that fascinates me is how utterly unplanned it was. Neither army had intended to fight there, and between the scale of the brawl, the rapidity of developments, the intransigence of their subordinates, and the communications lag, neither the Confederate general Lee nor the Union general Meade had a grip on the situation at all until the second day of the battle, and neither could enact their ideal plans until the third day. It was something of a clusterfuck for both sides, and the course of the battle depended on the initiative and guts of small unit commanders with little idea of what the big picture was.
Gettysburg tends to be remembered as the turning point in the war, when it stopped being a gallant passage at arms between roughly equal powers and started being a slow, painful inevitable grind towards Union victory. This is not exactly accurate; only with years of hindsight could anybody construct a narrative that framed this fight as the turning point, for at the time Gettysburg was seen as just another grisly slaughter yard in a long series of them. Still, between this fight and the conquest of Vicksburg out west, this does appear in hindsight to be the high watermark in terms of Confederate progress towards successful seccession. Certainly it was the last time any Confederate army went on the strategic offensive. For diehard secessionists (both during the war and in the years after), this was the last hurrah before the war started being truly hopeless.
It is also, I should mention, a place of spiritual significance for me. Myself being secular humanist with a vaccination against Protestantism from my younger days, I don’t have much in the way of codified religion. But when I was a youngin’ visiting relatives out east, I got to visit the battlefield. I found myself standing in front of a monument on the field on the north end of Herbst Wood (where the right flank of Iron Brigade stood and charged on the first day of the battle). It described how a Michigan regiment of about a thousand men stood on that spot and suffered two thirds casualties over the course of the day. I read the details on the monument, and stared up at the mustachioed rifleman staring defiantly to the west.
Looking left and right, I saw more monuments every fifty yards or so in a straightish line, spreading out to mark where a human line had once stood and bled. And I turned my back on the monuments to face away, and behold, I saw an opposing line of Confederate monuments stretched out horizon to horizon about a hundred yards away. Two lines, violently opposed but unmoving; courage and horror frozen into place forever. And the world there seemed very big, and very grand, and I felt very small and unworthy. The air was at once colder and hotter than any air I’d ever felt. The wind cut through my clothing and reminded me that flesh was mortal but spirit was eternal. This was holy ground, soil consecrated by blood. Shi’ite Muslims have Karbala. Catholics have the Road to Calvary. Australian aboriginals have Uluru. I have Gettysburg.
————————————————————————
BACKGROUND
A brief note- I will be including maps periodically to show the progression of the fighting. These maps must be taken with a grain or three of salt. They are intended to show relations between the armies and the terrain, not to mark the exact positions or dispositions of the units, nor to show an exact proportion of numbers involved. This is because I am not an expert mapmaker, and I thank you in advance for your understanding. First, a map of the northern part of the battlefield. Note how many roads lead there, and note the high ground of Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill to the south of the town.
The Battle of Gettysburg happened because Lee needed to go on the offensive, and Lee needed to go on the offensive because of the big picture. I shall cover the broad outline just so the significance doesn’t pass anybody by.
The Confederacy in the Spring of 1863 was in a terrible dilemma. The leadership had two urgent problems, either one of which could (if unaddressed) destroy their enterprise, and to make things worse they didn’t have the resources to solve either of them alone without a miracle.
One, the Union was fixing to shove yet another army down Richmond’s throat. Two years of failed invasions into Virginia had been brutal to both sides, but the North had immense reserves of cash, food, industrial output, and manpower with which to replenish themselves, and the South simply didn’t. The Army of Northern Virginia on which every invasion thus far had broken was underarmed, underfed, and undermanned, and if these issues were not fixed then they’d be seeing Union soldiers in the Confederate capitol before Autumn. There had already been a push that year, which Lee had staved off at Chancellorsville. There was plenty of time left before winter for a second attack.
And two, Vicksburg, the railway hub that sat on the Mississippi River, was under dire threat. The Union had already grabbed New Orleans at the south end and pushed north up the river, and had been pushing south down the river since day one of the war, but Vicksburg prevented the whole river from falling in to Union hands. Vicksburg alone let the South shift resources and information from its Western half to its Eastern half. Losing it could be a death blow. The garrison of Vicksburg was also underarmed, underfed, and undermanned.
The fresh crops taken off the farm and the fresh host of new recruits also taken off the farm were middling at best. Even throwing all the resources they had at either problem and letting the other develop as it would might mean losing on both fronts. Splitting the resources in half to prop up both didn’t seem promising either. Lee, being something of a strategist, developed a third option. There was no point (he reasoned) in trying to prop up Vicksburg at this point- it would take weeks to shift reinforcements that far west, and by then it would be midsummer. If the siege lasted that long, either the garrison would fold or disease would rip through the Yankee army and drive it back home, as it had the last two years running. In either scenario, further support would affect nothing. Therefore, he proposed a bold plan- don’t sit around waiting to get hit in the face. Invade north. Take the fight onto their turf.
The more the Confederate leadership considered it, the better it sounded. Northern land hadn’t been ravaged like Virginia had- it would be easy to live off of the enemy’s food for once, thus lessening the headache of their constant supply problems. It was also an election year, and the anti-war Democrats were raging at the ocean of blood and gold being wasted on bringing States back into the fold who very clearly wanted to go their own way. One good, solid victory on Northern soil could tip the balance, drive home the point that that war was unwinnable. Get the Black Republican warmonger Lincoln kicked out of the White House, get a reasonable Democrat in, and next year they just might get a negotiated peace that would lead in time to true and recognized independence.
To which end-
Lee snaked his newly reinforced army of about 75,000 men up through the Shenandoah Valley, using the mountain range to mask his movements instead of using to well-worn direct route that the Union was camped on. He would end up north of the bulk of the Army of the Potomac, simultaneously threatening Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, which for a guy trying to score a symbolic victory to discourage the enemy voters put him in a pretty nice spot.
Lincoln freaked out, told Hooker and his Army of the Potomac to go out and beat Lee, to utterly destroy his army, and also not leave any weak point undefended, which are just the kind of orders one enjoys receiving. Hooker, having a bit of an ego and a poor history of getting his ass kicked by Lee, got into a feud with Lincoln’s advisors and impulsively offered his resignation as Commander of the Army of the Potomac following some stupid spat with the bean counters back in Washington. Lincoln called his bluff and fired him three days before the battle, putting General Meade in charge of the whole damn army with almost no prep time.
I should cut the narrative here to cast moral aspersions right quick. The Union were the good guys, and the Confederates were the villains. That said, the North made for really terrible heroes, and the South had more than its fair share of virtues. This was not a grand crusade of freedom-loving Yankees tearing down the moral abomination of human bondage. This was a brutal, no holds barred death struggle between the efficient new urban Industrial Revolution and the rural Cavalier latifundias. Only a smallish segment of New England Puritans and bleeding heart Quakers hated slavery on moral grounds- the rest of the North either hated it on financial grounds, didn’t give a fuck one way or another, or were actively supporting racial slavery. And on the flip side, most Southerners who fought in the war perceived quite accurately that outsiders were coming into their world to demand submission, and had decided to give these invaders the William Wallace treatment. This is a normal and admirable response that every healthy society should have in its toolbox, and in my not-even-slightly humble opinion it is a damn shame that so many people endured so much agony in support of so un-American a cause.
For you see, when Lee’s army reached Pennsylvania, they kidnapped every black person they could find, free or not, and sent them all south in chains. There was no attempt to ascertain their status by some legal due process, no splitting of hairs. The bare skeleton of Confederate ideology, the great Truth that would have snuffed out by continued political loyalty to the Union, had been that all men were not created equal. To be more precise, men had white skin, and anyone with black skin was not a man and did not have the rights of man. As such, anyone with black skin was to be sold into slavery and threatened with torture and death if they refused to labor in the cotton fields. The army that invaded the North was, in practice, the biggest slave-hunting gang that had ever set foot on American soil.
The side wearing grey were staunch defenders of a country based on the Ideal of Ethnic Supremacy, and the side wearing blue were fighting for a country based on the Ideal of Equality. There were a million nagging features of material reality in the South and the North that challenged both of these Ideals, but there were no Ideals to challenge these Ideals, save only for each other. We know that this is true, because as the war shifted away from a Federal attempt to rein in wayward states to an all out assault on the institution of slavery, more and more Northerners balked at the idea of dying to set niggers free; men who had fought for years to bring the rebels into the fold again threw down their rifles and went home in disgust after they heard of the Emancipation Proclamation. And as it became clearer that poor whites who never owned slaves were expected to die for plantation owners’ right to stay rich, fewer and fewer Southerners were willing to jump into the meat grinder feet first; many of them deserted to go home and form Unionist bushwhacker gangs instead. Speaking of the draft, a higher percentage of southerners dodged the Confederate draft than in Vietnam, yet Vietnam is remembered as a deeply unpopular war while the Lost Cause has painted the South as a unified bloc striving as one against the Yankee oppressor.
Also, the Confederacy had a draft imposed upon the states by its federal government. So, yeah, State's Rights. Tell me how that worked out.
To reiterate. Both sides are not the same. We are rooting for the Union. Slavery. Etc.
Pushing on-
The two armies surged northward, on parallel tracks with Lee on the west side of the Appalachians and Meade on the east side. Being critically low on recon drones and spy satellites, the only ways to find the enemy army was to send guys out on horseback to physically look at them before riding back, and to talk to locals whether they’d seen anyone wearing the other team’s uniform recently. Clouds of skirmishers, cavalrymen, and small detachments of infantrymen from either side scattered themselves in all directions, straining to catch a glimpse of the other army. The first side to locate the enemy, amass sufficient force, and maneuver against them would probably win, without regard for right or wrong.
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JULY 1st, 1863
Early Morning
General John Buford had a 2,500 strong brigade of cavalrymen patrolling southern Pennsylvania, being one of dozens of detachments sent out to find the enemy army. Using human intelligence from locals in Gettysburg, he learned that there was a column of rebel infantry marching down the Chambersburg Pike.
And indeed there was. Advance scouts from Buford’s brigade made visual contact with a column marching south towards Gettysburg. The ball was now rolling.
The story goes that the Confederates were looking for new shoes and heard that there was a stockpile in Gettysburg. As far as I can tell, this is a baseless legend- inspired by the true fact that the rebel army didn’t have enough shoes, but baseless nonetheless. The three Confederate commanders marching towards Gettysburg (Archer and Davis with a brigade apiece and Heth as division commander coordinating them), were simply doing what their counterpart was doing- reconnaissance in force, hoping to develop a lead for the rest of the army to follow. 7,000 infantry under Archer and Davis were about to pick a fight with 2,500 cavalrymen under Buford. The currents of this morning fight would provide the grooves for the next three days to follow.
Buford’s men fought as dragoons; the horse let you scoot around to where you need to go, but you got off it and fought on foot. They Union cavalry broke into tiny little four man teams to bloody the approaching Confederates’ noses. The terrain was a bushwhacker’s paradise- plenty of rocks and trees to hide behind, and plenty of low, rolling hills to speed off behind to break line of sight. One man would hold the horses while the other three crouch-ran forward under cover to pop off rounds into the enemy column from the sides of the road. When the enemy infantry redeployed from a fast moving but harmless column formation into a slow moving but dangerous line, the three shooters would run back to their buddy to mount up and retreat to a new position.
The cavalrymen were outnumbered nearly three to one, and their carbines had less range and power than the rebel rifles; then again, the terrain was working for them and their breechloading carbines could shoot much faster than the enemy’s muzzleloading long rifles. It was very close to being an fair fight, as long as the cavalry could stay mobile and keep their distance. Buford and Heth both had unclear, contradictory orders- “Push forward aggressively to locate the enemy, but do not enter into a general engagement until we know what we’re up against.” It was an order that must have made sense in the tent when Lee and Meade sent their own versions off. You wouldn’t want to force a battle until you knew the enemy’s location and disposition and the terrain you were going to be standing on, any more than you’d want bet it all on a poker hand before looking at your cards. But to the guys on the front line, it meant “charge forward, but do not charge forward. Attack, but do not engage. Show some initiative, but don’t pick a real fight.” Heth decided they were up against a skeleton crew of skirmishers, and he had orders to check out Gettysburg. He send riders back with a quick report and a request for reinforcements. Buford decided that if the whole damn rebel army was heading his way, he needed to delay their advance for as many hours as he could to give the rest of the Union army time to get to Gettysburg- the high ground south of the town looked like ideal terrain to fight from and he wanted his buddies to get there before the rebels. He too sent riders back with calls for help.
And meanwhile, the murderous, hazardous stalking of the rebel column continued as it trudged towards Gettysburg.
Meanwhile, in the Rear with the Gear
Imagine running a marathon- 26 miles and a bit from start to finish. That’s how spread out a Civil War army is, from vanguard to rear guard. You can’t really concentrate 75,000-100,000 people together that closely. Disease starts killing people off really fast, feeding everyone is a headache, and if you have to march out, the lead element will march all day before stopping for the night, while the rear element hasn’t even left camp yet. It’s unwieldy. So they all spread out to grab some real estate and forage easier and not choke on each others’ dust and crap.
The riders from the Chambersburg Pike were spreading the word through the marathon length of the armies. Units were halting, turning around. Captains and colonels and generals were consulting maps to figure out what roads to take to get south or north to Gettysburg from where they were now. Regiments were putting their heads to together to figure out whose company oughtta go in what order.
The movements were slow and and ungainly and awkward, but they were starting up.
Mid Morning to Noon
The rolling hills on either side of the Chambersburg Pike stopped at McPherson’s Ridge, a grand place to make a stand- plenty of cover, steep incline. In any case, there wasn’t much further to retreat to. Archer and David pushed the cavalrymen, Archer on the south side of the road and Davis on the north. Thoroughly annoyed infantrymen backed up on the Pike behind them, eager to get at the enemy but without frontage to occupy.
Buford dug in on McPherson’s Ridge, and the full force of Heth’s division slammed into him. Denied their mobility by the necessity of holding territory, the fair fight turned into a meat grinder for the dismounted cavalrymen. When Confederate artillery set up on Herr’s Ridge, it turned into a bloodbath.
Buford, at last, got in contact with somebody who outranked him. General John Reynolds, second in command of the whole Union army, rode ahead of his division to get eyes on the situation.
The two struck a deal in the middle of a firefight. Buford promised to hold to the last man, and Reynolds promised to reinforce him. It was an exercise in trust; if Buford’s men held firm and Reynolds let them down, they’d be swamped and slaughtered to a man, and if Buford’s detachment broke and scattered, Reynolds’ reinforcements would march directly into a line of hills held by an entrenched enemy force of equal size. Failure on either side would be fatal. Reynolds rode south again, leaving Buford and his dwindling cavalrymen to fend off 10% of the Confederate army all alone.
Meanwhile, Buford’s thin line was cracking. Outnumbered, outgunned, and unable to advance or retreat... That which was inevitable to start with was happening now. Davis’ brigade was pressing against Oak Ridge on the Union right, and Archer's was taking Herbst Woods tree by tree. Buford’s men were giving ground they couldn’t afford to lose. Confederate artillery was blasting giant holes in the ranks of the defenders.
That’s when the relief came- two fresh brigades of infantry coming up the Emmitsburg road, under generals Cutler and Meredith. Cutler got there first, taking up positions on Oak Ridge and straddling either side of the Pike with cannons. Their massive volleys disrupted Confederate momentum and silenced some of the rebels’ big guns as everyone scrambled for cover. Grateful and exhausted cavalrymen sidled off to the flanks to safety. Meredith’s brigade is still lagging behind- that’s the problem with columns, only the guys in front can do anything.
If Buford and Reynolds expected everything to be right in the world once reinforcements arrived, they were very much mistaken. Those men out there attacking up Oak Ridge were some of the finest infantrymen in the world- dedicated, disciplined, contemptuous of death. They did not stop being efficient killers just because they now fought peers instead of the hornet-like cavalry skirmishers. Cutler’s brigade was facing a small tidal wave of battle-maddened Southern veterans, and had no time to dig in and situate themselves before the moment of impact. Davis’ men ripped into them like a pack of starving wolves. Cutler’s men fell back to safety on the top of Oak Ridge. In pieces.
Meanwhile, Meredith’s brigade was finally in position to retake Herbst Woods on the south side of the road.
Now, Meredith’s brigade were the absolute elite of the Union army. They were the grizzled veterans, the old crew, the best drilled, the most experienced, the hardest of the hard. They were nicknamed the Iron Brigade, and the Black Hat Brigade, because they were authorized to wear dashing black foraging caps to signify their status as the best of the best. With their comrades north of the road falling back, it was imperative that the Black Hat Brigade protect their left flank. To which end, Reynolds frantically snapped orders for them to line up and charge Archer’s men who were occupying Herbst Wood.
Their charge was met by a storm of musket fire that churned the Iron ranks into blood and guts. But this was the Black Hat Brigade. For them, taking ten percent casualties in a single minute was just another Tuesday. They got in close to the rebel line to return the volleys with a vengeance, and then charged with the bayonet. Archer’s men saw the distinctive black hats come for them through the musket-smoke. For the first time, they realized that these were no mere cavalry skirmishers, no half-assed militia company facing them. The best of the best of the Army of the Potomac was coming at them at terrifyingly close range. Archer’s men cracked and scattered. The ones who stood firm, died. The ones who threw down their rifles and grabbed sky were allowed to live as prisoners. The ones who ran, lived, but found the Iron Brigade hot on their heels. Meredith’s elites carved through Archer’s brigade like it wasn’t even there.
Reynolds was a good leader. A great one, in fact. He was decisive, experienced, competent. Many thought he should have gotten command instead of Meade. As his men retook Herbst Wood, he turned behind him to check on how close reinforcements were, some rebel rifleman did his cause a world of good, and shot Reynolds in the back of the head.
Now the situation got pretty weird- Davis’ brigade had kicked the shit out of Cutler’s brigade and was pursuing them on the north side of the road, and the Iron Brigade had kicked the shit out of Archer’s brigade and was pursuing them on the south side of the road. Neither victor was aware of what had happened across from them, and soon enough they would pass each other by almost touching the edges of their lines. The first one to figure out what was happening would get to win.
As it so happened, General Doubleday (in command now that Reynolds was dead) saw the danger and the opportunity first. He broke off an Iron regiment from his reserve to swoop in and protect the flank just in time, setting them up in a defensive stance facing the road. That regiment was joined by another broken off from the Iron assault, and yet another from Cutler’s brigade, who had seen the maneuvering and joined in on its own initiative. It was like a ballet, all three regiments coalescing into a single front facing north across the road, as though they’d spent the last week rehearsing. Under their protection, the rest of the Black Hats gave chase to their prey.
When Davis finally turned and attacked, they were chopped down by a mass of highly accurate fire from the newly entrenched men. Confederates died by the dozens and were maimed by the score. As they reloaded, the Black Hats were astonished to find that the whole Confederate brigade vanish into thin air, like magic. The firing stopped; no more targets. It was bizarre.
The three regiments advanced cautiously. And were gutted by a close range surprise volley by the hidden Confederates as they tried to scale the fences on either side of the Pike.
It turns out that there was a cut in the side of road, deep enough for a man to jump down into with only his head able to peek out. Davis’ men had leapt into it as a source cover when the firefight started and found it was a grand place to shoot out of. But it was also a death trap. Once the Union regiments figured it out, they got in close enough to fire blindly down at point blank range into the milling mass of men.
Davis’ men surrendered, thousands of them all at once. Unable to move, unable shoot back, it was really the only choice. And with that, the first round of Gettysburg was over. Oak Ridge and Herbst Wood had held, and about 150,000 odd soldiers were converging on Gettysburg to shift the tide of war this way and that.
AFTERNOON
The rest of the first day was not free of drama, and heroics, and mass suffering. But it was free of surprises. The iron laws of physics had decreed that more Confederate units would be on hand for the fighting in the afternoon, and so it was. Fresh rebel troops swept down from the north and from the west, relieving their exhausted comrades and preparing themselves to assault Oak Ridge and Herbst Woods. Fresh Union troops arrived from the south to reinforce what they had and to extend their line out east, protecting their right flank and screening off the town itself.
Hours passed without a shot being fired. Everybody was reorganizing themselves, resupplying, carting the wounded to the rear to let the surgeons saw their shattered limbs off. Two small things happened that delivered a Confederate victory on day one, and a Union victory on day three. Union General Barlow pushed his brigade out to occupy Blocher's hill, and Union General Steinwehr plopped two of his brigades on top of Cemetery Hill. The first created a huge gap in the Union right, and the second secured the invaluable high ground for the rest of the battle.
Meanwhile, three Confederate divisions set themselves up for a concerted attack- Heth would press into Herbst Wood on the Union left, Rodes would assault Oak Ridge at the center, and Early would swoop down the Harrisburg road to threaten the Union right. When the big push came at around 2 p.m., it was badly organized and mismanaged. Southern commanders couldn't get it together and attack at the same time. Individual units charged at Oak Ridge alone, like a mob of Hollywood henchmen attacking the hero only to be smacked around one by one. Cutler's men didn't just fight them off; it was closer to mass murder. General O'Neal's brigade swooped down off of Oak Hill only to be cut down by musketry and cannon fire, and they did it without O'Neal, because O'Neal stayed in the rear while his men died. When O'Neal's brigade fell back having suffered heavy losses, Cutler shifted his men to greet the new threat from Iverson's brigade, who also charged without their commander. Iverson's men marched in parade perfect order across open ground, without so much as a molehill for cover. The story goes that during the assault, Iverson looked out from safety and saw half his men lying down on the ground. Iverson was pissed off because he thought his men were surrendering. In fact, he was watching his brigade die in droves.
The issue wasn't morale. The Confederate troops were eager to get at the enemy. The problem was purely organizational in nature. The men in charge of telling people what to do were simply too confused and disoriented to work out the solution in real time. While O’Neal and Iverson were getting bloodied, Barlow’s men on Blocher Hill were getting slaughtered. Barlow’s desire to hold the high ground on the defense was understandable- high ground being a grand place to fight from- but he was about one mile ahead of any friendly units. This meant that it was trivially easy to flank and destroy his brigades.
Georgia men under generals Early and Rodes linked up to flank and destroy Barlow’s isolated brigades. A thick stream of filthy, bloody, and terrified Union men flowed back to the town of Gettysburg, leaving a gaping hole in the Union line and spreading their panic like the plague. Victorious Confederates whooped and hollered. As the men to the north of town trade massacres- the failed assault on Oak Ridge being roughly balanced by the disastrous dissolution of Barlow’s brigades- Heth finally attacked the Iron Brigade still occupying Herbst Wood in the west. He’d been delaying it all afternoon, stymied by the contradictory orders from Lee. Lee, who was several miles away and not at all in touch with the situation, still wanted to avoid a general engagement. But now, Heth has been let off the chain to avenge Archer’s brigade.
Heth’s full division attacked Herbst Wood. It was a slow, hot, gory fight. The attacking rebels are aggressive, but also methodical and well-organized. The Black Hats made them pay for every tree they seized. But there’s only one outcome for a fight like this.
The Iron Brigade has the ghastly honor of having the highest casualty ratio of any Civil War brigade, North or South. Out of the 1,885 men in their ranks that morning, 1,153 (61%) were be dead or maimed by nightfall on the first day. The fates of individual units from within the brigade are even more gruesome- in the 2nd Wisconsin regiment, 397 out of 496 (80%) were killed or wounded. But despite the horrific losses, they didn’t break. They gave ground slowly and in good order, but they gave ground nonetheless. Iron does not break, but it does bend.
By late afternoon, the dominoes fell as they were always going to. With the debacle at Blocher’s Knoll, any hope the Union had to hold the right was lost. The Black Hats were being ground into sawdust on the left. And Rodes has finally gotten his brigades to charge at the same time, overwhelming Cutler’s defense.
Every Union man was running now, some in a blind panic, some withdrawing in good order like professionals.
The open field battle turned into urban warfare as the Confederates chased the Union army through the streets of Gettysburg. Companies blocked the streets to hold off the enemy advance long enough for the comrades to scamper. Marksmen played sniper games in the windows, either shooting men in the back as they ran away or ambushing overly aggressive platoons, depending on the color of their uniform.
The Union men were desperate to reach Cemetery Hill, south of the town. High ground and the reinforcements already stationed there promised safety. The Confederates were just as desperate to catch them first and seize that invaluable terrain for themselves.
Nightfall
A great deal of “woulda coulda shoulda” ink has been spilled over the orders that Lee gave to General Ewell, the man in charge of Rodes and Early: “Take Cemetery Hill if practical”. But Ewell saw two brigades with a lot of artillery standing on top of what appeared to be a natural fortress designed by God to repel infantry, and his men were exhausted to boot. Ewell decided it was not practical, and so did not try. Just one of those things, I expect.
In any case, the day was a Confederate victory. Every spot on the map the Confederate troops wanted to go, they had went. They had crushed all resistance, had even gone toe to toe with the cream of the Army of the Potomac and won. Their enemies were in flight before them.
There was, possibly, a certain amount of disquiet because the enemy had merely been driven from one ridge into another ridge, one even steeper and with more cover than the last. And rumor had it the rest of the Army of the Potomac was coming at them.
But that was a problem for the next day.
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Top Stories - Monday, Sept. 28, 2020

Energy and financials led market gains:
Pelosi says bipartisan deal on fifth coronavirus relief package still possible:
Monday M&A:
Government to ship millions of rapid tests to states to help reopen schools:
Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey beats estimates, highest in nearly two years:
FDA puts partial hold on Inovio's coronavirus vaccine trial:
Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court:
Trump has set a low debate bar for Biden:
Trump's tax history exposed:
Polls show Biden with comfortable lead over Trump, but markets priced for volatility:
Uncertainty around direction of the dollar headed into election:
Trump's ban on TikTok temporarily blocked by federal judge:
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###Wall Street Breakfast: The Week Ahead

Jun. 07, 2020 8:43 AM ET take what you will and tell me what you think, I think they named most of the stocks out there. What are your favorites?

Welcome to Wall Street Brunch, our preview of stock market events for investors to watch during the upcoming week. You can also catch this article a day early by subscribing to the Stocks to Watch account for Saturday morning delivery. Podcast listener? Subscribe now to receive Wall Street Breakfast by 8:00 a.m. every trading day on Seeking Alpha, iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify

Fed Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will be in the spotlight next week when the Federal Open Market Committee meets on June 9-10. Powell is expected to face questions on the central bank's role in the economic recovery and what tools are still available to use. "We think right now they’re just trying to get this Main Street lending program to work. The question is are they going to do more things around what they do in terms of forward guidance and next steps of macro easing," previews Bank of America economist Ethan Harris. On the economic front, reports on consumer prices, producer prices and consumer sentiment will be watched closely. The weekly jobless claims numbers due out on June 11 will be crucial for sentiment after May’s employment report showed a surprising record gain of 2.5M jobs. On the corporate side of things, Lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU) reports earnings with shares sitting near their all-time high and a board battle at GameStop (NYSE:GME) goes to a vote.
Earnings spotlight: REV Group (NYSE:REVG) and Stitch Fix (NASDAQ:SFIX) on June 8; Signet Jewelers (NYSE:SIG), AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC), Chewy (NYSE:CHWY), Five Below (NASDAQ:FIVE) and GameStop on June 9; Guess (NYSE:GES) and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (NASDAQ:RRGB) on June 10; Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE), Dave & Buster's Entertainment (NASDAQ:PLAY) and Lululemon on June 11. Go deeper: See Seeking Alpha's complete list of earnings reporters
IPO watch: Online car seller Vroom (VRM) is offering about 18.8M shares in an expected range of $17 to $19. The timing for the IPO is intriguing with the pandemic leading to more online shopping for cars, but sales and margins under pressure. How well the Vroom IPO is received by investors could be of interest to Carvana (NYSE:CVNA), Cars.com (NYSE:CARS), TrueCar (NASDAQ:TRUE), AutoNation (NYSE:AN) and even Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) as the concept of online car shopping heads more mainstream. Vroom is expected to have a market capitalization of around $1.92B if it prices at the higher end of the indicated range. Across the Pacific, Chinese gaming company NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES) is looking to raise $1.2B in a Hong Kong listing to fund strategies for international expansion. Shares are expected to start trading on June 11. Also in the IPO world, the quiet period expires for ADC Therapeutics (NYSE:ADCT) on June 9 and IPO share lockups end on XP (NASDAQ:XP), Bill Holdings (NYSE:BILL), OneConnect Financial (NYSE:OCFT) and Sprout Social (NASDAQ:SPT) later in the week. There are also secondary offering lockup expirations on Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) and BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) to keep an eye on. Go deeper: Catch up on all the latest IPO news.
M&A tidbits: Gaming officials in New Jersey meet to discuss the Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR)-Eldorado Resorts (NASDAQ:ERI) merger. The tender offer on the Menarini Group pickup of Stemline Therapeutics (NASDAQ:STML) is also due to expire. Keep an eye on Western Union (NYSE:WU) and MoneyGram International (NASDAQ:MGI) for reports on if the companies are in talks and expect a little more drama around the Tiffany (NYSE:TIF)-LVMH (OTCPK:LVMHF) merger.
Projected dividend changes (quarterly): W.R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) to $0.12 from $0.11, Casey's General Stores (NASDAQ:CASY) to $0.34 from $0.32, National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG) to $0.445 from $0.435, Realty Income (NYSE:O) to $0.2330 (monthly), Urstadt Biddle (NYSE:UBA) to $0.14 from $0.28.
Spotlight on Snap: Snap (NYSE:SNAP) has its partner summit event scheduled for June 11. The virtual event will feature a keynote address by Snap co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, as well as talks from other team members from across the company. New product features and partnerships will be announced around Snap's augmented reality offerings and a stripped-down version of its platform that partners can embed in their own apps is expected to be unveiled. Developers are expected to be able to use a toolkit provided by Snap to build a Snapchat-like mini-app right in their own websites. The Snap event takes place with the company under a brighter spotlight for how it curates its promoted content on the Discover page. Heading into the summit, shares of Snap are up more than 50% over the last 90 days.
Airlines: How high can the airline sector fly? After a series of reports on improved bookings trends, airline stocks are showing positive momentum. American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) paced the sector with a 77% gain last week, while Spirit Airlines (NYSE:SAVE) +75%, JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) +36%, Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) +36%, Hawaiian Holdings (NASDAQ:HA) +34% and SkyWest (NASDAQ:SKYW) +33% also reeled off big gains. Traffic reports for May are due out next week, which could include more market-moving metric updates.
Healthcare watch: At ENDO Online, OPKO Health (NASDAQ:OPK) is due to present data on Somatrogon on June 8 and Neurocrine Biosciences (NASDAQ:NBIX) will present on Crinecerfont. Virtual presentations scheduled for the European Hematology Association conference starting on June 11 include bluebird bio (NASDAQ:BLUE) on LentiGlobin data, Merus (NASDAQ:MRUS) on MCLA-117, Altex Industries (OTCQB:ALTX) on Nomacopan, Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) on CTX001, AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) on AZD1222 and Agios Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AGIO) on AG-348.
Analyst meetings and business updates: Equifax (NYSE:EFX) has an investor update scheduled for June 8. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) CEO Bob Swan will talk ESG in a discussion with JUST Capital on June 8 and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) has a business update call scheduled for June 9 covering networks and digital services. Avery Dennison (NYSE:AVY) has a conference call scheduled with R.W. Baird on June 9. Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) cloud exec Mike Micucci is participating in the Citi Virtual Software Bus Tour on June 10. Finally, Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) has an Investor Day scheduled for June 10 and Centene (NYSE:CNC) has a Virtual Investor Day presentation scheduled for June 12.
Conferences rundown: Cowen hosts a conference covering the "New Retail Ecosystem" with virtual presentations from Vince Holdings (NYSE:VNCE), Lands' End (NASDAQ:LE) and Macy's (NYSE:M). Also next week, William Blair has a growth stock conference with online talks by execs from a long list of companies, including Pluralsight (NASDAQ:PS), Appian (NASDAQ:APPN), TransUnion (NYSE:TRU), Arista Networks (NYSE:ANET), CyberArk Software (NASDAQ:CYBR), QAD (NASDAQ:QADA), Talend (NASDAQ:TLND), Workday (NASDAQ:WDAY), SmileDirectClub (NASDAQ:SDC), DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU), Chewy (CHWY), Zendesk (NYSE:ZEN) and Varonis Systems (NASDAQ:VRNS). The hodge-podge list of companies due to participate at the Stifel 2020 Virtual Cross Sector Insight Conference include Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Donaldson (NYSE:DCI), HubSpot (NYSE:HUBS), S&P Global (NYSE:SPGI), Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK), Archer-Daniels-Midland (NYSE:ADM), MasTec (NYSE:MTZ), Lindsay (NYSE:LNN), Dycom Industries (NYSE:DY) and Cronos (NASDAQ:OTC:CRON). Meanwhile, the Deutsche Bank 11th Annual Virtual Global Industrials & Materials Summit 2020 will also run next week with presentations ranging from airline companies, paper producers, construction concerns to home builders. Appearances are expected from MYR Goup (NASDAQ:MYRG), WillScot (NASDAQ:WSC), Berry Global (NYSE:BERY), Builders FirstSource (NASDAQ:BLDR), Cabot Corp. (NYSE:CBT), Canadian Pacific (NYSE:CP), Clearwater (NYSE:CLW), Crown Holdings (NYSE:CCK), AMETEK (NYSE:AME), ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT), Ahland Global (NYSE:ASH), AXTA, Delta Air Lines (DAL), Dow Inc. (NYSE:DOW), Fluor (NYSE:FLR), Garrett Motion (NYSE:GTX), Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), Saia (NASDAQ:SAIA), Silgan Holdings (NASDAQ:SLGN), Sonoco Products (NYSE:SON), Summit Materials (NYSE:SUM), Target Hospitality (NASDAQ:TH), Vulcan Materials (NYSE:VMC), Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK), XPO Logistics (NYSE:XPO), Meritor (NYSE:MTOR), nVent Electric (NYSE:NVT), Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU), PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG), PQ Group (NYSE:PQG), REVG, Alcoa (NYSE:AA), Rexnord Corp. (NYSE:RXN), Canadian National (NYSE:CNI), CSX Corporation (NASDAQ:CSX), Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP), Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU), Honeywell (NYSE:HON), Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) and O-I Glass (NYSE:OI).
Eating out: The week ahead will see the eat-at-home vs. restaurants trade be hashed around again. Nielsen data could show a deceleration in the stockpiling benefits for Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB), J.M. Smucker (NYSE:SJM), B&G Foods (NYSE:BGS), Blue Apron (NYSE:APRN), Hain Celestial (NASDAQ:HAIN) and General Mills (NYSE:GIS) - while restaurant stocks like Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL), Denny's (NASDAQ:DENN), Dine Brands Global (NYSE:DIN), Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB) will look to scrap back from their YTD losses with more people eating out.
Notable annual meetings: GameStop may generate the most drama of the annual meetings next week with the company's board up for re-election. Two proxy firms are backing candidates from stakeholders Hestia Capital and Permit Capital for board inclusion, while Michael Burry's Scion Asset management is voting in favor of the board's slate. The annual shareholder meeting arrives with shares of GameStop down 32% YTD. Other annual meetings to watch this week include MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI), SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE:SEAS), Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK), Target (NYSE:TGT), Wingstop (NASDAQ:WING), TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX), Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT), Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR).
Betting on betting: The brand-new Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (NYSEARCA:BETZ) heads into its first full week of trading just ahead of the re-emergence of major sports in the months ahead. The Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF is designed to offer retail and institutional investors exposure to sports betting and iGaming industries. Holdings include DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG), Flutter Entertainment (OTCPK:PDYPY), Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN), William Hill (OTCPK:WIMHF), Scientific Games (NASDAQ:SGMS), GAN (NASDAQ:GAN), Churchill Downs (NASDAQ:CHDN) and PointsBet (OTCQX:PBTHF).
Barron's mentions: Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) makes the cover this week with the company in the middle of the political firestorm. For investors, the bigger issue than the culture debate is that the stock is valued at a sales multiple lower than social media peers. Food suppliers Sysco (NYSE:SYY), US Food Holdings (NYSE:USFD) and Performance Food Group (NYSE:PFGC) are recommended with sales volume slowly recovering. The publication notes that large investors like KKR and Trian Fund Management are taking an interest in the sector. There is also a reminder that COVID-19 drug trials are progressing. Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) is testing its antibody in a Phase 1 trial. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) is also set to begin testing this month, while a collaboration between Vir Biotechnology (NASDAQ:VIR) and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) will begin trials later this summer. If the trial results are positive and the pandemic remains intense, emergency authorization of some of the drugs could follow.
Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, CNBC, BioPharmCatalyst, EDGAR
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