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Amazing Race Route Concept #2
Warning: massive amount of text ahead. I created a mostly functional race route around the world (all loactions like buildings, businesses, landmarks, etc. are REAL locations and could theoretically actually work in the race). I tried to have a good variety in locations and types of challenges, but it's really hard! I find it a lot harder to complain about challenge design after making this. Even though this could technically happen there are probably some safety concerns in going to South Africa and Lesotho and it's probably not possible for the American Amazing Race to film in Cuba, but I decided to do it anyway. If you have any questions or feedback please let me know! RACE #2 Leg 1 (USA - Japan) Leg 2 (Japan - South Korea) Leg 3 (South Korea - India) Leg 4 (India - Oman) Leg 5 (Oman) Leg 6 (Oman - South Africa) Leg 7 (South Africa - Lesotho) Leg 8 (Lesotho - Greece) Leg 9 (Greece) Leg 10 (Greece - North Macedonia) Leg 11 (North Macedonia - Cuba) Leg 12 (Cuba - USA) LEG 1 USA - Japan Start at Cloud Gate, Chicago, Illinois Run to clue at Millenium Monument Clue #1 Make your way to the Gunma region of Japan, and travel to Sarugakyu Onsen. However, to get your tickets to Japan, you must make your way on foot through the busy streets of Chicago to Navy Pier, where flights will be given out according to the order of your arrival. Flights go to Tokyo, and you must make your own travel arrangements from there. Flight 1 (5 teams): Chicago - Los Angeles - Tokyo, arrives 8:00 AM Flight 2 (4 teams): Chicago - Tokyo, arrives 9:30 AM Flight 3 (2 teams): Chicago - San Francisco - Tokyo, arrives 9:45 AM Clue #2 Both team members must go into the hot springs and search it for the partly submerged cluebox to get your next clue. Clue #3 Travel to Sarugakyo Bungy for your next clue. Clue #4 Roadblock: Who’s ready to take a jump? Bungy jump at the largest bungy jump in all of Japan at 62 meters, or over 200 feet! Once you’ve taken your leap of faith, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #5 Travel to Uenokunirokunomiya Haruna Shrine, Takasaki, for your next clue. Clue #6 Create one string of paper cranes in Senbazuru. Senbazuru is the crafting of 1000 paper cranes for good luck. Following the demonstration, learn how to craft paper cranes. Once you have created forty of them and strung them together, deliver them to a Shinto priest at Akiba Shrine. He will give you your next clue. Clue #7 Travel by train to Akihabara, Tokyo, and go to the top of the Tokyo Skytree to receive your next clue. Clue #8 Roadblock: Who can ‘go’ kart? The teammate who did the first roadblock cannot do this one. Travel to Akihabari Street Kart 1 and dress up in one of the many ridiculous costumes the company has to offer. Then, join a fifteen minute go-karting tour around the streets of this bustling region and look for three enormous signs in race colors with three different Japanese characters on them. If you can spot and write all three characters down correctly during the rush of Tokyo, you’ll receive your next clue. If you can’t get it right, you’ll have to join the next available tour. Clue #9 Travel to Horin Park on foot to find the first pit stop! The last team to check in here may be eliminated. Pit Stop, Leg 1 trip to Canada last: eliminated LEG 2 Japan - South Korea Clue #1 Fly to Busan, South Korea! Upon arrival, make your way to Beomeo-sa for your next clue. Fast Forward, Leg 2 Go to Songdo Beach and swim out into the ocean, locating the five whale statues in the water. At each statue, pick up marked letter tiles. Once you have all seven (two statues have two tiles), you can go back to the beach and unscramble the letters that spell out the name of a traditional South Korean delicacy that the other contestants eat at their first challenge. If you get the right word, you’ll be given a clue that takes you straight to the end of the leg. Clue #2 Master the art of Korean meditation. If you can master all of the moves correctly, then your instructor will give over your next clue. Clue #3 Head to Taejongdae for your next clue. Clue #4 Roadblock: Who’s desperate to eat? Take the marked path over one mile uphill to the marked food stand, and finish one serving of Soondae, a traditional South Korean delicacy that is made of pig intestines and pork blood. Once you have finished the food, you can run down to your partner and get your next clue. Clue #5 Take the Songdo Marine Cable Car from Songnim Park to Amnam Park to receive your next clue. Clue #6 Detour: Fish Identity or Fish Delivery Fish Identity: Go to Jagalchi Fish Market and search for the marked stall. Once there, sort an enormous box of fish and organize them. Once the stall owner approves, put them up for stock in the stall to receive your next clue. Fish Delivery: Go to Jacky’s Seafood and take three orders and three addresses that need to be delivered. Once you have delivered all the fish to all the correct addresses throughout the Gamcheon Culture Village, you will receive your next clue. Clue #7 Make your way to the pit-stop at Haedong Yonggungsa. The last team to arrive may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 2 -first: trip to Belize -last: non-elimination LEG 3 South Korea - India Clue #1 Fly to Hyderabad, India, and go to the Charminar for your first clue. Clue #2 Travel to Ramoji Film City Main Entrance to receive your next clue. Speed Bump, Leg 3 Make your way to Saha’s Adventure Park and zorb down a steep hill. Once you’ve made it, you can continue racing. Clue #3 Detour: Birdy Woods or Bollywood Birdy Woods: Dressing up in clumsy bird costumes, search through Asia’s largest aviary for a cutout of the bird your partner is dressing up as. Once you’ve found the two cutouts, head to the Bonsai Garden. If you match the right bird, you’ll receive your next clue. Bollywood: Head to Ramoji Movie Magic. Dressing up in traditional Indian outfits, memorize a short dance to the tune of some Bollywood music and perform it to the live audience and judges. If you meet their standards, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #4 Head to Nehru Zoological Park where your next clue will be waiting. Clue #5 Take an amazing elephant ride! With both teammates on the elephant’s back guide it through a short course. If you can reach the end in under two minutes, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #6 Make your way to Bidar Fort by public transport for your next clue. Clue #7 Roadblock: Who’s itching to get etching? One team member must help in the process of the creation of bidriware. First, you must chisel one section in the piece of bidriware very precisely. Any error and you must restart. If given the clear, then you must then make their way inside Bidar Fort and collect a total of three baskets of soil for the artisans to use later in the process. Finally, you must use some of the soil you collected and coat a piece of bidriware in it. If every part of the challenge was done to the satisfaction of the artisans, you will receive your next clue. Clue #8 Make your way to the Bahmani Tombs and the pit-stop! The last team to arrive will be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 3 -first: trip to Japan -last: eliminated LEG 4 India - Oman Clue #1 Fly to Muscat, Oman! Once you have arrived, make your way to Al Alam Palace, where you will find marked cars waiting outside. Your clue will be waiting on the car. Clue #2 Drive all the way to the Nizwa Souq in Nizwa, Oman, where you will find nine different tags, each releasing teams at different times the next morning, when you will be given your next clue. Tag 1: departure at 7:00 AM Tag 2: departure at 7:05 AM Tag 3: departure at 7:10 AM Tag 4: departure at 7:15 AM Tag 5: departure at 7:20 AM Tag 6: departure at 7:25 AM Tags 7-9: departure at 7:30 AM Clue #3 Detour: Selling Goats or Weighing Dates Selling Goats: Navigate through the souq to the weekly goat market. You must select a seller and help them sell their goats. First, thoroughly clean five goats so they are ready for selling. Then, parade five goats around the “walking circle,” where potential buyers will inspect which goats to buy. You must finally buy a goat yourself, haggling for a price under 100 riyals, or 260 US dollars. Once you can purchase a goat, you will receive your next clue. Keep the goat for the next challenge. Weighing Dates: Find the marked stall in the souq that is selling dates. Your goal is to weigh out 200 grams of Ajwa Dates, 175 grams of Barhi Dates, and 125 grams of Hayani Dates. To do this, you must travel across the market to a scale at a different date stall. If you can get the perfect amount of dates, you will receive your next clue. Keep the dates for the next challenge. Clue #4 Travel on foot to the Contemporary Mosque with either your goat or dates and trade them with the man waiting out front for your next clue. Clue #5 Make your way back to the souq, and head to Omani Craftsman's House where you will find your next clue. Clue #6 Roadblock: Who can work and weave? The teammate participating in this roadblock must help create a small basketwork bowl. After watching the example, you must use the provided materials to finish off the bowl. If it meets the requirement of the shop owner, you will receive your next clue. Clue #7 Make your way to the pit-stop for this leg of the race, Nizwa Fort! The last team to arrive may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 4 -first: continue racing -last: continue racing LEG 5 Oman Clue #1 Drive yourself to Bimmah Sinkhole in Muscat, Oman! You will receive your next clue after having a cup of delicious locally-made coffee. Caution! Double U-Turn ahead! Clue #2 Detour: Script Write or Shipwright Script Write: Drive to Bait al Zubair and go into the Manuscript Room. Using a provided paper and translation guide, figure out what the marked manuscript says in English. If anything is wrong when submitting it, though, you must start completely over. Shipwright: Drive to Oman Maritime Boatyard and find the marked boat. Oman Maritime has been reviving the craft of making the traditional wooden boats of Oman’s past, and you must help with the process. First, you must hand-sand a small section of the marked vessel. Then, you and your partner must work together to stitch coconut palm fiber through twenty holes, or eighty total stitches. Once you’re done, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #3 Make your way to Mutrah Souk for your next clue and the U-Turn board! Clue #4 Search through the enormous market for one of three marked stalls. One you’ve found a stall, search through their wares for a trinket with a red/yellow flag on the bottom. Give the correct trinket to the shop owner, and they will hand you your next clue. Clue #5 Drive yourself to Qurum Beach, where you will receive your next clue. Clue #6 Roadblock: Who will pass the shells? For this challenge, one team member must watch the demonstration of two fishermen playing a traditional Omani game, Al Hawalees. You must first create a “board” in the sand and collect the required amount of shells to play. You must then challenge a local fisherman. If you can win while following all of the rules correctly, you will receive your next clue. Clue #7 Make your way to the pit-stop at Wadi Bani Khalid. The last team to check in will be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 5 -first: trip to Tanzania -last: eliminated LEG 6 Oman - South Africa Clue #1 Fly out of Oman to Durban, South Africa, on one of two flights. Flight 1 (2 teams): Muscat - Durban, arrives 7:30 AM Flight 2 (6 teams): Muscat - Dar es Salaam - Durban, arrives 8:00 AM Upon touching down, make your way to Moses Mabhida Stadium, where you will find your next clue. Clue #2 Roadblock: Who will swing for the skies? One team member must strap in and complete the Big Rush Big Swing, the largest swing in the world! Dive 263 feet down. Once you have finished the swing, you will receive a section and seat number. You will search the stands for your next clue. Clue #3 Make your way to Umhlanga Lighthouse for your next clue. Clue #4 Shake it up! In this challenge, you must create Lighthouse Bar’s famous “Umhlanga Schling.” Use the provided recipe to create fifteen drinks to perfection, and you will receive your next clue. Clue #5 Head to Addington Beach and dig underneath one of the large sandcastles for your next clue. Clue #6 Detour: Tree or Sea Tree: For this detour, go to Durban Botanical Gardens. Use a provided golf cart to make your way to the famous Wood’s Cycad, a tree dating back to the age of dinosaurs. It has been cared for here since 1848. Once there, use one of the provided pieces to put together a large 3d puzzle of the tree. Once it has been approved, you will be handed your clue, and you can drive back to the front of the gardens and continue racing. Sea: Go to uShaka Marine World and help out with some chores! First, help the kitchen staff and prepare 5 pounds of specially made vegetables for some of the aquarium’s fish. Second, travel around the park and take water samples from each of the specified exhibits. Finally, record blood test results taken during routine health check-ups. If you’ve completed all of the steps correctly, you will receive your next clue. Clue #7 Head to the pit-stop at Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World! The last team to check in may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 6 -first: 5k each -last: eliminated LEG 7 South Africa - Lesotho Clue #1 Drive yourself through Qacha’s Nek and into Lesotho! Once in Lesotho, drive yourself to Maletsunyane Falls where you’ll find your next clue. Fast Forward, Leg 7 By completing this fast forward, you will skip an overnight rest point and will be able to head directly to the pit-stop. Head to Sehlabathebe National Park. Once there, using the provided map and compass, ride by horseback to the nomadic tribal people’s current village. At the village, help cook pap-pap, a type of porridge common in Lesotho. The first team to complete the challenge will be able to head directly to the pit-stop. Clue #2 Drive yourself to Seshoeshoe Decor and Fashion Designers in Maseru for your next clue. Clue #3 Who can cut up a pattern? One teammate will choose one of the complicated tribal Lesotho designs, and must find five pieces of fabric that match it perfectly. But be careful, the designs have miniscule differences between them. Once you’ve found all of your fabric, cut them at the directed places to receive your next clue. Clue #4 Make your way to the Subeng River Dinosaur Footprints, where you will find seven tags, each releasing you at a time in the morning when you will receive your next clue. Tags 1-2: departure at 7:00 AM Tag 3: departure at 7:20 AM Tag 4: departure at 7:40 AM Tags 5-7: departure at 8:00 AM Clue #5 Detour: Cave or Maze Cave: For this challenge, go to Liphofung Cave. You must memorize all of the rock paintings in a specified section (15 paintings), and then run approximately a quarter-mile away and select the correct paper cutouts and put them in the right order as they were shown in the cave. When you have everything selected and ordered correctly, you’ll receive your next clue. Maze: Make your way to the second largest dam in Africa, Katse Dam. Enter the first marked gallery and record the air temperature and the humidity. Use those observations to crack a complicated code, and enter the parallel gallery it directs you into. Be careful, it might be hard to find! If you enter the correct gallery, you will find a boat key, which you must give to the boatmaster. He will then give you a small ride around the reservoir and you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #6 Drive yourself to Sani Stone Lodge for your next clue. Clue #7 Help a local Basotho Shephard and their dogs move their sheep to a new grazing location. Don’t let the sheep get away! Once they’ve all been successfully moved, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #8 Make your way on foot to the pit-stop at Sani Top Chalet! The last team to check in may be eliminated! Pit-Stop, Leg 7 -first: trip to Egypt -last: non-elimination LEG 8 Lesotho - Greece Clue #1 Via Maseru International Airport, make your way to Athens, Greece, known to be the home of the first democracy! From there, make your way to the Theatre of Dionysus on The Acropolis, where you will take part in a U-Turn vote. The two teams with the most votes will be sentenced to an automatic U-Turn when they arrive at the detour. After the vote, teams will be given their next clue. Clue #2 Fly to Chania, Greece on the island of Crete! Upon touching down, use the provided cars to make your way to the Agora and search for the marked stall. Speed Bump, Leg 8 Together, team members must eat through a total of twelve Greek figs. Once all of the fruits have been stomached, that team can continue racing. Clue #3 Detour: Traverse or Immerse Traverse: Make your way to the Maritime Museum of Crete, and find the small yacht model outside the museum. Your goal is to remember as much as you can without writing it down, then make a half mile walk through the streets of Crete to the yacht harbor, where you must find a marked yacht and rearrange the items until it is just like it was in the model. Once the actual yacht matches the model, you’ll receive your next clue. Immerse: Travel to Minoan’s World 3D Museum, and get treated to a five minute long “9D movie” on Cretan History which engages all of your senses. If you can answer all five questions correctly, you’ll receive your next clue. However, only two teams can participate in the show at once. Clue #4 Drive to the Palace of Knossos for your next clue. Clue #5 Use the provided map to navigate through the ruins, collecting puzzle pieces at each of the marked rooms. Once you have all ten bundles of pieces, head outside and recreate the large painting using the pieces you collected. Once it has been finished, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #6 Drive to Cretan Olive Oil Farm for your next clue. Clue #7 Roadblock: Who is feeling oily? In this challenge, one teammate will help in the process of creating olive oil. First, set up special tree-shaking equipment and a net, used to efficiently get olives out of the tree without bruising them. You will then sort the olives between bruised and fair. Finally, crush both bruised and fair olives with a traditional granite olive press. Once they have been successfully grinded into a paste, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #8 Find the pit-stop along the coast of the small village of Loutro back on the west side of Crete. You will soon discover, however, that the village is completely blocked off from the mainland by mountains, so you will have to find alternate transportation. Hurry, because the last team to arrive will be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 8 -first: trip to Austria -last: eliminated LEG 9 Greece Clue #1 Fly back to the mainland in Thessaloniki! When you’ve arrived, search Aristotelous Square for your next clue. Clue #2 Detour: Serve or Observe Serve: For this detour head on foot to Bougatsa Giannis, a renowned restaurant in the Ladadika area. You must take the orders of twelve total people and retrieve the correct dishes for them from the kitchen. Each person also has a dessert, which must be retrieved from nearby pastry shop Trigona Elinidi. You may take notes, but if you mess up someone’s order, you must start it over again. Observe: Go by taxi to the Thessaloniki Science Centre Technology Museum and make your way to the main planetarium. The night sky will be projected above, and will be moving around you at one hour of regular movement per second. Using the provided key, identify five Greek constellations first identified by Claudius Ptolemy- Orion, Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, Centaurus, and Perseus. Be careful, it might be dizzying! Once you’ve found all of the constellations, you’ll be rewarded with your next clue. Clue #3 Find the Arch of Galerius for your next clue. Clue #4 Use one of the marked cars to drive yourself for the rest of the leg. Go to the Thessaloniki Concert Hall for your next clue. Clue #5 Roadblock: Who can blow a note and hold a tune? Macedonian brass bands are extremely popular in the Macedonia region of Greece, so for this roadblock, learn how to play the trumpet, a popular instrument played in these bands. If you can play a few notes of the folk song with the band, you’ll get your next clue. Clue #6 Drive to Dalamara Winery. Once there, follow the guide to the directed area, where you must load two empty kegs onto a horse drawn cart. Direct the horse approximately half a mile through the vineyard and return back to the kegs. You will continue to load and deliver a total of eight kegs to receive your next clue. Clue #7 Drive to Ski Center Voras and take the lift to the top where Kajmakcalan, a chapel right on the border between Greece and North Macedonia is situated. The last team to arrive at this pit-stop may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 9 -first: trip to Colombia -last: eliminated LEG 10 Greece - North Macedonia Clue #1 Drive yourself across the border into North Macedonia to Popova Kula Winery! Once there, pull a tag that departs you at a certain time the next morning. Tag 1: departure at 8:00 AM Tag 2: departure at 8:10 AM Tag 3: departure at 8:20 AM Tags 4-5: departure at 8:30 AM Clue #2 Roadblock: Who is a master chef? The teammate doing this roadblock will use the provided recipe to cook the national dish of North Macedonia, Tavche Gravche, a special type of baked beans. If it is cooked to perfection, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #3 Drive yourself to the Millenium Cross in Skopje for your next clue. Clue #4 Detour: Art Block or Charity Walk Art Block: Drive to the Art Bridge, which is home to 29 statues of important Macedonian artists and musicians. Wandering on and around the bridge are 29 people dressed up as those artists and musicians. You must match nine total people to their statues. A maximum of three teams can complete this challenge. Charity Walk: Drive to the Mother Teresa Memorial House and load a trolley cart with a marked group of items that will almost completely fill the trolley. On foot, travel to the SOS Children’s Village National Office where you are to deliver the items. If you do not choose this option, your items will still be donated after the leg. Clue #5 Drive to the city of Struga, where the North Macedonian national anthem was created. Make your way to the Saint Archangel Michael Cave Church for your next clue. Clue #6 Teammates must work together to memorize four total stanzas of the Macedonian national anthem- in Macedonian. If you can perform it with the orchestra without forgetting the lyrics, you’ll receive your clue to the next pit-stop. Clue #7 Drive to the Monastery of St. Naum and the pit-stop! The last team to check in may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 10 -first: trip to Indonesia -last: eliminated LEG 11 North Macedonia - Cuba Clue #1 Make your way back to Skopje, then fly to Havana, Cuba, on two predetermined flights. Once there, go by taxi to Taller Calle 8, a car repair shop, where you will receive your next clue. Flight 1 (2 teams): Skopje - Paris - Havana, arrives 6:30 AM Flight 2 (2 teams): Skopje - London - Miami - Havana, arrives 7:10 AM Clue #2 Roadblock: Who can fix it up? The teammate doing this roadblock must follow the example to repair one of the classic Cuban cars. If it makes it past inspection, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #3 For the remainder of the leg, you’ll have to drive the car you just fixed. Head to Fusterlandia, where you’ll find your next clue. Clue #4 Find where the attached image is in person throughout the folk neighborhood of Fusterlandia. If you can find where the image actually is and show the judge, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #5 Sell the Box or Find the Band Sell the Box: Drive to Santa Maria del Mar Beach and sell the provided boxes of boxed rum, the “juice box for bug kids.” While never selling any box for under 25 Cuban Pesos, make 375 Cuban Pesos (around fifteen US dollars). Once you’ve made your sales, you’ll receive your next clue. Find the Band: For this detour, drive to the Cuban Art Factory and observe the large, marked piece of sheet music in the first room. Going from room to room in the factory, try to find the band who is playing the music that was in the first room. You must make your guesses ten minutes apart, so be confident in your answers! Once you have chosen the right band, you’ll be rewarded with your next clue. Clue #6 Drive to Vinales Valley Tobacco Field and search the marked area for your next clue. Clue #7 Perfectly roll ten Cuban cigars, five per contestant. Watch the example closely, as any small mistake in rolling the tobacco leaf will cause the cigar to fail. Once all of the cigars have been perfectly rolled, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #8 Take a long drive to the eastern side of Cuba and the pit-stop at Ignacio Agramonte Park in Camaguey! The last team to check into the pit-stop will be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 11 -first: trip to Botswana -last: eliminated LEG 12 Cuba - USA Clue #1 For the first part of this leg, you’ll be staying in Cuba! Drive yourself using the car you used in the last leg down Neptuno street in Havana, where you will find a guarapo stall with a flag. Clue #2 Using the hand-press to crush sugarcane, make forty glasses of guarapo. Once all of the glasses have been successfully made, you’ll be handed your next clue. Clue #3 Drive to the Tropicana Night Club for your next clue. Clue #4 Roadblock: Who can make it and shake it? For this challenge, one team member must follow the instructions of the costume designer to create a costume for one of the showgirls. If the costume is made correctly and given a pass, teams will be given their next clue. Clue #5 Teams must drive to Aeropuerto de La Habana Ciudad Libertad, where you will embark on a charter flight to Key West, Florida, back in the United States. Once in Key West, teams must go to the southernmost point in the continental United States for their next clue. Clue #6 Make your way to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, where you’ll find your next clue. Clue #7 Roadblock: Who is a reader, a writer, and a decipherer? Ernest Hemingway, known for books like The Old Man and the Sea, had a notoriously bad handwriting, with little regards to punctuation or accuracy. One team member must copy one of Hemingway’s notes perfectly, letter for letter, on the provided typewriter. If it was typed perfectly, you will be handed a decoder key which you can use to find the hidden message, which will reveal the location of your final challenge. Answer: Smathers Beach Clue #8 Now that you’ve made it to Smathers Beach, you’ll partake in a final challenge. Out in between the marked buoys are bundles of letter tiles. You must dive down to retrieve them and bring them back up to shore. Figure out what you’re supposed to spell out with them, and once you think you have the answer, hang the tiles in order on your clothesline. If you have the correct answer, you’ll be given the final clue. Answer: United States, Japan, South Korea, India, Oman, South Africa, Lesotho, Greece, North Macedonia, Cuba, United States (teams must figure out that they have to spell out all of the countries they visited in order on the race) Clue #9 Congratulations! Make your way to the final pit-stop at Fort Zachary Cruise Pier! Go, go, go, the first team to reach the pit-stop will win 1 MILLION dollars! Pit-Stop, Leg 12 10 countries 4 continents over 27,000 miles first: 1 million dollars
The best laid PLANs of mice and men often go awry. Welcome back to another effortpost by me generally on the developing arms race in East Asia, this time covering the People's Liberation Army Navy, hereafter referred to as the "PLAN", and its massive growth... and... mostly, well, its massive growth. What that means is mostly covered in other posts about how other countries are responding to it. The why is a bit difficult because, well, China is not well known for open debate, or open anything, really, which will turn up repeatedly.
First And Last Stand Of The Tin Can Navies [ASEAN + Australia and the smaller adversaries China may contend with]
Boned: Problems in the US Air [and space!] Force
--Unnamed-- effortpost on Japanese military matters, mostly about how weird the JSDF status is
--Unnamed--effortpost on Indian military matters, and why they can't focus on China or buy anything that works
--Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the PLA, mostly the air force though
--Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the US Armed Forces, mostly talking about how the marines are changing and the Army's new love affair with INF-busting weapons
Glossary: PLA = People's Liberation Army = the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, or China PLAN = People's Liberation Army Navy = the naval forces of the PLA PLANAF = People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force = the air force of the navy of the PLA Ashm = Anti-ship missile, cruise missile unless specifically described as otherwise--there's only one anti-ship ballistic missile in existence and its efficacy and whether or not it functions is questionable CIWS = close-in weapons system, like the Phalanx gun or Goalkeeper VLS = vertical launch system for missiles AEGIS = Aegis Combat System if described specifically in that context, a US naval warfare system, but we'll usually be talking about "Chinese AEGIS", which is a nomiker used by the Chinese media in particular comparing the Type 346 radar to the AN-SPY family, with which it shares numerous technical characteristics--but how comparable the "Chinese AEGIS" system is to what the US uses is a complete unknown. SAM = Surface-to-air missile, in this case usually a S-300 derivative First Island Chain = The islands, stretching from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan, which keep China inside its littoral seas much as the GIUK [Greenland-Iceland-UK] gap has kept various continental powers out of the Atlantic. Some PLAN equipment you might see described--the nomenclature is confusing and a relic of the cultural revolution, and as a result China now has more Types than the British. Type 003 = China's new conventionally powered supercarriers, currently under construction Type 002 = China's first truly "operational" carrier Type 001 = China's first carrier, built on a Soviet hull purchased from Ukraine ostensibly to make a floating casino Type 055 = Guided-missile cruiser, though generally called a destroyer it's probably more descriptively labeled a cruiser Type 052D = Guided-missile destroyer using "Chinese AEGIS" Type 052/051B/052B/052C = the gradual progression of evolving Chinese naval tech, largely built as practice/demo ships like the Type 001. Some of the earlier ones are steam-powered but by the Type 052C you have something almost as advanced as the Type 052D, albeit with turbine problems Type 054A = the standard modern frigate of the PLAN Type 053[anything] = old PLAN frigates Type 096 = China's newest SSBN class, under construction Type 094 = China's first functional SSBN class, very noisy Type 092 = China's first "SSBN", believed to have never left port with an actual nuke on board Type 095 = China's newest SSN class, under construction Type 093 = China's current SSN class, noisy Type 091 = China's first SSN class, dumb dumb dumb and is at a 1950s tech level Type 039[A] = China's new SSK class Kilo = China's older SSK class, imported from Russia Sovremenny = China's first capable anti-air destroyers, imported from Russia
1. The Last Time A Rising Navy Challenged A Dominant Foe
The last time we've seen something like this was in the late 19th century. After the First World War shipbuilding was restricted by the landmark Washington Naval Treaty, one of the first great arms control treaties, and during the Cold War the Soviet Union never really had any hopes of surpassing American naval power. China, however, seems intent on replacing the US as the world's dominant naval power, or at least building a force that can stop the US Navy, even combined with the forces of Japan and other regional allies. The nations in question, of course, in the last naval arms race, were the United Kingdom and a newly-unified Germany. Germany never reached the level of the UK, but seriously threatened it. Previously the UK had maintained a policy of having more ships than the next two largest fleets combined, but this was no longer possible, and the UK legitimately was fearful for its naval supremacy. It didn't last too long in the end--under a decade--and a resumption was foiled by first a world war and then the Washington Naval Treaty. The impact of the arms race, though, was massive. It set Germany and the UK at odds with each other, it resulted in a general buildup of warships pretty much everywhere [South America was, believe it or not, one of the biggest offenders there], established Germany for a time as the world's second naval power, having eclipsed both France and Russia and turning a small coastal defense navy into something that was able to defeat the Royal Navy itself, though never comprehensively enough to change the course of the first world war. China dwells in a much different situation than Germany did at the turn of the last century, so we can only extend the analogy so far--substituting in Japan for the UK, India for Russia, and so on is possible but not, in my view, educational. However, we can see many of the same elements playing in here. China seems intent on replacing the US as a dominant power, or at least as regional hegemon--the ancient tributary system seems to lie fairly heavily on Chinese minds--and in order to do that, it must be able to have some degree of power projection and the capability to deny the US Navy access to areas within the first island chain. It remains to be seen, however, how successful that quest will be. Much as with the dreadnought battleships, I wouldn't be surprised if we never actually do find out if most of the shiny naval toys people have built actually work. But their mere existence shows the mutual hostility developing in the region and demonstrates the size of the Chinese threat. Another lesson learned here is that China, like Germany, may not develop a naval force capable of defeating the US comprehensively, but only partially, and that one of the powers--in this case, China--might be pressured to strike first before the US Navy can close the gap. That ~2030 gap I talked about in my last post is, I think, an especially vulnerable point, because China may look at a degraded, but rejuvenating US Navy, then at their own capable forces, and decide to strike then in Taiwan and the South China Sea, only to back down when the US Navy again eclipses them. Whether or not that will happen, we will see--but I find it a very dangerous and perhaps likely possibility.
2. What the PLAN looked like 20 years ago
The PLAN has undergone an absolutely stunning evolution in the past two decades. In the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis the US could intimidate China with a pair of aircraft carrier strike groups and China could do pretty much nothing about it. Now the US is afraid of sending anything more than a destroyer through the strait. Twenty years ago, the PLAN was a bit of a joke. Even Taiwan figured it could hold the seas against the PLAN. It consisted of a few tens of outdated coastal-defense frigates, some Soviet-era diesel-electric subs, and a large number of unsophisticated missile craft. The pride of the Chinese fleet were a handful of destroyers assembled using cobbled-together Western technology--copied French missiles, American gas turbines, the lot. According to American accounts at the time, the instructions for the equipment hadn't even been translated. The most advanced ship in the fleet used steampower. There were nuclear submarines, but of 1950s quality. Of particular note was the fact that the Chinese fleet had no area air defense capabilities--their premier surface-to-air-missile was an unlicensed knockoff of the French Crotale, and couldn't shoot anything outside of visual range, at high altitudes, or really doing anything more sophisticated than trying to kill their ships with low-altitude dumb bombing runs. In the past twenty years, however, the PLAN has, much like the German Navy towards the end of the 19th century, gone from an afterthought to the world's second most powerful force. It began, as modern China's military capabilities almost all began, with the looting of the former Soviet Union for naval technology. While Soviet naval tech was generally lacking, it was much better than anything else China could get its hands on after the arms embargo placed on it in the 1990s by the US and Europe in response to Tienanmen and the end of the Cold War. China bought Soviet diesel submarines, Soviet air-defense destroyers, and Soviet aircraft carriers, which it promptly left lying around [and turned one of them into a theme park]. This was combined with copies of various pieces of Western, mostly European, technology for everything from sonars to surface-to-air missiles. China then began developing its first modern indigenous surface combatants, the Type 052C, but there were still problems. The engines were Ukrainian and had reliability trouble, the gun jammed, there was no VLS. It is really in the last ten years that things have begun to move extremely quickly, and even only in the latter portion of the decade. In 2012 the Type 001 Liaoning entered service, and although it remains more of a training ship than an operational vessel, and is held back by a poor carrier aircraft, the mere fact that China "built" a carrier was a surprise to many. In 2014 the first Type 052D destroyer came online. It had learned the lessons from the Type 052C, and in just the last six years at least ten have entered service, with a class size of about 23 expected. This rapid expansion is what has frightened competing navies the most--in a little over a decade, the PLAN is constructing more destroyers than the British, French, and Australian navies have in service combined. It is also building the Type 055, which has generally been called a "destroyer" despite being more aptly described as a cruiser in line with the Ticonderoga-class. China has also built 30 modern frigates in the past decade, which has also swelled its numbers, along with numerous smaller corvettes, submarines, and so on. This is why the PLAN has become such an object of concern. While it cannot challenge the US Navy yet, at least outside its littoral zones, the decline of the USN and rapid expansion of the PLAN means that it is a serious threat. And the speed at which it has developed has made many fearful. As recently as 2010, the idea of China operating an aircraft carrier or modern destroyers seemed distant, possibly preposterous. Now China speaks openly of having a six-carrier fleet in the 2030s, although, as with many of China's plans to operate full US-replicated tech and doctrine, these may have somewhat caved to realism. China is mighty, but it has already done the easy part--the last part is much harder, in economics and in military matters. Building the software, the institutional knowledge, the hardware to compete with the US Navy will prove difficult.
3. What the PLAN looks like now--submarines
Submarines are one of the PLAN's weak spots, particularly nuclear submarines. China is, however, making some fairly rapid advances in this area. Their nuclear submarine program has been considered a bit of a joke for some time. In the late 1950s when all the cool kids great powers were getting nuclear submarines, China decided [or at least Mao did] that China needed nuclear submarines too. About 16 years later, the product of this effort finally emerged as the Type 091 submarine. Based on 1950s technology, with poor radiation shielding and basically nothing done in the name of noise reduction, and not even a teardrop hull, the Type 091 was probably more of a threat to the sailors who were on it than anyone else, except maybe the two Tench-class submarines that Taiwan operates, which use 1940s technology and are the world's longest-serving submarines, though they're mostly used for training nowadays. Even then, my money would be on the Tench despite the upgrades the PLAN has made to the Type 091. There's only so much you can do to put lipstick on a pig. China also produced an SSBN, the Type 092, which was probably the only submarine more useless than the Type 091. About the only useful thing it did for the PLAN was that it served as a test platform for SLBM launches. Reports suggest that the Type 092 is the noisiest SSBN ever made, and is thought to have only ever undertaken a single patrol. It stayed at port for so long that it was thought to have sunk in an accident. And the experience turned the PLAN off from building SSBNs for over twenty years, until the Type 094 came online in 2007. More recent submarines are growing in capability, though. The Type 094 is not the noisiest SSBN ever made, and may not even be the noisiest in current service--that honor going to the Delta III operated by the Russian Navy, which uses 1970s technology, and, which, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence, is about as noisy as the Type 094. The Type 093 is also moderately capable--it actually functions and can fire anti-ship missiles. However, the Type 093 is still considered only comparable to the Soviet Victor III class, again using 1970s technology. Future submarines have not yet been seen, but expectations are that China will make another step forward to late 1980s or early 1990s tech levels, producing something on par with the Los Angeles or Akula for the first time. China also operates a fairly capable fleet of coastal diesel-electric submarines. While some are quite old--the Type 035--most are pretty average for the global submarine force, a mix of Kilos and domestic AIP designs. The large number of boats in operation and their anti-ship missile capability means that these should be considered a real threat, at least in the littoral waters near to China, but they aren't decisive by any means, especially since China is facing off against such threats as Japan's Soryu class, probably the most advanced diesel-electric sub in existence. In conclusion, the PLAN is still pretty weak on the submarine front--weaker here than on anything but its carrier force, but its capabilities are advancing rapidly and should not be underestimated.
4. What the PLAN looks like now--surface combatants
The surface fleet is definitely the most impressive and capable portion of the PLAN, no questions about it. China once had a fleet consisting mostly of coastal frigates and missile boats. As recently as 2000, its fleet had no real area-air-defense destroyers, and no SAMs that could operate outside visual range. Now, though, the PLAN operates tens of advanced guided-missile destroyers, advanced frigates, and still retains a large number of small, stealthy missile boats. The major focus of Chinese warships appears to be on anti-air, with anti-surface being a somewhat secondary concern for all but the smallest vessels. This makes sense when you realize that the primary focus is, at least for the moment, on using land-based aircraft to strike against hostile fleet formations using long-range anti-ship missiles, in a very Soviet sort of way--"Backfire raids" using long-range land-based aircraft with anti-ship missiles were one of the US Navy's major concerns during the Cold War, and the very reason for the F-14's existence along with the AIM-54 Phoenix it carried. However, China has been developing anti-surface capabilities as well using ashms and land-attack cruise missiles [generally the same thing, actually]. Since China has finally developed a VLS system that allows it to use the same launcher for multiple missiles, its most recent ships have become more versatile in that role. How effective these ships are at that task is, however, a relatively open question. Their radars at least seem to quite sophisticated, using flat-panel AESA, and have been dubbed "Chinese AEGIS" by the highly reliable Chinese domestic media. The basic platform their surface-to-air missiles are based on also seems to be fairly capable--the HQ-9 is an S-300 derivative, a respectable SAM system though, again, how capable it is against opponents in an active electronic warfare environment is questionable, and it has basically no capabilities against stealth aircraft like the F-35 as far as anyone knows. The efficacy of their CIWS, again, is open to question. Really this is true of everything about the modern PLAN, and PLA in general. The PLA is secretive, has not exported most of its hardware, and has developed largely independently of foreign militaries, though it is definitely influenced by them. Now that the PLAN has moved away from simply copying foreign hardware and patching it together, its capabilities are much harder to discern. However, they should be taken as a very real threat, and not written off. My guess would be that their warships are about as capable as most of their non-American counterparts, save those equipped with AEGIS, but that's all my guess is---a guess.
5. What the PLAN looks like now--carriers
The PLAN currently has two carriers in service, and two more known to be under construction, and most suspect that it will build several more. However, at the moment, the PLAN's carrier force is largely a paper tiger, designed around training. The first carrier, the Type 001, basically was a "how do you build a carrier" kit bought from Russia, possibly by accident--the "fully functional" Minsk ended up as a theme park, believe it or not. The hull was purchased from Ukraine and then completed in China years later. It is also believed that the PLAN may have learned some things about aircraft carriers from the HMAS Melbourne, which was sold to a Chinese firm for scrapping--rumor has it the PLAN had no clue this had happened and then had a field day looking at all the stuff that hadn't been taken out. This was back in the old days when nobody could imagine that China would have an aircraft carrier. The Type 002, however, is built from scratch, but isn't particularly capable especially as it's a ski-jump carrier, leaving the Type 003 the first carrier which will prove actually useful. The main thing holding China's carrier fleet back, though, is a lack of a suitable aircraft. Originally China was considering purchasing Su-33s from Russia, hardly a good carrier-based aircraft but functional, but after Russia discovered that China had been mucking about building a Su-27 derivative without asking the deal fell through [China tells a different story, saying that Russia demanded exorbitant amounts to reopen production which it was unwilling to pay for a nearly obsolete aircraft]. As a result China operates the J-15 as its naval fighter, with... less than stellar results. It's extremely heavy, and, if it takes off from the carrier, has minimal range if carrying anything at all--it can't take more than two short range air to air missiles into the sky to fight enemy aircraft. However, the J-15 isn't really intended for combat service--it's intended to teach China how to run carriers, and it seems to work well enough for that task, aside from the multiple fatal crashes. There is, however, thought to be a new carrier fighter in the pipeline--most say the J-31/FC-31, which has reduced RCS and a number of carrier-unique features, is being pitched as a carrier-based aircraft and will serve as China's carrier fighter in the future. China also lacks any fixed wing carrier-based airborne early warning, which could prove troublesome--a lack of AEW means that its view is limited by the horizon--and has no resupply aircraft like the C-2 Greyhound. As a result, for the moment at least, China lacks an effective carrier force, but it is likely to continue developing rapidly in the next decade and become a fairly substantial threat. Remember that as recently as 2010, a Chinese aircraft carrier seemed preposterous to many people, and now they have two.
6. Some attention to land-based aircraft
Land-based aircraft as a naval weapon are not generally used by the US, which has never had a reason to develop them as a doctrinal focus. Sure, you could potentially envision them as being used, and there even were situations where they were utilized, but it just wasn't generally a priority or how things were done. For China, though, taking influence from the Soviets, and lying on littoral seas with hostile powers in the First Island Chain, land-based aircraft and missiles are a key part of doctrine. Although this is often viewed as a new thing, called A2/AD [anti access/area denial], it's really the result of a long historical evolution of naval power, probably most refined by the Soviet Union. As a result, land-based naval aviation plays an important role, firing anti-ship missiles at standoff distances at enemy vessels, and shore-based launchers of anti-ship missiles are also an important weapon. The combination of these systems means that venturing within China's littoral seas is a dangerous proposition during war, and some waters, like those of the Taiwan Strait, are effectively considered closed at this point in the event of hostilities breaking out. For this reason air superiority is also important in this sort of naval warfare, as if either side gains air superiority it can pummel its opponents with air-launched anti-ship missiles. China's capabilities in this area are sophisticated and should not be underestimated, but they are unlikely to go through a rapid period of growth like the PLAN's fleet. And a brief note dedicated entirely to the DF-21D "Carrier killer" that the PLA likes to show off. It's a pretty impressive capability, on paper, using a ballistic missile to hit a carrier. The CEP [circular error probable] means that it could even happen, presuming that an aircraft carrier was good enough to sit in one place, not moving, long enough to be detected by China. Aircraft carriers look big, but the seas are huge, and they're surprisingly hard to find. They also move quite fast, in excess of of 35mph/55kph, and thus by the time the ballistic missile has launched it might well be out of range given the fact that ballistic missiles are not particularly known for their maneuverability in terminal stages, at least not in the realm of miles. The DF-21D is not a particular threat to the modern aircraft carrier. It could potentially be one if it evolves into a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, but that's a whole additional can of worms, that I might address a different day.
7. The PLAN's plans for the future--what will it look like in 2030?
Unfortunately the PLAN is not exactly the most open of navies, as I've repeatedly mentioned. There are no public debates over acquisitions programs, no big fleet shape plans, relatively little detail. However, a few things are fairly sure bets or publicly announced. China has repeatedly announced plans to build a six-carrier force, including the Type 001 and Type 002, but also a pair of Type 003 [already under construction] conventionally powered supercarriers and a pair of Type 004 nuclear powered supercarriers. However, it seems that the Type 004 is currently on hold. Why, exactly, is unclear, but it seems to be technical difficulties, which are not particularly surprising given that China's experience with nuclear maritime propulsion seem to be rather limited and have had poor results in their submarine fleet. The costs were also expected to be too high--China does not have an unlimited quantity of money, despite what it may flaunt, and nuclear carriers are expensive to develop especially given that China has not built a nuclear-powered surface ship before. A new carrier-based fighter is almost certainly in the cards because the J-15 is pretty much useless. The FC-31 seems by far the most likely candidate but it could be another aircraft we haven't seen yet. The addition of this aircraft will greatly improve the PLAN's capabilities. China also has two Type 075 amphibious assault ships/LHDs under construction, and I would expect this class to be much more prolific. These ships are much more affordable than the full carriers, and focus on areas in which China is particularly concerned--amphibious assaults, say, on islands in the South China Sea or on Taiwan, and anti-submarine warfare, which is of particular importance given that submarines cannot be easily halted with land-based anti-ship missiles and air-launched cruise missiles provided for in their area denial doctrine--submarines are one of the few things that can slip through that net. The surface combatant fleet is likely to continue growing, but I am not sure if it will swell much beyond the ~23 Type 052D ships planned and the 8 Type 055s. We're likely to see the retirement of the classes preceding the Type 052C destroyer and the Type 054 frigate, and they may be offloaded to Bangladesh, Myanmar, or Pakistan--there is substantial precedent here, and it seems that China is interested in expanding the naval capabilities of its partners around India. The submarine fleet is likely to see rapid expansion if the PLAN is satisfied with the Type 095 and Type 096 classes, and we're likely to see more diesel-electric subs built as well. Submarines are generally quite good at fighting submarines and conducting area-denial missions, and the large and capable subsurface forces of Japan, Korea, and the United States means that this has to be an area the PLAN invests more in--and the fact that several Southeast Asian nations are also looking at acquiring submarines makes the issue more pressing.
China has in the past decade gone from a third-rate navy to perhaps the greatest threat the US Navy has faced since the Second World War. This has significant geopolitical implications, and has resulted in neighbors scrambling to overhaul their naval forces. The growth of the PLAN means that the US can no longer easily defend Taiwan or the South China Sea, or any of China's littoral waters. This, more than anything else, is what has everyone scrambling in the US talking about "great-power competition" because denying access to the US Navy and working on power projection, an inherently naval thing, is essentially a clear sign that China is looking to directly compete with the United States. Underestimate the PLAN at your own peril. I hope to have more detail and citations in future posts, but unfortunately the PLAN is very secretive [yes, I've said that fifty times already] and this is a pretty big topic to discuss without going into details about all sorts of naval tidbits. Thanks for reading the fourth post in what I hope will be a fairly substantial series, probably around ~12 posts.
A not-so-brief rundown of letters J-L of Jeffrey Epstein's 'Little Black Book'
Below is a rundown of letters J-L of Epstein's contacts. Last year, I wrote about letters A-C. You can check that out here (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/cpis3n/a_brief_rundown_of_the_first_ten_pages_of_jeffrey/). I also wrote about letters D-F on July 5, 2020. You can check that out here (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/hlrba8/a_notsobrief_rundown_of_letters_df_in_jeffrey/). I posted letters G-I on July 13, 2020. You can check that out here (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/hqko0y/a_notsobrief_rundown_of_letters_gi_in_jeffrey/). There are some misspelled names. Epstein entered their names like this. I have bolded some of the more interesting connections and information, but there could be much more that I overlooked. I hope something here strikes an interest in someone and maybe we can get more investigations out of this. Please, if you know anything more about any of these people than what is presented here, post below. I am working off of the unredacted black book found here: https://www.coreysdigs.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Jeffrey-Epsteins-Little-Black-Book-unredacted.pdf J-L Jackson, Michael (Samuel Gen): Yes, this is a reference to MJ the singer. However, the numbers listed are not MJ’s. They belong to Samuel Gen, a lawyer for a financial advisor (Jerry Seinfeld’s brother-in-law) who worked for MJ for a while. This one was a reach for Epstein. Jacobson, Julian: Likely a reference to a Managing Director at several London-based investment firms. Jagger, Mick: World-famous lead singer of the Rolling Stones. Has been seen in photographs with Ghislaine Maxwell. Actress Rae Dawn Chong claims she slept with Jagger when she was 15 years old. Jagger, Hatti: Former fashion director for Vogue, Harper’s, and Tatler. Also works as a celebrity stylist and at fashion shows. jake: Not enough info. Jameel, Mohammed: Saudi Arabian businessman. CEO of Abdul Latif Jameel, a collective of family-owned businesses that specialize in transportation, investing, and real estate. Royal pervert Prince Andrew infamously partied on Jameel’s yacht during the 2011 London riots (source: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/prince-andrew-frolicks-on-yacht-with-mystery-147496). James, Susie: Founder and owner of 123 Send Ltd, a company that provides payment terminals. Janklow, Linda: Literary agent and wife of Mort Janklow, the primary owner of Janklow & Nesbit Associates, the largest literary agency in the world. Attended a party hosted by Sony Pictures with Epstein, although they are not pictured together (source:https://www.patrickmcmullan.com/search/?event=5b3ef4fb9f92906676446c21). In 2007, Ghislaine Maxwell threw an exclusive party (80 carefully selected guests) at her NYC townhouse to celebrate the opening of a new shop by designer Allegra Hicks (granddaughter-in-law of Earl Mountbatten, who you can read more about in my G-I Epstein thread under India Hicks’s name). One of the eighty guests was Julie Landlow, daughter of Linda and Mort. Jarecki, Nancy & Andrew: Andrew is a filmmaker, co-founder of Moviefone, and was a producer on Catfish, the documentary that launched the popular MTV show. Andrew’s family was reportedly friends with Jeffrey Epstein. There is an EXCELLENT thread on the connections between the Jarecki family (especially Andrew and Nick’s father, Henry) and Epstein here (source:https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1200044576947556352.html). Quick summary: Henry was born in Nazi Germany; flew on the Lolita Express; is an expert in psychotropic drugs; owns two islands in the British Virgin Islands; founded the first youth center in the British Virgin Islands; lived 2 miles from Epstein in NYC; owns and donates to many sketchy foundations, schools, and organizations; has donated at least $1 million to leftist organizations). Andrew’s wife Nancy created bettybeauty, a company that specializes in hair dye for your nether regions (not kidding). Jarecki, Nick: The movie director brother of Andrew and son of Henry Jarecki (see link under Andrew & Nancy Jarecki for more info). Reportedly dated Courtney Love (also in Epstein’s ‘Black Book’) in 2015. Photographed with Ghislaine Maxwell at a Gucci party (source:https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/ghislaine-maxwell-and-nick-jarecki-attend-gucci-hosts-a-news-photo/591605562). Jason (canada): Not enough info. Could be artist Jason Wasserman based out of Canada. The second number listed traces back to Station 16 Gallery in Montreal. Javier: Javier Banon is former Co-head of Merchant Banking at Lehman Brothers and current Founding Partner of Trilantic Europe. Jeffries, Tim: Ownedirector of Hamiltons Gallery in London. Best known for dating models Elle Macpherson, Claudia Schiffer, Kylie Minogue and Sophie Dahl (also in Epstein’s ‘Black Book’). Jefferies has attended fundraisers for ARK Academy and the NSPCC. He truly cares about children. Johnson, Richard & Nadine: Nadine is a millionaire public relations guru. Nadine is a good friend of Ghislaine Maxwell’s. Some clients of Nadine Johnson include spirit cooking extraordinaire Marina Abramovic and hotelier Andre Balazs, good friend of Ghislaine. Richard is one of the most well-known gossip columnists and was the editor of Page Six for twenty-five years. There is a great thread detailing the Johnsons’ ties to the Clintons, Balazs, and others here (source:https://threader.app/thread/1162148078981394432). Basically, Richard Johnson is friendly with the Clintons and, as Page Six Editor, purposely did not report or downplayed stories on the Clintons and Nadine’s clients. He also took bribes. Considering Nadine is a good friend of Ghislaine, it would not be a stretch to assume that Richard could have buried stories on Maxwell and Epstein. I could spend 10 pages on the shady connections these two have. Johnson, Lucy: Not enough info. Jones, Ann & Mick: Mick is the guitarist of Foreigner, an immensely popular rock band in the ‘70s and ‘80s. His wife, Ann, is a jewelry designer, and friend of Ghislaine. Ann Jones was photographed at a party with Ghislaine and Donald Trump in 1997 (source:https://www.the-sun.com/news/85818/epstein-madam-ghislaine-maxwell-milked-billionaire-dad-and-threw-lavish-parties-with-beautiful-women/) Josephson, Barry & Jackie: Barry is a producer and the former President of Production for Columbia Pictures. Jackie is his ex-wife and also a producer. Karella, Kalliope: Wife of Prince Pierre d’Arenberg. Kalliope is a good friend of Ghislaine Maxwell. Kastner, Ron: No info found. Katz, Anton & Robin Plant: Anton is CEO and co-founder of Talos Trading, which specializes in cryptocurrency. Anton and Robin are friends of and have been photographed with Ghislaine (source: https://www.patrickmcmullan.com/search/?person=5b3ef50c9f929066764df255). Katzeneilenbogen, Mark: Long-time investment banker who used to be based out of South Africa. Keeling, Sarah: There is a Sarah Keeling in London who is a former British government official with 20 years of experience in national security and intelligence experience, however, the phone number listed has a 410 area code, which leads back to eastern Maryland. Inconclusive. Kegan, Rory: A nightclub designer and creator. Co-founder of the exclusive, celebrity-filled London nightclub, Chinawhite. Prince Andrew (source:https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9818190/prince-andrew-pictures-cast-doubt-epstein-sex-slave/) and Prince Albert of Monaco are regulars. Chelsea Clinton has been there, as well (source:https://www.standard.co.uk/news/bright-night-for-china-white-6299739.html). Other patrons include: Prince Andrew, Kate Middleton, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, and more. Keidan, Amanda: Owner of Keidan Jewelry. Keidan, Jon: An entertainment executive-turned-venture capitalist. As an entertainment exec, Keidan worked with John Legend, Dave Matthews Band, and Nappy Roots. Keidan serves on the Council of Foreign Relations, a powerful group that some believe determines foreign policy. Former and current members include former presidents, current and former politicians, business magnates, and celebrities (https://www.cfr.org/membership/roster). Keller, Georgie: Interior designer. Kellette Frayse, Caroline: Fashion editor at Vogue and Tatler (both magazines constantly come up in Epstein’s contacts). Former girlfriend of Imran Khan, whose name has come up frequently. Passed away in 2014. Her husband, Jean-Marc Fraysse, is a French investment banker. Kelmenson, Leo-Arthur & Gayl: Leo was an advertising and marketing guru who has been credited with saving Chrysler. Friend and advisor to Lee Iacocca, former President of Chrysler. He worked as Special Project Officer for the U.S. Department of State under President John F. Kennedy and AG Robert F. Kennedy. He had tons of connections. His former maid accused him of sexual harassment in 2010 (source:https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/maid-harassment-suit-claims-ad-exec-leo-arthur-kelmenson-madman-pervy-mad-men-wannabe-article-1.156915). Kelmenson died less than two months after the story came out. Kennedy Cuomo, Andrew & Kerry: Andrew is the current governor of New York. It’s no secret that Cuomo is willing to look the other way on sexual deviancy as long as he receives a payoff. Cuomo halted a probe into the handling of Harvey Weinstein’s case in New York after receiving $25,000 from Weinstein’s law firm (source:https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bjbqg4/andrew-cuomo-received-dollar25000-donation-from-harvey-weinsteins-law-firm). Andrew’s brother, CNN Host Chris Cuomo famously told viewers “not to get caught up in the intrigue of who Epstein’s friends are” (source:https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/07/11/cnn_cuomo_lets_not_get_caught_up_in_the_intrigue_of_who_was_friends_with_jeffrey_epstein.html). Perhaps, he was covering for his brother. Kerry Kennedy is Cuomo’s ex-wife of fifteen years, the daughter of RFK, and a close friend of Ghislaine Maxwell. Supposedly, Kennedy provided Ghislaine with informal illegal advice (source:https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/the-nth-word-and-m-theory). Kennedy Jr. Ted: Son of Ted Kennedy and nephew of JFK and RFK. Ted Jr. dabbled in politics and currently works as a lawyer. His father, Ted, was a notorious sexual abuser (allegedly). Kennedy, Bobby & Mary: Bobby is the son of RFK and nephew of JFK. Bobby is a known drug abuser and philanderer. Bobby kept a sex journal detailing his conquests while he was married (source:https://nypost.com/2013/09/08/rfk-jr-s-sex-diary-of-adultery/). His ex-wife, Mary, committed “suicide” two years after their divorce. Before committing suicide, Mary told a friend that she “feared for her life” and Bobby told her that she “would be better off dead” (source:https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3231043/How-serial-cheater-Bobby-Kennedy-Jr-strutted-family-home-exposing-private-parts-demanded-m-nage-trois-wife-Mary-went-public-Cheryl-Hines-telling-Mary-things-easier-killed-herself.html). Kennedy, Ethel: Widow of RFK Sr. and mother of eleven, including Bobby Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy, and Joseph Kennedy II. Kennedy, Jo: Joseph Kennedy II is the son of RFK Sr. and Ethel. Served in the House of Representatives from 1987-1999. In 1973, Joseph was convicted of negligent driving after paralyzing a young woman. He was fined $100. Kennedy, Senator Edward: Brother of JFK and RFK, Ted Kennedy served as U.S. Senator of Massachusetts for 47 years. Besides politics, Ted is best known for the Chappaquiddick incident in which a young female speechwriter for RFK drowned to death when he lost control of his vehicle while driving across a bridge. He was charged with leaving the scene of an incident and given a two month suspended sentence. Ted was also notorious for his extramarital affairs. Senator Kennedy once hosted a party at his house attended by Bill Clinton and Lynn Forester de Rothschild. Rothschild wrote a letter to Clinton afterwards in which she mentions that they spoke about Epstein (source:https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7283825/Jeffrey-Epstein-injured-jail-cell-following-possible-suicide-assault.html). It is unclear what was said or what Rothschild’s connection could possibly be. Kersner, Sol: South African accountant and hotel and casino magnate who died of cancer in 2020. Kerzner was a close friend of Donald Trump. They even worked together to create The Palm, a man-made island off the coast of Dubai (source:https://www.ft.com/content/46393280-d9f9-11da-b7de-0000779e2340). Kerzner was also close friends with Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York (https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/sarah-ferguson-the-duchess-of-york-sol-kerzner-chairman-and-news-photo/83768272), Naomi Campbell (https://www.gettyimages.ca/detail/news-photo/naomi-campbell-and-sol-kerzner-pose-backstage-during-the-news-photo/82869744), and Bill Clinton (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8144647/As-Sol-Kerzner-dies-aged-84-RICHARD-KAY-looks-riotously-louche-life.html). Kerzner was very good friends with Nelson Mandela and built his casino resorts with Gerard Inzerillo, who you can read about in my G-I ‘Black Book’ thread. Khayat, Antoine, Jana, & George: Jana is an heiress and businesswoman. Jana is the niece of Galen Weston, a close friend of Prince Charles. George is her brother and CEO of Associated British Foods. Jana’s husband, Antoine, is a former banker and currently runs their vineyard. Kidd, Jemma: Kidd is a British makeup artist, fashion model, and aristocrat. Married to Arthur Wellesley, Earl of Mornington, the son of the Duke and Duchess of Wellington, making her a Countess. Kidd is an interesting figure with elite connections. From 2005-2012, Ghislaine Maxwell served as Director of Jemma Kidd Make-Up Limited, a U.K. makeup company, which was founded by Kidd. Not only did Ghislaine serve as Director, but she was also a shareholder, along with the Rothschild family (source:https://nationalpost.com/news/world/in-hiding-for-years-epstein-accomplice-ghislaine-maxwell-spotted-in-l-a-burger-shop). If you click around the PDFs on this website (https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/05340072/filing-history), you can see everything. The 16 JUN 2006 PDF on page 3 shows you a list of Officers and shareholders of the company. Jemma Kidd has also attended charity events for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) (https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-beckham-nspcc-party-jemma-kidd-106882170.html). Her sister, Jodie, is also a huge supportefundraiser of the NSPCC, as well as the Help a London Child and Monsoon Accessorize Trust charities, both of which help out disadvantaged children (source:https://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/jodie-kidd). King, Abby: No info found. Kirwin Taylor, Charlie & Helen: Charles is an investment banker. He was former CEO of Credit Suisse in Switzerland, an investment firm which shows up a few times through Epstein’s contacts. His wife, Helen, is a journalist. Kirwin Taylor, Peter: British financier. Was a member of the Pilgrims Society (https://isgp-studies.com/pilgrims-society-membership-list), a group that has included the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and other elites amongst its ranks. Kissinger, Dr. Henry A: Former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under Nixon. Kissinger has long been accused of committing war crimes (ex: carpet bombing Cambodia, installing fascist governments in Chile and Argentina, genocide, extending our stay in Vietnam, etc) yet somehow managed to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. Kissinger once said, “Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.” Kissinger served with Epstein on the Trilateral Commission. Kissinger has also been a member of the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Institute, and Bohemian Grove. Long thought to be an advocate for a globalist New World Order, Kissinger is a scumbag of the highest order. His connections with Gates, the Clintons, Bush Sr. and Jr., the Rockefellers, and the Rothschilds are well-documented. If anyone here has ever done any research regarding the NWO, you have undoubtedly seen Kissinger’s name several times. Klee, Rupert & Charlotte de: Rupert is a Director with Oakridge Group, a property development and investment company. His wife, Charlotte, is the producer of the religious plays at Wintershall. Klesch, Johnathan: Former Director of Klesch Trading, which specializes in industrial commodities. It has offices in Russia, Malta, Surrey, and in London, down the block from Buckingham Palace. Koch, David: Co-founder of Koch Industries, a diversified manufacturing conglomerate. Koch Industries has stolen oil from Indian reservations, committed hundreds of polluting, labor, and workplace safety violations. When he ran on the Libertarian ticket as the vice presidential nominee in 1980, Koch aimed to abolish Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare benefits, and minimum wage. Koch and Epstein were friends. Epstein even attended a party at Koch’s Southampton home (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7270735/Jeffrey-Epstein-Trumps-closest-advisers-Wilbur-Ross-Rudy-Giuliani-Steve-Mnunchin.html). Koch has also been photographed with Ghislaine Maxwell (https://www.reddit.com/KochWatch/comments/dcjth3/david_koch_ghislaine_maxwell_getty_images/). Thankfully, Koch died last year. Kohl, Astrid: A businesswoman involved in pharmaceuticals. Married to Prince Alexander of Liechtenstein. Daughter-in-law of Prince Philipp of Liechtenstein. Niece of former German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl. Kotic, Boby: CEO of Activision Blizzard, a video game holding company. Used to run several electronic companies. From 2003-2008, he was a director at Yahoo! In 2012, he became a non-executive director of Coca-Cola. Kotze, Alex Von: British businessman involved in the tech industry. Kravetz, Anna: Not much info found. Has a degree in finance from Wharton School and used to live on Park Avenue in NYC. Krooth, Caryn: A successful real estate agent based out of Los Angeles Kudrow, Alistar: No info found. Lal, Dalamal: Director of Akron Corp. & Akron (Nig.) Ltd., a food and beverage import company based out of Nigeria. Lalaunis, Demetra: Daughter of Ilias Lalaounis, a pioneer in Greek jewelry and a world renowned goldsmith. Lambert, Christopher: Well-known actor. Lambert, David: Former partner, managing director, and VP at Goldman Sachs. Lambert, Edward: Lampert is a billionaire hedge fund manager and former CEO of Sears. Lampert graduated from Yale University in 1984 where he was a member of Skull and Bones. Rumored pedophile David Geffen gave Lampert $200 million to invest in 1992, when Lampert was just 29 years old. Lampert made Geffen $1 billion. Lambos Duff & John: Karen “Duff” Duffy is an actress, model, and TV personality. She has had memorable roles as the love interest in “Blank Check” and as JP Shay in “Dumb and Dumber.” Duffy has battled with sarcoidosis, a deadly central nervous system disease, since the mid-’90s. She credits Harvey Weinstein with saving her life (https://nypost.com/2000/10/03/coping-with-class-this-model-patient-suffers-in-style/). John is a former banker with Morgan Stanley and current President of GCA-US, an investment banking company. Lang, Caroline: An art expert and Chairman at Sotheby’s Switzerland. Lange, Dieter: Former Partner at WilliamHare, an international law firm with offices in London, Berlin, the U.S., Beijing, and Brussels. Passed away in 2010. Larsen Janet: The only one I can find is a Business Psychologist based out of London. Laurie, Jonathan: Founder and CEO of Cheyne Capital Management, an alternate investment fund firm. Lavlada, Laura D.B. de: Laura Diez Barroso is a Mexican businesswoman. She sold her stock in Televisa for $726 million in 1993. Since then, she has been the head of several other companies. Lawford Christopher & Jean: Christopher was an actor and relative of the Kennedys. His uncles were JFK, RFK, and Ted Kennedy. Many of his relatives appear in Epstein’s ‘Black Book’. His first wife, Jeannie, was an ad-sales associate for New York Magazine. Lawton Paul: Two British businessmen with the same name come up. Both have extensive resumes. Could be either one. Lazar, Christopher & Marie: Christophe seems to be a realtor in Paris, but I am not completely sure. Le Bon, Simon & Jasmine: Simon is the lead singer of Duran Duran. His wife, Yasmin, is/was a fashion model. Yasmin is represented by Models1 in London. Models1 also represents Epstein and Ghislaine’s friend, Naomi Campbell. Le Bon has been accused of sexual assault in the past (https://www.freep.com/story/news/2018/07/12/simon-le-bons-accuser-sex-assault-claim-speaks-out-awful/777106002/). Le Fur, Jean-Yves: French businessman and magazine creator. He was once Princess Stephanie of Monaco’s ex-fiance. More notably, Le Fur was the one who discovered supermodel Karen Mulder (his girlfriend at the time) on the floor after she attempted suciide. Mulder blew the lid off the rampant rape and sexual abuse that she and her modeling colleagues had suffered at the hands of businessmen, royalty, celebrities, and government officials. She was even the protege of Epstein collaborator (allegedly), Jean Luc Brunel (https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article238351108.html). Le Marg Willie: No info found. Lea, Piers: CEO of Learning Technologies Group, a workplace digital learning company. Leeds, Jeffrey: Co-founder and Managing Partner of Leeds Equity. One of Leeds Equity’s partner companies is Endeavor Schools, which runs private preschools, primary schools, and secondary schools in Florida and 11 other states (https://www.leedsequity.com/news/articles/leeds-equity-partners-completes-investment-in-endeavor-schools). They are also partners with Fusion Educational Group (now Fusion Academy), which runs a chain of private secondary schools (https://www.leedsequity.com/news/articles/leeds-equity-partners-completes-investment-in-fusion-education-group). Former teacher Kris White, now the head of Fusion Academy in Palo Alto, allegedly told a student that he was in love with her and wrote her a note saying he was “obsessed” with her. (https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/07/12/teachers-named-in-presentation-high-sex-investigation-kept-working-as-bay-area-educators-for-years/). This story was just published on July 12, 2020. Hypothetically, if one wanted to procure underage children, it would certainly help if the head of the school was on board and possibly a pedophile himself. According to this former teacher at Fusion Academy, “many students struggle with learning differences, behavioral issues, and/or addictions” (https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Employee-Review-Fusion-Academy-RVW21260629.htm). In other words, the downtrodden and vulnerable. Fusion Academy refers to itself as a non-traditional school that focuses on individual students. Seems like a great opportunity. Leeds was also good friends with Epstein (https://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/n_7912/) and has close ties to Colin Powell and Rudy Giuliani (https://nypost.com/2016/09/14/colin-powell-wont-vote-for-her-because-of-bill-clinton/). Lefcourt, Jerry: Famous lawyer who defended Epstein in 2007. That same year, Epstein donated $250,000 to the Washington-based Foundation for Criminal Justice, where Lefcourt was a board member. Lester, Dominick: Founder and owner of MortgageFlex Systems, a mortgage lending company. Levine, Phillip: Ex-Miami Beach mayor and close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton. He claims that he doesn’t know how Epstein got his contact information… all 13 phone numbers, including those of his driver and housekeepers (https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/ex-miami-beach-mayor-philip-levine-listed-13-times-in-jeffrey-epsteins-black-book-11242116)! Liman, Doug: Popular Hollywood director and producer. He directed Swingers, The Bourne Identity, and a couple of Tom Cruise movies. Lindeman-Barnet, Sloan & Roger: Sloan has been a New York Times bestseller and an on-air and print reporter for NBC, ABC, and Reuters. Sloan and Roger also sit on the board of the Spence School in New York City, a private K-12 all-girls school (https://www.spenceschool.org/2017---news-detail?pk=999120). Her husband, Roger, is the founder of beauty.com and Chairman and CEO of Shaklee, a highly successful nutrition company. Donald Trump, Melania Trump, and Ghislaine Maxwell all attended the publication party for Sloan’s book in 2008 (https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/ghislaine-maxwell-anton-katz-and-robin-katz-attend-sloan-news-photo/619921016;https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/donald-trump-melania-trump-sloan-barnett-and-roger-barnett-news-photo/619921180).Other guests included Steve Mnuchin, Epstein and Maxwell chum Carol Mack, and a bunch of others also featured in Epstein’s ‘Black Book’ (Colin Cowie, Anton and Robin Katz, and Vittorio Assaf). Lindemann, Adam & Elizabeth: Adam is a billionaire investor and art gallery owner. Brother of Sloan (mentioned just above). Elizabeth is his ex-wife. She is often photographed with many other people mentioned in Epstein’s ‘Black Book.’ Lindemann, George(Sr.) & Freida: Now-deceased billionaire father of Sloan and Adam. George was the CEO and Chairman of Southern Union, a pipeline company and served as Vice President of the Metropolitan Opera Association of NYC. His wife, Frayda, is the President and CEO of the Metropolitan Opera. Lindsay, Alex & Jaclyn: Alex is a war documentary maker who rents out his loft at the address Epstein has listed (https://www.independent.co.uk/property/house-and-home/property/spheres-of-influence-72014.html). Lindsey, Ludovic: Racecar driver. Lindsley, Blake: Actress who was in two movies directed by Doug Liman (also in Epstein’s book) - “Swingers” and “Getting In.” Linley, David: Princess Margaret’s son, Queen Elizabeth II’s nephew, and first cousin of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew. Linley is a furniture maker and the 2nd Earl of Snowdon. He used to be the Chairman of Christie’s auction house in the UK. Liogos, Babis: No info found, but one of the numbers traces back to Thylan Associates, a real estate and investment firm. Lister, Paul: Likely the director of legal services and company secretary for Associated British Foods, or it could be a conservationist. Not sure which. Livanos, Arriette: I believe this Arietta Livanos, wife of Greek shipping magnate, Stavros Livanos. Arietta passed away in 1986. Lo Cascio, Robert: Founder and CEO of LivePerson, a tech company that develops conversational commerce. LoCascio was photographed with Ghislaine at an after party in 2012 (https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/ghislaine-maxwell-and-robert-locascio-attend-osklen-spring-news-photo/1169681572). Loeb, Alex: Alexandra is the daughter of John Loeb, former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark under Reagan and former Delegate to the United Nations. John Loeb was also a special advisor to Nelson Rockefeller. Alexandra is also a descendant of the Lehman family (Lehman Brothers). Alexandra graduated from Spence Day School for Girls (mentioned earlier under Sloan and Roger Lindemann-Barnett). Lonsdale, Richard: British investment banker. Lorenzoti, Eva Vivre: Founder of luxury online retailer, Vivre.com and is a TV spokesperson/personality. Good friend of Ghislaine Maxwell. Maxwell and a couple of Rockefellers were guests at her house for a dinner party in 2010 (https://hauteliving.com/2010/11/doris-world-eva-lorenzottis-dinner-party/105102/). Lorimer, John & Lottie: John works as a private investor and as a realtor. His wife, Lottie, is an interior designer. Louthan Guy J: Prolific British film producer and former boyfriend of actress Liz Hurley (also in Epstein’s book). Love, Courtney: Famous drug addict, musician, and actress who likely killed her husband, Kurt Cobain. Courtney famously claimed that Prince Andrew showed up to her house late one night in 2000 looking for sex. She has since retracted this claim. The entries under Love’s name all say ‘Dana’ next to them. This is Courtney’s ex-boyfriend, Dana Giacchetto. Giacchetto was considered to be the “stockbroker to the stars” and was friends with JFK Jr, Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, and many others. He ripped his clients off of millions. Even more telling, Giacchetto was involved in a sex abuse case against X-Men director Bryan Singer (https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/news/leonardo-dicaprios-convicted-ex-money-manager-denies-bryan-050000120.html). He died in 2016 after he partied too hard and overdosed (https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/dana-giacchetto-dead-stockbroker-stars-902383). Lowell, Ivana: Guinness heiress who wrote about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse while she worked at Miramax in her book back in 2010 (https://www.irishcentral.com/culture/entertainment/guinness-heiress-spoke-out-about-predator-harvey-weinstein-7-years-ago). She also dated Harvey’s younger brother, Bob. Loyd Mark: No info found. Lucas, Colin: The godfather of Boris Johnson, England’s current Prime Minister. Lucas is a British historian and university administrator. Served as Vice Chancellor of Oxford University from 1997-2004.
NOTE: This is FAKE HOCKEY. To talk about actual hockey, go to the latest Daily Discussion thread Trade Deadline Tonight will continue TONIGHT! The /hockey Trade Deadline Game is back for day 2! Starting today at 8:00 AM MT trading is officially open again. Trading will run until Thursday, January 30th at 6:00 PM MT. You are not late! You can still sign up at http://www.tdgdb.com When you are traded, change your flair on hockey-related subreddits and spend the week from January 31st through February 7th cheering for your new team. Here are this year's reporters, the people who will make things up break news of trade negotiations:
Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis. Figuring out how to divide the COVID-19 content from the “regular” news has been difficult because the pandemic is influencing all aspects of life. Some of the stories below involve the virus, but I chose to include them when it fits into one of the pre-established categories (like congress or immigration). The coronavirus-central post will be made again this Thursday-Friday; the sign up form now has an option to choose to receive an email when the coronavirus-focused roundup is posted. House-keeping:
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Let’s dig in!
Congress passes stimulus
Last week started out with a Republican-crafted stimulus bill that was twice-blocked by Senate Democrats, who objected to the lax conditions of aid to corporations, too little funding for hospitals, and a $500 billion “slush fund” for big companies to be doled out by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin with no oversight. Conservative-Democrat Joe Manchin (WV) even criticized the GOP bill:
“It fails our first responders, nurses, private physicians and all healthcare professionals. ... It fails our workers. It fails our small businesses… Instead, it is focused on providing billions of dollars to Wall Street and misses the mark on helping the West Virginians that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.”
Through negotiations, Democrats shifted the bill in a more-worker friendly direction. The version that passed includes the following Democrat-added provisions: expanded unemployment benefits, $100 billion for hospitals, $150 billion for state and local governments, direct payments to Americans without a phase-in (ensuring low-income workers get the full amount), a ban on Trump and his children from receiving aid, and oversight on the “slush fund” (see next section for more info). Senate Democrats also managed to remove a provision that would have excluded nonprofits that receive Medicaid funding from the small-business grants.
Further reading: After Senate Democrats blocked the Republican-crafted bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the House Democrats in releasing their own version, a best-case scenario of their dream coronavirus stimulus bill. It is interesting to contrast what the Democrats prioritized to what the Republicans focused on: “How the House Democrats' stimulus plan compares to the Senate's”
Echoing sentiments expressed during debate on the previous coronavirus bill (the second, for those keeping track), Republican senators derided the $600 a week increase in unemployment payments as “incentivizing” workers to quit their jobs. Sens. Ben Sasse (Neb.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) delayed passage of the bill in order to force a vote on an amendment removing the extra unemployment funding. "This bill pays you more not to work than if you were working," Graham said. Fortunately for American workers, the amendment failed and the improved bill passed the Senate and the House.
Note: In 2009 only three Republicans helped Obama pass his stimulus bill in his first month in office.
The giveaways in the bill
While Senate Democrats were able to add worker-friendly provisions, the bill still required bipartisan support to pass the chamber and some corporate giveaways remained in the final version.
NYT: “Senate Republicans inserted an easy-to-overlook provision on page 203 of the 880-page bill that would permit wealthy investors to use losses generated by real estate to minimize their taxes on profits from things like investments in the stock market. The estimated cost of the change over 10 years is $170 billion.”
NYT: “...if a company owns multiple hotels, even if the overall hotel or restaurant chain has more than 500 employees — the limit to qualify for treatment as a small business — it will still be able to take advantage of the small-business benefits offered in the rescue package. ...The provision could benefit the Trump Organization, which operates a relatively small chain, with six hotels in the United States in cities including New York, Washington and Chicago.”
“A provision for the FDA to approve ‘innovative’ sunscreens—which would benefit L’Oreal, which has operations in Kentucky—appeared in the bill, which was steered in the Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.”
“The $25 billion allocated in loans and loan guarantees for the airlines will also benefit eligible businesses "approved to perform inspection, repair, replace, or overhaul services, and ticket agents.” The last two words — ‘ticket agents’ — mean that travel agents who book flights will also be able to apply for a piece of the $25 billion.”
“The credit reporting industry got a win by defeating a total ban on negative credit reports during the crisis. Instead, a watered down version made it into the final bill: Consumers wouldn't get a negative credit report if they have an agreement with a lender to delay payments or make partial payments.”
Trump’s signing statement
While signing the latest coronavirus relief bill, the president also issued a signing statement undercutting the congressional oversight provision creating an inspector general to track how the administration distributes the $500 billion “slush fund” money. The newly-created inspector general is legally required to audit loans and investments made through the fund and report to Congress his/her findings, including any refusal by the executive office to cooperate. In his signing statement, Trump wrote that his understanding of constitutional powers allows him to gag the special IG:
"I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the [inspector general] to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required" by Article II of the Constitution.
The signing statement further suggests that Trump does not have to comply with a provision requiring that agencies consult with Congress before it spends or reallocates certain funds: "These provisions are impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement with respect to the execution of the laws," the statement reads. While some have said that Congress fell short in this instance, one Democratic Senate aide told Politico that Congress built in multiple layers of oversight, including “a review of other inspectors general and a congressional review committee charged with overseeing Treasury and the Federal Reserve's efforts to implement the law.” Legal experts have pointed out that a signing statement is “without legal effect.” But that ignores the fact that oversight is not equal to enforcement. The problem, in my opinion, isn’t that Congress won’t be notified of any abuses of power by Trump. The problem is that congressional Republicans and the judiciary have largely failed to hold him accountable and enforce our laws even after learning of his abuses.
Concerns about the IG
Another potential weakness in the oversight structure is the inspector general position itself. The special inspector general for pandemic recovery, known by the acronym S.I.G.P.R., is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. As we’ve seen from Trump’s previous nominees, particularly judicial, many unqualified individuals have been confirmed. The Democrats will not have the power to stop the president and Mitch McConnell from jamming through a loyalist to fill the SIGPR role.
Former inspector general at the Justice Department Michael Bromwich: “The signing statement threatens to undermine the authority and independence of this new IG. The Senate should extract a commitment from the nominee that Congress will be promptly notified of any Presidential/Administration interference or obstruction.”
You may recall that Trump has already proven that he’s willing to interfere with the legally-mandated work of an inspector general. When the Ukraine whistleblower filed a complaint last year, the IG of the Intelligence Community, Michael Atkinson, investigated and determined the complaint to be “urgent” and “credible.” Atkinson wrote a report and gave it to Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to hand over to Congress. However, the White House and DOJ interfered and instructed Maguire not to transmit the report to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. Chairman Adam Schiff had to subpoena Maguire to turn over the report and testify before his committee. Further, there are already five IG vacancies in agencies that have a critical role in responding to the pandemic. The Treasury itself has not had a permanent, Senate-confirmed IG for over eight months now, and Trump hasn’t nominated a replacement. The Treasury Dept. has taken a lead role in the coronavirus response, with Secretary Mnuchin handling most of the negotiating with Congress on Trump’s behalf. The fact that the lead agency doesn’t have IG oversight should be troublesome in itself; replicating the situation with a special IG doesn’t seem to be a promising solution.
The other four coronavirus-related agencies without a permanent IG: Department of Health and Human Services’ IG has been vacant for nine months, Department of Defense’s IG has been vacant for four years, Department of Education’s IG has been vacant for one year, and Office of Personnel Management’s IG has been vacant for four years. Overall, there are twelve IG vacancies in the 37) presidentially-appointed offices.
UPDATE: The nation's inspectors general have appointed Glenn Fine, the Pentagon's acting IG, to lead the committee of IGs overseeing the coronavirus relief effort.
This is one of several oversight mechanisms built into the new law. They include: A committee of IGs (now led by Fine), a new special IG (to be nominated by Trump), a congressional review panel (to be appointed by House/Senate leaders)
Included in the stimulus bill is a $1200 one-time direct payment for all Americans who made less than $75,000 in 2019 (less than $150,000 if couples filed jointly). More details can be found here. I have read that the Treasury will use 2018 information for those who have not filed yet this year, but I am not 100% sure that’ll happen. Mnuchin has said that Americans can expect to receive the money within three weeks, but many experts expect that timetable to be pushed into late April. Additionally, that only applies to Americans who included direct deposit information on their 2019 tax returns. Those who did not include their bank’s information will have to be sent a physical check in the mail… which could take anywhere from two to four months. Other options are being discussed, including partnering the Treasury Dept. with MasterCard and Visa to deliver prepaid debit cards. Venmo and Paypal are reportedly lobbying the government to be considered as a disbursement option. Future payments? House Speaker Pelosi is already planning another wave of direct payments to Americans, saying that the $1,200 is not enough to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic: “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of direct payments.” Republicans, meanwhile, are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, using the next couple of weeks to measure the impact of the $2 trillion bill passed last week.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “What concerns me is when I listen to Nancy Pelosi talk about a fourth package now, it’s because she did not get out of things that she really wanted...I’m not sure you need a fourth package...Let’s let this work ... We have now given the resources to make and solve this problem. We don’t need to be crafting another bill right now.” For the fourth legislative package, Democrats have said they would like to see increased food stamp benefits; increased coverage for coronavirus testing, visits to the doctor and treatment; more money for state and local governments, including Washington, D.C.; expanded family and medical leave; pension fixes; and stronger workplace protections.
Trump’s signature Normally, a civil servant signs federal checks, like the direct payments Americans are set to receive. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Trump has told people that he wants his signature to appear on the stimulus checks.
War on the poor continues
Amid the coronavirus crisis, Trump has defended his continued support of a Republican-led lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which would result in 20 million Americans losing health insurance if successful. The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the case this fall. Contrasting with his position that the ACA is illegal, Trump is considering reopening enrollment on HealthCare.gov, allowing millions of uninsured individuals to get coverage before potentially incurring charges and fees related to COVID-19. Joe Biden called on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the charge against the ACA, and President Trump to drop the lawsuit:
“At a time of national emergency, which is laying bare the existing vulnerabilities in our public health infrastructure, it is unconscionable that you are continuing to pursue a lawsuit designed to strip millions of Americans of their health insurance and protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the ban on insurers denying coverage or raising premiums due to pre-existing conditions.”
The Trump administration is also pushing forward with its plan to kick 700,000 people off federal food stamp assistance, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The USDA announced two weeks ago that the department will appeal Judge Beryl Howell’s recent decision that the USDA’s work mandate rule is “arbitrary and capricious." Additionally: The Social Security Administration has no plans to slow down a rule change set for June that will limit disability benefits, the Department of Health and Human Services still intends to reduce automatic enrollment in health coverage, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will continue the process to enact a rule that would make it harder for renters to sue landlords for racial discrimination.
Lawmakers’ stock transactions
The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are beginning to investigate stock transactions made ahead of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. CNN reports that the inquiry has already reached out to Senator Richard Burr for information. “Under insider trading laws, prosecutors would need to prove the lawmakers traded based on material non-public information they received in violation of a duty to keep it confidential,” a task that won’t be easy. Sen. Burr is facing another consequence of his trades: Alan Jacobson, a shareholder in Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, sued Burr for allegedly using private information to instruct a mass liquidation of his assets. Among the shares he sold were an up to $150,000 stake in Wyndham, whose stock suffered a market-value cut of more than two-thirds since mid-February.
Using the pandemic as cover, the Trump administration has begun to more aggressively roll back regulations meant to protect the environment. These are examples of what Naomi Klein dubbed “the shock doctrine”: the phenomenon wherein polluters and their government allies push through unpopular policy changes under the smokescreen of a public emergency. On Thursday, the EPA announced (non-paywalled) an expansive relaxation of environmental laws and fines, exempting companies from consequences for pollution. Under the new rules, there are basically no rules. Companies are asked to “act responsibly” but are not required to report when their facilities discharge pollution into the air or water. Just five days before abandoning any pollution oversight, the oil industry’s largest trade group implored the administration for assistance, stating that social distancing measures caused a steep drop in demand for gasoline.
Monday morning update: In an interview with Fox News this morning, Trump said he was going to call Putin after the interview to discuss the Saudi-Russia oil fight. A consequence of this "battle" has been plummeting prices in the U.S. making it difficult for domestic companies (like shale extraction) to turn a profit. It's striking that the day after Dr. Fauci told Americans we can expect 100,000 to 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 (if we keep social distancing measures in place), Trump's first action is to talk to Fox News and his second action is to intervene in an international tiff on behalf of the oil and gas industry.
Gina McCarthy, who led the E.P.A. under the Obama administration, called the rollback “an open license to pollute.” Cynthia Giles, who headed the EPA enforcement division during the Obama administration, said “it is so far beyond any reasonable response I am just stunned.” The EPA is also moving forward with a widely-opposed rule to limit the types of scientific studies used when crafting new regulations or revising current ones. Hidden behind claims of increased transparency, the rule would require disclosure of all raw data used in scientific studies. This would disqualify many fields of research that rely on personal health information from individuals that must be kept confidential. For example, studies that show air pollution causes premature deaths or a certain pesticide is linked to birth defects would be rejected under the proposed rule change. Officials and scientists are calling upon the EPA to extend the time for comment on the regulatory changes, arguing that the public is unable to express their opinion while dealing with the pandemic.
“These rollbacks need and deserve the input of our public health community, but right now, they are rightfully focused on responding to the coronavirus,” said Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Other controversial decisions being made:
A former EPA official who worked on controversial policies returned as Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s chief of staff. Mandy Gunasekara helped write regulations to ease pollution controls for coal-fired power plants and vehicle emissions in her previous role as chief of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. In a recent interview, Gunasekara, who played a role in the decision to exit the Paris Climate Accord, pushed back on the more dire predictions of climate change, saying, “I don't think it is catastrophic.”
NYT: The plastic bag industry, battered by a wave of bans nationwide, is using the coronavirus crisis to try to block laws prohibiting single-use plastic. “We simply don’t want millions of Americans bringing germ-filled reusable bags into retail establishments putting the public and workers at risk,” an industry campaign that goes by the name Bag the Ban warned on Tuesday. (Also see The Guardian)
Kentucky, South Dakota, and West Virginia passed laws putting new criminal penalties on protests against fossil fuel infrastructure in just the past two weeks.
The Hill: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Friday that it will extend the amount of time that winter gasoline can be sold this year as producers have been facing lower demand due to the coronavirus. It will allow companies to sell the winter-grade gasoline through May 20, whereas companies would have previously been required to stop selling it by May 1 to protect air quality. “In responding to an international health crisis, the last thing the EPA should do is take steps that will worsen air quality and undermine the public’s health,” biofuels expert David DeGennaro said.
NYT: At the Interior Department, employees at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been under strict orders to complete the rule eliminating some protections for migratory birds within 30 days, according to two people with direct knowledge of the orders. The 45-day comment period on that rule ended on March 19.
WaPo: The Interior Department has received over 230 nominations for oil and gas leases covering more than 150,000 acres across southern Utah, a push that would bring drilling as close as a half-mile from some of the nation’s most famous protected sites, including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks… if all the fossil fuels buried in those sites was extracted and burned, it would translate into between 1 billion and 5.95 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide being released into the air. That upward measure is equal to half the annual carbon output of China
Press freedom case Southern District of New York District Judge Lorna Schofield ruled that a literary advocacy group’s lawsuit against Trump for allegedly violating the First Amendment can move forward. The group, PEN America, is pursuing claims that Trump “has used government power to retaliate against media coverage and reporters he dislikes.” Schofield determined that PEN’s allegation that Trump made threats to chill free speech was valid, providing as an example the White House’s revocation of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press press corps credentials:
”The threats are lent credence by the fact that Defendant has acted on them before, by revoking Mr. Acosta’s credentials and barring reporters from particular press conferences. The Press Secretary indeed e-mailed the entire press corps to inform them of new rules of conduct and to warn of further consequences, citing the incident involving Mr. Acosta… These facts plausibly allege that a motivation for defendant’s actions is controlling and punishing speech he dislikes.”
Twitter case The president suffered another First Amendment defeat last week when the full 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals declined to review a previous ruling that prevents Trump from blocking users on the Twitter account he uses to communicate with the public. Judge Barrington D. Parker, a Nixon-appointee, wrote: “Excluding people from an otherwise public forum such as this by blocking those who express views critical of a public official is, we concluded, unconstitutional.” Trump-appointees Michael Parker and Richard Sullivan authored a dissent, arguing the free speech “does not include a right to post on other people’s personal social media accounts, even if those other people happen to be public officials.” Park warned that the ruling will allow the social media pages of public officials to be “overrun with harassment, trolling, and hate speech, which officials will be powerless to filter.” Florida’s felon voting U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ripped into Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s administration for failing to come up with a process to determine which felons are genuinely unable to pay court-ordered fees and fines, which are otherwise required to be paid before having their voting rights restored. “If the state is not going to fix it, I will,” Hinkle warned. He had given the state five months to come up with an administrative process for felons to prove they’re unable to pay financial obligations, but Florida officials did not do so. The case is set to be heard on April 28 (notwithstanding any coronavirus-related delays).
ICE, Jails, and COVID-19
ICE One of the most overlooked populations with an increased risk of death from coronavirus are those in detention facilities, which keep people in close quarters with little sanitation or protective measures (including for staff). Last week, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ordered the federal government to “make continuous efforts” to release migrant children from detention centers across the country. Numerous advocacy groups asked for the release after reports that four children being held in New York had tested positive for the virus:
“The threat of irreparable injury to their health and safety is palpable,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in their petition… both of the agencies operating migrant children detention facilities must by April 6 provide an accounting of their efforts to release those in custody… “Her order will undoubtedly speed up releases,” said Peter Schey, co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the court case.
On Tuesday, 13 immigrants held at ICE facilities in California filed a lawsuit demanding to be released because their health conditions make them particularly vulnerable to dying if infected by the coronavirus. An ACLU statement says the detainees are “confined in crowded and unsanitary conditions where social distancing is not possible.” The 13 individuals are all over the age of 50 and/or suffering from serious underlying medical issues like high blood pressure.
“From all the evidence we have seen, ICE is failing to fulfill its constitutional obligation to protect the health and safety of individuals in its custody. ICE should exercise its existing discretion to release people with serious medical conditions from detention for humanitarian reasons,” said William Freeman, senior counsel at the ACLU of Northern California.
Meanwhile, ICE is under fire for continuing to shuttle detainees across the country, with one even being forced to take nine different flights bouncing from Louisiana to Texas to New Jersey less than two weeks ago. That man is Dr. Sirous Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor from Iran, who was acquitted last year on federal charges of stealing trade secrets. The government lost its case against him, yet ICE has had him in indefinite detention since November.
Asgari, 59, told the Guardian that his Ice holding facility in Alexandria, Louisiana, had no basic cleaning practices in place and continued to bring in new detainees from across the country with no strategy to minimize the threat of Covid-19...Detainees have no hand sanitizer, and the facility is not regularly cleaning bathrooms or sleeping areas…Detainees lack access to masks… Detainees struggle to stay clean, and the facility has an awful stench.
Jails State jails are making a better effort to release detained individuals, as both New York and New Jersey ordered a thousand people in each state be let out of jail. The order applied only to low-level offenders sentenced to less than a year in jail and those held on technical probation violations. In Los Angeles County, officials released over 1,700 people from its jails. A judge in Alabama took similar steps last week, ordering roughly 500 people jailed for minor offenses to be released to lessen crowding in facilities. Unlike in New York and New Jersey, however, local officials reacted in an uproar, led in part by the state executive committee for the Alabama Republican Party and Assistant District Attorney C.J. Robinson. Using angry Facebook messages as the barometer of the community’s feelings, Robinson worked “frantically” to block inmates from being released.
Reuters: As of Saturday, at least 132 inmates and 104 staff at jails across New York City had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus… Since March 22, jails have reported 226 inmates and 131 staff with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a Reuters survey of cities and counties that run America’s 20 largest jails. The numbers are almost certainly an undercount given the fast spread of the virus.
Tribe opposed by Trump loses land
On Wednesday, The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs announced the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s reservation would be "disestablished" and its land trust status removed. Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell called the move "cruel" and "unnecessary,” particularly coming in the midst of a pandemic crisis. Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.), who last year introduced legislation to protect the tribe's reservation as trust land in Massachusetts, said the order “is one of the most cruel and nonsensical acts I have seen since coming to Congress.” The administration’s decision is especially suspicious as just last year Trump attacked the tribe’s plan to build a casino on its land, tweeting that allowing the construction would be “unfair” and treat Native Americans unequally. As a former casino owner, Trump has spent decades attacking Native American casinos as unfair competition. At a 1993 congressional hearing Trump said that tribal owners “don’t look like Indians to me” and claimed: “I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations” to gambling. More than his past history, however, Trump has current interests at play in the Mashpee Wampanoag’s planned casino: it would have competed for business with nearby Rhode Island casinos owned by Twin River Worldwide Holdings, whose president, George Papanier, was a finance executive at the Trump Plaza casino hotel in Atlantic City.
In the Mashpee case, Twin River, the operator of the two Rhode Island casinos, has hired Matthew Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a vocal Trump supporter, to lobby for it on the land issue. Schlapp’s wife, Mercedes, is director of strategic communications at the White House.
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