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GTA VI Credible Leak ?

UPVOTE THIS POST SO IT DOES NOT GET BURIED ... *** FOLLOW ME TO GET MORE INFORMATION IN THE FUTURE.
UPDATED WITH TRACKLIST AND RADIO STATIONS
here is my ID badge that i use to get in and out of work. ( Name and picture is blurred for my protection.) date 2019-2020.
https://imgur.com/a/eenWmAR
Everyone has been waiting, a credible leak for Grand Theft Auto 6. I will not be stating my name or anything, this is a personal throwaway account, But I do work at Rockstar Games. This next addition to the title will be keeping the tradition of roman numerals, ( GTA VI ) but I will often refer to it as GTA 6, to make things easier.
be sure to read everything, as I have taken the risk and time to leak a lot of vital information.
First off I’d like to state that all previous leaks about GTA 6 is a hoax. All of the leaks regarding GTA 6 taking place in any other area than Vice City, is a hoax.
I will be breaking down the characters, storyline, and more.
Grand Theft Auto VI is designed to be the most developed video game in history, and redefine open sand box games, letting the player fully immerse in the world and storyline.
In Grand Theft Auto 6 the game will take place in Vice City, but the previous storyline leaks etc, is all fake. The plot is completely different,. The game will host 3 protagonists, one being a middle aged white man named Johnathon Brooks, but is often referred to as John. John is going thru a mid-life crisis, and lives on the returning area called Starfish Island. John essentially is a life long career criminal, and exposes the player to a new crime element, fraud. John was born in Carcer City, and moved to Vice City at age 17, after running away from his foster parents, not much is known about his previous life before then, except he was in a very poor family.
John got into the fraud game in the early 2000’s, and he is 38 in game. he earned his money thru many fraudulent activities like credit card fraud, bank fraud, and did a few small bank jobs, and laundered his money with his own car wash business. He lives in a $1.8m mansion that he bought with his illicit gains, and the FIB are on to him. He borrows money from the local gang in Little Haiti, where fraud is very prevalent, and he starts getting back into his older habits to pay off the gang. The FIB notices this, and he ends up doing dirty work for the FIB, in order to keep his freedom.
The second character is Samuel “Shotta” Stevens, who is a member of the Haitian gang. He is a black, Haitian based character with more character development, than Franklin from GTA 5. He is 26 in game. The game also focuses more on crime, and the gang element. The player will experience the brutal reality of the gang life in Vice City, in the slums of Little Haiti, from loan sharking and repossessing the unreliable clients, to brokering the sales, that being kilos of cocaine, for the South American Cartel. Samuel lives in a Section 8 apartment, in the Little Haiti Neighborhood with his grandmother, Amy.
Samuel just wants to move out of the hood, but loves the gang lifestyle, and this gets him caughtup in the FIB drama with John. The FIB cuts him a deal also, if he can snitch out his gang, which the player can choose to cooperate, or refuse. This will change the storyline of Samuel dramatically.
If you choose Option A: Snitch on the gang, You will snitch on the gang and work with John, who will show you the ropes of Fraud, and you both will defraud the bank of Schlongberg Sachs, commit multiple heists, and become a protege of John. Or of course you can choose, Option B: Refuse. Refusing will make Samuel a target of the FIB, and this causes him to gain more respect from his gang. The respect system from San Andreas is back, but new and improved. Samuel will expand his gang operations from Little Haiti, all the way to the Vice Keys, and beyond.
The Third Character is a man named Xavier Gonzalez. Xavier is a latino man born in Vice City, he is 40 years old, and a cocaine kingpin. He lives in Downtown Vice City in his lavish $1.5m penthouse. Xavier is friends with John from the beginning of the story. Xavier is apart of the story no matter what option you choose, providing cocaine to John to sell, OR, Providing cocaine to both John AND Samuel, to sell together, and to strengthen the gangs funds. The gang system is similar to Red Dead Redemption 2’s system, and also has elements of GTA San Andreas. Xavier is also tied in directly to the nightclub business as well, having stakes in the returning Malibu Club, now run by the Jimenez Family, a latino Mafia, who has ties directly to the South American Cartel.
Each Character has a different personality and lifestyle, and will be a exceptional experience for the player. Former characters from past GTA’s will be making appearances. Luis WILL be returning, being a manager of the Malibu Club, Stranger and Freaks missions are returning with a more in depth story for every one of them, and Michael De Santa and his wife, Amanda, will be returning also, living in a beach house, although their children will not make any appearances. The both do not play a VITAL part in the storyline, but will have stranger and freaks missions for any character, with all different outcomes. For example, passing by the state penitentiary, you may just recognize Lamar Davis, in a bluish grey jumpsuit, embellished with a pair of handcuffs wrapped around his wrists, demanding for a ride.
The map of GTA VI, will be bigger than GTA V and RDR2 combined, having several counties, having Vice City, based on Miami, the Vice Keys, based on the Florida Keys, The Everglades, based on the swampy Everglades in Florida. The game will also feature Orlando, which is named Corlado, and Tampa, named as Gulf Shore City, but downsized a bit. The game will feature sprawling countryside outside of Vice City and Corlado, with countryside towns, named Canisville, Centura, and Sentinel Point, along with towns along the Vice Keys. There is an Air Force Base, based of off Eglin Air Force Base, named Fort Sentinel. The Ocean is the Atlantic Ocean, with more shipwrecks to discover, plants and animals, and more. The game itself has as many animals as RDR2, and the player can hunt if they choose, although this is just a more of a minigame. Vigilante Missions will be back, along with Taxi Missions.
Character Customization will be better, from the belt on your waist, to the socks on your feet. Choose to your liking of luxury watches, rings, chains, earrings, featuring plain jane, to diamonds and rubies, emeralds, and more. Belts can be worn along with hightops, to lowtops and boots, and dress shoes. Pantlegs can be tucked into the footwear you choose, if the option is available. Tattoos will be back, along with hair customization. John is white so he can tan, or be sunburned, and the core system from RDR 2 is back aswell.
Tattoos will feature opacity and can also fade over time. You will be able to adjust the size of the tattoo. It will be able to be placed on over 10 different area of the body depending the size.
Since the core system is back, you will have to also bathe, to stay clean, otherwise you may notice changes in your cores.
You will have to eat to replenish cores, so you can cook in your safehouse, or go eat out in a restaurant, whether it be fast food or upscale. All characters can have relationships with women, similar to GTA 4 and GTA San Andreas. You will be able to buy extra safehouses around the map, and the amount of vehicles will be the same amount that are in GTA Online, and more. Every vehicle will be returning, and first person mode will be more enhanced, with more realistic vehicle interiors to immerse the player into every aspect of the game. South America will not be apart of the game, only Vice City and surrounding Areas.
Skills from GTA V is also being integrated back, along with exercising, to boost strength. Agility is a new added skill, and Strength will affect how hard you punch, kick, or melee in general.
Special Abilities so far, will not be coming back. This may be tweaked before release, but if they return, it will not be a major part of the game.
Car Customization is more advanced, different leather trims can be changed colors, along with wood trims and marble trims. You can add satellite radio, which lets you listen to radio stations in Los Santos, and Liberty City, but so far there is only two stations from each of those cities. You can also listen to all the radio stations across the counties. Neon is back, new spoilers and liveries as well, Along with different colors of tint. Subwoofers will be a standard upgrade as well.
Los Santos Customs is gone, and Pay and Spray is back, along with Viceland Kustomz, and Sentinel Bike Shop. You can also modify certain parts at the car dealerships.
The drug dealing system from GTA: China Town Wars is also returning, but a bit revamped. This is where the post office system comes in, from RDR2. Pounds of Marijuana sourced from Los Santos delivered by mail, to a post office near you. From weed to tabs of LSD, all the way to meth, heroin, and cocaine, you can reap major profits.
Casinos will be returning as well, one being a resort, others being small-time casinos. You will be able to rent a room in the casino and resort. The casino is named as the Malibu Casino and Resort.
Gunplay is improved with new realistic sounds. Interiors are just as detailed as GTA V or RDR2, if not more, I’d say. The insurance system from GTA Online will be integrated into GTA VI’s story mode, so losing a vehicle will not happen.
There is an abundance of new and old activities, that being over 50 strangers and freaks missions, drug supplying, or drug running, similar to GTA TBOGT’s drug missions. You can hunt, as stated before, but is more of a minigame than a money maker. You can fish as well, as fishing is a very popular sport, in modern day Florida.
There will be four strip clubs scattered around the map, one of them named Vanilla Unicorn South East, which is owned by Trevor Phillips, who is planned to make a cameo, only to be featured in a cutscene so far.
Nightclubs as I stated before, will be a thing. There will be 3 nightclubs, where you can take part in a few activities, like dancing, where you can meet your date in game, or drinking and smoking. Expect SOLOMUN, and BLACK MADONNA to return. You will see in game appearances of them DJing in the nightclubs. No other DJ’s will return.
Bounty hunting will not be a thing, but dirty work for the FIB throughout the story will be similar. Pool and bowling is returning, along with player skills, exercise and working out also is a thing, as stated above earlier.
Convenience stores and gas stations will feature many products you can purchase. Snacks, that being Phat chips, (different flavors yield more health and core restoration) candy bars, ( EgoChaser, Meteorite, Zebra Bar, and more) drinks, (E Cola, Sprunk,) Alcohol, (Pisswasser, Champagne, Logger) Redwood cigarettes, and cigars. The stores will be setup similar to RDR2’s store system. You can rob the stores, and also start a protection racket, and extort them.
Pharmacys will be in the game, to purchase portable med kits, or you can rob the pharmacy for drugs and money.
The way you eat can also affect your character’s health, and weight. Similar to GTA San Andreas’s system.
Merryweather will return, but won’t have the same presence as it did in GTA V. Merryweather ends up not being able to operate on U.S. soil, and goes out of business as a hit is put on Don Percival, by one of the returning characters from GTA V.
An advanced parkour system is integrated as well, similar to GTA IV’s.
Gun stores will be prevalent as this is based off of Florida. The homeless man who found the diamonds, from GTA TBOGT will also make an appearance as a gun store owner, as he has proceeded to purchase and start a gun shop in the area of South Vice Beach.
The black market for weapons is featured in this game as well, similar to fences in RDR2. You can also craft bombs/projectiles if you have learned to.
Realism is a goal of this game, without being too overwhelming. Guns and weapons will need to be cleaned. If you shoot a gun, you will smell of gun powder, this may be noticed by civilians or police officers, and they will make comments about it. If you have not bathed, you may just get absurd insults slurred at you. If you have blood stained on you, and you smell of blood, people may give you weird looks, or may just make a call to the local Law Enforcement.
As for those who DM me or ask about Strangers and Freaks, or mysteries and riddles, the paranormal world will be featured in GTA VI. You may encounter serial killers, or creepy sightings in dreary areas. Strangers and freaks will all have its own unique storyline.
The weather system is IMPROVED SIGNIFICANTLY aswell. Hurricanes do take place, but only during certain parts of the storyline, and floods may occur in marshland areas and anywhere away from mainland.
Melee Combat system is based off of strength, and Agility, which is a new skill, as stated above, and is improved heavily. Hand combat is influenced by strength and agility. Based on how hard you hit the opponent, you may bruise them, and bruise yourself. The chainsaw is returning as well. The limbs and gore is back from RDR2
Dialogue System from GTA San Andreas and RDR2 is back, and improved, with different responses every time.
GPS and Navigation System will be improved, showing the quickest routes, from alleyways to the freeway. Every street will have a name, and the GPS voice from GTA IV is returning as well, get ready to hear “Turn Left in 500 yards, Bing Bong.” Planes will have autopilot, and you can fly to each city with plane tickets, or on your own.
Driving mechanics will be similar to GTA IV’s, but combined with the smoothness of GTA V’s mechanics. Damage to the vehicle will be more detailed then ever, featuring airbag damage as well. EVERY Vehicle will have its own selected weight, and handling, to improve the player’s experience.
Six star wanted level is back, with FIB being the 6th star. There is multiple law enforcement agencies. VCPD, GSCPD, CPD, SPPD, Highway Patrol, FIB, IAA, Viceland State Patrol, as well as the NOOSE. You will not be shot by cops for just staring at them.
Being arrested results in you serving time, similar to RDR 1’s Jail time mechanic, showing you all of your charges while you sit in a cell. The first time you get arrested it will show your character being booked, and you will have to take a mugshot and be fingerprinted. Depending on the county or city you’ve been arrested in, you will be known to local law enforcement and even law abiding citizens, depending on how severe your charges are.
Random events are more realistic than ever. depending on the wanted level you’ve attained, there is a system similar to the bounty system of RDR2. The more crimes you’ve commited that have gained attention of law enforcement, you have a chance of getting your hotel room getting kicked in by noose, your safe house getting staked out by undercover FIB, even being pulled over if you have commited a number of crimes in the same vehicle. You may witness muggings, or even be mugged yourself. You will encounter situations with homeless people to the rich and famous, with all different outcomes.
Real Estate as stated before, will be available to all three characters. Businesses will be available, illicit and legal, from businesses to launder cash for the gang, to illicit businesses like credit fraud rings, to counterfeit cash.
Safe houses will be available as well. A penthouse in Corlado, a modern mansion on Starfish Island, a beach house on Ocean Beach, a small quaint house in Canisville, a traditional house in Gulf Shore City, a vacation-style home in the Vice Keys, to small apartments in small towns like Centura or Sentinel Point. Each character will be able to purchase any of these properties, but it will be tied to just the one character that purchased it.
Hotels and Motels will also be available to rent rooms and bathe in, one being the Gulf Shore motel, a dingy motel room for cheap, perfect for someone wanting a cheap stay. The Malibu Casino and Resort near Vice Beach, a 5 star luxury stay, with a two-story penthouse with a jacuzzi the player can bathe in, with views of Vice Beach, and the nearby Ocean Beach. There is 4 hotels and 2 motels scattered across the map, each with unique interiors and different amenities.
Purchasing vehicles you can enter a dealership, or purchase online and have it delivered to a garage. Pegasus Concierge is returning. Certain stolen vehicles will have trackers, and will not be able to be modified, same as GTA V.
The stock market is also returning, BAWSAQ and VLSM ( Vice Land Stock Market ) and can reap heavy profits as well.
Time goes by: This game is set in 2017-2019. Times will change thruout, buildings will be completed as they were in RDR2, radio stations will not play all of the music in the tracklist at first. Instead it will play newer music thruout the storyline. You will still hear older and newer songs too after completion.
Character customization is not just clothing, tattoos, jewelry and hair customization. You can also purchase 3 different phone models. an iFruit phone, based on the iPhone Xr, a Badger phone, or a Whiz Wireless. You will also be able to purchase ringtones, as you were able to do in GTA IV. You can also purchase an iFruit watch, based on the apple watch, which you can take calls on, if you change your settings.
Depending on how rough you play, clothing can wear and tear. Examples: jumping out of a moving vehicle, falling off/on rocks, tripping on certain props.
As stated above, NPC’s will notice the clothing you wear, the way you look or smell, the car you drive, and the jewelry you wear, and will make comments on it.
Crouching will be back, the same as RDR2, and the cover system is nearly the exact same cover system as RDR2.
ALSO Expect a Special Edition, AND Collector’s Edition, similar to RDR2.
The game is set in the summer of 2017 to 2019 as the storyline proceeds. This game WILL BE PS5 Exclusive, for the first month. The in-game experience is like no other, PS5 also has a new controller design as well. It is projected to not release until later 2020, AFTER holiday season BUT MAY BE DELAYED. I have broken down the storyline, key elements of the game, and if anyone has anymore questions I will be happy to answer. I know so much about this game as I’ve been working on it since the start, and I’m not afraid to get in trouble, as this is a throwaway.
I will not be responding to negative comments, claiming this is fake, because I will not waste my time with non-believers, only true questions.
all content is confirmed unless it has been mentioned by me to not be officially confirmed already, and anything may be scrapped before release as cut content, but is unlikely
*PLEASE UPVOTE. I do not want my effort and the risks I am taking to go to waste. I want this to not get buried. *
if you have questions or WANT MORE? (screenshots or photos as proof, radio stations, confirmed tracklists or more) Send Me A Chat.
You may see songs from previous games, as Rockstar may have the licenses still, or has renewed them.
CONFIRMED SONGS, AND RADIO STATIONS.
Satellite Radio: Liberty City
Beat 102.7- Hosted By DJ Whoo Kid
Beat 102.7 Logo- https://imgur.com/a/To0Wi8c
Liberty Rock Radio- Hosted By Iggy Pop
LRR Logo- https://imgur.com/a/5dCcVwB
Satellite Radio:
Radio Los Santos- Hosted By BigBoy
Radio Los Santos Logo- https://imgur.com/a/XUqjEed
Los Santos Rock Radio- Hosted By Kenny Loggins
Los Santos Rock Radio Logo- https://imgur.com/a/KxkMMd6
LOCAL RADIO STATIONS
NightRide FM Hosted By Kavinsky
NightRide FM Logo- https://imgur.com/a/bb0hXDP
Corlado’s Hottest Jams 103.7 Hosted By Feliciá Williams and DJ Diamondz
CHJ 103.7 Logo- https://imgur.com/a/eWauMMj
V-Rock FM Hosted By Couzin Ed
V-Rock FM Logo- https://imgur.com/a/9zQUsAE
Vice City’s Retro Mix , 104.7 Fm Hosted By Fernando Martinez
VCRM 104.7 FM Logo- https://imgur.com/a/wdrjsLH
Vice City Classic Hip Hop Hosted By DJ slick slim
Vice City Classic Hip Hip Logo- https://imgur.com/a/f859okr
Viceland’s Country Radio (VLCR) Hosted By Derrick Jones
VLCR Logo- https://imgur.com/a/VwZ1jw3
GSC-EDM FM ( Gulf Shore City EDM Fm ) Hosted By Gulf Shore City FM.
GSC-EDM FM Logo- https://imgur.com/a/2zAlvsR
The Sunrise Fm ( Reggae music ) Hosted By Marshall Peters
The Sunrise Fm Logo- https://imgur.com/a/ea639SV
Vice Rap Radio ( VRR ) ( modern florida rap ) Hosted By DJ Josué Da Kidd
Vice Rap Radio Logo- https://imgur.com/a/F6qeX0U
The Groove 109.2 Hosted By Vaughn Harper
The Groove 109.2 Logo- https://imgur.com/a/vuon14i
Baila Ahora Radio (modern spanish station) Hosted By Amada Abrantes
Baila Ahora Radio Logo- https://imgur.com/a/TpBFTTd
Interesante Musica Radio ( modern and old spanish music ) Hosted By Selená Martinez * Los Hermanos Rosario, La Dueña Del Swing * los reyes del merengue, El Baile del Beeper - Versión Merengue * Celia Cruz, La Vida Es Un Carnaval * INDIA, Marc Anthony, Vivir Lo Nuestro * Felipe Muñiz, Marc Anthony, Deje de Amar * Ivy Queen, Dime * Monchy and Alexandra, Alexandra
Musica de Clásico FM ( Salsa ) Hosted By Pedro Simmóns
Flash FM ( 2000’s and 90’s pop) Hosted By DJ Toni
Flash FM Logo- https://imgur.com/a/iWIYd8s
Ocean Beach Classics FM (80’s synth pop) Hosted By DJ Teri
OBC FM Logo- https://imgur.com/a/5C1JVGJ
The Wave 103 (Slow/Vocal Synthwave + Indie Synth) Hosted By Adam First, Trish Camden
The Wave 103 Logo- https://imgur.com/a/Ku0amCT
Centura County Country Hits ( newer country ) Hosted By Rick Hanson
Centura County Country Hits Logo- https://imgur.com/a/wppVRMu
The Keys Rock Radio ( mix of rock) Hosted By Gerald Ritsky
The Keys Rock Radio Logo- https://imgur.com/a/JpWpA8x
Viceland Lithium Radio ( Hardcore Rock, Heavy Metal ) ( VLLR ) Hosted By VLLR.
VLLR Logo- https://imgur.com/a/wOsEIlj
Trap House Radio ( Trap Rap ) Hosted By DJ BlueBandz
Trap House Radio Logo- https://imgur.com/a/lyG3FGA
Anarchy Radio 98.5 FM ( Alt Rock, Punk) Hosted By Jason Lavigne
Chatterbox Vice City Talk Radio
CBVCTR Logo- https://imgur.com/a/FKko1f1
CTR Corlado Talk Radio
-host, Lazlow - Fernando Martinez
Viceland News Network VLNN
VLNN Logo- https://imgur.com/a/yaBucdY
Host- Vanessa Hopkins, Weazel News. - Updates on weather and Weazel News
Ignore this below.
Legal Disclaimer: This post is not affiliated with Rockstar Games or Take-Two Interactive, or its subsidiaries, In any way, shape or form, and should be taken as satirical. Ignore this below.
Legal Disclaimer: This post is not affiliated with Rockstar Games or Take-Two Interactive, or its subsidiaries, In any way, shape or form, and should be taken as satirical.
Along with the No phone, No photos policy, It will be very difficult to get OFFICIAL screenshots. Here is a official, accurate sketch of the GTA VI Minimap and cores design
https://imgur.com/a/ghyoRb4
Here is the sketch of the mini map on computer.
https://imgur.com/a/D0Qj0EP
I will be uploading more sketches soon.
FOLLOW ME FOR MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON
Here’s my Rockstar badge / ID. it is dirty, apologies. The rockstar logo, imprinted on the card itself, along with my photo, blurred out, my name below it, and the expiration date, years 2019-2020. this is only an ID to get into the building. since i have released a bit of proof, stop spreading misinformation
https://imgur.com/a/eenWmAR
You can still trust my leak, but here is a legal disclaimer so I cannot be targeted.
Ignore this below.
-legal disclaimer. this is fictional and not proven, this post is not associated with taketwo or rockstar games in any way, shape, or form.
submitted by aFloatingPineapple to u/aFloatingPineapple [link] [comments]

Lost in the Sauce: Feb. 16 - 22

Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater. (the previous edition can be found here if you are super behind).
House-keeping:
  1. How to read: the headings will guide you through this piece. The Main Course covers the “big” stories and The Sides covers the “smaller” stories. IF YOU FOLLOW THE NEWS CLOSELY: you likely know about the stories in the Main Course section, so you will be best served by scrolling down to The Sides portion.
  2. How to support: If you enjoy my work, please consider becoming a patron. I do this to keep track and will never hide behind a paywall, but these projects take a lot of time and effort to create. Even a couple of dollars a month helps. Since someone asked a few weeks ago (thank you!), here's a PayPal option
  3. How to get notifications: If you’d like to be added to my newsletter, use this SIGNUP FORM and you’ll get these recaps in your inbox!
Let’s dig in!

MAIN COURSE

Trump’s war on the intelligence community: 10 days under an authoritarian administration

I wrote a stand-alone piece covering the biggest news from last week: Over the past 10 days, we've seen Trump fully indulge his authoritarian impulses in an attempt to stamp out any inkling of facts that he dislikes - whether that be for personal, egocentric reasons or to shore up political strength. This began with a briefing given to the House Intelligence Committee that Russia is seeking to re-elect Trump. In response, Trump purged the Office of the Director of National Intelligence of officials he perceived to be disloyal, installing loyalists in their place.
Also covered: how Trump gets away with a cabinet full of acting officials, Richard Grenell’s numerous dis-qualifications, a pardon offered to Julian Assange, and the hunt for “Never Trumpers” in the administration.

Sunday night update

On Sunday, Trump made a veiled threat toward House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff while claiming without evidence that the Democrat had leaked information from the Russia briefing on Feb. 13: “Somebody please tell incompetent (thanks for my high poll numbers) & corrupt politician Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff to stop leaking Classified information or, even worse, made up information, to the Fake News Media. Someday he will be caught, & that will be a very unpleasant experience!” tweet
Later, while speaking to reporters, Trump called for an investigation into the leak - more concerned about the public learning of the briefing than he is about Russia’s repeated interference in U.S. elections. “They leaked it, Adam Schiff and his group. They leaked it to the papers and - as usual - they ought to investigate Adam Schiff for leaking that information,” Trump said.
Schiff responded: “Nice deflection, Mr. President. But your false claims fool no one. You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraine’s help in 2019, and won’t protect our elections in 2020.”

Pardon-palooza

Authoritarians also dispense largesse, but they do it by their own whims, rather than pursuant to any system or legal rule. The point of authoritarianism is to concentrate power in the ruler, so the world knows that all actions, good and bad, harsh and generous, come from a single source. (The New Yorker)
Last week, Trump granted pardons and commutations to 11 people with one thing in common: connections. Trump bypassed the process of formal procedures typically used to determine who is given a pardon, instead relying on connections to his wealthy friends and political allies.

Roger Stone going to prison

Perhaps not coincidentally, Trump’s pardoning of corrupt public officials like Blagojevich occurred just two days before Roger Stone’s sentencing for lying to investigators, obstructing a congressional investigation, and witness tampering. Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Stone to 40 months - or 3.3 years - in prison, much lighter than the original 7-9 year sentencing recommendation made by career prosecutors who withdrew from the case in protest of AG Barr’s intervention.
Lawfare has a great line-by-line breakdown of the sentencing hearing, if you’d like the nitty-gritty details. But if you only have time to read one excerpt from the hearing, I suggest the following:
Judge Jackson: “The truth still exists. The truth still matters. Roger Stone's insistence that it doesn't, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the very foundation of our democracy...The dismay and the disgust at the attempts by others to defend his actions as just business as usual in our polarized climate should transcend party. The dismay and the disgust with any attempts to interfere with the efforts of prosecutors and members of the judiciary to fulfill their duty should transcend party.
"Sure, the defense is free to say: So what? Who cares? But, I'll say this: Congress cared. The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia that prosecuted the case and is still prosecuting the case cared. The jurors who served with integrity under difficult circumstances cared. The American people cared. And I care."
Judge Jackson pushes back
During the hearing, Judge Jackson said that the jurors in the case "served with integrity." Stone’s lawyers took this statement and moved to disqualify the judge from the case, claiming that her remarks “rendered her unable to fairly rule on his bid for a new trial.”
"Stone’s Motion for New Trial is directly related to the integrity of a juror. It is alleged that a juror misled the Court regarding her ability to be unbiased and fair and the juror attempted to cover up evidence that would directly contradict her false claims of impartiality," his lawyers argued.
"The premature statement blessing the “integrity of the jury” undermines the appearance of impartiality and presents a strong bias for recusal," they added.
As expected, Jackson denied the motion to have her disqualified...
A pardon for Stone?
But the goal may be to reach the ears of the president instead. According to Politico, a former senior administration official who remains in contact with Trump and his senior advisers says about a pardon for Roger Stone: “It’s not a question of if; it’s when.” Following the sentencing, Trump argued that Stone’s jury was “tainted” and said that “Roger has a very good chance of exoneration.”
On Sunday, Trump was asked about the possibility of a pardon for Stone and instead took the opportunity to attack the jury forewoman, again:
"That juror is so biased and so tainted, that shouldn't happen in our criminal justice system… You have a juror that is obviously tainted. She was an activist against Trump. She said bad things about Trump and bad things about Stone," the President claimed without evidence. "She somehow weaseled her way onto the jury and if that's not a tainted jury then there is no such thing as a tainted jury."

More info on Stone’s lenient sentence

In the week since four prosecutors withdrew from Stone’s case in protest of AG Barr’s interference, we have gotten a slow drip-drip of new information. A piece by The New York Times Sunday summed it up nicely: Timothy Shea, appointed to replace Jessie Liu as head D.C. attorney, was sent to the office specifically to steer cases to the president’s benefit after previous efforts failed.
A new boss, Timothy Shea, had just arrived and had told them on his first day that he wanted a more lenient recommendation for Mr. Stone, and he pushed back hard when they objected, according to two people briefed on the dispute. They grew suspicious that Mr. Shea was helping his longtime friend and boss, Attorney General William P. Barr, soften the sentencing request to please the president.
...The tensions between the office, the Justice Department and the White House date back further than the tumult in the Stone case. They have been simmering since at least last summer, when the office’s investigation of Andrew G. McCabe, a former top F.B.I. official whom the president had long targeted, began to fall apart.
Mr. Shea’s predecessor, Jessie K. Liu, a lawyer whom Mr. Trump had appointed to lead the office in 2017, pressed the McCabe case even after one team of prosecutors concluded that they could not win a conviction. After a second team was brought in and also failed to deliver a grand jury indictment, Ms. Liu’s relationship with Mr. Barr grew strained, people close to them said. She left the position this year, though she and Mr. Barr have both stressed to associates that her departure was amicable.

Undoing Mueller’s work

Trump’s efforts to derail the sentencing of Stone can be seen as part of a larger campaign to rewrite history, and specifically, erase the findings of the Mueller investigation. Roger Stone’s indictment shows that Stone was acting on Trump's personal order to find Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails stolen by Russia. In order to cover-up his role in the Russia-Wikileaks-Trump network, Stone lied to investigators and threatened a witness. By claiming that Stone did not commit a crime, Trump is attempting to reverse the findings of the Mueller report and make himself the victim.
Last week, Trump embarked on a rambling Twitter thread calling for all cases stemming from Mueller’s probe to be “thrown out.” He continued, saying: “If I wasn’t President, I’d be suing everyone all over the place.......BUT MAYBE I STILL WILL. WITCH HUNT!”
Hours later, while discussing the spate of pardons he had issued that day, Trump made the astounding assertion that he is “the chief law enforcement officer of the country” and thus has the “legal right” to interfere in criminal cases. “I’m allowed to be totally involved,” the president added. While technically he is incorrect - the Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer - in practice Trump has been proven right. A lawless chief executive is in fact in charge of enforcing the law when the Attorney General acts as his personal fixer.
This is in the style of autocrats across the globe, who weaponize the law to help themselves and their friends and hurt their enemies. The nation’s legal system is now run by a man who has spent his life mocking it. (NYT Editorial Board)
Meanwhile, the president’s allies have reportedly been urging him to fire anyone who was involved in Mueller’s investigation:
The MAGA punditry’s outsized influence over the president means their campaign against the so-called Mueller “holdovers” is likely not falling on deaf ears, especially given Trump’s fixation with what his defenders and detractors are saying about his administration in their frequent appearances on his favorite TV programs.
“It's totally unclear to me why any members of the Mueller team need to remain in the Trump DOJ,” the pro-Trump conservative blogger Will Chamberlain wrote after news broke of the Stone sentencing recommendation.
...GOP operative Arthur Schwartz, a close friend of Donald Trump Jr. who has been described as the eldest son’s “fixer,” said of the career officials in question: “I think they should all be investigated.”
...John Dowd, a former Trump lawyer who remains in touch with the White House, characterized the line attorneys in the Stone case as “insubordinate,” and “the same crowd of prosecutors wedded to the Mueller agenda” who need to be “cleaned out” from DOJ. “And Bill Barr is doing that,” Dowd said.
What can be done about the politicization of the DOJ? In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Cass Sunstein of Harvard Law School suggests that “Congress should transform the Justice Department into an independent agency, legally immunized from the president’s day-to-day control.”

Public charge rule takes effect

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow the government to implement new “wealth test” rules making it easier to deny immigrants residency or admission to the United States if they might depend on public-assistance programs. Legal challenges will continue in lower courts in the meantime. Doug Rand, co-founder of Boundless Immigration who formerly worked on immigration policy in the Obama White House, estimates that as many as 400,000 people every year could be denied green cards or visas because of the new rules.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor filed a written dissent that was sharply critical of both the federal government and her conservative colleagues, warning that they are “putting a thumb on the scale in favor of” the Trump administration. Read her full seven-page dissent here.
The justice wrote that granting emergency applications often upends "the normal appellate process" while "putting a thumb on the scale in favor of the party that won." Targeting her conservative colleagues, she said "most troublingly, the Court's recent behavior" has benefited "one litigant over all others."
"Claiming one emergency after another, the Government has recently sought stays in an unprecedented number of cases," Sotomayor said. "It is hard to say what is more troubling," she said, pointing to the case at hand, "that the Government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the Court would grant it." CNN

THE SIDES

Justice Department’s new rules benefit Giuliani

In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, the DOJ indicated that the agency has implemented another layer of approval that would make it difficult for prosecutors to widen their probe into Rudy Giuliani:
The Justice Department revealed Tuesday that law enforcement officials running Ukraine-related investigations must seek approval before expanding their inquiries — a move that could have implications for Rudolph W. Giuliani, as President Trump’s personal attorney pushes for scrutiny of the president’s political foes while facing a federal probe into his own conduct.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote to Nadler that the department had tapped two U.S. attorneys to assist in the process — Scott Brady in Pittsburgh to receive and assess new information, and Richard Donoghue in Brooklyn to help coordinate personnel throughout the Justice Department involved in Giuliani’s case and others with a focus on Ukraine. An accompanying internal memo, circulated by Rosen in January, says that he and Donoghue must approve expansions of any inquiries.

Related: The Hill admits John Solomon’s columns were misleading

The Hill’s review of Solomon’s work can be found here. I have found the review itself to be overly generous to the publication (no surprise), so I will quote from a WaPo summary of the review:
In effect, the Hill said Solomon amplified an inaccurate and one-sided narrative about the Bidens and Ukraine that was fed to him by Giuliani, “facilitated” by businessman Lev Parnas, who was working with Giuliani at the time, and reinforced by Solomon’s own attorneys, who also represented clients embroiled in U.S.-Ukraine politics.
But the Hill stopped short of retracting or apologizing for Solomon’s articles, nor did it say it shouldn’t have published them. It also didn’t characterize Solomon’s motives in presenting what appears to be a largely debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine.
“In certain columns, Solomon failed to identify important details about key Ukrainian sources, including the fact that they had been indicted or were under investigation,” said the internal investigation, which was overseen by the newspaper’s editor, Bob Cusack. “In other cases, the sources were [Solomon’s] own attorneys” — Victoria Toensing and Joseph DiGenova, who have also represented President Trump and Giuliani, who was also a key source for Solomon’s columns.
Solomon didn’t disclose this connection in his columns nor did he disclose to his editors that he shared drafts of his stories with Toensing, DiGenova and Parnas, the review noted.

Trump tries to block Bolton book

The Washington Post reports that Trump is attempting to block the release of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book, instructing aides that it should not be released until after the November election.
Trump has told his lawyers that Bolton should not be allowed to publish any of his interactions with him about national security because they are privileged and classified, these people said. He has also repeatedly brought up the book with his team, asking whether Bolton is going to be able to publish it, they said.
Trump told national television anchors on Feb. 4 during an off-the-record lunch that material in the book was “highly classified,” according to notes from one participant in the luncheon. He then called him a “traitor.”
“We’re going to try and block the publication of the book,” Trump said, according to the notes. “After I leave office, he can do this. But not in the White House...I give the guy a break. I give him a job. And then he turns on me,” Trump added during the West Wing lunch. “He’s just making things up.”

Susan Rice tells Bolton the truth

During a panel discussion at Vanderbilt University on Wednesday, Bolton shared the stage with Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice. Bolton made excuses for his failure to testify in Trump’s impeachment trial, blaming the House for committing “impeachment malpractice.” Rice challenged Bolton repeatedly, denigrating his decision to promote his book instead of testify:
"I thought a lot about if I had been in that position how would I have approached it, and I'll be honest: It's inconceivable to me that if I had firsthand knowledge of gross abuse of presidential power that I would withhold my testimony from a constitutional accountability process.”
"I can't imagine withholding my testimony, with or without a subpoena," Rice said. "I also can't imagine, frankly, in the absence of being able to provide the information directly to Congress, not having exercised my First Amendment right to speak publicly at a time when my testimony or my experience would be relevant. And, frankly, when my subordinates ... were doing their duty and responding in a fashion consistent with their legal obligations to provide information."
"I would feel like I was shamefully violating the oath that I took to support and defend the Constitution."

Trump corruption update

President Donald Trump’s choice to stay at his own Las Vegas hotel each night during the western states swing that wraps up Friday likely cost taxpayers a million extra dollars as well as diverted thousands of them into his own cash registers.
Breaking with precedent, Trump flew back to Vegas to stay every night at his Trump International Hotel, despite his day activities taking place in California, Arizona, and Colorado.
Had Trump held the same events but done so in a geographically logical order ― starting in Beverly Hills and finishing in Colorado Springs, but overnighting each day in the city where he would begin the following morning ― Trump would have spent four fewer hours aboard Air Force One, thereby saving taxpayers about $1.1 million.
...Indeed, the repeated overnight trips to Las Vegas may have forced the Secret Service and other support personnel to keep a motorcade there for a full four days, rather than move it to the site of an upcoming presidential trip
This week, Trump has a whole new country to focus on: India, home to the largest portfolio of Trump real estate projects outside North America, according to the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. According to The Washington Post, since the elder Trump’s last trip to India in 2014, two of his business partners have encountered massive legal and financial trouble.
During Trump’s time as president, the Trump Organization has vigorously promoted their properties in India, earning millions of dollars in royalties:
In 2018, the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. — who runs the Trump Organization with his brother, Eric Trump — spent several days in India promoting the family’s developments, attending a champagne dinner with condo buyers who plunked down $39,000 deposits and bringing in millions of dollars in new sales. While there, he also met with Modi behind closed doors. The next year, Trump’s Indian business partners flew 100 early buyers of his luxury condos near Delhi to visit Trump Tower and Trump Ferry Point golf course in New York City as a way to generate interest in the properties in India. One attendee gushed afterward about meeting the son of a U.S. president on the trip.

Trump 2020: Cambridge Analytica and Facebook

President Donald Trump’s campaign is bringing on an alum of the controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica...Matt Oczkowski, who served as head of product at Cambridge before it went bankrupt and shut down in 2018, is helping oversee the Trump campaign’s data program...Oczkowski, who also worked on Trump’s 2016 effort, joined the reelection campaign in January, and payments to his company, HuMn Behavior, are expected to show up on Trump’s next campaign finance disclosure later this month. (Politico)
An Axios report revealed where most of Trump’s re-election campaign is spending its advertising budget: on Facebook ads. “Last fall, the campaign urged Facebook to keep the same tools for political advertisers that they make available to companies...Facebook ultimately decided not to change its policies around microtargeting.” However, unlike in 2016, the campaign is also diversifying, “testing new strategies on several dozen platforms, including YouTube, Google, ad exchanges, publisher networks and conservative podcasts.”
  • Side note: The IRS is suing Facebook for $9 million in back taxes, alleging the social media company undervalued intellectual properties when selling them to an Irish subsidiary in 2010. Ireland has lower corporate tax rates than the United States, so the move reduced the company’s tax bill.

Erik Prince investigations

There is apparently another investigation into Blackwater Founder - and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos - Erik Prince. The FBI is reportedly investigating Prince “for his 2015 attempt to modify two American-made crop-dusting planes into attack aircraft — a violation of arms trafficking regulations...The planes became part of private military services Prince proposed to sell or use in mercenary operations in Africa and Azerbaijan.”
This new investigation adds to Prince’s legal problems, though he insists that he is untouchable “under this guy,” referring to Trump. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Justice Department is “in the late stages of deciding whether to charge” Prince for allegedly lying to Congress in its Russia probe and violating U.S. export laws in his business dealings overseas.

Trump blocking prominent climate change warning

The United States is against mentioning climate change in the communique of the world’s financial leaders, G20 diplomats said, after a new draft of the joint statement showed the G20 are considering including it as a risk factor to growth...G20 sources said the United States was reluctant to accept language on climate change as a risk to the economy. Reuters
On Sunday, it was announced that the U.S. ultimately agreed to a less-prominent placement for the risks of climate change. It will now appear in language referencing the Financial Stability Board’s work examining the implications of climate change for financial stability.
One of the G20 sources said it was the first time a reference to climate change had been included in a G20 finance communique during Trump’s presidency, even though it was removed from the top of the joint statement. U.S. officials have resisted naming climate change as an economic risk since Trump took office in 2017. One of his first acts as president was to announce Washington’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

Rightwing threats

Last week, two men were arrested in separate incidents involving threats to President Trump’s perceived opponents.
A Michigan man, Brittan J. Atkinson, was arrested on Thursday for sending death threats to Mark Zaid, an attorney for the Ukraine whistleblower. Atkinson sent the threats in November, on the day that Trump held up a photo of Zaid and read some of his tweets at a rally in Louisiana.
"All traitors must die miserable deaths," Atkinson's email read in part, the indictment says. "Those that represent traitors shall meet the same fate[.] We will hunt you down and bleed you out like the pigs you are. We have nothing but time, and you are running out of it, Keep looking over your shoulder[.] We know who you are, where you live, and who you associate with[.] We are all strangers in a crowd to you[.]"
On Wednesday, Salvatore Lippa of New York was arrested for threatening to assault and murder Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Chuck Schumer in voicemails last month.
Lippa started the threatening message by calling the congressman "Schiff, Shifty Schiff," invoking the nickname used by President Donald Trump for Schiff, the lead House manager during Trump's impeachment trial.
...When questioned by U.S Capitol Police, Lippa admitted to making the threatening calls to Schiff and Schumer because he said he was upset about the impeachment proceedings, prosecutors said.

State news

  • Washington Post: A second court has temporarily blocked North Carolina’s new voter identification law on the argument that it discriminates against African Americans. The ruling reduces the likelihood that the rule will be in effect in a key swing state during November’s elections. A three-judge panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that intent to discriminate was a “primary motivating factor” behind the voter ID law, which passed the Republican legislature in late 2018.
  • CBS News: Florida cannot bar felons who served their time from registering to vote simply because they have failed to pay all fines and fees stemming from their cases, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
  • CNN: Mississippi's law banning abortions at the detection of a fetal heartbeat -- as early as six weeks into pregnancy -- will remain blocked, a panel of circuit judges ruled on Thursday...The three-judge panel on the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's ruling that the Mississippi law unconstitutionally prohibited pre-viability abortions.
  • Tampa Bay Times: A curious request arrived in the inboxes of Florida tax collectors last week from an employee of the Republican National Committee. He asked for “all email addresses that have been collected and are in the possession of the Tax Collector’s Office.” He also wanted any names, property addresses and phone numbers connected to those emails in their records. If the tax collectors had complied, the Republican Party would soon have a valuable trove of personal information for millions of Floridians as it gears up for the 2020 election: A detailed database of many taxpayers’ emails plus the name, address and phone number tied to that email.
  • Associated Press: Most Republican lawmakers refused to attend a Tuesday night session of the Oregon House of Representatives amid a slowdown over anger at a sweeping bill on climate change. Earlier, Republican lawmakers, who are a minority in the House, insisted that bills coming to the floor be read in their entirety instead of being summarized, which slowed things down substantially. The 2020 session of the Legislature lasts only 35 days, being an even-year short session.
  • Q13 Fox News: Efforts to expel a controversial state representative from the Washington Legislature are likely over after no Republicans would sign a letter calling for state Rep. Matt Shea’s expulsion. The Spokesman-Review reports that all 98 members of the state House of Representatives were asked Thursday to sign a letter calling for the expulsion of Spokane Valley Republican. All 56 Democrats signed the letter, but no Republicans did.
CONTINUED BELOW
submitted by rusticgorilla to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

A Cliff Notes Summary of the First One Out Interviews

If you haven't had time to listen to seven hours of podcast interviews, or you didn't retain everything you heard, here are some key points. I didn't think to do this until just now, so I'll be posting it as a work in progress and updating it throughout the afternoon. That way more people will have a chance to read up before the premiere.
Karishma Patel, 37, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer, Houston, TX -First generation Indian-American Her mom was as a legal assistant, and got her a filing job at her law firm when she was 14. "I didn't have other options. I was basically told I was going to be a lawyer and I didn't disagree."She has watched every season and regularly listens to RHAP. She sits close to the TV to study the inflections on people's faces when something is said to them, so that she can think about what that means. But, her parents and husband don't share her enthusiasm for the show. Asked if it's her dark pleasure she says, "It is completely bright. It is a beautiful pleasure of mine, but it is mine and mine only. I haven't been able to find people to share it with." -Doing the show has caused her conflict. "Not only is it not expected, it's not allowed. It's kind of like being a disobedient Indian girl. You're not supposed to be doing this. What you're supposed to be doing is having babies. But I don't care. I'm a risk taker. I'm here to prove to myself that I don't need to listen to anybody else. I don't need permission from anybody else. This is my journey and I'm going to take it. I hope that people watching out there can see that an Indian woman's value does not come from doing what she's told." -She doesn't currently have children, and she says she has some decisions to make as she enters a crossroads and the next stage of her life. -Her law firm told her they'll replace her if they're able to find someone, and she can have her job back if they don't. "I didn't flinch." -Her strategy is to be non-threatening and play a social game. She doesn't look 37, and she wants to use that youthfulness to be disarming. She wants to build relationships other people believe in. She defines success by other people vouching for her loyalty when they go off and have private conversations with one another. "That means I got 'em, because it's actually the other way around." Asked if she wants to find someone she can trust, "I'm not going to be capable of it. I'm too skeptical for that. I overthink things, so I'm not going to be able to trust somebody the way I want to be trusted... If I do, that's the end of my game."
My take: Oh my God. Poor Karishma. Her story hurts my heart. She reminds me so much of myself in her isolation, her defiance and her deep feelings. I worry that her fear of trusting people could get in the way of her forming genuine bonds. But, there's nothing she can do. Society has made her the way she is. I hope she gets a lot of screen time so she can be a star of her favorite show.
Missy Byrd, 24, Military Veteran/App Developer, Tacoma, Washington -Originally from Georgia. Her family was 'decently poor.' She played basketball for the Air Force Academy because she thought it was her ticket out. -She had a brain tumor. She stopped menstruating for a year and two quarters. "I'm not dating anyone but I have breast milk. I'm a literal cow... I would look down and my shirt would be wet, and I thought, 'Dang you're clumsy. I knew you were clumsy, but you're clumsier today than you were yesterday. But it was - it was - uhh - milk." She had crying fits. She developed a stutter and couldn't look at people. Doctors told her she was just stressed. When her dad died she couldn't process emotions normally. She was about to go to the French version of the Air Force Academy, École de l'air, after graduation but because of her mental instability she was removed from school. The military shipped her to the same Air Force base as Sandra (Fort Lewis.) "I don't want to be there. Super sad. Check into the post office - fuck this. Check into the dorms - hate that." The doctor there found the tumor. She got an MRI and all weekend she believed she might have cancer. Over the next year and a half she eliminated the tumor and the symptoms using vitamins. She enlisted and worked logistics. -She made a list of the things she wanted to do now that she was going to live. "The first thing was go see Beyonce. Beyonce costs way too much money for a normal person to go see, but if you've just almost had a near death experience you go see Beyonce, bro!" She was feet away. She drove across the country. She tried weed. -She had an idea for an app, but didn't even have the computer literacy to use social media. She found a veteran's association and asked if she could intern. "They said, 'No, you should build this out yourself. We want to work for you.' I said, 'No, the fuck you don't. Okay, lemme call my grandma.'" She wrote a grant proposal and won a $1,500 office space in the center of Seattle. "Just to do whatever I want. It was like a laboratory for a child. I had Play-Dough up there. I had a white board... Just mind blowing shit when I could have been dead." -She'd seen every episode of Survivor at least three times. She started watching because her Air Force Academy basketball team was getting decimated, and she related to Foa Foa getting decimated in Survivor: Samoa. She added the show to her list. Josh suggests, "The bugs are eating you because they want some of that magic." -She isn't going to tell people her story until she's in the Final 3. "That's that Final 3 magic." She doesn't want to overly rely on strategy. She doesn't want to win individual challenges. She to build a social game and find ways to relate to everyone.
My take: She's so full of exuberance. There's not a negative bone in her body right now. She's too young and her life experience is too necessarily limited to talk around three years of her life. If she shares her story, the beauty of her perspective will cause everyone to fall in love with her and want her to do well. If she doesn't, people will sense that she's hiding a lot. I think she'll figure that out and course correct within the first day. Since she was at the same Air Force base as Sandra and she was a massive fan, does that suggest she knows her?

Ronnie Bardah, 35, Professional Poker Player, Henderson, Nevada-Born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts, 20 minutes south of Boston. They were the only Israeli family in town. 50% of the people in Brockton were from Cape Verde, and he considers himself an "honorary Cape Verdian." A couple of his friends were shot and killed at a young age. -He was a good kid and had a good heart, but he was always hustling. In Junior High he was flipping Oatmeal Cakes and Fudge Rounds for a profit. Slinging baseball cards. Both his parents gambled. They were always at the dog tracks or Mohegan Sun. He had his friend make him a fake ID and got stuck with the name Alaja Jones. He went by Al and started playing the casinos. Quit his job at Sears Automotive to play poker full time.-He played Atlantic City, Vegas, then internationally. He had his first big score in 2010 when he took 24th place in the main event for $320,000. Got to keep $150,000 after taxes. "Poker's a hard way to make an easy living. Lots of people try. We risk every day. You have to get to a point when you can manage your bankroll and I've never gone broke in the 16 years I've played." -In one of the most viewed poker hands of all time, he was bluffed out of a million dollar pot by a supermodel on a poker TV show filmed in Monaco. "She made a sick play. She had no idea what she was doing but all the stars were aligned."-He watched Borneo when it aired and got back into it when fellow poker player Anna Khait was on. He calls Jean-Robert, "kinda a lazy guy...He's really good at befriending multi-millionaires." "Anna Khait... is probably the least poker player out of all of us. She played for a couple years." "And then Garrett - He's a very, very smart, smart kid... Self-made millionaire. One of the very, very few." -He only drank water for 7.5 days and lost 25 pounds for his health and to get an idea of the conditions of the show. He thinks he'll thrive in the survival situation. "People like being around me. I like to fucking bust balls and joke." He thinks old school alliances are a good plan, but you have to adapt. He says that like in poker, Survivor players can have every advantage, but they have to really smell it. -He wants Vince out. "There's an Asian Zeke in there. What value does he bring besides ruining people and getting in people's heads? He's a liability in challenges. He looks like a little corn puff. We gotta get him outta here. Sorry to sound so mean but it's the truth."
My take: Ruuuuude. He has no way of knowing how other people on the cast are talking in their interviews, and may assume the trash talk is standard. If he were playing on some seasons it would be. But, in this particular season it sets him apart in an unflattering way, and it seems a part of the tough persona he's built up to escape a scary situation growing up and enter a fantasy career. We'll see whether his tribe thinks he's a straight talking character or a jerk.

Tom Laidlaw, Former NHL Player, Brampton, Ontario, Canada -He was with the New York Rangers for 7 years and the LA Kings for 4. Now he has his own podcast, True Grit Life (truegritlife.com). Does it with a friend, Kevin Allen, who writes for USA Today. Does motivational speaking. -Growing up on a dairy farm outside Toronto there was a pond to water the cows. It froze over in the winters and he'd play hockey because there wasn't much else to do. Went to Northern Michigan University - four year hockey captain, ranked #1 team in the country. Drafted as a 20 year old. "My buddy had a horse farm. We were cleaning horse shit out of the stalls. There were no cell phones back then. This is 1978. My father got a call at our farm house from the New York Rangers at the draft. Back then nobody went to the draft - it was just teams. They said I'd been drafted in the sixth round. He calls the farm house where I'm working. They bring me up. He says, 'Son, you've been drafted by the Rangers.' I said, 'Great. What do I do now?' He says, 'Finish cleaning the shit out of the stalls.'" -When he played intimidation and fighting was strategy. There were guys tougher than him, but he could fight and he could also play. Problem was, he fought a guy once, and from then on the guy wanted to fight him over and over. -Jerry Bruckheimer, big hockey fan, called the NHL and wanted to get some players on the Amazing Race. Tom had kept himself in shape, he had his passport. They ended up asking him about Survivor. He'd watched it before but not for a while. He wasn't so sure he wanted to play a game where you hurt other people, but friends helped him get his head around it. He was very impressed by Christian's toughness in the endurance challenge. To prepare for the show he studied how he reacted to different situations, how to control his heart heart, etc. He wants the mental challenge.
My take: Tom really ticked me off when he spoiled a couple of outcomes of this season. That's a betrayal of the producers, his cast and the viewers. But, if that hadn't happened I would like him. He's an easy-going, charming guy. His life experiences are a bit different than anyone else who's been on the show, which is what you want.
Vince Moua, 27, Admissions Counselor, Merced, CA -His family is Hmong. His parents lived in Vietnam in the destruction left by the war - dead bodies, guns, people who wanted to kill them. They went to refugee camps in Thailand. Then his dad became a Montana farm hand. He met Vince's mom in the US, but she came from the same place. -Vince is from small town Merced, California - the 209. Few people he knew went anywhere but the UC system and community college. He went to Stanford, one of only 7-10 Hmong. He realized the significance someone can bring to people from the same community. He tried to be pre-med but realized "no, not today." The issues of access he cared about came well before people got to the hospital. He ended up going with education. His mom was a teacher, "But when I was growing up she said, 'Yo, if you become a teacher Imma disown yo ass.' To all of us. But, that's always kinda been my jam." -He lived in South Korea for five years. He taught English in a town. Then in Seoul ahed worked with low and middle income students who wanted to study outside of Korea. -He's a Survivor superfan, who even mentions on his Tinder account that he plans to be on Survivor. His parents were worried about him doing TV because he's not out as gay to his extended family. He comes from a clan where his dad is the "top dog" and Vince is "the next top dog." In the Asian American/Pacific Islander community when you come out, it's your family who faces - in a sense - dishonor. For a long time he distanced himself from his family, hoping they'd all be less hurt if they found out and disowned him. He always tried to find friends who would be there for him should his parents not be. A year ago his mom asked him rhetorically if he was gay. "I was try'n to go around it. I was like, 'Gurl, you don't wanna know! Yo ass keeps asking!' But she kept asking, asking. So finally I told her 'Yeah, I am!' and she was crying. My dad was like, 'Oh, my son!'" But, Vince is fine with who he is and wants to show kids like him that "let's hope that it gets better." Now his parents just want him to win. -He'd like to play an old school strategy but "I'm not afraid to cut a bitch." With the tribe he's going to be Homeboy Vince from the 209, but when he talks to the camera he's going to tell people "Don't underestimate your narratives." This past year with Crazy Rich Asians, he wants people to know that there are some Crazy Hood Ass Asians.
My take: What a character. Vince has a clear point of view - Hmong, blue collar, gay - which is unique to him in Survivor lore. Even though double minorities have sometimes had trouble fitting in socially on Survivor I think somehow he's going to pull it off. As unlikely as this sounds I could even see him being a Cochran-esque winner.
Aaron Meredith, 36, Personal Trainer, Warwick, Rhode Island -He's very keyed up at Ponderosa. Rambling so fast it sounds like you're listening to 1.5x. He's read four books so far - Relentless by Tim Grover, Can't Hurt Me by Dave Goggins, Iron Cowboy by James Lawrence, Harry Potter. -He was an engineer at a building insulation plant. He was miserable, too antsy sitting at a desk. Couldn't focus. So, he drove up and down the East Coast popping kettle corn - from Maine to Florida - traveling with carnies. Bartended for a while. He'd played college football and baseball, lifted since high school, and he and his friends wanted to get "huge and jacked and ripped." The owner of the gym suggested he become a personal trainer. He ended up working mostly with middle aged women and it taught him empathy. Now he owns two women's-only fitness studios. He puts supportive women around one another and offers them the positivity to seek self-growth. -He's also a party boat emcee. Lights, DJ, bar, drinks. He's an extremely social person. -He'd first applied at 23 - 6 or 7 times over the years. He was in the mix for Cook Islands and David vs. Goliath. -He's been married 7 years and has a 5 year old son. His son is a huge fan of Survivor. Libby Vincek is his favorite player. Kara Kay was his next favorite. Aaron is already sure Molly will be his son's favorite. "He has a type. He He likes the attractive blondes. He says, 'I like them because they have a nice face.' I like mommy because she has a nice face too." The boy was very concerned about his dad going on the show. He said, "Dad, I don't want anyone to laugh at you and make fun of you." Aaron said he wanted to win. His son said, "But you might not win." When they watch the show he'll always ask, "Do they like him? Do they like her?" If Aaron is portrayed in a negative light he'll have to sit down with his son and talk. He doesn't want to play a deceitful game, but he will, because he doesn't care how he's portrayed.
My take: His story about his son is one of my favorites from all these interviews. I hope he gets to work with Molly. His adrenaline is too high. I hope he calms down a lot when the game starts. But, someone so social and sweet hearted who can win challenges and take themselves to the end has got to be a contender to win.
Chelsea Walker, 27, Digital Content Editor, Los Angeles, CA -Chelsea just took the cast photo and they put her in the third spot from the bottom, a good omen because a weird number of winners have been in that position. "Your girl's number three. I got this!" -She's a Jersey girl. She went to the University of Maryland. "I didn't do Survivor: Maryland or anything." She studied Broadcast Journalism. She knew the generic emails for NBC Universal and emailed random people until someone replied. Now she's been in LA a year. She did coverage of award shows. Now she works at IMDB, where she helps Kevin Smith with his show. She just interviewed people at SXSW. -She's been watching Survivor since she was 8. She's cried in every interview because this means so much to her. She's trying to explain that at the point she starts crying again. "It's been such a dream of mine and To be told no year after year after year - these past six years have been a total mindfuck. I've basically been called every single year. I've been to finals three times. Survivor is my one true love, but the one year they didn't call me I got really pissed off so I tried out for Big Brother. I ended up becoming the alternate and got my key being filmed and all of that crap. But I don't like that show anyway." -In September 2017 she was at a WeHo bar for her friend's birthday when, "Oh shit that's Jeff Probst." Her girlfriends all know she's obsessed, so she pulled the waiter over and asked what that guy was drinking. So, Chelsea sent another one over. "I told my friends, 'Take my credit card. Split the bill, because I can't come back after I do this. As soon as the waiter drops off the drink I'm like, 'Jeff, this one's on me. You can buy me the next one at finals.' And I just walked out of the restaurant... That was a big move!" They didn't call her again that year, but Jeff still remembered when they talked this year. -She's been working out at four different gyms - weights, pilates, yoga. Push ups. Memorized puzzles. Reading How to Win Friends and Influence People, which she keeps in.a Bible sleeve so people will think she's religious. She also carries Harry Potter because she would trust someone who read HP. She wants to keep it cool. Make one on one connections. Eventually find idols - and not tell anyone she has one - and make calculated moves. "I don't want to be a Jacob. No offense."
My take: Hearing this girl cry from joy because she's so happy to be on the show makes me emotional. She's a real go getter. I wish I were that damn fearless. Truly, I wish I were more like her. I hope her pure zest for life comes across on TV and she doesn't get stuck with a purple edit just because of her age and gender. I also hope no one decides to get threatened by her as a competitive girl and vote her off premerge. I think she'll go far. Hope so.
Dean Kowalski, 28, Account Executive, New York, New York -Referring to himself in the third person, "Dean is 28 years old. As we mentioned, he lives in New York and he prides himself on being a well rounded person when it comes to interests, abilities, personalities... If I'm listening to Drake and Lil Wayne, I gotta go home and cry to This Is Us.. I can play basketball but also think about our place in the universe." He likes to tag basketball courts with a peace symbol with a ball on it which he makes using a stencil. -He structures most of his interview with Josh around an Outwit, Outplay, Outlast format, explaining why he excels at each. -He grew up in an affluent suburb. His dream was to play in the NBA. He was 5"9 3/4, so he set his eyes on college basketball as a realistic alternative. In order to get looks from colleges he went to a school 30 minutes away - top five in the country, Nike would fly them around for games and give them free Jordan sneakers. He was one of only 4 white guys in the whole school and the only one on the team. He played with Kyrie Irving, the #1 overall draft pick. "My friend said you look like the Make a Wish Kid who just wants to be on the team for a day." He played at Colombia University, where he was co-captain his senior year despite averaging two minutes a game. He became a teacher, then did sales for a tech startup in New York. He now sells ads for Google. -He's a fan, but far from a superfan. He started watching Brenda's season. (He thinks it was Nicaragua, but it was actually Carmoan.) He works with a superfan who freaked out when they had a meeting at H&R Block with Carolyn Rivera and they went out to Bourbon Street with her. He kept watching for five years and thought he could do well. He hates when people are all talk, so he sent in a tape. For the video he interviewed random strangers on the street, who had never met him or seen the show, and asked them, "Why am I going to win it?" A barber, a construction worker. He's going to tell people he's in marketing, not sales - people have sales.
My take: I'm just not that into him.
Elaine Stott, 41, Factory Worker, Rockholds, NY -When Josh asks her not to touch the table she asks him, "You seen that Bart Simpson commercial, right? Don't touch my Butterfinger? I'm already hungry thinking about it." -"I had a pretty rough way to go growing up." Her single dad raised her and her three brothers. She was the youngest. "I was raised like one of the boys. Know what I mean? Daddy didn't know how to raise no little girl." He worked 16-17 hour days. The kids raised themselves. "When little children make their own decisions, they make poor ones." She was a hellion. -She's originally from Woodbine, Kentucky, Nick Wilson's hometown. Her god sister went to school with him and she knows him through the grapevine. "We rode on different sides of the track. 20 years ago he coulda been my lawyer, because I was on the other side of the law. I'm not bad. I've just done some things." Public intoxication several times. "I come from a dry county. It's like Footloose. We cross the state line to get a beer and when you come back you're in trouble." She stole a newspaper stand once and had to do community service. "I was a little bit mean." -She went to live with her grandpa and cleaned her act up, by which she means that she started smoking a little weed and playing sports - basketball, softball, track. She played softball and judo in college. "I couldn't do nothing real technical. We had Brazilians on the team who could do flying arm bars. But if I got these claws on you and got ya on the ground I'd waller you to death." In casting she put this guy Will in an armbar. She was gonna choke him but didn't know if she should. -When she graduated, her girlfriend was a college Freshman so she went to all the same parties and ballgames for four years. Then she realized she needed a job. Now she drives a Ford truck for a factory. She's been there 15 years. She works 12 hours, 7 days a week. -Growing up her mom "was always in my life in some sense. She'd never miss a birthday. She'd be homeless, but she'd still call." Elaine and her brothers bought her cars, and places to live, and got her jobs. "In a sense I've been mourning the loss of my mom my whole life." Once Elaine was homeless herself and there was snow on the ground. It was cold, and her teacher took her in. Gave her Christmas presents. Made her go to prom. Survivor was a thing they shared, and the teacher was gonna be Elaine's loved one. But within a one year period the woman lost her daughter, her husband, her dog and then had a stroke. Now "she walks like Frankenstein" and can't go. Elaine got Probst to talk to her, and she can't wait to watch. In October Elaine's biological mom went into a coma. She was on life support, but Elaine wouldn't unplug her. Her mom came out of it and seemed to be doing a lot better only to die very suddenly of a heart attack. -Her girlfriend and her girlfriend's two sons are gonna be watching. The 18 year old doesn't know because he can't keep a secret. The 13 year old helped her lose 20 pounds doing crossfit to come out here. She wants the money, but she really wants "some of that soul searching, that life adventure, that life changing - some of that. You know what I mean? Gimme some of that soup! Lemme eat some of that up! I want this show to build me up, because I feel like it can. I sure hope to hell it don't tear me down."
My take: About 12 sobbing emojis in a row. She's my favorite. If she gets voted out premerge I'm going to go into mourning. And how can you not sort of expect that? I am going to be so upset if they just dismiss her because she's older and looks out of shape and sounds country. If that happens, I want another Second Chance season next year.
Elizabeth Biesel, 26, Olympic swimmer, South Kingstown, Rhode Island -Josh says that Elizabeth was outright identified by one of the other contestants because they'd been watching YouTube videos about how to be a better swimmer. Others guessed she was an Olympian based on her rings tattoo. -She's from the Ocean State. They lived a block away from the beach, so they wanted her to take swimming lessons. She was a rambunctious child and swimming was the only way they could calm her energy. She started breaking records when she was 7 or 8. When she was 13 she made her first national team. At 15 she went to the Olympics. She got good early. Women peak around 22-23, and she ended her career at 24. You couldn't make much money doing it. She swam one of the longer, more grueling races, and her body said "no more." She listened to her body and retired. Some athletes lose their love for swimming because they're embittered by losing by 1/100th of a second, or they leave injured. She left on a good note. Still, if she could swim competitively for the rest of her life, she would. Now she doesn't know who she is or what she's going to do with the rest of her life. Every hour of the day used to have a purpose. Now her days are wide open. She can't keep eating 5,000 calories a day. "It's sort of like I'm mourning the death of Elizabeth Biesel the swimmer." -She was a Survivor fan as a kid because Richard Hatch was from Rhode Island. In her area "Every single household that had a television set was watching Survivor." When they asked her if she'd do the show, she felt pure joy. She said absolutely right away. She's excited about the competition of Survivor. No heated Olympic pools. You're stripped down to your core. She's amazed by the scope of the production apparatus. She's not a schemer. She wants to be a challenge beast - not the best woman but the best overall. She'd love to have a Wendell and Dom relationship with another woman. But, she wants to avoid the drama as long as she can.
My take: Could Chelsea be Wendell to her Dom? She's so wholesome. She's just so "Olympics." I love her and everything she represents. I'd love to see her rocket through the swimming competitions, lapping everyone else. Go Elizabeth.
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Ranking All UFC Events Via Their Reported Attendance Numbers!

Ranking - Event - Location @ Venue - Attendance

These Events Have No Reported Attendance Record

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