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[OC] 63 MVPs in 63 days, part 35: The 1991 MVP race

2020.06.05 17:37 Bipedal-Moose [OC] 63 MVPs in 63 days, part 35: The 1991 MVP race

Hello everyone, and welcome back to part 35 of my series in which I’ll be researching and dissecting every single MVP race in NFL history. Today, we’re going to be looking into the 1991 race. But first, a look at the voting results from you for the 1990 race. 28 people voted, and here are the results:
  1. Warren Moon: 17/28 votes (60.7%)
  2. Randall Cunningham: 8/28 votes (28.6%)
  3. Joe Montana: 2/28 votes (7.1%)
  4. Bruce Smith: 1/28 votes (3.6%)

1991 AP MVP: Buffalo Bills RB Thurman Thomas (39 votes)

Other notable candidates: Buffalo Bills QB Jim Kelly (18 votes), Detroit Lions RB Barry Sanders (16 votes), Washington Redskins QB Mark Rypien (8 votes)
Others receiving votes: Eagles LB Seth Joyner (1 vote)
The winner: Thurman Thomas becomes the first RB to win MVP since Marcus Allen in 1985, and the first Buffalo Bill to win MVP since OJ Simpson in 1973.
The race
Here are the stats for the notable contenders for MVP in 1991. Remember, though, that the context behind the stats is equally as important as the stats themselves, so I encourage you to read the player profiles below.
Thomas:
Rush Yds Rush TD YPC Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Yscrim Tot TDs Fumbles
288 1,407 7 4.9 62 631 5 2,038 12 5
Kelly:
Comp/Att Yds Y/A TD INT Rate ANY/A Rush-Yds-TDs Fumbles
304/474 3,844 8.1 33 17 97.6 7.0 20-45-1 6
Sanders:
Rush Yds Rush TD YPC Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Yscrim Tot TDs Fumbles
342 1,548 16 4.5 41 307 1 1,855 17 5
Rypien:
Comp/Att Yds Y/A TD INT Rate ANY/A Rush-Yds-TDs Fumbles
249/421 3,564 8.5 28 11 97.9 8.3 15-6-1 9
Note: Bold indicates a league lead in that particular category. Italics indicate a league record.
The case for and against Thomas
1991 was the third consecutive season in which Thurman Thomas led the NFL in yards from scrimmage, and it was better than his previous two campaigns. Thomas’ 2,038 scrimmage yards made him the only player to eclipse 2,000; in fact, the second place player, Barry Sanders, was nearly 200 yards behind. They were the most scrimmage yards he had accumulated in a season in his career to that point, and his 5 fumbles were also a career low, with his 12 touchdowns being the second highest mark he achieved in his career.
At 4.9 yards per carry, Thomas was also the most efficient runner in the league. His 1,407 rushing yards ranked third. But, of course, Thomas was a premier player not just because of his ability to run; he was one of the best pass-catching backs of his era, and of all the elite running backs in the league at the time, Thomas was perhaps the most respected league wide as a pass catcher. Of the 7 running backs in the league to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards, Thomas’ 62 catches were comfortably the most (2nd place: Emmitt Smith with 49), his 631 receiving yards lapped the field (2nd place: Earnest Byner with 308), and his 5 receiving TDs were more than the other 6 players combined (Smith and Sanders each had 1, everyone else had 0). Whether or not it was the most valuable, Thomas' season in 1991 was debatably the best single performance of any player on a playoff team (though there’s clearly room for that debate to happen). Thomas was a key cog in a game-changing offense that ranked 1st in yards gained and 2nd in points behind only the legendary 1991 Redskins.
The biggest flaw in Thomas’ MVP case was, of course, his apparent value. As a Hall of Fame player who had such an amazing statistical season, of course Thomas was a very valuable piece, but in the context of his team, it looks less so. His quarterback, Jim Kelly, appears next in this piece and received a dozen and a half votes and was AP first team all-pro as a QB; having your QB be in the MVP race isn't very healthy for one's case, as QB is inherently the more valuable position. Like the Montana-Rice dilemma in 1987, how can you be called the most valuable player in the league if you can be called not even the most valuable player on your own team (Kelly faces this same issue)? Of course, it wasn’t just Thomas and Kelly who made the ‘91 Bills offense have such a great legacy. The team also featured a pair of Hall of Fame wide receivers in Andre Reed and James Lofton. Guard Jim Ritcher and center Kent Hull anchored a stellar offensive line. This offense was stacked. The defense wasn’t very good and suffered due to Bruce Smith, one of the greatest defensive players ever, laboring through knee problems and only playing 5 games. But the offense was so good, the team still won 13 games. It’s just questionable how much of that was due to Thomas specifically. Backup RB Kenneth Davis ran for 624 yards on 4.8 yards per carry, just a shade behind Thomas’ league-leading 4.9 figure. Davis wasn’t nearly the player Thomas was, but he may have been evidence that a running back of Thomas’ stature wasn’t necessary to keep the offense afloat. As has been the case for many RBs in this series, Thomas might not have even been the most valuable non-QB on his own team.
The case for and against Kelly
Origins of the “K-gun” offense can be traced back to the late 80s, but it reached its apex in 1991. Indeed, 1991 was perhaps the best season of Jim Kelly’s Hall of Fame career: he led the league in passing touchdowns with 33 and ranked 3rd in passing yards behind only a pair of HoFers (Warren Moon, Dan Marino), and his efficiency was also excellent. He ranked 3rd in the league in Y/A, 3rd in AY/A, 3rd in NY/A, 3rd in ANY/A, and 3rd in passer rating, behind only Steve Young and Mark Rypien in all of those categories, but Young played only 11 games and threw only 279 passes.
It can thus be said that Kelly and Rypien were the two QBs jockeying for the title of “best statistical QB” in 1991. Writers from all outlets sided with Kelly. Kelly was a consensus first team all-pro, with Rypien being named second team all-pro by AP and NEA. As is always the case, being a consensus first team all-pro at the QB position while playing on a playoff team is a great way to get an MVP conversation started. Kelly’s “K-gun” offense took the league by storm, and being one of the last QBs to ever fully call his own plays, his stamp on the offense cannot be diminished.
But like I said before, Kelly’s case shares many of the same roadblocks as Thurman Thomas’, though notably Kelly played the more valuable position. He played in an incredibly stacked offense that had the league MVP on it, and that league MVP was not Kelly himself. It’s worth mentioning that Kelly was forced out of the Bills’ week 7 game vs the Colts due to an injury after throwing just 5 passes; backup QB Frank Reich went 6/7 with 76 yards and 2 TDs, and running backs Thurman Thomas, Kenneth Davis, and Carwell Garner combined for 36 carries for 273 rushing yards and 4 TDs as the Bills won that game 42-6. Of course, that was against the Colts, one of the worst teams in the league, and it was just one game, so you can derive whichever level of significance from that as you want. Still, there’s no denying the talent Kelly had in place.
The case for and against Sanders
Many casual fans and pundits know Sanders as more of a scat-back type of player who excelled more in the open field than he did in short yardage situations. But his stat sheet in 1991 tells a different story: Sanders led the league in touchdowns, with 10 of his 17 touchdowns coming from inside the 10 yard line. His 103.2 rushing yards per game also led the league, his 1,855 scrimmage yards placed him only behind Thurman Thomas. For the 3rd time in his first 3 seasons, Sanders was a consensus all-pro and first team all-pro for AP. It was one of the best seasons in his storied career, and the Lions reaped the benefits from it, as they went 12-4 and made the playoffs.
1991 was also one of the seasons in which Sanders got the least amount of offensive support he ever had. Quarterbacks Erik Kramer and Rodney Peete were far, far from stellar, as their combined 16 passing TDs ranked in the middle of the pack in the league and their combined ANY/A of 5.0 was below the league average of 5.2. The Lions lacked playmakers on the outside to keep defenses honest, with future stud WR Herman Moore not really being part of the picture yet with just 11 catches on the season, and Brett Perriman scoring just one touchdown. Those two WRs would form a formidable duo in the mid 90s, but in 1991, they certainly weren’t there yet. However, the Lions’ defense had elite talent in the form of all-pros Chris Spielman and Jerry Ball, and they were pretty good overall, placing 11th in the league in points allowed and 9th in turnovers forced. The Lions’ offensive line also had great players in the form of Kevin Glover and Lomas Brown, though the unit seriously lacked talent outside of them.
The case for and against Rypien
Rypien wasn't just the most efficient QB in the game in 1991; he was the most efficient by far. Of all QBs to throw for at least 300 passes, Rypien's ANY/A ranked 1st, and was nearly a yard and a half better than second place Jim Kelly. His passer rating also ranked 1st among these QBs. It wasn't just efficiency where Rypien excelled: he also ranked highly in volume measurements, ranking 4th in passing yards, 2nd in passing TDs, and 1st in TD-INT differential. All of this tells us that Rypien possessed a fine argument for being the best statistical QB in the game in 1991, and he quarterbacked the top scoring offense in the league, against one of the toughest schedules in the league. The Redskins went 14-2, with an incredibly high point differential, and the offense is a huge reason why this team is so highly regarded even today.
The obvious argument against Rypien is that he played on one of the greatest football teams in history, which was incredibly stacked. The Redskins ran the ball more than any team in the league and scored the most rushing TDs in the league, a backfield led by Pro Bowler Earnest Byner. Rypien's receiving corps was led by Art Monk, a future Hall of Famer, and Gary Clark, an all-pro, plus Ricky Sanders, who was no slouch either. The '91 Redskins had one of the best offensive lines ever, the new version of the "Hogs," which was great top-to-bottom, featuring Joe Jacoby, Mark Schlereth, Jeff Bostic, Raleigh McKenzie, and Jim Lachey. Typically, sacks can be attributed more to QB play than OL play, but this line was an anomaly, and it deserves a ton of credit for Rypien's minuscule 1.6% sack percentage.
The Redskins also had one of the best defenses in the league, which ranked 2nd in points allowed, 3rd in yards allowed, and 3rd in turnovers forced, and was led by a first team all-pro effort from future Hall of Famer Darrell Green, but featured strong performances all around. The Redskins were simply so stacked, and it hurts Rypien's MVP argument to have such elite personnel around him, just as it would any other QB.

Voting

Vote for the player you think had the best case here after reading the post! Tomorrow we'll review the results in the 1992 post.
Click here for links to previous editions dating back to 1957!
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'xzen54321', 'A_Wild_Snorlax', 'SecretShamrock21', 'gin-reaper', 'Rivlien', 'Dinsdale_P', 'TypicalFloof', 'electricvehicles', 'tressless', 'UpliftingNews', 'india', 'steroids', '90DayFiance', 'Chargers', 'CSRRacing2', 'Atlanta', 'VirginityExchange', 'LightningInABottle', 'AutoDetailing', 'MouseReview', 'HumansBeingBros', 'chicago', 'MarvelStrikeForce', 'leaf', 'writing', 'StateofDecay2', 'Miami', 'climate', 'Weakpots', 'gonewildchubby', 'PregnancyAfterLoss', 'RealmRoyale', 'CrohnsDisease', 'Seaofthieves', 'e39', 'Thunder', 'OfficeDepot', 'forhire', 'GODZILLA', 'TeamFourStar', 'AskNetsec', 'AEROSTREAMPRECISION', 'iOSBeta', 'ereader', 'xboxinsiders', 'PaleInvestigator', 'mangonewild', 'digitalel', 'POTUSWatch', '3inchesOfFun', 'spacce9', 'u_BrilliantPen', 'soylent', 'SierraNevada', 'BSA', 'CarlMontreal', 'mewithoutYou', 'beholdthefield', 'PointlessStories', 'gettaefrance', 'lakeview', 'ks_engineer', 'PNWhiking', 'buffy', 'Flyers', 'skribsbb', 'whalesmash', 'BerniersTears', 'trikepilot', 'manass', 'surrealmermaid', 'baldy74', 'vancouver', 'CRedit', 'servicedogs', 'marvelstudios', 'TeamWhatever', 'ImaginaryLeviathans', 'Bullpups', 'TrueCrimePodcasts', 'takecareofourplants', 'AcceptableTale', 'funny', 'homegym', 'Bestbuy', 'UKPersonalFinance', 'dataisbeautiful', 'gaming', 'bonnaroo', 'Jaguars', 'TheGlassCannonPodcast', 'immigration', 'h1z1', 'druggardening', 'HardwareSwapUK', 'Necrontyr', 'nintendo', 'Anxiety', 'rutgers', 'ReallyBigShow', 'alcoholism', 'twinpeaks', 'RTLSDR', 'MotoLA', 'r4rasian', 'PerfectTiming', 'getting_over_it', 'Barca', 'UnsentLetters', 'PennStateUniversity', 'BBW', 'Prospecting', 'seattler4r', 'AdeptusMechanicus', 'Mastiff', 'MSILaptops', 'Omaha', 'ILGuns', 'BlueMidterm2018', 'photoshop', 'SargonofAkkad', 'androidapps', 'XenoRyet', 'satchmo_brees', 'NSFW_Tributes', 'georgiabulldogs', 'inflames797', 'stlouisblues', 'Shelli_and_Page', 'The_Kraken-Released', 'WhatItIsToBurn925', 'santarosa', 'ufcstreamfight', 'GoddessnSlave', 'Throbbing_Smarton', 'MilitaryStories', 'starship777', 'stephenking', 'Netherlands', 'fembiboy', 'Wellthatsucks', 'VinylDeals', 'AroundTheNFL', 'SeppTB', 'TheSukis', 'interviews', 'HeroesandGenerals', 'PlaystationClassic', 'ChinaTime', 'Chris_M_RLA', 'gay', 'khumbutu', 'Melonfarmer76', '68Pritch', 'ACMilan', 'egg_irl', 'mw4', 'xxketo4u2', 'audiophile', 'blogsnark', 'Military', 'askscience', 'boulder', 'london', 'Cichlid', 'Gunpla', 'modelmakers', 'bayarea', 'lowendgaming', 'philadelphia', 'The_Crew', 'computers', 'Greekgodx', 'oaklandraiders', 'lincoln', 'EngineeringStudents', 'lansing', 'recipes', 'Vent', 'weightroomcontests', 'HealthAnxiety', 'muacirclejerk', 'bapccanada', 'electrical', 'CaneCorso', 'Wishlist', 'fap', 'Charcuterie', 'footballofficials', 'chelseafc', 'reptiles', 'barstool_sports', 'hockey', 'raytaylor', 'justlegbeardthings', 'StudentLoans', 'Oatreb', 'djellison', 'TenantHelp', 'TrollXMoms', 'Romania', 'civilengineering', 'MLRugby', 'midflinx', 'CanadianAwardTravel', 'TheCerealKill3r', 'MMAUFC229', '_ThtSounD', 'ttcafterloss', 'KronosWoW', 'MorbidReality', 'Transmogrification', 'KidneyStones', 'UFObelievers', 'coolermaster', 'kperkins1982', 'Natureboy45', 'Bozeman', 'rarepuppers', 'sellscells', 'cpp_questions', 'ReadyGames', 'ColourFox', 'smalljean', 'Axisinc636', 'September2019Bumpers', 'cookietrash', 'iRacing', 'Workbenches', 'Roofing', 'YouGotIt12', 'Phillylist', 'SanFranciscoII', 'loseit', 'WTF', 'malefashionadvice', 'EliteDangerous', 'RealEstate', 'doordash', 'thenetherlands', 'bestoflegaladvice', 'cats', 'indianapolis', 'CruciblePlaybook', 'Albany', 'investing', 'diabetes_t2', 'Silverbugs', 'drones', 'CPTSD', 'asktransgender', 'nostalgia', 'UsedCars', 'ChicagoSuburbs', 'GettingShredded', 'rheumatoid', 'GWCouples', 'PUBG', 'FemdomX', 'PS4Deals', 'TwoSentenceHorror', 'Miata', 'roosterteeth', 'Soulnexus', 'Justfuckmyshitup', 'KithNYC', 'AlternativeHistory', 'billsimmons', 'cheesecake_party', 'calculat3d', 'bitchlet', 'leagueoflegends', 'choochtown', 'bristol', 'goldtintedpages', 'dementia', 'topografica', 'Allexan', 'wildhockey', 'PAW-Patrol', 'nbastreams', 'Aerials', 'miniSNESmods', 'ronaldt12', 'discordapp', 'Itty-Bitty-Toast', 'matheducation', 'aliexpresstools', 'MattDusza', 'ALS', 'SolidWorks', 'Southampton', 'thisismybirthday', 'keming', 'HowdoMyLegsLook', 'SelfAwarewolves', 'roanoke', 'racquetball', 'infernophil', 'NewTubers', 'u_HouseofPain1', 'Oly_DuS', 'arkhamhorrorlcg', 'TalesFromTheTheatre', 'mawnck', 'musictheory', 'macarons', 'CCNemo', '7345565', 'TheDickShow', 'LateStageCapitalism', 'SeattleWA', 'Surface', 'snowboarding', 'FantasyPL', 'Honda', 'NewSkaters', 'ProtectAndServe', 'Tennesseetitans', 'greenday', 'Winnipeg', 'publix', 'CHIBears', 'Stretched', 'arcticmonkeys', 'Longmont', 'Perfectdick', 'latterdaysaints', 'wsgy', 'pathofexile', 'Brunei', 'AR10', 'HaloStory', 'HighStrangeness', 'SupersRP', 'fpv', 'mentalhealth', 'Gundam', 'DungeonsAndDragons', 'SkyDiving', 'fitpregnancy', 'modeltrains', 'Felinefatale9', 'EnglishLearning', 'howtonotgiveafuck', 'BatmanArkham', 'aclfestival', 'thaswhaimtalkinbout', 'Bustmyankleforketa', 'trees', 'Abrownn', 'SamandTolki', 'u_AdditionalTalk', 'Boilermakers', 'trance', 'HomeworkHelp', 'Lal_Salaam', 'trackers', 'NewMexico', 'vegas', 'u_DeivaWithFlames', 'mycology', 'iranian', 'hillaryclinton', 'amazoncanadadeals', 'AvonBarksdaleCalling', 'Csynw', 'McJuggerNuggets', 'DokkanBattleCommunity', 'pnwriders', 'WillowandRoxasArt', 'grower', 'supremeclothing', 'falsename2012', 'FishingAustralia', '1200isjerky', 'FloridaTrees', 'MuslimMarriageCJ', 'MovieDetails', 'SabertoothBeast', 'Techno', 'niels_learns_python', 'amex', 'FDNY', 'buccos', 'TickTockManitowoc', 'sanantonio', 'TropicalWeather', 'Reds', 'OkCupid', 'Ultramarathon', 'XTerra', 'Carpentry', 'techwearclothing', 'Plumbing', 'hondafit', 'tipofmytongue', 'Hue', 'BoltEV', 'KingKrule', 'Coffee', 'Televisions', 'Death_By_SnuSnu', 'resumes', 'Philippines', 'starwarscollecting', 'AJelqForYou', 'canadients\n\nInappropriate for this sub and especially thread', 'LEDgrowlights', 'MollieTibbetts', 'blackpeoplegifs', 'ukbike', 'fitmeals', 'onewheel', 'Screenwriting', 'magicbuilding', 'kauai', 'WildernessBackpacking', 'Harlequins40K', 'RepTime', 'sticknpokes', 'Kiteboarding', 'frostyman4444', 'FFBraveExvius', 'hobiecat', 'MaledomEmpire', 'Comcast', 'cbradio', 'Hexlord7', 'education', 'arenaofvalor', 'PAXvapor', '0belvedere', 'northdakota', 'totallymanlytears', 'Kossacks_for_Sanders', 'mennydrives', 'superleague', 'MTU', 'snowboardingnoobs', 'treedibles', 'HRGeek', 'StevenAveryIsGuilty', 'lokikg', 'AGingham', 'u_neptuneblu', 'MzEllaneous', 'r4rindia', 'newcitynewchapter', 'oknotizie', 'IndianCountry', 'PresentFault', 'omad', 'mazda', 'stormfront', 'WranglerTJ', 'addickted825', 'guitarpedalsjerk', 'CallOfDutyWorldWarTwo']
submitted by jw_mentions to jw_mentions [link] [comments]


2019.06.27 01:28 brewingwork_com Brewery Jobs Round-up June, 2019

USA:
Head Brewer - Brewers at 4001 Yancey - Artisanal Brewing Ventures, Charlotte, NC, US
Head Brewer - RJ Rockers Brewing Company, Spartanburg, SC, US
Director of Brewing Operations - BrewingWork Recruiting, New Orleans, LA, US
Creative Brewer - Flat Branch Pub & Brewing, Columbia, MO, US
Quality Technician - Great Central Brewing Company, Chicago, IL, US
GRAPHIC DESIGNER - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA, US
Chief Marketing Officer - Mass. Bay Brewing Company, Boston, MA, US
Maintenance Technician (2nd Shift).html) - Mass. Bay Brewing Company, Boston, MA, US
CDL B Driver - Mass. Bay Brewing Company, Boston, MA, US
Packaging Operator - Mass. Bay Brewing Company, Boston, MA, US
Logistics Manager - Mass. Bay Brewing Company, Boston, MA, US
Quality Sales Manager - Creature Comforts Brewing Co., Savannah, GA, US
Associate Brand Manager - Samuel Adams - Boston Beer Company, Boston, MA, US
Sales Manager - Brewers Supply Group, Inc., Albuquerque, NM, US
Brewmaster - Elicit Brewing Company, Manchester, CT, US
Head BreweDirector of Brewing operations - Elite Level Brewing, Coeur D Alene, ID, US
Brewer - Fort Myers Brewing Co, Fort Myers, FL, US
CellaPackaging person - Fort Myers Brewing Co, Fort Myers, FL, US
Chief Executive Officer (CEO).html?searchId=1561573008.5076&page=5) - Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland, OH, US
Brewery Production Manager - Melvin Brewing Company, Alpine, WY, US
Taproom Server - Powers Farm & Brewery, Midland, VA, US
Head Brewer - Roses by the Stairs Brewing, Phoenix, AZ, US
AREA SALES MANAGER - New York City - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., NY, NY, US
BREWERY SUPPORT SUPERVISOR - NIGHT SHIFT - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA, US
Sales Representative - SingleCut Beersmiths, Astoria, NY, US
Business Systems Manager - The Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, CA, US
Brewer - The Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, CA, US
Brewing Supervisor - The Lagunitas Brewing Company, Chicago, IL, US
Lead Sales Rep - The Old Dock Street Brewery LLC, Philadelphia, PA, US
Cellarperson - Tree House Brewing Company, Inc., Charlton, MA, US
Head Brewer - Triple C Brewing Company, Charlotte, NC, US
Assistant Brewer - District 96 Beer, New City, NY, US
National Account Manager - Off Premise - Boston Beer Company, Boston, ID, US
TERRITORY SALES REPRESENTATIVE.html?searchId=1561573008.5076&page=6) - Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, NC, US
Head Brewer - Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Charlotte, NC, US
Head Brewer - Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Columbia, SC, US
Head Brewer - Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Charlotte, NC, US
Head Brewer - Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Lancaster, PA, US
Head Brewer - Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Nashville, TN, US
Packaging Supervisor - Boston Beer Company, Breinigsville, PA, US
Lead Bartender - Hugger Mugger Brewing, Sanford, US
Head Brewer - Lefty's Right Mind Brewing, Blacksburg, VA, US
Production Brewer - Lord Hobo Brewing Co, Woburn, MA, US
Key Account Specialist - Philadelphia - Boston Beer Company, Boston, PA, US
BREWER OPERATOR - Oskar Blues Brewery, Austin, TX, US
Assistant Brewer - Ghost Monkey Brewery, Mt. Pleasant, SC, US
Marketing and Event Coordinator - Gizmo Brew Works, Raleigh, NC, US
CELLAR OPERATOR - Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO, US
TERRITORY SALES REPRESENTATIVE - Oskar Blues Brewery, Chicago, IL, US
MANAGER OF DIGITAL MARKETING - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., San Francisco, CA, US
Operations Assistant, Angry Orchard - Boston Beer Company, Walden, NY, US
PACKAGING OPERATOR---OSKAR-BLUES-BREWERY.html?searchId=1561573008.5076&page=10) - Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO, US
Brewmaster - Anderson Building Brewing, Ishpeming, MI, US
Territory Sales Manager - South Bay Area CA - Stone Brewing, South Bay Area, CA, US
Canada:
Brewery Operations Manager - Banff Hospitality Collective, Banff, AB, CA
Regional Human Resources Manager - Sleeman Breweries, Calgary, AB, CA
Warehouse Supervisor - Sleeman Breweries, Guelph, ON, CA
Packaging Operator - Sleeman Breweries, Guelph, ON, CA
Sales Representative-GTA East - Molson Coors Canada, Toronto, ON, CA
SA:
LATAM Commercial Director - Petainer Manufacturing USA Inc., Colombia
Europe:
Technical Brewing Manager - Toast Ale, London, UK
Distiller - Berentsens Distillery - Berentsens Brewery, Egersund, NO
Asia:
Head Brewer - Brewerkz Brewing Co Pte Ltd, Singapore, SG
Sales Support - Carlsberg Malaysia, Shah Alam, Selangor, MY
submitted by brewingwork_com to u/brewingwork_com [link] [comments]


2019.06.12 21:36 dronpes Chicago, here we come! Get Ready for North American Championships: Friday Open Qualifier, Saturday Group Stage & Knockout, and Finals Saturday Night! One Champion will emerge with their name engraved on the Champions Cup and make history. (For everyone else, tune in live on Twitch Saturday night!)

Get ready to rumble - the Arena is heading to Chicago! Hosting the North American Championships is no small undertaking, but the world deserves to know who really is the very best. So it's time for the highest-level challenge in competitive PvP play - and it's gonna be glorious!
Here's everything you need to know if you're heading to Chicago (either as a competitor or spectator)!

Friday 7:30pm - Open Qualifier Tournaments (Space Limited!)

94 elite competitors have been invited to compete in the North American Championships after conquering their local Regions around the continent. But there is one more chance to net an invite to this exclusive group: the Open Qualifier!
On Friday evening, at several outdoor locations around Grant Park, the Arena will be hosting special tournaments (under Rainbow Cup rules) that will offer an additional weighted Cup for the month of June and, more importantly, a chance to compete in the Championships.
RSVP - Space is limited!
After our initial venue for the Open fell through, the Arena has opted to host multiple tournaments in the parks adjacent to Grant. Notably, due to Chicago Parks' permitting restrictions, the Arena cannot gather in groups larger than 50 persons. So here's what competitors need to know:
Open Qualifiers Schedule:
The stakes are high and the competition will be fierce, so RSVP quick, prepare yourself, and bring your A-game!

Saturday 5:30pm - N. American Championships Group Round (Competitors Only)

The following 94 competitors and the winners of the Wildcard Knockout round are invited to compete in the Championships and will be emailed competitor information later today. Here is the final list of invited competitors. Find your Region Representative and let them know you're counting on them to represent you well!
Competitor Region
000oooXooo000 Tampa Bay
0oPREZo0 Chicagoland
19ZacAttack96 California Southland
1BeanMachine1 Rhode Island
AceLeaderSky04 California Southland
AdmirralAckbar Chicagoland
ArtfulAngler North Texas
BenCognito Memphis, TN
BonechipAK Alaska
C9Gotem Omaha, NB
CalebPeng Atlanta
Choostemaster NYC
Conno7 Seattle
CytochromeT Indianapolis
datboiMuk Southeast Virginia
DB294 Vermont
DefiantClutchPB Winnipeg
demha89 United Arab Emirates
denfelko NYC
DjJoshyB Las Vegas
DMasterLance Oklahoma City
doctordoak1 Connecticut
DrPoverty Colorado
EAEM3236 República Dominicana
EkkonomicaI Baltimore and DC
EliteStatus Ventura County, California
Flyeagles011 Central Virginia
framptypants Utah
GolBatman69 Maine
guan87 Montréal
GymLeadrBryan Kamloops
HouseStark93 Philadelphia
ImYourPapi93 North Kansas City
JimmaBanks Ann Arbor
JMC3Terp Pittsburgh
Joeybrahhh California Southland
JorgeMCelis Mexico
JSteele2828 Syracuse, NY
Kanan619 Tulsa
Kelevra06 San Diego
Klothgar South Carolina
kltd32 St. Louis
KoroshiyaKi Hawaii
Kremasppapi East Central Florida
KyleNgai Hong Kong
Kyubi1022 Edmonton
LazerBrian Minnesota and Western Wisconsin
Lazerdollarzz Iowa City
leewilson32 Cleveland
LordTenzo South Arizona
MadScandalous Phoenix Metro Area
Malek16 Kansas City
MasterShucker16 Central Gulf Coast
MattSuar Miami
MattyIce11201 Massachusetts
Murker88 Charlotte, NC
NewArchaic Toronto
NINJAxINxAxCAN Peoria, IL
OrhoChris Cincinnai
PeaceLoveHugs Houston, TX
pokequilibrium Orlando, FL
RamblinMan2335 Savannah
RangerMimikyu Metro Manila
Ravage723 Fort Wayne
rebeloperations Grand Rapids
Shad0wJJ Orlando
Sharkey628 Oklahoma City
Shmuseph Brisbane, QLD
SimplyMoxie Eastern Ontario
SirAmogh Raleigh, NC
SirJamesM Saskatchewan
SloppyManhole Idaho
SnipeHunter76 Northern Nevada
Swaggron333yt Santiago
SymeonSmiley Northern Midwest
ThaFundraiser Sacramento
ThatJedi West Texas
TheLegend4 Jacksonville, FL
ThePieceOfBread North Dakota
TheRedWarden Panamá
TheSleeepyPanda Central California
Threeliters Baltimore and DC
TKAxGobstopper Northern Arizona
Toshi9227 Toronto
TrainerAJG San Francisco Bay Area
TXRangersFan South Texas
UnknownVir Portland, OR
Va1arMorghulis1 Tacoma
ValorAsh Austin, TX
VicThor66 Central Texas
WildSusanBoyle Vancouver BC
x3TheGOAT3x Vancouver Island
YrnQ Columbus

Saturday 9:30pm - N. American Championships Finals (Party Time!)

The 8 finalists who survive their Group Stage and the subsequent knockout round(s) will face off at 9:30pm Saturday night at the Silph Road after-party at Lucky Strike! While pre-sale tickets are already sold out to the venue, we'll be accepting walk-ins (until the venue shuts us down!) for $25/ticket. (Tickets include attendance at the Finals, a drink ticket, a $10 game card to FTW (a great arcade), and a slice of pizza!)
Come join us at Lucky Strike 10 blocks north of Grant Park! Doors open at 9pm. Address: 322 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611
And if you can't make it in-person, tune in live at 9:15pm Central US time for the live-stream hosted by some familiar faces (TTips, Kieng, and Zyonik) on the Arena's official Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/silphleague
------
This is going to be epic. Btw, the title isn't lying - there really will be a big, glorious Champions Cup - and conquering a Season Championships really will get your name and region engraved for posterity as one of the Arena's World Champions. Talk about pressure! Hall of fame, here they come.
It's been a heck of a journey getting all the moving pieces together on the fly this inaugural season (especially with GO Fest a month earlier than anticipated). We're grateful to everyone who's had patience with the bumps in the road and persisted in helping us chase the grand vision of world-wide competitive PvP. The Arena grew 14% last month (woot!) - and it keeps getting better.
This weekend will be tough for the competitors - but for them and all the rest of us, let's just have a blast!
Be sure to say hi and (please!) come tell us about the scene in your area - and share any ideas you have for Season 2! Come hang out and let's enjoy what we've all built together. Every single local tournament organizer and competitor should be proud of what we as a community have come together to create. Maybe we're a bit biased, but frankly the scale of the Arena and the quality of these competitors is amazing. Can't wait to crown our very first Champion.
Enjoy the weekend, everyone.
See you in Chicago!
- The Arena Team -
submitted by dronpes to TheSilphArena [link] [comments]


2019.04.03 14:19 ScienceOnYourSide First Road/Endurance Bike for ~$1500

Your level of experience with cycling
Grew up on cheap mountain bikes. Currently own an entry level Diamondback mountain bike that I’ve been riding for 3 years ranging from 10 mile daily rides to 20 miles rides on the weekends - all road/paved trails. Never ridden or owned a road bike before.
What's your price range, and have you considered second hand?
~$1,500. Probably not interested in second hand as I wouldn’t know what red flags to look for.
What's your intention with the bike - commuting, fitness, touring, sport, etc?
Overall goal is just being more active. Interested in doing group rides at some point. Not interested in commuting, touring, or racing.
How far will you be riding, and how often?
Probably one ~2hr ride per weekend and 1 hour rides every other weekday.
Riding conditions: roads, pavement, trails, single-track, off-road? Flat or hilly? Traffic and weather.
Roads and paved trails, flat, minimal traffic, will not ride in rain.
Your location (even approximate) can help other locals familiar with your conditions, too.
Florida, USA
A bit about yourself: height, weight, and level of fitness can all help people understand your needs better.
30 year old male, 5’10”, 145lbs, average fitness
Other Info
I live around quite a few bike shops that seem to stock all the major brands - Specialized, Trek, Giant, Cannondale, Raleigh, Bianchi, REI/Co-Op, etc.
​Looking online, bikes that stand out as being good options are Cannondale Synapse AL Disk 105, Co-op Cycles ARD 1.2, Giant Contend SL 1 Disk, and Raleigh Merit 3. All of these are aluminum bikes using the Shimano 105 R5800 groupset and mechanical disk brakes.
I know Specialized Allez Elite and Cannondale CAAD12 105 probably also fall into most people’s consideration, but I’m not the most flexible person and think the more race geometry will be a little rough on my back.
Wondering if there are other bikes I should consider or if there are pro’s / con’s I should be aware of.
So far have only test ridden the Co-Op ARD 1.2 and overall loved it. Way more responsive than my mountain bike and way quicker to shift. Felt I had way more control in the drops than on the hoods, but hoping I adjust to the hoods after purchasing and riding more as this seems to be most people's primary riding position.
Thanks!
submitted by ScienceOnYourSide to whichbike [link] [comments]


2019.03.01 04:57 CDocwra CDocwra Announces his Candidacy for the Democratic Presidential Nomination

I am here today, in Raleigh, outside my home and in the city that I love in order to announce that I am, today, officially launching my campaign for the Democratic Nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America.
It is no secret that I take great issue with the direction that our President u/GuiltyAir has taken both the country and the Democratic Party in. While I, and I am sure the rest of my Democratic colleagues, would always prefer a Democrat to a Republican, I do not have faith in the President to deliver the kind of administration that either my party, or the country, deserves. The path of Democratic Socialism can be reversed and it must be reversed before it dominates our destiny forever.
There is one value that shall dominate my campaign for the Democratic nomination and it is that paramount value of freedom. It is something that the Republican Party has been allowed to appropriate for its own purposes and the Democratic Party has seen fit to let it. We, in America, must fight for freedom for all our peoples not just the elite as the Republicans have and yet the Democratic Party seems to have forgotten its freedom-loving, liberal, roots. We have seen it only this week as the Republican Party attempted what I labeled in congress as “the single greatest erosion not only of the rights of women in the American canon, but the rights of the individual too” as the Human Life Amendment went before the Senate. There has not been a time since the fall of President Trump when the liberal values that this country was founded upon have been more necessary as we must fight every day to ensure that every single person in this nation has the fullest economic and social freedoms that we can possibly afford them. The path of Democratic Socialism, where economic freedom would be restricted, is not the answer to this country’s problems and it is not the path for this Democratic Party to see itself maintain its domination of the executive.
In order to accomplish this we need to do something which every administration in American history since the end of the civil war has done and that is to finally end the systemic economic segregation that has dominated this nation since slavery was ended by President Lincoln. The way that we will do this is not by imposing solutions upon the marginalized, ghettoized and patronized African American community, as previous Presidents sought to do, but by taking a community led approach where we go to the communities themselves and give them the resources that they say they need and give them the control over the investments in their community. Big Government can’t fix everything and it is only the communities themselves who are going to have any real grasp on the issues and what needs to be done. We have millions of Americans who are denied even the most basic of opportunities afforded to their fellows because of the color of their skin and where they happen to be born, it has gone on too long and it must be ended and ending it must be the bedrock of any Democratic candidate’s platform for President.
I think if we are going to talk about freedom, though, we have to do so openly and not try and toss about the word as some partisan attacking tool as many politicians have sought to do of late. Instead we can’t simply look at what seems to be more, for lack of a better phrase, ideologically free, and look at what actually genuinely makes the American people more free. How, for example, can a person truly be free when at any moment illness or accident can strip everything from them. Not only this, but how can we actually say that we have an approach to healthcare that really values the economic freedom of the individual and values freedom of competition when the government is giving the healthcare industry so many protections that its basically a racket and its the American people who are being shook for their loose change. This is something that I am happy to see the President lead on but we cannot afford to just lead we break up the pharma companies and create a nationalized health service for every state. The racketeering has gone on for too long and it needs to end.
How too, can we claim to support a free market economy in this country when the only end of the market the government is supporting are the corporations at the top. In any market economy you only get a functioning free market system when not just corporations but unions and individuals are afforded basic protections too. I believe that ultimately we shouldn’t have government interference in our economic system but I can tell you that we aren’t going to get a good system from that unless the system that comes out of it is one where there is genuine competition. That doesn’t just mean competition between corporations that means the people fighting and bargaining with those corporations in order to get the wages and the benefits that market forces truly say they should get, not what the bosses at the top impose on them. If we are going to create such a society then we need sweeping protections for trade unions and sweeping break ups of the megacorporations and I plan on pursuing both.
I would like to end my announcement by discussing America’s place in the world. America has retreated from the world, ever since the end of the Cold War, only seeking to interfere in the Middle East for one pointless war after another. Now, we have seen the rise of the Bull Moose Party who would see America end its retreat by sending troops, bombs and arms to every remote god forsaken dictatorship on the planet; that’s not a solution to the world’s problems and that’s not going to do America any good. Instead America needs to exercise its soft power once more through the strengthening of the NATO alliance and the expansion of our economic might abroad. The NATO alliance is the only thing standing between much of Eastern Europe, and the hegemonic might of Russia. The President has been much too silent on the issue of Eastern Europe and I will not be, if I am President I will offer complete and total diplomatic support to the government of Ukraine in their ongoing standoff against the Imperialist Russian Federation and I will seek the expansion of the NATO alliance with a diplomatic offering to the people of Ireland to join NATO. Europe stands upon a precipice and America must stand on the side of freedom and prosperity, as we always have done. As Russian influence spreads I will also seek the re-activation of the Truman Doctrine and pursue a strategy of Russian containment, Putin’s Russia is economically faltering and we cannot let it survive through international campaigns, we must force dictatorships around the world to starve in their own isolation.
Free Trade, too, will be a benchmark of my campaign. This is hardly a surprise to many of you who know that I have always made it a cornerstone of any campaign I have run for my time in politics at a State, Congressional and Senatorial level. We have the greatest economy in the history of the world and we can make it even stronger by giving every American access to every good around the world, we can make it stronger by giving every American company access to every market in the world and we can make America stronger by intertwining any economy in the world with our own, bringing our disparate nations closer together. In an age when protectionism and neocolonialism leaves well over a billion people suffering under a cruel international system, it is time to see that system lifted and show the whole world the freedom and might of American Capitalism.
I am certain all of you know that this is not a campaign that will be easy, we challenge not only the regressive forces of the BMP and the GOP but our own President but I know that with fortitude, with fortune on our side and with the good grace of God we can and we will prevail, God bless you all and God bless America.
submitted by CDocwra to ModelUSPress [link] [comments]


2018.12.07 05:19 atiredasian Today In Naval History: 7th December - "I will run wild..."

Writers Note: Well... this is it.
As an outsider, please understand that there may be timeline errors, especially given how many timezones I am bouncing back and forth between.

In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success.
- Isoroku Yamamoto


Today: 7th December 1941 (Sunday) - The Curtain Rises
On the 7th of December, a day before the strike at Pearl Harbour, a Royal Air Force Catalina flying boat from RAF 205 Squadron (Warrant Officer William Edward Webb, Flying Officer Patrick Edwin Bedell, Sergeant Colin Burns Treloar, Edward Alexander Bailey, Stanley Abram and Peter Eator, Aircraftsman Arthur Henry Chapman and William Thomas David Burnett) is conducting a reconnaissance sweep of the Phú Quốc islands when she encounters the seaplane tenders Kamikawa Maru and Sanyo Maru, operating as escorts for the No.1 Malaya Invasion Convoy carrying the IJA 5th Infantry Division heading south.
An Aichi E13A from the Kamikawa Maru attacks the Catalina, likely damaging the flying boat's radio at 0820 hrs and preventing her from reporting the attack. Although the Catalina evadess, the E13A shadows the damaged flying boat until five Type-97 'Nate' fighters from the Japanese Army Air Service arrive and intercept the Catalina between 0845 and 0900 hrs.
The Catalina explodes midair. Her crew gain the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first casualties of the War in the Pacific, one day before the attack on Pearl Harbour. Although the Royal Air Force Far East Air Command has its suspicions, they will only learn of the cause of the missing aircraft through Japanese records following the war.

Writers Note: Time Zone differences are at play again. The Pearl Harbour attacks are chronologically not the first shots of the Pacific War, and the Indians, Australians and British are already fighting and dying in Asia by the time the bombers arrive.

Japanese assault troops will splash ashore at Kota Bahru at 0030hrs on the 8th December 1941 (local time) under the cover of naval bombardment from the CL Sendai and DD Ayanami, Isonami, Shikinami and Uranami. They will face fierce resistance from the 8th Indian Brigade of the British Commonwealth, under the command of Major General Berthold Wells "Billy" Key, manning a string of pillbox formations along the coast.
An aerial attack at 0210 hrs, by ten RAAF No. 1 Squadron Hudson light bombers will successfully sink the transport Awajisan Maru, headquarters ship of Major General Takumi Hiroshi's 5th Infantry Division and damage the Ayatosan Maru and Sakura Maru. After being hit while conducting an attack on the Japanese beachhead, a Hudson flown by Flight Lieutenant John Graham Leighton Jones will intentionally plough into a fully laden landing craft killing 60 Japanese soldiers. Three more Hudsons are damaged and another one is also shot down during the attack.

"The enemy pillboxes, which were well prepared, reacted violently with such heavy force that our men lying on the beach, half in and half out of the water could not raise their heads."
- Masanobu Tsuji, the Chief of Operations and Planning Staff for the 25th Japanese Army in Malaya

Despite ferocious resistance from the entrenched Indian troops which leaves the Japanese marines pinned down on the beaches, naval support gunfire from will silence British strongpoints one by one and after an entire section of pillboxes and supporting trenches are obliterated by Japanese bombardment, the defending troops will be outflanked, overwhelmed and overrun, often in bitter hand to hand combat.

“The enemy soldiers manning the pillboxes fought desperately. Suddenly, one of our men covered a loophole with his body and a group of the moles sprang to their feet in a spurt of sand and rushed into the enemy’s fortified position.”
- Masanobu Tsuji, the Chief of Operations and Planning Staff for the 25th Japanese Army in Malaya

A British counteroffensive at 1030 hrs will fail to seal the breach and dislodge the Japanese and faced with overwhelming numbers, the defenders will be beaten back with heavy casualties. Japanese reports indicate a grudging respect for the Commonwealth troops defending Kota Bahru - for the 5th Division, it is among the bloodiest fighting in a single engagement encountered in the whole Malayan campaign with an estimated 300 Japanese soldiers killed and another 500 wounded.
Regardless, with their toehold into Malaysia, the Japanese are here to stay.

Writers Note: That photo of Japanese Marines going ashore (though probably a staged reenactment, because who the heck puts a bayonet on a MG?), fills me with the same sick feeling of dread I get watching Allied soldiers wade ashore at Normandy. I know full well that the worst excesses of the Japanese occupation are yet to come, but men are men regardless of nationality and politics, and as a former infantryman myself, seeing a stark reminder of my own mortality is, for me at least, a sobering experience.

Japanese troops are also landing troops across Siam (modern day Thailand) on 8th December 1941, an hour and a half before the strikes on Pearl Harbour. Earlier in 1941, Thai Prime Minister Phibun Songkhram had previously sought American and British guarantees of immediate effective support should Thailand be invaded. Britain was in favour of pledging to declare war should Siam be invaded. The Americans, Isolationist as ever, were less willing to take a political stand, especially since Siam was viewed with suspicion for previously opportunistically annexing part of French Indochina. At 2300 hrs on 7 December, the Japanese presented the Thai government with an ultimatum to allow the Japanese military to enter Thailand. The Thais were given two hours to respond.

There is a possibility of imminent Japanese invasion of your country. If you are attacked, defend yourselves. The preservation of the true independence and sovereignty of Thailand is a British interest, and we shall regard an attack on you as an attack upon ourselves.
— Prime Minister Winston Churchill's message to Field Marshal Phibun Songkhram

Though the Siamese resist, their military is swept aside, and seeing the writing on the wall, Phibun opts to sign an armistice with Japan, allowing Japanese troops to utilise Siamese military installations and to pass through Siam uncontested by the Japanese military. The crack Imperial Guards Division will pass through Thailand, to plunge through the weakly defended Siamese border.

Meanwhile, in another part of the Pacific...



Today: 7th December 1941 (Sunday) - Pearl Tears
Early on Sunday morning, December 7th, American intelligence intercepts communique indicating that the Japanese ambassadors have been instructed to request for an interview with the US secretary of state at 0100 hrs in Washington (0730 hrs Pearl Harbor time). Decryption delays result in the message delivered to the US War Department at 1000 hrs, and General George C. Marshall is currently out horseback riding and will not see the dispatch until he saunters into his office at 1115 hrs. Marshall opts to send a telegram to Hawaii to the Navy sometime after noon. This will not arrive until after the Japanese are hammering Pearl.

Writers Note: Ironically, the Japanese diplomatic corp will have their own difficulties deciphering the communique and that US intelligence would actually become aware of it's contents faster than they would. Some Japanese historians suggest this intentional delay can be attributed to military hardliners intentionally disrupting the declaration of war in order to facilitate a surprise first strike.
I wouldn't be surprised if this was the case, despite explicitly clear instructions from Yamamoto that the attack was not to be carried out until half an hour after war had been declared.
Be it perfidity or incompetence however, the results are the same.

At 0350 hrs (Pearl Harbour), the USS Condor, a coast guard minesweeper signals a possible visible periscope sighting to the Wickes-class destroyer USS Ward which moved to investigate. At 0637 hrs, the Ward sighted a periscope apparently tailing the transport USS Antares and attempting to enter Pearl Harbour by following Antares through the antisubmarine nets at the harbor entrance.
The Ward will fire the first American shots of the Pacific War, successfully engaging and destroying her contact with gunfire and depth charges and sinking one of several Ko-hyoteki-class midget subs that were moving to infiltrate the harbour.
At 0645 hrs, the ward will radio in a short and succinct warning.
"We have attacked, fired upon, and dropped depth charges on a submarine operating in defensive sea areas."
The watch officer ashore reacted with alacrity, and the duty destroyer USS Monaghan was quickly notified to get underway and assist. However, a linear, sequential notification process was slowed by “busy signals” and multiple requests to have the Ward re-confirm the report before passing it up the chain. Kimmel was only notified at 0735 hrs and cancelling his scheduled golf game, rushed to the headquarters.
At 0700 hrs, Privates George Elliot and Joseph L. Lockard, practicing with a radar set, spots anomalous blip on the oscilloscope. After rechecking his set, Elliot calls headquarters and is informed that the plotters at the Fort Shafter information center had gone for breakfast.
0720 hrs a Lieutenant would call back and inform the Privates that it was likely a false alarm as a flight of B-17 bombers from the United States was expected at that time.
“Well, don’t worry about it.”
He was right about them being bombers at least.
At 0618 hrs, the IJN Carrier Striking Force first wave begins launching from the Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, Hiryū, Shōkaku, and Zuikaku. A massive wave of 183 aircraft form up at 0755 hrs (89 Type 97 Nakajima B5N2 “Kate” attack planes, 51 Type 99 Aichi D3A1 “Val” dive-bombers and 43 Type 0 Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zeke” fighters) led by Commander Fuchida Mitsuo. They navigate towards Hawaii, homing in on the signal of a Hawaii radio station.
A second wave, consisting of 167 aircraft (54 "Kate", 78 "Val" and 35 "Zeke") led by LtCd Shimazaki Shigekazu immediately begins preparation to launch from the decks of the Japanese carriers.
At 0749 hrs, Fuchida flies over Pearl Harbour. He issues two brief messages via radio telegraph. "Attack." and "Surprise Achieved".
He is not wrong.
Surprise is near total.
The first aircraft sighted at 0755 hrs are thought to be reckless American pilots out for a joyride. Intentionally planned for a Sunday morning, to ensure that US military readiness is at it's lowest, the attacks catch the US Pacific fleet with it's pants down.
On Ford Island, Commander Logan Ramsey broadcasts the grim message across all channels.
"AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL."
Japanese bombers peel off from the strike and hammer airfields at the Naval Air Station on Ford Island and adjoining Wheeler and Hickam fields destroying 188 American aircraft on the ground. Packed closely together in neat rows wingtip-to-wingtip as part of anti-sabotage security measures, the aircraft make excellent targets for strafing runs for the elite Japanese Naval Aviators.
At 0756 hrs, the Oklahoma draws Japanese attention and is struck by with two torpedoes. Listing badly, her crew continues to throw up an AA-screen. A third torpedo strikes her at 0800 hrs and Okie begins to capsize.She eventually rolls over, though not before she is struck by at least two more torpedoes (possibly intended for the Maryland docked aside her but striking her in the chaos of the attack). Though a good number of her crew are killed, her air-defence teams swarm over to the Maryland docked alongside her, and continue manning Fighting Mary's AA batteries.

Writers Note: There is some historical confusion as to the source of the final torpedoes which sank her. Sources point to torpedo bombers from Kaga and Akagi. Other modern records dispute this, indicating Oklahoma may have become a victim of a Ko-hyoteki-class midget sub.

Although heavily damaged by Japanese bombs in similar passes, Fighting Mary will, unlike Okie previously docked alongside her, live to fight again.
At 0800 hrs, the twelve B-17s predicted to arrive rumble into Pearl Harbour airspace and are almost immediately fired on by jumpy American AA Gunners. Unarmed, the B-17s can only dodge Japanese fighters and US anti-aircraft gunfire. 'Dodge' being a relative term for the B-17, one aircraft is destroyed and three are badly damaged by a combination of crash landings, opportunistic Japanese fighters an trigger happy US flak.
At 0810 hrs, bombs strike the forward deck of the USS Arizona, and in a scene reminiscent of the sinking of the Hood, sets off her forward magazines, splitting her in half with her entire forward hull disintegrating in the explosion#/media/File:Pearlharborcolork13513.jpg).
Originally moored alongside Arizona to conduct maintainence the Vestal was burning fiercely from being holed by Japanese bombs which had struck her at 0805 hrs after she had gone to general quarters and begun air-defence operation. The Arizona's explosion extinguished the flames, literally clearing her deck. Among the men blasted overboard was her Captain, Commander Cassin Young, who stunned from the blast, recovered and swam back to the Vestal, ordering her cut free and set the listing repair ship underway, narrowly escaping the conflagration which consumed the Arizona. The Vestal would survive after Young rightly made the call to beach her at 0950 hrs to prevent her capsizing from her growing list.
California is not so lucky. 'The Prune Barge' is struck by a pair of Japanese torpedoes during the attack. Although California managed to get steam up and was nearly ready to get underway, a large mass of burning oil, drifting down "Battleship Row", from the Arizona threatened to set the ship alight. She was ordered abandoned, and, with the orders to abandon ship making it impossible to control her internal flooding, California would settle to the bottom.
Struck by six torpedoes and a pair of experimental bombs (literally armour piercing cruiser shells fitted with fins) at around 0800 hrs, West Virginia would also be set alight in the conflagration by Arizona's burning fuel. With her Captain Mervyn S. Bennion dead from shrapnel wounds from debris flung from the nearby Tennessee, her crew would fight a losing battle with the fire until she was ordered abandoned at 1400 hrs. Wee Vee would eventually succumb to her damage and sink, pinning the Tennessee next to her in place.
Trapped in place by the sinking Wee Vee#/media/File:Pearlharbour_bb48_bb43.jpg), Tennessee would also run afoul of Japanese bombers and be struck by a pair of bombs, including one to her number two turret, creating the shrapnal which caused Captain Bennion to bleed to death on the bridge of the Wee Vee. A number of her crew would be immolated when her superstructure was hosed with burning oil from the detonation of the Arizona. Despite this, she will survive the attack.
The Pennsylvania, Cassin and Downes, still in drydock, will be bombed and strafed relentlessly. Penny will be struck by a single bomb, as well as a torpedo tube blasted clear from the damaged Cassin which smashed into her superstructure.
Among lighter ships, besides the aforementioned Cassin and Downes, the Helena and Raleigh will each be struck by a torpedo during the raid, the Raleigh needing to be mated to a barge to keep her from capsizing. The destroyer Shaw, then at drydock will also be struck by three bombs and later explode#/media/File:USS_SHAW_exploding_Pearl_Harbor_Nara_80-G-16871_2.jpg) from fires overwhelming her damage control teams.

At 0817, Japanese crewman Kyoshi Inagaki drowns escaping from his minisub which had stranded on an unmarked reef. The other crewman, Kazuo Sakamaki becomes the first US Prisoner of War. He would politely request permission from his guards to commit Seppuku. His horrified American captors declined his request.

Writers Note: Sakamaki would later become deeply distraught with the war and became an avowed pacifist after he was released.

At 0839 hrs, the aging Farraghut-class destroyer Monaghan receives word of another Japanese mini-sub in the harbour and successfully rams it before attacking it point blank with depth charges successfully destroying it.
At 0850 hrs, the USS Nevada gets up to steam and makes a break for the open seas. She will be targeted by the inbound Japanese bombers of the second strike wave, who in a moment of improvisation, attempt to sink her at the mouth of the harbour to completely block the channel. Struck by six bombs and a torpedo, her crew intentionally beach her at Hospital Point to prevent the Japanese using her as an improvised block ship.

Eight Army Air Forces pilots managed to get airborne during the attack and six were credited with downing at least one Japanese aircraft during the attack: 1st Lt. Lewis M. Sanders, 2nd Lt. Philip M. Rasmussen, 2nd Lt. Kenneth M. Taylor, 2nd Lt. George S. Welch, 2nd Lt. Harry W. Brown, and 2nd Lt. Gordon H. Sterling Jr. Sterling was shot down by Lt. Fujita over Kaneohe Bay and is listed as Body Not Recovered (not Missing In Action). Lt. John L. Dains was killed by friendly fire returning from a victory over Kaawa. Friendly fire brought down some U.S. planes on top of that, including five from an inbound flight from Enterprise.

Writers Note: I plagiarised that entire last paragraph wholesale off Wiki. It's a glaring hole in my research, but I'm not really up to speed on the air war over Hawaii.

At 1000 hrs, Japanese fighters rendezvous with bombers off Oahu and follow them back to the carriers. Having lost only twenty-nine aircraft during the raid, the Japanese pilots, their spirits up, urge leadership to prepare a third follow up strike to completely finish the facilities at Pearl Harbour. Nagumo, cautious due to the failure to destroy the US carrier fleet, rules out a third strike. The Kido Butai will turn for home at 1300 hrs.
Yamamoto, in his personal notes, will later regret Nagumo's decision to withdraw and comes to view it as a great mistake not to order a third strike to destroy the dockyards, maintenance shops, and the oil tank farms.

Writers Note: Where do I start?
Yeesh. Adopting a clinically dispassionate perspective, it's clear to see that this is Yamamoto, Cunningham's great student, at his finest hour. It is a masterfully planned operation, heightened in gravity by incompetence all around. Whether you assess Admiral Kimmel as a scapegoat or a screwball is open to personal interpretation. The fact remains that the Japanese fleet had successfully got the drop on the Americans and a resounding Japanese victory that will forever cement the role of airpower in naval operations.
Nevertheless, the Japanese failure to run down the American carriers, scattered as they were would cost them terribly through the war in the Pacific. The failure to seal the deal by completely destroying facilities at Pearl Harbour would likewise allow the US to steadily salvage the sunk ships as well as maintaining an important naval presence in the Pacific.
Much like how the Italians would slowly refloat their battered navy at Taranto, the US would steadily return their battleships to service, and all but Oklahoma and Arizona would see future service during the war.



Today: 7th December 1941 (Sunday) - Revenge
The battleship HMS Revenge, is detached from it's previous role escorting convoy BA 010 and ordered to return to Trincomalee in preparation to sail for Singapore. Originally sailing to Singapore alongside the Prince of Wales, the Revenge had been ordered left behind on the 29th of November because "The addition of one "R" class might give the impression that we were trying to form a line of battle, but could only spare 3 ships, thus encouraging Japan."

Writers Note: Because having LESS Battleships is more likely to dissuade the enemy from attacking you. Admiral Tom Phillips, everybody.

On the the 3rd December, however, Vice Admiral Phillips the CinC of the re-designated Force Z has had a change of heart, and signaled the Admiralty from Singapore asking for battleship reinforcements. None would arrive before Force Z was eliminated.



Today: 7th December 1945 (Friday) - The Yamashita Standard
In a controversial court case, Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the 'Tiger of Malaya' who masterminded the masterful Japanese conquests of Malaya and the key British naval base there, was found guilty of war crimes in a Manila court and sentenced to death for war crimes committed by the men under his command. The principal accusation against Yamashita was that he had failed in his duty as commander of Japanese forces in the Philippines to prevent them from committing atrocities.
This ruling – holding the commander responsible for his or her subordinates' war crimes as long as the commander did not attempt to discover and stop them from occurring – came to be known as the Yamashita standard.
Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita, arguably Japan's most successful General, will be hanged on 23rd February 1946.

Writers Note: It begins and ends with Yahashita.



Ships Launched In Azur Lane :
None
submitted by atiredasian to AzureLane [link] [comments]


2018.09.21 09:24 Jomskylark Club Regionals Discussion Thread – Previews inside!

Club Regionals 2018 – Preview and Predictions

Hundreds of teams from across the United States and Canada will compete this weekend for the elusive chance at reaching the National Championships. Read on for the bid breakdown and Jom's previews for each region, then make your own predictions in the comments below or in our pick'em!
Note: When discussing history of games, records and other talking points, only sanctioned USA Ultimate matches are considered in the previews below. Unsanctioned events may hold relevance but are too inconsistent or their results may not be known for them to be included.

Women's Regionals

Great Lakes – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #11 Columbus Rival, #12 Chicago Nemesis
Challengers: #30 Indy Rogue
It's an uphill climb for teams not named Rival or Nemesis, both of whom have advanced to Nationals or reached the game to go each of the last three years. Perhaps the element of surprise could give lower teams an edge, as neither Rival nor Nemesis has played any team seeded beneath them in sanctioned competition this year (both teams accepted byes from sectionals to regionals). Rival has won the region the past two years but is 0-1 against Nemesis this season.
Mid-Atlantic – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #5 DC Scandal
Challengers: #18 DC Grit, #25 Virginia Rebellion
Scandal is all but assured the 5-seed at Nationals having won every game not played against a Big 4 opponent. Grit will look to play spoiler, showing flashes of brilliance themselves notching wins over the #16-, #17- and #19-currently ranked teams at Elite-Select Challenge in August. Grit also took Madison Heist to a one point game and undefeated Boston Brute Squad to within four points elsewhere. They won't go down easy.
After starting the year 3-3, VA Rebellion went on a 15-1 tear, losing only to Grit by four points at sectionals two weeks back. Most of their competition has been in-region opponents, however.
Reddit's own brosducks will be in attendance at MA Regionals, filming four women's games for later release on his Youtube channel.
North Central – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #14 Minneapolis Pop, #15 Madison Heist
Challengers: #20 Kansas City Wicked
Neck and neck in the rankings, Heist and Pop are yet to play each other in sanctioned competition this year. Still, they've done this dance before: Heist has won the region and Pop has placed second for every year that the North Central has existed. Yeah. Pop is nonetheless the top seed after edging Heist in the USA Ultimate computer rankings. Will they break the pattern?
Wicked attained the highest end-of-season ranking they've ever achieved since the formation of the Triple Crown Tour, breaking into the top-20 and contending for a bid late into the season. After going undefeated through two tournaments – including a TCT event – Wicked finished the regular season with a 2-3 showing at Elite-Select Challenge. However, each of their losses came within four points and were only to teams ranked above them.
Northeast – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #1 Boston Brute Squad, #7 Toronto 6ixers
Challengers: #21 Boston Siege, #22 New York Bent
It's tough sledding for the Northeast who tie for the most teams in the top-25 but will only offer two tickets to travel southwest in October. Undefeated Boston Brute Squad has shined as the premier women's ultimate program in the country, notching 16 wins at three separate tournaments. No women's team has enjoyed a perfect season since San Francisco Fury in 2012. One point of potential concern is the lack of games Brute Squad has played against teams from the Big 4: Only two, compared to six for Fury and five for Seattle Riot and Denver Molly Brown. Brute Squad did pick up an additional game against Fury at the World Ultimate Club Championships in July, and of course has had considerable experience over the years playing against top programs.
6ixers are in pole position to claim the bid they earned, outscoring opponents by an average of over seven points in their wins this season. Toronto is undefeated against every team they've played currently ranked below them save for Rival whom they lost to by two points in August.
Siege and Bent will jockey for a chance to continue their season and may have to go through one of each other to keep that goal alive. The series between the two is split with Boston devouring New York in an early season test before falling by one at Pro Championships. Siege is looking for their first Nationals berth while Bent is trying to end a two year drought.
Northwest – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #4 Seattle Riot, #10 Vancouver Traffic, #16 Portland Schwa
Challengers: #19 Seattle Underground
No regional event in any division offers more bang for your buck in terms of opportunity for advancement. With only eight teams in attendance and three bids up for grabs, a whopping 37.5% of participants will qualify for Nationals later this year. Underground will look to be one of those attendees, upsetting Traffic at Bay Area Invite less than a month ago and going toe to toe with Schwa in three games this year, losing the series 1-2 but evening the point differential for those games at +0. Underground clipped a two year drought with a return to Nationals last year and will fight to repeat again this weekend.
Riot and Traffic have been advancing out of Regionals since before this subreddit was created. Their streak doesn't look likely to end anytime soon with both programs ranked comfortably in the top ten. The World Champs did cough up a loss to Traffic at Bay Area Invite but has otherwise only lost to a single other team this season (Fury). Traffic's record shows a bit more red including the aforementioned loss to Underground last month. However, a win over a Big 4 member is nothing to scoff at and there will plenty of opportunities for revenge this weekend.
Schwa has developed their own nice Nationals streak, reaching the big dance each of the last six years. This year was a doozy, with Schwa edging Texas Showdown for a strength bid by only 15 ranking points (the difference between a win and a loss in the regular season, perhaps). They'll look to capture lucky number seven this weekend. I'm very interested to see how they compete with Underground in our Postseason Pick'em.
South Central – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #3 Denver Molly Brown
Challengers: #17 Texas Showdown
The South Central sending two teams to Nationals has been a rock in a sea of volatility, representing Nationals with two of its own for every year of its existence. Only the North Central has stood as firm amidst the constant fluctuation of teams. This year, however, will be different, as Showdown was dealt a crushing blow, missing out on a second bid by inches. Showdown's decade-long Nationals streak has actually lasted longer than Molly Brown's and will have to fight to preserve it, falling to Denver by six points in their only sanctioned meeting this year. Of course, as stunning as a Big 4 team not making Nationals would be, Showdown did upset Molly Brown in the regional final last year, albeit with a second bid still up for the taking.
Southeast – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #6 Atlanta Ozone, #8 Raleigh Phoenix
Challengers: #27 Gainesville Tabby Rosa
One year after shocking the world with a quarterfinals upset of top-seeded Riot at Nationals, Ozone will look to return to the spotlight, this time perhaps with a bit less stress in September as the Southeast expands to feature two bids. One of only two regions to offer more bids this year than in the previous year (the other being the Southwest), the Southeast stands out as holding the largest gap between a bid-earner and a non-bid-earner in the rankings. Increased access to Nationals thus comes at a tougher draw for lower seeded teams, who have not cracked the top two spots since 2014 when Florida's Tabby Rosa upset Phoenix in the game to go. Tabby fell to Ozone twice in June, but has since swept all regional competition they've played. Tabby has not played Phoenix however, who sandwiched two bracket losses at Pro-Elite Challenge with two undefeated tournament victories.
Southwest – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #2 San Francisco Fury, #9 San Francisco Nightlock, #13 San Diego Wildfire
Challengers: #24 Oakland Lol
The Southwest matches the Northwest with three bids to Nationals and also shares a small attendance size with only nine teams participating. Defending national champs Fury posted a respectable summer with fewer losses than number of tournaments played, but stunningly failed to pick up a single sanctioned tournament win until sectionals. A strong weekend should nonetheless keep Fury in power position to attain the second overall seed at Nationals, backed by a resume that features two wins against Riot (and only one loss) and a split series against Molly Brown but with fewer points allowed than their Denver opponents.
It's been a rollercoaster of a season for Nightlock, finishing the summer 1-7 against teams currently ranked above them but 16-3 against teams ranked below. They have not played Wildfire in sanctioned comp this year but are 2-0 against fellow Bay Area rivals LOL.
It's been an eventful year for Wildfire, whose six losses came at a jaw-dropping combined margin of only twelve points. Half of their losses came within one point of their opponents. This is an especially important weekend for Wildfire as Nationals will be held in their own backyard.
LOL posted one win and eleven losses in their final two regular season tournaments, but ten of those eleven losses came against top-20 opponents. An experienced core should keep opponents on their toes late into Sunday.

Men's Regionals

Great Lakes – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #9 Chicago Machine, #10 Great Lakes High Five
Challengers: #30 Indianapolis Brickyard
The parallels between the women's and the men's Great Lakes regionals are striking, with two bid-earners neck and neck in the rankings (and both around the middle of the pack as far as bid-earners go), with the closest contender sitting at exactly #30. Both Machine and High Five also share a similar storied success as their women's regional representatives in finishing in the top two spots in the Great Lakes for at least the past three seasons. High Five endured a rollercoaster of epic proportions at Pro Championships, losing their precious second bid after Saturday's games, then regaining it after Sunday's games. Despite the slight edge in the rankings by Machine, High Five is 2-0 against their Chicago rivals this season and holds the top seed this weekend.
Mid-Atlantic – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #6 Pittsburgh Temper, #8 DC Truck Stop
Challengers: #20 Philadelphia Patrol, #22 Richmond Floodwall, #27 Princeton Garden State, #29 Baltimore Medicine Men
With two more teams in the top-30 than any other region, the Mid-Atlantic is jam-packed with more mouths to feed than what's available to go around. Temper and Truck Stop headline the pack, but make no mistake: This region is as wide open as any, with Truck Stop needing an exhilarating late season run to grab even a second bid and top-seed Temper being one year removed from a sixth place regionals finish. In fact, Temper is looking to extinguish a three year drought from Nationals attendance. Meanwhile Patrol will be fighting to return to Nationals after reaching it the past three years that Temper didn't. It's been a tough season for Patrol whose losses have more than doubled their wins, but more than half of their losses have been by four points or fewer and all were to teams ranked above them.
The bevy of mid-tier teams chomping at the bit for any vulnerability to exploit or weakness to pounce on will come to a head Saturday as the three teams rounding out the Mid-Atlantic's representation in the top-30 are all in the same pool. Only the pool's winner will enjoy a try at taking the region and/or a first-round bye Sunday morning, so plenty is at stake. Floodwall and Garden State are relatively untested, playing mostly intra-region competition this year, but Medicine Men, who lost in the game to go last year, had a run at perennial Nationals qualifiers at Pro-Elite Challenge in July. Though Med Men went winless, they did come close to knocking off Condors and had respectable showings against Doublewide and Rhino Slam.
Reddit's own brosducks will be in attendance at MA Regionals, filming five men's games for later release on his Youtube channel.
North Central – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #7 Madison Club, #11 Minneapolis Sub Zero
Challengers: #23 Kansas City Prairie Fire, Winnipeg General Strike
Top-seed Madison Club has quietly put together a strong resume losing only thrice and to just two teams. With much of their roster winning a championship via the Madison Radicals in the AUDL, Mad Club is an underrated contender heading into the main chunk of the postseason. One of their strongest tests could come this weekend against Sub Zero who themselves have put together quite the checklist notching wins over #1 San Francisco Revolver and #4 New York PoNY, as well as a 3-point loss to #3 Raleigh Ring of Fire at the US Open in August. It is accordingly a difficult draw for Prairie Fire, who just two years ago was coming off a three-season Nationals run. They along with Canada's General Strike – who is on a 13-0 tear after losing their first sanctioned game of the season – will be in the mix to challenge for a bid late into Sunday.
Northeast – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #4 New York Pony, #5 Boston Dig
Challengers: #18 Toronto Goat
One of the most shocking late season developments was Goat's less-than-stellar Elite-Select Challenge performance, a major contributor in their relegation to the sour side of the bid bubble. A lack of a bid would normally be a mitigated problem for Goat given just how damn good they are but when dealing with a region hosting two of the nation's top five teams its impact cannot be understated. Still, I expect Goat to be one of the more popular upset picks in our Postseason Pick'em as a team of their caliber won't go away without a fight.
A historic summer has vaulted both Pony and Dig into title conversation should they survive the pressure of a certain four-legged horned mountain-hopper. Pony's 9-0 run to end the regular season is nothing short of magical when considering the quality of their opponents in that stretch: All such games featured top-20 opponents, seven featured top-11 opponents, three featured top-three opponents. Wow. Dig hasn't looked too shabby themselves, posting a staggering seven-point victory over #3 Raleigh Ring of Fire in bracket play at this month's Pro Championships and taking #1 SF Revolver to one- and three-point games at the same event.
Northwest – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #2 Seattle Sockeye, #12 Portland Rhino Slam, #14 Vancouver Furious George
Challengers: #25 Seattle Voodoo
Both women's and men's Northwest regionals are quite generous in opportunities for advancement to Nationals, with bids available for more than a third of the teams in each division. And yet, it'll be a bit more challenging for an outside team to get a foot in the door in men's regionals, given the three bid-earners are a combined 20-0 against lower-seeded regionals participants. Yowzers. Still, with Voodoo taking Furious to a one-point game for the section two weeks back, nothing is quite set in stone.
Even if this region goes to chalk, how the bid-earners will shake out is of piqued interest. Sockeye's dominant season (featuring average margins of a whopping 5.6+ points in all of their wins) suffered two slight blemishes, the most recent of which to in-region foe Rhino Slam. Portland is on an 18-0 tear after finishing 3-3 at Pro-Elite Challenge in July, and has won four of its five tournaments this season. Furious has also gathered numerous wins, and even though they're 0-4 against Seattle and Portland, each of those four losses was by three points or fewer, with two being by just one point.
South Central – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #15 Austin Doublewide, #16 Denver Johnny Bravo
Challengers: #26 Denver Inception
Teetering on the brink of disaster, the South Central claimed the last strength bid from the depths of #Desperation, avoiding a one-bid bloodbath and preserving the possibility of continued Nationals-streaks for both Doublewide and Johnny Bravo. Austin's Nationals run stretches back more than a decade and Denver's has lasted for all of the 21st century. Can you imagine that streak getting snapped?
In fairness to the 14 other teams in attendance at SC Regionals, such a streak still very well may be snapped. Inception has arguably the best chance after cruising through sectionals, but with less-than-stellar results against top competition this season, may need a DiCaprio-esque mind-melting game-plan to pull off the upset Sunday.
Southeast – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #3 Raleigh Ring of Fire, #13 Atlanta Chain Lightning
Challengers: #21 Durham Turbine, #24 Huntsville Freaks (#40 Coastal Empire, #63 El Nino)
Thrusting the Southeast into uncharted territory is the surprising disintegration of Florida United, who achieved their highest finish in program history last year thanks to a stunning 3-0 pool play performance. Chain Lightning is surely itching to make the most of the new absence and return to Nationals after a three-year drought. Chain lost only twice this season and notched impressive four- and five-point wins over perennial contenders Goat and Temper.
The men's Southeast is particularly intense this season given it boasts the smallest ranking gap between a bid-earner and non-bid-earner in the entire division. Turbine is responsible for one-half of that statistic, and in their one Triple Crown Tour tournament appearance took top-20 Patrol and Condors to one- and two-point losses, respectively. Joining Turbine in the fray is likely to be Freaks, who came close to knocking off Chain in razor-thin 12-11 and 11-9 losses this season.
While their rankings aren't relatively impressive, it's worth acknowledging Savannah Coastal Empire and Miami El Nino as potential contenders for their absorption of top-tier Florida United talent. These teams are in a unique position to have gained Nationals-level players while still remaining relatively untested. A strong Saturday can put them in position to make plays on Sunday.
Southwest – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #1 San Francisco Revolver
Challengers: #17 SoCal Condors, #19 Oakland Guerrilla
No words can describe how crushing it must feel to watch a strength bid slip away by two rankings points, especially when it comes as a consequence of a completely different team losing a game and would open the door to potentially host Nationals in your own backyard. Brutal. Condors now faces the tall task of upsetting the, I'll say it, Greatest Team in the History of Men's Club Ultimate. Oh, and who are also the defending National and World Champs. Still, Revolver hasn't been perfect this season, and both Condors and Guerrilla have had their runs at top competition. Any given Sunday, as they say...

Mixed Regionals

Great Lakes – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #31 Cincinnati Steamboat
Challengers: #46 Columbus Cocktails
A wild finish to the East Plains Mixed Sectionals two weeks back sets up quite the frenzy with no clear frontrunner and a whole lot of teams looking to make their case. Steamboat started the season off 0-8 but played respectable games to top contenders #1 Philly AMP and #6 Denver Love Tractor, pulling within one of the latter. A pair of critical losses in the first stage of the postseason sets the bid-earner with the #3 overall seed this weekend, toughening up their hopeful journey to corral the Great Lakes for the third straight year and advance to Nationals. Looking to move forth instead is top-seed Columbus Cocktails, who've experienced similar pitfalls against top competition this year but cleaned up nicely against in-region competition their past two tournaments, cruising to their first sectionals sweep in program history.
Honorable mention to #60 Grand Rapids Toast, who, ahem, popped up at just the right time, upsetting Steamboat in the 2nd place game at sectionals earlier this month.
Mid-Atlantic – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #1 Philadelphia AMP, #9 West Chester Loco, #13 DC Space Heater
Challengers: #24 DC Rally, #38 Pittsburgh Alloy
All eyes are on the mixed Mid-Atlantic, where the National Runner-Up and #1 overall mixed team may still be outmatched by a team whose identity is literally derived from a temperature control box. 'Space Heater' took an early season win over AMP in June before showing up to Chesapeake Open with an incomplete roster and experiencing apt effects. Regionals may be the first time the team is at full strength, with the potential to finally deliver on the hype their preseason roster reveal generated. AMP, whose 19-2 run through the regular season ended with a pair of tough losses at Pro Championships, are still the favorites to win the region, but they'll need to be firing on all cylinders come Sunday.
Not likely to leave AMP and Space Heater with all the fun, Loco put together a terrific regular season resume, winning 21 of their 22 games and allowing opponents to score double digits on them only five times throughout the summer. However, a stunning pair of losses to Alloy at sectionals has put the West Chester squad on red alert. In a region as tough as the MA there can be no miscues.
Despite finishing the regular season 5-10 and scoring double digits in just three of their ten losses, Alloy has refused to melt into mediocrity, sweeping Founders Mixed Sectionals in dominant fashion. Defeating a fellow bid-earner not once, but twice within the past two weeks surely is quite the confidence booster, and they also have the experience of making Nationals just two years ago.
Rally is 0-5 against teams seeded ahead of them this weekend, but with similar recent Nationals experience as Alloy under their previous pseudonym Ambiguous Grey, Rally won't go down without a fight. They just may need to, uhh, rally in some big games Saturday afternoon and late Sunday to get the work done.
North Central – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #2 Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust, #14 Minneapolis No Touching
Challengers: #18 Madison Noise, #21 Iowa Chad Larson Experience
A terrific defensive showing at Pro Championships was vintage Drag'n Thrust, and they'll look to reclaim their spot as one of the national powerhouses next month in San Diego barring no surprise exits this weekend. They have not lost to in-region opponents this season and will look to keep that going in their own backyards starting tomorrow. The Banana Stand had a few ups and downs at the Pro Champs, topping World Champs BFG 11-9 before dropping four games in a row. They'll look to hit some new highs this weekend. Also in contention are Noise, looking to preserve a three-year Nationals streak and CLX, looking to return to Nationals for the first time since three years back.
Northeast – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #5 Boston Wild Card, #7 Boston Snake Country, #11 Boston Slow White
Challengers: #26 New York Xist, #29 Connecticut Metro North
Boston, Boston, Boston. The city responsible for claiming gold in all three divisions at Nationals in 2016 also holds all of the keys to the plane out of this year's mixed regionals. And good luck trying to sort this order out. Snake Country has yet to play either of their bid-earning metropolitan counterparts in sanctioned tournaments this season but has excelled against in-region competition, with their four losses coming only against Philly AMP, Charlotte Storm and Seattle Birdfruit. And their wins have been quite dominant, allowing an average of only 7.3 points per point game in all of their wins. Only time will tell how they'll perform against Wild Card and/or Slow White, however.
The other Boston bid-earners split their series against each other 1-1 in which Slow White holds the edge in point differential but Wild Card's win came at a more recent tournament. Wild Card had a terrific Pro Champs, taking down Philly AMP in a thriller and cruising past aforementioned Minneapolis No Touching and DC Rally. They also took top-3 programs Seattle Mixtape and Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust to one- and three-point games, respectively. Not bad. Slow White's season has shown a bit more red but have had their share of highlights. Importantly was a 13-11 confidence-boosting win against Metro North earlier this month, who along with Xist will try to squeeze their way onto the Nationals bus. Unhelpfully, both Xist and Metro North share the same pool, meaning they won't have an opportunity to knock down one of the bid-earners until the crossover round.
Northwest – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #3 Seattle Mixtape, #4 Seattle BFG
Challengers: #17 Seattle Birdfruit, #19 Boise Lochsa, #25 Seattle Lights Out
Responsible for the most combined bids to Nationals of any region in the country, the Northwest's smallest division by number of bids earned is also the largest division by number of teams present. It's a tough draw for Seattle Birdfruit, who fell short of the bubble by only a couple places and now has to contend with two of the top-4 teams in the country for a chance to venture south. Birdfruit kicked off the year with a strong showing at Pro-Elite Challenge, taking top-16 Fort Collins Shame and SF Mischief to single-point losses and besting Minneapolis No Touching. Birdfruit also excelled at their own tournament in late August, splitting a series with road-tripping Snake Country. Somehow, Birdfruit is yet to play either Mixtape or BFG, leaving the element of surprise on the table as a potential leverage tool to push for what would be a significant upset.
Lochsa and Lights Out will compete for a semis spot Saturday afternoon, with the loser forced to venture through the backdoor bracket. Neither path to a bid is particularly appealing, as either could go through giants Mixtape or BFG. Impressively, neither team has played against Mixtape or BFG in sanctioned events this season, so they too can try to exploit a likely polarization of available film to seek whatever edge is available.
South Central – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #6 Denver Love Tractor
Challengers: #15 Dallas Public Enemy, #16 Fort Collins Shame, Five One Two
It'll be a tough weekend for two of the three top-16 teams in the country. The required allocation of at least one bid to every region has resulted in the unfortunate scenario of finishing within the traditional top 16 bid-threshold but still not receiving a strength bid. It like many complexities in life is a double-edged sword with pros and cons and for two of the top-16 teams, will spell the end of a season cut short this weekend. But who will come out on top? Love Tractor has separated themselves from Public Enemy and Shame considerably in the rankings, but finished third at regionals each of the past two years, behind both Public Enemy and Shame. They are 1-0 against each team this year, however. Public Enemy upset Seattle Mixtape at the US Open and took BFG to a one-point game at the same event, showing a prowess for competing with the best but hasn't played Shame this season. Shame cruised through Pro-Elite Challenge in July, falling only to Love Tractor by two, but had a much bumpier road at Elite-Select Challenge the next month, going 2-3 with their wins coming against the #32- and #40-ranked teams. And then there's Five One Two, who didn't play enough games to receive a ranking, but beat Love Tractor at an early season tournament in June and took Public Enemy to a two-point game at sectionals two weeks back. This one's shaping up to be a doozy, let us know #WhoYaGot in our Postseason Pick'em!
Southeast – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #20 Durham Toro
Challengers: #23 Atlanta Bucket, #33 Charlotte Storm, #34 Florida Weird, #41 Asheville Mixfits
Possibly the most wide-open regional in the country will unfold this weekend in Florida as the bid-earner slotted into the fifth overall seed at the event, leaving at least four teams to make their case for why they should travel westward next month. Toro was the lone recipient of the bid last year but hit a speedbump late in the year, falling to Bucket at Elite-Select Challenge and to Storm at sectionals. They'll have their chance for revenge against both this weekend if the bracket holds, which in and of itself is not a sure thing given the chaos this region has produced in years past. The latest iteration of a premier Florida mixed team, Weird, will also be looking to advance to Nationals, missing the 'ship by a hair last year, as will the up-and-coming Mixfits, who stunted Storm 13-7 in the sectional final.
Southwest – Score Reporter
Bid-earners: #8 Berkeley Polar Bears, #10 San Francisco Blackbird, #12 San Francisco Mischief
Challengers: #22 Los Angeles 7 Figures
The Battle of the Bay will commence Saturday as three California juggernauts duke it out not only between themselves but against an onslaught of talented opponents. Vintage is written all over the bid-earners, each of whom having won at least one National Championship with Blackbird winning two. At a time when it seems teams are dissolving, merging and forming left and right it's a special thing to see three greats still competing at the highest level and being damn good at it too.
Interestingly, PBRawr finished highest in the rankings but is only 1-3 against their fellow bid-earners. Blackbird swept their animalistic rivals and took the top overall seed at the forthcoming regionals, also putting together a strong regular season performance (losing only twice) after a middling showing at Pro-Elite Challenge in July. Mischief only scored 5 on Blackbird at regionals dress rehearsal sectionals, but took down Polar Bears 13-7. Meanwhile, LA's 7 Figs will try to return to Nationals for the first time since the region sent five teams in 2014.
Remember, previews are subjective – be sure to add your own thoughts in the comments below!
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2018.08.17 07:45 KeyKeysKeys TEST

Putin’s Rasputin

The next act of Russian history is about to begin: Putin and Medvedev will pop off-stage into the Moscow green room, switch costumes, and re-emerge to play each other’s roles. Putin as president, again, Medvedev as PM. It’s the apotheosis of what has become known as ‘managed democracy’, and the ultimate triumph of the show’s writer-director, Putin’s chief ideologue and grey cardinal, Vladislav Surkov, the ‘Kremlin demiurge’. Known also as the ‘puppetmaster who privatised the Russian political system’, Surkov is the real genius of the Putin era. Understand him and you understand not only contemporary Russia but a new type of power politics, a breed of authoritarianism far subtler than the 20th-century strains.
Vladislav Surkov There is something cherubic in Surkov’s soft, smooth face, something demonic in his stare. He trained as a theatre director then became a PR man; now his official role is ‘vice-head of the presidential administration’, but his influence over Russian politics is unsurpassed. He is the man behind the concept of ‘sovereign democracy’, in which democratic institutions are maintained without any democratic freedoms, the man who has turned television into a kitsch Putin-worshipping propaganda machine and launched pro-Kremlin youth groups happy to compare themselves to the Hitler Youth, to beat up foreigners and opposition journalists, and burn ‘unpatriotic’ books on Red Square. But this is only half the story.
In his spare time Surkov writes essays on conceptual art and lyrics for rock groups. He’s an aficionado of gangsta rap: there’s a picture of Tupac on his desk, next to the picture of Putin. And he is the alleged author of a bestselling novel, Almost Zero. ‘Alleged’ because the novel was published (in 2009) under the pseudonym Natan Dubovitsky – Surkov’s wife is called Natalya Dubovitskaya. Officially Surkov is the author of the preface, where he denies being the author of the novel, then makes a point of contradicting himself: ‘The author of this novel is an unoriginal Hamlet-obsessed hack’; later, ‘this is the best book I have ever read.’ In interviews he has come close to admitting to being the author while always pulling back from a complete confession. Whether or not he actually wrote every word of it he has gone out of his way to associate himself with it.
The novel is a satire of contemporary Russia whose hero, Egor, is a corrupt PR man happy to serve anyone who’ll pay the rent. A former publisher of avant-garde poetry, he now buys texts from impoverished underground writers, then sells the rights to rich bureaucrats and gangsters with artistic ambitions who publish them under their own names. The world of PR and publishing as portrayed in the novel is extremely dangerous. Publishing houses have their own gangs, whose members shoot each other over the rights to Nabokov and Pushkin, and the secret services infiltrate them for their own murky ends. It’s exactly the sort of book Surkov’s youth groups burn on Red Square.
Born in provincial Russia to a single mother, Egor grows up as a bookish hipster disenchanted with the late Soviet Union’s sham ideology. In the 1980s he moves to Moscow to hang out on the fringes of the bohemian set; in the 1990s he becomes a PR guru. It’s a background that has a lot in common with Surkov’s, the details of which were barely known until an article in Novoye Vremya earlier this year set the record straight. He was born in 1964, the son of a Russian mother and a Chechen father who left when Surkov was still a young child. Former schoolmates remember him as someone who made fun of the teacher’s pets in the Komsomol, wore velvet trousers, had long hair like Pink Floyd, wrote poetry, was a hit with the girls. He was a straight-A student whose essays on literature were read aloud by teachers in the staff room: it wasn’t only in his own eyes that he was too smart to believe in the social and political set-up around him.
In the 1980s and early 1990s Russia was experimenting with different modes at a dizzying rate: Soviet stagnation led to perestroika, which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, liberal euphoria, then economic disaster. How to believe in anything when everything around you is changing so fast? Surkov abandoned a range of university careers from metallurgy to theatre directing, put in a spell in the army, went to bohemian parties, had regular violent altercations (he was expelled from drama school for fighting). Surkov, it said (or allegedly said) in one of the US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, had always thought of himself as an unrecognised genius, but it took him a while to find his metier.
He trained at a martial arts club with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, then one of Russia’s emerging young business stars. Khodorkovsky took him on as a bodyguard, saw he had more use for his brains than his muscles and promoted him to PR manager. He became known for his ability not only to think up ingenious PR campaigns but to manipulate others into getting them distributed in the major media with a mixture of charm, aggression and bribery. ‘Surkov acts like a Chekist of the 1920s and 1930s,’ Dmitry Oreshkin, a political analyst, said. ‘He can always sniff out your weak spot.’ Top jobs followed at banks and TV channels. In 1999 he was invited to join Yeltsin’s presidential administration. Looking more like a designer than a bureaucrat, he stood out from the rest. He was one of the key spin doctors behind the promotion of Putin for president in 2000. Since then, while many of his colleagues have fallen from grace, Surkov has managed to stay in the game by remaking himself to suit his masters’ needs. ‘Slava is a vessel,’ according to Boris Nemtsov, a prominent opposition politician: ‘Under Yeltsin he was a democrat, under Putin he’s an autocrat.’
At one point he began to fear that success would be his undoing: there was speculation that he had presidential ambitions, a dangerous rumour, especially in political circles, and he immediately leaked the fact of his Chechen father, which he had previously kept secret, in order to rule himself out of higher office, or so it’s said. It was his way of saying ‘I know my place.’ One of his former bosses described him as ‘a closed person, with many demons. He is never on the level with people. He needs to be either above or, if need be, below: either the boss or the slave.’
The most interesting parts of Almost Zero come when the author moves away from social satire to the inner world of his protagonist. Egor is described as a ‘vulgar Hamlet’ who can see through the superficiality of his age, but is unable to have any real feelings for anyone or anything: ‘His self was locked in a nutshell … outside were his shadows, dolls. He saw himself as almost autistic, imitating contact with the outside world, talking to others in false voices to fish out whatever he needed from the Moscow squall: books, sex, money, food, power and other useful things.’ The novel refers to Hamlet over and over again – even though Prospero might have been more apt – while the main protagonists are compared to the Players, ‘prepared to perform pastoral, tragedy or something in between’. The novelist Eduard Limonov describes Surkov himself as having ‘turned Russia into a wonderful postmodernist theatre, where he experiments with old and new political models’. There’s something in this. In contemporary Russia, unlike the old USSR or present-day North Korea, the stage is constantly changing: the country is a dictatorship in the morning, a democracy at lunch, an oligarchy by suppertime, while, backstage, oil companies are expropriated, journalists killed, billions siphoned away. Surkov is at the centre of the show, sponsoring nationalist skinheads one moment, backing human rights groups the next. It’s a strategy of power based on keeping any opposition there may be constantly confused, a ceaseless shape-shifting that is unstoppable because it’s indefinable.
This fusion of despotism and postmodernism, in which no truth is certain, is reflected in the craze among the Russian elite for neuro-linguistic programming and Eriksonian hypnosis: types of subliminal manipulation based largely on confusing your opponent, first developed in the US in the 1960s. There are countless NLP and Eriksonian training centres in Moscow, with every wannabe power-wielder shelling out thousands of dollars to learn how to be the next master manipulator. Newly translated postmodernist texts give philosophical weight to the Surkovian power model. François Lyotard, the French theoretician of postmodernism, began to be translated in Russia only towards the end of the 1990s, at exactly the time Surkov joined the government. The author of Almost Zero loves to invoke such Lyotardian concepts as the breakdown of grand cultural narratives and the fragmentation of truth: ideas that still sound quite fresh in Russia. One blogger has noted that ‘the number of references to Derrida in political discourse is growing beyond all reasonable bounds. At a recent conference the Duma deputy Ivanov quoted Derrida three times and Lacan twice.’ In an echo of socialism’s fate in the early 20th century, Russia has adopted a fashionable, supposedly liberational Western intellectual movement and transformed it into an instrument of oppression.
In Soviet times a functionary would at least nominally pretend to believe in Communism; now the head of one of Russia’s main TV channels, Vladimir Kulistikov, who used to be employed by Radio Free Europe, proudly announces that he ‘can work with any power I’m told to work with’. As long as you have shown loyalty when it counts, you are free to do anything you like after hours. Thus Moscow’s top gallery-owner advises the Kremlin on propaganda at the same time as exhibiting anti-Kremlin work in his gallery; the most fashionable film director makes a blockbuster satirising the Putin regime while joining Putin’s party; Surkov writes a novel about the corruption of the system and rock lyrics denouncing Putin’s regime – lyrics that would have had him arrested in previous times.
In Soviet Russia you would have been forced to give up any notion of artistic freedom if you wanted a slice of the pie. In today’s Russia, if you’re talented and clever, you can have both. This makes for a unique fusion of primitive feudal poses and arch, postmodern irony. A property ad displayed all over central Moscow earlier this year captured the mood perfectly. Got up in the style of a Nazi poster, it showed two Germanic-looking youths against a glorious alpine mountain over the slogan ‘Life Is Getting Better’. It would be wrong to say the ad is humorous, but it’s not quite serious either. It’s sort of both. It’s saying this is the society we live in (a dictatorship), but we’re just playing at it (we can make jokes about it), but playing in a serious way (we’re making money playing it and won’t let anyone subvert its rules). A few months ago there was a huge ‘Putin party’ at Moscow’s most glamorous club. Strippers writhed around poles chanting: ‘I want you, prime minister.’ It’s the same logic. The sucking-up to the master is completely genuine, but as we’re all liberated 21st-century people who enjoy Coen brothers films, we’ll do our sucking up with an ironic grin while acknowledging that if we were ever to cross you we would quite quickly be dead.
This is the world Surkov has created, a world of masks and poses, colourful but empty, with little at its core but power for power’s sake and the accumulation of vast wealth. The country lives by the former wannabe theatre director’s script. Surkov’s victory appears total. But it isn’t, quite. Almost Zero isn’t the only recent bestseller written by a member of the country’s political and economic elite. In January, his old friend Khodorkovsky, the jailed oil tycoon turned prominent political dissident, published a collection of his essays and interviews. Surkov and Khodorkovsky have a complicated personal history. Khodorkovsky, it’s said, never completely trusted Surkov, so when the young PR manager asked to become a full partner in his oil and banking company Khodorkovsky refused. The two fell out, and many argue that their mutual enmity was a factor in Khodorkovsky’s imprisonment. Now their two books represent the intellectual axis dividing Russia. Khodorkovsky’s essays deal mainly with his thoughts about the country’s political future. He’s become a social democrat during his time in prison, and denounces the rapacious capitalism that allowed him to make his fortune. His ideas aren’t original: what is striking is the book’s tone – calm, dignified, measured. Khodorkovsky neither attacks his jailers nor bends his knee to them, but bending his knee is what he is supposed to do.​*
As far as the Kremlin is concerned, the ideal scenario, the one most of the other oligarchs have followed, would be for Khodorkovsky to break, beg for mercy, sign a fake confession: the old KGB strategy. He refuses to do any of this, which has made him a rallying figure for liberals. Nobody thinks he was purer in heart than any of the other billionaires of the 1990s, but his behaviour now, in the context of Surkovian conformism, is impressive. The recent trial that sentenced him to a further six years in prison saw him accused of somehow stealing his own company’s oil. On top of that, the judge announced in his closing statement that two former ministers who had given evidence supporting Khodorkovsky had actually given evidence against him. Black was turned to white, white to black. The very absurdity was the point: the Kremlin was saying it had complete control over reality and that whatever it said, however ridiculous, was the truth.
Since the Khodorkovsky trial there have been a few unexpected whelps of protest from formerly loyal subjects. First a glamorous ballerina, not known for her political bravery, resigned from the party Surkov created when her signature was included on a public document denouncing Khodorkovsky. Then the press officer at the court where Khodorkovsky was sentenced tearfully admitted that the judge had been forced to read a closing statement prepared by the Kremlin. Most recently, Mikhail Prokhorov, most famous of the as yet unjailed oligarchs, denounced Surkov as a ‘puppetmaster’, since when Prokhorov has been stripped of his membership of the President’s Commission for Modernisation. The photograph of Khodorkovsky staring out from behind prison bars on the cover of his Collected Essays has changed its meaning. When he was arrested in 2003 it was this image that announced Putin’s pre-eminence, taming the powerful oligarchs overnight. ‘You’re only a photograph away from the cover of Forbes to a jail cell,’ the picture said, and it would have been Surkov’s business to make sure the image was distributed as widely as possible. Eight years later, Khodorkovsky is still behind bars, but the image now says something more like: ‘While I am behind bars, then all of Russia is a prison.’
In a neat instance of calling black white, the Surkov-controlled media refer to liberal supporters of Khodorkovsky as the ‘demoshiza’ (short for ‘democratic schizophrenics’), when it is the Surkovian ideology that is, in the vulgar sense, schizophrenic: it’s Khodorkovsky’s supporters who demand consistency. The ‘demoshiza’ tag also serves a useful purpose in conflating ‘democracy’ with ‘mental illness’. The word ‘democratic’ has an unhappy status in Russia: it is mainly used as an uncomplimentary synonym for ‘cheap’ and ‘low-grade’: McDonald’s has ‘democratic’ prices, the door policy at a particularly scuzzy club can be described as ‘democratic’ – i.e. they let anybody in. A few restaurants are proud of their ‘democratic’ tags: run by the children of former Soviet dissidents, they are places where the town’s liberal artists, filmmakers, journalists and other ‘demoshiza’ smoke, drink, eat and prance all night.
I found myself in one of them late one night, having finally, after a month of phone calls, begging, blackmailing and pleading, managed to get a ticket to see the theatre version of Almost Zero, the most exclusive play this deeply theatrical city has ever seen. Official tickets started at $500. Black market tickets were going for four figures. The final price? Two bottles of champagne and the opportunity for one of the theatre’s leading actresses to use my parents’ London home rent-free. It turned out that the fee wasn’t even worth a proper seat. The ushers let me in after the lights were dimmed. They gave me a cushion and told me to sit on the floor by the front row. My head spent the night knocking against the perfumed thigh of an impossibly perfect model, her brutal-looking husband seeming none too pleased. The audience was full of these types: the hard, clever men who rule the country and their stunning female satellites. You don’t usually find them at the theatre but they were there because it was the thing to do: if they ever bumped into Surkov they could tell him how much they liked his fascinating piece. The other half of the audience were the city’s artistic leaders: impresarios, directors, actors. They had a similar reason to be present: Surkov is famous for giving grants to theatres and festivals. It wouldn’t do not to have seen the play.
‘I would never go to something like that,’ a well-known journalist told me in the ‘democratic’ bar. ‘I wouldn’t want to touch anything Surkov is part of. And what about that shit Serebrennikov? Who’d have thought he’d sink to something so low? Sucking up to the Kremlin that way.’ Serebrennikov is the play’s director. He is famous for staging scandalous, subversive pieces and for always wearing sunglasses. Many think him a genius. His collaboration with Surkov is the equivalent of Brecht putting on a play by Goebbels. There are those in Moscow who will never forgive such a partnership. But Serebrennikov has found a crafty way through this most delicate situation. His staging of Almost Zero has transformed the novel. His Egor is a Faustian hero who has sold his soul to the devil but now wants it back. His shiny, empty life, with its parties, easy sex and casual humiliations, is a living hell. This Egor is emotional and wracked with self-loathing, quite the opposite of the cold hero of the novel. In passages that were added in, Serebrennikov’s actors talk straight at the audience, accusing it of being at ease in a world of nepotism, corruption and violence. The bohemians in the audience laughed uncomfortably. The hard men and their satellites stared ahead unblinking, as if these provocations had nothing to do with them. Many left at the interval. Thus the great director pulled off a feat entirely worthy of the Age of Surkov: he pleased his political masters – Surkov sponsors an arts festival that Serebrennikov runs – while preserving his liberal integrity. One foot in Surkov’s camp, the other in Khodorkovsky’s. A fine performance.
‘Life in Russia,’ the journalist told me in the democratic bar, ‘has got better but leaves a shitty aftertaste.’ We had a drink. ‘Have you noticed that Surkov never seems to get older? His face has no wrinkles.’ We had more drinks. We talked about Surkov’s obsession with Hamlet. My companion recalled an interpretation of the play suggested by a literature professor turned rock producer (a very Moscow trajectory).
‘Who’s the central figure in Hamlet?’ she asked. ‘Who’s the demiurge manipulating the whole situation?’
I said I didn’t know.
‘It’s Fortinbras, the crown prince of Norway, who takes over Denmark at the end. Horatio and the visiting players are in his employ: their mission is to tip Hamlet over the edge and foment conflict in Elsinore. Look at the play again. Hamlet’s father killed Fortinbras’s father, he has every motive for revenge. We know Hamlet’s father was a bad king, we’re told both Horatio and the players have been away for years: essentially they left to get away from Hamlet the father. Could they have been with Fortinbras in Norway? At the end of the play Horatio talks to Fortinbras like a spy delivering his end-of-mission report. Knowing young Hamlet’s unstable nature they hired the players to provoke him into a series of actions that will bring down Elsinore’s rulers. This is why everyone can see the ghost at the start. Then when only Hamlet sees him later he is hallucinating. To Muscovites it’s obvious. We’re so much closer to Shakespeare’s world here.’ On the map of civilisation, Moscow – with its cloak and dagger politics (designer cloak, diamond-studded dagger), its poisoned spies, baron-bureaucrats and exiled oligarchs who plan revolutions from abroad, its Cecil-Surkovs whispering into the ears of power, its Raleigh-Khodorkovskys imprisoned in the Tower – is somewhere near Elsinore.
Peter Pomerantsev
https://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n20/peter-pomerantsev/putins-rasputin
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2018.06.22 19:10 Lamont-Cranston The Koch/Pinochet connection.

While Hayek and Friedman are commonly castigated for their visits to Chile under Pinochets' rule, never heard about is Charles Kochs' intellectual BFF James McGill Buchanan who played a substantial role beyond seminars and apologetics. In fact the usually self promoting Buchanan was always silent on his role.
It was Buchanan who guided Pinochet's team in how to arrange things so that even when the country finally returned to representative institutions, its capitalist class would be all but permanently entrenched in power. The first stage was the imposition of radical structural transformation influenced by Buchanan's ideas; the second stage, to lock the transformation in place, was the kind of constitutional revolution Buchanan had come to advocate. Whereas the US Constitution famously enshrined “checks and balances” to prevent majorities from abusing their power over minorities, this one, a Chilean critic later complained, bound democracy with “locks and bolts”.
The first phase was a series of structural “reforms” devised by a young devotee of the Virginia school Minister of Labor Jose Pinera. Pinera had been working toward his doctorate at Harvard University when the coup occurred; elated, he came home “to help found a new country, dedicated to liberty.” His contribution was a series of deep alterations in governance, were privatization, deregulation, and the state-induced fragmentation of group power. Under the new labor code Pinera promulgated in 1979, for example, industry-wide labor unions were banned. Instead, planet-level unions could compete, making one another weaker while their attention was thus diverted from the federal government (“depoliticizing” economic matters, in Buchanan terms). Individual wage earners were granted “freedom of choice” to make their own deals with employers. It would be more accurate to say that they were forced to act solely as individuals. “One simply cannot finish the job,” Pinera later explained to would-be emulators, if workers maintain the capacity to exercise real collective power. Pinera designed another core prop of the new order: privatization of the social security system. This freed companies of the obligation to make any contributions to their employees retirement and also greatly limited the governments role in safeguarding citizens well-being. Ending the principle of social insurance, much as Barry Goldwater had advocated in 1964, the market-based system instead steered workers toward individual accounts with private investment firms. As one scholar notes, it “was essentially self insurance.” Fortunately for the plan, the regime had full control of television. At a time when three of every four households had televisions, Pinera made weekly appearances over six months to sell the new system, playing to fear of old-age insecurity owing to “this sinkhole of a bureaucracy,” the nations social security system. “Wouldn't you rather,” he queried viewers, holding up “a handsome, simulated leather passbook,” see your individual savings recorded every month in such a book “that you can open at night and say, 'As of today I have invested $50,000 toward my golden years?'' The junta overruled the suggestion that Chileans might decide which system they wanted in a referendum – after all, “who could say where such a precedent might lead?” - and imposed Pineras plan by military decree. In short order, two private corporations – BHC Group and Cruzat-Larrain, both with strong ties to the regime – acquired two-thirds of the invested retirement funds, the equivalent, within ten years, of one-fifth of the nations GDP. (Jose Pinera, for his part, went to work for Cruzat and then promoted U.S. Social Security privatization for Charles Koch's Cato Institute.) Other “modernizations” included the privatization of health care, the opening of agriculture to world market forces, the transformation of the judiciary, new limits on the regulatory ability of the central government, and the signature of both the Chicago and Virginia schools of thought: K-12 school vouchers. In higher education, the regime applied the counsel of Buchanan's book on how to combat campus protest. As the nation's premier public universities were forced to become “self-financing,” and for-profit corporations were freed to launch competitors with little government supervision, the humanities and liberal arts were edged out in favor of utilitarian fields that produced less questioning. Universities with politically troublesome students stood to lose their remaining funding. Through these combined measures, education, health care, and social insurance, once provided by the state, ceased to be entitlements of citizens. With the seven modernizations in place, Pinochet's appointees could now focus fully on drafting a constitution to entrench this new order behind what they hoped would be impassable moats. In preparation, the BHC Group's management translated James Buchanan's recent book, The Limits of Liberty, into Spanish. So, too, the founders of a pro-regime think tank, the Centro de Estudios Publicos (CEP), translated several works of public choice, including a basic primer by Buchanan. Buchanan then visited for a week in May 1980, a pivotal moment, to provide in-person guidance. A few months earlier, the regime had begun a mass purge of teachers from the nation's public universities, firing those considered “politically unreliable,” reported the New York Times. Dozens of other, less prominent citizens were simply found guilty of breaching a prohibition on political activity and banished to faraway villages, with no chance of appeal. As a result of the assassination of Ambassador Letelier and an American associate in rush-hour traffic on Washington, D.C.'s Embassy Row, Chile faced U.S. Sanctions for having carried out a terrorist act. This meant that the economists' visit had to come on the invitation of private actors – in Buchanan's case, from the Adolfo Ibanez Foundation's business school. Its dean, Carlos Francisco Caceres, and Buchanan had had a long conversation at the 1979 Madrid meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society. Caceres, one of the most vehemently antidemocratic members of the Council of State, a body created in 1976 to advise Pinochet, was eager to bring Buchanan's “opinions” into the regime's discussions of the new constitution. It worked. The Virginian's true host, in fact, was the Chilean minister of finance, Sergio de Castro, the regime's leading thinker and an economist indebted to Pinochet for enabling him and his colleagues to expunge a “half century of errors” when “public opinion was very much against [us].” Which is why de Castro and others saw a pressing need for a new constitution that would make public dissatisfaction irrelevant – or at least sharply curtail the public's ability to reverse the transformation he and his junta colleagues had imposed by force. When Caceres set up a meeting for Buchanan with the BHC Group, he told him directly that “our main interest in your visit” was to explore how public choice economics might help inform the “new Constitution which will define our future republican life.” They sought input on questions from “the way to elect the political authorities” to “the economic matters which should be included” in the document. Buchanan responded with detailed advice on how to bind democracy, delivered over the course of five formal lectures to top representatives of a governing elite that melded the military and corporate world, to say nothing of counsel he conveyed in private, unrecorded conversations. He spoke plainly and in the imperative mode, suggesting the government “must” and “should” do this or that. He defined public choice as a “science” (even though he, of all people, knew that there was no empirical research to back its claims) and that “should be adopted” for matters ranging from “the power of a constitution over fiscal policy” to “what the optimum number of lawmakers in a legislative body should be.” He said of members of his school of though, “We are formulating constitutional ways in which we can limit government intervention in the economy and make sure it keeps its hand out of the pockets of productive contributors.” Buchanan understood what his hosts were asking for: a road map. He thus explained that the constitution needed “severe restrictions on the power of government.” He instructed that “the first” such restriction “is that the government must not be freed to spend without also, at the same time, collecting the necessary taxes to offset expenses” - Harry Byrd's sacred pay-as-you-go principle. “It must have a constitution that requires a balanced budget” - no more Keynesian deficits under any circumstances. Also, “the independence of the the Central Bank should be enshrined in the constitution”; the government should be denied the authority to make “monetary policy because doing so would surely lead to inflation.” A last restriction he urged was to require supermajorities for any change of substance. “It must be ensured that a system exists in which only a large majority,” he said, “2/3 or 5/6 of the legislative body, can approve each new expense.” With this formula the scholar overshot the mark even with the junta's members, just as he ad in his proposal of a fire sale of public schools to Virginia's legislature in 1959: none had the nerve to float a five-sixths requirement. So intrinsic was the influence of economic libertarians that Chile's new constitution bore the same name as Hayek's classic The Constitution of Liberty. “It promised a democracy,” remarked the leading American historian of the Pinochet era, Steve Stern, “protected from too much democracy.” The new constitution guaranteed the power of the armed forces over government in the near term, and over the long term curtailed the group influence of nonelite citizens. The document guaranteed the rule of General Pinochet and his aides until a 1988 plebiscite that might extend his term to 1997, when “a new generation,” as Stern notes, “would have learned the role of the citizen in a restrictive democracy.” The devil is in the details, goes the old adage, and it is true: the wicked genius of Buchanan's approach to binding popular self-government was that he did it with detailed rules that made most people's eyes glaze over. In the boring fine print, he understood, transformations can be achieved increments that few will notice, because most people have no patience for minutiae. But the kind of people he was advising can hire others to make sure that the fine print gets them what they want/ The net impact of the new constitution's intricate rules changes was to give the president unprecedented powers, hobble the congress, and enable unelected military officials to serve as a power brake on the elected members of the congress. A cunning new electoral system, not in use anywhere else in the world clearly the fruit of Buchanan's counsel, would permanently overrepresent the right-wing minority party to ensure “a system frozen by elite interests.” To seal the elite control, the constitution forbade union leaders from belonging to political parties and from “intervening in activities alien to their specific goals” - defined solely as negotiating wages and hours their particular workplaces. It also barred advocating “class conflict” or “attack[ing] the family.” Anyone deemed “antifamily” or “Marxist” could be sent into exile, without access to an appeal process. Pinochet personally reviewed the penultimate document, making well over a hundred changes, then announced that citizens would have to vote a simple yes or no on whether to adopt the new constitution, in its entirety, in a plebiscite to be held within a month of its release. The balloting would take place during the prolonged “state of emergency” in which all political parties were outlawed, no voter rolls existed to prevent fraud (because the junta had had them burned), and no scrutiny our counting by foreign observers was to be allowed. When a group of moderate jurists and civic leaders composed a truly democratic alternative document the regime prohibited its release The mayors charged with running the plebiscite and counting the votes owed their jobs to the dictatorship. Election rules forbade electioneering by “no” activists. When some individuals flouted the ban by leafleting and inviting people to a speech by the former Christian Democratic president Eduardo Frei, nearly sixty found themselves arrested; some were tortured. “With my own eyes,” reports a political scientist and later ambassador, “I saw people being dragged off a public bus and beaten for shouting, 'Vote “no” on the charter!'” The junta allowed only a single indoor gathering to oppose the document. More than ten thousand citizens filled every seat in the theater for the first legal rally in seven years, while as many as fifty thousand craned to hear from outside. Frei had opposed Allende yet also denounced the proposed constitution as “illegal” in its conception and “a fraud” in its content. A reporter from one of the few media outlets allowed to cover the rally was fired later that night for his refusal to read on the air a prepared report that smeared the speaker and lied about the event. Against such odds, “dissidents could not block the steamroller.” Only three in ten Chileans voted no on the transparent paper used for ballots; 67 percent assented.
If Jim Buchanan had qualms about helping to design a constitution for a dictatorship or about the process by which the final product was ratified, matters widely reported in the press, he did not commit them to print. Instead, he wrote Sergio de Castro with thanks for “the fine lunch you held in my honor” and shared how he “enjoyed the whole of my visit to Chile.” Mrs Buchanan, who accompanied him, appreciated “the nice gifts, the beautiful flowers, the Chilean jewellery, [and] the wine.” What's perplexing is how a man whose life's mission was the promotion of what he and his fellow Mont Pelerin Society members called the free society reconciled himself, with such seeming ease, to what military junta was doing to the people of Chile. The new Chile was free for some, and perhaps that was enough, as they were the same kind of people who counted in Virginia in the era when Buchanan pledged to his new employer that he would work to preserve liberty. It was also, always, a particular type of freedom the libertarians cared most about. One Chilean defined it well in rejoicing to fellow members of the society that the “individual freedom to consume, produce, save and invest has been restored.” But perhaps above all, for Buchanan, the end justified the means: Chile emerged with a set of rules closer to his ideal than any in existence, built to repel future popular pressure for change. It was “a virtual unamendable charter,” in that no constitutional amendment could be added without endorsement by supermajorities in two successive sessions of the National Congress, a body radically skewed by the overrepresentation of the wealthy, the military, and the less popular political parties associated with them. Buchanan had long called for binding rules to protect economic liberty and constrain majority power, and Chile's 1980 Constitution of Liberty guaranteed these as never before. The political economist also gained from this episode the adulation of his allies in the Monte Pelerin Society. The society showcased his thought by inviting him to present the main paper at its annual meeting that September at the Hoover Institution, in Palo Alto. Exhilarated by what had been achieved, the society's leaders chose for the site of its November 1981 regional meeting the coastal Chilean city of Vina del Marr, where military leaders had hatched the coup and President Allende's remains lay in an unmarked grave. Buchanan and the two pro-junta Chilean colleagues together organized the program. The sessions they designed sounded like rationales – indeed, justifications – for the dictatorship's choices. Among the panels were “Social Security: A Road to Socialism?”; “Education: Government or Personal Responsibility?”; and finally Buchanan's own contribution, “Democracy: Limited or Unlimited?” For the society's members, Chile was a beacon. The constitution, in the summary of one scholar, removed “major social questions – such as macroeconomic policy – from democratic influence.” Interestingly, Buchanan never spoke of the Chilean consultation in his later publications. He did include his multiple speaking commitments there in his center's annual report to the Virginia Tech administration and to donors in 1980, likely as evidence of his increasing international stature. But he never mentioned the Chilean case in print as an example of the application of his thought. For someone who devoted the remainder of his life scholarly career to constitutional analysis and prescription, it was a telling omission. Perhaps his conscience troubled him or he feared condemnation. After all, even a conservative newspaper condemned Jesse Helms for how he “doggedly ignored the country's atrocious human rights record.” After the North Carolina senator visited with Pinochet in 1986 and came home defending the junta from critics, the Raleigh Times mockingly urged a public collection to buy him better glasses and a hearing aid, because the senator was “deaf, blind, and dumb to official policies of corruption and torture.” Whatever the reason, Buchanan's enduring silence spoke loudly. Looking back, though, one can only wonder what would have happened if someone had suggested to Buchanan that he apply his public choice analysis to the decision-making calculus of General Pinochet and his colleagues when they sought his counsel. Would he have been able to step back a minute and examine the military officers and their corporate allies as self-interested actors? As they set about devising binding rules to limit what other political agents could do, would he have seen that they might be using the rule writing process to keep themselves in power? Buchanan would title one of his later books Politics by Principal, Not Interest. But there is no evidence that he ever recognized what was happening in Chile as naked interest-driven action, bereft of any classical liberal principle. Or that he acknowledge that his own counsel had encouraged it. If he had treated his school of thought as a the neutral analytical framework he proclaimed it to be, Buchanan should also have anticipated how General Pinochet – having done away with the independent media, freedom of speech, political parties, and so many regulations – could easily purloin public monies to enrich himself and his family, as he did. Nor did Buchanan ever publicly criticize the final constitution as promulgated by the junta. On the contrary, he continued to promote constitutional revolution, thereafter more single-mindedly, and to seek out support from wealthy funders who might help effect it. From this we can only conclude that he was well aware of the Pandora's box he had helped open in Chile for the genuine, not merely metaphorical, corruption of politics, but he valued economic liberty so much more than political freedom that he simply did not care about the invitation to abuse inherent in giving nearly unchecked power to an alliance of capital and the armed forces. His silence, it must be said, safeguarded his reputation. Buchanan surely noticed that Milton Friedman never lived down having advised the junta on how to combat inflation: protesters disrupted the 1976 award ceremony in Stockholm at which he received the Nobel Prize and hounded his engagements thereafter. Whereas Friedman's name became permanently and embarrassingly paired with Pinochet's, Buchanan, the stealth visitor, largely escaped notice for the guidance he provided. But, then, unlike Friedman, Buchanan never craved the spotlight. He was content to work in the shadows.
Meanwhile, predictable trouble loomed for the political-economic model imposed on Chile. The year after the Mont Pelerin Society celebrated in the resort city of Vina del Mar, Chile's economy went into a tailspin, contracting by more than 14 percent. The devastation was so bad that, despite the dangers, a broad-based opposition emerged among workers, students, and homemakers that shook the regime as nothing else had to date. The causes of the crisis were not only internal; the world economy also stumbled that year. But the economic model urged by the society's thinkers and implemented by their local colleagues made it especially disastrous. Chile's now unregulated banks engaged in reckless lending that threatened to sink the entire economy when the reckoning arrived. The only thing that averted a total collapse was Pinochet's firing of the Mont Pelerin Society zealots, in particular Sergio de Castro, Buchanan's leading host, whose proposed solution to the free fall included cutting the minimum wage and other deflationary measures that seemed too risky even to a dictatorship. Pinochet replaced the ideologues with individuals who were willing to enlist government to right the ship. That November, the state took control of four banks and four finance companies to prevent “the collapse of the entire banking system.” The outcome will sound familiar to Americans who lived through a virtual replay in 2008: “During the boom, Chile's economic gains had been privatized; now in the crunch, the country's losses were socialized.” Among those hardest hit were those who had invested their life savings in the new individual retirement accounts in corporate mutual funds that failed. Meanwhile, the opposition's attention turned to the new constitution. Buoyed by the public outcry, they used its provision for a 1988 plebiscite to achieve surprising success – only the discover how its “tricky” mechanisms, in the words of one Chilean legal scholar, would block “channels for the majority to express itself or for just laws to be passed.” Voters were given only one choice: to vote yes or no on whether General Pinochet could rule for another eight years. Visiting to report on the worsening human rights situation, which now included aggressive attacks on the Catholic Church, the political scientist Alfred Stepan explained to American readers what was “really at stake.” The call for a yes vote was “an effort to institutionalize a new type of authoritarian regime that has not be seen in a Western country like Chile since the 1930s.” The whole process was so absurdly rigged in the dictatorship's favor that at first, virtually all its opponents urged a boycott. But this was the only chance people had to register rejection of Pinochet at the polls, so most reconsidered. Joining together to form the center-left Concertacion de Partidos por la Democracia (Coalition of Parties for Democracy), they urged a no vote, and worked so intently to register voters that 92 percent of Chileans regained the right to vote. On October 5, lines formed early and stayed late, until the stunning result was announced: despite a manifestly stacked deck, voters refused General Pinochet the additional term sought by a margin of 55 percent to 43 percent. Ten of the nation's twelve regions voted no, leaving the erstwhile potentate “humiliated.” As the new constitution stipulated, Pinochet held on to power for another year, until, in July 1989, after tireless work from the activists, Chileans elected a president and a congress for the first time in nearly twenty years. The new Concertacion government inherited a society of surging inequality and economic insecurity – and a constitution that made it all but impossible to change course. The document baked in the fundamental rules of Pinochet's economic model, albeit as modified modestly by the pragmatists who took over after 1982. “The free market model as applied under Pinochet had an enormous social cost,” explains one political scientist. “Whereas in 1970, only 23 percent of the population was classified as poor or indigent, by 1987 the proportion had reached 45 percent – almost half – of the population,” while wealth had become more concentrated among the richest. The novel labor “flexibility” heralded by the regime's enthusiasts had taken away protections that working people won over generations of organizing and political action. Precarious and low-income work [became] the staple for over 40 percent of the Chilean labor force,” a marginality compounded by the fact that individuals were now forced to save the full cost of their retirement pensions, with no contribution by their employers, and pay for other goods that had previously come with citizenship. Not to mention those who had dutifully put away money only to have lost it in the downturn. One salesman who called himself part of the “white-collar poor” told journalists, “Today there are two Chiles”: “one with credit cars and computers, and one that is just trying to survive.” Yet, “Pinochet's sinister constitution,” as the acclaimed refugee author Ariel Dorfman has called it, by design “makes urgently needed reforms especially difficult to carry out.” From the very beginning, then, the pro-democracy forces saw their task as twofold: mitigating the injustices the dictatorship had left and reducing the authoritarian aspects of the constitution. That first elected government proposed and won overwhelming approval of fifty-four amendments, among them one to eliminate the requirement that supermajorities of two successive sessions of the congress must approve any future constitutional amendments. Yet the skewed electoral system still remains in place, with its provision effectively granting the one-third minority of right-wing voters the same representation as the typical two-thirds majority attracted by center-left candidates. [From The Victors essay by Noam Chomsky, 1990: Under the heading “Tyrant’s `Success’ Leaves 7 of 12 Million Chileans Poor,” Antonio Garza Morales reports in Excelsior that “the social cost which has been paid by the Chilean people is the highest in Latin America,” with the number of poor rising from 1 million after Allende to 7 million today, while the population remained stable at 12 million. Christian Democratic Party leader Senator Anselmo Sule, returned from exile, says that economic growth that benefits 10 percent of the population has been achieved (Pinochet’s official institutions agree), but development has not. Unless the economic disaster for the majority is remedied, “we are finished,” he adds. According to David Felix, “Chile, hit especially hard in the 1982-84 period, is now growing faster than during the preceding decade of the Chicago Boys,” enthralled by the free market ideology that is, indeed, highly beneficial for some: the wealthy, crucially including foreign investors. Chile’s recovery, Felix argues, can be traced to “a combination of severe wage repression by the Pinochet regime, an astutely managed bailout of the bankrupt private sector by the economic team that replaced the discredited Chicago Boys, and access to unusually generous lending by the international financial institutions,” much impressed by the favorable climate for business operations. Environmental degradation is also a severe problem in Chile. The Chilean journal Apsi devoted a recent issue to the environmental crisis accelerated by the “radical neoliberalism” of the period following the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the parliamentary democracy. Recent studies show that about half the country is becoming a desert, a problem that “seems much farther away than the daily poisoning of those who live in Santiago,” the capital city, which competes with Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Mexico City for the pollution prize for the hemisphere (for the world, the journal alleges). “The liquid that emerges from the millions of faucets in the homes and alleys of Santiago have levels of copper, iron, magnesium and lead which exceed by many times the maximum tolerable norms.” The land that “supplies the fruits and vegetables of the Metropolitan Region are irrigated with waters that exceed by 1,000 times the maximum quantity of coliforms acceptable,” which is why Santiago “has levels of hepatitis, typhoid, and parasites which are not seen in any other part of the continent” (one of every three children has parasites in the capital). Economists and environmentalists attribute the problem to the “development model,” crucially, its “transnational style,” “in which the most important decisions tend to be adopted outside the ambit of the countries themselves,” consistent with the assigned “function” of the Third World: to serve the needs of the industrial West.]
It is deeply troubling, then, that Chile is held up today as an exemplary “economic miracle” by the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and others on the U.S. right. After the toppling of Saddam Hussein, National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg went so far as to announce, “Iraq needs Pinochet.” Trumpeting the Heritage Foundation's country-by-country annual global ranking, “Chile's economic freedom score is 78.5, making its economy the 7th freest in the world in the 2015 index,” with no peer in South America. A global “example” of economic liberty, “Chile is second in the world in protecting property rights,” surpassed only by Hong Kong. Charles Koch, too, cites Hong Kong and Singapore as model “free societies.” Admitting that they lack the “social and political freedom” of other countries, he stresses what matters to him: “the greatest economic freedom” and “thus some of the greatest opportunities.” For whom, he does not specify. Few Chileans take pride in that standing, however; most deplore its effects but are stuck with it regardless of their wishes. A nation that once stood out as a middle-class beacon in Latin America now has the worst economic inequality it has seen since the 1930s – and the worst of the thirty-four member states in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Yet even among those who have profited most from the concentration of wealth, a feeling has spread that the chasm between those favored under the new rules and those hurt is “immoral.” The damage done during the Pinochet years by public choice economics goes beyond the legacy of economic inequality it left behind. The imposition of a nationwide school “choice” had dire effects as well. Pupil performance diverged sharply, owing to “increased sorting” by income, which naturally took place with the voucher system. Meanwhile, college tuition costs now equal 40 percent of the average household's income, making a higher education in Chile the most expensive on the planet, relative to per capita income. A huge student movement began in 2011-12 that featured marches of up to 200,000 and had the support of 85 percent of Chileans. The young people demanded the end of “profiteering” in schooling and a free education system with quality and opportunity for all. What they were asking for “is that the state take a different role,” said one leader, Camila Vallejo. “People are not tolerating the way a small number of economic groups benefit from the system.” In 2015, prosecutors charged leaders of the Penta Group, among the top beneficiaries of pension privatization, with massive tax evasion, bribery, and illegal financing of right-wing politicians. The prosecution found that the company, with some $30 billion in assets, had become “a machine to defraud the state.” That case lifted a huge rock, leading to inquiries that are ongoing and involve numerous companies tied to the dictatorship and the political parties to which they give. “The depth of corruption is enormous,” observed a law professor at the University of Chile in 2016. “Public interest has been subordinated to private interest, and when there is no clear distinction between them, it opens the door to endless opportunities for corruption.” What makes it so hard for Chile to address these pressing problems is precisely the constitution that still, even after multiple waves of reform, grossly favors wealthy, conservative interests at the expense of others. In the wake of the student struggle, the center-left candidate Michelle Bachelet, running for president in late 2013, promised vast reforms in education, social security, health care, and taxation, as well as additional reform of the 1980 constitution. She won almost two-thirds of the vote, yet she still found it difficult to carry out the platform. “Democratic processes are held back by authoritarian trammels,” President Bachelet complained in 2014. “We want a constitution without locks and bolts.”
But durable locks and bolts were exactly what James Buchanan had urged and what his Chilean hosts relied on to ensure that their will would still prevail after the dictator stepped down. And today the effectiveness of those locks and bolts is undermining hope among citizens that political participation can make a difference in their quality of life. Frustrated by how the junta's economic model remains so entrenched nearly three decades after Pinochet was voted out, many are disengaging from politics, particularly the young, who have never known any other system. Some legal scholars fear for the legitimacy of representative government in Chile as disgust spreads with a system that is so beholden to corporate power, so impermeable to deep change, and so inimical to majority interests. For his part, Buchanan came home form his consultation in Chile with a hunger to see radical change in his own country and a new sense of efficacy. He was finished with “the classic American syndromes, incrementalism and pragmatism.” It was time for “changes in the whole structure of social and economic institutions.” The challenge he soon learned, would be securing them in a functioning democracy.
After his Chilean consultations Buchanan would leave Virginia Tech for George Mason University and armed with Charles Kochs funding transform it into an institute producing the people to staff Kochs growing network of think tanks and fronts and fill the staff of his favoured politicians. The goals are starkly reminiscent of what was implemented in Chile.
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2018.06.22 12:52 Lamont-Cranston The Koch/Pinochet connection

While Hayek and Friedman are commonly castigated for their visits to Chile under Pinochets' rule, never heard about is Charles Kochs' intellectual BFF James McGill Buchanan who played a substantial role beyond seminars and apologetics. In fact the usually self promoting Buchanan was always silent on his role.
It was Buchanan who guided Pinochet's team in how to arrange things so that even when the country finally returned to representative institutions, its capitalist class would be all but permanently entrenched in power. The first stage was the imposition of radical structural transformation influenced by Buchanan's ideas; the second stage, to lock the transformation in place, was the kind of constitutional revolution Buchanan had come to advocate. Whereas the US Constitution famously enshrined “checks and balances” to prevent majorities from abusing their power over minorities, this one, a Chilean critic later complained, bound democracy with “locks and bolts”.
The first phase was a series of structural “reforms” devised by a young devotee of the Virginia school Minister of Labor Jose Pinera. Pinera had been working toward his doctorate at Harvard University when the coup occurred; elated, he came home “to help found a new country, dedicated to liberty.” His contribution was a series of deep alterations in governance, were privatization, deregulation, and the state-induced fragmentation of group power. Under the new labor code Pinera promulgated in 1979, for example, industry-wide labor unions were banned. Instead, planet-level unions could compete, making one another weaker while their attention was thus diverted from the federal government (“depoliticizing” economic matters, in Buchanan terms). Individual wage earners were granted “freedom of choice” to make their own deals with employers. It would be more accurate to say that they were forced to act solely as individuals. “One simply cannot finish the job,” Pinera later explained to would-be emulators, if workers maintain the capacity to exercise real collective power. Pinera designed another core prop of the new order: privatization of the social security system. This freed companies of the obligation to make any contributions to their employees retirement and also greatly limited the governments role in safeguarding citizens well-being. Ending the principle of social insurance, much as Barry Goldwater had advocated in 1964, the market-based system instead steered workers toward individual accounts with private investment firms. As one scholar notes, it “was essentially self insurance.” Fortunately for the plan, the regime had full control of television. At a time when three of every four households had televisions, Pinera made weekly appearances over six months to sell the new system, playing to fear of old-age insecurity owing to “this sinkhole of a bureaucracy,” the nations social security system. “Wouldn't you rather,” he queried viewers, holding up “a handsome, simulated leather passbook,” see your individual savings recorded every month in such a book “that you can open at night and say, 'As of today I have invested $50,000 toward my golden years?'' The junta overruled the suggestion that Chileans might decide which system they wanted in a referendum – after all, “who could say where such a precedent might lead?” - and imposed Pineras plan by military decree. In short order, two private corporations – BHC Group and Cruzat-Larrain, both with strong ties to the regime – acquired two-thirds of the invested retirement funds, the equivalent, within ten years, of one-fifth of the nations GDP. (Jose Pinera, for his part, went to work for Cruzat and then promoted U.S. Social Security privatization for Charles Koch's Cato Institute.) Other “modernizations” included the privatization of health care, the opening of agriculture to world market forces, the transformation of the judiciary, new limits on the regulatory ability of the central government, and the signature of both the Chicago and Virginia schools of thought: K-12 school vouchers. In higher education, the regime applied the counsel of Buchanan's book on how to combat campus protest. As the nation's premier public universities were forced to become “self-financing,” and for-profit corporations were freed to launch competitors with little government supervision, the humanities and liberal arts were edged out in favor of utilitarian fields that produced less questioning. Universities with politically troublesome students stood to lose their remaining funding. Through these combined measures, education, health care, and social insurance, once provided by the state, ceased to be entitlements of citizens. With the seven modernizations in place, Pinochet's appointees could now focus fully on drafting a constitution to entrench this new order behind what they hoped would be impassable moats. In preparation, the BHC Group's management translated James Buchanan's recent book, The Limits of Liberty, into Spanish. So, too, the founders of a pro-regime think tank, the Centro de Estudios Publicos (CEP), translated several works of public choice, including a basic primer by Buchanan. Buchanan then visited for a week in May 1980, a pivotal moment, to provide in-person guidance. A few months earlier, the regime had begun a mass purge of teachers from the nation's public universities, firing those considered “politically unreliable,” reported the New York Times. Dozens of other, less prominent citizens were simply found guilty of breaching a prohibition on political activity and banished to faraway villages, with no chance of appeal. As a result of the assassination of Ambassador Letelier and an American associate in rush-hour traffic on Washington, D.C.'s Embassy Row, Chile faced U.S. Sanctions for having carried out a terrorist act. This meant that the economists' visit had to come on the invitation of private actors – in Buchanan's case, from the Adolfo Ibanez Foundation's business school. Its dean, Carlos Francisco Caceres, and Buchanan had had a long conversation at the 1979 Madrid meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society. Caceres, one of the most vehemently antidemocratic members of the Council of State, a body created in 1976 to advise Pinochet, was eager to bring Buchanan's “opinions” into the regime's discussions of the new constitution. It worked. The Virginian's true host, in fact, was the Chilean minister of finance, Sergio de Castro, the regime's leading thinker and an economist indebted to Pinochet for enabling him and his colleagues to expunge a “half century of errors” when “public opinion was very much against [us].” Which is why de Castro and others saw a pressing need for a new constitution that would make public dissatisfaction irrelevant – or at least sharply curtail the public's ability to reverse the transformation he and his junta colleagues had imposed by force. When Caceres set up a meeting for Buchanan with the BHC Group, he told him directly that “our main interest in your visit” was to explore how public choice economics might help inform the “new Constitution which will define our future republican life.” They sought input on questions from “the way to elect the political authorities” to “the economic matters which should be included” in the document. Buchanan responded with detailed advice on how to bind democracy, delivered over the course of five formal lectures to top representatives of a governing elite that melded the military and corporate world, to say nothing of counsel he conveyed in private, unrecorded conversations. He spoke plainly and in the imperative mode, suggesting the government “must” and “should” do this or that. He defined public choice as a “science” (even though he, of all people, knew that there was no empirical research to back its claims) and that “should be adopted” for matters ranging from “the power of a constitution over fiscal policy” to “what the optimum number of lawmakers in a legislative body should be.” He said of members of his school of though, “We are formulating constitutional ways in which we can limit government intervention in the economy and make sure it keeps its hand out of the pockets of productive contributors.” Buchanan understood what his hosts were asking for: a road map. He thus explained that the constitution needed “severe restrictions on the power of government.” He instructed that “the first” such restriction “is that the government must not be freed to spend without also, at the same time, collecting the necessary taxes to offset expenses” - Harry Byrd's sacred pay-as-you-go principle. “It must have a constitution that requires a balanced budget” - no more Keynesian deficits under any circumstances. Also, “the independence of the the Central Bank should be enshrined in the constitution”; the government should be denied the authority to make “monetary policy because doing so would surely lead to inflation.” A last restriction he urged was to require supermajorities for any change of substance. “It must be ensured that a system exists in which only a large majority,” he said, “2/3 or 5/6 of the legislative body, can approve each new expense.” With this formula the scholar overshot the mark even with the junta's members, just as he ad in his proposal of a fire sale of public schools to Virginia's legislature in 1959: none had the nerve to float a five-sixths requirement. So intrinsic was the influence of economic libertarians that Chile's new constitution bore the same name as Hayek's classic The Constitution of Liberty. “It promised a democracy,” remarked the leading American historian of the Pinochet era, Steve Stern, “protected from too much democracy.” The new constitution guaranteed the power of the armed forces over government in the near term, and over the long term curtailed the group influence of nonelite citizens. The document guaranteed the rule of General Pinochet and his aides until a 1988 plebiscite that might extend his term to 1997, when “a new generation,” as Stern notes, “would have learned the role of the citizen in a restrictive democracy.” The devil is in the details, goes the old adage, and it is true: the wicked genius of Buchanan's approach to binding popular self-government was that he did it with detailed rules that made most people's eyes glaze over. In the boring fine print, he understood, transformations can be achieved increments that few will notice, because most people have no patience for minutiae. But the kind of people he was advising can hire others to make sure that the fine print gets them what they want/ The net impact of the new constitution's intricate rules changes was to give the president unprecedented powers, hobble the congress, and enable unelected military officials to serve as a power brake on the elected members of the congress. A cunning new electoral system, not in use anywhere else in the world clearly the fruit of Buchanan's counsel, would permanently overrepresent the right-wing minority party to ensure “a system frozen by elite interests.” To seal the elite control, the constitution forbade union leaders from belonging to political parties and from “intervening in activities alien to their specific goals” - defined solely as negotiating wages and hours their particular workplaces. It also barred advocating “class conflict” or “attack[ing] the family.” Anyone deemed “antifamily” or “Marxist” could be sent into exile, without access to an appeal process. Pinochet personally reviewed the penultimate document, making well over a hundred changes, then announced that citizens would have to vote a simple yes or no on whether to adopt the new constitution, in its entirety, in a plebiscite to be held within a month of its release. The balloting would take place during the prolonged “state of emergency” in which all political parties were outlawed, no voter rolls existed to prevent fraud (because the junta had had them burned), and no scrutiny our counting by foreign observers was to be allowed. When a group of moderate jurists and civic leaders composed a truly democratic alternative document the regime prohibited its release The mayors charged with running the plebiscite and counting the votes owed their jobs to the dictatorship. Election rules forbade electioneering by “no” activists. When some individuals flouted the ban by leafleting and inviting people to a speech by the former Christian Democratic president Eduardo Frei, nearly sixty found themselves arrested; some were tortured. “With my own eyes,” reports a political scientist and later ambassador, “I saw people being dragged off a public bus and beaten for shouting, 'Vote “no” on the charter!'” The junta allowed only a single indoor gathering to oppose the document. More than ten thousand citizens filled every seat in the theater for the first legal rally in seven years, while as many as fifty thousand craned to hear from outside. Frei had opposed Allende yet also denounced the proposed constitution as “illegal” in its conception and “a fraud” in its content. A reporter from one of the few media outlets allowed to cover the rally was fired later that night for his refusal to read on the air a prepared report that smeared the speaker and lied about the event. Against such odds, “dissidents could not block the steamroller.” Only three in ten Chileans voted no on the transparent paper used for ballots; 67 percent assented.
If Jim Buchanan had qualms about helping to design a constitution for a dictatorship or about the process by which the final product was ratified, matters widely reported in the press, he did not commit them to print. Instead, he wrote Sergio de Castro with thanks for “the fine lunch you held in my honor” and shared how he “enjoyed the whole of my visit to Chile.” Mrs Buchanan, who accompanied him, appreciated “the nice gifts, the beautiful flowers, the Chilean jewellery, [and] the wine.” What's perplexing is how a man whose life's mission was the promotion of what he and his fellow Mont Pelerin Society members called the free society reconciled himself, with such seeming ease, to what military junta was doing to the people of Chile. The new Chile was free for some, and perhaps that was enough, as they were the same kind of people who counted in Virginia in the era when Buchanan pledged to his new employer that he would work to preserve liberty. It was also, always, a particular type of freedom the libertarians cared most about. One Chilean defined it well in rejoicing to fellow members of the society that the “individual freedom to consume, produce, save and invest has been restored.” But perhaps above all, for Buchanan, the end justified the means: Chile emerged with a set of rules closer to his ideal than any in existence, built to repel future popular pressure for change. It was “a virtual unamendable charter,” in that no constitutional amendment could be added without endorsement by supermajorities in two successive sessions of the National Congress, a body radically skewed by the overrepresentation of the wealthy, the military, and the less popular political parties associated with them. Buchanan had long called for binding rules to protect economic liberty and constrain majority power, and Chile's 1980 Constitution of Liberty guaranteed these as never before. The political economist also gained from this episode the adulation of his allies in the Monte Pelerin Society. The society showcased his thought by inviting him to present the main paper at its annual meeting that September at the Hoover Institution, in Palo Alto. Exhilarated by what had been achieved, the society's leaders chose for the site of its November 1981 regional meeting the coastal Chilean city of Vina del Marr, where military leaders had hatched the coup and President Allende's remains lay in an unmarked grave. Buchanan and the two pro-junta Chilean colleagues together organized the program. The sessions they designed sounded like rationales – indeed, justifications – for the dictatorship's choices. Among the panels were “Social Security: A Road to Socialism?”; “Education: Government or Personal Responsibility?”; and finally Buchanan's own contribution, “Democracy: Limited or Unlimited?” For the society's members, Chile was a beacon. The constitution, in the summary of one scholar, removed “major social questions – such as macroeconomic policy – from democratic influence.” Interestingly, Buchanan never spoke of the Chilean consultation in his later publications. He did include his multiple speaking commitments there in his center's annual report to the Virginia Tech administration and to donors in 1980, likely as evidence of his increasing international stature. But he never mentioned the Chilean case in print as an example of the application of his thought. For someone who devoted the remainder of his life scholarly career to constitutional analysis and prescription, it was a telling omission. Perhaps his conscience troubled him or he feared condemnation. After all, even a conservative newspaper condemned Jesse Helms for how he “doggedly ignored the country's atrocious human rights record.” After the North Carolina senator visited with Pinochet in 1986 and came home defending the junta from critics, the Raleigh Times mockingly urged a public collection to buy him better glasses and a hearing aid, because the senator was “deaf, blind, and dumb to official policies of corruption and torture.” Whatever the reason, Buchanan's enduring silence spoke loudly. Looking back, though, one can only wonder what would have happened if someone had suggested to Buchanan that he apply his public choice analysis to the decision-making calculus of General Pinochet and his colleagues when they sought his counsel. Would he have been able to step back a minute and examine the military officers and their corporate allies as self-interested actors? As they set about devising binding rules to limit what other political agents could do, would he have seen that they might be using the rule writing process to keep themselves in power? Buchanan would title one of his later books Politics by Principal, Not Interest. But there is no evidence that he ever recognized what was happening in Chile as naked interest-driven action, bereft of any classical liberal principle. Or that he acknowledge that his own counsel had encouraged it. If he had treated his school of thought as a the neutral analytical framework he proclaimed it to be, Buchanan should also have anticipated how General Pinochet – having done away with the independent media, freedom of speech, political parties, and so many regulations – could easily purloin public monies to enrich himself and his family, as he did. Nor did Buchanan ever publicly criticize the final constitution as promulgated by the junta. On the contrary, he continued to promote constitutional revolution, thereafter more single-mindedly, and to seek out support from wealthy funders who might help effect it. From this we can only conclude that he was well aware of the Pandora's box he had helped open in Chile for the genuine, not merely metaphorical, corruption of politics, but he valued economic liberty so much more than political freedom that he simply did not care about the invitation to abuse inherent in giving nearly unchecked power to an alliance of capital and the armed forces. His silence, it must be said, safeguarded his reputation. Buchanan surely noticed that Milton Friedman never lived down having advised the junta on how to combat inflation: protesters disrupted the 1976 award ceremony in Stockholm at which he received the Nobel Prize and hounded his engagements thereafter. Whereas Friedman's name became permanently and embarrassingly paired with Pinochet's, Buchanan, the stealth visitor, largely escaped notice for the guidance he provided. But, then, unlike Friedman, Buchanan never craved the spotlight. He was content to work in the shadows.
Meanwhile, predictable trouble loomed for the political-economic model imposed on Chile. The year after the Mont Pelerin Society celebrated in the resort city of Vina del Mar, Chile's economy went into a tailspin, contracting by more than 14 percent. The devastation was so bad that, despite the dangers, a broad-based opposition emerged among workers, students, and homemakers that shook the regime as nothing else had to date. The causes of the crisis were not only internal; the world economy also stumbled that year. But the economic model urged by the society's thinkers and implemented by their local colleagues made it especially disastrous. Chile's now unregulated banks engaged in reckless lending that threatened to sink the entire economy when the reckoning arrived. The only thing that averted a total collapse was Pinochet's firing of the Mont Pelerin Society zealots, in particular Sergio de Castro, Buchanan's leading host, whose proposed solution to the free fall included cutting the minimum wage and other deflationary measures that seemed too risky even to a dictatorship. Pinochet replaced the ideologues with individuals who were willing to enlist government to right the ship. That November, the state took control of four banks and four finance companies to prevent “the collapse of the entire banking system.” The outcome will sound familiar to Americans who lived through a virtual replay in 2008: “During the boom, Chile's economic gains had been privatized; now in the crunch, the country's losses were socialized.” Among those hardest hit were those who had invested their life savings in the new individual retirement accounts in corporate mutual funds that failed. Meanwhile, the opposition's attention turned to the new constitution. Buoyed by the public outcry, they used its provision for a 1988 plebiscite to achieve surprising success – only the discover how its “tricky” mechanisms, in the words of one Chilean legal scholar, would block “channels for the majority to express itself or for just laws to be passed.” Voters were given only one choice: to vote yes or no on whether General Pinochet could rule for another eight years. Visiting to report on the worsening human rights situation, which now included aggressive attacks on the Catholic Church, the political scientist Alfred Stepan explained to American readers what was “really at stake.” The call for a yes vote was “an effort to institutionalize a new type of authoritarian regime that has not be seen in a Western country like Chile since the 1930s.” The whole process was so absurdly rigged in the dictatorship's favor that at first, virtually all its opponents urged a boycott. But this was the only chance people had to register rejection of Pinochet at the polls, so most reconsidered. Joining together to form the center-left Concertacion de Partidos por la Democracia (Coalition of Parties for Democracy), they urged a no vote, and worked so intently to register voters that 92 percent of Chileans regained the right to vote. On October 5, lines formed early and stayed late, until the stunning result was announced: despite a manifestly stacked deck, voters refused General Pinochet the additional term sought by a margin of 55 percent to 43 percent. Ten of the nation's twelve regions voted no, leaving the erstwhile potentate “humiliated.” As the new constitution stipulated, Pinochet held on to power for another year, until, in July 1989, after tireless work from the activists, Chileans elected a president and a congress for the first time in nearly twenty years. The new Concertacion government inherited a society of surging inequality and economic insecurity – and a constitution that made it all but impossible to change course. The document baked in the fundamental rules of Pinochet's economic model, albeit as modified modestly by the pragmatists who took over after 1982. “The free market model as applied under Pinochet had an enormous social cost,” explains one political scientist. “Whereas in 1970, only 23 percent of the population was classified as poor or indigent, by 1987 the proportion had reached 45 percent – almost half – of the population,” while wealth had become more concentrated among the richest. The novel labor “flexibility” heralded by the regime's enthusiasts had taken away protections that working people won over generations of organizing and political action. Precarious and low-income work [became] the staple for over 40 percent of the Chilean labor force,” a marginality compounded by the fact that individuals were now forced to save the full cost of their retirement pensions, with no contribution by their employers, and pay for other goods that had previously come with citizenship. Not to mention those who had dutifully put away money only to have lost it in the downturn. One salesman who called himself part of the “white-collar poor” told journalists, “Today there are two Chiles”: “one with credit cars and computers, and one that is just trying to survive.” Yet, “Pinochet's sinister constitution,” as the acclaimed refugee author Ariel Dorfman has called it, by design “makes urgently needed reforms especially difficult to carry out.” From the very beginning, then, the pro-democracy forces saw their task as twofold: mitigating the injustices the dictatorship had left and reducing the authoritarian aspects of the constitution. That first elected government proposed and won overwhelming approval of fifty-four amendments, among them one to eliminate the requirement that supermajorities of two successive sessions of the congress must approve any future constitutional amendments. Yet the skewed electoral system still remains in place, with its provision effectively granting the one-third minority of right-wing voters the same representation as the typical two-thirds majority attracted by center-left candidates. [From The Victors essay by Noam Chomsky, 1990: Under the heading “Tyrant’s `Success’ Leaves 7 of 12 Million Chileans Poor,” Antonio Garza Morales reports in Excelsior that “the social cost which has been paid by the Chilean people is the highest in Latin America,” with the number of poor rising from 1 million after Allende to 7 million today, while the population remained stable at 12 million. Christian Democratic Party leader Senator Anselmo Sule, returned from exile, says that economic growth that benefits 10 percent of the population has been achieved (Pinochet’s official institutions agree), but development has not. Unless the economic disaster for the majority is remedied, “we are finished,” he adds. According to David Felix, “Chile, hit especially hard in the 1982-84 period, is now growing faster than during the preceding decade of the Chicago Boys,” enthralled by the free market ideology that is, indeed, highly beneficial for some: the wealthy, crucially including foreign investors. Chile’s recovery, Felix argues, can be traced to “a combination of severe wage repression by the Pinochet regime, an astutely managed bailout of the bankrupt private sector by the economic team that replaced the discredited Chicago Boys, and access to unusually generous lending by the international financial institutions,” much impressed by the favorable climate for business operations. Environmental degradation is also a severe problem in Chile. The Chilean journal Apsi devoted a recent issue to the environmental crisis accelerated by the “radical neoliberalism” of the period following the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the parliamentary democracy. Recent studies show that about half the country is becoming a desert, a problem that “seems much farther away than the daily poisoning of those who live in Santiago,” the capital city, which competes with Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Mexico City for the pollution prize for the hemisphere (for the world, the journal alleges). “The liquid that emerges from the millions of faucets in the homes and alleys of Santiago have levels of copper, iron, magnesium and lead which exceed by many times the maximum tolerable norms.” The land that “supplies the fruits and vegetables of the Metropolitan Region are irrigated with waters that exceed by 1,000 times the maximum quantity of coliforms acceptable,” which is why Santiago “has levels of hepatitis, typhoid, and parasites which are not seen in any other part of the continent” (one of every three children has parasites in the capital). Economists and environmentalists attribute the problem to the “development model,” crucially, its “transnational style,” “in which the most important decisions tend to be adopted outside the ambit of the countries themselves,” consistent with the assigned “function” of the Third World: to serve the needs of the industrial West.]
It is deeply troubling, then, that Chile is held up today as an exemplary “economic miracle” by the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and others on the U.S. right. After the toppling of Saddam Hussein, National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg went so far as to announce, “Iraq needs Pinochet.” Trumpeting the Heritage Foundation's country-by-country annual global ranking, “Chile's economic freedom score is 78.5, making its economy the 7th freest in the world in the 2015 index,” with no peer in South America. A global “example” of economic liberty, “Chile is second in the world in protecting property rights,” surpassed only by Hong Kong. Charles Koch, too, cites Hong Kong and Singapore as model “free societies.” Admitting that they lack the “social and political freedom” of other countries, he stresses what matters to him: “the greatest economic freedom” and “thus some of the greatest opportunities.” For whom, he does not specify. Few Chileans take pride in that standing, however; most deplore its effects but are stuck with it regardless of their wishes. A nation that once stood out as a middle-class beacon in Latin America now has the worst economic inequality it has seen since the 1930s – and the worst of the thirty-four member states in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Yet even among those who have profited most from the concentration of wealth, a feeling has spread that the chasm between those favored under the new rules and those hurt is “immoral.” The damage done during the Pinochet years by public choice economics goes beyond the legacy of economic inequality it left behind. The imposition of a nationwide school “choice” had dire effects as well. Pupil performance diverged sharply, owing to “increased sorting” by income, which naturally took place with the voucher system. Meanwhile, college tuition costs now equal 40 percent of the average household's income, making a higher education in Chile the most expensive on the planet, relative to per capita income. A huge student movement began in 2011-12 that featured marches of up to 200,000 and had the support of 85 percent of Chileans. The young people demanded the end of “profiteering” in schooling and a free education system with quality and opportunity for all. What they were asking for “is that the state take a different role,” said one leader, Camila Vallejo. “People are not tolerating the way a small number of economic groups benefit from the system.” In 2015, prosecutors charged leaders of the Penta Group, among the top beneficiaries of pension privatization, with massive tax evasion, bribery, and illegal financing of right-wing politicians. The prosecution found that the company, with some $30 billion in assets, had become “a machine to defraud the state.” That case lifted a huge rock, leading to inquiries that are ongoing and involve numerous companies tied to the dictatorship and the political parties to which they give. “The depth of corruption is enormous,” observed a law professor at the University of Chile in 2016. “Public interest has been subordinated to private interest, and when there is no clear distinction between them, it opens the door to endless opportunities for corruption.” What makes it so hard for Chile to address these pressing problems is precisely the constitution that still, even after multiple waves of reform, grossly favors wealthy, conservative interests at the expense of others. In the wake of the student struggle, the center-left candidate Michelle Bachelet, running for president in late 2013, promised vast reforms in education, social security, health care, and taxation, as well as additional reform of the 1980 constitution. She won almost two-thirds of the vote, yet she still found it difficult to carry out the platform. “Democratic processes are held back by authoritarian trammels,” President Bachelet complained in 2014. “We want a constitution without locks and bolts.”
But durable locks and bolts were exactly what James Buchanan had urged and what his Chilean hosts relied on to ensure that their will would still prevail after the dictator stepped down. And today the effectiveness of those locks and bolts is undermining hope among citizens that political participation can make a difference in their quality of life. Frustrated by how the junta's economic model remains so entrenched nearly three decades after Pinochet was voted out, many are disengaging from politics, particularly the young, who have never known any other system. Some legal scholars fear for the legitimacy of representative government in Chile as disgust spreads with a system that is so beholden to corporate power, so impermeable to deep change, and so inimical to majority interests. For his part, Buchanan came home form his consultation in Chile with a hunger to see radical change in his own country and a new sense of efficacy. He was finished with “the classic American syndromes, incrementalism and pragmatism.” It was time for “changes in the whole structure of social and economic institutions.” The challenge he soon learned, would be securing them in a functioning democracy.
After his Chilean consultations Buchanan would leave Virginia Tech for George Mason University and armed with Charles Kochs funding transform it into an institute producing the people to staff Kochs growing network of think tanks and fronts and fill the staff of his favoured politicians. The goals are starkly reminiscent of what was implemented in Chile.
submitted by Lamont-Cranston to ConspiracyII [link] [comments]


2018.06.22 12:49 Lamont-Cranston The Koch/Pinochet connection

While Hayek and Friedman are commonly castigated for their visits to Chile under Pinochets' rule, never heard about is Charles Kochs' intellectual BFF James McGill Buchanan who played a substantial role beyond seminars and apologetics. In fact the usually self promoting Buchanan was always silent on his role.
It was Buchanan who guided Pinochet's team in how to arrange things so that even when the country finally returned to representative institutions, its capitalist class would be all but permanently entrenched in power. The first stage was the imposition of radical structural transformation influenced by Buchanan's ideas; the second stage, to lock the transformation in place, was the kind of constitutional revolution Buchanan had come to advocate. Whereas the US Constitution famously enshrined “checks and balances” to prevent majorities from abusing their power over minorities, this one, a Chilean critic later complained, bound democracy with “locks and bolts”.
The first phase was a series of structural “reforms” devised by a young devotee of the Virginia school Minister of Labor Jose Pinera. Pinera had been working toward his doctorate at Harvard University when the coup occurred; elated, he came home “to help found a new country, dedicated to liberty.” His contribution was a series of deep alterations in governance, were privatization, deregulation, and the state-induced fragmentation of group power. Under the new labor code Pinera promulgated in 1979, for example, industry-wide labor unions were banned. Instead, planet-level unions could compete, making one another weaker while their attention was thus diverted from the federal government (“depoliticizing” economic matters, in Buchanan terms). Individual wage earners were granted “freedom of choice” to make their own deals with employers. It would be more accurate to say that they were forced to act solely as individuals. “One simply cannot finish the job,” Pinera later explained to would-be emulators, if workers maintain the capacity to exercise real collective power. Pinera designed another core prop of the new order: privatization of the social security system. This freed companies of the obligation to make any contributions to their employees retirement and also greatly limited the governments role in safeguarding citizens well-being. Ending the principle of social insurance, much as Barry Goldwater had advocated in 1964, the market-based system instead steered workers toward individual accounts with private investment firms. As one scholar notes, it “was essentially self insurance.” Fortunately for the plan, the regime had full control of television. At a time when three of every four households had televisions, Pinera made weekly appearances over six months to sell the new system, playing to fear of old-age insecurity owing to “this sinkhole of a bureaucracy,” the nations social security system. “Wouldn't you rather,” he queried viewers, holding up “a handsome, simulated leather passbook,” see your individual savings recorded every month in such a book “that you can open at night and say, 'As of today I have invested $50,000 toward my golden years?'' The junta overruled the suggestion that Chileans might decide which system they wanted in a referendum – after all, “who could say where such a precedent might lead?” - and imposed Pineras plan by military decree. In short order, two private corporations – BHC Group and Cruzat-Larrain, both with strong ties to the regime – acquired two-thirds of the invested retirement funds, the equivalent, within ten years, of one-fifth of the nations GDP. (Jose Pinera, for his part, went to work for Cruzat and then promoted U.S. Social Security privatization for Charles Koch's Cato Institute.) Other “modernizations” included the privatization of health care, the opening of agriculture to world market forces, the transformation of the judiciary, new limits on the regulatory ability of the central government, and the signature of both the Chicago and Virginia schools of thought: K-12 school vouchers. In higher education, the regime applied the counsel of Buchanan's book on how to combat campus protest. As the nation's premier public universities were forced to become “self-financing,” and for-profit corporations were freed to launch competitors with little government supervision, the humanities and liberal arts were edged out in favor of utilitarian fields that produced less questioning. Universities with politically troublesome students stood to lose their remaining funding. Through these combined measures, education, health care, and social insurance, once provided by the state, ceased to be entitlements of citizens. With the seven modernizations in place, Pinochet's appointees could now focus fully on drafting a constitution to entrench this new order behind what they hoped would be impassable moats. In preparation, the BHC Group's management translated James Buchanan's recent book, The Limits of Liberty, into Spanish. So, too, the founders of a pro-regime think tank, the Centro de Estudios Publicos (CEP), translated several works of public choice, including a basic primer by Buchanan. Buchanan then visited for a week in May 1980, a pivotal moment, to provide in-person guidance. A few months earlier, the regime had begun a mass purge of teachers from the nation's public universities, firing those considered “politically unreliable,” reported the New York Times. Dozens of other, less prominent citizens were simply found guilty of breaching a prohibition on political activity and banished to faraway villages, with no chance of appeal. As a result of the assassination of Ambassador Letelier and an American associate in rush-hour traffic on Washington, D.C.'s Embassy Row, Chile faced U.S. Sanctions for having carried out a terrorist act. This meant that the economists' visit had to come on the invitation of private actors – in Buchanan's case, from the Adolfo Ibanez Foundation's business school. Its dean, Carlos Francisco Caceres, and Buchanan had had a long conversation at the 1979 Madrid meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society. Caceres, one of the most vehemently antidemocratic members of the Council of State, a body created in 1976 to advise Pinochet, was eager to bring Buchanan's “opinions” into the regime's discussions of the new constitution. It worked. The Virginian's true host, in fact, was the Chilean minister of finance, Sergio de Castro, the regime's leading thinker and an economist indebted to Pinochet for enabling him and his colleagues to expunge a “half century of errors” when “public opinion was very much against [us].” Which is why de Castro and others saw a pressing need for a new constitution that would make public dissatisfaction irrelevant – or at least sharply curtail the public's ability to reverse the transformation he and his junta colleagues had imposed by force. When Caceres set up a meeting for Buchanan with the BHC Group, he told him directly that “our main interest in your visit” was to explore how public choice economics might help inform the “new Constitution which will define our future republican life.” They sought input on questions from “the way to elect the political authorities” to “the economic matters which should be included” in the document. Buchanan responded with detailed advice on how to bind democracy, delivered over the course of five formal lectures to top representatives of a governing elite that melded the military and corporate world, to say nothing of counsel he conveyed in private, unrecorded conversations. He spoke plainly and in the imperative mode, suggesting the government “must” and “should” do this or that. He defined public choice as a “science” (even though he, of all people, knew that there was no empirical research to back its claims) and that “should be adopted” for matters ranging from “the power of a constitution over fiscal policy” to “what the optimum number of lawmakers in a legislative body should be.” He said of members of his school of though, “We are formulating constitutional ways in which we can limit government intervention in the economy and make sure it keeps its hand out of the pockets of productive contributors.” Buchanan understood what his hosts were asking for: a road map. He thus explained that the constitution needed “severe restrictions on the power of government.” He instructed that “the first” such restriction “is that the government must not be freed to spend without also, at the same time, collecting the necessary taxes to offset expenses” - Harry Byrd's sacred pay-as-you-go principle. “It must have a constitution that requires a balanced budget” - no more Keynesian deficits under any circumstances. Also, “the independence of the the Central Bank should be enshrined in the constitution”; the government should be denied the authority to make “monetary policy because doing so would surely lead to inflation.” A last restriction he urged was to require supermajorities for any change of substance. “It must be ensured that a system exists in which only a large majority,” he said, “2/3 or 5/6 of the legislative body, can approve each new expense.” With this formula the scholar overshot the mark even with the junta's members, just as he ad in his proposal of a fire sale of public schools to Virginia's legislature in 1959: none had the nerve to float a five-sixths requirement. So intrinsic was the influence of economic libertarians that Chile's new constitution bore the same name as Hayek's classic The Constitution of Liberty. “It promised a democracy,” remarked the leading American historian of the Pinochet era, Steve Stern, “protected from too much democracy.” The new constitution guaranteed the power of the armed forces over government in the near term, and over the long term curtailed the group influence of nonelite citizens. The document guaranteed the rule of General Pinochet and his aides until a 1988 plebiscite that might extend his term to 1997, when “a new generation,” as Stern notes, “would have learned the role of the citizen in a restrictive democracy.” The devil is in the details, goes the old adage, and it is true: the wicked genius of Buchanan's approach to binding popular self-government was that he did it with detailed rules that made most people's eyes glaze over. In the boring fine print, he understood, transformations can be achieved increments that few will notice, because most people have no patience for minutiae. But the kind of people he was advising can hire others to make sure that the fine print gets them what they want/ The net impact of the new constitution's intricate rules changes was to give the president unprecedented powers, hobble the congress, and enable unelected military officials to serve as a power brake on the elected members of the congress. A cunning new electoral system, not in use anywhere else in the world clearly the fruit of Buchanan's counsel, would permanently overrepresent the right-wing minority party to ensure “a system frozen by elite interests.” To seal the elite control, the constitution forbade union leaders from belonging to political parties and from “intervening in activities alien to their specific goals” - defined solely as negotiating wages and hours their particular workplaces. It also barred advocating “class conflict” or “attack[ing] the family.” Anyone deemed “antifamily” or “Marxist” could be sent into exile, without access to an appeal process. Pinochet personally reviewed the penultimate document, making well over a hundred changes, then announced that citizens would have to vote a simple yes or no on whether to adopt the new constitution, in its entirety, in a plebiscite to be held within a month of its release. The balloting would take place during the prolonged “state of emergency” in which all political parties were outlawed, no voter rolls existed to prevent fraud (because the junta had had them burned), and no scrutiny our counting by foreign observers was to be allowed. When a group of moderate jurists and civic leaders composed a truly democratic alternative document the regime prohibited its release The mayors charged with running the plebiscite and counting the votes owed their jobs to the dictatorship. Election rules forbade electioneering by “no” activists. When some individuals flouted the ban by leafleting and inviting people to a speech by the former Christian Democratic president Eduardo Frei, nearly sixty found themselves arrested; some were tortured. “With my own eyes,” reports a political scientist and later ambassador, “I saw people being dragged off a public bus and beaten for shouting, 'Vote “no” on the charter!'” The junta allowed only a single indoor gathering to oppose the document. More than ten thousand citizens filled every seat in the theater for the first legal rally in seven years, while as many as fifty thousand craned to hear from outside. Frei had opposed Allende yet also denounced the proposed constitution as “illegal” in its conception and “a fraud” in its content. A reporter from one of the few media outlets allowed to cover the rally was fired later that night for his refusal to read on the air a prepared report that smeared the speaker and lied about the event. Against such odds, “dissidents could not block the steamroller.” Only three in ten Chileans voted no on the transparent paper used for ballots; 67 percent assented.
If Jim Buchanan had qualms about helping to design a constitution for a dictatorship or about the process by which the final product was ratified, matters widely reported in the press, he did not commit them to print. Instead, he wrote Sergio de Castro with thanks for “the fine lunch you held in my honor” and shared how he “enjoyed the whole of my visit to Chile.” Mrs Buchanan, who accompanied him, appreciated “the nice gifts, the beautiful flowers, the Chilean jewellery, [and] the wine.” What's perplexing is how a man whose life's mission was the promotion of what he and his fellow Mont Pelerin Society members called the free society reconciled himself, with such seeming ease, to what military junta was doing to the people of Chile. The new Chile was free for some, and perhaps that was enough, as they were the same kind of people who counted in Virginia in the era when Buchanan pledged to his new employer that he would work to preserve liberty. It was also, always, a particular type of freedom the libertarians cared most about. One Chilean defined it well in rejoicing to fellow members of the society that the “individual freedom to consume, produce, save and invest has been restored.” But perhaps above all, for Buchanan, the end justified the means: Chile emerged with a set of rules closer to his ideal than any in existence, built to repel future popular pressure for change. It was “a virtual unamendable charter,” in that no constitutional amendment could be added without endorsement by supermajorities in two successive sessions of the National Congress, a body radically skewed by the overrepresentation of the wealthy, the military, and the less popular political parties associated with them. Buchanan had long called for binding rules to protect economic liberty and constrain majority power, and Chile's 1980 Constitution of Liberty guaranteed these as never before. The political economist also gained from this episode the adulation of his allies in the Monte Pelerin Society. The society showcased his thought by inviting him to present the main paper at its annual meeting that September at the Hoover Institution, in Palo Alto. Exhilarated by what had been achieved, the society's leaders chose for the site of its November 1981 regional meeting the coastal Chilean city of Vina del Marr, where military leaders had hatched the coup and President Allende's remains lay in an unmarked grave. Buchanan and the two pro-junta Chilean colleagues together organized the program. The sessions they designed sounded like rationales – indeed, justifications – for the dictatorship's choices. Among the panels were “Social Security: A Road to Socialism?”; “Education: Government or Personal Responsibility?”; and finally Buchanan's own contribution, “Democracy: Limited or Unlimited?” For the society's members, Chile was a beacon. The constitution, in the summary of one scholar, removed “major social questions – such as macroeconomic policy – from democratic influence.” Interestingly, Buchanan never spoke of the Chilean consultation in his later publications. He did include his multiple speaking commitments there in his center's annual report to the Virginia Tech administration and to donors in 1980, likely as evidence of his increasing international stature. But he never mentioned the Chilean case in print as an example of the application of his thought. For someone who devoted the remainder of his life scholarly career to constitutional analysis and prescription, it was a telling omission. Perhaps his conscience troubled him or he feared condemnation. After all, even a conservative newspaper condemned Jesse Helms for how he “doggedly ignored the country's atrocious human rights record.” After the North Carolina senator visited with Pinochet in 1986 and came home defending the junta from critics, the Raleigh Times mockingly urged a public collection to buy him better glasses and a hearing aid, because the senator was “deaf, blind, and dumb to official policies of corruption and torture.” Whatever the reason, Buchanan's enduring silence spoke loudly. Looking back, though, one can only wonder what would have happened if someone had suggested to Buchanan that he apply his public choice analysis to the decision-making calculus of General Pinochet and his colleagues when they sought his counsel. Would he have been able to step back a minute and examine the military officers and their corporate allies as self-interested actors? As they set about devising binding rules to limit what other political agents could do, would he have seen that they might be using the rule writing process to keep themselves in power? Buchanan would title one of his later books Politics by Principal, Not Interest. But there is no evidence that he ever recognized what was happening in Chile as naked interest-driven action, bereft of any classical liberal principle. Or that he acknowledge that his own counsel had encouraged it. If he had treated his school of thought as a the neutral analytical framework he proclaimed it to be, Buchanan should also have anticipated how General Pinochet – having done away with the independent media, freedom of speech, political parties, and so many regulations – could easily purloin public monies to enrich himself and his family, as he did. Nor did Buchanan ever publicly criticize the final constitution as promulgated by the junta. On the contrary, he continued to promote constitutional revolution, thereafter more single-mindedly, and to seek out support from wealthy funders who might help effect it. From this we can only conclude that he was well aware of the Pandora's box he had helped open in Chile for the genuine, not merely metaphorical, corruption of politics, but he valued economic liberty so much more than political freedom that he simply did not care about the invitation to abuse inherent in giving nearly unchecked power to an alliance of capital and the armed forces. His silence, it must be said, safeguarded his reputation. Buchanan surely noticed that Milton Friedman never lived down having advised the junta on how to combat inflation: protesters disrupted the 1976 award ceremony in Stockholm at which he received the Nobel Prize and hounded his engagements thereafter. Whereas Friedman's name became permanently and embarrassingly paired with Pinochet's, Buchanan, the stealth visitor, largely escaped notice for the guidance he provided. But, then, unlike Friedman, Buchanan never craved the spotlight. He was content to work in the shadows.
Meanwhile, predictable trouble loomed for the political-economic model imposed on Chile. The year after the Mont Pelerin Society celebrated in the resort city of Vina del Mar, Chile's economy went into a tailspin, contracting by more than 14 percent. The devastation was so bad that, despite the dangers, a broad-based opposition emerged among workers, students, and homemakers that shook the regime as nothing else had to date. The causes of the crisis were not only internal; the world economy also stumbled that year. But the economic model urged by the society's thinkers and implemented by their local colleagues made it especially disastrous. Chile's now unregulated banks engaged in reckless lending that threatened to sink the entire economy when the reckoning arrived. The only thing that averted a total collapse was Pinochet's firing of the Mont Pelerin Society zealots, in particular Sergio de Castro, Buchanan's leading host, whose proposed solution to the free fall included cutting the minimum wage and other deflationary measures that seemed too risky even to a dictatorship. Pinochet replaced the ideologues with individuals who were willing to enlist government to right the ship. That November, the state took control of four banks and four finance companies to prevent “the collapse of the entire banking system.” The outcome will sound familiar to Americans who lived through a virtual replay in 2008: “During the boom, Chile's economic gains had been privatized; now in the crunch, the country's losses were socialized.” Among those hardest hit were those who had invested their life savings in the new individual retirement accounts in corporate mutual funds that failed. Meanwhile, the opposition's attention turned to the new constitution. Buoyed by the public outcry, they used its provision for a 1988 plebiscite to achieve surprising success – only the discover how its “tricky” mechanisms, in the words of one Chilean legal scholar, would block “channels for the majority to express itself or for just laws to be passed.” Voters were given only one choice: to vote yes or no on whether General Pinochet could rule for another eight years. Visiting to report on the worsening human rights situation, which now included aggressive attacks on the Catholic Church, the political scientist Alfred Stepan explained to American readers what was “really at stake.” The call for a yes vote was “an effort to institutionalize a new type of authoritarian regime that has not be seen in a Western country like Chile since the 1930s.” The whole process was so absurdly rigged in the dictatorship's favor that at first, virtually all its opponents urged a boycott. But this was the only chance people had to register rejection of Pinochet at the polls, so most reconsidered. Joining together to form the center-left Concertacion de Partidos por la Democracia (Coalition of Parties for Democracy), they urged a no vote, and worked so intently to register voters that 92 percent of Chileans regained the right to vote. On October 5, lines formed early and stayed late, until the stunning result was announced: despite a manifestly stacked deck, voters refused General Pinochet the additional term sought by a margin of 55 percent to 43 percent. Ten of the nation's twelve regions voted no, leaving the erstwhile potentate “humiliated.” As the new constitution stipulated, Pinochet held on to power for another year, until, in July 1989, after tireless work from the activists, Chileans elected a president and a congress for the first time in nearly twenty years. The new Concertacion government inherited a society of surging inequality and economic insecurity – and a constitution that made it all but impossible to change course. The document baked in the fundamental rules of Pinochet's economic model, albeit as modified modestly by the pragmatists who took over after 1982. “The free market model as applied under Pinochet had an enormous social cost,” explains one political scientist. “Whereas in 1970, only 23 percent of the population was classified as poor or indigent, by 1987 the proportion had reached 45 percent – almost half – of the population,” while wealth had become more concentrated among the richest. The novel labor “flexibility” heralded by the regime's enthusiasts had taken away protections that working people won over generations of organizing and political action. Precarious and low-income work [became] the staple for over 40 percent of the Chilean labor force,” a marginality compounded by the fact that individuals were now forced to save the full cost of their retirement pensions, with no contribution by their employers, and pay for other goods that had previously come with citizenship. Not to mention those who had dutifully put away money only to have lost it in the downturn. One salesman who called himself part of the “white-collar poor” told journalists, “Today there are two Chiles”: “one with credit cars and computers, and one that is just trying to survive.” Yet, “Pinochet's sinister constitution,” as the acclaimed refugee author Ariel Dorfman has called it, by design “makes urgently needed reforms especially difficult to carry out.” From the very beginning, then, the pro-democracy forces saw their task as twofold: mitigating the injustices the dictatorship had left and reducing the authoritarian aspects of the constitution. That first elected government proposed and won overwhelming approval of fifty-four amendments, among them one to eliminate the requirement that supermajorities of two successive sessions of the congress must approve any future constitutional amendments. Yet the skewed electoral system still remains in place, with its provision effectively granting the one-third minority of right-wing voters the same representation as the typical two-thirds majority attracted by center-left candidates. [From The Victors essay by Noam Chomsky, 1990: Under the heading “Tyrant’s `Success’ Leaves 7 of 12 Million Chileans Poor,” Antonio Garza Morales reports in Excelsior that “the social cost which has been paid by the Chilean people is the highest in Latin America,” with the number of poor rising from 1 million after Allende to 7 million today, while the population remained stable at 12 million. Christian Democratic Party leader Senator Anselmo Sule, returned from exile, says that economic growth that benefits 10 percent of the population has been achieved (Pinochet’s official institutions agree), but development has not. Unless the economic disaster for the majority is remedied, “we are finished,” he adds. According to David Felix, “Chile, hit especially hard in the 1982-84 period, is now growing faster than during the preceding decade of the Chicago Boys,” enthralled by the free market ideology that is, indeed, highly beneficial for some: the wealthy, crucially including foreign investors. Chile’s recovery, Felix argues, can be traced to “a combination of severe wage repression by the Pinochet regime, an astutely managed bailout of the bankrupt private sector by the economic team that replaced the discredited Chicago Boys, and access to unusually generous lending by the international financial institutions,” much impressed by the favorable climate for business operations. Environmental degradation is also a severe problem in Chile. The Chilean journal Apsi devoted a recent issue to the environmental crisis accelerated by the “radical neoliberalism” of the period following the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the parliamentary democracy. Recent studies show that about half the country is becoming a desert, a problem that “seems much farther away than the daily poisoning of those who live in Santiago,” the capital city, which competes with Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Mexico City for the pollution prize for the hemisphere (for the world, the journal alleges). “The liquid that emerges from the millions of faucets in the homes and alleys of Santiago have levels of copper, iron, magnesium and lead which exceed by many times the maximum tolerable norms.” The land that “supplies the fruits and vegetables of the Metropolitan Region are irrigated with waters that exceed by 1,000 times the maximum quantity of coliforms acceptable,” which is why Santiago “has levels of hepatitis, typhoid, and parasites which are not seen in any other part of the continent” (one of every three children has parasites in the capital). Economists and environmentalists attribute the problem to the “development model,” crucially, its “transnational style,” “in which the most important decisions tend to be adopted outside the ambit of the countries themselves,” consistent with the assigned “function” of the Third World: to serve the needs of the industrial West.]
It is deeply troubling, then, that Chile is held up today as an exemplary “economic miracle” by the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and others on the U.S. right. After the toppling of Saddam Hussein, National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg went so far as to announce, “Iraq needs Pinochet.” Trumpeting the Heritage Foundation's country-by-country annual global ranking, “Chile's economic freedom score is 78.5, making its economy the 7th freest in the world in the 2015 index,” with no peer in South America. A global “example” of economic liberty, “Chile is second in the world in protecting property rights,” surpassed only by Hong Kong. Charles Koch, too, cites Hong Kong and Singapore as model “free societies.” Admitting that they lack the “social and political freedom” of other countries, he stresses what matters to him: “the greatest economic freedom” and “thus some of the greatest opportunities.” For whom, he does not specify. Few Chileans take pride in that standing, however; most deplore its effects but are stuck with it regardless of their wishes. A nation that once stood out as a middle-class beacon in Latin America now has the worst economic inequality it has seen since the 1930s – and the worst of the thirty-four member states in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Yet even among those who have profited most from the concentration of wealth, a feeling has spread that the chasm between those favored under the new rules and those hurt is “immoral.” The damage done during the Pinochet years by public choice economics goes beyond the legacy of economic inequality it left behind. The imposition of a nationwide school “choice” had dire effects as well. Pupil performance diverged sharply, owing to “increased sorting” by income, which naturally took place with the voucher system. Meanwhile, college tuition costs now equal 40 percent of the average household's income, making a higher education in Chile the most expensive on the planet, relative to per capita income. A huge student movement began in 2011-12 that featured marches of up to 200,000 and had the support of 85 percent of Chileans. The young people demanded the end of “profiteering” in schooling and a free education system with quality and opportunity for all. What they were asking for “is that the state take a different role,” said one leader, Camila Vallejo. “People are not tolerating the way a small number of economic groups benefit from the system.” In 2015, prosecutors charged leaders of the Penta Group, among the top beneficiaries of pension privatization, with massive tax evasion, bribery, and illegal financing of right-wing politicians. The prosecution found that the company, with some $30 billion in assets, had become “a machine to defraud the state.” That case lifted a huge rock, leading to inquiries that are ongoing and involve numerous companies tied to the dictatorship and the political parties to which they give. “The depth of corruption is enormous,” observed a law professor at the University of Chile in 2016. “Public interest has been subordinated to private interest, and when there is no clear distinction between them, it opens the door to endless opportunities for corruption.” What makes it so hard for Chile to address these pressing problems is precisely the constitution that still, even after multiple waves of reform, grossly favors wealthy, conservative interests at the expense of others. In the wake of the student struggle, the center-left candidate Michelle Bachelet, running for president in late 2013, promised vast reforms in education, social security, health care, and taxation, as well as additional reform of the 1980 constitution. She won almost two-thirds of the vote, yet she still found it difficult to carry out the platform. “Democratic processes are held back by authoritarian trammels,” President Bachelet complained in 2014. “We want a constitution without locks and bolts.”
But durable locks and bolts were exactly what James Buchanan had urged and what his Chilean hosts relied on to ensure that their will would still prevail after the dictator stepped down. And today the effectiveness of those locks and bolts is undermining hope among citizens that political participation can make a difference in their quality of life. Frustrated by how the junta's economic model remains so entrenched nearly three decades after Pinochet was voted out, many are disengaging from politics, particularly the young, who have never known any other system. Some legal scholars fear for the legitimacy of representative government in Chile as disgust spreads with a system that is so beholden to corporate power, so impermeable to deep change, and so inimical to majority interests. For his part, Buchanan came home form his consultation in Chile with a hunger to see radical change in his own country and a new sense of efficacy. He was finished with “the classic American syndromes, incrementalism and pragmatism.” It was time for “changes in the whole structure of social and economic institutions.” The challenge he soon learned, would be securing them in a functioning democracy.
After his Chilean consultations Buchanan would leave Virginia Tech for George Mason University and armed with Charles Kochs funding transform it into an institute producing the people to staff Kochs growing network of think tanks and fronts and on the staff of his favoured politicians. The goals are starkly reminisicent of what was implemented in Chile.
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2018.06.22 12:39 Lamont-Cranston The Koch/Pinochet connection.

While Hayek and Friedman are commonly castigated for their visits to Chile under Pinochets' rule, never heard about is Charles Kochs' intellectual BFF James McGill Buchanan who played a substantial role beyond seminars and apologetics. In fact the usually self promoting Buchanan was always silent on his role.
It was Buchanan who guided Pinochet's team in how to arrange things so that even when the country finally returned to representative institutions, its capitalist class would be all but permanently entrenched in power. The first stage was the imposition of radical structural transformation influenced by Buchanan's ideas; the second stage, to lock the transformation in place, was the kind of constitutional revolution Buchanan had come to advocate. Whereas the US Constitution famously enshrined “checks and balances” to prevent majorities from abusing their power over minorities, this one, a Chilean critic later complained, bound democracy with “locks and bolts”.
The first phase was a series of structural “reforms” devised by a young devotee of the Virginia school Minister of Labor Jose Pinera. Pinera had been working toward his doctorate at Harvard University when the coup occurred; elated, he came home “to help found a new country, dedicated to liberty.” His contribution was a series of deep alterations in governance, were privatization, deregulation, and the state-induced fragmentation of group power. Under the new labor code Pinera promulgated in 1979, for example, industry-wide labor unions were banned. Instead, planet-level unions could compete, making one another weaker while their attention was thus diverted from the federal government (“depoliticizing” economic matters, in Buchanan terms). Individual wage earners were granted “freedom of choice” to make their own deals with employers. It would be more accurate to say that they were forced to act solely as individuals. “One simply cannot finish the job,” Pinera later explained to would-be emulators, if workers maintain the capacity to exercise real collective power. Pinera designed another core prop of the new order: privatization of the social security system. This freed companies of the obligation to make any contributions to their employees retirement and also greatly limited the governments role in safeguarding citizens well-being. Ending the principle of social insurance, much as Barry Goldwater had advocated in 1964, the market-based system instead steered workers toward individual accounts with private investment firms. As one scholar notes, it “was essentially self insurance.” Fortunately for the plan, the regime had full control of television. At a time when three of every four households had televisions, Pinera made weekly appearances over six months to sell the new system, playing to fear of old-age insecurity owing to “this sinkhole of a bureaucracy,” the nations social security system. “Wouldn't you rather,” he queried viewers, holding up “a handsome, simulated leather passbook,” see your individual savings recorded every month in such a book “that you can open at night and say, 'As of today I have invested $50,000 toward my golden years?'' The junta overruled the suggestion that Chileans might decide which system they wanted in a referendum – after all, “who could say where such a precedent might lead?” - and imposed Pineras plan by military decree. In short order, two private corporations – BHC Group and Cruzat-Larrain, both with strong ties to the regime – acquired two-thirds of the invested retirement funds, the equivalent, within ten years, of one-fifth of the nations GDP. (Jose Pinera, for his part, went to work for Cruzat and then promoted U.S. Social Security privatization for Charles Koch's Cato Institute.) Other “modernizations” included the privatization of health care, the opening of agriculture to world market forces, the transformation of the judiciary, new limits on the regulatory ability of the central government, and the signature of both the Chicago and Virginia schools of thought: K-12 school vouchers. In higher education, the regime applied the counsel of Buchanan's book on how to combat campus protest. As the nation's premier public universities were forced to become “self-financing,” and for-profit corporations were freed to launch competitors with little government supervision, the humanities and liberal arts were edged out in favor of utilitarian fields that produced less questioning. Universities with politically troublesome students stood to lose their remaining funding. Through these combined measures, education, health care, and social insurance, once provided by the state, ceased to be entitlements of citizens. With the seven modernizations in place, Pinochet's appointees could now focus fully on drafting a constitution to entrench this new order behind what they hoped would be impassable moats. In preparation, the BHC Group's management translated James Buchanan's recent book, The Limits of Liberty, into Spanish. So, too, the founders of a pro-regime think tank, the Centro de Estudios Publicos (CEP), translated several works of public choice, including a basic primer by Buchanan. Buchanan then visited for a week in May 1980, a pivotal moment, to provide in-person guidance. A few months earlier, the regime had begun a mass purge of teachers from the nation's public universities, firing those considered “politically unreliable,” reported the New York Times. Dozens of other, less prominent citizens were simply found guilty of breaching a prohibition on political activity and banished to faraway villages, with no chance of appeal. As a result of the assassination of Ambassador Letelier and an American associate in rush-hour traffic on Washington, D.C.'s Embassy Row, Chile faced U.S. Sanctions for having carried out a terrorist act. This meant that the economists' visit had to come on the invitation of private actors – in Buchanan's case, from the Adolfo Ibanez Foundation's business school. Its dean, Carlos Francisco Caceres, and Buchanan had had a long conversation at the 1979 Madrid meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society. Caceres, one of the most vehemently antidemocratic members of the Council of State, a body created in 1976 to advise Pinochet, was eager to bring Buchanan's “opinions” into the regime's discussions of the new constitution. It worked. The Virginian's true host, in fact, was the Chilean minister of finance, Sergio de Castro, the regime's leading thinker and an economist indebted to Pinochet for enabling him and his colleagues to expunge a “half century of errors” when “public opinion was very much against [us].” Which is why de Castro and others saw a pressing need for a new constitution that would make public dissatisfaction irrelevant – or at least sharply curtail the public's ability to reverse the transformation he and his junta colleagues had imposed by force. When Caceres set up a meeting for Buchanan with the BHC Group, he told him directly that “our main interest in your visit” was to explore how public choice economics might help inform the “new Constitution which will define our future republican life.” They sought input on questions from “the way to elect the political authorities” to “the economic matters which should be included” in the document. Buchanan responded with detailed advice on how to bind democracy, delivered over the course of five formal lectures to top representatives of a governing elite that melded the military and corporate world, to say nothing of counsel he conveyed in private, unrecorded conversations. He spoke plainly and in the imperative mode, suggesting the government “must” and “should” do this or that. He defined public choice as a “science” (even though he, of all people, knew that there was no empirical research to back its claims) and that “should be adopted” for matters ranging from “the power of a constitution over fiscal policy” to “what the optimum number of lawmakers in a legislative body should be.” He said of members of his school of though, “We are formulating constitutional ways in which we can limit government intervention in the economy and make sure it keeps its hand out of the pockets of productive contributors.” Buchanan understood what his hosts were asking for: a road map. He thus explained that the constitution needed “severe restrictions on the power of government.” He instructed that “the first” such restriction “is that the government must not be freed to spend without also, at the same time, collecting the necessary taxes to offset expenses” - Harry Byrd's sacred pay-as-you-go principle. “It must have a constitution that requires a balanced budget” - no more Keynesian deficits under any circumstances. Also, “the independence of the the Central Bank should be enshrined in the constitution”; the government should be denied the authority to make “monetary policy because doing so would surely lead to inflation.” A last restriction he urged was to require supermajorities for any change of substance. “It must be ensured that a system exists in which only a large majority,” he said, “2/3 or 5/6 of the legislative body, can approve each new expense.” With this formula the scholar overshot the mark even with the junta's members, just as he ad in his proposal of a fire sale of public schools to Virginia's legislature in 1959: none had the nerve to float a five-sixths requirement. So intrinsic was the influence of economic libertarians that Chile's new constitution bore the same name as Hayek's classic The Constitution of Liberty. “It promised a democracy,” remarked the leading American historian of the Pinochet era, Steve Stern, “protected from too much democracy.” The new constitution guaranteed the power of the armed forces over government in the near term, and over the long term curtailed the group influence of nonelite citizens. The document guaranteed the rule of General Pinochet and his aides until a 1988 plebiscite that might extend his term to 1997, when “a new generation,” as Stern notes, “would have learned the role of the citizen in a restrictive democracy.” The devil is in the details, goes the old adage, and it is true: the wicked genius of Buchanan's approach to binding popular self-government was that he did it with detailed rules that made most people's eyes glaze over. In the boring fine print, he understood, transformations can be achieved increments that few will notice, because most people have no patience for minutiae. But the kind of people he was advising can hire others to make sure that the fine print gets them what they want/ The net impact of the new constitution's intricate rules changes was to give the president unprecedented powers, hobble the congress, and enable unelected military officials to serve as a power brake on the elected members of the congress. A cunning new electoral system, not in use anywhere else in the world clearly the fruit of Buchanan's counsel, would permanently overrepresent the right-wing minority party to ensure “a system frozen by elite interests.” To seal the elite control, the constitution forbade union leaders from belonging to political parties and from “intervening in activities alien to their specific goals” - defined solely as negotiating wages and hours their particular workplaces. It also barred advocating “class conflict” or “attack[ing] the family.” Anyone deemed “antifamily” or “Marxist” could be sent into exile, without access to an appeal process. Pinochet personally reviewed the penultimate document, making well over a hundred changes, then announced that citizens would have to vote a simple yes or no on whether to adopt the new constitution, in its entirety, in a plebiscite to be held within a month of its release. The balloting would take place during the prolonged “state of emergency” in which all political parties were outlawed, no voter rolls existed to prevent fraud (because the junta had had them burned), and no scrutiny our counting by foreign observers was to be allowed. When a group of moderate jurists and civic leaders composed a truly democratic alternative document the regime prohibited its release The mayors charged with running the plebiscite and counting the votes owed their jobs to the dictatorship. Election rules forbade electioneering by “no” activists. When some individuals flouted the ban by leafleting and inviting people to a speech by the former Christian Democratic president Eduardo Frei, nearly sixty found themselves arrested; some were tortured. “With my own eyes,” reports a political scientist and later ambassador, “I saw people being dragged off a public bus and beaten for shouting, 'Vote “no” on the charter!'” The junta allowed only a single indoor gathering to oppose the document. More than ten thousand citizens filled every seat in the theater for the first legal rally in seven years, while as many as fifty thousand craned to hear from outside. Frei had opposed Allende yet also denounced the proposed constitution as “illegal” in its conception and “a fraud” in its content. A reporter from one of the few media outlets allowed to cover the rally was fired later that night for his refusal to read on the air a prepared report that smeared the speaker and lied about the event. Against such odds, “dissidents could not block the steamroller.” Only three in ten Chileans voted no on the transparent paper used for ballots; 67 percent assented.
If Jim Buchanan had qualms about helping to design a constitution for a dictatorship or about the process by which the final product was ratified, matters widely reported in the press, he did not commit them to print. Instead, he wrote Sergio de Castro with thanks for “the fine lunch you held in my honor” and shared how he “enjoyed the whole of my visit to Chile.” Mrs Buchanan, who accompanied him, appreciated “the nice gifts, the beautiful flowers, the Chilean jewellery, [and] the wine.” What's perplexing is how a man whose life's mission was the promotion of what he and his fellow Mont Pelerin Society members called the free society reconciled himself, with such seeming ease, to what military junta was doing to the people of Chile. The new Chile was free for some, and perhaps that was enough, as they were the same kind of people who counted in Virginia in the era when Buchanan pledged to his new employer that he would work to preserve liberty. It was also, always, a particular type of freedom the libertarians cared most about. One Chilean defined it well in rejoicing to fellow members of the society that the “individual freedom to consume, produce, save and invest has been restored.” But perhaps above all, for Buchanan, the end justified the means: Chile emerged with a set of rules closer to his ideal than any in existence, built to repel future popular pressure for change. It was “a virtual unamendable charter,” in that no constitutional amendment could be added without endorsement by supermajorities in two successive sessions of the National Congress, a body radically skewed by the overrepresentation of the wealthy, the military, and the less popular political parties associated with them. Buchanan had long called for binding rules to protect economic liberty and constrain majority power, and Chile's 1980 Constitution of Liberty guaranteed these as never before. The political economist also gained from this episode the adulation of his allies in the Monte Pelerin Society. The society showcased his thought by inviting him to present the main paper at its annual meeting that September at the Hoover Institution, in Palo Alto. Exhilarated by what had been achieved, the society's leaders chose for the site of its November 1981 regional meeting the coastal Chilean city of Vina del Marr, where military leaders had hatched the coup and President Allende's remains lay in an unmarked grave. Buchanan and the two pro-junta Chilean colleagues together organized the program. The sessions they designed sounded like rationales – indeed, justifications – for the dictatorship's choices. Among the panels were “Social Security: A Road to Socialism?”; “Education: Government or Personal Responsibility?”; and finally Buchanan's own contribution, “Democracy: Limited or Unlimited?” For the society's members, Chile was a beacon. The constitution, in the summary of one scholar, removed “major social questions – such as macroeconomic policy – from democratic influence.” Interestingly, Buchanan never spoke of the Chilean consultation in his later publications. He did include his multiple speaking commitments there in his center's annual report to the Virginia Tech administration and to donors in 1980, likely as evidence of his increasing international stature. But he never mentioned the Chilean case in print as an example of the application of his thought. For someone who devoted the remainder of his life scholarly career to constitutional analysis and prescription, it was a telling omission. Perhaps his conscience troubled him or he feared condemnation. After all, even a conservative newspaper condemned Jesse Helms for how he “doggedly ignored the country's atrocious human rights record.” After the North Carolina senator visited with Pinochet in 1986 and came home defending the junta from critics, the Raleigh Times mockingly urged a public collection to buy him better glasses and a hearing aid, because the senator was “deaf, blind, and dumb to official policies of corruption and torture.” Whatever the reason, Buchanan's enduring silence spoke loudly. Looking back, though, one can only wonder what would have happened if someone had suggested to Buchanan that he apply his public choice analysis to the decision-making calculus of General Pinochet and his colleagues when they sought his counsel. Would he have been able to step back a minute and examine the military officers and their corporate allies as self-interested actors? As they set about devising binding rules to limit what other political agents could do, would he have seen that they might be using the rule writing process to keep themselves in power? Buchanan would title one of his later books Politics by Principal, Not Interest. But there is no evidence that he ever recognized what was happening in Chile as naked interest-driven action, bereft of any classical liberal principle. Or that he acknowledge that his own counsel had encouraged it. If he had treated his school of thought as a the neutral analytical framework he proclaimed it to be, Buchanan should also have anticipated how General Pinochet – having done away with the independent media, freedom of speech, political parties, and so many regulations – could easily purloin public monies to enrich himself and his family, as he did. Nor did Buchanan ever publicly criticize the final constitution as promulgated by the junta. On the contrary, he continued to promote constitutional revolution, thereafter more single-mindedly, and to seek out support from wealthy funders who might help effect it. From this we can only conclude that he was well aware of the Pandora's box he had helped open in Chile for the genuine, not merely metaphorical, corruption of politics, but he valued economic liberty so much more than political freedom that he simply did not care about the invitation to abuse inherent in giving nearly unchecked power to an alliance of capital and the armed forces. His silence, it must be said, safeguarded his reputation. Buchanan surely noticed that Milton Friedman never lived down having advised the junta on how to combat inflation: protesters disrupted the 1976 award ceremony in Stockholm at which he received the Nobel Prize and hounded his engagements thereafter. Whereas Friedman's name became permanently and embarrassingly paired with Pinochet's, Buchanan, the stealth visitor, largely escaped notice for the guidance he provided. But, then, unlike Friedman, Buchanan never craved the spotlight. He was content to work in the shadows.
Meanwhile, predictable trouble loomed for the political-economic model imposed on Chile. The year after the Mont Pelerin Society celebrated in the resort city of Vina del Mar, Chile's economy went into a tailspin, contracting by more than 14 percent. The devastation was so bad that, despite the dangers, a broad-based opposition emerged among workers, students, and homemakers that shook the regime as nothing else had to date. The causes of the crisis were not only internal; the world economy also stumbled that year. But the economic model urged by the society's thinkers and implemented by their local colleagues made it especially disastrous. Chile's now unregulated banks engaged in reckless lending that threatened to sink the entire economy when the reckoning arrived. The only thing that averted a total collapse was Pinochet's firing of the Mont Pelerin Society zealots, in particular Sergio de Castro, Buchanan's leading host, whose proposed solution to the free fall included cutting the minimum wage and other deflationary measures that seemed too risky even to a dictatorship. Pinochet replaced the ideologues with individuals who were willing to enlist government to right the ship. That November, the state took control of four banks and four finance companies to prevent “the collapse of the entire banking system.” The outcome will sound familiar to Americans who lived through a virtual replay in 2008: “During the boom, Chile's economic gains had been privatized; now in the crunch, the country's losses were socialized.” Among those hardest hit were those who had invested their life savings in the new individual retirement accounts in corporate mutual funds that failed. Meanwhile, the opposition's attention turned to the new constitution. Buoyed by the public outcry, they used its provision for a 1988 plebiscite to achieve surprising success – only the discover how its “tricky” mechanisms, in the words of one Chilean legal scholar, would block “channels for the majority to express itself or for just laws to be passed.” Voters were given only one choice: to vote yes or no on whether General Pinochet could rule for another eight years. Visiting to report on the worsening human rights situation, which now included aggressive attacks on the Catholic Church, the political scientist Alfred Stepan explained to American readers what was “really at stake.” The call for a yes vote was “an effort to institutionalize a new type of authoritarian regime that has not be seen in a Western country like Chile since the 1930s.” The whole process was so absurdly rigged in the dictatorship's favor that at first, virtually all its opponents urged a boycott. But this was the only chance people had to register rejection of Pinochet at the polls, so most reconsidered. Joining together to form the center-left Concertacion de Partidos por la Democracia (Coalition of Parties for Democracy), they urged a no vote, and worked so intently to register voters that 92 percent of Chileans regained the right to vote. On October 5, lines formed early and stayed late, until the stunning result was announced: despite a manifestly stacked deck, voters refused General Pinochet the additional term sought by a margin of 55 percent to 43 percent. Ten of the nation's twelve regions voted no, leaving the erstwhile potentate “humiliated.” As the new constitution stipulated, Pinochet held on to power for another year, until, in July 1989, after tireless work from the activists, Chileans elected a president and a congress for the first time in nearly twenty years. The new Concertacion government inherited a society of surging inequality and economic insecurity – and a constitution that made it all but impossible to change course. The document baked in the fundamental rules of Pinochet's economic model, albeit as modified modestly by the pragmatists who took over after 1982. “The free market model as applied under Pinochet had an enormous social cost,” explains one political scientist. “Whereas in 1970, only 23 percent of the population was classified as poor or indigent, by 1987 the proportion had reached 45 percent – almost half – of the population,” while wealth had become more concentrated among the richest. The novel labor “flexibility” heralded by the regime's enthusiasts had taken away protections that working people won over generations of organizing and political action. Precarious and low-income work [became] the staple for over 40 percent of the Chilean labor force,” a marginality compounded by the fact that individuals were now forced to save the full cost of their retirement pensions, with no contribution by their employers, and pay for other goods that had previously come with citizenship. Not to mention those who had dutifully put away money only to have lost it in the downturn. One salesman who called himself part of the “white-collar poor” told journalists, “Today there are two Chiles”: “one with credit cars and computers, and one that is just trying to survive.” Yet, “Pinochet's sinister constitution,” as the acclaimed refugee author Ariel Dorfman has called it, by design “makes urgently needed reforms especially difficult to carry out.” From the very beginning, then, the pro-democracy forces saw their task as twofold: mitigating the injustices the dictatorship had left and reducing the authoritarian aspects of the constitution. That first elected government proposed and won overwhelming approval of fifty-four amendments, among them one to eliminate the requirement that supermajorities of two successive sessions of the congress must approve any future constitutional amendments. Yet the skewed electoral system still remains in place, with its provision effectively granting the one-third minority of right-wing voters the same representation as the typical two-thirds majority attracted by center-left candidates. [From The Victors essay by Noam Chomsky, 1990: Under the heading “Tyrant’s `Success’ Leaves 7 of 12 Million Chileans Poor,” Antonio Garza Morales reports in Excelsior that “the social cost which has been paid by the Chilean people is the highest in Latin America,” with the number of poor rising from 1 million after Allende to 7 million today, while the population remained stable at 12 million. Christian Democratic Party leader Senator Anselmo Sule, returned from exile, says that economic growth that benefits 10 percent of the population has been achieved (Pinochet’s official institutions agree), but development has not. Unless the economic disaster for the majority is remedied, “we are finished,” he adds. According to David Felix, “Chile, hit especially hard in the 1982-84 period, is now growing faster than during the preceding decade of the Chicago Boys,” enthralled by the free market ideology that is, indeed, highly beneficial for some: the wealthy, crucially including foreign investors. Chile’s recovery, Felix argues, can be traced to “a combination of severe wage repression by the Pinochet regime, an astutely managed bailout of the bankrupt private sector by the economic team that replaced the discredited Chicago Boys, and access to unusually generous lending by the international financial institutions,” much impressed by the favorable climate for business operations. Environmental degradation is also a severe problem in Chile. The Chilean journal Apsi devoted a recent issue to the environmental crisis accelerated by the “radical neoliberalism” of the period following the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the parliamentary democracy. Recent studies show that about half the country is becoming a desert, a problem that “seems much farther away than the daily poisoning of those who live in Santiago,” the capital city, which competes with Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Mexico City for the pollution prize for the hemisphere (for the world, the journal alleges). “The liquid that emerges from the millions of faucets in the homes and alleys of Santiago have levels of copper, iron, magnesium and lead which exceed by many times the maximum tolerable norms.” The land that “supplies the fruits and vegetables of the Metropolitan Region are irrigated with waters that exceed by 1,000 times the maximum quantity of coliforms acceptable,” which is why Santiago “has levels of hepatitis, typhoid, and parasites which are not seen in any other part of the continent” (one of every three children has parasites in the capital). Economists and environmentalists attribute the problem to the “development model,” crucially, its “transnational style,” “in which the most important decisions tend to be adopted outside the ambit of the countries themselves,” consistent with the assigned “function” of the Third World: to serve the needs of the industrial West.]
It is deeply troubling, then, that Chile is held up today as an exemplary “economic miracle” by the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and others on the U.S. right. After the toppling of Saddam Hussein, National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg went so far as to announce, “Iraq needs Pinochet.” Trumpeting the Heritage Foundation's country-by-country annual global ranking, “Chile's economic freedom score is 78.5, making its economy the 7th freest in the world in the 2015 index,” with no peer in South America. A global “example” of economic liberty, “Chile is second in the world in protecting property rights,” surpassed only by Hong Kong. Charles Koch, too, cites Hong Kong and Singapore as model “free societies.” Admitting that they lack the “social and political freedom” of other countries, he stresses what matters to him: “the greatest economic freedom” and “thus some of the greatest opportunities.” For whom, he does not specify. Few Chileans take pride in that standing, however; most deplore its effects but are stuck with it regardless of their wishes. A nation that once stood out as a middle-class beacon in Latin America now has the worst economic inequality it has seen since the 1930s – and the worst of the thirty-four member states in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Yet even among those who have profited most from the concentration of wealth, a feeling has spread that the chasm between those favored under the new rules and those hurt is “immoral.” The damage done during the Pinochet years by public choice economics goes beyond the legacy of economic inequality it left behind. The imposition of a nationwide school “choice” had dire effects as well. Pupil performance diverged sharply, owing to “increased sorting” by income, which naturally took place with the voucher system. Meanwhile, college tuition costs now equal 40 percent of the average household's income, making a higher education in Chile the most expensive on the planet, relative to per capita income. A huge student movement began in 2011-12 that featured marches of up to 200,000 and had the support of 85 percent of Chileans. The young people demanded the end of “profiteering” in schooling and a free education system with quality and opportunity for all. What they were asking for “is that the state take a different role,” said one leader, Camila Vallejo. “People are not tolerating the way a small number of economic groups benefit from the system.” In 2015, prosecutors charged leaders of the Penta Group, among the top beneficiaries of pension privatization, with massive tax evasion, bribery, and illegal financing of right-wing politicians. The prosecution found that the company, with some $30 billion in assets, had become “a machine to defraud the state.” That case lifted a huge rock, leading to inquiries that are ongoing and involve numerous companies tied to the dictatorship and the political parties to which they give. “The depth of corruption is enormous,” observed a law professor at the University of Chile in 2016. “Public interest has been subordinated to private interest, and when there is no clear distinction between them, it opens the door to endless opportunities for corruption.” What makes it so hard for Chile to address these pressing problems is precisely the constitution that still, even after multiple waves of reform, grossly favors wealthy, conservative interests at the expense of others. In the wake of the student struggle, the center-left candidate Michelle Bachelet, running for president in late 2013, promised vast reforms in education, social security, health care, and taxation, as well as additional reform of the 1980 constitution. She won almost two-thirds of the vote, yet she still found it difficult to carry out the platform. “Democratic processes are held back by authoritarian trammels,” President Bachelet complained in 2014. “We want a constitution without locks and bolts.”
But durable locks and bolts were exactly what James Buchanan had urged and what his Chilean hosts relied on to ensure that their will would still prevail after the dictator stepped down. And today the effectiveness of those locks and bolts is undermining hope among citizens that political participation can make a difference in their quality of life. Frustrated by how the junta's economic model remains so entrenched nearly three decades after Pinochet was voted out, many are disengaging from politics, particularly the young, who have never known any other system. Some legal scholars fear for the legitimacy of representative government in Chile as disgust spreads with a system that is so beholden to corporate power, so impermeable to deep change, and so inimical to majority interests. For his part, Buchanan came home form his consultation in Chile with a hunger to see radical change in his own country and a new sense of efficacy. He was finished with “the classic American syndromes, incrementalism and pragmatism.” It was time for “changes in the whole structure of social and economic institutions.” The challenge he soon learned, would be securing them in a functioning democracy.
After his Chilean consultations Buchanan would leave Virginia Tech for George Mason University and armed with Charles Kochs funding transform it into an institute producing the people to staff Kochs growing network of think tanks and fronts and on the staff of his favoured politicians. The goals are starkly reminisicent of what was implemented in Chile.
submitted by Lamont-Cranston to KochWatch [link] [comments]


2018.03.03 23:05 Evermilion From department store road bike to bike shop road bike: aluminum frame with 105 bikes?

My current candidates after few months of researching are:
Specialized Allez Elite 2018 ($1200)
Specialized Allez E5 Elite 2017 Sagan WC Edition ($1200)
Specialized Allez Sprint 2018 ($1800)
Cannondale Synapse Disc 105 SE ($1600)
Cannondale CAAD12 105 ($1700)
Raleigh Merit 3 ($750 with corporate discount)
Giant Contend SL 1 Disc ($1430)
I really want the 2018 Allez Elite but my size 52 is all sold out in my nearby LBSs and apparently won't be in stock until late July. Now leaning towards the Allez Sprint. Also looking at 2017 Allez Elite which has Tiagra groupset but the price is same as the 2018 model. Cannondale alternatives seem to be very nice as well, especially the synapse (I'm liking the anthracite color). As for the Giant Contend, I'm not quite sure if I like their braking system and piece on the bar. With all that said, it seems hard to beat the value of Raleigh Merit 3 with corporate discount...
Any consulting would be really appreciated. Please do let me know if there any other models I should consider. Thank you.
submitted by Evermilion to whichbike [link] [comments]


2018.02.07 23:25 shaidar9haran r/CBB Week 3 Bubble Watch

Welcome back for Week 3 of CBB’s Bubble Watch. /CollegeBasketball

Thanks again to everyone who participated! For those unaware of what is going on here, please check out the intro to Week 1 or Week 2 where I gave a full breakdown and answer some FAQs.
After starting our initial ballot with 80 teams, through three weeks we’ve Locked 11 and Eliminated 20, leaving about 50 eligible teams to fight for the roughly 30 remaining spots in the tournament (after factoring in an estimated amount of auto-bids).
In an effort to try and keep these write ups to a reasonable size, I’ve been harsh with the eliminations, vowing to revive any teams that turned things around. This week, I’ve stuck to my promise, reviving the four teams who received the most mentions within our 120 ballots. Back into the fray this week are: Temple, St. Bonaventure, Mississippi St., and Penn St.
I’ll go through these teams in more detail in the write up, but let’s see what their current tournament odds look like today. T-Rank’s TRankology has each of these teams in the top 13 of their ‘First Teams Out’ section. Mississippi St. leads the way with an estimated 29.9% shot at receiving an at-large bid, while Penn St. brings up the rear at just 5.3%. Penn St. might seem like an odd man out that low on the list, but only Baylor has a higher percentage chance at an at-large of our eliminated teams.
Each of these teams is in the unique spot of having a currently bad resume, but the potential to better their position down the stretch. St. Bonnie has a chance to upset URI but four A-10 losses is tough to overcome. Temple has a top 5 Strength of Schedule allowing them to overcome an unnaturally high amount of losses, games against the upper echelon of the AAC could help them. Mississippi St. has the benefit of playing in the deepest SEC in years, giving them numerous resume boosting games. While Penn St. oddly plays 4 or 5 high profile games towards the back-end of their B10 schedule, which is odd since the B10 only has 4 good teams. Nonetheless, that opportunity for a season changing streak cannot be ignored.
Each of these teams earned their way back in, but how long can they hold onto their spots?
Before we jump into the write-up, if reading isn’t your thing, here’s the updated Spreadsheet with the ‘Status’ of each Team.

AAC American

Cincinnati's suffocating defense has led them to 15 straight wins and an early Lock-status. They have their toughest stretch coming up over the next few games and the potential for a few bad losses, but with 22 convincing wins, it's hard to see them missing the tournament. The Shockers on the other hand are facing more resistance. I don't think they'll miss the tournament but they're not exactly the challenger to the Bearcats they once were perceived to be. The Upper-Middle Class of the AAC has been surprisingly good, with Temple, Houston, SMU and even UCF (prior to the loss of Tacko Fall) proving to be tough outs.
  • Locks - Cincinnati
  • Should Be In - Wichita St.
  • Work Left To Do - Temple, Houston, SMU
  • Eliminated - UCF
  • Unmentioned - UConn, Tulane, Memphis, Tulsa, ECU, USF
Wichita St [17-5 (7-3) RPI: 28 SoS: 63 Proj Seed: 7]
  • Best Wins - Houston, Marquette(n), South Dakota St.
  • Bad Losses - N/A
The Shockers are learning life in a Major Conference is going to be difficult week in and week out. That said, reports of their demise are greatly exaggerated. While they should be solidly in the tournament, there are legitimate concerns with their resume. To this point they have zero top-40 wins, though that’s countered by a strong 9-5 record in Q1 or Q2 games. WSU will get multiple chances to add a new jewel to their crown as five of their eight remaining games will come against Q1 or Q2 competition, including a home and home with Cincy. Assuming they sweep Memphis, UConn, and Tulane, going 3-2 in those five should be enough.
Temple [13-10 (5-6) RPI: 34 SoS: 2 Proj Seed: Next Four Out]
  • Best Wins - Clemson(n), Auburn(n), Wichita St.
  • Bad Losses - Memphis, Tulane, @La Salle
Temple’s win over WSU has revived them in our Bubble Watch, but their resume has become no less confounding. With an amazing trio of wins, including two top-5 wins, you’d think they’d be sitting pretty, but 10-losses, including three Q3 losses, gives us serious pause. They cannot afford to lose either of their upcoming games against ECU or USF, which would be a Q4 loss and would tip the scale. Ideally, they grab another solid victory in their three game stretch against Houston, WSU and UCF. Getting to 18 wins is a must, but the elite SoS should provide them some leeway if they get to 12 or 13 losses.
Houston [17-5 (7-3) RPI: 42 SoS: 113 Proj. Seed: 11]
  • Best Wins - Providence(n), Wichita St., Temple
  • Bad Losses - Drexel(n), @Tulane
The loss to Drexel is still alarming, but if the Cougars can take care of business down the stretch it shouldn’t be enough to keep them from dancing. At 5-4 in Q1 and Q2 games, they’ve performed impressively well in their top tier games. They’ll play four of their remaining games against RPI sub-100 teams, including one against ECU. Winning all four would avoid a third bad loss and get them to 11 wins in Conference, with games against SMU(x2), Cincy, and Temple remaining.
SMU [15-8 (5-5) RPI: 69 SoS: 73 Proj. Seed: First Four Out]
  • Best Wins - Arizona(n), @Wichita St., Boise St.
  • Bad Losses - UNI(n)
While it did net them a ‘Nice!’ RPI, a road loss to Tulsa is not what you’re hoping to see from a Bubble Team. They are still a respectable 5-7 in Q1 and Q2 games, with two high-profile wins. Their remaining schedule provides them five chances at adding to their strong wins with a home and home with houston, games against Cincy and WSU at home, and a road trip to UCF. Sprinkled in there are absolutely can’t-lose games against ECU and USF. Getting to 10-8 would be good, 11-7 even better.

ACC ACC

Clemson took care of business at home and beat UNC for the first time in nearly a decade and it still wasn’t enough to earn lock status. It’s relatively meaningless, and I’m sure they’ll be locked in a week or two, but I support all the grumbling and complaining as they’re by far the highest RPI team to not be locked. The middle of the ACC appears to be strengthening its case, while the top dogs are having a hard time keeping their footing. Overall the ACC looks in good shape to grab 8+ spots, but perhaps in weaker seed lines than initially expected.
  • Locks - Virginia, Duke
  • Should Be In - Clemson, UNC, Miami
  • Work Left To Do - Louisville, Syracuse, Florida St., NC State, Virginia Tech
  • Eliminated - Notre Dame
  • Unmentioned - BC, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh
Clemson [19-4 (8-3) RPI: 4 SoS: 13 Proj. Seed: 2]
  • Best Wins - UNC, Miami, @Ohio St.
  • Bad Losses - N/A
Hard to ask more from this team, lost Grantham, got pantsed by Virginia, and have bounced back with three in a row including the programs first win of the decade against UNC. They now have an insane 10-4 record in Q1 and Q2 games and with games vs. Pitt and GaTech coming up, are all but assured to finish above. 500 in Conference. I feel like I’m at the RNC...Lock her them up! Lock them up! Lock them up!
UNC [17-7 (6-5) RPI: 10 SoS: 5 Proj. Seed: 4]
  • Best Wins - Clemson, @Tennessee, Ohio St.(n)
  • Bad Losses - Wofford
Nothing like a home game against Pitt to help stop a skid. Ultimately, that win does little to move the needle, but hopefully for Roy’s Boys it’s enough to get them back on track. Duke comes to town on Thursday, a win moves them closer to a lock, a loss might cause a state of emergency. If they lose to Duke, they then try to pick up the pieces and get revenge in Raleigh, another losable game. After a home date against ND they play three of their final four games on the road and all against tournament teams (UL, Cuse, Miami, Duke). They definitely ‘should’ be in, but it’s not inconceivable to see them dropping 4 or 5 of their last games and making it interesting; would an 8-10 ACC team make if they weren’t named North Carolina?
Miami [17-5 (6-4) RPI: 19 SoS: 41 Proj. Seed: 6]
  • Best Wins - MTSU(n), Louisville, @NC State
  • Bad Losses - @GaTech
Miami’s in the midst of a strong five game stretch where they’ve won four, including wins over NC State, Louisville, and Virginia Tech. Two of those came on the road, and the last one in Blacksburg came without Bruce Brown who they’ll have to play into March without. This team is lacking games against top competition, but now is 6-4 in Q1 or Q2 games. The schedule heats up down the stretch with games against UVa, Cuse, UNC, and a rematch against the Hokies. First things first, they’ll need to avoid slip-ups vs. Wake and at BC.
Louisville [16-8 (6-5) RPI: 26 SoS: 21 Proj. Seed: 9]
  • Best Wins - @FSU, Virginia Tech
  • Bad Losses - N/A
Louisville has the honor of being our first team to ever drop from ‘Should Be In’ to ‘Work Left to Do,’ slightly surprising, but losing four out of five will do that. Over the past two weeks they’ve failed to close out winnable games against Miami, Virginia, FSU, and Cuse. No major losses helps their case, but a dreadful 3-7 in Q1 or Q2 games, and only a single victory over the top-50 puts their hopes in question. They have a chance to stop the bleeding with back to back games against GaTech and Pitt, but a loss could seriously jeopardize their postseason hopes. They’ll finish with a five game stretch of Q1 level games which could make or break their resume.
Florida St. [17-6 (6-5) RPI: 40 SoS: 89 Proj. Seed: 8]
  • Best Wins - North Carolina, Miami, @Louisville
  • Bad Losses - @Wake Forest
In the first iteration of this watch I gave FSU the goal of grabbing two out of their three games against Miami, Louisville, and Virginia. So far, they’re two for two and look to complete the sweep with a home game against the Cavs tonight. Unfortunately, in classic Seminoles fashion, they dropped the gimme game in the middle against Wake. It was a road game, meaning it’ll have a limited effect on their Tournament Profile, but it still sets them back. If they avoid a loss against Pitt, 3-3 in their other games should do it. I see winnable games against ND, NC State and Clemson at home in the mix.
Syracuse [16-8 (5-6) RPI: 47 SoS: 28 Proj. Seed: First Four Out]
  • Best Wins - @Louisville, Buffalo, Maryland
  • Bad Losses - Notre Dame, @GaTech
Syracuse’s resume took a hit last week, but their tournament hopes were kept afloat with Monday’s win over Louisville. After dropping a game to GaTech, easily their worst loss of the season, they were unable to pick up an elite victory at home against Virginia. A road win over the Cardinals won’t complete their resume, but at least it bumps them to 6-6 in Q1 and Q2 games, and gives them their second top-50 win. Seven games remain and they’ll play five tournament teams, with three games against the RPI top-15 (UNC, Duke, Clemson), two coming in the Carrier Dome. They’ll need to win two or three to hit .500 in conference.
NC State [16-7 (6-4) RPI: 62 SoS: 81 Proj. Seed: 11]
  • Best Wins - Clemson, Duke, @UNC, Arizona(n)
  • Bad Losses - UNC-G, UNI(n)
Definitely the surprise of the ACC so far, Keatts has this team rolling at just the right time. After a iffy Non-Conference that included losses to UNC-Greensboro and UNI, NC State has won six of it’s last eight including wins over Duke, Clemson, and UNC. Based off their Non-Conference struggles, I’d feel more comfortable if NC State could get to 10-8 in conference, rather than just merely .500. They get three winnable games against Wake, BC, and GaTech left, meaning they’d just need one or two from the rest of their schedule which starts with VaTech tonight.
Virginia Tech [16-7 (5-5) RPI: 67 SoS: 124 Proj. Seed: 12]
  • Best Wins - UNC, Washington(n)
  • Bad Losses - Saint Louis(n)
The Hokies win over Washington was their best Non-conference win, and it’s aging nicely. That said with a SoS over 100, the committee will want to see more than just two top-75 wins. Virginia Tech is now a combined 6-6 in Q1 and Q2 games, but they’ll need to take advantage of a back-loaded ACC slate to punch their ticket. Starting tonight against NC State, they’ll play seven of their eight remaining games against Tournament teams, four against the RPI top-10. With that schedule, 9-9 should keep them on the Bubble heading into the Barclays Center.
submitted by shaidar9haran to CollegeBasketball [link] [comments]


2017.10.17 09:45 Jomskylark Meet the Teams at the USA Ultimate National Championships

Learn about all of the teams at Nationals!

With the USA Ultimate National Championships just days away, it's time to get to know the teams in this coveted event. I wrote about all the participants in the Region Reports over the past couple of weeks and have compiled those bite-sized previews below, lightly edited for readability. The teams are ordered by seed where possible. I've also linked Ultiworld/USAU previews as applicable.

Women's Division

Seattle Riot's story of success this century has been nothing short of remarkable: Sixteen (16) straight years of finishing third or better at Nationals and MULTIPLE world titles. And yet, their title shelf remains rather dormant, notching only two national championships in that 16-year period. Headlining #USAUNats as the overall 1-seed, could this be the year Riot ends their drought? • Read More: MyNorthwest
Defending national champs Boston Brute Squad could face off against regional rival 6ixers if the seeding all holds. "100% BS" will look to capture their first back to back to back championship, joining historic programs Condors, Lady Godiva and Fury as the only women's teams to attain three titles in a row.
Denver Molly Brown gets a decent pool play draw but should seeding hold, a brutal quarterfinals matchup against the loser of Fury-Scandal. A certain Colombian superstar just might help with that predicament. Molly Brown is 3-1 against Fury and Scandal this year and 10-4 against both over the last three years. • Read More: Ultiworld
Beholder of the longest national championship-winning streak in all of ultimate (7 years), San Francisco Fury rounds out the Big Four (alongside Brute Squad, Riot, Molly Brown) and remains poised as ever to make a deep bracket run thanks to talented offseason additions Opi Payne and Beth Kaylor, among others. Their path to the final is no cupcake however, having to battle top-5 contender Scandal in pool play and perennial rival and top-seed Seattle Riot in semifinal should seeding hold. Fury is 5-0 against Scandal over the past two seasons but 1-5 against Riot in the same period.
The Big Four in women's ultimate (Brute Squad, Riot, Fury, Molly Brown) had not lost to another US club team all summer1 until DC Scandal stunned Molly Brown 15-12 at the Pro Championships last month. Scandal had been knocking on the door all season and with four bids to WUCC at stake their breakthrough into the Big Four cannot be understated. As such, the women's 4v5 matchup (Fury-Scandal) at Nationals could be one of the most exciting pool play games of any division.
A bevy of Northwest squads will make the trek down to Sarasota, FL in just two weeks. Vancouver Traffic gets a favorable draw as the 2-seed in their pool, joined by Portland Schwa further down. Traffic eked out a tight 2-point win against Schwa at regionals, though the game had no stakes. Vancouver's Catherine Hui is a walking cheat code, serving as the only player in the women's Northwest to accrue at least seven goals, seven assists and seven blocks -- for two years in a row. Portland Schwa and Seattle Underground round out the Northwest region's Nationals squad, each slotting in as 4-seeds needing big plays to make the championship bracket. It's likely within reach, however, with Underground having already defeated one of their pool opponents (Showdown, 12-9) at Elite-Select Challenge this summer and Schwa going toe to toe with Heist at the same event.
Consistently considered a top-10 program, Atlanta Ozone this season went toe to toe with top teams in some games and had less than stellar results in others. Unfortunately, two of those less optimal results came against a team they'll face again in pool play at Nationals: Brute Squad. Ozone hasn't put up more than 7 points against BS in four meetings over the last three seasons with an average loss margin of 6.75 points. Fortunately for Atlanta, they match up favorably against two young teams seeded beneath them at Nationals. If seeding held, Ozone would get a chance for revenge in prequarters against Heist, whom Ozone lost to 15-13 at Pro Championships in September.
Toronto 6ixers has an uphill road to climb with a stacked pool including the overall top seed Riot and upstart Showdown, who upset Molly Brown at regionals less than a month ago. A spinoff of the now-disbanded elite program Capitals, 6ixers won two Triple Crown Tour events in their first official season last year before falling short in the game to go. They head into Sarasota with only four losses on the season, but have not won against a Nationals qualifier in sanctioned play this season. • Read More: Ultiworld
San Francisco Nightlock will join their Bay Area sisters in Sarasota, FL this week. Despite accumulating a record of just over .500, Nightlock boasted a top-10 ranking this year and and will soon have attained their sixth consecutive nationals appearance. Nightlock is in the intriguing position of having the 4- and 5-seeds above them, but also the 16-seed below them. It'll be no cakewalk regardless given the intensity of an event like this but there is certainly some strategy at play.
Madison Heist has won the North Central every single year since its inception in 2012. This year they were slotted as a 2-seed behind Minneapolis Pop after splitting the series 1-1. Heist won the third match handily, 15-9 in the final. They'll have a chance to meet yet again in prequarters should one of them take second in their pool. Each North Central squad has defeated the team seeded beneath them in their pools, an achievement sure to provide a small but noticeable mental confidence boost late on Thursday. • Read More: Ultiworld
Just weeks ago Austin Showdown became one of only two US club teams to beat a team from the Big Four (Riot, Brute Squad, Molly Brown, Fury) this year with a region-clinching upset over Denver Molly Brown. This is Showdown's first sanctioned win against Molly Brown in at least four seasons, and will look to build on that with a manageable pool at Nationals.
Columbus Rival and Chicago Nemesis head into nationals as the 14 and 16-seeds, respectively, leaving plenty of room for upset potential. Each has won a Triple Crown Tour event, an impressive feat given there are only five TCT events to begin with (and only four that they could realistically have qualified for). Rival played pool 3-seed Pop to within a point at Pro-Elite Challenge in July, and Nemesis possesses the advantage of surprise having not played any of the teams slotted above them this season. Teams with nothing to lose are a special breed. • Read More: USAU
1. Scandal was the first from the US. Colombia Revolution cracked the Big Four at the US Open.

Men's Division

With four national titles this decade and multiple gold medals at international events, San Francisco Revolver has cemented themselves as one of the greatest teams in the history of our sport. They'll have a chance to nab ring #5 and a bid to 2018's Worlds championship next week down south. Defense is a hallmark of Revolver, with the team allowing a median of just 9 points per game all season. Revolver is 4-0 against their pool opponents (High Five, Doublewide, Sub Zero) in sanctioned play this year. • Read More: Ultiworld
The Northwest has sent two or more men's teams to the big dance every year since the redraw, but this year the flight down south looks to be a bit more lonely. Seattle Sockeye will face one of the tougher pools in the division, drawing a Machine squad whom they lost to in September and a Florida United team whom they haven't faced in sanctioned play in over 15 months. Still, the Fish have the résumé to win their first gold in nearly a decade, having notched wins against five of the seven teams who join them in the top eight at Nationals.
Raleigh Ring of Fire cruises into Sarasota as the overall 3-seed with just as many losses all season long. They'll have a #RevengeGame opportunity against Ironside, whom they lost to in a thrilling classic in the 2014 Nationals semifinals and again in last year's pool play. Ring is 3-0 vs their other two opponents, Goat and Patrol, this season and 4-1 over the last three seasons.
DC Truck Stop had a terrific summer, besting the defending national champs three times and beating a slew of other top teams. Losing playmaker Alan Kolick stings, but the overall 4-seed is very much in title contention regardless. The narrative that Truck Stop is not a contender due to their inability to reach semifinals should for all intents and purposes be faded. Truck missed out on semifinals by an average of just 2.6 points over the last three seasons in games that could have very well gone their way save for a few miscues. It is a dangerous line of thinking to count out a team for a statistical anomaly.
Denver Johnny Bravo's signing of Mark Lloyd came a bit out of left field (as did the announcement format). It's a huge pickup for an already stacked team. Ten members of the 2014 National Championship Bravo squad will be in line to nab another ring.
One of just two four-team regionals across all divisions, the Northeast men's bid-earners collectively earned an 82-30 (73%) record and will look to continue their dominance at Nationals later this week. Boston is in solid shape to fight for another city-sweep with Ironside and Dig both members of the top 10. Ironside in particular has enjoyed outstanding success on the Nationals stage, finishing third or better every year of their existence. That's nine straight years of semifinal appearances, an active streak outlasted by only two other teams across all divisions (Riot, Fury). Dig exploded into the elite ultimate scene in their debut last year, nearly shocking Sockeye on double game point in prequarters. With eight teams seeded above them in Sarasota, they'll have plenty of opportunities to stun the world later this week. • Read More: USAU
Questions of whether Chicago Machine could bounce back from significant roster turnover were put to rest in September with their jaw-dropping wins over Revolver, Sockeye and Johnny Bravo. Pawel Janas is an underrated candidate for Offensive Player of the Year, ratcheting up the most assists (20) of any thrower at the men's Pro Championships. Machine lost twice to pool 4-seed PoNY this season and will need to keep their wits to avoid disaster.
The heat is on for Great Lakes High Five, who possess one of the most athletic teams in the country but lost in a heartbreaker in 2015 Nationals prequarters and went 0-3 in pool play at 2016 Nationals. To their credit, High Five has only been to Nationals the last two years, and existed for only four. Small sample size could play in their favor especially given their track record so far this season: Wins over Ironside and Johnny Bravo, two one-point losses to Ring of Fire, and a tight 2-1 record against pool opponents (15-11, 13-12 Sub Zero; 11-15 Revolver).
Toronto GOAT took the year off from Nationals last season, skipping Canadian Nationals and losing their bid to American Nationals in a thrilling game to go versus upstart Dig. That broke a five-year streak Toronto had of reaching the USAU Championships and is a blemish they'd surely like to put behind themselves. They can start with a regional rematch vs Ironside, whom they have not beaten since July 2015. Knocking off the defending national champs is no easy task, but followers of club ultimate will recall GOAT's role in one of the greatest upsets in recent ultimate history – knocking off #1 Revolver in quarters in 2014. If there's any team who can pull off a shocker, it's Toronto.
Florida United performed witchcraft voodoo to the frisbee deities to earn the Southeast region another bid (going 11-0 probably helped too) and made the most of it at regionals, falling only to Ring in the finals. They'll get their first true test at the place where it matters the most. Florida is 1-5 against pool opponents Sockeye and Machine over the last three seasons preceding this one and have not played 4-seed PoNY in that timeframe.
Austin Doublewide's merge with another 2016 Nationals qualifier, Dallas H.I.P, made quite a splash when it was announced earlier this year, but hasn't quite lived up to its expectations since. The revamped Doublewide has only two wins against 2017 Nationals qualifiers, both of which were attained more than three months ago. Still, Doublewide possesses the athletic talent to make magic happen with this mate rostered. Five members of the 2012 National Champion Doublewide team will attempt to add to their trophy collection later this week.
With only one bid coming out of the North Central and at least three potential recipients it was sure to be a bloodbath. In the end it came down to a single point that let Minneapolis Sub Zero limit their nationals drought to only one year. Sub is 0-4 against the top two seeds in their pool but has not played the third seed, Doublewide, who is merely one place ahead of them in the overall seeding.
New York PoNY's rollercoaster of a season could reach new heights this week as the Pride will take on a pool where they've enjoyed success (2-0 against pool 2-seed Machine, 3-point loss to top-seed Sockeye) in an environment where they have not historically played well (finishing last in 2-of-4 recent Nationals appearances). In PoNY's 26 games this season, at least 22 (85%) have resulted at most a 5-point margin of victory for the winner. With games that competitive, PoNY's wild ride isn't slowing anytime soon.
Philadelphia Patrol endured a thrilling regionals, losing to Temper in semifinals, narrowly escaping Medicine Men 16-15 in the backdoor bracket, then taking revenge on Temper in the game to go. They'll look to make some thrills of their own as a pool 4-seed at Nationals with little to lose. Patrol is 0-4 against pool competition (Ring, Ironside, Goat) this season and 1-9 over the last three seasons. Patrol did turn around a winless start to Nationals last year with a 3-0 run late to secure Pro Flight eligibility, should the chips not fall their way this year.
The men's Southwest region hasn't had a second bid since 2013 and SoCal Condors wasn't about to let it slip through their fingertips. They face a brutal draw as the 16-seed and in need of a miracle to reach the bracket. And yet, the opportunity perhaps bodes well for the southern California squad, with Condors' loss margins averaging only 3.29 points. They've played tight against elite teams and will need to do so again in just a few days time.

Mixed Division

Seattle Mixtape joins Riot as the top overall seed for their division and with only three losses on the season enjoys a strong opportunity to take home their first ever title. Like Sockeye, a gold this year for Mixtape would be the first for the city's mixed division in nearly a decade. Mixtape is 4-0 against competition in their pool and have sustained only three losses all season, two of which one-point bouts in their first tournament of the year. • Read More: Ultiworld
Philly AMP dominated the regular season, losing only thrice to two opponents; two of their three losses were by two points or less. AMP has not reached the Nationals semifinals since 2007, nor has any mixed Mid-Atlantic team since 2009. As the overall 2-seed, could this be their year? They face a tough draw with Blackbird, Toro and Metro North combining for a 69-20 record (78%).
Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust has finished third or better at Nationals every year since 2012, an impressive model of consistency in an otherwise volatile division. Their streak has a decent chance of continuing thanks to a relatively favorable pool and the overall third seed. Drag'n's regional neighbors didn't fare as well, with Madison Noise stacking up against top seed Mixtape, a stacked Mischief, and 2016 OPOTY Chris Mazur-helmed Public Enemy. It's still better than Minneapolis No Touching, however, who draws the 16-seed and a date with the defending national champs and two other elite squads. Still, there's a reason people say "any given Sunday Thursday."
Defending national champs Boston Slow White finished the year top 3 in the rankings yet lost twice to regional neighbor Boston Wild Card. They'll get a rematch if seeding holds. Meanwhile Wild Card played a terrific season, losing only thrice, two of which to Nationals qualifiers. One of their losses came to Love Tractor, whom they'll match up again with in their first game in Sarasota, bright and early Thursday morning. Rounding out the Northeast Nationals qualifiers, Connecticut Metro North is 0-4 against their Boston brethren this season but is still one of the most dangerous 4-seeds at Nationals. They were seeded eighth at last year's Nationals before going on a tear through the tournament to reach the finals, falling to Slow White in an all-Northeast final. • Read More: USAU
Seattle BFG exploded into the mixed ultimate scene last year and continued their nationwide dominance this season, accruing a staggering 50-9 sanctioned record over the last two years, thereby winning nearly 85% of their matchups! BFG is 2-1 against pool opponents this season, with their lone loss a one-point early morning squeeze at Pro Championships last month.
San Francisco Blackbird and Mischief roll into Nationals as victors of an always-brutal regionals that sent five teams to the big dance just three years back. Blackbird enters in their fourth consecutive Nationals appearance and Mischief in their second. The birds draw arguably the toughest pool in the mixed division, squaring off against Amp, Toro and Metro North. Blackbird is 2-7 against the aforementioned competition the past three seasons, excluding Toro who they haven't played yet. Mischief draws Seattle Mixtape, Noise and Public Enemy, whom they are 5-2 against over the same timeframe.
Cincinnati Steamboat survived a thrilling Sunday at regionals, winning semis and finals by a margin of three points total. They draw the always-interesting overall 9-seed for Nationals, a position that features the tough 4 and 5-seeds above but the 16-seed below. Trending in Steamboat's favor is their undefeated record (2-0) against pool opponents, including an 11-10 upset over BFG at a tournament just an hour away from BFG's home camp.
Fort Collins Shame and Denver Love Tractor will face off in Sarasota as the only intra-region matchup in pool play in the mixed division. Shame is 3-0 against Love Tractor this season but only 1-2 in the two seasons preceding. Their matchup isn't until 3:45pm ET, so they'll have plenty of time to get their legs moving and blood flowing after a several-hour and timezone-hopping flight into South Florida.
Durham Toro will travel to Sarasota for their first nationals appearance since becoming a team... last year. Their welcoming gift features arguably the toughest pool in the mixed division, facing off against the overall 2-seed AMP, Pro Championships finalist Blackbird, and 2016 Nationals finalist Metro North. Talk about loaded. Toro is no pushover either, notching only three losses on the season by just four points total. Toro has never played against their pool opponents (in sanctioned play at least).
The 2016 OPOTY Chris Mazur-led Dallas Public Enemy has endured quite the rollercoaster of a season, going winless at their first big tournament of the year, posting mixed results at their next, then cruising through regionals to return to Nationals after finishing 11th there last year. They'll have #RevengeGame opportunities against Mixtape and Noise at Nationals, whom they were blown out by at tournaments this season. • Read More: Ultiworld
submitted by Jomskylark to ultimate [link] [comments]


2017.09.21 18:39 Jomskylark Regional Championships – Tournament Talk [Sept 23-24]

Predict, Discuss and Follow the Weekend's Tournaments

"Regionals" is the second stop of the postseason in USA club ultimate. This is where it really counts: Only a select few teams (determined by regular season performance) will be able to move on from their respective regions to the National Championships in October.
Discuss the weekend's Regionals in this thread or in our Discord channel. Follow on Twitter:
@USAUltimate@USAUltimateLive@Ulti_world@UltiworldLive@Sludge@BamaSecs
Let us know if you'll be covering Regionals on Twitter, Facebook etc!

Regionals Pick'em Contest

Enter our annual Regionals Pick'em for a chance to win Reddit Gold!
Deadline to enter is Saturday, September 23rd at 8:00am ET.

Regionals Bid Allocation

Div GL MA NC NE NW SC SE SW
Women's 2 1 2 2 4 2 1 2
Men's 2 2 1 4 1 2 2 2
Mixed 1 1 3 3 2 3 1 2

Women's Regionals – Quick Snippets

Note: All records, results and references in the writeups below reflect sanctioned games only.
Women's Great Lakes – Scores – 2 Bids, 8 Teams
A one-bid region last year, Columbus Rival eked out just enough this season to earn the Great Lakes the nation's last strength bid. Rival will go toe-to-toe with top seed Chicago Nemesis, who will look to return to Nationals after missing out last year. Rival is 4-1 against Nemesis over the last two years, but it was Nemesis who scored the most recent win, taking down their foes 11-10 at Elite-Select Challenge just over a month ago.
Women's Mid-Atlantic – Scores – 1 Bid, 8 Teams
It's tough to bet against DC Scandal, who is arguably a title contender after busting into the Big Four with a 15-12 win over Molly Brown and a one-point loss to Seattle Riot at Pro Championships earlier this month. With only one bid on the line, it would take a miracle for another team to unseat the 2013 and 2014 National Champions. Pittsburgh Hot Metal likely has the best chance to pull off such a win, who is 8-1 against lower-seeded competition this year.
Women's North Central – Scores – 2 Bids, 8 Teams
The North Central will finally enjoy more than one bid for the first time since the regions were redrawn in 2012. Madison Heist has been the lone recipient of the NC bid for five straight years, but this weekend they will get a partner! Top seed Minneapolis Pop is 1-1 against Heist this year and have wins over top 16 teams 6ixers and Rival. After falling to Heist in the game to go for the last three years, Pop will now look to not only go to Nationals, but win the region as well. On the outside looking in, Kansas City Wicked's best win is against #26 Grit and haven't put up more than 8 points against any top 20 contender, but has experience against fellow region rivals and stands the best chance to procure an upset.
Women's Northeast – Scores – 2 Bids, 10 Teams
Defending national champion Boston Brute Squad is going to Nationals. That much is sure. But who will grab the second bid? Last year's recipient Quebec Iris isn't participating in the USAU postseason. Toronto 6ixers seems most likely to fill their shoes, finishing a strong season in the top 10 and falling only thrice all season long. But aside from an upset victory over Vancouver Traffic at Canadian Nationals in August, 6ixers don't have any wins over nationals bid-earners. What they do have is regional dominance, topping contenders Boston Siege 12-8 and NY Bent 14-9 at Chesapeake the week before CUCs. Those two will likely have to duel in the backdoor bracket to challenge for the second bid, and with both teams having wins over nationals bid-earners, an upset in the game to go certainly isn't out of the question.
Women's Northwest – Scores – 4 Bids, 8 Teams
HALF of the teams at Northwest regionals will go to nationals, a first for the region since 2014. For perennial contenders Seattle Riot and Vancouver Traffic, regionals is little more than a dress rehearsal for Nationals, but a valuable one at that. Last year's nationals finalist Portland Schwa and game to go loser Seattle Underground won't have to butt heads for a bid this year, but will have to stay alert to avoid the unthinkable. In particular Schwa is most vulnerable having already lost to sixth-seed Vancouver Sneaky House Hippos early this season. In fairness that was Schwa's first game of the season, but the Hippos did take Underground to a two-point loss at sectionals. Meanwhile Salt Lake City Elevate has quietly led a respectable season and if not properly accounted for, could play spoiler.
Women's South Central – Scores – 2 Bids, 6 Teams
Few regions are as consistently open and shut as the South Central, with Denver Molly Brown and Austin Showdown serving as the region's sole nationals qualifiers since the redraw in 2012. With their top competition not even cracking the top 30, this trend seems likely to continue this season. Molly Brown has won the region four of the last five years and blew out Showdown by ten points in early August. Molly Brown is a legitimate title contender (see: Cardenas, Shofner) and will look to clinch their fourth straight regional championship.
Women's Southeast – Scores – 1 Bid, 11 Teams
One of just two one-bid regions in the women's division, the Southeast is also interestingly the largest regional championship in the division. This is due to Hurricane Irma cancelling two straight attempts to hold East Coast women's sectionals and forcing coordinators to simply invite all EC section participants to regionals. Complicating matters further, this will be the first season since the redraw in 2012 to have just one bid for the Southeast region. Atlanta Ozone is deservedly top dog, having notched three and four-point losses to Riot and Fury respectively, and wins over west coast talents Nightlock and Underground. They are yet to play Raleigh Phoenix, who topped nationals bid-earners Nightlock and Rival one month back. Normally a hotly contested series (5-4 over past two seasons, edge Atlanta), Phoenix is in rebuilding mode this year having departed at least 15 players, but anything is possible at regionals.
Women's Southwest – Scores – 2 Bids, 8 Teams
A three-bid region last year, the Southwest region will have to leave one of 2016's qualifiers behind, and it won't be San Francisco Fury. Winning five straight Southwest region titles, Fury is one of the nation's most acclaimed programs, having attained a national title, two silvers and two bronzes in that same period. But who will join them? Smart money's on San Francisco Nightlock, who's qualified for Nationals each of the last five years, but it's far from certain: Nightlock fell to San Diego Wildfire twice last season (including regionals) and once to newcomer Oakland LOL early this season. LOL in particular has had quite the success story as a first-year team, and possess the talent to notch an upset, but have not had any signature wins since June. Wildfire seems like a safer upset pick, having played more and better tournaments than LOL, but winning only 42% of their games could be an issue. It'll be a rollercoaster regardless – buckle up!

Men's Regionals – Quick Snippets

Note: All records, results and references in the writeups below reflect sanctioned games only.
Men's Great Lakes – Scores – 2 Bids, 16 Teams
Ohio-igan High Five races into regionals hot on the heels of an undefeated Elite-Select Challenge performance, racking up wins against top squads like Sub Zero, Dig, and neighbor Chicago Machine. Both squads have taken the region's two bids to Nationals the last two years and look likely to do it again. Cleveland Smokestack seemed most likely to challenge for the second bid heading into the postseason but disaster struck at sectionals sending them careening into the eight seed. Next in line is Indy Brickyard who is an impressive 12-1 against lower-seeded competition and ranked just shy of the top 30. Brickyard has played only one game against top 25 competition, Condors, whom they lost 10-11 to in late July.
Men's Mid-Atlantic – Scores – 2 Bids, 16 Teams
One of the hottest storylines in men's club ultimate this year was the emergence of teams in the Mid-Atlantic region, with multiple programs flirting with the top 16 and bid-earning status throughout the summer. Unfortunately, efforts came up just short to secure the region extra bids and now the Mid-Atlantic faces an intense bid crisis, with only two bids available for at least five deserving teams. DC Truck Stop is likely the only squad who can feel somewhat safe, having won the region every year since at least the redraw in 2012 and perennially competing for a national title. Their championship ambitions may be in jeopardy with the sudden loss of Alan Kolick (MCL/PCL tear), but they are a safe bet to at least advance from regionals. Duking it out for the second bid are Philly Patrol, Baltimore Medicine Men, Richmond Floodwall, and Pittsburgh Temper, with Garden State a potential contender as well having bested Temper at sectionals. Wow. Good luck sorting this one out.
Men's North Central – Scores – 1 Bid, 12 Teams
Speaking of brutal bid allocations, Men's North Central is down to one bid for the first time since 2013. Minneapolis Sub Zero toughed it out that year, and they seem most likely to tough it out again. But make no mistake -- results are far from certain. Kansas City Prairie Fire upset Madison Club twice at 2014's regionals to nab a bid to the big dance. Madison likely has the edge over Prairie Fire, but both teams are certainly in contention. Madison Mad Men and Winnipeg General Strike will look to play spoiler, with the former wrapping up an excellent 16-5 season and the latter finishing second at Canadian Nationals.
Men's Northeast – Scores – 4 Bids, 16 Teams
After Boston Dig shocked the world last season taking down Toronto Goat, questions circled about whether this intense region would capture a fourth bid this year or face again a situation with too many mouths to feed. Excellent regular season performances from the aforementioned programs along with the defending national champs Boston Ironside and underrated New York PoNY answered that question easily, with Toronto finishing the worst of the four teams... at 12th, safely within bid parameters. While it's likely that the top four will mix together in some fashion to advance to Sarasota, Montreal Mockingbird is a sneaky dark horse pick to steal a bid. Mockingbird is filled with Montreal Royal stars, many of whom competed against players on regional rivals throughout the summer.
Men's Northwest – Scores – 1 Bid, 10 Teams
It's hard to imagine a Nationals without perennial title contender Seattle Sockeye, so I won't. Vancouver Furious George would have to shock the world with an upset over the Seattle behemoths whose 2017 resume boasts statement wins against Revolver, Ironside, Johnny Bravo... and the list goes on. Still, Furious George forwent Canadian Nationals this year seemingly to focus on the USAU club series. So if there's any time to make that stand... this is it.
Men's South Central – Scores – 2 Bids, 16 Teams
As far as regionals go, men's South Central is fairly open and shut. Denver Johnny Bravo and Austin Doublewide have been the two recipients of the SC's bids each of the past five years since the redraw occurred, save for last year when Dallas H.I.P joined the club. H.I.P has since merged with Doublewide so it seems likely that business will return to its usual form as well. A driven Denver Inception squad could try to rally, but it'd be a pretty significant upset.
Men's Southeast – Scores – 2 Bids, 15 Teams
Men's southeast teams were delivered a crushing blow last year when the region only turned out one bid. This year, another bid is on the shelf, but it won't be any easier to go. That is, unless you're Raleigh Ring of Fire, who holds one of the longest Nationals streaks in the country. They'll look to hit 21 years in a row this weekend with eyes on earning a national title. With one of the shortest commutes to Sarasota of any men's team in the country, Florida United will look to join them and save flight dollars for mojitos instead. Florida performed witchcraft voodoo to the frisbee deity to earn the region another bid (going 11-0 also probably helped, to their credit) and avoid repeating the one-bid struggle-fest that occurred last year. Atlanta Chain Lightning and Huntsville Freaks, though underdogs, could also make a play for that last bid. Any given Sunday, as they say...
Men's Southwest – Scores – 2 Bids, 8 Teams
Finally. After years of heartaches the Southwest men's division can breathe a little easier, thanks to So Cal Condors attaining a second bid to Nationals and not having to fight for a miracle against contender for greatest-program-of-all time, San Francisco Revolver. Hanging on by a thread to secure this valuable opportunity, Condors is the favorite to take home their earned second bid. Oakland Guerrilla, however, will try to challenge, as will San Diego Streetgang.

Mixed Regionals – Quick Snippets

Note: All records, results and references in the writeups below reflect sanctioned games only.
Mixed Great Lakes – Scores – 1 Bid, 16 Teams
Mixed is the only division in club ultimate this year to ruthlessly offer only a single bid for sixteen teams, and probably a good thing, given how intense it's bound to be. Cincinnati Steamboat stands atop this region, but given the volatility of the overall mixed division, upsets are almost a sure thing. Can Steamboat hold onto their bid against 2015 regional qualifier Chicago UPA? They don't just have to fend off USA Ultimate's former namesake but feisty Columbus Cocktails as well, who have a few young talents of their own.
Mixed Mid-Atlantic – Scores – 1 Bid, 16 Teams
You thought Great Lakes was tough? Try Mid-Atlantic, who has four teams finishing in the top 25 scrambling for only one bid. Philly AMP holds the top seed and #2 ranking in the country, but only attended two sanctioned tournaments all summer. Pittsburgh Alloy finished inside of the top 16, but due to the Southeast not finishing high enough, missed out on a strength bid by "that much." DC Ambiguous Grey, along with the aforementioned two programs, advanced to Nationals last year but will have to fight especially hard to return. And last but not least, West Chester Bang will look to use their athleticism and big plays to sneak in and steal a bid.
Mixed North Central – Scores – 3 Bids, 12 Teams
Top seed Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust has won regionals three years in a row, nabbing two national titles and a bronze in that same time period. They look likely as any to continue that trend in Sarasota, but they'll have to escape unscathed here. Fortunately, the Dragons have a safety net of three bids and a wealth of experience backing them up. Madison Noise too looks poised to move on, and may even challenge for the region title, having beaten Drag'n Thrust 14-13 back in July. On more shaky ground is Ames Chad Larson Experience, who is looking to return to Nationals after missing it last year, but stumbled at sectionals falling to St Louis Chalice 15-10, who was ranked in the triple digits in the regular season. Minneapolis No Touching will try to take CLX's bid should they stumble again.
Mixed Northeast – Scores – 3 Bids, 16 Teams
Defending national champ Boston Slow White headlines this stacked regionals that sent four teams to the big dance just two years back. Finishing fourth in the regular season, Slow White seems like a fair bet to reach and jockey for the title yet again. Just two places down in the final rankings, Boston Wild Card looks to return to Nationals after falling in the game to go last season. NY Metro North also is right in contention having won regionals last year, but they'll have to fend off newcomer NY Xist who fell just two places shy of securing a fourth strength bid.
Mixed Northwest – Scores – 2 Bids, 16 Teams
It's tough to bet against two teams in the top five in the country punching their tickets to Nationals. Regular season champ Seattle Mixtape and a came-outta-nowhere powerhouse Seattle BFG are going to qualify for Sarasota, it's just a question of in what order. Mixtape is 2-0 vs BFG this season, but only by margins of three and one points.
Mixed South Central – Scores – 3 Bids, 15 Teams
No South Central program has finished above 11th at Nationals since 2013, but that didn't stop this underrated region from gathering three bids. Fort Collins Shame takes the top seed after a terrific 15-5 regular season and will look to keep up the positive trends this weekend. Dallas Public Enemy and Boulder Love Tractor are also favored to move on to Sarasota, but they'll have to quarrel with Austin Cosa Nostra, who haven't advanced to Nationals since 2014, but won the region three years in a row from 2012-14.
Mixed Southeast – Scores – 1 Bids, 16 Teams
No team from southeast mixed finished in the top 16, relegating a bid away from Alloy and to Durham Toro to ensure the southeast would be represented at Nationals. But the lack of a clear forerunner actually makes this one of the most competitive regionals in the country. Last year's upset winner Gainesville G-Unit is seeded fourth, with Atlanta Bucket and Charlotte Storm seeded ahead. Further down, JLP and Swing State are eyeing the way things shook out last year and will remain hungry for the last bid until the very last game. Who will come out on top? Roll a dice...
Mixed Southwest – Scores – 2 Bids, 16 Teams
Three years removed from the historic FIVE-bid regionals, the Southwest division narrowly avoided prospects of only one bid just days away from the final regular season rankings. A heroic performance by San Francisco Blackbird at Pro Championships kept the region out of bid emergency, but it'll still be an uphill battle for most teams. San Francisco Mischief is the other bid-earner, but only beat Los Angeles 7 Figures by three points across two games and Berkeley Polar Bears by one point in one game this season. Meanwhile, San Francisco Classy vaulted into dark horse discussion by defeating Polar Bears by two in a nine-game sectionals two weeks back.

Discussion Questions

  • What are you most excited for?
  • What are the weekend's key matchups?
  • Which teams will surprise and which will disappoint?
  • Which players should we watch? Who would you put on a Fantasy Line?
  • Which team are you playing with? Are you attending as a spectator?
  • What are your bold predictions?
submitted by Jomskylark to ultimate [link] [comments]


2017.09.20 16:24 ateamm Looking for entry level Urban/Fitness Bike.

Your level of experience with cycling. Road BMX a lot as a kid and young adult. Am 32 now and lately have been riding a cheap wal-mart mountain bike.
What's your price range, and have you considered second hand? $300 maybe $400 depending on options. I have looked second hand but I live in a small town so chances of finding something is very slim.
What's your intention with the bike - commuting, fitness, touring, sport, etc? Fitness is what I am looking for. I like the look and more upright seating position of the Fitness/urban bikes.
How far will you be riding, and how often? I have a 3 mile route currently that I do once or twice a week. It will expand as my endurance increases but don't expect to do much more than that.
Riding conditions: roads, pavement, trails, single-track, off-road? Flat or hilly? Traffic and weather. All Roads and pavement with minimal traffic. It's pretty flat around here. My current bike I usually don't even change gears.
Your location (even approximate) can help other locals familiar with your conditions, too. Central Kansas so very flat.
I live in a small town so plan on ordering online. I have assembled many bikes so not worried about that. I have been looking at the Nashbar Flat Bar, Raleigh Cadet 1 and 2 (They have the 2017 versions listed on sale but says out of stock. Will probably have to get the newest version.), Bikes Direct Motobecane Elite Sport. Maybe a Haro Aeras.
Locally the only used bike I have found that is close to what I am looking for is a Cannondale M400. Not sure what the frame size is though. I am 6' tall with a 32 inseam btw.
I am open to any other suggestions as I don't really have any knowledge on brands. The only "expensive" bike I have ever owned was a BMX style Haro when I was younger.
EDIT: Just found a Diamondback Insight 2 on ebay for $309. That's pretty tempting.
submitted by ateamm to whichbike [link] [comments]


2017.09.01 04:02 omniscientbeet The North American Title Belt - Like the MLS Title Belt, but tracked down by someone with far too much free time.

EDIT: I've made some screwups and taken some feedback; all the changes are marked by strikethroughs.
Some of you may have been following the MLS Championship Belt (currently maintained by cantbeassed). For those of you that haven't, the rules are simple:
  1. The MLS Cup holder begins the season with the belt.
  2. If a team defeats the belt holder in an MLS regular season match, that team gains the belt.
That's it.
While that's fun to play with, I wanted to see what would happen if we used a rule set more like the Unofficial Football World Championships, and included every soccer team in the US & Canada. (I know I said North America, but there's no good term for just the US and Canada. Sidenote: We desperately need to come up with one.)
For reference, the rules of my creation are as follows:
  1. The belt is first given to the winner of the match designated as the starting point for the belt. In the case of the UFWC, this is the first ever international soccer match between Scotland and England in 1873. For the North American Title Belt, I used the inaugural MLS match in 1996 between the San Jose Clash and DC United.
  2. If that team is defeated by any team in a US Open Cup, Canadian Championship, or league regular season match, the winning team holds the new belt.
  3. Two-legged ties are considered as two separate games. This enables the belt to enter the MLS Cup playoffs (or any other two-legged tie) and not come out with the winner.
  4. The result used for the purposes of the belt is the result after all extra time and penalties have been played.
  5. If the title belt holder folds (as happened with Rayo OKC,) the belt is given to the winner of the next MLS match that occurs reigning MLS Cup champion.
There are two significant changes here from the MLS Championship Belt:
  1. The belt can (and does, several times,) journey around the lower leagues. Theoretically, a team like PSA Elite or Christos could carry it into the 5th tier with a big enough scalp in the USOC.
  2. The team that goes into the offseason with the belt keeps the belt in the next season.
So, using these rules, the current holder of the North American Title Belt are the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Ocean City Nor'Easters.
Here's the full spreadsheet detailing the belt's entire history, but I'll provide some highlights here:
The belt had 5 3 stints in lower leagues, the longest being a 6-year stretch in the A-League from September 1996 to July 2002.
By far the longest single reign by any belt holder (not including the offseason) is FC Dallas's 13 game, 90-day streak in 2010; only one other team (the 2010 LA Galaxy) comes within 5 games of that mark.
The LA Galaxy have the most successful title defenses of any team with 41. The Rochester Rhinos have the most out of any lower league team, with 16.
The New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers have the most oddly specific name of any team to ever hold the belt.
On September 21st, 1997, the Milwaukee Rampage lost and then regained the belt an hour later, due to the A-League's bizarre "mini-game tiebreaker" rule.
Neither Minnesota United nor Atlanta United has ever held the belt.
The longest stretch between two reigns as belt holder goes to the Charleston Battery, who had to wait 4,963 days between their loss of the belt to the Raleigh Capital Express in September 2000 to their belt title match victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders in August 2012.
The belt is currently in the midst of it's deepest dive into the lower leagues, sitting in the USL PDL.
submitted by omniscientbeet to MLS [link] [comments]


2017.05.24 20:17 subreddit_stats Subreddit Stats: ultimate posts from 2017-03-23 to 2017-05-23 17:51 PDT

Period: 61.13 days
Submissions Comments
Total 973 10883
Rate (per day) 15.92 175.16
Unique Redditors 558 2173
Combined Score 29191 70928

Top Submitters' Top Submissions

  1. 1235 points, 7 submissions: AUDLSnoopsnScoops
    1. This sport is so weird (496 points, 34 comments)
    2. Jesse Shofner's First Goal In The Pros (293 points, 54 comments)
    3. Raleigh's Jon Nethercutt Greatest Assist (173 points, 45 comments)
    4. Minnesota's Brian Schoenrock Full Effort Layout Goal (135 points, 25 comments)
    5. Jay Froude Doing The Damn Thing (70 points, 7 comments)
    6. Alan Kolick. Flying. Again. (39 points, 9 comments)
    7. Nashville's Colin Grandon's Superman Goal (29 points, 9 comments)
  2. 943 points, 7 submissions: felix37
    1. The world's most mediocre game-winning callahan (617 points, 46 comments)
    2. I got to play Ultimate with US Marines in Albania - did you know Ultimate is regularly played amongst marines in Baghdad? (185 points, 8 comments)
    3. Fun indoor shenanigans (75 points, 17 comments)
    4. Hex offence flow with Soweto - Gauteng, South Africa (33 points, 29 comments)
    5. Albania: Introducing Ultimate to an entire country (17 points, 0 comments)
    6. Sussex Mohawks win UKU Uni Men’s Nationals (16 points, 16 comments)
    7. felixultimate.com Moscow Hex Workshop, 20th May (0 points, 0 comments)
  3. 838 points, 5 submissions: unchuckable
    1. This is a .gif of a high school player throwing a greatest. (308 points, 21 comments)
    2. Middle school player attempts unsuccessful bid (262 points, 25 comments)
    3. How to start a fight in a men's game (142 points, 65 comments)
    4. brutal fake 5 (75 points, 17 comments)
    5. College Championships video coverage update (51 points, 8 comments)
  4. 750 points, 13 submissions: talleyrandbanana
    1. Matt Bennett with the MASSIVE Pull @ Roughnecks Opener (159 points, 12 comments)
    2. "why fly united when you can take air stanley?" (145 points, 26 comments)
    3. Nethercutt throws savage no look assist (140 points, 42 comments)
    4. Tufts B scored more points against Brown than Tufts A (108 points, 6 comments)
    5. everything goes exactly as planned for jon nethercutt's scoober (54 points, 8 comments)
    6. AUDL Highlight Reel: Markham Shofner (42 points, 10 comments)
    7. Why aren't there more AMAs on this subreddit? (30 points, 35 comments)
    8. Matt Bennett with the INSANE sky d on Dylan Tunnell (28 points, 18 comments)
    9. Week 3 — AUDL Top 10 Plays (22 points, 6 comments)
    10. Week 7 — AUDL Top 10 Plays (12 points, 0 comments)
  5. 723 points, 1 submission: Gmattace
    1. Nice try kid (723 points, 30 comments)
  6. 475 points, 5 submissions: samth
    1. Contested Strip for Callahan (328 points, 30 comments)
    2. Sydney Raftery of IU Calamity Jane at the Alleycats/Mechanix Halftime (96 points, 12 comments)
    3. Elite Player's Perspective: The Best Pulling Games I've Ever Seen Ultiworld (Subscription required) (22 points, 27 comments)
    4. An Ombudsperson's Take On Ultiworld And Gender Equity Ultiworld (by Kyle Weisbrod) (21 points, 73 comments)
    5. Lively Discussion At USAU's 'Vision Tour' Opener In Washington D.C. Ultiworld (8 points, 3 comments)
  7. 446 points, 4 submissions: _NINESEVEN
    1. Handlers directing their cutters usually works out well, right? (228 points, 29 comments)
    2. Jesse Shofner puts her defender on rollerskates for a deep score (167 points, 50 comments)
    3. Mark Burton walking all over the San Jose Spiders (36 points, 11 comments)
    4. Iowa State Huck Finn 2017 Highlights (15 points, 3 comments)
  8. 375 points, 9 submissions: RaleighFlyers
    1. Dave Snoke's ridiculous greatest ASSIST to Shane Sisco #SCTop10 (158 points, 18 comments)
    2. Raleigh Flyers join the Cannons in the #BeatDallas club with 32-25 win to control the AUDL South Division! (75 points, 13 comments)
    3. Raleigh Flyers rally with 10-3 run in fourth quarteOT to defeat DC Breeze 23-21 (70 points, 11 comments)
    4. America's Game: Air Force vs Army on periscope! (20 points, 1 comment)
    5. Happy Easter, Reddit! :) (15 points, 1 comment)
    6. Come Fly With Us! Your Raleigh Flyers 2017 Season Schedule #FearTheBeard (12 points, 5 comments)
    7. Watch DC Breeze at Raleigh Flyers at 7pm EDT for the price of a cup of coffee! (11 points, 1 comment)
    8. Fill out your props sheet for Flyers vs Cannons tonight at 7pm EDT! (10 points, 1 comment)
    9. Lord Nethercutt set multiple single-game Flyers records last Saturday, #DiscHog anyone? (4 points, 3 comments)
  9. 365 points, 3 submissions: Connguy
    1. Auburn nominates Sideline Captain and renowned trombonist Hank Womble for Callahan 2017 (228 points, 33 comments)
    2. A player on Auburn made this entire music video last year just to lovingly make fun of one player's wobbly flicks (110 points, 21 comments)
    3. Spin now selling #CallaHANK Jerseys (27 points, 2 comments)
  10. 362 points, 9 submissions: cohenemily
    1. How to Fake (147 points, 18 comments)
    2. How To Throw A Forehand Rise (74 points, 4 comments)
    3. Outside In Backhand Tutorial (36 points, 0 comments)
    4. Throwing Practice Game (27 points, 5 comments)
    5. How To Throw A Backhand Rise (23 points, 4 comments)
    6. How To Throw A Forehand (21 points, 6 comments)
    7. Intro To Hammer Tutorial (20 points, 0 comments)
    8. How To Throw A Hammer (14 points, 12 comments)
    9. Ultimate Frisbee Video Game In Real Life (0 points, 1 comment)

Top Commenters

  1. Jomskylark (2625 points, 376 comments)
  2. mgdmitch (2261 points, 254 comments)
  3. Aix (894 points, 63 comments)
  4. mdotbeezy (864 points, 135 comments)
  5. unchuckable (842 points, 39 comments)
  6. lookatallthisstuff (795 points, 77 comments)
  7. talleyrandbanana (786 points, 56 comments)
  8. sloecrush (616 points, 85 comments)
  9. billbourret (559 points, 89 comments)
  10. everlearning6 (548 points, 106 comments)

Top Submissions

  1. Nice try kid by Gmattace (723 points, 30 comments)
  2. The world's most mediocre game-winning callahan by felix37 (617 points, 46 comments)
  3. This sport is so weird by AUDLSnoopsnScoops (496 points, 34 comments)
  4. USAU Signs Historic Three Year Deal With ESPN; Will Add Live Games On ESPN2, ESPNU by martinlu (344 points, 96 comments)
  5. Contested Strip for Callahan by samth (328 points, 30 comments)
  6. This is a .gif of a high school player throwing a greatest. by unchuckable (308 points, 21 comments)
  7. Jesse Shofner's First Goal In The Pros by AUDLSnoopsnScoops (293 points, 54 comments)
  8. Promposed to my boyfriend at a tournament today! He flicked! :D (old disc spray painted w chalkboard paint, written on with chalk marker) by princessshaztaaa (278 points, 17 comments)
  9. They said to do what you love by DiscBiscuit (264 points, 16 comments)
  10. Middle school player attempts unsuccessful bid by unchuckable (262 points, 25 comments)

Top Comments

  1. 197 points: lookatallthisstuff's comment in USAU Signs Historic Three Year Deal With ESPN; Will Add Live Games On ESPN2, ESPNU
  2. 157 points: talleyrandbanana's comment in Tufts B scored more points against Brown than Tufts A
  3. 138 points: Cominginbladey's comment in Gender Semantics
  4. 138 points: pushpass's comment in Jesse Shofner puts her defender on rollerskates for a deep score
  5. 132 points: Euh_reddit's comment in In First For Female Player, Jesse Shofner Makes Nashville Nightwatch Roster Ultiworld
  6. 131 points: gs34's comment in Nice try kid
  7. 129 points: hooblagoo's comment in Middle school player attempts unsuccessful bid
  8. 127 points: arats2's comment in Buzz Bullets suspended for 2017, won't play nationals
  9. 113 points: AmbulatoryProfessorX's comment in The world's most mediocre game-winning callahan
  10. 112 points: ICWings's comment in Iowa City Wings Disqualified from Quarters vs Host Team for Poor Spirit
Generated with BBoe's Subreddit Stats (Donate)
submitted by subreddit_stats to subreddit_stats [link] [comments]


2017.02.20 00:21 engineerwithoutjobs Buying road bike for first time, love speed...advise on bikes please!

I got some advice to go to a certain bike shop and they have a couple of decent looking bikes. I don't know anything about bikes though.
Here are some of my options around my budget(trying to stay below 1500 since I know theres going to be other costs):
What all do I need to look at when buying a bike? I know about the height (I think the 56 worked best for me), but I don't know anything else. Don't I need to buy clothes, helmet and stuff too? Please advise...I am tired of having spent the last 29 years at home playing on the computer!!!
Also I heard you have to do a fit test but I have no understanding of how that works.
Also:
Your level of experience with cycling: when I was young I rode walmart bikes, that's it. nothing special.
What's your price range, and have you considered second hand? Yes, but I don't know how dependable 2nd hands are.
What's your intention with the bike - commuting, fitness, touring, sport, etc? Fitness and sport.
How far will you be riding, and how often? As much as possible, likely 2-3 times a week. Couple of miles.
Riding conditions: roads, pavement, trails, single-track, off-road? Flat or hilly? Traffic and weather. --I have good bike trails 30-40 minutes from me.
Your location (even approximate) can help other locals familiar with your conditions, too. -- Iowa
submitted by engineerwithoutjobs to whichbike [link] [comments]


2016.11.19 12:02 Blueoriontiger 30 [M4F] Greeneville, TN USA - Looking for "Non-Local" Gaming Buddy/Girlfriend

Good morning.
Long story short, been let down a lot of times or simply not even finding someone with anything remotely similar where I currently live. It's extremely disheartening when all your friends (online or real life) are married or have been with people for several years while you just slave away at jobs or trying to get your life in order. Especially now that holidays are around the corner, everything seems a bit empty that I don't have someone special to give a gift to, cook something to give or be tender to. My 30th birthday rolled by a few months ago; I honestly never thought that I'd be single at that age and its making me radically considering what I'm doing with my life and looking for someplace new to have a life.
I'm looking for something serious. Not a fling, not friends. Someone I can start to date and get into a relationship with that can eventually lead up to more. Someone I can play video games with, someone I can text and speak to on the phone. Skype calls. Meet up, go on adventures and interact with. And more.
I'm an average-bodied Indian guy, reaching 5' 6" and massing out at 150lbs. Have a bit of a belly but have been losing weight in the past year and continuing to try to tone myself.
Digital Media freelancer by life trade, graduated with a Bachelors in my field. Worked quite a bit for a publishing company the last few years. My parents own a small business and I help them with their endeavors as well.
INTJ, indie author and blogger. Bird and fish lover. When I'm not working, I'm writing, drawing, going on road trips or playing video games. I like cities and greatly shy away from rural or country places, or the culture associated with them. Very modernistic, like tech and science a lot. I like to read, too. Grew up knowing what a 386sx and Windows 3.11 was. And as silly as it sounds, I don't own any pets except for an occasional betta now and then.
Not the smoking or drinking type, I stay a very far distance away from bars. Not an outdoors person either; will ride bikes and jog, but no camping, hiking and horseback riding for me. Definitely like getting out of house and doing things, just not in the middle of national park or the "wilds".
Stuff I geek out about? Overwatch, Elite: Dangerous, Gundam. Low-key anime fan.I love aviation and am a huge NASA buff along with what lays under the ocean. I can be found listening to lots of videogame tunes, J-Pop and alternative rock. Go-to movies are Independence Day, Apollo 13, I, Robot and Pacific Rim. Favorite series are Star Trek, Stargate, NCIS and occasionally Dr. Who.
For preferences, looking for a college-educated woman someone close to my age (25-30) that has a love for video games, reading and art stuff (digital, traditional, 3D modeling, whatnot). Preferably white, Indian or Asian with an average or thin body frame. Height and other backgrounds isn't an issue. I will say that I am a Christian and have an independent view on politics (neither Conservative or Liberal) in case that's an issue. Also not interested in someone with kids; while I do want my own at some point, I don't have any children and would like to meet someone similar.
Basically a nerdy, fit-bodied city person that doesn't use ain't and y'all in everyday conversation.
And if you use and know these (xD, :3 and rofl), that'll help quite a bit.
On a footnote, I'm open to something long-distance. Not internationally or across the country, but I definitely realize what I want may not be found anywhere near the Appalachians. Orlando, Washington D.C, Raleigh, Nashville or Atlanta; maybe even as far as New York City (or anywhere in-between those places). I shot myself in the foot residing in country land hoping that someone was in arm's reach would be available while enjoying family benefits, and am willing to take the effort to meetup within a certain distance with someone if it'll work out.
Please drop a line. I look forward to hearing from you.
submitted by Blueoriontiger to r4r [link] [comments]


Top 10 Things to do in Raleigh, North Carolina - YouTube Beulahbelle - 'Raleigh' (Official Video) - YouTube Iron Elite ride Cheer Extreme Senior 3Lite Raleigh Raleigh Strada Elite  Hybrid Bikes  First Look  Walk ... How to Spot Bad Beginner Fixed Gear Bikes - YouTube Elite Dangerous Review - YouTube The best 'not so' TINY HOUSE EVER - our MINI MANSION - YouTube Elite Singles - YouTube 7 Hardtail 29er Bikes Considered The WORST By Their Owners ...

Elite Singles Reviews - Is It the Right Dating Site for You?

  1. Top 10 Things to do in Raleigh, North Carolina - YouTube
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  3. Iron Elite ride
  4. Cheer Extreme Senior 3Lite Raleigh
  5. Raleigh Strada Elite Hybrid Bikes First Look Walk ...
  6. How to Spot Bad Beginner Fixed Gear Bikes - YouTube
  7. Elite Dangerous Review - YouTube
  8. The best 'not so' TINY HOUSE EVER - our MINI MANSION - YouTube
  9. Elite Singles - YouTube
  10. 7 Hardtail 29er Bikes Considered The WORST By Their Owners ...

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