What the Russians wanted        
My posts here are usually designed to provide a long-term perspective on events, not add to the cacophony about the news of the day, but there are times when the major media seem so brain dead that I feel I have something different to contribute.  It seems pretty clear to me what was going on last summer, but no one seems to be paying very much attention.

The Russian government and people have been hurt significantly--although hardly critically--by the American sanctions imposed after the annexation of Crimea, and other measures taken in response to human rights violations within Russia.  As the election campaign unfolded, they knew that Hillary Clinton would continue or even increase the sanctions.  On the other hand, Donald Trump had long-standing ties to Russia.  It is also possible,. according to news reports, that Russian intelligence possessed compromising information about Trump.  In any case, the Russian government had some reason to believe that Trump might be willing to ease the sanctions.

Now while I doubt that any of the participants in the famous meeting of a year ago among Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Natalia Vesenitskaya has been completely frank about their discussions as yet, the emails that surfaced yesterday, combined with Trump Jr.'s testimony, give a reasonable picture of what was up.  As the New York Times points out today, Ms. Vesenitskaya is a trusted Moscow insider with many high-level connections.   Working through the publicist Rob Goldstone, she offered dirt on Hillary Clinton developed by the Russian government to the Trump campaign in order to arrange a high-level meeting.  Such dirt may well have been discussed at the meeting, although no one has confirmed that as yet.  But in the course of the meeting, she turned the discussion to specific sanctions against Russians--the so-called Magnitsky Act--which she hoped a Trump Administration might lift.  She also brought up the ban on US adoptions of Russian children that Putin had imposed in retaliation for that act, in effect proposing a deal, and confirming, critically, that she was at least claiming to be acting on behalf of the Russian government.

Now this was not the only instance we have discovered of negotiations for a quid pro quo between teh Trump campaign and Russian officials during the campaign.  Last March my brother Charles brought some tweets from a statistician (not a journalist) named Carolyn O to my attention, in which she demonstrated the results of simple triangulation.  Here is what I said here then:

"On September 2, President Obama met with President Putin at a G-8 Summit.  They discussed US sanctions against Russia that Obama had imposed the day before, and Putin described them as an obstacle to cooperation between the two nations.

"Five days later, on September 7, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, suggested for the first time that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee.

"On the very next day, September 8, Trump told a Russian TV correspondent that he did not believe Russia was behind the hack, and Sessions met with Kislyak. [n.b.: This was the meeting that Sessions did not disclose in his confirmation hearing.] Trump also said publicly that, 'If we had a relationship with Russia, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could work on it together and knock the hell out of ISIS?' And on that same day, Trump and Pence made a whole series of statements praising Putin's leadership style. and on the same day, Tass announced, 'Moscow expects Washington to display political will on building good relations with Russia after the presidential election," quoting Dimitry Peskov.'"

The July meeting, it seems, may have been the start of something.  By September, it looks as if a deal was in operation.  Russia would continue releasing hacked emails, and perhaps trying to hurt the Clinton campaign in other ways.  Trump would try to exonerate the Russians for the hack (as he still intermittently continues to do.) He and his surrogates would also promise better relations.

Trump did, of course, win the election, but the clear evidence that the Russians had hacked the DNC and the evidence of contacts between them and his campaign have made it difficult to carry out the deal.  Early last month it seemed that the Russians had won one victory since the Trump Administration was reported to be ready to allow them to re-open two listening posts in the US that the Obama Administration had ordered closed.  And the President himself still speaks intermittently about the possibility of more cooperation with Russia.  The Congress, however, has moved to impose more sanctions.

The Trump campaign, in short, appears to have secured help from a foreign government that carried out the modern equivalent of a Watergate break-in to help it win the election, in exchange for unknown promises of better relations which it has not been able to keep.  The situation would truly be parallel to Watergate were any evidence to surface that the Russians carried out the DNC attack after discussing it with the Trump campaign, but there does not seem to be any such evidence as yet.  The Russian hacks began perhaps a year before the meeting that is in the news this week.  A careful analysis in today's New York Times tends toward the conclusion that what has been revealed this week does not rise to the level of a crime.

Putin's investment in Trump has already paid off handsomely in the form of disarray within the NATO alliance and a general loss of respect for the US around the world.  But his government has not gotten what it wanted.  This raises the question of whether he can, or would, turn to sticks as well as carrots--perhaps threats to release compromising information about Trump, which a respected retired British intelligence officer concluded that he probably had.  The real story, in any case, is about the evolution of a long relationship between Trump and Russian interests, before, during, and perhaps after his campaign.  Given the level of indiscretion revealed in the recently released email chain, more evidence seems very likely to emerge.

          Trump’s Job-Killing Carrier Deal        
Donald Trump has not taken office and already he is delivering on his promise to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States. Yesterday, he visited Indiana to celebrate his part in persuading Carrier to keep 1,100 jobs slated to move to Mexico at its Indiana facility. Speculation of bullying, tax-funded quid pro quo (Carrier’s parent […]
          Politics - USA        
 Mozzyfuzzy wrote:
Could be using those morally dubious but legal tax haven things.

Not that it would dissuade anyone who supports him.

Well... I don't support him. But, using tax haven isn't morally dubious. It's legal practice.

The Clinton's has offshore accounts too... but, I don't really care about that. I care more about the shady Clinton Foundation itself for apparent quid pro quo.
          Scattershooting Karun Sreerama, Stan Stanart, Russian hacks, and Trump's shitty week        
-- The drama surrounding the public works director of the city of Houston (Mayor Sylvester Turner's personal choice) has been resolved.  After being outed as a tool of the FBI for the third of three payoffs to convicted felon and HCC board member Chris Oliver -- who is still serving we the people, it should be noted -- Karun Sreerama is no longer.

Karun Sreerama is out as director of the city of Houston's Department of Public Works and Engineering following revelations that he made payments to a Houston Community College trustee who has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes.


Oliver pleaded guilty to bribery in connection with accepting the more recent payments totaling $12,000, court records show, and in exchange the acting U.S. attorney agreed to dismiss the separate extortion charge tied to Sreerama's earlier payments totaling $77,143.

Sreerama's attorney Chip Lewis said federal authorities directed Sreerama to pay Oliver the $12,000 in 2015 and 2016 after confronting Sreerama about his earlier, independent payments to the trustee. "What he was doing was created, directed and funded by the FBI," Lewis said. "Karun was a cooperating witness as a result of being a victim of Oliver's scheme."

That's an artful deflection, isn't it?

As Lewis described the payments, the first two were made because Oliver claimed he was going through a costly divorce, and then claimed he needed funds to complete the process of adopting a child. Both payments were presented as loans and were not repaid. The third payment took the form of an exorbitant fee Oliver charged after his company cleaned the parking lot at Sreerama's business.

"By the time we get to the third payment and he hadn't been repaid the loans, Karun became worried that saying, 'No, no I've got somebody who already does the cleaning, etc.' could adversely affect his position down the road," Lewis said.

Federal authorities confronted Sreerama in March 2015, a year and a half after he made that final payment, and asked for his cooperation in their investigation, Lewis said.

Two months later -- at the FBI's behest, Lewis said -- Sreerama began a series of meetings with Oliver that lasted through May 2016.

Oliver repeatedly asked if Sreerama was working for law enforcement in their initial May 2015 meeting, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Leuchtmann said during Oliver's re-arraignment. Oliver took the first envelope of $2,500 cash from Sreerama days later, and by their July meeting, he'd passed Sreerama a list of all HCC contracts.

Sreerama decided by November 2015 to bid on a pest control project. Oliver later said he continued to delay votes to convince the board to vote on the basis of value, not price, to give Sreerama's company a shot, Leuchtmann said.

Lewis said Sreerama's payments to Oliver during this period "were authorized, provided and directed to be delivered by the federal government." Meanwhile, Sreerama's likely appointment as Houston's Public Works director became a subject of open speculation at City Hall.

Turner finally tapped Sreerama to lead the city's largest department in March, tasking him with managing all city streets, drainage, water and sewer systems on a $2.1 billion annual budget. Sreerama did not tell the mayor or other city officials during the vetting process about his involvement in the federal case, Lewis said.

"The FBI had asked him not to reveal it to anybody," Lewis said, adding that Sreerama called Turner about the case three weeks ago, after he learned it was set to be unsealed the next day.

Just your run-of-the-mill graft/corruption/city hall quid pro quo deal, about which the mayor has plausible deniability of any knowledge or involvement.  Happens every day in cities large and small, all across the land, 99% of them go undiscovered by the law.  Nothing to see here.

We're stuck with Turner and his lickspittles down on Bagby until 2019, so there will be plenty of time for this to disappear down the memory hole.  This makes some members of the Democratic establishment very relieved, so there's that.

-- Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart and Rice University professor Dan Wallach got into a very public pissing contest over the security, or lack thereof, associated with the county's voting machines.  The original article's headline contained the words "Russian hackers" and has been edited by the Chronic to tone down the hysteria, and Wallach made a glaring error by describing the Hart InterCivic e-Slates as running on Microsoft 2000, which has been struck through and corrected to 'Microsoft 7'.

Stanart eventually posted a retort to Wallach, of which you can read the newspaper's account at this link.  It's more CYA by the county's lousiest, most incompetent elected official.

Stanart looks like more than the usual putz in light of this news from DEF CON -- the conference of hackers that takes place annually, this year in Vegas -- and note some disturbing developments contained within a couple of the links that follow.  I've highlighted them in bold.

We already knew U.S. voting systems had security flaws ― the federal government put that nail in the coffin when it repeatedly confirmed that Russian hackers breached systems in at least 21 states during the election last year.
But on Friday, hackers stateside showed us just how easily some of the electronic voting machines can be cracked.
Those who attended DEF CON, a 25-year-old hacking convention held in Las Vegas, were given physical and remote access to voting machines procured from eBay and government auctions.
Within about 90 minutes, they’d exploited weak and outdated security measures to gain full access, The Register first reported. Some physically broke down the machines to reveal their vulnerabilities, while others gained remote access or showed that external ports found on some could be used to upload malicious software. 

None of these accounts mention Hart's e-Slates, in use for over a decade here, but I'm not inclined to take this as good news.

“Without question, our voting systems are weak and susceptible. Thanks to the contributions of the hacker community today, we’ve uncovered even more about exactly how,” Jake Braun, who reportedly came up with the idea for the challenge, told The Register.
“The scary thing is we also know that our foreign adversaries ― including Russia, North Korea, Iran ― possess the capabilities to hack them too, in the process undermining principles of democracy and threatening our national security.”
Some of the machines were reportedly outdated and not used in today’s elections, and attendees said that their various intrusions would have been detected and logged by officials.
But detection is a far cry from interception.
In June, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official again confirmed that Russian hackers were not only “attempting” to gain access to voting systems, they succeeded in at least 21 states and stole undisclosed information. The FBI detected the tampering last year ― though no evidence of changing vote numbers has been found ― but the Obama administration delayed reporting the breaches until Oct. 7, according to the Los Angeles Times.

So this would be an account of Russians hacking the election that I have never read before, and I would be compelled to say that I was wrong all this time; the Russians did perform hacks of significant magnitude into our election systems, even if the proviso that "no evidence of changing results was found" is inserted.

But when I click on those bold links above, I find no data that supports the claims of this HuffPo writer, Andy Campbell.  He has quite obviously jumped to the wrong conclusion.  Read the links for yourself.  Here are some excerpts; read the entire post at both links.

Russian hackers targeted 21 U.S. states’ election systems in last year’s presidential race, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official told Congress on (June 21, 2017).

'Targeted' is not the same thing as 'hacked'.  And this from the second bold link above, dated late September of last year ...

There have been hacking attempts on election systems in more than 20 states — far more than had been previously acknowledged — a senior Department of Homeland Security official told NBC News on (September 28, 2016).

The "attempted intrusions" targeted online systems like registration databases, and not the actual voting or tabulation machines that will be used on Election Day and are not tied to the Internet. The DHS official described much of the activity as “people poking at the systems to see if they are vulnerable.”

Once more, in bold.

Only two successful breaches have been disclosed, both of online voter registration databases, in Illinois and Arizona over the summer.

While those two hacks were linked to hackers in Russia, the DHS official did not say who was responsible for the other failed attempts, noting that "we're still doing a lot of forensics."

Almost a month ago -- on July 5 -- I wrote and linked to pieces in Vox and in Bloomberg that revealed hacking in attempts in 39 states, and one breach of voter registration data in Illinois.  Two weeks before that, I linked to the report in the FWST about hacking attempts in Dallas County, and on June 2, compiled an extensive listing of the various attempts by the Russkies to influence the election to that point in time, most of which did not make even passing mention of hacking or hacking attempts.

I have followed the story extensively.  I have blogged about it exhaustively.  I still cannot find anywhere in the public domain -- save the mentions of voter database breaches in Illinois, and now Arizona above -- evidence that the Russians hacked anything of significance.  People like Mr. Campbell above do themselves, their publisher, and Democrats at large a great disservice by continuing to promote this false narrative.  It's fake news of the most destructive kind, because those of us that know it's a lie are being driven further away from the Democratic party and its candidates every time the lie gets repeated.  Maybe some day I'll be wrong about the Russians hacking the 2016 election, but that day hasn't arrived yet.

And perhaps Clinton Democrats already intuitively get that the Russian bullshit is a scam of their own invention, which could explain why they've ramped up their insane hatred for an even more implausible, yet always convenient scapegoat: Jill Stein and the Greens.

-- If Democrats wanted to bring Trump down and not themselves, then they'd focus more on the real Russian scandal.  The one Robert Mueller is working on.

Since Election Day, President Trump’s businesses have sold at least 30 luxury condos and oceanfront lots for about $33 million. That includes millions of dollars in properties to secretive shell companies, which can hide the identities of buyers or partners involved in the deals, a USA TODAY investigation has found.

Now, details of some of those deals and other transactions by Trump's family business could be unmasked as special counsel Robert Mueller expands his inquiry into election-meddling by Russia and whether Trump's campaign colluded.

Federal investigators are expected to delve into records revealing some of the President’s most closely guarded secrets, including how much money he makes, who he does business with and how reliant he is on wealthy, politically-connected foreigners.

A half-dozen experts contacted by USA TODAY said they expect Mueller and his team to pursue everything from Trump’s income tax returns to the bank records underlying his companies’ real estate transactions in a quest to identify people who have financial relationships with the President and his business and political associates.

If Mueller gets fired by someone not named Jeff Sessions soon, the pending departures associated with Trump's shuffling the deck chairs his staff on his Titanic ego in the White House, to say nothing of the rats Republicans in Congress jumping off ...

... or even the overdue exodus of his base voters ...

 ... will accelerate as we move closer to the midterms.  But those fallout effects haven't yet taken into account his wink-and-a-nod approval to escalated police brutality ...

... his Tweeted transgender military service ban (that is not official until it is communicated through the conventional means) ...

... and the flaming bag of poo set alight on his own front step.


Those will all pale in comparison to the Nixonian conflagration of terminating the special prosecutor investigating his Russian business affairs.

The worst is yet to come.

Update: Just a couple of hours after I posted, Scaramouche is shitcanned in favor of General John Kelly, who moves over from the Department of Homeland Security.  Kelly is, for a general, quite the Trump stooge. No rumors floated yet about his replacement at DHS.  Seems like a bad time for that post to be vacant, with all this hacking going on and a war with North Korea about to break out.

          Re:Politics - USA        
 Ouze wrote:
I think Trump would like be a fairly poor president, but not the usher in the apocalypse, hitler clone he's been made out to be. He just doesn't seem to understand how government actually works, which is why I think he'd be more ineffective than anything else - Congress isn't a group of recalcitrant employees you can fire.

So if it's Drumpf v. Corrupt Clinton...

Would you rather have an incompetent nincompoop who may not be able to substantially accomplish anything? Or a corrupt bureaucrat who knows what she's doing, but the public will second/third-guess her agenda, especially over blatant quid pro quo?

As I said... we're so boned.
          Re:Politics - USA        
How is this not 'evidence' of Hillary Clinton quid pro quo tendencies?
A major Democratic donor personally lobbied then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office for a seat on a sensitive government intelligence board, telling one of her closest aides that if appointed he would make Clinton “look good.”

Rajiv Fernando acknowledged that he may not have the experience to sit on a board that would allow him the highest levels of top secret access, but assured deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin in newly released 2009 emails that he’s talking to two professors who are “getting me up to speed on the academics behind the field.”

Fernando, who contributed to Clinton, her family’s foundation and Barack Obama, described himself as one of “Hillary’s people” and mentioned that he recently sent an ailing Clinton flowers to wish her a speedy recovery.

The emails shed new light on how Fernando got a spot on the International Security Advisory Board. He resigned in 2011, days after his appointment and after his selection was questioned.

The emails were provided to McClatchy by the conservative group Citizens United, which obtained them through a lawsuit filed after its Freedom of Information Act requests went unanswered.

Clinton, now the 2016 presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, continues to face questions about whether she helped the Clinton Foundation collect millions of dollars from questionable countries and organizations when she served as the nation’s top diplomat. Clinton's campaign and Fernando's company did not respond to messages seeking comment.

As a member of the board, Fernando was to advise Clinton on nuclear weapons and other security issues alongside nuclear scientists, former cabinet secretaries and former lawmakers, including former Defense Secretary William Perry, Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, a former National Security Adviser to two presidents; and former Sen. Chuck Robb of Virginia.

In May 2009, Fernando sent an email to Abedin, a longtime aide so close to Clinton she has been described as her “second daughter,” explaining that he had met with another staffer about the board appointment and had written a letter about why he would be a valuable member.

“Everybody on that board is a top level defense expert, yet, I feel like I can add a lot to the group,” he wrote. “I have two professors from Northwestern and one from University of Chicago who are international security experts and are getting me up to speed on the academics behind the field.”

“I know we had you well into our process here,” responded Abedin, who now serves as vice chairman of Clinton’s campaign.

Later in June 2009, Fernando said he recently met with Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., who told him that when he traveled on Air Force One he noticed that the first speed dial button had Clinton’s name on it. “That is very cool! I didn’t know that,” Abedin responded.

Abedin asked if Fernando recently sent Clinton flowers as she was unsure who sent them. When he responds yes, she said “So nice of u.”

Months later, in September 2009, Fernando emailed Abedin again after meeting with another staffer referred to only as Tauscher – presumably Ellen Tauscher, a former congresswoman from California who was undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. He said Tauscher told him that she may be able to include him as a possible choice for the board.

“They will have their list and Hillary will have hers and at the end of the day as long as they don’t have opposition to any of Hillary’s people, they should get in,” he wrote.

“In addition to my previous experiences listed in my resume, I have been meeting with professors from Northwestern, University of Chicago and Yale for the past 6 months,” he wrote to Abedin. “I know I will be able to hold my own and be valued contributor to this board. I promise I will make the Secretary look good.”

After ABC News contacted the State Department to ask about his qualifications, which included no international security background, Fernando announced that he had stepped down.

In recent weeks, emails obtained by Citizens United show the appointment perplexed the State Department’s professional staff, according to ABC News, and that dozens of State Department officials worked overtime to quickly obtain Fernando's security clearance, according to FOX News.

In September 2012, after ABC News again questioned the State Department about Fernando’s appointment, senior adviser Heather Samuelson sent Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reines a response provided to ABC News explaining why he was chosen.

Reines appeared to mock the appointment by responding to Samuelson: “Not the most compelling response I’ve ever seen since it’s such a dense topic the board resolves around. Couldn’t he have landed a spot on the President’s Physical Fitness Council?”

Fernando founded Chopper Trading, a high frequency trading firm that was acquired by the Chicago firm DRW Trading Group in 2015. In an economic speech last year, Clinton criticized high frequency traders. Providence, R.I., sued Chopper Trading and other financial companies for defrauding the city, which managed funds for its employees.

Since 2003, Fernando has contributed more than $650,000 to federal Democratic candidates and organizations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign money. That includes Clinton's Senate and presidential campaigns, her leadership political action committee and the group Ready for Hillary, which laid the groundwork for her second presidential run. Employees of Chopper Trading contributed $34,000 to Clinton’s presidential campaigns.

He served as a voluntary fundraiser or bundler for Clinton's first presidential campaign and later for Obama. He also gave $30,000 to a political advocacy group, WomenCount, that has indirectly helped Clinton.

He contributed between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to records released by the foundation. Between $100,000 and $250,000 was donated before his board appointment. He once traveled with former President Bill Clinton to Africa.

In July 2015, Clinton attended a fundraiser at Fernando's home for her second presidential campaign. About 170 people each paid $2,700 to get into the event, according to the campaign. Hosts each raised $27,000 or more.

Is this not *proof* that Clinton went out of her way to deliver political favors to those who were funding her foundation???

*FWIW: I totally believe Trump would be just as bad in this regard... still on #TeamJohnson
          Thank You, Thank You        

I recently facilitated a workshop where 35 discrete organizations were represented. During a discussion on retaining donors, I asked “How many of you send a thank you letter to every single donor?”

You may not be surprised, but I was when only two hands went up. I shouldn’t have been. I hear often enough from donors who complain about not being thanked for their generosity. And while I believe them when they say they don’t receive thank you letters, I also want to believe that these letters are going out, it’s just that it’s not enough or not timely enough for donors. Or, perhaps, donors weren’t opening these thank you letters, thinking it was just another solicitation letter.

Clearly, however, I was giving more credit to nonprofits than many of them deserve.

That started me writing an online course, Step by Step Stewardship, which will be available in the spring at the to-be launched next month (November) http://lmlearningstation.com>. While I am not above self-serving advertising (obviously), the other reason I mention this what has come up as I’ve been researching and writing.

I’ve long known that what can seem to be fundamental is often not-so basic to many organizations. More importantly, these basics do define development programs. Which leads me seamlessly into my soapbox oration of the day.

When I started in this field about 25 years ago, there was a real push to stop calling it “fundraising” and focus on the word “development.”

Development is synonymous with such words as expansion, progress, improvement. It suggests a continuum of activity that grows over time and makes things better. It implies involvement, which, in turn, certainly means that relationships are built and, yes, nurtured. Stewardship.

Fundraising, on the other hand, focuses on that one act of getting money or other kinds of support. It’s more transactional than development, and more often than not (think politics), there is some quid pro quo--something for something—involved.

Because the pendulum has swung back, as it generally does, the word development appears mainly in titles (development department, development director. The function of those who work in the area is to fundraise, pure and simple. And what that does is put the emphasis on getting the gift. Once the gift has been gotten, the job is done.

Thinking (and acting) that way, of course, makes the development director’s job more difficult. Since the most likely prospect for a gift is an existing donor, it’s only smart to keep that donor happy.

Remember the last time you gave something to someone—your kids, your spouse, someone else’s kids, a friend. How would you have felt (or, perhaps, how did you feel) if they simply took what you gave and walked away? Now think how you would feel if the next time they deigned to speak to you was—yes!—when they were asking you for yet another something.

Unless you are a lot more saintly than I, you probably weren’t looking upon that someone so kindly. Indeed, while you mayhave given them what they asked for this second time, if they didn’t change their behavior, you sure wouldn’t give them anything a third.

Donors are no different. If you don’t thank them for their gift, they are not going to be inclined to make a second gift. And you will have spent a lot of time and effort to get minimum return.

Start by making sure you say “thank you” to every single donor at the time they make their gift. Then think about the many ways you can develop that relationship. For here is a basic truth that you should never forget: Donors give because they care about the work you do, have a connection with the person who asks for the gift, feel connected to the organization and generally are involved with your organization in as many ways as possible.

Janet Levine is a consultant who focuses on increasing productivity for nonprofit organizations, their staff and volunteers. She can be reached at janet@janetlevineconsulting.com. Gets Grants!, an online grantwriting class is is available at www.janetlevineconsulting.com/classes.html.
Other online classes will be available November 1, 2009 at http://lmlearningstation.com>

          Helping Your Donors Make Wise Charitable Choices        
Could everybody repeat after me: Fundraising is about relationships. And relationships not only take time, they take nurturing. You can’t walk up to a virtual stranger and say “gimme,” and, on the off chance they do, walk away with nary a thank you and expect that the next time they will give to you again.

Yet, this is what so many nonprofit organizations try to do.

I sometimes speak on how to make wise charitable choices. One of things I urge potential donors to do is to look at the stewardship practices of the organization in which they have an interest.

Does that organization provide timely tax receipt with the appropriate substantiation or quid pro quo statements? Six month or a year after a gift was made, do they follow up and let you know how your generosity made a difference? In fact, do they connect with their donors at any time other than when they are asking for another gift?

At first I was surprised, then I got to expect it, when more than one-quarter of every single group I talk to feels that they have made a charitable gift and never received a thank you! My mother, who insisted I write a thank you note for any kindness I received let alone anything concrete, would twirl in her grave.

”If you don’t take care of your friends,” she would tell me, “don’t expect them to take care of you.”

And of course, they don’t. Donors get tired of always being asked for money and getting little if anything in return. Corporate reps get leery every time a nonprofit approaches with hands held out to receive but offering not a whole lot in return.

I know, I know. This is about gifts. We’re talking charity here. People should give without thinking about receiving.


Thinking that way is just naïve. There are so many good organizations out there—so many important, needed missions—that donors have many choices to meet their philanthropic goals. So why would—should—a donor chose yours?

That’s not a rhetorical question. And yes, it does circle back to relationships.

The important relationship is between the prospect or donor and your organization. More importantly is the understanding that it doesn’t start with you. Your needs are not the guide star here. The donor’s needs are.

Make no mistake—donors have very specific needs that must be fulfilled if you are to have a happy and consistent donor. It starts at the beginning—understanding why they may support you.

While your mission plays a role, it actually goes back further than you. Studies point out the very real fact that the most likely donor to any organization is a donor to any other organization. Philanthropic people (or organizations for that matter) are philanthropic. Before you look for wealthy folks, look for those who share whatever their wealth is.

Once you know they are philanthropic, find out what kinds of programs appeal to them. In an ideal world, you’d first always find out what matters to them, and then you’d tell them what you have that matches that interest. But the world isn’t perfect, and sometimes you have a need that must be met, which means that all prospects must first be approached to support that need.

But don’t just jump in with your hands out held. Talk to your prospects. Find out what matters to them. Then tell them of your need but speak from their perspective. Tell them how their gift will do what it is they want done. If your donor wants recognition, talk about naming rights, publicity, whatever you have that will tout their goodness and support to the world.

If they want to do something specific for your clients, make that match your focal point. Don’t make things up—but do connect the dots that show your donor that his or her needs are being met along with yours. And if what you need doesn’t match what they have told you they want, tell them—and then see if there is something else at your organization that they can support.

Above all, remember that isn’t about you and what you think you need. It is about your donors and what they think they need and most of all, it is about your clients and what they really need in order for your organization to meet its mission.

Janet Levine is a consultant who focuses on increasing productivity for nonprofit organizations, their staff and volunteers. She can be reached at janet@janetlevineconsulting.com. Her online classes will soon be available at http://www.lmlearningstation.com>

          A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East        
A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East
author: David Fromkin
name: Mark
average rating: 4.15
book published: 1989
rating: 5
read at: 2016/02/05
date added: 2016/02/05
A Peace to End All Peace
Author: David Fromkin
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Published In: New York City
Date: 1989
Pgs: 635


The Middle East, long a battleground of religions, ideologies, nationalism, and dynasty, her history comes alive here. This history concerns itself with the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire and how it arrived at that point. How the secret agreements of the WW1 Allies impacted the peoples and the future of the region. The reasons, ambitions, and greed that drove the Allies to make the decisions that they made. And their ultimate failure to understand what they were dealing with in the peoples of the Middle East. The same mistake made today by policymakers in seeing the world of the Middle East as a single mass instead of the polyglot of ethnicities that exists there. This is a Middle East before the Petroleum Age. A time when allegiance was still possible between Arab and Zionism. A time before the founding of Israel. A time before the arbitrary drawing of lines on a map and lumping ethnicities together whose only history together was enmity and a share of the Ottoman yoke. This book follows the narrowing of paths and circumstances that lead the region toward the endless wars and escalating acts of terrorism that continue to plague the region to this day.


Why this book:
Always been fascinated by the Ottoman Empire and the Arab world.

The telling of Ottoman and Middle East history is well paced.

Hmm Moments:
The man who coined the term The Great Game in Asia to explain the competition between England and Russia for dominance and hegemony in Asia ended up beheaded by an Uzbek emir.

I had read the stories about the veneer that was Ottoman control of their empire; dominated by outside powers, Britain, Russia, Germany; barely ruling their subjects to the degree that estimates say the government only collected 5% of their taxes some years, the remainder collected by “tax farmers”. Effective national leadership elluded the Turks at the center of the Ottoman Empire. Reading the makeup of the Empire makes me wonder what could have been if they had hit upon a federal system that gave power to the ethnic minorities and the regions in a national assembly. What would the modern Middle East look like today? Would Europe have let that flower flourish or would they have yanked it out by its root and then split it up any which way they wanted to as they did in our world. In some cases putting tribes and ethnicities under a single national tent that were immemorial enemies. There was a Turkish Parliament, but it was disbanded by the Sultan Abdul Hamid during his reign(1876-1909). The Parliament’s makeup did not reflect the rank and file of Ottoman life.

The Anti-Semitism of the British embassy and it’s colorful reports to London impacted the British attitudes and actions in the Ottoman Empire for many years to come. Instead of seeing the rise of the Young Turks in the light of enlightenment, they saw it instead cloaked in Jewish adventurism, Latin intrigue, French fervor, and the conspiracy of the freemasons.

And when the Young Turks took control, Britain replaced its ambassador. Although this time instead of being fed a diet of Anti-Semitism, they were given rosey reports full of optimism that was misleading as well. The British Foreign Office was fed on the propagandic beliefs of their men on the spot time and again.

The Young Turks threw away their chance for true federalism by excluding all non-Turks and only allowing a fraction of the Parliament seats to be filled by Arabs. Of the 22 recognized ethnic groups in the Ottoman Empire, only Turks and Arabs held seats; 150 seats were held by Turks, 60 by Arabs. None of the inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire identified as Ottoman, an opportunity that the Young Turks blew when they moved to insure the dominance of the Turks within the government. The text also refers to Turkey as not being the homeland of the Turks. Turkestan in the steppes of Central Asia being divided between Russia and China, giving both of them a claim to the leadership of all Turkish speaking peoples, of whom many weren’t of Turkish origin.

Churchill being described as “just losing the adolescence from his face” at the age of thirty-nine when he sought to transition from Home Secretary to First Lord of the Admiralty. Perfect example of the Harumphers holding onto power as the generational change comes to politics, a changing of the guard moment in politics that hits all systems eventually.

Where Woodrow Wilson high ideals clashed with the political realities in Europe, Asia, and America, he doesn’t come off looking so well. He was a President with razor thin margins allowing him to govern on sufferance by his enemies and occasional “friends”. He made America party to the Allies with the public proviso that there would be no secret quid pro quo on the postwar distribution of the spoils, even though he knew such agreements existed. The fall of Russia to the Communists lead to those secret agreements being disgorged into the press. He is attributed an off-the-record quote while aboard ship on his way to the World War One peace conference in 1919: “I am convinced that if this peace is not made on the highest principles of justice, it will b swept away by the peoples of the world in less than a generation. If it is any other sort of peace then I shall want to run away and hide...for there will follow not mere conflict but cataclysm.” Despite his prescience here, he failed to gather a working group to help plan the American stance on the post-war world that had any “real” connection to the world. He filled The Inquiry Group with academicians and a lot of brother-in-law syndrome as opposed to real world strategists with on-the-ground knowledge of what they were dealing with when looking at the Middle East and the actual circumstances within the Ottoman Empire that they were suggesting the dissolution and dismemberment of. This left America and the President with a program that was vague and bound to arouse millennial expectations which once in the hands of politicians would make it virtually certain to disappoint.

I had always accepted the history book version of the American Congress being the rock on which Wilson’s Fourteen Points foundered. Reading this book and seeing the plethora of behind the back, secret agreements that Britain made, sometimes contradictory, with enemies and allies makes one see that the political Britain of that era wasn’t trustworthy in the least sense. She was very much in the business of empire while espousing freedom as a balm for the sting of protectoratism and/or outright domination. They spent much of that era making secret diplomatic agreements and then throwing them away as circumstances showed them a more advantageous prospect.

Fromkin’s characterization of Woodrow Wilson makes me wonder if the President was so naive as to let himself be lead around by the nose by Lloyd George or if he was playing the “aw shucks, I’m just an American in Paris” to give him the position to negotiate the best treaty that he could in the areas of most interest to him. I believe that Wilson wanted this to have been the last war, the last meatgrinder that America ever had to feed her children to for the rest of the world’s peace. I wonder at how sad he would be today that his efforts came to so little when you look at the bloodshed of the 20th century and the way we have kicked off the 21st.

The Domino Theory existed long before it appeared in American foreign policy. The theory was put forth by British Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon as early as 1919 though still about the Bolsheviks. The British in the immediate post World War era in the Middle East were facing a number of revolts and revolutions in both their recently acquired possessions and those of long standing: troubles were arousing in Egypt, Afghanistan, Arabia, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Mesopotamia, and Persia. Some maybe, possibly could be lain at the feet of the Soviets, but a healthy bit of it is the fault of the British for failing to understand the situation on the ground in each of those countries and provinces, up to and including the British departments of government working at odds with each other, ie: like they did in Arabia where one department was supporting Hussein in the Hejaz with money and material while another was supporting Ibn Saud with same.

The revolts across Central Asia lead to an Emir retaking his family’s traditional power and position. He brought back the Dark Ages in a big way. He reopened a 12th century tower, the Kalyan Minaret, which was the Tower of Death. Condemned criminals were tossed from teh top of the tower to their deaths, though law and order and the way the government was run under him was at his decree. When faced with a choice between that, the Red Army, or Enver Pasha, the Ottoman Young Turk exile, who had been sent there by Russia to quell and pacify the locals ahead of the Red Army, but went over to the Emir to “help” him unify the Turks and throw off the yoke of the Russians. Pasha was only interested in his own power however and ended up drawing more and more power to himself before he found himself at odds with both the Emir and the Russians.

Last Page Sound:
The fall of the Ottoman Empire, the rise of Turkey; The rise, fall, rise, fall, and rise of Winston Churchill; From lines on a map to nationalism in the Middle East. Good stuff.

Author Assessment:
Absolutely read more by this author.

Editorial Assessment:
Was some repetitiveness chapter to chapter, but overall great stuff.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
instant classic

Dewey Decimal System:

Would recommend to:
genre fans


          Halloween-Special | Quid pro Quo        
Autorin: Rahel Setting: Bahnhofstrasse Clues: Bilderrahmen, Halbleiter, Tumor, Notizzettel, Neonazi Der frisch gefallene Flaum aus Schnee und Eisregen knisterte bei jedem seiner raschen Schritte und die meisten Menschen, die sich am späten Abend zum Schaufensterbummel hatten hinreissen lassen, trugen, vom … Weiterlesen
          Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. Assisting Employees in California in Harassment Cases        

Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. represents cases related to hostile work environment and sexual harassment in California. The attorneys at the firm have years of experience in providing legal assistance exclusively to employees.

Gardena, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/19/2014 -- Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C., a leading law firm in California represents employees who have been harassed by their supervisors or co-workers. Employees can also file a civil suit for violations of Title VII or the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The experienced attorneys at the firm help employees who feel that they are working in a hostile work environment determine whether their workplace environment is liable for a civil suit or not.

One of the senior lawyers at the firm said, "If you are harassed at your workplace for reasons which include race, religion, creed, color or nationality, you can file a lawsuit against your employer. Employees who experience discrimination or harassment because of physical or mental disability, specific medical conditions, marital status, or for their sex and age are also eligible to approach the court. If the wrongful conduct is done by any of your supervisors, then your employer plus the wrongdoer are liable for the harassment. If the harassment is done by a co-worker, your employer will also be responsible if he didn't take any action even after having knowledge about the unlawful behavior."

Yet another form of harassment case under the Fair Employment and Housing Act is the quid pro quo sexual harassment. Employees can file a sexual harassment case against their employers if anyone in the senior staff tries to make sexual advances towards their employees. The team of sexual harassment lawyers at Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. is experienced in handling all kinds of sexual harassment cases at workplaces and helping the employees know and exercise their rights.

"If you are experiencing any kind of sexual harassment at your office, whether from your employer or a co-worker you should contact the Law Offices of Cummings & Franck without any further delay. Even if you have had similar experiences in the past you should immediately contact a lawyer because there is a limited time to file a civil lawsuit. Exceeding which neither you nor your lawyer can do anything," added the senior lawyer.

The team of professional lawyers at Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. have handled thousands of cases relating to sexual harassment in California. The attorneys at the firm have adequate knowledge about employment laws in Los Angeles to help employees determine whether the harassment they are suffering is subject to a civil law suit. Once this is determined, they fight for the rights of their clients and help them attain justice.

About Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C.
Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. was founded by Scott Cummings and Lee Franck to provide legal representation to employees who have been denied their rights at their workplace. The wrongful termination and discrimination attorneys Los Angeles have represented hundreds of employees in wrongful termination, harassment, retaliation and discrimination cases over the past 25 years and have been successful in providing results in the favor of their clients.

Contact Information
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          Jones tones down burn while Westboro Phelps picks up to burn Quran & US flag        
Follow @yobie on Twitter. Zealot and burn-a-Quran Pastor Terry Jones has “suspended” his decision to burn Qurans claiming he was lied to by Florida Imam Muhammad al-Masri who told him there would be a quid pro quo exchange of moving the Park51 mosque for stopping the burning of Korans I wonder if the erratic used
          Erratic burn a Quran Terry Jones says burning could still happen        
Follow @yobie on Twitter. Zealot and burn-a-Quran Pastor Terry Jones has “suspended” his decision to burn Qurans claiming he was lied to by Florida Imam Muhammad al-Masri who told him there would be a quid pro quo exchange of moving the Park51 mosque for stopping the burning of Korans On and off and on again…
          NCIS: New Orleans 3x19 gr        
NCIS: New Orleans
Language: greek greek
Release: FUM
NCIS New Orleans - 3x19 - Quid Pro Quo.HDTV.FUM.gr.srt
          Dollar-Bloc Currencies Turning, but Euro Downticks Limited        

The high-flying dollar-bloc currencies may be a preliminary sign market change. The US dollar is gaining on the Canadian dollar for the fourth consecutive session.  It is probing resistance we identified in the $1.2620 area.  The US dollar has not traded above its 20-day moving average since the Fed hiked rates on June 14.  It is found today near CAD1.2625. 

A smaller than expected trade surplus (A$856mln, half of what was anticipated) provided the fodder to extend the Australian dollar's fall to a third session.  After spiking to $0.8065 last week, it has drifted lower.  A break of $0.7875 (and the 20-day moving average is found near $0.7865) would suggest the consolidation is folding into an outright correction.  

The focus today is on the Bank of England and its "Super Thursday" when the Quarterly Inflation Report is also released along side the MPC minutes.  A rate hike is highly unlikely.  The focus will be on the vote and if Haldane votes to hike as he indicated he has considered.   We suggest that if Haldane sticks with the majority, the quid pro quo may a more hawkish inflation report.  Thiscould be expressed in part, for example, by lowering in the growth forecast and lifting the inflation forecast.  Thismeans that a reaction to a 6-2 vote (rather than 5-3 as was the case previously) may be tempered by the forward guidance and Carney's press conference.  

Separately, the UK reported the service and composite PMI.  The former rose to 53.8 from 53.4, and this fed into a rise in the later to 54.1 from 53.8.  The composite average 54.7 in Q2 and 54.6 in Q1.  Thiswould suggest the UK economy is seeing little improvement at the start of Q3. Nevertheless, sterling is firm ahead of the BOE meeting.  It made a new high for the move, a little above $1.3265.  It is an 11-month high.  Some unwinding long euro-short sterling positions may have lent sterling support against the greenback.  

The euro is trading in a less than a third of a cent range today around where North American dealers left it yesterday.  It has pulled back a little more than three-quarters of a cent after poking through $1.1900 briefly yesterday.  Support is seen near $1.1780.   

For all practical purposes, the euro has shrugged off a disappointing PMI report.  The composite for the region slipped to 55.7 from 56.3.  It is the lowest since January.  It averaged 56.6 in Q2.  German was a downside surprise.  With the service PMI falling more than the flash reading had suggested, the composite was revised to 54.7 from 55.1 and 56.4 in June.  This is a 10-month low.  Although we find that international comparisons of headline PMI readings not very helpful, it is interesting that for the first time in a dozen years, Germany's composite is below the France, Italy,and Spain.  And Spain like Germany disappointed, with a larger than expected pullback from June.  The service PMI fell to 57.6 from 58.5,and the composite eased to 56.7 from 57.1. 

Italy offered a pleasant upside surprise.  Its service PMI rose to 56.3 from 53.6, and the composite rose to 56.2 from 54.9.  The French service PMI was a little better than the flash at 56.0 (vs. 55.9), but still lower than the 56.9 reading in June.  The composite PMI fell to 55.6 from 56.6 in June.  

The dollar is in about a quarter of a yen range against the Japanese currency.  While the dollar found a bid under JPY110 earlier this week, it has found offers near JPY111.00.  In Asia, the South Korean won stands out.  It slid 0.4% and is off for the third consecutive session.  Foreign investors were havebeen selling Korean equities.  They were net sellers every day this week and have been sellers this week except for yesterday.  Over the nine sessions, foreign investors have sold an average of KRW234 mln a day.   The Kospi has held up this week, rising for the past three sessions (~1.1%), but giving it all up with today's 1.7% slide.  The ostensible trigger was a report suggesting the government was considering corporate tax increases and macro-prudentialmeasures to cool the property market.  

Ahead of US jobs data tomorrow and after the first look at Q2 GDP, today's US data may pose little more than headline risk.  The July PMI and ISM may be the most important, with the price and employment components the most interesting.  June factory orders are likely to have been bolstered by Boeing orders from the Paris Air Show.    Reports that the US may launch another investigation into Chinese trade practices (intellectual property) has had little immediate impact.  The effort to cut legal immigration by half may counter efforts to boost growth given the current demographic situation. On the other hand, there have some reports suggesting that an optimistic case of Congress ispassing next month some continuing resolution for spending in lieu of a new budget, and attaching a rise in the debt ceiling to that.  The White House seeks a $2.5 trillion increase, while the conservative Freedom Caucus is more willing to concede $1.5 trillion. 



Termangu seketika saya selepas mendengar ucapan Pengerusi Pakatan Harapan, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, di dalam majlis “Dialog Tokoh Politik Bersama Cendekiawan Melayu: Hala Tuju Politik Melayu” di Yayasan Kepimpinan Perdana, Putrajaya, tengahari tadi, 25 Julai 2017.
Sebab terbesar kenapa saya termangu begitu adalah kerana mendengar Tun Dr Mahathir bercakap mengenai berkurangnya perjuangan Melayu di dalam parti-parti Melayu di Malaysia sekarang, termasuk dalam isu bahasa, ekoran berpecahnya orang-orang Melayu kepada banyak parti.
Menggunakan contoh satu signboard dekat rumah beliau yang hanya mengandungi tulisan besar Cina dan tulisan Inggeris, tanpa walau sepatah pun tulisan Melayu, Tun Dr Mahathir dua kali menyebut kemungkinan bahasa Cina akan menjadi bahasa kebangsaan disebabkan perpecahan Melayu ini.
Kali pertama kemungkinan bahasa Cina akan menjadi bahasa kebangsaan ini mulanya disebut secara umum oleh Tun Dr Mahathir melalui kata-kata berikut: “So eventually may be Chinese will become national language. Why? Because Malays are weak. They are fighting each other and they have become weak.”
(Terjemahan: “Jadi akhirnya mungkin Cina akan menjadi bahasa kebangsaan. Kenapa? Kerana orang-orang Melayu lemah. Mereka bergaduh antara satu sama lain dan mereka sudah menjadi lemah.”)
Kedua kemungkinan ini berlaku disebut secara lebih khusus oleh Tun Dr Mahathir melalui kata-kata berikut: “Sepatutnya mereka (orang Melayu) bersatu, kalau ada masalah pun debate within your group. But when you break up into four parties five parties, all of you become weak. Dan kita bila weak, kita hendak sokongan, kita kena cari bukan Melayu-lah. Dan bila kita cari bukan Melayu, sedikit sebanyak there is quid pro quo. You dapat bantuan, sokongan, you kena bagi sesuatu. And we are, all the while we are giving in bit by bit by bit. By 2050 there will be no Malay language.”
(Terjemahan: “Sepatutnya mereka (orang Melayu) bersatu, kalau ada masalah pun berdebat dalam kumpulan kamu. Tapi bila kamu berpecah kepada empat parti lima parti, kamu semua menjadi lemah. Dan kita bila lemah, kita hendak sokongan, kita kena cari bukan Melayu-lah. Dan bila kita cari bukan Melayu, sedikit sebanyak ada timbal balas. Kamu dapat bantuan, sokongan, kamu kena bagi sesuatu. Dan kita sedang, selama ini kita mengalah sedikit demi sedikit demi sedikit. Menjelang 2050 tiada lagi bahasa Melayu.”)
Punca terbesar kenapa saya termangu begitu adalah kerana bila diamat-amati dengan teliti ucapan Tun Dr Mahathir ini, kita akan dapati seolah-olah beliau sebenarnya sedang mengata kepada diri beliau sendiri:
Tun Dr Mahathir berkata, “kalau ada masalah pun berdebat dalam kumpulan kamu”, tetapi Tun Dr Mahathir sendiri bertindak keluar dari parti beliau bila menghadapi masalah.
Tun Dr Mahathir berkata, “kita bila lemah, kita hendak sokongan, kita kena cari bukan Melayu-lah”, tetapi Tun Dr Mahathir sendiri cari bukan Melayu untuk sokongan.
Dan, bila Tun Dr Mahathir berkata, “dan bila kita cari bukan Melayu, sedikit sebanyak ada timbal balas”, apakah ini satu pengakuan jujur beliau mengenai perkara-perkara yang sedang dan akan berlaku dalam Pakatan Harapan?
Something seems to be very wrong somewhere.
Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff,
Pengarah Institut Kajian Politik Malaysia (MAPAN),
Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).

          El primer rabo de Gus, segunda parte        

Como os decía antes, ya en el descansillo de su casa yo estaba realmente cachondo y con el rabo duro. Al menos todo lo duro que podía ponerse apretado en mis vaqueros. La bragueta iba a estallarme de un momento a otro.

El chaval abrió la puerta y me cedió el paso. Entré en un pasillo corto y me di la vuelta, a tiempo de pillarle:

—¿Me estabas mirando el culo?

—Pues claro. —Sonrió—. ¿O es que tú no lo habrías hecho?
No me dio tiempo de pensar la respuesta, mientras cerraba la puerta me dio la espalda, e inevitablemente mis ojos se fueron a su trasero. Opté por no decir nada.

Me miró sin perder la sonrisa y me indicó que siguiera avanzando. Entré al salón, espacioso y luminoso. Me cogió desprevenido por detrás, tomando la iniciativa y sin perder un momento. Su brazo izquierdo me rodeó el pecho. El derecho quedó en mi abdomen, bajando lentamente hacia mi paquete, como dándome la oportunidad de evitarlo si eso era lo que quería. Su cadera estaba pegada a mis nalgas. Y su aliento me calentaba el cuello.

—¿Quieres tomar algo? —Me preguntó, con la voz algo ronca. No respondí, estaba ocupado con la sensación de sus labios en mi cuello. Estaba afeitado, pero notaba lo rugoso del vello de su piel, diferente a la suavidad de los besos de una chica.
Su mano descendió por fin hasta mi paquete, con un sprint en el último momento, y ahí quedó, apretando el bulto palpitante de mi rabo cada vez más grande.
Eso me hizo apartar mi pensamiento de su tacto en mi cuello para dirigirlo hacia su rabo. Notaba contra mi culo un bulto probablemente igual de excitado que el mío. No pude evitar ponerme nervioso y apartarme un poco.

Me giré hacia él y le vi algo desconcertado, aunque al poco me sonrío divertido.


—Un poco —confesé.

—Podemos hacerlo como quieras —me dijo, y se mordió el labio inferior antes de proseguir—. Mira, te entiendo muy bien, no hace mucho que yo estuve en esa situación. Podemos hablar, volver a la calle y tomar algo, jugar un rato a la Play... O probar a besarnos y ver cómo te sientes...

Se quedó muy quieto, como si yo fuera un ciervo que fuera a huir ante cualquier movimiento. Me dejaba decidir. No sé, a lo mejor me asustó un poco no controlar la situación. A lo mejor era más fácil si tomaba yo la iniciativa. Así que decidí tomar el toro por los cuernos, que para eso estaba allí. Volví a pegarme a él y opté por su última sugerencia, un beso. Le agarré por la cintura, como hubiera hecho con una chica. Y le besé, un poco de sopetón.
Nuestros labios se acariciaron, y volví a sentir la extrañeza de su piel raspándome muy levemente.

Fue un beso lento, que poco a poco se hizo más apasionado, cuando me decidí e introduje la lengua en su boca. Le acaricié su lengua, sus dientes, el interior de sus labios. Me sentía más cómodo llevando el control. Mis manos fueron moviéndose, pasando de su cintura a su trasero. Nuestros paquetes se rozaban y mi polla presionaba la suya a través de los vaqueros.

Creo que deliberadamente me cedió la iniciativa para que me sintiera más como en una relación heterosexual, aunque poco a poco fue avanzando de nuevo, tocándome, besándome, llegando a un quid pro quo equilibrado entre ambos.

En algún momento, no sabría decir cuánto tiempo había pasado, se apartó un poco y se quitó la camiseta. Tragué saliva. Estaba realmente demoledor. Me gusta mi cuerpo, pero reconozco que el chaval estaba muy, muy rico. Y no se detuvo ahí; sin dejar de mirarme se bajó los pantalones y se los quitó quedando en calzoncillos y con todo el rabo bien marcado. Me relamí involuntariamente mientras él se la agarraba por encima de la ropa interior.

Su polla creaba un bulto en sus calzoncillos que permitía adivinar lo que escondían, y por la parte superior se escapaba su vello púbico, recortado pero bastante más largo de lo que lo llevaba yo.

Sin acabar de desnudarse, y quizás porque yo seguía plantado sin hacer más que mirarle y salivar, me susurró "ven" y me guió hasta el sofá. Se sentó y quedé delante, aunque estaba yo tan nervioso que tardé todavía un instante en adivinar lo que venía a continuación: mirándome a los ojos desde abajo me desabrochó el vaquero. Me dejé hacer mientras me los bajaba junto con los calzoncillos, y mi rabo saltaba como un resorte hacia la libertad.

Dejó de mirarme entonces, para prestar atención a mi polla, con sus manos todavía en mis vaqueros a la altura de mis rodillas y mi verga bamboleándose delante suyo.

—Joder colega, qué buen rabazo tienes cabrón... ¡Qué suerte tienes! Pero yo también tengo suerte, porque me voy a poner las botas con él...

Y sin más se la metió en la boca. Se me escapó un gemido y eché la cabeza hacia atrás cerrando los ojos. No puede evitarlo, lo hago siempre que me hacen una mamada. Pero esta vez era la boca de un tío la que me iba a follar, así que procuré relajarme y volver a mirarle. No quería perderme ni un detalle, ni un instante de sus labios alrededor de mi rabo, de su lengua lamiendo cada centímetro de piel caliente, yendo de mis huevos a mi glande, y viceversa; acariciando la punta y dándole golpecitos suaves; deslizándose por debajo humedeciendo mi miembro acariciado por su boca.

No sabía si agarrarle la cabeza o no. Si follarle la boca o dejarle hacer a él. Creo que si fuera yo el que mamara, me hubiera sentido más cómodo a mi aire, así que puse una mano en mi cadera y con la otra me acaricié el torso, dejándole hacer. Recordé así que seguía con la camiseta puesta, así que me la quité y la lancé a cualquier parte.

Poco a poco fue aumentando el ritmo, hasta llegar a una velocidad de crucero perfecta. Mis caderas se acompasaron a su boca, en un vaivén de locura. Me gustan las mamadas y suelo tener aguante, pero esta me estaba poniendo mucho. Cuando de repente se la tragó entera, aplastando mis huevos contra su barbilla y hundiendo el rostro en mi abdomen con los ojos cerrados, los míos se me desorbitaron, y fue una sensación alucinante la de mi rabo entrando en su garganta.

La sacó despacio envuelta en saliva, y se apartó un poco para coger aliento. Me miró y sonrió. Yo todavía estaba flipado. Las tías no suelen ser capaces de chupármela hasta tan dentro. Supe apreciar que el chaval de verdad se estaba esforzando por que mi primera vez fuera genial. Pensé en devolverle el favor y chupársela yo, pero no me dio tiempo. Sin dejar de mirarme volvió a chupármela con ímpeto. Mi polla entraba y salía de esa boca de labios carnosos mientras sus ojazos se clavaban en los míos. Sus manos se aferraron a mis nalgas, y sin pensarlo le agarré la cabeza y empecé a embestir a pollazos contra esa cara que me estaba volviendo loco de placer.

Cuando una de las veces no dejó que mi cadera retrocediera y volvió a zamparse mi polla hasta la raíz, sentí que estaba a punto de correrme y tuve que hacer un verdadero esfuerzo por no lefarle todo el gaznate. Solo de pensar que mi semen hubiera bajado directo por su garganta, con mi polla metida tan dentro, casi fracaso en mi intento por aguantar la corrida. 

Cuando se la sacó de la boca no dejé que volviera a tomar aire, me agaché y le besé. Volví a jugar con su lengua, y se me hizo raro pensar que esa lengua justo antes lamía mi polla y que la mía ahora iba a acariciar la suya.
Le empujé para que se tumbara en el sofá y fui besando su cuello y su clavícula. Bajé por el pecho y me detuve mordisqueando su pezón. Él gemía bajito.

Cuando mi boca se deslizó sinuosa por el hueco entre sus abdominales hacia su ombligo, se le escapó un gemido más alto, y sus manos rodearon mi cabeza. Descendí hasta la goma de sus calzoncillos y me incorporé. Le lancé una mirada rápida y vi su rostro lleno de excitación.

Creo que en ese momento dudé un poco, sintiendo como si después de meterme un rabo en la boca ya no hubiera vuelta atrás: como si fuera el paso decisivo. Pero lo cierto es que, aunque quisiera engañarme a mí mismo, estaba deseando hacer eso.
Le bajé los calzoncillos y descubrí su polla. Me quedé mirándola mientras le acababa de quitar el bóxer. Acerqué la mano y la agarré. Fue una sensación muy extraña, distinta a acariciarle, distinta a coger mi propia polla. Me desconcertó, me provocó curiosidad y me excitó. Le miré y vi que me observaba de nuevo mordisqueándose el labio inferior, sin presionarme. Volví a mirar su rabo. Le pajee lentamente. Era más pequeña que la mía, más corta, aunque no menos gruesa. Era bonita, eso pensé, y me descubrí sonriendo y mordiéndome el labio yo también. Me fijé en sus huevos, gordos, colgando entre las piernas. Me armé de valor, inspiré y rodeé la punta con mis labios. No tenía un sabor especial, estaba limpia, y que no me desagradara me animó a acercar la lengua y lamer. Él gimió y torcí la cabeza para verle sin sacarme su rabo de la boca. Estaba como yo, con la cabeza hacia el techo y los ojos cerrados. Debe de ser una reacción generalizada de los tíos ante las primeras sensaciones de una mamada.

Empecé a mover la cabeza despacio, metiendo y sacando la polla de mi boca, aunque no muy profundamente. Él me puso una mano en la cabeza, aunque enseguida la quitó, seguramente para darme espacio. Me sobé mi polla con mi propia mano, mientras deslizaba la otra por su torso impresionantemente esculpido. Yo tendría mejor rabo, pero su cuerpo no tenía nada que envidiar al mío.

Al poco me saqué su polla y me incorporé un poco, para tragar algo de saliva. Me miró y con una mano se la agarró, dejándola vertical.

—¿Me la lames? —Me preguntó con voz de niño bueno.

Acerqué mi lengua a la base y lamí despacio hacia la punta, ensalivando todo el recorrido con mi lengua, y sin despegar mis ojos de los suyos. Lo repetí un par de veces más, acabando con lametones en el glande, hasta que con voz ronca me dijo:
—Ahora los huevos, juega con mis huevos.

Y en ellos me centré. Le lamí los cojones mientras se pajeaba despacio usando la saliva que había dejado en su rabo como lubricante. Si la sensación de su polla me pareció extraña no fue menos con los huevos. Calientes, con los testículos claramente diferenciables al tacto húmedo de mi lengua dentro de aquella bolsa amplia y vibrante. Se los chupé. No me atreví a meterlos en la boca por si le hacía daño por mi inexperiencia, pero los lamí como si no hubiera un mañana.

—Aaaaah, tío, has nacido para esto. Lo haces genial. Vuelve al rabo, me encanta cómo la chupas. Intenta ahora hasta el fondo, como yo antes, ¿quieres?

Lo intenté, de verdad que lo intenté. Varias veces, pero aunque era más corta que la mía no pude. Me daban arcadas, y al final se me saltaron las lágrimas. Me incorporé, un poco avergonzado.
—No pasa nada tío, es normal. Ya practicaremos —y sonrió—. Vuelve a chupármela como antes, quiero tus labios alrededor de mi polla.

Y volví a hacerlo, con la cabeza girada para mantener el contacto visual al chupársela. Me volvió a agarrar la cabeza, y esta vez no se apartó. Me la sujetó con las dos manos y me folló la boca sin dejar de mirarnos. Empecé a gemir un poco cuando exhalaba el aire al entrar su polla en mi boca, mientras él hacía lo mismo, mordiéndose el labio y follándome la cara cada vez más rápido. Hasta que echó la cabeza hacia atrás y redujo el ritmo drásticamente. Para mí fue un momento muy sexy, un chico tan guapo y buenorro mirándome, esclavo del placer que le daba.
Sacó su polla de mi boca y se apretó el capullo con la mano.

—Para tío, a no ser que quieras que te suelte la lefa en la boca...

¿Lo quería? Me daba morbo... pero también me parecía ir un poco demasiado lejos la primera vez. Me estaba encantando, pero pensar en lefa me hizo pensar de un modo mucho más real que estaba con otro tío de verdad, que no era una de mis fantasías. Él pareció entenderlo sin palabras. Me agarró los hombros y me dijo:

—Ven aquí.

Quedé tumbado sobre él, en el sofá. Nos besamos, y noté cómo su mano buscaba a tientas mi polla entre nuestros cuerpos. La seguía teniendo muy dura, mamársela me había gustado, y no se me había bajado. Me empezó a pajear, así que dejé espacio entre nuestras caderas para facilitarle el movimiento, mientras seguíamos besándonos.

—Tampoco a mí me falta mucho para correrme —le confesé.

—Entonces vamos a probar una cosa que siempre he querido hacer. —Y recolocó la mano para abarcar nuestras dos pollas y pajearlas a la vez. Yo quedé algo incorporado sobre él, y nos miramos los rabos. Era una sensación curiosa la de ser pajeado y sentir el calor de su polla bajo la mía, tan junta, sus pieles frotándose entre sí, los glandes acariciándose. Él gemía y yo empecé a hacerlo también, mientras aumentaba el ritmo y apretaba más fuerte sus dedos contra mi rabo, su pulgar contra el suyo, y nuestros miembros se juntaban como si fuerana fundirse.

—Ya tío, no puedo esperarte más, me corro —dijo, y justo después unas gotas de semen salieron de su polla, seguidas de un gran chorro que voló sobre su torso. Esta visión acabó por llevarme al límite. Su siguiente chorro de lefa se vio acompañado de uno salido de mi propio miembro. Se mezclaron por el aire antes de estrellarse en su abdomen, salpicándonos. Otro par de chorros iguales, calientes. Luego algunos suyos con menos fuerza, cayendo sobre su vello púbico. Y mis últimos chorros, resbalando por mi glande y cayendo sobre el suyo, empapando el suyo y mezclándose con sus gotas. Nuestras dos lefas como una sola. Ya no sabía de quién de los dos eran las gotas que caían de nuestros rabos a su pubis. Y eso me puso tan cachondo que casi vuelvo a correrme de nuevo. Me estremecí y el estremecimiento se propagó por todo mi cuerpo. Cerré los ojos y gemí mientras él daba las últimas sacudidas a nuestras pollas, lentamente, y las soltaba.

Abrí los ojos de nuevo, le sonreí y nos besamos. Quedé sobre él, nuestros torsos pegados, pensando que nuestra lefa me estaba ahora pringando también a mí. Las dos lefas. Y fue un momento muy erótico.
Una gran experiencia. Ya estoy deseando probar de nuevo e ir más allá. ¡Lo siguiente es follar!


          "The Quid Pro Quo"---FICTION        
The games of Vegas and chance are replaced with the games of certainty.
          GTRS GT150 Review. US Designed 150 Watt Mod. LIMOU Software        

Welcome to our ECCR GRTS GT150 review. A 150 watt mod with a new design. How did we get here? Okay. Let’s cover the background. GTRS is actually Shenzhen GaoMeiTe Technology Company. A Chinese manufacturer located in the heart of global e-cig manufacturing in Shenzhen, China. At last count, there were 600 e-cig manufacturers in Shenzhen. Some of them are among the best in the world. Some make cheap clones. GTRS wanted to focus on quality. So how could they distinguish themselves from the competition? GTRS wanted to emphasize high end performance and quality. They have the facility to produce a premiere quality product. So does Eigate, Kangertech, Smoktech etc. In order to find a way into prominence, GTRS plotted a cooperative course. They formed partnerships with US designers and a German software company, LIMOU. LIMOU is a high end technology company. You can find their chips and processors in the aerospace industry, medical equipment and more. The LIMOU chips are known for precise performance and power regulation. Partnering with LIMOU and US designers gave GTRS the ability to offer something unique to the vaping community. That brings us to the GTRS GT150 150 watt vape mod. GTRS GT150 Vape Mod The GTRS GT150 mod has a built in, rechargeable battery. The battery is a two piece 28 amp lithium battery. The built in dual battery brings 6000 mAh of power storage so you will get more than your typical dual 18650 mod. This is a 150 watt mod that can operate anywhere between 5 watts and 150. In temperature control the range is 200 F to 600 F. Or 100 C to 300C. TC coil options are Ni200 (nickel), Ti (titanium) and SS (stainless steel). I like the size of this mod. The shapes is rounded which will feel great in the hand. The height is 78 mm so it is actually a bit shorter than most dual 18650 mods. Using an internal battery gives GTRS more flexibility to design shapes and sizes. They do not have to design a housing for 18650 batteries so that leaves them more freedom in terms of how the designer can use space. The end result is a very good looking mod. The GT150 mod does have a power curve. The power curve works in both variable wattage subohm vaping mode and in temperature control vaping mode. This will allow you to create a firing profile to precisely cusotmize your vapor production. GTRS GT150 Review So far what we have for you is an overview. The GT150 is available right now for pre-order. I have ordered one in order to come back and add a full review as soon as I get to test it out. ECCR does get some products to review but we also buy a lot of them. We accept products for review but we do not actively solicit. Most of the well-known YouTube reviewers get all kinds of free products for review. We don’t ask for that. We keep our reviews for real and we do not want to be in a quid pro quo situation with anyone. The other advantage of being a neutral, unbiased reviewer is that we go through the entire experience that you do. That includes shopping dealing with customer service, the whole nine yards. When someone sends you a bunch of free stuff, you never have the customer experience. Forgive me if I’m wrong but the customer experience is kind of important for any product review! At ECCR we keep it real. By the way, if you are looking for something more basic, check out our vaping for beginners guide . The ECCR Vape Review Process I learned about the GTRS GT150 mod at a vaping trade show. I liked the idea and how hard they were working to do something unique. To do something to compete in a very competitive space. GTRS caught my interest because of the collaborative effort involving US designers and LIMOU the high tech chip company. Obviously their overall goal is quality and innovation. That get’s my immediate respect. And considering the quality and standards of the manufacturer, the award winning history of the US designer and ultimately the proven precision of LIMOU technology, this three way collaboration raises all kinds of positive expectation for a terrific vaping experience. In other words, I think the GT150 mod is going to be pretty good! I like the look of it. I like how the 510 is recessed into the body of the mod. That will provide a level of tank protection and streamline the overall profile. I like the thumb fire button. It should feel very natural to hold and use. Of course we will put all of this to the test and bring you an updated review soon. But you can pre-order one now if you like. Just like we did. Ordering And Customer Service So we have pre-ordered from Heaven Gifts. I did some shopping online and some that it can be pre-ordered from a few places. But some of those sites we know do not have the best track record for authentic product or decent customer service. Heaven Gifts is a reliable source for good prices, great customer service, and most importantly, authentic products. Heaven Gifts is always a great place to shop. The website is nicely laid out. They have good product descriptions and images. They have a live chat that is often available, too. Before I ordered the GT150, I had a couple of questions. I was testing them! Anyway, both of my emails were answered the same day. Very good customer service. So for now check one out at Heaven Gifts. If you are not ready to buy then by all means check back here soon. I will be updating this GTRS GT150 review with more details shortly. As soon as I know, you will know.   ECCR

The post GTRS GT150 Review. US Designed 150 Watt Mod. LIMOU Software appeared first on Electronic Cigarette Consumer Reviews - 2016 eCig Reviews.

          By: Fentex        
It's not the sport playing, attending the world cup or taking time off that bothers some. It's the accepting commercial sponsorship and time spent with the paymasters. Remember how much DPF criticizes Labour for having financial relationships with unions? But never mind MP's having commercial relationships with corporations. Couldn't possibly be any expectation of quid pro quo could there because as we all know corporations are soft and fluffy and never want returns on expenses.
          The problem is scientists, not publishers        
Because I hate people who just retweet something interesting and say, “Thread,” I’m compiling Jason Hoyt’s series of tweets about the state of scientific publishing into a blog post. Jason’s thread was initiated by this article in The Guardian, “Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?”

For context, Jason is founder and CEO of PeerJ, which I have published in, and will do so again. I have lightly edited the tweets for clarity and emphasis.

This will be controversial, but the problem is scientists, not publishers. While the article may get the history of the problem accurate, it is going to perpetuate several myths about the current root of the issue. Scientists continuing to blame publishers, rather than the root, is pretty damn unscientific.

Plenty of cheap or even free publishing solutions exist. PeerJ even provides lifetime publishing open access for almost nothing, but very few scientists care about price when deciding where to publish. Scientists care about impressing grant and tenure and hiring committees, made up by other scientists, and the committees care about Impact Factor as a vanity metric for quality. It is the tenure/hiring, NIH, NSF, grant committees, not publishers, that are the ones in power and need to make the changes. Demanding publishers do so will do little.

So why aren’t the pitchforks out against the committees? There is only one group that can lead that charge, and it isn’t the publishers. Why aren’t committees looking at the merits of the article rather than the journal it is published in? Why aren’t committees more proactive in saying publish in cheaper open access alternatives like PeerJ?

PeerJ started out at $99 for lifetime publishing. That would have saved governments and funders $9 billion a year. Yet zero funders and committees have yet to approach PeerJ since it was launched five years ago with any support, acknowledgement or promotion. Instead, Nobel laureates and funders launch an elitist journal (I believe Jason is referring to eLife. - ZF), perpetuate the Impact Factor, whilst hypocritically blaming Cell, Nature, and Science journals. Instead, they fund elitist “non-profit” journals that charge $2,000 an article yet still only cover half their costs. This makes no sense.

Then scientists wonder why PeerJ had the gall to raise lifetime open access publishing from $99 to $399. The world doesn’t want nice things.

One of the myths is that academics do all the work. And daily I see an academic complain about journals and propose starting their own. Well – I am one of those academics who started their own. And let me say a peer-reviewed journal does not run itself. At best you’d get a few pubs out per year with only volunteers. And the quality would be shite.

For starters – authors demand peer review to be timely. Counter to that, the reviewers don’t want to be rushed and get angry. Without anyone chasing reviewers, the world would never see reviews hit the light of day. That’s fine then, the world doesn’t need millions of papers, just the ones people want to actually review without chasing. The problem with that is the literature is full of papers now highly cited that were rejected many times. So who is going to chase the reviewers for a million manuscripts? Volunteers? Nope. You have paid staff. So how do you pay the staff? Either through grants, subscriptions, or open access fees. So now the journal you started in protest of commercial publishers is in the same boat.

“But certainly you could do it cheaper!” you say. Cheaper than $99 for lifetime publishing like PeerJ? Don’t forget long-term archiving storage, a stupid typeset PDF, because that’s what readers demand, etcetera, etcetera.

“Well, screw it,” they say. “We’ll do preprints and have ‘overlay’ journals for post-pub peer review.” Except preprints aren’t free either. Arxiv costs more than $1 million a year to operate as a non-profit. And again, who is going to chase the reviewers for the preprint post-pub reviews? Volunteers? Volunteers for over 1 million preprints?

So again, when I see people complain about high cost of publishing, I have to laugh. More like cry. We have the solutions already, but little uptake. Who is to blame then? When I read tweets from academics that they won’t bother reading low Impact Factor journals, who is to blame? (By the way, how unscientific is skipping a literature review just because the journal has a lower Impact Factor, for fuck’s sake?)

The world doesn’t want nice things. We built a quid pro quo system of cheap open access with PeerJ. We asked $99 lifetime members, if invited, to do a peer review to support the community. People complained about the quid pro quo. The world could still have cheap publishing – if it is willing.

Elsevier and others are more than happy to keep taking the blame for the system. It’s a misdirection. As long as scientists don’t start protesting tenure and hiring committees, then Elsevier’s profit margins are safe. Every time there is a new Elsevier boycott, it lasts a week, and then everyone forgets. They know this. And they’re just cogs in the system like everyone else.

Update: Shortly after I published this, this appeared in my Twitter timeline, which is in line with many of Jason’s points. Butch Brodie promoted Evolution Letters by saying it was open access, had low publication costs for Society for the Study of Evolution members, and those costs go back to society initiatives.

The article processing fees for Evolution Letters is $1,800 if you’re a member of the Society for the Study of Evolution. If you’re not, it’ll cost you $2,500. And you know that not all of that fee will go directly back to the society. Some of it is going to the publisher.

PeerJ is also open access and is cheaper: $1,095. You pay a 64% premium to have your article in a society journal.

I suggest publishing in PeerJ, donating a few hundred bucks to your scientific society directly, and leaving yourself a few bucks for dinner and a movie.

External links

How much does it cost to run a small scholarly publisher?
On pastrami and the business of PLOS
An efficient journal

Related posts

The cages we scientists make for ourselves
          U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Corporate Political Spending Ban        
By Julian Dunraven, J.D., M.P.A.

Honorable Friends:

Do you believe the government should determine what the media can broadcast? Do you believe the government should decide which businesses constitute “media” and which do not? This is exactly what the Supreme Court ruled on yesterday in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. As Justice Kennedy wrote for the conservative majority:

“The law before us is an outright ban, backed by criminal sanctions. Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations-- including nonprofit advocacy corporations-- either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary election and 60 days of a general election. Thus, the following acts would all be felonies under §441b: The Sierra Club runs an ad, within the crucial phase of 60 days before the general election, that exhorts the public to disapprove of a Congressman who favors logging in national forests; the National Rifle Association publishes a book urging the public to vote for the challenger because the incumbent U.S. Senator supports a handgun ban; and the American Civil Liberties Union creates a Web site telling the public to vote for a Presidential candidate in light of that candidate’s defense of free speech. These prohibitions are classic examples of censorship.” 558 U.S. ___ (2010) at 20.

This law, according to the majority opinion, gives rise to “the dangerous, and unacceptable, consequence that Congress could ban political speech of media corporations,” on a whim. Even the People’s Press Collective, as private corporation not classified as traditional media, could have incurred criminal liability for advocating for or against any candidate within the statute’s time frame. Does this frighten you? It should.

The reason for this oppressive law is that it supposedly protects shareholders from being forced to fund political causes with which they disagree. It also prevents the appearance of corruption and quid pro quo arrangements between politicians and corporate interests. Finally, and most importantly, it allegedly prevents the distortion of the election process by the large accumulations of wealth held by corporations.

The Court swiftly dismissed the first two concerns. Corporate shareholders have the option of divesting if they do not like the actions of any particular company. However, even if this were not the case, limiting political speech only in the days immediately prior to an election but at no other time hardly shows a serious concern for shareholder interests. As to quid pro quo arrangements, we already have anti-bribery laws in force. Attempting to go further and prevent mere access or influence is not only impossible, it is an impediment to representative democracy itself. As it is, the law would continue to permit lobbying by those companies wealthy enough to engage in it, but prohibit other companies from engaging in fundamental political advocacy; hardly an equitable arrangement.

In his dissent, Justice Stevens argued passionately, if not plausibly, that the government has a strong interest in preventing the appearance of corruption corporate wealth can create. He further maintained that, as the First Amendment never mentions corporate entities, they should not be entitled to full speech and press protections. In fact, he maintains that corporate speech is adequately protected in the lengthy procedures set up to create 527 groups, PACs, and the cumbersome and expensive filing, reporting, and maintenance requirements such affiliations entail.

The Court maintains, however, that:

“The First Amendment does not permit laws that force speakers to retain a campaign finance attorney, conduct demographic marketing research, or seek declaratory rulings before discussing the most salient political issues of our day. Prolix laws chill speech for the same reason that vague laws chill speech: People ‘of common intelligence must necessarily guess at [the law’s] meaning and differ as to its application.’ The Government may not render a ban on political speech constitutional by carving out a limited exemption through an amorphous regulatory interpretation.” Id. at 7 (internal citation omitted).

The Court goes on to point out that corporations, as affiliations of individuals, have long enjoyed First Amendment protections. Moreover, the text of the First Amendment itself is not limited to individuals, but protects the freedoms of speech and the press in general. The Court, “rejected the premise that the Government has an interest in equalizing the relative ability of individuals and groups to influence the outcome of elections,” and stated that, “The First Amendment’s protections do not depend on the speaker’s financial ability to engage in public discussion.” Id. at 37 (internal citation omitted).

In short, the First Amendment exists to protect the political speech of citizens, as individuals, groups, or corporations. “By taking the right to speak from some and giving it to others, the Government deprives the disadvantaged person or class of the right to use speech to strive to establish worth, standing, and respect for the speaker’s voice. The Government may not by these means deprive the public of the right and privilege to determine for itself what speech and speakers are worthy of consideration. The First Amendment protects speech and speaker, and the ideas that flow from each.” Id. at 24.

“The censorship we now confront is vast in its reach. The Government has muffle[d] the voices that best represent the most significant segments of the economy. And the electorate [has been] deprived of information, knowledge and opinion vital to its function. By suppressing the speech of manifold corporations, both for-profit and non-profit, the Government prevents their voices and viewpoints from reaching the public and advising voters on which persons or entities are hostile to their interests. Factions will necessarily form in our Republic, but the remedy of destroying the liberty of some factions is worse than the disease. Factions should be checked by permitting them all to speak, and by entrusting the people to judge what is true and what is false.” Id. at 38 (internal citation omitted).

This is as it should be. Despite this, though, the Court still upheld requirements for disclosing donors and issuing disclaimers as to who funds political advertisements. Only Justice Thomas objected to this. He points out the possible chilling effects on speech when activists target political donors with violence and intimidation, saying, “I cannot endorse a view of the First Amendment that subjects citizens of this Nation to death threats, ruined careers, damaged or defaced property, or pre-emptive and threatening warning letters as the price for engaging in core political speech, the primary object of First Amendment protection.” Id at 6 (Thomas, J., concurring) (internal citation omitted). Thus, he maintains we have still one further step to take on the road to truly free political speech.

As it stands, the Supreme Court has overturned the ban on direct corporate political advocacy. Corporations are still subject to contribution limits in candidate campaigns, as are individuals, and they must still disclose their donors and take credit for any political advertisement they produce. Nonetheless, this decision should be celebrated by anyone who still believes in the First Amendment. Here in Colorado, I am certain some enterprising company will use this decision to overturn our own state ban on direct corporate advocacy, which so closely mirrors federal law. I look forward to that day.

          Businesses look to cash in on royal visit to Singapore        

A lone aeroplane engine stands centre stage covered in plastic and waiting to be unwrapped.

Workers around it are setting up a podium and re-painting the stage wall just the right shade of blue, in readiness for a royal visit.

This is the $562m (£350m) Rolls-Royce aeronautical production facility which opened earlier this year in Singapore, and the engine, a Trent 900 Aero, is destined for an Airbus A380 plane.

On Wednesday, its plastic covers will be unwrapped as the engine is unveiled by Prince William, who is in town with his wife Catherine on a tour of Singapore, Malaysia and the Solomon Islands.

Jonathan Asherson, the head of Rolls-Royce's South East Asian operations, says their visit will bring a number of benefits.

"The tangible benefits to the visit will include things like the buzz that the employees will feel, and the partnership between Singapore and the UK," he tells the BBC.

"The Duke and Duchess will be launching the first production engine and the first production fan blades from this facility.

"Intangible benefits are things like the coverage we get, those benefits are going to be for our own internal buzz, but we're hoping our customers will notice this as well," he adds. Flower power

The Duke and Duchess are touring the region to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

According to the British High Commission in Singapore, the visit to the city was included in their trip as it's seen as an important trading partner of the United Kingdom.

They will be meeting key Singapore and British business leaders during their trip.

Some $40bn is invested in Singapore by UK businesses while the UK attracts two-thirds of Singapore's foreign direct investment into Europe.

One of the first stops on their tour saw them visiting the nation's Orchid Gardens on Tuesday where they had an orchid named after them.

The gardens, set within the larger botanical gardens, charge for entry and are 70% self-funded.

They have been naming hybrid orchids, created by their horticulturists, after famous people since 1957.

According to Nigel Taylor the director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, there is almost always an uptick in visitors after an orchid is named after a well known person.

"There's clearly a marketing effect that benefits Singapore and the gardens," he says.

"There's also a more immediate local effect, for some of the locals who haven't visited the orchid gardens for a while, they may be reminded that it exists and that it's an opportunity they shouldn't miss out on.

"When someone like the Duke and Duchess come to visit, which is something that happens very rarely... the quid pro quo is definitely the publicity we get." Brand effect

The British monarchy is a very valuable brand.

One study published before the Queen's jubilee celebrations in June, found that this value amounted to $70bn.

But more than half of that is intangible. Rather than creating value by producing goods, the monarchy's brand value lies in association.

Samir Dixit from Brand Finance who carried out the research, says the British monarchy is the world's second most valuable brand after Apple, with Apple valued just slightly higher at $70.6bn.

The firm has measured the value of the Royal Family in part by looking at companies who have been issued Royal warrants and coats of arms.

Royal warrants have been issued for centuries for goods or services that are supplied to the sovereign or to a member of the royal family.

These, according to Brand Finance, have made those brands associated to the Royal Family more successful. Local interest

And it is this brand value that some local firms are keen to cash in on.

Art Trove, a Singapore art gallery is celebrating the Queen's jubilee by selling lithographs of watercolour paintings by Prince Charles and other art pieces as well as photographs of the Royal Family.

These include pictures of Prince William as a child with his late mother, Princess Diana.

Also on offer is a $200,000 diamond encrusted gold medallion made by the East India Company for the Queen's jubilee. The gallery says it has already sold its other silver version worth $40,000 to an Asian collector.

The entire collection for sale is worth nearly one million dollars.

Sharon Tay, a consultant at the gallery, thinks that interest in the exhibition, which has been running since last month, will pick up with the Duke and Duchess' visit to Singapore.

The St. Regis in Singapore, part of the US Starwood chain of hotels, is also hoping the visit will help push sales for their themed dinners and activities.

The hotel has planned a month long tribute to British culture and the arts which includes hiring a Michelin starred Welsh chef to cook $200 per head meals and a tie up with the Royal Academy of Arts with an exhibiiton by British artist Paul Huxley.

Cheryl Ong, the hotel's director of sales and marketing, says that even though the events were not planned to coincide with the Royal trip, it was "very serendipitous timing".

"We have seen keen interest from our guests and members of the public, with reservations coming in steadily for the British Arts Celebration culinary showcases," she adds.

For local and multinational companies alike, the consensus is that even though they might not see an immediate pick-up in business during the short visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the effects of it will be evident in higher sales after they leave.

Then it won't just be the monarchy having a diamond year.

          Comment #3466        
l allowed myself to view the entire video you posted as Proof of a quid pro quo but much to my surprise the word alleged was thrown about throughout. You are familiar with what that word means don't you? If not- let the dictionary refresh your mind..

Simple Definition of alleged

: accused of having done something wrong or illegal but not yet proven guilty

: said to have happened but not yet proven

It's been said Trump loves the poorly educated : Jam- prove Trump wrong.
          Comment #3449        
They made a deal behind closed doors, quid pro quo to be given cushy overseas jobs....read up....

https://www.google.com/search?q=Comey+quid+pro rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-Address ie=UTF-8 oe=UTF-8 sourceid=ie7 gws_rd=ssl
          Comment #2992        
Here ya go.

WASHINGTON A top State Department official allegedly offered the FBI a quid pro quo if the agency downgraded the classification of one of the emails on Hillary Clinton s server, new documents the FBI released Monday show.

According to notes of an internal interview with one of the FBI s own officials, Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy tried last summer to get the FBI to change a classified email to unclassified status, offering to let the FBI put agents in more foreign co... [ More ]
          African Union-International Criminal Court-Stand-Off: Justice and Peace Paradigms        
A Speech by Dr Gorden Moyo made at the Bulawayo Agenda Dialogue Series-23 June 2015

The current stand-off between the African Union (AU) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) requires us to reflect on a number of epistemic questions from the side of subalterns and victims of impunity in Africa whose voices have been silenced and invisibilized by their own leaders in the name of juridical sovereignty, jaundiced nationalism, and African solidarity. Over the last few years, AU has been accusing the ICC for bias, skewed, and selective prosecution of African leaders. Thus, the crucial question before us today is whether or not the ICC is indeed a neocolonial court or the accusation is a guise deployed by some African leaders to evade the wrath of the law? Or it’s the Imperial East versus Imperial West but both abusing the AU and ICC? These questions are screaming for answers. To be sure, this presentation seeks to expose the hypocrisies and posturings of some disfiguring African leaders who are responsible for genocide and mass atrocities against their own people and yet cry foul against the ICC.

Dr. Gorden Moyo revealed what might read as 'the real reason'
 behind  agitation for AU pull out of ICC.
To begin with, both AU and ICC were political products of the post cold war politics of the 1990s. Of course, each had its own complex gestation period. For instance, the ICC’s biography is traceable to the Nuremberg trials of the end of World War II in 1945 while the AU’s zygote is connected to the end of Apartheidism in South Africa in 1994 though its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was conceived in 1963.

In many ways the 1990s was a lost decade in Africa. Its ugliest historical markers include among others; the internecine conflicts in Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, DRC, Rwanda and Uganda which collectively claimed millions of innocent lives, civilians, women and children. Most of these conflicts are still lingering on to this day. Clearly, the OAU was at the time inadequate to protect the victims of violence, arson and murder perpetrated by both state actors and non-state actors. No wonder why the signing of the AU Constitutive Act in Lome (2000) which transformed the OAU to AU was greeted with celebrations across Africa. The transformation was celebrated because it promised the end of an era of impunity in Africa. The provisions on promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights, and the right of AU to intervene in member states in respect of grave circumstances of gross violation of human rights gave hope to the long suffering victims of impunity.

Like the OAU, the United Nations Security Council failed , at critical times in history, to act decisively to protect the vulnerable against human rights and violent abuses not just in Africa but also in countries across the globe such as East Timor, Chechnya, Yugoslavia, Poland, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Kosovo, Lebanon, Bosnia and Israel/Palestine. It was within this backdrop that the ICC was established at the tail end of the 1990s to address the issues of impunity at international level. Thus, the ICC came into force in July 2002 four years after the signing of the Rome Statute in 1998. Currently 123 countries are State Parties to the Rome Statute. Out of them 34 are African States, 19 are Asia-Pacific States, 18 are from Eastern Europe, 27 are from Latin American and Caribbean States, and 25 are from Western European and other States. These figures demonstrate the popularity of the ICC in African, Latin American and Caribbean States a region which constitutes the bulk of the Global South.

 The key objective of the ICC is very specific. It is to prosecute executive leadership comprising of presidents, prime ministers, senior military officials, senior government officials and other top ranking officials charged for gross violation of human rights. Specifically, in terms of the Rome Statute, Article 5, ICC has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide and aggression. The Rome statute article 26 reserves no immunity even for the seating Heads of States and Governments. Prior to ICC, these serious crimes were prosecuted through ad hoc International Criminal Tribunals such as the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). ICC was not therefore meant to substitute the then existing international criminal justice system but to compliment it. To date, ICC has managed to prosecute, try and sentence two former heads of states that is, Liberia’s Charles Taylor and the late Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic.

Currently, there are 32 cases before the ICC, all from eight African countries that is, DRC, Uganda, Cote d’voire, Sudan, Kenya, Libya, Central Africa Republic and Mali. This scenario has given reason to some members of the AU to claim that ICC is a neocolonial court or an ‘imperial master exercising imperial power over African subjects’. Subsequently, AU has passed a raft of resolutions from March 2009 to date which call upon all member states not to cooperate with the ICC regarding the arrest of the President of Sudan, Omar al Bashir who is accused of genocide and mass atrocities against his own people in the Darfur region.

 Furthermore, AU has in the past also called for the suspension of the ICC proceedings against the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto who, along with five others were charged for crimes against humanity including murder, forceful removal of populations, mass rape and other sexual crimes in the aftermath of the 2007 general elections in Kenya. Besides calling for non-cooperation with ICC, AU has stopped the setting up of the ICC Liaison Office in Addis Ababa. Moreover, some leaders like the current chairman of the AU Mugabe and the African National Congress (ANC) leadership are now calling for the complete pull-out of all African States Parties (ASP) from Rome Statute. It should be noted that along with countries such as Sudan and Libya, Zimbabwe is not a State Part of the ICC.

There is no doubt that the ICC should concern itself with the gross violation of human rights in countries such as Israel/Palestine, Syria, Ukraine, and Iraq and others where there are gross violations of human rights. We argue that it is crucially important that all cases of impunity are stopped, be it in Africa, Asia or Europe. In that context, ICC should always remind itself that it was founded with the conviction that there should be no impunity for anybody anywhere in the world. We also believe that the fight against impunity and concern for well-being of the most vulnerable are values central to humanity irrespective of geography, history, race and position in global hierarchies of power. The failure to deal with cases outside Africa has given the blood thirsty African despots scapegoat to rationalise and justify their vampirical desires and negative escapades against their own people.

It cannot be doubted that ICC has many shortcomings but its characterisation as unfairly targeting Africans is not backed by facts. For instance, of the eight cases before ICC four were referred by Africa itself i.e. DRC, Uganda, Central Africa Republic and Mali. On the other hand, Sudan and Libya were referred by the United Nations Security Council in terms of the United Nations Charter, Chapter VII read together with Rome Statute, Article 16, while Kenya and Cote d’voire were referred in terms of the Rome Statute, Article 15 which stipulate that the prosecutor may initiate investigations proprio motu on the basis of information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC.
Discussant, Irene Petras of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights raised the need for Civil Society to push for people
centred regional bodies
Not surprisingly, only those governments which stood to benefit from referring their cases to ICC did so. In fact  they referred their political opponents for prosecution by ICC. On the other hand, where the seating government was the perpetrator no cases have been referred to ICC to date. It would be unrealistic to expect the perpetrating government to refer cases of impunity to ICC. In this regard, if the ICC was to rely on government referrals, then the ICC would degenerate into the justice of the powerful, hence the justification of referrals by the Security Council and the chief prosecutor’s own initiative.  For the record, the current ICC chief prosecutor is a Gambian woman Fatou Bensouda who took over from Luis Moreno Ocampo from Agentina -both from the Global South and not from the imperial West.

While the ICC has not prosecuted cases in the Global North, it is clear that those that have been charged in Africa have a case to answer. Therefore the accusation that ICC is a selective, skewed, biased and even condescending court does not pass the evidence test. The truth of the matter is that some African presidents who are in the forefront of vilifying the ICC are themselves guilty of impunity, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide and they are looking for political and ideological sanctuaries to hide, prevent and escape justice. Oddly enough, in all the resolutions and decisions of the AU Assembly on ICC since the al Bashir indictment in 2009 there has not been a single mention of the rights of victims of impunity.

 Instead, all the decisions of the AU Assembly are couched around the issue of immunity of the seating Heads of States and Governments. In fact, the AU decisions are inscripted in what Enrique Dussell terms the ‘nationality of power’ wedded with ‘coloniality of power’ a situation where the ordinary masses are subalternised and peripherised into zones of non-being.  In the eyes of some leaders such as Sudan’s al Bashir, Gambia’s Yaya Jameh, Eritrea’s Afwerki and Zimbabwe’s Mugabe, killability and dispensability of human life are part of pan-Africanism. This abysmal thinking suggests that the rights of the victims of impunity must be silenced and disciplined in the name of faked stability and negative peace. Hence the people who complain about bias of the ICC are African dictators-the perpetrators and not the victims, who are relieved that at least ‘somebody in the ICC is paying attention to their plight’.

Evidently, the AU pull-out campaign headed by Mugabe seeks to disable the ICC from indicting more fraudsters running the African states. It is also meant to completely relegate the epistemic and ontological wounds inflicted on African people by their leaders to archival dustbins. More cynically, the perpetrators expect to be deified and iconised as heroes and victors against neocolonialism and neoimperialism. Mugabe is actually experienced in this art of political deception. After presiding over the Gukurahundi mass killings of approximately 20 000 innocent civilians of Ndebele ethnic group in Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces in the 1980s, Mugabe preached unity and peace as substitutes for justice and thought he had got away with it.

However, three decades after the scourge of Gukurahundi together with Murambatsvina crimes against humanity, the stubborn facts about Mugabe’s impunity continue to haunt him and his lieutenants up to this day. No wonder why Mugabe gets livid about the idea of arresting seating presidents by the ICC. Chinua Achebe was right when he remarked that ‘an old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb’. To avoid the possibilities if not reality of his own indictment, Mugabe has had to specifically assign one of his deputies Mr Report Phelekezela Mphoko to traverse the breadth and width of the country denying the truth of Gukurahundi. Sadly, Report Mphoko is not doing a very good job for Mugabe. Instead, he has angered the victims, survivors and the communities where mass atrocities actually took place. He has actually rekindled the memories of the torture survivors who are now exploring various ways of redress. Report Mphoko is better advised to read the recently declassified South African Foreign Affairs documents which reveal how some ‘high ranking’ ZANU PF officials negotiated with Apartheid South African Defence Forces in 1983 to cooperate in their efforts to keep ZAPU from supporting the African National Congress (ANC) operatives in Zimbabwe. Never mind Mugabe’s pretentions of pan-Africanism, he was an Apartheidist in nationalist aprons.

While the AU’s idea that cases of gross violation of human rights in Africa should be prosecuted, tried and sentenced in Africa by either national criminal justice system or by the African Court of Justice (ACJ) in conjunction with the African Human and Peoples’ Rights Court (AHPRC) may sound plausible, logical and pan-African, as mentioned earlier, it should never escape our minds that the perpetrators of these crimes are  almost invariably the seating Heads of States and Governments who enjoy immunity in their countries and have a tendency of long distance rulership. For this reason, it is near impossible that the victims will ever see justice if all serious cases were to be referred to internal or regional justice systems.

 Moreover, issues of solidarity between and among African governments also impede on justice. The case of the former president of Chad, Hissene Habre who is accused of the killings and torture of approximately 40 000 innocent citizens of that country is a classical one. To be sure, the victims of Habre’s brutal killings have been fighting for more than two decades to bring him to justice but the Senegalese government which gave Habre asylum in 1990 protected him from internal criminal justice and from extradition. Until the new president of Senegal, Macky Sall elected in 2012 arrested Habre, the man was living a largely untroubled life in Dakar until then.

 Similarly, the former president of Ethiopia, Mengistu Haile Marrime who is in asylum in Zimbabwe for over two decades now is accused of Operation ‘Red Terror’ which left thousands of people dead in his country. His victims are unlikely to find justice as the perpetrator is well protected by his comrade in blood. We should therefore excuse those who view the AU as a ‘Dictators Club’ that is interested in protecting its own interests as opposed to protecting the interests of the vulnerable, the victims and the subalterns.

While the imperial claims by AU may invoke pan-African spirit and liberation struggle memories in Africa, it should be noted that the Security Council which referred both Libya and Sudan to the ICC consists of five permanent members that is, UK, France (signatories of the Rome Statute), Russia, China and USA (are not). Each of these countries has veto powers on all issues brought to the attention of the Security Council. In the African liberation lexicon and paradigm both China and Russia are not imperialists since they supported the liberation movements to decolonise Africa from the Western imperialists. Assuming China and Russia are anti-imperialists as Mugabe and company suggest, then this claim begs the question why either of the two countries did not veto the Security Council Resolution 1593 which compelled Sudan to cooperate with the ICC?

We submit here that both Russia and China are new economic imperialists. For instance, China like all imperialist powers imports cheap raw materials from Africa; exports finished products to Africa; exploits its own and other countries cheap labour; it invests and seeks to control infrastructure in Africa such as highways, airports, ports, and telecommunications; it is a creditor; and it uses its political clout to bribe political leaders to protect its economic interests. Just like the Western imperialists which pampered the Mobutus, Idi Aminis and Bokassas of this world, China has a weird reputation of protecting despots and perpetrators of gross violation of human rights. In Zimbabwe they have constructed a personal residence for Mugabe, a military defence college and a conference centre for the ruining party ZANU PF. Moreover, the Chinese have also invested heavily in the First Family businesses such as the Gushungo Dairy Estate and the Mazowe Business Hub but nothing for the ordinary citizens except the looting of their natural resources, destruction of the their textile and clothing industry leaving them unemployed and impoverished.

While the Chinese did not oppose the Security Council resolution, they have been working behind the scenes with some African leaders to undermine and defy the resolution to arrest al Bashir. For record, at the time of al Bashir’s formal indictment by ICC in March 2009, Sudan was the third largest recipient of Chinese investment behind Angola and South Africa. China’s business interests in Sudan include among others: dam construction (Merowe Dam where China’s Exim- Bank is providing USD$530 million); power generation (El Galil Power Station); Railways (Railway connecting Port Sudan to Khartoum); and petroleum industry. Moreover, Sudan was one of the few countries to be visited by the then Chinese President Hu Jintau in February 2007. All this indicates the strategic value that Sudan is to China. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the above investments, it is worth noting that they are the very reasons why China is protecting al Bashir from ICC.  A good number of African Heads of States and Governments have been bribed to support the Sudanese president. In this context, the lives of the Darfurans do not matter as long as al Bashir continues to be the conveyor belt of African resources to feed the over a billion Chinese.

To this extent, the Mugabe-led faction of the AU should be thoroughly analysed and its pretentions and guises exposed. It is this component of the AU which is screaming about the neocolonial exigencies of the West while shielding the new imperialists from the East with impunity. The new economic imperialists of the East dine and wine with dictators to protect their excesses, and as a quid pro quo the imperialists loot African resources with impunity. They are no less worse than their Western counterparts.

In this regard, the 25thAU Summit in South Africa in June 2015 will be remembered in the annals of history as full of contradictions, ambiguities, dichotomies, and frictions. South Africa which for years was on the frontline fighting Apartheidism will have to extricate itself before the bar of history, the bar of public opinion and the bar of its own conscience how it found itself in defence of despotism and impunity if it hopes to regain its confidence from the victims of impunity; regain its former venerated place on matters of moral leadership; and African conscience inaugurated by its founding icon the late Mandela. That evil triumphed in the AU when a South African national was the chairperson of the AU Commission in a Summit hosted by South Africa flies on the face of South Africa’s proud history against impunity. It should be known that the only benefactors of South Africa’s inaction regarding the arrest of al Bashir when he was present on its territory is al Bashir himself along with all other African despots who have albatrosses of crimes hanging on their necks. Sadly, justice once again lost on the altar of impunity masquerading as peace project.

In concluding, we would like to call upon all peoples of conscience in Zimbabwe, Africa and Diaspora to denounce the Mugabe-led pull out campaign.  We also call upon all progressive African leaders to distance themselves from Mugabe-AU’s paradigms of violence; neo-populism guised as pan-Africanism; and despotism disguised as Afro-radicalism. There is no need for countries and leaders without skeletons in their cupboards to be banded together with dictatorships by default. It is in this context, that we applaud Malawi, Botswana and others for resisting the posturings of dictatorships who ganged up against the victims of impunity by embracing the non-cooperation axiom of the Mugabe faction of the AU. Africa and the World should listen to the clarion call of the victims of gross violation of human rights who want both peace and justice in equal measures.

I thank you

          Lies Beget Lying        
By David K. Shipler

            If you lie to your children, they will learn to lie to you. If you lie to your spouse, you will create a family culture of falsehood in which he or she will, unless strongly honest, lie to you as well. If you lie to your employees, don’t expect them to pass uncomfortable truths up the chain of command. And if, as president, you lie to the country and perhaps to your staff, many of them will breathe the miasma of fabrication that emanates from the top, and will surely assume that lying is an acceptable way of life in the White House.
            So President Trump’s dismissal of Michael Flynn for lying is like a projection of Trump’s own personality flaw onto his subordinate. It is worth noting that this happened only when the Flynn offense became public, courtesy of the “dishonest” Washington Post, which Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he hadn’t seen—a lie in itself, given that he’d been told two weeks earlier by the Justice Department about the contents of wiretapped conversations between Flynn and the Russian ambassador.
Does anyone think that the then president-elect did not authorize those conversations, that Flynn just flew solo without consulting with Trump? Is it possible that Trump ordered, or at least approved, Flynn’s discussing the post-Ukraine sanctions with the ambassador, perhaps obliquely suggesting that they could be eased by the incoming administration? Then, in the poisonous atmosphere of the West Wing after the inauguration, might Trump have wanted the substance of those discussions held closely, even from Vice President Mike Pence, who is no Russia fan? So, was Flynn just following his boss’s wishes in telling Pence that sanctions had not been discussed?
And by the way, shouldn’t the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency know that the Russian ambassador’s phone calls are monitored by the National Security Agency? Did Flynn figure on Trump’s having his back if transcripts were ever leaked? Note that the day after asking for Flynn’s resignation, Trump called him “a wonderful man” who was treated unfairly by the “fake media” and outed by leakers who committed a crime.
You see, Mr. President, this is what compulsive lying at the top leads to. Everything down below begins to look like a lie as well.
Did Trump ever stop to wonder why President Vladimir Putin refrained from the usual tit-for-tat after the Obama administration punished Moscow for allegedly hacking Democratic emails? Thirty-five Russian intelligence agents were expelled; normally, in retaliation, a similar contingent of American agents in Russia would have been sent packing. Trump credited Putin with being smart for not doing so. It now looks more like a quid pro quo. But we are asked to believe that the Deal-Maker-in-Chief was entirely unaware of the deal.
Flynn came to the post of national security adviser with a reputation for peddling distortions, sardonically called “Flynn facts” while he was head of the DIA. Had Trump not heard the term, or didn’t he care? Did Trump admire Flynn’s ethnocentrism, Islamophobia, reckless mismanagement, and zealous infighting? Evidently. But lying was the cardinal sin.
No, not lying, exactly, for Trump doesn’t mind lying to the American public. It’s his modus operandi. Pence doesn’t mind either, although he doesn’t do it with a bludgeon, like Trump, but with a slippery sheen. Here we enter a moral labyrinth: Apparently, lying is OK if you know you’re lying. Being lied to is something else. And if you lie in public while thinking that you’re telling the truth, because you’ve been lied to and don’t realize it, that’s outrageous and unforgivable. Pence claims to have been told by Flynn that sanctions had not been discussed, so Pence told the lie to the public, only to have the lie exposed by intelligence agencies’ transcripts of phone conversations. The only thing worse than lying or being lied to, it seems, is getting caught.
            This incident is like a little fable demonstrating, once again, that it’s often the cover-up that gets you in more trouble than the offense itself. So it was with Nixon’s covering up his operatives’ break-in at the Democratic offices in Watergate. So it was with Bill Clinton’s denial—under oath—of his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Here, too, Flynn probably would have survived if he had simply acknowledged that he had tried to defuse an escalating spat with Russia. Perhaps he violated the never-enforced 1799 Logan Act’s prohibition on private citizens contacting foreign officials and undermining US foreign policy, but he would have gotten away with it.
            Among the many aspects of human nature that Trump does not understand is the immense influence of a leader’s morality on the values of those who serve him. His ethical blindness in mixing his private business with his governmental role is an example, as the head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter M. Shaub, observed in early January. In criticizing Trump’s refusal to divest from his assets, Shaub declared, “Officials in any administration need their president to show ethics matters, not only through words but through deeds.” He noted that other officials would be held to account on such matters, and asked, “Should a president hold himself to a lower standard than his own appointees?”
            Trump is modeling noxious behavior to his subordinates, who could run afoul of the law if they mirror his indifference to conflict of interest and corruption. In the area of truth-telling, too, he seems destined to warp the bureaucracy and receive falsely upbeat reports from those who want to curry favor or keep their jobs. That is what happened in the Soviet Union, a good-news system where displeasing facts were filtered out at lower levels, producing a leadership remote from grassroots reality.
Even in the open American system, where robust debate is essential to wise policymaking, Trump has already shown a desire to discourage internal dissent. When about a thousand State Department officials signed a complaint through the department’s official channel about Trump’s immigration ban, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “They should either get with the program, or they can go.” Contrast that with former Secretary of State John Kerry’s decision to meet with those who criticized Obama’s hands-off strategy in Syria.

Disagreement is essential to good government, and a president who models lying damages his ability to get reliable information from the vast bureaucracies he manages. Only at their peril will officials down below be honest with him. In promoting the virtue of the lie, therefore, Trump seems destined to isolate himself from expertise and make ill-considered decisions. In so doing he lays the groundwork for the failure of his presidency.

          Wines of Portugal Challenge | Concurso Vinhos de Portugal 2017        

A ViniPortugal, em parceria com o IVV, CNEMA, IVDP, IVBAM e a revista Vinho Grandes Escolhas, organizou mais uma edição do Concurso Vinhos de Portugal. À semelhança das edições anteriores, o concurso foi composto por dois momentos distintos. De 15 a 17 de Maio, no CNEMA, em Santarém, realizaram-se as sessões técnicas de provas, durante as quais cada vinho foi apreciado em prova cega por um júri composto por seis elementos qualificados. Após esta fase, o Grande Júri, composto por jurados de referência internacional, reunido em Évora, escolheu os grandes vencedores do concurso, atribuindo as medalhas Grande Ouro e os Melhores do Ano. Estiveram 1393 vinhos a concurso e os grandes vencedores foram conhecidos numa gala que teve lugar no Convento de Arraiolos, no dia 19 de Maio. Foram atribuídas 341 medalhas, das quais 30 na categoria “Grande Ouro”, 121 de “Ouro” e 190 de “Prata”. Quanto aos grandes prémios, estes foram atribuídos aos melhores vinhos do ano nas categorias “Melhor Vinho de Lote Tinto”, “Melhor Vinho Tinto Varietal”, “Melhor Vinho Branco de Lote”, “Melhor Vinho Branco Varietal”, “Melhor Vinho Licoroso”, “Melhor Espumante” e o mais cobiçado “Melhor Vinho do Ano”. O Alentejo foi a região que recebeu mais medalhas “Grande Ouro” do júri, enquanto o Dão sobressaiu nos grandes prémios. Segue a lista dos premiados com “Grande Ouro”, “Ouro” e grandes prémios. Todos os resultados podem ser consultados aqui.

Grande Ouro


Quinta dos Carvalhais Reserva 2012 (Dão, Sogrape Vinhos) Melhor Vinho Branco de Lote
Titular Encruzado 2015 (Dão, Caminhos Cruzados)
Muros Antigos Loureiro 2016 (Vinho Verde) Melhor Vinho Branco Varietal
Socalcos do Bouro 2016 (Vinho Verde, Corina Almeida)

2221 Terroir Cantanhede 2011 (Bairrada, Adega Cooperativa de Cantanhede)
Ataíde Semedo 2015 (Bairrada, Ataíde Costa Martins Semedo)
Cellar Selection Syrah & Alicante Bouschet 2014 (Alentejo, Herdade do Sobroso)
Chryseia 2014 (Douro, Prats & Symington)
Fortíssimo 2015 (Alentejo, Casa Santos Lima)
Herdade São Miguel Touriga Nacional 2015 (Alentejo, Casa Agrícola Alexandre Relvas)
Monte da Ravasqueira Touriga Franca 2013 (Alentejo, Sociedade Agrícola D. Diniz)
Paço dos Infantes 2012 (Alentejo, Enolea)
Quid Pro Quo 2015 (Alentejo, Casa Santos Lima)
Quinta da Escusa 2015 (Tejo, 2Romana Vini)
Quinta da Levandeira do Roncão Grande Reserva 2011 (Douro, Agri-Roncão Vinícola)
Quinta da Ponte Pedrinha Reserva 2011 (Dão, Maria de Lourdes Mendes Oliva Nunes Osório)
Quinta da Rede Grande Reserva 2014 (Douro, Quinta da Rede)
Quinta do Carmo Reserva 2012 (Alentejo, Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal)
Quinta do Crasto Reserva Vinhas Velhas 2014 (Douro, Quinta do Crasto) Melhor Vinho de Lote Tinto
Quinta do Crasto Tinta Roriz 2014 (Douro, Quinta do Crasto)
Quinta Nogueira 2015 (Lisboa, Romana Vini)
Quinta Vista 2015 (Lisboa, Sociedade Agrícola Quinta do Conde)
Serros da Mina Reserva 2014 (Alentejo, Sociedade Agro-Pecuária do Oeste Alentejano)
Solista 2014 (Alentejo, Adega Mayor)
Terras do Grifo Grande Reserva 2014 (Douro, Rozès)
Touriz 2013 (Lisboa, Casa Santos Lima)
Villa Oliveira Touriga Nacional 2011 (Dão, O Abrigo da Passarela) Melhor Vinho do Ano/ Melhor Vinho Tinto Varietal

Kopke Colheita 1967 (Porto, Sogevinus) Melhor Vinho Licoroso


Adega de Pegões Colheita Seleccionada 2016 (Setúbal, Cooperativa Agrícola de Pegões)
Adega Ponte da Barca 2016 (Vinho Verde, Viniverde)
Altano Biológico 2015 (Douro, Symington Family Estates)
Alvarinho Reserva Da Família 2015 (Vinho Verde, Aveleda)
Baron de B 2015 (Alentejo, Herdade da Calada)
Casal da Coelheira Private Collection 2016 (Tejo, Casal da Coelheira)
Chapeleiro 2016 (Vinho Verde, Carlos Gabriel Pinto Queirós Fernandes)
Conde D’ Ervideira Reserva 2015 (Alentejo, Ervideira)
CSL Reserva 2015 (Lisboa, Casa Santos Lima)
Curvos Alvarinho 2016 (Vinho Verde, Quinta de Curvos)
Dom Ponciano Alvarinho 2016 (Vinho Verde, Re-Vinhos e Derivados Unipessoal)
Encosta do Xisto Loureiro 2016 (Vinho Verde, Vasco Faria)
H.O. 2016 (Douro, Casa Agrícola Horta Osório)
Herdade da Ajuda Reserva 2015 (Alentejo, Herdade da Ajuda Nova)
Olho-de-mocho 2016 (Alentejo, Rocim)
Pato Frio Grande Escolha 2015 (Alentejo, Ribafreixo Wines)
Portal do Fidalgo Alvarinho 2016 (Vinho Verde, Provam)
Quinta da Rede Grande Reserva 2015 (Douro, Quinta da Rede)
Quinta de Valetruto 2016 (Vinho Verde, José Manuel Oliveira Bernardes)
Quinta do Carmo Reserva 2015 (Alentejo, Bacalhôa)
Quinta Gomariz Alvarinho 2016 (Vinho Verde, Quinta de Gomariz)
Quinta Gomariz Avesso 2016 (Vinho Verde, Quinta de Gomariz)
Quinta Gomariz Grande Escolha 2016 (Vinho Verde, Quinta de Gomariz)
Talima RSV 2015 (Lisboa, Adega Cooperativa da Labrugeira)
Tapada do Marquês Arinto 2016 (Vinho Verde, Caves Campelo)
Vale da Calada 2016 (Alentejo, Herdade da Calada)
Vale dos Barris 2016 (Setúbal, Adega Cooperativa de Palmela)
Varanda do Conde 2016 (Vinho Verde, Provam)
VDG Arinto 2016 (Alentejo, Adega Cooperativa da Vidigueira)
VDG Verdelho 2016 (Alentejo, Adega Cooperativa da Vidigueira)
Velhos Tempos Reserva 2015 (Lisboa, Adega Cooperativa de Carvoeira)

Adega de Pegões Colheita Seleccionada 2014 (Setúbal, Cooperativa Agrícola de Pegões)
Adega Vila Real 2014 (Douro, Adega de Vila Real)
Adega Vila Real 2015 (Douro, Adega de Vila Real)
Ares de Medeiros 2014 (Alentejo, Tahora)
Baron de B 2014 (Alentejo, Herdade da Calada)
Bridão Private Collection 2015 (Tejo, Adega Cooperativo do Cartaxo)
Busto Grande Escolha Touriga Nacional 2014 (Douro, Maria Helena Sousa Alves)
Busto Reserva Touriga Nacional 2013 (Douro, Maria Helena Sousa Alves)
Cabriz Biológico 2013 (Dão, Global Wines)
Cabriz Reserva 2015 (Dão, Global Wines)
Cabriz Touriga Nacional 2013 (Dão, Global Wines)
Casa das Gaeiras Vinhas Velhas 2015 (Lisboa, Parras Vinhos)
Casa de Santar 2015 (Dão, Global Wines)
Casa de Santar Vinha dos Amores 2014 (Dão, Global Wines)
Casa Ermelinda Freitas Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2014 (Setúbal, Casa Ermelinda Freitas)
Casa Ermelinda Freitas Merlot Reserva 2014 (Setúbal, Casa Ermelinda Freitas)
Cascalheira Syrah 2015 (Setúbal, ASL Tomé)
Comenda Grande Syrah 2013 (Alentejo, Monte da Comenda)
Convento de Tomar Reserva 2013 (Tejo, Quinta do Cavalinho)
Conventual Reserva 2014 (Alentejo, Adega de Portalegre)
Cruz Velha 2014 (Douro, Paulo Jorge Madureira Leal)
Dona Maria 2014 (Alentejo, Dona Maria)
Duque de Viseu 2014 (Dão, Sogrape Vinhos)
Encostas do Enxoé Colheita Seleccionada 2015 (Alentejo, Sociedade Agrícola de Pias)
Escultor 2014 (Alentejo, Herdade do Perdigão)
Esporão Reserva 2015 (Alentejo, Esporão)
Fitapreta 2015 (Alentejo, Fita Preta Vinhos)
Flor do Tua Reserva 2015 (Trás-Os-Montes, Costa Boal Family Estates)
Fonte das Moças 2015 (Lisboa, João Melícias Unipessoal)
Head Rock 2015 (Trás-Os-Montes, Carlos Manuel Alves Bastos)
Herdade da Ajuda Reserva 2011 (Alentejo, Herdade da Ajuda Nova)
Herdade da Pimenta Grande Escolha 2014 (Alentejo, Casa Agrícola Alexandre Relvas)
Herdade Grande Grande Reserva 2012 (Alentejo, António Manuel B. Lança)
Herdade Monte da Cal Saturnino Grande 2011 (Alentejo, Global Wines)
Herdade Monte da Cal Saturnino Grande 2014 (Alentejo, Global Wines)
Herdade São Miguel Reserva 2014 (Alentejo, Casa Agrícola Alexandre Relvas)
Horta do Leal 2014 (Alentejo, Marques e Ganhão)
Howards Folly Reserva 2012 (Alentejo, Hillvalley Limited)
Howards Folly Sonhador 2012 (Alentejo, Hillvalley Limited)
Marques dos Vales Grace Vineyard 2011 (Algarve, Quinta dos Vales)
Monte da Ravasqueira Syrah Viognier 2013 (Alentejo, Sociedade Agrícola D. Diniz)
Montes Claros Garrafeira 2013 (Alentejo, Adega Cooperativa de Borba)
Mundus Regional Reserva 2013 (Lisboa, Adega Cooperativa da Vermelha)
Nana Reserva 2014 (Tejo, Agrovia)
Olho no Pé 2012 (Douro, Folias de Baco)
Palácio dos Távoras 2015 (Trás-Os-Montes, Costa Boal Family Estates)
Pegos Claros Grande Escolha 2013 (Setúbal, HPC Unipessoal)
Prazo de Roriz 2015 (Douro, Prats & Symington)
Quinta da Invejosa 2013 (Setúbal, Filipe Jorge Palhoça)
Quinta da Terrincha 2012 (Douro, Quinta Da Terrincha)
Quinta das Corriças Colheita Seleccionada 2015 (Trás-Os-Montes, Sociedade Agrícola Quinta das Corriças)
Quinta de Marrocos 2014 (Douro, César Sequeira)
Quinta do Espírito Santo Resera 2013 (Lisboa, Casa Santos Lima)
Rabo de Galo 2016 (Algarve, Casa Santos Lima)
Santos da Casa Reserva 2013 (Douro, Santos e Seixo)
Sedinhas Reserva 2013 (Douro, António Caetano Sousa Faria Girão)
Sobreiro de Pegões Premium 2015 (Setúbal, Cooperativa Agrícola de Pegões)
Stanley 2015 (Setúbal, Fundação Stanley Ho)
Tyto Alba 2013 (Tejo, Companhia das Lezírias)
Vale de Lobos Grande Escolha José e Violante 2013 (Tejo, Sociedade Agrícola da Quinta da Ribeirinha)
Vallegre Reserva Especial 2015 (Douro, Vallegre)
Valoroso Reserva 2015 (Setúbal, Casa Ermelinda Freitas)
Venâncio da Costa Lima 2014 (Setúbal, Venâncio Da Costa Lima)
Xavier Santana Castelão Reserva 2014 (Setúbal, Xavier Santana Sucessores)

Bombeira do Guadiana Grande Escolha 2014 (Alentejo, Bombeira do Guadiana)
Rede 2016 (Douro, Quinta da Rede)
Opção 2016 (Vinho Verde, AB Valley Wines)

Quinta do Ortigão Cuvée 2012 (Bairrada, Quinta do Ortigão) Melhor Espumante
Comenda Grande 2013 (Alentejo, Monte da Comenda)

Bulas 30 Anos (Porto, Bulas Family Estates)
Cálem Colheita 1961 (Porto, Sogevinus)
Duorum Vintage 2011 (Porto, Duorum Vinhos)
Graham’s 1972 (Porto, Symington Family Estates)
H&H Boal 15 Anos (Madeira, Henriques & Henriques)
Kopke Colheita 1967 (Porto, Sogevinus)
Kopke Colheita 1981 (Porto, Sogevinus)
Rozès Very Old Tawny (Porto, Rozès)
Sandeman Vintage 2000 (Porto, Sogrape Vinhos)
Vista Alegre 20 Anos (Porto, Vallegre)
Warre’s 1980 (Porto, Symington Family Estates)


United States Attorney Preet Bharara feels emboldened, sources say, following the conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — on all of seven corruption charges. Despite lacking a “smoking gun” to constitute an explicit quid pro quo, the jury handed Bharara a sweeping win. Such is the public’s appetite for corrupt politicians, observers say. Three […]


          Pooja Bhatt claps on Imaandaari ki Maa Ki Aankh        
Present to clap the culmination of a 24 year old friendship, Pooja Bhatt launches Imaandari Ki Maa Ki Aankh, journalist-turned filmmaker S Ramachandran’s debut production. It was a quid pro quo moment for journalist-turned-filmmaker S Ramachandran when director Pooja Bhatt graced the mahurat to do the clap for his debut production under the new banner of Sanskriti Media and Entertainment. After all, 24 years ago, Ramachandran had been present at her debut — Daddy. “I still remember when Rama was present for my first day of shoot. He was a journalist and we had met then. It is a great
          STAYING IN BOUNDS        


Why a Policy on Relationships with Student-Athletes?

Sexual relationships between coaches and student-athletes have become a serious problem. NCAA member
institutions must unambiguously and effectively prohibit such relationships to ensure that sport programs offer
a safe and empowering experience for all student-athletes.

This NCAA resource is designed to educate member institutions and their student-athletes about why sexual
or romantic relationships between athletics department staff and student-athletes are inappropriate, how to
avoid those relationships, and what to do if they occur. When adopted and enforced by institutions of higher
learning, this model policy will help create a safe, healthy environment on college campuses. Although most of
the examples offered herein refer to coaches, the policy is intended to provide clear guidance for all members
of the athletics department (including coaches, administrators, athletics trainers, and other staff), as well as
student-athletes and parents.

Full Text Here

or read more


An NCAA Model Policy to Prevent

Inappropriate Relationships Between Student-Athletes and Athletics Department Personnel

By Deborah L. Brake, J.D. and Mariah Burton Nelson, MPH, CAE

The mission of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics is to provide leadership and assistance to the association in its efforts to provide equitable opportunities, fair treatment and respect for all women in all aspects of intercollegiate athletics. Toward these ends, the committee shall seek to expand and promote opportunities for female student-athletes, administrators and coaches. The committee shall promote governance, administration and conduct of intercollegiate athletics at the institutional, conference and national levels that are inclusive, fair and accessible to women. The committee shall develop programs and resources, which can be of practical use to the association in its effort to achieve these ends.


Mariah Burton Nelson, MPH, CAE

A former Stanford and pro basketball player, Mariah Burton Nelson, MPH, CAE, is a pioneering author and journalist

who has published six books and hundreds of articles on women, gender, and sports. She first wrote about inappropriate coach-athlete relationships in a chapter called “My Coach Says He Loves Me” in her 1994 book, The Stronger Women Get, The More Men Love Football.

Deborah L. Brake, J.D.

Deborah Brake is a Professor of Law and Distinguished Faculty Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she has taught since 1998. She teaches classes in Constitutional Law, Employment Discrimination Law, and Gender & the Law. Her book, “Getting in the Game: Title IX and the Women’s Sports Revolution” was published in August, 2010, by New York University Press. She is a nationally recognized expert on gender discrimination generally, and Title IX specifically. Before becoming a law professor, she was a senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center.

Chapter One

Why a Policy on Relationships with Student-Athletes?1

Sexual relationships between coaches and student-athletes have become a serious problem. NCAA member institutions must unambiguously and effectively prohibit such relationships to ensure that sport programs offer a safe and empowering experience for all student-athletes.

This NCAA resource is designed to educate member institutions and their student-athletes about why sexual or romantic relationships between athletics department staff and student-athletes are inappropriate, how to avoid those relationships, and what to do if they occur. When adopted and enforced by institutions of higher learning, this model policy will help create a safe, healthy environment on college campuses. Although most of the examples offered herein refer to coaches, the policy is intended to provide clear guidance for all members of the athletics department (including coaches, administrators, athletics trainers, and other staff), as well as student-athletes and parents.

The model policy is a natural extension of the purpose of the NCAA: to protect student-athletes. In the early 1900s, college football players were being injured and even killed as a result of the sport’s popular offense, called “the flying wedge.” A public outcry put pressure on universities to abolish or reform football. President Theodore Roosevelt urged college athletics leaders to work together to protect young people from dangerous and exploitive practices. This resulted in the formation of the NCAA in 1906. Since then, the NCAA has enacted many bylaws to curb harmful practices and to promote the educational mission of athletics, including instituting minimum educational standards for recruits, ensuring the academic progress of student-athletes, and instituting maximum practice and competitive limits. Today, the NCAA’s stated purpose is to “govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.”

This model policy and supporting best practice recommendations are fully in accord with the NCAA’s stated purpose. This resource is designed to ensure that student-athletes are safe from sexual advances by coaches or other athletics department employees, and that sexual or romantic relationships do not distract student-athletes or their teams from the educational experience. While our main concern is the safety of students, coaches who violate this ethics policy will find themselves in “unsafe” territory, too. One bad decision to stray “out of bounds” can ultimately destroy a coach’s reputation, career, and family. So we ask athletics department staff who read this to consider the fact that by looking out for the safety and welfare of students, they will also be looking out for themselves.

We recommend that institutions of higher learning review this policy; modify it as needed; adopt it, publicize it; and require that staff and student-athletes read it and sign a statement indicating that they will abide by it.

Definitions: Distinguishing Sexual Abuse from Sexual Harassment

The model policy presented here is designed to address sexual or romantic—also termed “amorous”— relationships between a student-athlete and a coach, or other athletics staff with supervisory responsibility over the student-athlete. As we explain below, these kinds of relationships constitute sexual abuse in sport even where both participants in the relationship claim to consent to the relationship. The model policy is not designed to address sexual harassment in sport, although some relationships may involve both sexual harassment and sexual abuse. The model policy advocated here is designed to supplement, not displace, university or athletics department policies on sexual harassment as they apply to student-athletes. Accordingly, it is helpful from the outset to understand the distinction between sexual harassment and sexual abuse.

Sexual harassment is a legal concept with its origins in federal sex discrimination law. In 1980, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) produced a set of guidelines for defining and enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the primary federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace. (In1984, Title VII was expanded to expressly include educational institutions). In these guidelines, the EEOC defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

Submission to such conduct was made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;

Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual was used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or

Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.”

The EEOC definition of sexual harassment has largely been adopted and applied to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational institutions, and also encompasses sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can be summarized as unwanted, severe, or pervasive sexual advances that create a hostile or abusive educational or employment environment. The Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education, which enforces Title IX, clearly states that “sexual harassment of students engaged in by school employees, other students, or third parties is covered by Title IX.”

Sexual harassment takes many forms. WomenSport International offers these specific (but not exhaustive) examples of unwelcome sexual activity that can meet the definition of sexual harassment:

written or verbal abuse or threats sexually oriented comments jokes, lewd comments or sexual innuendoes taunts about body, dress, marital status or sexuality shouting and/or bullying ridiculing or undermining of performance or self-respect sexual or homophobic graffiti practical jokes based on sex intimidating sexual remarks, invitations or familiarity domination of meetings, training sessions or equipment condescending or patronizing behavior physical contact, fondling, pinching or kissing sex-related vandalism offensive phone calls or photos bullying on the basis of sex Legal issues pertaining to sexual harassment are covered in depth in Chapter Three.

By contrast, in the context of college athletics, the definition of sexual abuse does not depend on any showing that a sexual relationship was unwelcome; it may include, but is not limited to, conduct that is sexual harassment (as where the athlete did not welcome a sexual relationship with the coach). Sexual abuse includes amorous or sexual relationships between a coach or other supervisory staff and student-athletes, even when these STAYING IN BOUNDS — An NCAA Model Policy to Prevent Inappropriate Relationships Between Student-Athletes and Athletics Department Personnel relationships are perceived by both parties to be consensual. Amorous or sexual relationships can be defined as any relationship that includes sexual touching, talking, or flirting; engaging in any form of sex; or otherwise developing a private, personal relationship that goes beyond the context of a staff and student professional relationship.

Unlike sexual harassment, which is demonstrably unwelcome, sexual abuse often involves a slow seduction (or “grooming”) whereby one person gradually prepares another to accept “special” attention, and then proceeds with sexual activity. The term sexual abuse is often used in reference to sexual activity between an adult and a minor, but adults can also sexually abuse other adults in contexts where one adult holds power over another.

When sexual abuse involves minors, the public generally deems this heinous behavior because the perpetrator has used his or her position of trust (usually he or she is an acquaintance or family member) to take advantage of, and sexually violate, an innocent child. The public understands that children can be manipulated into “agreeing” to behaviors that are inappropriate and even criminal because they are, relative to adults, powerless.

In the context of sports programs within institutions of higher learning, sexual abuse can occur regardless of the minor/adult status of the student-athlete, and regardless of the age difference between the perpetrator and victims. Whether the student-athlete is 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, or older, she or he is significantly less powerful than a head coach, assistant coach, athletics trainer, sport psychologist, athletics director, or other athletics department staff with supervisory control or authority over student-athletes. It is this power differential that makes such relationships inherently unequal, and when relationships are unequal, the concept of “mutual consent” becomes problematic.

Because of this power differential, any amorous or sexual relationship between coaches and student-athletes constitutes sexual abuse. In other words, the dynamics of the coach-athlete relationship in intercollegiate sport make any sexual contact between a coach and an athlete abusive, regardless of whether it was wanted by the athlete and regardless of whether the athlete is over the age of consent.2

Some readers might disagree. Some will argue that coach-athlete liaisons are not “abusive.” Some will maintain that (as many coaches have told us) “you can’t control the heart,” or “you can’t legislate against love,” or “as long as the two people are adults, no one can stop them from dating.”

These comments are self-justifying and, frankly, self-delusional. When coaches enter into sexual relationships with student-athletes, they almost always try to keep these liaisons secret—even if both parties are unmarried— because coaches are well aware that such relationships are inappropriate and unethical. They know deep down that infatuation, sexual attraction, and loving feelings do not, in fact, justify an authority figure in a sports program becoming sexually involved with a young adult who plays sports in that program. This is a violation of professional boundaries, and a violation of trust.

Historically, most universities have not definitively prohibited such behavior. That lack of institutional boundary-setting has allowed coaches with bad boundaries to continue taking advantage of young, vulnerable student-athletes.

We use the phrase “coaches with bad boundaries” deliberately. Coaches and other supervisory athletics department personnel who engage in romantic and sexual relationships with student-athletes are not necessarily pedophiles. They are not necessarily attracted to children, or incorrigible, or uncontrollably driven to have sex with inappropriate partners. Often they are married men who are flattered by the admiration of young women—and make irresponsible decisions about how to handle the strong feelings that can naturally develop among any people who work closely together.

When a powerful coach, athletics director, or trainer pays special attention to them, student-athletes may develop a “crush” on that authority figure, and may eventually crave or even solicit the exact behavior that this policy prohibits. Coaches on the receiving end of such crushes and vulnerable themselves to flattery and sexual desire can, if they’re not careful, allow mutual admiration or their own loneliness or insecurity to give way to flirtation, seduction, and sex, which can and often does have a devastating effect on student-athletes and their


In other words, coaches are human beings who make mistakes. These mistakes rise to the level of sexual abuse, but these people are not engaging in criminal assault. They do not intend to inflict harm. They are selfish, probably, and insensitive about the consequences of their actions, but they do not think of themselves as sexual abusers. Still, sexual abuse is the appropriate term for this behavior.

In the sporting context, sexual abuse takes the form of a complicated dynamic between two adults, more subtle and problematic than the simple “unwelcome sexual attention” of sexual harassment and less obviously wrong than sexual abuse of children. The parties involved often feel, along with titillation and infatuation, a significant amount of guilt, shame, confusion, and fear of exposure.

Regardless of the strength of the affectionate bond or sexual attraction, coaches should not have romantic or sexual relationships with student-athletes. The role of this model policy is to educate everyone involved (or, preferably, not involved) in such relationships and to establish institutional boundaries that will facilitate better personal and professional boundary-setting on the part of coaches and other athletics department personnel.

Why Sexual Abuse Injures Student-Athletes and Teams

A few examples of collegiate coach-athlete abuse from newspaper accounts and personal interviews demonstrate what form these relationships take, and begin to indicate how damaging they can become:

A track coach spent the night with an athlete in an abandoned house he owned, then, when confronted, justified this as “an all-night counseling session.”

A basketball coach demanded sexual favors in exchange for playing time.

A baseball coach jumped off a bridge and drowned after being served with five felony warrants stemming from a sexual relationship with a male student.

A coach seduced an athlete from another college team at a hotel during a road trip.

A male coach tried to seduce lesbian players to “straighten them out.”

A molested swimmer committed suicide.

A volleyball player, sexually abused by her high school coach, moved away to college, only to have the high school coach join her college volleyball staff as a volunteer assistant and eventually a paid staff member. The relationship continued until the young woman’s teammates confronted the coach with evidence of love letters between the two of them, and the coach finally resigned “for personal reasons.” Like many coaches in this sort of situation, he was promptly hired by another university.

A runner, sexually abused by her track coach in high school, moved away from home to college, only to have him pursue her and try to continue the relationship. When she refused, he beat and raped her. She reported him to her parents and the high school, but not to the police—because a college roommate had been raped earlier that year, and the runner had had to testify, and she saw what a grueling, invasive ordeal a rape trial is.

At one major university, a swimming coach married a player, divorced her, and then resigned. He was replaced by a coach who was also asked to resign after having an affair with a swimmer.

What happens when a coach and student-athlete “get involved,” “begin dating,” or “have an affair”? There are three main consequences:

The student-athlete gets distracted. Her focus shifts from herself, her goals, her team, and her education to her relationship with her coach. When will they manage another secret liaison? Do any teammates suspect? Is he having other affairs too? Will he leave his wife, if he has one? Will they get married some day? Rather than concentrate on her own athletics and academic progress, she concentrates on her attractiveness to the coach. Rather than concentrate on upcoming competitions, she wonders what the hotel sleeping arrangements will be.

When listening to his advice, she gets distracted by the color of his eyes. When criticized, she wonders if he will withdraw his “love.” Ordered to protect his secret, she becomes alienated from her teammates and parents.

The team gets suspicious. Teammates often intuit that something is going on. They notice the slight shift in the tone of voice when the student-athlete talks about the coach; they observe the meaningful looks between the two of them; they see or hear about suspicious behavior: long “backrubs” or “conversations” in the coach’s hotel room with the door shut; the coach and athlete riding alone together in a car; or other behavior that seems just odd enough to unsettle the teammates, and hence the team. Suspecting or discovering a coach-athlete romantic relationship, teammates experience a range of emotions from envy to anger to betrayal. “It’s almost a death knell for the team,” says pioneering sports psychologist psychologist Bruce Ogilvie.3

The student-athlete gets hurt. Psychiatrist Peter Rutter writes in Sex in the Forbidden Zone, “A man in [a] position of trust and authority becomes unavoidably a parent figure and is charged with the ethical responsibilities of the parenting role. Violations of these boundaries are, psychologically speaking, not only rapes but also acts of incest.” Once victimized, the young woman “is likely to adapt to the victim role,” writes Rutter, “repeating it in other relationships, each time losing more of her self-respect and enthusiasm for life.”4 Too afraid of the authority figures to become angry, she instead suffers from depression, fear, anxiety, shame, and overwhelming guilt.

Ogilvie, who has been called the father of sport psychology, likens the coach to “a substitute father” who has “no right to intrude on young women his own unfulfilled sexual fantasies. The athlete wants a parent, but gets a lover. It’s terribly confusing.” According to Ogilvie, it’s the coach’s responsibility to “help the girl grow and make her own decisions. He must not allow sexual feelings to be expressed.”

What if the man and young woman both insist that it’s true love? If a student-athlete “falls in love with” a coach, and the coach similarly has strong feelings for a student-athlete, why shouldn’t they act on those feelings? “I hate to be a judgmental old bastard but I hold that relationship as suspect as hell,” said Ogilvie.

A member of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics points out an additional problem with such relationships:

“When a coach enters into a sexual relationship with a player he/she is essentially abdicating his/ her role as an educator. A romantic/sexual relationships renders the coach unable to deliver effective educational messages, challenge the student-athlete in an educational manner, and simply be able to act as an educator — a role that is particularly intrinsic in a college coach or administrator’s job. For instance, how could you expect a coach who is romantically involved with a player to give the student-athlete appropriate guidance about issues such as academic integrity, roommate conflicts, misconduct, or other situations that demand the guidance of an impartial educator? The coach is employed by an institution of higher learning and consequently is expected (maybe both explicitly and implicitly) to be an educator first and foremost. Participating in a relationship with a student-athlete denies that opportunity for both (and perhaps even all members of the team or other student-athletes).”

Institutions of higher learning cannot prevent people from falling in love. They cannot prevent people from feeling sexually attracted to other people. But coach-athlete sexual or amorous relationships constitute abusive and unethical behavior, and are harmful to the individual and the team. Institutions of higher learning must commit themselves to preventing it.

Male Coaches, Female Student-Athletes (But There are Exceptions)

Coach-athlete sexual relationships in sport are largely, but certainly not exclusively, a problem of male coaches becoming sexually involved with female athletes.5

How do we know this? According to the latest study by Vivian Acosta & Linda Carpenter,6 male athletes are coached by men 98 percent of the time,and female student-athletes are coached by men 57 percent of the time. When both men’s teams and women’s teams are taken into account, women hold less than 21 percent of head coaching jobs in intercollegiate sports.More than 81 percent of all athletics directors are men. About

STAYING IN BOUNDS — An NCAA Model Policy to Prevent Inappropriate Relationships Between Student-Athletes and Athletics Department Personnel

72 percent of head athletics trainers are men. In other words, the vast majority of athletics department staff members are male. This is an unintended legacy of Title IX: female student-athletes now get to play, but they often play under male leadership. Based on numbers alone, it should not surprise anyone that male coaches are the ones who usually become sexually involved with student-athletes.Because of the preponderance of heterosexuality alone, we can assume that most of the athletes are female.

However, it is important to note that sexual abuse happens in all gender combinations. Unfortunately, public, family, and college or university reaction sometimes varies according to the gender of those involved. Same-sex relationships, when exposed, may trigger greater alarm and condemnation from the community, whereas male coach/female student-athlete sexual relationships where both parties are above the age of consent may be normalized as “natural” or “romantic” or “no big deal.”

When male student-athletes are sexually abused by a male coach, homophobia within men’s sports can contribute to a climate of non-recognition and denial.10 Also problematic: homophobic accusations in women’s sports are still being used as a negative recruiting tool, with the implication that unmarried female coaches could be sexual predators. Statements such as, “You wouldn’t want your daughter to play for that coach,” can be code for a homophobic accusation that a gay coach will somehow endanger a student-athlete. While some lesbian coaches have abused their female athletes (as have some heterosexual male coaches), it is important to differentiate false accusations and character assassination from actual sexual abuse. While homophobia, combined with an effort to gain a recruiting advantage, can slur a lesbian coach as a potential sexual predator, the reality is that the overwhelming majority of sexual abusers in sport are men. For this reason, in this document we sometimes use the term “he” to refer to the coach and “she” to refer to the student-athlete. We reiterate, however, that in doing so we are generalizing to capture the primary gender dynamic of abuse, while acknowledging that there are exceptions. We discuss other, more subtle gender dynamics of sexual abuse in Chapter 2.


No one knows how often coaches become sexually involved with athletes. Part of the problem obtaining data is that existing studies measure different things, involve athletes of varying ages and levels of sport, and are conducted in different geographic locations. Many of the studies lump together sexual harassment and sexual abuse, without clearly delineating the behaviors, actions, and attitudes of the participants. The studies that have been done on this issue are wide-ranging geographically, with some of the most comprehensive ones conducted outside the United States.11 Indeed the relative lag in U.S.-based research is itself significant, indicative of an ideology that tends to idealize coaches and overlooks or minimizes the harmful aspects of sport, especially when the athletes are adults. Despite its limitations, existing research supports the conclusion that sexual abuse of athletes by coaches is a serious problem.

Piecing together scattered figures from a variety of different studies, Celia Brackenridge, the most-cited and influential researcher on the subject, places the documented prevalence rate for sexual abuse in sport between two and twenty-two percent.12 This variance reflects the disparate categories of behaviors that researchers examined in these studies. The difficulty of determining prevalence rates is compounded by the gap between athletes’ perceptions of what “counts” (as abuse, for example) and researchers’ own understandings of what behaviors they are investigating. Athletes do not always (or even most of the time) recognize abusive behavior when they experience it. Even when they do, they are, like other victims of sexual exploitation, understandably ambivalent at best about telling their stories, even anonymously. Experiences of harassment and abuse by coaches are surely under-reported and difficult to detect, even in carefully designed studies.13

One of the most comprehensive studies of sexual abuse in sport was done in Canada, with a survey of that country’s Olympic athletes about their experiences in sport.14 In the study, 22 percent of the athletes responding reported that they had engaged in sexual intercourse with an authority figure in sport.15 Nearly 9 percent of respondents reported experiencing a forcible sexual encounter.16

Other studies have found lower but still significant percentages of athletes who have had sexual interactions with their coaches. One of the few studies in the U.S. examined the experiences of female intercollegiate athletes at a major university.17 In this study, 20 percent of the athletes responding reported that they experienced behaviors from a coach that took the relationship in a non-instructional and potentially intimate direction, such as an invitation to dinner alone at a restaurant or calling the athlete a pet name.18 Significantly, the vast majority (92 percent) of the respondents who experienced this kind of attention felt positively about it. Only 8 percent reacted negatively. In other words, such advances were not “unwelcome” – a key part of the definition of sexual harassment.19

Yet research clearly identifies non-instructional behavior by a coach—such as driving an athlete home alone, sharing a hotel room, taking an athlete out to dinner or the movies alone, inviting an athlete to the coach’s home, going to parties together, and drinking alcohol together—as a high risk factor for turning the relationship into a sexual one.20 The athletes’ positive responses to being singled out for non-instructional attention by the coach speaks to the intensity of the coach-athlete bond, and the vulnerability of athletes to coaches’ seductions.

In this same study, only two percent of the athletes reported having been subjected to verbal or physical sexual advances by their coach. All of them reported (after the fact) having negative feelings about these more explicit overtures.21 A similar figure for sexual advances was reported in a study of female athletes in the U.K., where three percent of the athletes in the study reported being on the receiving end of sexual behaviors from a coach (pressure to have sex or contact with breast or genital area).22 A survey of Danish female athletes found somewhat higher prevalence rates of sexual advances from coaches, with nine percent of the female athletes in the study (from various levels of sport, recreation to elite) having been kissed on the mouth by their coach, and three percent having been sexually propositioned by the coach with the threat of negative action if they refused.23

Altogether, existing literature on sexual abuse in sport finds that it is a serious problem. Of particular significance to intercollegiate sports, one of the most robust findings is that the incidence of coach-athlete sexual abuse is higher for elite athletes than it is for athletes at lower, less competitive levels of sport.24

Statistics aside, coach-athlete relationships in college settings constitute an open secret. Talk to anyone involved in women’s sports. “Everybody knows coaches get involved with players,” they’ll say. Peter Rutter calls this the “everybody knows” phenomenon. Asked if he knows any male volleyball coaches who have had sex with or married their female athletes, Volleyball Festival founder David Epperson lists, off the top of his head, twelve.25 One former college student-athlete mentioned in an interview that she had never heard of a coach having sex with an athlete. When told this was unusual, she amended her statement. “Well, we did have an assistant coach who was dating one of the girls. But we didn’t think anything of it.”

Indeed, coach-athlete relationships are so ingrained in sport cultures that many people “don’t think anything of it.” One goal of this model policy is to educate staff and students so that people start thinking about it, and start changing the culture.


1 An earlier version of portions of Chapters One and Two first appeared in Mariah Burton Nelson, The Stronger Women Get, The More Men Love Football (New York: Harcourt Brace 1994).

2Helen Lenskyj, Unsafe at Home Base: Women’s Experiences of Sexual Harassment in University Sport and Physical Education, 1(1) Women In Sport & Physical

Activity J. 19 (Sept. 30, 1992) (describing “sexual liaisons between young female athletes and male coaches” as “commonplace” and “normal,” and arguing that

such relationships involve an inherent abuse of power).

33 Bruce Ogilvie, personal interview with Mariah Burton Nelson, 1993.

4Peter Rutter, Sex in the Forbidden Zone: When Men in Power – Therapists, Doctors, Clergy, Teachers, and Others – Betray Women’s Trust (Los Angeles: Jeremy Tarcher, Inc., 1986).

5Karin Volkwein et al., Sexual Harassment in Sport: Perceptions and Experiences of American Female Student-Athletes, 32 Int’l Rev. for the Sociology of Sport 283, 286 (1997).

6Linda Jean Carpenter & Vivian Acosta, Women in Intercollegiate Sport: A Longitudinal, National Study Thirty-Three Year Update, 1977-2010, available at

http://www.acostacarpenter.org/2010pdf%20combined%20final.pdf. 7

Norway and Australia showing that “sexual exploitation is a serious issue for sport”). 12 Celia Brackenridge, et. al., The Characteristics of Sexual Abuse in Sport: A Multidimensional Scaling Analysis of Events Described in Media Reports, 6(4) Int’l J. of Sport & Exercise Psychology 385-406 (2008). 13 Volkwein, Sexual Harassment in Sport, at 284. See also Rhonda Reaves, There’s No Crying in Baseball: Sports and the Legal and Social Construction of Gender, 4 J. Gender, Race & Justice 283, 291-92 (2001) (listing reasons to suspect such incidents are under-reported, including: fear of reprisal; uncertainty about the

proper boundaries of such relationships; inadequate complaint procedures; and the inadequacy of legal remedies). 14 Sandra Kirby, Lorraine Greaves & Olena Hankivsky, The Dome of Silence 82 (Fernwood Publishing, Zed Books 2000). 15 Id. See also Gretchen A. Kerr & Ashley E. Stirling, Child Protection in Sport: Implications of an Athlete-Centered Philosophy, 60(2) Quest 307–23 (2008)

(discussing research in Canada finding sexual abuse in sport to be a significant problem); Jan Toftegaard Stockel, Athlete Perceptions and Experiences of Sexual Abuse in Intimate Coach-Athlete Relationships, in Elite Child Athlete Welfare: International Perspectives 93–100 (Celia H. Brackenridge & Daniel Rhind eds., Brunel Univ. Press 2010) (discussing findings of Danish study that almost one in three athletes surveyed reported having experienced an intimate relationship with a coach).

16 Kirby, The Dome of Silence, at 88. 17 Volkwein, Sexual Harassment in Sport, at 290. 18 Id. 19 Id. 20 Sylvie Parent & Guylaine Demers, Sexual Abuse in Sport: A Model to Prevent and Protect Athletes, 20 Child Abuse Rev. 120 (2011). 21 Volkwein, Sexual Harassment in Sport, at 290. 22 Naomi Fejgin & Ronit Hanegby, Gender and Cultural Bias in Perceptions of Sexual Harassment in Sport, 36 (4) Int’l Rev. for the Sociology of Sport 459 (2001)

(citing findings of research by Tomlinson & Yorganci, 1997). 23 Jan Toftegaard Nielsen, The Forbidden Zone: Intimacy, Sexual Relations and Misconduct in the Relationship Between Coaches and Athletes, 36 Int’l Rev. for the

Sociology of Sport 165, 169 (2003). 24 Brackenridge, Dangerous Sports, at 9. 25 Nelson, The Stronger Women Get, The More Men Love Football.

Chapter Two

How Sexual Abuse Happens and How It Harms

Any analysis of sexual abuse should begin with this observation: Human desires for affection, love, power, and sex are natural—and strong. A brief glance at literature, film, and political scandals offers ample evidence that these potent human desires often override rational thought and even common sense. Like other human beings, athletics department staff and the student-athletes they serve are human beings first, with all the frailties that accompany the human condition.

Staff and student-athletes also inhabit a culture and certain conditions that are conducive to sexual abuse. So how do romantic and sexual relationships between staff and students develop?

Intense Time Together

Student-athletes spend a huge amount of time –sometimes as much as thirty hours per week—in the gym, in the pool, in the weight room, on the field, or on the track. That is more time than a student will likely spend with any professor or friend.

During this time, the coach scrutinizes the student-athlete’s body: the shape of it, the speed of it, the skill of it. If, as a swimmer, she wears a new suit, he notices its cut, calculating its drag in the water. If, as a gymnast, she starts to fall, he catches her. If, as a runner, she develops a cramp, he may massage her foot, calf, or thigh. If her weight goes from 123 to 126, he will notice, and may ask her to lose three pounds.

When she makes a mistake he might scream at her: “What in the world were you thinking?” When she succeeds, he might offer praise. Or he might withhold praise. Before a competition he might say, “You can do it.” Or he might say (inappropriately), “Do it for me.”

Traveling to away games, coaches and student-athletes spend many nights in hotels and find themselves eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner with their athletes rather than with peers. Often coaches have little time for peer relationships, meeting many of their social needs through their student-athletes.

As student-athletes train, succeed, and fail, coaches are right there by their side, sharing their passion and pain, drama and dreams. “That’s almost the definition of falling in love,” said one swimming association executive in an interview. “Any coach who tells you he hasn’t fallen in love with an athlete, or had an athlete fall in love with him, is lying.”

The nature of competitive sport provides many opportunities for escalating intimacy between a coach and an athlete. Coaching may properly involve hands-on touching. For the student-athlete who is accustomed to some physical contact with a coach, it can be difficult to discern when physical contact moves from proper sport-related touching and into a sexual realm—and even more difficult to say no.

Sport provides ample opportunities for time with the coach in isolation from a student-athlete’s social support network, enabling the coach to intensify the relationship. Research has identified a number of locations with a high risk of sexual advances by a coach, where coaches take advantage of the athlete’s isolation from others, including: at away-games; while giving a massage; while an athlete is alone in a car with the coach; and while an athlete visits the coach at his home.Moreover, the sheer amount of time coaches spend with athletes, especially at elite levels of sport, creates opportunities for escalating intimacy. The introduction of sexuality into the relationship is typically gradual, making it less likely to trigger resistance or even be noticed as a progression.2

The Crush

What is a coach-athlete seduction like from a young woman’s perspective? Consider this: Powerful men make a big impression on young women.

When the athlete is a young woman and the coach is an older and more accomplished man; when she has physical goals that extend beyond beauty and toward strength; when she is more fascinated by her own bulging muscles than by those of her male peers; when she loves sports and her own athleticism with a passion she can barely contain, an older man’s approval means everything. It confirms her rejection of traditional feminine passivity, and what author Naomi Wolf called the beauty myth. It confirms her sexual attractiveness. It confirms her desire for power, and her right to it.

The young woman’s gratitude for the man’s attention and encouragement is often conceptualized in the only paradigm the culture has given her: A Huge Crush.

She adores this man: her coach, teacher, and mentor. She admires his every move. She endeavors to please him, for pleasing him, she hopes, will lead to success in her chosen field of dreams. To please him is to acquire assurance that her strong body and strong ambitions really are okay. She yearns to bring him close to her. The closer she can bring him, the more powerful and privileged she will feel.

If the coach has read and signed a policy prohibiting coach-athlete sexual or romantic relationships, and if he has received training on setting appropriate boundaries in coach-athlete relationships, he will not act to exploit the young woman’s crush. He will continue to nurture her physical, social, and emotional development. His admiration of her youth and beauty will remain private, irrelevant to the task of coaching. Her crush will subside, and she will develop an enduring appreciation and respect for her mentor.

If, on the other hand, he has not encountered any training or any institutional barriers, he may interpret the fondness and excitement between them as irresistible sexual attraction or romantic love. He may rationalize that she is a consenting adult, or at least mature for her age. He may even find support for this view from his peers, some of whom have also seduced young athletes or even married them. He may find a willingness among his peers to look the other way.


Psychiatrist Daniel Begel writes, “The athlete-coach relationship may be among the most intimate in the lives of both parties. The intense consideration given to the functioning of the athlete’s body may rekindle transferences not unlike those in psychotherapy, except that these transferences are usually unexamined.”3

Transference is the process of redirecting powerful feelings from one person to another. These feelings “are in some ways a re-experiencing of past emotional dynamics within the family, but in other ways they look to future possibilities for developing new and healthier emotional dynamics,” says Rutter. “For example, a patient trying to seduce a therapist may be repeating past injuries but is also most likely searching for a response that will discourage this repetition.”4

Thus the athlete who acts seductive may be reenacting past sexual victimization. Yet when an athlete’s intense feelings and desires become fixated on a coach, what she needs from him is love and respect as a person and an athlete, rather than as a sexual object. To be appreciated for one’s mind, one’s athleticism, one’s simple alive self would in fact feel healthy and healing—as long as the coach isn’t seducing her or any other athletes on the team.

If the athlete were in therapy and the coach a responsible therapist, the young woman’s feelings would be discussed and analyzed. Both parties would acknowledge that despite real mutual affection, the woman’sSTAYING IN BOUNDS — An NCAA Model Policy to Prevent Inappropriate Relationships Between Student-Athletes and Athletics Department Personnel

feelings don’t “belong” with the therapist. Coaches, however, usually lack the training and insight to redirect the athlete’s feelings elsewhere. And some

do not want to.

Female coaches who have been on the receiving end of girls’ affections also admit that these crushes can be tremendously flattering. “They want to hang around in your office when they should be off with their peers,” says one former athletics director at the University of Florida and high school coach. “They want to be with you 24 hours a day. It’s good for the ego. Maybe that’s what happens with the men—their egos get involved.”

Counter-transference is what happens when a person in power misdirects intense feelings and desires onto the person he or she is entrusted to care for. In the case of a coach, his feelings are transferred from a parent, lover, or significant other to the athlete, and he interprets these feelings as romantic love.

When athletes do say yes, it is not because they are simply “in love”; the coach-athlete relationship is more complicated than that. Peter Rutter reports that the women he interviewed agreed to sex “as a way of maintaining a relationship that had come to have extraordinary importance in their lives and seemed to them to open up new and boundless possibilities for the future.”5

This analysis is based upon research, but it may be more complicated than need be. The fundamental reason coaches sexually abuse athletes is because they can. Because no one is stopping them. That is why this policy, and enforcement of this policy, is essential.

Which Athletes are Particularly Vulnerable?

Vigilant athletics administrators and student-athletes will want to pay particular attention to ensure that those coaches who are most likely to abuse athletes are unable to do so, and that those athletes who are the most vulnerable to sexual abuse are protected. For instance, athletes whose self-esteem is intertwined with their athletics identity are especially vulnerable. So are those who crave older-male approval or attention. Fear of losing a “father figure” can make athletes slow to recognize when boundaries have been crossed, and resistant to seeing the coach as acting inappropriately.6

Which other athletes are most vulnerable to sexual abuse? Those who...

Like the coach

Feel attracted to the coach

Seek validation from the coach

Have low self-esteem

Have been sexually abused in the past

Feel insecure about their position on the team

Crave approval from men or authority figures

Unfortunately, many if not all young women qualify as vulnerable according to some or all of these measures. In other words, without institutional safeguards, anyone can be vulnerable.

Gender Dynamics in the Male Coach – Female Athlete Relationship

There is no national certification process for coaches. There are optional training and mentoring programs, but entry-level coaches often receive no training and no supervision. A coach can reach the college ranks without having had training in psychology or ethics. He may know nothing about power: how it can be used and abused. He may know little about women, his only athletics training stemming from his own participation.

As an athlete, he may have been a star. Praised for his athletics prowess, he may feel entitled to sexual access to women, as male athletes sometimes do. Male athletes have often been steeped in the milieu of men’s locker rooms and a hypermasculine athletics culture that fosters expectations of easy sexual access to women.7

If not a star, he may suffer from feelings of failure and emasculation. One way to prove masculinity is to “score” with attractive young women.

Some, though by no means all, men who coach women do so because they cannot obtain more prestigious jobs coaching men. For these men, their masculinity can be threatened by the job itself, their stature among men tainted by their association with “mere” girls. To women’s teams, men can bring a deep insecurity.

Sometimes coaches become obsessed with victory. Or they become obsessed with control, commanding their athletes the way military generals command their troops, restricting how much young women eat, or whom they associate with. This insecurity can also be expressed as a need to feel sexually attractive to the young women on the team.

As the gatekeepers of female athletics success, male coaches may at some level feel threatened by that success, or by the increasing female social power it symbolizes. So while a coach may with one hand reach to help a woman free herself of sexist constraints through athletics achievement, he may with the other hand seduce her, thus effectively demoting her to a sexualized, dependent position.

For a coach, the route to power and success is through the accomplishments of his athletes. He cannot win if they do not win. They are the sun to his moon: their light reflects back toward him. If their success makes him feel empowered or excited he may interpret that excitement, that sense of empowerment, as sexual. When limber, lithe young women bring trophies to him, and look at him with adoring eyes, and obey his every command, this can be arousing. It can feel like love.

Which coaches or staff members seem most likely to sexually abuse student-athletes? Those who...

Have a history of “dating,” marrying, or getting romantically or sexually involved with athletes;

Have been fired or resigned after such relationships were discovered;

Spend one-on-one time with athletes beyond the sports context; or

Defend coach-athlete relationships as “natural.”

Coaching Control, Styles, and Expectations

At the elite level of intercollegiate athletics, coaches have power over student-athletes’ lives far exceeding the mechanics of practicing and competing in a sport. A coach’s power over athletes can extend to virtually all aspects of the student-athlete’s life, in such ways that clear boundaries are hard to delineate. This near total control is rarely questioned.It is especially emblematic of coach-athlete relationships in sport cultures that place a premium on winning over other values, such that the team culture encourages sacrificing the liberty and autonomy of the individual for the good of the team (with “good” defined as winning).10 In such a relationship, the student-athlete may not readily perceive when appropriate boundaries have been crossed, much less have the fortitude to protest a coach’s overreaching.11

In the most tangible terms, the student-athlete depends on the coach for: a place on the roster; playing time; training and skills-building opportunities; visibility and references that can lead to professional opportunities; and, in Division I and II programs, scholarships that can mean the difference between being able to afford a college education or not.12 In exercising this power, the coach commonly exerts broad control over a studentathlete’s life, including in such areas as physical fitness, diet, weight, sleep patterns, academic habits, and social life.13 For intercollegiate athletes, the magnitude of the coach’s control will likely exceed that of any other single individual at that student-athlete’s institution. For many, it will exceed the extent of control any individual has ever had over them at any point in their lives, with the exception of their parents.

Canadian sociologist Helen Lenskyj has noted that many young athletes have less experience with romantic relationships than peers of their age because sport has been so central to their lives.14 Lacking experience to give them perspective and understanding, and with weak social networks outside sport, these athletes are ill prepared to negotiate romantic overtures from their coach.

For all these reasons, the coach’s status and power loom large in the student-athlete’s life. So much so that, as Celia Brackenridge explains, “to the young athlete, the coach is a kind of god and that godlike status can easily spill over into abusive relationships.”15

Even without intimidation or coercion, the coach is well positioned to take advantage of the student-athlete’s vulnerability in developing a sexual relationship.16 The student-athlete’s dependence on the coach makes it enormously difficult for the athlete to control the boundaries of the relationship or speak up to a coach who oversteps.17

The extent of control exerted by coaches over athletes in elite levels of sports is likely the reason why the risk of sexual abuse in sport has been found to increase as the level of athletics competition advances. It is the higher levels of sport where the coach exerts the most control over widest areas of the athlete’s life. A similar phenomenon has been found in the workplace. The risk of sexual harassment at work increases in workplaces where the distinction is blurred between the private and public lives of employees.

Because most coaches are men, men set the norms for coaching behavior in sports. Male coaches have a presumptive authority and legitimacy that contributes to the power imbalance in the coach-athlete relationship, laying the ground rules for allegiance to whatever the coach demands.18

A coach who requires unquestioning submission to his authority, and who exercises near total control over athletes’ lives, has (deliberately or inadvertently) laid the groundwork for sexual abuse.19 According to Brackenridge, having a male coach with an authoritarian coaching style is a risk factor for coach-athlete sexual abuse.20 The very language of sport reflects a dependent relationship. Student-athletes will say they run or swim or play basketball “for Coach Jones.” That is, not for themselves, but for the coach.

In the habit of submitting to numerous daily demands, the athlete who is asked for sex—even if she does not feel infatuated or interested—may feel unable to say no to her all-powerful coach. She might even come to believe that if the coach says it’s okay, it must be okay.

The distinctive features of the coach-athlete relationship should call into question whether it is possible for an athlete to freely consent to a sexual relationship with the coach. The potential for either the appearance or reality of a quid pro quo relationship in which some aspect of the athlete’s athletics opportunity depends on her intimate relationship with the coach is virtually unavoidable.21

What if she were to say no? How would the coach react? Could she keep playing for that person? If not, would she have to quit the sport? Would her scholarship transfer elsewhere? Is she willing to risk leaving her friends and teammates at her current institution? An athlete would probably review some of these considerations before responding to a coach’s advances. At the extreme, “rejection of their coach’s sexual overtures could well mean the end of a young woman’s athletics career,” notes Lenskyj.22

In an educational setting, the primary concern should always be for the well-being of the student-athlete. Coach-athlete intimate relationships jeopardize athlete well-being.23 They also interfere with the sportexperiences of the student-athlete’s teammates. Surveys of student-athletes find high percentages who say that sexual advances by a coach would interfere with their own ability and with the ability of their teammates to compete successfully in their sport.24 Student-athletes who become involved in sexual relationships with a coach are often unable to get out of the relationship when they want to, and face a choice between continuing an unwanted relationship and jeopardizing their opportunities in sport.25

How Coaches See These Relationships

The perspective of coaches who become sexually involved with athletes has not been studied as much as that of the athletes. These men make for reluctant interviewees, as Mariah Burton Nelson found when she called at least a dozen college coaches who were known sexual abusers. Some agreed to speak with her, but many issued outright denials, refused to take the calls, or even hung up on her. Other research confirms Nelson’s assessment: that many coaches exhibit a surprising lack of awareness coach-athlete sexual relationships are problematic. Especially when the athletes are over the age of consent, coaches seem to be much less troubled by these relationships than they should be.

STAYING IN BOUNDS — An NCAA Model Policy to Prevent Inappropriate Relationships Between Student-Athletes and Athletics Department Personnel

A study of coaches in Denmark found that while 93 percent of them agreed that it was unacceptable for a coach to have an intimate relationship with an athlete under the age of 18, two-thirds (66 percent) of them believed that intimate relationships between coaches and athletes were acceptable if the athlete was 18 or older.26 In fact, 20 percent of the coaches who responded to the survey acknowledged having had an intimate relationship with an athlete who was 18 or older.27 Likewise, a study of swimming coaches in England found vastly different opinions about the acceptability of intimate relations between coaches and athletes who were underage (which were uniformly condemned) and athletes who were above the age of consent (which elicited a wide range of opinions).28 An Israeli study found a similar gap between the views of coaches and athletes with respect to sexual behavior by a coach. A substantially higher percentage of athletes than coaches found sexual conduct by a coach toward an athlete to be sexual harassment. In the study, 80 percent of the athletes believed that a coach’s proposal for a sexual encounter (absent threats or rewards offered) was harassing, while only 62 percent of the coaches believed this to be harassment.29

In addition to coaches’ own lax views of sexual relationships with athletes, research shows that coaches are reluctant to step in when they believe that another coach is involved in an inappropriate relationship withan athlete.30 This is consistent with literature suggesting that sport governance structures have failed to take seriously the problem of sexual abuse in sport, and have been resistant to policies and prevention efforts toaddress the problem.31

Since coaches often try to justify sexual or romantic relationships with student-athletes, institutional controls become even more important. Yet most college coaches are subject to minimal institutional control. As long as the coach meets expectations for success (usually defined in terms of win-loss records), the coach has enormous institutional autonomy. Compared to teachers and other educators, coaches conduct their interactions with students with little oversight or assessment.32 A clear and strongly worded institutional policy can begin to rectify this situation.

The following chapters explain the legal and policy basis for athletics department policies prohibiting sexual or romantic relationships between coaches (and other supervisory athletics staff) and student-athletes, and offer a model policy for institutions to adopt.


1 Celia Brackenridge, Dangerous Sports? Risk, Responsibility and Sex Offending in Sport, 9(1) J. of Sexual Aggression 3, 8 (2003).

2 Joy D. Bringer et al., Swimming Coaches’ Perceptions of Sexual Exploitation in Sport: A Preliminary Model of Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity, 20 The Sport Psychologist 645, 474 (2006).

3 Daniel Begel, An Overview of Sport Psychiatry, 149 (5) American Journal of Psychiatry 608 (May 1992).

4 Peter Rutter, Sex in the Forbidden Zone: When Men in Power – Therapists, Doctors, Clergy, Teachers, and Others – Betray Women’s Trust 51 (Los Angeles: Jeremy Tarcher, Inc., 1986).

5 Id. at 51.

6 Celia Brackenridge, â€œHe Owned Me Basically…”: Women’s Experience of Sexual Abuse in Sport, 32 Int’l Rev. for the Sociology of Sport 115, 123 (1997).

7 Anita M. Moorman & Lisa P. Masteralexis, An Examination of the Legal Framework Between Title VII and Title IX Sexual Harassment Claims in Athletics and Sport

Settings: Emerging Challenges for Athletics Personnel and Sport Managers, 18 J. Legal Aspects Sport 1, 6 (2008); Helen Lenskyj, Unsafe at Home Base: Women’s

Experiences of Sexual Harassment in University Sport and Physical Education, 1(1) Women In Sport & Physical Activity J. 19 (Sept. 30, 1992).

8 Mariah Burton Nelson, The Stronger Women Get, The More Men Love Football 163 (New

          Richard Painter’s Epic RANT on Trump Jr’s Russia Meeting, “Trump is CORRUPT-THIS IS Quid Pro Quo” | Paint        
          'The only thing I can do for you is walk you to the door."        

The last people I saw at Arise today were a woman and her adult nephew. 

For the last five years, she and her three children have been living with her father and taking care of him as he was dying, which, last month, he did..  She was never on his lease.  The landlord is evicting her, and Housing Court gave her ten days to leave.  Those ten days are now up, and she is waiting for the 48 hour notice from the sheriff.

Two weeks ago she went down to the Liberty St. welfare office and filled out an application for Emergency Assistance with the Dept. of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).  She went back to DHCD on Wednesday and a DHCD worker told her there was nothing they could do to help her.

"The only thing I can do for you," she said, "is walk you to the door."

Well, we're going to do what we can for her.  But here's what YOU can do: we're not done pressuring the Governor's office, our  legislators, or DHCD.  Please call BOTH the Boston and the local Governor's office: 617- 725-4005 or 784-1200.  Call your state senator and representative through the State House switchboard.  Ask them: is this what they intended when they voted these new rules through?  And call DHCD at 627-788-3610 and ask him to have some compassion in how his agency applies the new rules.

MORE YOU CAN DO: Help us monitor the DHCD office in Springfield (and Holyoke, if we can get enough people!) for homeless families being turned away from shelter.  We have two trainings scheduled: Monday, August 20, 11 am., and Wednesday, August 22, 5 pm.  It's not necessary to take the training to do the monitoring, but it's helpful. 

Here are some of the situations that our colleagues in Boston are reporting. I'll be very surprised if you aren't  gnashing your teeth by the end of this post.

In the past week, one very young mom with a 1-year old baby was denied shelter after exhausting her last double-up. She and her child slept for 2 nights in South Station. The first night a man approached them and offered them food. The next night he returned and said he was worried about them and would let them stay in his apartment. He then raped the young mother while the baby slept nearby. Even after the mother returned to DHCD with the rape kit results and proof of why she had good cause for losing a prior job (she had no child care and nowhere to stay), DHCD refused to look at the evidence, denied her shelter again, and told her that they would report her to DCF for neglecting her child by sleeping in South Station. In fact, we now know that DHCD actually did file a 51A on this poor woman. And even after Traveler’s Aid put her up for a few nights and contacted DHCD on her behalf, a high ranking DHCD official refused to place her and said: “she can appeal the denial and get a decision in 45 days.” Ongoing efforts are being made to force DHCD to place this family (which may or may not happen today), but whatever happens to this family now, the harm is done and there can be no denying that this is a predictable consequence of the policy that is being applied.

Other families are being approached outside DHCD offices by strangers who see them crying or distraught and offering to take them home. We are very concerned about the quid pro quos that may be imposed. In one double up, the mom was told she would have to “strip to stay.”

In another case, a woman who is 8 months pregnant and her baby’s father had no where to sleep but an old car of some friends that was parked on the street. The car recently was towed away, leaving them with nowhere to go. They applied for shelter and were told they would not be eligible until they brought in a ream of verifications, including the registration for the car that was towed (which of course is relevant to nothing and was in the car that was towed which no one had resources to retrieve). The pregnant woman in the late stages of her pregnancy has now been forced to sleep on the hard floor of an acquaintance’s house with no mattress and cannot stay there for long. She has given DHCD verification from medical providers that her pregnancy is high risk to which DHCD has responded: "they aren't my boss."

In addition to the fact of the denials and reflected in the above examples and others, families are systematically being treated horribly by DHCD. Families cry to us: “Do I really have to go back there to get shelter? Please don’t say I have to go back there.” They are forced to go to the office day after day, given long lists of verifications to bring back (some of which are not even relevant and many of which should not be required before placement), and then when they do bring them in are told DHCD is too busy to see them that day.

One woman who is a natural born U.S. Citizen and has never been in the Dominican Republic in her life was told by a DHCD worker: “Just go back to the Dominican Republic where you belong.”

One mother with several children who is hearing impaired and has just been diagnosed with cancer is another example. Based on reports from the City of Boston, she and her children have been staying temporarily with her mother in subsidized housing who has now been served with eviction papers, at least in part because their staying there violates the lease. She has spent multiple days at DHCD with her children without being served. She noticed many families who came in later than her being processed in front of her and so repeatedly went to the reception desk to ask if she had missed hearing her name called -- due to her hearing impairment. She was rudely told that if she came back to the desk again she would be forced to leave. Then she was told they did not have time to see her and she should come back yet another day. She begged them to place her because she could not go back to her mother’s because of the pending eviction and did not know where her children would sleep. She was told that it was her problem where her children were going to sleep and told in front of one of her children that DHCD would file a 51A against her to have DCF take her children if she did not return to her mother’s last night.  Traveler’s Aid ended up putting them up last night but obviously does not have the resources to replace the EA system for all these families.

In addition, Traveler’s Aid contacted DHCD counsel about the mother’s pending eviction, based on the understanding that DHCD had promised lawmakers that it would take steps to ensure that hosts in subsidized housing would not be evicted for taking in homeless families. But DHCD counsel informed Traveler’s Aid that no action would be taken to prevent eviction in individual cases.

The world watched with horror and fascination this week as investigators sought the cause of an entirely avoidable shipwreck in Italy that could have cost as many as 40 lives. Meanwhile, the cause of a much greater wreck - that of the good ship euro - is heaving into view. As Greece moves towards default, as France, Italy and Spain suffer credit downgrades, and as negotiations on last month's fiscal treaty reach deadlock, the euro is heading for the rocks. And the negligent captain is neither Greece, Italy nor France. It is Germany.
Germany has been responsible for almost all the misguided policies implemented by the euro zone. And if the euro fails, the reason will be that Germany adamantly opposed two of the three conditions necessary to save the common currency. The German government consistently vetoed the only policies that could have brought the euro crisis under control: collective European guarantees for national debts and large-scale intervention by the European Central Bank. To make matters worse, Germany pushed for last year's crazy interest rate hikes by the ECB, as well as the excessive demands for austerity and bank losses that now threaten Greece with a Lehman-style chaotic default.
German culpability - or, to put it more politely, the inconsistency of Germany's actual policies with the ostensible goal of the euro's survival - has been highlighted by a series of recent public statements, starting with last week's downgrade announcement from Standard & Poor's. S&P stated that "a reform process based on fiscal austerity alone risks becoming self-defeating" and that the German-inspired fiscal compact agreed to over British objections at last month's European summit would "not supply sufficient resources or operational flexibility" to restore euro zone stability. Yesterday, Mario Monti, the German-appointed Prime Minister of Italy was more explicit, warning that Germany would suffer a "powerful backlash" if it persisted in opposing measures that could relieve financial pressures on other euro members, such as the issuance of jointly-guaranteed bonds.
The dawning recognition that the odd man out in the euro zone is Germany, rather than any of the Mediterranean countries, aids understanding of the baffling twists and turns of the crisis. As euro-skeptics have argued since the early 1990s, there are only two possible outcomes for the single currency. Either the euro will disintegrate or the euro zone will transformed into a full-scale fiscal federation and political union. This dichotomy, controversial before the Greek crisis two years ago, is now widely acknowledged.
The key question is what exactly "fiscal federation" means. The answer reveals the full extent of German culpability. For the euro to survive three conditions must be satisfied. The first-insisted on by Germany - is the imposition of budgetary discipline, which can only be enforced by centralized EU control over the tax and spending policies of national governments. The second is a substantial degree of collective European responsibility for national government debts and bank guarantees. This mutual support is the flip side of the fiscal federalism coin, as Mr Monti made clear. But it is a quid pro quo that the Germans have refused even to discuss.
The third condition for the euro's survival is support for the fiscal federation from the ECB, comparable to the monetary support provided for government debt markets by central banks in the US, Britain, Japan, Switzerland and all other advanced economies. It is because of this central bank support for their government bond markets that the US, Britain and Japan have managed to finance much larger deficits than France or Italy without any problems or serious worries about credit downgrades.
The euro's fundamental problem is that Germany refuses to acknowledge these three conditions for the currency's survival. Instead, it concentrates entirely on the first. It forces other governments to adopt ever more draconian and unrealistic austerity targets, while vetoing consideration of the things that would make such austerity possible and productive: collective debt guarantees and central bank intervention. Consequently the new euro treaty supposedly agreed to last month is like a three-legged stool with only one leg. Clients have asked us if the finalization of the fiscal compact text, expected in March at the latest, will boost confidence. Our answer is that if the German government sticks to its present position then the final text will not matter: the treaty will never be ratified.

Should any reader of RedBlog be interested in receiving GaveKal Research on a free trial please contact robert.murphy@gavekal.com

[Please note that all opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s own and do not constitute investment advice.  Click here for full disclaimer]

          Starry love storie - Jay Bhanushali and Mahhi Vij...*JAHHI*...        
"A portion of your soul has been entwined with mine. A gentle kind of togetherness, while separate we stand. As two trees deeply rooted in separate plots of ground, while their topmost branches come together, forming a miracle of lace against the heavens." -Janet Mileswith Kf creation pic.
We always believe that marriages are made in heaven and people are destined to meet at the right time decided by God.

Tellybuzz thought of making this week a lovely romantic and passionate Valentine Week and present the readers with the story and life of few popular real couple from the industry who are already in the sacred bond or in the process of the sacred bond of Marriage.

We start our Special Series with the cutest couple of small screen, Jay Bhanushali and Mahhi Vij who have already decided to get bonded this year.

How did Jay and Mahhi get to meet? Jay answers it for you all!!

Mahhi and I met through a common friend of ours and in the first meet itself, I found her very interesting. I chased her for around three months as a lover boy, but she in a typical girly manner threw attitude at me. After three months I gave up and decided to be friends. But then for the next three months she was chasing me and it was my turn for the quid pro quo. So evidently we wasted six months chasing each other, and finally we became a couple. Mahhi is really endearing and caring and I love her for her sweet and caring nature.

Speaking about the cute declaration of love, Jay states, "The proposal was a normal one where we decided to marry because I am a complete unromantic person. We have planned to marry this year but the date is not yet fixed because both of us are busy with our schedules".

It's now Mahhi's turn to share her love life with us, "We hardly dated before the commitment and all had happened within three months; Jay is not at all romantic but I love him for what he is because giving a commitment is not easy. He is my strength and my weakness."

About the Valentine's Day plans she says "We have not planned anything as of now because we both are busy with our schedule. But after Jhalak, we might probably go to Greece."

Jay is a loyal viewer of Jhalak Dikhlaa Ja and amidst the tight schedule he often accompanies Mahhi on the sets.

That was the cute love story Jay Bhanushali and Mahhi Vij share!!

          Flashback March 2008        
A flashback to what I reviewed in March 2008: Quid Pro Quo by Vicki Grant. From my review: “Cyril is probably the youngest person to attend law school: “I started going to law school when I was ten years old.” But, wait for it — “I love saying that. I love how people look at me like, this guy […]
          News: Quid Pro Quo For The Lewes Arms        
A pub that was the centre of a major row last year has been bought by Fuller's -- with a promise to continue to sell…
          The OIC and the MORO        
PHASE I. CONVENTIONAL MOBILIZATION (see Appendix A for a description of the internal conflict phase scheme utilized in this chronology)

1961: Federal Sulu Representative Ombra Amilbangsa files a bill seeking the separation of the Sulu archipelago from the Philippines. (Rodil 1993, 16).

1968: Dozens of Muslim recruits who are being trained in the Philippine Armed Forces are shot after they rebel. The Muslims were apparently being prepared to promote an agitation among the people of Sabah and North Borneo to demand annexation by the Philippines (referred to as Operation Merdeka). Muslims in the south are angered by the incident, which they refer to as the "Jabidah Massacre", arguing that it is indicative of the government’s attitude toward the Moros. Military authorities assert that the soldiers rebelled as they had not been paid for several months. A congressional investigation does not press any charges. Malaysia responds by breaking off relations with the Philippines (May 1988, 53; Mercado 1984, 153-54).
In response to the massacre, a Muslim (later named Mindanao) Independence Movement is formed under the leadership of former governor Datu Udtog Matalam. The MIM issues a manifesto calling for an independent government for the Muslims of Sulu, Mindanao, and Palawan. The MIM contends that integration in the Philippines is impossible and that the government has been following a policy promoting the isolation and dispersal of Muslim communities (Rodil 1993, 16). Two other Muslim organizations are also formed: the Union of Islamic Forces and Organizations (UIFO) and Ansar El Islam.

1968-72: The Moros seek aid from the neighboring states of Malaysia and Indonesia. They concentrate their efforts upon the Sabah (region of Malaysia) government of Tun Mustapha (Heraclides 1991, 171). Heraclides asserts that the Moros cautiously limit their appeal to the Muslim world and do not deviate markedly from the positions of their Muslim supporters -- Libya, the Islamic Foreign Ministers’ Conferences, and the Islamic Secretariat (Heraclides cites George 1980, pp 224-27, 251-6). Furthermore, despite the potential for short-term gains, the Moros are careful to reject broad cooperation with the various Marxist groups in the Philippines (Heraclides 1991, 171).

1969: Around 90 young Muslims begin guerrilla training in west Malaysia. Upon their return to Mindanao and Sulu, the guerrillas, who were recruited by the MIM and the UIFO, help organize local units of the Blackshirts, the MIM’s military wing (Mercado 1984, 157). Among the 90 are Nur Misuari and others who later form the Moro National Liberation Front and its military arm, the Bangsa Moro Army (Gopinath 1991, 128).

September 1970: The Christian movement, the Illaga, (means rat) is formed. Referred to as the Magic Seven, its leadership is drawn from Cotabato. Mercado says that the organization’s original mandate of self-defense soon acquires the fanatical and hostile anti-Muslim sentiments
of its founders (1984, 157).

1970-72: There is widespread violence between Muslims and Christians, especially between the Illagas and the Blackshirts. The violence escalates in the runup to local elections in 1971. Official sources indicate that 1566 people, mostly Muslims, are killed by the end of 1971 (May 1988, 53). Furthermore, during the second half of 1971, an estimated 100,000 people are displaced from the Lanao and Cotabato regions due to Muslim-Christian clashes (Mercado 1984,)

1971: On June 19, seventy Muslims inside a mosque are massacred in Barrio Manili, Carmen, in North Cotabato. No persons are found responsible although Philippine constabulary troopers are
implicated and accused of collaboration with the Illagas (Mercado 1984, 159). In the aftermath of the June 19 massacre, Libya’s Mohmmar Qaddafi initiates a program of aid and religious activities for Muslim refugees (Gopinath 1991, 130).

Mid-1971: A special Moro assembly is held in Zamboanga City. The session is called by Nur Misuari, a former political scientist who taught at the University of Manila. The assembly consensus leads to traditional Muslim leaders being stripped of their status and legitimacy as spokesmen for the cause of the Bangsa Moro. The MIM is also dissolved. The Moro National Liberation Front, with Misuari as chairman, is officially founded to replace the previous authority structure (Mercado 1984, 159).

November 22, 1971: Thirty-five Muslims Maranaos are killed while fifty-four others wounded in a massacre at the Tacub Philippine Army checkpoint. The Maranaos were in three trucks returning from voting in a special election at Magsaysay. The soldiers are acquitted due to a "lack of sufficient evidence" (Mercado 1984, 160). Christian politicians gain further power as a result of the local elections.

1972: MNLF Chairman Misuari travels to Sabah and Libya to obtain support for the Moro movement. Libyan President Qaddafi agrees to provide funds. The MNLF establishes offices in Damascus, Jeddah, and Tehran (Gopinath 1991, 130; May 1988, 54). The Third Islamic Conference in Jeddah expresses concern about the Moro issue.

September 21, 1972: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos imposes martial law, citing unrest in the south. May asserts that this closes off the avenue of non-violent conflict for the Moros and leads to the launching of a jihad against the government (1988, 53). Mercado says that "the declaration of martial law and the concomitant program of creating a ’New Society’ are interpreted as an imposition of a ’Christian’ totalitarian social order to subvert the Moro by depriving them of their traditional sources of livelihood and their indigenous and Islamic culture. This also precludes any struggle through peaceful means and raises selfdetermination to the forefront of the struggle" (1984, 161).

1970s: The National Council of Churches of the Philippines forms a Muslim-Christian Reconciliation Study Committee. In order to promote understanding and search for a non-violent solution, local dialogues and campaigns are held (Casino 1987, 248 cites R.D. McAmis 1983, 33-34). Further, Christian churches and religious organizations express humanitarian concern for the innocent victims of both communities (Casino 1987, 248). According to Che Man (May 1988, 54 cites W.K. Che Man 1987, 118-19.), the MNLF’s greatest achievements are consolidating the various Moro groups and in making sporadic clashes into a conventional war that for a while threatens the stability of the Marcos regime. Reports indicate that in early 1970s the MNLF has a force of 5 to 30 thousand, some of whom were trained at camps in Malaysia, Libya, Syria, Egypt, and PLO sites. May argues that the fundamental concern of the MNLF is achieving autonomy for the Muslim areas of Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan within the framework of an Islamic region (1988, 55). However, at times MNLF Chief Nur Misuari demands a separate Moro state. External Support for the Moros

At the beginning, the MNLF receives most of its funds from Libya. Lucman (1982 in May 1988, 55) says in 1972 Misuari obtains US $3.5 million from Libya. Then the MNLF also receives financial assistance from the OIC’s Solidarity Fund and logistical and material support from the Sabah government. But the MNLF begins to rely more on local support through collecting zakat (Islamic community taxes).

From 1973-75, Libya is the MNLF’s chief diplomatic and political supporter, while also providing arms and other military and financial aid. Qaddafi’s motives are officially stated as support for Islam. But Heraclides says that it is generally acknowledged that Qaddafi was seeking to enhance his image as a leader of stature of the Islamic and Arab worlds, attempting to replace Nasser who died in 1970, and to extend his own influence and further the "world revolutionary struggle" (Heraclides 1991, 174).

Tun Mustapha of Sabah supplies aid to the Moros partly out of sympathy for the Muslim cause, and also because Sabah is facing severe manpower and labor shortages. Therefore, the government accommodates the Moros who flee the Philippines after martial law in 1972 and after the destruction of Jolo in 1978. The 1980 Malaysian census indicated that there were 47,400 Filipino Muslims in Sabah (Gopinath 1991, 131). Suhrke and Noble also state that Mustapha has harbored animosity against the Philippines since it announced its claim to Sabah in 1962. They refer to him as a Muslim zealot. Aid to the Moro from Sabah largely ends when Mustapha is forced to resign in 1985. This means that the Moros lose their main supply route (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 184). Malaysia is apparently responsible for military and other forms of aid from 1968-1972. This is partly due to the role of Sabah which continues its assistance. After 1972, Malaysia does not want to offend Manila, a member of ASEAN and to create difficulties in the OIC. There are reports of a quid pro quo arrangement: in return for Manila renouncing its claims to Sabah, Malaysia is supposed to cease Malaysian or Sabahan aid to the MNLF. This reportedly occurs through the good offices of Indonesia’s Suharto, upon Marcos’ initiative (Heraclides 1991, 173 cites George 1980, 409,420). However, Suhrke and Noble (1977, 190) indicate that this Indonesian arrangement was not accepted, especially by Malaysia. Malaysia never publicly admits that it is giving aid to the Moros. At Islamic Conferences, it calls for non-interference in the internal affairs of the Philippines but it also does not stop Mustapha from supplying assistance, perhaps fearing that Sabah would secede (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 184).

Indonesia generally follows a path of non-interference. There are some reports however that aid is given to the Moros by the governor of Makassar. But Indonesia officially favors limited autonomy, not independence. It offers to mediate the conflict as well as Philippine-Malaysian relations (Heraclides 1991, 174). Indonesia’s position likely reflects its own experience with Muslim movements in the 1950s and 1960s. It is primarily concerned with promoting regional stability. As of 1977, Indonesia does not consider itself an Islamic state and so it is not formally linked with the Islamic Secretariat, attending meetings only by invitation. At the Islamic meetings, Indonesia consistently takes a pro-Philippine stance, asking Libya not to interfere in the dispute (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 190).

There appears to be no visible involvement by ASEAN in the Moro issue. Suhrke and Noble argue that Malaysia and Indonesia are unwilling to use all the forms of leverage they have available, as they want to maintain good relations with the Philippines government. Further, the nature of the Moro goal of autonomy/independence could promote internal interference in a country's affairs, something both states want to avoid. Malaysia and Indonesia did previously argue that ASEAN was a better forum than the OIC to deal with the Moro issue. But in early 1976, Malaysia stated it would not attend the ASEAN summit if the Moro issue was brought up. The two states felt that ASEAN would be a better forum as it would not handle the issue to avoid any confrontation that would jeopardize its existence. There are some reports however that private talks on the issue have taken place at ASEAN sessions (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 195).

Organization of the Islamic Conference
In the early 1970s, the MNLF seeks political, economic, and military aid from the Islamic foreign ministers. It wants formal recognition of the republic, support for the MNLF in the UN and other Third World fora, military assistance, the channeling of all refugee aid through the MNLF, and the breaking of all diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties with the Philippines. It also believes an oil boycott is significant. Following the 1973 war, both Saudi Arabia and Iran briefly suspend exports of oil to the Philippines to show their support for the MNLF. However, the boycott is reportedly lifted solely due to opportunism (Gopinath 1991, 131). For their part, the Islamic Foreign Ministers do not formally recognize or support an independent state, they do not call for military support or cut ties with the Philippines. But they condemn as inadequate the socio-economic measures proposed by the Philippine government as a solution to the Moros' problems. They call for a peaceful solution within the framework of the current Philippines while recognizing the MNLF as an appropriate participant in negotiations. The OIC sets the framework for the 1974 talks between the three sides (Gopinath 1991, 131). Suhrke and Noble argue that the OIC’s concern may have restrained the Philippine government’s conduct of the war. It also affects the timing and content of government announcements of new policies (1977, 209).

March 1973: The fourth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Bengazi, Libya, establishes a Quadripartite Commission to deal with the Moro issue. The Foreign Ministers of Libya, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Somalia, who comprise the commission, are given the task of visiting the Philippines to hold discussions about the situation of the Muslims (Casino 1987, 238). The conference also expresses "deep concern over the reported repression and mass extermination of Muslims in Southern Philippines" and urges the government to immediately halt these actions
(Heraclides 1991, 175).

January 1974: Resolution 18 is passed at the Fifth Islamic Conference in Kuala Lumpur. It urges the Philippine government "to find a political and peaceful solution through negotiations with Muslim leaders, particularly with the representative of the Moro National Liberation Front, in order to arrive at a just solution to the plight of Filipino Muslims within the framework of the National sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines" (Casino 1987, 238; Heraclides 1991,175). Following the OIC’s meeting, the organization’s Secretary-General, Hassan al-Tohamy, makes several trips to Manila and arranges the 1975 Jeddah meeting between the Philippines government and the MNLF (Gopinath 1991, 132).

1974: The MNLF holds its first congress. Its manifesto declares the establishment of a Bangsa Moro Republik (Bangsa nation) and announces the organization’s intention to secure ’a free and independent state for the Bangsa Moro people’. These demands are expanded upon in a 1975 document submitted to the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Jeddah. It also accuses the Marcos government of ’cultural genocide’ and demands a separate state. The OIC pressures the MNLF to change its demand to autonomy (May 1988, 55).

1975: The first formal talks between the Philippine government and the MNLF occur in Jeddah in 1975 through the intervention of the OIC. The talks are set in a domestic framework, to be resolved within the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Philippines. The talks fail, according to Dr. Adam Malik, the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, due to the complexity of the question and the disproportionate demands put forth by Misuari. Misuari reportedly wanted an a priori public declaration agreeing to the creation of an autonomous region, with a separate government and army, as a condition for the success of the talks. Malik says this would not be accepted by any "reputable" sovereign government (Rodil 1993, 17 cites the Republic of the Philippines, Background Information on the Situation in Southern Philippines, Department of Public Information, Manila, 1976, 29).

July 1975: At the 6th Islamic Conference held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Quadripartite Commission submits a plan of action that is approved by the conference and the MNLF. It provides the basis upon which the Commission will negotiate with the Philippine government on the Moro issue (Casino 1987, 238).

Mid-1970s: Estimates from 1969 to first quarter of 1976 indicate that there were 35-60,000 dead, 31-54,000 injured, and 260-350,000 displaced as a result of the Moro insurgency (Rodil 1993, 17).

November 1976: Imelda Marcos goes to Tripoli for a series of talks with the OIC and the MNLF that last through December. On December 24, a ceasefire goes into effect that is to be supervised by the MNLF, the Philippines government and the Quadripartite Commission (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 188).

December 21, 1976: The MNLF and the Philippines government sign the Tripoli Agreement, with the participation of the Quadripartite Ministerial Commission members of the Islamic Conference and the Secretary General of the Islamic Conference.

The key provisions of the agreement are:
  1. The establishment of autonomy in the Southern Philippines within the realm of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.
  2. The specification of 13 geographic areas of autonomy for the Muslims in the Southern Philippines (Casino 1987, 238-39).
  3. The promise that all necessary constitutional processes for the implementation of the entire agreement will be taken by the Philippine government (Casino 1987, 239).
Analysis of Tripoli Agreement
Casino argues that international involvement is vital in bringing the Philippines government to the conference table at the 1976 Tripoli negotiations. It also confers upon the MNLF an international political and legal status. The accords give the MNLF the status of an insurgency rather than a belligerency, which carries more leverage in international law (Casino 1987, 241). Suhrke and Noble state that the Islamic meetings have provided a focus for the lobbying activities of the MNLF, shaping the nature of its appeals, and determining its negotiating position toward the Philippine government (1977, 191). They also assert that the OIC is responsible for muting the MNLF’s demand from independence to autonomy (1977, 192).
May says that from 1972, when the Moro issue was brought to its attention, the OIC exerts sustained pressure on the Marcos government to negotiate autonomy demands with the MNLF, along with providing assistance. Saudi Arabia and Iran also briefly suspend oil exports to the Philippines to demonstrate support for the MNLF (May 1988, 57).
Casino says that from 1972-77, the series of Islamic Conferences generally passed resolutions fair to both the Philippines government and the Moros. The resolutions held the MNLF back from pressing for secession. "The diplomatic restraint was also a clear signal to the Philippine government that the conference would not interfere with the internal affairs of another sovereign state" (1987, 240).
Mercado asserts that the negotiation and signing of the Tripoli agreement is in itself a tremendous diplomatic victory for the MNLF/BMA as it is accorded a belligerent state status. The terms of agreement are highly favorable to the MNLF/BMA demands. The Philippine government also benefits enormously from the agreement as it provides a much needed breathing spell to recover from the consequences of the Mindanao "war" on the economy. The government is also able to bring home the Moro issue from the Middle East (Mercado 1984, 164). Gopinath says that Islam is able to generate tremendous moral, spiritual, and emotional strength for Muslim communities. It has been able to instill a sense of religious solidarity and hence external threats are seen as a direct threat to the existence of the religious community. He asserts that there are at least two reasons why the Moro turned towards Islamic revivalism: 1) a genuine desire to preserve Islamic practice that has been handed down through generations. Also, there is a turn toward reinforcing traditional values, the lack of which are seen as responsible for society’s ills along with the government’s encroachment on religious and social institutions; 2) the need to justify a violent struggle against integration, which is defined as a Jihad (Gopinath 1991, 141-) An estimated 50-60,000 people are killed from 1972-76. Official government figures reveal that between 500,000 and a million people are displaced and at least 200,000 sought sanctuary in Sabah (Mercado 1984, 162-63).

April 1977: The timetable laid out in the Tripoli talks is not followed due to disagreements over
the meaning of autonomy and Marcos’ desire to hold a plebiscite in the affected areas (the MNLF
opposes this as Muslims are a minority in many areas). In early 1977, Imelda Marcos travels to Tripoli to meet with Qaddafi. The resulting compromise, announced on April 8, provides that Marcos will declare an autonomous region comprising the 13 provinces, appoint a regional provisional government, and hold a plebiscite to deal with administrative issues (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 188-89).

April 17, 1977: In accordance with the constitution, the major changes demanded by the MNLF for the autonomous areas have to be decided through a popular referendum. This is held on April 17. Three provinces, Davao del Sur, South Catabato, and Palawan vote against integration. The remaining 10 provinces are grouped into two autonomous regions: Region 9 and 12, with five provinces each. Region 9 consists of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga del Norte. Region 12 includes Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, North Catabato, Magindanao, and Sultan Kudarat. Among other things, the referendum rejects naming the autonomous region the Bangsamoro Islamic Region, developing its own flag, official language, and courts, and allowing the MNLF to be able to organize separate security forces (Casino 1987, During the referendum, traditional Muslim leaders ally with Christian leaders against the MNLF which boycotts the referendum. The MNLF by this time has reverted to its demand for independence. The Philippine Commission on Elections states that 96% of the 3 million people voters rejected the proposed changes (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 189; Madale 1984, 181).

May 1977: MNLF leader Nur Misuari addresses the 8th Islamic Conference held in Libya. He claims that "the Marcos Government through its unilateral and highly reprehensible acts has succeeded in abrogating the Tripoli Agreement as well as the Khadaffy-Marcos understanding of March 1977". Misuari accuses the Philippines government of eight unlawful actions including violations of the ceasefire, dividing the area into two autonomous regions, and the demilitarization of the 13 provinces (Mercado 1984, 165). At the urging of Qaddafi, the MNLF is granted observer status at the OIC but the organization stops short of supporting economic sanctions against the Philippines and urges the Quadripartite Commission to continue its mediation efforts (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 189).

1977: May argues that this year is a type of watershed in the history of the MNLF. By the time talks break down, the Bangsa Moro Army is a depleted force; many have been killed, while others have taken refuge in Sabah or the Middle East. By the early 1980s, over 140,000 Moro refugees are in Sabah and the government claims around 37,000 have surrendered in amnesty programs. Also, divisions arise within the MNLF. These divisions are reportedly due to personal differences/ ambitions, conflicting opinions on the subject of autonomy or independence, and whether it is possible to pursue negotiations based on the Tripoli Agreement.

In late 1977, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is established, using Pakistan as its base. Early in 1982, there is a further split as a ’Reformist Group’ is set up (MNLF-RG) in Jeddah (May 1988, 57). Nur Misuari is largely secular; he is not a part of the traditional elite and is considered by some as left-leaning. Ethnically, he is a Tausug-Samal from Sulu. His main sources of aid are Libya, Syria, Iran, and OIC (May 1988, 57-58).

The MILF leadership is drawn from traditional aristocratic and religious elites. They are primarily concerned with the promotion of Islam and the preservation of traditional Moro society. Ethnically the leader is a Magindanao and the organization receives aid from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Kuwait, and Malaysia (May 1988, 58).

The MNLF-RG leadership is also largely from the traditional elite, but it is not as focused on promoting Islamic consciousness as the MILF. Drawn largely from the Maranao tribe, it obtains aid from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia (Ibid.).

From 1977 onward, there is reported to be a drop in international support for the MNLF. The
abah government changes hands and stops aid in 1986. Libya backs off when Misuari became hardline about secession. The OIC continues to support Misuari’s leadership and seeks reconciliation in the movement but becomes preoccupied with other conflicts in the Muslim world (Ibid.).

1978: The OIC recognizes the MNLF as the legal representative of the Muslim movement and requests Islamic states to support it. The Secretary-General is given the task of holding consultations with Islamic states with a view to providing emergency aid to the Moro (Gopinath 1991, 133).

March 20, 1979: A Regional Assembly and Executive Council are created for the Autonomous Regions 9 and 12. Some former MNLF members serve in these organs. MNLF leader Nur Misuari earlier declined the chairmanship of the provisional government and MNLF supporters do not participate in the regional assembly elections (Casino 1987, 240; May 1988, 57).

1980: The Moro cause is recognized at a session of the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) in Belgium. The communist National Democratic Front (NDF) supports the MNLF’s campaign for secession (Casino 1987, 241; Gopinath 1991, 134).

The 11th Islamic Conference reaffirms its support for the struggle of the Bangsamoro people to achieve self-determination under the leadership of the MNLF (Casino 1987, 245 cites M.O. Mastura, "MNLF’s Path to Parliamentary Struggle", in ibid., ed., Muslim Filipino Experience, Manila: Ministry of Muslim Affairs, 1984, p.12).

January 1981: The MNLF appeals to the Third Summit Conference of Heads of State in Mecca for recognition and support of the Bangsa Moro people’s right to self-determination. It wins sympathy from the Muslim world (Gopinath 1991, 134).

1984: The 15th Islamic Conference reconfirms Nur Misuari’s original MNLF as the "sole legitimate representative of the Bangsamoro People" (Casino 1987, 245 cites Nur Misuari, "Communique of the IVth General Meeting of the MNLF Leadership", in Selected Documents for the Conference on the Tripoli Agreement, Quezon City: International Studies Institute of the Philippines, University of the Philippines, 1985, p.200). Sources indicate that the MNLF now has a force of 14,000 compared to around 21,000 in 1977 (Madale 1984, 185). The drop is likely due to the creation of other Moro groups.

1985: Misuari’s MNLF faction reportedly forms close relations with Iran. Viewing this as a potential threat to US interests, the State Dept and the Pentagon open up lines of communication with the MNLF reformist group under Dimas Pundato. Pundato is invited to Washington in 1985 (Casino 1987, 241).

Marcos’ Approach to the Moro Issue
May (1988, 60) and Madale (1984, 184) argue that Marcos adopted a two-fold strategy:
  1. provision of regional economic programs and concessions on selected religious and social matters (as the government believes the root causes are relative economic and social deprivation);
  2. use of conventional military force to quell the insurgency.
However, the Moros accrue few real economic benefits and little is done to alleviate the fears of Muslims that the real goal is to benefit those who moved to the south (Christians). Also the counterinsurgency campaign offsets the limited economic gains (May 1988, 60).

Marcos also tries to promote and exploit divisions among the Moros. In the early and mid- 1970s, for example, the government tries to discredit the MNLF by focusing on Misuari’s ’Maoist tendencies'. There were minimal links between the MNLF and the communist New Peoples’ Army and the MNLF generally distanced itself from the NPA (May 1988, 56).

Madale says that Marcos also conducts a fairly effective diplomatic campaign, especially within ASEAN and among the Islamic nations in the Middle East, to counter the MNLF's bids for support in the Muslim world. He opens relations with the Islamic states and appoints a Muslim ambassador to Saudi Arabia. A Peace Panel composed of Muslims is also created to help promote interaction with the Moros (Madale 1984, 184-85).

Pressure from the OIC and others does lead Marcos to try to negotiate a deal. But a lack of commitment from Marcos and the idealistic demands of the MNLF lead to the breakdown of talks (May 1988, 60).

1986: The People's Power Revolution. In the runup to the 1986 elections, Corazon Aquino promises that she will assist autonomous development in Muslim Mindanao and Sulu, although within the framework of the Republic. The Moro movement, at this time, is divided into a number of factions and is reported to have substantially declined in military strength (May 1992, 400). After she is inaugurated as President, Corazon Aquino initiates negotiations with Nur Misuari who returns from self-exile in the Middle East. However, even before talks begin, the MILF and MNLF-RG state they will not participate or honor any deal made. They launch armed attacks against military and civilian installations and army personnel and clashes are reported between the MNLF and the MILF (May 1992, 401).

Talks between the government and the MNLF in Jolo in September result in a ceasefire and an amnesty program. Attempts to unite the various Moro factions fail. By late 1986, it is clear that elements in the military and the government do not support the negotiations (Gopinath 1991, 134; May 1988, 59).

1986: The second Bangsa Moro Congress is held. Reports reveal that Misuari concedes to popular pressure and gives up the demand for independence (May 1988, 59).

January 4, 1987: An autonomy agreement, the Jeddah Accord, is signed between the Philippines government and the MNLF. The accord proposes to grant autonomy to all of Mindanao, including the island provinces of Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, and Palawan. The accord also reportedly sets the seal on Misuari’s abandonment of full independence (Gopinath 1991, 134 cites James P. Clad, “Autonomy and Acrimony”, Far Eastern Economic Review, Jan. 15, 1987).

April 1987: Peace talks resume on the basis of a draft executive order on the proposedautonomous government that will cover the 10 existing provinces in the Muslim autonomous regions (Gopinath 1991, 134 cites New Straits Times, April 9, 1987, p.12). The MNLF demands autonomy for all 23 provinces in Mindanao and the islands of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Palawan (Gopinath 1991, 134).

May 1987: Just before negotiations begin again, the MNLF accuses the armed forces of violating the ceasefire and cancels the scheduled talks. Misuari returns to the Middle East; he obtains OIC support for his denunciation of the Aquino government (May 1988, 59). In Misuari's absence, May reports that the agenda is largely captured by conservative Muslim and non-Muslim groups. He argues that the Aquino government is now firmly committed to autonomy for Mindanao (May 1992, 401).

August-December 1989: On August 1, an Organic Act for the Autonomous Registration of Muslim Mindanao (RA 6734) is signed as a bill by President Aquino. It is submitted to a plebiscite on November 9. The MNLF and right-wing Christian groups oppose the act while the OIC first condemns and then supports the act. The surrounding confusion and dispute leads to low voter turnout and only 4 of the 13 provinces and 9 cities support the Organic Act (May 1992, 401). Estimates indicate that the voting area is 28% Muslim and 66% Christian. The four noncontiguous provinces, Lanao del Sur, Magindanao, Tawi-tawi, and Sulu, comprise the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The ARMM remains in place until the 1996 accord.

February 1990: Regional elections are held for the newly formed autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao. Former MNLF legal advisor, Zacaria Candao, a Magindanao, is elected governor. The election is viewed as a setback for the MNLF as in all four provinces of the new autonomous region, most voters reject its call for a boycott.

August 1990: The OIC does not act on the MNLF’s third formal request to join the organization.

October 1990: The Aquino government grants limited executive powers to the Candao regime. The control of ministries such as natural resources, tourism, employment, etc. is transferred to the Autonomous Regional Government.

March 1991: 13 Moro rebels are killed by soldiers in battles in Mindanao. The rebels destroy a power transmission tower.

July, 1991: Amnesty International accuses both the Philippines government and Moro rebels of gross human rights violations. Recently, 30 rebels are killed by government forces.

December 1991: The OIC summit in Dakar, Senegal, voices its support for the agreement between the government and the MNLF to resume peace talks. The MNLF fails to win OIC membership.

May 1992: Fidel V. Ramos is elected as President; he was the defense minister under the Aquino government.

September 1992: A National Unification Commission is established to tackle the task of negotiating a political settlement with the country’s armed groups. It is headed by former Election Commissioner, Haydee Yorac, a University of the Philippines Law Professor.

February 1993: 25 marines are killed, reportedly by MNLF rebels, after being ambushed on the southern Mindanao island of Basilan. This is the worst incident in the corp’s history.

April 1993: Meetings between the Philippines government and MNLF chief Misuari held in Jakarta from April 14-16 lead to an agreement to resume peace talks. Libya is described as a prime mover behind the meeting; the OIC will act as a facilitator.

June 1993: Soldiers kill 17 Muslim rebels who have increased their activities in view of upcoming peace talks between the government and the MNLF.

November 1993: An interim ceasefire agreement is signed in Jakarta between the MNLF and the Philippine government. The accord also sets up a committee to tackle the problems facing Muslims in Mindanao. The government’s chief negotiator is Retired General Manuel Yan.

December 1993: Christian gunmen bomb a mosque in the south shortly after explosions in a Roman Catholic church result in seven deaths and 151 injuries. Abu Sayyaf, also referred to as the MNLF Lost Command, is believed to be responsible. It opposes talks with the government (UPI, 12/27/93).

December 1994: The "Final Statement" of the OIC summit held in Morocco records with satisfaction the positive developments in the situation of the Muslims in the Philippines (UPI, 12/19/94).

April 1995: Around 200 Muslim rebels, reportedly members of Abu Sayyaf, raid three banks and attacks buildings and civilians in the town of Ipil on Mindanao island. Authorities state that over 45 people are killed and another 40 injured. This is reported to be the most violent attack in the 20-year Muslim insurgency. Authorities believe that two other rebel organizations, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are also
involved in the attack (Reuters, 04/05/95).

April 6, 1995: A spokesman for the MNLF denies that members of his group took part in the attack at Ipil. He indicates that Abu Sayyaf, the MILF, and members of a breakaway faction of the MNLF are responsible. The MNLF and the government are set to resume peace talks in June in Indonesia (Reuters, 04/06/95).

May 1995: The MNLF agrees to help the government battle "lawless elements" in the south (Reuters, 05/03/95).

May 21, 1995: A 15 year development plan for Mindanao is unveiled by President Ramos. The plan focuses upon improving the region’s infrastructure, modernizing fish processing, and establishing crop and livestock production and processing centers (Reuters, 05/21/95).

June 7, 1995: Gunbattles between security forces and Abu Sayyaf rebels on Basilan Island result in the deaths of 15 rebels and 7 soldiers. Officials state that Abu Sayyaf has links with Ramzi Ahmed Yousef who is on trial in New York in connection with the bombing of the World Trade Center building (Reuters, 06/07/95).

June 23, 1995: Another round of talks between the Manila government and the MNLF has concluded. A spokesman for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which is mediating the talks, says that 75 to 80% of the issues have been resolved. Further meetings will be held next month (Reuters, 06/23/95).

July 2, 1995: Philippine and foreign investors sign agreements worth some $80 million to develop Mindanao (Reuters, 07/02/95).

July 27, 1995: MNLF leader Nur Misuari says that he has the support of the MILF to undertake peace talks with the government. The MILF split from the MNLF in the early 1980s over Misuari’s leadership (Reuters, 07/27/95).

October 19, 1995: Gunbattles between soldiers and Moro rebels in Magindanao province result in six deaths (Reuters, 10/19/95).

November 16, 1995: Clashes between government soldiers and MNLF members on Basilan island have broken a ceasefire between the two sides. The incident occurred when troops entered a rebel camp. Both sides suffered casualties (Reuters, 11/16/95).

December 1, 1995: An interim agreement is signed by the MNLF and Manila following five days of peace talks in Indonesia. The agreement covers areas such as education, economic and financial systems, and the autonomous area’s proposed government and administration. However, key issues still remain including the integration of the rebels into the military and the government’s demand that a referendum be held to approve the proposed autonomous region. Muslims are now reported to make up only 40% of Mindanao’s population (Reuters, 12/01/95). On December 5, President Fidel Ramos unilaterally orders a month-long ceasefire for the Christmas holiday season (Reuters, 12/05/95).

December 13, 1995: A clash between the MILF and Ituman, a Christian militia organization, results in the deaths of five Ituman members (Reuters, 12/13/95).

January 4, 1996: A 1995 Philippine Defense Department report indicates that membership in Abu Sayyaf rose 12%, from 580 to 650, in 1995. The combined strength of the MNLF and the MILF grew 11%, from 22,330 in 1994 to 24,870 by last November. The leader of Abu Sayyaf, Libyan-trained Abdurajak Abubaker Janjalani, 32, is now the most wanted criminal in the Philippines; the group is reported to have links with Ramzi Yousef, the main suspect in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (Japan Economic Newswire, 01/04/96).

January 7, 1996: The 4th round of talks between the MNLF and the govt will resume in Jakarta next month. Five major issues remain unresolved -- the timing of a plebiscite to set up the autonomous government; the geographic scope of autonomy; the number of MNLF forces to be integrated in the army and the national police; revenue-sharing in the autonomous area; and the establishment of a regional security force (Xinhua News Agency, 01/07/96).

January 11, 1996: MNLF leader Nur Misuari refuses a government offer to lead the ARMM, sticking to the MNLF demand for "more meaningful autonomy”.

January 11, 1996: The MILF accuses the government of violating a truce agreement by deploying over 900 soldiers in the area of an irrigation project in North Cotabato province. The $65.4 million project was halted in 1994 following battles between the MILF and the government that left over 50 people dead (UPI, 01/11/96; Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 01/11/96).

February 29, 1996: Several mayors and provincial governors in the south refuse to participate in a meeting with MNLF leader Nur Misuari to help prepare the region for autonomy (UPI, 02/29/96).

February 29, 1996: After 20 years of hostilities, the MNLF and a rival Christian movement, the Illaga, form an alliance to promote peace and development in the south (UPI, 02/29/96).

March 2, 1996: Talks between the government and the MNLF, under the auspices of the OIC, break down over the issue of setting up a Muslim provisional government. Manila wants to hold a plebiscite before a provisional government is established while the MNLF wants the government set up by presidential edict as it fears that the Christian majority will reject autonomy. Representatives of the OIC and MNLF leader Misuari warn that the failure of the negotiations could strengthen the hands of radical groups such as the Abu Sayyaf (Reuters, 03/02/96 & 03/03/96).

March 5, 1996: The second largest Muslim group in the Philippines, the MILF, throws its support behind efforts by the MNLF to ensure that autonomy in the south will include the 13 provinces and 9 cities that were first outlined in the 1976 Tripoli Agreement (Deutsche Presse- Agentur, 03/05/96).

March 11, 1996: The bombing of two Roman Catholic Churches in Zamboanga leaves 12 people injured. Authorities believe that Abu Sayyaf is responsible for this attack along with numerous others bombings during the past three years (Bangkok Post: Reuter Textline,

March 20, 1996: The MILF accuses the Philippine military of using nerve-gas bombs on the southern island of Mindanao. The military denies the charges, stating that it does not possess any such weapons (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 03/20/96).

April 4, 1996: President Fidel Ramos orders the armed forces to help halt a wave of bombings on Mindanao. Abu Sayyaf is reported to be responsible for eight bombs that have exploded in the past three weeks (Reuters, 04/04/96).

April 10, 1996: Battles between the MILF and government forces in North Cotabato result in 11 deaths (UPI, 04/10/96).

April 18, 1996: A seven-point agreement is reached between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to halt hostilities on Mindanao. Thirty-four people have died in battles during the last two weeks (UPI, 04/18/96).

April 24, 1996: President Fidel Ramos states that he will never impose martial law in order to deal with separatism in the south (Reuters, 04/24/96).

May 1, 1996: Officials claim that the MILF suffered a major defeat in gunbattles with the military in early April, revealing that it is not in a position to survive an all-out war with the country’s armed forces. The MILF states that it will abide by any agreement reached between the government and the MNLF, providing it does not compromise on full autonomy (The Straits
Times, Singapore, 05/01/96).

May 14, 1996: The Philippines government has reportedly devised a compromise in order to help break the deadlock in its negotiations with the MNLF. Under the proposal, Muslim rebels would take part in peacekeeping and development in Mindanao for at least two years. After that, a plebiscite would be held to determine the level of support for the provisional authority. Muslim groups have repeatedly warned of a renewed war if the current peace talks fail (Reuters, 05/14/96).

June 3, 1996: Some member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference are holding talks in Jakarta aimed at addressing the deadlock in the negotiations between the Philippines government and the MNLF. The representatives from Bangladesh, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Indonesia are discussing issues such as a plebiscite and the geographical reach of the autonomous area. The Philippines government and the MNLF are in attendance (UPI, 06/03/96).

June 5, 1996: A breakthrough has been reached in talks in Jakarta between the Philippines government and the Moro National Liberation Front. Although no specific details were provided, it appears that a government compromise plan unveiled on May 14 helped break the deadlock over the two sides’ differing interpretations of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement. Indonesia heads an OIC ministerial committee that is brokering the talks (Reuters, 06/05/96).

June 20, 1996: The Philippines government and the MNLF fail to agree on the issue of integrating rebel forces into the army. This is one of the main issues blocking an agreement that would establish an MNLF transitional body to supervise development in the southern Mindanao region (Reuters, 06/20/96).

June 23, 1996: Following three days of talks between government and MNLF negotiators, an agreement is reached to establish the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development. The Council, which will be run by the MNLF and guided by a consultative assembly of local officials and representatives from NGOS, is expected to pave the way for an autonomous region. Fourteen provinces and nine cities in the south will be governed by the council; this is basically the region that was laid out under the 1976 Tripoli Agreement. A plebiscite will be held in 1999 to determine if the region’s residents want to continue the council's rule. However, two key issues still remain unresolved: an MNLF demand to establish its own regional police force and the integration of the rebels into the national army. These issues will be tackled by a special working group (Reuters, 06/23/96).

June 25, 1996: A Christian Congresswoman from Zamboanga is threatening to lead mass demonstrations to protest the establishment of the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development. Church officials have also expressed concern over the role Muslim rebels will play in governing the region (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 06/25/96).

July 2, 1996: As he arrives in Zamboanga, President Fidel Ramos is greeted by around 20,000 Christians protesting the peace agreement with the MNLF. Ramos is traveling in the region to garner support for the accord (Reuters, 07/02/96).

July 8, 1996: The Roman Catholic Church urges President Ramos to defer a peace agreement with the Moros, warning that its implementation could lead to war by the Christian majority in the area (Reuters, 07/08/96).

July 10, 1996: At least 29 governors, vice governors, mayors, and congressmen in Mindanao sign a resolution expressing their support for a Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD) (Xinhua News Agency, 07/10/96).

July 12, 1996: MNLF leader Nur Misuari states that he will seek the governorship of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao in elections this September. He will run under a coalition with President Ramos’ Lakas Party. The MNLF leader says his decision signals the return of the entire MNLF to the constitutional fold (Reuters, 07/12/96).

July 14, 1996: Philippine President Fidel Ramos has sent a letter to Indonesian President Suharto thanking his country and the OIC’s Committee of Six for their help in peace talks with the MNLF. Ramos states that the breakthrough in the talks would not have been possible without the consistent support they provided (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 07/14/96).

July 15, 1996: MNLF chief Misuari threatens to withdraw from September elections for the governorship of the ARMM unless he is confirmed as the head of the proposed Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development. Misuari’s leadership of the SPCPD was part of the agreement reached between the two sides. However, some politicians argue that, legally, officials are barred from simultaneously holding two positions. Meanwhile, around 15,000 Christians in General Santos City protest against the peace deal (Reuters, 07/15/96).

July 17, 1996: President Fidel Ramos states that his secret meeting with Libyan leader Qaddafi in February 1992 began the process of the current peace talks with the MNLF. During the early and mid-1970s, Libya provided key financial and military support to the Moro rebels. Ramos’ trip occurred in the midst of his election campaign for the presidency (Reuters, 07/17/96).

July 18, 1996: The National Ecumenical Consultative Committee, a religious advisory arm to the President, expresses support for the creation of the SPCPD. The Committee is composed of Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim groups. The 1990 government census reveals that only 5 of the 14 provinces the SPCPD will govern have a Muslim population of over 50% (UPI, 07/18/96).

July 23, 1996: In a letter to OIC Secretary-General Hamid Algabid, President Ramos says that he is committed to establishing the Muslim council despite opposition from Christians. During his State of the Nation address, the President calls upon all Filipinos to support the peace proposal (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 07/22/96; Reuters, 07/23/96).

July 30, 1996: The government says that it has spent US $2.78 billion during the last 26 years in its conflict with the Moros. It also states that of the 100,000 recorded casualties, half were Moro rebels while government troops accounted for 30% and innocent civilians the remaining 20% (Xinhua News Agency, 07/30/96).

August 2, 1996: The government and the MNLF agree on the integration of 7500 MNLF members into the military and police services, removing one of the major issues left to be resolved (Xinhua News Agency, 08/02/96).

August 3, 1996: Rejecting the peace agreement between the government and the MNLF, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front vows to continue the battle for "genuine Muslim autonomy". The military estimates that the MILF has a strength of 20,000 compared to the MNLF’s 25,000 members (Xinhua News Agency, 08/03/96).

August 15, 1996: Chief government negotiators Manuel Yan and Eduardo Ermita and the leader of the MNLF will initial the peace agreement in Jakarta at the end of the month. It will be formally signed in Manila the following week (Reuters, 08/15/96).

August 16, 1996: Informal talks have begun between the government and the MILF. The government is also concerned about other splinter groups such as Abu Sayyaf and the Islamic Command Council but has not stated whether it will also open talks with them (Xinhua News Agency, 08/16/96).

August 19, 1996: The first meeting in 10 years is held between President Ramos and MNLF leader Misuari in Malabang. The two are finalizing the peace plan (08/19/96).

August 23, 1996: The Philippines Senate gives its unanimous support to President Ramos’ peace proposal for Mindanao. However, the Senate reiterates its demand for some amendments that will be considered before the executive order is signed to create the southern council (Xinhua News Agency, 08/23/96).

August 30, 1996: An accord to end the Moro insurgency is initialed today by government negotiator Manuel Yan and MNLF leader Misuari in Jakarta. President Ramos states that proposed amendments such as making the study of Islam in schools optional rather than mandatory should diffuse Christian opposition. The OIC, which has facilitated and mediated the talks, may continue its involvement in the peace process. This could be through the creation of an interim OIC monitoring team. Indonesian President Suharto says the accord is the result of four rounds of formal talks in Jakarta, three international consultations, and at least 70 other meetings in the Philippines (Reuters, 08/30/96; The Straits Times, Singapore, 08/31/96).

September 1, 1996: The peace agreement between the Philippines government and the MNLF is formally signed in Manila on Monday, September 2. Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas and OIC Secretary General Hamid Algabid are present at the ceremony (UPI, 09/01/96).

September 2, 1996: Alex Magno, a political science professor at the University of the Philippines, says that the peace agreement "allows the MNLF to reach a political settlement...without losing face and losing honor". Magno also states that it "allows the Philippine government to signal that western Mindanao is now a peaceful place, [it] is our front door to the southeast Asian common market and is now open for business". The Philippines government is forming a special "growth zone" that includes southwestern Mindanao and parts of Indonesia, Brunei, and Malaysia in order to promote trade and development and break down barriers between economically deprived areas. Magno expects that the MILF will eventually join the peace process, isolating the few hundred members of Abu Sayyaf, and that perhaps the greatest threat might emerge from Christian extremists (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 09/02/96).

A recent UNDP study found that functional literacy ranges from 48.1 to 68.7% in the ARMM compared to the 1994 national average of 83.8%. Life expectancy in the region averages in the fifties, the lowest in the country and below the national average of 66.9 years (Inter Press Service, 09/02/96).

September 3, 1996: Abu Sayyaf denounces MNLF leader Nur Misuari as a traitor for signing a peace agreement with the government. It vows to continue the battle for an Islamic state (Reuters, 09/03/96).

September 11, 1996: Nur Misuari is elected governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Misuari ran unopposed and is reported to have received 90% of the votes cast. The turnout is estimated at 80%. He will formally assume office on September 30. Meanwhile, President Ramos announces $1.2 billion in aid to develop the region (Reuters, 09/11/96; South China Morning Post, 10/01/96).

October 2, 1996: President Ramos issues an executive order to create the Southern Philippines Peace and Development Council. The order clears the way for the appointment of Misuari as head of the body. Opponents of the council vow to challenge the legality of the order. One of Misuari’s top priorities is expected to be convincing almost half a million refugees in Malaysia to return home. The refugees mainly fled to Sabah during the 1970s and while some have become Malaysian citizens, the strain on the Sabah economy has been an issue in Philippine-Malaysian relations (Agence France Presse, 09/24/96, 10/02/96).

October 8, 1996: Nine Christian House of Representative Members and a Provincial Governor ask the Supreme Court to void the agreement to establish the autonomous Muslim region. They argue that Muslims would be ruling over Christian-majority areas. No date is given for a judgement (Reuters, 10/08/96).

October 22, 1996: Nur Misuari is appointed as head of the SPCPD (Reuters, 10/22/96).

October 30, 1996: Clashes between the MILF and the government claim at least 26 rebel lives this month. 11 soldiers are injured. Meanwhile, the wave of kidnapings in the south continues. Former rebels are reportedly responsible for the extortion efforts (Reuters, 10/30/96).

November 6, 1996: The MILF begins exploratory talks with the government (Reuters, 11/06/96).

November 28, 1996: The government declares a unilateral 60-day ceasefire against all armed groups. 7 soldiers die in clashes with the MILF (Reuters, 11/28/96).

December 4, 1996: From 50-200,000 Muslims rally in Maguindanao province demanding a separate state. It is not known if the MILF organized the rally (Reuters, 12/04/96).

December 11, 1996: At an annual meeting of donor countries and the Philippines government, $400 million is provided in grants to Mindanao along with $2.5 billion in loans. Half of the total amount is courtesy of Japan (Reuters, 12/11/96).

December 26, 1996: Asiaweek reports that the Moro insurgency cost 100,000 lives -- half of these were rebel casualties, 30% were soldiers, and the rest civilians. Overall, the government spent $3 billion and an average 40% of its military budget to combat the Moros. Reports also reveal that per capita income in one of the four ARMM provinces is $159 while on Tawi Tawi (another province), average life expectancy is 53 years and the illiteracy rate is around 50% (Reuters, 12/26/96).

January 7, 1997: Talks begin between the government and the MILF. They will meet again on February 25. Estimates are that the MILF has a force between 6-8,000 while Abu Sayyaf numbers in the several hundreds (Reuters, 01/07/97).

January 27, 1997: A ceasefire is signed between the MILF and the government. Since the new year, at least 33 rebels and 4 civilians have died in various incidents (Reuters, 01/27/97).

February 4, 1997: A Catholic bishop, the highest ranking priest in the south, has been killed. He was involved in efforts to unify the two religious communities. No one has claimed responsibility (Reuters, 02/04/97).

February 27, 1997: The MILF and the government agree to create a panel of church people and lawyers to monitor their ceasefire (Reuters, 02/27/97).

March 23, 1997: 10-13,000 Muslims protest following the deaths of 11 civilians reportedly due to army shelling that was directed toward rebel positions. President Ramos orders an investigation (Reuters, 03/23/97). In May, an independent probe determines that the civilian deaths are likely the result of army shelling (Reuters, 05/21/97).

April 6, 1997: Since the peace agreement was signed last September, the federal government has allocated $1.6 billion for infrastructure development in the south (Reuters, 04/06/97).

April 23, 1997: Talks resume between the government and the MILF. So
Antonio Sánchez García
15 de octubre de 2008

Queridos amigos: hace unos meses escribí este articulito en donde toco el tema Mussolini en relación con el sujeto de nuestras desdichas. Aquí se los envío, con afectuosos saludos


Traer al comunista Antonio Gramsci (Ales, Cerdeña, 22 de enero de 1891 - Roma, 27 de abril de 1937) a la turbia disputa que sacude a la sociedad venezolana no revela particular sagacidad. Especialmente en vista del propósito: si existe alguna figura ajena al estilo, a la acción y a los verdaderos objetivos del teniente coronel, ésa es la de Antonio Gramsci. Invocarlo para legitimar el cierre de RCTV, un dislate. Si es cierto que para Gramsci no hay revolución posible sin un cambio radical en las ideas y creencias dominantes, sustancia medular  de la "hegemonía", creer que dicho cambio debe llevarse a cabo con la brutalidad cuartelera de persecuciones, cierres, robos y asaltos a mano armada, propios del fascismo mussoliniano, significa no haber entendido absolutamente nada. Es claro que para Gramsci la revolución sólo es posible si se transforma el universo de las ideas y creencias y se conquista el corazón de la sociedad civil: pero ese cambio y esa conquista no se pueden lograr a mandarriazos. Para Gramsci, la revolución es el producto de la verdad histórica, del convencimiento intelectual de las masas y de la supremacía espiritual de los intelectuales orgánicos de la clase revolucionaria, no de la cuartelera brutalidad exhibida el 27 de mayo. ¿Dónde está la clase revolucionaria venezolana, en el ejército bolivariano? ¿Dónde sus intelectuales orgánicos? ¿En los generales Müller Rojas y Jacinto Pérez Arcay?

 De allí que el asesor italiano - ¿Antonio Negri? - que ha puesto las ideas del sardo en el escritorio de Miraflores no tenga la menor idea del caldo que se cuece en Venezuela: golpismo puro, militarismo puro, autocracia pura, caudillismo puro. Ingredientes muchísimo más cercanos al pensamiento, las ideas y el quehacer de Benito Mussolini que de Antonio Gramsci. Así el castrismo provea del know how represivo y el marxismo-leninismo la médula totalitaria para la torta bolivariana. ¿Gramsci legitimando el cierre de medios y la persecución a artistas, intelectuales y estudiantes que sacude a la sociedad venezolana? Puro non sens.

En cuanto al marxismo gramsciano, nunca está demás aclarar algunas cosas. Porque tampoco es que Gramsci sea la visión angelical, rosada del golpismo bolchevique. Gramsci fue marxista de la misma manera que Lenin: acuciado por sus propias determinaciones. Apenas realizado el asalto al Palacio de Invierno y la violenta toma del poder por los bolcheviques en octubre de 1917, un acto de consecuencias universales apenas entrevisto por sus contemporáneos, Antonio Gramsci, joven líder de los socialistas revolucionarios turineses,  publicó el 5 de enero de 1918 en Il Grido del Popolo su artículo LA REVOLUCIÓN CONTRA "EL CAPITAL". Ya hacía referencia en él a un hecho determinante de su propio quehacer intelectual: la revolución rusa  había tenido lugar a contracorriente de los pronósticos marxistas. Lo que le importaba un rábano. La revolución podía y debía cumplirse sin importar las enseñanzas marxianas: el problema crucial era tomar el Poder – si se podía -  y echar a andar la transformación revolucionaria de la sociedad. En cualquier tiempo y lugar. Todo lo demás podía quedar relegado a los manuales. Absolutamente inútiles, como bien lo ha demostrado la profesora Marta Harnecker.

Va incluso más lejos y se atreve a adelantar una crítica a Marx, sin duda injusta. Refiriéndose a Lenin y los bolcheviques escribe que "viven el pensamiento marxista, el que nunca muere, que es la continuación del pensamiento idealista italiano y alemán, y que en Marx se había contaminado con incrustaciones positivistas y naturalistas." Confunde sin duda su propia formación marxista, filtrada por Benedetto Croce y Antonio Labriola, con la de Marx, que no tiene absolutamente nada que ver con la tradición filosófica italiana. Y confunde el aporte de Engels, sin duda positivo y naturalista, con la sustancia historicista y crítica del propio Marx. Agregándole de su apasionada cosecha mediterránea un ingrediente inexistente en el pensador germano: "la voluntad social, colectiva…plasmadora de la realidad objetiva…canalizable por donde la voluntad lo desee, y como la voluntad lo desee." Huele antes a Schopenhauer, incluso a Wilfredo Pareto que a Marx. A fascismo antes que a socialismo. A Carl Schmitt. No es casual: por esas mismas fechas, Benito Mussolini acababa de romper con el mismo partido socialista en el que militaba Gramsci y en el que había logrado escalar hasta los más altos sitiales, abandonando la dirección de su revista Avanti y aprontándose a fundar los primeros Fasci italiani di combattimento, antecedente directo del fascismo italiano. Eran crías de la misma fiera.


'Si Gramsci se distancia del putchismo bolchevique no es por razones morales. Es por elemental cálculo político. En la Europa industrializada, con sociedades civiles complejas y articuladas, para hacer  la revolución socialista no basta el aventurerismo de un golpe de Estado, como en Rusia. O como en Venezuela – valgan las diferencias. Además de "cojones", como solían exigir los entrenadores cubanos en sus escuelas de guerrillas, hay que tener inteligencia, como por cierto les reclamaban los jovenes radicales de la izquierda venezolana. Hay que conquistar a la sociedad civil. Asunto infinitamente más arduo, difícil y complejo que asaltar el Palacio de Invierno con una tropa de desesperados. O ganar elecciones montados en parafernalias electrónicas y fraudulentas. Del estudio de la naturaleza de la sociedad rusa, que conocerá personalmente cuando viva en la Unión Soviética como delegado del PCI en la III Internacional se desprenderá su genial intuición que desarrollará luego en sus Cuaderni del Carcere.* Y de la aplicación de las categorías claves de Estado, Sociedad Civil y Familia con que Hegel desarrolla su anatomía del Estado y del derecho en la sociedad burguesa.** Se trata de su profunda y genial comprensión de la naturaleza de los sistemas de dominación en tanto ecuación hegemónica: consenso (ideas y creencias dominantes) blindado de coerción. O Estado + sociedad civil. Ecuación dominante que recibirá el nombre de  hegemonía y que tendrá muy importantes efectos en su proyecto estratégico y táctico. Hasta venir a dar cincuenta años después en el eurocomunismo, la postrera y frustrada ilusión del marxismo europeo antes del naufragio final.


Pero le toca en el alma la cuestión de Marx y el marxismo. Entonces, en un gesto de independencia y autonomía intelectual y política admirables, reivindica el derecho a una permanente y viva reconstrucción del pensamiento marxista, más allá de toda ortodoxia y toda filosófica religiosidad. Por ello, volviéndose al marxismo oficial – no sólo al revisionista de la IIª Internacional sino anticipando el marxismo estaliniano convertido en religión de estado con la IIIª– se permite una frase lapidaria que retumba en donde quiera que imperen la estulticia, la regresión intelectual, el vasallaje del espíritu que cree en verdades eternas: Tú sola, estupidez, eres eterna: "Marx no ha escrito un credillo, no es un Mesías que hubiera dejado una ristra de parábolas cargadas de imperativos categóricos, de normas indiscutibles, absolutas, fuera de las categorías del tiempo y del espacio…Marx significa la entrada de la inteligencia en la historia de la humanidad, significa el reino de la consciencia…No es un místico ni un metafísico positivista, es un historiador, un intérprete de los documentos del pasado, pero de todo los documentos, no sólo de una parte de ellos." Y como tal, perfectamente pasajero y periclitable, como toda realidad histórica.

No sabía cuan identificado estaba con la percepción que Marx tenía de sí propio. En carta que enviara en 1877 a la redacción de la revista rusa Otiechsviennie zapiski protesta enérgicamente contra aquel crítico que ha pretendido "a todo trance convertir mi esbozo histórico sobre los orígenes del capitalismo en la Europa Occidental en una teoría filosófica-histórica sobre la trayectoria general a que se hallan sometidos fatalmente todos los pueblos, cualesquiera sean las circunstancias históricas que en ellos concurran…" Y agrega en ese su clásico estilo lapidario, como pensando en sus más fieles seguidores de hoy: "esto es hacerme demasiado honor y, al mismo tiempo, demasiado escarnio". Pudo hacer suya la frase que el joven Gramsci escribiría cuarenta años más tarde y dirigirla al marxismo impenitente que aún hoy, en pleno siglo XXI apuesta a la dictadura del proletariado contra toda consideración histórica objetiva: tú sola, estupidez, eres eterna.


Pero si Gramsci está fuera de lugar en Miraflores, ¿qué sucede con su contrafigura? Mussolini era ocho años mayor que Gramsci y sus caminos – ambos eran importantes dirigentes del Partido Socialista Italiano - vinieron a bifurcarse en el curso de la Gran Guerra. Era avasallador, sanguíneo, tumultuoso, lenguaraz, ególatra, extrovertido, teatral, camorrero, impetuoso, prepotente y atrabiliario. Narcisista, presumido y neurótico. Ebrio de poder, enardecido por sus ímpetus regresivos, soez, tramposo, mendaz, esclavo de las multitudes y poseído por un autocratismo fiel a las más ancestrales tradiciones cesaristas romanas. Incapaz de experimentar el más mínimo sentimiento del ridículo. Y de toda auténtica compasión. Un oportunista más allá de toda medida. El propio fascista. Guardando las debidas distancias, ¿le suena conocido?

Gramsci, en el otro extremo, fue la desventura, la soledad, la discreción, la introversión, la enfermedad, el sufrimiento. En donde Mussolini se creía la propia beldad imperial romana, Gramsci se sabía feo, contrahecho, minusválido, monstruoso. Azotado por la adversidad y castigado por el destino. Un accidente le fracturó la columna a los tres años de edad, deformándole la espalda y limitando su crecimiento.  No llegó a superar el metro y medio de altura. A lo que se sumó la desventura. Cuando tenía nueve años su padre fue injustamente sentenciado a cinco años, 8 meses y 22 días de prisión. Debió pasar ese tiempo, junto a su madre y sus seis hermanos, en la más espantosa miseria. A pesar de lo cual se aferró al estudio, que siguió en la mayor penuria y la más absoluta falta de asistencia. Enfermo y desvalido. Hasta convertirse en un gran intelectual, en un gran dirigente, en un gran tribuno. En un revolucionario ejemplar.

Mientras las masas aclamaban el nombre de Mussolini por toda Italia, aquellos que compartían la prisión en que aherrojara a Gramsci en Turi ni siquiera podían deletrear su nombre. Lo llamaban Gramasci, Granusci, Grámisci, Gránisci, Gramásci y hasta Garamáscon. Y cuando aquellos que lo conocían de nombre y lo admiraban como diputado y dirigente comunista se enfrentaban por primera vez a su menuda, contrahecha y triste figura, se negaban a aceptar que ese ser frágil, atribulado y desvalido fuera el cíclope que tanto admiraban. Para ellos, Gramsci era un titán, un héroe. No esa derrengada, canija y afligida figura.

Y así de ejemplares fueron las muertes de estos arquetípicos antagonistas. Gramsci, encarcelado, se fue extinguiendo en vida. La apasionada llama que lo mantuvo hasta la hora postrera con los ojos abiertos y aferrado a su pluma se le escapó del lacerado cuerpo como un hálito de santidad. Para ser reivindicado por la posteridad como un socialista auténtico, un comunista verdadero, un hombre bueno, íntegro, puro y luminoso. Un humanista.  Mussolini, en cambio, el caudillo todopoderoso parido por la izquierda socialista italiana y elevado a las alturas de su autocracia fascista, moría colgado cabeza abajo de un farol, descuartizado por el odio y la venganza de las mismas masas que lo veneraran.

La rocambolesca historia de esta desgraciada Venezuela ha querido trastocar los papeles. Un extraño quid pro quo lo pone en el sitial equivocado para servir de legitimación a quien está mucho más cerca de su contrafigura. Por entre los solitarios pasillos de Miraflores pasea el fantasma de Mussolini, no el de Gramsci. Así Antonio Negri pretenda invocarlo para bien de su circunstancial mecenas. Clío, la diosa de la historia, suele hacernos esas malas jugadas.

          Kış Güzeli: Çorap        
The Graduate, 1967

Güzel çorap işte böyle baktırır! Hmmm tamam biliyorum burada bakılan Anne Bancroft'un muhteşem bacakları ama yine de güzel bir çorabın keskin gözlerin dikkatinden kaçması pek olası değildir. Kışın güzelliklerinden çoraplar, daha çok tamamlayıcı görevde olduklarından ayrı bir ilgiye mazhar olmaları her zaman mümkün olmaz. Bazıları ise tamamlayıcılıktan çok başrole oynarlar ki, böyleleri en dikkatsiz insanların bile en azından bir bakış atmasını sağlar. Bir de ısıtıcı görevi görenler var, en çok ihtiyaç duyduklarımız, onlar olmasaydı koca kış nasıl geçerdi bilmiyorum. Lafın kısası çorap, o sıcacık koruyuculuğu ve farklı tarzlardaki tasarımlarıyla birlikte kışın en güzel nimetlerinden biridir. Bir çorapsever olarak filmlerdeki ve tasarım dünyasındaki çorapların bu yazıda arz-ı endam eylemesini sizlere sunmaktan pek mutluyum. Bu soğuk kış günlerinde çorabınız her daim ısıtsın, biraz geç oldu ama yine de mutlu haftalar!

Belle de jour-1967



Don't Look Now-1973

Quid Pro Quo-2008

Secret Ceremony-1968

Rosemary's Baby-1968

Risky Business-1983

Desperately Seeking Susan-1985


A Dandy in Aspic-1968

Bridget Jones's Diary-2001

 Me Without You-2001

Pretty in Pink-1986


Une femme est une femme-1961


Viskningar och rop-1972

Tales from the Gimli Hospital-1989

Silence Becomes You-2005

The Odd Life of Timothy Green-2012

Like Crazy-2011


Footlight Parade-1933

Belle de jour-1967

ordan burdan kış güzelleri;


          Game of Thrones 5.8: Hardhome        

Well that was the best episode of The Walking Dead I've ever seen!! Oh wait... wrong show. Interestingly, on The Walking Dead I've always argued that if they just went north, the zombies would simply freeze and they'd be safe. I bet Jon Snow would probably tell me, "You know nothing, Nikki Stafford." As always, I'm joined by Christopher Lockett to discuss this week's spectacular episode. 

Nikki: Wow. The last 15 minutes of this episode were so intense that I’m writing this the next day, and my stomach feels like I did 100 crunches.

So, as we always do, let’s start somewhere else and lead up to that moment.

I’ll start at the beginning, with Tyrion and Daenerys. Last week I had high hopes for this moment, and it was as wonderful as I thought it was. Tyrion and Ser Jorah appear before Dany and her guards, and she asks Tyrion why she should believe that he is who he says he is. Using that silver tongue of his, he talks his way through everything, from her questioning why, if he’s from the House that killed her family, she should allow him to live — “I am the greatest Lannister killer of all time,” he replies — or where he finally silences her when he begins telling the story of Daenerys the way he has always heard it. He recounts the story of a baby that was in peril its entire life, who grew up into a young woman who was married off to the Dothraki and he thought that would be the last he’d hear of her, until she rose up and suddenly had armies and respect and people following her. “I thought you were worth meeting at the very least,” he says with his usual wit.

He explains to her that she doesn’t understand the Houses the way he does, and that he could become her advisor. Daenerys is quiet, calm, and listens to him closely throughout this scene, and she’s as smart in her silence as Tyrion is in his loquaciousness. Remember: her longtime advisor betrayed her and was sent away, and the advisor who took over from him has just been slaughtered. She’s been making her own decisions for the past couple of weeks, and trying her best to do the right thing, but her missteps have always happened when she didn’t listen to counsel as closely as she could. Tyrion has always been so good at captivating a listening audience that he naturally commands this scene, and she listens to him.

And... she gives him his first task. He has to advise her on what to do with Ser Jorah, and his advice is spot-on: you can’t murder a man who is devoted to you, because that will deter the devotion of others. And yet, he betrayed her. And yet, he changed his mind about her and would give his life for her now. And yet, he had opportunities to confess his crime to her and he chose not to, so even when he was most devoted to her, he was withholding very important information. Therefore, let him live, but he cannot be at her side. Daenerys looks astonished, and then impressed, and without a moment’s hesitation tells her guards to get Jorah out of the city. As we later see, Jorah will not go quietly into that good night, because with the death sentence growing ever more rapidly on his arm, he feels he’s got nothing to lose.

The next time we see Tyrion and Dany, they’re enjoying some wine (I imagine Tyrion must have been in some serious withdrawal, since he hasn’t had any wine since Jorah kidnapped him) and having a discussion. He begins to explain the Houses and their various loyalties to her, and I loved this scene because it felt like he was summing up The Show So Far. He sets the record straight on the Spider, explaining to Dany that it’s because of Varys that she probably wasn’t killed in her crib a hundred times. He’s still being a tad careful around her, asking if she’s going to lop off his head, and after a few jokes of how close he’s come to losing it before, she finally tells him that he will be her advisor, and no one’s going to be losing their heads today. Amusingly, she says, “You can advise me” then takes the wine goblet from his hand “while you can still speak in complete sentences.” Ha! Perhaps Dany will be the one to help wean Tyrion from his greatest weakness (after women, of course).

But after Tyrion begins his new vocation by suggesting that perhaps the Iron Throne is overrated, and Dany might be better here, in Meereen, where she’s running the place, where she’s loved and respected and finally has things under control, she waves him off, and tells him that Meereen isn’t her home — King’s Landing is (which is so interesting to us viewers, since we’ve never seen her in that place, and yet she’s right). He explains the tumultuous conditions over in Westeros, with the Houses all at war and stabbing each other in the back, so intent on grabbing the throne for themselves that no one will actually help her. She simply retorts that the Houses are spokes on a wheel, and Tyrion sits back like he’s looking at a naive little girl, and says stopping the wheel is nothing but a beautiful dream and she’s not the first person to have it. Daenerys turns to him with confidence and says, “I’m not going to stop the wheel; I’m going to break the wheel.”

Now it’s Tyrion’s turn to look impressed.

These opening scenes set up a recurring motif in this episode, which is the power of language. Tyrion saves his own life — and that of Jorah’s — through his words. In fact, he’s made it this far on words alone (and is the only Lannister not dead or imprisoned at the moment). If only Cersei would confess — she doesn’t have to mean it, she just has the say the words — they say they’d let her out of her prison. Ramsay undercuts Roose’s plans to have a giant army by suggesting that strategy would work more than numbers. The discussion between Sam and Ollie — and the words Sam uses without realizing the effect they have on the boy — could spell doom in the future. And the speeches that Tormund and Jon Snow give at the end of the episode are the ones that ring out throughout the battle that follows.

If it’s intelligence and words over sheer military might that will win the Iron Throne, Daenerys and Tyrion have the best chance of all of them at this point.

One of the most fascinating scenes follows the opening one, where Arya reinvents herself using only speech and a new backstory, as Jaqen gives her an initial mission. What did you think of the House of Black and White storyline this week, Chris?

Christopher: Considering how much the show is now diverting from the source material, it is an odd comfort to have one storyline at least hew closely to the novels. Arya’s story continues to fall out much as GRRM wrote it, with a handful of changes for the sake of economy. What I liked about her story in this episode is that, in an episode largely—as you observe—about talking, Arya’s bit is very much about seeing, both in terms of Arya seeing and at the same time not being seen. As Lana the oyster-girl, she is all but invisible, and from this position is able to observe very astutely and acutely.

One thing I should point out is that in A Feast for Crows, her apprenticeship as oyster-girl is more protracted and more literally an apprenticeship, as she is instructed to work for and live with a family who harvest and sell shellfish (and who take her in from the Faceless Men without question). The slight change the show makes in not drawing this out is an obvious one, but it is worth pointing out the novel’s treatment because it helps highlight the way in which our understanding of the faceless men has evolved.

The Faceless Men are a remarkable invention by GRRM, a society of assassins that ultimately comes to eschew all the clichés that usually attach to such characters. In A Game of Thrones, we first hear of them when Robert Baratheon demands that the newly pregnant Daenerys be killed, and the Faceless Men are floated as a possible means to this end—only to be ruled out by Littlefinger on the grounds that their services are monumentally expensive. Littlefinger later placates a furious Ned Stark, saying that in offering a general reward for her death (as he had suggested), it was unlikely that anyone would succeed in killing her—whereas, had they hired the Faceless Men, she’d be as good as dead.

Then we meet Jaqen H’ghar in season two and in A Clash of Kings, who seems to embody some of the aforementioned assassin clichés: suave, mysterious, preternaturally capable of dealing death. But this season he bears more resemblance to Yoda than anyone else, and the further we go into the House of Black and white (literally and figuratively), the more we come to understand the Faceless Men as a religious order rather than a mysterious order of assassins, who do not exist in isolation from society but in continuity with it. How they choose their victims remains a little mysterious, as does the precise method of remuneration. Littlefinger laments how expensive they are, but a man begins to wonder if that is perhaps the going rate for the rich and powerful, for whom assassination isn’t about giving the gift of death but a calculated move—whereas vengeance against a cynical insurance adjuster by an impoverished widow, who certainly could not afford the Littlefinger rate, would cost something more commensurate with the man’s crime and the widow’s means.

This is of course highly speculative, but it makes sense with regards to everything we have seen thus far. Arya’s apprenticeship to Jaqen has been about the dissolution of ego and concomitant ability to dissolve oneself into the world at large, to swim in its currents without being noticed, and above all to be able to see people for what they are.

In this respect, Arya’s story stands in stark (ha!) contrast to Cersei’s, who currently suffers the consequences of her blindness. All her life she has had two weapons: her beauty and her name, and they have never failed her before. As a result, she has been able to delude herself into believing herself a shrewd player in the game of thrones, whereas in reality she has been little more than a bungler. She now finds herself in a position where all she can do is rail and threaten, for she has put power in the hands of the one body that trumps the crown, and she did so in the mistaken belief that the High Sparrow understood the process as a transaction, as a quid pro quo. “I made him,” she tells Qyburn when he suggests that confession is one way out of her quandary. “I rose him up from nothing. I will not kneel before some barefooted commoner and beg his forgiveness.” This assertion reveals more about Cersei than her stubborn pride: it betrays the fact that she still just doesn’t get it, that she has arrived at a place and time where the Lannister name is not a get out of jail free card, does not entitle her to others’ fear and respect, and does not grant her authority.

There’s a nice little resonance here with Tyrion’s speech to Daenerys in which he enumerates why the various great houses will oppose her. Tyrion, though far smarter and shrewder than his sister, is nevertheless still captive to the same fallacy as Cersei, one that Daenerys is determined to upend. Daenerys understands one of the central truths of The Wire—“the game is rigged.” But she does not mean to play by the usual rules.

It will be interesting to see how Littlefinger fares.

Meanwhile, in the North, Sansa hears the first good news she’s had in a very, very long time. What did you think of the Winterfell story in this episode, Nikki?

Nikki: Oh, I’ve been waiting so long for Sansa to hear anythinggood about her family, and this moment was wonderful. It’s a quiet one, hidden in the middle of the episode and certainly overshadowed by the high drama happening in the King’s Landing prisons (for which I must give major kudos to Lena Headey, who is brilliant as Cersei this week) and the beyond spectacular battle scene at the end. As you called it last week (and I bungled as badly as Cersei has screwed up with the Sparrows), Reek did indeed turn to his master rather than try to help Sansa. But in this episode he pleads with her that in not trying to carry out her plan, he washelping her. She thinks because she’s somehow escaped the clutches of Joffrey she’s seen the worst Westeros has to offer. Turns out a bastard Bolton is far more dangerous than an inbred Lannister. (The Westerosians need to make bumper stickers with that motto just to spread the word.)

Reek tries to explain his motives to Sansa, but she won’t have any of it. He’s utterly broken; sadly, he’s not rising up to fight Ramsay the way I thought he might. I’m still not ruling it out, but it’s going to take something major to switch the Theon in him back on. In this episode he speaks of Theon in the third person, and says he’s absolutely not him any longer (which renders him answering to Theon two episodes ago a bit of a continuity error, in my eyes). He tells Sansa, “Theon Greygoy tried to escape.” He explains that “the master” knew, and “he cut away piece after piece until there was no Theon left.” Sansa simply looks at him and says, “Good.” She says if Ramsay hadn’t done those things to him, she would have done all of them and worse, or at least wished she had. She’s getting no argument from Reek, who tells her that he deserved everything he got.

But then she demands to know why, and how, could he have done what he did with her little brothers. He grew up with Rickon and Bran, how could he do those terrible things to them? And for a split second, Theon returns, and he says it wasn’t— and then stops short. Sansa catches him, though, and won’t let him walk away. She pushes and pushes until he finally admits he never killed her brothers, he couldn’t find them. He killed two innocent farmboys. The look on Sansa’s face was worth the price of admission. Just imagine this news for her. She watched her father be beheaded by the man to whom she was betrothed. She heard that her mother, brother, sister-in-law, and their unborn child were slaughtered by the Boltons. Arya has gone missing and is presumed dead. And then she hears that her two little brothers have been burned alive by a man who was raised like one of her brothers. The only relation she believes she has left is Jon Snow, and he’s been banished to the Wall and isn’t a Stark. She’s gone from having a family of eight, including Theon the ward, to it just being her. Even the Theon she knew is gone. And now it’s as if two of the dead have come back to life. She doesn’t know where they are, but they’re out there somewhere, and she might see them again one day. It’s a wonderful, wonderful moment, filmed with the two faces in profile, silhouetted against a grated window, as Sansa clutches the sides of Reek’s face, trying to catch her breath. I absolutely loved the art direction of this moment.

This scene moves to the Boltons planning their strategy against Stannis Baratheon’s army. Roose says he’s prepared for the siege and Stannis’s men are outnumbered. They simply hold out, wait for Stannis’s men to starve or mutiny, et voila, they win. But Ramsay’s got another idea up his sleeve. Or, as he says in an obvious shout-out to the title of the fourth book, he believes they need to take an offensive strategy and force Stannis’s army to become a Feast for the Crows. Roose (whose profile made me realize for the first time that his nose has clearly been broken at some point, for it has absolutely no curve to it whatsoever) argues that if you have the clear defensive advantage, why would you go on the offensive with an army, especially considering how deep the snow will be? Ramsay says he can do this with 20 good men. Whatever he’s up to, I’m assuming it’s not what any good military man would expect. And probably involves the removal of fingernails at some point.

Meanwhile, at the Wall, Sam is recovering from his injuries with Gilly (whose baby, as someone commented to us last week, is still a baby, despite the fact it was born three years ago, something that never occurred to me!) and is visited by Ollie. This is the second scene where Ollie has argued with a man of the Night’s Watch about the plan, and it feels ominous to me. What did you think of Sam and Gilly’s conversation, and then Ollie’s?

Christopher: I think this was a very tight little scene that speaks to the truth of Sam’s words: here we are in the heart of Castle Black, and Sam feels compelled to grab a blade when someone knocks at the door. “Wildling are people,” he tells Ollie. “Just like us, there are good ones and bad ones.” Given that Sam has had a recent run-in with some of the bad ones who are supposedly on his side, who would have beaten him to death and raped Gilly were it not for Ghost, he has a better sense of this than does Ollie. Ollie can hardly be faulted for hating the wildlings, and Tormund in particular, but it is worth noting that if his village had been north of the wall it might well have suffered a similar fate at the hands of Karl Tanner and his renegade crows.

Not that Sam makes this point, or that Ollie would accept it. The tensions and the conflicts in the Castle Black storyline this season are very much about hatreds and enmities so deeply rooted than many people simply cannot see past them, even if it’s a matter of their own survival.

Which is what makes Sam’s well-meaning words—as you say—so very ominous. “Sometimes, a man has to make hard choices,” he says, “choices that might look wrong to others, but you know are right in the long run.” It’s obvious that while Sam is talking about Jon Snow, Ollie is thinking about what he thinks is right, and what hard choice he might make in the future. “Try not to worry, Ollie,” Sam says. “I’ve been worrying about Jon for years. He always comes back.” Not quite what’s on Ollie’s mind, Samwell—a man suspects that Ollie is hoping he won’t come back with ships stuffed with wildlings.

Cue Jon Snow’s crossing the Delaware moment, as his men row him into the docks at Hardhome, where he’s greeted by a wall of faces all wearing expressions not dissimilar to Ollie’s.

I think it’s fair to say that the ending of this episode is one of the most spectacular sequences Game of Throneshas given us … and that’s saying a lot. What did you think of it, Nikki?

Nikki: Oh wow, you’re right! I’d completely forgotten about this ending. NOT.

Wow... every year the production crew of Game of Thrones is faced with some insane battle in the books, and they have to try to up the ante of what they did the year before. And as I immediately said on Twitter at the end of this one, this episode = Rome + The Walking Dead. We saw the spectacular battle at Castle Black last season, which followed the Battle of Blackwater, the Red Wedding, the mutiny at Craster’s... they’ve all been beautifully choreographed and the budgets are so big, you can just imagine hundred-dollar bills shooting out of a cannon in the background. This battle resembles the Red Wedding more than Blackwater or Castle Black, simply because it’s less a battle and more a full-on slaughter. First we have wildlings and Thenns vs. Tormund and Jon Snow, then wildling on wildling (those who agree with Tormund, and those who are on the side of the Thenns), then the wights show up, the skeletal zombies of the wildling dead, and then the white walkers show up (thanks, by the way, GRRM for calling them wights and white walkers, because THAT is not confusing when we’re hearing it and not reading it)... it’s just a madhouse. The CGI on the skelezombies was terrifying, and they move so fast they made The Walking Dead look like a rom-com in comparison.

I loved Karsi (whose name I had to look up because I never caught anyone calling her by name on the show), the wildling who actually listens to John and Tormund and trusts them enough to hand over her children to them. She’s played by Birgitte Hjort Sørenson, whom I immediately recognized as a Danish actress, though I couldn’t put my finger on what I knew her from. And yet, as I kept saying to my husband, I swear I saw her in something recently where she wasn’t playing a Dane. And then IMDb tells me she was the German Kommissar in Pitch Perfect 2, which I’d just seen the day before with my daughter.

Sadly, there were no a capella battles in this episode (I bet she and Jon Snow could have done a mean “Islands in the Stream”) and instead in the melée it becomes an every man for himself situation. The moment Karsi handed off her children, my husband and I assumed she was a goner. Then she became a formidable comrade on the battlefield and I was excited that she might actually live and become a great new female character in the North. And then... she faces off against the child wights. Since they were only in beginning stage of decomposition it would seem they’ve been killed recently, and the shocked look on Karsi’s face led me to believe they may have been her children. Paralyzed in the moment, and unable to hurt them, she dies in battle, eaten alive by the kinderskelezombies.

As if the politics and wars going on in Westeros and beyond aren’t unsettling enough, by the end of this episode it’s clear that no matter where they go, men will die — Valar Morghulis, after all. And when those men die, they will be reanimated by the white walkers and become wights, forced to obey the wishes of the Night’s King — the spiky-headed dude who brought them all to life at the end — and become an unstoppable army. Which suddenly begs the question in that horrible eerie silence at the end of the episode: what’s the point of anything else? The Baratheons, Lannisters, Targaryens, Boltons, Tyrells, and Martells can fight all they damn well please, but in the end, the white walkers will win because nothing can stop them. Or... can something stop them?

Did Jon Snow just become the single most important character of the series? As someone who hasn’t read the books, I read this ending as a twist that might have changed the direction of the entire series to this point. Jon has Valyrian steel. Valyrian steel can kill a white walker. Ned Stark’s Ice sword was made of Valyrian steel, and it was melted down into two swords — one given to Jaime, the other to Joffrey. Joffrey did dick-all with his sword — he was too busy being poisoned to death right after — and then his was given to Tommen, while Jaime gave his sword to Brienne. The Targaryens would have had Valyrian steel swords, but Daenerys wouldn’t still have those. There was that dagger way back near the beginning of the series that was apparently made of Valyrian steel and was used to try to kill Bran and then blamed on Tyrion, but I don’t know where that dagger ended up.

So. If some of the Houses have Valyrian steel — and I’m assuming more, just ones I either don’t remember or they haven’t been brought up — what if the white walkers become the thing that actually unites Westeros? They all have to get together with their swords and stop these things, and that’s the only thing that will do it.

Hm... now I’m thinking too far ahead, but the white walkers just made me forget every other battle that’s either currently being planned, because they all pale in comparison to the scope of what Jon Snow just saw at the very end.

When John and Tormund first arrive at Hardhome, they’re met by a group of hostile people who see Tormund as a traitor and Jon as the one who killed their leader, and yet they find a way not to be killed on the spot. The battle itself was spectacular, but it’s these scenes in the huts that everything else rested upon. What did you think of those, Chris, and could you tell us something more about the giants? I still don’t follow where their loyalties lie or how many of them are even left. 

Christopher: Kinderskelezombies. That is awesome.

Well, the first thing I should say is that this whole scene is a major departure from the books … so in some ways I’m as at sea as you. In A Dance With Dragons, Jon Snow sends an expedition to rescue the wildlings at Hardhome, but does not go himself. The fleet of ships he sends runs into bad weather, and a number of them are lost. The ships’ captain sends a message by raven to Jon, begging for help. Jon at first plans to lead an overland rescue, then ends up sending it under Tormund’s command.

Hence, the action and events in the second half of this episode are wholly the invention of the show.

I’m wracking my brain to try and remember whether the anti-walker qualities of Valyrian steel are known or not … I think yes? Or perhaps it’s suspected? (I’m writing this post on the road, and so don’t have access to my copies of the books to consult). I seem to think that because of its origins as steel forged with magic by dragonlords, that it was assumed to be the natural enemy of the White Walkers.

We’re given to understand in the books that there are a few hundred blades forged of Valyrian steel in Westeros, and that they are mostly prized heirlooms among families of note. We learn at one point that the Lannisters, in spite of their wealth, never possessed a Valyrian sword until Tywin “appropriates” Ice—that in fact he had long attempted to acquire one, offering large sums of money to impoverished houses, but that however much they might need the cash, no one would ever part with their Valyrian steel. So theoretically, if you could ever get those people in possession of such weapons to fight together, you could have a pretty effective shock unit to face off against the Walkers. Of course, based on what we saw in this episode, their strategy seems to be to hang back and let their undead hordes do all the dirty work for them, and then add the newly dead to their ever-growing army. Which at this point is very formidable indeed.

I really loved the council of elders scene, especially Tormund’s line re: Jon Snow, “Well, he’s prettier than my two daughters …” If I have a quibble with it all, it’s what you mentioned above: that it was obvious from the outset that Karsi was marked for death. I suspected as much when she made her presence at the meeting known so overtly, and was inclined to trust Tormund and join her people to Jon’s cause. When she promises her children that she’ll be along shortly, I wrote in my notes, “She might as well be wearing a red shirt.” I was a little annoyed that the writers chose to go with the cliché of the disposable character—confounding expectations by letting her escape with Jon would have given us a new and compelling character.

That being said, her death was heartrending, especially as, as you suggest Nikki, the sense is that she sees a child of her own among the child-wights. It’s a chilling moment, if you’ll pardon the pun. And it’s worth noting that one of them bears more that a passing resemblance to the child-wight we saw in the very first episode of this show four years ago and eight weeks ago.

Overall, this entire sequence was brilliant. I’m not sure what the deal with the giants is, Nikki, or how many of them there are. The books say that the giants are a dying race, and there are very few of them left. Wun Wun might well be the last of his kind, as far as the show is concerned—though now that the wildlings are allies rather than enemies, that’s too bad. He shows pretty clearly that having a giant on your side is somewhat advantageous. I loved watching him stomping the wights and pulling them off him like mere irritants.

The final moments as Jon Snow’s boat drifts away from the docks and the Night King was haunting. I think you put your finger on it, Nikki: in that few seconds as the Night King defiantly brings hundreds, perhaps thousands of the dead back to reanimated “life,” the look on Jon Snow’s face is one of stupefaction and despair. How indeed do they fight thatenemy?

I’m going to go out on a limb and wager that dragons will be involved.