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A Deep Dive - Ghislaine Maxwell: Silver Spoons and Hard Times

A Deep Dive - Ghislaine Maxwell: Silver Spoons and Hard Times
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Ghislaine Maxwell – Silver Spoons and Hard Times

August 9, 2020
By Paul Serran
Ghislaine Maxwell led much of her life under the world’s fascinated microscopic view, always enthralled by her – famous and infamous – as it watched her fortunes wax and wane.
From the celebrated miracle daughter of media tycoon Robert Maxwell; to the broken young woman who fled scandal in the UK to a small New York apartment, trying to launch a new life; the rebirth Jet-set Ghislaine, who was everywhere at once, longtime companion of Jeffrey Epstein, a man even richer and more shady than her father; the sophisticated middle age woman, a runaway alleged criminal trying hard to avoid detection by her pursuers – finally, to the incarcerated, indicted suspected sex trafficker and perjurer.
Ghislaine was Robert and Betty Maxwell’s miracle baby, born on Christmas Day, 1961. Two days after that, their eldest son suffered a fatal car accident.
In 24 hours, it all had been somehow foretold: joy – and then tragedy.
During the Swinging Sixties, Robert Maxwell served two terms as a Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Buckingham. He led a multimillionaire lifestyle, and was the host of star-studded parties at Headington Hill Hall, his baronial fifty-three-room Oxford mansion.
The Maxwells spent a million dollars redecorating the mansion. In a stained glass window scene for the imperial staircase, Israeli sculptor Nehemia Azaz depicted Robert Maxwell as the biblical hero Samson tearing down the gates of Gaza: “a titan of luck, impossible achievement, and unlimited wealth”.
They had the use of chauffeured luxury cars. They traveled the world in Robert’s Gulfstream IV Jet and his sleek 180-foot yacht, named Lady Ghislaine.
“If Bob Maxwell didn’t exist, no one could invent him,” Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock celebrated the bombastic, demanding mogul who dined with kings and presidents and had a bottomless appetite for family, food, fortune, and fame.
The first brush with financial and professional hardship came at a age when young Ghislaine would have been mostly sheltered from it.
In the early seventies, after Robert Maxwell tried similar shenanigans in a failed attempt to swindle the American financier Saul Steinberg, who was interested in a strategic acquisition of Pergamon Press. Steinberg claimed that during negotiations, Maxwell falsely stated that a subsidiary responsible for publishing encyclopedias was extremely profitable.
At the same time, Pergamon had been forced to reduce its profit forecasts for 1969 during the period of negotiations, leading to a suspension of dealing in Pergamon shares on the London stock markets.
It was found that Maxwell had contrived to maximize Pergamon’s share price through transactions between his private family companies. This was a criminal practice he would utilize again in the future.
Inspectors from Britain’s Department of Trade and Industry declared Maxwell unfit to run a public company: “Notwithstanding Mr. Maxwell’s acknowledged abilities and energy, he is not in our opinion a person who can be relied on to exercise proper stewardship of a publicly quoted company.”
‘Captain Bob’ established the Maxwell Foundation in tax haven Liechtenstein, in 1970. By the 1980s he come back roaring, prompted by money later said to have originated in the Soviet Union. He bought the Mirror Group built and a massive media conglomerate.
The good times were on: Ghislaine was nicknamed “The Shopper” because of her wild spending funded by Robert’s millions. He also bankrolled her failed corporate gifts business.
During this period, she reportedly had a VERY close relationship with her father and was widely credited with being her father’s favorite child.
In Oxford, Ghislaine led a student life of wealth and privilege. Her father would send Filipino servants to the college house she shared to clean, arrange the table and cook, in the event of a party.
Her career piggybacked on her father’s businesses. She was made director of the Oxford United, and later, put in charge of “special projects” of the New York Daily News.
With her father’s money, she found her way into society, especially in New York — a haven where she could escape his complete control.
But the good times were not to last. Overextended and over-leveraged, Maxwell’s empire was about to crumble.
At this time, Maxwell reportedly was a regular at London’s casinos, playing three tables at once, even dropping $2.5 million in a single night. For years, he had been an inveterate gambler, but this was the behavior of a desperate man whose time was running out.
“He was a very crude man,” said a female writer for Time magazine. “His polish was not very deep. If you were with him for any length of time, it peeled away. I was in his library in the Maxwell House penthouse—a beautiful apartment with marble and servants all over the place—and while I was admiring his books, his valet said to me, ‘You should see Mr. Maxwell’s collection of pornographic tapes’.”
Ghislaine visited her father in his office before he flew off to Gibraltar. “He was looking for an apartment in New York—a sort of pied-à-terre, where he could talk and have meetings—and he wanted me to help him,” she told Vanity Fair. “He asked me to go see a particular apartment. He said, ‘If you like it, I’ll make time to see it and come to New York.’ ” But the next time Ghislaine saw her father, he was dead.
”Ghislaine is the baby of the family and the one who was closest to her father,” her mother Betty told Vanity Press. ”The whole of Ghislaine’s world has collapsed, and it will be very difficult for her to continue.”
When she finally appeared before the reporters, she had collected herself. “How did your father die?” a journalist shouted at Ghislaine Maxwell. “He did not commit suicide. That was just not consistent with his character. I think he was murdered. ”
Maxwell, it turned out, had debts of nearly $5 billion, and had stolen hundreds of millions from the Mirror Group’s pension funds to shore up his faltering companies. That left 32,000 employees exposed to retirement ruin.
The irony was not lost on the hard-hitting British press: Robert Maxwell, a socialist, stealing hundreds of millions of pounds from the Mirror’s pension fund!
He swindled money from two of his public companies, transferred millions in and out the secret family trusts in Liechtenstein, to manipulate the share price of his Corporation.
Robert was called “rogue,” “crook,” “bully,” “thief,” “megalomaniac,” and “gangster.” The press told lurid tales of his sex orgies with midget Filipino hookers.
He was seen as a 310-pound aberration gorging on spoonfuls of caviar. An erratic and cruel tyrant who used Turkish towels for toilet paper. Journalists wrote that he was a spy for the K.G.B. or Mossad or Czech intelligence—or all three.
“My daughter Ghislaine has no money, no trusts, no funds anywhere.” her mother Betty told Vanity Fair. “Neither of [my children] had any money. Their father never gave them any money.”
Their assets were frozen. His son Kevin’s house was put up for sale, as were the Lady Ghislaine and the Gulfstream IV Jet. Their passports were seized.
A friend told The Times of London, “[Ghislaine] had always been the life and soul of the party wherever she wanted to go in the world and never had to worry about money.” Now she was the broken child of a monster, his name forever synonymous to scandal. “She was catatonic,” the friend said.
Forced to vacate her huge company-provided residence, she moved into a small apartment. When a friend came to visit, Ghislaine told her, “They took everything—everything—even the cutlery.”
Little did she know how many more times things in her life would shift from silver spoons to hard times. A woman brought up in luxury, she had everything taken from her, before she came to the United States to begin again.
“He wasn’t a crook,” Ghislaine told Vanity Press. “A thief to me is somebody who steals money. (…) Did he put it in his own pocket? Did he run off with the money? No. And that’s my definition of a crook.”
“I’m surviving—just,” she said. “But I can’t just die quietly in a comer. I have to believe that something good will come out of this mess. It’s sad for my mother. It’s sad to have lost my dad. It’s sad for my brothers. But I would say we’ll be back. Watch this space.”
Ghislaine Maxwell was also being hunted by the tabloids. The Maxwell name was so detested in London that she is said to have had to walk around in a blond wig so people wouldn’t recognize her.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s reinvention didn’t take long. Maxwell moved to the United States just after her father’s death. Her photograph boarding a Concorde to cross the Atlantic caused outrage – her father had just defrauded pensioners out of 750 Million Sterling Pounds.
According to the Mail on Sunday: “Unnoticed by almost everybody, traveling with her was a greying, plumpish, middle-aged American businessman who managed to avoid the photographers. It is to this man that 30-year-old Ghislaine has turned to ease the heartache of her father’s shame.”
“His name is Jeffrey Epstein.”
“Whose house is this, Ghislaine?” a friend asked her in the early 1990’s. “Who lives here?”
My friend,” Maxwell replied.
“Well, is he banging you?” the friend demanded. “What’s the scoop here?”
A trust fund is said to have provided her with an income of $145,000 a year. A far cry from her previous seemingly unending wealth. She “never, ever had any cash. Lots of credit, of course, but no cash”, one friend recalled to the press.
And yet, she lived the high life. She was known in New York as the “female Gatsby” for her lavish entertaining. Had a “reputation for being charming and funny, and a glittering lifestyle straight out of the pages of a society magazine”.
She was now “far from the ever watchful eye of the British press,” Hello! magazine wrote in 1997.
“She is proud of the fact that her new life is all down to her own hard work and has her elegant apartment to show for it,” the magazine mistakenly added. One day, she would “get married and have kids. But it has never been a focus: My focus is my business.”
Ghislaine’s presence added more fuel to the question: “How did Jeffrey Epstein amass his fortune?” For one of the most propagated theories is that Maxwell’s father Robert bankrolled him with funds hidden from the UK authorities.
Jeffrey Epstein built a 21,000-square-foot mansion on a massive ranch in New Mexico, which – he boasted – made his New York townhouse “look like a shack”. He named it the Zorro Ranch. He also acquired a 72-acre island in the Virgin Islands and an 8,600-square-foot home in Paris, with a specially built massage room.
She had found a path back to the lifestyle she’d lost when her father died. “She was used to living very well,” says a friend who knew her then. “She didn’t want to go back to where she was.” All she had to do to keep it was to give ‘the monster’ what he wanted.
Maxwell was expected to drop everything to serve Epstein.
She had to keep everyone in line, because one misstep would unleash the wrath of Epstein, one of the few people who could make Maxwell cry. “He would be screaming over the phone,” recalled an Epstein victim, “and she would burst into tears.”
The New York townhouse became a social nexus; guests could have included members of the Kennedy and Rockefeller clans, “along with the requisite sprinkling of countesses and billionaires,” according to The Times of London.
She was “a modern-day geisha” in a “domain filled with the richest people in the planet. “It’s a world frequented by young half-naked girls in bikinis, billionaires and lavish lifestyles, but it borders on the grotesque. You are never really sure what is going on behind closed doors.”
Royalty was specially prized, which is why her friendship with Prince Andrew became so treasured. In 2000, Maxwell and Epstein attended a Prince Andrew’s party at the Queen’s Sandringham House estate in Norfolk, England. It has been reported that the event was in honor of Maxwell’s 39th birthday.
And yet, Ghislaine began trying to distance herself from Epstein long before he went to jail. In the early 2000s, she hooked up in California with a man much richer than Epstein: Ted Waitt.
Waitt lived in a seven-bedroom, 14-bath mansion in La Jolla, sailed the world aboard a 240-foot mega-yacht, the Plan B. It was equipped with a helipad, Jacuzzi, elevator, gym, and HAD AN ONBOARD SUBMARINE, which Maxwell soon was licensed to pilot.
After Epstein went to prison in Florida for a short period, Maxwell saw the silver spoons turned into hard times again.
Acquaintances that crossed her path reported how she was almost unrecognizable. She was not stylish and attention grabbing anymore, seemed determined to go unnoticed. Her face had no makeup. There was a hint of gray in her black hair, she put on some weight.
“I was so shocked by her look,” a friend recalled to the British press. “I didn’t recognize her.”
She even gave up her once proud name, sometimes introducing herself to new acquaintances only as “G.”
“Where are you living, Ghislaine?” the friend asked. “I lost touch with you.” Maxwell suddenly went blank. “Oh,” she replied, “a little bit everywhere.”
December 2014: Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed a motion in the Southern District of Florida describing Maxwell as Epstein’s “primary coconspirator and participant in his sexual abuse and sex trafficking scheme.”
Maxwell made a huge mistake, issuing an “urgent” statement to the media dismissing the claims as “obvious lies.” That allowed Giuffre, to sue Maxwell for defamation in federal court in New York, a lawsuit “widely viewed as a vessel for Epstein’s victims to expose the scope of Epstein’s crimes,” according to the Miami Herald.
Maxwell affirmed her innocence with fury, at one point of her testimony banging her fists on the table. She also, according to charges filed by the DOJ SDNY, committed two counts of perjury.
2019: when the SDNY reopened the criminal investigation into Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine was far away, living the high life.
She met with her friend Prince Andrew in Buckingham Palace, and participated in “Cash & Rocket”, an annual charity road rally. Between races of the rally, she joined the super rich in attending a Masquerade Ball in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as a White dinner at La Reserve in Geneva and the Red party at the Yacht Club de Monaco.
Those were to be her last reported events. Cash & Rocket scrub Maxwell’s photo from its website once Epstein was arrested and the scandal assaulted the headlines again.
On July 6, 2019, Epstein was arrested by federal agents at Teterboro Airport, arriving from Paris. The FBI raided his mansion, and charged him with sex trafficking of minors.
“Epstein’s pimp girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, a very well-connected Brit socialite cannot just walk free,” actress Ellen Barking tweeted the day after Epstein’s arrest. “This woman is his pimp. She pilots planes [sic] to and from the island. I know because she told me.”
Maxwell again went into hiding, unreachable during legal proceedings. It surfaced in December 2019 that Maxwell was among the people under FBI investigation for facilitating Epstein’s crimes.
She was faced with a tabloid frenzy even bigger than the one that accompanied the death of her father. She again uprooted herself and tried to start over in Manchester-by-the-Sea, a quiet village 30 miles north of Boston, she lived for a time in the $3 million, five-bedroom colonial home of Scott Borgerson, CEO of CargoMetrics, a hedge fund investment company involved in maritime data analytics.
Since Epstein was found dead in jail, last August, she is reported to have moved 36 times, out of fear for her safety. Credible Death threats arrived by social media, email, phone, text, and postal service. It began in earnest with Epstein’s arrest, multiplied with his death, and accelerated in the months that followed. They soon became a routine part of her life.
She hired a professional security firm, with operatives that are veterans of intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
This photoshopped photo of Maxwell surfaced last year to mislead the public into thinking she was in Los Angeles. Frank Report was the first to report the photo a fake, a story that went viral.
“Where in the world was Ghislaine Maxwell? Everyone, it seemed, had a theory, each wilder than the last. She was said to be hiding deep beneath the sea in a submarine, which she was licensed to pilot. Or she was lying low in Israel, under the protection of the Mossad, the powerful intelligence agency with whom her late father supposedly tangled. Or she was in the FBI witness protection program, or ensconced in luxury in a villa in the South of France, or sunning herself naked on the coast of Spain, or holed up in a high-security doomsday bunker belonging to rich and powerful friends whose lives might implode should Maxwell ever reveal what she knows—all the dirty secrets of the dirty world that she and Epstein shared.”
(Vanity Fair – Jul 3, 2020)
Maxwell remained at large, beyond the reach of attorneys, tabloid reporters, and a 10,000-pound reward from The Sun in London.
“It’s a little bit like Elvis—you get lots of reports but they’re hard to verify,” a victim attorney said in May.
She was periodically said to have been spotted around the world, usually in places where she was not. Reporters scoured the globe. Some said she was in Russia trying to get a Oligarch to protect her. Others pointed to Israel or Brazil, China, Singapore, the Middle East, England.
She was “both everywhere and nowhere,” lamented UK’s The Guardian.
On August 2019, she was apparently photographed eating a burger and fries in the Cahuenga Boulevard, in the San Fernando Valley. She held The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives. Given Ghislaine and her father Robert’s alleged ties to Intelligence Services, this choice does not seem accidental.
Papers were running out of incredible stories to account for her disappearance. A bizarre new theory emerged she could be hiding in a submarine which – as we saw – was not downright impossible, since she DID have a license to pilot underground vehicles.
On July 2nd 2020, Maxwell was arrested by the FBI and NYPD in the small New England town of Bradford, New Hampshire. It is situated at driving distance of the NYSD. They finally found her in a luxurious four-bedroom, 4,365-square-foot home on a wooded lot, called Tuckedaway.
Ghislaine Maxwell was charged with six federal crimes: luring and enticement of minors, sex trafficking of children and perjury.
The crimes took place between 1994 and 1997, the years of her “intimate relationship with Epstein,” when she “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls.”
One of the three unnamed victims was “as young as 14 years old when they were groomed and abused by Maxwell and Epstein, both of whom knew that certain victims were in fact under the age of 18.”
FBI assistant director William F. Sweeney Jr. described Maxwell as “one of the villains of this investigation,” who had “slithered away to a gorgeous property” in New Hampshire, where she was “continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago.”
“I am optimistic about my future,” she said in 1997, “and believe things will continue to improve for me as time passes.”
Now, according to sources close to her, “I don’t think [Ghislaine] sees there is a future,” came the reply.
If found guilty of all charges, Maxwell could face a prison sentence of 35 years. She denies the accusations, and has pleaded not guilty to all six charges.
She will await trial locked up in the Metropolitan Detention Center, in Brooklyn. A dreadful prison that is as removed from her previous “silver spoon” upbringing as it’s possible in the US. Hard times.
She used to be a larger than life character, who once hosted a dinner for NY socialites on ‘the fine art of giving a blow job’. But then, she really blew it.
A report from a source familiar with the Metropolitan Detention Center gives a glum picture of Ghislaine Maxwell’s present conditions.
She is in the women’s section and believed to be confined to a solitary cell. Because of the past history of the MDC, it is not impossible to suspect that Ghislaine could be having sexual relations with one or more corrections officers, either male or female. Her available wealth would permit her to buy some privileges directly from the corrections officers who could smuggle in items for her.
MDC has a history of guards, male and female, enjoying sex with prisoners and smuggling in everything from alcohol to cell phones to drugs. While she is not enjoying what anyone would call a privileged life, and is most likely [because of Covid protocols] confined to her cell, dank and cold [in summer] perhaps as much as 23-24 hours per day and possibly getting only one hot meal per day, our source says, with her wealth and talent to charm, if there is any privilege, any opportunity, any luxury to enjoy at MDC, she is enjoying it.
Of course, she is probably under near-constant surveillance, for no guard wants to go to prison for letting her get murdered or commit suicide – as did her former lover Epstein. It is not known how frequently she is meeting with lawyers in special rooms set aside for the purpose. But an MDC source tells Frank Report that prison officials are known to eavesdrop on those conversations with lawyers and defendants and do so on high profile cases. Whether they report to the prosecution what they learn is unknown.
In the end, Maxwell has a hard road to hoe and will remain in the brutal and unsanitary MDC until she stands trial or makes a plea deal or dies. The possibility of additional charges other than those currently charged against her – for hebephilia crimes in the last century – remain a possibility.
The late Jeffrey Epstein was a convicted hebephile, a person who has urges for post pubescent but under the age of consent children. Is Ghislaine one also? And are there others, famous and prominent men of power who have indulged as Jeffrey and allegedly Ghislaine have done?
The ace in the hole for her, obviously, is, if she has info on other prominent hebephiles that the DOJ for its own partisan or PR reasons might like to selectively prosecute, she can trade that info for a lenient sentence and hopefully not be murdered for doing so.
Her former lover, Jeffrey Epstein, might have committed suicide, as the Mainstream Media and the US Govt. urges you to believe, but there are some who find the coincidences, cameras being off, bones broken indicating he was strangled, guards happening to fall asleep as they were assigned to watch the most famous prisoner in the world, such that that it just might cause reasonable people to doubt the official narrative a little more than the corporate media and prison officials would wants us to doubt.
The same fate might befall Ghislaine and we may never know just what she did. Whether her crimes were confined to herself and Epstein or whether there was a vast network of hebephiles joining in – or – in fairness to her – she is innocent as she claims, something that a trial, if she makes it to trial, might help us determine.

stretcher during the funeral service in Jerusalem’s main convention hall on Nov. 10, 1991. The body is laying on a stretcher, draped in a white Jewish prayer shawl with black stripes as is it tradition of Jewish burials in Israel. (AP Photo/Natik Harnik) Ghislaine is fourth from the left.
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Book Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship Reign - Part 1: Welcome to the New World

Jon Moxley is a name many associate with AEW - after all he is their current reigning and defending Undisputed Champion of the World. However his reign has fallen flat. He has felt empty and like he’s missing something this whole time. I put it down to COVID. His champions coronation promo saw him say that the real champions were the fans, and he would fight for them. But when they were gone he felt empty. So as per the prompt, we will remove COVID-19 from the situation. So in a perfect world, this is how I would...
Book Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship Reign - Part 1: Welcome to the New World
The events leading up to and including Revolution stay indictable. It was a good build with the Moxley joining The Inner Circle fake out and the mini-tournament that spanned across Bash at the Beach and the Jericho Cruise ship. The Dynamite after he makes the same promo about how the real champions are the fans and he will defend it for them. The week after he then has his list confrontation with Chris Jericho. Jericho and The Inner Circle stand in their private box above the fans, cutting a promo while Jon is in the ring. Jericho says it’s was a fluke and he wants a rematch. “We ain’t in the fed anymore Chris, I ain’t handing out rematches like candy”. Jon storms up and beats down on all of The Inner Circle, hitting Jericho with a Paradigm Shift through the table covered in popcorn and bubbly to the crowds roar. He then celebrates with the title among them.
Then at Blood and Guts, it’s The Elite vs. The Inner Circle. Once we’ve just entered The Match Beyond, with Cody finally leaving his cage to join the match, The Bucks lock him out. They call The Inner Circle to a truce as they beat the ever loving fuck out of Kenny Omega and Adam Page. They mug the two men, as Cody is forced to watch his best friends and the foundation of his company destroyed. The Bucks leave the structure and double team Cody on the outside. They then leave. The rest of The Elite put up a good fight but since it’s 5-3, they obviously lose to The Inner Circle.
Next week The Young Bucks come out to cut a promo stating what they did what they did. Simply, they don’t need The Elite. Well not they don’t need The Elite, because they are the elite, they don’t need the human Dusty Memorial, video game nerd and alcoholic. Since they’re EVP’s, they insert themselves into a match against Omega and Page for the tag titles next week. It’s just as good as Revolution, maybe even better as they both have even more passion within them to beat the others. In the end The Bucks hit More Bang for Your Buck and pin Hangman for the win. They are your new AEW Tag Team Champions.
After losing Blood and Guts to The Inner Circle, after his best friends Matt and Nick Jackson turning on him and Cody and Adam Page, after losing his AEW Tag Team Championships to Matt and Nick, Kenny Omega is at rock bottom. The week after losing the tag titles, he wrestles Darby Allin in that weeks main event in a TNT Championship tournament match. Kenny comes out to a lukewarm reaction while his opponent Darby Allin gets a huge pop as he rolls down the ramp on his skateboard. He jumps off the skateboard, through the middle ropes and rolls into the ring. Ringside member throws the skateboard back towards Darby and he kicks the match off hot with a skateboard assisted Dropkick!
Allin takes Kenny to the corner and hits a Hesitation Dropkick. He then hits a Snapmare and Springboard Meteora! Kenny is already dazed and the match has only gone a few seconds. Kenny goes for a lariat but Darby ducks and hits a Pele Kick followed by Rolling Youshi Tonic! 1......2.....Kenny barely kicks out. Darby then recovers in the corner while Kenny is flushed. Kenny regains his composure and begins to fight back. He hits a V-Trigger and starts to go back and forth with Darby. Darby however counters out of a One Winged Angel and hits a Backstabber followed by Coffin Drop. 1.........2.......3. Darby Allin advances.
Jon Moxley is interviewed by Tony Schiavone about his accolades thus far and his ultimate goal. Jon tells Tony that so far he’s done all he needs to do, and that’s kick ass. And by being the quintessential ass kicker, he got the AEW World Championship. Darby Allin, Chris Jericho, Pac, Kenny Omega - all have succumb to him. Tony asks if he sees himself as being morally correct. Jon responds with “I used to know a guy who often said: I’m not a bad guy, but I’m not a good guy. You know what he was? He was THE guy.” Moxley says how he is that guy in terms of accolades, being the king of the AEW mountain. Lastly he’s asked on who he thinks will be the first to step up to him. “I don’t know who they are, but they can kiss being able to walk for the week following goodbye is all I know.”
On the final episode of Being The Elite now that The Bucks are gone - we see Adam Page and Kenny drinking at a bar, the fall of The Elite never being so present. The episode ends when Kenny leaves the bar and heads to their car, and in the rain finds a pair of aviator shades resting on the seat of his car. He puts them on and we see a man we haven’t seen in a long time - The Cleaner. This clip is replayed on Dynamite with some higher quality. That same Dynamite the Casino Battle Royale is announced to take place on Dynamite to determine who will challenge Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship at Double or Nothing.
New rules are input - all 21 entrants will draw a card. The suit of their card will determine when they come out. Each suit come out in one batch at time intervals. For the first 5 entrants - all those entrants are of the Spades deck. Then entrants 6-10 will be of the Clubs deck, 11-15 the Diamonds and 16-20 the hearts. Everyone enters at 90 second time intervals with the Joker coming out last as the 21st entrant. The winner faces Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship at Double or Nothing. Jon Moxley cuts a promo the week before the Casino Battle Royale and roasts everyone of the possible people to win the match and face him. He comes at Jericho, MJF, Pac, but mainly Kenny Omega.
1- The Butcher
2- The Blade
3- “Broken” Matt Hardy
4- MJF
5- Dustin Rhodes
Butcher and Blade start the match off. A tag team being 1 and 2 in these type of matches always draws a pop and the two go at it before the crowd explode for Broken Matt Hardy! We hear his old Impact theme and he walks down, finally broken, finally free. MJF follows suit and the boos rain down because as soon as he locks eyes with Hardy, he starts imitating he’s got a broken back and the crowd want him dead. Dustin Rhodes come out next and has a nice moment with Matt before they start fighting. Butcher and Blade then begin to team up and try and eliminate some people.
6- Jake Hager
7- Diamond Dallas Page
8- Billy Gunn
9- Tommy Dreamer
10- Sonny Kiss
Jake Hager comes out and tries to dump Dustin out immediately. They go back and forth before they eliminate each other brawling over the ropes. DDP then comes out to a big pop, followed by a big pop when Billy Gunn comes out, followed by another big pop when Tommy Dreamer comes out! Tour of the dads! DDP gives everyone a Diamond Cutter, and Gunn gives a Famouser to MJF. Sonny Kiss comes out and has a face off with Dreamer. Kiss then bashes Dreamer’s face into his ass like last year.
11- Shawn Spears
12- Joey Janela
13- Wardlow
14- Masato Tanaka
15- Jimmy Havoc
Break from the comedy as Shawn Spears comes out and we’re getting serious. Spears takes out Billy Gunn as soon as he walks in, takes out DDP, goes to eliminate Dreamer but Dreamer gets out and fights back. Joey Janela and Dreamer have a hardcore brawl, Wardlow comes out to help MJF and they fight with Butcher and The Blade. Throwback spot, as Masato Tanaka comes out! Jimmy Havoc comes out, and joins the Dreamer and Janela fight. They use a couple weapons, before Havoc knocks a kendo stick over the head of Janela, before hitting an Acid Rainmaker to Dreamer and he falls through a table as he falls out!
16- Brodie Lee
17- Jeff Cobb
18- Michael Nakazawa
19- Lance Archer
20- Kenny Omega
Brodie Lee gets a huge pop when he enters, making his AEW debut tonight. He comes in and Discus Clothesline’s everyone, before dumping out Sonny Kiss. Butcher and The Blade go to eliminate Brodie Lee, but Lee gets out. Butcher and Blade turn around and are tossed out by Wardlow and MJF. Jeff Cobb comes out and has a monsters brawl with Brodie Lee. Cobb and Lee take down everyone in the ring, and then - Michael Nakazawa. He comes out and looks at Cobb and Lee, side to side, oh boy he’s made a mistake. He undoes his thong and does his general antics before Lance Archer comes out making his AEW debut! Archer, Cobb and Lee all surround Nakazawa. Oh Jesus he chose the wrong day to be a human. Wardlow then walks in and to every direction he looks, a monster surrounds him. He then walks through a gap and simply dumps himself out to avoid harm. Then all the monsters have a huge fight. Final entrant before Joker and it’s who we’ve all been waiting for, it’s Kenny Omega.
21- Chris Jericho
Jericho walks out with the Joker card in hand, as Pyro shoots off around him. Jericho nails a Judas Effect to Masato Tanaka who collapses to the outside. Jimmy Havoc and Joey Janela bring a ladder into the ring and take down everyone. Janela climbs to the top of the ladder and goes for a Diving Elbow to a pile of people below him, but Jimmy Havoc from behind climbs up and locks in a barbed wire bat assisted choke hold! Then everyone below team up to push them to the outside! Broken Matt Hardy and Chris Jericho have a fight, and Jericho wins, tossing out Hardy.
Eight remaining in the ring and finally after everyone hit their finishers, Wardlow is tossed out, followed by Lance Archer eliminating MJF with a Razor’s Edge to the outside, into Wardlow. Kenny Omega eliminates Shawn Spears with a mighty V-Trigger and he starts to have a great contest with Jeff Cobb. However now it’s Jericho teaming with Jeff Cobb as they’re Inner Circle buddies. They both team up to eliminate Lance Archer. Jericho then thinks “right, Cobb’ll just throw himself out won’t he?” Jericho then berates Cobb to get out, let him win - TOUR OF THE ISLANDS FROM COBB!! Kenny Omega picks Jericho up and it’s Double or Nothing 2019 all over again.
Omega and Jericho start to go at it. Jericho throws a Judas Effect but Omega ducks and throws him out. Omega then looks down at Jericho and gets his win back from him. Jeff Cobb and Kenny Omega are the final two left standing and they go at it. Cobb uses his amazing strength to nearly eliminate Kenny so many times but he fails each time. Omega then manages to get Cobb up on his shoulders, One Winged Angel! Huge pop at this as Omega v-triggers Cobb out to win the match. After the match Jon Moxley walks out. He walks up to Omega and holds his title high.
On the go home show, Omega then comes out with Michael Nakazawa, Riho and Adam Page behind him. Omega is in a white t-shirt and his tights. The foursome stare down Moxley and he tells Moxley that this isn’t the old him - this is the best him. “I have got this group of guys by my side and my lover back in Japan standing with me. I got rid of those punk ass bitches Matt and Nick, I got rid of everything from my recession era - all I need now is your AEW Championship.” The two close the show with a gigantic stare down before Double or Nothing.
Double or Nothing 2020:
Jon Moxley (c) vs. Kenny Omega - AEW World Championship
Kenny enters first. It starts with a video playing on the titantron of a montage of Kenny’s road to being led here as a version of Devil’s Sky plays. It features his friendship with Kota Ibushi, Michael Nakazawa, Riho, Adam Page and finally leading him to this moment. It finishes with a quick recap of their beef over the past few months. Jon won the first time - but that wasn’t an official match in the record books. Kenny has everything to lose going in here. It’s Double...or Nothing.
We hear an angelic voice singing the same “hoooohhhhhooohhh” on repeat as Kenny slowly rises on an elevator. During this the angelic voice is mixed with the pounding beat of the Terminator 2 soundtrack. Finally all sound stops, and Kenny walks forward. LittleVMills is on the side of the stage singing Battle Cry live from the opening piano notes to him roaring “The Best...BOUT...MACHINE” and we’re finally able to see Kenny. He steps forwards as pyro shoots through the sky, as he awaits his biggest match in AEW.
Jon Moxley makes a big entrance too as we see his entire journey from the limo to ringside with the title slung over his shoulder. He rolls into the ring and leans back like he did at Double or Nothing 1, and the match is on. Straight away Kenny hits a V-Trigger and the two start throwing punches at each other. It’s hog wild to begin with. Kenny hits a tight rope knee drop to Mox. Mox ducks a lariat and hits a Neckbreaker to Omega! Omega runs into the corner with a Corner Back Elbow! Omega then vault jumps to the top turnbuckle, Moonsault by Omega!!!
Omega runs the ropes but Mox ducks his attack and catches him with a TKO! Moxley hits an Inverted Atomic Drop and goes for a Neckbreaker but Omega gets out and connects a Superkick! He hits a Rope Run Diving Knee Strike! 1.......2.....Kick Out by Mox! Mox rolls to the outside to recover. Omega goes for a Calf Kick through the bottom rope but Mox catches him with a European Uppercut! Mox rolls back into the ring and hits a Snake Eyes to Omega! Omega lays on the apron now as Mox stomps him viciously through the ropes.
Omega gets back up and goes for a Slingshot Spear but Mox catches and hits a Draping DDT!!! 1.....2.....Omega gets his foot on the ropes!!! Mox pulls Omega up. He goes for a Vertical Suplex but Omega reverses into a DDT!! Omega hits a Shin Breaker followed by running the ropes and hitting a Bicycle Kick! Omega goes to do the the finger gun taunt but Mox having none of it, Running Brainbuster from Mox! He looks like he’s gonna cover but Omega spins around into an Armbar. Mox pulls Omega up and hits a Spinning Sit-out Powerbomb! 1.......2......Kick Out!!!
Mox gets Omega up and plants him on the top rope with an Atomic Drop. He leaves him laying there as he dives from the middle rope with a Clothesline to Omega! Omega falls to the outside. Mox rolls out there and throws him into the steel steps. Mox goes for a Kitchen Sink but Omega dodges and Mox’s knee goes splat. Omega rolls back into the ring but immediately goes flying with a Tope Con Hilo! He goes for a Exploder Suplex into the barricade but Mox gets out, Spear into the barricade! Mox could easily win by Countout here but he wants to win properly and most of all hurt Kenny some more.
He throws Kenny back into the ring but Kenny Superkick’s him off the apron. Kenny rolls to the outside and buries Mox under a pile of mats from the floor. He then hits a Springboard Double Foot Stomp onto Mox! Now he throws him back in. Omega hits a German Suplex and lines up a V-Trigger. He jumps for it but Mox dodges and hits a Piledriver! 1.........2......KICK OUT!!! Kenny gets up. Mox connects a Bicycle Kick and goes for a Butterfly Suplex but Kenny counters midair into a Frankensteiner! 1........2.....Kick Out!!
Omega throws elbows at Mox before Irish whipping him into the corner. Mox gets his foot up before he hits the corner, then grabs Omega and hurls him into the corner. He connects a Kitchen Sink and goes for a Paradigm Shift but Omega gets out and hits a Butterfly Piledriver! 1........2......Mox Kicks Out!!! Mox goes for a Lariat but Kenny ducks and hits a Basement Dropkick. Kenny goes for an attack but Moxley catches with a Kneecap Brainbuster!!! Mox goes for a Piledriver but Omega slides out and hits a Rolling Fireman’s Carry Slam + Moonsault combo! 1..........2........MOX KICKS OUT!!!
Mox gets back to his feet and dumps Kenny to the outside. Kenny goes for a Hanging Soccer Kick but Mox ducks and hits a Belly to Back Suplex from in the ring onto the apron to Omega! Omega looks like he’s not gonna get up for 10 but he manages to get on the apron and connect a Springboard Missile Dropkick while Mox was posing! Kenny hits a Cross-Legged Fisherman Neckbreaker! He goes for a Superkick but Mox twists him around and hits an Exploder German Suplex into the corner! Mox connects another Kitchen Sink! He goes for a Paradigm Shift with Kenny’s feet hanging off the top ropes, but Kenny gets out and sits on the top turnbuckle.
He then jumps from the top ropes onto the actual rope and hits a Moonsault to Mox! Mox lays on the second rope which lines up a V-Trigger from Omega! Omega then hits Croyt’s Wrath!!!! 1..........2.......KICK OUT!!! Mox rolls to the outside and walks up the ramp. Kenny runs for him he’s caught by a Bicycle Knee and Paradigm Shift onto the steel! Both men can barely get up but they do so. Kenny then hits a Kotaro Krusher on the ramp! They both rush back to the ring.
Mox scoops Kenny up and charges into the corner. Mox hits a Scoop Slam followed by a Death Valley Driver! He then hits a Dragon Suplex! He runs at Omega for another attack but Omega catches and hits a Pumphandle Dr. Wiley’s Bomb!! 1..........2.....Kick Out!!!! Mox gets up and throws elbows at Omega. Mox finally connects a Paradigm Shift! 1............2........KICK OUT!!!! Omega hits another Kotaro Krusher followed by a massive V-Trigger! He gets Mox up for the One Winged Angel but Mox gets out and hits a Neckbreaker as he comes down. Mox goes for a Running Knee - Omega catches - MOXLEY LIFTS HIM UP INTO A PARADIGM SHIFT!!!!!! 1.............2...........3!!!!
Jon Moxley defeats Kenny Omega to retain the AEW World Championship (33:41)
Brian Cage won the Casino Ladder Match, and so has a match with Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship set in stone. It’s announced to take place at Fyter Fest. Taz cuts a promo hyping up Cage and how dominant he is. Jon Moxley interrupts saying to Cage - “the only reason you’re here is because everywhere else your piss would melt the cup.” The Machine then attacks him with a Lou Thesz Press, raining down closed fists. Moxley rolls him over and lays in some shots of his own. Taz pulls his client off and takes him away, meanwhile Cage shouts profanities at Jon. Jon raises his AEW World Championship in triumph.
The next week we see a video package we would of seen when Cage was in Lucha Underground; of him throwing giant tires around, beating up gangs of thugs, and training like the machine he is. This can all be filmed at Cody’s wrestling school. At the end of the video he says the famous line “I’m Not a Man, I’m a Machine”. Meanwhile Taz is showing up on Dynamite, confronting and calling out Moxley. Moxley responds to Taz saying he’s got his own manager to help him in the fight against Cage. And similarly to Taz/Cage, this manager is fairly similar to Moxley. He is also a famous anti-hero, who chose to not go to the other company. Taz will learn very soon who he is, if he keeps bugging him.
June 10th edition of Dynamite - Cage and Moxley have a sit down interview with Jim Ross. Both men are strapped in chairs under chains, meaning they are forced to stay apart from each other. Jim Ross firstly asks Moxley what he thinks of Brian Cage. Moxley puts Cage over first by saying he is probably the strongest and biggest guy in AEW, but that don’t mean two shits when he’s fighting Jon motherfuckin Moxley. Mox is the toughest son of a bitch in AEW, and the most crazy. “You may be a machine, but I have fought men similar to you (Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 32) and I didn’t fear em’ whatsoever because I’m fearless.” This births the tag line “Madman vs. Machine.” Moxley is then asked about who is manager is. Moxley responds it’s up to Taz if he wants to find out. Taz says Moxley’s manager is irrelevant, because he could have an entire army in his corner and they still couldn’t stop “The Machine” Brian Cage.
The Exalted One begins to hold Dark Order meetings where they discuss Jon Moxley and Brian Cage. Mr. Brodie Lee says that he should be AEW World Champion right now, and that the title should be with The Dark Order. Evil Uno tells Mr. Brodie that he got some information on speculated candidates for who can be in Moxley’s corner. Brodie cuts him off by grabbing him by the tie, and pulling him in for a punch on the nose. “What a mark...” Lee says as he sits back down. Everyone else then murmur in agreement when Lee says that. “YOU WILL NOT MUMBLE AT MY SPEECH - I AM TO BE RESPECTED.” They all laugh in fright. “Better.” The meeting ends when the lights go out and we hear the sound of a crow squawking.
Next week Moxley does his own training video package where he beats up a punching bag with a black baseball bat. Brian Cage then makes the challenge to Jon Moxley, Machine’s Rules Match. The rules are: for the entire week before Fyter Fest, Monday to Sunday, both Moxley and Cage have to do Cage’s training routine. As soon as the sun bursts out, you have to start training, and you only stop when nightfalls. And this being Florida in June, you’ll be training for a long time, in absolute heat. This is how Cage lives, and if Mox trains like this for a week, they’ll both be in peak physical condition for the match. Moxley accepts, and neither show up on the go home because they’re training.
Fyter Fest 2020:
Jon Moxley (c) (with ???) vs. Brian Cage (with Taz) - Machine’s Rules Match for the AEW World Championship
Both guys enter out looking real jacked due to their recent training. Taz is the backing man of Cage of course, meanwhile Moxley comes out solo. The UK crowd at Wembley Arena are loving Jon as he walks out through their seats, stopping every once in a while to celebrate with the title with a nearby fan. Justin Roberts asks him where his manager is, and Moxley says he’ll come when he comes. Moxley then goes to take off his jacket, and once he turns around HE SPRINTS AT BRIAN CAGE WITH A LOU THESZ PRESS!!! THE BELL FRANTICALLY RINGS!!! The commentators jump out their seats at the sudden attack and begin to call the action.
Moxley let’s rest when Aubrey demands so. He then looks at The Machine Lynn on the floor. CAGE KIPS UP!! Brian flexes, then hits a Scoop Slam to Moxley! Cage then takes Moxley down with a Lou Thesz Press! HE PULLS HIM OFF THE GROUND INTO A DEADLIFT SUPLEX!! Cage lands in a seating position and looks at a nearby camera, pointing to his biceps. Cage flexes his muscles while Taz looks for a mic. He grabs one but the fans immediately start booing. Moxley slides out and grabs it out of his hands. “Save everyone a headache.” HE BONKS TAZ ON THE HEAD WITH THE MIC!! Taz stumbles back into the announce desk.
Mox rolls back in but he’s caught by Cage. CAGE HITS HIM WITH A POWERBOMB INTO THE TURNBUCKLES!! Cage lariats Mox head off and scales the ropes. FIVE STAR LARIAT - MISSES!! MOXLEY LOCKS IN A FUJIWARA ARMBAR!! Jim Ross screams about Cage’s formerly torn bicep and how much pain he must be in. The Machine displays this with his facials. “Any man would give up at this moment...(as Cage rises out) but he’s not a man, THIS IS A MACHINE!” shouts JR as Cage pulls himself out. CAGE HITS A F’N 5!! HE FLIES WITH THE FIVE STAR ELBOW DROP FROM THE TOP ROPES!!! 1.........2........KICK OUT!!!
Cage pulls him up and goes for a TORNADO CLAW - BUT MOXLEY KICKS HIS BICEP WHILE HE’S SPINNING!! LARIAT BY MOX!! Jon then picks him up and hits A RUNNING BULLDOG, CAGE LANDING ON HIS ARM! They roll to the outside. Moxley goes for a Standing Kimura, but Cage with a HIP TOSS ON THE FLOOR!! BRIAN CAGE THEN HITS A GERMAN SUPLEX TO JON INTO THE GUARDRAIL!! The guardrail shakes at the hit and the fans feel a Moxley-covets guardrail on their laps. Taz meanwhile sets up a chair for Cage. CAGE THEN HITS ANOTHER GERMAN SUPLEX ON THE OUTSIDE ONTO THE UNFOLDED CHAIR!! Cage rolls back in to taunt while Moxley lays dead. He eventually crawls to the apron.
Jon lumps his body onto the apron and grabs the second rope to get up. No time to waste though as CAGE BRINGS HIM IN WITH A DEADLIFT SUPLEX INTO THE RING!! CAGE COVERS - 1............2.......KICK OUT!! Cage pulls him up and hits a a CURB STOMP!! He then tries for the CHAINLINK - BUT MOXLEY GETS OUT!! JON HITS THE MACHINE WITH A MONEY CLIP!!! MOXLEY IS COMING BACK BABY. He starts to stomp on the arm so Cage can’t hit the Weapon X. Cage still tries for it though and fails, and IS THEN HIT BY A RUNNING BULLDOG!! MOXLEY GOES FOR THE DRILL CLAW!!! CAGE COUNTERS INTO HIS OWN DRILL CLAW!! 1..........2........KICK OUT!!!!
Cage throws MOXLEY into the ropes and runs for a Tiger Feint Kick - BUT MOXLEY SPINS AND REBOUNDS WITH THE (wacky line...). MOXLEY LIFTS HIM UP WITH A OVERHEAD BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX!! Cage rolls out, but MOXLEY THEN DIVES OUT AFTER CAGE WITH A SUICIDE DIVE!! PARADIGM SHIFT ON THE FLOOR!! They both lay dead. Cage gets up and crawls in, but Jon is still down. Taz screams for the ref to start counting and so they do. But it’s cut off...the arena is in darkness. “Could...this be Moxley’s mystery manager?” The fans start to get loud as a spotlight moves to the entranceway. Then...crow’s squawk...
Jim Ross has a hernia on commentary with enthusiasm, “GOOD GAWD TONY, DO YOU SEE? DO YOU SEE HIM? ITS THE STINGER!” STING HAS ARRIVED! He makes his march down the ramp with a baseball bat in hand. He marches down and points the bat at Taz, who shakes his head in fear. Taz tries to console him - WHAM!! BAT SHOT TO THE MIDSECTION!! He throws Taz in the ring and LOCKS IN A SCORPION DEATH LOCK!!! MOXLEY SLITHERS UP BEHIND AND HITS A KICK TO THE MIDSECTION - PARADIGM SHIFT!!!! 1...........2...........3!!!! JON MOXLEY HAS RETAINED THE AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - BUT ALSO NOTABLE - STING IS ALL ELITE!!!
Jon Moxley defeats Brian Cage (21:12)
With Fyter Fest in the rear view mirror, a lot of questions are left unanswered about Jon Moxley - and also his new manager. Or even is it his manager? Are they just friends? Was it a one off? Is Sting going to show up again? All of these are answered on the next Dynamite, back in the States. Moxley firstly thanks the United Kingdom fans for being crazy sons of bitches, “I had a great time with y’all.” He addresses the appearance of Sting, and answers the questions I just proposed. “I needed a buddy heading into Fyter Fest, and Sting was my best choice.” - actually, I’ll let the man speak for himself.” Sting then enters out.
However, he isn’t “Sting” - he’s Steve Borden. Literally, the make up has been washed off. Steve takes the mic, wearing his finest three-piece suit and shades, the other hand holding his bat. Sting says he’s not here out of vendetta for the fed, he’s not here to push himself to the moon - he’s 61 years old. But after being let go, he’s found a place to put that piece of his heart that belongs to wrestling. His real home is with his family, but his heart will always belong to pro wrestling from a professional standpoint. He’s got a lot of friends here, and he gets the hype. He wants to hang with his buds and watch the new generation unfold.
The week after we get a #1 Contenders Match for the AEW World Championship between the #1 and #2 on the Power Rankings - Darby Allin and Lance Archer. Allin wins to become the number 1. Darby Allin is then confirmed to be Jon Moxley’s opponent for Fight for the Fallen next week. Allin had recently gone through most of the TNT tournament but was eliminated by Cody due to some Archer interference. How he got his win over Archer, who goes berserk after the match. Afterwards Moxley and Sting come out to shake hands with Allin. The show hands with the shot of Sting and Darby Allin shaking hands ahead of Fight for the Fallen.
Fight for the Fallen opens with a Darby Allin promo. He films it in the style of his normal promos, but has a clear message. He starts by telling Mox the David Starr line: “going from one billionaire to another isn’t a paradigm shift, sounds like the same fucking thing to me.” He then tells Mox his days of making barely a buck off of nearly dying in the ring have been dead for 10 years, but Allin this time last year was living that life. Jon spent the decade in cozy McMahonLand getting a million dollar salary, before he somehow changed the landscape by collecting an even bigger salary. Mox knows the struggle Allin lives, but he’s forgotten it. He’s not an anti-hero rebellious badass, he’s a corporate shill.
Later on, Mox then cuts a promo responding to Allin. Jon says he hasn’t gotten soft, he hasn’t forgotten the struggle. Mox says he worked his damn ass off to get to be World Champion. He fought off the entire Inner Circle. Darby Allin got a single win and had to steal David Starr’s line. When Mox says they aren’t in the same league, he means it. But now Allin wants to talk big. He wants Mox to get down and dirty, live that CZW life he lived, he’ll do so. “Darby, I didn’t forget it, I just grew past it. But I’m a sucker for nostalgia and wants new is old, so Darby - it’s No DQ.” Mox walks off from the camera and that’s the last we see of the world champ before the match later - which is now No DQ.
Fight for the Fallen 2020:
Jon Moxley (c) vs. Darby Allin - No Disqualification Match for the AEW World Championship
Allin is challenging and has a Moxley cutoff mask with an eye cut out. He wears this and gets in Jon’s once he enters. Moxley gets in his face and gets slapped back, causing the beating to begin. The bell rings and the match has started. Jon continues with stomps at feeling disrespected. He throws Allin into the ring post and follows with a Back Body Drop. 1.......2....KICK OUT BY DARBY!! Moxley grabs a mic as he looks down at Darby. “I was once like you...never being able to stay down - always had to keep fighting and never listened to people’s cautionary advice. But now we’ve come full circle, and I want you to slow down and stop. But you won’t, and I know because I wouldn’t. ALLIN THEN PULLS HIM DOWN AND LAYS IN ELBOW SHOTS TO THE DOME!!
Jon looks furious and rushes Allin but HE HITS A TILT-A-WHIRL DDT!!! ALLIN THEN LOCKS IN A FUJIWARA ARMBAR WITH PUNCHES TO THE HAND AND JOINT MANIPULATION!! Excalibur says he’s trying to take Jon Moxley back to his old self and that place through this level of violence. Moxley pulls him off BUT HE’S HIT BY A FRONT DROPKICK INTO THE TURNBUCKLES!! MOXLEY THEN CATCHES ALLIN WITH A CLOSED FIST TO THE JAW!! Allin falls like a ton of bricks and is bleeding from the mouth. Moxley then scales the ropes and hits a DIVING ELBOW DROP TO DARBY!!!! 1..........2.......KICK OUT!!! MOXLEY THEN HITS HIM WITH A KITCHEN SINK STRAIGHT AFTER!!! 1...........2..........KICK OUT!!!
Moxley gets agitated at Allin not staying down. He shouts at him again, BUT ALLIN WITH A LOW BLOW!! HE THROWS JON OUT AND HITS A SUICIDE DIVE!! He lands on him with more punches and elbows. MOXLEY THEN THROWS HIM OFF RAMP INTO THE RING POST!!! Allin lays dead. After a bit of recovering, Moxley picks him up and throws him into the ring. He walks from the corner - stalking his prey. He toys with it before the kill - LOCKING IN AN STF!! Jon looks into Allin’s desperate eyes as he screams in pain. Allin places a middle finger in his face! MOXLEY BITES THAT FINGER!! ALLIN ESCAPES AND HITS A DOUBLE FOOT STOMP ONTO THE BACK!! He throws Moxley outside and STOMPS HIS FINGERS INTO THE RING POST!!! HE THEN DIVES FROM THE TOP WITH A SPRINGBOARD BACKSPLASH!!
Allin and Moxley both lean against the guardrail, panting. Darby then gets up and checks under the ring - AND PULLS OUT THE CRACKER BARREL!! THE CROWD ERUPT!! Moxley kicks him in the gut before he can use it and throws him over the guardrail! MOXLEY THEN CROSSBODIES OVER IT!!! He throws him into the railing on the stairs. ALLIN THEN JUMPS OFF THE STAIRS WITH A SEATED SENTON!! HE THROWS MOXLEY INTO THE RAILINGS, AND THEN INTO A GROUP OF FANS CHAIRS!! Allin starts to climb up the railings, going for a Coffin Drop onto Moxley laid across the fans seats. Moxley gets out the way though and pulls him down. They then walk down the stairs into a more open area, WHERE MOXLEY HITS DARBY WITH A TRASH CAN ACROSS THE BACK!! He carries the lid with him as well as Darby back to ringside.
Jon sets up a table for later use. Moxley goes to smash the lid over Allin’s head but he shoulder barges him in the midsection! ALLIN THEN PUSHES JON INTO THE APRON!! He throws him back in with the lid. He also pushes the Cracker Barrel inside. HE HITS A TRASH CAN LID ASSISTED COFFIN DROP!! BUT MOXLEY CATCHES WITH A REAR NAKED CHOKE!! His ribs hurt from the trash can lid though and so Allin easily gets out. DARBY THEN WITH A SUPERKICK TO THE HEAD! HE HITS THE FLIPPING STUNNER FROM THE CORNER!! HE THEN HITS MOXLEY WITH THE PARADIGM SHIFT, HIS OWN MOVE, ONTO THE CRACKER BARREL!!!! 1...................2.................KICK OUT!!!!!
Moxley is so pissed at Allin stealing his move, he takes him to the apron. He goes for a Paradigm Shift onto the apron - but he rethinks it. HE INSTEAD HITS A PARADIGM SHIFT OFF THE APRON THROUGH THE TABLE!!! This is the second time they’re both laying in crumbled wood after a Paradigm Shift within about a minute. Moxley pulls himself up and GOES FOR A GOTCH-STYLE PILEDRIVER ON THE OUTSIDE!!! ALLIN GETS OUT AND THROWS HIM IN THE RING, AND HEADS FOR A COFFIN DROP!! MOXLEY HITS HIM MIDAIR WITH THE TRASH CAN LID!!! HE THEN ROLLS UP DARBY ALLIN!! 1........2........3!!!! MOXLEY WINS!!! Allin gets his shoulders off the mat just afterwards and tries to get up, but he falls to the mat in pain - the pain of defeat.
Jon Moxley defeats Darby Allin (17:33)
Jon Moxley has just competed his third defence against Darby Allin, and it hurt him even in victory. The Dynamite after he brings out Allin and Sting to the ring. He tells Darby at Fight for the Fallen he felt like he was wrestling the Jon Moxley from 10 years ago. A stupid kid jumping onto barbed wire or light tubes for a slice of pizza. He wasn’t able to say “no”, he kept going. He couldn’t listen to people telling him to slow down and take it easy - he had to give it 110% every time. That is now who Darby Allin is, and he is now the person telling him to stop. He just wants to put what they did to each other in the past and move forward. Hell, Jon think they could make a good team. Darby chuckles at the idea, but shrugs and says he’s down. Sting then complaints Allin, saying he sees a lot of himself in Darby too.
The week after then it’s set to be a Tag Team Match - with Jon Moxley and Darby Allin teaming up for the first time. They will take on the trio that have recently took AEW by storm - Death Triangle. They would immediately make enemies out of Jurassic Express, with Pac being disgusted goofballs like them take the air time that should be his, and the fans support that should be his, and the rankings spots that should be his. They face at Double or Nothing - with Death Triangle coming out on top. At Fyter Fest they would win the inaugural AEW Trios Championships in a match with the Best Friends and Orange Cassidy, and since then have been dominating everyone they’ve passed.
The match main events the show, with Fénix and Pac representing Death Triangle. Sting and Pentagon Jr. are in their teams corners, and during the entrance we see Sting and Pentagon stare down in the centre of the ring. Both famous for being black and white face painted anti-heroes, with voices of silence and an affinity for darkness and weapons. The match ends when while Moxley is on the top rope looking for an Avalanche Paradigm Shift - Fénix threatens to assault Sting on the outside, which distracts Jon. Pac then shoves him off the top turnbuckle to the mat, and HITS A BLACK ARROW!!! 1.............2...........3!!!! PAC PINS THE AEW WORLD CHAMPION JON MOXLEY!!!
This means Pac is now in line for an AEW World Championship match. He cuts a promo on Jon Moxley the week after and is grinning maniacally. He reminds Moxley of their match from 10 months ago on the October 23rd and 4th ever edition of Dynamite. They went to a draw, but this time around we will have a victor. Pac then tells Jon he makes him furious - to watch him get all these scumbags (points to the fans) to like him. Why? Why would he stoop so low? Because he’s insecure. He hides his lack of wrestling skill with weapons and blood, and these bloodthirsty warthogs (points to the fans again) eat it up like the vile little leeches they are.
On the week following’s episode of Dynamite, Darby Allin is teaming with his best frenemy Cody against Brian Cage and Ricky Starks. It ends when Allin rolls up Ricky to win. Brian Cage then decimates Allin. Moxley comes to his rescue however. Moxley and Cage stare down before getting into a tussle. Cody and Ricky Starks go at it, but Cage and Starks start to double team. Dustin Rhodes then makes the save. Death Triangle come out from the stage, but then the lights go down...ITS STING!! Not Steve Borden, he’s back in the makeup and wreaking all hell upon Death Triangle. The show ends with Cage and Starks retreating to the stage where they group up with Death Triangle, meanwhile Sting walks to the ring to stand beside Cody, Dustin Rhodes, Jon Moxley and Darby Allin.
This all leads into possibly the biggest tag team match since Blood and Guts. A Ten-man Tag Team Match main events the August 22nd edition of Dynamite. It consists of Pac, Fénix, Pentagon Jr, Brian Cage and Ricky Starks teaming up to take on: Jon Moxley, Cody, Darby Allin, Dustin Rhodes...and Sting. In his first ever match in AEW, and his last ever match in wrestling. Retiring on that Rollins match is not a way to go out, and after 35 years in wrestling - this is a match to go out on. The only spot I’m having him do is: be tagged in, hit Fénix with a bat, lock in the Scorpion Death Lock, Fénix escapes, they both rush to their corners to get hot tags. The rest of it is mayhem between 9 other supremely talented men. The heels win after Fénix pins Moxley. This sets up a lot of things. Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage and Pac vs. Jon Moxley at All Out, as well as Fénix getting an AEW World Championship match in the future.
The final week before All Out sees Jon Moxley and Pentagon Jr. face off in a non-title bout. If Pentagon wins, he’ll get a future championship match. All of his other teammates have pinned Jon, so if he doesn’t do it he’ll miss out on the biggest opportunity of his career as well as be considered the weakest angle of Death Triangle. They go to war in the main event, with Pentagon Jr. hitting a Mexican Destroyer onto the floor at one point. Pac and Fénix try to interfere, but Mox uses them against Penta. He docks an attack and Pentagon ends up diving into his partners. They end up costing him in the match, meaning he will miss out on an AEW World Championship match. Will Pentagon repay the favour to Pac at All Out in 3 days? Who knows. Moxley tells Pac however that since he think that Jon can’t wrestle, he’s making it a Pinfall and Submission Only Match.
All Out 2020:
Jon Moxley (c) vs. Pac - Pinfall and Submission Only Match for the AEW World Championship
Continues in the comments...
submitted by ConorCulture to FantasyBookingElite [link] [comments]

Live SmackDown Live Discussion Thread - June 27th 2017

After the controversial ending to the first-ever Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match, SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan has declared that Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Natalya and Tamina will face off once again for the coveted Money in the Bank contract, this time with James Ellsworth banned from ringside. Who will climb to new heights and earn a contract for a guaranteed SmackDown Women's Title Match? Welcome to the SmackDown Live Discussion Thread for June 27th 2017!

sponsored by /lasskicker, the hub for becky lynch fans

Link to the Pre Thread

[Link to the Post Thread]()

[SmackDown Live Survey!]() [(results)]()

The Venue Information!
  • Venue: Valley View Casino Center
  • City: San Diego, California, USA
  • Approximate venue size: ~10,000
The Streaming Info!
Check your guide to watch SmackDown Live on your TV to experience the better brand, the A-Show to that red Raw thing every Monday. If you don't have access to SDL through cable, Watch Wrestling will have SDL put up while the show is going on.
/lasskicker Plugs
The Results!
Match Stipulation Winner Time Rating
The Usos vs. The Hype Bros Tag Team Match The Usos via Pinfall N/A Link
Naomi (c) vs. Lana WWE SmackDown Womens Championship Match Naomi via Pinfall 0:41 Link
Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn Singles Match Baron Corbin via Pinfall 8:10 Link
Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Tamina vs. Carmella (w/ James Ellsworth) vs. Natalya Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match Carmella 24:30 Link
The Notes!
  • Commentated by Tom Phillips, John "Bradshaw" Leyfield, and Byron Saxton!
  • We start off SmackDown Live with an in-ring visit from our General Manager, Daniel Bryan! He asks everyone if they're ready to have a great night tonight, and follows it up by re-announcing the two womens matches tonight; Naomi versus Lana for the WWE SmackDown Womens Championship, and the Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Rematch! However, Carmella comes out suddenly with a message towards Daniel. She questions if SmackDown Live is really the "land of opportunity" if it's more like the "land of injustice", referring to him taking her controversial Money in the Bank briefcase. She keeps insisting that she won fair and square via No Disqualification being in Ladder Matches and that the first woman in possession of the briefcase is declared the winner. Daniel then says that no one in history has ever got the briefcase and handed it to another competitor. To prove his decision was good, he asks the crowd if the match should still go on to which everyone cheers in applause. Ellsworth is furious, so he starts trashing both Daniel and the crowd. This makes Dnaiel respond by saying that he should fire him, but instead, he makes sure that tonight is not about him and about the real superstars. He said last week on Talking Smack he was going to ban Ellsworth at ringside. Daniel, however, reinforces it by banning him from the entire arena instead. After Ellsworth is harshly brought backstage to be thrown out, Daniel wishes Carmella "good luck" on the match tonight.
  • After The Usos beat the Hype Bros, The New Day come out for some words against them. A Rap Battle between the two tag teams will happen next week!
  • Another episode of the Fashion Files, "Under Pressure". Includes scenes like bribing Ascension with Eddie Money tickets to confess on who attacked Tyler, and Ascension saying that they only appeared at MitB for an actual match on the card. Also, someone else just trashed their office again!
  • Becky interviewed by Dasha Fuentes, being asked about her feelings on her second chance at getting the Briefcase. She responds by saying she was inches away from having a career change before Ellsworth ripped it away from him. Becky's thankful for Daniel giving her a fair chance and that she will be the first ever fair winner.
  • Aiden English returns for another singing performance! However, just seconds into the song, Randy Orton interrupts, giving him an RKO and has some of his own words for a specific WWE Champion. He's not leaving the ring until he get's what he wants: A rematch for the WWE Title. After threatening Jinder with an ass whooping every moment in his life, Shane McMahon appears! He tells Randy that he shouldn't be threatening the safety to Jinder, but Randy says he doesn't care because he disrespected his family, regardless of being fired or arrested. Shane reminds Randy that he has done similar tactics from the Singh Brothers before and it led to a match between each other, but ultimately gives him the rematch. However, Jinder will have a choice on what stipulation that match will be at WWE Battleground. Speaking of which, Jinder Mahal and his Singh Brothers come out with some of his own words. Jinder says this is exactly why there is so much wrong in Management, the Crowd and SmackDown Live. Randy doesn't deserve another rematch, he says. He announces that the match will be a Punjabi Prison Match!
  • AJ Styles comes to Daniel Bryan backstage to talk about how unfair Kevin Owens' US Open Challenge is, until Kevin finds the two and tells him that he's missing the point about the challenge: It's for people who he hasn't beat yet, and that he should face the fact that he is a loser. Daniel tells Kevin about John Cena's Open Challenge, and he also tells him that on July 4th, next Tuesday, there will be an Independence Day Battle Royal for a chance at the WWE United States Championship at Battleground. AJ's invited, too!
  • As Mike and Maria Kanellis introduce themselves yet again to the WWE Universe, Sami Zayn's entrance interrupts them, signalling that the Zayn/Corbin match will be starting!
  • Dasha asks Shin about if he's interested in a match against Corbin, to which he responds that Corbin's right to be fearing him.
  • James Ellsworth somehow got back into the ring and helped Carmella. However, Becky was able to take him down before he was able to recreate the events of MitB.
[Talking Smack Guests!]()
  • Hosted by Daniel Bryan and Renee Young
  • WWE United States Champion Kevin Owens
  • WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions The usos
submitted by BananaArms to SquaredCircle [link] [comments]



Preview via
Seth Rollins to address Dean Ambrose and the current state of Monday Night Raw
One week after being subdued by Dean Ambrose and his personal SWAT team, Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins will address not only his WWE TLC opponent and former friend, but the current state of Monday Night Raw under “General Manager-Elect” Baron Corbin as well.

Raw Preview: Quick Hits

submitted by TheREALchadizzy1 to WWE [link] [comments]

The Game Designer is Dead. Long Live the Game Designer.

I've tried to make this argument multiple times when I was a struggling Game Designer, but it was always too emotional. Now that I've made the smart move and switched to becoming a Developer, and now that I can clearly and concretely see how fucked the game industry is, I'm going to give this one more crack. And I'm going to summarize my argument right off the bat.
TL;DR: If you want to design games, design board games, because the modern video game industry has little to almost no need for game designers.
These days, game studios do not invest in training or hiring good game designers, or even if they did they won't be able to find any, because:
  1. The video game industry has become incredibly capital intensive and therefore taking creative risks is no longer worth it. Aesthetics based monetization and the paradigm of Sofware-as-a-Service means that once you get ONE game, ANY game, to work, you only need to stick with it to print money forever, and you can usually just ripoff someone else's game design at that.
  2. The smartphone/indie game boom and bust came and went, indie designers continue to struggle to survive, while "get rich quick" cash in mobile game companies are increasingly falling back on tried-and-true design patterns, while at the same time getting swallowed by, well, Tencent.
  3. Our hypercapitalistic culture is pushing people away from celebrating artistic mediums, or the study of them as rigorous disciplines. These days, leading a triple-A game production is more akin to being a businessman than a creative.
  4. Crowdfunding disasters, like Star Citizen, has seriously put the whole damn industry in doubt. It's now possible to run a game like a ponzi scheme. Think about that for a second. That's not even mentioning the glut of subpar competition created by app platforms like App Store, Steam Greenlight, and Google Play, which makes exceptional games almost impossible to stand out.
Let me elaborate on these points, but rest assured, you don't have to read these bits if you don't want to, just reread the TL;DR, that's all I'm really trying to say.
Point the first:
Team Fortress, Counterstrike, PUBG, Fortnite, League of Legends, DOTA. All of these games were initially inspired by free to play mods. But now they're non-stop money printing machines, and there seems to be no end in sight.
There is a reason why Steam Corporation is never going to make Half-Life 3. Why should they? They have an effective monopoly over all computer game digital sales. Why take a risk on any video game, that might bomb, as the costs just keep going up? Even a bet as safe as HALF LIFE FUCKING THREE.
As the years march on, video games are becoming more and more capital intensive. Not only are the increased expectations of tech constantly pushing the costs to the limit, thereby making investors risk-averse, but the fact that the safest bets ended up succeeding the most: take an established, already popular mod (DayZ King of the Kill), freshen it up so that the mechanics are just a little tighter (-> Playerunknown's Battlegrounds), then just tweak it even more so that the production values shine and the aesthetic appeals to as much of a mass market as possible (-> Fortnite).
As case in point, take Star Wars 1313. Headed by Amy Hennig, of Uncharted fame. You've got one of the world's biggest IP (Star Wars), backed by the world's most powerful entertainment corporation bar none (Disney), a projected headed by a leader who has proven herself with multiple franchises (Uncharted, Legacy of Kain) by any metric of game production in the last few decades, this is a surefire win, right? Well, not in 2018, because as we all know, DAT SHIT DED:
Innovation is arguably BAD for this business model. Look at Fortnite. They tried to blaze a trail by combining minecraft style building mechanics with shooter mechanics. No one cared. For the longest time, Fortnite: Save the World looked like it was going to be an abject failure. It wasn't until they ripped off the all too popular Battle Royale format that they started seeing success. People only cared about Fortnite's gameplay innovations after they wholesale ripped off PUBG's successful foundation, to the point where PUBG tried to sue them.
As a further point, just look at Riot Games' approach to League of Legends. In a bid to keep the game "fresh", they tried hiring all these hotshot designers, tried reworking all the systems, essentially made it an entirely different game every year. Unfortunately, it seems that it didn't work: League is hemorrhaging players who can't keep up with all the gameplay changes, and the next generation of gamers aren't drawn to MOBAs, which was so early 2000s, but rather... Battle Royale games. Riot is more than likely working on a secret project now, even though in the last few years the purported goal was to make League of Legends a "multi-generational game", because for sure ALL MOBA games are bleeding players now... except maybe Dota 2, because it's changed the least so that the players who stuck with it don't feel like they have to start over. You get rewarded more for doing less work!!
And just think. Does the BR genre feel "fresh"? Does it feel like there's innovation happening in it? Even a simple change, like when Fortnite removed the ability to reactivate your glider, was met with so much backlash (even though objectively leaving it in makes a lot of the game's early positioning tactics kind of meaningless) that they had to reintroduce it as "Soaring 50's vs. 50's".
Let's just look at the AAA games of this generation that we all love. Witcher 3, Bloodborne, God of War. All games that built heavily on the tried-and-true (*cough* Dark Souls *cough*) and even the current darling, Spiderman, we can all say is just an HD-remaster-on-steroids of the original Spider-man 2 for PS 2 (fitting that the best movie of the Raimi trilogy would coincide with the best iteration of the game), and even the combat is inspired from Arkham Asylum.
As Uncle Ben would say... "With Great Production Values, comes Great Risk Aversion."
Point the second:
Indie mobile designers usually thrive these days by going for extremely niche minimalist "microgames" (like 2047, Flappy Bird, Temple Run, etc.) which almost always get hit with tons of copycats (due to the insanely low barrier of entry), while Indie PC designers are forced to scrape by with microcommunities.
There were a few successes initially, when it seemed like it was going to be an indie videogame renaissance. But we now know that isn't true. The market consolidated a few winners (Supercell's Clash of Clans and Clash Royale, GungHo online's Puzzles and Dragons, Niantic's Pokemon: Go, that last one can hardly even be considered a winner anymore) while almost everything else falls by the wayside, buried in the deluge of productivity apps, photo filter apps and geolocation tracker running apps.
And even worse, the winners have seen even further consolidation. Tencent now completely owns Riot Games and Supercell, and has majority stakes in Epic Games and Bluehole Games (South Korean creator of PUBG). Just take a second and think about that. League of Legends, Fortnite, PUBG, Clash Royale and Clash of Clans... probably five of the most overwhelmingly popular games in the world. Wanna know what happened after Tencent acquired all these hot properties? They post their first losses ever because China won't let them sell PUBG in China:
Point the Third:
While Indie PC games like NEO Scavenger, Undertale, Darkest Dungeon and Underrail are fantastic games with an immense amount of depth, the sales can barely keep one or two people employed considering that even lo-fi indie games takes YEARS to make, often one dude slaving away for 10+ hour days on end. The initial surge of Indie success has come and gone: just watch the doc "Indie Game: The Movie". Perhaps the biggest winner in this entire sector was Stardew Valley by Eric Barone... that's ONE GUY, making ONE GAME, entirely on his own, and guess what? It might as well have been a Harvest Moon port.
To be a "game designer" with any sense of creative control over your product (instead of the corporate style "design by committee" formula) you must also: run your own business, be your own PR manager, be your own marketing expert, be your own artist, be your own coder (Dan Fedor was a technical artist and made lots of the pixel art and coded almost all of the game by himself, Dejan Radisic practically built the entire Underrail alpha with his own two hands, Eric Barone made all the art and did all the code for Stardew Valley). Game Designer is now a secondary title, either everyone on the team has some semblance of Game Design understanding, or no one does (replaced by UX designers, monetisation experts, project managers), because any self-styled "game designer" will have to build the game he designs by himself, ain't no company giving you a job just to crank out a GDD (game design document) if you can't contribute to the project in some other way as well. It is no longer considered a serious job title. You are DevelopeGame Designer, or Artist/Game Designer, or Project ManageGame Designer. There is no "Game Designer". Most of the time, you might as well just leave out the "/Game Designer" bit. I suppose exceptions to the rule exist, but they are more than likely older designers, brought up in the much more creatively inspired industry of the 90s, and maybe had to work brutal hours under a AAA studio as a QA for a decade before they were properly brought up into the "design team".
Not only is corporate culture loathe to celebrate the auteur (which is logical since out sized individual influence for any employee other than the CEO, who is beholden to a faceless group of shareholders anyway, is the antithesis of how corporations work) but even successful game designers are expected to take on roles than have nothing to do with game design: project manager, team leader, public relations expert, tech evangelist.
Concrete examples: Hideo Kojima's treatment by Konami, or say, Cliff Blezinski's career trajectory, which has clearly gone from "rockstar game designer" to "elite businessman who sells Unreal Engine".
These days, people want to be Elon Musk instead of Steven Spielberg. And at least, with film, you're talking about a much more easily made product with a LOT of rigorous academic discipline behind it. Who gets more respect... Steven Spielberg, or Sid Meier? Is Sid Meier even a game designer anymore, or just a brand name and a businessman who owns Firaxis Games?
One good metaphor, I think, is that of the rap mogul. Are Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, and 50 Cent known more for their music these days? ...or their businesses? (Tidal, Beats, Vitamin Water) These are the three biggest fortunes in the rap game, and all three of them stem from business decisions. Just like how it is in the rap game, business acumen has become more critical to making video games than creativity, at this point.
Point the fourth:
...even unscrupulous "business" acumen, and nowhere can this be seen more clearly that Scam... I mean Star Citizen.
I'm not even going to get into Star Citizen, because the facts speak for themselves. Any project that is going well shouldn't need to ask its massive crowdfunding (not even customer, because the product hasn't even been fucking finished!) community to shell out $27,000 (only after you've shelled out the roughly $1,000 to even get access to this "deal" in the first place) for "every ship in the game", most of which exist only in the minds of artists and designers.
Right along with the "Indie game boom" was the "Crowdfunding boom". You look at, say, Double Fine Entertainment, and it becomes clear that my last point, that you need business acumen more than you need creativity these days when making games, is best exemplified by Tim Schafer. Taking an underdog studio that made critically acclaimed but underperforming hits into the darling of the Indie/Crowdfunding nexus... and then using that same blessing to bring his company back into the graces of the publishers... is probably the most brilliant yet circumlocutory path to video game studio success ever seen. Not only were some of the crowdfunded games panned (like the long awaited "Broken Age") but many of the games that Double Fine went ahead and made with their newfound capital were small, experimental games that essentially helped the company paddle leisurely along, making games that were fun for them to make, as their fans continued to give them money before an actual product, until they scored a publishing deal for Psychonauts 2, which, let's be real, was what we all wanted all along. And how innovative do we expect Psychonauts to be, really? Do we really expect weird ass mechanics like in Stacking? ( ) Of course not, because that would be sacrilege.
So let me ask you. If you really think you do care about innovation in videogames. Did you give a shit about Stacking? Did you play it? Or did it feel like a gimmick?
Do we really want innovation in our video games, or are we just looking for the Man to make a better Skinner Box?
Because if we just keep playing Battle Royale games so we can accrue enough soft currency to buy that next sweet hat instead of diversifying our video game tastes (and thereby putting money in the hands of creative innovators) it really seems like the latter option - the Skinner Box - is what we really want.
These days, if you want a specific type of game that isn't popular, it's going to have to be crowdfunded. I'll take one example that's near and dear to me: Pillars of Eternity. I loved tactical isometric RPGs. When I heard PoE was going to be crowdfunded, I was so excited. But, when the product finally came out, it sucked. Why?
Returning to point the first: games are just becoming so capital intensive that crowdfunding isn't a guarantor of quality. Moreover, crowdfunding leaves the producer beholden to the fans, leading to shit decisions, like all the lame Mary-Sues, oh I'm sorry "backer characters", strewn about in PoE, with a litany of Fifty Shades of Grey cringe-level fanfiction writing to show you should you be stupid enough to try a talk interaction with them. More often than not, crowdfunding has absurd stretch goals that perpetually leave the team spread out to thin, no matter how much money is raised, even for features that do not serve the game at all as a whole but just sound cool on their own, like the stupid, stupid, stupid fucking levels of Od Nua. And even worse, crowdfunding fundamentally sustains itself on hype. When the hype dies down, what happens?
Guess what? Banner Saga 2 bombed hard af. No one bought it. Guess what? Pillars of Eternity: The White March DLCs, although it is commonly agreed by the PoE community to be the expansion that "fixed" the game's combat (after years, with the 3.0 revamp)... did not even break even on sales. Obsidian Entertainment lost money on The White March. Guess what? X-Com 2 underperformed just as badly as these two, and Firaxis barely recovered by releasing the expansion, which made it a very, very different game. There are probably a lot more examples, but I don't want to hunt them down because... that's depressing. Because we all know what happened. The first crowdfunding surge probably brought in a lot of people who were into it because of nostalgia, only for the limitations of crowdfunding to reveal itself, leaving everyone disinterested... and before you know it, everyone has moved on to a Battle Royale game of choice.
The truth is, game design is just about hijacking human consciousness. It's about getting people to be addicted to the a behavioral loop. There's nothing glorious, or creative, about it when you scale that up to the corporate level, because all you really need to design is that one lever, that core game loop, that you can pull again, and again, and again, and oftentimes it's just way easier to lift that design from someone else than build it yourself from scratch.
Ten thousand games of Fortnite would never have the meaning that a single viewing of The Godfather part II could hold. Fifty million games of Fortnite could not compare to Moby Dick. And even the most emotionally devastating and meaningfully masterful games of the 21st century, like The Last of Us, owes more to narrative design, storytelling, film design, character design than it does to game design. Viewed from the lens of pure game design: Last of Us is just another survival/stealth action shooter, except with an escort objective that cannot actually be killed.
If you want truly mindbending, creative, and innovative game mechanics, look to board games. And in fact, it can't be a coincidence that these days we're seeing a resurgence of analog board games. People are sick of the "design-by-committee" philosophy that has completely eaten the videogame industry alive.
TL;DR: If you want to design games, design board games, because the modern video game industry has little to almost no need for game designers.
The Game Designer is dead. Long live the Game Designer.
EDIT: P.S, one last data point. Guess what the biggest growing segment in mobile gaming is? It's online gambling/casino games. Like I said, it is easier to lift game design from somewhere else now than to invent it wholesale.
submitted by tabbouleh_rasa to truegaming [link] [comments]

Post SmackDown Live Discussion Thread - December 5th 2017

Welcome everyone, to the SmackDown Live Discussion Thread for December 5th 2017!

Rate tonight's SmackDown Live!

Which brand reigned supreme this week?
The Venue Information!
  • Venue: Valley View Casino Center
  • City: San Diego, California, USA
  • Approximate venue size: ~12,000
Stuff to look forward to!
  • not jinder mahal
Match Stipulation Result
The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston w/ Xavier Woods) vs. Aiden English and Rusev Tag Team Match Aiden English and Rusev via Pinfall on Kofi Kingston (Thrust Kick)
Adam James and Josh Carr vs. Bludgeon Brothers Tag Team Match Bludgeon Brothers (Luke Harper) via Pinfall (Double Crucifix Powerbomb)
Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Roode Singles Match (Dolph Ziggler on Commentary) Bobby Roode via Disqualification
Charlotte Flair vs. Tamina Womens Division Match Charlotte via Submission (Figure Eight)
Randy Orton vs. Sami Zayn Singles Match Randy Orton via Pinfall (Rollup)
coming soon
  • We start off this week's SmackDown Live with best friends Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn heading to the ring, welcoming us to the "Sami and Kevin Show". This turns into Sami trying to correct him and switching the names around, along with more compliments to each other. However, they start talking about the McMahon family and their history with vendettas, bringing up past points like Stephanie McMahon using Randy Orton to do her dirty work to bringing up Daniel Bryan, Bret Hart and Stone Cold as other victims to their wrath. Then, after discussing about what is "ringside" and what isn't, an UNEXPECTED RKO BY RANDY OWENS ON KEVIN HAPPENS, with Shane McMahon making his entrance. Shane then tells the two that they will be facing Randy Orton and a partner of his choosing at Clash of Champions next week. Afterwards, Shane gives Sami a sneak peak of whats to come with a one-on-one match with Orton tonight! And Kevin is welcome to join him at ringside, well as a matter of fact he'll have to be at ringside as he will be handcuffed to the ropes!
  • Kevin and Sami are struggling to figure out how to fix their current situation with the match later tonight, but Kevin mentions an idea which is to talk to Daniel Bryan about it.
  • Mojo Rawley is interviewed backstage and talks about how with his ex-partner Zack Ryder being gone during his greatest moments like winning the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, he's been getting his way on his career until his partner returned and dragged him back down. From now on, he's no ones partner and if anyone has a problem with what happened last week, they can shove it.
  • Backstage, Daniel Bryan is getting angry about the bickering between the Riott Squad and Carmella, Lana and Tamina about a title match with Charlotte Flair rather than Natalya, so he makes the Womens Championship match a Lumberjack match!
submitted by BananaArms to SquaredCircle [link] [comments]

Post SmackDown Live Discussion Thread - June 27th 2017

After the controversial ending to the first-ever Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match, SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan has declared that Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Natalya and Tamina will face off once again for the coveted Money in the Bank contract, this time with James Ellsworth banned from ringside. Who will climb to new heights and earn a contract for a guaranteed SmackDown Women's Title Match? Welcome to the SmackDown Live Post Discussion Thread for June 27th 2017!

sponsored by /lasskicker, the hub for becky lynch fans

Link to the Pre Thread

Link to the Live Thread

SmackDown Live Survey! (results)

The Venue Information!
  • Venue: Valley View Casino Center
  • City: San Diego, California, USA
  • Approximate venue size: ~10,000
/lasskicker Plugs
The Results!
Match Stipulation Winner Time Rating
The Usos vs. The Hype Bros Tag Team Match The Usos via Pinfall N/A Link
Naomi (c) vs. Lana WWE SmackDown Womens Championship Match Naomi via Pinfall 0:41 Link
Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn Singles Match Baron Corbin via Pinfall 8:10 Link
Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Tamina vs. Carmella (w/ James Ellsworth) vs. Natalya Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match Carmella 24:30 Link
The Notes!
  • Commentated by Tom Phillips, John "Bradshaw" Leyfield, and Byron Saxton!
  • We start off SmackDown Live with an in-ring visit from our General Manager, Daniel Bryan! He asks everyone if they're ready to have a great night tonight, and follows it up by re-announcing the two womens matches tonight; Naomi versus Lana for the WWE SmackDown Womens Championship, and the Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Rematch! However, Carmella comes out suddenly with a message towards Daniel. She questions if SmackDown Live is really the "land of opportunity" if it's more like the "land of injustice", referring to him taking her controversial Money in the Bank briefcase. She keeps insisting that she won fair and square via No Disqualification being in Ladder Matches and that the first woman in possession of the briefcase is declared the winner. Daniel then says that no one in history has ever got the briefcase and handed it to another competitor. To prove his decision was good, he asks the crowd if the match should still go on to which everyone cheers in applause. Ellsworth is furious, so he starts trashing both Daniel and the crowd. This makes Dnaiel respond by saying that he should fire him, but instead, he makes sure that tonight is not about him and about the real superstars. He said last week on Talking Smack he was going to ban Ellsworth at ringside. Daniel, however, reinforces it by banning him from the entire arena instead. After Ellsworth is harshly brought backstage to be thrown out, Daniel wishes Carmella "good luck" on the match tonight.
  • After The Usos beat the Hype Bros, The New Day come out for some words against them. A Rap Battle between the two tag teams will happen next week!
  • Another episode of the Fashion Files, "Under Pressure". Includes scenes like bribing Ascension with Eddie Money tickets to confess on who attacked Tyler, and Ascension saying that they only appeared at MitB for an actual match on the card. Also, someone else just trashed their office again!
  • Becky interviewed by Dasha Fuentes, being asked about her feelings on her second chance at getting the Briefcase. She responds by saying she was inches away from having a career change before Ellsworth ripped it away from him. Becky's thankful for Daniel giving her a fair chance and that she will be the first ever fair winner.
  • Aiden English returns for another singing performance! However, just seconds into the song, Randy Orton interrupts, giving him an RKO and has some of his own words for a specific WWE Champion. He's not leaving the ring until he get's what he wants: A rematch for the WWE Title. After threatening Jinder with an ass whooping every moment in his life, Shane McMahon appears! He tells Randy that he shouldn't be threatening the safety to Jinder, but Randy says he doesn't care because he disrespected his family, regardless of being fired or arrested. Shane reminds Randy that he has done similar tactics from the Singh Brothers before and it led to a match between each other, but ultimately gives him the rematch. However, Jinder will have a choice on what stipulation that match will be at WWE Battleground. Speaking of which, Jinder Mahal and his Singh Brothers come out with some of his own words. Jinder says this is exactly why there is so much wrong in Management, the Crowd and SmackDown Live. Randy doesn't deserve another rematch, he says. He announces that the match will be a Punjabi Prison Match!
  • AJ Styles comes to Daniel Bryan backstage to talk about how unfair Kevin Owens' US Open Challenge is, until Kevin finds the two and tells him that he's missing the point about the challenge: It's for people who he hasn't beat yet, and that he should face the fact that he is a loser. Daniel tells Kevin about John Cena's Open Challenge, and he also tells him that on July 4th, next Tuesday, there will be an Independence Day Battle Royal for a chance at the WWE United States Championship at Battleground. AJ's invited, too!
  • As Mike and Maria Kanellis introduce themselves yet again to the WWE Universe, Sami Zayn's entrance interrupts them, signalling that the Zayn/Corbin match will be starting!
  • Dasha asks Shin about if he's interested in a match against Corbin, to which he responds that Corbin's right to be fearing him.
  • James Ellsworth somehow got back into the ring and helped Carmella. However, Becky was able to take him down before he was able to recreate the events of MitB.
[Talking Smack Guests!]()
  • Hosted by Daniel Bryan and Renee Young
  • WWE United States Champion Kevin Owens
  • WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions The usos
submitted by BananaArms to SquaredCircle [link] [comments]

Ralph Nader and Jeremy Scahill on Dangerous Donald and the Democratic Primary | 2/16/20

Jeremy Scahill 2/16/20
LAST FALL, the third most powerful figure in the U.S. government, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, had a phone call with a man who is undoubtedly one of the most hated people among her base of Democratic Party supporters: the famed consumer advocate and former independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
Their phone call took place as the Democrats were preparing to launch a narrowly focused impeachment case against Donald Trump. On the call, Nader laid out a strategy for attacking Trump that he believed could have resulted in his actual removal from office. Nader, who has spent his life working to implement a wide range of consumer and environmental protections, argued that it would be a mistake to focus solely on the Ukraine phone call. Instead, Nader suggested that Pelosi orchestrate a public prosecution of Trump’s crimes against ordinary Americans — what he called “kitchen table issues.” Nader beseeched Pelosi to go after Trump on issues far more pressing than Ukraine to millions of Americans, regardless of their political affiliation. He suggested subpoenaing witnesses who could testify to Trump’s “destruction of life-saving consumer protections, environmental protections, workplace safety protections, in his destruction of social safety net protections for children.” Pelosi, Nader says, did not take any of his advice.
Trump’s popularity has risen in the aftermath of his “acquittal,” as he continues his victory tour and purges dissidents from his administration. As the Democratic presidential primary process intensifies, the institutional Democratic Party appears once again to be doing everything in its power to hurt the effort to unseat Trump. The attempt to purchase the Democratic nomination by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is being aided by a Democratic National Committee that ran a dirty operation against Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016. Nader also believes that the Bloomberg candidacy has at its core an effort to block Sanders from winning the nomination, perhaps by forcing a brokered convention. “It’s Armageddon time for the Democratic Party,” Nader said. “If Bernie wins the election against Trump, should he get the nomination, it has to be a massive surge of voter turnout which will sweep out a lot of the Republicans in the Congress. So he will have a much more receptive Congress. It will sweep out the corporate Democrats in the Democratic National Committee, and it will reorient the Democratic Party to where it should be which is a party of, by, and for the people. That’s why they want to fight him.”
Nader joined Intercepted to discuss the failed impeachment move against Trump and the state of the Democratic primary. Nader ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, and throughout his career has been one of the most important voices for justice, as well as environment and consumer protections, in U.S. history. His latest book, written with the consumer advocate Mark Green, is called “Fake President: Decoding Trump’s Gaslighting, Corruption, and General Bullsh*t.” What follows is the extended transcript of the excerpt of the conversation broadcast on Intercepted.
Jeremy Scahill: Ralph Nader, welcome back to Intercepted.
Ralph Nader: Thank you, Jeremy.
JS: So I want to begin with the big picture of this impeachment fiasco that we’ve just gone through, and while we have Trump on his victory tour talking about his acquittal, we also have this other phenomenon which is that the corporate elite Democratic Party is trying to crush Bernie Sanders’s candidacy. Let’s begin with the impeachment and your assessment of the strategy that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats employed in going after Trump.
RN: Well, I and others beseeched her months ago to go with a strong full hand of impeachable offenses and send it to McConnell and have them reflect kitchen table issues because she always used to say we need kitchen table issues to increase the polls from 50 or 52 percent for impeachment and removal up higher. Well, that didn’t happen. We did see that major committee chairs wanted to put a bribery provision in. She turned that down. They wanted to expand the obstruction in defiance of subpoenas, a critical impeachable offense beyond the Ukraine matter. She turned that down. We had congressman John Larson put in the congressional record on December 18, 12 impeachable offenses of which Ukraine was one.
And the Democrats were basically subjected to one person’s decision, Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker. Well, she gambled and lost badly. Not only, obviously, he was acquitted, but polls went up for Trump, which was astounding. Nobody’s really explained that yet. So now the question is, will the committee chairs whose expanded recommendation to her was rejected, will they now come back to her and say round two? Now round two is quite explicit and quite effective. She has stated repeatedly that she thinks Trump “is a liar, a crook, a thief, and he should be in prison.” It’s a pretty good start. She also stated she wants the five committee chairs to continue their investigations into the corruption and wrongdoing and refusal to enforce the laws on behalf of the health safety and economic well being of the people. That’s the Banking Committee, the Oversight Committee, Judiciary Committee, etc. And if they do that, they are going to run up against a Trump stonewall for further information witnesses, which means they’re going to be obligated to issue subpoenas, which will be defied. That is a per se impeachable offense.
The House, went against Nixon, the third article of impeachment was he defied one subpoena. So when Trump defies these subpoenas for witnesses and documents, Speaker Pelosi will have to face up to the Constitution. The Constitution does not require her to go to court. That’s a tutorial that a lot of Democrats need to be taught. Congress’s power is plenary. They can enforce their own subpoenas, even by use of an antiquated tradition of a sheriff and a prison. They can enforce their own subpoenas. So they can go to the floor, no witnesses are needed, clean cut. Trump, you defied the subpoenas. You defied the essential power of Congress without which all other authorities are debilitated.
If they cannot get information under the Constitution from the executive branch, how debilitated will be the war power, the appropriations power, the tax power, the confirmation power? You defied it. You’re going to be impeached. These subpoenas would be associated with all kinds of kitchen table issues where people have a stake in these impeachments, didn’t have a stake much in Ukraine important as that is. It’s too remote. But they do have a stake in, for example, his destruction of life-saving consumer protections, environmental protections, workplace safety protections, in his destruction of social safety net protections for children.
JS: But are those impeachable offenses?
RN: Yes, they are when they’re associated with corruption, and treading. In other words, this isn’t just normal deregulation, what they’re doing now to the EPA is stripping it of its capacity to enforce the law. They’re pushing out scientists. They’re downgrading other professionals. They’re cutting budgets without congressional authority, and they’re run by people who have conflicts of interest and are corrupt, some of them have already left like Scott Pruitt. It’s the failure to execute the laws. That’s one of the impeachable offenses in the Constitution. Now, if Nancy Pelosi doesn’t do that, Trump will go all over the country, all over his tweets, all over the obsequious media with his disparaging nicknames and taunting and gloating. I told her in a conversation I had with her three months ago. I said, “Nancy, you know what he’s gonna do? He’s gonna say, ‘Nancy Pelosi had the majority in the House and she had all these crazy charges and she didn’t want to get them through. You know why she couldn’t get them through? Because they’re all lies. They’re all fake. I did nothing wrong.'”
JS: What did she say to you when you said that?
RN: When you have the president of the United States doing this with essentially no rebuttal. The reason why Trump stays where he is in the polls is he’s a soliloquist. He’s a slanderist soliloquist with no rebuttal. Look at the nicknames he gives all these people and they never give many nicknames back. The only way you deal with a bully who gives you nicknames like Crazy Bernie and Low IQ Maxine Waters is to give him his own medicine: Decadent Donald, Draft-Dodging Donald, Dangerous Donald, Dumb Donald, Low IQ Donald, Illiterate Donald. That’s the only way. Some say, well, we don’t want to get in the mud with him. Well, that’s an interesting comment. But not when the New York Times, Washington Post, and all the main media repeat verbatim his nicknames without giving the target of the nicknames any right of reply? That’s unethical journalism.
JS: Ralph, what did Pelosi say to you when you were laying all of this out?
RN: She said several things. She said that “I want an airtight case,” and she thinks Ukraine is an airtight case. Number two, she thought the public attention span couldn’t endure multiple impeachment charges. And number three, I think she cut a deal with her 12 Blue Dog Democrats who are in swing districts that that was the only thing she was going to bring forward. They could have had a national security, military sheen about it that insulated them.
JS: Why did Nancy Pelosi meet with you, given the way that you’re, to this day, vilified by the establishment Democratic Party for daring to run for president multiple times?
RN: Well, it wasn’t a meeting. It was a telephone conversation. I think because they’re interested in what I have to say. I mean, I could give them all kinds of strategies to landslide, Donald Trump, if they would listen. I could show them how to argue their case. I’m just giving you an example, Jeremy: You’ve got some currency in the Democratic Party now for universal basic income. I mean Andrew Yang, most prominently, and it’s viewed as a giveaway and simply, pandering to the people. How do you argue universal basic income in addition to alleviating dire poverty, in addition to increasing consumer demand for goods and services which stimulates the economy far better than a corporate tax cut? Well, one way is you say, hey, these corporations have already had universal basic income. What do you mean? Yeah, what do you think massive corporate subsidies, handouts, giveaways and bailouts are? They’re massive universal basic income giveaways. They are not only getting all these taxpayer freebies, but they also get trillions of dollars in the last decade of free government research and development which built Silicon Valley and built the biotech, nanotech, a lot of the aerospace and pharmaceutical industries. That’s pretty good, universal basic income.
Apart from the tax credits they get for doing the research that companies should be doing anyway in a so-called capitalist society. So, they don’t know how to argue full Medicare for All. I put out 25 ways life in Canada — because they have single payer full health care — compared to life in the United States. It isn’t just you know, a matter of un-affordable health insurance. It’s the removal of anxiety, dread and fear. It’s the situation in Canada where you’re not afraid to change your jobs because you might lose your health insurance. It’s a situation where you’re not ripped off by inscrutable sheets of computerized billing which total about 350 billion dollars according to Professor Malcolm Sparrow, an applied mathematician at Harvard. Imagine one-tenth of the entire health expenditure is corporate crime, it’s crime on Medicare, crime on Medicaid, crime on insurance companies because of the billing frauds that they’re paying for, crime on individual patients and payers. They don’t know how to argue it. That’s why once in a while I get through on a phone call.
JS: You know, you’re laying out a much broader strategy for what charges should have been brought against Trump and of course, criticizing the strategy that they ended up employing, but at the same time, Mitch McConnell, runs that Senate with an iron fist. It seemed clear from the jump that only Romney and maybe one or two others would have jumped ship. And in the end, it was just Romney. So, is the strategy you’re advocating putting forth those charges, getting an impeachment on those charges, sending it to the Senate for trial as a way of educating the public or revealing these crimes? Because it seems very unlikely in this day and age that more than one or two Republicans, no matter how much evidence was out there would have jumped ship on Trump over the issues you’re describing. They love that form of deregulation and they seem to not really care at all about the overt corruption that we’re witnessing.
RN: Not when they’re preceded by dozens of highly televised House committee hearings on the misuse of presidential power that is harming in kitchen table manners where people live, work, and raise their families, the American people.
JS: But these people aren’t watching MSNBC, C-SPAN, or CNN. I mean, Fox News is the single most powerful news entity as well as social media. And as Trump has said, he’s his own media outlet. I mean, I see it, Ralph, as part of the problem is there is such low trust in media, such low approval ratings of the Democrats in Congress, that it doesn’t matter if you hold those hearings, given the media landscape today. This is not like the 70s where it’s every single night on the news. It’s people are seeking out information they want, not seeking out the truth.
RN: Wrong analysis.
JS: All right. Correct me.
RN: When you see the kind of witnesses that the House could have brought, the kind of empathy, that kind of resonance, just the way they did when they brought some of those civil servants. You have to admit their testimony reached a lot of people. Fox has its own constituency. So the other networks, the other cable, the social media, the newspapers, the word of mouth. These are very easy abuses by Trump to understand unlike the more arcane diplomatic situation with Ukraine.
JS: Right.
RN: And what’s really important here is she wanted to tie up the Republicans in knots in the Senate and she only used one knot. She used one finger out of ten that could have been curled into a tough fist with very perceived abuses of the Constitution, of protective statutes, of income preservation and of turning over by Trump, turning over the U.S. government to Wall Street. You know how Wall Street polls, Jeremy? 90 percent of the people when they were asked two, three years ago, wanted to break up the big banks. That’s a lot of conservatives. Wall Street over Main Street. It’s an unbeatable presentation to get to the American people. You get left-right combination here. Let’s not subsume our factual imaginations to this polarization. It’s exaggerated because it’s a divide and rule strategy with any broader rebuttal where people work, live and raise their families where they all bleed alike from rip offs, from being denied health care, from usurious interest rates, payday loan rackets, installment, loan rackets, rental abuses, all that will come out because they’re not enforcing the law.
Now remember, the committee hearings do not have to be impeachment hearings at all. They’re just regular investigations so they can range broad far and deep and to watch what Trump is doing to make America fail. And then when the subpoenas are defied, that’s when it turns into an impeachable offense after the hearings. Also, they won’t be able to in the Senate, block witnesses. They blocked witnesses because people like Dershowitz gave them the plausible argument. Well, everything that the Democrats say is true about what Trump did. If it was all true, it didn’t reach an impeachable offense status. So that gave them an out. They can’t get an out when it deals with all these other impeachable offenses which are violations of different clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
JS: Ralph, how has this strategy that you’ve been describing that Nancy Pelosi did end up implementing in just going very narrowly over the Ukraine issue, and then Trump now on his victory lap, how does this impact the broader move at the ballot box to try to defeat Donald Trump?
RN: It produces slippage by the Democrats. They’ve already acknowledged it in the last two weeks. You see, the Democrats cannot defeat Donald Trump by themselves because they don’t use all the arguments and all the issues. There has to be a parallel get out the vote civic initiative in every precinct, in every place in those key six or seven swing states. Now there’s a group in Kentucky which you may know about called Ditch Mitch and it started about six months ago. It’s a PAC. It is not affiliated with the Democratic Party. Its sole purpose is to elaborate Mitch McConnell’s horrific record against Kentucky interests and Kentuckians and get out the vote. Get out the vote, OK. So that’s the formula. There has to be a parallel movement to get out the vote against Trump because the Democrats are not listening.
It’s almost impossible to get through to Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. I’ve had people who’ve run for major office, they can’t even get his ear, much less sit in his office to give them advice. When Mark Green and I just came out with this book, “Fake President” which is more than a book to be read. It’s a book to be used like a resource book by field organizers, by activists and Mark who you know, who’s [an] upstanding Democrat went to try to see him. He couldn’t see him, couldn’t even get an appointment, couldn’t even get him on the phone. I mean, you know, Mark is, you know, was almost mayor of New York. Bloomberg beat him with huge money in the last few weeks. He’s written the two major policy tracks two giant volumes for the Democratic party in prior elections. And he can’t even get through. Congressman John Larson tells me he can’t even get through to Perez.
It’s very hard to get through to any of these people. They think they know it all and what kind of know-it-all? The caution of Nancy Pelosi has brought her defeat in four out of the five congressional elections 2010, ’12, ’14, ’16, squeezed through in 2018 with the help of progressive candidates, but it’s not exactly confirmation that her cautious approach is winning for her. It illustrated itself in the Senate debate recently over the Ukraine impeachment articles.
JS: You know, we have this, and it’s ongoing, this debacle in Iowa. And it does seem like there was some dirty pool at play there. You just talked about Tom Perez. At the same time, you have the sort of establishment Democratic Party and figures like you know, he’s not so significant in many ways right now, but his history is worth reminding people of James Carville, who was one of the brains behind Clinton’s ascent to the presidency, basically having an aneurysm over the notion that Bernie Sanders could be the Democratic nominee. Your current assessment of how Tom Perez, the establishment elite of the Democratic Party, are mobilizing against Bernie Sanders in particular but also against anyone with a truly progressive policy platform.
RN: Well, the Democratic corporate establishment deep in the Democratic National Committee and the super delegate fiasco, imagine, nobody elects them, but they can tip the balance, undermined Bernie in 2016. There are strong arguments to say that he did really win Iowa and Nevada before he landslided Hillary in New Hampshire, but that’s the past, but they’re at it again. They have to stop Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren because their hegemony is over if one of those people gets elected, and they want to continue dialing for corporate dollars. They want to continue Obama’s record setting fundraising from Wall Street which exceeded his Republican opponents. Imagine, he got more money from Wall Street than John McCain in 2008. He even got more money from Romney’s venture capital firm. So, that’s the internal struggle. This business about socialism, that’s just a cover but they’re willing to emulate themselves this year, and let Trump win by basically stereotyping any kind of progressive legislation as socialism.
Now, for example, the argument should be by the progressive Democrats, “Look, here’s what we mean by socialism. It’s what led the Western European countries and Canada to a higher standard of living, higher equality. It means full health insurance. It means a living wage. It means retirement security. It means protecting people from serious erosions of their rights as workers. It means the ability to repeal the Taft Hartley Act and reflect majority desires in the retail trades like Walmart to join unions and so on.” But if you want more examples, people, well, let’s see the post office. That’s socialism. Public drinking water departments all over the country, I guess that’s social and public libraries. I guess that’s socialism, public electric utilities, over 1,000 of them around the country, including Jacksonville, Florida. How about the Tennessee Valley Authority deep in red state territory? You think you can repeal that? By conservative voters in Tennessee and Alabama, they’d run you out of town. So they don’t know how to argue this.
And here’s the umbrella argument, Jeremy. Look, it’s a choice between Trump’s corporate socialism which you cannot dis-elect and throw the rascals out because it’s Wall Street controlling Washington, or democratic socialism where if you don’t like it, if you don’t like law and order to corporate domination of your lives, and the corporate state, which Franklin Delano Roosevelt called fascism in a message to Congress in 1938, you can always throw the rascals out. That’s the difference. And what is corporate socialism? It’s seizing your tax money and bailing out the crooks in Wall Street in 2008 with trillions of dollars. Corporate socialism is shoveling out your hard earned dollars to company subsidies, handouts, giveaways, etc, anti-market quotas. And above all, it’s taking your money away by giving it to tax breaks for the rich and powerful which creates huge deficits that are going to be paid by your children and your grandchildren instead of putting the trillion and a half dollars of Trump’s tax cut, including cutting his own family’s taxes into rebuilding America, into rebuilding schools and public transit and water and sewage systems and bridges and highway and airports and ports. That’s the way you argue it, Jeremy.
JS: What is, given your history in electoral politics and the way that you’ve been treated by the Democratic party establishment, if you take that history that you’ve lived, and then you look at Hillary Clinton’s interventions in this current electoral cycle where they, you know, the hagiography on Hulu just premiered at Sundance and she you know, this line gets floated that “nobody likes Bernie,” you take that and then you look at Pete Buttigieg coming out of the McKinsey world, the sort of consiglieres of capitalism and then you have Michael Bloomberg just pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into ads. I was just recently in Puerto Rico and watched ad after ad after ad of Bloomberg saying he’s already rebuilding Puerto Rico. But what is the emerging elite Democratic corporate wing of the Democratic Party strategy in this primary? What are they trying to do? Who are they going to get behind in your assessment?
RN: They have to block as I said, Bernie Sanders. They have to block Elizabeth Warren. They have to block universal basic income proposals like Andrew Yang. And basically, they like people like Joe Biden, you know, he comes out of the corporate state, out of the Obama world, out of the Clarence Thomas, enabler chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, mistreating Anita Hill and, and he comes out of that. They like him and if he falters, they’ll go for Bloomberg, because they know he’s got a lot of money to go up against the Republicans. It’s just redux. It’s corporate state Democrat redux. That is they’re almost identical in military and foreign policy with the Republicans. They’re almost identical and booming, bigger military budgets and lathering the military industrial complex with whatever they want. They’re almost identical with avoiding applying law enforcement to Wall Street.
Their rhetoric is a little different, but we talk about the rhetoric in realistic terms, rhetoric doesn’t really matter politically. So what their record is they have never introduced into Congress any comprehensive corporate crime enforcement. The corporate crime laws are absurd. They’re obsolete. Their fines are, you know, nickels and dimes, and they cut the enforcement budgets of all these agencies to begin with. So, they can’t even enforce against fraud on Medicare, for example, $60 billion a year, billion with a B. They bring back about two, three billion. That’s all. They don’t have enough prosecutors.
All that is deliberate. All that is part of the Rep/Dem consensus, the two party duopoly that stereotypes third parties, and when they start seeing an insurgence in their own party, they go to work on it behind the scenes, tipping close primary elections. They go to work on them, by slandering them, by stereotyping them. And the most interesting person emerging here is Pete Buttigieg because he’s coming on almost like a new Obama or a new Clinton, this kind of smooth moderation. He’s signaling with his fundraising parties with billionaires and millionaires that he’s going to be acceptable to them.
JS: Oh, that’s my favorite line is when Pete Buttigieg says “Hey, we have to include the billionaires. Let’s not exclude people. Let’s include people.” He has the audacity to make that argument and very, I don’t recall any pushback against that particular line that he keeps deploying when people ask him about the 40 odd billionaires who are financing his campaign?
RN: Well, Bernie, obviously pushed back in the recent debates. I don’t mind billionaires, if they support universal basic income, or I don’t mind billionaires who support the stronger enforcement of corporate crime. But his billionaires are basically Clinton-type billionaires, Wall Street billionaires. Remember he came out of McKinsey and Company. That’s the essence of the Wall Street establishment. This giant consulting firm.
JS: You know, at the same time you have — I mentioned Hillary Clinton earlier, but Hillary Clinton also really early on in Tulsi Gabbard’s candidacy for the Democratic nomination, smearing her as essentially a Russian agent. Tulsi Gabbard is of course, suing her for defamation. Now, I have a lot of problems with some aspects of Tulsi Gabbard’s history, her record, her relationship with some very frightening individuals in India, some of her positions on gay marriage, gay rights that have now shifted, and I think she has some questions to answer about some of her positions on Syria but it reminds me also of how you were treated and I’m wondering what your assessment is of that preemptive strike against Tulsi Gabbard by Hillary Clinton to say, “Hey, this is the new Jill Stein. This is who the Russians have chosen.”
RN: Well, you know, she’s not gonna do very well at all in the New Hampshire primary. I think, Hillary Clinton if she continues berating Tulsi Gabbard’s afraid that she’ll go independent and so-called, take away some votes in key states. I don’t think that’s going to happen.
JS: She says she won’t you know, she says she’s not going to do that. In fact, she even —
RN: The more serious attack is the use of the word electability. If they can’t use the word democratic socialism, they use the word electability to marginalize main progressive candidates in the Democratic primary. Now, this is basically a symptom of the defeatism of the Democratic Party. How can anybody running for president against this relentless savage sexual predator, this constant liar on matters of serious import to the American people, separating millions of people from reality into his commercialized fantasy, this person who’s a bigot and a racist and he follows up with actions reflecting that — how can the Democrats even raise the issue of trying to find a candidate who’s electable against this person?
That’s just a technique to marginalize progressive candidates, and they use the words moderate and centrist and leftist and extremist to pursue the same strategy, to mainstream their corporate Democratic primary candidates. For example, Joe Biden is called a moderate. Joe Biden, for example, has supported wars abroad that are unconstitutional. Why is that a moderate? Joe Biden has been to toady the big banks. Why is that a moderate? Joe Biden has supported corporate-type policies on consumer bankruptcy limiting them, and credit card insurance gouging. Why is that considered moderate or centrist? Why is it considered leftist to support universal health insurance and a living wage and cracking down on corporate crime? Those received enormous results in the polls. Left, right support, 65, 70, 75, 80, 90 percent. Why is that considered extreme or leftist? Because the progressive Democrats don’t know how to argue their case, Jeremy. They don’t know how to argue.
And now they’re so tired, going five events a day in the primary, flying in that they can’t think anymore. I’ve been through that kind of pressure. They can’t think anymore. Their wind up speeches are getting stale. They are repeated. They’re not infused with the kind of new facts and new ranges. To open it up, they’ve got to raise the issue of 300 billion dollars a year from a tiny less than 1 percent tax, sales tax on Wall Street transactions. They can say, look, people, you go into a store and you got to pay 6, 7 percent on necessities of life. How come someone buys 100 million dollars of Exxon options or stock and doesn’t have to pay a cent? See, and then you take that 300 billion and you put it back into dealing with student loans. Wall Street basically disenfranchised a whole generation of young Americans by collapsing the economy in 2008. And these people are owed that kind of transfer of sales tax for their technical training, their student loans. They don’t open it up.
As a result, the media which follows them, it gets jaded. They hear the same wind up. It’s a good wind up, but it’s too repetitive. And it excludes a whole range of factual conditions on the ground that will alert more and more millions of people to say to themselves, she’s on my side, he’s on my side and they don’t do that. Therefore, they don’t generate any news, even though they’re in the eye of the media during the primary season, day after day.
JS: We know that there were very dirty tricks played in the 2016 primary by Hillary Clinton and the DNC against Bernie Sanders. I think, Iowa, the Iowa Caucus, made a lot of Sanders supporters believe that that already is happening right now. Not just the overt kind of war against the Sanders and to a lesser extent, but still there Warren candidacy, but if you have a DNC that is willing to rig its own primary, what is Bernie Sanders’ path not just to winning that nomination, but then running a national campaign against a humongous war chest that Trump already is amassing?
RN: Well, he’s doing pretty well without our advice, huh, Jeremy? It’s really quite remarkable.
JS: He is but we’re only you know, we’re only at the very beginning of this and I’m referencing what they did in 2016. I mean, he basically has to fight the DNC and Trump simultaneously.
RN: Well, Bernie doesn’t like to appear like a sore loser. So he doesn’t complain in 2016 about what happened in the casinos where votes were counted, can you imagine? In Nevada, and in Iowa. First of all, he has to attack the caucus system. The caucus system is a form of voter suppression. Let’s face it. I mean, how many people can take out four or five hours, travel to a location, stay there at night, leave their kids? So it’s a form of voter suppression.
JS: We can barely get people to just go and vote in a poll, you know, in a normal one person, one vote.
RN: Just a normal primary, like New Hampshire. So, he lost an opportunity after 2016 to go after them. Although he did change some rules. He reduced the number of super delegates which is a way the corporate Democrats jab in at the end to tip the close race between their candidates and progressive candidates. And now the super delegates only kick in at the Democratic National Convention on the second round, but still, they can be decisive. And you know, the super delegates are members of Congress who are Democrats and former Democratic governors, etc. They haven’t been elected to anything as far as this election is concerned, but they can decide the outcome.
JS: If Sanders does get the nomination, what will that mean for the Democratic Party? I mean, would it be akin to, you know, to sort of what the Tea Party and ultimately Trump did to the Republican Party? I’m not drawing a comparison between their individual policies or their morality in terms of Bernie and Trump. But in terms of what it does to the party, it seems to me like Bernie winning would effectively shatter parts of the Democratic Party for the better, like get rid of some of these toxic elements that dominate that party.
RN: I think you’re right. If Bernie wins the election against Trump, should he get the nomination, it has to be a massive surge of voter turnout which will sweep out a lot of the Republicans in the Congress. So he will have a much more receptive Congress. It will sweep out the corporate Democrats in the Democratic National Committee, and it will reorient the Democratic Party to where it should be which is a party of, by and for the people. That’s why they want to fight him.
JS: Finally, Ralph, what about the state of third-party organizing in this country. I mean, the last truly successful runs were your runs. I mean, I think that the, you know, the Green Party has been just decimated and I think has made some strategically very unwise decisions in recent campaigns. But is there a future for third party organizing in this country given what is happening right now with the ascent of Donald Trump and the threat of an even more authoritarian second term if the Democrats lose?
RN: Well, two responses and by the way, your listeners, if they want more of what they’ve been hearing and my background, they can go to my website If they want to see how a progressive campaign on issues that both parties take off the table, they can go to my still-open from the 2008 campaign to see what issues we espoused to have majority support that were taken off the table for even discussion by the Democrats and Republicans. I see two scenarios here for third parties: One, they proceed as they are proceeding, maybe get some more votes to nudge the major party that’s closest to their views in the right direction. That happened in the 19th century when some of the smaller parties never won a national election, but they push the two parties on things like anti-slavery, the 1840 run by the Liberty party and women’s suffrage, industrial labor, farmer parties, People’s Party. So that’s one scenario.
A second scenario if the Democrats lose to the worst president in history, the crudest, the most overt disgusting, foul-mouthed corporate toady who’s destroyed the rule of law and constitutional observance, if they lose to him, I can see the Republican Party breaking open. I can see some reminiscence of the Republican Party being created in 1850s, splitting and replacing the Whig Party. In an era of billionaires who are willing to fund new parties, that is not out of range. They will call it a new centrist party something the way Bloomberg has been talking about. And then the third and this is the one the Democrats got to be really afraid of — a progressive third party with hundreds of millions of dollars in their war chest, enough to get five to 10, 12, 15 percent. So this is really Armageddon time for the Democratic Party. They’ve been losing and losing to the worst Republican Party in history. I mean, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Senator Robert Taft would have been aghast at the extreme nature of this Republican Party, the stupidity, the ignorance, the bigotry, the corporatism, the self-serving enrichments, etc. They’re a mirror of Trump which is why they clap for him in the White House. And I can see, if the Democrats lose this one, there’s going to be a lot of fissure and a lot of splits.
The civic community in this country, environmental, consumer workers, civil rights, civil liberties, housing, tenant groups are excluded from the electoral arena. All you gotta do is look at Judy Woodruff on PBS, the News Hour. She interviews reporters. She doesn’t interview leaders who know what you’re talking about of civic groups. The civic community has got to stop being passive and demand that they have a role in the deliberations and in the media coverage of these campaigns, because they know a lot that the candidates don’t know. They know even a lot more that the reporters don’t know. And they are the seed corn for American democracy since day one in the 18th century.
JS: Ralph Nader, thank you very much for being with us.
RN: Thank you, Jeremy.
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Shakira's MAGNUS OPUS "Donde Están Los Ladrones?" was released 20 years ago

Shakira with her Latin Grammys for Best Female Pop Performance AND Best Female Rock Performance
In September of 1998, MTV’s Total Request Live made its debut and the Video Music Awards celebrated their 15th edition, the same month that Hole’s Celebrity Skin, Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals and Jay-Z’s Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life made their splash in the Billboard 200, all while Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing debuted at number one in the Hot 100 (and remained for the entire month) and Rush Hour ruled the box office in its way to become a sleeper hit and a classic. Of course all of this was in the United States, all while thousands of miles below another pop culture phenomenon was taking place, I’m talking of course about the release of Shakira’s forth studio album and her magnum opus: Donde Están Los Ladrones? (Where Are the Thieves?), which turns 20 this week.
Long before Ladrones, Shakira debuted at the tender age of 13 with the low budget 1991’s Magia (Magic), a collection of songs she wrote between the ages of 8 and 12 and some other tracks written by her producers. Two years later, Peligro (Danger) followed with even less input from the singer and songwriter. The experience of making those two albums was frustrating for Shakira, as she didn’t have any choice when it comes to production or sequencing of the tracks, and as a result the albums received a very tepid critical response and bombed, selling around 1000 copies each, with the latter being barely promoted at Shakira’s request, as she moved into a bigger label and started working on her second debut album: Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet), released in 1995. The song ¿Dónde Estás, Corazón? (Where Are You Love?) was a hit when it was released as a single for a compilation album earlier in that year, which allowed Shakira to have the creative control she always wanted. The resulting album sold over five million copies worldwide (including over 500,000 in the US) and was praised by critics, who finally perceived that she fullfilled her potential as a performer and writer. After a successful international tour and a string of hits like Estoy Aquí (I’m Here) and Antología (Anthology), Shak was ready to move forward and conquer the world… however she need to find someone that could help her break into new markets.
Cue to Emilio Estefan.
The ICONIC album cover
Emilio wasn’t just the husband of Gloria, but also the hottest producer of the Hispanic market at the time and the man responsible of launching the career of Enrique Iglesias and Thalía (and also Gloria, of course), and as such he was the most capable person to move Shakira into the next phase of her blossoming career: Worldwide domination. Shakira caught Emilio’s attention and immediately offered himself to work on her next album, but Shakira only agreed to if she was given full creative control of the record, conditions that Emilio accepted.
The title of the record was inspired by one of Shakira's trips to the capital of her native country Colombia. At the El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá, after finishing her Tour Pies Descalzos, part of her luggage was stolen, including a briefcase that contained all the lyrics Shakira had been working on for the album, which forced her to work from scratch, not before she suffered from writer’s block, resulting from the impotence of the robbery itself: “I came to the conclusion that there are all types of thieves. A thief is not just a person who takes a physical object that doesn't belong to him or her. There are thieves who steal feelings, space, time, dreams, and rights”.
The album cover, a picture of her with dirty hands and messy, colorful Medusa-esque braids, was inspired by the two interpretations of the album’s title: the literal “Who are they? What are they looking for? Where are they?” about the thieves and the more figurative one about how no one is free of guilt: “from that point of view, we all have stolen at one time or another, myself included. The dirty hands represent the shared guilt. No one is completely clean, in the end we are all accomplices”.
Ladrones is mostly a Pop record, with Rock en Español (an umbrella term to refer to several kinds of rock music made in Latin America from the 80s onwards) influences and elements of Disco, Mariachi and Middle Eastern music spread through the record. Sonically, it has been compared to her contemporaries of the time like Alanis Morissette and Meredith Brooks, with the only similarities being the fact that all of these singers weren’t exactly traditional pop stars and they played guitar-tinted pop songs.

The tracklist
This is more apparent in the opening track and lead single Ciega Sordomuda (Blind, Deaf-Mute), which starts with Mariachi instrumentals before introducing a more standard dance loop and guitars as its background sounds, all while Shakira sings the iconic opening lines:
I run out of arguments and of methodology every time that in front of me your anatomy appears
A sarcastic and humorous track about the consequences of falling in love, Ciega was a huge hit when it was released, reaching number one in basically all of Latin America charts and the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks (a first for Shakira), aided by its surreal music video; and was also a critical success, considered one of the best Latin songs of the 90s and one of her signature songs. And with the iconic opening and the mariachi/rap bridge it’s easy to forget how iconic the chorus itself is:
Stupid, blind, deaf-mute, clumsy, useless and strong headed
It’s all I have been because of you I have became
A thing that doesn’t do anything else but loving you
I think of you night and day and I don’t know how to forget you
As a curiosity, a full mariachi version was recorded as part of her Unplugged album just two years later.
The second track is the rockier and angrier Si Te Vas (If You’re Gone), about how Shakira feels that her lover is planning to leave her for a “witch, ugly piece of leather” and she warns him what might wait for him if she decides to leave him:
A new broom always sweeps clean then you will see the worn bristles
When wrinkles cut her skin and cellulite invades her legs
You will return from your hell with the tail between your horns imploring one more time
But by then I will be a million nights far away from this huge city, far away from you

Lyrics from the second and third track of the album
The bipolarity continues with the third track and fifth single overall Moscas en la Casa (Flies in the House), a video-less tender acoustic-guitar-and-handdrum-driven ballad about the Shakira’s sadness suffered after her relationship fell apart and how she has to let herself go, while she continues to wait for him to come back. Inspired by her troubled relationship with Puerto Rican actor Osvaldo Ríos, 16 years her senior, the heartbreaking yet simple lyrics details how are her days without her lover:
My days without you do not have any nights
If any of them appears it is useless to sleep
My days without you are a waste, the hours have no beginning or end
So short of breath
So full of nothing
Unusable scrap
Trash on the floor
Flies in the house
Shakira light up the mood a little bit with the forth track and single No Creo (I Don’t Believe) in which the dance loop, the unusual instrument (in this case an harmonica) and the rap bridge returns, as she sings about how she believes in nothing and nobody except her lover… ok, this one is a basically a reprise of Ciega Sordomuda, and it doesn’t help that the video shares footage with Ciega’s one (maybe both were shot back-to-back, who knows), but it still slaps:
I don’t believe in Venus or Mars
I don’t believe in Karl Marx
I don’t believe in Jean-Paul Sartre
I don’t believe in Brian Weiss
I only believe in your blue smile
In your crystal look, in the kisses that you give me
And no matter what they say
Only you know well who I am and that's why my heart is yours
Only you bend my reason and that's why wherever you want I go
Another global hit for Shakira, the song also became the first single from her Unplugged album just one year after its release as a single from Ladrones.
Inevitable is the fifth track and third single overall, a song which had always remind me, musically speaking, to a The Bends-era Radiohead track. The songs showcases Shakira exposing herself as an imperfect lover who might have cheated before, who doesn’t shower on Sundays and cries at least once a month (especially when it’s cold) and yet she still loves her guy so much that it’s willing to change everything and fix herself, everything just for him to come back:
I have always known that it’s best when it’s time to talk about two to start with oneself
You probably know the situation
Here everything is getting worse
But at least I’m still breathing
You don’t have to say it
You won’t come back
I know you so well
I will think about what to do with you later
Inevitable, which was used alongside scenes of its music video for a Pepsi campaign, is more famous for being Shakira’s first foray into English singing, as a rewritten version was performed in the Rosie O’Donnell show (followed by an interview hosted by Gloria Estefan) and the ALMA Awards as a duet with Melissa Etheridge. The songs was another top 5 hit of the album and have been performed in every tour ever since, albeit with a small alteration since 2011: The lyric “and I don’t know nothing about football (soccer)” is now “and now I know about football (soccer)” as a tongue-in-cheek reference to her relationship with Gerard Piqué.

More lyrics!
Even through it was only a radio single in a limited number of countries, the sixth track entered Shakira’s canon as her most controversial track: Octavo Día (Eight Day) is also the first track on the album that doesn’t deal with the subject of love, instead it revolves around the idea of God leaving us behind and what would happen with humanity afterwards. In some ways, it can be compared to Joan Osborne’s sole hit One of Us, however the song’s social commentary leaves behind any comparison it can be made to the theme song to Joan of Arcadia.
The song begins with God creating Earth in six days and taking a break from everything in the eight day by going “for a walk in outer space” just to come back and “find everything in a hellish mess” which leads Him to became just “another unemployed of the rate that is growing non-stop annually”, since then “there are those who have seen him walking alone in the streets” while “waiting patiently for someone with whom at least calm he can converse”. In the second verse, God “in the absence of occupation or excessive loneliness” leaves us behind as He went to another place, and left us with no other choice than to “worship Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton or Tarzan” as Shakira laments how our poor God “does not appear in magazines, that he is not a model, or an artist or from a royal family”. The chorus delves into social critique as Shak casually mentions how, in the meantime of this godly mess, “this world just keep spinning unable to being stopped; and here below, a few play us like chess pieces” while she’s “not the kind of idiot that lets herself convince” from stuff that even a blind men can see.
The rock track, winner of the Latin Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, gained more notoriety during the Tour of the Mongoose (2002-2003), in which a very controversial background video played during the performance which showed Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush playing chess (with some of the musicians using Fidel Castro and Richard Nixon masks) just for players to later substitute the chess pieces for nuclear weapons, all while the Grim Reaper is controlling them like puppets… surprisingly she didn’t received the Dixie Chicks treatment and her career survived barely unscratched. In a later statement Shakira mentioned her reasoning for such a controversial performance:
I think that we see war as a virtual thing and we even get to believe that bombs fall on top of cardboard cutouts and stuff like that, they don't. They kill real people, real children, real mothers and millions of innocent people. I come from Colombia, which is a country that has been under the whip of violence for more than four decades, so I've seen the consequences of war and I've seen the psychological damage that it does in a society.
And I think that we're never ready for war. I just feel that there are always pacifist solutions, and I think that the leaders know the exit to the conflict, it's just that sometimes they don't want to use them, they just want to continue playing their little game of power. And I feel that us people have the responsibility and also the obligation to demand to our leaders to give us the pacifist solutions. […] I might be sounding like an old fashioned hippie, but I believe in pacifist revolutions and I think that we have to look for those solutions, otherwise there's no way to survive in this world. In the First World War, 13 million people were killed. In the Second World War, 40 million people were killed. I think that if a third war takes place, nothing is going to be left on the face of earth […] Not always do the governments represent their people. Not always do the governments make the right decisions, because the governments are controlled by just a few, and those few do not always represent faithfully the ideals of the people.”

Shakira performing Octavo Día at her MTV Unplugged concert
In the seventh track, Que Vuelvas (To Come Back), Shakira let us breathe after such a heavy track as a pulsating and pounding bass line, another dance loop and a guitar accompaniment guides us through a journey in which Ms. Piqué wonders what would happen to her now that her lover, Ríos once again, left her. It’s very straightforward, sure, and kind of unambitious, but there’s a small element that elevates this deep cut above your average filler: the structure.
VERSE 1: It established the basics of the track right away.
PRE-CHORUS: It builds up to some anthemic chorus.
VERSE 2: Shakira blueballs us as another verse kicks instead, which shows us another perspective of the elements established in the first verse.
PRE-CHORUS: It’s here once again.
CHORUS: It finally appears and it kicks harder thanks to the buildup.
VERSE 3: The history of the previous verses continues to move forward.
CHORUS: Instead of just reprising the chorus, Shakira give us a surprise and changes the last bar to connect directly to the bridge.
BRIDGE: This short interlude is used by the narrator for catharsis, with some tension being liberated after so much angst.
CHORUS: Now the chorus comes back followed by a fade out which makes us wonder what’s going to happen next with our narrator… will she move forward? Will he come back to her arms?
Of course this reading might be too extra to some people, especially because the songs sounds suspiciously similar to Estoy Aqui, but I can’t really stand the fact that this songs its ‘this’ close to be filler, especially given its placement in the album.
The following track is (You) is Shak’s signature ballad and one of her most emotional and vocally demanding tracks. Although it begins as a declaration of unconditional love, it suddenly turns into another track begging her lover to not leave her again:
I give you my waist and my lips for when you want to kiss
I give you my madness and the few neurons that are left
My faded shoes, the diary in which I write
I give you my sighs, but don’t leave me again
Because you are my sunshine, the faith with which I live, the power of my voice, the feet that I use to walk
My love, you are my desire to laugh
I will not know how to say goodbye
Because I can never live without you
The self-penned track, issued as the second single of the album, reached number one in the Billboard Latin charts and several other Latin countries. Because of the difficulty of singing this track live, Shakira retired the full version after the Tour of the Mongoose; but brought it back for her set in Rock in Rio and the El Dorado World Tour, albeit without the second verse.
The title track's lyrics
The title track, Dónde Están los Ladrones? (Where Are the Thieves?), is second non-love song on the album. The harmonica comes back in the guitar-driven song which criticizes the politic and social reality in South American nations at the time of the album's release:
They have seen them out there, seen them on the rooftops, walking by Paris, condemning in the courts
With dusty nose, wearing a tie or blue jeans, you've seen them all on the covers, with nothing more to say
However, in a plot twist, Shakira points to finger toward herself in the chorus:
Where is the murderer?
Maybe there, rolling around the neighbor’s courtyard
and what will happen if it’s them?
And what will happen if it’s me
The one who plays this guitar or the one who is singing this song
Going by the song’s verses, everyone who had benefitted of the social inequity is part of the problem, it’s not enough to just point fingers. While 9 of the 11 tracks in the album are about love, the small glimpses we get from the Woke Shakira in this 2 sole tracks shows us that she’s far from being another average man-hater indie rock girl of the 90s like some of her peers… it’s not just the looks or the music, it’s how she portraits this sensibilities from different perspectives that makes her one of the greatest of the decade.
Unfortunately for us, we reached the closest this album has to a filler track: Sombra de Ti (Your Shadow), a subdued mid-tempo ballad in which Shakira feels how a previous relationship keeps haunting her. Lyrically speaking, this track is amazing, featuring some of the greatest metaphors and lyrics in the album (“You must know that there are pieces of your mouth spread out all over this place and that I stumble every day with another old memory and a new gray story”) and the best opening bars in any heartache song ever (“I'm going to let my guitar say everything I do not know how to say myself, or maybe I should wait for this jeering clock to finish planning my ending”) but… the sing-talking in the verses and the way she sings the chorus sort of takes me away from the track… I mean, any other Latin pop girl would murder for this song as her first single in any given album, but in this particular album and surrounded by so many amazing tracks it just falls somewhat flat for me.
The album closer: Ojos Así
Fortunately, Shak decided to close the album with one of the greatest tracks of her career: Ojos Así (Eyes Like These), a middle eastern bop, which was released as the fifth single of the album. In the song, Shakira songs about how she has seen some amazing (“a heaven without Sun”, “a river made of salt”), unique (“a Saint in prison”, “an abandoned ship in the desert”) and weird (“a woman passing under her camel”) stuff, and yet, she still hasn’t seen anything as striking as her man’s black eyes:
I ask Heaven only one thing, that in your eyes I can live
I have wandered around the entire world and I have come to tell you just one thing
I travelled from Bahrein to Beirut, I went from the North to the South Pole
and I never found eyes like those, like those that you have
The most impressive aspect of the track is the fact that Shakira actually sings in Arabic in several portions of the track, sometimes aided by an all-male chorus of course:
ربُ السماء , فيك رجائي (rb alsama' , fik rajayiy) (Lord of heaven, in you my hope)
في عينيها أرى حياتي (fi eayniha ‘araa hayati) (In his eyes I see my life)
آت ِ إليك من هذا الكون (at 'iilayk mn hdha alkun) (Coming to you from this universe
*)*أرجوك ربي .. لبي ندائي ('urjuk rabiy .. labi nidayiyun) (Please, My Lord)
The Latin Grammy nominated, MTV VMA winning music video aided the song into becoming a huge hit in Latin America and arguably her signature 90s song. The track, which also won the Latin Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, actually has an (inferior) English version called Eyes Like Yours, with an unreleased video and everything, featured as the last track in 2002’s Laundry Service. This English version helped the song to become a moderate hit in Europe and a smashing hit in Romania of all places.
The album Dónde Están los Ladrones? was a huge critical hit when released in 1998: Rolling Stone declared that it was ‘hard to imagine a singer barely into her 20s having written and recorded such an inventive set of songs’, MTV declared that Shakira ‘represents the kind of eventuality for which Alanis Morissette, Bob Dylan and Beck are all precedents’, Sputnikmusic called the albumthe gem of Shakira's discography, and one of the best Spanish pop releases of the past decade’ and the NPR put it above Taylor’s Fearless, Mariah’s Daydream, No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom and Fiona Apple’s Tidal, among others, in their list of 150 Best Albums Made by Women. Ladrones was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album category, gave Shakira a Songwriter of the Year award in the BMI Latin Awards, a World's Best Selling Latin Female Artist at the World Music Awards and 5 awards out of 8 nominations at the Premios Lo Nuestro between 1999 and 2001 including Pop Album and Pop Female Artist.

Shakira with an ACTUAL Grammy
After its release, Ladrones was an immediate success in Latin America selling over a million copies a month after its release, however that success didn’t immediately translated elsewhere: in the United States it debuted at #141 in its second week of release (it didn’t sell enough to chart at first) and next week peaked at #131, although it spend a total of 11 weeks atop the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart; in Europe the album was a commercial disappointment and only reached above the top 75 in the Spain charts. Ladrones is Shakira’s second best-selling album worldwide with over 10 million copies sold (below Laundry Service’s 15 millions), including around one million copies in the US (being certified Platinum), which makes it the 9th best-selling Latin album in the country, one position below Shakira’s own Fijación Oral Vol. 1.
In order to promote the album, Shakira performed across the world in different events and TV shows: Miss Colombia 1999 in her native Colombia, Con T de Tarde in Spain, Laura in Peru, Domingo Legal and Domingão do Faustão in Brazil and Premios Lo Nuestro and Latin Grammys in the United States, among others, all in a one year period as she prepared her next release: Her MTV Unplugged album.
Recorded in the Grand Ballroom in New York just ten months after the release of Ladrones, Unplugged was her first live album and basically served as an extension and complement of the Ladrones era as 10 of the 11 tracks in the live release were from the Ladrones album with Si Te Vas being substituted with early single Estoy Aquí. Unplugged was a huge hit (selling over a million copies worldwide) and was a critical success in English-speaking markets, winning an actual Grammy, not a Latin Grammy, but a real Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album, the third Unplugged release to win a Grammy after Eric Clapton and Nirvana’s albums.
Her first of many live albums: MTV Unplugged
After the release of Unplugged in February 2000, Shakira embarked in her second international tour, Tour Anfibio (Amphibious Tour) to promote both the live album and Ladrones. In The Tour Anfibio she performed for a two-month period (between March and May) a total of 21 concerts in 12 countries, including four dates in Argentine’s Luna Park (playing for almost 40,000 people), 3 dates in the United States (in San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center, Anaheim’s Honda Center and Miami’s Miami Arena, all with capacities for over 10,000 people) and a sole date in Colombia. Despite the short duration of the tour (it had less than one third of the dates of her previous tour), it was a commercial success.
After the inicial success of Ladrones, Gloria Estefan tried to convince Shakira of releasing a English translated version of the album, offering to translate herself Ojos Así to show it could be done (hence she was credited as a writer in the English version released later), which made Shakira start doing it herself… that was until she decided to better start anew and give herself some time to study the language, subsequently the sessions that were supposed to start in January of 1999 were cancelled and Shakira wouldn’t start working in the Ladrones follow-up until the next year, writing English tracks with a "dictionary in one hand and a thesaurus in the other"; the resulting album was Laundry Service and we all know how that turned out and what happened afterward.
Shakira during her Anfibio Tour
Donde Estan Los Ladrones? Is a fantastic listening from beginning to end, with every track offering something unique: either an iconic lyric, a moment of musical brilliance or a shocking combination of both, with the sudden realization that she was just 21 when the album was unleashed to the world; Ladrones is very obviously a 90s album, but that’s not a detriment to how enjoyable and relatable it is up to this day, and how well and tightly produced it is. Despite lacking thematic cohesion, it doesn’t need it (not every album has to be The Wall) to shock and awe with its sonically delicious palette of Latin rock pop sounds and poetic lyrics. Each track (with an obvious exception, a 7/10 for me) is at least a 9/10 with several tens in the middle.
As much as I love Shakira, I’ve always though it was a shame that this was her creative peak… not that she isn’t still great but none of her later albums have reached the same heights, although several of her subsequent tracks are obviously deserving of their acclaim and even some albums have come somewhat close of Ladrones.
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4/2/2016: Valley View Casino Lobster Buffet (4K)

Join us on New Year’s Eve, Wednesday, December 31 as we count down to 2015 in a Hawaiian paradise right here at home. We’re throwing a Hawaiian-style New Yea... Having fun with friends at Valley View Casino. Thanks Lena and Wayne for cheering me on!! Be sure to LIKE, SUBSCRIBE, and turn on post notifications to know ... Valley View Casino day trip / Spanglish Daily vlog 6/2/2019 - Duration: 11:18. Ferali Love 643 views. 11:18. All You Can Eat Lobster Buffet Pala Casino - Duration: 3:49. ... 5/27/16, San Diego: Bargain www.kprifm.comSan Diego radio station 102.1 KPRi's resident foodie David Boylan, host of Lick the Plate radio weekdays at 7pm, takes you on a tour of the Val... Gulls vs Gulls in a friendly scrimmage put on for the fans at the Valley View Casino Center. The San Diego Gulls home opener is tomorrow night at 7 pm. Valley View Casino Center 3500 Sports Arena Blvd. San Diego, CA 92110