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What is Two Blokes Trading? Two Blokes Trading is a fun and informative podcast and website for new and experienced home financial traders. It follows us, Tom and Owen, as we learn to trade profitably and consistently. We interview leading traders and trading industry insiders every week on the Podcast to give our listeners the best chance of becoming profitable traders.
Coronavirus: Trump admits to slowing the testing rate, which allows unabated spread & more American deaths
Good morning everyone - I am posting this coronavirus-centric newsletter instead of the usual Lost in the Sauce because I am running behind after spending yesterday on Father’s Day activities. So tomorrow I will post Lost in the Sauce (covering the political and legal news that may have been overlooked last week). My apologies, I wanted to get something out to you guys today as promised. Housekeeping:
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The World Health Organization on Sunday reported the pandemic's largest single-day increase of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 183,000 cases reported in the previous 24 hours. Brazil and the United States contributed the most to the surge in cases.
Trump says he told his administration to test fewer people: “Testing is a double-edged sword… When you do testing to that extent, you’re gonna find more people, you’re gonna find more cases. So I said to my people slow the testing down, please. They test and they test.” (video)
The White House later tried to soften Trump's remark, saying he was joking. Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, points out a key aspect that is often overlooked: “The joke is on us. We stayed inside weeks on weeks with the unstated social contract that it was going to give the nation time to have alternatives to social distancing. And they didn’t do it. The nationwide testing plan never panned out like they said it would.”
Congressman Andy Kim (NJ): When I requested FEMA to stand up a Coronavirus test site in South Jersey they told me the White House said no. Now we know why.
EDIT TO UPDATE: A reporter asked Trump this morning if he actually ordered testing to be slowed down - Trump avoided answering the direct question but implied that he thinks we should do less testing. Trump says: "if it did slow down, frankly, I think we're way ahead of ourselves if you wanna know the truth. We've done too good of a job." (video) Just days earlier, Trump told the WSJ that testing for the coronavirus is "overrated," arguing that it has led to an increase in confirmed cases in the U.S. that "makes us look bad." Trump has made statements like this numerous times before.
Reminder: In March, Trump said he wanted to keep passengers and crew on an infected cruise ship so that coronavirus cases in the US don't "double." "I like the numbers being where they are. I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship."
Op-Ed: Trump Just Admitted to a Crime Against Humanity. No, He Wasn’t Joking.
Fact check: Controlling the spread of the pandemic demands finding the infected and isolating them until they can no longer spread the disease, alongside broader measures like social distancing. With an untold number of asymptomatic carriers, the only option to find out who truly has the virus is to test. Meanwhile, a lack of testing hampers the response to the virus. Health officials can’t preempt outbreaks in new regions. The threat then silently persists, infecting, killing, and draining resources. (Vox) The U.S is now conducting more than 3 million coronavirus tests a week, far short of the 30 million tests per week experts say is needed to safely reopen. These experts aren’t just worried about the number of tests that labs can process. They are concerned about the logistical challenges of testing so many people, and the lag in setting up adequate contact tracing to find who may have been exposed.
Cases continue to rise
Experts abroad: “It really does feel like the U.S. has given up.” Comparing the rolling average of new coronavirus cases in the EU (pop. 446 million) to the US (pop. 330 million), shows the stark difference in results: the US rate is climbing back to its high point of ~30,000 average cases while the EU has stabilized at only 4,000 cases.
Note that since that graph was made, the US has surpassed that number: The CDC reported over 32,000 new cases for both Friday and Saturday - the highest daily totals since April 25. [See a few paragraphs below for state details]
Germany’s success in responding to the coronavirus pandemic was based on U.S. research that was ignored or dismissed by the U.S. government. “A large portion of [Germany’s] measures that proved effective was based on studies by leading U.S. research institutes,” said Karl Lauterbach, a Harvard-educated epidemiologist who is a member of the German parliament for the Social Democrats. If the US had acted when other nations did, using the same information, 70%-99% of American covid deaths would have been avoided. The Oxford index shows that 14 days from the date of the 15th confirmed case in each country — a vital early window for action — the U.S. response to the outbreak lagged behind the others by miles...Due to exponential viral spread, our delay in action was devastating.
Meanwhile, at his Tulsa rally over the weekend, Trump boasted that “I have done a phenomenal job on it,” calling the coronavirus “the Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu.”
A dozen states have seen record highs of new COVID-19 cases since Friday… Those include Florida, Texas, Utah, South Carolina, Nevada, Georgia, Missouri, Montana, Arizona, California, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.
Arizona’s coronavirus cases have nearly doubled in 14 days, from 26,989 on June 7 to 52,390 on June 21. Florida on Saturday reported 4,049 new coronavirus cases, another consecutive single-day record increase in cases. For the fourth time in five days, Texas reported a record number of new coronavirus cases Saturday.
Hundreds test positive at Tyson Foods plant in Arkansas… Of the 3,748 employees tested, 481 tested positive for COVID-19, and 455 were asymptomatic. [This asymptomatic number is surprising and raises the possibility that there may be contamination somewhere in the testing “chain.”]
Funding and equipment
Trump administration ends funding for new lung damage treatments… The coronavirus attacks the lungs, killing some and leaving others with severe lung ailments. Earlier this month, the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) abruptly notified companies and researchers that it was halting funding for treatments for this severe form of Covid-19. The new policy highlights how staunchly the Trump administration has placed its bet on vaccines. Instead of COVID testing supplies, FEMA sent the Washington State Health Dept. tiny plastic preforms that can be made into 2-liter soda bottles… The Department of Health received 300,000 vials, all of which were unlabeled, unusually packaged, and unusable. FEMA paid $7.3 million to a first-time federal contractor with a sketchy owner for these unusable mini soda bottles. The bottles are also contaminated, as employees did not wear masks and kept them in an unclean environment. FEMA reportedly sent them to all 50 states. A DHS review found that the CDC’s earliest coronavirus test kits were contaminated… Scientists did not thoroughly check the kits despite “anomalies” during manufacturing, according to the federal review. The CDC’s failure with the test added many weeks of delays to the rollout of widespread testing. One of Trump’s top fundraisers is cashing in on the pandemic… Brian Ballard uses his Trump connections to lobby the administration on behalf of companies seeking to market their health products or score federal relief money. “He’s playing the K Street lobbyist game, buying access to this administration and enjoying that access,” said Craig Holman, who works on ethics and lobbying issues for the watchdog group Public Citizen. FEMA can find no records of criteria it uses to make distributions to states from the Strategic National Stockpile to address the coronavirus pandemic… The claim is especially concerning because the president has made statements suggesting that states should get federal assistance based on how he feels about the states’ governors. TSA whistleblower alleges the agency endangered staff and passengers… TSA withheld N95 masks from staff and exhibited "gross mismanagement" in its response to the coronavirus crisis – leaving employees and travelers vulnerable during the most urgent days of the pandemic. Airports beg government to set face mask policy for passengers… “I can’t emphasize that enough – we would welcome regulations on a temporary basis that you should wear a mask in an airport when you’re transferring through it,” Airports Council International - North America President Kevin M. Burke said this past week. Concerns that Donald Trump’s inner circle might pressure the FDA to rush a coronavirus vaccine to market in time for the presidential election have risen after the White House attacked the agency for reversing itself on an experimental drug treatment. “And if you give it to people and they think ‘Wow, I’ve got the vaccine now,’ they’re likely not to physically distance, wear face masks. And then if it doesn’t actually work, Oh! We’ve got a disaster on our hands,” said Ezekiel Emanuel, a medical professor at the University of Pennsylvania and former Obama White House health policy adviser.
CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program
Senators find $14 billion in unspent funds Congress approved in April to expand coronavirus testing and tracing… "While it has been months since these funds were first appropriated, the administration has failed to disburse significant amounts of this funding, leaving communities without the resources they need to address the significant challenges presented by the virus," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Sunday. The pandemic is disproportionately hurting black-owned small businesses and the administration is not helping… Only 12 percent of black and Hispanic business owners polled between April 30 and May 12 received the funding they had requested. About one quarter received some funding. By contrast, half of all small businesses reported receiving from a single part of the stimulus packages — the Paycheck Protection Program — according to a census survey.
Only 2 percent of a $20 million city-wide small business loan program went to businesses in the Bronx, the New York City borough with the highest share of black people, according to a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Small Business Services, while 57 percent went to Manhattan businesses.
A coalition of civil rights groups including the ACLU sued the Trump administration for denying coronavirus relief loans to small business owners with criminal records, arguing the restrictive policy violates the law and perpetuates systemic racial injustices by discriminating against people of color. PPP failed to get money where it was most needed. 7 of the 10 states that received the smallest dollar amount of loans were among the 10 states with the highest number of people approved for unemployment claims as of May 23. South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Florida, and Nebraska received significantly more aid proportionally compared to states with higher covid-related unemployment rates like Nevada, Maine, Michigan, and Hawaii. A federal judge is once again ordering Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to release the full amount of stimulus funding Congress set aside for Native American tribes. “The Secretary has now taken more than twice as much time as Congress directed to distribute all CARES Act funds,” Mehta wrote. Mehta’s decision blocked so-called Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs), which have vast land holdings and secure significant profits from timber and oil sales, from receiving funds, as they are not government entities. The administration has so far failed to spend more than 75% of the American humanitarian aid that Congress provided three months ago to help overseas victims of the virus. Relief workers said they were alarmed and bewildered as to why the vast majority of the money was sitting unspent.
Day Two Here Day Three Here Gettysburg is by far my favorite battle of all time. First, it is an all-American battle in an all-American war, and myself being an old school nationalist it carries significance that other battles simply don’t; I may find Austerlitz or Stalingrad nifty, but nobody there was my people. More, it was an extraordinarily clean fight. At any point, a soldier on either side could hurl down their rifle and grab some sky and be reasonably assured of having their surrender accepted without reservation, and for that matter their captor could rely on their new POWs to trudge back to the rear under light guard in good faith. Even though much of the fighting took place in an urban environment with embedded civilians, only one civilian died in the fighting. Let me tell you, the more military history you read up on, the clearer it is that massacring civilians before, during, and after a rough fight is par for the course. One might even say that butchering unarmed men, women and children of the enemy tribe is the de facto military objective more than half the time; it might be some weird, half instinctual, proto-game theory going on: “We told them to surrender or else. They didn’t surrender, we won anyway, and now there’s gotta be an ‘or else’ to persuade the next batch of holdouts that we mean business.” In the long run, butchering the first village usually made it morelikely the next three villages would get the message and surrender without a fight, saving the invaders men, materiel, and time. Or perhaps it’s that killing civilians has always been pure bloody-mindedness. But not at Gettysburg. Gettysburg is where the American platonic ideal of soldiers fighting soldiers and leaving the civilians be actually happened. Another aspect to the battle that fascinates me is how utterly unplanned it was. Neither army had intended to fight there, and between the scale of the brawl, the rapidity of developments, the intransigence of their subordinates, and the communications lag, neither the Confederate general Lee nor the Union general Meade had a grip on the situation at all until the second day of the battle, and neither could enact their ideal plans until the third day. It was something of a clusterfuck for both sides, and the course of the battle depended on the initiative and guts of small unit commanders with little idea of what the big picture was. Gettysburg tends to be remembered as the turning point in the war, when it stopped being a gallant passage at arms between roughly equal powers and started being a slow, painful inevitable grind towards Union victory. This is not exactly accurate; only with years of hindsight could anybody construct a narrative that framed this fight as the turning point, for at the time Gettysburg was seen as just another grisly slaughter yard in a long series of them. Still, between this fight and the conquest of Vicksburg out west, this does appear in hindsight to be the high watermark in terms of Confederate progress towards successful seccession. Certainly it was the last time any Confederate army went on the strategic offensive. For diehard secessionists (both during the war and in the years after), this was the last hurrah before the war started being truly hopeless. It is also, I should mention, a place of spiritual significance for me. Myself being secular humanist with a vaccination against Protestantism from my younger days, I don’t have much in the way of codified religion. But when I was a youngin’ visiting relatives out east, I got to visit the battlefield. I found myself standing in front of a monument on the field on the north end of Herbst Wood (where the right flank of Iron Brigade stood and charged on the first day of the battle). It described how a Michigan regiment of about a thousand men stood on that spot and suffered two thirds casualties over the course of the day. I read the details on the monument, and stared up at the mustachioed rifleman staring defiantly to the west. Looking left and right, I saw more monuments every fifty yards or so in a straightish line, spreading out to mark where a human line had once stood and bled. And I turned my back on the monuments to face away, and behold, I saw an opposing line of Confederate monuments stretched out horizon to horizon about a hundred yards away. Two lines, violently opposed but unmoving; courage and horror frozen into place forever. And the world there seemed very big, and very grand, and I felt very small and unworthy. The air was at once colder and hotter than any air I’d ever felt. The wind cut through my clothing and reminded me that flesh was mortal but spirit was eternal. This was holy ground, soil consecrated by blood. Shi’ite Muslims have Karbala. Catholics have the Road to Calvary. Australian aboriginals have Uluru. I have Gettysburg. ———————————————————————— BACKGROUND A brief note- I will be including maps periodically to show the progression of the fighting. These maps must be taken with a grain or three of salt. They are intended to show relations between the armies and the terrain, not to mark the exact positions or dispositions of the units, nor to show an exact proportion of numbers involved. This is because I am not an expert mapmaker, and I thank you in advance for your understanding. First, a map of the northern part of the battlefield. Note how many roads lead there, and note the high ground of Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill to the south of the town. The Battle of Gettysburg happened because Lee needed to go on the offensive, and Lee needed to go on the offensive because of the big picture. I shall cover the broad outline just so the significance doesn’t pass anybody by. The Confederacy in the Spring of 1863 was in a terrible dilemma. The leadership had two urgent problems, either one of which could (if unaddressed) destroy their enterprise, and to make things worse they didn’t have the resources to solve either of them alone without a miracle. One, the Union was fixing to shove yet another army down Richmond’s throat. Two years of failed invasions into Virginia had been brutal to both sides, but the North had immense reserves of cash, food, industrial output, and manpower with which to replenish themselves, and the South simply didn’t. The Army of Northern Virginia on which every invasion thus far had broken was underarmed, underfed, and undermanned, and if these issues were not fixed then they’d be seeing Union soldiers in the Confederate capitol before Autumn. There had already been a push that year, which Lee had staved off at Chancellorsville. There was plenty of time left before winter for a second attack. And two, Vicksburg, the railway hub that sat on the Mississippi River, was under dire threat. The Union had already grabbed New Orleans at the south end and pushed north up the river, and had been pushing south down the river since day one of the war, but Vicksburg prevented the whole river from falling in to Union hands. Vicksburg alone let the South shift resources and information from its Western half to its Eastern half. Losing it could be a death blow. The garrison of Vicksburg was also underarmed, underfed, and undermanned. The fresh crops taken off the farm and the fresh host of new recruits also taken off the farm were middling at best. Even throwing all the resources they had at either problem and letting the other develop as it would might mean losing on both fronts. Splitting the resources in half to prop up both didn’t seem promising either. Lee, being something of a strategist, developed a third option. There was no point (he reasoned) in trying to prop up Vicksburg at this point- it would take weeks to shift reinforcements that far west, and by then it would be midsummer. If the siege lasted that long, either the garrison would fold or disease would rip through the Yankee army and drive it back home, as it had the last two years running. In either scenario, further support would affect nothing. Therefore, he proposed a bold plan- don’t sit around waiting to get hit in the face. Invade north. Take the fight onto their turf. The more the Confederate leadership considered it, the better it sounded. Northern land hadn’t been ravaged like Virginia had- it would be easy to live off of the enemy’s food for once, thus lessening the headache of their constant supply problems. It was also an election year, and the anti-war Democrats were raging at the ocean of blood and gold being wasted on bringing States back into the fold who very clearly wanted to go their own way. One good, solid victory on Northern soil could tip the balance, drive home the point that that war was unwinnable. Get the Black Republican warmonger Lincoln kicked out of the White House, get a reasonable Democrat in, and next year they just might get a negotiated peace that would lead in time to true and recognized independence. To which end- Lee snaked his newly reinforced army of about 75,000 men up through the Shenandoah Valley, using the mountain range to mask his movements instead of using to well-worn direct route that the Union was camped on. He would end up north of the bulk of the Army of the Potomac, simultaneously threatening Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, which for a guy trying to score a symbolic victory to discourage the enemy voters put him in a pretty nice spot. Lincoln freaked out, told Hooker and his Army of the Potomac to go out and beat Lee, to utterly destroy his army, and also not leave any weak point undefended, which are just the kind of orders one enjoys receiving. Hooker, having a bit of an ego and a poor history of getting his ass kicked by Lee, got into a feud with Lincoln’s advisors and impulsively offered his resignation as Commander of the Army of the Potomac following some stupid spat with the bean counters back in Washington. Lincoln called his bluff and fired him three days before the battle, putting General Meade in charge of the whole damn army with almost no prep time. I should cut the narrative here to cast moral aspersions right quick. The Union were the good guys, and the Confederates were the villains. That said, the North made for really terrible heroes, and the South had more than its fair share of virtues. This was not a grand crusade of freedom-loving Yankees tearing down the moral abomination of human bondage. This was a brutal, no holds barred death struggle between the efficient new urban Industrial Revolution and the rural Cavalierlatifundias. Only a smallish segment of New England Puritans and bleeding heart Quakers hated slavery on moral grounds- the rest of the North either hated it on financial grounds, didn’t give a fuck one way or another, or were actively supporting racial slavery. And on the flip side, most Southerners who fought in the war perceived quite accurately that outsiders were coming into their world to demand submission, and had decided to give these invaders the William Wallace treatment. This is a normal and admirable response that every healthy society should have in its toolbox, and in my not-even-slightly humble opinion it is a damn shame that so many people endured so much agony in support of so un-American a cause. For you see, when Lee’s army reached Pennsylvania, they kidnapped every black person they could find, free or not, and sent them all south in chains. There was no attempt to ascertain their status by some legal due process, no splitting of hairs. The bare skeleton of Confederate ideology, the great Truth that would have snuffed out by continued political loyalty to the Union, had been that all men were not created equal. To be more precise, men had white skin, and anyone with black skin was not a man and did not have the rights of man. As such, anyone with black skin was to be sold into slavery and threatened with torture and death if they refused to labor in the cotton fields. The army that invaded the North was, in practice, the biggest slave-hunting gang that had ever set foot on American soil. The side wearing grey were staunch defenders of a country based on the Ideal of Ethnic Supremacy, and the side wearing blue were fighting for a country based on the Ideal of Equality. There were a million nagging features of material reality in the South and the North that challenged both of these Ideals, but there were no Ideals to challenge these Ideals, save only for each other. We know that this is true, because as the war shifted away from a Federal attempt to rein in wayward states to an all out assault on the institution of slavery, more and more Northerners balked at the idea of dying to set niggers free; men who had fought for years to bring the rebels into the fold again threw down their rifles and went home in disgust after they heard of the Emancipation Proclamation. And as it became clearer that poor whites who never owned slaves were expected to die for plantation owners’ right to stay rich, fewer and fewer Southerners were willing to jump into the meat grinder feet first; many of them deserted to go home and form Unionist bushwhacker gangs instead. Speaking of the draft, a higher percentage of southerners dodged the Confederate draft than in Vietnam, yet Vietnam is remembered as a deeply unpopular war while the Lost Cause has painted the South as a unified bloc striving as one against the Yankee oppressor. Also, the Confederacy had a draft imposed upon the states by its federal government. So, yeah, State's Rights. Tell me how that worked out. To reiterate. Both sides are not the same. We are rooting for the Union. Slavery. Etc. Pushing on- The two armies surged northward, on parallel tracks with Lee on the west side of the Appalachians and Meade on the east side. Being critically low on recon drones and spy satellites, the only ways to find the enemy army was to send guys out on horseback to physically look at them before riding back, and to talk to locals whether they’d seen anyone wearing the other team’s uniform recently. Clouds of skirmishers, cavalrymen, and small detachments of infantrymen from either side scattered themselves in all directions, straining to catch a glimpse of the other army. The first side to locate the enemy, amass sufficient force, and maneuver against them would probably win, without regard for right or wrong. ———————————————————————— JULY 1st, 1863 Early Morning General John Buford had a 2,500 strong brigade of cavalrymen patrolling southern Pennsylvania, being one of dozens of detachments sent out to find the enemy army. Using human intelligence from locals in Gettysburg, he learned that there was a column of rebel infantry marching down the Chambersburg Pike. And indeed there was. Advance scouts from Buford’s brigade made visual contact with a column marching south towards Gettysburg. The ball was now rolling. The story goes that the Confederates were looking for new shoes and heard that there was a stockpile in Gettysburg. As far as I can tell, this is a baseless legend- inspired by the true fact that the rebel army didn’t have enough shoes, but baseless nonetheless. The three Confederate commanders marching towards Gettysburg (Archer and Davis with a brigade apiece and Heth as division commander coordinating them), were simply doing what their counterpart was doing- reconnaissance in force, hoping to develop a lead for the rest of the army to follow. 7,000 infantry under Archer and Davis were about to pick a fight with 2,500 cavalrymen under Buford. The currents of this morning fight would provide the grooves for the next three days to follow. Buford’s men fought as dragoons; the horse let you scoot around to where you need to go, but you got off it and fought on foot. They Union cavalry broke into tiny little four man teams to bloody the approaching Confederates’ noses. The terrain was a bushwhacker’s paradise- plenty of rocks and trees to hide behind, and plenty of low, rolling hills to speed off behind to break line of sight. One man would hold the horses while the other three crouch-ran forward under cover to pop off rounds into the enemy column from the sides of the road. When the enemy infantry redeployed from a fast moving but harmless column formation into a slow moving but dangerous line, the three shooters would run back to their buddy to mount up and retreat to a new position. The cavalrymen were outnumbered nearly three to one, and their carbines had less range and power than the rebel rifles; then again, the terrain was working for them and their breechloading carbines could shoot much faster than the enemy’s muzzleloading long rifles. It was very close to being an fair fight, as long as the cavalry could stay mobile and keep their distance. Buford and Heth both had unclear, contradictory orders- “Push forward aggressively to locate the enemy, but do not enter into a general engagement until we know what we’re up against.” It was an order that must have made sense in the tent when Lee and Meade sent their own versions off. You wouldn’t want to force a battle until you knew the enemy’s location and disposition and the terrain you were going to be standing on, any more than you’d want bet it all on a poker hand before looking at your cards. But to the guys on the front line, it meant “charge forward, but do not charge forward. Attack, but do not engage. Show some initiative, but don’t pick a real fight.” Heth decided they were up against a skeleton crew of skirmishers, and he had orders to check out Gettysburg. He send riders back with a quick report and a request for reinforcements. Buford decided that if the whole damn rebel army was heading his way, he needed to delay their advance for as many hours as he could to give the rest of the Union army time to get to Gettysburg- the high ground south of the town looked like ideal terrain to fight from and he wanted his buddies to get there before the rebels. He too sent riders back with calls for help. And meanwhile, the murderous, hazardous stalking of the rebel column continued as it trudged towards Gettysburg. Meanwhile, in the Rear with the Gear Imagine running a marathon- 26 miles and a bit from start to finish. That’s how spread out a Civil War army is, from vanguard to rear guard. You can’t really concentrate 75,000-100,000 people together that closely. Disease starts killing people off really fast, feeding everyone is a headache, and if you have to march out, the lead element will march all day before stopping for the night, while the rear element hasn’t even left camp yet. It’s unwieldy. So they all spread out to grab some real estate and forage easier and not choke on each others’ dust and crap. The riders from the Chambersburg Pike were spreading the word through the marathon length of the armies. Units were halting, turning around. Captains and colonels and generals were consulting maps to figure out what roads to take to get south or north to Gettysburg from where they were now. Regiments were putting their heads to together to figure out whose company oughtta go in what order. The movements were slow and and ungainly and awkward, but they were starting up. Mid Morning to Noon The rolling hills on either side of the Chambersburg Pike stopped at McPherson’s Ridge, a grand place to make a stand- plenty of cover, steep incline. In any case, there wasn’t much further to retreat to. Archer and David pushed the cavalrymen, Archer on the south side of the road and Davis on the north. Thoroughly annoyed infantrymen backed up on the Pike behind them, eager to get at the enemy but without frontage to occupy. Buford dug in on McPherson’s Ridge, and the full force of Heth’s division slammed into him. Denied their mobility by the necessity of holding territory, the fair fight turned into a meat grinder for the dismounted cavalrymen. When Confederate artillery set up on Herr’s Ridge, it turned into a bloodbath. Buford, at last, got in contact with somebody who outranked him. General John Reynolds, second in command of the whole Union army, rode ahead of his division to get eyes on the situation. The two struck a deal in the middle of a firefight. Buford promised to hold to the last man, and Reynolds promised to reinforce him. It was an exercise in trust; if Buford’s men held firm and Reynolds let them down, they’d be swamped and slaughtered to a man, and if Buford’s detachment broke and scattered, Reynolds’ reinforcements would march directly into a line of hills held by an entrenched enemy force of equal size. Failure on either side would be fatal. Reynolds rode south again, leaving Buford and his dwindling cavalrymen to fend off 10% of the Confederate army all alone. Meanwhile, Buford’s thin line was cracking. Outnumbered, outgunned, and unable to advance or retreat... That which was inevitable to start with was happening now. Davis’ brigade was pressing against Oak Ridge on the Union right, and Archer's was taking Herbst Woods tree by tree. Buford’s men were giving ground they couldn’t afford to lose. Confederate artillery was blasting giant holes in the ranks of the defenders. That’s when the relief came- two fresh brigades of infantry coming up the Emmitsburg road, under generals Cutler and Meredith. Cutler got there first, taking up positions on Oak Ridge and straddling either side of the Pike with cannons. Their massive volleys disrupted Confederate momentum and silenced some of the rebels’ big guns as everyone scrambled for cover. Grateful and exhausted cavalrymen sidled off to the flanks to safety. Meredith’s brigade is still lagging behind- that’s the problem with columns, only the guys in front can do anything. If Buford and Reynolds expected everything to be right in the world once reinforcements arrived, they were very much mistaken. Those men out there attacking up Oak Ridge were some of the finest infantrymen in the world- dedicated, disciplined, contemptuous of death. They did not stop being efficient killers just because they now fought peers instead of the hornet-like cavalry skirmishers. Cutler’s brigade was facing a small tidal wave of battle-maddened Southern veterans, and had no time to dig in and situate themselves before the moment of impact. Davis’ men ripped into them like a pack of starving wolves. Cutler’s men fell back to safety on the top of Oak Ridge. In pieces. Meanwhile, Meredith’s brigade was finally in position to retake Herbst Woods on the south side of the road. Now, Meredith’s brigade were the absolute elite of the Union army. They were the grizzled veterans, the old crew, the best drilled, the most experienced, the hardest of the hard. They were nicknamed the Iron Brigade, and the Black Hat Brigade, because they were authorized to wear dashing black foraging caps to signify their status as the best of the best. With their comrades north of the road falling back, it was imperative that the Black Hat Brigade protect their left flank. To which end, Reynolds frantically snapped orders for them to line up and charge Archer’s men who were occupying Herbst Wood. Their charge was met by a storm of musket fire that churned the Iron ranks into blood and guts. But this was the Black Hat Brigade. For them, taking ten percent casualties in a single minute was just another Tuesday. They got in close to the rebel line to return the volleys with a vengeance, and then charged with the bayonet. Archer’s men saw the distinctive black hats come for them through the musket-smoke. For the first time, they realized that these were no mere cavalry skirmishers, no half-assed militia company facing them. The best of the best of the Army of the Potomac was coming at them at terrifyingly close range. Archer’s men cracked and scattered. The ones who stood firm, died. The ones who threw down their rifles and grabbed sky were allowed to live as prisoners. The ones who ran, lived, but found the Iron Brigade hot on their heels. Meredith’s elites carved through Archer’s brigade like it wasn’t even there. Reynolds was a good leader. A great one, in fact. He was decisive, experienced, competent. Many thought he should have gotten command instead of Meade. As his men retook Herbst Wood, he turned behind him to check on how close reinforcements were, some rebel rifleman did his cause a world of good, and shot Reynolds in the back of the head. Now the situation got pretty weird- Davis’ brigade had kicked the shit out of Cutler’s brigade and was pursuing them on the north side of the road, and the Iron Brigade had kicked the shit out of Archer’s brigade and was pursuing them on the south side of the road. Neither victor was aware of what had happened across from them, and soon enough they would pass each other by almost touching the edges of their lines. The first one to figure out what was happening would get to win. As it so happened, General Doubleday (in command now that Reynolds was dead) saw the danger and the opportunity first. He broke off an Iron regiment from his reserve to swoop in and protect the flank just in time, setting them up in a defensive stance facing the road. That regiment was joined by another broken off from the Iron assault, and yet another from Cutler’s brigade, who had seen the maneuvering and joined in on its own initiative. It was like a ballet, all three regiments coalescing into a single front facing north across the road, as though they’d spent the last week rehearsing. Under their protection, the rest of the Black Hats gave chase to their prey. When Davis finally turned and attacked, they were chopped down by a mass of highly accurate fire from the newly entrenched men. Confederates died by the dozens and were maimed by the score. As they reloaded, the Black Hats were astonished to find that the whole Confederate brigade vanish into thin air, like magic. The firing stopped; no more targets. It was bizarre. The three regiments advanced cautiously. And were gutted by a close range surprise volley by the hidden Confederates as they tried to scale the fences on either side of the Pike. It turns out that there was a cut in the side of road, deep enough for a man to jump down into with only his head able to peek out. Davis’ men had leapt into it as a source cover when the firefight started and found it was a grand place to shoot out of. But it was also a death trap. Once the Union regiments figured it out, they got in close enough to fire blindly down at point blank range into the milling mass of men. Davis’ men surrendered, thousands of them all at once. Unable to move, unable shoot back, it was really the only choice. And with that, the first round of Gettysburg was over. Oak Ridge and Herbst Wood had held, and about 150,000 odd soldiers were converging on Gettysburg to shift the tide of war this way and that. AFTERNOON The rest of the first day was not free of drama, and heroics, and mass suffering. But it was free of surprises. The iron laws of physics had decreed that more Confederate units would be on hand for the fighting in the afternoon, and so it was. Fresh rebel troops swept down from the north and from the west, relieving their exhausted comrades and preparing themselves to assault Oak Ridge and Herbst Woods. Fresh Union troops arrived from the south to reinforce what they had and to extend their line out east, protecting their right flank and screening off the town itself. Hours passed without a shot being fired. Everybody was reorganizing themselves, resupplying, carting the wounded to the rear to let the surgeons saw their shattered limbs off. Two small things happened that delivered a Confederate victory on day one, and a Union victory on day three. Union General Barlow pushed his brigade out to occupy Blocher's hill, and Union General Steinwehr plopped two of his brigades on top of Cemetery Hill. The first created a huge gap in the Union right, and the second secured the invaluable high ground for the rest of the battle. Meanwhile, three Confederate divisions set themselves up for a concerted attack- Heth would press into Herbst Wood on the Union left, Rodes would assault Oak Ridge at the center, and Early would swoop down the Harrisburg road to threaten the Union right. When the big push came at around 2 p.m., it was badly organized and mismanaged. Southern commanders couldn't get it together and attack at the same time. Individual units charged at Oak Ridge alone, like a mob of Hollywood henchmen attacking the hero only to be smacked around one by one. Cutler's men didn't just fight them off; it was closer to mass murder. General O'Neal's brigade swooped down off of Oak Hill only to be cut down by musketry and cannon fire, and they did it without O'Neal, because O'Neal stayed in the rear while his men died. When O'Neal's brigade fell back having suffered heavy losses, Cutler shifted his men to greet the new threat from Iverson's brigade, who also charged without their commander. Iverson's men marched in parade perfect order across open ground, without so much as a molehill for cover. The story goes that during the assault, Iverson looked out from safety and saw half his men lying down on the ground. Iverson was pissed off because he thought his men were surrendering. In fact, he was watching his brigade die in droves. The issue wasn't morale. The Confederate troops were eager to get at the enemy. The problem was purely organizational in nature. The men in charge of telling people what to do were simply too confused and disoriented to work out the solution in real time. While O’Neal and Iverson were getting bloodied, Barlow’s men on Blocher Hill were getting slaughtered. Barlow’s desire to hold the high ground on the defense was understandable- high ground being a grand place to fight from- but he was about one mile ahead of any friendly units. This meant that it was trivially easy to flank and destroy his brigades. Georgia men under generals Early and Rodes linked up to flank and destroy Barlow’s isolated brigades. A thick stream of filthy, bloody, and terrified Union men flowed back to the town of Gettysburg, leaving a gaping hole in the Union line and spreading their panic like the plague. Victorious Confederates whooped and hollered. As the men to the north of town trade massacres- the failed assault on Oak Ridge being roughly balanced by the disastrous dissolution of Barlow’s brigades- Heth finally attacked the Iron Brigade still occupying Herbst Wood in the west. He’d been delaying it all afternoon, stymied by the contradictory orders from Lee. Lee, who was several miles away and not at all in touch with the situation, still wanted to avoid a general engagement. But now, Heth has been let off the chain to avenge Archer’s brigade. Heth’s full division attacked Herbst Wood. It was a slow, hot, gory fight. The attacking rebels are aggressive, but also methodical and well-organized. The Black Hats made them pay for every tree they seized. But there’s only one outcome for a fight like this. The Iron Brigade has the ghastly honor of having the highest casualty ratio of any Civil War brigade, North or South. Out of the 1,885 men in their ranks that morning, 1,153 (61%) were be dead or maimed by nightfall on the first day. The fates of individual units from within the brigade are even more gruesome- in the 2nd Wisconsin regiment, 397 out of 496 (80%) were killed or wounded. But despite the horrific losses, they didn’t break. They gave ground slowly and in good order, but they gave ground nonetheless. Iron does not break, but it does bend. By late afternoon, the dominoes fell as they were always going to. With the debacle at Blocher’s Knoll, any hope the Union had to hold the right was lost. The Black Hats were being ground into sawdust on the left. And Rodes has finally gotten his brigades to charge at the same time, overwhelming Cutler’s defense. Every Union man was running now, some in a blind panic, some withdrawing in good order like professionals. The open field battle turned into urban warfare as the Confederates chased the Union army through the streets of Gettysburg. Companies blocked the streets to hold off the enemy advance long enough for the comrades to scamper. Marksmen played sniper games in the windows, either shooting men in the back as they ran away or ambushing overly aggressive platoons, depending on the color of their uniform. The Union men were desperate to reach Cemetery Hill, south of the town. High ground and the reinforcements already stationed there promised safety. The Confederates were just as desperate to catch them first and seize that invaluable terrain for themselves. Nightfall A great deal of “woulda coulda shoulda” ink has been spilled over the orders that Lee gave to General Ewell, the man in charge of Rodes and Early: “Take Cemetery Hill if practical”. But Ewell saw two brigades with a lot of artillery standing on top of what appeared to be a natural fortress designed by God to repel infantry, and his men were exhausted to boot. Ewell decided it was not practical, and so did not try. Just one of those things, I expect. In any case, the day was a Confederate victory. Every spot on the map the Confederate troops wanted to go, they had went. They had crushed all resistance, had even gone toe to toe with the cream of the Army of the Potomac and won. Their enemies were in flight before them. There was, possibly, a certain amount of disquiet because the enemy had merely been driven from one ridge into another ridge, one even steeper and with more cover than the last. And rumor had it the rest of the Army of the Potomac was coming at them. But that was a problem for the next day.
The Coronavirus Bill will be introduced to the House of Commons today. The Bill sets out various powers that the Government can introduce at any time. The legislation is time-limited for two years. According to the Government, it will do the following:
Health and social care
Remove barriers so that recently retired NHS staff and social workers can return to work, along with students near the end of their training
Allow employees to take Emergency Volunteer Leave and be compensated for loss of earnings through a UK-wide compensation fund
Provide indemnity for clinical negligence liabilities arising from NHS activities carried out to deal with COVID-19, where there is no existing indemnity arrangement in place
Reduce the number of admin tasks for frontline staff, allow local authorities to prioritise care, allow more tasks to be done remotely, and allow suspension of individual port operations
Suspend the rule that prevents some NHS staff from working more than 16 hours per week after returning from retirement, along with other rules that apply to retirees
Detaining and treating people under the Mental Health Act requires just one doctor's opinion (currently you need two)
Temporarily remove some time limits in mental health legislation in the case of low staff numbers
Allow NHS providers to delay assessment for continued care for individuals being discharged from hospital until after the emergency period has ended
Changes to existing care legislation to allow local authorities to prioritise the services they offer
Other frontline staff
Provide powers to require educational institutions or childcare providers to stay open (ie by reducing teacher ratios)
Temporarily relax local authorities duties which require them to conduct a needs assessment and prepare an adult carer support plan/young care statement
Provide powers for the Home Secretary to suspend operations at ports and airports if Border Force staff shortages become a problem
Expand availability of video and audio link in court proceedings
Ensure the Treasury can transact its business at all times by making it possible for a single commissioneTreasury minister to sign instruments (currently requires two)
Allow temporary judicial commissioners (JCs) to be appointed at the request of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner in case of insufficient numbers of JCs
Delaying the virus
Provide powers to restrict or prohibit events and gatherings during the pandemic
Provide a temporary power to close schools and childcare providers
Postpone the local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections that were due to take place in England in May this year until May 2021 (other elections including by-elections will also be postponed this year)
Enable the departments of health in NI and Scotland to make regulations for additional measures to help them delay the virus (England already has this)
Remove a restriction in how Scottish territorial Health Boards can deliver vaccination programmes so that more healthcare professionals in Scotland would be able to administer a vaccine
Adds powers to strengthen the quarantine powers of police and immigration officers
Managing the deceased
A coroner is only to be notified where a doctor believes there is no medical practitioner who may sign the death certificate
Introduce powers to enable the provisions under the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 relating to the collection of ashes to be suspended and replaced with a duty to retain until the suspension is lifted
Expand the list of people who can register a death to include funeral directors acting on behalf of the family
Enable electronic transmission of documents in order to certify the registration of a death
Remove the need for a second confirmatory medical certificate in order for a cremation to take place
Remove the law requirement that any inquest into a COVID-19 death must be held with a jury
Provide powers to suspend the referral of certificates to the Death Certification Review Service (DCRS) for review in Scotland
Provides powers to temporarily suspend the rule that means SSP is not paid for the first 3 days of work that you miss because of sickness
Enable employers with less than 250 employees to reclaim SSP paid for sickness relating to coronavirus during the period of the outbreak
Require industry to provide information about food supplies, in the event that an industry partner does not co-operate with current voluntary information-sharing arrangements
Financial support for businesses
The Treasury has announced some new measures for businesses to help deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, which are in addition to existing Budget:
£330bn of guaranteed Government-backed loans (equiv to 15% of GDP). If demand is greater, as much capacity as required will be provided.
New legal power in COVID Bill to provide whatever financial support is necessary in future
Potential support package for airlines and airports after discussing with DfT - ministers speaking to affected businesses in other sectors
Business with insurance policies covering pandemics should receive pay outs as the Government action is good enough.
Businesses in retail/hospitality/leisure sector will receive a £25k cash grant if they have a rateable value of less than £51k.
No business rates this year for any business in the retail/hospitality/leisure sector regardless of rateable value.
3 month mortgage holiday for those affected by the virus.
Further measures will be announced over the coming days.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness which features flu-like symptoms and currently has no vaccine. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the current outbreak of the virus as a pandemic on 11th March. The UK Govt's action plan sets out the UK's response to the pandemic. There are several "phases" to the plan, with the UK currently in the delay phase:
The "contain" phase: detect early cases, follow up close contacts, and prevent the disease spreading for as long as possible
The "delay" phase: slow the spread of the disease, which could include closing schools and cancelling public events
The "research" phase: work to develop effective care for the disease
The "mitigate" phase: minimise the impact of the disease on society
Current Government advice/approach
As of 16th March
To minimise your chance of catching the illness, wash your hands frequently for a duration of 20 seconds.
If you or someone in your family has a new persistent cough or high temperature:
If you live alone: self-isolate for 7 days.
If you live in a shared household (e.g. with friends, family etc.): you should all self-isolate for 14 days (even if not everyone develops symptoms).
If you don't have symptoms or no-one in your household has symptoms, stop non-essential contact with others and stop unnecessary travel. Work from home. Avoid pubs, clubs, theatres, etc.
Those with the most serious health conditions should be shielded from contact with others for around 12 weeks
From tomorrow, 17th March, emergency workers will no longer support mass gatherings "like they normally do"
If you suspect that you are infected with coronavirus, you should first use the NHS online service. Only call 111 if the service advises you to. Do not visit your GP as you risk infecting others.
For NHS info and help on coronavirus, see this page.
Don't forget that this Sunday is Mothers Day. If your mother is anything like mine, a bottle of gin is probably the best bet as it has multiple uses, including preservation (mummification, aha!), hand washing, paint stripper, degreaser, heat and light source, antifreeze and in cases of real desperation, you can drink it. /s
We ask that - for now - the majority of coronavirus discussion happens within these daily megathreads. Only make new threads for notable developments. Standalone submissions are acceptable for notable developments, including new cases and deaths (e.g DHSC tweets/page), new Government advice, and notable political news. Examples of what we are removing include general commentary/hot takes/opinion pieces about the virus, and news about other countries which bear no relation to the UK (e.g news about Italy or China).
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Unusual Option Activity for July 1, 2020 - AA - Featured Trade: SHLL OCT 16 '20 - 25P
Welcome to another Unusual Options Activity post. Why do DD when you can see what stocks people are heavily investing in? I post these daily. Context - The S&P 500 increased by 0.5% today. There was positive news recording a vaccine and Pfizer. PFE notably had the highest number of contracts traded for the day. The ADP Employment Change Report for June again showed gains for private-sector payrolls. The ISM Manufacturing Index for June beat consensus with 52.6% (consensus was 49.2%). The communication services, utilities, and real estate sector led the market higher, increasing +1.8%, +1.9%, +1.9%, respectively. Today’s Option Activity Fast Facts - Sentiment – CBOE Put/Call Ratio - 0.90, VIX: (28.96, -1.47, -4.8%). Highest Multiple Over Daily Average - DXC with 46 x the ADV of 4173. There were 96199 calls and 94803 puts. Ticker with Most Contracts - PFE with 329836 contracts traded today with an AVD of 95042. There were 277805 calls and 52031 puts. Largest Put / Call Ratio - MUR with a 102.87 P/C ratio. There were 30142 puts and 293 calls. Largest Call / Put Ratio - SKX with a 97.16 C/P ratio. There were 34978 calls and 360 puts. \Stocks must be >$6, Highest Multiple must have >1k ADV, Largest ratios must have an option volume >10k* MOMENTUM UNUSUAL OPTION ACTIVITY - Ticker : AA 10.95 -0.29 ,( -2.58 %) Earnings : 2020-07-15 Name : Alcoa Corp. Sector : Non-Energy Minerals Special Considerations :Industry : Aluminum Option Information - Today’s Option Volume: 41029 OptionOI: 208019 ADV: 10621 Multiple of ADV:4 Total Calls: 37921 Total Puts: 3108 Calls at Ask:43.0 %Calls at Bid: 32.3 % C/P Ratio:12.2 Puts at Ask: 28.1 % Puts at Bid: 21.4 % P/C Ratio: 0.1 Notable Strikes : JUL 10 ’20 12C had 29.9k VLM with a 2.12k OI. DarkPool Prints : None News : 24-Jun-20 6:10 pm:USTR conducting review that could lead to $3.1 bln in additional tariffs on EU imports My Impression : Yesterday featured MT which is a steel company. The hypothesis was the call volume at the time may have been related to some sort of new tariffs being enacted. It appears there was confirmation of this yesterday after I posted. I’ll likely be picking up some shares of this tomorrow. Featured Trade: SHLL I don’t make featured trade posts often, because these opportunities do not come around all that frequently. SHLL added options today. There has been significant number of comparisons between NKLA and SHLL. The premiums are very high, especially for the puts. SHLL is a SPAC - or a Special Acquisition Company. These stocks typically have a floor of $10. "A typical SPAC will offer stock at $10 per share and give the management team two years to find a suitable target. If the SPAC doesn’t find a good merger candidate, then its terms call for it to liquidate. Unless the SPAC finds a candidate, the money raised in the IPO is held in trust, and so IPO investors typically get most or all of their $10 initial investment back." - Sorry can't provide links, but it was a motley fool article. You can search for it if you are interested. The Hyliion and SHLL merger is slated to go through sometime in Q3, September or October. The premium for the OCT 16 '20 25Ps is high. I sold 10 of them for 11.70. I was the only volume at this strike price at the time. A few others have decided to follow the trade, but the volume is still low. This makes my break-even price for SHLL 13.30. Hypothetically, if the merger does not go through the floor for the stock should be right around $10. It can go lower, but it is less likely. You are essentially risking about 3.30 for a maximum upside profit of 11.70. Not a bad return. Other risks include SHLL being sub $10 after the merger. This is the first day that SHLL has had options. The option chain was not available on all brokers, however, it was present on IB. The option OI and VLM reflects that it is not available on all brokers. You should exercise caution because as of right now the low volume is causing wide spreads, which likely helped my fill. Right now, the largest call that can be bought is the 30C. I would expect the option chain to be extended tomorrow or in the next few days. People are likely to buy a lot of OTM calls and force the MMs to start delta hedging the sold call so there is a potential catalyst for this stock to move significantly higher in the nearer term. There is no such thing as a risk free trade, but there are good bets. I think this is a good bet with limited downside risk. DISCLAIMER – These are my observations that I have made at the end of each day and trades that I am considering placing or watching. I am not responsible for your financial losses if you follow any of these trades. As always, do your due diligence.
Online gambling legislation and regulation. Starting your own gambling product.
Mobile gambling If you plan to develop an app with the ability to deposit and withdraw real money, then such a product automatically falls into the category of gambling and you will need to license your business for successful operation. Mobile and Web Based Apps So let’s talk about the different kinds of online gambling apps available on web and mobile. We’ll be covering both free-play gaming apps and real money casino app games you can find for iOS, Android devices and web browsers. Mobile gambling is more common for poker, casino, bingo, and skill games. They have advantages in terms of a low barrier to enter the market, instant liquidity, product knowledge, and marketing expertise, minimal infrastructure costs, and the ability to bring a brand to the market quickly. Consequently, this form of gambling does not sit neatly with jurisdictional boundaries. Multiple gambling opportunities are available, including betting on various events and markets, in a relatively simple format. Gambling products can also be integrated into betting on television shows or virtual racing and sports games as well as offering lotteries, bingo, poker and casino games. Most Popular Gambling Apps Sports betting, casino, poker and lotteries are the most popular forms of online gambling. However, other forms are available too. These include the following: Bingo, slot machines, different card games, roulette and other game of chance. One of the best things about online gambling and betting apps is the number of choices you have.
Betting means making or accepting a bet on the outcome of a race, competition, or other event or process, the likelihood of anything occurring or not occurring, or whether anything is or is not true. Today most sports betting is done via mobile-friendly sites and apps.
Today most sports betting is done via mobile-friendly sites and apps.
The introduction of live betting for sports like soccer and tennis means that bettors who are sitting inside stadiums watching games can now pick up their mobile devices and find real-time betting value with the best sports gambling apps. This has really unlocked a door to the future of sports gambling and the popularity of online gambling apps.
Many sites offer free poker, where no real money is wagered, although in some cases players can accumulate credits that can be exchanged for prizes. This is the case why people are going to play for real money. There is an ongoing debate over whether poker should be classified as a game of chance or skill. The parameters of legal poker playing are still unclear and differ between jurisdictions. Since you are not gambling with money, I’m pretty sure under the law it’s just a video game for now.
Blackjack is the game of choice to many high-rollers and do you know why? Because blackjack is a challenging, logic and skill-based game where your thinking, strategy, and calculations determine the outcome of the game.
Bingo is one of the most popular and socially accepted games in the world. Bingo is a traditional form of gambling that has seen considerable innovation in recent years. It is also the only form of gambling recognized in the Gambling Act that does not have a specific statutory definition, the Act providing simply that “bingo” means “any version of that game, irrespective of by what name it is described”. Bingo must be played as an equal chance game. For game to be classed as “bingo” it must meet the Act’s definition of “equal chance gaming” (as opposed to casino gaming). Thus, it: must not involve playing or staking against a bank, and must be a game in which the chances are equally favorable to all participants in the sense that each ticket or chance has the same probability of success as any other. Licensed bingo is a well-regulated and socially responsible form of gambling that takes place in a safe environment. Many sites offer multiple forms of bingo with different features, types of games, and costs of play. These sites often cater specifically for women and some research suggests that they may appeal to markets who would not typically engage in traditional forms of gambling.
Slot machine is one of the most beloved game among the gambling community and it has been a part of the industry for a long time. They provide fun and entertainment and their simplicity allows gamers to start playing at once. This can play out in different ways depending on the machine you’re playing. For instance, there’s Pick a Fortune, a five-reel, 20 line game that puts players right in the studio of a television game show, including the potential to play a Deal or No Deal-style bonus round. A super trend over the past few years is mobile-friendly slot games. These apps and websites were developed to enable players to enjoy their favorite games on their smartphones at any time. Another dominant slot trend is licensed branded slots that are based on popular movies, television, and musicians. Virtual Money vs Real Money Let’s find out the difference between social gambling and real money gambling, as well as the differences between gambling through apps and gambling through a web browser. It can be quite confusing trawling through all the casinos, slots, and lotteries available, both through your mobile web browser as well as through mobile app stores, in the form of downloadable apps.
The main difference between virtual money and real money gambling is that the in-game virtual currency in social games and gambling-type games is used only like credits that are not paid out as winnings or anything given to player in cash, making these games exempt from gambling regulations.
Virtual money is loaded on user game accounts via in-app purchases in mobile applications or the game balance funding from a card via web based applications.
Real money gambling
Real money gambling via your mobile device is only allowed in countries where laws have been passed that allow for this type of gambling online, or there are no laws in place that prevent it. The payment systems are the legal way of services payment in the gambling app, performing as the intermediary between the gambling facility and the client. With their help, users replenish deposits and withdraw funds to personal accounts in financial institutions. If the application uses the payment system of a well-known brand, that gives players additional confidence in the resource. Nowadays, there is a wide range of payment systems, some of which operate all over the world, other systems are oriented towards the citizens of one or several countries. A number of services accept money of different world currencies, while others allow currency transactions of one state only. What is an Online Gambling Licensing The internet has a global audience, there’s no single piece of legislation that covers the legality of online gambling for the entire world. Mobile gambling doesn’t typically accept customers from every single country in the world. It often focuses on certain specific regions.
Instead, most countries have their own local laws that deal with the relevant legal and regulatory issues.
Ultimately, questions of legality all go back to the location of the casino or where the website operates out of. In closed regulatory systems, such as Italy, France, and the Netherlands, licenses, and advertising rights are limited to domestic providers, which must be located within their country’s geographical boundaries and these are only permitted to offer some types of products. Some jurisdictions, for example, Norway, Sweden, and Canada legalize and regulate online gambling, but this is limited to a single site that is owned by the government. Under such an approach, the government becomes the operator and regulator and all revenues are returned to the government. Remote gambling is generally permitted. That means that an operator that is licensed may provide gambling services to citizens in the country via all forms of remote communication (and using equipment that may be located in the country or abroad). Equally, a remote operator may be licensed to offer gambling services to citizens in any jurisdiction in the world using equipment located in the country. The law provides that, for each type of gambling (betting, gaming, and participating in a lottery), there will be two forms of license available: remote and non-remote forms (land-based). If you provide facilities for remote gambling, online or through other means, and advertise to consumers you will need a license from the licensing jurisdictions or local licensing authorities. Before an online gambling site signs up its first customer, before it accepts its first bet before the first card is dealt, it must be licensed by a recognized governmental entity.
Certain regions in the world have specific legislation in place that allows them to license and regulate companies that operate online gambling sites or provide industry services (such as the supply of gaming software). These regions are referred to as online gambling jurisdictions or licensing jurisdictions.
Depending on what type of entertainment you are going to implement in your internet establishment, you will have to apply for the corresponding permissions. Online gambling laws in Europe vary from one country to the next. The industry is well regulated in some countries and less so in others. There are several online gambling jurisdictions located in Europe. Some of these are members of the European Union (EU), and thus subject to the various rules and regulations of that body, while others are independent. Each of these jurisdictions has an authority that’s responsible for approving gambling sites for licenses that enable them to offer their services legally. They also regulate their licensees. Countries that Provide Gambling Licensing Today there are lots of licensing jurisdictions located all over the world and offering different terms for their customers. Depending on the country, licenses can be local, international (distributed in several countries), have a different set of documents for registration, costs of registration and further support, various operating conditions and other special details.
Which gambling license is both internationally recognized?
The government of Ireland offers casino operators, software, and service providers in the gambling industry, with a gambling license that allows gambling operators to conduct business related to casino, lotto, and other gaming-related activities. Ireland Gambling License is one of the most popular license for online casinos worldwide. Ireland has long been recognized as one of the preferred locations for Online Gambling operators to base their operations. This success has been due to a combination of factors, such as a progressive legislative system, political stability, first-rate telecommunications facilities, and a well established financial services industry. A wide range of gambling sites operates out of Ireland including sports betting, casino sites, poker, bingo, and more. In stark contrast, the UK is the largest regulated market for online gambling in the world, and corporations are already comfortable exploiting the intersections of gambling and gaming, betting in-play, social gaming, Bitcoin, financial trading and spread betting, betting exchanges, e-sports and, most profitably, mobile gambling. 40% and 60% of online gambling in the UK took place in Gibraltar.
Europe is home to the following online gambling jurisdictions: Alderney, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Malta. Malta is currently the country that is most accommodating to gambling companies, and the license offers whitelisted online gambling in sports and casino games in many European territories. But takes an extreme amount of time in paperwork and background checks. Also, you pay 5% of all your gross profit to the EU.
Among countries offering gambling licensing services, the attention should be paid to Curaçao jurisdiction, which is considered to be one of the most promising for the online gaming business.
Curaçao Internet Gaming Association (also known as Curaçao eGaming) is both a regulator and a licensor, and its licensing works worldwide except Curaçao itself, USA, France and Netherlands. Using Curacao as an example, let us examine in detail the process of obtaining a license, the necessary documents and expenses. How to get a License on Curaçao
Documents necessary for company registration:
bank account confirmation;
documents proving payments for utility services.
After the company is registered, an operator can apply for the license providing the following documents:
a document certifying the right of domain possession;
description of games planned to be used in the project;
a list indicating countries of potential operation;
illustration of server locations to be used in the project;
a copy of the agreement with a software provider.
Gambling license cost:
Bank account opening $1000
Company registration $3600
Company management per year $3600
Application processing fee $1000
License fee per year $4800
Equipment/software fee starting from $1500
Server maintenance per year $6000
Apart from that pay for technical support and maintenance every year. The entire license issuing process takes between 2-4 weeks. Curacao Internet Gaming Association (CIGA) also has the power to review a license and, if it finds that an operator has breached a license condition, has the power to impose a range of sanctions including revocation of the license. Apple and Google Gambling Rules You’ll be surprised at the limited number of real money gambling app options available on the AppStore and Google Play Store. Most real money casino gaming is done through gambler’s mobile web browsers and not through mobile gambling apps that you’ll find for iPhone and Android phones. Apple allows online gambling applications in a few forms, and not just in places where it is explicitly permitted. They do not allow any payments through the applications – those have to be done on the websites. Apple has far stricter developer guidelines for iOS apps than Google does for Android apps, so it’s fine to assume that whatever you choose to download from iTunes is usually safe, secure, and meets a certain standard.
Any real money casino in the iTunes app is required to have proper licensing and permissions before Apple will approve the app for use or downloads. While Google Play is technically regulated, it is much more loose in what can be hosted.
Gambling, gaming, and lotteries can be tricky to manage and tend to be one of the most-regulated offerings on the App Store. Apple has rules for apps that support real money wagering, including sports betting and poker. Those apps and lotteries must have necessary licensing and permissions in the locations where the App is used, must be geo-restricted to those locations, and must be free on the App Store, and Apple rate even simulated gambling apps as appropriate only for users 17-years-old and up.
Google keeps the reigns tight. To be able to successfully upload apps to the Google Play store, developers need to have a valid license for the specific countries they are targeting and comply with their regulations. The app must be free to download and must prevent under-age users from gambling in the app. As a final precaution, all gambling apps are required to display prominent information regarding responsible gambling practices. This brings its policy in line with the Apple App Store. Countries where gambling is illegal It is also important to remember that while gambling is growing rapidly in many places, in others it is totally or partially prohibited. As well as in the majority of the US, sports betting is illegal in India, Pakistan, and China, three of the largest gambling markets in the world. Most countries have rules against gambling. Almost all Islamic countries prohibit gambling of every kind, but many turn a blind eye to online gambling or simply do not have regulations in place for this grey area. In the United Arab Emirates, however, any kind of gambling is prosecuted. National lotteries are the only legal forms of wagering on the Asian country’s mainland. Cambodia, North Korea strictly forbids online and offline gambling amongst its own citizens but allows tourists to participate in these activities. Qatar is the strictest country of all when it comes to gambling laws. All forms of gambling activities are considered illegal, and even sports betting is not permissible. Starting your own gambling product Numerous online casino platforms in the market offer fantastic casino games like bingo, poker, roulette, and many more.
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I said I might do another one of these, time permitting. Little did I know that I’d leave my house only four times in the past month to go to the grocery store. I’ve found quite a bit of time hunkered down in my apartment. I think my dog is getting sick of me. I know my wife is getting sick of me. The Dolphins were active early in free agency. They made a lot of expected moves (at least in terms of what positional needs we prioritized) and some more surprising ones. This leaves the team in an interesting place headed into the draft . In various discussions we’ve had over the past few weeks, I’ve tackled a couple cap questions, particularly in regards to the effective cap cost of rookie contracts as well as cap flexibility in 2021. In this offseason entry, I plan to address those topics and others to contextualize the way I see the draft shaking out. If you missed any of my previous posts, find the links below. A lot of it is out of date at this point, but if you’d like a good laugh you can see how often I was wrong (although, compared to previous years, I think I did pretty well this year), take a look.
Earlier this year, I projected a much more aggressive roster culling ahead of free agency than we ended up actually receiving. Aside from getting the departure of Reshad Jones right (admittedly, that one was a bit of a gimme), I also thought that by now we would have moved on from Albert Wilson, Taco Charlton, and Jakeem Grant to free up additional cap space. Instead, we dropped Kilgore (a move I considered unlikely), and--so far at least--have kept the others. There’s still plenty of time for things to change ahead of the 55-man roster cutdown. As currently constructed, our roster has a logjam of players at both the wide receiver and defensive end positions (never thought I’d be saying that second bit already). The Dolphins have 11 wide receivers under contract and eight defensive ends. Several of these players are minimum salary types filling out the offseason roster for camp, but there are plenty of locks at both to make the roster as well relative to the number of expected roster spots available at each position. Wide Receiver
It’s a reasonable bet that the Dolphins will carry five wide receivers on the final 53-man roster. That’s how many we’ve kept every year for the past three seasons. That likely means half of the names above will be cut. DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant (now that his base salary for the 2020 season has been guaranteed) are locks for the roste. Their contracts make them more expensive to cut than to keep. Preston Williams should also be expected to return for obvious reasons. That leaves two spots for the remaining eight guys, and I have to imagine that Allen Hurns--who signed an extension in the middle of last season--has an edge to keep his spot despite the potential cap savings. Isaiah Ford also came along when injuries pushed him to the top of the depth chart at the end of the season last year, convincing the team to pick him up as an exclusive rights free agent. Obviously Albert Wilson fills a niche on the roster that most of the other guys don’t--unless we expect to see Jakeem Grant take a larger role as the team’s slot receiver. There’s been discussion that the team plans to use Mike Gesicki in a big slot role, but that doesn’t rule out keeping Wilson. It’s not unthinkable that we carry six wide receivers in 2020, especially with Chan Gailey as our offensive coordinator and the extra two roster spots granted by the new CBA. His spread concepts figure to see more multiple-receiver sets, after all. This especially makes sense given that we should expect Grant and Ford (or whoever earns a roster spot over Ford) to see more use on special teams than offense. With the extra roster spots available, maybe this is one of the places we use one. Even should we keep him, I would prefer to see Wilson’s cap figure altered. There’s almost no way that he can live up to his $10.8 million cap charge in such a crowded field. If we do decide to keep him, I hope it involves a restructure and extension similar to the deal that Parker took in place of his fifth year option last year. He’s performed well in limited snaps, but his injury history and slow return last season may hurt his value moving forward, giving the team leverage to flex his remaining cap figure into a two-year contract. I suspect, though, that if that was going to happen, it already would have given the other extensions we’ve offered the plenty of our other receivers. I also expected him to be cut by no, though. Defensive Ends
Lawson and Ogbah are our starting defensive ends in 2020. Headed into free agency, I expected defensive end to be a big target in the draft as well. Now I’m less certain. As a first round selection, Harris’s 2020 salary is mostly guaranteed, so we save almost nothing other than a roster spot by moving on from him. Teams rarely cut players that don’t offer cap savings, so barring someone outperforming him in camp, I expect him to be on the roster. That still leaves a five or six way battle for what remains of only three or four defensive end spots. Consider also how many linebackers the Dolphins are likely to carry into the 2020 season: Kyle Van Noy, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Vince Biegel, Elandon Roberts, Raekwon McMillan, and Jerome Baker are virtual locks to make the roster--and that’s already six linebackers before we get to guys like Andrew Van Ginkel and Sam Eguavoen who are cheap and look to earn a spot based on their performance last season and their special teams value. Our 2019 roster structure looked a lot more like that of the Patriots last year: fewer defensive linemen and more linebackers. We used 3-4 looks more often than we have in years past, and that means that we’re getting edge rushers from the linebackers as well. Signing Kyle Van Noy likely signals that we’ll continue to see plenty of this. Realistically, of the bottom five guys on the list above, the one most likely to make the roster is probably the one who can be moved around the most successfully. If one of those guys can find productivity flexing between 4-3 DE and 3-4 DE or 4-3 DE and 3-4 OLB and be productive at both positions, then they’ll have a leg up making the roster. Remaining Free Agency Although it’s already April and less than two weeks from the NFL Draft, there are still a handful of free agents remaining at what might be considered positions of need. Two of the biggest names are Jadeveon Clowney and Yannick Ngakoue, both of whom are finding their markets to be lower than they initially anticipated (although Ngakoue’s situation is complicated by his tag designation). As detailed above, though, I think it unlikely that we bring in another defensive end--much less one that we can barely afford. Clowney’s asking price has reportedly fallen to the $17-18 million per year range, but that’s still out of our price range at this point. Trading with the Vikings for Anthony Harris would make more sense than trying to acquire either Clowney and Ngakoue, but even that’s unlikely. Trading for Harris would be cheaper than trading for Ngakoue in terms of both draft assets required and the cost of his new contract, but it’s unlikely we would spend top money on safety after paying Byron Jones. While free safety is arguably the position we stand most to benefit from upgrading on defense, I can’t imagine a scenario where we become suitors for Harris with our current cap commitments at the position. Such a move would likely signal an impending trade of Xavien Howard. As always, the elephant in the room is the quarterback situation. It remains our biggest position of need headed into the draft, and both Cam Newton and Jameis Winston are available. We don’t need to rehash my thoughts on free agent quarterbacks from my first post in this series, but you can guess where I stand on signing either of them. Hint: don’t. It should be abundantly clear by now that the Dolphins made their moves early in free agency and we’re unlikely to do much more ahead of the draft. We’re in a comfortable place with our cap space and already carry 78 players on our roster. With fourteen draft picks in our back pocket for later this month, we’re already going to have to drop two players to meet the maximum offseason roster size of 90 players, unless of course we draft fewer than fourteen players because we’re losing some picks to move up. There’s also undrafted free agents who will get signed. We can safely ignore any discussion about the Dolphins bringing any free agents in other than minimum contract players for the rest of the offseason.
So where does that leave us? Over The Cap calculates the Dolphins as having $23,886,772 in salary cap space remaining. With the roster filled out well past the top 51 contracts that actually count, it’s time to recalculate the effective cap cost of our rookie contracts. OTC lists our total rookie pool cost at $18,096,615. They’re wrong. For whatever reason, they’re missing one of our fourteen picks--number 154--received from Jacksonville via Pittsburgh. Good news? It doesn’t actually change our calculation since it’s value ($690,227) is lower than our cheapest contract in the top 51 on our roster ($750,000), so it costs us effectively nothing for now. In fact, the bottom eight of our fourteen picks (rounds four and later) are all below the lowest contract on our top 51, so they’re all effectively free in terms of cap commitment. That leaves our top six draft picks displacing six $750,000 contracts at the bottom of our roster, bringing our effective salary cap cost total to $8,946,548. That leaves us with $14,940,224 in salary cap space for 2020. Barring any extensions, expect nearly all of that to roll over into 2021. Importantly, where does this leave us for 2021? Based on the bump in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Over the Cap projects a base salary cap of $215,000,000 in 2021. With our current cap commitments and anticipated rollover, we’re likely to enter the 2021 season with $48,480,196 in available cap space. That number is much lower than you might be seeing listed elsewhere, because I’ve included the cost of our this year’s draft class not only against this year’s cap (which reduces our amount for rollover as detailed above) but next year’s as well (which comes out to a whopping $23,458,157). Sites like Spotrac and OTC typically won’t price that in until after the draft and the players actually sign, and not without reason. Any trades in the draft can shift this amount pretty substantially, especially if we package one of our firsts to move up. It’s a good working figure at this point, though. How about the way-too-early look ahead? Aside from the obvious move to cut Albert Wilson this season and save $9.5 million (yes, I’m going to keep banging this drum) or moving on from Julie’n Davenport after drafting tackles ($2,133,000 in savings), there are several players who can become cap casualties in 2021.
Kyle Van Noy
Unless something has gone terribly wrong, many of these names are safe for 2021 (Van Noy and Ogbah top that list). Others might find themselves on the wrong end of a team looking to shift its roster around. If Howard is injured yet again, his contract becomes easy to move on from, especially as we’d still have Byron Jones. I’d bet that one of either McCain or Rowe isn’t with the Dolphins for the 2021 season. Others might find themselves on the right end of a team looking to lock a player down long term. If Ogbah is healthy and shows out all season, he could be in line for an extension that increases his APY moving forward while decreasing his 2021 APY. In brief, players like McCain, Rowe, Howard, and Davis could all find themselves as cap casualties because they play positions that we are likely to target in this draft to find long-term replacements. Similarly, the logjam at wide receiver could see departures for Grant or Hurns in 2021, freeing up additional cap space. That cap flexibility--having nearly $50 million in available cap space already and the ability to free up even more--is impressive considering our spending spree in the past few weeks. It’s also doubly important because 2021’s free agent includes several players likely to play starting or key depth roles in 2020 who will be free agents in 2021 including Kamu Grugier-Hill, Ted Karras, Vince Biegel, Matt Haack, Elandon Roberts, Raekwon McMillan, and Davon Godchaux. Players set to hit free agency in 2022 who might be up for extensions at the same time include Emmanuel Ogbah, Mike Gesicki, and Jerome Baker. We’re unlikely to be active in 2021 free agency the way we were this year, but we have the cap health to re-sign who we wish from our own players without mortgaging our future. We entered the 2020 free agency season with an enormous amount of cap space and managed to spend aggressively (more money in new contracts than any other NFL team) without putting ourselves into a cap crunch for the future.
I didn’t expect to sign Byron Jones mostly because I never thought that we would be paying two of the three highest-paid cornerbacks in the league on the same team. It’s obviously a move we can afford (as detailed above), but I’m not used to the secondary being a position in which we’ve aggressively invested resources. I wanted to take a closer look at how we’re spending our cap space by position groups by active cap spending (a total of $173,655,544 at time of writing). Let’s break it down. Offense
Defense and Special Teams
These numbers will fluctuate significantly by the time we wittle the roster down to the final 55, but even now it’s apparent how this front office plans to build this team. A total of 58.2% of our active cap spending is going to defense. Consider also that the Dolphins are carrying an additional $18,177,506 in dead cap for defensive players while only carrying a tenth of that ($1,862,740) in dead cap for offensive players. Expect quarterback, running back, offensive line to see the largest increases to this figure after the draft. Barring something unexpected, we’ll be drafting a quarterback at fifth overall (or higher), and with multiple openings on the offensive line, it’s possible (likely?) that we draft two offensive linemen in our first five selections. There’s a gaping hole at running back as well. Those high draft selections will be enough to move the needle in a significant way. The number that jumps to the most immediate attention, of course, is our spending on defensive backs at nearly $50 million in total cap commitments for a total of $27.31% of active cap spending. This may be our new normal for a while. In the past three seasons, the Patriots have allocated 23.61%, 21.63%, and 23.62% of their total cap spending to the secondary. They’ve also done that while spending much more heavily on quarterback even with Brady on “bargain” deals. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this number go up in the short term either, as I think it’s likely we target a safety in the first or second rounds this year. We’ve allocated more of our resources to the defensive line and linebacker positions than the Patriots have the past few years, but not by much. Our spending in both groups is boosted dramatically by our new free agents at the positions (Ogbah, Van Noy, and Lawson) and has been fueled by our absolutely dire pass rush situation. Due to Fizpatrick’s contract, 2020 is likely to be our most expensive year at the quarterback position until 2024 when whatever rookie we draft could be retained on the fifth year option. The defensive secondary cost will likely come down in the near future as I think it’s unlikely Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe play out their current contracts, but in general we’re probably looking at splits roughly along these lines over the next few seasons.
2020 Free Agency Signings
Having looked at the money, let’s examine what that money bought us. Obviously this section is very subjective. As I’m sure many of you have noticed in plenty of other discussions on this subreddit, I’m positive on our signings as a whole. I try to be optimistic about the moves we make because grousing about them isn’t much fun. Clayton Fejedelem: Three Years, $8,550,000, $3,000,000 Guaranteed It always makes me uncomfortable when a new coach tries too hard to be the head coach he learned under. This has especially proved a concern for Belichick disciples who often try to jump right into being a hard ass without having earned the respect. Fortunately, that does not appear to be too much of a concern with Flores so far. I bring up coaches mimicking their mentors here because even though Fejedelem wasn’t a Patriot, this signing reeks of the type of player that Belichick covets. Fejedelem checks so many boxes. He provides much-needed depth at a positional weakness from last season, he’s been a core special teams guy for the Bengals, and he’s a former team captain. He costs under three million per year to bring depth at a position our front office clearly values, provides good special teams value, and he should fit with the type of team culture Flores is building. All of his guaranteed money is in 2020, and his contract is front-loaded as well. It’s a rock solid deal for someone who figures to be a solid player for us both on the field and in the locker room. Ereck Flowers: Three Years, $30,000,000, $19,950,000 Guaranteed I wish I had as much optimism about Flowers as I did about Fejedelem, but I’m less comfortable with this contract. It clearly fills a position of need, as we badly needed to improve our offensive line. In my Building the Offense entry in this series, I referred to Flowers as a competent guy who wouldn’t break the bank. I stand by the assertion he’s an improvement over any of the guards currently on our roster, but the $10 million per year number is a little higher than I expected. While I understand that offensive line talent is increasingly at a premium, making Ereck Flowers the 14th-highest paid guard in the NFL after only one good season at the position in Washington is not without risk, especially with nearly two thirds of his contract fully guaranteed. What hurts more is that for $14 million per year, the Browns landed Jack Conklin--probably my top offensive line target in free agency--and the Chargers signed Bryan Bulaga--the Conklin consolation prize--for only $6.75 million per year. I would have preferred either of those to Flowers. That said, it’s only fair to acknowledge that Flowers quickly became one of the top guards in a thinning market when both Brandon Scherff and Joe Thuney were tagged. Graham Glasgow, a similar prospect converted from center to guard, went for $11 million APY and Andrus Peat coming off of two poor seasons signed at $11.5 million APY. There’s an argument to be made that the guard market has just really closed the gap on tackles and Flowers got market rate. This move, and the lack of a tackle signed in free agency, signals that our front office is confident that we can either successfully address both left and right tackle in the draft this year or that Jesse Davis can be a long-term solution at right guard. This shouldn’t be too surprising given Davis’s contract extension, but I’m not 100% on board with it. If we’ve overpaid for Flowers’s services as I suspect, at least it’s only a three-year deal and we can move on with only $1 million in dead cap ahead of the 2022 season. Optimistically, Flowers continues to play up to his 2019 standard at guard and proves himself worthy of the contract as he comes home to Miami. Kamu Grugier-Hill: One Year, $3,000,000, $2,000,000 Guaranteed Although this signing is likely to draw comparisons to Fejedelem for very transparent reasons (they’re both defensive depth who figure as core special teams contributors who were team captains for their previous team), Grugier-Hill carries greater risk. Fortunately, this is reflected in his short-term deal. His 2019 season ended early due to a lower lumbar disc herniation and also missed time for other injuries. If healthy, though, he brings a lot of the same mojo to the team as Fejedelem, with the added benefit of being one of several new Dolphins to bring championship experience to the team. As with Fejedelem, Grugier-Hill is the kind of guy who checks a lot of boxes: he’s cheap, he provides key depth and special teams value, he’s familiar with our defensive system, and he figures to be an immediate leader in a very young locker room. Jordan Howard: Two Years, $9,750,000, $4,750,000 Guaranteed Shocking nobody, I’m not high on signing Jordan Howard. Mostly because I’m not high on spending money on running backs in general, and paying a running back coming off an injury-shortened season makes me more nervous than at most positions. The Dolphins had the worst rushing attack in the NFL in 2019, though, and before his injury this year, Howard was on track again for a solid season in line for previous years. He’s a big bodied back who figures to split the load with the rookie we inevitably draft. As a personal consolation, I can remind myself that none of his 2021 salary is guaranteed., so it’s essentially a one-year, prove-it deal. Byron Jones: Five Years, $82,500,000, $46,000,000 Guaranteed In my offseason entry on Building the Defense I wrote, “Frankly, Jones and Howard likely immediately becomes the best corner tandem in the NFL for the next couple seasons, and we’ve all seen how you can build a defense from the secondary with a rookie quarterback and find a lot of success. That said, I don’t know that our front office could swallow objections to paying what would likely be $30 million APY between two corners.” I badly misjudged our front office’s priorities. While I said that if we did decide to address cornerback in free agency, it would be Byron Jones or bust, I didn’t take the possibility seriously. Some will have concerns that Jones doesn’t get enough interceptions to be made a top-paid defensive back in the NFL, but I take the same opinion towards interceptions as I do to sacks--they’re the gaudy number that get the attention and they’re obviously impactful, but they’re the rare high points that don’t speak to a player’s actual impact on a per-snap basis. Byron Jones finished fourth in coverage snaps per reception last year (17.9), tied for second in coverage snaps per target (10.1), and fourth in yards per coverage snap (0.62). Opposite a ball hawk like Xavien Howard, it figures that Jones might see more targets and more opportunities for interceptions himself. As discussed above, building a defense from the back forward is a clear priority of this team. It might not have been the strategy I’d have embraced, but I get it, and it’s hard not to be excited about the potential of our new cornerback tandem. Most importantly, we’re not committed beyond the 2020 season to huge spending at cornerback. Byron Jones’s contract makes him a lock for the roster through the 2022 season (age 30), but Xavien Howard has an out next year. If Howard proves once again to be unable to remain healthy, we can move on from him and still have one of the top corners in the league in 2021 on the roster. Ted Karras: One Year, $4,000,000, $4,000,000 Guaranteed This is not-so-low-key one of my favorite signings. I didn’t give Karras much of a look in my previous entry evaluating offensive free agent targets, and I’m honestly not sure how he slipped through the cracks. Karras acquitted himself well as a back-up at both center and guard and stepped up as New England’s starting center in 2019. He had a rough stretch in the middle of the season, but from week 12 onward through the wildcard round, Karras didn’t allow a single pressure. Karras’s contract is a one-year, prove-it deal that gives us flexibility to play him at guard or center depending on who we pick up in the draft. A starting offensive lineman at $4,000,000 is good value no matter how you slice it, and Karras has upside to be a long-term solution whereas Kilgore was clearly a stopgap. It’s a lateral move in terms of cap cost, but an upgrade on the offensive line. While it doesn’t solve our biggest problem on the line (tackle), it helps. Shaq Lawson, Three Years, $30,000,000, $21,000,000 Guaranteed
Lawson’s a decent candidate for the kind of player we might offer a more modest, short-term contract and see if he can improve with a change of scenery. If we strike out on bigger names in free agency, picking up Lawson and maybe another cheaper guy on the list to round out or defensive end depth alongside another edge rusher with one of our first five picks in the draft isn’t the worst strategy.
At least I’m not always wrong. In my assessment of the options to improve our edge rush, I expected that many impending free agents would not actually make it to free agency. Shaquil Barrett, Bud Dupree, and Matt Judon never hit the market. Yannick Ngakoue and Leonard Williams were franchise-tagged. Even the 49ers made moves to keep Arik Armstead. Instead of paying bigger money to try and sign Jadeveon Clowney or Dante Fowler Jr., we went the cheaper route to bring on both Lawson and Ogbah. The combined cost of both of them is only marginally more than the tag amount for Ngakoue and Williams and less than Clowney was initially seeking. Lawson’s deal comes in at 18th among 4-3 Defensive Ends. It’s very high on guarantees as a percentage of the contract, but it’s essentially a two-year deal with only $1,333,334 in dead money in 2022 if we decide to move on. Lawson’s deal also includes additional incentives for sacks and team achievements, and I can’t be mad about incentives on a deal. If the player meets them, we obviously can’t say they didn’t earn it. A staple of Belichick defenses has been to rely on the scheme to generate pressure. Our strategy is looking similar. Our defense is prioritizing lockdown coverage rather than relying on individual pass rushing performance to get to the quarterback. Hopefully Lawson is able to take advantage. If not, it’s a two-year investment at a relatively modest amount for the position that we can move on from without major consequence. If nothing else, he’s almost certainly an upgrade over anything we already had. Kyle Van Noy, Four Years, $51,000,000, $15,000,000 Guaranteed Despite the gaudy numbers on the contract, Van Noy’s deal is structured extremely favorably to the Dolphins. His full guarantees include only $5.5 million in signing bonus, $6.5 million in 2020 roster bonus, and $3 million in 2020 base salary. Because his 2021 and 2022 base salaries become fully guaranteed on the fifth day of each league year, that means that if he flames out we can move on with minimal dead money. Any time you can walk away from a four-year deal in year two with only $4,125,000 in dead cap and $9,775,000 in cap savings should be considered a major coup. With how often I’ve mentioned the Patriots defensive scheme, the fit for Van Noy in Miami is braindead obvious. He brings flexibility that few of our current linebackers and none of our defensive ends have. He’s solid in run defense, as a pass rusher, and even dropping back into coverage. We have guys who can do one or two of those things very well, but none right now who are above average (and consistent) across the board. Van Noy is expensive for his position and he’s on the older side of the free agents we’ve signed (having just turned 29 shortly after signing), but he should be expected to be a key piece for our defensive scheme with the flexibility he brings to the table. Last year, I thought that Trey Flowers would be a good fit for us given the Patriots. Instead, he rejoined Matt Patricia up north and had a really solid year (seven sacks, fourteen hits, and 41 hurries alongside 33 defensive stops). I’m optimistic that Van Noy can have a similarly smooth transition to working under Flores in Miami. Emmanuel Ogbah, Two Years, $15,000,000, $7,500,000 Guaranteed There’s not a lot to be said about Ogbah’s deal that hasn’t already been said about Lawson, except that it’s even less of a financial commitment. Coming off of a career-best, but injury-shortened season, we’re betting on Ogbah to take the next step. The contract is very favorable to the Dolphins: it’s 26th among 4-3 Defensive Ends in terms of APY and has no guaranteed money in year two. As a result, it’s essentially a one year prove-it deal. If Ogbah plays to his potential and is able to pick up where he left off before injury with the Chiefs, he’s likely to see an extension next year that will keep him with the team long term. If not, we move on no worse for the wear. If he’s a middle-of-the-road kind of guy as he has been for much of his career? Well, $7.5 million isn’t a whole lot for a defensive end who we can still use in rotation. Signing both Ogbah and Lawson takes immense pressure off of the front office to draft a defensive end high. Considering that we signed Van Noy at linebacker, who figures to have a significant role on passing downs as well, I’d argue that we may not draft a defensive end in the first few rounds at all. Again, more on that later. Elandon Roberts, One Year, $2,000,000, $1,000,000 Guaranteed The Patriots were hard up against the cap this year after tagging Thuney, and Roberts was a free agency casualty as a result. This isn’t a big contract, but it’s a good one. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: he’s a defensive depth player who was a team captain who sees most of his impact on special teams and brings championship experience to our young roster. Roberts saw a decreased workload at linebacker (where he saw a majority of his snaps as a run defender and in coverage) in 2019 because of his increased role on special teams, but he also saw work as a fullback (and even caught a touchdown against us in the final game of the regular season). It’s pretty clear that Flores has a type.
Our most dire needs are obvious. We don’t have a long-term answer at quarterback. Aside from a gaping hole at left tackle, we could also stand to upgrade at right guard, right tackle, or even center depending on where we play Karras and Davis. After signing Jordan Howard, running back remains a priority as our depth at the position among the worst in the league. We only have two tight ends in the top 51 contracts on this team, and fans and the team alike really only have expectations for Gesicki. It stands to reason based on positional spending alone that our biggest holes are on offense, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stand to improve on defense as well. If I had to rank needs? Quarterback Offensive Tackle Guard or Center Free Safety Running Back Nose Tackle Tight End Linebacker I expect that the most controversial part of this list will be the lack of defensive end. As I’ve suggested above, I don’t think we should be targeting the position as a priority following the signing of Ogbah and Lawson unless someone falls. Both Ogbah and Lawson have excelled primarily as ends in 4-3 fronts, so expect that’s how we’ll use them most of the time. Ogbah has (at least to my knowledge) not seen much use as an outside linebacker in 4-3 looks and Lawson struggled with it early in his career in Buffalo. So while a pure 4-3 defensive end isn’t high on our list of needs, that doesn’t mean we won’t ignore pass rush entirely. Van Noy figures to take snaps at one of our outside linebacker spots, exactly where he saw almost all of his snaps with the Patriots. Baker saw time both at the weak side and middle linebacker positions in 2019, and depending on our defensive front will likely continue that trend. These two are the only guys I see on our roster right now who figure as three-down backers unless McMillan makes a big step forward in coverage. We also have a lot of depth at linebacker: Biegel saw a lot of snaps at outside linebacker last year and he’s returning; in the last two games Van Ginkel saw the majority of the games’ snaps at outside linebacker as well; McMillan and Eguavoen made up the majority of the rest of our snaps at middle linebacker. Except maybe Eguavoen, whose roster spot is the most tenuous of the group, these players all should expect to see continued rotational use. There’s definitely a scenario where we look to improve our linebackers, and if there’s a guy who can be a three-down type of guy at middle linebacker or someone who flexes really outside in 4-3 and 3-4 looks, I could see us pulling the trigger in the right circumstances. Ultimately, though, I have both nose tackle and free safety listed higher on our list of needs because those are the positions where a major upgrade will bring us the biggest improvement. For example, John Jenkins played the majority of our snaps at nose tackle in 2019 with Godchaux contributing some snaps there as well. We haven’t brought Jenkins back, and Godchaux’s probably better used at DE in 3-4 looks. Someone who can play rotationally at nose tackle would be a big boon for this defense, and fills a position where we really have no go-to guy. More importantly, that type of rotational player can be had outside of the first round entirely. I don’t think many people would disagree about listed free safety as one of our top defensive needs. Bobby McCain is coming off of an injury shortened season. Before he was injured, he was having a rough transition to free safety. He got abused in coverage in five of his nine games played in 2019, allowing passer ratings of 139.6, 144.6, 104.2, 118.8, and 158.3. At the time he signed his current contract, McCain was made the highest-paid slot corner in the NFL and he’s barely played the position since then. Not only would drafting a free safety likely improve upon McCain’s mediocre performance at the position last year, it would allow McCain to return to the position that earned him his contract. Given that the nickel defense is essentially the base defense these days, improving both free safety and nickel corner with one draft pick could improve our defense significantly. The other needs listed above barely require commenting. Quarterback and offensive line lead our needs by a country mile, and both will almost certainly be addressed early. We need better running back talent to improve on our league-worst rushing in 2019. It’s not a question of if we will draft a running back, but rather when. Many pundits and fans expect we’ll address the position in the first or second round. Much like my position on drafting a quarterback, I’ve talked to death (even by my standards) about how I feel about drafting running backs in the first round. Some will note the value of using the 26th pick to secure a fifth year option, but I’m not convinced. That fifth year option is just as valuable or more valuable at another position. Moreover, when was the last time the Dolphins re-signed a running back? Not just a rookie--any running back? Frank Gore, Kenyan Drake, Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams, Lamar Miller, and Reggie Bush were all productive backs in the past decade who we let walk or actively traded away. You have to go all the way back to Ronnie Brown and Ricky Wiliams to find backs who received offers after their initial contracts with the Dolphins, and in both their cases we only gave them another year. Sure, this is a different front office, but that’s a trend that’s been true of this team through multiple front offices, and I’ve seen no indication that it’s likely to change. Like with linebacker, I see tight end as a position where our depth could improve and wouldn’t be surprised to see us take a flyer late or jump on somebody we like in the middle rounds, but I don’t expect it to be a priority.
Members of the House of Representatives and Senators of the 17th Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, ladies, gentlemen, and those otherwise identified, Recognition of the land our parliament stands upon, Ngunnawal land, shapes reflection upon the 40,000 history upon this continent, and the history and culture that so reflects and boldens who we are as a nation today. I wish to personally respect the Ngunnawal elders, both past, present, and emerging, and welcome all who have come across this land to be here at this time, as well as recognise those who have not been able to be with us at this time. As we enter the 17th parliament, we shall take a moment to respect the duties and responsibilities that are handed to us as we are elected and sworn in as members of parliament or as Senators. To serve both chambers is a privilege, as is serving the people of Australia, and it is most important to have the best interests at heart in this chamber of serving the people of this country, and serving the nation of Australia with dignity and honour. This incoming government will remain dedicated to fighting for the education of each and every Australian, and that starts with ensuring that our nation’s education remains affordable for everyone. By keeping tertiary education free, we can ensure that no Australian is disadvantaged by their financial situation in terms of their pursuit of education up to the highest levels. My Government will also wish to reduce government funding to private schools by 30%, and put that money back into the public system, to also follow this goal of education no matter your personal finances. Beyond affordability, this incoming government will also help ensure education becomes more manageable for students, and teaches them more core skills in life. With our plans to reduce the yearly assessments by 25%, as well as reforming the Humanities curriculum from years 7-10 and making the overall curriculum assist students in gaining all-round development, we hope to ensure that students gain a better quality of education, while reducing the stress levels that come with constant assessments. Finally, with my Government’s coming introduction of a targeted grad scheme for rural schools, we hope to ensure the students across this nation can receive the highest quality education from the highest quality teachers, regardless of their location. For this government, education is of the utmost importance, and you can expect to see that idea translate into legislation and government policy. Culture specific support for First Nations people to learn within the education system which takes into account their language and culture in curricula will be implemented, supporting aboriginal families and children to learn. My Government will also work to increase Australian history teaching opportunities in the field of Asian and Pacific migration, along with inclusion of aboriginal perspectives on colonial history within the education curriculum that discusses important and yet overlooked topics such as the Australian genocides as mandatory learning within the history subject at more mature levels. This incoming government will strive to deliver the best possible outcomes for all Australians at home and abroad. This government will also work towards providing an accessible and modern path for Asylum Seekers and those seeking to move to Australia temporarily or permanently. This will involve the raising of the Refugee Quota, a streamlined process of Asylum Seeking and support to be provided to those with Work Visas who have been stranded in Australia and currently lack access to appropriate social services. This government will also work towards establishing first a travel bubble between states which have currently contained the Coronavirus and New Zealand. This travel bubble may be extended to pacific nations as well and will serve to reinvigorate the tourism industry domestically and in our pacific allies. In the longer term, after the coronavirus crisis has been settled, this government intends to pursue an free movement union with New Zealand, and our Pacific neighbours such as Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and other Pacific States. The government will also work towards a transparent security system for Australians. To do this, legislation will be implemented that will subject ASIO to Parliamentary Committees, ensuring that it is well regulated and achieving the best results for Australia and her security. Legislation will also be created that will restrict ASIO from spying or wiretapping Australian residents’ private devices without probable cause and legal warrant. In line with the recent cyber attacks against Australian Government, Business and Individuals, a Cyber Defence Task Force will be created so as to defend Australian interests from malicious web based attacks. To this government, reform of immigration, increased integration with our pacific allies, increased accountability of security services to the public and a strong commitment to the continued prosperity of the Australian people is paramount. This government through legislation and government policy will implement these measures to the benefit of all Australians. The coming government is committed to delivering the best outcomes on health and sport. Currently the incoming government is faced with a pandemic crisis that is causing a significant public health emergency. As a result, the #1 priority for the incoming government is the constraining and defeat of the pandemic. This involves coordination between state, territory and federal government and a commitment by the people of Australia to work their hardest to control the spread of the virus. This government will implement measures as appropriate to control the spread of the virus, including Lockdowns if necessary, to prevent the emergence of a second wave and to ensure the safety of Australians from this pandemic. Outside of Coronavirus, this government is looking to upgrade hospitals across the nation in a Hospital Modernisation Scheme worth $500 million that will provide world class equipment to hospitals across all of Australia. The General Practitioner Accessibility Agency Bill that was passed last term will be further implemented and refined, improving access for regional Australians to a GP quickly and cost-effectively. This government will also look to create and improve Telehealth for increased GP access, convenience and safety for the general populace, and for our medical professionals. This government will also look to increase funding for sports in regional Australia, such as Equestrian to drive tourism and reinvigorate these communities. The Formula E, electric car racing tournament will be sponsored to promote Electric Vehicles and to revitalise the economy through tourism and celebration. Sports Integrity Australia will be created out of an amalgamation and strengthening of the existing multitude of Sport Integrity and Anti-Doping Agencies. This will ensure Australia is up to world standards in Sport Law and will furthermore provide an avenue for assistance for our Australian Athletes and Sports Workers to provide the best possible games to the Australian people. This government is clearly committed through investment and legislation to the combatting of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the promotion of regional Healthcare, to upgrading Australian Hospitals, providing Telehealth services to Australians and to the promotion of and the integrity of Sport across Australia. This Government believes in the rights of LGBTQIA+ people, and as such it will immediately place a complete moratorium on unjust medical intervention in intersex people unless the intersex individual is of the age to give informed and independent consent to such operations (16 years old), or if such an intervention is deemed absolutely medically necessary for the physical health of the child by a doctor. Particular training on LGBTQIA+ issues will be given to all health professionals, and all government employees within prisons, police, courts, and the military for that after. My Government will put together a specific Transgender Health division of the healthcare systme that will increase trans healthcare access for those who need it, and will streamline hte process of getting trans youth the psychiatric and medical support they need, along with increasing coverage of trans healthcare across Australia and increases to the funding of funding options for gender-affirming surgeries that are currently underfunded. In general, specific health programs will be set up to address the health needs of LGBTQIA+ people, with input from gender and sexuality diverse people and their communities. As the COVID crisis develops, gaps in our mental health system have become exposed. A time of crisis is a time of mental strain, and this government will be committed to meeting the growing need for mental healthcare. This government will be providing teletherapy services so that those who cannot leave their homes are still able to get the treatment they need. In addition, it will work to reduce the cost of mental health care to ensure that it is easily accessible and end the days of mental health treatments being a luxury good. In respect to the Treasury, it is a top priority for this government to correct the previous budget statement and it’s inaccuracies, and also institute a new budget for the financial year of 2021-2022, which gives infrastructure projects, suitable programs and reasonable response to the people of Australia in regards to the COVID-19 crisis. This government shall also aim to implement unitary taxation within Australia and to avoid double taxation, cooperate with governments in other countries to implement this policy and a financial transactions tax, so that multinational corporations will pay their share for the amount of profit they create in each country. My government shall implement corporate tax brackets as well, in order to allow the government to separate small businesses from large businesses, and allow them to keep more of their profit proportionally. My government shall implement budget repair levies in order to repair the deficit that was caused by the COVID-19 crisis, to minimise the deficit and to be able to fund programs which are beneficial for the Australian people. On top of this they will look into putting together an Assets and Wealth tax that will ensure people with a net asset wealth over $1 million will pay a tax of 1% on that wealth, and people with a net asset wealth of $2 million will pay a tax of 2% on that wealth. This tax will feature exemptions for people who are asset poor and income wealthy, and people with major drags on their assets like mortgages and will be used to fund new benefit changes in the COVID-19 response. To encourage more top-down redistributive taxation, and bottom-up growth that can support our many spending initiatives, we will add two new tax brackets at $100k-149.999k earnings, and $150k up. As economic effects of the COVID continues, my government shall look at the implementation of a Coronavirus Economic Support and Recovery Fund, which is to help provide economic support to industries hit by this pandemic. This Fund will look at providing support and economic relief to the arts and entertainment sector, the manufacturing sector and the renewable energy and electricity generation sector. The entire economy has been hit hard by this crisis, but it is imperative that industries which have been unable to function, such as the Arts, are recognised and provided the help they need, and that Australian Manufacturing is finally given the opportunity it needs to become a dominant factor of our economic recovery. My government will therefore also put support into Australian Made, to get more money flowing into Australia’s locally made products and locally owned businesses, to support the economy from the grassroots and up during recovery. As said, my Government will be spending a lot of money on supporting Australia’s residents through COVID-19 recovery, and for that it will undertake an unprecedented effort to close tax loopholes through a Parliamentary commission into loopholes, inefficiency, and evasion; and will work to monetise previously untaxed areas. For example, my government will look into introducing a tax on dynastic and inherited wealth at over $3,000,000 in net assets. This tax will feature exemptions for people who are asset poor and income wealthy, and people with major drags on their assets like mortgages. Alongside this it will explore a progressive corporation tax that implements separate tax brackets to let small businesses keep more of what they earn whilst larger corporations contribute to Australia’s need for spending. My Government overall will seek to focus the economy. COVID-19 has given Australia the perfect opportunity to start judging societal progress differently, not just based on GDP which is described by its own creator as inaccurate to judging success. My Government will rather use wellbeing factors such as wages, employment, and other socioeconomic factors that will place wellbeing as the main factor of economic growth, not just GDP. My Government will work in the area of constitution and governance to correct major holes in our country’s systems and create a fairer Australia. This will start with a Presidential Commission into democratic reform, with the intention to implement a proportional representation electoral system that will consider the low representation of party’s general election votes in comparison to their seats won in the House of Representatives. In the spirit of democratic reform, my Government will also legislate the right of Australian citizens and permanent residents over the age of 16 to vote, and the right of incarcerated people to vote - as everybody deserves participation in our democracy. On top of this, it will legislate the right of public servants in their capacity as private citizens to engage in political advocacy and activism, participate in trade unions, and to represent or be elected to activist organisations - given the unique and often underrepresented view that our civil servants can often have. To ensure fair elections, my Government will implement a complete ban on political donations from for-profit corporations, ensuring nobody who gets in bet with large corporations gets unfair advantages in campaigning. Alongside this, caps on individual public donations and donations from not-for-profits will be introduced. My Government will also look to introduce optional preferential voting for the senate, and to reduce the deposit required for a candidate to stand for election to Parliament, in the interest of removing financial barriers to democratic participation. Public funding of political parties and candidates for campaigns will be set at a level that increases democratic participation by voters, and reduces the influence that corporations have over the prominence of political parties further. My Government will legislate that all local councils use a form of ranked choice voting, if they do not already, to increase democratic representation in all levels of Government. In a number of constitutional amendments, my Government will place sections in the constitution to recognise Australia as a constitutionally multicultural society, recognising the importance not only of aboriginal culture but of all non-white cultures in Australia. It will also replace the sections 44 and 45 of the constitution with more modernised and fair statute around corruption, treason, and serious criminal cases; rather than the outdated clause that was originally there. Political enfranchisement will be granted to offshore Australian territories such as Norfolk and the Christmas Islands, ensuring once again that all Australians are guaranteed participation in our democratic processes. My Government will establish an Australian Bill of Rights that includes provisions in line with the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, that embodies international human, civil, and political rights, and includes factors such as race, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, gender Identity, gender expression, sex characteristics, etc, as classifications protected from discrimination. After the previously government endeavoured to isolate Australia from the world, and stop Australia’s potential throughout the international community, my government will endeavour to take a new path to those prior. Instead of destroying alliances, or fear mongering trade partners, my government will work with the international community to promote trade, human rights, and unity through these troubling times that the world faces. Within the new spirit of internationalism, my government will move to build upon the principles established under the First Youmaton Government and pursue an active foreign policy regarding the recognition of emerging nations and protection of human rights. My government recognises the incredible dangers nations such as Kosovo, Israel, Palestine and Sahrawi all face in their ongoing struggles to maintain recognition as other nations seek to gain from their dissolution, and within such my government will move to protect these nations alongside others through the creation of the protected recognition status. Nations with the protected recognition status will become recognised by Australia under law, removing the uncertainty that comes with a change in government revoking certain recognitions recognised by the prior. The themes of peace and unity shall be recurrent within my government’s foreign agenda, promoting international cooperation and ensuring treaties signed by Australia are properly followed. My government is completely committed to the maintaining of the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, maintaining the incredible nature and wildlife of Antarctica, and ensuring scientific endeavours continue to happen across our portion of the continent. Pursuant to the commitment made by my government, additional funds will be allocated to the assistance of pacific island nations in their race to combat the coronavirus and climate change, alongside general measures to expand Australia’s cooperation with the Pacific region as the world recovers from the ongoing pandemic. Protecting our Nation from external threats is one of our far most responsibilities as a Government. My Government shall ensure that our Australia is protected and there shall exist continued funding to enable our Armed Forces to purchase modern equipment which will enable them to protect Australia better. Protecting our borders is a duty that we are all bound to, and maritime borders are no exception, therefore my Government has decided on bringing in due legislation to ensure that no nuclear armed or powered forces should be deployed within Australia’s maritime borders. In continuation with my Government’s desire to ensure that we have a peaceful world, the incoming Government has decided to issue due regulations to ensure that the use of the Australian Defence Forces must be only for defence or peace-keeping, not offensive or invasionary action, unless in the circumstances of averting a major violation of human rights in a foreign nation, or to counter the military invasion of a sovereign country, and this arrangement must take precedent ahead of international agreements. My Government realizes that wars involve heavy blood shed, and huge losses to families, therefore, to prevent a future situation of war, my Government pledges to work towards a stop on the militarisation of space, supporting initiatives to clear space debris in cooperation with international space agencies and encouraging and participating in treaties that prioritise achieving arms control and global disarmament, my Government will also make it a policy that the use of violence against civilians or against elected governments, undertaken by the state, an organisation, or particular individuals, will be rejected and combated both diplomatically and militarily with all assistance provided to countries which need them. My Government recognises that the “human” factor of the armed forces plays a very significant role in its operations, and to enable the safety and security of our women in the Armed Forces, my Government will create legislation to ensure that rape and sexual violence during armed conflict are to be tried as war crimes, under the protocols as described by the Geneva Convention. In order to promote an Armed Forces that is efficient and quick, my Government will conduct a Review into the current rank and structure of the Armed Forces and ensure we are having an efficient and workable Armed Forces and also create framework to remove all items with Royal titles and ensure that quality equipment and new generation defence equipment is given to our forces. My Government understands and recognises the contributions made by our veterans in the Armed Forces throughout their tenure of service to Australia, and therefore, my Government pledges to create and fund a Housing Program using Defence Housing Australia for all Veterans to ensure that every veteran gets access to housing upon completion of tenure of service and also issue a formal Apology to all families whose members were or are involved in wars leading to poor mental health and significant injuries and develop and implement a Veterans Strategy to ensure that all of our veterans have a comfortable return after their tenure of service. My Government recognises that in today’s world, International Cooperation is required, and at the same time, the limits for it must be drawn as well and therefore my Government pledges to strengthen global cooperation in Intelligence and look at expanding Intelligence sharing and Joint Military exercises with countries across the globe, excluding those who have committed Human Rights Violations, and primarily use arms that are banned as per International Conventions and kill indiscriminately such as landmines, cluster bombs, and depleted uranium; to ensure our military is prepared to fight in every terrain. My Government will immediately phase out joint exercises with all armed forces known to have committed human rights violations. In continuation to our aims for peace and cooperation, my Government will work to ensure that the signals intelligence base outside Alice Springs designated ‘Pine Gap’ will be closed permanently in the next five years. Our Defence Industry is one to be proud of and at the same time be promoted and therefore my Government pledges to create incentives for investors and researchers in Australia to ensure that we are able to have cutting-edge technology and military sciences in Australia and also ensure that countries that commit Human Rights Violations and their country’s corporations are not included in such schemes. My Government believes that the global arms industry is a dangerous one, and that as long as Australia is mass exporting weapons to foreign countries we have no guarantees that those weapons won’t be used to commit human rights violations, kill innocent civilians, or wage unjust wars. As such, my Government will work to set a 10 year target on reducing the size of the Australian arms industry to be a locally sustained sector that supplied the Australian military and will, eventually, no longer be an export industry. This will begin with an end to the subsidisation of exports of weaponry, weapon components, and arms fairs. In regards to Agriculture and Rural Affairs, my government shall look into eliminating the Goods and Service Tax on fertilisers and other essential farming goods that increase the yield of crops in order for farmers to gain more of a profit and have a more sustainable livelihood, and shall also look into subsidy programs for both of them. My government shall also aim to create a provincial agricultural scheme in order to increase the yield of agriculture and its efficiency in the long term, and so that farmers may benefit. My government shall make sure that Australian Postal services and banking services are accessible in rural areas, as both are essential in daily life, and should be accessible wherever people are in Australia. It is important that we also make sure that we protect the ecological health of the Lake Byre Basin, so that farmers who use the resources may be able to do so in the best possible manner with the most effective outcome. My government shall also seek and invest in methods of water extractions so that farmers can gain the water they need to grow their crops, and to counter the effects of natural disasters such as drought. Last month the people of Australia visited polling booths to decide the future of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory within their statuses in this nation. Whilst my government expresses its regret in the Australian Capital Territory not being granted equal status to other areas of the nation, it expresses its incredible joy at the notion of the Northern Territory being approved to be a state by the population of Australia. My government holds incredible regard to the mandate given by the people, and unlike prior administrations will implement the results of this national vote in full, and as such the Northern Territory will become a state of Australia by the end of this term. All aspects of the Australian economy have been hit hard by this crisis, and one of the hardest hit is Australian Manufacturing. Be it industrial hubs found in urban centers, or smaller towns in regional areas, workers and employers have been put under an undeniable stress which nobody should be forced to experience. As such, it is vital that we provide support to these hardest hit industries in our path to economic recovery. My government will follow the recommendations which have been made by the ACCC through various investigations and reports in previous periods across sectors which have been struggling, such as the dairy industry, to ensure that jobs and communities are able to stay afloat in an environment which benefits consumers, workers, and business owners. My Government will key and vital public infrastructure projects all across Australia, be they projects related to public transport, such as the supporting the Victorian Government's suburban rail loop, or projects related to water security which are found in Queensland. These projects help not only create a better environment for the community who will benefit from these projects, but provides essential work to the people who will be involved in the development of such programs. For too long have the First Nations peoples right across our great continent.had to suffer several burning injustices through their entire life. Be it the average lower life expectancy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders on average experience, the economic contributions they make which are often swept under the rug, or the systemic racism they experience on a daily basis. We simply cannot sweep injustice aside, ethically, morally, or practically. My government will work towards implementing the fundamental principles of the Uluru Statement, and the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home inquiry, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarie Report, the HREOC Social Justice Reports into suicide and income inequality, and the Evatt Review. My Government will be seeking to pen a proper Treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to address the wrongs done to them since colonisation and grant them a proper voice in Australia. My government will work towards establishing indigenous recognition in the Constitution through a referendum, while recognising and acknowledging the values and contributions of Aborigional People - and furthermore will work to grant aboriginal people with a representative body that will exist in an advisory capacity with the Federal Government, elected from all first nations people in Australia. My government will continue to support the Makarrata Commission and will work with local land groups to work towards establishing a Voice to parliament, just one of the components of the Statement from the Heart. Furthermore, My government will work with those in the Northern Territory on their way to statehood to ensure that Indigenous people are able to control their own destiny, and are involved through the entire State-building process. One of the founding principles my government upholds strongly is that of environmental justice, and the ongoing battle against climate change. Climate change is a crucial issue to tackle, which is why my government shall be implementing schemes to transition workers out of non-renewable jobs, into jobs that will support a renewable economy. We shall encourage families to assist in the fight against carbon emissions by looking at a subsidy scheme for families that implement solar panels in their home, and make use of other methods to increase efficiency in the home. My Government shall seek to create an independent Environment/Climate Change commission, to advise the governments on programs and measures to counter climate change and to protect the environment, for the benefit of the people of Australia and the environment we live in. It will ensure that the Minister responsible for Climate Change will work with the Independent Environmental Commission to create yearly carbon budgets every year through to 2050, supported by a well funded and integrated emissions reduction plan that sets appropriate targets and provides reporting on all economic sectors that produce emissions on their progress towards the net zero carbon goal. My Government shall seek to end tax concessions and subsidies to businesses that actively harm the environment we live in, as the government of Australia should not assist industries that harm our environment and our wildlife. This government shall also seek to make it more difficult for corporations to clear land to protect the wildlife of Australia, as Australia has some of the most remarkable creatures on the planet, which are becoming extinct due to corporate negligence and activity. Climate change is one of the biggest existential threats facing Australia today, and as such my Government will put together specific legislation that outlines step by step goals for climate change action (phasing out of coal power, energy transition, then carbon zero) in specific legislation, and gives power to the Independent Environmental Commission to consult with and pressure the government on these actions. This legislation would include a loose target of net zero carbon by 2040, with a leeway of 10 years more if the transition experiences holdups. My Government acknowledges the importance of our watercare, and as such will adopt strong nationwide freshwater quality standards, including for pathogens, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, periphyton a.k.a. slime, and macroinvertebrate health. Furthermore, it will take action to protect waterways, wetlands and estuaries from excessive sedimentation caused by erosion and land use practices (including “spray and pray”) that lead to soil loss. As part of their efforts to protect the environment, my Government will place a complete moratorium on new coal power plants, fracking, and new offshore seabed exploration and mining. This will allow these fossil fuel industries a safe and secure transition that will allow the current projects to close naturally, while support networks are set up to get new workers into green industries and retrain previous workers. My Government will also put an end to subsidies and tax concessions for environmentally harmful industries, instead putting subsidies and support into the development of green industries and retraining to support this effort, through a Green Jobs Fund. My Government will ensure that major polluting sectors shall pay a Carbon Tax with exceptions in the field of small business and small-scale farming or agriculture. Emissions pricing should be transparently set and managed by the Independent Environmental Commission, and should incentivise emissions reduction . Further consideration will be taken to ensure business sustainability and job protection to ensure equitable outcomes. To support these efforts from the Government end, my Government will be bringing energy generation and distribution under public control in order to facilitate a swift transition to 100% of Australia’s energy being generated from renewable sources, through increases to the energy target as well as other actions such as public investment, regulations to support renewable energy generation and ensure high efficiency standards under Government care in generation, storage, and conservation. My Government will support the creation of a renewable exports industry, promoting growth in sustainable sectors for the future such as renewably-generated liquid fuel, direct connections to neighbouring countries economically, and the support of developmental green technology and energy alternatives. It will also promote agricultural, forestry, and land use regimes in which absorption of carbon emissions exceeds carbon emissions. A Government fund will be set up to research into the effects of climate change and innovative ways of combating it, alongside increased funding for environmental legal aid. To support the efforts against Climate Change from the grassroots up, my Government will put together a subsidy for individuals, families, and rental owners who work to improve the insulation of their homes, and make their homes more efficient by installing solar power generation to them. This same standard for the subsidy will be applied to new social housing to ensure that the public sector makes the effort. In respect of Social Services, my government shall aim to provide a COVID-19 Poverty Response plan in order to benefit those who are put in difficult financial situations due to the consequences of COVID-19 and subsequent policies. My government shall also aim to provide a family support payment in order to support those who are less fortunate, but have children to look after. It will consist of $178 dollars for each family for the first child, and then $112 per subsequent child to a cap of three children. This will put money in vulnerable families pockets to support their children, and get families through the hardships of the pandemic. In these times of COVID-19 and for the future, my government shall also implement a Mental Health Fund that seeks to increase youth health coverage, lower the cost of therapists and psychiatrists, train new mental health workers, and properly support people with mental health issues. This is for an effort to extend mental health support across Australia, so that all Australians may have adequate access to mental health support for the recovery of COVID-19, and beyond. On top of this, my Government will ensure that all Centrelink staff are properly trained and supported to ensure that people can promptly access their full entitlements and provide individual tailored assistance to help people find work, including people with disabilities. On top of this, my Government believes that our public media entities should be properly controlled by independent democratic boards elected from the people that work there, in order to be truly cooperative and fair businesses. Furthermore we believe that the ABC and SBS should be free from advertising, and should be funded properly to compensate for the funding they receive from advertising. The money levied off of high net assets and wealth will be used to fund the COVID-19 Poverty Response Plan. This will constitute a massive social services overhaul that will replace *all* working age benefits with a single Guaranteed Minimum Income payment of $306 per week. Sole parents, people with disabilities, and/or people who cannot work will get an additional rate of $103 dollars, bringing their base payment up to $409. The Guaranteed Minimum Income payment will apply to all working age people who cannot earn the amount of money they’re entitled to under it from working, and will have no abatement rate so as to encourage people to work more if they want more money in the pocket. This will put more into the hands of Australia’s most vulnerable workers affected by the pandemic, and will simplify beneficiary administration to lower costs in the long run. This transformative policy will mirror the successful benefit changes seen in other like-minded countries, and will give Australia the grassroots-and-up boost it needs to get back on its feet economically as we push through the pandemic, and help create a better Australia than the one that went into the pandemic. RunasSudo AK President Hon. NGSpy MP Prime Minister
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