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Analysis - How P5 turned what I expected from Persona upside down

So fictile is identity without self-governance.
That's why free thinkers always feel so lost and desperate...
-Waiting out the Winter, by The Agonist
This was the first of my three analyses. I avoided JRPGs for eight years and generally took my gaming westward for any storytelling I could take seriously. But when I picked Persona 5 up during quarantine, and was shocked.
1. P5 shows the themes and does not merely say them.
I never felt Persona was that strong thematically. P3 was about self-destruction and commentary on Japan's suicide rates, and the key Personas were an assortment of mythical beings, sometimes being related to death, and sometimes not. Several characters die. The characters summon their Personas with the ghastly image of them blowing their brains out with a toy gun, called an Evoker, because reasons.
P4 imagery was about Shinto, Shinto, Shinto, more Shinto, and I guess some self-deception sprinkled on top. The themes were there, but it had a "Show, Don't Tell" problem. Each hero had a unique Shinto Pokemon slapped on them. The fighting game made the Personas look more like a part of the characters than the original game! Yu's Persona was Izanagi, the creator of Japan. Both of Yukiko's Personas were the symbols of Japanese femininity. Chie's Personas were mythical women warriors. Yosuke is a wannabe ninja, so his Personas were symbols of ninjas and wind, and so on. There is a murder mystery that the heroes stumble to solve until Naoto shows up. The story seemingly tiptoed around the Internet, limiting its themes to gossip and old media (television, radio, newspaper, and NPC chatter,) when Metal Gear Solid 2 dove right into this theme much earlier in 2002. The game wanted to isolate Inaba from the world, possibly to simplify the writing. The villain is a creature symbolizing deceit, when it’s just Izanami, Shinto goddess of the dead and ex-wife of Izanagi (the hero's Persona.) She verbally vomits out the themes before her final battle. She is ultimately destroyed with… a Truth Beam (Myriad Truths.) Yeah...I wasn't feeling it.
P5 fixed this big time. The themes were everywhere. Leaning more heavily on Jungian psychology, I immediately noticed the characters now unleashed their Personas with masks. A Persona is a facade someone wears that makes them feel empowered to deal with the world around them. It is the uniform they wear at work. It is the manners they adopt at the lunch table. It is the best image of themselves they put up during dating, destined to wither away in the later stages of intimacy. And what better way to show it than the Thief-forms and the masks that summon their Personas? Other symbols, such as chains, the Approval Rating, and the human heart, all reflect the themes. Almost every Persona was a stylish symbol of rebellion. The star Personas included three criminals, two Robin Hoods from the East and West, two femme fatales and one Jezebel. Only Futaba's Persona was doing its own thing. Mementos, the equivalent of P3's Tartarus, starts off as a subway and slowly becomes a giant human circulatory system, with a twisted symbol of the human heart at the core. The buildup to the last boss, themes and social commentary was inspired, because they are built up from the suffering of Joker, the Phantom Thieves, and the Confidants.
Sadly, I still want the Personas to be more than Pokemon. Let’s see the characters really fight alongside their Personas like in the fighting games! Makoto's and Futaba's Personas are visually a step in the right direction, but we only see them flying/driving once.
P5 has several excellent themes:
Justice and Rebellion. Freedom is an endless responsibility. Doing the right thing is not as sexy as Star Wars makes it look. It takes sacrifice, very painful sacrifice.
Approval. The Phantom Thieves obsession over the Approval Rating almost destroys them. Several Phantom Thieves and Confidants experience great release when they shed the need for approval, validation or love from the wrong people (Ann, Yusuke, Makoto, Hifumi, Eiko probably others.) And one villain wastes his life fishing for the approval of an even worse villain.
Abdication. Humans will do anything to dump their responsibilities on someone else.
(Persona in general) Everything that happens in the real world is more important than all the dungeon crawling and monster slaying. Friendship, family and love give the hero power, not the other way around. Ever since P3, there was always an isolated villain who valued nothing except their supernatural power, doomed to fall at the hands of someone living a more balanced life. If the player ignores Confidants, they ignore him back (unless its a pushy love-interest.) If the player doesn't develop his social graces, it hinders their ability to get close to others. (The harem elements @#%& this theme up hard.)
There is another theme, Desire. But its handled poorly, and Royal made it worse. All the palace owners (except for two) desire one thing. The same thing everyone desires: "More." Their Shadows express how they want more money, fame, glory, power, etc. This is called Hedonistic Adaptation. Royal ignores this psychological facet of desire to make Royal's third trimester work. As pointed out by the amazing fic writer shifty_cat, while P4 was Shinto, P5's use of Desire is Buddhist.
  1. These characters. These @#%*ing characters
In quarantine, I decided to pick it back up, and what slowly unfolded blew me away.
The character writing has been improved from P4 at worst, excellent at best. Most of the characters make the themes of Persona 5 stronger.
Ryuji: A realistic shitty kid
Was Ryuji going to be Joker's mouth like P4's Yosuke? NO! He is his own person. He has a social circle, its merely in tatters because he dared to defy Kamoshida. But not all is what it seems. His emotional maturity needs work, both in his rank-ups and in the plot. While Kamoshida was mostly at fault for it, Ryuji's attitude problem is partly to blame. Like a kid, he wears his heart on his sleeve. His desire for glory infects the Phantom Thieves and nearly leads them to ruin. In the main plot he learns humility and decides he wants to save humanity even if it doesn't mean any love in return. He is central to the theme of Approval.
Ann: All heart, and a victim of racism and the Japanese entertainment industry
Was Ann going to be another Rise? NO, THANK YOU JESUS. Her bombastic appearance, job and aesthetics aside, she is seemingly a normal, fun gal with a very big heart. Her mixed heritage makes her community simultaneously perceive her as an outsider and an exotic piece of ass (a very real problem in Japan and Korea). She has a social circle in her friend, but she felt like a throwaway NPC. Her rank ups with her new frenemy had implications that made me uncomfortable. The envious model was jealous that Ann had main-character metabolism and could eat whatever the @#%$ she wants while she, a lowly NPC, has to work much harder and more realistically. A lot of critique of the shitty idol industry is touched upon, and she discovered that the social circles she really wants to have are not in it. She feels empowered as a dominatrix in combat. But realistically, and hilariously, her ability to manipulate men in the real world isn't that good.
When Ann and her new frenemy cut the act and embrace rivalry, they celebrate their newfound contempt with a comical pose-a-thon that would make a Joestar proud, and ultimately come out cherishing each other. I felt bad that this was more interesting than Shioh. Sexual abuse, pedophilia, and the possessive "no-dating" contracts for Japanese entertainers are not trivial matters. Can they be explored and discussed further in a mature way? Japanese women in the entertainment industry must sign "no-dating" contracts, because in Japan, actresses, models, and even fictional anime characters must appear pure and sexually available to be marketable (which may be why Shiho is never seen again).
Morgana: A less offensive mascot
Was Morgana another enlightened Shadow, destined to get a human body and become a lech like Teddie? NO! Long before his memories return, he becomes content with who he is. He's a far less abrasive character than Teddie. He had one awful arc where he severed from the team, but I still like him more than Teddie. The "I'm a Shadow, I'm a Shadow, I'm a Shadow" dream sequences were a cheap bait-and-switch, though. An interesting twist is that he's an "antibody" of the Metaverse, created to clean the rot out.
Yusuke: An empathetic master in abstraction, discussing parental abuse
Yusuke was straight up unique, one of a kind. I have no one to compare him to. He's a wacky anime artist, but what the story does with that is great. He's like a believable version of Elizabeth, seeing beauty and ugliness where others did not. Or perhaps a male Yukiko, a brilliant but ditzy goofball with a touch of eccentric elegance. Yusuke was a goofball, but he was surprisingly empathetic, and I almost want to say "spiritual." His critiques on the Phan-site's fans, society at the lowest moments, and analyses of Mementos, are always on the money, verbally foreshadowing the greater themes of Persona 5 before any other character comes close to them. Some of it was in his text messaging.
He has one of the only confidant ranks that involves multiple party members sitting at the table helping him out (something Persona desperately needs more of). He discusses his abusive relationship with Madarame and has the maturity to look back and discuss why it really is hard to get out of such relationships. He is a statement on how Japanese youth bend over backwards to please their parents. His rank ups are just pure fun. The criticism of his painting is all goofy anime nonsense and I wished he never changed his painting, but the point is that his ability to express himself through his art shines the most when he stops caring what others think of it, which is the most real and thematic part of his rankups.
Sadly, I wish there was more to him. His arc is tiny.
Makoto: The Heroine in a Harem
I heard whispers of the overwhelmingly popular (and therefore hated) Makoto but I didn't see her until I pulled the game out of my backlog. I thought Futaba was the darling of the franchise from what I saw at conventions. I jumped to the conclusion "she must be the prissy Japanese maiden of the team." She certainly looked and dressed like Yukiko, but with a soul-snatching eye color. She turned out to be someone even more "divisive" for a harem game: this was no "waifu," this was a heroine. The first truly empowered and independent female protagonist since P3 (no matter who doesn't want to admit it.) She is equal to Joker in plot importance, themes, words, and deeds, while simultaneously being her own person, tearing down the selfish, player-centric narrative boundaries of Persona, and stealing the hearts of players in the east and west. The only character to get most of her character development in the plot, without Joker's help. Like Naoto, her cunning and leadership are directly responsible for whipping the heroes into shape, getting them thinking more critically about what they were doing and why, raising the stakes and putting them on the path to fame that Ryuji, and potentially Joker, were craving. Her Persona is a Jezebel. A woman who refuses to yield in a man's world. Just like her and her Sae.
She is so well developed in the plot, that she spends her rank ups taking what she already learned about Approval to help an immature girl looking for love in the wrong places. The first and only Confidant to spend her rankups helping someone else. I have seen the human trafficking that her father died fighting. Japan has a problem with their own women being prostitutes, so the Yakuza traffic in southeast Asian foreign women as slaves. Contrary to popular belief, her rankups are not all about Eiko. She spends her rankups reflecting on the values that her father died for (and her sister forgot, which is where Sae's palace originates.) She is a statement on the extremely high-pressure students face to keep their grades up, and heads down, in order to go to college. She is also a statement on the pressure of Japanese women to be feminine, keeping her masculine hobbies secret. If Persona wasn't aimed at thirsty dudes, and Joker wasn't in it, she would be the hero of P5 (no matter who doesn't want to admit it.) If the player left her alone all year, and dated everyone but her, her character would still shine bright. She comes awfully close to being what a P5 FeMC would be (behaviorally, not aesthetically) except with a voice, and real relationship with a real parental figure you can see and hear: Sae. I guess she's alright... :D (Link to analysis on Makoto below)
Futaba: A hikkimori, taking Persona deeper
If Makoto was the darling, what was the Futaba hype about I saw at conventions? Was she the "visibly loud hot nerd" I thought she would be? NO, she was literally and tragically mentally ill. Futaba is what would have happened if Makoto went on internalizing the traumatic thought that she was a waste of food and money. Futaba is a female version of what Japan calls a Hikimori, a male who has given up on employment, finding marriage and friends, and life itself. They hide in their parent’s homes, playing games and waiting to die...
Her dungeon took me back to the days of Psychonauts, exploring mental illness in ways I've never seen from Persona (complete with "slideshows" reflecting her pain), and done so in a thoughtful, intimate and tasteful way (okay, except for that shadow Futaba outfit...) Depending on the player she could be be interpreted as that hot nerd or P5's answer to Nanako, because of her shaky relationship with Sojiro and his shortcomings as a father, which should have been explored more.
I wished the characters (or rather, the game) had the courage to say the dreaded A-word (autism). It sounded like Ann or Yusuke were going to say it as they were parsing Futaba's behavior, but it didn't happen. Maybe that's taboo for a JRPG currently. (I must make an important distinction that the mental illnesses in her dungeon were depression, PTSD and abandonment issues, not autism.) Her rank ups and erratic behavior are a whirlwind of comedy and tragedy, and involve a lot of the other party members so she can learn from them, though I was concerned that some of her unbelievably rude comments were portrayed as "cute" (like the literary abomination Marie.) However, this seemed to be more for comedy than to look endearing. In the plot, she reveals that the secret, deadly collective subconscious dungeons of the franchise were no longer a secret that only teen protagonists were in on. Pandora's Box was open, under the name "cognitive psyience" and the forces of wicked men were exploiting it.
The same thoughtfulness that went into exploring Futaba's depression makes me uncomfortable dating her. My first girlfriend was wealthy, had depression, and refused to seek medical or familial support, making me her "key item" (sole emotional anchor.) Its not as cute or as fun as Futaba makes it look. Shame on Atlus for fetishizing her vulnerability. She needs a year of real school life before she starts dating anyone, even Yusuke. And if you don't believe me, try it.
Haru: the NPC
I was not impressed with Haru. She was practically an NPC with how little care her setup as a party member got. Her setup was the worst. Prancing around in a dungeon with no Persona so she could get her cutscene first? Morgana not even giving her a Thief name? Are you kidding me? It would have been so badass if you took control of her and Morgana and she got her name and Persona on her own. She's had Mitsuru's background with none of the agency. I didn't find her or her magical power to grow vegetables in the winter interesting either. Haru was so low on my priorities that she never even got Baton Pass, and that's a shame because her rank-ups foreshadow the social commentary of Persona 5: that Shido was not some "final boss" that would cause all wickedness to crumble around him when he went down, a truly refreshing surprise. It took a forced cut-scene to make me realize her arranged marriage wasn't over yet, a tragic subject for East Asia (and really, the rest of the world.) Like Yusuke, she is pressured to obey her father at every turn. Her rank ups are about relearning how to trust and claim her authority over her company, but her blubbering and guilt at Rank 9 is a big foul. Its the greatest weakness of other pushy girls in the franchise (Aigis, Yukiko, Rise, Kasumi.) Also, HOOP SKIRT FULL OF DAKKA!
Its truly sad that Atlus remakes dump all their energy into new characters instead of fleshing out their old ones better.
Akechi: A perfect foil and nemesis...until Royal
Did Akechi's inevitable betrayal catch the Phantom Thieves blindsided? NO! In P4, the heroes solve a murder mystery. In P5, the Phantom Thieves are the mystery: they were on to him the whole time! Furthermore, while the murderer in P4 was an entitled husk of a man, Akechi had a traumatic upbringing and fell to the one flaw that the Phantom Thieves managed to shake off: seeking approval from the wrong people. Although Shido didn't know the letter of why Akechi was obsessed with pleasing him, he absolutely sniffed out the spirit and exploited it. Akechi's character has one major weakness: we never explicitly know why the most gorgeous anime teen detective on TV couldn't find a friend or a girlfriend. I assume its because he was simply too fixated on pleasing his daddy so he could kill him later, but that's me filling the gaps in the story. And P5R didn't bother answering either, but at least the worst fans got their gay bait, right?! Akechi follows the formula from P3 and beyond, as the friendless villain who values nothing except his supernatural power, destined to fall to someone who put in the work and establish real relationships, because the moral of Persona is that family, friendship and love, and the work they require, give the hero power, NOT the other way around.
Sae: the reformed "bad" grown-up
Sae...oh Sae. She would have been a more interesting final party member* than Haru, but anime law says superpowers and life end in your mid twenties. And even if she couldn't have been a party member, she was set up perfectly to meet her shadow, but it didn't happen. Makoto was only getting a small taste of what Sae got for years. Losing both their parents and forced to grow up too fast, Sae let out a verbally abusive outburst, expressing both her abandonment trauma towards their father and the sister she was supposed to raise. Struggling to be a prosecutor and solo guardian in a very misogynist country. When one of Shido's goons pesters her to take a break and find a husband, it echoed the heckling that single, childless Japanese women receive in the workplace. Initially one of those "shitty grownups" the Phantom Thieves hate, she was desperate to make it, partially for the glory, and partially to raise her sister. She ultimately becomes a powerful ally of the Phantom Thieves and steers the conversation of shortcomings of adults and society. Sae and Makoto's relationship should have been explored more. Did they train in Aikido together? Did Sae still see her as her baby sister or did she know how strong she truly was? What would have happened if she found out she was dating Joker (or even fake-dating during the rank ups)?
* Non-dateable party member. If your mind jumped to dating Sae, please get out of the gutter and see Analysis 3.
3. The bad guys, and the build up to the timely social commentary, oh hell yes
I don't like "grownups are bad" stories, and I don't like "God is bad" stories (and I'm agnostic, leaning atheist). It’s so done to death. Devilman Crybaby's final episode ruined the show for me (I can’t believe I dropped my anime hiatus for that mess in 2018...) So, after the first dungeon, I was not impressed with Ryuji and Ann's desire to stick it to all the dirty nasty grownups. Along with being deathly bored of the combat (more on this later), I shelved P5 for a year and came back to in while quarantined in March 2020.
To be fair about "God is Bad" stories, Japanese games have upped their game in the last decade. Xenoblade Chronicles made sure their god was a monster, not because he's a god, but because that's who he was (when did Gnosticism come back?) Guilty Gear Xrd's evil god was a clever statement on the blurring line between human progress and hedonism, fed up with trying to make humans content, instead opting to replace humans with a race she could permanently "program" to be happy.
So what unfolded in the final third of P5 left me thoroughly impressed.
Ryuji, the raging Id of the Phantom Thieves, was hungry to make the approval rating on their website go up. Yusuke smells trouble, feeling that society was taking the Phantom Thieves for granted and dumping their responsibilities on them (@#%^ yeah, Yusuke!) And so, they let the whims of their moronic fanbase choose the next target: the CEO of Okumura Foods. Fair enough, Okumura makes a generic, but necessary, statement on Japan working its labor force to death. This is a problem in Korea too. Korea set into law a maximum work week of 52 hours so that its people can squeeze in some time to maybe get married and make some babies, but it remains to be seen if it will have teeth. Shinzo Abe still can't reign in Japan's corporations. There's also that fascinating concept, called immigration, that neither country is embracing (although Japan is a little better than Korea on immigration.)
When Okumura's heist goes south, the Phantom Thieves find themselves pinned. Makoto and Futaba hatch their greatest plan, with Makoto getting what she was secretly craving: the chance to reach into her sister's soul and heal her. Sae is both a statement on both misogyny, and the dirty little secret behind Japan's historically low crime rates: their 99% conviction rate. Japan's law enforcement would rather lock up innocent people than admit they were wrong on something. By the skin of Joker's teeth, Sae was able to thoroughly skewer the murderer and become a powerful ally.
And so a final battle with Shido ensues, a statement on authoritarian personality cults (ain't that timely.) The man solely responsible for the misery of the Phantom Thieves. Surely ripping his ego out would solve all their problems, right?
4. Reality Ensues and the moral is learned- Humanity Yearns for a King
Shido bares his crimes to the world but the political machine behind him closes ranks around him and prepares revenge upon the Phantom Thieves. Scientists and politicians scheme to replace Akechi. Japan doesn't give a @#%&. Morgana determines that Mementos must be destroyed and they must sacrifice their Personas along with it. Hopefully, they could create a world that doesn't need superpowered teenagers.
The imagery of Mementos was fantastic. Yusuke points out "hey, are these blood vessels?" *chef's kiss.* And when they get to the bottom, they see why all their work is coming undone. Humanity yearns for a king. They yearn for an all-powerful messiah that they can dump their responsibilities on so they don't have to stand up for their beliefs, do the right thing when its painnful, vote, think critically, or read a damn newspaper. A very timely political message indeed. How many newly voting Americans voted for Barack Obama in 2008, thought the world was saved and then didn't vote in 2010? How many Americans failed to vote in 2016? How many Brits didn't bother stopping Brexit? Freedom isn't free, and that's not a line regarding the military. Freedom is a responsibility, an endless routine of maintenance and vigilance from those who want to control you. Everything the Phantom Thieves were doing was good in the short term but making Japan complacent in the long term!
And so, they meet the manifestation of this complacency. The heart of the world they must tame, Yaldabaoth, God of Control. Not literally the Gnostic Demiurge, but close enough. It is a phony creature, or perhaps a robot, deliberately using pretentious Christianity aesthetics. Each angel a Shadow, and each booming proclamation an act of theater. I LOVED THIS. And if you really read the Bible, dumping your responsibilities on God is blasphemy. The last time Jesus pranced around solving earthly problems, humanity thanked him by nailing him to a cross. He is done performing miracles. Its humanity's turn to sacrifice and get some skin in the game.
For One. Brief. Moment. Everyone believed in the Phantom Thieves, the approval rating hits 100, and humanity's rebellious spirit is revealed, felling the god of abdication. They never achieved that Approval Rating again. The police would always resent them.
5. All the heroes I know are either dead, or in jail - Solid Snake.
Show, Don't Tell, dammit! Oh, Persona, you were doing so well...
Yaldabaoth is defeated, Mementos is "destroyed" (more likely purified) and society carries on. And it still wasn't enough. Sae asks Joker to make the ultimate sacrifice: turning himself in to the police just for the opportunity to testify against Shido. Joker makes an upgrade from being a superhero to a real one. All to protect The Phantom Thieves and Japan. Whether or not they changed humanity would be put to the test.
A complaint about the finale is that we never visually see the final impact of the Phantom Thieves and Joker's amazing sacrifice. In P4, the Velvet Room at least showed the heroes that they purified the Midnight Channel, blasting away the piss colored fog of lies to see the beauty underneath. Two months later, he is released hearing stories about all the protests and work that Sae, the Phantom Thieves, and the Confidants put in to save him. Humanity got woke. The Velvet Room showing him that would have been a tear-jerker. Imagine that, showing the testimonies, and Shibuya protesting and wearing Phantom Thief costumes no matter how much "shame and dishonor" it brought to them and their families... Oh well, here's The World card as a souvenir for your trouble.
Sae's final decision was a nice statement. Protecting Joker inspired her to swap from prosecution to being a dirty, dirty defense attorney to defend dirty, dirty criminals. That is a cultural downgrade in both Japan and the West, because people think everyone is guilty until proven innocent.
I was thrilled the ending provided some desperately needed cheering up. Instead of a sappy goodbye on the train, the heroes escort Joker home and throw him a farewell party somewhere along the way, as if saying "we'll meet again" instead of "goodbye."
6. Persona can be more
I'd like to see more characters Social-linking each other, as the main character is still a crutch (though being willing to listen to others can get you very far). When Joker and Hifumi bumped into Makoto at the bookstore, I didn't bat an eye: I knew they would hit it off. Why not send Makoto to play Shogi with Hifumi to learn new tactics? Or how about Futuaba works with the Phan-site guy to secure and improve it? Why not send the underrated and spiritual Yusuke to work with Chihari? Ryuji and Futaba like video games, why not send one of them to work with the kid at the arcade? Ryuji is the one who reveals Kawakami, let him be the one to work with her and learn some damn Kindness! Let Ann work with Dr. Taekami! Hell, let Ann be the one to help Futaba so she gets some mentorship from a woman, instead of the first sexy dude in her life! The better written relationships in P5 are the ones that have nothing to do with Joker or "throwaway NPCs" (Makoto & Sae, Futaba and Sojiro are the good ones). Or, perhaps they can "buff" the throwaway NPCs so we can care about them a bit more. And the best part is, the game was already set up to do so! A nice, subtle improvement from P4 is that these critical characters aren't standing in the same spot for eternity, available every day, because they now have lives! Let’s explore that! Why don't we see more of of this instead of having an ocean of characters that exist in a bubble to be Joker's friends and/or lovers? (More on this on Analysis 3, the harem rant.)
And upon playing FF9 again, I know it can be done, because FF9 had little skits called "Active Time Events," which showed the hi-jinks that went on behind Zidane's back.

So remember, freedom is a responsibility. Don't seek advice, approval or validation from people who don't care about you. Get to reading books on empathy, relationships, communication and growth, and then rise up and reach out to the community you really want to be in, instead of wishing to become a Marty Stu shounen superhero.
Take a look around. There are people forming friendships and families, and I don't mean genetically. They are enriching lives and saving lives. Some are using the internet to do so. And they're doing it without anime superpowers. You can be one of them. You *should be one of them. You deserve it and they deserve you. This world needs you...*
Other essays:
Analysis 2: The Heroine in a Harem - What makes Makoto such a powerful, beloved and groundbreaking character
Analysis 3 : Bad Romance – Persona is held back by the self-insert harem genre
Analysis 4: Techniques and Reading Lists to Make You a Gentleman Thief or Femme Fatale
I will not be going over Royal because I hate everything they did with it. Kasumi is a repeat of P4G's problems, and Maruki is a repeat of P4 Arena's problems (giving every hero amnesia as if they learned absolutely nothing all year and made no friends all year.) After experiencing P4G, I will never buy an Atlus special edition again. They would have to promise "no new characters, more growth between old ones." And Akechi should have stayed dead. A tragic monster is still a monster. Why does everyone think Joker is gay for Akechi after he threw a tantrum over all the friends he has? Joker worked his ass off. What has the sexist anime detective on TV done?
submitted by CheerfulSunsinger to churchofmakoto [link] [comments]

[SHARE] Fulfilled Textbook Request Megathread #4

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[Book] Art is an endangered species: a History of western art, Paleolithic Romanesque(self) 1 [BOOK] Above the Fray: The Red Cross and the Making of the Humanitarian NGO Sector by Shai Dromi(self) 2 [Book] Prehospital Emergency Care 11th Edition(self) 1 [Book] JAMA Guide to Statistics and Methods 1st Edition by Edward Livingston, Roger Lewis(self) 3 [Book] Annual Editions: Anthropology 42/e, Elvio ANGELONI(self) 4 [Book] Donnelly, Seth 2019 The Lie of Global Prosperity: How Neoliberals Distort Data to Mask Poverty & Exploitation. Monthly Review Press.(self)NSFW 6 [Article] "What's Your Title?" - 'The Turn of the Screw.'(self) 3 [Article] Risk and survival of patients with head and neck cutaneous melanoma: national perspective. Al-Qurayshi Z et al(self) 1 [Book] [Taylor & Francis] Maritime Disputes and International Law: Disputed Waters and Seabed Resources in Asia and Europe by Constantinos Yiallourides(self) 2 [Book] Computer Network Security by Ali Sadiqui(self) 1 [Article] [Brill] Several articles from The Australian Year Book of International Law Volume 34(1)(self) 2 [Book]The Cham of Vietnam: History, Society and Art(self) 1 [Book] (Taylor&Francis) Human Biological Diversity by Daniel E. Brown(self) 4 [Article] [tandfonline] Memory for emotional words: The role of semantic relatedness, encoding task and affective valence(self) 5 [Article] Please help me to find this paper :( Shippers' Transport Efficiency: The Balance Between Required and Available Capacity(self) 6 [Article] [Heinonline] Trusts in Mixed Legal Systems: A Challenge to Comparative Trust Law - Michael Milo and Jan Smits(self) 4 [Article] [Heinonline] Non-Variation Clause - A Further Postscript(self) 4 [Article] [Heinonline] Force Majeure and Hardship Under The Unidroit Principles of International Commercial Contracts - Joseph M Perillo(self) 4 [Article] [Heinonline] The Enforcement of an Oral Pactum de non Petendo Where a Contract Contains a Non-Variation Clause - Tukishi Manamela(self) 4 [Article] [Brill] Joint Development of Offshore Oil and Gas Resources in the South China Sea by John Abrahamson(self) 2 [BOOK] Med School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Medical School Experience: By Students, for Students(self) 4 [Book] [Bloomsbury] The Hague Trusts Convention: Scope, Application and Preliminary Issues - Jonathan Harris(self) 4 [Article] The UNIDROIT Principles and the Arbitral Tribunals - Fabio Bortoli(self) 2 [Article] The Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) on Idiopathic Hypersomnia: A Pilot Study(self) 4 [Book] [Bloomsbury] The South China Sea Arbitration Toward an International Legal Order in the Oceans by Yoshifumi Tanaka(self) 1 [book] International Law Commission and Future of Int. 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Rebuttal of Epoch Times COVID conspiracy video

Rebuttal of Epoch Times COVID conspiracy video

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bXWGxhd7ic](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bXWGxhd7ic)

I decided to write up all my problems with it below. (To share with a family member) I can't imagine who wants to read all this, but I figured I would share it in case it helps anyone else not have to do all this foot work yourself. Or if you want to let me know if I missed anything or got anything wrong! :-)

I actually tracked down almost every paper they talk about and the people they talk to... I have organized it to address virtually the whole video scene by scene. And include papers and evidence that they conveniently left out.

*DISCLAIMER - I am a programmer - not a medical professional. So my wording, or even content, may not be totally accurate in places - I welcome feedback about this or anything else :-)*


Lastly - I tried to format it such that direct quotes from links are in italics directly below the links.

\------------------------------------------------------

The video cites the Nature study linked below. It basically says covid19 is similar to 2 other bat viruses.

[https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2008-3#Tab1](https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2008-3#Tab1)

It then goes on to speculate that this is evidence it is engineered. The "experts" they then show to talk about this are Mikovits (a discredited, attention seeker, see below for details) and Sean Lin (AFAIK a non-notable person, I can’t find anything about him)

Before I talk about what these 2 people say, I want to introduce you to them. *(I will actually address their claims too… so it’s not ad hominem… I’m just establishing character)*

First there is Mikovits who has repeatedly spread misinformation, seemingly in the name of wanting to get in the spot light for major scientific breakthroughs. She also got fired for refusing to return something mistakenly sent to her lab - stole notebooks, got arrested, strongly denied having the notebooks… and eventually returned 18 notebooks. Below are direct quotes…

[https://www.nature.com/news/xmrv-paper-withdrawn-1.9720](https://www.nature.com/news/xmrv-paper-withdrawn-1.9720)

*Mikovits led a research effort that reported in 2009 that a retrovirus known as xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) was associated with CFS and may have had a causal role, however* ***the research came under fire, leading to an eventual retraction on*** *December 22, 2011 by the journal Science.*

[https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/chi-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-paper-10032011-story.html](https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/chi-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-paper-10032011-story.html)

*In October 2011,* ***Mikovits was terminated by WPI for refusing to turn over a cell line*** *that was delivered to her laboratory by mistake, and subsequently came under investigation for* ***alleged manipulation of data in her publications related to XMRV****.\[1\]*

[https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2011/11/controversial-cfs-researcher-arrested-and-jailed](https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2011/11/controversial-cfs-researcher-arrested-and-jailed)

*On November 18, 2011,* ***Judy Mikovits was arrested*** *in her Ventura County, California home. Her lawyer said she was arrested on charges of theft brought by the WPI, but that the charges had no merit.*

***Lois Hart, one of Mikovits's attorneys, strongly denied the charges against her client. "She does not have the notebooks,*** *nor any 'proprietary items' from WPI," Hart wrote Science Insider in an e-mail.*

[https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2011/12/updated-civil-court-rules-against-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-researcher](https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2011/12/updated-civil-court-rules-against-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-researcher)

*By November 28, after negotiations with the WPI,* ***18 missing notebooks were returned.****\[3\]*

[https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/ct-met-chronic-fatigue-xmrv-20110317-story.html](https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/ct-met-chronic-fatigue-xmrv-20110317-story.html)

[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2964727/](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2964727/)

[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3204766/](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3204766/)

[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3008728/](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3008728/)

[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920251/](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920251/)

*Mikovits has garnered criticism from some scientists for stating that XMRV is a communicable infection which is "clearly circulating through the population as is our fear and your fear".*

*Scientists say there is no evidence to support her statement.*

*"Saying that is just inciting fear," said Columbia University virologist Vincent Racaniello.*

*Mikovits, who once worked at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Md.,* ***has made increasingly broad statements about XMRV. At the January talk, she showed a slide connecting XMRV to a list of frustrating medical conditions like ALS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and dementia. She also linked it to autism. But no published data exist to support those links.***

*\[18\]\[19\]\[20\]\[21\]*

As for Sean Lin, I can't find any info on this guy… which is strange because they say he was lab director of the viral disease branch walter reed army institute of research

But try to google: sean lin lab director of the viral disease branch walter reed army institute of research

and similar phrases… when I do I can find no mention of him. I’ll assume he really held that title, but he does not seem to be a notable person. What notable expert do you know of that doesn’t even have a wikipedia page?

With that out of the way - back to the video….

Mikovits claims that "**the spike proteins of natural evolutionary strains don't infect human cells at all**"

This is clearly not true - there are 6 previously known coronaviruses that infect humans... 4 of them are some of the many viruses that cause the common cold

[https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2008-3#Tab1](https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2008-3#Tab1)

***Seven coronaviruses can infect people. The original four common ones are:***

*229E (alpha)*

*NL63 (alpha)*

*OC43 (beta)*

*HKU1 (beta)*

*The two less-common ones are:*

*MERS-CoV, a beta virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)*

*SARS-CoV, a beta virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)*

*And of course - the new one*

*SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19*

Then it talks about Shi Zhengli. Including study below…

[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20567988](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20567988)

A quote....

*This calls for continuation and expansion of field surveillance studies among different bat populations to eventually identify the true natural reservoir of SARS-CoV.*

They go on to talk about this paper from 2013.

[https://www.nature.com/articles/nature12711](https://www.nature.com/articles/nature12711)

They say in the video *"\[she and her team\] claimed a breakthrough"* (however that word does not appear in this paper)

That said - what does the video claim the "breakthrough" was?

*"this effectively demonstrated the direct human infection of SARS-like viruses to human without the need for intermediate host"*

Again this was already known - because SARS it self was human to human, and 4 other coronaviruses are are common human to human viruses that cause colds. — See link above that explains the 6 previously known human coronaviruses.

They go on to talk about this 2015 paper

[https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3985](https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3985)

*Title: A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence*

The video makes this study sound nefarious here - **they don't tell you in this context that the study was co-authored by Ralph Baric, an infectious-disease researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The video just paints this as a China study. It doesn't mention here that it was partially funded by the US NIH.**

The video goes on to mention this paper which is critical of this type of research.

[https://www.nature.com/news/engineered-bat-virus-stirs-debate-over-risky-research-1.18787](https://www.nature.com/news/engineered-bat-virus-stirs-debate-over-risky-research-1.18787)

In this paper they talk about the dangers of such research - here is a quote:

*The argument is essentially a rerun of the debate over whether to allow lab research that increases the virulence, ease of spread or host range of dangerous pathogens — what is known as ‘gain-of-function’ research. In October 2014, the US government imposed a moratorium on federal funding of such research on the viruses that cause SARS, influenza and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome, a deadly disease caused by a virus that sporadically jumps from camels to people).*

*The latest study was already under way before the US moratorium began, and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) allowed it to proceed while it was under review by the agency, says Ralph Baric, an infectious-disease researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a co-author of the study. The NIH eventually concluded that the work was not so risky as to fall under the moratorium*

So - basically - **the US government specifically looked at the study that resulted in the paper in 2015 while the study was in progress and "concluded that the work was not so risky as to fall under the moratorium" and so they let it continue.**

It is worth noting that the - the paper that was critical of the study and similar research has added disclaimer.

*Editors’ note, March 2020:* ***We are aware that this story is being used as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 was engineered. There is no evidence that this is true; scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus.***

**Yes - the paper the video effectively cites as on their side that is titled "Engineered bat virus stirs debate over risky research" - has a disclaimer against the theories the video is proposing. So even the people who were expressing "deep concerns" about the research, feel "there is no evidence" that what this video says with regard to covid being engineered is true.**

The video goes on to talk about Obama and the US NIH funding pause on GOF research… *(i.e. to try to paint the research Shi Zhengli is involved is something the US doesn’t do/support…)*

[https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-directostatements/statement-funding-pause-certain-types-gain-function-research](https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-directostatements/statement-funding-pause-certain-types-gain-function-research)

BUT the video fails to tell you that the US specifically looked at the 2015 study and "concluded that the work was not so risky as to fall under the moratorium"

Also - **the video fails to mention that 3 years later the NIH lifted the funding pause on GOF research**. [https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-directostatements/nih-lifts-funding-pause-gain-function-research](https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-directostatements/nih-lifts-funding-pause-gain-function-research)

*Today, the National Institutes of Health announced that it is lifting a funding pause dating back to October 2014 on gain-of-function (GOF)* ***experiments involving influenza, SARS, and MERS viruses. GOF research is important in helping us identify, understand, and develop strategies and effective countermeasures against rapidly evolving pathogens that pose a threat to public health.***

The video then goes on to the india study which was never published (it was retracted) - it appeared on bioRxiv, a preprint server, where scientists post work that hasn’t been vetted.

[https://www.statnews.com/2020/02/03/retraction-faulty-coronavirus-paper-good-moment-for-science/](https://www.statnews.com/2020/02/03/retraction-faulty-coronavirus-paper-good-moment-for-science/)

The video then goes on to talk about gp41 gene in HIV hinting at how this could make covid19 much worse....

Here is some specific info about the problem with the studies claims... as well as with the claim about gp41.

This is from Ari Allyn-Feuer who is a Principal Data Scientist GlaxoSmithKline. He has a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from the University of Michigan. [https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/dcmb/ari-allyn-feuer](https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/dcmb/ari-allyn-feuer)

[https://theprepared.com/blog/no-the-2019-ncov-genome-doesnt-actually-seem-engineered-from-hiv/](https://theprepared.com/blog/no-the-2019-ncov-genome-doesnt-actually-seem-engineered-from-hiv/)

An analysis of the \[india\] paper clearly reveals that:

***The sequence matches with HIV are very short and appear in hypervariable regions of both virus,*** *and similar overlaps are seen between 2019-nCoV sequences and many other organisms.*

*The unique biological properties that HIV sequences could theoretically impart to another virus are completely missing from 2019-nCoV, and 2019-nCoV has no unique clinical properties that are outside what is known to be possible for a coronavirus.*

***In other words, the sequence overlap is not actually uncanny, and there is no big scoop here. The group in India fell prey to some of the pitfalls of bioinformatics research.***

The video moves on to use Robert Spalding (a general, not a doctor) to say *"why would you be doing this research...* ***is it to create a weapon?****"*. This is pretty leading language. He does atleast also mention the other purpose, to help with creating vaccines. (As mentioned above - the US NIH started funding this exact sort of research again in 2017)

Of course the video doesn't point out to you that the research being talked about here, which is the research they just presented a few minutes earlier, was **co-authored by Ralph Baric, an infectious-disease researcher at UNC Chapel Hill - and partially funded by the US NIH.**

Next they have Gordon G. Chang (columnist) talking about what we already know - China is spinning a narrative about the US creating the virus - we already knew that. And it's not evidence covid is engineered... China is just as likely to spin such a narrative whether its engineered, natural and leaked, or really came from wet market. China wants to displace blame regardless.

Next they have this study published feb 3rd

[**https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2012-7**](https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2012-7)

The video highlights the sentence "Notably, we confirmed that 2019-nCoV uses the same cell entry receptor—angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2)—as SARS-CoV."

This along with everything I have seen in the video so far **seems to try to imply that SARS and covid19 are unique in the use of the ACE2 entry way.**..

This is not true. **The NL63 coronavirus (HCoV-NL63) - one of the 4 common human coronavirus that cause the common cold, also uses ACE2.**

[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1142358/](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1142358/)

To help show it is in fact common...

[https://academic.oup.com/femsre/article/30/5/760/2399118](https://academic.oup.com/femsre/article/30/5/760/2399118)

*A study performed in Amsterdam estimated the presence of HCoV-NL63 in approximately 4.7% of common respiratory illnesses.*

To help show it is in fact much more mild...

[https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/192/2/350/858628](https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/192/2/350/858628)

*A study, found that HCoV-NL63 was more commonly found in outpatients than hospitalized patients, suggesting that it is a common cold virus similar to HCoV-229E and HCoV-OC43, which generally cause less severe symptoms.*

The video goes on to admit that the study they reference did find it was 96.2% consistent with a bat coronavirus we already know about. "Signaling a natural source" But they then go on to dispute this part by pointing out the lab and saying

*"common sense would lead to government to first inspect the p4 lab for any leakage incident and potential safety concerns, instead they shifted attention to the seafood market"*

Again - this is not evidence of a manufactured virus. Because just like blaming the US for the virus, putting focus on the wet market is what they would do in all 3 scenarios. Manufaured. Natural leak. Or true wet market.

Also it is worth pointing out that it wasn't just the CCP calling out the wet market out of nowhere. Li Wenliang the first doctor to try to sound the alarm (the one the CCP reprimanded) mentioned specifically *"the seven quarantined patients had all worked at or visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market"*

[https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-whistleblower-doctor-li-wenliang-in-critical-condition-2020-2](https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-whistleblower-doctor-li-wenliang-in-critical-condition-2020-2)

So the wet market narrative was started by Li Wenliang (seemingly good guy)... the CCP just continued it - which is what we would expect a shady government like them to do regardless of the truth.

The video goes on to say *"if it emerged naturally why would the CCP need to censor relevant news or block investigations"*

**This question seems to ignore the fact that this is what the CCP does... in fact it's exactly what they did in 2003 when SARS happened. Suppress news, and hide information.**

[https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/ap09/sars.china](https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/ap09/sars.china)

*China accused of Sars cover-up*

*A senior Chinese doctor today accused his government of covering up details about the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), while a Beijing hospital was shut down, reportedly because medical staff became infected.*

*The accusations of a government cover-up came in a statement by Dr Jiang Yanyong. He said that doctors and nurses at two other military-run institutions told him at least seven deaths have occurred in their hospitals and claimed there were 106 cases of the disease in Beijing - more than five times the figured announced by authorities.*

[https://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/02/china\_text\_snoop/](https://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/02/china_text_snoop/)

*In 2003, during the severe-acute-respiratory-syndrome (SARS) outbreak, a dozen Chinese were reportedly arrested for sending text messages about SARS.*

At best their hiding info is evidence of a lab leak - but no indication if it was natural or manufactured.

Then they have columnist Gordan Chang say *"The theory about the lab origin is something that we should consider"*

I agree with this - we should consider it. Both lab origin accidental leak, and manufactured. But they put this in the video right after the claim about a non-natural origin (i.e. manufactured) and it appears they are trying to make it appear Gordon is talking about the manufactured scenario - and not just a lab leak of a natural virus. I could be wrong, but nothing he actually says implies he is talking about anything but a lab leak.

Speaking of lab leak - the entire next section of video is really just evidence of a lab leak in general. The timeline of the p4 lab, etc. I'm not going to bother fact checking each of the things they say. Based on what I did fact check which is about 20 minutes worth of video, every single bit. My guess is that this section is equally misleading and slanted. Maybe not, but even if it is, there is probably some valid evidence in there.

At about 34:53 minutes we get back to the main conspiracy theory about covid being manufactured. He talks about how the p4 is not an ordinary academic research institute. He goes on to explain it's origins and how china switched in the middle to use a contractor to help construct it that had close ties to the Chinese military, and goes on to show the links...

Again here - the video feels misleading - making sound like China is unique in having military even remotely connected to a p4 bio lab.

Here in the US there is a direct connection with p4 labs and our military...

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United\_States\_Army\_Medical\_Research\_Institute\_of\_Infectious\_Diseases](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Army_Medical_Research_Institute_of_Infectious_Diseases)

*USAMRIID is the only U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) laboratory equipped to study highly hazardous viruses at Biosafety Level 4 within positive pressure personnel suits.*

Again - I am not at all defending CCP, or saying it's impossible they would work on bioweapons... I'm just pointing out how the video appears to be being misleading…

Next they bring up this...

[https://idsa.in/jds/9\_2\_2015\_ChinasBiologicalWarfareProgramme](https://idsa.in/jds/9_2_2015_ChinasBiologicalWarfareProgramme)

I can't find any details about Dany Shoham, but I will assume he is legit, and the article is legit. I can believe it. I wouldn't put it past the CCP to try to develop bioweapons.

That said - I wouldn't put it past the US either... Just a few months ago the CDC ordered the US Army p4 lab to close because they found they failed to meet biosafety standards.

[https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/health/fort-detrick-lab-shut-down-after-failed-safety-inspection-all/article\_767f3459-59c2-510f-9067-bb215db4396d.html](https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/health/fort-detrick-lab-shut-down-after-failed-safety-inspection-all/article_767f3459-59c2-510f-9067-bb215db4396d.html)

***All research at a Fort Detrick laboratory that handles high-level disease-causing material, such as Ebola, is on hold indefinitely after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the organization failed to meet biosafety standards.***

*The CDC sent a cease and desist order in July.*

Then they have Anthony Shaffer, and Gordon talk about how china wants to dominate the world (which we basically already know)

So do I find it concerning that China (and possibly others) are trying to develop bioweapons and want to dominate the world.... absolutely yes! So do I believe China \_could\_ have released a bioweapon... sure... But as for whether covid actually was that engineered bioweapon... I look to studies like this...

**5 US Scientists published this study...**

[**https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9**](https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9)

**Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus**

**Why would these US Scientists lie? They would be famous (and probably rich) if they were the people to first prove covid was engineered.** Instead they published this paper, which doesn't get much media attention because it's not shocking enough.

Lastly the video ends with a montage about how the CCP is bad - and to their credit they make a clear distinction multiple times between "China" and the "CCP". I tend to agree the CCP is bad, and yes - countries should investigate them, and take actions, etc, etc.

That said - given that the organization behind this video, has for 2 decades had a mission to take down the CCP... that does help paint a picture for me about why they would make this video that plays very fast and loose with facts, and leaves out pertinent info… and talks with questionable “experts" - absolutely - it makes perfect sense. **Even if covid really came from the wet market, China's handling has cost countless lives. And the CCP has always been shady. It's a noble cause to hold them accountable.** But in my opinion The Epoch times appears to have seen covid as a perfect opportunity to sow misinformation like they have been known to in the past... pushing anti-vax propaganda, and pushing conspiracy theories like QAnon which asserts that there is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who rule the world, essentially, and they control everything. They control politicians, and they control the media. They control Hollywood, and they cover up their existence, essentially. And they would have continued ruling the world, were it not for the election of President Donald Trump

As crazy as that sounds I am not making this up - Here are the sources…

[https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/trump-qanon-impending-judgment-day-behind-facebook-fueled-rise-epoch-n1044121](https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/trump-qanon-impending-judgment-day-behind-facebook-fueled-rise-epoch-n1044121)

*Behind the scenes, the media outlet’s ownership and operation is closely tied to Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual community with the stated goal of taking down China’s government.*

***The small New York-based nonprofit news outlet has spent more than $1.5 million on about 11,000 pro-Trump advertisements in the last six months, according to data from Facebook’s advertising archive — more than any organization outside of the Trump campaign itself,*** *and more than most Democratic presidential candidates have spent on their own campaigns.*

*Those video ads — in which unidentified spokespeople thumb through a newspaper to praise Trump, peddle conspiracy theories about the “Deep State,” and criticize “fake news” media*

*Its network of news sites and YouTube channels has made it* ***a powerful conduit for the internet’s fringier conspiracy theories, including anti-vaccination propaganda and QAnon, to reach the mainstream.***

(I didn't know what QAnon was so I looked it up...)

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QAnon](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QAnon)

*According to Travis View, who has studied the QAnon phenomenon and written about it extensively for The Washington Post, the essence of the conspiracy theory is that*

***there is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who rule the world, essentially, and they control everything. They control politicians, and they control the media. They control Hollywood, and they cover up their existence, essentially. And they would have continued ruling the world, were it not for the election of President Donald Trump,\[16\]***

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The\_Epoch\_Times](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Epoch_Times)

*The Epoch Times is a multi-language newspaper.\[2\] It was founded in 2000 by John Tang and a group of Chinese Americans associated with the Falun Gong spiritual movement.\[3\] Though the newspaper is known for general interest topics with a focus on news about China and its human rights issues, it has become known for its support of U.S. President Donald Trump and favorable coverage of far-right politicians in Europe;* ***a 2019 report showed it to be the second-largest funder of pro-Trump Facebook advertising after the Trump campaign.****\[4\]\[5\]\[6\]\[7\]\[8\]\[9\]\[10\]\[11\] The newspaper is part of the Epoch Media Group, which also operates New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD).\[7\] The group's news sites and YouTube channels have* ***spread conspiracy theories such as QAnon and anti-vaccination propaganda***
submitted by glyphx42 to conspiracy [link] [comments]

I have a feeling I may have uncovered a marriage fraud ring and was a victim of it

As a preface yes I was the US citizen spouse that a Philippine foreign national married, however let the evidence guide you and not the feeling of me maybe being a scorned spouse.

Let's see how it began...I met my ex wife (lets call her L) on December 31st in New York city at a NYE concert. she was 29 at the time would be turning 30 soon and I had just turned 24 at the time. We had a mutual friend in common and that was how we had met. That night we talked for a bit and we went our separate ways at the end of the night with me thinking I would never see her again, however no big deal that is how life goes. I was on the bus the next day from NYC back to Philadelphia when a little blue bubble popped up from facebook which to my surprise was from L. We get to talking for the next couple of days and before I know it we set up a weekend for me to come up there again and have a date with L (no mention ever of her citizenship status) and she tells me how she has a daughter.

Fast forward to the weekend of the date (a week and a half later) L is very accommodating and really doing great at making a first and a nice person. Although to my surprise she has me meet her 9 yr old daughter at this point already (on the day of our first date) and tells me she only lets certain people meet her daughter, thus I feel special already at this point she thinks so highly of me. Also on this night of our first date she has sex with me (L initiated the sex not me). Then leaves for the night to go back to sleep at the apartment she shares with her parents and leaves me at the hotel and comes and picks me up in the morning. We have a second great day on that day and I leave home for the week (not thinking to myself maybe this is moving a little too fast).

Being young (24 at this time) within 2 weeks of our first date we are in a relationship and I go to NYC every weekend to spend time with her (she is sure to take tons of pictures too). L at this point has still not told me anything about her citizenship status so I assume she has a green card or is already a citizen since her whole family is her. However, after 8 weeks I get a serious text from L asking if we can talk.

I call L and we talk on the phone and L tells me "hey remember how you were joking around before and said you hope we spend the rest of our lives together. That might not be possible since my visa is about to run out and I will have to go back home and won't be able to see you then. however, i know this is sudden but if we get married I will be able to start and continue our relationship". With me having autism (thus being naive to people's true intentions) and having controlling parents and just wanting to do things in spite of them stupidly agree yes after 2 months of dating we can get married.

Then within 2 weeks we are married however she was sure to have the marriage at a venue with friends and family present as well as my parents had to be there.

Then L's family friend lets call her R gets to work on our paper work for adjustment of status. By this time L and I had both moved to Philadelphia along with her daughter and leave NYC behind never to live there again. When R files the paperwork for some strange reason I am still not sure to this day, she files it as if L and me live in NYC still. Anyways so after 7 months we get the interview date. Cool I just go in and say the truth to them since we have nothing to hide. But L family friend R calls and says here is what they will ask they will try to trick you be sure you are prepared and oh by the way don't mention that L is working as a nurse since on her visa they marked something else, it is not in any way L fault but if you mention about L being a nurse it could cause trouble (later I found out why in this article https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/powner-queens-medical-employment-agency-indicted-visa-fraud-conspiracy ). I thought that was strange but oh well whatever she says, since remember I love L and don't want her to leave.

We go to the interview in NYC at USCIS and the lady ask us first oh all why are you coming if you don't live in NYC anymore but lets us do the interview and I will send your file down there anyways. We do the interview and nothing bad comes up she finds us legit and says the file will be sent down (by this time is November of 2014).

About July of 2015 we get called down to the Philaldephia USCIS they say they have no received the file but will still interview us and do and find everything good.

Years go by by this time it is 2018 (L still has no green card but has an EAD) and I have some questions like I google my name and found my sister in law (L sister) has a different last name than what I know and L just dismisses as oh we have a lot of names, then she tells me how her friend paid some guy in Philly 20k to marry her and L is mad cause she got her green card before L as well as how a married couple L is friends with actually were just a green card marriage and he was supposed to divorce after he becomes a citizen but instead they fell in love and stay together. Being naive I don't think anything like that is happening to me, even though they are all very close friends and always in contact with each other.

By now it's July of 2018 and I am getting deployed to the pacific for a month, L is very excited for me...maybe a little too excited and I can;t wait after the month is over and I get home. Well get home in August of 2018 while I was out at sea L had cleaned the house moved out basically said fuck you I am gone.

I try to work it out but L refuses she does not want to, however she eventually calls her and ask if we can work it out and oh guess what we have another final green card interview coming up in Philadelphia soon. I threaten to pull my petition she says I don't need you I can get a green card through my parents who are citizens and eventually convinces me that I should do the green card interview but that she would try to work it out after, however, she also says remember nothing is 100% we will get back together.

We go to the interview L tells the officer that we will go to marriage counseling, explains we are separated and have different addresses, says we will move back in together by next year. L is approved for the green card and is so excited but strangely doesn't want me to share the excitement with her.

About 2 weeks later L blocks me on all social media, email, and phone/text. 2 months later she serves me divorce paper by this time I realize that she has just been using me and feel stupid.

The divorce has become official but L left some stuff behind I wanted to go through before throwing out.

One was an external hard drive that was full of treasures, her with some guy 2 months before meeting me not like as friends but almost relationship like, other types of documents, and then remember how L said her sister just had a lot of names and the last name was nothing?

It was not. I found out that was her sisters last name after she had gotten married to no other than the family friend R's husband's brother who is...a Us citizen. Then divorced him after becoming a citizen and remarried to her current husband.

Am I going crazy thinking this might be some sort of marriage fraud ring involving L's family and friends or am I just scorned and grasping at straws?
submitted by IntelligentShirt5 to USCIS [link] [comments]

Need to vent about my now former boss.

Apologies in advance for the long post, and for possible poor grammar, I'm very tired.
Some background needed: I used to work in a print shop. I've known my ex-boss (will refer to them as XB) for over 7 years. I met him back in 2013 when I was looking for an internship in Computer Graphics (Stationery Design, Brand Design, Photography, etc...) He was looking to stop doing graphic design and focus on printing and finishing. We got along like a house on fire, he even offered me a job after my internship. It was a shitty job, paid barely above minimum wage, too much work for 2 people (myself and XB), and parent company were greedy assholes, but working with him was fun. Great stories, super smart and incredibly hard-working. I worked for him for about a year and a half before being offered a position in a Creative Agency. We kept in touch over the years, even sealed a partnership between my agency and him when he bought the print shop from the parent company in 2016.
When I say XB is hard-working, I mean it. Bought the shop at a massive loss (company was HEMORRHAGING money at the time, I think he bought the locale, computers, printers and other machines for $60,000), closed it for a full month and opened it back up in August. I lent him a hand by handling his website and Ads on Google. His turnover for the first 4 months was over $500,000. He begged me to stop the Google Ads and find him employees, as he was spending 6 nights a week at the shop, sleeping only a couple of hours at a time. made him hire a friend from school, let's call her SF. She ended up being his assistant and most trusted employee. Over the next 3 years, he hired 4 more employees.
In late 2019, after a massive ongoing dispute with my agency, I decided to quit. Went to have a chat with XB, he hired me back on the spot. First few weeks were great, because I was working with 5 of my friends, who coincidentally all got along really well. But after about 2 months, he started getting angry, annoyed and incoherent. This is where the actual story starts.
XB called a meeting with all of us at a Korean restaurant close to the shop. He proceeded to berate us for about 2 hours about how not making as much profit as he used to, which means mathematically it is automatically our fault due to our laziness, and that we need to get our shit together or he won't be needing some of us anymore. The remainder of the meal was awkward and low energy, as we were not expecting to get shit on over great food.
Over the next couple of days, I talked with two of my coworkers, who are also some of my longtime friends, about his recent temper. They both told me that he slowly started having the occasional tantrum, and also started talking about conspiracy theories. So I started eavesdropping on conversations (it's quite a small shop, so it wasn't hard to do.) He indeed took a particular liking to conspiracy theories.
At first, it was relatively mild, usual stuff:
  • Vaccines are a hoax, there is no actual proof of their effectiveness, other than at developping autism;
  • 9/11 was an inside job coordinated by the Bush administration;
  • Chemtrails are filled with biological agents to control human population;
  • Humans are historically supposed to be vegans, eating meat makes no sense, no proof of carnivorous or omnivorous history;
  • Darwinism and Evolution are bullshit (Note: He doesn't believe in Creationism either, just some half-assed hybrid of the three);
  • Radiocarbon dating is theoretically impossible and is nothing more than a "plot device" to support Evolution;
  • Hidden civilizations, unseen technologies, secret societies, etc...
Over the new year, XB started getting a bit intense with his claims:
  • Polio, TB, Measles, and all other diseases we've basically eradicated through science and vaccines are hoaxes;
  • Doctors are murderers and cannibals;
  • The Clintons and Bushes are cannibals;
  • Clintons, Bushes and Obamas are part of a worldwide pedophilic child trafficking ring;
  • Homosexuality, transexuality and all other non-heteronormative orientations are a ploy to sterilize humans;
  • Trump is America's staunch protector that will bring order and peace across the world;
  • Kim Jong-Un is a great leader, is due much more credit than we give him for his leadership skills, community spirit and authority;
  • The Nazis were doing the world a favor (he is very much anti-semetic, strongly believes Jews are a pest).
On top of that, he adopted a very poor diet of gluten-free, low-protein, low-fiber, fruitarian, 24h fasting, sometimes 36h fasting, claiming it was the correct way to be in good health (XB is 5'8" and weighs about 120 pounds.)
Then the pandemic hit. On March 18th, every business in Canada had to start closing shop. He fought it for a while, but eventually realized that every single one of our clients were closing up shop too, so no income in the foreseeable future.
Fast forward to late May, when businesses slowly started opening back up. XB called in SF to get the shop working again. According to her, he took no steps whatsoever to follow social distancing and sanitizing guidelines. She nagged and annoyed him into buying masks and protectors, gloves, hand sanitizer and to make a strict path for clients to follow. In late June, she announced on our employees' Messenger group that she was quitting, effective immediately and promptly left the group.
I asked her what prompted her to leave. She told me that the shop became an incredibly toxic place to work in. XB was constantly paranoid, frustrated, almost foaming at the mouth angry. All he talked about was how the virus was fake, that it was a government hoax. He even put up huger posters around the shop with COVID-19-related propaganda on them (e.g.: "10 Commandments for the perfect obedient citizen", "Don't forget to leave your children in their designated isolation zone!") He even attached flyers of the same propaganda on every client order.
SF and I went on for a while about this, trying to figure out what changed for XB that he's straight up losing his mind. She ended up inviting him out to dinner to chat about his recent decline in mental health. XB told her that he is sick to his stomach because he believes we are at war (as in WWIII), that the coronavirus is the last step in a massive government ploy to control us and eventually sterilize the people, and that he stopped giving a shit about anything because he thinks he will inevitably die in the next couple of years, when the government will "force us" to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and secretly micro-chipped in the process, claiming that they will execute him for not complying.
In short, XB has lost the fucking plot. It's made me unbelievably angry and sad, because he is ruining a great business he's worked so hard to build, our jobs and trying to misinform/corrupt other people in the process. I've decided not to go back, because the isolation and all that has been happening in the world in the last 100+ days has already taken a serious toll on my mental health, and I just can't deal with stupid anymore.
It breaks my heart that such a smart, self-aware person became so stupid and ended up believing absolute trash that is backed by nothing more than crappy YouTube videos put together by fucking idiots that are a single Google search away from being completely disproved.
We've completely lost respect for him. Most of us have quit, or are in the process of doing so. Only one employee remains, and we believe that they've been corrupted as well. as he lives in the same apartment complex as XB, and he started talking nonsense about a month before the lock-down.
I'm sorry for the absurdly long post. I just felt the need to put this situation in writing, to try to make some sense of it.
submitted by thatkitchenguy to Vent [link] [comments]

Starting to relapse after possibly being assaulted by my Ex FWB.

It all started last Summer.
I was 19, had finally escaped from an abusive and toxic relationship, and found myself working a new job at a small, failing cafe.
This is where I met Stuart (Not his real name.)
He was 21, charming, funny, handsome, everyone adored him, and - he was my supervisor, and he made it clear that he had the power to fire me (Not to mention the owner of the cafe likely had hickeys on her ass the way Stuart kissed it).
Stuart became my de facto shoulder to cry on as my ex boyfriend continued his attempts to abuse me after our breakup and I struggled with the aftermath of experiencing years of emotional/physical/sexual/financial abuse.
I detailed to him every cruel word, and every violation of my boundaries. Typically, I’d make jokes about my pain and trauma, quoting “I laugh, because I will cry if I don’t”, so I’m not sure if he took it too seriously. Humor was my coping mechanism.
He was willing to listen to my stories and offer comfort and support, but would occasionally discredit what I said, accusing me of making it up, “Oh, he didn’t really say that”, “You make him sound like a villain”, I remember him retorting.
I also admitted to him my issues with my physically absent father, my body image issues and past struggles with anorexia/bulimia, and low self esteem.
I always have had a problem with oversharing, and looking back I really regret opening up to Stuart the way that I did.
He opened up to me too, about his GAD, his toxic relationship with his ex of five years - their constant verbal and physical fights, their drug use, and their mutual cheating on each other.
Stuart also opened up to me that he, too, endured sexual assault at a young age. He assured me that not all men were like my ex, that he was a nice guy, the exception. I believed him.
We flirted, I sent him racy pictures in a desperate plea for validation (My ex would body-shame me and I struggled with an eating disorder my entire adolescence). He repeatedly asked me to “hook up” with him. I told him, however, that I could only have sex with someone I was in a relationship with.
In between his declarations of my beauty and sense of humor and intelligence, he would pepper in a few insults he‘d call “jokes” after seeing how they offended me.
He would make fun of me for having an unathletic, underweight body, how I had a weird laugh, how I showed signs of autism, how I’d make mistakes at work, etc.
Although he picked on me, he’d insist on skipping his lunch breaks because he liked spending time with me at work.
I thought “he’s so much nicer than my ex”.
When he stood me up for a date to see Midsommar, he texted me days later that he wanted to just be friends, that he was dealing with a lot, and that he was in the process of being diagnosed with bipolar.
He told me that he knew I had a crush on him. That was true. I did.
Despite my crush, I agreed with staying platonic friends, and tried to avoid flirtation as best as I could, though I did send him the occasional picture or talk about sex if he mentioned it.
He would still shower me in a delicate blend of compliments and thinly veiled insults disguised as “jokes”. I knew if I wanted everything to stay normal at my job, I’d have to play along.
A few months later, Stuart admitted to me that he was going to rehab for an addiction to painkillers. The night before he was scheduled to be admitted, he asked if we could be “friends with benefits”.
I said “I thought you just wanted to be friends”
“Friends can have sex”, he replied
I told him no, with my body image issues and struggles with past assault, I didn’t feel comfortable.
He attempted to convince me he could make me feel comfortable with men and sex again. He mentioned that we both found each other attractive.
I was confused, as friends with benefits implied no feelings. He knew I had feelings for him. Why would he initiate this type of relationship with me?
I felt so pressured, the way he’d been asking me for such a long time. I was scared of what would happen if I kept saying no. I was never able to tell my ex no.
A few days later, he was out of rehab, and we made plans to go to the movies after our shift together. I wanted to cheer him up and support him because of his substance abuse problems.
We didn’t go to the movies. We went to his house.
Fooling around on his air mattress, I asked “Do you have a condom?”
“Um, no”
“I don’t want to have sex without a condom” I repeated every time he got a little bit too close for comfort.
Eventually, he ignored me and stuck it in. It hurt.
Stuart didn’t pull out until a few seconds after I started hitting him. I was so shocked, I acted like it didn’t just happen.
Driving me home, he asked “Remember when you said you’d only let a boyfriend fuck you?”
My mind was racing. My self worth was so tied up in my “number”, my self esteem was in the gutter, he technically already had sex with me, I still had a crush on him, and - we still worked together; he was still my manager.
So - I continued to have sex with him. I hate myself for doing so.
He complained that his Zoloft prescription made it impossible to get hard while wearing a condom, and bitched and moaned that I was the only girl to make him wear one. I felt pressured.
I thought “Well, if I were to catch something, I’d have already caught it”.
I quit making him wear condoms.
When I had a flashback from a past assault and cried during sex, he complained that I made him feel bad.
He kept trying to stick his finger in my ass when I told him not to until finally, I let him, to make him happy.
He spat on my face and, when I was visibility upset, said “You told me you were into that”. I never told him that.
Sex was excruciating for me, so he’d force me to be quiet when it hurt, because he still lived at home and didn’t want his mom to hear.
When I jokingly mentioned the time he fucked me without a condom when I told him not to, he said “You’re making me sound like a predator”
I let him film me occasionally with the promise of not recording my face. He recorded my face in the videos. I overlooked this at the time.
He wrote a song for me called “(my name) is a whore/When she comes oveI know I’ll score”
Pathetically and regrettably, I thanked him for being “more respectful than my ex”.
Looking back, that’s like thanking your cat for shitting on your tile floor instead of your white polyester sofa, when your cat should be shitting in their litter box. (a classy simile)
Despite all this, he’d tell me how beautiful I was and how he adored me and how he quit talking to other girls because he was obsessed with me. He’d ask me for more racy material as he said I “ruined porn” for him. Even though our relationship was sexual, he told me he could play Monopoly with me fully clothed and not have sex and he’d still be perfectly happy, because he loved me as a person.
I thought “Whatever happened to no feelings? He’s being more affectionate than my ex”
Eventually, I left my job because, as it was a failing business, they couldn’t afford to give me more than fifteen hours a week.
Yet, I continued to have sex with him. I was so desperate to prove to myself that he was the good guy that he said he was. I wanted to believe that he really did care - that I wasn’t cursed romantically and sexually.
I’d praise him for being such a wonderful guy in an attempt to convince myself that he really was.
I thought I was empowered and having sex on my own terms, because when I told him to stop, he’d stop most of the time, unless he said that my “stop” confused him, because he didn’t know if I was being serious or not.
When I tried to break things off with him because I equated sex with love and our “no feelings” situation was confusing me, he said he was obsessed with me, but couldn’t commit because I planned on moving away for my career, and he didn’t want to set himself up for heartbreak.
Towards the end of our relationship, he mentioned several times that his ex was trying to contact him, but he assured me that he was done with her and was ignoring her.
Then he stopped texting me, when we used to text each other daily. Weeks went by.
I asked him if he could return the DVD’s I left at his house (Several rare, expensive copies that were valuable to me), and he blew me off and ignored me.
I saw a photo of him with his ex on social media. I was enraged. He didn’t even have the guts to tell me directly that he wanted to end things.
I angrily texted him to give me back my DVD’s, to delete the photos/videos he had of me, and to never talk to me again. I told him that I couldn’t believe that I thought he ever respected me.
Sure, I overreacted, but I felt so hurt.
I should mention I was very upset during this time because my grandmother had died and I had lost two close friends of mine recently.
“I hope we can be mature enough about this to stay friends”, he responded, after emphasizing that he was “always respectful” towards me
When I told him I thought it best if we didn’t speak to each other anymore, he replied “Just trying to be nice”
He added that I was too emotional and that’s why he got back with his ex without telling me, that I “was always upset about something” so he didn’t want to tell me, reminding me that it was nothing but casual sex with no feelings, that he never really liked me, and I was delusional for thinking that he did. Every nice thing he said to me, he remarked, he only said because he was high.
He argued “You’re an adult, you wanted to fuck, so we did”
The whole time, I believed he liked me, because that’s what he told me. That’s how I justified what I did with him, despite him not being my boyfriend. I felt deceived. Lied to. Even though it seems like everyone who has casual sex doesn’t feel the way that I do.
He refused to give me back my films, telling me to come get them myself. Note: I don’t drive after a traumatic incident with my ex, and it would’ve been humiliating to ask my mom to drive me to his house.
After back and forth arguing and insulting each other, (I brought up how he cheated on his ex and abused drugs - which was so mean of me to say, and he brought up how I was a slut for sending him him racy material) he gave up and agreed to return them.
I texted him “The first night we were at your house, I told you I didn’t want to have sex without a condom, yet you fucked me anyway. Why would you do that?”
Stuart became defensive, arguing that I only brought that up because I was upset at him, that he didn’t remember that night, that I told him myself that he was respectful towards me, that I was “always down“ to have sex without a condom.
To be fair, I did only bring it up because we were arguing. Besides, what kind of girl has feelings for a guy who assaulted her?
Answer: Me, twice.
After my accusation, he blocked me. I felt terrible for what I said during our argument.
Not to mention - he possibly lied about deleting the pictures/videos he had of me on his phone (he kept his former ex’s photos over a year after the broke up). Those would ruin my career plans. He could get in contact with my ex who might try to hurt me. He could shit talk me to our friends/old coworkers. I couldn’t have him angry with me.
He also was charming, popular, everyone liked him. I was introverted and awkward. I rationalized that I had to be in the wrong, because he was so perfect and put together on the outside.
To add to this, during our argument, he said he pitied me for painting myself as a victim all the time. I did not want to be a victim anymore. I didn’t want the only men I was sexually involved with to have both assaulted me. I didn’t want a complete stranger to have assaulted me. I wanted to believe that he was a good guy who wouldn’t hurt me. After all, I had thought that I really liked him.
Since he blocked me, I used a fake number to apologize to him (my ex used fake numbers to harass me after our breakup, that’s how I got the idea. Crazy, I know). It was a lengthy apology about how I overreacted and that I was the one in the wrong.
In further attempts to mend the situation, I sent him a gift card and apologized again for my behavior. His girlfriend found out and asked me why I did that. I don’t know why I did. I was just desperate. I lied and told her I was a platonic friend sending him a small gift. I’m sure she assumed I was a girl Stuart was cheating on her with.
Stuart probably thinks he’s some hero who cured my trauma with his dick. He probably thinks I’m a crazy bitch who only pointed out what happened the first night I was over because I was bitter. He doesn’t know that what he did is eating me alive.
I’ve given up on romance. All I’ve gotten from it is pain and self-disgust. I took a chance, and I want to die because of it. I never want to have sex again.
There’s nothing I can even do about it now. No one would believe me. As far as anyone’s concerned, it was just a relationship gone sour.
I’m worried he talked shit about me to our old coworkers and friends anyway, because none of them really talk to me anymore.
I hate the fact that every man I’ve ever been close to has assaulted me or at least attempted to. I feel like a piece of meat. I feel like I deserved it. All of it. I’m so disgusted with myself.
I wish I could call him and scream at him for what he did to me. Then again, I feel like he didn’t really do anything to me, as it was just “casual sex”, and I apologized for accusing him of rape. I can’t take it back.
He got what he wanted, and I’m left to suffer with the questions I ask myself every day, questions I don’t think I will ever have a definite answer for:
After all this, do I even have a right to call it assault? Rape? Abuse? Or, did I deserve it?
It was so easy to recognize that my ex boyfriend was abusive. I was able to talk about what he did to me days after our breakup. With Stuart, even months after our friendship ended, I have doubts on what really happened between us.
After doing so well with recovery, I’ve given up. I don’t want a man to look at me again, and restricting and binging and purging is my only comfort from this pain. I want to disappear. This is the only agency I have over my body.
If you made it this far, thank you for your time.
submitted by fwb_assault_42 to EDAnonymous [link] [comments]

An update after I flipped out about my then-22mo son's speech

About two months ago, I made this post - https://www.reddit.com/Parenting/comments/dslbyu/concerned_about_22mo_sons_speech/ - about my then-22mo son's speech being very delayed, his regular meltdowns, and some other concerns. I was stressing out big time and I got some useful insight and advice from that post, so I thought I'd provide an update.
A few hours after I made the post, my son's daycare called that he had a fever, and it turned out to be yet another ear infection. I got him an appointment with the GP the following week and asked for a referral to an ENT to have his ears checked more thoroughly. When my GP went back through his chart, she found that his current ear infection was his sixth one in 14 months, which is well beyond the threshold for a referral.
In the meantime, I did some research into speech therapists in my area and got matched with a fantastic woman who has been doing this for 30 years. She has been amazing. She does her appointments at our home so my son is in his environment and comfortable and she can better see how we interact with him. She agreed that he did not present any flags for autism or other developmental issues or delays, just super poor verbal speech (but excellent non-verbal). She gave us a number of points and things to develop and focus on with our son, and we have seen her every two weeks since.
We also were given an online screen of about 60 questions from the provincial childhood development agency. My husband and I filled it out separately to see how our answers lined up - we were in agreement on all but one question (and that was just down to different interpretations). Our son flagged 6 questions on my survey and 5 on my husband's. All the flags were only regarding speech development - he did not hit any other flags.
Early December we saw the ENT who did a hearing test and an ear exam. Our son had so much fluid built up in his ears that he actually was experiencing mild hearing loss as a direct result of the fluid blocking passage to his ear drums. Both ears showed loss, with the right ear being worse than the left. We were told our son was a prime candidate for ear tube surgery, and we were given a surgery date of January 24.
In the 7 weeks between that ENT appointment and the surgery date, our son came down with three more ear infections - the speech therapist was shocked and said in her 30 years she'd never seen a kid develop ear infections as quickly as our son did. However the change in approach to communicating with our son that the speech therapist helped us with was great in helping us get through the tough times and helped us actually feel like we could communicate effectively.
Our son's surgery was this past Friday, 4 days ago, and it has been completely night and day. The turnaround has been shocking. The surgeon said his left ear did have some blockage but was better than on the exam 7 weeks prior, but the right ear was a complete disaster, filled completely with fluid and mucus and wax. Tubes were put into both ears and all grossness cleaned out.
Our son is a totally new kid. He has been talking NON-STOP for 4 days. A lot of it is still not totally coherent as he will need to re-learn a lot of words (as he's now hearing them differently), but for the first time in about 18 months he's properly hearing his own voice as well as ours. He has come out with 2-3 new words each day, and he just babbles and talks away all day long - his daycare teachers yesterday were floored at the change.
He'll have a follow-up with the ENT in 6 weeks, and then hearing tests every 6 months for the next 4 or so years. Hopefully this is the end of ear infections as well.
Thank you so much to everyone who commented on my last post - it was great to know I was not alone and to have lots of new ideas around how to best get my son the attention he needed, and I'm so, so, SO relieved that it worked out as well as it has.
You guys are great, thank you.
EDIT: Holy crap, I got to work and looked at this post and it's gone insane. Three awards?! This is bonkers. You guys are lovely. I have attempted to respond to every comment, they are still coming in faster than they can keep up, but the outpouring is so wonderful. Thank you so much for everything, you guys are wonderful.
submitted by PlsLookAfterThisBear to Parenting [link] [comments]

Summary For: Weekly Question Thread (10/15 to 10/21)

Might seem like a silly question for tankers.
When firing off the main gun, does it send a shockwave through the cabin? As in, do you feel the wave go through you every time you fire?
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Hey everyone, I live in VA and I’m looking at going WOFT. I know I need to compile references letters from Highly Influential people. How do I go about this if I don’t know any officers in the military? The individuals I do know were prior military with no high ranks. I want to make a good impression but if I need high ranking references it might stop me from moving forward.
Thanks for your help
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Was told today to be out of the barracks by Friday. I have not received BAH. Is it possible for finance to fix this and get paid this week or will I have to wait until next paycheck to receive BAH?
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In the process of enlisting. Passed my physical and 90 on the ASVAB, I have my 4-year degree and am looking at what MOS to select, given availability of course. I’m on a waiver for a discharge from ROTC in college, luckily didn’t have to lay anything back but I was a shit head cadet, and all my record states was misconduct—underage drinking, not showing up to PT, etc, obviously life and mentality has changed.
Not sure what all info is relevant but degree is in journalism, minor in sociology focus on nationalism and political terrorism—formal wording.
I’ve worked as a reporter, editor-in-chief at a medical magazine, design agencies and managed private clients on my own etc
Initially I was, still am, thinking to go 46Q. Of course the Army is different, but I figure the bread and butter of shooting, interviewing and writing is what I’ll know having reported on Ft. Stewart and Hunter when I was in Savannah.
Little background if relevant, I am familiar with army/military life being a dependent (dad is still active LTC at CentCom and is infantry), Spanish fluency being Panamanian born-US citizen by birth, very basic Arabic language skills but told by natives have an Iranian accent when speaking, did not pass the DLAB( because that was easily the most ridiculous test I’ve ever seen in my life hah), and am 28 physically fit and capable. I’m just interested in gaining more perspective from others. Recruiters and the station give some insight when I ask about their regular duty and what they would choose but figure you all may be a bit more frank and not trying to sell me—given it makes no difference to you hah.
My question is, availability aside, what MOS’s would you all consider and advise? Are there lifespans for a waiver—like if I don’t sign by X date then it’ll expire and have to reapply?
Thanks in advance!
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I just got back from talking to my recruiter and he said I shouldn't go option 40. I plan on enlisting as a 68W and I really want to go to RASP and try for getting into the 75th. From what I've seen here people say there's little to no chance of getting into the 75th if you don't go in with an option 40.
Any personal advice here? I'll be 18 when I attend basic so this will be my first enlistment (I'm sure you can tell.)
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We still doing the weekly MOS thread? I'm going to POAS soon and was looking forward to the 37 series.
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How can you find out if you get student loan repayment when you enlist with the army?
Is there some website you can look up the benefits you got in your contract?
I enlisted last year 2017 and I really can't remember if I got student loan repayment. Part of me vaguely remembers turning it down because at the time I did not have any student loan debt to pay off. I pray to god that's not the case because I'm about to go to college while in the USAR and I might need that.
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I am 23 years old and looking to join the Army Reserve; I've always wanted to serve and this is the best way for me to do so and keep my girlfriend happy. I need help determining my chances of getting a medical waiver for a back injury I had as a kid. In 2005 I was in a vehicle hit by drunk driver and I spent two different stints home-bound in middle school wearing a molded back brace. However after the second brace(I was 13) the doctor cleared me for any and all physical activity. I played basketball in high school and have had physically demanding jobs since. If anyone that has anything to do with the medical waiver decision-making process would help me I would be greatly appreciative. Also I have retrieved my medical records already and confirmed the doctor's ruling.
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Can anyone tell me what the patch below the airborne logo is for? Trying to do some research into my dad's uniform.
https://imgur.com/a/Aw3YUsL
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Sorry if this isn't the place to ask but I've been an AIT soldier for nearly 8 months now and I'm receiving an Art. 15 for 'disrespect towards a senior comissioned officer'.
Shortened version is that I was corrected for a minor infraction (gave the wrong time of day in a greeting with a sergeant) by who'm I had thought was my physician, an officer, as they were walking past. I responded "Yes ma'am" and nothing came of it that morning. I'm now being threatened with a field grade article for failing to move to attention when I responded. Multiple officers have told me, including that day, that the clinic doesn't require formalities besides 'ma'am and 'sir' due to the climate it creates.
Is there anything I should know about before I get further into this? Thanks to anybody that answers. Really wish I didn't have to ask.
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Which MOS would set you up to be either a car mechanic or an electrician?
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What are the best duty stations for single LTs right out of college?
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I've been on con leave since Oct 1st and I am suppose to return on Oct 20th. I was diagnosed with 3 stress fractures in BCT. I was granted 20 days of con leave which has been very helpful in my recovery however I am worried about the time being taking out of my accrued days. I know that its non chargeable but on my DA form 31, it appears that I am using 17 advanced days. I only earned 3 days so far (since I'm only in bct). Is this accurate? If it's not, how would I go about fixing this?
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I like the color blue!
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Graduating from college next semester with my BA, the plan is a Master's program and ROTC for a commission while doing SMP.
In regards to the training required for the summer before I would start ROTC and my master's program, how far in advance would I know what camp dates I would be assigned?
I would like to plan to secure a summer job before the dates to save up or possible a short term internship before or after the dates.
Is there still a 5k bonus for cadets to contract non scholarship? After taxes, about how much do SMP cadets take home after taxes from stipend and drill pay? Will SMP time count as TIG for pay later once commissioned? Will it also count towards retirement?
Thanks!
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I’m a 15B trying to reclass to 15T. My 15T coworker says there’s a TM 1-1520-237-10 iPhone app or something like that for training and RL progression. Anyone know what it is? He can’t find his email with the link.
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can the 1sg make you do medical quarters at the company area on a cot? whats the reg?
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If a permanent resident would like to be naturalized through military service is there an option to serve in USCYBERCOM? If I have a computer science bachelor's degree and industrial infosec experience do I have an opportunity to utilize my skills as a part of military service? Is there a facile way of obtaining security clearance or a position which doesn't require such a clearance? Btw is it a suitable place to ask?
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I am trying to apply for a VA home loan and I got an email saying I need a document(s)
Anyone know where I can find a DD245?
A Statement of Service (from your *****Command with a current date in 2018)
I can get that from my old command
or orders reflecting an Honorable character of service ending in or around 2017.
Not really sure about this one
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Just bought me a few pair of new boots, and I want to care for these beauties. How often do you guys conduct boot maintenance? And what are some tips you can dispense?
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Hello, I was offered a contracting job overseas. It is in an allied country, but I am in the NG. We only have AF bases over in said country, no Army personnel I am immediately aware of. I am going to speak to my PSG/PL/CO about it at drill in approximately a week. They are already aware of it, just I find it easier to discuss these things real time than over emails. What are my options here? I don't want to get an OTH for not being to fly across the ocean once a month.
Ideally, if I could just do it with a unit over there (can I do it with an AF unit ?) Or do like a month long all-in-one-go drill if thats still a thing. Basically what are my options? How realistic are my expectations? Can my unit prevent me from taking this job (directly saying no, not being prohibitively uncooperative)?
Thanks.
E: Its a 2 year contract, btw.
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Question about mental health waivers. But first, a back story.

Back in the 90s when I was in elementary school my parents put me through testing for ADHD. The psychologist said that I didn't have it, but he said I did show some signs of having Asperger Syndrome. My parents disagreed with his findings, doc respected their wishes to not have me branded as autistic and decided to not send me to be tested. Instead both sides agreed to a couple years of intermittent therapy sessions to work on some problems I was having in school and prescribed me some Ritalin (after taking it for a few days I had a negative reaction and was taken off immediately). Fast forward to today, I'm in my mid-20s and I personally don't believe I meet the diagnostic criteria. FWIW, at the time I was being tested there were so many kids being over-diagnosed with learning disorders because their parents and teachers couldn't control them or didn't want to deal with behavior that wasn't well understood at the time.

How would this affect me getting into the Army? I want to become an officer, and I know I'm going to have to discuss this with my recruiter as well as a MEPS doctor. I wouldn't be lying to anyone to say I was never diagnosed with a learning disordedisability, but I'd hate to think that it would be held against me just because I was suspected of having something that I probably never had.
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After about a year and change of research and work, I’ve finally managed to get to MEPS for my physical and have my admin (moral? I dunno) waiver put through for approval. As of right now I’m still waiting on the “go” or “no-go”, but I feel like I’m going to get a call about it within the next 2 or 3 weeks. Either way, as the clock ticks closer towards all this, I’m getting somewhat antsy- I want to take an 11x contract, with an option 4 if I’m able. I’m just wondering if the 11x contract is typically available nowadays, because I seem to get mixed answers on this one. I know the fiscal year just started which I guess means jobs have opened up again that previously were closed, but I’m just wondering about how likely it is I’ll be able to sign up to be a full time army janitor and part time bullet sponge, assuming my waiver gets approved within the next month or so.
On top of that I wonder how likely it would be for me to snag an airborne school slot- my ASVAB was high and I’ve heard that if you score well you get more options, but since I’m getting a waiver for being naughty I dunno how this will affect any potential bonuses or schools to be added in my contract. If anyone could shed some light on this I’d really appreciate it.
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Where do I find a list of MOS with TS and/or SCI?
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Is it hard to get the autism waiver I have zero criminal charges and I have a HSD(high school diploma)
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I've seen on some sites it possible to do a swim instead of a run for the pft. Is this a real thing, and if so can anyone opt into it? I'm not a great runner but I've been on swim teams since middle school and could do a lot better on a swim than a run.
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now these are really simple questions but I couldn't find straight forward answers online. I'm 15 and I'm in high school. After high school, I want to join the National Guard.
I was talking to a Sargent at my school and he said that if I join the National Guard in a couple of years, I can't leave my state, for travel or even for college. Is this true? I'm in California. He also said that the Reserves are the same as the National Guard, only it's nationwide. I looked online and it said the Reserves don't serve in natural disasters (what the National Guard does)
TLDR Questions: If I join the National Guard, can I leave the state? Are the Reserves the same as the National Guard, but nationwide? (as the Sargent said)
EDIT: one more question, I have an education plan in my school for "ADHD symptoms" and I have a history of Depression and am on medication. Will this affect me getting into the military in 3+ years?
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I need some advice. I'm currently in 68W AIT on the Whiskey side of things and I've come to the conclusion the last few weeks that I really want to reclass. I'm just not interested or in my opinion adept in any of the actual medical skills, the only reason I got out of EMT phase is I studied a shit ton and even then I failed my NREMT the first time. At this point you might be asking why did this dumbass pick a medical mos if he isn't interested in medicine and this is a question I've asked myself a lot lately. This was my fifth choice of MOS, yet due to external situations I couldn't wait for the other jobs I wanted to open. I've brought up wanting to reclass to my drill sergeants because at this point I feel like I'm wasting their time and my Sergeants time in class, but they said it's basically impossible at this point unless you fail the NREMT three times(which is a possibility for me). My question is should I intentionally or unintentionally fail the NREMT two more times so I can reclass or should I just suck it up and hopefully graduate?
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On my Secuirty Clearance application, How necessary is it to have accurate Middle Names of past supervisors from my old jobs?
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Does MEPS test for antibiotics?
Also if I've been through MEPS once four years ago will I be doing the full physical again? My recruiter doesn't answer texts/calls and is light on the details. Pretty sure he's depressed. All he told me is I'll probably be going to be at MEPS within the next week or two.
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Anyone got update on AMEDD selection? I can't check to see if they have come out yet and don't want to bother recruiter over weekend.
Would be direct commission.
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I’m 24 year old male who’s 6’2 with a 18 inch neck and 45.5inch waist and weigh 284 pounds. Former defensive tackle(for visuals). Currently 29% bf per my recruiter, making me 3% away from being at the maximum for my age. Clearly most of my fat is surrounding my midsection, but it is burning off quick with the diet and exercise I’m doing. I was told to get to a 43.5 inch waistline and I would be good. Translates to about 10 more pounds. I’m very athletic and can move for a big guy. Would I be a military anomaly? I’ve dreamt of joining the military my whole life and I’m finally so close. Is there any other guys in here that have a similar build? Could you share your experience with me? I realize to really be able to perform at BCT that I will need to lose more but my main concern is getting in at this moment. TIA! Taking my asvab in a few days!
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So I had an airshow the same day, and I got a light sunburn on my face. I know my recruiters told me not to get a sunburn and "live in a bubble" till meps, but I still went since it was cloudy. I was wondering if a light sunburn would get me denied first time around or maybe I would be fine? For those wondering, Im going in with an OP 40 airborne infantry contract.
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A while ago, I attempted to join the army and I went down to meps in Florida..I did everything good except the duck walk because I had no idea what it was. There was no video, my recruiter didn’t show me.
I got temp dq’d with the notes reading that I need to focus on my balance before returning.
I’ve been working on it and it’s pretty good now. Tomorrow, I go to my recruiter to make sure I’m doing it properly.
I was wondering two things:
1) what happens if I go back and mess up the duck walk after being previously disqualified? This makes me nervous. Do I get permanently disqualified at that point? If so, is there an appeals process?
2) do you have any duck walk tips for a guy who’s 6”8 and 276 pounds?
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A buddy of mine is currently trying to get into the Chair Force but needs to have tattoos on his fingers removed first. He's going to a shop soon but worried that the scars will prevent him from joining AF. Does the US Army have any restrictions like that? I'm aware that hand tattoos aside from a wedding ring is not allowed, but I've never considered removed tattoos.
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I just cleared my battalion. Signatures from everybody including my commander and S1. I still have 20 day till my terminal leave. However I was on this month long KP detail which lasts till after my leave date. Do I still have to report to that or does my unit have to find someone to replace me? And if I still have to go when do I stop going? My SL doesn’t know because he says since I cleared I don’t fall under him or my platoon anymore.
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What is the likelihood of being stationed at Ft. Campbell?
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Leaving for BCT in a month, worried about run time. Still runnining a 9:45 mile (down from 14 a month ago), need to get under 8:30. Will BCT whip the remaining time out of me? Stupid question, I know. I've been training like crazy, so I'm not being lazy. Hired a personal trainer a month ago. He's a retired marine drill, pushes me like a... marine. (Or maybe he's not.)
Then again they just shipped a kid who couldn't run 20 yards without wanting to pass out. So I shouldn't worry?
In-b4: "u gon die" "fuck usarec" fuck cooks" and maybe CSM Airborne will school me.
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Will BH hurt my career?

I have been reading all day about this on this subreddit and I have seen answers from both sides. I called the hospital today and they said it will not affect my career. I am by no means suicidal at all, I love my life. Just moderately depressed lately and have lots of time on my hands while snowbirding. I have a long career planned ahead of me and plan on doing a lot with it. And I do not want to throw it all away by seeing a BH therapist because of some stupid issue I can just suck it up about. I just would rather get help than not.
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I hate the color blue!
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How often are fisters actually used in combat? And how hard is it to become a jfo in a airborne unit? Thx
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Hello everyone, is it possible to earn the Space Badge as a 91B? If so, how hard would it be to earn it?
Thanks for the help and TYFYS.
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