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Film Rankings with Explanations, Ratings, and Tiers

During quarantine, I've had the opportunity to rewatch every movie in relatively short succession. I've seen them all 2-10 times and have been a lifelong Bond fan. I enjoy every Bond film, even the "bad" ones, but I wanted to try and rank them. I used a scoring system to help me, but ultimately went with my gut (e.g. License to Kill MUST be better than The World is Not Enough). I thought a tier system of ranking was useful, because it really is splitting hairs to rank some of these. Feel free to critique my ratings, my ratings weightings, and opinions!

You could say I have too much time on my hands
Tier 7: The Worst
  1. Die Another Day: Best Sword Fight
- Why it's not irredeemable: For being the lowest ranked film on this list, it's not without its moments. Bond getting caught, tortured, then escaping from MI6 was interesting and novel. The ice hotel was neat, as well as the chase scene. I'll even defend the much maligned invisible car, as the Aston Martin Vanquish is quite a car.
- Why it's not higher: Personally, I think Halle Berry is a terrible Bond girl, alternating between damsel in distress and super woman as the plot demands it. Moreover, Graves and the plot in general is pretty cheesy and boring. Perhaps most damaging is the deadly serious tone of the movie, which doesn't even provide the fun and excitement Brosnan's films generally provide the viewer.
- Most under-appreciated part: The fencing scene is the best action scene of the entire movie. It's surprising it took Bond this long to fence, but seeing them go at it across the club was a blast.

Tier 6: Disappointing
  1. Quantum of Solace: Best Car Chase
- Why it's this high: The action is quite good, likely meriting the distinction of the best car chase in the entire series (the pre-credits sequence). Mathis is a good ally and it is sad to see him go.
- Why it's not higher: My biggest beef with Craig's Bond films is that they are too serious, so when the plot and script isn't top-notch, the movie watching experience is just kind of dull. Quantum of Solace takes a bold risk in making the first Bond sequel, but unfortunately it's just not that good. Greene seems like a rather pathetic Bond villain, and his henchman (the worst in the series?) ends up in a neck-brace after getting tripped by Camilla. Also, the shaky cam is distracting and exhausting.
- Most under-appreciated part: I actually thing the theme song is pretty good! Maybe I'm just too much of a Jack White groupie, but I think it rocks.

  1. Moonraker: Best Locales
- Why it's this high: I'm pleased to see Jaws making a return, as he is an amazing henchman. On that note, the pre-credits sequence with Bond and Jaws falling out of the plane is exhilarating. Holly Goodhead is a very good Bond girl, beautiful, smart, and competent. Roger Moore always does an excellent job playing the role with suavity and wit.
- Why it's not higher: Gosh it's cheesy. Particularly egregious is Jaws' love story. The theme song is terrible and Bond doesn't have any solid allies besides Goodhead and Jaws.
- Most under-appreciated part: They really go all out with the settings here. Obviously, space is pretty polarizing, but I think Bond clearly should go to space at SOME point during the series. In addition, Italy and Brazil were gorgeous views, while Drax's estate is magnificent.

  1. Spectre: Best Shooting
- Why it's this high: Rewatching this for the second time, I realized Lea Seydoux does a good job as the Bond girl, and it's actually quite believable she and James could work out, as she is the daughter of an assassin and can understand him (as Blofeld points out). Seeing Bond show off his marksmanship was quite satisfying, especially that one long shot during the escape from Blofeld's compound. Bonus points for Bond's DB10 and resurrecting the DB5.
- Why it's not higher: The fatal flaw of this film is making Blofeld Bond's adopted brother. How did Bond not recognize him? How is Blofeld able to keep himself secret from British intelligence yet every criminal worth his salt knows of him? The worst part is that it actually cheapens the plot of the other Craig movies. I believe the Bond franchise should stay clear from sequels from here on out. Yes, they can weave a great story if done correctly, but it's so much more difficult to make great sequels (e.g. Star Wars only made two worthy sequels in seven tries) than to do one-offs. As usual for a Craig film, Bond has little charisma (save for his surprisingly good rapport with Moneypenny) and little in the way of jokes to lighten the mood.
- Most under-appreciated part: The train fight scene with Dave Bautista is great! Gosh it was awesome to see them go at it, break through walls, and a priceless expression on Bautista's face when he knows he's done. Bautista is the first decent henchman since the 90s, so glad to see the series go back to this staple.

  1. The Man with the Golden Gun: Best Potential, Worst Execution
- Why it's this high: This Bond movie frustrates more than any other, as it has the potential to be an all-time great. Bond's debriefing starts off with promise, as it turns out the world's top assassin is gunning for Bond! For the first time in the series, Bond seems vulnerable! M makes a hilarious quip as to who would try to kill Bond ("jealous husbands ... the list is endless"). Furthermore, the legendary Christopher Lee is possible the best Bond villain, a rare peer of 007.
- Why it's not higher: Unfortunately, the movie opts to change course so that it's just Maud Adams trying to get Bond to kill Scaramanga. Goodnight is beautiful, but maybe the most inept Bond girl of all-time. They used a SLIDE WHISTLE, ruining one of the coolest Bond stunts ever (the car jump).
- Most under-appreciated part: Nick Nack is a splendid henchman, showing the role can be more than just a strongman.

  1. Diamonds Are Forever: Great Beginning and Ending, but Bad Everywhere Else
- Why it's this high: Is there another Bond with such a great contrast between the beginning/ending and everything in between? Connery shows his tough side, as he muscles his way through the pre-credits scene. Particularly good was the part where he seduces the woman, then uses her bikini top to choke her. At the end, Bond expertly uses his wine knowledge to detect something is amiss, then dispatches Kidd and Wint in style. Other cool scenes include Bond scaling the building to reach Blofeld and Bond driving the Mustang through the alley.
- Why it's not higher: This is one of the films that I find myself liking less and less over time. Vegas, and especially the space laboratory scene, just seem cheesy. Connery is officially too old at this point, and Jill St. John just isn't a very compelling Bond girl. I would've preferred to have seen more of Plenty O'Toole, but alas 'twas not meant to be. Leiter is uninspired as well. Having Bond go after Blofeld for the millionth time just seems tired at this point.
- Most under-appreciated part: Mr. Kidd and Wint are the creepiest henchmen in the Bond universe, but I'd argue they are some of the best. Their banter and creative modes of execution are quite chilling and thrilling.

  1. A View to a Kill: Best Theme
- Why it's this high: Is it a hot take to not have View in the bottom five? Let me explain. I contend Duran Duran's theme is the very best. The ending fight scene on the Golden Gate Bridge is actually one of the most iconic ending set pieces in the series. The plot is stellar on paper, as the horse racing part was a very Bondian side story, and the idea of an attack on Silicon Valley actually seems even more plausible today.
- Why it's not higher: It's self-evident that Moore is way too old for the part. Some parts are just mind-blowingly ridiculous, such as the fire truck chase scene through San Francisco and the part where Stacey is caught unaware by a blimp behind her. Speaking of Stacey, she may be beautiful, but she spends most of the movie shrieking whenever something goes wrong.
- Most under-appreciated part: The scene with Bond and Ivanova is cool (I always like it when he interacts with other spies) and quite entertaining how he fools her with the cassettes.

Tier 5: Below Average
  1. Octopussy: The Most Characteristically Roger Moore Bond Film
- Why it's this high: Maud Adams has great screen presence as Octopussy, and her Amazonian-like women are cool to watch fight. Bond's deft swipe of the egg was nicely done. On a related aside, I wish Bond films would emphasize Bond's intellect more, as it seems the 60s and 70s films would allow Bond to showcase his vast knowledge more frequently than he does today. Gobinda is a fierce henchman, while India in general is a cool location. The plot is realistic, yet grand (war-mongering Russian general tries to detonate a nuke to get NATO to turn on itself).
- Why it's not higher: This is the first Moore film where he simply was too old and shouldn't have been cast. Yes, it's too cheesy at times, most infamously during the Tarzan yell. Bond also doesn't use any cool vehicles.
- Most under-appreciated part: People tend to focus too much on Bond dressing as a clown, but the scene where Bond furiously tries to get to the bomb in time to defuse it is one of the tensest moments in the series. Moore's "Dammit there's a bomb in there!" really demonstrated the gravity of the situation (I get goosebumps during that part).

  1. Tomorrow Never Dies: Most Tasteful Humor
- Why it's this high: Brosnan really settles into the role well here. He gives the most charismatic Bond performance in 15 years or so. His quip "I'm just here at Oxford, brushing up on a little Danish" is an all-time great Bond line. Teri Hatcher is stunning as Paris Carver, delivering a memorable performance with her limited screen time. The plot is original and ages well, highlighting the potential downsides of media power, while Carver is an above average villain.
- Why it's not higher: Wai Lin is good for action, but the chemistry between her and Bond is non-existent. By the end of the movie, Pryce just seem silly (especially the scene where he mocks Wai Lin's martial arts skills). There aren't any good Bond allies, as Jack Wade doesn't impress in his return to the franchise. In general though, the movie has few things terribly wrong with it, it just doesn't excel in many ways.
- Most under-appreciated part: Dr. Kaufman is hysterical. At first, I thought "this is weird," but by the end of the scene I'm cracking up. I genuinely wish they found someway to bring him back for World, but c'est la vie.

  1. The World Is Not Enough: Less than the Sum of its Parts
- Why it's this high: According to my spreadsheet, this is a top 10 Bond film, while on my first watch on this film I thought it was bottom five. I think the truth is that it's somewhere in between. I like the settings, everything from the temporary MI-6 headquarters to Azerbaijan. Elektra is an all-time great Bond girl, with a nice plot twist and character arc. The glasses where Bond sees through women's clothing are hilarious. The sense of danger is strong, with everyone from Bond to M being in danger. The return of Zukovsky is a nice plus.
- Why it's not higher: I think two things really doom this film. First, Renard is totally wasted a henchman. The idea of him not feeling pain is a cool one, but he just seems boring and extraneous. I don't even think Carlyle acted poorly, he was just misused. Secondly, the ending (after Bond killing Elektra which is quite good) is rather terrible. The whole scene in the sub just isn't entertaining or engaging.
- Most under-appreciated part: I'm going to defend Denise Richards as Christmas Jones. Although no Ursula Andress, Richards is absolutely gorgeous and did not actively make Bond's mission more difficult, which is more than some Bond girls can say *cough Britt Ekland. In particular, I found her introductory scene to be quite memorable and convincing. Also, the Christmas quip at the end is quite cheeky.

Tier 4: Solid
  1. The Living Daylights:
- Why it's this high: Dalton brings a breath of fresh air to the franchise here. His more serious take makes for interesting movies that seem more unique than most. I'm happy to see this subreddit appreciate Dalton more than the casual fun does, but I wouldn't go as far as the Dalton fanboys and say he's the best Bond or anything like that. I do wish he got the role sooner and did more films. Moving on to Daylights, it's got a good intro for Dalton and good plot in general. Surprisingly, Bond's fidelity doesn't bother me one bit, as it actually makes sense that Kara falls in love with James by the end, given all they've gone through.
- Why it's not higher: The biggest reason is that the villain is just terrible. Whitaker seems silly and pathetic, a terrible contrast to Dalton's serious nature. I think Whitaker might be the worst in the series, and a Bond movie can't be great without a good villain. Also, Dalton doesn't have much charm and is abysmal at one-liners, which, in my opinion, IS a facet of the perfect James Bond.
- Most under-appreciated part: The Aston Martin Vantage is a beautiful car, and the chase scene across the ice is great! It's both exciting and funny! Not sure why people don't talk about this chase scene and this car more; it's arguably the highlight of the movie for me.

  1. Thunderball: The Most Beautiful
- Why it's this high: Thunderball used to be top five for me and here is why. The underwater scenes, the setting, the score, and the Bond girls are beautiful even to this day. Domino is excellent, while Volpe is a tour de force, oozing sexuality and danger. I think the underwater parts are interesting and novel, creating a staple of sorts for the franchise. The DB 5 is always welcome, and the jetpack use was quite cool for the time (and to some extent now).
- Why it's not higher: Some would say it's boring, while I would more generously admit the plot is slow. Furthermore, the theme song is all-time bad (apparently they could have used Johnny Cash!!!), and there is no great henchman for Bond to dispatch.
- Most under-appreciated part: Two plot ideas I liked a lot: Bond being injured and needing rehab, plus the part where all the 00s meet up and then are sent to the corners of the globe.

  1. Never Say Never Again: Guilty Pleasure
- Why it's this high: Rewatching Never for the third time, I was struck by how fun this movie is. It's exciting, funny, and fast-paced. Basically, it's a more exciting version of Thunderball, with better pacing and better humor. I think Irvin Kershner did a great job managing this star studded cast. Carrera is a firecracker as Blush, Sydow is a convincing Blofeld, and Basinger is a classic Bond girl. Connery clearly has a blast returning to the role, doing a great job despite his advanced age. If anything, this one might not be ranked high enough.
- Why it's not higher: The music is terrible. Normally I don't notice these things, but one can't help but notice how dreadful this one is. The theme is awful as well. I'd argue this is the worst music of any Bond film.
- Most under-appreciated part: The humor! This is one of the funniest Bonds, as I found myself laughing out loud at various parts (e.g. Mr Bean!).

  1. The Spy Who Loved Me: Best Intro
- Why it's this high: There's a lot to love about this one, so I get why this ranks highly for many. It is simply the best introduction, starting with Bond romancing a woman, followed by a skii chase, then jumping off the cliff and pulling the Union Jack parachute! The Lotus is a top 3 Bond car. Jaws is a superb henchman. Triple X was an excellent Bond girl, deadly, charming, and beautiful. Of course, Moore is charming and the locations are exotic (Egypt was a cool locale). If I had to pick one Moore movie for a newcomer to watch, it would be this one.
- Why it's not higher: The theme song is bad, and Stromberg is a below average villain. I also think the last 45 minutes or so of the movie kind of drags.
- Most under-appreciated part: The whole dynamic between Bond and Triple X is great. Whenever Bond movies show Bond squaring off against other spies (see View to a Kill, Goldeneye) it's just a pleasure to watch.

  1. Live and Let Die: Most Suave
- Why it's this high: Roger Moore superbly carves out his own take on Bond in an excellent addition to the franchise. The boat chase is my favorite in the series, and Live and Let Die is my second favorite theme. Jane Seymour is a good Bond girl, while Tee Hee and Kananga are a solid villain/henchman duo. Unpopular opinion: I find J.W. Pepper to be hilarious.
- Why it's not higher: The introduction isn't very good, as Bond isn't even included! The second climax with the voodoo isn't great. Bond blowing up Kananga has aged terribly.
- Most under-appreciated part: When Bond is visited in his apartment by M and Moneypenny, Bond rushes to hide his girl from his coworkers. Finally, when they leave and he unzips the dress with his magnetic watch is one of the best uses of a Bond gadget in the series, showcasing why Moore might be the most charming Bond of them all.

  1. You Only Live Twice: Best Blofeld
- Why it's this high: Just your classic, fun Sean Connery Bond movie. It was a great decision to send Bond to Japan for his first Asian visit, giving the movie a fresh feel. The ending set piece battle is potentially the best of this staple of 60s/70s Bonds. Tiger Tanaka is one of Bond's cooler allies. Pleasance killed it as Blofeld; when I think of Blofeld, I think of his take. In what could have been cheesy, he is actually somewhat frightening.
- Why it's not higher: The whole "we need to make you look Japanese" part seems both unrealistic (who is he really fooling?) plus surprisingly impotent coming from Tiger Tanaka who seems to be a competent and connected man otherwise. Honestly though, this movie doesn't have a major weakness.
- Most under-appreciated part: The fight scene with the guard in the executive's office is probably the best hand-to-hand fight in the series up until that point.

Tier 3: Excellent
  1. Dr. No: The Most Spy-Like
- Why it's this high: Nearly 60 years later, this film is still a blast to watch, due in no small part to its focus on the little things of being a spy. I adore the scenes where Bond does the little things spies (presumably) do, such as putting a hair across the door, or showing Bond playing solitaire while waiting to spring his trap on Prof. Dent. I also enjoy the suspense of Bond sleuthing around the island, while he and the viewer are completely unaware of whom the villain is until quite late in the film. It's easy to take for granted now, but this film established so many series traditions that were ingenious. My personal favorite is Bond's introduction at the card table: "Bond .... James Bond."
- Why it's not higher: The film just doesn't have the payoff it deserves. Maybe it's just a result of the time and budget, but from the point Bond escapes on, it's just mediocre. Particularly egregious is the "fight" between Dr. No and Bond where No meets his demise.
- Most under-appreciated part: Ursula Andress was a surprisingly well developed Bond girl, with a shockingly violent backstory (she was raped!). Obviously, she is beautiful and the beach scene is iconic, but I was pleasantly surprised to conclude she is more than just eye candy.

  1. License to Kill: The Grittiest
- Why it's this high: On my first watch, this was my least favorite Bond film, as I thought it was too dark and violent to befit 007. By my third time watching, I've decided it's actually one of the best. Fortunately, I don't have to go on my "Ackshually, Dalton did a good job" rant with this subreddit. I liked the wedding intro and the concept of a revenge arc for Leiter (although come on he should've been killed by a freaking shark). Also, Lamora and (especially) Bouvier are great Bond girls. Bouvier is both competent and beautiful, and it's great to see Bond choose her at the end.
- Why it's not higher: The theme song is atrocious, Dalton is so angry (dare I say charmless?) the whole time it's almost puzzling why Bouvier and Lamora fall for him, and Bond doesn't use any cool vehicles.
- Most under-appreciated part: Sanchez is actually a sneaky good Bond villain.

  1. For Your Eyes Only: The Most Underrated
- Why it's this high: I think Moore is a bit underrated as Bond. Yes, he was too old towards the end and yes, his movies were at times too campy, but he himself played the role admirably. He was the most charming and witty of all the Bonds, so by the time he got his first relatively serious plot to work with, he hit it out of the park. Anyhow, the climactic mountaintop assault is one of my favorite Bond action climaxes. Columbo is one of the best Bond allies, and the plot twist where he turns out to be good and Kristatos bad was well-done.
- Why it's not higher: The intro is just silly. Bibi's romantic infatuation with Bond is just ...er... uncomfortable?
- Most under-appreciated part: The theme song is a banger. What a chorus!

Tier 2: Exceptional
  1. Skyfall: The Sharpest Film (From Plot to Aesthetics)
- Why it's this high: One of the best plots of the entire series. The idea of an older Bond who had lost a step, along with making M the focus point of the movie, works very well. Seeing Bond's childhood home is also pretty cool. Bardem's take on Silva is delightful and a lot of fun to watch. Even the cinematography is a series peak, while Adele's them is excellent.
- Why it's not higher: One thing most Craig Bond films suffer from is the lack of a Bond-worthy henchman. Skyfall is no exception. More importantly, Bond girls are mostly irrelevant to the film. Yes, Severine is both beautiful and interesting, but she's scarcely twenty minutes of the film.
- Most under-appreciated part: Setting the new supporting characters up nicely. The Moneypenny backstory was well-done. Casting Ralph Fiennes as the new M is a great choice in of itself, but he also got a nice chuck of background story to help us going forward.

  1. Casino Royale: The First Bond Film I'd Show a Series Newcomer
- Why it's this high: Craig's take on Bond feels like a breath of fresh air. In particular, his hand-to-hand combat scenes are so much better (and more believable) than any other Bond. The parkour chase scene is one of the best chase scenes in the series. Le Chifre is an excellent villain, but, more importantly, Vesper is an all-time great Bond girl. The conversation between Vesper and Bond on the train is probably the most interesting of any film. Bonus points for Jeffrey Wright as Leiter and the Aston Martin DBS.
- Why it's not higher: There are hardly any humorous parts or much charm displayed by Bond in general. More importantly, the movie should have just ended when Bond wakes up in rehab. The rest of the movie feels confused and superfluous.
- Most under-appreciated part: The decision to change from chemin de fer to poker makes for much better (and understandable!) cinema. The poker scenes are the best of Bond's many gambling scenes throughout the series.

  1. Goldeneye: The Most Fun
- Why it's this high: Wow, rewatching Goldeneye I was struck by how entertaining the whole thing is. The opening jump is breath taking, the scene where Bond drives his evaluator around is hilarious, and Xenia Onatopp is a livewire. Sean Bean is a formidable villain as 006, and a great foil to James. Bond and Judi Dench's first scene together is amazing. Goldeneye feels like the first modern Bond, yet so true to the predecessors. Wade and especially Zukovsky are excellent allies.
- Why it's not higher: Simonova is a forgettable Bond girl. She's not annoying, unattractive, or acted poorly, but is just below average in most regards (looks, back story, chemistry with Bond, plot).
- Most under-appreciated part: the action is just so much better than any Bond before it

  1. From Russia with Love: The Best Henchman (Red Grant)
- Why it's this high: Interesting settings, beautiful women, and an engaging story make this a classic. I'm not the first to point out that the scenes with Grant and Bond aboard the train are some of the best in the entire series. Grant is one of the few villains who feels like a match for 007. Furthermore, the addition of Desmond Llewyn as Q was crucial and Kerim Bey is one of the better Bond allies.
- Why it's not higher: The helicopter scene should've just been omitted, especially when combined with the subsequent boat chase. It's just awkward to watch.
- Most under-appreciated part: The gypsy scenes are quite exotic and entertaining.

  1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service: The Most Heartfelt
- Why it's this high: James and Tracy's love story is charming, and when she dies at the end, this is the one and only time in the entire series where the viewer feels genuinely sad. Diana Rigg did an excellent job convincing the audience Bond could finally fall in love with one girl. The skiing scenes were beautifully filmed, and the score was exemplary. Personally, I quite liked Lazenby's take; however, some of his lines and jokes fall flat. To his credit, he looks and acts like Bond more than any other actor.
- Why it's not higher: Honestly, it does drag at times in the first half, plus there is no theme song!
- Most under-appreciated part: Bond's Aston Martin DBS is a beautiful car, combining 60's sports-car beauty with Aston Martin's elegance.

Tier 1: The Best
  1. Goldfinger: The quintessential Bond
- Why it's this high: From the opening ("Positively shocking") to the seduction of Pussy Galore at the end, this film has it all. Goldfinger is an all time great villain, while Odd Job is an exceptional henchman. Connery delivers a master performance, and drives THE classic Bond Car, ejector seat included. The reason I put it #1 is not necessarily because it is the best film (although it is great), it checks all the boxes of what a perfect Bond film should do.
- Why it's not higher: I cannot think of any notable imperfections.
- Most under-appreciated part: The golf scene between Bond and Goldfinger is a delight to watch, demonstrating Bond's wits for the first and only time on the golf course.
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The Daily Mail

Every weekday evening at around 9pm, in the Daily Mail’s headquarters in Kensington, west London, the slightly stooping, six-foot three-inch figure of Paul Dacre emerges into the main open-plan office where editors, sub-editors and designers are in the final stages of preparing pages for the next day’s paper. The atmosphere changes instantly; everyone becomes tense, as though waiting for a thunderstorm. Dacre begins with a low growl, like an angry tiger. His voice rises as several pages are denounced, along with those responsible. Imprecations reverberate across the office, sometimes punctuated by the strangely anomalous command to a senior colleague, “Don’t resist me, darling.” Pages must be replaced or redesigned, their order changed, headlines altered. New pictures are required with new captions. Dacre waves his long arms, hammers the air with his hands, shouts even louder and, if particularly agita­ted, scratches himself.
Nobody tries to argue. For all the fear and exasperation – “He never thinks of logistics and he has no idea of what’s an unreasonable request,” says one former sub-editor – there is also admiration. Dacre, Fleet Street’s best-paid editor, who earned almost £1.8m in 2012, has been in charge of the Mail since 1992 and, by general consent, is the most successful editor of his generation. The paper sells an average of 1.5 million copies on weekdays, 2.4 million on Saturdays. Only the Sun sells more but, on Saturdays, the Mail has just moved ahead. Its 4.3 million daily readers include more from the top three social classes (A, B and C1) than the Times, Guardian, Independent and Financial Times combined. Its long-standing middle-market rival, the Daily Express, slightly ahead when Dacre took over, now sells less than a third as many copies.
Under Dacre, the Mail has won Newspaper of the Year six times in the annual British Press Awards – twice as many prizes as any other paper. If anything, its authority and clout have grown in the past two years as Rupert Murdoch’s Sun has struggled with the fallout from the hacking scandal. Politicians no longer fear Murdoch as they once did. They still fear Dacre. The opposition from Murdoch’s papers to the government’s proposals that a royal charter should regulate the press is muted. Dacre’s Mail is loud and clear about the threat to “our free press”. Summoned twice before the Leveson inquiry – the second time because he had accused the actor Hugh Grant of lying in his evidence – he didn’t give an inch.
Everyone who has ever worked for Dacre, who has just passed his 65th birthday, praises his almost uncanny instinct for the issues and stories that will hold the attention of “Middle England”. No other editor so deftly balances the mix of subjects and moods that holds readers’ attention: serious and frivolous, celebrities and ordinary people, urban, suburban and rural, some stories provoking anger, others tears. No other editor chooses, with such unerring and lethal precision, the issues, often half forgotten, that will create panic and fear among politicians. “He’s the most consummate newspaperman I’ve ever met,” says Charles Burgess, a former features editor who also occupied high-level roles at the Guardian and Independent. “He balances the flow of each day’s paper in his head.”
“He articulates the dreams, fears and hopes of socially insecure members of the suburban middle class,” says Peter Oborne, the Mail’s former political columnist now at the Daily Telegraph. “It’s a daily performance of genius.”
But Murdoch’s decline leaves the Mail under more scrutiny than ever. Is Dacre at last running out of road? Rumours circulate in the national newspaper industry that members of the Rothermere family, owners of the Daily Mail, are increasingly nervous of the controversy that Dacre stirs up, notably this year with its attack on Ralph Miliband, father of the Labour leader, as “the man who hated Britain”. More than any other editor since Kelvin MacKenzie ruled at the Sun – and, among other outrages, alleged that drunkenness among Liverpool football fans led to the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 – Dacre attracts visceral loathing. His enemies see the Mail, to quote the Huffington Post writer and NS columnist Mehdi Hasan (who was duly monstered in the Mail’s pages), as “immigrant-bashing, woman-hating, Muslim-smearing, NHS-undermining, gay-baiting”.
The loathing is returned, with interest. In Dacre’s mind, the country is run, in effect, by affluent metropolitan liberals who dominate Whitehall, the leadership of the main political parties, the universities, the BBC and most public-sector professions. As he once said, “. . . no day is too busy or too short not to find time to tweak the noses of the liberal­ocracy”. The Mail, in his view, speaks for ordinary people, working hard and struggling with their bills, conventional in their views, ambitious for their children, loyal to their country, proud of owning their home, determined to stand on their own feet. These people, Dacre believes, are not given a fair hearing in the national media and the Mail alone fights for them. It is incomprehensible to him – a gross category error – that critics should be obsessed by the Mail’s power and influence when the BBC, funded by a compulsory poll tax, dominates the news market. It uses this position, he argues, to push a dogmatically liberal agenda, hidden behind supposed neutrality. Scarcely an issue of the Mail passes without a snipe and sometimes a full barrage in the news pages, leaders or signed opinion columns at BBC “bias”.
To its critics, however, the Mail is as biased as it’s possible to be, and none too fussy about the facts. In the files of the Press Complaints Commission, you will find records of 687 complaints against the Mail which led either to a PCC adjudication or to a resolution negotiated, at least partially, after the PCC’s intervention. The number far exceeds that for any other British newspaper: the files show 394 complaints against the Sun, 221 against the Daily Telegraph, 115 against the Guardian. The complaints will serve as a charge sheet against the Mail and its editor.
This year, the Mail reported that disabled people are exempt from the bedroom tax; that asylum-seekers had “targeted” Scotland; that disabled babies were being euthanised under the Liverpool Care Pathway; that a Kenyan asylum-seeker had committed murders in his home country; that 878,000 recipients of Employment Support Allowance had stopped claiming “rather than face a fresh medical”; that a Portsmouth primary school had denied pupils water on the hottest day of the year because it was Ramadan; that wolves would soon return to Britain; that nearly half the electricity produced by windfarms was discarded. All these reports were false.
Mail executives argue that it gets more complaints than its rivals because it reaches more readers (particularly online, where the paper’s stories are repeated and others originate), prints more pages and tackles more serious and politically challenging issues. They point out that only six complaints were upheld after going through all the PCC’s stages and that the Sun and Telegraph, despite fewer complaints, had more upheld. But the PCC list, though it contains some of the Mail’s favourite targets such as asylum-seekers and “scroungers”, merely scratches the surface. Other complainants turned to the law. In the past ten years, the Mail has reported that the dean of RAF College Cranwell showed undue favouritism to Muslim students (false); the film producer Steve Bing hired a private investigator to destroy the reputation of his former lover Liz Hurley (false); the actress Sharon Stone left her four-year-old child alone in a car while she dined at a restaurant (false); the actor Rowan Atkinson needed five weeks’ treatment at a clinic for depression (false); a Tamil refugee, on hunger strike in Parliament Square, was secretly eating McDonald’s burgers (false); the actor Kate Winslet lied over her exercise regime (false); the singer Elton John ordered guests at his Aids charity ball to speak to him only if spoken to (false); Amama Mbabazi, the prime minister of Uganda, benefited personally from the theft of £10m in foreign aid (false). In all these cases, the Mail paid damages.
Then there are the subjects that the Mail and other right-wing papers will never drop. One is the EU, which, the Mail reported last year, proposed to ban books such as Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series that portray “traditional” families. Another is local authorities, forever plotting to expel Christmas from public life and replace it with the secular festival of Winterval. It does not matter how often these reports are denied and their flimsy provenance exposed; the Mail keeps on running them and its columnists cite them as though they were accepted wisdom.
The paper gets away with publishing libels and falsehoods and with invasions of privacy because the penalties are insignificant. Often the victims can’t afford to sue and, if they can, the Mail group, with £282m annual profits even in these straitened times, can live with the costs. The PCC, even when its rules allow it to admit a complaint, has no powers to impose fines or to stipulate the prominence of corrections.
Besides, many victims don’t pursue complaints because they fear the stress of going to war with a powerful newspaper. They included the late writer Siân Busby who, the paper wrote in 2008, had received “the all-clear from lung cancer” after “a gruelling year”. In fact, the diagnosis had come less than six months earlier and she hadn’t received the “all-clear”. More important, as her husband, the BBC journalist Robert Peston, explained in the James Cameron Memorial Lecture in November this year, she wanted to keep the news out of the public domain to protect her children.
“The Mail got away with it,” Peston said. “As it often does.” (The Mail, in a statement after the lecture, said the information had been obtained from Busby herself and that the reporter had identified himself as a Mail writer.) In his 2008 book Flat Earth News, the Guardian journalist Nick Davies compared the paper to a footballer who, to protect his goal, will deliberately bring down an opponent. “Brilliant and corrupt,” Davies wrote, “the Daily Mail is the professional foul of contemporary Fleet Street.”
Even a list of official complaints and court cases doesn’t quite capture why the Mail attracts such fear and loathing. It has a unique capacity for targeting individuals and twisting the knife day after day, without necessarily lapsing into inaccuracies that could lead either to libel writs or censure by the PCC. For instance, as publication of the Leveson report on press regulation approached, the Mail devoted 12 pages of one issue – and several more pages of subsequent issues – to an “exposure” of Sir David Bell, a name then almost entirely unknown even to well-informed members of the public. A Leveson assessor and former Financial Times chairman, Bell was allegedly at the centre of a “quasi-masonic” network of “elitist liberals”, bent on gagging the press and preventing freedom of expression. This network, based on the “leadership” training organisation Common Purpose, had spawned the Media Standards Trust, of which Bell was a co-founder, which in turn had spawned the lobby group Hacked Off, an important influence on Leveson. To the Mail, this was a perfect illustration of how well-connected liberals, through networks of apparently innocuous organisations, conspire to undermine national traditions and values.
The paper also targets groups, often the weak and vulnerable. The Federation of Poles in Great Britain complained to the PCC that the Mail ran 80 headlines between 2006 and 2008 linking Poles to problems in the NHS and schools, unemployment among Britons, drug smuggling, rape and so on. Most of the stories, as the federation acknowledged, were newsworthy and largely accurate. The objection was to the way they were presented and to the drip, drip effect of continually highlighting the Polish connection so that, as the federation’s spokesman put it, the average reader’s heart “skips a beat . . . with either indignation or alarm”. The PCC eventually brokered a settlement that led to publication of a letter from the federation.

Yet there is something magnificent about the Mail’s confidence and single-mindedness. Other papers, trimming to focus groups, muffle their message, but the Mail projects its world-view relentlessly, with supreme technical skill, from almost every page. It is a paper led by its opinions, not by news. It is not noted for big exclusives, nor even for rapid reaction. “We were often known as the day-late paper,” a former reporter recalls. “Dacre wouldn’t really be interested in a story until he’d seen it somewhere else. We would sometimes give our exclusives to other journalists. Dacre surveys all the other papers, selects the right lines for the next day and follows them.”
Although Dacre has little enthusiasm for new technology – he still doesn’t have a computer on his desk – his paper is perfectly primed for the age of instant 24-hour news, when the challenge is not so much to find and report news as to select, interpret and elaborate on it. Long before other papers recognised the merits of a features-led or views-led approach, the Mail under Dacre was doing it.
The Mail gives its readers a sense of belonging in an increasingly complex and unsettling world. Part of the trick is to make the world seem more threatening than it is: crime is rising, migrants flooding the country, benefit scroungers swindling the taxpayer, standards of education falling, wind turbines taking over the countryside. Almost anything you eat or drink could give you cancer. Above all, the family – “the greatest institution on God’s green earth”, Dacre told a writer for the New Yorker last year – is under continuous assault. The Mail assures readers they are not alone in their anxieties about this changing world. It is a paper to be read, not on trains or buses or in offices, but in the peace and quiet of your home, preferably with an old-fashioned coal fire blazing in the hearth.
“Readers like certainty,” says a former Mail reporter. “Newspapers that have a wavering grip on their ideology are the ones that struggle. The Mail is like Coke. It’s consistent, reliable. Dacre is one of the best brand managers in the business. He lives the brand.”
Dacre lives mostly in the shadows. His two appearances before the Leveson inquiry gave the wider public a rare glimpse; apart from Desert Island Discs in 2004, he never appears on television or speaks on radio. If the Mail needs to defend itself (and it deigns to do so only in the most desperate circumstances), the job is assigned to an underling. Requests for on-the-record interviews are invariably refused, as they were for this article. A rare exception was made for the British Journalism Review, whose then editor, Bill Hagerty (a former editor of the People), in­terviewed Dacre in the tenth year of his editorship. There was also that audience with the New Yorker last year. Public lectures are equally unusual for him, though he gave the Cudlipp Lecture (in memory of Hugh Cudlipp, a Daily Mirror editor who was an early hero of his) in 2007, and addressed the Society of Editors in 2008.
Even former staff members mostly prefer not to be quoted when talking about Dacre. If they agree to be quoted, they wish the quotations to be checked with them before publication. BBC Radio 4 used actors for several contributions to a recent profile. The journalists’ fear is not only that they may be cut off from future employment or freelance work – “The Mail pays far better than anybody else and you don’t want to jeopardise the £2,000 cheque that might drop through the letter box,” said one writer – but also that the Mail may hit back. These concerns are shared by many politicians, who are equally reluctant to be quoted.
Dacre has few social graces and even less small talk. His body language is awkward, his manner prickly. He seldom smiles and, according to one ex-columnist, “He doesn’t laugh, he just says, ‘That’s a funny remark.’” He treats women with old-fashioned courtliness, opening doors and helping them with coats, but is otherwise uncomfortable with them, perhaps because he was one of five brothers, went to an all-male school and has no daughters. He speaks gruffly, with a slight north London accent and an even fainter trace of his father’s native Yorkshire. He sometimes buries his rather florid face deep in his hands, as though exasperated with the world’s inability to share his simple, common-sense values. He became notorious for the ripeness of his language – so frequent was his use of the C-word, almost entirely directed at men, that his staff referred to “the vagina monologues” – but when Charles Burgess told him women didn’t like hearing it he was profusely apologetic. On Desert Island Discs, he confessed to shouting at staff. “Shouting creates energy,” he said. “Energy creates great headlines.”
He still shouts, but in recent years, as an insider reported, “He’s no longer the expletive volcano he once was; his barbs these days tend to concern the brainpower of his target and their supposed laziness.”
He owns three properties: a home with a mile-long drive in West Sussex (known to Mail staff as Dacre Towers), a more modest weekday residence in the central London district of Belgravia and a seven-bedroom house in Scotland with a 17,000-acre shooting estate. He is a member of the Garrick Club, and sometimes takes columnists to lunch at Mark’s Club in Mayfair, which one recipient of his hospitality described as “very decorous, the sort of place you could have gone to in the 19th century”. He sent both of his sons to Eton.
There are no stories of past or present indiscretions involving women, alcohol or drugs. Jon Holmes, a contemporary at Leeds University who is now a sports agent, recalls him as “a very cold fish; he never, ever, seemed to go out in a group for a drink or a meal or anything”. A former Mail reporter says: “We’d all be in the Harrow [a Fleet Street pub, heavily frequented by Mail journalists], and he would come in, buy a half-pint, take it to the opposite end of the bar, drink alone, and leave without speaking.”
He has an apparently stable and successful marriage to a woman he met at university, which has lasted 37 years. He frequently attends Church of England services, but is not a believer. He likes and sometimes goes out to rugby union matches, the opera and theatre – the last partly because his wife, Kathleen Dacre, is a professor of theatre studies and partly because he has a son who is a successful director and producer with surprisingly avant-garde leanings. Asked what television he watched, he once mentioned Midsomer Murders and nothing else.
He mostly eschews the trappings and opportunities of wealth and power. It is impossible to imagine him as a member of the Chipping Norton set or anything like it. He rarely dines or lunches with the powerful or fashionable, nor does he attend glitzy parties and social events. Frequently, he lunches in his office on meat and two veg. Sometimes he will lunch with politicians, but he has little respect or liking for them as a class and thinks it wise to keep his distance; Oborne recalls how, one evening, he ignored at least five increasingly urgent requests to take a call from a senior Tory minister. He declines nearly all invitations to sit on committees; his chairmanship of an official inquiry into the “30-year rule” (under which Whitehall records were kept secret for three decades) was unusual. “Editorship is not for him a route to something else,” says a former employee.

Dacre was born and spent much of his childhood in Enfield, an unremarkable middle-class suburb of north London whose inhabitants, he told the New Yorker, “were frugal, reticent, utterly self-reliant and immensely aspirational . . . suspicious of progressive values, vulgarity of any kind, self-indulgence, pretentiousness and people who know best”. Though his parents divorced late in life, his family was then (at least in his eyes) stable, happy and secure.
But the more important clue to him and his relationship with the Mail’s Middle England readership is the Sunday Express of the 1950s and 1960s under the editorship of John Gordon and then John Junor. “That paper,” Dacre told the Society of Editors, “was my journalistic primer . . . [It] was warm, aspirational, unashamedly traditional, dedicated to decency, middlebrow, beautifully written and subbed, accessible, and, above all, utterly relevant to the lives of its readers.” Talking to Hagerty, he described Junor’s Sunday Express as “one of the great papers of all time”.
After leaving school in Yorkshire at 16, his father, Peter Dacre, joined the Sunday Express at 21 and stayed there for the rest of his working life – mainly as a show-business writer but also, for short periods, as New York correspondent and foreign editor. Each Sunday that week’s paper was discussed and analysed over the Dacre family dinner table.
It was then in its heyday, selling five million copies a week, and it didn’t go into severe decline (it now sells under 440,000) until the 1980s. It was a formulaic paper, which placed the same types of stories and features in exactly the same spots week after week. As Roy Greenslade observes in Press Gang, his post-1944 history of national newspapers, it was “virtually devoid of genuine news”; what it presented as news stories were really quirky mini-features, starting, as Greenslade put it, “with lengthy scene-setting descriptions or homilies”. Its staple subjects were animals, motor cars and wartime heroes. Its biggest target was “filth”, in the theatre, the cinema, books, magazines and TV programmes.
It particularly deplored any assault on the delicate sensibilities of children. Dacre’s father criticised the BBC in 1965 for the unsuitable content of its Sunday teatime serials. Lorna Doone, he wrote, ended “gruesomely”, with a man drowning in a bog, and in the first episode of a spy serial the actors used such expressions as “damn”, “hell” and “silly bitch” at a time supposedly reserved for “family viewing”. “Have the men responsible for these programmes,” asked the elder Dacre, “forgotten that there can be no family without children? What kind of men are they? Do they have families of their own?” Another piece denounced the BBC’s Sunday evening play for “an overdose of twisted social conscience”.
The young Dacre was hooked by newspapers. He only ever wanted to be a journalist and he always had his eyes on editing: “I’m a good writer, but not a great writer,” he told Hagerty. As a child in New York, during his father’s posting there, he would wake to the clattering of the ticker-tape telex machine outside his bedroom. In school holidays, he worked as a messenger for Junor’s Sunday Express and then spent a gap year before university as a trainee on the Daily Express. At the fee-charging University College School in Hampstead, north London, he edited the school magazine, and once ran, he told the Society of Editors, “a ponderous, prolix and achingly dull” special issue about the evangelist Billy Graham. It “went down like a sodden hot cross bus”, teaching him the essential lesson, which the Mail remembers every day on every page, that the worst sin in journalism is to be boring.
To his disappointment, his application to Oxford University failed. He went instead to Leeds, where he read English and edited Union News, taking it sharply downmarket from, in his own description, “a product that looked like the then Times on Prozac” to one that ran “Leeds Lovelies” on page three. It won an award for student newspaper of the year. The paper supported a sit-in (led by the union president, Jack Straw, later a Labour cabinet minister), interviewed a student about “the delights of getting stoned”, wrote sympathetically about gay people, immigrants and homeless families, and called on students to help in “breaking down the barriers between the coloured and white communities of this town”. At the time, he subsequently claimed, he was left-wing, though Jon Holmes, who worked on Dacre’s Union News, says: “I never heard him express a political view except in favour of planned economies for third-world, though not first-world, countries.”
His left-wing period, as he calls it, continued until the Daily Express, which he joined as soon as he left Leeds, sent him to America in 1976. He stayed there for six years, latterly working for the Mail. “America,” Dacre told Hagerty, “taught me the power of the free market . . . to improve the lives of the vast majority of ordinary people.”
The Mail brought him back to London in the early 1980s and made him news editor. According to various accounts, he would “rampage through the newsroom with arms flailing like a windmill”, shouting “Go, paras, go” as he despatched reporters on stories. He climbed the hierarchy until in 1991 he became the editor of the London Evening Standard, then owned, like the Mail, by the Rothermeres’ Associated Newspapers. Circulation rose by 25 per cent in 16 months and Rupert Murdoch sounded him out about the Times editorship. To stop him leaving, the Mail editor David English resigned his chair, recommended that Dacre should replace him, and moved “upstairs” as editor-in-chief, another title that Dacre eventually inherited after English died in 1998.
Dacre’s editorship has been more successful than his mentor’s but most staff do not love him as they did English. English, though capable of great coldness to those who fell into disfavour and no less likely to fly off the handle, had charm and charisma. “He would be delighted when you rang,” a former foreign correspondent says, “and he’d want to gossip and know about everything that was going on. Sometimes we’d talk for an hour. But Paul doesn’t give good phone.”
He will invite writers into his office, push a glass of champagne into their hands and start saying their latest story is rubbish even as he does so. “And you hardly got time to finish the bloody drink,” a former reporter complains. A former executive says: “His track record for creating columnists is nil. He buys them up from elsewhere. He doesn’t home-grow talent because he doesn’t nurture and praise it. That’s where he’s unlike English.”
Dacre is a passionate and emotional man. Though the story that he sometimes sheds tears as he dictates leaders is probably apocryphal, nobody who has worked with him doubts that he is sincere in the views he and the Mail express. “He’s not an editor who wakes up in the morning and wonders what he should be thinking today,” says Simon Heffer, a Mail columnist. Another columnist, Amanda Platell, a former editor of the Sunday Mirror and press secretary to William Hague during his leadership of the Conservative Party, says: “When I was an editor, I had to second-guess my readership because they weren’t my natural constituency. Paul never has to do that.”
But while his views are mostly right-wing, he is not a reliable ally for the Conservative Party, or for anyone else. This aspect of his way of working is little understood. More than most editors, it can be said of him that he is in nobody’s pocket, not even his proprietor’s. He inherited from English a paper that was slavishly pro-Tory (“David was always in and out of No 10,” said a long-serving Mail editor), firmly pro-Europe and read mainly by people in London and the south-east. Dacre changed the politics of the paper and the demographics of its audience. Today, it is resolutely – some would say hysterically – Euro­sceptic and a far higher proportion of its readership is from Scotland and the English north and midlands. The Mail has ceased to take its line from Tory headquarters or to act as a mouthpiece for Conservative leaders. Indeed, every Tory leader since Margaret That­cher has fallen short of Dacre’s exacting standards. That applies particularly to John Major and David Cameron. According to a former columnist, Dacre regards the latter as “brash, shallow, unthinking and self-advancing” and he takes an equally jaundiced view of Boris Johnson. Twice he backed Kenneth Clarke for the party leadership, despite Clarke’s enthusiasm for the EU.
Clarke is a model for the politicians Dacre generally favours even if he disagrees with most of what they say: earthy, authentic, unpretentious, consistent in their values. Jack Straw and David Blunkett – both, like Clarke, from humble backgrounds – are other examples. For a time, Dacre took a relatively kindly view of Tony Blair, having been impressed by the future prime minister’s “tough on crime” approach as shadow home secretary. But he was always suspicious of Blair’s socially liberal views on marriage, gays and drugs and he told Hagerty that once Labour attained power, he saw the new government as “manipulative, dictatorial and slightly corrupt”. He wished, he added, that Blair had “done as much for the family as he’s done for gay rights”.
Gordon Brown, however, was smiled upon as no other politician had ever been. The two men developed a strange friendship, involving meals together and walks in the park, which one Mail columnist described to me as “the attraction of the two weirdest boys in the playground”. Brown, Dacre told Hagerty, was “touched by the mantle of greatness . . . he is a genuinely good man . . . a compassionate man . . . an original thinker . . . of enormous willpower and courage”. At a Savoy Hotel event to celebrate Dacre’s first ten years as editor, Brown was almost equally effusive, describing the Mail editor as showing “great personal warmth and kindness . . . as well as great journalistic skill”. “We tried to tell Dacre,” says a former Mail political reporter, “that Brown was not a very good chancellor and the economy would implode eventually. But frankly, Dacre has poor political judgement. They were united by a mutual hatred of Blair. Both are social conservatives; they’re both suspicious of foreigners; they both have a kind of Presbyterian morality. Dacre would say that Brown believes in work. It’s typical of him that he seizes on a single word as the key to his understanding of someone else.”
It is inconceivable that the Mail would ever back a party other than the Conservatives in a general election, but Dacre’s support can be cool, as it was in 1997 and 2010. Although he described himself to Hagerty as “a Thatcher­ite politically” and though self-made entrepreneurs are among the few people who can expect favourable coverage in the Mail, Dacre is, to most neoliberals, a tepid and inconsistent supporter of free enterprise. Nor is he a neocon. The Mail opposed overseas military interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria. It has denounced Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary rendition and torture. It may be hard on immigrants and benefit scroungers, but it is often equally hard on the rich and famous, pursuing overpaid bosses of public-service utilities to their luxurious homes, exposing “depravity” among the well-heeled and high-born, and rarely treating TV and film celebrities with the deference that is the staple fare of other tabloids.
Many Mail campaigns have centred on liberal or environmental causes: lead in petrol, plastic bags, secret justice, the extradition to the United States of the hacker Gary McKinnon, and so on. For a time, the Mail furiously campaigned to stop Labour deporting failed (black) asylum-seekers to Zimbabwe, even though, almost simultaneously, it was berating ministers for allowing too many illegal immigrants to stay. Other campaigns, such as those against internet porn and super-casinos (both of which influenced government action), though reflecting the Mail’s conservative social agenda, highlighted issues that concern many on the left.
Dacre’s most celebrated campaign, which even some of his enemies regard as his finest hour, was to bring the killers of Stephen Lawrence to justice. In 1997, over the five photographs of those he believed were responsible, he ran the headline “MURDERERS” and, beneath it, asserted: “The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us”.
It was hugely courageous, but did it exonerate the Mail from accusations of racism? Critics point out that the paper rarely features black people except as criminals, though this is not exceptional for the nationals. The “soft” features on women, fashion, style and health are illustrated almost entirely by white faces and bodies.

Dacre’s somewhat belated support for the Lawrence campaign was prompted by a personal connection: Neville Lawrence, Stephen’s father, had worked as a decorator on Dacre’s London house of the time, in Islington. The Mail’s campaign, critics argue, was based on substituting one frame of prejudice for another. Young Stephen eschewed gangs and drugs, did his homework and wanted to go to university. His parents were married, aspirational and home-owning. In everything except skin colour, the Law­rence family represented Middle England, while his white alleged killers were low-class yobs who threatened the safety of all res­pectable folk.
In that, as in much else, Dacre’s Mail recalls 1950s Britain, which rather patronisingly welcomed migrants from Asia and the Caribbean as long as they behaved as though they and their ancestors were English. “If you’re in twinset and pearls, your colour is irrelevant,” says a former Mail journalist. “And Dacre’s attitude to gays changed when he realised it’s possible to be an extremely boring gay person.”
The Mail’s attitudes to drugs are also redolent of the 1950s. Writing about the disgraced Co-operative Bank chairman Paul Flowers, Stephen Glover – the Mail columnist whose views, according to insiders, track Dacre’s most closely – criticised commentators who “concentrated on his financial unsuitability”, placing “relatively little emphasis” on his “moral turpitude”.
Most of all, the Mail seems determined to uphold the 1950s ideal of womanhood: the stay-at-home mother who dedicates herself to homemaking and prepares a cooked dinner for her husband on his return home every night. That, the paper’s defenders say, is something of a caricature of the Mail’s position. It objects not so much to working mothers as to middle-class feminists who insist that women can “have it all”. English aimed at turning the Mail into “the women’s paper”, and succeeded: it became the only national newspaper where women accounted for more than half the readership. That remains true, and yet Dacre sometimes seems determined to drive them away. The paper subjects women’s bodies, clothes and deportment to relentless and detailed scrutiny, and often finds them wanting, particularly in the thigh and bottom department. It gives prominent coverage to research that warns of the negative effects of working mothers on children’s lives.
The Mail’s poster girl is Liz Jones, the columnist and fashion editor celebrated for her self-hatred and misery. “She has so much,” says another Mail journalist, “lots of money, expensive houses, the newest clothes. But she’s never had a child, she hasn’t kept hold of a man, and she’s unhappy. The message is: it’s what happens to you, girls, if you pursue worldly success. You can succeed but, oh boy, you will suffer for it.”
The Mail’s punishing hours, requiring news and features executives to stay at the office until late into the evening (not uncommon in national newspapers), and its largely unsympathetic attitude to part-time employment make it an unfriendly environment for working mothers. When Dacre took over at the Mail, he immediately appointed a female deputy, which, said another woman who then had a senior role in the group, “was quite a statement”. But the paper now has few women in its most senior positions, other than the editor of Femail (though sometimes even that post is occupied by a man), and few staff have young children.
Yet in some respects, the Mail, even though it does not recognise the National Union of Journalists, is a good employer. Unlike the Mirror, it is not under a company ruled by accountants who single-mindedly seek “efficiencies”. Unlike the Times and the Sun, it does not have a proprietor who touts his papers’ support to the highest bidder. Unlike the Guardian and Independent, it is not beset by financial problems. The pro­prietor, Viscount (Jonathan) Rothermere, whose great-grandfather Harold Harms­worth founded the paper with his brother Alfred in 1896, allows his editors wide freedom, as did his father, Vere Rothermere, who appointed Dacre. The Mail, alone among national newspapers, has had no significant rounds of editorial redundancies in recent years and its staffing levels (it employs about 400 journalists) are comparable to what they were a decade ago.
Dacre’s paper is his sole domain; MailOnline is run separately (though Dacre, as editor-in-chief, has oversight) and although the website carries all daily and Sunday paper stories, much of its content is self-generated and the editorial flavour is distinct. Dacre demands, and mostly gets, a generous budget, paying high salaries for established editorial staff and columnists and high fees for freelance contributors. Journalists are driven hard but, at senior levels in particular, they rarely leave, not least because Dacre is as loyal to them as they mostly are to him. Outright sackings are rare and nearly always accompanied by large payoffs.
Those who do leave often reach the top elsewhere. The current editors of both Telegraph papers – Tony Gallagher at the daily and Ian MacGregor at the Sunday – are former Mail executives.
Despite more than two decades at the helm, Dacre shows few signs of slowing down. After heart trouble some years ago – which caused an absence of several months from the office – his holidays, which he usually takes in the British Virgin Islands, have become slightly longer and more frequent. But he still routinely puts in 14-hour days.
Nevertheless, speculation about his future has grown among journalists on the Mail and other papers. At the end of November, Dacre sold his last remaining shares in the Daily Mail and General Trust, the Mail’s parent company, for £347,564; he disposed of the majority in 2012. His latest contract, signed on his 65th birthday, is for one year only. Geordie Greig, the 53-year-old editor of the Mail on Sunday, is widely regarded as the most likely successor, though Martin Clarke, the abrasive publisher of the phenomenally successful MailOnline, now the most visited newspaper website in the world, is also tipped and Jon Steafel, Dacre’s deputy, is favoured by most staff. The surprising announcement in November that Richard Kay, the paper’s diarist and a long-standing friend of Dacre’s, is to leave his position looks like another straw in the wind, particularly given that his almost certain replacement is Sebastian Shakespeare, previously the diary editor at the London Evening Standard, where Greig was editor before he moved to the Mail on Sunday.
Fleet Street rumour has it that Kay is being moved because he upset friends of Lady Rothermere, the proprietor’s wife, and that she is also behind the abrupt departure of the columnist Melanie Phillips, apparently on the grounds that her style – particularly during a June appearance on BBC1’s Question Time – is too shrill. Lady Rothermere, it is said, is desperately keen to oust Dacre in favour of Greig. Senior Mail sources pooh-pooh such tales, but they stop short of outright denials that Dacre is nearing the end of his days on the paper.
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A Few More Conspiracy Theories that turned out to be True

1. Kennedy Assassination - The 2nd Investigation by Congress Few People Know About, United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA)

The HSCA was established in 1976 to investigate the John F. Kennedy assassination and the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination. The Committee investigated until 1978, and in 1979 issued its final report, concluding that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated by a conspiracy involving the mob, and potentially the CIA.
The House Select Committee on Assassinations undertook reinvestigations of the murders of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1979, a single Report and twelve volumes of appendices on each assassination were published by the Congress.
In the JFK case, the HSCA found that there was a "probable conspiracy," though it was unable to determine the nature of that conspiracy or its other participants (besides Oswald).
This finding was based in part on acoustics evidence from a tape purported to record the shots, but was also based on other evidence including an investigation of Ruby's Mafia connections and potential CIA and/or FBI connections to Oswald. To this day, many conspiracy deniers are unaware that the Congressional investigation into JFK’s assassination concluded beyond any shadow of a doubt that it was a conspiracy.
What made them come to this conclusion?
Aside from reading the report, many witnesses (some of whom were CIA agents and station chiefs in Dallas that morning) were killed the night before testifying.
For example, George de Mohrenschildt was a petroleum geologist who befriended Lee Harvey Oswald during the months preceding the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. He also worked for the CIA.
He also blew his brains out the night before he was to testify to the committee. The committee also uncovered, among many things, that Oswald left the marines where he learned how to speak fluent Russian (at the height of the cold war).
He was given money by the State Department to travel to Russia where he stopped off in Japan at a top secret US Military facility. The Warren Commission even mentioned this part. What most people do not know is that he probably was working in the Cold War infiltrating the Russians as either a “dangle,” “double agent,” or “defector" of some kind.
What is interesting is that upon his return he got more money from the State Department to buy a house and work with an ex FBI Chief and CIA officials in training anti-Castro Cubans for an invasion.
In Louisiana, where he was working, the CIA was involved in Operation Mongoose, where Oswald worked under CIA Agent David Ferrie, who killed himself before testifying in a trial on the Assassination as well. Operation Mongoose worked closely with Southern Mafia figures largely because the casinos in Cuba, which were shut down after Fidel obtained control over the country, were epicenters for control on the island.
The CIA even hired the Mafia to assassinate Fidel on many occasions, 3 attempts which failed are common knowledge.
What is funny is that figures who worked very close with Oswald either ended up dead (over 100 of them connected to the assassination died within a few years of unusual circumstances) or they ended up in other conspiracies.
For instance, E. Howard Hunt (CIA Agent) confessed to being involved in the conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy on his deathbed.
E Howard Hunt was one of the Watergate Burglars. Barry Seal, who worked with Oswald and Ferrie ended up being one of the largest cocaine smugglers in the United States during Iran Contra, as a key player for the agency and informant for the DEA.
There is so much more to get into, but there just isn’t enough time. Oswald's tax returns are still classified top secret to this day. Why? Perhaps he was still getting $$ from the United States, which places him on the payroll. That money trail leads to figures, many of whom were murdered, that would have blown the story wide open. For 14 years, most didn't know this.
The HSCA investigations by congress went against the findings of the Warren Commission and both reports are from the same source, Congressional Committees.
Which is true? Why do we only teach one to our children in school?
VIDEO

2. 1919 World Series Conspiracy

The 1919 World Series (often referred to as the Black Sox Scandal) resulted in the most famous scandal in baseball history.
Eight players from the Chicago White Sox (nicknamed the Black Sox) were accused of throwing the series against the Cincinnati Reds. Details of the scandal remain controversial, and the extent to which each player was involved varied.
It was, however, front-page news across the country when the story was uncovered late in the 1920 season, and despite being acquitted of criminal charges (throwing baseball games was technically not a crime), the eight players were banned from organized baseball (i.e. the leagues subject to the National Agreement) for life.
There are hundreds of other conspiracies involving throwing games, sporting matches and large scale entertainment events. It is common knowledge for many, this list would have to go into the thousands if we included all of them.

3.Karen Silkwood

Karen was an American labor union activist and chemical technician at the Kerr-McGee plant near Crescent, Oklahoma, United States. Silkwood's job was making plutonium pellets for nuclear reactor fuel rods.
After being hired at Kerr-McGee, Silkwood joined the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Union local and took part in a strike at the plant. After the strike ended, she was elected to the union's bargaining committee and assigned to investigate health and safety issues.
She discovered what she believed to be numerous violations of health regulations, including exposure of workers to contamination, faulty respiratory equipment and improper storage of samples. She also believed the lack of sufficient shower facilities could increase the risk of employee contamination.
In the summer of 1974, Silkwood testified to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) about these issues, alleging that safety standards had slipped because of a production speedup which resulted in employees being given tasks for which they were poorly trained. She also alleged that Kerr-McGee employees handled the fuel rods improperly and that the company falsified inspection records.
On November 5, 1974, Silkwood performed a routine self-check and found almost 400 times the legal limit for plutonium contamination. She was decontaminated at the plant and sent home with a testing kit to collect urine and feces for further analysis. Oddly, though there was plutonium on the exterior surfaces (the ones she touched) of the gloves she had been using, the gloves did not have any holes.
This suggests the contamination did not come from inside the glove box, but from some other source, in other words, someone was trying to poison her.
The next morning, as she headed to a union negotiation meeting, she again tested positive for plutonium. This was surprising because she had only performed paperwork duties that morning. She was given a more intense decontamination. The following day, November 7, 1974, as she entered the plant, she was found to be dangerously contaminated - even expelling contaminated air from her lungs.
A health physics team accompanied her back to her home and found plutonium traces on several surfaces - especially in the bathroom and the refrigerator.
The house was later stripped and decontaminated. Silkwood, her partner and housemate were sent to Los Alamos National Laboratory for in-depth testing to determine the extent of the contamination in their bodies. Later that evening, Silkwood's body was found in her car, which had run off the road and struck a culvert. The car contained no documents.
She was pronounced dead at the scene from a "classic, one-car sleeping-driver accident".

4. CIA Drug Smuggling in Arkansas

August 23, 1987, in a rural community just south of Little Rock, police officers murdered two teenage boys because they witnessed a police-protected drug drop. The drop was part of a drug smuggling operation based at a small airport in Mena, Arkansas.
The Mena operation was set up in the early 1980's by the notorious drug smuggler, Barry Seal. Facing prison after a drug conviction in Florida, Seal flew to Washington, D.C., where he put together a deal that allowed him to avoid prison by becoming an informant for the government.
As a government informant against drug smugglers, Seal testified he worked for the CIA and the DEA. In one federal court case, he testified that his income from March 1984 to August 1985, was between $700,000 and $800,000. This period was AFTER making his deal with the government.
Seal testified that nearly $600,000 of this came from smuggling drugs while working for - and with the permission of the DEA. In addition to his duties as an informant, Seal was used by CIA operatives to help finance the Nicaraguan Contras. The CIA connection to the Mena operation was undeniable when a cargo plane given to Seal by the CIA was shot down over Nicaragua with a load of weapons.
In spite of the evidence, every investigator who has tried to expose the crimes of Mena has been professionally destroyed, and those involved in drug smuggling operations have received continued protection from state and federal authorities.
February 20, 1986 report on Mena Drug Smuggling: VIDEO DELETED

5. Bohemian Grove

For years, many conspiracy theorists were saying that the rich and powerful met every year in the woods and worshiped a giant stone owl in an occult fashion.
It turns out, ABC, CBS, NBC, and many other credible news agencies investigated this and found out, its true. It is said to be just all fun and games, like brotherhood style fraternity stuff.
These clips can be viewed here.

6. Operation Paperclip

Operation Paperclip was the code name for the 1945 Office of Strategic Services, Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency recruitment of German scientists from Nazi Germany to the U.S. after VE Day.
President Truman authorized Operation Paperclip in August 1945; however he expressly ordered that anyone found "to have been a member of the Nazi party and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Nazi militarism" would be excluded.
These included Wernher von Braun, Arthur Rudolph and Hubertus Strughold, who were all officially on record as Nazis and listed as a "menace to the security of the Allied Forces." All were cleared to work in the U.S. after having their backgrounds "bleached" by the military; false employment histories were provided, and their previous Nazi affiliations were expunged from the record.
The paperclips that secured newly-minted background details to their personnel files gave the operation its name.

7. The Round Table

British businessman Cecil Rhodes advocated the British Empire re-annexing the United States of America and reforming itself into an "Imperial Federation" to bring about a hyperpower and lasting world peace.
In his first will, of 1877, written at the age of 23, he expressed his wish to fund a secret society (known as the Society of the Elect) that would advance this goal:
“To and for the establishment, promotion and development of a Secret Society, the true aim and object whereof shall be for the extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom, and of colonization by British subjects of all lands where the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labor and enterprise, and especially the occupation by British settlers of the entire Continent of Africa, the Holy Land, the Valley of the Euphrates, the Islands of Cyprus and Candia, the whole of South America, the Islands of the Pacific not heretofore possessed by Great Britain, the whole of the Malay Archipelago, the seaboard of China and Japan, the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British Empire, the inauguration of a system of Colonial representation in the Imperial Parliament which may tend to weld together the disjointed members of the Empire and, finally, the foundation of so great a Power as to render wars impossible, and promote the best interests of humanity.”
In his later wills, a more mature Rhodes abandoned the idea and instead concentrated on what became the Rhodes Scholarship, which had British statesman Alfred Milner as one of its trustees.
Established in 1902, the original goal of the trust fund was to foster peace among the great powers by creating a sense of fraternity and a shared world view among future British, American, and German leaders by having enabled them to study for free at the University of Oxford.
Milner and British official Lionel George Curtis were the architects of the Round Table movement, a network of organizations promoting closer union between Britain and its self-governing colonies.
To this end, Curtis founded the Royal Institute of International Affairs in June 1919 and, with his 1938 book The Commonwealth of God, began advocating for the creation of an imperial federation that eventually re-annexes the U.S., which would be presented to Protestant churches as being the work of the Christian God to elicit their support.
The Commonwealth of Nations was created in 1949 but it would only be a free association of independent states rather than the powerful imperial federation imagined by Rhodes, Milner and Curtis.
The Council on Foreign Relations began in 1917 with a group of New York academics who were asked by President Woodrow Wilson to offer options for the foreign policy of the United States in the interwar period.
Originally envisioned as a British-American group of scholars and diplomats, some of whom belonging to the Round Table movement, it was a subsequent group of 108 New York financiers, manufacturers and international lawyers organized in June 1918 by Nobel Peace Prize recipient and U.S. secretary of state, Elihu Root, that became the Council on Foreign Relations on 29 July 1921. The first of the council’s projects was a quarterly journal launched in September 1922, called Foreign Affairs.
Some believe that the Council on Foreign Relations is a front organization for the Round Table as a tool of the "Anglo-American Establishment", which they believe has been plotting from 1900 on to rule the world.
The research findings of historian Carroll Quigley, author of the 1966 book Tragedy and Hope, are taken by both conspiracy theorists of the American Old Right (Cleon Skousen) and New Left (Carl Oglesby) to substantiate this view, even though he argued that the Establishment is not involved in a plot to implement a one-world government but rather British and American benevolent imperialism driven by the mutual interests of economic elites in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Quigley also argued that, although the Round Table still exists today, its position in influencing the policies of world leaders has been much reduced from its heyday during World War I and slowly waned after the end of World War II and the Suez Crisis. Today it is largely a ginger group, designed to consider and gradually influence the policies of the Commonwealth of Nations, but faces strong opposition.
Furthermore, in American society after 1965, the problem, according to Quigley, was that no elite was in charge and acting responsibly.
American banker David Rockefeller joined the Council on Foreign Relations as its youngest-ever director in 1949 and subsequently became chairman of the board from 1970 to 1985; today he serves as honorary chairman.
In 2002, Rockefeller authored his autobiography Memoirs wherein, on page 405, he wrote:
“For more than a century ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents... to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions.
Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure - one world, if you will.
If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
Barkun argues that this statement is partly facetious (the claim of "conspiracy" or "treason") and partly serious - the desire to encourage trilateral cooperation among the U.S., Europe, and Japan, for example - an ideal that used to be a hallmark of the internationalist wing of the Republican Party when there was an internationalist wing.
However, the statement is taken at face value and widely cited by conspiracy theorists as proof that the Council on Foreign Relations (itself alleged to be a front for an "international banking cabal", as well as, it is claimed, the sponsor of many "globalist" think tanks such as the Trilateral Commission) uses its role as the brain trust of American presidents, senators and representatives to manipulate them into supporting a New World Order.
Conspiracy theorists fear that the international bankers of financial capitalism are planning to eventually subvert the independence of the U.S. by subordinating national sovereignty to a strengthened Bank for International Settlements with the intent to,
“create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole”.
In a 13 November 2007 interview with Canadian journalist Benjamin Fulford, Rockefeller countered:
“I don't think that I really feel that we need a world government. We need governments of the world that work together and collaborate. But, I can't imagine that there would be any likelihood or even that it would be desirable to have a single government elected by the people of the world...
There have been people, ever since I've had any kind of position in the world, who have accused me of being ruler of the world. I have to say that I think for the large part, I would have to decide to describe them as crackpots. It makes no sense whatsoever, and isn't true, and won't be true, and to raise it as a serious issue seems to me to be irresponsible.”
Some American social critics, such as Laurence H. Shoup, argue that the Council on Foreign Relations is an "imperial brain trust", which has, for decades, played a central behind-the-scenes role in shaping U.S. foreign policy choices for the post-WWII international order and the Cold War, by determining what options show up on the agenda and what options do not even make it to the table; while others, such as G. William Domhoff, argue that it is in fact a mere policy discussion forum, which provides the business input to U.S. foreign policy planning.
The latter argue that it has nearly 3,000 members, far too many for secret plans to be kept within the group; all the council does is sponsor discussion groups, debates and speakers; and as far as being secretive, it issues annual reports and allows access to its historical archives.

8. The Illuminati

The Order of the Illuminati was an Enlightenment-age secret society founded on May 1st, 1776, in Ingolstadt (Upper Bavaria), by Adam Weishaupt, who was the first lay professor of canon law at the University of Ingolstadt.
The movement consisted of freethinkers, secularists, liberals, republicans and pro-feminists, recruited in the Masonic Lodges of Germany, who sought to promote perfectionism through mystery schools.
As a result, in 1785, the order was infiltrated, broken and suppressed by the government agents of Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria, in his campaign to neutralize the threat of secret societies ever becoming hotbeds of conspiracies to overthrow the monarchy and state religion.
In the late 18th century, reactionary conspiracy theorists, such as Scottish physicist John Robison and French Jesuit priest Augustin Barruel, began speculating that the Illuminati survived their suppression and became the masterminds behind the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.
The Illuminati were accused of being enlightened absolutists who were attempting to secretly orchestrate a world revolution in order to globalize the most radical ideals of the Enlightenment: anti-clericalism, anti-monarchism, and anti-patriarchalism. During the 19th century, fear of an Illuminati conspiracy was a real concern of European ruling classes, and their oppressive reactions to this unfounded fear provoked in 1848 the very revolutions they sought to prevent.
Although many say that the Illuminati was disbanded and destroyed so long ago, it is well known that the Rothschild dynasty following the family’s involvement in the secret order in Bavaria received much attention for its major takeover of Europe’s central banks.
The Rothschild dynasty owns roughly half of the world’s wealth and evidence suggests it has funded both sides of major wars, including the United States Civil War.

9. The Trilateral Commission

The Trilateral Commission is a private organization, established to foster closer cooperation among the United States, Europe and Japan.
It was founded in July 1973 at the initiative of David Rockefeller, who was Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations at that time. The Trilateral Commission is widely seen as a counterpart to the Council on Foreign Relations.
In July 1972, Rockefeller called his first meeting, which was held at Rockefeller's Pocantico compound in New York's Hudson Valley. It was attended by about 250 individuals who were carefully selected and screened by Rockefeller and represented the very elite of finance and industry.
Its first executive committee meeting was held in Tokyo in October 1973. The Trilateral Commission was officially initiated, holding biannual meetings.
A Trilateral Commission Task Force Report, presented at the 1975 meeting in Kyoto, Japan, called An Outline for Remaking World Trade and Finance, said:
"Close Trilateral cooperation in keeping the peace, in managing the world economy, and in fostering economic development and in alleviating world poverty, will improve the chances of a smooth and peaceful evolution of the global system."
Another Commission document read:
"The overriding goal is to make the world safe for interdependence by protecting the benefits which it provides for each country against external and internal threats which will constantly emerge from those willing to pay a price for more national autonomy.
This may sometimes require slowing the pace at which interdependence proceeds, and checking some aspects of it. More frequently however, it will call for checking the intrusion of national government into the international exchange of both economic and non-economic goods."

March 29, 1981 News Clip on Trilateral Commission:
vid
May 2, 1995 News Clip on Trilateral Commission:
vid
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Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Review Thread

Game Information

Game Title: Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdFgFABSkhQ
Publishers: Square Enix
Review Aggregator:
OpenCritic - 90
Metacritic - 88

Reviews

Attack of the Fanboy - Jelani James - 5 / 5 stars
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age takes everything to love about classic JRPGs and refines them to their utmost. The result? Absolute brilliance. If you had to pick just one JRPG to own on a modern platform, then let it this be the one.
COGconnected - James Paley - 80 / 100
Whether you're a lifelong fan or new to the series, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is an easy recommendation.
Destructoid - Chris Carter - 8 / 10.0
Enix, and by proxy Square, have found myriad ways to repackage the journey of Dragon Quest and Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age proves that they haven't run out of ideas yet. It's one of the easier modern Dragon Quests to get into precisely because it gets back to basics. If you've been pining for an older-school character-focused RPG instead of the player-created party focus of IX and the MMO aspect of X, the wait has ended.
Digitally Downloaded - Matt Sainsbury - 5 / 5 stars
Dragon Quest XI is, from end to end, an iconic example of everything that Dragon Quest has stood for since way back in the 80's. It's charming and has a colourful energy that makes it very hard to put down.
DualShockers - Giuseppe Nelva - 9.5 / 10.0
If you have been missing the pure, genuine adventuring encouraged by the JRPGs of old, and you have been eager to see what the most traditional incarnation of the genre could achieve when paired with top-notch production values, this is most definitely the game for you.
EGM - Mollie L Patterson - 8.5 / 10.0
Dragon Quest XI brings the legendary Japanese RPG franchise to consoles (properly) for the first time in 13 years, and it's a mostly fantastic new chapter of the series. Its story, gameplay, characters, and visuals all work to blend timeless series elements with newer-era genre refinements, and most of the time, the results are great. Unfortunately, there are a few times when honoring tradition is a weakness, not a strength—most specifically in the case of the game's protagonist.
Eurogamer - Martin Robinson - No Recommendation
A sumptuous, generous and absolutely gorgeous RPG that isn't quite the measure of Dragon Quest's illustrious past.
Game Informer - Kimberley Wallace - 8.3 / 10.0
This isn't a shake up for the series and can sometimes feel dated, but the long, hard-fought adventure comes together in an engaging way
Game Revolution - Jason Faulkner - 4.5 / 5 stars
However, for those who have fallen in love with the genre, and grew up adoring Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and others, this game is the ultimate expression of the traditional JRPG.
Gameblog - Rudy Jean-François - French - 7 / 10
I have a weird love-hate relationship with Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. At times, its nostalgic, its nicely written story and its unique design just blows me away but at other times, I simply hate its poorly designed interfaced, its lack of innovation and the simple fact that it never dares to try anything new. When it does something, it does it perfectly, but it simply doesn't feel enough in 2017. It plays it way too safe for its own good.
GamesBeat - Jason Wilson - 92 / 100
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age moved me in ways a Japanese RPG hasn't done in years.
GameSpace - William Murphy - 9.5 / 10.0
If you've been waiting since DQVIII for a Dragon Quest title to hit your PlayStation, you'll be glad it's finally here. It may not do a lot to push the genre forward, but like the game's design so clearly sets out to do, Dragon Quest XI is an homage to the JRPG and its fans. It's an immense, addictive, and joyful experience from the first moment on. I cannot recommend it enough.
GameSpew - Kyle Bradford - 9 / 10.0
It is indeed one of the best games in a series of greats, and a JRPG that is without a doubt an instant classic. One I will undoubtedly cherish for many years to come.
GameSpot - Heidi Kemps - 9 / 10
Steeped in tradition and not afraid to show it, Dragon Quest XI reflects the best qualities of the series' past.
Gaming Nexus - Matt Mirkovich - 9.5 / 10.0
Dragon Quest XI is the perfect game to kick off the annual Fall glut of games, simply based on the merits of it being a massive sprawling JRPG that could easily carry you into the Winter months if you want it to. There's so much to do and it's so easily to get lost for hours just exploring the world trying to find the right materials to craft some better gear, or to finish up that side-quest that you picked up in Puerto Valor, or maybe the casino is more your style? Dragon Quest XI is easily one of the best JRPGs this generation, and it would be a shame if you missed it.
GamingBolt - Shubhankar Parijat - 9 / 10.0
Dragon Quest XI is a stellar game that displays a great command of the ins and outs of its genre the way few other games can and do. What it lacks in originality, it more than makes up for with its confident execution of ideas, showing that a game doesn't need to be revolutionary or the freshest thing on the block to be an incredible experience. With a memorable cast of characters, a well-told, briskly paced story, stunning and vibrant visuals, and a beautiful and extremely varied world as its setting, Dragon Quest XI serves as yet another excellent instalment in this amazingly consistent franchise.
GamingTrend - Nathan Anstadt - 85 / 100
Dragon Quest XI is a big game with lots to see and do, and you won't breeze through the game in a weekend. If you are willing to put in the time and see it to the end, though, the game is highly rewarding as a JRPG with a surprising amount of depth. Some of its larger story moments are enjoyable in their own right even if they can be derivative or are mere shadows of specific moments from classics of the genre, but while the game may not reinvent the JRPG, I had a blast making my way across Erdrea.
GearNuke - Khurram Imtiaz - 10 / 10.0
Dragon Quest series hit its peak with Dragon Quest XI offering one of the most engaging stories in a JRPG full of unforgettable characters and a turn-based combat system that can tailor to your experience. This is a classic JRPG that is worthy of being considered one of the best games released this generation.
Hardcore Gamer - Adam Beck - 4 / 5.0
It may have been a long wait, but it was well worth it.
Hobby Consolas - Martín Amechazurra Falagán - Spanish - 95 / 100
Dragon Quest XI Echoes of an Elusive Age is as much of an homage to the older Dragon Quest titles as it is a new step foward for the series. With a great story, a superb set of characters and loads of content to discover, Dragon Quest XI is one of the best JRPG to come out in recent years
IGN - James Paley - 8.8 / 10.0
Dragon Quest XI excels when it emphasizes fighting bad guys, exploring dungeons, and finding treasure. It’s a visual feast populated by a cast of colorful monsters more engrossing than its main characters. Uneven story beats and some icky bits sometimes slow Dragon Quest down, but superb mechanics remain the focus, making Echoes of an Elusive Age a top-tier JRPG for the modern age.
IGN Italy - Marco Esposto - Italian - 9.2 / 10.0
Dragon Quest XI is simply the best Dragon Quest of all time. A classic old school rpg, with all the best things taken from over 30 years of JRPG.
IGN Spain - José Cabrera - Spanish - 8 / 10.0
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is not a perfect game but it is a perfect Dragon Quest. Full of winks dedicated to his most loyal followers, but also thought for the good grade to new generations.
Just Push Start - Mark Fajardo - 4.75 / 5.0
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is a phenomenal game that JRPG fans will want to play. The brief break gave Dragon Quest XI a chance to improve a number of things and that certainly paid off. The storyline is interesting and engaging, something that will suck players in and hold their attention until the very end. And, outside of the main story, there is a wide variety of things for players to do. Needless to say, if you feel like recent JRPGs have been lacking, then you'll probably enjoy Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age.
JVL - Julius007 - French - 17 / 20
DQ XI is classic in its shape,despite some additions and new features, but the game managed to surprise us in a beautiful way due to its scenario. Epic and surprising for the series, he will affect palyers looking for a very good JRPG with texts translated into french. We would have liked to have a better technique especially for the score. But its richness, its characters are also here to give us a nice adventure. And it's seems obvious that all the fans have to buy the game.
Kotaku - Tim Rogers - No Verdict
In conclusion, everything I have said about Dragon Quest XI being one of the best games of all time is definitely correct, because I played the game in Japanese for 300 hours. I wouldn't have done that if it weren't a masterpiece.
MonsterVine - Spencer Legacy - 5 / 5.0
Dragon Quest XI is one of the best games ever made. From its deep gameplay and charming characters to its gorgeous visuals and stunning music, Echoes of an Elusive Age is a game that no one should miss out on.
PlayStation LifeStyle - Lucas White - 9 / 10.0
I have my issues with Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. It's a bit clunky when it tries to pretend it's cool like other video games. I wish I had vocations instead of skill points to play with, and it would be nice if I could get from point A to B a bit faster, or have more to do along the way. But at the same time, I found myself engrossed in the usual grind I've come to love over the years, the silly and fantastical creatures from my favorite artist, and the storytelling that met and even rattled my expectations. There's even a neat little crafting system I didn't have room to mention, secrets to find, and of course hours and hours of post-game content. If you want to go on an adventure, and I mean a real adventure that tugs on your heartstrings, makes you smile, and yells puns at you constantly, do not sleep on Dragon Quest XI.
PlayStation Universe - Garri Bagdasarov - 10 / 10.0
An incredible achievement, and even after 150 hours in we didn't want it to end. From an emotional story, simple yet engaging combat, and gorgeous visuals. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is simply remarkable and shouldn't be missed.
Polygon - Jeffrey Parkin - No Verdict
Dragon Quest 11 is a beautiful example of what a JRPG can be after 30 years of lovingly guided evolution. Its success is irrevocably tethered to those decades of development, though, and that means you probably already know if this is a game for you. If you're not already one of the faithful, Dragon Quest 11 is unlikely to make you a convert.
RPG Fan - Rob Rogan - 95%
DQXI is a fantastically fun romp through a gorgeous world that delivers on its promise of an epic, if conventional, JRPG adventure.
RPG Site - Elizabeth Henges - 10 / 10
Dragon Quest XI not only manages to be the best game in Square-Enix's iconic series, but is one of the best JRPGs to be released in recent years.
Spaziogames - Gianluca Arena - Italian - 8 / 10.0
Dragon Quest XI is the best looking in the long running franchise, and at its core, while unchanged, remains solid and funny. Still, we would like to see some major changes and improvements in the next installment.
TheSixthAxis - Dominic Leighton - 8 / 10
While Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age doesn't push the boundaries of RPG design in any new way, it is an enjoyable and refined return to the Dragon Quest franchise. Some might decry its lack of ambition, but for fans of the genre and the series, new experiences like this are few and far between.
Twinfinite - Hayes Madsen - 5 / 5.0
Dragon Quest XI is a high new benchmark for the series, and shows how a traditional JRPG can still be appealing for the modern age.
USgamer - Nadia Oxford - 5 / 5 stars
If you're a fan of Dragon Quest VIII, you'll find a lot to love about Dragon Quest XI. Its character-driven plot and skill system recall the series' breakout PlayStation 2 installment, though Dragon Quest XI's lively world and expressive monsters lend it a unique feeling and flavor. Some fans might feel let-down about Dragon Quest XI's lack of job system or other options that let you fine-tune every aspect of your party (what I wouldn't give to see Dragon Quest V's monster-friending system make a return), but if you're in the market for a turn-based RPG that feels nostalgic but doesn't force you to deal with old genre mechanics, you won't find a better quest.
Wccftech - Kai Powell - 8.9 / 10.0
Dragon Quest XI is an incredible example of how to take a classic series and modernize it with updated graphics and voice acting while still keeping what made the original so charming. If the story stayed strong all the way through, it would be my favorite in the series hands-down. Nevertheless, it's still in the top three Dragon Quests that I've ever played.
We Got This Covered - Todd Rigney - 4 / 5 stars
This isn't the end-all, be-all of JRPGs, but it's still a damn fine Dragon Quest game, not to mention a great introduction to the genre for newcomers. Think of it as JRPG comfort food and you'll have no trouble whatsoever.
Formatting provided by OpenCritic. (Will be updated as reviews come in.)
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Part 2: A Timeline of Epstein, Trump, Sex Trafficking, and the Intelligence Community

I don't think John DeCamp gets everything right, especially his claims about satanic groups, but in 1988 we learn about the Franklin Coverup, which Wikipedia describes as:
"The Franklin child prostitution ring allegations began in June 1988 in Omaha, Nebraska and attracted significant public and political interest until late 1990, when separate state and federal grand juries concluded that the allegations were unfounded and the ring was a "carefully crafted hoax."[1][2].
From the NYT:
(12/18/88) A Lurid, Mysterious Scandal Begins Taking Shape in Omaha
In the Executive Board's public session Monday, Mr. Chambers said the activities of Lawrence E. King Jr., the credit union's manager for the last 18 years and the central figure in its collapse, were ''just the tip of an iceberg, and he's not in it by himself.'' But Mr. Chambers added nothing that would shed light on his cryptic assertion....Mr. King is a 44-year-old Omaha resident who wholly or partly owns several small businesses here and lives with his wife and school-age son in a large house in one of the city's better neighborhoods. He is a tall, expansive figure well known for his costly style of dressing, lavish celebrations and extensive travel, sometimes in chartered jets and often with an entourage of young men.In 1972 he headed a national political organization, Black Democrats for George McGovern. But he gained greater prominence after he had switched parties a while later, serving for a time as vice chairman of the National Black Republican Council, an official affiliate of the Republican Party, and becoming a familiar figure on the Republican social scene.Mr. King has maintained a $5,000-a-month residence off Embassy Row in Washington and has also entertained generously at Republican National Conventions. At the 1984 gathering, in Dallas, where he sang the national anthem on the convention floor, he rented the ranch where the television series ''Dallas'' is filmed and organized a party there for black Republicans....Mr. King's trouble with the authorities came to the surface early last month when officials of the Government's National Credit Union Administration, acting on information from the F.B.I. and the Internal Revenue Service, arrived at the offices of the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union and shut it down. Then, on Nov. 14, the agency, which oversees the nation's federally chartered credit unions and insures their deposits, filed the Government suit against Mr. King, whose salary as Franklin Community's manager had been less than $17,000 a year.
(1989) Washington Call Boy Scandal
Craig J. Spence (1941 – November 10, 1989) was a Republican) lobbyist who was found dead in a Ritz-Carlton hotel room in 1989.[1][2] ...Spence was implicated in a gay call-boy ring scandal, that arranged after-hours visits to the White House, the Washington Times and other papers reported in June 1989. Afterward, Spence committed suicide in a Boston hotel....Spence's name came to national prominence in the aftermath of a June 28, 1989 article in the Washington Timesidentifying Spence as a customer of a homosexual escort service being investigated by the Secret Service, the District of Columbia Police and the United States Attorney's Office for suspected credit card fraud. The newspaper said he spent as much as $20,000 a month on the service. He had also been linked to a White House guard who has said he accepted an expensive watch from Mr. Spence and allowed him and friends to take late-night White House tours.[4]Spence entered a downward spiral in the wake of the Washington Times exposé, increasingly involving himself with call boys and crack,[5] and culminating in his July 31, 1989 arrest at the Barbizon Hotel on East 63rd St in Manhattan for criminal possession of a firearm and criminal possession of cocaine.[6]Months after the scandal had died down, and a few weeks before Spence was found in a room of the Boston Ritz-Carlton Hotel, he was asked who had given him the "key" to the White House. Michael Hedges and Jerry Seper of The Washington Times reported that "Mr. Spence hinted the tours were arranged by 'top level' persons", including Donald Gregg, national security adviser to Vice President George H. W. Bush at the time the tours were given.[5]When pressed to identify who it was who got him inside the White House, Spence asked "Who was it who got [long-term CIA operative] Félix Rodríguez) in to see Bush?", agreeing that he was alluding to Mr. Gregg.[5]Gregg himself dismissed the allegation as "absolute bull", according to Hedges and Seper. "It disturbs me that he can reach a slimy hand out of the sewer to grab me by the ankle like this," he told the reporters. "The allegations are totally false."[5]
I'll let you decide how credible you find any of this so far. It should be noted that many of the people implicated in these affairs -- Wilson, Singlaub, Moon, Casey, Rodriguez, Bush, Stone, and Gregg -- were also involved to varying degrees in the Iran Contra Affair, which illegally raised money for anti-communist terrorists in Central America through the use of death squads, rape, and drug sales. One does not necessarily equal the other, but sexual blackmail and human trafficking don't seem like much of a stretch.
An article by The Guardian notes:
Czechoslovakia ramped up spying on Trump in late 1980s, seeking US intel:
In summer 1987, Donald and Ivana Trump visited Moscow and Leningrad, following a personal invitation from the Soviet ambassador in Washington, Yuri Dubinin. The trip was arranged by Intourist, a travel agency that was also an undercover KGB outfit. Soon after returning from Moscow, Trump announced he was thinking of running for president. That presidential bid failed to materialise.In October 1988, on the eve of the US election, Ivana Trump visited her parents in Zlín, known at the time as Gottwaldov. According to the files she “confidently” predicted Bush’s victory to her father, who in turn passed the tip to local StB officers.“The outcome of the election confirmed the veracity of this information,” StB field agent Lt Peter Surý wrote, in a document dated 23 January 1989 and marked “secret”.The prediction came “from the highest echelons of power in the US”. Ivana was “not only a well-heeled US citizen” but moved in “very top political circles”, Surý stated....It is unclear when the KGB began a file on the future president. In Prague about 60,000 StB documents were declassified in the mid-1990s, after the collapse of communism. The StB destroyed most records.However, secret memos written by the KGB chief, Vladimir Kryuchkov, in the mid-1980s reveal that he berated his officers for their failure to cultivate top-level Americans. Kryuchkov circulated a confidential personality questionnaire to KGB heads of station abroad, setting out the qualities wanted from a potential asset.According to instructions leaked to British intelligence by the KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky, they included corruption, vanity, narcissism, marital infidelity and poor analytical skills. The KGB should focus on personalities who were upwardly mobile in business and politics, especially Americans, the document said.
Another article in the Chicago Tribune notes:
Czechoslovakia secret police file: Trump sure of presidential win — in 1996:
A year before the 1989 collapse of communism in many parts of Europe, details about Ivana Trump's 1988 visit back to her homeland were recorded in a classified police report. The Oct. 22, 1988 report claimed that Trump refused to run for president in 1988 — despite alleged pressure to do so — because he felt, at 42, he was too young. But the secret report said he intended to run in the 1996 U.S. presidential race as an independent, when he would be 50."Even though it looks like a utopia, D. TRUMP is confident he will succeed," the police report said, based on information from an unspecified source who talked to Ivana Trump's father, Milos Zelnicek, about her visit.It was unclear where the alleged "pressure" was coming from. [Note: In "Get Me Roger Stone", Stone claims he was the one who convinced Trump to run.]...Trump's first wife was born Ivana Zelnickova in 1949 in the Czechoslovak city of Gottwaldov, the former city of Zlin that just had been renamed by the Communists, who took over the country in 1948. She married Trump, her second husband, in 1977. As she kept traveling home across the Iron Curtain on a regular basis, Ivana became a tempting target for the powerful, deeply feared Czechoslovak secret police agency known as the StB.
And by at least 1989, Trump himself was in the social circle of both Iran Contra figures and the father of Epstein's alleged "madame", Ghislaine Maxwell:
(This is from a previous post I made, seen here. Some of the links are subscription only, but are provided for accuracy)
NY Daily News - May 5, 1989:
“Everybody, but everybody at the party aboard British media mogul Robert Maxwell’s yacht Wednesday night had to doff their shoes before boarding the plush-carpeted “Lady Ghislaine.” Maxwell insisted, and his guests cooperated, including Donald Trump (minus Ivana), who has a much bigger yacht and was happy to compare notes with Maxwell. [Note: This is in reference to the Kingdom 5KR, originally owned by Adnan Khashoggi, international arms dealer and uncle of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi.] There were John Tower [Republican Senator in charge of the Tower Commission, which investigated Iran Contra]; ex-Navy secretary John Lehman [Reagan appointee 1981-1987], now with Paine Webber; lawyer Tom Bolan [law partner of Roy Cohn]; literary agent Mort Janklow [clients include both Nancy and Ronald Reagan for their memoirs]; UN envoy Thomas Pickering [currently a board member at the world’s biggest pipe company, OAO TMK, in Moscow and Chairman of the Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya Foundation, “a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC that supports programs to improve the health of children worldwide”]; and Peter Kalikow, owner of the New York Post [awarded the Israel Peace Medal in 1982; created a super PAC for Herman Cain that was later revealed to be entirely financed by his donations]; Maxwell’s daughter, Ghislaine, and his niece, Helene Atkin of Macmillan, the publishing house Maxwell recently took over."[Note: This sentence wasn't in the Daily News article but shows up in a St Louis Dispatch piece a week later]: “Maxwell, who weighs about 300 pounds, went over the guest list personally.""No one could tell who didn’t make the final list, but we do know that Martha Smilgis of Time was disinvited by David Adler, public relations chief at Macmillan. She wrote the profile of Maxwell which he apparently did not like.”
Who was Ghislaine’s father?
Ian Robert Maxwell "MC (10 June 1923 – 5 November 1991), born Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch, was a British media proprietor and Member of Parliament (MP). Originally from Czechoslovakia, Maxwell rose from poverty to build an extensive publishing empire….Maxwell had a flamboyant lifestyle, living in Headington Hill Hall in Oxford, from which he often flew in his helicopter, and sailing in his luxury yacht, the Lady Ghislaine. He was notably litigious and often embroiled in controversy, including about his support for Israel at the time of the 1948 Palestine war. In 1989, he had to sell successful businesses, including Pergamon Press, to cover some of his debts. In 1991, his body was discovered floating in the Atlantic Ocean, having fallen overboard from his yacht. He was buried in Jerusalem. Maxwell's death triggered the collapse of his publishing empire as banks called in loans. His sons briefly attempted to keep the business together, but failed as the news emerged that the elder Maxwell had stolen hundreds of millions of pounds from his own companies' pension funds. The Maxwell companies applied for bankruptcy protection in 1992....Shortly before Maxwell's death, a former employee of Israel's Military Intelligence Directorate, Ari Ben-Menashe, approached a number of news organisations in Britain and the U.S. with the allegation that Maxwell and the Daily Mirror's foreign editor, Nicholas Davies, were both long-time agents for Mossad. Ben-Menashe also claimed that in 1986, Maxwell had told the Israeli Embassy in London that Mordechai Vanunu had given information about Israel's nuclear capability to The Sunday Times, then to the Daily Mirror. Vanunu was subsequently kidnapped by Mossad and smuggled to Israel, convicted of treason and imprisoned for eighteen years.Ben-Menashe's story was ignored at first, but eventually The New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh repeated some of the allegations during a press conference in London held to publicise The Samson Option, Hersh's book about Israel's nuclear weapons. On 21 October 1991, two MPs, Labour's George Galloway and the Conservative's Rupert Allason (also known as espionage author Nigel West), agreed to raise the issue in the House of Commons under Parliamentary Privilege protection, which in turn allowed British newspapers to report events without fear of libel suits. Maxwell called the claims "ludicrous, a total invention" and sacked Davies.[44] A year later, in Galloway's libel settlement against Mirror Group Newspapers (in which he received "substantial" damages), Galloway's counsel announced that the MP accepted that the group's staff had not been involved in Vanunu's abduction. Galloway himself, however, referred to Maxwell as "one of the worst criminals of the century....The Maxwell companies filed for bankruptcy protection in 1992. Kevin Maxwell was declared bankrupt with debts of £400 million. In 1995, Kevin and Ian and two other former directors went on trial for conspiracy to defraud, but were unanimously acquitted by a twelve-man jury in 1996.”
Epstein's own weird history has been spoken of to some degree, and I'm not sure I have much to add at this point, but perhaps it's important in context.
Financier in sex abuse case went from math whiz to titan
He taught calculus and physics at the prestigious Dalton School, a prep school in Manhattan, from 1973 to 1975, despite not having a college degree. Attorney General William Barr's father, Donald Barr, was headmaster at the time...Epstein left Dalton in the mid-1970s for a job at Bear Stearns at the urging of a student's father who arranged a meeting with the chairman of the investment bank, according to published reports. He later began his own money-management business, J. Epstein & Co....Epstein has long obscured the source of his wealth. Even after his arrest, he refused to provide authorities with even basic information about his income and assets. His attorney said Epstein's lawyers intend to provide the information but want to make sure it is correct first.This much is clear: "He is a man of nearly infinite means," federal prosecutor Alex Rossmiller said in court....Epstein also forged a relationship with Leslie Wexner, the retail titan behind Victoria's Secret, The Limited and other store chains. He started managing Wexner's money in the late 1980s and helped straighten out the finances for a real estate development Wexner was backing in a wealthy Columbus, Ohio, suburb.It was through Wexner that [in1996] Epstein acquired his Manhattan mansion, a seven-story, 21,000-square-foot former prep school less than a block from Central Park. It has been valued at about $77 million.
Around the same time, Trump started dating Marla Maples, who was working at his Atlantic City Taj Mahal Casino:
(1988) The Untold Story of Trump Model Management (Part 1):
Donald Trump, for his part, was becoming increasingly restless, and reckless. Despite fathering 3 children and having a devoted wife, by all accounts he didn’t spend much time with any of them, preferring work and play to the routines of domestic life. In the 80’s he made at least two life changing decisions-to step out on his wife publicly, and to expand his negligible empire into Atlantic City casinos. He built Harrah’s at Trump Plaza in 1984, and a partially completed building that became Trump Castle in 1985-a property that would be managed by his first wife, Ivana. He also scooped up the Taj Mahal in 1988, which at a cost of $1.1 billion made it the most expensive casino ever built at the time.
Some weirdness starts to pop up here, at least allegedly. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
(10/27/83) GROUND BROKEN FOR RESORTS' 2D N.J. CASINO-HOTEL
Resorts International, which opened the city's first gambling hall 5 1/2 years ago, broke ground yesterday for a second casino-hotel that will cost $250 million to build and will contain 1,000 hotel rooms and the world's second-largest casino.
According to Wikipedia:
Resorts International was a hotel and casino company. From its origins as a paint company, it moved into the resort business in the 1960s with the development of Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and then expanded to Atlantic City, New Jersey with the opening of Resorts Casino Hotel in 1978.
So how did a paint company morph into a multimillion dollar casino company? We're going to have to go to conspiracy theorists again. Make of it what you will:
Goodfellas: The Hidden History of Resorts International:
Resorts International was largely a family affair that grew out of a company called the Mary Carter Paint Company."Mary Carter (she never existed) was pretty much a family affair controlled by Jim Crosby, two of his brothers, and his in-laws. Based in Tampa, Florida, the firm included in its directorate James Crosby, John Crosby (a plastic surgeon in Mobile, Alabama), William Crosby (a Tampa realtor), and the Murphy brothers, Henry and Tom, who'd married the Crosby daughters. Henry owned a funeral home in Trenton, New Jersey, while Tom was board chairman of Capital Cities Communications, a successful broadcasting business founded by explorer Lowell Thomas. The explorer too was an early shareholder in Mary Carter Paint, as was Republican Thomas Dewey." (Spooks, Jim Hougan, pg. 381)Acclaimed researchers Sally Denton and Roger Morris note: "... the Mary Carter Paint Company, which was widely considered to be a CIA front that laundered payments to the Cuban exile army in the early sixties..." (The Money and the Power, pg. 284).This is certainly quite plausible considering Mary Carter was then based out of Tampa, a hub for joint CIA-Syndicate efforts to assassinate Castro. As was noted before here, Tampa don Santo Trafficante, Jr. was one of the gangsters initially tapped by the CIA's notorious Office of Security to arrange for Castro's untimely demise. Trafficante, a close associate of Meyer Lansky (whom we shall return to again), had been deeply involved in Cuba's gambling operations prior to the revolution and would later become even more deeply immersed in the world heroin trade. As was noted before here, he was very close to the emerging Cuban Mafia, which provided ample recruits to the CIA during the early 1960s despite much suspicion that Trafficante was a double agent for Castro.Certainly the Mary Carter Paint Company would have been well positioned to assist Trafficante in these endeavors in Tampa. And such a connection would also explain why the corporation, in the mid-1960s (as CIA Cuban operations were winding down), abruptly sold off its paint business and boldly delved into gambling. By the end of the decade it was managing one of the most profitable casinos in the world on the Bahama's Paradise Island.What it amounts to is that by the late period James Crosby emerged as not only the CEO of Mary CarteResorts International, but as an extremely well connected figure within the GOP and beyond."... Crosby was himself uniquely situated in Republican circles: a sometime guest at the White House, he'd donated $100,000 to Nixon's 1968 campaign. He was also a friend of, and frequent host two, Bebe Rebozo (with whom he banked). Moreover, Crosby's private intelligence agency, Intertel, was even then working with White House aides and ITT executives to discredit Jack Anderson's revelations anent ITT and Chile. At the same time, Intertel was the de factocustodian of the demented billionaire Howard Hughes (his own $100,000 donation would later result in two volumes of Senate testimony in the Watergate affair). Indeed, the ties between Paradise Island and Richard Nixon's administration were of the sort that bind: Allan Butler, owner of the failing bank that was his namesake, claims the Nixon was a silent partner of Crosby's in his Bahamian ventures, sharing a healthy chunk of Paradise Island bridge revenues with yet another secret partner, Bebe Rebozo. And by by no means finally, James O. Golden, Resorts' vice-president and one of Intertel's founding spooks, had formerly served as Nixon's Secret Service shield, later taking charge of security for the Nixon forces at the GOP's 1968 convention in Miami Beach. That Paradise Island is a special place, and had a special place in the heart (or what passed for a heart) of the Nixon regime, is abundantly clear... (Spooks, Jim Hougan, pg. 180) ...And that brings us to possibly the most curious aspects of Resorts, namely its ownership of its own vast private intelligence network.It was known as Intertel, short for International Intelligence, Inc. Intertel was incorporated in 1970 as an almost wholly-owned subsidiary of Resorts International and hit the ground running. During its heyday, Intertel had an impressive roster and an international reach. It would turn up in host of intrigues throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Curiously, it had its origins with Robert Kennedy's "Get Hoffa" squad."... Intertel, known especially and remarkably for its composition of former organized crime strike force attorneys from Robert Kennedy's Justice Department... The IRS considered Intertel... 'an organized crime enterprise of some type aimed at the Bahamas,' as one account summed up the agency's view. Roberts Peloquin and William Hundley, Kennedy's top crime fighters, had joined the firm and recruited operatives from the CIA, FBI, IRS, Secret Service, and other intelligence agencies. Staffed exclusively by what one author called 'Get Hoffa agents,' it was likened into a corporate CIA.' (The Money and the Power, Sally Denton & Roger Morris, pg. 284)...Intertel's other ventures include spying of muckraker Jack Anderson) for ITT, investigating the Chicago Tylenol murders and the Bhopal disaster. Even more ominous, however, were its dealings with a shady Belgium-based private detective agency known as Agence de Recherche et d'Information (ARI). As was noted before here, ARI was linked to members of the neo-fascist terror organization known as the Westland New Post, a few of whom had also been implicated in drug trafficking and pedophile rings. Intertel reportedly hired ARI to do some work for them during the 1980s....What is of great interest to us here is Trump's third Atlantic City casino: the Taj Mahal. While now widely associated with Trump, thanks in no small part to it leading to his first bankruptcy, it was not in fact Trump who started the casino. That dubious distinction lies with Resorts International.The company had begun construction on the Taj Mahal in 1983, but had run into persistent difficulties in finishing construction in the following years. Then, in April 1986, James Crosby died suddenly. This left Resorts in turmoil (allegedly) and Trump stepped in. Trump bought a controlling stake in the company in 1987 and was promptly named its chairman of the board.Let that sink in for a moment: Donald J. Trump, the current President of the United States, was briefly the chairman of a corporation long suspected of being a CIA front, that had decades-spanning involvement with the Syndicate, numerous "rogue" financiers, various drug and arms traffickers and which owned a vast private intelligence network...."
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
(07/22/87) TRUMP COMPLETES THE DEAL FOR RESORTS INTERNATIONAL
Developer Donald Trump took control of Resorts International Inc. yesterday in a $79 million deal that gives him his third Atlantic City casino, including what will be the largest gaming hall in the city.Trump sealed the deal in New York with those connected to the estate of the late founder of Resorts International, James M. Crosby.Trump paid a cash price of $135 a share for 585,068 shares of Class B stock, which has 100 times the voting power of Class A stock.He is expected to make a formal tender offer for the remaining 167,230 shares of Class B stock within the next several weeks at the same $135-a-share price. Owning all the Class B stock would give him 93 percent of the company's voting power.At a board meeting immediately after the transaction with the Crosby estate, Trump was elected chairman of the board of Resorts International, replacing Henry B. Murphy, Crosby's brother-in-law, who resigned.
And his relationship with Ivana was falling apart:
(1989) Ex-Wife: Donald Trump Made Me Feel ‘Violated’ During Sex
After a painful scalp reduction surgery to remove a bald spot, Donald Trump confronted his then-wife, who had previously used the same plastic surgeon.“Your fucking doctor has ruined me!” Trump cried.What followed was a “violent assault,” according to Lost Tycoon. Donald held back Ivana’s arms and began to pull out fistfuls of hair from her scalp, as if to mirror the pain he felt from his own operation. He tore off her clothes and unzipped his pants.“Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months. Ivana is terrified… It is a violent assault,” Hurt writes. “According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’”Following the incident, Ivana ran upstairs, hid behind a locked door, and remained there “crying for the rest of night.” When she returned to the master bedroom in the morning, he was there.“As she looks in horror at the ripped-out hair scattered all over the bed, he glares at her and asks with menacing casualness: ‘Does it hurt?’” Hurt writes.
In 1992, Trump would divorce Ivana. It's this same year that we find him arranging a party of 30 for himself, Jeffrey Epstein, and 28 young aspiring calendar girls:
(1992) Trump Was Alone at a 1992 Party with 28 Girls and Accused Sex Trafficker Jeffrey Epstein
Part of a “calendar girl” competition organized at Trump’s request, the party was put together by a businessman named George Houraney, who spoke with the New York Times for a story published Tuesday.Houraney was also one of many to accuse Trump of sexual harassment, this time toward his former girlfriend and business partner, Jill Harth, who described an incident in 1997 as an attempted rape by Trump.“I arranged to have some contestants fly in,” Houraney told the Times. “At the very first party, I said, ‘Who’s coming tonight? I have 28 girls coming.’ It was him and Epstein.”...Before the “calendar girl” event, Houraney warned Trump about Epstein once again.“Look, Donald, I know Jeff really well, I can’t have him going after younger girls,” Houraney recalled telling Trump in the Times interview. “He said: ‘Look I’m putting my name on this. I wouldn’t put my name on it and have a scandal.’”
[EDIT: MSNBC reports on 07/17/2019 on newly discovered footage of Trump and Epstein discussing women at a party in November of 1992.]
The Boston Globe reported:
(1992) The pageant of Donald Trump’s dreams
It was a snowy night in Manhattan, December 1992, and the festive group was embarking on a circuit of exclusive clubs after a sumptuous dinner at the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room.As the limo wove through the city, Trump discussed his views on dating, according to one of the women riding along. The billionaire casino mogul declared that “all women are bimbos” and said most were “gold diggers” who would be smart to go after men with money. Like him.Rhonda Noggle, the model who relayed the story to the Globe in an interview, said that, at that point, she had had enough. Speaking sharply to Trump, she said, she asked him to stop the limo. The car grew silent.
(1989-1995) The Untold Story of Trump Model Management (Part 1):
1989-1995 just so happens to be the same time period in which Donald Trumps world and empire was falling apart at the seams. In the beginning of the decade he was facing the end of his first marriage and a looming court battle. Despite his purportedly active dating life, by many accounts Trump was being rejected by many, if not most, of the women he pursued-including Carla Bruni and Jill Hearth. Marla Maples, after years of being the secret mistress and repeated rounds of being dumped and publicly humiliated by Trump, was starting to lose her patience. And the big gamble he took in Atlantic City was, by all accounts, failing miserably-a direct result of his jaw droppingly awful business practices and general incompetence. In 1991, his Taj Mahal Casino filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 1992, he again filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy again, this time on his Trump Plaza Hotel (also in Atlantic City), at the time owing $550 million dollars. Recall that he would report an almost 1 billion dollar loss on his 1995 tax returns, according to the copies obtained by the New York Times. Indeed, the early 90’s were not a very good era for Donald Trump. In light of this fact, it’s worth noting that the sexual assault allegations against him are all clustered within this very time frame. [Note: This article was written in 2016, prior to more allegations]...By the time “New York Magazine” did a front page profile of him in 1988, Casablancas reputation for bedding young models was established and begrudgingly accepted (a price to pay in exchange for his “genius”) within the New York social scene, but the expose came as a shock to many outside the bubble. John Casablancas would soon find out that he was not as untouchable as he thought he was. In the article-which ran under the title “Girl Crazy”-Casablancas was portrayed as a champagne guzzling pervert, singularly dedicated to the “new look” department of Elite where he spent his days ogling the scantily clad, sometimes naked bodies of teenage girls. In light of Donald Trump’s more alarming comments and decisions around his daughter Ivanka, this quote stands out:"Casablancas talked about his seventeen year old daughter, Cecile. He said Cecile had been solicited by a photographer last summer on a beach in Ibiza. The photographer asked her to pose in a bikini, and Casablancas raced over to try to get a $2,000 fee for the shot. “She’s got a great little body” he told his models."Another quote that brings a chuckle and a nod of recognition in this story is Casablancas’s bizarre pride over never having changed a diaper. Donald Trump would make similar boasts in a Howard Stern interview a few years later. Compelling proof this is not, but I do believe it’s a hint at the kind of Don Juan persona that Don, far from a Juan, actually a dejected, balding husband with a crumbling empire....But the scandal did not end there, nor did it begin. Less than a month earlier 60 minutes aired a prime-time special on the abuses of underage girls in the modeling industry. Investigative reporter Craig Pyes portrayed the modeling industry as infested with agents who were notorious hustlers and playboys. His report revealed that both Claude Haddad- the head of European scouting for Ford- and Ford’s Paris-based agent Jean-Luc Brunel had been accused of horrific sexual misconduct by many models. [Note: Brunel's name appears multiple times on Epstein's flight manifests.] The special aired the interviews of dozens of women who accused both Brunel and Haddad of a litany of crimes, ranging from racist invective towards black models to violent rape. And in fact the hidden camera footage captured in filming the special caught it all- from Xavier lamenting about n**er models, to Haddad chuckling about drugging and raping 13 year old girls. According to Model At a retreat soon after the one-two punch delivered by the coverage, Haddad, Jean Luc Brunel and Casablancas were once again overheard (albeit not taped this time around) laughing about their crimes. Alternatively they were angry when confronted by interim scouting manager Trudi Tapscott - ”I’m a man and I have needs, I will not apologize for that!” Casablancas is said to have declared....Over time Donald Trump would emerge from the ruins of his empire with a new approach to business, and a new source of income-in 1996 he bought the rights to the Miss Universe franchise, and became the central figure in the running of these pageants. And in 1999 he started a modeling agency - T models, later changed to Trump Model Management. The correlation of interests is quite clear-for a man awkward around women but dependent on his public image saying otherwise, a stable of women under his employ was a way to boost his image-and even better, he was able to lock all of these women into non disclosure agreements, ensuring that his behavior with them had little chance of becoming public knowledge. It also appeared to have served as a useful tool regarding his business transactions-which, in the aftermath of his bankruptcy, were increasingly dependent on some less than savory characters. How he did this, and the breadth of this activity, will be explored in the next installment. But for the time being, there is one final aspect of this story that is breathtaking, and speaks more to the character of Donald Trump than anything else.
More in Part 3.
submitted by pijinglish to ConspiracyII [link] [comments]

My List Of True Crime Books That Are (Primarily) Not About Murder.

This is my third list for this sub. I hope you enjoy it.
ART THIEVES, FORGERS, SMUGGLERS.
The Art of the Steal by Christopher Mason. A true story about the auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s and how they conspired to cheat their clients out of millions of dollars.
The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace. The most expensive bottle of wine and the conflicting reports about its history. This is a book that would enchant wine conessi… conues… lovers.
The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser. Author Ulrich Boser looks at the unsolved art theft case of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed by John Vaillant. Grant Hadwin, a logger-turned-activist, fells a unique 165 feet Sitka spruce in an act of protest. John Vaillant takes the readers into the heart of North America’s last great forest to find out why he did that.
Hitler’s Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the Looting of Europe’s Treasures by Susan Ronald. Hildebrand Gurlitt was an art thief, or as he put it himself, an ‘official dealer’ for Hitler and Goebbels. But he stole from the Jews and Nazis alike. This book was published after his hoard was recently (2013) discovered which created an international furor.
The Irish Game: A True Story of Crime and Art by Matthew Hart. This book is about the art theft at Ireland’s Russborough House in 1986. The suspect, a gangster named Martin Cahill, played cat and mouse with police for years.
The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime by Miles Harvey. When you think about stealing some valuable art, do maps come to your mind? Then this book is for you. Gilbert Joseph Bland Jr. stole numerous centuries-old maps from research libraries in US and Canada.
I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Forger by Frank Wynne. Han van Meegeren became so much adapt at forging Vermeer paintings that it is said that even professional experts would find it difficult to point out his works from the originals. He earned more than $50 million by selling his forgeries – and he even swindled the Nazis.
The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy. Reptile smuggling is a big “business”. The author, a federal agent, suspected a reptile business owner of being a major smuggler and he started investigating. It was not as simple as it sounds because at one point he was chased by a mother alligator and even bitten by a python.
The Lost Chalice: The Epic Hunt for a Priceless Masterpiece by Vernon Silver. A 2500 year old cup made by the Greek master Euphronios which depicted the fall of Troy gets stolen and sold (along with 3 other such vessels). Then due to the questionable practice of some art dealers, no one can track down its last known owner.
The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. With nothing better to do, the author embarks on a journey to discover a Caravaggio painting which was lost to time two hundred years ago.
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett. John Charles Gilkey stole rare books not because he wanted to make profit as most thieves do, but because he loved books. I guess if you want to call yourself a book-reader but don’t actually want to say… read a book, you could just steal them and show them off to your friends. But who are we to question the wisdom of “booklovers”, right?
The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean. If you thought that stealing maps is a weird “job” to have, how about stealing a rare breed of flower? We all know about the Tulipomania that gripped Netherlands in the 1630s. But this is a modern tale, and the book is perhaps one of the most popular ones on this list.
Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman, John Shiffman. This book is about Robert K. Wittman, FBI’s founder of the Art Crime Team and his undercover missions around the world to rescue various pieces of stolen art.
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury. You could have a Jackson Pollock lying around in your basement, but if you can’t prove that the piece is real, you might as well use it as a table cloth (I might have exaggerated there a bit, but you get the point). John Myatt, a struggling artist, and John Drewe, a conman who knew the importance of Provenance in the art world, duped many people and museums by creating a fake paper trial that seemed to prove that the art was a real thing and not a forgery. So much so that the experts believe that there might still be some fake paintings created by Myatt displayed in prominent places as the real thing.
The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick. Dolnick writes about the theft of Edvard Munch’s The Scream from the National Gallery in Oslo in 1994 and the subsequent investigation that took place to track it down.
Selling Hitler by Robert Harris In mid-eighties, Hitler’s diaries were “discovered” and many experts fell for the con. The backpeddling many did when it was revealed that the diaries were not real is really amusing to read about.
Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature’s Bounty by Craig Welch. This book is about the poaching of a larger-than-life clam – a Geoduck, to be precise, and the subsequent chase from the wildlife police to nab the poacher.
Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers and the Looting of the Ancient World by Roger Atwood. This book provides a sweeping history of thefts of various priceless antiques.
Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece by Noah Charney. The twelve panel oil-painting of the Mystic Lamb is the most frequently stolen artwork in the world. It was stolen 13 times. One wonders whether they could have guarded it a little better after the first couple of times, you know. Anyway, this book describes the events of each theft.
Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery by Jennie Erin Smith. Two reptile smugglers compete against each other to conquer the illegal trade for themselves. The funny thing is, the Zoos stood against them in the courts, but they had no problem buying rare fauna from the two smugglers, sometimes simultaneously.
Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California by Frances Dinkelspiel. A massive fire destroyed wines worth $250 million in a California warehouse, making it the largest destruction of wine in history. It was done by a conman named Mark Anderson, who rented storage space at the same warehouse. This book tells why he did that and also goes into the surprisingly bloody history of wine trade in California. (reads well with cranberry juice).
Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R. A. Scotti. On August 21, 1911, a man walked out of the Louvre with the Mona Lisa tucked inside his coat (should have painted it bigger, eh Vinci?). I am not going to spoil this book for anyone. Read it if you want to know whether Mona Lisa was recovered or was lost to time forever.
CARTELS, GANGS, UNDERWORLD.
American Desperado: My Life --- From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset by Jon Roberts, Evan Wright. Jon Roberts, who starred in documentary Cocaine Cowboys tells his story to the journalist Evan Wright in this book. Roberts smuggled drugs to Miami for the Medellin Cartel (which will feature many times in this category).
At the Devil’s Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel by William C. Rempel. This is Narcos Season 3, basically. Remember the family guy who gets involved with the Cali Cartel and mops around for the whole season even though he had an unbelievably hot wife who was clearly out of his league? That character was based on Rempel. And if I must say so, the book is more compelling than that season of Narcos. Nothing can beat Agent Pena, though.
Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill. The story of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger – the head of the Irish Mob in Boston - who became an informant for the FBI and chaos ensued. Depp plays Whitey Bulger in the movie adaptation with a soggy tortilla glued to his face as make-up.
Blow: How a Small -Town Bay Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost it All by Bruce Porter. Another book where Johnny Depp plays the main character in the movie adaptation. This book is about George Jung, who after meeting Carlos Lehder, started selling cocaine in the United States through Medellin Cartel.
Cocaine Diaries: A Venezuelan Prison Nightmare by Paul Keany, Jeff Farrell. Paul Keany was caught smuggling half-a-million euro worth of cocaine into Venezuela. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Now, prisons everywhere aren’t exactly fun places to be, but Los Teques where Keany was incarcerated was nothing short of hell on earth.
Confessions of a Yakuza by Junichi Saga. Junichi Saga was a doctor by profession. A patient, who was a former Yakuza, recounted his life story before him. Saga recorded the conversations, and broke doctor-patient confidentiality by writing this book.
Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire by Mark Bowden. A dentist named Larry Lavin builds the foundation for a cocaine empire in the United States.
Donnie Brasco by Joseph D. Pistone, Richard Woodley. Joseph D. Pistone, an FBI agent, goes undercover for six years to infiltrate the Mafia. Do watch the movie too, it is Depp’s last movie without weird make-up.
El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo. Journalist Ioan Grillo has written, arguably, the definitive book on Mexican drug cartels. Why he is still alive is anybody’s guess.
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh. Venkatesh, who was a sociology grad student at the time, infiltrated one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs. This is one of a kind type of book.
Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano. This book is about the Italian Crime Network called Camorra in Naples, Italy. Due to his intensive investigative journalism which exposed lot of insider information about the crime syndicate, author Saviano still has to live under constant police protection.
The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia by Alex Perry. This is a recent book, where the author Alex Perry looks inside the ruthless Calabrian Mafia of Italy and three women who want to save their own and their children’s lives. This is a fascinating and courageous look into an aspect of the Mafia which is often overlooked by most.
Hunting El Chapo: The Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captured the World’s Most Wanted Drug-Lord by Andrew Hogan, Douglas Century. Remember when Joaquin Guzman was caught for the first time and then he escaped and then he was caught again for good? Yes? Then read this one. But this book only focuses on the operation that nabbed him for the first time. I must warn you though – the author, Andrew Hogan – is really really in love with himself and it seeps into his writing.
The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel by Robert Mazur. Mazur went undercover and actually became a money launderer for Pablo Escobar. This book is more about how bankers actively helped to launder the drug money and how Mazur helped to bring them down.
Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden. This is the best book about tracking and eventually killing Pablo Escobar. And as Walter Jr. pointed out to Walter White, it focuses on the good guys, not the bad ones. Good companion book to Pablo Escobar: My Father written by Escobar’s son.
Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail by Rusty Young. The author stays inside San Pedro jail for months with a drug smuggler to chronicle his tale. This is one of the most popular books written on cocaine smuggling.
McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by Misha Glenny. This is a thorough investigation into organized crime worldwide which accounts for 1/5th of total GDP of the world. This book would please readers who are into extensively researched true-crime history books, not so much a casual reader (inb4 - I just read 5 pages of McMafia and wow… just wow).
Mr. Blue: Memoirs of a Renegade by Edward Bunker. Edward Bunker had had an eventful life. Incarceration for two and a half decades, being on FBI’s most wanted list, and being a crime novelist. This is his autobiography.
Mr. Nice by Howard Marks. Howard Marks started dealing dope in small quantities while he was studying at Oxford – as you do – and then eventually graduated to dealing it in tons (what the hell was he studying there? Oh, philosophy). This is his fascinating story.
Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers by Anabel Hernandez. Yet another book that resulted in the author getting death threats. This proves the old cliché true that the pen is mightier than the sword; until the sword comes down and cuts your neck. That’s why the author has to live under constant protection.
Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel by Tom Wainwright. Any aspiring drug lords should read this instruction manual. Just kidding. Wainwright goes deep into the functioning of various drug cartels and at the end also comes up with a plan to defeat them.
News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Little known author tries his hand at true-crime. Pablo Escobar kidnapped 10 journalists when he was on the run from the authorities. This book revolves around that event.
The Night it Rained Guns: Unravelling the Purulia Arms Drop Conspiracy by Chandan Nandy. On a December night in 1995, someone airdropped three weapons-laden wooden pallets over Purulia, West Bengal. Who did it and why? This book tells the story about one of India’s greatest ever security breaches.
No Angel: My Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels by Jay Dobyns, Nils Johnson-Shelton. Dobyns was the first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the notorious biker gang. This is his story.
Pablo Escobar: My Father by Juan Pablo Escobar. Juan Pablo is an architect and lives and practices his trade in Argentina. Even though Pablo was his father, Juan does not try to justify his actions even a little bit. This is one of the best books written on Pablo Escobar.
The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream by Patrick Radden Keefe. Sister Ping, leader of the Chinese underworld in the US, earned $40 million a year smuggling people from China. Told from the viewpoints of gangsters, investigators, and poor immigrants alike, this book provides a unique window into the world of human smuggling.
Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City, Was Extorted out of Millions by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in FBI History by Michael D. Blutrich. I am disappointed that they went with FBI instead of Federal Bureau of Investigation in the title. Should have made it longer. Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City on the 34th Street Just Opposite the Starbucks, Was Extorted out of 4.54 Millions and 55 Cents Plus Taxes by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in Federal Bureau of Investigation History by Michael Dostoyevsky Blutrich
Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein. The author, working as a reporter in Japan, writes about the seedy underbelly of crime in the country.
The Untouchables by Eliot Ness, Oscar Fraley. Where’s Nitty? He’s in the car. Great movie. How Eliot Ness and his team started the downward spiral in criminal career of Al Capone. A somewhat embellished account was also written in the book, but nonetheless, it is a gripping tale.
Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand by K. Vijay Kumar. Koose Muniswamy Veerappan was the last big outlaw of India. A sandalwood smuggler who lived in the forest to evade the police, Veerappan killed hundreds of policemen and civilians. K. Vijay Kumar, the officer who led the task force that ultimately brought down the brigand, is the author of this book.
Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi. I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? Goodfellas is perhaps the best Mafia movie ever made, so read it in his own words why Pileggi might fold under questioning.
Zero Zero Zero by Roberto Saviano, Virginia Jewiss. This Saviano guy must have a death wish. But as a handsome list-writer once eloquently said, “If bitten already by a King Cobra, what difference it makes if you French kiss a Black Mamba?” Since the publication of his book on the Italian crime syndicate, Saviano has to live under constant police protection. So to make sure they don’t slack off, he wrote a book on Cocaine Cartel, this time acquiring lots of admirers in Latin America.
CONMEN, IMPOSTORS.
The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter by Jason Kersten. The Art of making money is to make other people work for you; not the other way round. But more scrupulous method of making money would be to counterfeit it. Art Williams did exactly that.
Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale. Maybe the most popular book on this list, Abagnale Jr.’s book is not to be missed even if you have watched the movie starring the actor who had sex with a bear (no, not Tormund).
Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock. One “Dr.” John R. Brinkley, set-up a medical practice to surgically insert goat glands in human testicles to restore their fading sex drive. I am not joking, this happened.
Conman: A Master Swindler’s Own Story by J. R. Weil, W. T. Brannon. Known as “Yellow Kid” Weil was a master conman, who duped public of more than $8 million 100 years ago. He’s called by many as the greatest conman of all time (second to the companies that charge service fees on the internet, of course).
Eyeing the Flash: The Making of a Carnival Con Artist by Peter Fenton. Fenton was a math student until he turned into a carnival con artist. How many bananas he stole from the monkeys? How many bales of potatoes from the elephants? Read this book to find out.
Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise. If you have any annoying friends who romanticize the Victorian era and say that they would have liked to live there, tell them to read this book and get back to you after that.
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal. This is the true story of one of the greatest impostors of all time. The man could have impersonated a chihuahua if he wanted to.
The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by James Francis Johnson. Viktor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower not once, but twice. I still have the relevant papers that my great grandfather left us. I’m going to shift it to Nauru or Detroit.
The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con by Amy Reading. This is a revenge story of a man who sets out to con the conmen who conned him twice. Unfortunately, the book could have been written better, but it is still worth having a look at.
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood. I once tried playing dead in a meeting when asked about the progress on my project. But there are people who fake their death for lesser gains, such as insurance fraud and debt fraud. Author Elizabeth Greenwood journeys into the dark world of death fraud to find out more.
Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend by Mitchell Zuckoff. Charles Ponzi was so successful in duping people that we have immortalized his name by terming such swindles after him. At one point, he was raking in $2 millions a week. How many weeks would it take you to earn 2 million dollars at your current income? (sorry, that got heavy fast. It hurt me too).
A Rum Affair: A True Story of Botanical Fraud by Karl Sabbagh. One botanist claimed that some species of plants on the islands south of Scotland survived the last Ice Age. Another botanist doubted him. This might not sound like a big fraud if you are not into plants, but believe me when I say that the 2 botanists who just read this threw their phones away in disgust and disbelief.
Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest by Gregg Olsen. A quack doctor named Linda Hazard developed a technique called “fasting treatment”. The story focuses on two sisters who fell for the quack’s assurances that they would be cured of all the diseases - real or imagined. This book is quite infuriating to read. Hazard was a despicable human being.
Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee – The Dark History of the Food Cheats by Bee Wilson. Wilson looks from ancient Rome to current times for food frauds. And she finds them aplenty (companion read - while having a nice snack).
A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds by Michael Farquhar. This is a good bathroom book about fakers through history.
The Woman Who Wasn’t There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception by Robin Gaby Fisher, Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr. Have you heard about Tania Head? If you haven’t, I urge you to skip this book. Tania Head duped survivors of 9/11 and the whole world alike into believing that she was one of the survivors from the South Tower of World Trade Center. I feel enraged just by typing this. So just read this book if you want to know more about her. There are a couple of documentaries out there too.
HACKERS.
The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll. Long before internet became a place for cat memes, Cliff Stoll was working at a research lab as a systems manager. One day he found 75 cents of accounting error. This made him alert that an unauthorized person was logging into the system. Thus began his lone effort of tracking down the spy.
Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell by Phil Lapsley. Before there was internet, or even personal computers, mobsters and teenagers hacked the telephone system.
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon. The book tells the story of one of the best hackers of all times, Kevin Mitnick, and his cat and mouse game with the FBI.
The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Math Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David Enrich. A group of bankers manipulated daily interest rates just a fraction here and there on loans worth trillions of dollars and made some serious cash for themselves. This book also rocks one of the ugliest book covers of 2017.
MUTINEERS, PIRATES, OUTLAWS.
Batavia’s Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History’s Bloodiest Mutiny by Mike Dash. I was torn whether to include this book in the list as the history of Batavia’s mutiny is littered with corpses. But as the focus is on the mutiny, I am going to keep it here. This event could give the Medusa’s raft a run for its money.
The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship and its Cargo of Female Convicts by Sian Rees. Poor girls in England, most of who were petty thieves, were given a chance to sail to Botany Bay in Australia to create a new life for themselves and the male population of New South Wales. But the real story happened at the sea on board the ship Lady Julian.
The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Thom Hatch. Butch: What happened to the old bank? It was beautiful. Guard: People kept robbing it. Butch: Small price to pay for beauty. The book might not be full of memorable dialogues as the movie, but if you want to know more about the legendary outlaws, give this book a chance.
Lost Paradise: From Mutiny on the Bounty to a Modern-Day Legacy of Sexual Mayhem, the Dark Secrets of Pitcairn Island Revealed by Kathy Marks. Mutiny of the Bounty is perhaps the most infamous of mutinies that occurred at sea. Even after the event and hundreds of years later, the descendants of Fletcher Christian and his sailors continue to live a crime-filled life like their forefathers on Pitcairn Island.
The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks. This book will change your perception of Captain Kidd, that’s for sure.
To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner. This non-fiction book concentrates on Sheriff Pat Garrett’s chase in pursuit of the bandit Billy the Kid. If you like reading westerns, this one and The Last Outlaws are not to be missed.
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly. Cordingly takes a look at life among the pirates. Some of your romanticism would be squashed, but there were some good things about being a pirate too. Life among the pirates was neither black nor white; it was beige.
POLITICAL CRIMES
Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners from Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History by Guy Lawson. Three kids won a 300 million dollar contract – legitimately – I must add, to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. They had no money, but still they almost pulled it off. I don’t know, read this book, and if you’re a US citizen, visit the websites mentioned in the book, see if they are still doing business the same way, and if you want, you can become a supplier to the army too. Don’t forget to send me my cut (the movie War Dogs was trash).
The Brother: The Untold Story of Atomic Spy David Greenglass and How He Sent His Sister, Ethel Rosenberg, to the Electric Chair by Sam Roberts. Even if you’re not a United Statian of American (USians?), chances are you might have read at least something about the execution of the Rosenberg couple as spies. This is probably the best book about the subject.
Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Man Behind Them: How America Went to War in Iraq by Bob Drogin. How many weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq? If your answer is “what’s that?” then congratulations, you’re not unlike one of your former presidents. Who told the USians that there were WMDs with Saddam? Curveball.
The Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. Perkins was an economic hitman, who at the instruction of US intelligence agencies and giant corporations cajoled and blackmailed other country leaders to serve US foreign policy and award lucrative contracts to American businesses (now that job has been transferred to the White House).
A Kim Jong – Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer. Say you want to make a big movie for your country. But there is no one in your country who can handle such an ambitious project. What do you do? Hire some talent from other country? But you’re Kim Jong – Il. Oh. Then you just kidnap them, and force them to make the glorious movie of yours. Read this book. It’s pretty absurd (the movie they eventually made for Kim was utter shit. The Room would look like Gone with the Wind compared to that abomination).
The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets… And How We Could Have Stopped Him by Douglas Frantz, Catherine Collins. One day a man Abdul Qadeer Khan caught a plane to Pakistan from Europe. With him he had blueprints of the mechanism that could prepare weapons grade Uranium that he had stolen from the lab he worked at in the last 3 years. He would make the first atomic bomb for Pakistan with that information. Then he sold the tech to stable countries like Iran, North Korea and Libya. How can someone get away with stealing such powerful information? Read this book to find out.
Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen. This is a pretty controversial topic that has only gained wider acknowledgement in recent decades. Read this book to know in detail how bogus the claims of justice being served to the perpetrators of the Holocaust were. Basically, if you were a scientist, you were very likely to be acquitted from any War Crimes allegations.
The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina by Uki Goni. How did most of the Nazis who managed to escape from Germany ended up in South America? Read about the collusion of various entities and institutions that made it possible in this book.
The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. This is the true story of a mole in FBI, how he attempted to sell classified information and how FBI tried to track him down.
ROBBERIES, HEISTS.
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubinstein. If there is one thief in this list that I admire, it is without a doubt, Attila Ambrus. Ambrus was known as a gentleman thief, who would ask – no, request - the teller to fill his bag with money. If you read this book, it would be hard for you to dislike Attila even though he was a thief.
Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief by Bill Mason, Lee Gruenfeld. Bill Mason looted many famous personalities in his long career as a jewel thief. In this book he tells how he did it.
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson. Do you know there are people whose hobby is fly tying? The feathery thing that you attach to the hook to catch fish? But these are not your average fly tiers. They use feathers from exotic birds to create different ties whose total cost could run in thousands of dollars. Moreover, many of the most coveted birds are either protected or extinct. So one night a man named Edwin Rist broke into Tring museum and took hundreds of bird skins, some that belonged to Darwin, to fuel his hobby and even getting rich by selling precious feathers to other tiers. Don’t miss this book.
Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million by Mark Bowden. Who hasn’t dreamt of finding a big bag of money? It couldn’t have happened to a more clueless person. Joey Coyle, to be exact.
Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby. The theft from Antwerp that still raises many questions.
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn. The truth is not that romantic.
The Great Pearl Heist: London’s Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace by Molly Caldwell Crosby. Pearls, more valuable than the Hope Diamond, are stolen by thieves in Edwardian London.
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. My favorite Crichton book. Stealing gold from a running train! Watch the movie too that stars the great Sean Connery.
Heist: The Oddball Crew Behind the $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft by Jeff Diamant. How hard is it to steal 17 million dollars? As far as these thieves were concerned, not much. Getting away with it was another thing altogether. The movie was pretty average, I think.
Into the Blast: The True Story of DB Cooper by Skipp Porteous, Robert Blevins. Is Tommy Wiseau DB Cooper? If only that was true. Read the book but don’t expect any clear-cut answers (I think most people would agree that the clumsy bastard died after he jumped from the plane).
A Pickpocket’s Tale: The Underworld of Nineteenth-Century New York by Timothy J. Gilfoyle. True story of George Appo, a pickpocket living in nineteenth-century New York.
Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich. A guy steals moon rocks from NASA and then had sex on them with his girlfriend (how the hell is that comfortable?)
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. The last hermit was not a hermit in true sense. He didn’t rely on land to feed himself. He stole from the nearby community. Before someone says I have spoiled the book for them, it is revealed in the first chapter that he is a thief.
WHITE COLLAR CRIMES.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. The Steve Jobs impersonator, Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, and her old boyfriend, Sunny, are some of the most vile people that I have come across while reading about corporate crime. This is one of the best books that I have read this year.
Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart. This is probably the most famous book written about those Wall Street scoundrels.
Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb. The story of Leo Koretz, who created one of the longest running Ponzi schemes in the 1920s Chicago.
The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald. Mark Whitacre becomes an FBI informant against his own corporation. But as time goes by, the FBI starts to realize that Mark is not as truthful as he seems to be, and he has his own agenda (they made a movie with Matt Damon).
Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street’s Wildest Con by Guy Lawson. Sam Israel’s hedge fund was making heavy losses. So naturally, he fabricated fake returns to fool the investors. Then he heard about a secret market from where he could convert his millions into billions. That’s how he lost the last 150 million dollars of his invertors’ money.
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder. Only thing you are going to learn from this book is don’t do business in Russia.
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind. Bethany McLean asked one simple question in her article when everyone else was going gaga over Enron. “What does Enron actually do?” Nobody knew. Even Enron couldn’t give a specific answer. They were not just committing accounting fraud; they were looting ordinary people by creating fake shortage of electricity and driving the prices high. The documentary is worth watching too.
Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony by Gary Stephen Ross. The guy Molony debited huge amounts of money from the bank he worked at to feed his gambling addiction. Oh, and he took the money in other people’s name who held huge accounts there. This is one of the best true-crime books that I have ever read.
Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way by Jon Krakauer. You know the man who builds schools in remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan? Great guy, right? Krakauer doesn’t think so. And he’ll tell you why in this short book.
The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques. 65 billion dollars. That’s the amount that Madoff swindled from people through decades of fraud. I think I can buy a small island country with this much money. The idiot is in jail though. I don’t know, maybe after a couple of billion, skip to a country with no extradition treaty and live the rest of your life without the fear of being getting caught? But then, these types of people don’t know when to stop.
OTHER.
American Roulette: How I Turned the Odds Upside Down --- My Wild Twenty-Five-Year Ride Ripping Off World’s Casinos by Richard Marcus. The guy ripped-off casinos all over the world by stealing gaming chips while maintaining an illusion of a highroller to lend his eventual take required legitimacy.
Breaking the Rock: The Great Escape from Alcatraz by Jolene Babyak. Written by the daughter of a guard at Alcatraz, this book tells the story of the infamous escape from the prison island. Don’t forget to watch the classic movie too.
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich. The movie 21 was based on this book. But if you want to know the real story, without the whitewashing, you have no choice but to read this book.
Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy by Kevin Bales. Kevin Bales estimates that there are 27 million people worldwide who live as slaves, right now. And yes, slavery still exists in United States of America in case you were wondering. This is a depressing book.
Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison by T. J. Parsell. Rape in prison is absolutely overlooked almost everywhere. Read this book if you can endure reading about helplessness page after page.
Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Most Notorious Jail by Kathryn Bonella. Prison systems in developing world differ from the developed one in one regard that the guards and officials there are more corrupt and hence are likely to look the other way when something bad is going down amongst the inmates. Kerobokan Jail in Bali is one of the worst among those.
The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison by Pete Earley. The author interviewed inmates from Leavenworth Prison for two years. The book is the result of that labor.
The Laundrymen: Inside the World’s Third Largest Business by Jeffrey Robinson. I have a perfect idea to launder money. Laser Tag! Robinson looks at the third largest business in the world. The book was published a while ago, but still hasn’t lost most of its relevancy.
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. Jon releases the Krakauer on one of the most relevant subjects of today. Rapes in colleges. These institutes would do anything to sweep things under the rug to maintain the illusion of clean image in the public eye.
Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover. The author worked as a prison guard for a year at one of the most notorious prisons of the United States. This book is about his experience.
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