10 Sunday Reads

Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:

Lie of the Year: Coronavirus downplay and denial Lies infected America in 2020. The very worst were not just damaging, but deadly. President Donald J. Trump fueled confusion and conspiracies from the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic. He embraced theories that COVID-19 accounted for only a small fraction of the thousands upon thousands of deaths (PolitiFact)
How Offshore Oddsmakers Made a Killing off Gullible Trump Supporters The betting markets were not good predictors, but they weren’t trying to be. The online bookmakers that fielded bets on the election saw their largest single-event windfall ever. To understand why, you need to understand election betting and Donald Trump supporters. Offshore sportsbooks do not share detailed financials, but the 2020 election appears to have been the biggest online betting event in at least American history, to say nothing of what licensed bookmakers in Europe might have made. (Slate)
These Trees Are Not What They Seem: Corporations are working with the Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest environmental group, to employ far-fetched logic to help absolve them of their climate sins. By taking credit for saving well-protected land, these companies are reducing nowhere near the pollution that they claim. This is how the world’s biggest environmental group became a dealer of meaningless carbon offsets. (Bloomberg)
Disgrace after Defeat: All in all, it’s the worst thing he’s done in his presidency and the worst exit of a defeated president in U.S. history, an effort that is not less infamous for being incompetent and risible. (National Review)
GM, Ford knew about climate change 50 years ago Scientists at two of America’s biggest automakers knew as early as the 1960s that car emissions caused climate change, a monthslong investigation by E&E News has found. The discoveries by General Motors and Ford Motor Co. preceded decades of political lobbying by the two car giants that undermined global attempts to reduce emissions while stalling U.S. efforts to make vehicles cleaner. (E&E News)
After The US Election, Key People Are Leaving Facebook And Torching The Company In Departure Notes “With so many internal forces propping up the production of hateful and violent content, the task of stopping hate and violence on Facebook starts to feel even more sisyphean than it already is,” the employee wrote in their “badge post,” a traditional farewell note for any departing Facebook employee. “It also makes it embarrassing to work here.” (Buzzfeed) see also Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine The architecture of the modern web poses grave threats to humanity. It’s not too late to save ourselves. (The Atlantic)
The year’s seven most spectacular professional flameouts included a job-ending Zoom exposure and a resignation over racial discrimination. The pandemic has had at least one professional upside: It’s hard to misbehave when you are quarantined. Hard, but not impossible. (Forbes)
‘We want them infected’: Trump appointee demanded ‘herd immunity’ strategy “As the virus spread through the country, these officials callously wrote, ‘who cares’ and ‘we want them infected,'” Clyburn added. “They privately admitted they ‘always knew’ the President’s policies would cause a ‘rise’ in cases, and they plotted to blame the spread of the virus on career scientists.” (Politico)
Detachment from reality: From the RightThe Texas Lawsuit and the Age of Dreampolitik The separation of political reality from political fantasy still exists — for now. (New York TimesFrom the Left: When Did Republicans Start Hating Facts? A straight line runs from Reagan to the Trump dead-enders. (New York Times)
Deadliest place in America: They shrugged off the pandemic, then their family and friends started dying The coronavirus has killed a higher percentage of Gove County residents than any other county in the United States: One out of every 132 people has died. Their intertwined stories illuminate the toll the pandemic has taken on communities across the country as emotional debates over how to control the infection have unfolded amid mounting losses. Even today, mask-wearing remains controversial in Gove County, and friendships are being strained as authorities struggle to persuade their neighbors to follow basic public health guidelines. (USA Today)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Tom Slater, head of the US equities team at Baillie Gifford, which has over $370 billion in assets under management. He serves as a decision-maker on Long Term Global Growth portfolios, and the U.S. Equity Growth Fund which is up +113% year to date. He also co-manages the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, which Baillie Gifford has been managing since 1908.


80% of U.S. wealth is held by people 60 and over

Source: @MichaelBatnick


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