Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:
• Five undervaccinated clusters put the entire United States at risk Clusters of unvaccinated people, most of them in the southern United States, are vulnerable to surges in Covid-19 cases and could become breeding grounds for even more deadly Covid-19 variants: Starting in Georgia and stretching west to Texas and north to Missouri + include parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee. see also (CNN) Trump Country Rejects Vaccines Despite Growing Delta Threat President Biden missed a July 4 target for shots after politically conservative areas balked (Bloomberg)
• This Is Tax Evasion, Plain and Simple The race to the bottom on corporate taxes has gone on for too long. Since the 1980s, countries have competed for business by reducing companies’ taxes. A few nations, like Ireland and Bermuda, have adopted extremely low rates and become tax havens for companies like Google and Apple. Last week, 130 countries, including the United States, agreed to a blueprint to tax their companies’ profits at a minimum 15 percent rate — no matter where the profits are booked. (New York Times)
• The Hidden Costs of Dollar General When the dollar stores moved in, they started driving grocery stores out. Local grocers blamed it on what they called the Walmart effect. When Walmart Supercenters arrived in neighboring areas, offering huge selections of goods at low prices, people started driving to them rather than shopping locally. Smaller stores couldn’t compete. (Slate)
• A Banking App Has Been Suddenly Closing Accounts, Sometimes Not Returning Customers’ Money Chime, a “neobank” serving millions, is racking up complaints from users who can’t access their cash. The company says it’s cracking down on an “extraordinary surge” in fraudulent deposits. That’s little consolation to customers caught in the fray. (ProPublica)
• Ransomware Is the IRS of Bitcoin: It doesn’t really matter how inconvenient it is to pay in bitcoin when you don’t have any other choice (Wall Street Journal) see also How to Negotiate with Ransomware Hackers ‘You’re a very talented hacker, and we’d like to pay you for that. But we can’t pay what you’re asking.’ ” (New Yorker)
• You Really Need to Quit Twitter: How could I have succumbed to this common, embarrassing habit that just about everyone on Earth knows is a scourge? (The Atlantic)
• The Secret History of Gavin McInnes: In the ’90s, he played punk rock and helped create Vice magazine. Five years ago, he founded a very different organization: the Proud Boys, the far-right group that came to personify the vilest tendencies of Trump’s America. A former Vice editor interviews one of our era’s most troubling extremists. (Vanity Fair)
• What Makes a Cult a Cult? The line between delusion and what the rest of us believe may be blurrier than we think. (New Yorker)
• While Trump planted the seed for Jan. 6, others — including Fox News — watered it A former Fox executive, for example, blames the network (Washington Post) see also From corporate America to conspiracy theory promotion: How a Minnesota man made a career out of anonymously amplifying dark plots For more than a decade, the 53-year-old has also pursued a less conventional path: anonymously promoting conspiracy theories about dark forces in American politics on websites and social media accounts in a business he runs out of his home. (Washington Post)
• ‘In the End We Felt Betrayed’: Vietnamese Veterans See Echoes in Afghanistan Those who continued fighting for South Vietnam in 1975 know what it’s like when an American-made military is suddenly left with little support. (New York Times)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Christine Hurtsellers, CEO of Voya Investment Management. The firm manages over $245 billion in assets. Hurtsellers was recently named to Barrons’s top 10 most influential women in wealth management.
There’s A Stark Red-Blue Divide When It Comes To States’ Vaccination Rates
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.