Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:
• The Lucrative Business of Stoking Vaccine Skepticism How misinformation peddlers are using crowdfunding sites to bankroll their work. (Slate)
• Acres of Money Laundering: Why U.S. Real Estate is a Kleptocrat’s Dream What do the Iranian government, a fugitive international jeweler, and a disgraced Harvard University fencing coach have in common? Kleptocrats, criminals, sanctions evaders, and corrupt government officials choose the U.S. real estate market as their preferred destination to hide and launder proceeds from illicit activities. They have all used U.S. real estate to launder their ill-gotten gains. (Global Financial Integrity) see also Notes on NFTs, the high-art trade, and money laundering NFTs create new opportunities for bad guys to move money without attribution. (Amy Castor)
• Weak Oversight Plagues Audits of Billions in Private Assets Self-regulatory audit system fails to safeguard charities, pension funds and private companies, a WSJ analysis finds (Wall Street Journal)
• Deceptions and lies: What really happened in Afghanistan. U.S. hid the truth about an attack targeting Cheney, amid fears of losing war By lying about how close the insurgents had come to harming Cheney, the U.S. military sank deeper into a pattern of deceiving the public about many facets of the war, from discrete events to the big picture. What began as selective, self-serving disclosures after the 2001 invasion gradually hardened into willful distortions and, eventually, flat-out fabrications. (Washington Post)
• An inconvenient truth (about weed) Federal laws bar cannabis from crossing state lines, driving up the cost — and the emissions — of an industry using indoor grow operations. (Politico)
• ‘Warrior mindset’ police training proliferated. Then, high-profile deaths put it under scrutiny. “What is the highest priority in policing?” said Stoughton. “One of the things that bothers me is the way that the policing industry has evolved to treat courage under combat conditions as the highest form of police professionalism.” (Washington Post)
• Secret IRS Files Reveal How Much the Ultrawealthy Gained by Shaping Trump’s “Big, Beautiful Tax Cut” Billionaire business owners deployed lobbyists to make sure Trump’s 2017 tax bill was tailored to their benefit. Confidential IRS records show the windfall that followed. (ProPublica)
• Judge asks why Capitol rioters are paying just $1.5 million for attack, while U.S. taxpayers will pay more than $500 million Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of Washington challenged the toughness of the Justice Department’s stance in a plea hearing for a Colorado Springs man who admitted to one of four nonviolent misdemeanor counts of picketing in the U.S. Capitol. (Washington Post)
• “All Roads Lead to Mar-a-Lago”: Inside the Fury and Fantasy of Donald Trump’s Florida Roger Stone, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Ben Shapiro—they’ve all made their way to the Sunshine State, fueling and profiting from a tabloid culture that turns politics into spectacle, arguably Florida’s greatest export. (Vanity Fair) see also Donald’s Plot Against America: Now, he and his GOP enablers are peddling the Second Big Lie: that January 6 was just legitimate protest. It’s the crucial ingredient in convincing America to return them—and him—to power. (New Republic)
• Farm Supply Stores Are Running Short on a Horse Dewormer/Pseudoscience COVID Cure “The hardship comes when you run to your farm supply store and they don’t have [ivermectin] on the shelves anymore because of all of this.” (Slate)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Greg Becker, CEO of Silicon Valley Bank. The bank has helped fund more than 30,000 start-ups, 50% of venture-backed tech and life science companies in the US, and 69% of U.S. VC-backed tech + life science companies with an IPO banked with SVB.
Confidence in Big Business, Big Tech Wanes Among Republicans
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.