Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:
• A Trump lawyer wrote an instruction manual for a coup. Why haven’t you seen it on the news? In a normal world, the “Eastman memo” would be infamous by now, the way “Access Hollywood” became the popular shorthand in 2016 for the damning recording of Donald Trump’s bragging about groping women. But it’s a good bet that most people have never even heard of the Eastman memo. That says something troubling about how blasé the mainstream press has become about the attempted coup in the aftermath of the 2020 election — and how easily a coup could succeed next time. (Washington Post)
• More Than Half of America’s 100 Richest People Exploit Special Trusts to Avoid Estate Taxes Secret IRS records show billionaires use trusts that let them pass fortunes to their heirs without paying estate tax. Will Congress end a tax shelter that has cost the Treasury untold billions? (ProPublica)
• Meet Josiah Zayner, America’s Most Censored Person Scientist Josiah Zayner is brilliant, daring, and may have incurred the wrath of more internet platforms than any person alive. Is America’s most interesting person also its most censored? (TK News)
• Americans who relied most on Trump for COVID-19 news among least likely to be vaccinated Those who cited Trump and his task force and those who cited personal and community networks as their favored COVID-19 news sources are far less likely than those who relied on other source types to have received at least one shot of the vaccine. Of those who relied most on Trump, 38% say they have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. (Pew Research Center)
• She Bought Her Dream Home. Then a ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Changed the Locks. A New Jersey woman was preyed upon by a fast-growing extremist group that claims its members are sovereign Moors, not bound by U.S. laws.(New York Times)
• China Wields New Legal Weapon to Fight Claims of Intellectual Property Theft A Delaware firm preparing to sue a Chinese smartphone maker for patent infringement was beaten to the punch with anti-suit injunction (Wall Street Journal)
• Freddie Mac Finds ‘Pervasive’ Bias in Home Appraisal Industry A new study augments a body of evidence that homes in Black and Latino neighborhoods are undervalued. (Bloomberg)
• The World Thought This Cheer Mom Created a Deepfake to Harass Her Daughter’s Rival—but the Real Story Is Way More Confusing (and Bizarre) How a small-town scandal turned into an artificial intelligence tech nightmare. It took just two months for the DA’s case to completely unravel.In 2021, it’s “very, very unlikely” that, say, a cheer parent with no tech expertise would be able to wield this technology to produce an authentically convincing deepfake, says Henry Ajder, a leading researcher and policy adviser on deepfakes, disinformation, and media manipulation. He estimates that the process would require sophisticated equipment and take even the most highly skilled artist months. And he saw plenty of issues with the Madi video: the awkward angles, the smoke, the vape pen hovering over her face—these would be borderline impossible to fake, he says, period. (Cosmopolitan)
• More Than Half of Police Killings Are Mislabeled, New Study Says Researchers comparing information from death certificates with data from organizations that track police killings in the United States identified a startling discrepancy. Police killings in America have been undercounted by more than half over the past four decades, highlighting the lack of reliable national record keeping on what has become a major public health and civil rights issue. (New York Times) see also Police officers convicted of rape, murder and other serious crimes are collecting tens of millions of dollars during retirement The promise of these unlimited monthly retirement checks is one of the biggest perks of going into the physically demanding and dangerous field of law enforcement. It is only in rare cases that governments strip disgraced officers of these benefits, using a harsh penalty known as pension forfeiture. (CNN)
• The Surveillance Apparatus That Surrounded Britney Spears An account by a former employee of the security team hired by Ms. Spears’s father created the most detailed portrait yet of the singer’s life under 13 years of conservatorship. (New York Times)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Jack Schwager, author of various Market Wizard books. He is also the founder of Fund Seeder, a platform designed to match undiscovered trading talent with capital worldwide. His latest book is “Unknown Market Wizards: The best traders you’ve never heard of.”
America’s pandemic is now an outlier in the rich world – Its daily toll of excess deaths is greater than in all other high-income countries combined
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