Avert your gaze! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:
• Trump’s Big Lie Devoured the G.O.P. and Now Eyes Our Democracy We are not OK. America’s democracy is still in real danger. In fact, we are closer to a political civil war — more than at any other time in our modern history. Today’s seeming political calm is actually resting on a false bottom that we’re at risk of crashing through at any moment. Because, instead of Trump’s Big Lie fading away, just the opposite is happening — first slowly and now quickly. Under Trump’s command and control from Mar-a-Largo, and with the complicity of most of his party’s leaders, that Big Lie — that the greatest election in our history, when more Republicans and Democrats voted than ever before, in the midst of a pandemic, must have been rigged because Trump lost — has metastasized. It’s being embraced by a solid majority of elected Republicans and ordinary party members — local, state and national. (New York Times)
• The Climate Solution Actually Adding Millions of Tons of CO2 Into the Atmosphere New research shows that California’s climate policy created up to 39 million carbon credits that aren’t achieving real carbon savings. But companies can buy these forest offsets to justify polluting more anyway. (ProPublica)
• I am the Senate. After the national media from the House Report, 2020-2021 year for our Senators has been analyzed. Senators got wealthier over 2020. Congress as a whole is outperforming market averages Lots of odd looking activity in trading. The whale catches the stock and options moves by senators/representatives, but this is only known after the fact due to reporting requirements and delay from the elected official. (Unusual Whales)
• The man who stole a hotel A “six-year odyssey of lies, excuses, threats, intimidation and bullying.” It was an odyssey that destroyed their beloved business and damaged their reputations; that robbed them of their life savings and saddled them with a mountain of back taxes and debt. It swept up and spit out others too—including a Chinese immigrant, an Oak Bay widow, and a Kamloops octogenarian, all reeled in by the magic of Sooke Harbour House. A fugitive from the US started fresh on Vancouver Island—then bilked new victims out of millions of dollars while law enforcement refused to act. (Capital Daily)
• How science has been corrupted The pandemic has brought into relief a dissonance between our idealised image of science, on the one hand, and the work “science” is called upon to do in our society, on the other. I think the dissonance can be traced to this mismatch between science as an activity of the solitary mind, and the institutional reality of it. Big science is fundamentally social in its practice, and with this comes certain entailments. The pandemic has revealed a darkly authoritarian side to expertise. (UnHerd)
• A Crisis of Undiagnosed Cancers Is Emerging in the Pandemic’s Second Year Across the country, preventive cancer screenings plummeted by as much as 94% during the first four months of last year. At Mount Sinai, the number of mammograms dropped by 96% during that same period. By July, screenings had started to rebound, both nationally and at Mount Sinai, but still trailed pre-COVID-19 numbers. Fewer screenings led to a decline in new diagnoses, which one study found fell by more than 50% for some cancers last year. But people didn’t stop getting cancer; they stopped getting diagnosed. (ProPublica)
• “The Truth Turns Out to Be Ugly”: How Paul, Weiss Tried to Thwart Reporting on the Caesars Palace Collapse The idea that a major Wall Street law firm would demand to know a journalist’s confidential sources and had asked for a copy of a not yet existent manuscript was threatening and intimidating, and the journalists took it that way. “It was unsettling to be threatened by a highly prestigious New York law firm,” Indap wrote in a text to me, “and then to be told to hand over our manuscript and a list of our confidential sources, things no journalist could or would or should ever do. More generally, the power of the corporate and financial services sectors only continues to grow along with their various agents and it is unfortunately chilling the work of the already precariously positioned news media sector.” (Vanity Fair)
• The Hume paradox: how great philosophy leads to dismal politics The Enlightenment genius showed how admirable scepticism in the world of ideas can translate into a miserable reactionary stance in the world of practical affairs (Prospect)
• Florida Republicans rushed to curb mail voting after Trump’s attacks on the practice. Now some fear it could lower GOP turnout. Virtually every narrow Republican victor of the past generation — and there have been many, including two of the state’s current top officeholders, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Rick Scott — owes their victory, at least in part, to mail voting. Not only are GOP lawmakers reversing statutes that their own predecessors put in place, but they are also curtailing a practice that millions of state Republicans use, despite former president Donald Trump’s relentless and baseless claims that it invites fraud. (Washington Post)
• Black gun owners are often portrayed negatively. One photographer set out to change that. To promote a more balanced archive of images of African Americans with firearms by showing responsible gun owners — those who use these weapons for sport, hobby and protection. I hope these photos bring that important point into focus. (Washington Post)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business podcast with Michael Lewis, the poet laureate of finance. We discuss his latest book, The Premonition, A Pandemic Story. He is the author of Undoing Project, Moneyball, Flashboys, Big Short, and so many others. The The Premonition describes how the United States was the best prepared nation in the world for a pandemic, yet allowed a variety of its institutions to fail.
Here’s just how much people have stopped talking about Trump on Facebook and Twitter
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