Trump Alleges "Seriously Troubled Man" Kanye West Brought White Supremacist To Mar-A-Lago Dinner

Former President Donald Trump said over the weekend that Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, brought the white supremacist Nick Fuentes to dinner at h read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaNov 28th, 2022

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From "Insurrection" To Authoritarianism

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From 'Insurrection' To Authoritarianism Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email:, Twitter: @DavidBCollum), I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance. ~  Carl Sagan, 1995, apparently having invented a time machine Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. Read Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives here... Read Part 2 - Heart Of Darkness & The Rise Of Centralized Healthcare here... So, here we are at the third and final part of the 2021 Year in Review and it’s no longer 2021. Sorry about that pfuck-up. Think of it as not in 2021 but from 2021. You may have noticed that the first 200 pages (parts 1 and 2) were laced with a recurring catchphrase, “WTF is happening?” It was a literary device for noting that the events ceased to make sense within a conventional worldview, suggesting it is time to torch the old model and start anew. Our response to a disease that was killing a very small slice of the population was to sequester and vaccinate the entire population with an experimental drug of real but unquantified fatality rate. The apparent scientific illiteracy was not some mass psychosis. Y’all just got suckered by America’s Most Trusted Psychopathic Mass Murderer assisted by an epic media blitz sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry that had a distinct authoritarian quality. Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~ Albert Einstein During the brief period after uploading part 2 while grinding on this last portion, the Supreme Court took on the vaccine mandate issue, ruling that the only people forfeiting control of their own healthcare are the healthcare workersref 2 The court also illustrated their profound ignorance of the pandemic and what they were even charged to assess—the Constitutionality of mandates, not the efficacy.ref 3 The CEO of a major insurer reported a 40% spike in fatalities within the 18–65 age bracket that was not from Covid.ref 4 He said 10% would be a 3-sigma, once-every-200-year event: 40% is unheard of. Although he refrained from identifying a cause—deaths of despair, neglected healthcare, or a toxic vaccine—he knows precisely what did them in. They have been studying this stuff for centuries. I suspect his real message was that the insurance industry is about to contribute to inflation with rising premiums. Meanwhile, the pathological liars running the covid grift decided after two years the masks you’ve been wearing served no medical purpose and that the vaccines don’t work either. Wait: who said the masks and vaccines don’t work? We have known for many months that COVID-19 is airborne and therefore, a simple cloth mask is not going to cut it…Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. ~ Leana Wen, MD, CNN medical expert with no admitted ties to the CCPref 5 Two doses of the vaccine offers very limited protection, if any. Three doses with a booster offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and deaths. Less protection against infection. ~ Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEOref 6 Here is my most heartfelt response to them: You psychopathic lying sacks of shit. You had us wear rags across our faces and put rags across the kids’ faces when clinical studies that could be read by people with half your IQs showed they were worthless. Suicide rates and other deaths of despair soared while you petty tyrants played your little games and generated billions of dollars of profits while destroying the middle class. You have maimed or killed an unknown number of gullible victims with your lockdowns, vaccines, remdesivir, and oppression of Ivermectin. You jammed a vaccine that bypassed animal trials into the fetuses of pregnant women, assuring them it was safe. If we spoke up, we got muzzled. If we refused the vaccine, we got fired. You should all hang from your necks until dead. I will piss on your graves. I feel better already. Very refreshing. Meanwhile, many of my friends and colleagues look at the same data and say, “Oh. I guess I better get the booster and a KN95 mask.” You have got to unfuck yourselves. You’ve been duped. It will get worse. The tactics used to oppress us would have made Stalin smirk. Australia was a beta test for what is to come in the rest of the west if we don’t wake up soon. They are gonna keep coming for one simple reason: we accepted it. We got bent over and squealed like pigs. What normalization does is transform the morally extraordinary into the ordinary. It makes us able to tolerate what was once intolerable by making it seem as if this is the way things have always been. ~ Jason Stanley, How Fascism Works A person is considered ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ by the community simply because he accepts most of its social standards and behavioral patterns; which means, in fact, that he is susceptible to suggestion and has been persuaded to go with the majority on most ordinary or extraordinary occasions. ~ William Sargant, in Battle of the Mind Meanwhile, the financial world became even more dominated by central bankers who haven’t the slightest understanding of free-market capitalism. These twits or criminals—maybe both—have blown the most colossal bubble in history if you account for both price and breadth across the spectrum of asset classes. For the layperson, that means they have set us up for a colossal failure. Go back and re-read Valuations if you cannot picture the epic financial carnage lying dead ahead. The gap between the Fed funds rate and headline inflation has never been this large. These pinheads believe that if the markets do not coincide with their world views, the markets must be wrong. I am not an economist, but it appears that none of them are either. The notion that a dozen nitwits should set the most important price of them all—the price of capital—rather than letting the markets set it through price discovery is financial authoritarianism or what some call State Capitalism. I am angry in case it doesn’t show. Meanwhile, in 2020–21 the Fed contributed to destroying upwards of a half-million mom ’n’ pop businesses—they gutted the middle class—while giving BlackRock credit at 0.15% interest rates to buy up all their houses. Here is my advice to those day trading criminals: look both ways as you enter crosswalks. What I believe the response of society to a severe downturn given the current political climate will be epic. Big downturns come after euphorias. We have never entered a downturn with society at large this grumpy. We are in the early stages of The Fourth Turning.ref 7 The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded. ~ Charles-Louis De Secondat When a State has mortgaged all of its future revenues the State, by necessity, lapses into tranquility, langor, and impotence. ~ David Hume, 1752 So, WTF is going on here? In this final part, I address geopolitics. It begins with a relatively benign analysis of Biden’s first year in office, culminating with what I think Afghanistan is really about. The second section addresses my view of what may prove to be the most important day in US History—January 6, 2021. Although it is my best shot—Dave’s Narrative—I will not attempt to nor will I inadvertently spread the love to both sides of the political spectrum. It is a right-wing view that most right-wing politicians and pundits are too cowardly to state in polite company. The final section addresses the Rise of Global Authoritarianism. For a topic covered by thousands of treatises to call my knowledge skeletal is a reach. I have merely created an intellectual foundation—a chalk outline—to ponder why authoritarianism is here and what could stop it. (Plot spoiler: I do not believe it can be stopped.) They know where we are, they know our names, they know from our iPhones if we’re on our way to the grocery store or not. But they haven’t acted on that to put people in camps yet. They could do it. We could be East Germany in weeks, in a month. Huge concentration camps and so forth. ~ Daniel Ellsberg (@DanielEllsberg), author of The Pentagon Papers and Secrets Before moving on, let me give a plug for a book.ref 8 I have not even finished it yet, but it will change your worldview. Look at those ratings! I can guarantee none of those readers enjoyed it. Kennedy will curdle your bone marrow describing 35 years of atrocities commited by America’s Most Trusted Madman. It is emblematic of a much larger problem. Evil is powerless if good men are unafraid – Americans don’t realize what they have to lose. ~ Ronald Reagan The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. ~ H. L. Mencken Biden – Freshman Year Scorecard Let’s go, Brandon! ~ Cheers across America Most presidents begin their reign with a calling. Reagan raised our national self-esteem after a period of economic and political malaise. Bush Sr. took on the Gulf War, for better or worse. Clinton oversaw the economic boom and bank deregulation, again for better or worse. Bush Jr. was handed 9/11 and, in my opinion, boned it badly. Obama had to wrestle with the Great Financial Crisis. Trump was charged with disturbing the peace—drain the swamp if you will. Biden undeniably needed to begin healing the social discord that, regardless of its source, left the country wounded and divided. Maybe that was not Biden’s calling, but I wanted to see him become the president of all the people. This is not revisionist history of my failing memory: Biden’s the last of the Old Guard, which is probably why he was slipped into the office by the DNC old guard. I am guessing there will be no Supreme Court stacking; that was just rhetoric (I hope). There will be wars just like every president (except Trump, who brought troops home.) Congress is more balanced again and, at the time of this writing, the Senate is still in Republican hands. Hopefully, the gridlock will usher in some garden-variety dysfunction. I have subtle concerns about a Harris presidency. Admittedly, my opinion is based on precious few facts, but Harris displays a concerning shallowness of character, a lack of a moral compass, and the potential to slide to the left of Bernie. (I sometimes reflect on what it must have been like raising the teenaged Kamala.) I am trying to reserve judgment because first impressions scavenged from the digital world are sketchy if not worthless. ~ 2020 Year in Review By this description, Biden tanked his GPA. He ushered in a Crusade to erase the Trump era and its supporters. The weaponizing of social media and censorship against one’s opponents was probably unavoidable, but the downside will be revealed when the wind changes. Team Biden took banishing of political opponents on social media to new levels by, as noted by Jen Psaki, flagging “problematic posts” and the “spread of disinformation” for censorship. NY Timeslapdog Kevin Roose called for a “reality Czar,” not noticing the Russian metaphor problem. The War on Domestic Terror may prove to be a turning point in American history, one that risks extinguishing the flame of the Great American Experiment. Significant erosions of Constitutionally granted civil liberties discussed throughout the rest of this document may not have been Biden’s fault, but they occurred on his watch. If you see an injustice and remain silent, you own it. I can’t remain silent. Biden is the epitome of the empty, amoral creature produced by our system of legalized bribery. His long political career in Congress was defined by representing the interests of big business, especially the credit card companies based in Delaware. He was nicknamed Senator Credit Card. He has always glibly told the public what it wants to hear and then sold them out. ~ Chris Hedges, right-wing hatchet man Team Biden. Books have been written about Trump’s fumbles in the first months (or four years) of his presidency. See Josh Rogin’s Chaos Under Heaven in Books or Michael Lewis’ less balanced The Fifth Risk reviewed in last year’s YIR. The Cracker Jack team assembled for Joe reveals a glob of feisty alt-left activists and omnipresent neocons. According to Rickards, two dozen players on Biden’s roster were recruited from the consulting firm WestExec Advisors (including Psaki and Blinken.)ref 1 That’s power and groupthink. David Axelrod: You must ask yourself, ‘Why are we allowing him to roll around in the hallways doing impromptu interviews?’ Jen Psaki: That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times we say ‘don’t take questions.’ Young black entrepreneurs are just as capable of succeeding given the chance as white entrepreneurs are, but they don’t have lawyers; they don’t have accountants. ~ Joe Biden Joe Biden, President – Joe is the Big Guy. In an odd sense, he is immunized from criticism because he is visibly losing his marbles. His cognitive decline is on full display; this 52 seconds of gibberish about inflation is emblematic.ref 2 He’s 80 years old, for Cripes sake. I read a book this year entitled, When the Air Hits Your Brain, which derives from a neurosurgical aphorism that finishes with “you ain’t never the same.” Wanna guess who had two brain aneurysms (one rupturing) years ago leading to a miraculous recovery?ref 3 You’re the most famous African-American baseball player. ~ Joe Biden to the Pope, context unknown (possibly even a deep fake)ref 4 I am neither reveling in Joe’s problems nor do I believe he is calling the shots. Claims that the puppet master is Harris are, no offense, on the low side of clueless. Obama seems like a better guess but Barrack was a front man too. Having an impaired leader of a superpower, however, is disquieting and potentially destabilizing, especially with Taiwan in play. Biden’s energy policy that clamped down on fossil fuel production only to ask OPEC to open the spigots is one for the ages. The covid policies bridging both administrations were catastrophic, but throwing workers out of jobs into the teeth of unprecedented labor shortages makes zero sense. The nouveau inflation—Bidenflation—may stick to him like it stuck to Jimmy Carter, but that is unfair to both presidents. Look to the Fed in both cases for blame. Troubles at the southern border and the Afghanistan pullout are a couple of serious logs for a raging inferno that represents Biden’s first year in office. As discussed in a later section, demonizing “white supremacists”—not just political opponents but opponents labeled by their race—will not be viewed well by historians unless history is at a serious fork and Joe is ultimately protrayed as the founder of some new Fatherland. Kamala Harris, Vice President – Whenever situations heat up, Harris is off like a prom dress. During the crisis at the border that she was charged with overseeing, she took off to Europe, cackling about never even visiting the border. Kamala endorsed and claimed credit for the Kabul evacuation.ref 5,6 Realizing she had pulled yet another boner she pulled out before they renamed it Kamalabad. (Hey: At least I had the decency to pass on the Kamalatoe joke.) In a moment of surreal comedy, Harris hosted a public chat with Bill Clinton on “empowering women.”ref 7 She can even serve up semi-reasonable ideas with dollops of cringe. If the Democrats nominate her in 2024, may God have mercy on their souls—she is unelectable—or maybe on our souls—I could be wrong. Jen Psaki, Press Secretary – The role of any press secretary is to calm the press down with nuggets of insight—to feed the birds. When that fails, lie your ass off, all with a cold, calculating sociopathy. I would say she did the best job imaginable given the hand she was dealt. Disagree? I’ll just have to circle back with you on that. Ron Klain, Whitehouse Chief of Staff – This guy might be the rainmaker, but I haven’t quite figured him out. He has the durability of Andrei Gromyko, maintaining a central role through three democratic administrations. Keep an eye on him. Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury – We have yet to find out Yellen’s role because she has not been pressed into service by a crisis. To resolve the minor “meme stock” bruhaha, which did not call for a resolution, she needed an ethics waiver owing to the soft corruption of her bank-sponsored million-dollar speaking tour. My expectations of her are quite low, and I imagine she will meet them. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State – He has a good resume. Like Psaki, he is forced to play a weak hand. He lacks Psaki’s skills. Jennifer Mulhern Granholm, US Energy Secretary – In a press conference she was asked how many barrels of oil a day the US consumes and said, “I do not have those numbers in front of me.” ‘Nuff said. Get her out of there. Merrick Garland, Attorney General – The press will tear anybody a new one so snippets with bad optics are always dangerous. I would say, however, ordering the FBI to investigate parents who get irate at school boards—even those who seem rather threatening—is over the top. Leave that to the local and state police. His role in the January 6th event and push into domestic terrorism is potentially sinister and moves him onto my shitlist. Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency – This one blows my circuits. She is what in the vernacular is called “a commie” straight from Kazakhstan with a thesis on Marxism—a devout believer that the State should run the show. She also hails from Cornell Law School. (Yeah. I know. STFU.) Matthew Continetti of the National Review noted she is, “an activist intellectual who is—and I say this in the kindest way possible—a nut.”ref 8 There will be no more private bank deposit accounts and all of the deposit accounts will be held directly at the Fed. ~ Saule Omarova, Cornell Law Professor   We want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change. ~ Saule Omarova, on oil and gas companies For those who have seen the horror movie The Ring, Cornell tried to exorcise the demon by sending “the VHS tape” to Washington, D.C., but it came back stamped “Return to Sender.” She withdrew. Hey Team Biden: you could want to snatch up MIT’s Venezuelan-derived president who is already on the board of the World Economic Forum and was instrumental in pushing Aaron Swartz to off himself.ref 9 John Kerry, Climate Czar – Don’t we have enough Czars? John is charged with flying around the world in his private jet, setting the stage for a 30-year $150 trillion push to make many bank accounts much My disdain for the climate movement catches Kerry in the splash zone. Pete Buttegieg, Transportation Secretary – I must confess to liking Mayor Pete and would have been happier if he had gotten the crash course in the oval office rather than Joe. The one criticism I would make is that taking two months of paternity leave during the nation’s greatest transportation crisis seemed odd. I think when you are in such an important position you find a way. Get a nanny. Bring the twins to your office. Leave them with your spouse. For Pete’s sake (sorry), stay at your post. For the record, after my youngest son was born my wife had health problems. I used to bring him to work and lecture with him in a Snugly and changed a shitload of diapers. You could have done it too, Pete. Samantha Power, Head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – Sam is a garden-variety neocon, having served as ambassador to the UN and on the National Security Council, both under Obama. She was central to the planning behind destabilizing Libya,ref 10 which sure looks like a bad idea unless destabilizing the Middle East is our foreign policy. Please just don’t fuck up too much. Cass Sunstein, Homeland Security employee. This is not really an appointment, per se. Cass is the Harvard-employed husband of neocon Samantha Powers. In his 2008 book, Conspiracy Theories, Cass declared “the existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theories” to be our greatest threat, outlining five possible solutions, and I quote, “(1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might engage in counter-speech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counter-speech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help.” Guys like Cass who come out of Harvard’s CIA training camps are menaces to society. Marvelous hire, Joe. Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary for Political Affairs – She is famous for her hot mic “Fuck the EU” comment and for engineering the coup in Ukraine—a Wonder Bread neocon. William J. Burns, Head of the CIA – I’ve got nothing on Bill, not even a fingerprint. It would be difficult for me to grade him poorly on a curve with the likes of John Brennan, William Casey, and Alan Dulles. (I once had dinner with a former CIA head John Deutch. What a dick.) Christopher Wray, Head of the FBI – As the FBI increasingly looks like the Praetorian Guard for the power elite (both in and out of public office), Wray has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors like J. Edgar Hoover and James Comie to be both top cop and dubious scoundrel. Wray’s fate might be dictated by the ongoing Durham investigation, but I have not seen any heads roll inside the Beltway since Watergate a half-century ago. Tony Fauci, Director of NIAID – That bipartisan, power-hungry authoritarian—The Most Trusted Madman in America—is a recurring theme. He doesn’t know any science. He is a political hack—a chameleon—who survived 35 years multiple administrations by being able slither out of anybody’s claws and regrow his tail. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC – She got serious attention in part 2. I am horrified by her sociopathy. I think she is evil. Amy Gutmann, Ambassador to Germany – Guttman was given the job after giving the Big Guy more than $900,000 in speaking fees and an honorary degree from UPenn when she was the University’s president. I am sure every ambassador pays market rates for the job.  Cathy Russell, Biden’s Director of Presidential Personnel–She is married to Tom Donlin, Chairman of the gargantuan multinational investment firm, BlackRock. Their daughter made it into the Whitehouse National Security Council. A talented family enjoying the political respect accorded to billionaires. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Head of the Office of Science – Despite scientific chops as a climate-change-supporting agronomist, she has no administrative experience and is inexperienced in the scientific programs that she is overseeing. Of course, everything is now about the $150 trillion climate grift, so she’s our girl. Jared Bernstein, Whitehouse Economic Advisor – He is highly educated, with a bachelor’s degree in music, master’s degrees in social work and philosophy, and a Ph.D. in social welfare. His greatest strength may be his complete lack of training in economics. Shalanda Baker, Deputy Director for Energy Justice in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Department of Energy – Is that a salaried position? ‘Nuff said. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Mark transitioned from the Trump administration. It caused a stir when he went more “woke” than Chelsea Manning. We will no longer defeat our enemy but assign them pronouns and include them. This was followed by a scandal outlined in Bob Woodward’s book in which he instructed military leaders in a secret meeting to bypass Trump on important military decisions.ref 11 He then unilaterally told his peer in the Chinese military that he would drop a dime if there was an impending military conflict. He tried to hang it on the Secretary of Defense, but the Secretary spit the bit fast.ref 12 My theory is that the sudden wokeness was to commandeer allies on the far left knowing that scandal was coming. It worked. He looks like he is right out of Dr. Strangelove without the lip gloss and eye shadow. Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services. He refuses to acknowledge the merits of natural Covid-19 immunity. That puts him near the top of my shitlist. Becerra has no medical or scientific training. He’s a lawyer, but at least he is from an underrepresented group. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services – I know little about her. She might be the most qualified candidate, certainly more so than her boss Becerra. Call me skeptical of a purely merit-based appointment. Hunter Biden. I was going to place Hunter in the bullets and call him Head of the DEA and National Association of the Arts, but I had reservations. There are sad, heartwarming, and troubling roles played by Hunter Biden. His addiction is a highly personal problem that is difficult for the first family to deal with, especially given other tragedies in their lives. Joe Rogan succinctly explained Hunter’s remarkably odd behavior: “he is a crackhead.” They are part and parcel of being dopesick. Leaked emails from the laptop show Dad to be a compassionate and loving father struggling to save his son. Ironically, old footage surfaced of Joe ranting about how we have to deal with crackheads severely no matter whom they know.ref 13 It did not age well. It is clear that Hunter Biden was selling access and influence. It appears that Joe Biden was aware of that effort. That is very serious. If these emails are false, this is a major story. If they are true, this is a major scandal. ~ Jonathan Turley Before you start blubbering, however, recall that Hunter’s laptop revealed that he was playing critical roles in Russian and Chinese dealings for the Biden family. The Kleenex gets tossed and the gloves now come off. Hunter’s business partner stepped forward admitting nefarious deals were made with Joe involved. Joe denied knowing the clown, but a then photo of the two surfaced.ref 14 This year Hunter also began selling his artwork for up to $500,000 a pop behind a “Chinese Wall”—a veil that ensures we cannot find out who bought the art.ref 15,16,17 The money might literally be from behind a Chinese wall. That buys a lot of crack even after the Big Guy’s 10% cut. Figure 1 shows two paintings, one by a Hunter and the other by two elephants. (No joke, elephants have been painting brilliant pictures free-trunk for decades.) Figure 1. Biden art (left) brought $500,000. The elephant painting (shown being painted) brought $39,000. We are a democracy…there are things you can’t do by executive order unless you are a dictator. ~ Joe Biden, several years ago Executive Orders. Before the first week of his presidency was over, Biden had signed 37 of those beauties. Some, such as the order extending rent moratoria, were overtly unconstitutional. Some merely unwound Trump’s orders that had unwound Obama’s orders. This is dodge ball. While Yale was battling a civil rights case for discriminatory admissions practices, the Biden DOJ dismissed it without comment.ref 18 Yale is said to have promptly destroyed the evidence, which shows they have good lawyers. Transgender athletes were reinstated in women’s sports, ensuring that longstanding records will be shattered.ref 19 It got surreal when UPenn’s transgender swimmer was beaten by Yale’s transgender swimmer.ref 19a An executive order giving the IRS direct access to our bank accounts seems both sinister and inevitable…death and taxes as they say.ref 20 There are a lot of Republicans out there giving speeches about how outraged they are about the situation at the border. Not many who are putting forward solutions. ~ Jen Psaki, forgetting about the wall idea Crisis at the Border. The mainstream press covered this one exhaustively. There are parallels here with the North Africans crossing into Europe several years back. It looks intentional, but why? Don’t tell me about building a democratic base. That is too far in the future and too simplistic. It is far easier to control the elections at the server level. Baffling details include the administration’s suggestion that border agents should be empowered to authorize the immigration of “climate migrants.”ref 21 That could boost a few agents salaries. Rumors of US military planes transporting illegals into the US suggests somebody could punk the elite: load up a boat and drop a couple hundred on Martha’s Vineyard. On further thought, rather than offering Vineyardians more gardeners, drop off some Afghans.ref 22Whoever is calling the shots, this is neither about civil rights nor climate change. Attorney General Merrick Garland clarified the immigration challenge: Today marks a step forward in our effort to make the asylum process fairer and more expeditious. This rule will both reduce the caseload in our immigration courts and protect the rights of those fleeing persecution and violence. If you do that, that will set off a mass migration that’s like nothing that we have ever seen in this country because the entire world will then come on through to get their asylum, essentially legalizing illegal immigration, in a very clever way. ~ Attorney General Merrick Garland WTF did Garland just say? Both his meaning and intent are unclear. The immigrants, of course, were all unvaccinated, which would have been OK by me had the administration not gone Third Reich to vaccinate US citizens. The administration also wanted to offer $450,000 to every immigrant family separated from their loved ones: why?ref 23They seemed to walk that third-trimester idea back and then walked it forward again. A half-billion-dollar, no-bid contract to manage the immigrants went to friends of the administration.ref 24 Your tax dollars at work. At least we are back to business as usual. By the way, where is Border Czar Kamala Harris while all this is going on? Making creepy videos.ref 25,26 People who like quotes love meaningless generalizations. ~ Graham Greene Miscellaneous issues surfaced that either went away or are still festering quietly. On the positive side, stacking the Supreme Court—increasing the number of justices to get a left-leaning majority—seems to have been only a political football. Granting Washington DC statehood, while to a plebe like me doesn’t seem nuts, has the trappings of a massive powershift to the left in national elections. Joe invaded the legal process by declaring Chauvin guilty and Kyle Rittenhouse a white supremacist. Would Obama have done this? I don’t think so. Rittenhouse may get his “10% for the Young Guy” in defamation suits against Joe and every media outlet on the planet. Joe checking his watch five times at the funeral of dead marines didn’t play well,ref 27 but if you put a camera on me I wouldn’t make it to lunchtime without serving up Jim Acosta fresh meat. The main drama of Biden’s first year, however, played out in a distant land.   Afghanistan—where empires go to die. ~ Mike Malloy Afghanistan. I’ve been groping for nomenclature — Afghazi, Afghazistan, Benghanistan, Benghazistan, Saigonistan, Clusterfuckistan, and Bidenistan—to describe this odd moment in history. That 20-year skirmish cost an estimated $2.3 trillion.ref 28 The idea that it was only a few thousand troops with no fatalities in the last year or two makes me question my wisdom, but I can’t start revising history. Whether for right or wrong, I was glad we were getting out. The ensuing Crisis in Kabul looked like the graveyard of a presidency—a combination of the Bay of Pigs and the Iran Hostage Crisis that would dog us for years. They are chanting “Death to America”, but they seemed friendly at the same time. ~ CNN reporter wearing a burka looking for a husband Even before the evacuation started we were hearing about huge caches of weapons that would be abandoned.ref 29 In an eat-and-dash that would make an IHOP waiter wince, we bugged out at 2:00 AM without telling anybody.ref 30Jalalabad Joe had assured us repeatedly the 300,000-strong Afghan army would hang tough. They were defeated in time to chow down on some goat stew for dinner. Images of desperate Afghan’s clinging to transport planes brought up images of the Saigon Embassy rooftop. We left service dogs in cages.ref 31 Marines would never do that. Stranded Americans and Afghan collaborators were begging for help to get to the airport and even to get into the airport.ref 32The administration used a drone to strike on some kids and their dads loading water into a truck to change the news cycle briefly.ref 33 The Afghan who is credited with saving Joe Biden and John Kerry in a disastrous excursion to Afghanistan years earlier got left behind pleading for help:ref 34 Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family. Don’t forget me here. Mercenaries like Blackwater’s Erik Prince tried to prevent Americans from taking The Final Exit,ref 35 only to get stonewalled by the Whitehouse. Meanwhile, the top commander and four-star Wokie, Mark Milley, was too mired in scandal.ref 36 Retired generals were calling for the active-duty generals to resign.ref 37 The withdrawal could not be botched worse if you tried. The populace are now facing a winter of profound famine.ref 38 Rural Afghanistan has been rocked by climate change. The past three decades have brought floods and drought that have destroyed crops and left people hungry. And the Taliban — likely without knowing climate change was the cause — has taken advantage of that pain. ~ CBS News, sticking it like a Russian gymnast This vexing story was from the Theater of the Absurd. Starting with the caches of military equipment left behind, I have two simple solutions that a group of teenagers could have concocted: Announce Blow Shit Up Friday (BSUF). Provide the military personnel with some grenade launchers and a few kegs of beer, grill up some goat burgers, and start blowing shit up. That would be a blast. If that is too unprofessional, you gather all armaments and anything of else of value into an open space. Once the wheels go up on the last troop transport, drop a MOAB—Mother of All Bombs.ref 39 Tough luck for those who were trying to hotwire the stuff when the MOAB arrives. It will take a year to get them out…If you use those billions of dollars of weapons behind I promise they’ll be using them against your grandchildren and mine someday. ~ Joe Biden, Presidential Candidate, 2007ref 40 The collapse of the Afghan Army also couldn’t have come as a surprise. The military and CIA certainly knew that those troops wouldn’t withstand a West Side Story-level brawl.ref 41 The soldiers were paid by the US for their service COD, and there was no C left. Shockingly, most of the payroll booty had long-since been snarfed up by the politicians and top military brass from the only swamp in Afghanistan.ref 42 Whocouldanode? Taliban can murder as many people as they want. But if they keep trolling Biden like this they’re gonna get kicked off of social media. ~ Jesse Kelley, noting the Taliban has an active Twitter feed Here is a script playing out in my noggin. The Crisis in Kabul was an arms deal—Fast and Furious 2.0. One of our top diplomats called the Taliban and said, “We are pulling out in a month. We’ll leave the keys in the ignition and pallets of $100 billsref 43 to help pay for upkeep. If you guys let us sneak out unmolested, you can party like it’s 999—an authentic Taliban-themed fraternity party. We will leave you guns, money, nice facilities, and even a few wives. If you fuck this up, however, we will be right back here.” The Whitehouse also lent a legitimizing tone to the regime when speaking about “working with the Taliban” as part of the deal. In return, the State Department called on the Taliban to form an “inclusive and representative government,”ref 44 so there’s that bit of risible nonsense. Neville Chamberlain couldn’t have done any better. The bottom line: 90% of Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan were able to leave Afghanistan. ~ Jalalabad Joe Biden That might be a great poll number or inflated final exam grade at a college Joe erroneously claimed to attend, but I am not sure “90%” is impressive in this context. The actual evacuation was ineptly executed from the get-go. Mr. Rogers, with the help of his viewing audience of toddlers, could have Kabuled together a better plan based on the simple precept, “pull out the civilians then the military.” Baffling claims the Whitehouse was obstructing evacuations of charter flights containing Americans was not right-wing propaganda: Where are they going to land? A number of these planes have a handful of Americans, but they may have several hundred individuals who do not have proper documentation of identity….we don’t have manifests for them, we don’t know what the security protocols are for them, we don’t know what their documentation is…hard choices you face in government. ~ Jen Psaki, press conference WTF actually happened? When nothing makes sense your model is wrong. Glenn Greenwald got the scent that withdrawal was intentionally mishandled, suggesting this is “fully within the character of the deep-state operatives.”ref 45We also forgot to destroy our sophisticated FBI-derived software and a complete database containing the biometrics of Friends of the USA,ref 46,47,48 enabling the Taliban to find potential detractors for an attitude correction. Think of it as Afghanistan’s high-tech War on Domestic Terror. The stonewalling of help from other countries also makes no sense using a conventional model.ref 49 Biden’s CIA Director met with Taliban leadership covertly—so covertly we all knew about it—to concoct a “deal”, but what kind of deal?ref 50 During the evacuation, we gave the Taliban names of American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan allies supposedly to let them pass through the militant-controlled perimeter of the city’s airport.ref 51 They would never abuse this list, right? A large number of Afghan refugees—possibly as many as 100,000 according to Tucker Carlson—entering the US are consistent with our open border policy along the Mexican border, but what is that all about? Afghans, by the way, are reputed to be always recalcitrant to assimilate in Europe just in case you’re thinking of renting out your basement as an Airbnb.ref 52 What happened in Afghanistan is not incompetence. We are not that incompetent. ~ General George Flynn The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war. ~ Julian Assange, 2011ref y I have no doubt that blood was shed after we left. More than a few US sympathizers surely lost their heads. As to the stranded Americans, why were they still there? China had evacuated their citizens months earlier.ref 53(Hmmm…Chinese citizens were there?) Two dozen students from the Cajon Valley Union School District and 16 parents there for an enriching summer trip were stranded.ref 54 How did they get visas? That field trip will generate a few college essays that will beat any written about dead grandparents, although Kabul State College may be their only option. This is now on-track, Peter, to be the largest airlift in U.S. history. I would not say that is anything but a success. ~ Jen Psaki to Peter Doucy The media can create, steer, or smother narratives at will. I have a question: Where are all the dead Americans—thousands of them—said to be left behind? Horror stories should be surfacing daily, but they’re not. We shit a mudbrick when One Dead Kashoggi (ODK) got fed to the camels in Saudi Arabia. Three thousand fatalities on 9/11 got us into Afghanistan in the first place. We supposedly left behind “thousands of Americans” but without generating a single headline? So much for that Bay of Pigs­–Iran Hostage Crisis analogy. So here are my next questions and I am deadly serious: Did we get duped? Was the whole thing more sham than farce? There is no such thing as a true account of anything. ~ Gore Vidal Here is Dave’s Narrative. We installed the Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan as the best of many bad options. The winners are the Taliban and China. The two are inking deals for mineral rights as I type. The chaos was intentional. But why accept such a profound humiliation and dashed hopes of future alliances in global hotspots? I think that the Taliban winning the war in Afghanistan, and then the way our exit happened, has absolutely inspired jihadists all over the world. The Taliban is saying, we just didn’t defeat the United States, we defeated NATO. We defeated the world’s greatest military power, ever. I think, not only will the jihadists be inspired, but a lot of them are going to come to Afghanistan to be part of the celebration, to be part of jihadist central. We are more at risk, without a doubt. ~ Michael Morell, former CIA Director under Obama Maybe China has way more than just Hunter’s laptop to blackmail us and is about to take possession of Taiwan soon. While we await the next Kyle Rittenhouse trial to preoccupy ourselves, take a peek at this video. Skip over the election stuff since we all have rock-hard opinions on that and go to minute 55:30. Xi Jinping’s right-hand man, Di Dongsheng, publicly explained the extent Beijing controls US politics:ref 55 There is nothing in the world that money can’t fix, right? If one wad of cash can’t handle it, then I’ll have two wads. (laughter) Of course this is how I do things. In fact, to be a bit blunt, in the past 30 years or past 40 years, we manipulated the core power circle in the United States, right? I mentioned earlier that Wall Street started to have a very strong influence on U.S. domestic and foreign affairs in the 1970s. So we figured out our path and those we could be dependent on. But the problem is that Wall Street’s status has declined after 2008. More importantly, starting in 2016 Wall Street has no influence on Trump. Why? It is awkward. Trump had a soft breach of contract on Wall Street once, so the two sides had conflicts. They tried to help during the Sino-US trade war. As far as I know, friends from the U.S. told me that they tried to help, but they were too weak. But now we see that Biden has come to power. (crowd laughs) The traditional elites, political elites, and the establishment have a very close relationship with Wall Street. You all see it: Trump talked about Biden’s son, “You have investment funds around the world.” Who helped him build the funds? You understand? There are transactions involved. (laughter) So at this point in time, we use an appropriate way to express a certain kind of goodwill. (applause) ~Di Dongsheng, Vice Director and Secretary of the Center for Foreign Strategic Studies of Chinaref 55 January 6th Capitol Insurrection Alec Baldwin killed more people in 2021 than did the January 6th insurrectionists. Anybody reading this far knows that the January 6th riots stemmed from the right-wing voters who doubted the veracity of the 2020 election. Twitter polls show that view is not as partisan or as rare as the media would lead you to believe. I happen to doubt U.S. election integrity but have for quite a few election cycles. ref 1 Hacked Stratfor emails show the democrats rigged the vote in ’08 ref 2 and Republicans rigged it in ’04.ref 3 It is bipartisan Capture the Flag with red and blue pinnies.ref 4 In any event, Trump’s Green Goblin strategy was to beckon the MAGA faithful to the Capitol to protest the Electoral College signing off on the results. It was not so different than the mobs outside the courthouses trying to subvert the Rittenhouse and Chauvin trials, but the scale of January 6th was much larger and the optics were Biblical. It got out of hand and, at times, even a little Helter Skelter. Mob psychology elicits dramatic changes in brain chemistry and has been the topic of many laboratory studies.”ref 5 Temporary insanity is not a crazy defense. My Tweet got some hysterically hateful responses from the Right who missed the sarcasm and the Left who did not. I think I squandered more of my valuable time left on this planet burrowing through the January 6th story than on the Covid-Vaccine combo platter. I should preface this section by noting that I was praised by a thoughtful long-time reader for being “balanced and measured and carefully worded, even on edgy topics.” I may be on the cusp of disappointing him. It’s impossible to peer at the The Great Insurrection through a non-partisan lens. Both sides may find common ground in the belief that January 6th is a profound fork in the road of the American Experiment. The sock-starching Left will celebrate it as a national holiday every year while the bed-wetting Right will try to ignore it. Both are wrong. Look at that photo and pause to ponder its implications. Put a funny caption to it. Let’s hear from some Republicans first: We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House — every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack. ~ Liz Cheney I think Lizard nailed it. We’re on the same page. Let’s keep going… January 6 was worse than 9/11, because it’s continued to rip our country apart and get permission for people to pursue autocratic means, and so I think we’re in a much worse place than we’ve been. I think we’re in the most perilous point in time since 1861 in the advent of the Civil War. ~ Michael Dowd, former Bush strategist I would like to see January 6th burned into the American mind as firmly as 9/11 because it was that scale of a shock to the system. ~ George Will, syndicated columnist Mike and George are as unhinged as I am but on different hinges. I think they are delusional and offensive. Edging forward… The 1/6 attack for the future of the country was a profoundly more dangerous event than the 9/11 attacks. And in the end, the 1/6 attacks are likely to kill a lot more Americans than were killed in the 9/11 attacks, which will include the casualties of the wars that lasted 20 years following. ~ Steve Smith, Lincoln Project co-founder Now I’m getting the heebie-jeebies if for no other reason than the Lincoln Project is filled with Democratic operatives (or at least neocons) pretending to be Republicans—as authentic as the Indians at the Boston Tea Party or stepmoms on PornHub. We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within…There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home… But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. ~ George W. Bush, a thinly veiled allusion to January 6 George got some serious guff from more than a few of the 80 million Fox-watching extremists including the Grand Wizard: So interesting to watch former President Bush, who is responsible for getting us into the quicksand of the Middle East (and then not winning!), as he lectures us that terrorists on the ‘right’ are a bigger problem than those from foreign countries that hate America. ~ Donald Trump He nailed it. I have stated previously that Bush committed war crimes. Of course, the National Security Machine chimed in… The No. 1 national security threat I’ve ever seen in my life to this country’s democracy is the party that I’m in — the Republican Party. It is the No. 1 national security threat to the United States of America. ~ Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official Dude! You just tarred about 80 million asses with that brushstroke. Let’s move further left to find some middle ground: They swooned for him on 9/11 because he gave them what they most crave: the view that Al Qaeda is comparable to those who protested at the Capitol on 1/6. ~ Glenn Greenwald, on George Bush’s comments Glenn is part of a growing cadre of liberals including Matt Taibbi, Tim Pool, Bill Maher, The Weinstein Brothers, and Joe Rogan who are unafraid to extend olive branches across The Great Partisan Divide at risk of being labled white supremacists and Nazis, but they are hardly emblematic of the Left. From the elite Left… I think we also had very real security concerns. We still don’t yet feel safe around other members of Congress.  ~ AOC AOC’s comment prompted one pundit to tell her to “get a therapist”, which seems correct given her moment of maximum drama was when a security guard was screaming outside her door, “Are you OK, Ma’am?” #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett began trending on social media when it was disclosed that she was not even in the building when Ragnar and his buddies showed up.ref 6 They will have to decide if Donald J. Trump incited the erection…the insurrection. ~ Chuck Schumerref 7 What ya thinking about Chuckie? We are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War. The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on Jan. 6. ~ Joe Biden Joe may be on the A-Team, but he hasn’t found his way out of the locker room. The blue-check-marked liberals did not mince words… The 9/11 terrorists and Osama bin Laden never threatened the heart of the American experiment. The 1/6 terrorists and Donald Trump absolutely did exactly that. Trump continues that effort today. ~ S.V. Dáte, Huffington Post’s senior White House correspondent The only effective way for the government to respond to an act of war by domestic terrorists is to be prepared to meet them with machine guns and flamethrowers and mow them down. Not one of those terrorists who broke through police lines should have escaped alive. ~ a Washington Post commenter Moving as far left as you can by tuning into the most cunning commie who can outfox any Western leader… Do you know that 450 individuals were arrested after entering the Congress? They came there with political demands. ~ Vladimir Putin The Cast of this Drama. This Kafkaesque narrative will be scrutinized by historians and democratic operatives for years to come. The Left will cast this event as a truly unique moment in US history, but it was precedented. I see parallels with the 1920’s Bonus Army in which World War I veterans were pissed off about unpaid post-war benefits.ref 8 In the saddest of ironies, many were killed by Army regulars. Some authorities, including a young Dwight Eisenhower, thought it was a benign protest while others thought it was an assault on America. Grumpy crowds appear at the Capitol only on days of the week that end in “y.” Recently, f.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 6th, 2022

Dave Collum"s 2022 Year In Review, Part 1: All Roads Lead To Ukraine

Dave Collum's 2022 Year In Review, Part 1: All Roads Lead To Ukraine Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email:, Twitter: @DavidBCollum), This Year in Review is brought to you by Pfizer, FTX, and Raytheon... Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception, with Dave striking again in his usually poignant and delightfully acerbic way. To download Part 1 as a pdf, click here: 2022 Year in Review: All Roads Lead to Ukraine. Introduction Every year, I write an annual survey of what happened in the world. After posting at Peak Prosperity, it gets a bump from the putative commies at Zerohedge1,2,3,4 who I read religiously. (I have topped over 60 cameo appearances at Zerohedge, consistent with getting booted off Twitter four times.) Why do I write it? My best answer is that you do not understand something until you have written your ideas down coherently. I am also trying to figure out who keeps yelling “Beetlejuice!” Write as often as possible, not with the idea at once of getting into print, but as if you were learning an instrument. ~ J. B. Priestley, English novelist I break every rule of blog marketing. Nobody writes one gigantic blog a year, but it makes the rounds. It is onerous and exhausting, especially since I must necessarily procrastinate up to the deadline. 2022: The Year I spent reading Dave Collum’s 2021 Year In Review. ~ Commenter Most years, I write what I can and then wrap it. In 2021, however, I had a primal drive to cover the usual stuff plus two topics that do not lend themselves to abbreviation: the Covid pandemic and rising global authoritarianism. Many are now realizing that the former is a manifestation of the latter. While I may not have been correct I had to get it right…if that makes any sense. Like so many young athletes in 2021, I left it all on the field. I uploaded it too demoralized and depressed to even send it to friends, confidants, and family. The peeing was special. ~ David Einhorn Diehards found it anyway and reached out with comments. Two I call good friends had diametric views that I will take the liberty of paraphrasing. Sitting on one shoulder was Tony Deden, founder of Edelweiss Holdings based in Switzerland and a saint, who sensed my pain and urged me to stop writing. He went beyond the pale by inviting me to detox in his chalet in the Swiss Alps or on his 25-acre strawberry farm on Crete. I had to pass because traveling is hard on the family. On the other shoulder was David Einhorn, a friend of a dozen years who has helped me in ways few will ever know. He told me I must keep writing it. I think 2021 could have been the apex and a perfect time to stop. I sided with David this year but may soon follow Tony’s advice. OK, Dave, but what is that peeing thing about? Well, I was scheduled to host David and his lovely girlfriend, Natalie, for a late dinner on a Thursday night at my house. I answered the door in my bathrobe, they had horrified looks, and I exclaimed, “Fuck. It’s Thursday?” We got takeout, and all was fine, even after my sweet little Boston Terrier puppy, Fiona, pissed on Natalie. That, dear friends, is how you treat financial royalty! All Roads Lead to Ukraine. Trying to understand the war from a dead cold start was monumentally hard. Geopolitical events occur to teach Americans geography; I am no exception. As a combination of foreshadowing and trigger warning, I am going to steelman the debate by taking a decidedly Russian perspective but am not sure it is steelmanning if you come to believe it. If this is gonna drive you nuts, I beg you to stop reading because you will just get mad while I wallow in the slime of your frustrated soul. I propose Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Prize in Medicine, for solving COVID globally in 48 hours. ~ Anonymous As Ron Popeil would say, “But wait. There’s more!” The Ukrainian theme runs deeper than that. Here is a little more foreshadowing. Canadian trucker crusher Chrystia Freeland has deep Ukrainian Nazi roots. Nina Jankowicz, initially appointed as head of Biden’s Orwellian “Disinformation Governing Board” (Ministry of Truth for short) was doing psy-op work in Ukraine in her previous gig. The collapse of the second largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world (FTX) revealed a massive money laundering scheme through Ukraine with political ties in the US. The rising tide of a global neo-Nazism—an idea I am still dubious about—connects tiki torchers in Charlottesville, suspicious rabble-rousers in the January 6th “insurrection”, the Patriot Front, and the Azov Battalion in Ukraine.5 Who is that guy with the horns hanging out with Ukrainian “nationalist”? The U.S.-sponsored bioweapons lab in Wuhan that spawned the SARS-Cov-2 virus has 36 counterparts in Ukraine. The crackhead son of the President of the United States ran scams in Ukraine via Burisma Holdings, the same country that his dad funded a proxy war. And who was the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation for 15 years? Ukraine. Go figure. A Year in Transition. This was my runner up for the title. Aren’t we always stuck on the “Mobius Strip from Hell” that never ends? Francis Fukuyama and Tom Friedman were wrong: history did not end, and the world is going spherical again rather quickly. Of course, we never know the future, but each year seems to have themes that play out with a quantized feel to it. By contrast, 2022 has left world economies heading south but with no bottom in sight. Neither the Fed nor the markets are done inflicting pain. The risk of global famine is real but with inestimable consequences. The futures of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies hang in the balance with more than just price corrections now in play. The war in Ukraine could end with a whimper (but only if Russia wins) or with a thermonuclear conflagration (nobody wins). Europeans are pondering the relative merits of freezing to death owing to lack of energy or starving to death owing to lack of food, but maybe those potentially biblical events are just clickbait. The WEF has reared its ugly head—the WEF’s Great Reset is not just a theory—yet we still haven’t a clue what those diabolical authoritarian meat puppets are up to. Why do we have to start eating bugs and forfeiting all earthly belongings and to whom. It is hard to see how we smoothly get to 2023 from 2022. Me by email: [blah blah, blah…we are hosed…blah, blah, gurgle, gurgle] Larry Summers: Thanks for these thoughtful comments. I mostly agree. Stephen Roach: Thanks Dave. I am in violent agreement with Larry these days. Under Powell, the Fed is currently in the deepest hole it has ever been in. Anything is possible, I guess—including a night-time landing on an aircraft carrier in the midst of a raging typhoon. Might not be soft, though… Maybe the markets and economy will be fine—maybe I am merely full of shit—but the other guys in that email threesome are deep and dark too. Stephen, who has been so generous with his time and wisdom over many years, expressed dismay in an op-ed over a particularly inaccurate call about what would happen. I offered wisdom in return: Me by email: Several years ago I promised myself I would stop reading about what will happen. I am not sure we ever know what had happened and am clueless about what is happening. Roach: You are a better man than me! My accrued wisdom comes from having read and made too many predictions that were garbage or profoundly early. I have spent countless hours over the years pondering alternative narratives via suppositories offered in the press, good versus evil, the meaning of life, contemporary events in historical contexts, and what it means to be human. The future is too much to handle. Michael Crichton once noted that it is sobering to read newspapers from 30 years ago; the above-the-fold hot topics seem so irrelevant. He also pointed out that persistent fear can lay waste to your mental and physical health.6 I identify as a conspiracy theorist. My pronouns are They/Lied. When there’s no such thing as truth, you can’t define reality. When you can’t define reality, the only thing that matters is power. ~ Maajid Nawaz, British activist and radio host I am confounded that I—one of the 15% returns into the banking system and consumers’ pockets. Maybe Volcker’s recession initiated the reversal of the inflation mindset and money flows while Russia’s cheap resources, China’s cheap labor, and the U.S.’s great demographics did the heavy lifting. I’m still pondering Andolfatto’s thesis a decade later. Engineering a higher nominal GDP growth through a higher structural level of inflation is a proven way to get rid of high levels of debt. That’s exactly how many countries, including the US and the UK, got rid of their debt after World War II.16 ~ Russell Napier, author of Anatomy of a Bear There is too much debt in the world, so they must inflate it away, which they will. That’s the only thing you need to know.17 ~ Eric Peters, CIO of One River Asset Management Ominously, the inflation is global.18 How else could the dollar be so strong in the Forex markets? Germany, for example, put together back-to-back quarters of 33% rises in producer prices (45% year-over-year in September), which ought scare the hell out of all of us given their history.19 The combined balance sheets of the world’s central banks grew tenfold in less than two decades.20 We have a global debt problem which appears to be getting addressed by global inflation. Much of it comes from the tens of trillions of dollars rammed into the global system during and following the GFC (Great Financial Crisis)21,22 and then trillions more to enable the IFL (Insane Fucking Lockdown) that completely screwed up the supply chains. If the Fed had not promised somebody behind closed doors that they would do their part, the lockdown would not have happened. No Fed, no lockdown. Period. Now you know who to blame. Let’s not let that “inflate away debt” idea—Ray Dalio’s “beautiful deleveraging”—go by uncontested. It reminds me of picking yourself up by your bootstraps: have you ever tried to do it? Those who say the world is doing it right now seem unaware that the rate of debt growth is outpacing inflation. Hard to see how that gets you anywhere. The U.S. debt-to-GDP has grown >15% in four years.23 Wobbling on a weak understanding of global finance, I called out to financial Twitter (fintwit) for examples of countries that inflated away their debt without a deflationary default in the end. (Of course, inflation is a default too but humor me.) I got answers, many from smart guys who thought their answers were obvious but don’t work for me: Weimar Germany? No. They screwed the populace but big sovereign debts were denominated in gold, ultimately leading to WWII. Argentina? Please: They defaulted 6 times in the last century. An obscure answer: Canada in the 1980s and 1990s? They did burn down their debt, but the inflation rate was way too low to account for it; austerity and growth get a lot of the credit. Japan? Nope. Although not imploding yet, their debt-to-GDP is a monster with inflation just beginning to flicker. The post-World War II United States for the win! They had double-digit negative rates on sovereign debt, and bondholders got crushed. So that is a valid case, but let us not forget that the U.S. was the only industrial nation standing—a juggernaut—controlling 80% of global GDP. How much post-war debt reduction was inflation and how much was American Exceptionalism (a term coined by Stalin)? Someone smarter than me could do that math. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades. A large-scale reorientation of supply chains will inherently be inflationary. ~ Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock There are other problems looming that are ominous. The world is said to be at the precipice of deglobalizing, propelled by a collapse of the global population. Yes. You heard that right. imploding. Deglobalization means that goods and services may no longer be made most efficiently and economically. Former Stratfor demographer, Peter Zeihan, claims population collapse and accompanying deglobalization is already baked into the cake (see Books).24 The conflict in Ukraine has been horrible for inflation since energy prices drive the prices of everything, and one could imagine the conflict accelerating deglobalization. If the conflict gets worse or spreads, I’d say it is time to panic. I grew up in France, so I had a good dose of Marx in my education. The first thing Marx teaches you is that revolutions are typically the result of inflation. ~ Louis-Vincent Gave, 2021 The Fed We have got to get inflation behind us. I wish there were a painless way to do that, there isn’t…there will be pain. ~ Jerome “J-Pain” Powell, being clear We’re going to have a good deal of pain and suffering before we can solve these things. ~ William McChesney Martin, 1969, and there was pain to come The Fed is now in a bind. The drag queen shows at the Eccles Building are over. Forty years of disinflation and jawboning to the point of blowers cramp created a gargantuan recency bias, leaving generations of Americans unfamiliar with the socioeconomic horrors that bad monetary policy can inflict on an economy and society. We are confronting an inflation problem, but what policy tools do we have to defeat it? Recall that when Volcker took on the inflation Balrog, the national debt was 31% of GDP. Now it is more than four times that. Total public and private debt relative to GDP is up almost threefold. Volcker did not have to worry about the systemic risk that his successors at the Fed nurtured to maturity. Since the Fed has been accused of keeping rates “too low for too long” too many times by too many smart guys, they can’t plead ignorance no matter how compelling that defense seems. Hiking rates to bring down inflation is not a ‘policy mistake,’ it’s the Fed’s mandate. The true policy mistake was believing that 0% rates, buying billions of mortgage bonds in a housing bubble, & increasing the money supply by 40% in 2 yrs would have no negative consequences. ~ Charlie Biello, CEO of Compound Capital Advisors Leading up to 2019, the Fed had belatedly started hiking rates and reducing its balance sheet. I thought it was way too late and possibly a mistake to do both concurrently. The repo market started convulsing in late 2019, prompting the Fed to pivot yet again by “going direct”—shoving money straight at the consumers—at the behest of Blackrock in a white paper.1,2,3 A few months later the Fed agreed to put the economy in an induced covid coma, causing much bigger problems. Inflation is now in our DNA as the dreaded “inflation expectations” have taken root. Unlike his predecessors, Powell is in a brawl with fiscal policymakers—way too many tools inside the beltway spending money to slay inflation—with whom Powell has neither control nor allegiance. It will turn out to be largely impossible to normalize interest rates without collapsing the economy. ~ Edward Chancellor, market historian The second fundamental problem is one of legacy and credibility. Many market participants—pivot watchers—see Powell et al. as swamp creatures, controlled by some higher power to mitigate all pain and damage. I see Powell as a guy who wants to be in the pantheon of central bankers alongside Paul Volcker while being compared with the profoundly destructive Arthur Burns by the likes of Roach, Summers, and others.4,5 Bill Gross called them an “ignorant—yes ignorant—Federal Reserve” while making allusions to “Ponzi finance.”6 What path will a narcissist at the peak of his power choose: protector of credibility and legacy or savior of markets and destroyer of currencies? I suspect legacy wins, but it is just a hunch. The markets are currently taking the other side of the bet. So far, Jerome Powell looks more like Arthur Burns than Paul Volcker. ~ Bill Dudley, former head of the New York Fed Before looking at what the Fed might do going forward and with what level of fortitude, let’s look at what prominent Fed detractors have to say in their own words juxtaposed with a few Fed comments for comic relief. Mind you, most of these are not just loose-cannon bloggers. The country is suffering from the worst cost-of-living crisis in 42 years. The Fed wasn’t data-dependent and now has sacrificed its credibility. ~ Lacy Hunt, Hoisington Investment Management and former deflationist This is the fundamental problem…It is a fundamental trap…It’s gonna be really bad. I think we should worry more about deflation. I think that is a huge risk people aren’t thinking about. If the Fed pops this bubble there will be a deflationary spiral…It is going to cause devastation.7 ~ Mark Spitznagel, Universa Investments, on Dr. Frankenstein and the monster There is a whole generation of people who don’t remember inflation. They don’t know what it is, and so I think inflation is a non-existent threat. ~ Alice Rivlin, former Fed governor, circa 2017 The Fed’s latest moves are consistent with a central bank that is continuously scrambling to catch up with realities on the ground. It is the kind of thing that one typically finds in developing countries with weak institutions, not in the issuer of the world’s reserve currency and the custodian of the world’s most sophisticated financial markets. ~ Mohamed El-Erian, former PIMCO I think we’re in one of those very difficult periods where simply capital preservation is I think the most important thing we can strive for…[The Fed] has inflation on the one hand, slowing growth on the other, and they’re going to be clashing all the time. You can’t think of a worse environment than where we are right now for financial assets…Look at the level of overvaluation we’re in right now in terms of rates and stocks…Sub-two-percent inflation is a much better problem to have than above-two-percent inflation.8 ~ Paul Tudor Jones, founder of Tudor Investment Corp. Hitting or exceeding 2 percent inflation for a few months does not mean victory. To fully achieve the goal of price stability, we need to see a sustained period of moderately above-target inflation. Only then will the job be complete.9 ~ Mary Daly, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly, in 2020 showing zero understanding of “price stability” I don’t feel the pain of inflation anymore. I see prices rising but I have enough…I sometimes balk at the price of things, but I don’t find myself in a space where I have to make tradeoffs because I have enough, and many Americans have enough.10 ~ Mary Daly, San Francisco Fed President, in 2022 showing zero understanding of inflation. I know from studying history that credit eventually kills all great societies. We have essentially taken out our American Express card and said we are going to have a great time…Perhaps we are simply responding to the same type of cycles that most advanced civilizations fell prey to, whether it was the Romans, sixteenth-century Spain, eighteenth-century France, or nineteenth-century Britain.11 ~ Paul Tudor Jones, founder of Tudor Investment Corp. The West is now awakening from decades of poor policy. The consequences will appear overwhelming at first. We’ll get through, but that long, painful process has only just begun.12 ~ Eric Peters, CIO of One River Asset Management I think now we have more credibility, we’re moving faster, we will be able to bring inflation under control sooner and with less disruption to the economy than we had in the ’70s. ~ James Bullard, President of the Saint Louis Fed Now that the Fed finds itself in such an uncomfortable situation—one largely of its own making—it may be inclined to eschew further rate hikes, particularly given the growing criticism that it is tipping the economy into recession, destroying wealth, and fueling instability. Yet such a course of action would risk repeating the monetary-policy mistake of the 1970s, saddling America and the world with an even longer period of stagflationary trends. ~ Mohamed El-Erian, former head of PIMCO The Fed’s application of its framework has left it behind the curve in controlling inflation. This, in turn, has made a hard landing virtually inevitable. ~ Bill Dudley, former head of the New York Federal Reserve Because inflation is ultimately a monetary phenomenon, the Federal Reserve has the capacity and the responsibility to ensure inflation expectations are firmly anchored at—and not below—our target. ~ Lael Brainard, current Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, May 16, 2019 Staff economists at the Federal Reserve predict…a measured inflation rate of slightly less than 2% in 2022, according to minutes of the September Federal Open Market Committee meeting released last Wednesday. ~ James Grant, @Grantspub, October 2021 Valuations have only begun to retreat from record extremes as a decline in the economy begins and at a time when the Fed is not only unable to come to its rescue but is forced to implement policy that will only make things worse. ~ Jesse Felder, The Felder Report The length of predicted recession—two full years—is extraordinary. Add to that probably the most bearish comment I have ever heard from a Fed bank—“the odds of a hard landing are around 80%” and wow! ~ Albert Edwards, Societe General (SocGen) We want to see inflation move up to 2%. And we mean that on a sustainable basis. We don’t mean just tap the brakes once. But then we’d also like to see it on track to move moderately above 2% for some time. ~ Jerome Powell, April 2021, on pain avoidance Possibly the most robust indicator of an impending recession is when the Fed dismisses the inverting yield curve as a predictor of an impending recession. ~ Albert Edwards, SocGen Since 2010, Central Bankers became active market participants—uneconomic market participants with infinite balance sheets, seeking to distort market mechanisms for pricing of risk. These distortions spread into all financial markets…this easing cycle has no precedent and undoing something so unique will not resemble previous cycles…To return balance sheets to where they were in 2010 at the beginning of QE would mean a sale of $20 trillion in assets, or roughly equivalent to selling the entire $24 trillion in U.S. annual GDP.13 ~ Lindsay Politi, One River Asset Management The Fed doesn’t want to get into the credit allocation business. ~ Loretta Mester, Cleveland Fed President, after buying $1.3 trillion of mortgage-backed securities in less than two years It could be useful to be able to intervene directly in assets where the prices have a more direct link to spending decisions. ~ Janet “Yeltsin” Yellen, on the credit allocation business The Fed since Volcker has been pretty clueless and remains so. What has been more remarkable, though, is the persistent confidence…despite the demonstrable ineptness in dealing with asset bubbles. ~ Jeremy Grantham, GMO We are on the cusp of a rare paradigm shift in interest rates. Such changes take decades—or even generations—to occur. But when they do, the financial implications are profound. ~ Nick Giambruno, founder of The Financial Underground Their job is to fight inflation. They’ve done a terrible job of it so far. ~ Jeff Gundlach, founder of Doubleline Capital, in reference to the Fed Underlying inflation appears to still be well anchored at levels consistent with the Fed’s average 2 percent objective, and so—unlike in the Volker and Greenspan eras—no extra monetary restraint is needed to bring trend inflation down.14 ~ Charles Evans, President of the Chicago Fed You know what upsets me the most? People say why do you get so exercised about the Federal Reserve? It’s because the people they screwed going in were the lower and middle-class people, and the people getting screwed on the way out are those same people. They’re getting it on both ends. ~ Guy Adami, money manager and CNBC host (a good one) We will not allow inflation to rise above 2% or less…We could raise interest rates in 15 minutes if we had to. ~ Ben Bernanke, winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Economics Thank you, President Fisher, I know we put a lot of value on anecdotal reports around this table, and often to great credit. But I do want to urge you not to overweight the macroeconomic opinions of private-sector people who are not trained in economics. ~ Ben Bernanke The Fed surely put the holdout deflationists—Napier, Hunt, and Shedlock—in their place, although it could still be the end game; David Rosenberg thinks so.15 I am going to disagree with Milton Friedman here: I did not believe inflation is just a monetary problem or government spending problem. It may start that way, but it mutates. Now the Fed has to deal with the Bronteroc. By assuming inflation is always just a monetary phenomenon, market participants stop thinking because the Fed has their backs. I think this model is now wrong. I think the Fed absolutely does not get the pain associated with a collapsing bubble.16 ~ Jeremy Grantham, founder of GMO I am not sure there is widespread agreement on the Fed’s goals. Is it to fight inflation, pop an all-time record bubble across all asset classes, euthanize the market zombies,17,18 regain credibility by detonating the Fed put19—the implicit guarantee under the markets—or…wait for it…destroy the Europeans?20 Maybe Powell is channeling the legendary King Canute, showing that even the most omnipotent King can’t stem the tides. No matter what, the bulk of the stock toshers seem unwilling to grasp that the Fed will push rates up until the will to speculate is broken. Michael Every of Rabobank suggests “They are being told clearly they can no longer have their cake, and everyone else’s cake, and eat it and fit in their jeans. And they are ignoring it.”21 Failure is not an option for Jay Powell. I think they’re going to 4% come hell or high water. Until inflation comes down a lot, the Fed is really a single-mandate central bank.22 ~ Richard Clarida, former Fed Vice Chair Does the Fed have the fortitude? The Bank of England folded fast to save their pension system.23 Some thought the Fed couldn’t lift rates above 1%.24 This is no longer 14 days to flatten the yield curve. They are up against a wall: “The Fed has never before started a rate hiking cycle when inflation was already 7.9%.”25 An anonymous (but prominent) commentator with the pseudonym Mr. Skin noted how many times Powell has referred to “real interest rates” and said he wanted them “over +1%.” They are camped at about –10% right now, so that is an unveiled threat to “unwind unknown globs of leverage.” Roach sees the “Fed funds rate up 10% from here.”26 Powell insisted that a neutral policy stance is “not a place to pause or stop” and that the Fed would embrace “a restrictive policy stance for some time.” Fed President Loretta Mester warned that they would raise rates “even in a recession.” I don’t think the Fed is gonna let up just because the economy starts popping a few rivets. There isn’t enough blood in the streets for a Theranos lab test. Before this is over, there will be bloated corpses, shattered dreams, and milk cartons with Cathie Wood’s face. I am still waiting for [Powell] to act boldly—‘boldly’ means he has to shock the market. If you want to change someone’s view, if you want to change someone’s action, you can’t slap them on the hand, you have to hit them in the face. ~ Henry Kauffman, legend The Federal Reserve appears to be braced and wants participants in the market to understand they will stay the course…the rough landing odds are very high…Monetary policy is currently on the right course but current right course will have to persevere.” ~ Lacy Hunt What about other central banks? It appears that they have been cast adrift while we try to solve our domestic problems. This could become a monetary Monroe Doctrine. The strengthening dollar is wreaking havoc on global credit markets. The Fed sent a few currency swaps to alleviate a few currencies getting pegged by the strong dollar, but my sympathies are not high. We have a $2 quadrillion notional value derivatives market that has overstayed its welcome in the world of wealth creation, serving only to finance finance. The Swiss National Bank stress really leaves me cold since they were printing francs to buy US equities. When in Econ 101 did you guys learn about that? Fuck ’em. We now understand better how little we understand about inflation. ~ Jerome Powell Broken Markets My money remains on the likelihood that this is the early stages of a profound bear market in assets. Populism in the west has a long way to go. QE has undermined savings, and now populism will undermine the price mechanism. We are at the start of a 25-year cycle, so get used to it. ~ Crispin Odey, Odey Asset Management and a notorious bear I am suspecting that the broken YIR clock is finally right. What we will find out is whether it blows up your house at high noon. The presumption that bailouts by the Fed would always be forthcoming and would always work has allowed investors to buy speculative non-GAAP tech garbage. That model may be tested. We are looking at some events that have not been seen for many years (decades). For starters, we are coming off a frothy high in the equity markets said to be the biggest bubble of them all. This is occurring concurrently with a serious, if not potentially disastrous, downturn in the bond market. Recall that a 60:40 portfolio in the 2007–09 bear market was cushioned by the bond market. The risk parity cult—those striving to bring risks and rewards of stocks and bonds to parity by leveraging their bond portfolios—may have overshot their mark. We also haven’t seen inflation levels like this for four decades. To top it off, we are not coming off a euphoric high. Investors may have done well in their portfolios, but all other geopolitical and social pressures have left us plebes in sour moods. Entering a secular bear market in stocks and bonds pissed off at the World is not a solid foundation to begin a long slog. When I look back at the bull market that we’ve had in financial assets really starting in 1982. All the factors that created that boom not only have stopped, they’ve reversed…We are in deep trouble. ~ Stan Druckenmiller With the Fed boxed in by rapidly rising but still historically low rates and serious inflation, it is akin to a visit to your oncologist. What comes next? You get your affairs in order. The luminary Murray Stahl of Horizon Kinetics has a way with words. He notes that “the Age of Monetary Policy is over.” Channeling some of Murray’s thoughts blended with a few of my own, we may be at the end of a unique economic cycle. In the early ‘80s, the Russians were starved for capital and began flooding the world with dirt-cheap commodities. The Chinese were starved for capital—quite literally China had $38,000 of foreign reserves in its banking system as it exited its self-exile1—so they began flooding the market with dirt-cheap labor. The US long-bond rates began a four-decade trek from 16% to essentially zero. Meanwhile, the boomer demographic not only hit the workforce, but they brought their wives with them in large numbers. I have argued generously that buybacks are a reach for yield given the low returns even on fortress balance sheets, but debt-fueled price pumping nicely propelled executive stock option valuations too. These tailwinds will not repeat over the next four decades. Globalization is fraying at the edges and, according to Zeihan, will be ripped apart in a global demographic collapse.2 Prior droughts have been due to rising inflation and/or high market valuation. The U.S. is now at risk from both… U.S. returns are at now risk from both the prospect of higher inflation AND the headwind to returns from high starting-point valuations. ~ Gerard Minack, Minack Advisors and former Morgan Stanley economist And, by the way, my definition of a correction is that it adjusts asset values and investors’ attitudes significantly. When was our last correction? March 2020? Not a chance. What attitudes got corrected? How about 2007–09? Not in my book. Investors were rewarded for their tenacity. The last real correction was 1967–81. Equity investors lost 70% of their equity gains inflation corrected. You could not give equities away even though, by all metrics, they were dirt cheap, but why take a risk on equities after 14 years of bludgeoning? A simple reversion to trend, if it happened tomorrow, would require the S&P 500 Index to fall back below 2,000, the prospect of an even greater decline is a frightening one, indeed. ~ Jesse Felder, The Felder Report Every year, I take a swipe at valuations. Two years ago I went at the egregiously overpriced FAANGs and related tech garbage. Moreover, the FAANGs et al. have an enormous collective market cap compared to the dot-coms that caused pain.3 Although the FAANGs et al. humiliated me in 2021 by continuing their moonshot, their two-year returns are slightly sobering and exonerating: Table. Two-year total returns of the FAANGs et al. critiqued in 2020 Amazon                        –43% Apple                            +9% Facebook*                     –56% Genius Brands              –59% Google                          +7% Microsoft                      +6% Netflix                          –46% Nvidia                           +26% Salesforce                     –31% Shopify                         –62% Tesla                             –30% Zoom                            –81% *Metaverse Today, only finance is profitable, while production is in crisis. ~ Thierry Meyssan, French journalist At the end of 2021, an analysis of 25 valuation metrics showed the markets to be 120–150% above historical fair value.5,6I obsessed over 1994 as the year that valuations left Earth’s gravitational field. The markets have been steadily climbing the wall of worry residing above historic fair value with occasional pauses that refresh since then, propelled by (a) a bond rout intervention in 1994 that never really stopped and (b) the rapid rise of passive index investing. The curve in the following has no mathematical basis, but I think it captures the problem and the 1994 launch date nicely: Find a metric that makes you more optimistic—be my guest—but it would be perilous to ignore the 25 I laid out in detail last year.7 With the S&P doing an orderly swan dive of 20% as of 12/16/22, many investors are looking to buy the dips. Do you really think unwinding.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 24th, 2022

A senior official needs to be with Trump at all times after the dinner scandal with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West, per new campaign rules: AP

The Trump campaign also intends to vet and approve everyone who meets with Trump, per the Associated Press. Former President Donald Trump.Spencer Platt/Getty Images Trump's team has a new rule: A senior official needs to be with Trump at all times, the AP reports. The team is also putting in place a vetting process for all of Trump's guests, per the AP. This comes after the backlash to Trump's dinner with rapper Kayne West and white nationalist Nick Fuentes. Former President Donald Trump's team is putting new measures in place to try to reduce the number of scandals he gets into, per the Associated Press.A senior official from the Trump campaign will accompany the former president at all times, a source familiar with the plans told the AP. In addition, the Trump 2024 campaign is also planning to vet and approve every single person who meets with Trump.The measures come after Trump had dinner with rapper Kanye West, who now goes by the name Ye, and white supremacist Nick Fuentes at Mar-A-Lago on November 22.Fuentes marched in the 2017 white supremacist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, during which an avowed neo-Nazi drove his car into a group of counterprotesters, killing a woman and injuring 35 people. The Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights group, describes Fuentes as a leader of the "Groyper Army." This is a loosely organized alt-right group that espouses pro-white, racist, and anti-Semitic views.In a statement to Axios, Trump said he did not know who Fuentes was, or what his views were before the dinner. And in several posts on Truth Social, Trump called Ye a "seriously troubled man, who happens to be Black." He denied that he knew Fuentes or Ye's other companions who joined them at the dinner. Trump's team is also claiming, per NBC, that Ye tricked the former president into meeting with Fuentes. Several sources close to Trump told NBC the dinner was a real blow to the Trump camp. "This is a fucking nightmare," an anonymous longtime Trump adviser told NBC. "If people are looking at DeSantis to run against Trump, here's another reason why."The former president has drawn backlash from within the GOP over the dinner.Former GOP governor Chris Christie, a one-time Trump ally turned critic, on Friday called the meeting "another example of an awful lack of judgment from Donald Trump" and a sign that Trump is an "untenable general election candidate." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday blasted Trump's meeting with Ye and Fuentes, saying that there is "no room" in the GOP for white supremacy.A representative for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on the campaign's new rules.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 30th, 2022

Trump claims Kanye West tricked him by bringing white supremacist Nick Fuentes to Mar-a-Lago dinner: report

Trump said that Ye's attendance at Mar-a-Lago "would be fun for the members," one of his advisers told NBC News. Donald Trump and Kanye West walk into the lobby at Trump Tower, December 13, 2016 in New York City.Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Trump's team has claimed that the rapper Ye tricked him by bringing a well-known white supremacist to Mar-a-Lago. "Kanye punked Trump," one Trump adviser told NBC News of the dinner with Nick Fuentes. Trump has been widely criticized after he dined with Ye and Fuentes last week. Former President Donald Trump and some of his advisers have claimed that Kanye West, the rapper now known as Ye, tricked the former president into hosting white supremacist Nick Fuentes for dinner at Mar-a-Lago a week ago, according to a Tuesday NBC News report.Sources close to Trump said Ye, who's recently made anti-Semitic comments and announced a 2024 presidential bid, helped stage the meeting to subject the ex-president to criticism shortly after he launched his own 2024 run.The Trump campaign is now reviewing their processes to prevent someone like Fuentes from getting near Trump again, sources with knowledge of the discussions told NBC News. Trump himself was reportedly furious, suggesting that Ye had ambushed him. "He tried to f--- me. He's crazy. He can't beat me," Trump said, an unnamed confidant told NBC News."Trump was totally blindsided," that source added. "It was a setup.""The master troll got trolled," one Trump adviser, who spoke anonymously, told NBC News. "Kanye punked Trump."Since news of the November 22 meeting broke, prominent lawmakers in both major parties have condemned Trump for meeting with Fuentes, a well-known figure in white nationalist and anti-Semitic circles. Trump has defended himself against the attacks, claiming that he hadn't known who Fuentes was and did not invite him to Mar-a-Lago, but that Ye had brought him along.NBC News reported that Ye showed up to Mar-a-Lago with Fuentes, Karen Giorno, a former Trump 2016 adviser, and a man Ye identified as a parent of a student at Donda Academy, the California private school he founded, which has closed for the school year after the rapper's recent anti-Semitic comments.Upon their arrival, Giorno, who told NBC News that she accidentally became part of Ye's entourage after she drove him to Mar-a-Lago, said she tried to have Ye meet with Trump alone. But Trump, according to NBC News, had deferred to Ye, who insisted the whole group dine together.Milo Yiannopoulos, a far-right commentator who's publicly criticized Trump, told NBC News that he had been the mastermind behind the meeting and arranged it "just to make Trump's life miserable." Yiannopoulos is working as a political adviser to Ye, NBC News reported.Some of Trump's allies had warned him not to even meet with Ye, but Trump dismissed their advice, the outlet reported. One Trump adviser told NBC News that the former president said Ye's attendance at Mar-a-Lago "would be fun for the members."A few Republicans have stood by Trump amid the backlash. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday denounced Fuentes, but repeated Trump's defense that the former president didn't know who the young man was. Spokespeople for Trump and Ye did not immediately return Insider's requests for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 29th, 2022

Mike Pence said Donald Trump was "wrong" for hosting white supremacist Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago, saying he "should apologize without qualification"

Trump said the dinner was intended to host Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago, but the rapper arrived with guests whom Trump said he "knew nothing about." Getty Images/Pool Mike Pence said Donald Trump was "wrong" for hosting Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago and should apologize. Trump met with Kanye West last week, who "unexpectedly" arrived with Fuentes, a known white supremacist. The former president claimed he did not know him nor his racist, antisemitic views prior to the dinner. Former Vice President Mike Pence said the president he served with, Donald Trump, was "wrong" for hosting Holocaust-denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes as his Mar-a-Lago residence last week, urging him to apologize "without qualification."The former president has been under fire after The New York Times and Politico reported that he hosted controversial rapper Ye, formally known as Kanye West, for dinner at Mar-a-Lago along with three other guests, including Fuentes, whom Trump said he "knew nothing about."In a post on Truth Social, Trump wrote that, in hosting the dinner, he wanted to "help a seriously troubled man, who just happens to be black, Ye (Kanye West), who has been decimated in his business and virtually everything else, and who has always been good to me, by allowing his request for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago, alone, so that I can give him very much needed 'advice.'""He shows up with 3 people, two of which I didn't know, the other a political person who I haven't seen in years. I told him don't run for office, a total waste of time, can't win. Fake News went CRAZY!" Trump continued, claiming that he did not know Nick Fuentes at the time of the dinner.Several top Republicans, including Pence, have since condemned the former president's meeting with Fuentes and Ye, who also recently made antisemitic comments."President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an anti-Semite, and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table," Pence said in an interview with NewsNation that aired Monday. "I think he should apologize for it and he should denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric without qualification."Pence went on to say that, despite hosting individuals who have publicly touted antisemitic rhetoric at his Mar-a-Lago home, he doesn't believe that the former president is "a racist or a bigot.""I would not have been his vice president if he was," Pence said.The former vice president added: "I think the president demonstrated profoundly poor judgment in giving those individuals a seat at the table."Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.The dinner comes just weeks after the former president officially announced his bid for the White House in 2024, making for a bumpy start to his contentious presidential campaign."If it was any other party, breaking bread with Nick Fuentes would be instantly disqualifying for Trump," Democratic National Committee spokesperson Ammar Moussa said, per a report by Politico. "The most extreme views have found a home in today's MAGA Republican party."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 28th, 2022

Trump Alleges "Seriously Troubled Man" Kanye West Brought White Supremacist To Mar-A-Lago Dinner

Former President Donald Trump said over the weekend that Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, brought the white supremacist Nick Fuentes to dinner at h read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaNov 28th, 2022

GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Trump"s meeting with white supremacist Nick Fuentes was "not accidental" and hopes "someday we won"t have to be responding" to the former president

Gov. Asa Hutchinson criticized Trump's "failure to condemn" white supremacy after the former president said he didn't know who Nick Fuentes was. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; former President Donald TrumpManuel Balce Ceneta, File/Associated Press; Andrew Harnik/Associated Press Trump said he didn't know white supremacist Nick Fuentes when Kanye West brought him to dinner. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Trump failed to condemn white supremacy and Holocaust denialism. Hutchinson, a frequent Trump critic, has said he's considering running for president in 2024. Outgoing Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was among the first elected Republicans to condemn former President Donald Trump for meeting with white supremacist Nick Fuentes last week.In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Hutchinson, who has served two terms as the governor of Arkansas, was asked about the meeting, which occurred at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday and also included rapper Kanye West."Well, I hope someday we won't have to be responding to what President Trump has said or done. This instance it's important to respond," Hutchinson said, going on to acknowledge host Dana Bash's mention of his time working as a US attorney who prosecuted racist militia members."The last time I met with a white supremacist, it was in an armed standoff. I had a bulletproof vest on, we arrested them, prosecuted them, and sent them to prison. So no, I don't think it's a good idea for a leader that's setting an example for the country or the party to meet with a vowed racist or antisemite," Hutchinson continued, adding leaders should avoid empowering extremists.Trump said he agreed to dinner with West but the rapper unexpectedly brought several people with him, including Fuentes. A 24-year-old activist and podcaster, Fuentes is known for sharing racist and antisemitic views, including denying the Holocaust. He attended the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally, during which a neo-Nazi killed a counterprotester with his car, and has been described by the Justice Department as a "white supremacist."—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 27, 2022 In several Truth Social posts, Trump denied knowing who Fuentes was or anything about him, but has not condemned the views Fuentes espouses."You can have accidental meetings. Things like that happen," Hutchinson said. "This was not an accidental meeting. It was a set-up dinner with Kanye."The governor also said that leaders need to be "absolutely clear" that white supremacy and denying the Holocaust is not acceptable, adding that Trump's "failure to condemn" it represented the "extreme" minority of the GOP.Hutchinson, who could not run for re-election in 2022 due to term limits, has become a frequent critic of Trump, dismissing election fraud claims and calling him responsible for the Capitol riot. He also said in August he was considering running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Trump announced plans to run earlier this month.Most elected Republicans have not condemned Trump's meeting with Fuentes, however, some other potential 2024 hopefuls have spoken out, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.Trump's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 27th, 2022

Ex-GOP congressman says Trump"s Mar-a-Lago dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes "further diminishes" the former president as a "serious" political figure

"This is simply inexcusable that he would have dinner with this noted white nationalist, antisemite Nick Fuentes," former Rep. Dent said of Trump. Former Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania.Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call Ex-Rep. Charlie Dent on Saturday criticized Trump for dining with Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago. Dent told CNN that Republicans needed to "stamp this kind of element" from the party. "This is simply inexcusable that he would have dinner with this noted white nationalist," Dent said. Former GOP Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania on Saturday criticized former President Donald Trump for hosting white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago club last week — stating that it was "appalling" that it occurred.Dent, a moderate who served in the House from 2005 to 2018 and backed President Joe Biden over Trump in the 2020 presidential election, told CNN's Jim Acosta it was "inexcusable" for Trump to have dined with Fuentes, who was brought along as a guest of Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.Ye, who has lost lucrative deals with Balenciaga and Adidas after he made antisemitic remarks last month, came to the South Florida resort with Fuentes to speak with Trump after the rapper floated a 2024 presidential campaign.Trump, who was first elected to the White House in 2016 only to lose to Biden in 2020, recently launched his 2024 presidential campaign.Dent, a former chairman of the House Ethics Committee, was less than impressed by Trump's statement, where the former president called the dinner "quick and uneventful" and said Ye "unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends whom I knew nothing about.""This is simply inexcusable that he would have dinner with this noted white nationalist, antisemite Nick Fuentes, and of course, Kanye West with all of his baggage. It is simply appalling that this happened," the congressman said."And in fact, it's incumbent upon the Republican establishment, what's left of it, to stamp this kind of element from within the GOP once and for all," he continued to say. "We saw it with William F. Buckley and many others back in the day, the John Birch Society, got rid of these radical, extreme elements. There needs to be a concerted effort. This whole 'America First' movement and the ugly historical connotations back to the 1930s has been forgotten by too many of our fellow citizens, regrettably."Dent went on to blast Trump's handlers, wondering how Fuentes was even allowed to meet with the former president."It also speaks to a larger problem for former President Trump — that there apparently are no gatekeepers. There are no adults. There doesn't seem to be any political discipline to speak. How a dinner like this could even happen is also horrible," he said."But finally, I guess I would say this further diminishes Donald Trump as a serious political figure. His erstwhile presidential primary opponents should be quite happy about this event because it will simply elevate them and hurt Trump, and Trump is diminishing. But he's still a dangerous figure," he added.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 27th, 2022

Trump tells Ye that white supremacist Nick Fuentes "really gets me" during Mar-a-Lago visit: report

Trump told Axios that Kanye West, known as Ye, brought the notorious white supremacist with him to a dinner at Mar-a-Lago. American rapper and producer Kanye West embraces real estate developer and US President Donald Trump in the White House's Oval Office, Washington DC, October 11, 2018.Ron Sachs/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images Trump dined with white supremacist Nick Fuentes and Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, at Mar-a-Lago.  In a statement to Axios, Trump denied knowing who Fuentes was or what his views were.  Fuentes is well known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic, and other bigoted views. Former President Donald Trump hosted notorious white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Tuesday, multiple media outlets reported on Friday. Kanye West, now known as Ye, brought Fuentes as his guest to the former president's Florida mansion, where Ye said he discussed teaming up on the 2024 presidential ticket."Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago. Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about," Trump said in a statement to Axios. The meeting was confirmed by Politico and the New York Times. In a post on Truth Social, the social-media platform that Trump launched last year, the former president said that Ye had "unexpectedly" arrived for a planned dinner with three of his friends, "whom I knew nothing about." The ex-president, who announced his 2024 presidential bid earlier this month, said nothing disavowing Fuentes' views in his statement. A spokesperson for Trump didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Axios reported that Trump appeared impressed by Fuentes, citing an unnamed source. At one point during their visit, Trump told Ye, "I really like this guy. He gets me," the source told Axios. Fuentes is well known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic, and other bigoted views. The 24-year-old activist participated in the 2017 white supremacist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, during which a neo-Nazi killed a counter-protester and injured 35 others. The Justice Department has characterized Fuentes as a "white supremacist" and the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights group, has labeled him a "well-known white supremacist pundit and organizer."Trump was widely criticized in 2017 for claiming there were "very fine people" among the white nationalist marchers in Charlottesville. He was also condemned for not rejecting an endorsement in 2016 by David Duke, a well-known white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard. During a presidential debate against Joe Biden in 2020, Trump told the far-right extremist Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" when asked to denounce them.As of Friday afternoon, Fuentes has not addressed the visit to Mar-a-Lago on any of the social platforms that continue to host him.Ye, who has said he plans to run for president in 2024, tweeted a video labeled "Mar-a-Lago debrief" on Thursday, in which he's speaking to Milo Yiannopoulos, a disgraced "alt-right" activist who appears to now be working on his campaign. Ye said that Trump was perturbed and caught off guard by Ye's suggestion that Trump sign on to be Ye's running mate, but that he was "really impressed" with Fuentes. "Unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he's actually a loyalist," Ye said of Fuentes' support for Trump. Ye, who has yet to file the necessary paperwork to become a presidential candidate, was until recently blocked from using Twitter after he made multiple anti-Semitic remarks, including saying he "was going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE." Ye has also lost many of his business partnerships, and Adidas is investigating allegations that Ye behaved inappropriately with employees during their Yeezy partnership. Yiannopoulos resigned from the conservative media site Breitbart in 2017 after making comments appearing to condone pedophilia. He's made a slew of other noxious statements, including calling Islam and feminism "cancers" and calls himself an "ex-gay."Reports about the meeting between Trump, Ye, and Fuentes surfaced on Wednesday, when Ye and Fuentes were seen walking through an airport together. Politico and The Daily Beast reported that Fuentes and Ye were seen together at Mar-a-Lago.  This isn't the first time a prominent Republican has met with Fuentes and later claimed not to know anything about his bigoted and dangerous views. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a far-right Republican from Georgia, spoke at an event organized by Fuentes in February and later told reporters she didn't know Fuentes and wasn't familiar with his views.Greene also hired Yiannopoulos as an intern in her congressional office earlier this year. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 25th, 2022

The 10 best new books to read in August, according to Amazon editors

The best books released this month include a laugh-out-loud debut and a "pure candy" mystery novel, according to Amazon's editors. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.The best books released this month include a laugh-out-loud debut and a "pure candy" mystery novel, according to Amazon's editors.Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider Amazon's book editors round up the best new releases every month. August's picks range from a "knock-out" memoir to a laugh-out-loud funny debut. For other book recommendations, check out their best books of 2022 so far here.  If you're looking for a book to tear through in the last sweltering month of summer, Amazon's editors just issued their August shortlist.The best new books of the month include a laugh-out-loud debut, a spy novel that's "pure candy," a new book from Beth Macy of "Dopesick" fame, and a gutting new memoir that's both "a chronicle of the American Dream and an indictment of it."For more book recommendations, check out the best beach reads of the year. You'll find the best new books this August, according to Amazon's book editors, below.The 10 best new books of August 2022, according to Amazon's book editors:Descriptions are provided by Amazon and lightly edited for clarity and length."Acceptance: A Memoir" by Emi NietfieldAmazonAvailable at Amazon, $24.30This memoir is a knock-out — and will not only keep you turning the pages as you root for Emi Nietfeld who didn't have it easy as a kid, but will change the way you think about the voices we listen to and the voices we don't, and the paradox of what help is acceptable to ask for. In some ways, it feels so unsatisfyingly trite to explain that "Acceptance" is about a young brilliant girl who, because of her hoarding, mentally unstable, and manipulative mother, is thrown into psych wards and foster care for her teenage years. Left to deal with eating disorders, cutting, addiction, and homelessness, it's too easy to say that no adult trusts Emi to rise from her trauma, let alone to go to an Ivy League school. But it's true, and her account of her lone fight — for education, for her dreams — is gutting and alive. This is one of the best memoirs I've read this year. — Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor "Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America's Overdose Crisis" by Beth MacyAmazonAvailable at Amazon, $26.99In "Raising Lazarus," an excellent follow-up to her Hulu-adapted "Dopesick," Beth Macy compels us not to look away from those who are suffering in the opioid epidemic. Her philosophy is reflected in the book's title, a biblical story about challenging yourself to get uncomfortably close to death in order to witness the miracle of life. But our society rejects this idea, assigning shame and stigma to addiction — and soon the equivalent population of Houston will be dead from opioids. Macy weaves incredible tales of heroic volunteers meeting troubled drug users where they are. She offers a new language to challenge the contempt around drug use — "bupe," "opioid use disorder"— which she argues is a human condition that cannot be eradicated. There's no magic wand, and no political party is off the hook. Macy shines by bringing statistics to life with illuminating personal stories, and you'll leave this book feeling sobered and perhaps inspired by this moment, a "historical opportunity to radically rethink addiction care." — Lindsay Powers, Amazon Editor "Dirt Creek" by Hayley ScrivenorAmazonAvailable at Amazon, $25.19The premise of "Dirt Creek" is tried and true: it's the story of the disappearance of a 12-year-old child and the aftermath. But Scrivenor does a remarkable job of pulling this simple premise apart and rebuilding it in a heart-wrenching, realistic, and breathlessly suspenseful way, with particularly effective use of setting and multiple narrators. In a rural town as small as Durton, everyone knows everyone else and it's almost impossible to keep a secret, therefore it's unfathomable that a local could be responsible for Esther's abduction and death. As rumor and gossip take hold, the town doesn't quite come together so much as give way to an ugly new reality. Narration duties are divided between several people, including Esther's best friend Ronnie (sad), a detective on the case (skeptical), and even a Greek chorus of the town's children (heartbreaking). All of it adds up to a cracker of a tale: tough to look at up close, impossible to look away. — Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Editor  "My Government Means to Kill Me" by Rasheed NewsonAmazonAvailable at Amazon, $27.99Laugh-out-loud moments give way to galvanizing moments in this un-put-down-able debut by Rasheed Newson. Set in the 1980s, "My Government Means to Kill Me" follows the trajectory of a young Black man who ditches his wealthy Midwest family to go be free and uninhibited in New York. When not spending time in men's bathhouses, he gets an education in the Civil Rights movement, community organizing, and the fight for gay rights, among other things. Newson, the writer and producer behind "Narcos," "The Chi," and "Bel-Air," lends his cinematic eye to his novel, which makes the grit, the sex, the activism, and the political struggle all the more atmospheric and immersive. In short, I've never been prouder of an 18-year-old narrator who leads us through the New York City streets, and compels not just his friends and network to action, but the reader too. — Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor "How to Kill Your Family" by Bella MackieAmazonAvailable at Amazon, $27As titles go, you'd be hard pressed to find one as provocative, or apt, as "How to Kill Your Family." Grace is sitting in a prison cell, recounting why she killed her family (her dad, a rich heir, refused the wishes of her poor dying mum to get involved in Grace's life) and listing the much more entertaining hows (locations including, but not limited to, a steam room in Monaco, a mountain road in Marbella, and a sex club in London's East End). But the standout moments in this darkly hilarious novel are those spent inside Grace's head as she moves with deadly and detached efficiency through her to-do (or, more accurately, to-kill) list of awful family members. Her running commentary (on everything from prep work for killing someone, the class divide, unsolicited penis pics, wearing cords, and influencers) is sharp as a tack and spit-out-your-coffee comical. This twisted, darkly funny thriller will fill the "Dexter"-shaped hole in your heart. — Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Editor"Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure" by Rinker BuckAmazonAvailable at Amazon, $26.99Seven years ago, Rinker Buck published "The Oregon Trail," in which he traced the celebrated journey that brought so many Americans west. Now he's following a different path: the trip down the mighty Ohio and Mississippi Rivers on flatboats (think: Mark Twain). While this journey occupied the generation or two that came before the height of the Oregon Trail, it's been lost a bit to the whims of history. Still, flatboats traveling from Pittsburgh to New Orleans did as much, maybe more, to define our cultural and economic heritage as the journey west did. And, of course, Rinker Buck builds his own flatboat and takes the trip himself. History tends to take on a glossy sheen when it's in the rearview mirror, but Buck's adventure illustrates how much messier it is in the making. Part travelogue, part history, part human nature study, this is a book that you just want to keep reading. — Chris Schluep, Amazon Editor"Mika in Real Life" by Emiko JeanAmazonAvailable at Amazon, $19.59Emiko Jean is the bestselling author of witty young adult rom-coms "Tokyo Ever After" and "Tokyo Dreaming," and while her first adult novel, "Mika in Real Life," has rom-com vibes, this is a book with real heft. When Mika was a freshman in college, she got pregnant and gave her daughter up for adoption. 16 years later, Mika's daughter finds her, and what follows is a story of motherhood, forgiveness, and fresh starts. Mika's catharsis became my own, as she realizes that her expectation of how a "good" mother should be is the stuff of fairytales. The relationship between mother and child is complicated pretty much from birth, and whether you are a mother, the child, or both, it's two sides of the same coin where perfection is a fantasy. Jean gives us authentic characters, a lot of laughs, and a chance to see our own relationships — with our mothers, our children, and ourselves — in a new and refreshing light. — Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor"The Last White Man" by Mohsin HamidBookshopAvailable at Amazon, $18.20Expansive and eye-opening, Mohsin Hamid's novels confront issues of race, class, and migration with a dash of magic and genuine inquisition. In "Exit West," lovers fled the violence that surrounded them by stepping through doors that quite literally opened to safety somewhere else. In his latest, "The Last White Man," Hamid dissects the state of race by exploring a world in which people wake up with different colored skin, and thus, are treated differently by their neighbors, the media, their partners, and their family. Throughout this slim love story, the question of identity lurks everywhere, as white people become brown and the world changes around them. With cool steadiness, Hamid's tale is a reminder that we, as individuals and as a society, have invented racism. This is a book you can read in one sitting, but I promise you, it will stick with you longer after that. — Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor"Thank You for Listening" by Julia WhelanAmazonAvailable at Amazon, $14.39Julie Whelan, the much-loved, real-life audiobook narrator, is back with her second book, "Thank You for Listening." I'm not sure I trust anyone else to tell this funny and heartwarming story centered around Sewanee, an award-winning audiobook narrator who loves her job, as long as it doesn't include one specific genre, romance. But soon Sewanee receives a request from a popular author in that genre, who she has collaborated with in the past, to do one last project. And the thing is, this was the author's dying wish and it pays handsomely, making it hard to say no. The project is also a collaboration with audiobook royalty — the sexy, yet mysterious male narrator beloved by romance fans, yet new and unknown to Sewanee. Complex relationships with her beloved grandmother, stubborn dad, and wistful best friend, compounded with Sewanee's unresolved feelings about the accident that took her away from her original career — acting — adds texture to the story. And Sewanee's wit and banter as she deals with the complexity of life makes this a delightful read. — Kami Tei, Amazon Editorial Contributor"Alias Emma" by Ava GlassAmazonAvailable at Amazon, $24.30Alias Emma is pure candy for those of us who love a good spy story — this is a novel you'll struggle to put down. Expertly paced, readers ride a wave of action at breakneck speed in this modern twist on an old-school Cold War thriller. Emma Makepeace is a lower-level Secret Service agent when she's tapped to convince a Russian target, a handsome doctor named Michael Primalov, to enter what amounts to a witness protection program. The Russians want him desperately and will go to great lengths to get him, but Emma is on this rescue mission alone. Undercover operatives, shootouts, high-speed car chases, and some romantic tension follow, as Emma navigates the city of London with Primalov in tow. Makepeace is a welcome new face in the fictional world of British secret agents and what she lacks in luxury sports cars and high-tech gadgets, she makes up for with grit and courage. The first of a planned new series, I can't wait to see where Emma's next assignment takes her. — Seira Wilson, Amazon EditorRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 8th, 2022

The Tucker Carlson origin story

Tucker Carlson's journey from prep school provocateur to Fox News flamethrower, according to his friends and former classmates. Tucker Carlson during a CNN National Town Meeting on coverage of the White House sex scandal, on January 28, 1998.Richard Ellis/Getty Images Tucker Carlson is remembered as a provocateur and gleeful contrarian by those who knew him in his early days. His bohemian artist mother abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will. At a Rhode Island prep school and at Trinity College, classmates remember him as a skilled debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audiences. On Oct. 29, 1984, New York police killed an elderly Black woman named Eleanor Bumpurs in her own home. Bumpers, who lived in a public housing complex in the Bronx, had fallen four months behind on her rent. When officials from the city housing authority tried to evict her, she refused, and they called the police. Five officers responded by storming into her apartment. Bumpurs, who had a history of mental illness, grabbed a butcher knife as two officers pushed her against a wall with their plastic shields and a metal pole. A third officer fired two shots from his 12-gauge shotgun, striking Bumpurs in her hand and chest.Eleanor Bumpurs' death dominated the city's news for two months and led the NYPD to revise its guidelines for responding to emotionally disturbed individuals.At St. George's prep school, some 175 miles away in Rhode Island, the incident deeply haunted Richard Wayner. He was one of the school's few Black students and had grown up in a residential tower not far from where Bumpurs had lived. He earned straight As and was so admired that in 1984 his peers elected him senior prefect, the prep equivalent of student body president, making him the first Black class leader in the school's 125-year history. Harvard soon beckoned.Wayner was frustrated with how the St. George's community seemed to ignore the conversations about racial justice that were happening outside the cloistered confines of Aquidneck Island. It bothered Wayne that almost no one at St. George's seemed to know anything about Bumpurs' killing. "You had your crew, you put your head down, and you tried to get through three or four years of prep school with your psyche intact," Wayner said of those days.As senior prefect, one of the duties was to deliver an address each week at the mandatory Sunday chapel service. One Sunday, perched from the chapel podium, Wayner described the shooting as a sea of white faces stared back at him. He concluded with the words: "Does anyone think that woman deserved to die?"Near the front of the chapel, a single hand went up for a few brief seconds. It was Tucker Carlson.Eleanor Bumpurs was shot and killed by the New York Police Department on October 29, 1984APThen a sophomore, Tucker had a reputation as a gleeful contrarian – an indefatigable debater and verbal jouster who, according to some, could also be a bit of a jerk. "Tucker was just sort of fearless," said Ian Toll, a St. George's alumnus who would go on to be a military historian. "Whether it was a legitimate shooting may have been a point of debate but the fact was that Tucker was an underclassmen and the culture was to defer to the seniors." Wayner himself never saw Tucker's hand go up, and the two kept in touch over the years. (Note on style: Tucker Carlson and the members of his family are referred to here by their first names to avoid confusion.)  Four decades later, glimmers of that prep school provocateur appear on Tucker's Prime Time show on Fox, which garners an average of between 3 to 4 million viewers a night. His furrowed visage and spoiling-for-a-fight demeanor are all too familiar to those who have known him for decades. In the words of Roger Stone, a Republican political operative, frequent guest, and longtime friend of Tucker's: "Tucker Carlson is the single most influential conservative journalist in America… It is his courage and his willingness to talk about issues that no one else is willing to cover that has led to this development."Tucker's name has even been floated as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024. "I mean, I guess if, like, I was the last person on earth, I could do it. But, I mean, it seems pretty unlikely that I would be that guy." he said on the "Ruthless" podcast in June, dismissing this possibility.Tucker's four decades in Washington, and his transition from conservative magazine writer to right-wing television pundit, have been well documented. But less well known are his early years and how they shaped him: his bohemian artist mother, who abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will; the Rhode Island prep school where he met his future spouse; and his formation into a contrarian debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audience with his attention-getting tactics.Tucker declined to participate in an interview with Insider, saying in a statement. "Your level of interest in the boring details of my life is creepy as hell, and also pathetic," he wrote. "You owe it to yourself and the country to do something useful with your talents. Please reassess."California roots Tucker Carlson's West Coast roots burrow as deep as a giant redwood. He was born in San Francisco in May 1969 as the excesses of the Sixties peaked and the conservative backlash to the counterculture and the Civil Rights movement started to take shape. Tucker's mother, Lisa McNear Lombardi, born in San Francisco in 1945, came from one of the state's storied frontier families. Lisa's mother, Mary Nickel James, was a cattle baron heiress. Her great-great-grandfather had owned 3 million acres of ranchland, making him among the largest landowners west of the Mississippi. Her father Oliver Lombardi was an insurance broker and descendant of Italian-speaking Swiss immigrants. Lisa enrolled at UC Berkeley, where she majored in architecture. She met Richard Carlson, a San Francisco TV journalist from a considerably less prosperous background, while still in college. Lisa and Richard eloped in Reno, Nevada in 1967. The couple didn't notify Lisa's mother, who was traveling in Europe with her new husband at the time. "Family members have been unable to locate them to reveal the nuptials," a gossip item published in the San Francisco Examiner dished.Tucker arrived two years later. A second son, Buckley, was born two years after that. As Richard's career began to flourish, the family moved first to Los Angeles and then, in 1975, to La Jolla, a moneyed, beach-front enclave about 12 miles north of San Diego. When Lisa and Richard divorced a year later, in 1976, Richard got full custody of their sons, then 6 and 4. According to three of Tucker's childhood classmates, Lisa disappeared from her sons' lives. They don't recall Tucker talking about her, or seeing her at school events. Marc Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate who went on to be executive producer of the Tony Kornheiser Show, says the two didn't talk much about Tucker's relationship with his mother and he got the impression that Tucker and Richard were exceptionally close. When Sterne's own parents split up that year, he said Tucker was supportive and understanding. Lisa spent the next two decades as an artist – moving first to Los Angeles, where she befriended the painter David Hockney, and later split her time between France and South Carolina with her husband, British painter Michael Vaughan. In 1979, Richard Carlson married Patricia Swanson, heiress to the Swanson frozen foods empire that perfected the frozen Salisbury steak for hassle-free dinners. She soon legally adopted Tucker and Buckley.  When Lisa died in 2011, her estate was initially divided equally between Tucker, his brother Buckley, and Vaughan. But in 2013, Vaughan's daughter from another marriage found a one-page handwritten document in Lisa's art studio in France that left her assets to her surviving husband with an addendum that stated, "I leave my sons Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson and Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson one dollar each." A protracted battle over Lombardi's estate involving Vaughan and the Carlson brothers wound up in probate court. The Carlsons asserted the will was forged but a forensic witness determined that Lisa had written the note. The case eventually went to the California Appellate Court, which allowed the Carlson brothers to keep their shares in 2019."Lisa was basically sort of a hippie and a free spirit," said one attorney who  represented the Vaughan family and recalled having conversations about the case. "She was very liberal and she did not agree with Tucker's politics. But she stuck the will in the book, everyone forgot about it, and then she passed away."In a 2017 interview with The New Yorker, Tucker described the dissolution of his family as a "totally bizarre situation — which I never talk about, because it was actually not really part of my life at all." Several pieces of art produced by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderLisa When Lisa left her husband and two young sons, she was escaping suburban family life in favor of the more bohemian existence as an artist. One of Tucker and Buckley's former teachers said their mother's absence "left some sour grapes." "I felt they sided with the father," Rusty Rushton, a former St. George's English teacher said. After the divorce, Lisa returned to Los Angeles and tried to break into the city's thriving contemporary art scene. She befriended Mo McDermott, an LA-based British sculptor, model, and longtime assistant to David Hockney, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. A few years before he met Lisa, the scene was captured in Jack Hazan's 1974 groundbreaking documentary "A Bigger Splash," which followed Hockney and his coterie of gay male friends idly lounging around the pool in his Hollywood Hills home."When love goes wrong, there's more than two people who suffer," said McDermott, playing a slightly exaggerated version of himself, in a voiceover in the documentary.Lisa and McDermott became a couple and Lisa won admission into Hockney's entourage. Hockney lived a far more reclusive lifestyle than his pop art compatriot Andy Warhol but some four dozen or so artists, photographers, and writers regularly passed through his properties."She was more like a hippie, arty kind of person. I couldn't ever imagine her being a mother," said Joan Quinn, the then-West Coast editor of Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine, who knew Lisa during those years and still owns several of her works. "She was very nervous all the time… She was ill-content."The pair were often seen at Hockney's Hollywood Hills home and at Friday night gallery openings on La Cienega Boulevard. They collaborated on playful, large-scale wood sculptures of animals, vegetables, and trees. A handful of their pieces could be seen around Hockney's hillside ranch."Hockney had me over to meet them. He wanted a gallery to handle their work," said Molly Barnes, who owns a gallery in West Hollywood and gave the pair shows in 1983 and 1984. "They were brilliant and David loved Mo. He thought they were the best artists around.""She was quiet and intellectual and somewhat withdrawn," Barnes said. "She had come from a lot of money and that reflected on her personality. She wasn't a snob in any way but she had the manners of a private school girl and someone who was fighting the establishment."A sculpture by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderNone of them recall Lisa discussing her two sons. McDermott died in 1988. After his death, Hockney discovered that McDermott had been stealing drawings from him and selling them. Hockney said the betrayal helped bring on a heart attack. "I believe I had a broken heart," Hockney told The Guardian in 1995. (Hockney did not answer multiple inquiries about Lisa or McDermott.)In 1987, Lisa met Vaughan, one of Hockney's peers in the British art scene known as the "Bradford Mafia." They married in February 1989 and for years afterward they lived in homes in the Pyrenees of southwest France and South Carolina's Sea Islands.Lisa continued to make art, primarily oversized, wooden sculptures of everyday household items like peeled lemons and dice, but she exhibited her work infrequently. She died of cancer in 2011, at which point Carlson was a decade into his media career and a regular contributor on Fox News. Richard In contrast to Lisa's privileged upbringing, Richard's childhood was full of loss. Richard's mother was a 15-year-old high school girl who had starved herself during her pregnancy, and he was born with a condition called rickets. Six weeks later, his mother left him at an orphanage in Boston called The Home for Little Wanderers. Richard's father, who was 18, tried to convince her to kidnap the infant and marry him, but she refused. He shot and killed himself two blocks from her home.A Massachusetts couple fostered Richard for two years until he was adopted by a wool broker and his wife, which he described in a 2009 reflection for the Washington Post. His adoptive parents died when he was still a teenager and Richard was sent to the Naval Academy Preparatory School. He later enlisted in the Marines and enrolled in an ROTC program at the University of Mississippi to pay for college.In 1962, Richard developed an itch for journalism while working as a cop in Ocean City, Maryland at the age of 21, and the future NBC political correspondent Catherine Mackin, helped him get a copy boy job at the Los Angeles Times. Richard moved to San Francisco three years later and his career blossomed. He started producing television news features with his friend, Lance Brisson, the son of actress Rosalind Russell. They filmed migrant farm workers in the Imperial Valley living in cardboard abodes in 110 degree weather, traipsed the Sierra Nevada mountains to visit a hermit, and covered the Zodiac Killer and Bay Area riots (during one demonstration in 1966, they sent television feeds from their car where they trapped for four hours  and a crowd roughed up Brisson, which required four stitches under his left eye). Another time, they rented a helicopter in search of a Soviet trawler but they had to jump into the Pacific Ocean when the chopper ran low on fuel near the shore and crashed.In 1969, Richard and Brisson co-wrote an article for Look Magazine that claimed San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto had mafia ties. Alioto sued the magazine's owner for libel and won a $350,000 judgment when a judge determined the article's allegations were made with "actual malice" and "reckless disregard for whether they were true or not." (Richard was not a defendant in the case and has stood by his story. Brisson declined an interview.)Richard moved back to Los Angeles to join KABC's investigative team two years later. One series of stories that delved into a three-wheeled sports car called the Dale and the fraudulent marketing practices of its founder, Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael, won a Peabody award in 1975. The series also outed Carmichael as a transgender woman. (Richard's role in Carmichael's downfall was explored in the HBO documentary "The Lady and the Dale.") Soon after arriving as an anchor for KFMB-TV, San Diego's CBS affiliate, Richard ran a story revealing that tennis pro Renee Richards, who had just won a tournament at the La Jolla Tennis Club, was a transgender woman."I said, 'You can't do this. I am a private person,'" Richards, who years later would advise Caitlyn Jenner about her transition, urged the television journalist to drop his story, according to a 2015 interview. "His reply? 'Dr. Richards, you were a private person until you won that tournament yesterday.'" By the time he left the anchor chair in 1977 to take a public relations job with San Diego Savings and Loan, Richard had soured on journalism. "I have seen a lot of arrogance and hypocrisy in the press and I don't like it," he told San Diego Magazine in 1977. "Television news is insipid, sophomoric, and superficial… There are so many things I think are important and interesting but the media can be counted on to do handstands on that kind of scandal and sexual sensation."Years later, Richard said that he never tried to encourage his eldest son in politics or journalism, but that Tucker had a clear interest in both from an early age. "I never thought he was going to be a reporter or a writer. I never encouraged him to do that," Richard told CSPAN of his eldest son in 2006. "I actually attempted not to encourage him politically, either. I decided those are the things that should be left up to them."A LaJolla, California post card.Found Image Holdings/Corbis via Getty ImagesA La Jolla childhoodAfter the divorce, Richard and his boys stayed in La Jolla in a house overlooking the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Friends of Tucker's would later say that the trauma of their mother's absence brought the three of them closer together.  "They both really admired their dad. He was a great source of wisdom. He's one of the great raconteurs you'll ever meet. They loved that glow that came from him," said Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate. "They both looked up to him, it was clear from my eyes."In an essay included in his book "The Long Slide: Thirty Years in American Journalism," Tucker described Richard as a kind parent who imbued family outings with a deeper message.One of Tucker's earliest memories, he writes, was from just after the divorce, when Tucker was seven and Buckley was five: the brothers gripping the edge of a luggage rack on the roof of his family's 1976 Ford Country Squire station wagon, while their father gunned the engine down a dirt road."I've sometimes wondered what car surfing was meant to teach us," Tucker wrote. "Was he trying to instill in us a proper sense of fatalism, the acknowledgement that there is only so much in life you can control? Or was it a lesson about the importance of risk?... Unless you're willing to ride the roof of a speeding station wagon, in other words, you're probably not going to leave your mark on the world."More often, the boys were left unsupervised and found their own trouble. Tucker once took a supermarket shopping cart and raced it down a hill in front of their house with Buckley in its basket. The cart tipped over, leaving Buckley with a bloody nose. He also recalled building makeshift hand grenades with hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil – using a recipe from their father's copy of "The Anarchist Cookbook"  and tossing them onto a nearby golf course."No one I know had a father like mine," Tucker wrote. "My father was funnier and more outrageous, more creative  and less willing to conform, than anyone I knew or have known since. My brother and I had the best time growing up."Richard sent Tucker to La Jolla Country Day, an upscale, largely white private school with a reputation as one of the best in Southern California, for elementary and middle school. In his book, "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution," Tucker described his first grade teacher Marianna Raymond as "a living parody of earth-mother liberalism" who "wore long Indian-print skirts," and sobbed at her desk over the world's unfairness. "As a conservative, I had contempt for the whiny mawkishness of liberals. Stop blubbering and teach us to read. That was my position," he wrote. "Mrs. Raymond never did teach us; my father had to hire a tutor to get me through phonics.""I beg to differ," Raymond countered in an interview, saying that she was also Tucker's tutor during the summer after first grade and was even hired again. "I'm a great teacher. I'm sure he liked me." For her part, she remembered Tucker as a fair-haired tot who was "very sweet" and "very polite." (When The Washington Post reached out her her, she said Carlson's characterization had been "shocking.")  Friends from La Jolla remember that Tucker loved swimming the mile-and-a-half distance between La Jolla Shores Park and La Jolla Cove, jumping off cliffs that jut out into the Pacific Ocean, riffing on the drums, and playing Atari and BB gun games at the mall with his friends. "He was a happy kid. We were young, so we used to go to the beach. We did normal kid stuff," said Richard Borkum, a friend who is now a San Diego-based attorney. When they weren't at the beach or the mall, Borkum and another friend, Javier Susteata, would hang out at the Carlson home listening to The Who, AC/DC, and other classic rock bands. Borkum said the adults at the Carlson household largely left them alone. "I'm Jewish and Javier was Mexican and I'm not sure they were too happy we were going to their house," Borkum said.Another friend, Warren Barrett, remembers jamming with Tucker and going snow camping at Big Bear and snorkeling off Catalina Island with him in middle school."Tucker and I literally ate lunch together every day for two years," Barrett said. "He was completely the opposite of now. He was a cool southern California surfer kid. He was the nicest guy, played drums, and had a bunch of friends. And then something must have happened in his life that turned him into this evil diabolical shithead he is today."LaJolla is a upscale beach community outside of San Diego. Carlson and his family moved their in 1975.Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesSan Diego's next mayorRichard, meanwhile, was exploring a second career in public service. By 1980, he had risen to vice president of a bank headed by Gordon Luce, a California Republican power broker and former Reagan cabinet official. The following year, Richard's public profile got a boost when he tangled with another veteran television journalist, CBS's Mike Wallace. The 60 Minutes star had interviewed Richard for a story about low-income Californians who faced foreclosures from the bank after borrowing money to buy air conditioners without realizing they put their homes up for collateral. Richard had his own film crew tape the interview, and caught Wallace saying that people who had been defrauded were "probably too busy eating their watermelon and tacos." The remark made national headlines and Wallace was forced to apologize.Pete Wilson, the U.S. Senator and former San Diego mayor, encouraged Richard to run for office. In 1984, Richard entered the race to challenge San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock's re-election. "He was a very well-regarded guy," Hedgecock told Insider. "He had an almost Walter Cronkite-like appearance, but because he was in local news he was all about not offending anybody. He didn't have particularly strong views. He was nice looking, articulate, and made good appearances, but what he had to say was not particularly memorable other than he wanted me out of office."Sometimes Tucker tagged along for campaign events. "He would always show up in a sport coat, slacks and a bowtie and I thought that's really nice clothing for someone who is a kid," Hedgecock remembers. He was a very polite young man who didn't say much."Five days before voters went to the polls, Hedgecock went on trial for 15 counts of conspiracy and perjury, an issue that Richard highlighted in his television campaign ads. Richard still lost to Hedgecock 58 to 42 percent despite pouring nearly $800,000 into the race and outspending Hedgecock two to one. (Hedgecock was found guilty of violating campaign finance laws and resigned from office in 1985 but his convictions were overturned on appeal five years later.)People are seen near a beach in La Jolla, California, on April 15, 2020.Gregory Bull/AP PhotoPrep school In the fall of 1983, a teenaged Tucker traded one idyllic beachfront community for another.At 14, Tucker moved across the country to Middletown, Rhode Island, to attend St. George's School. (Buckley would follow him two years later.) The 125-year-old boarding school sits atop a hill overlooking the majestic Atlantic Ocean, and is on the other side of Aquidneck Island where Richard Carlson went to naval school. The private school was known as a repository for children of wealthy East Coast families who were not as academically inclined as those who attended Exeter or Andover. Its campus had dorms named after titans of industry, verdant athletic fields, and a white-sand beach.Senators Claiborne Pell and Prescott Bush graduated, as did Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, and poet Ogden Nash. Tucker's class included "Modern Family" actor Julie Bowen; Dede Gardner, the two-time Oscar-winning producer of "12 Years a Slave" and "Moonlight"; and former DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson. Billy Bush – "Extra" host, and cousin to George W. Bush – was three years behind him.Tuition at St. George's cost $13,000 per year in the 1980s (it's now up to $67,000 for boarding school students) and student schedules were tightly regimented with breakfast, classes, athletics, dinner, and study hall encompassing each day. Students were required to take religion classes, and attend chapel twice a week. Faculty and staff would canvass the dorms on Thursdays and Sundays to ensure no one skipped the Episcopal service. Tucker impressed his new chums as an hyper-articulate merrymaker who frequently challenged upperclassmen who enforced dorm rules and the school's liberal faculty members."He was kind of a California surfer kid. He was funny, very intelligent, and genuinely well-liked," said Bryce Traister, who was one year ahead of Tucker and is now a professor at the University of British Columbia. "There were people who didn't like Tucker because they thought he was a bullshitter but he was very charming. He was a rascal and a fast-talker, as full of shit as he is today."Back then Tucker was an iconoclast more in the mold of Ferris Bueller than preppy neocon Alex P. Keaton, even if his wardrobe resembled the "Family Ties" star. Students were required to wear jackets, ties, and khakis, although most came to class disheveled. Tucker wore well-tailored coats and chinos, pairing his outfit with a ribbon-banded watch and colorful bowtie which would later become his signature. "He was always a very sharp dresser. He had a great rack of ties. He always knew how to tie a bowtie but he didn't exclusively wear a bowtie," said Sterne, Tucker's freshman year roommate. "He always had great clothes. It was a lot of Brooks Brothers." Their crew crew held court in each others' dorm rooms at Auchincloss, the freshman hall, kicking around a Hacky Sack and playing soccer, talking about Adolph Huxley, George Orwell, and Hemingway, and dancing to Tom Petty, the Grateful Dead, and U2 on the campus lawn. Televisions weren't allowed so students listened to their Sony Walkman swapping cassette recordings of live concerts. Tucker introduced several bands to his friends."He loved classic rock and he was and still is a big fan of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead," said Sterne, who saw a Dead show with Tucker at RFK Stadium in 1986.Sometimes the clique got slices at Aquidneck Pizza and played arcade games in town, hung out in history instructor William Schenck's office, and smoked pot and Marlborough Red cigarettes on a porch in the main building's common room that faced the ocean, according to multiple sources. When the school administrators banned smoking indoors the following year so they congregated behind the dumpster behind the dining hall. Vodka (often the brand Popov) mixed with Kool-Aid was the drink of choice and students stockpiled bottles under their beds.Tucker was an enthusiastic drinker, half a dozen classmates recall. In his book, "The Long Slide," Tucker credits Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for enticing him to try drugs in 10th grade, The experience gave him "double vision and a headache." By the time he got to college, Tucker writes, "I switched to beer."By the late 1990s Tucker stopped smoking. He eventually cut alcohol too in 2002 after drinking so much while covering George W. Bush in New Hampshire during the 2000 primary that he accidentally got on the wrong plane, according to a friend.Most of Tucker's fellow students remember him best as a skilled speaker."He was always eager to take the less palatable side of the argument and argue that side," said Mahlon Stewart, who attended prep school and college with Tucker and is now a geriatric specialist at Columbia University. "Back then it was comedic. I thought it was an act.""His confidence was just amazing. He could just put out some positions and be willing to argue anything no matter how outlandish," Keller Kimbrough, a former classmate who's now a professor at the University of Colorado. "We were talking about politics and religion one time Tucker pulled this card out of his wallet and said, 'Well actually I'm an ordained minister, I'm an authority on the subject.' This was a stunt. He could literally play the religion card." "When he got the job at Fox I just thought 'Wow that's perfect for him, that's exactly what he can do.'"Their dorm room discourses were never serious. Tucker would pick a side in a debate between whether the color red or blue were better, and the crowd would erupt whenever he made a good point, friends said.  "Even at age 15 he was verbally dexterous and a great debater," Ian Toll said. "His conservative politics was fully formed even back then. He believed in strong defense and minimal government."His teachers saw a pupil who was primed for law school."Language and speaking came naturally to him. He took pleasure in it," said Rusty Rushton, Tucker's former English teacher. Tucker's politics, though, "seemed fluid to me," Rushton said. "I don't think of him as a deeply ensconced ideologue."He ditched soccer after sophomore year to act in a school theater production of Ayn Rand's courtroom thriller "Night of January 16th" (Julie Bowen starred as the prosecuting attorney. Tucker played a juror). But Tucker found his voice in competitive debate when he eventually joined the school's debate club. The team traveled to other private school campuses to compete against schools like Andover, Exeter, and Roxbury Latin in tournaments."He won some debate and basically did a victory lap afterward and got in the face of all the faculty there," one alum from a rival school who debated against Tucker said. "After defeating the student team, he started challenging the faculty, and said, 'Do any of you want to take me on? Are any of you capable of debating me?'"SusieIn the fall of Tucker's sophomore year, a new headmaster arrived at St. George's, Rev. George Andrews II. Andrews' daughter, Susie – who Tucker would eventually marry – was in Tucker's class. According to school tradition, a rotating group of underclassmen was charged with serving their classmates dinner and, one night in late September, Tucker and Susie had the shift at the same time. "They were sitting at a table at the far end of Queen Hall just leaning in, talking to each other," Sterne recalled. "You could see the sparks flying, which was cool."Susie floated between the school's friend groups easily. When she was seen mingling with Tucker, some questioned what she saw in him."People were saying, 'Come on Susie, why are you dating Tucker?' He's such a loser slacker and she was so sweet," Traister said. The pair started dating at the age of 15 and quickly became inseparable. Tucker gained notoriety on campus for repeatedly sneaking into Susie's room on the second floor of Memorial Schoolhouse, the school's stately administrative office that housed the headmaster's quarters. He had less time for his dumpster buddies now that the couple hung out on the campus lawn, attended chapel and an interdenominational campus ministry organization called FOCUS. His senior yearbook included a photo of Tucker squinting in concern to a classmate, with the caption "What do you mean you told Susie?While Susie was universally liked within the St. George's community, her father was polarizing.Andrews led the school during a turbulent period – it was later revealed – when its choirmaster Franklin Coleman was accused of abusing or having inappropriate conduct with at least 10 male students, according to an independent investigation by the law firm Foley Hoag in 2016. (Two attorneys representing several victims said 40 alumni contacted them with credible accounts of molestation and rape accusations at the hands of St. George's employees between 1974 and 2004 after a 2015 school-issued report detailed 26 accounts of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s. (Coleman was never criminally charged and he has not responded to Insider's attempts to reach him.) Over his eight-year tenure as school music director, from 1980 to 1988, Coleman invited groups of boys to his apartment for private parties. Sometimes he shared alcohol and pot with some of them, gave them back and neck rubs, showed pornographic videos, traveled with them on choral trips and stayed in their hotel rooms, and appeared nude around some of them, the report found. Several of Tucker's classmates and former faculty said they had no reason to believe he would have been aware of the accusations. "There were rumors circulating wildly that Coleman was bad news. The idea was he would cultivate relationships with young men," Ian Toll, a St. George's alum, said. "Anyone who was there at that time would have likely been aware of those rumors."Andrews told Foley Hoag investigators he was not aware of any complaints about Coleman until May 1988 (by then, Tucker had finished his freshman year in college) when school psychiatrist Peter Kosseff wrote a report detailing a firsthand account of misconduct. But Andrews acknowledged to investigators the school could have been aware of "prior questionable conduct" before then, the report said. Andrews fired Coleman in May 1988 after the school confronted Coleman with allegations of misconduct and he did not deny them. According to the investigation, Andrews told students Coleman resigned due to "emotional stress" and that he had the "highest regard and respect for him." On the advice of a school attorney, Andrews did not report the music teacher to child protective services. He also knew that his faculty dean wrote Coleman a letter of recommendation for a job at another school, according to investigators. Andrews left the school a few weeks after Coleman departed. By September 1989, he was named headmaster at St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton, Florida which he led for 18 years. (Andrews declined to speak about Tucker or his tenure at either school.) St. George's, meanwhile, reached an undisclosed settlement with up to 30 abuse survivors in 2016. Coleman found work as a choir director at Tampa Preparatory School in Tampa Bay, Florida before he retired in 2008. Tucker Carlson attended St. George’s School, a boarding school starting at age 14.Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesTrinity In the fall of 1987, Tucker enrolled at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where Rev. Andrews had also attended.Nearly two-thirds of Trinity's student body back then originated from private schools and many came from wealthy backgrounds. Tuition in 1987 cost $11,700 plus an additional $3,720 for room and board—around $27,839 in today's dollars."When the Gulf War broke out" in 1990, one Trinity alum who knew Tucker recalled, "there was a big plywood sign in front of the student center that read, 'Blood for Oil,' and someone else threw a bucket of paint on it."The posh campus was situated in the middle of Hartford, Connecticut, the state's capital and one of its poorest cities. Discussions about race and inequality were sometimes at the forefront of campus politics, but many students avoided engaging in them entirely."There were issues about whether black students should only date other black students, that kind of thing," said Kathleen Werthman, a classmate of Tucker's who now works at a Florida nonprofit for people with disabilities. "My sophomore year, for new students, they had a speaker talking about racism, and one of the students said, 'I never met a black student, how are you supposed to talk to them?' And the idea that only white people can be racist was challenged too."Susie was at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. His brother remained in Rhode Island and other prep school friends had fanned out across the East Coast. Tucker moved into a four-bedroom dormitory overlooking the main quad. One suitemate, Neil Patel, was an economics major from Massachusetts who played intramural softball. (They would co-found the Daily Caller together two decades years later.) Other roommates played on the varsity soccer team and they formed a tight-knit group."I remember being struck by him. He was the same way he is now," said Rev. Billy Cerveny, a college friend of Tucker's who's now a pastor at Redbird Nashville. "He was a force of nature. He had a sense of presence and gravitas. You might get into an argument with him, but you end up loving the guy."Tucker often went out of his way to amuse his friends. Once during the spring semester, several activists set up a podium and microphone beneath his dorm window to protest the CIA's on-campus recruitment visits. The demonstration was open-mic so Tucker went up to the stage and told the crowd of about 15 people, "I think you're all a bunch of greasy chicken fuckers.""I think people laughed. He did," Cerveny said. "There was always a small collection of people any time there was an issue who tried to stir the pot in that way. Some people were dismissive and other people loved it, thinking 'Oh we're getting a fight here.'"As a sophomore, Tucker and his friends moved into a dingy three-story house on Crescent Street on the edge of the campus. He ditched his tailored jackets, khakis, and bowties for oversized Levi jeans, t-shirts, and untucked oxford shirts. Tucker commandeered a low-ceilinged room above the front porch with so many windows he had to hang up tapestries to keep out the sun. The tiny alcove had barely enough space for an eight-foot futon and several bookshelves Tucker built himself stacked with books he collected. Friends remember Tucker receiving an 8-by-10 manilla envelope that his father sent through the mail once or twice a month containing dozens of articles from newspapers and magazines.One of Tucker's friends, Cerveny, remembered stopping by Richard's home in Washington, D.C. and finding evidence of his hobbies, including the world's second largest collection of walking sticks."His house was filled with rare canes he collected from all over the world," Cerveny said. "The hallways had really amazing rows of canes hung on hooks that were specially made to mount these things on the house. One used to be a functional shotgun, another one was made out of a giraffe. His dad would pull out newspaper clippings of WWII Navy aircraft carriers. It changed the way I thought about a lot of things. I had never seen anything like that. Who collects canes?"During sophomore year, Tucker's friends decided to rush Delta Phi, a well-to-do fraternity also known as St. Elmo's. The Greek scene had a large presence on campus — about 20 percent of men joined them even though Trinity was a liberal arts school — and St. Elmo's had a reputation as freewheeling scamps. Once a year, a St. Elmo's brother would ride his motorcycle naked through the campus cafeteria. (Faculty voted in 1992 to abolish Greek life saying they were sexist and racist, and school administrators instead forced fraternities to become co-ed.)But Tucker refused to come aboard. Some classmates thought it was because he didn't want to be hazed."Tucker was not a joiner like that," Mahlon Stewart said. "He wouldn't have set himself up for whatever humiliation would have been involved. He would not have put up with that." But Cerveny, who pledged the fraternity, said it was a matter of faith."I remember explicitly him saying 'Look, I want to focus on what my faith is about and I thought this would be a big distraction,'" Cerveny said. "But he was very much in the mix with us. When we moved to a fraternity house [on Broad Street], we asked him to live with us."Tucker occasionally dropped in on his friends' fraternity events and occasionally brought Susie when she visited or Buckley when he drifted into town. Other times they hung out at Baker's Cafe on New Britain Avenue. Mostly Tucker stayed in his room."He was basically a hermit. It wasn't like he was going to a ton of parties" one Trinity St. Elmo's brother said. "He was not a part of the organizational effort of throwing big parties, or encouraging me to join the fraternity." Susie, who didn't drink or smoke, was a moderating influence. "Tucker and Susie had their moral compass pointing north even back then," Sterne said. "Tucker's faith was not something he was focused on in his early years but when he met Susie and he became close to her family, that started to blossom and grow in him. Now it's a huge part of his life."By the time his crew moved to another house on Broad Street, they each acquired vintage motorcycles and tinkered with them in their garage. Tucker owned a 1968 flathead Harley Davidson that barely ran and relied on a red Jeep 4X4 to transport friends around town (the Volkswagen van he had freshman year blew up). He smoked Camel unfiltered cigarettes, sipped bourbon, and occasionally brewed beer in the basement, including a batch he named "Coal Porter," according to GQ.When he wasn't reading outside of his courses or tinkering with his carburetor, Tucker took classes in the humanities and ultimately majored in history. Tucker dabbled in other fields including Russian history, Jewish history, Women's Studies, and Religious Studies, sitting in the back of lecture halls with his friends. Ron Kiener, who taught an introductory level course in Judaism, recalled Tucker performing "poorly" but earning a credit. "He did not get a stellar grade from me," Kiener said. "Based on what he says now he surely didn't get very much out of my courses."But Leslie Desmangles, who led courses in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Myth, Rite, and Sacrament, said Tucker was engaged and likely did just enough to pass his courses even if he wasn't very studious or vocal in class discussions."He was interested in understanding the nature of religious belief and studying different cultures and religions but I'm not sure if he had an interest in diversity," Desmangles said. "He was genuinely interested in ritual since a lot of the Episcopal church is highly ritualistic."Tucker's fascination with religion extended to his extracurricular activities too. He and several friends joined Christian Fellowship, a Bible study group that met weekly and helped the school chaplain lead Sunday services. Some members even volunteered with ConnPIRG, a student advocacy group on hunger and environmental issues, and traveled to Washington D.C. to protest the Gulf War. But Tucker steered clear of campus activism. He spent his free time reading and seeing Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Sting perform when they came through Connecticut. Sometimes he skipped school to follow his favorite band, the Grateful Dead, on tour.He took an interest in Central American politics too. At the end of freshman year, Tucker and Patel traveled to Nicaragua. "We did not have a place to stay or any set plans," Tucker told the Trinity Tripod, his college paper, in March 1990. "It was very spontaneous. We are both extremely political and we felt that getting to know the country and some of its citizens would give us a better perspective on the situation." In February 1990, Tucker returned with three friends to Managua for 10 days to observe Nicaragua's elections. The National Opposition Union's Violetta Chamoro, which was backed by the U.S. government, defeated the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front Daniel Ortega who had been in power since 1979. A month later Tucker and his classmate Jennifer Barr, who was separately in Nicaragua to observe elections and distribute medical supplies to the Sandinistas, shared their perspectives about their visits to a small crowd at the Faculty Club for the school's Latin America Week. Tucker thought press coverage of the election was too left-leaning and criticized the media for skewing a conservative victory, according to Barr."I don't think it was necessarily true," Barr said. "He was dismissive [about my views]. I did get a sense that he believed in what he was saying, and it was very different from my experience and my understanding of the race."Tucker's stance on U.S. politics at the time was less didactic. As the 1992 presidential election loomed his senior year, Tucker touted the independent candidacy of Ross Perot, a Texas business magnate, to his friends although it did not appear that Tucker was an ardent supporter."Tucker would go on and on about how Ross Perot was the answer to this or that, as a joke, and every one would participate" one St. Elmo's brother said. "He liked the way Ross Perot was basically throwing a wrench into the system. He wasn't a serious Ross Perot proponent. He was cheering on somebody who was screwing up the system."In Tucker's college yearbook, below his tousle-haired, bowtie wearing thumbnail photo, was a list of his extra-curricular activities: "History; Christian Fellowship 1 2 3 4, Jesse Helms Foundation, Dan White Society." Neither of the latter two – named, respectively, after the ultra-conservative North Carolina Senator, and a San Francisco supervisor who assassinated Harvey Milk in 1978 – ever existed. Tucker admired Helms for being a "bull in the china shop" of Congress, one classmate said. Some friends believed Tucker slipped in the off-color references as a lark."It's like a joke you and a friend would put in a series of anagrams that only you and two friends would remember and no one else would," the St. Elmo's friend said. "It's so niche that only someone like Tucker is thinking things like that or would even know the name of the person who killed Harvey Milk. He paid attention to things like that."Others claimed Tucker was the victim of a prank."It would not at all surprise me if one of the other guys in the [fraternity] house filled it in for him, and not just an inside joke, but pegging him with something that he got grief for," another close friend said. Protesters rally against Fox News outside the Fox News headquarters at the News Corporation building, March 13, 2019 in New York City.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesAn outsider among insidersBy the spring of 1991, Tucker's academic performance had caught up with him. He had accumulated a 1.9 grade point average and may have finished with a 2.1 GPA, according to one faculty member who viewed a copy of his transcript. Tucker would eventually graduate from Trinity a year late. Falling behind was not uncommon. About 80 percent of Trinity students completed their degrees in four years, according to Trinity College records. (A Trinity spokeswoman would not comment on Tucker's transcript due to FERPA laws, which protect student privacy.Tucker's post-collegiate plans fell through too. Tucker applied to the CIA that spring. The spy agency passed."He mentioned that he had applied and they rejected him because of his drug use," another college friend said, while declining to be named. "He was too honest on his application. I also probably should say I don't know whether he was telling the truth or not." Once the school year was over, Tucker and Neil Patel hit the road on a cross-country motorcycle ride. After that: Washington DC.  Tucker's family left Southern California for Georgetown after President Reagan named his father head of Voice of America. In June 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Richard ambassador to the Seychelles and the Carlson family upgraded to a nicer house in Georgetown with a pool in the basement. That summer, with Tucker's father and stepmother often out of town, the Carlson household was the center of Tucker's social lives, the place they retired to after a night drinking at Georgetown college dive bars like Charing Cross and Third Edition, and pubs like Martin's Tavern and The Tombs, immortalized in St. Elmo's Fire. In August, Tucker and Susie got married in St. George's chapel and held a reception at the Clambake Club of Newport, overlooking the Narragansett Bay. Back in Washington, Tucker's prep school, college, and his father's Washington-based networks began to mesh. Tucker took a $14,000-a-year job as an assistant editor and fact checker of Policy Review, a quarterly journal published at the time by the Heritage Foundation, the nation's leading conservative think tank. For the next three decades, Tucker thrived in the Beltway: He joined The Weekly Standard and wrote for several magazines before appearing on cable news networks as a right-of-center analyst and host at CNN, PBS, and MSNBC. His father embarked on a third career as a television executive where he ran the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and his brother became a political operative and a pollster. By the time Tucker reached the core of the conservative media sphere, a slot on Fox News's primetime opinion lineup, he shed friends from his youth who couldn't grapple with the hard-right turn he veered once he became the face of the network.One friend was not surprised with Tucker's act. In the spring of 2016, during the heat of Donald Trump's presidential campaign against Hilary Clinton and a few months before "Tucker Carlson Tonight" premiered on Fox, Tucker had lunch with his old prep school classmate Richard Wayner who made the speech about Eleanor Bumpurs all those years ago. Wayner believed Tucker's gesture from his pew was never serious. "As a 9th or 10th grader in a chapel full of people in a conversation, he was trying to get attention," Wayner said.The two stayed in touch over the years and Tucker at one point suggested he write a handful of pieces for the Daily Caller, the conservative news and opinion site that Tucker co-founded and ran in the 2010s. As they settled into their table at a Midtown Manhattan steakhouse, the two chatted about Wayner's experience on the board of St. George's (which Susie was about to join) and their respective careers. Tucker was floating around at Fox, and Wayner, now an investor and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, said the conversation drifted toward salaries."He was asking, 'How much do you make on Wall Street' and was like, 'Wow, Wall Street guys make a lot.'" Wayner said. When they left the restaurant and headed back toward the Fox News headquarters, several people recognized Tucker on the street even though he had jettisoned his trademark bowtie years ago. Wayner saw Tucker making the pragmatic decision to follow a business model that has made his conservative media counterparts a lot of money."I don't think he has a mission. I don't think he has a plan," Wayner said. "Where he is right now is about as great as whatever he thought he could be.""Tucker knows better. He does. He can get some attention, money, or both." he added. "To me, that's a shame. Because he knows better." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 5th, 2022

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email:, Twitter: @DavidBCollum), Dave: You do lack self control, but I learned and laughed making my way thru this. ~ Larry Summers (@LHSummers), former Secretary of the Treasury Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. Introduction I’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty. What began more than a dozen years ago as a synopsis of the year’s events in markets and finance for a few friends morphed beyond my control into a Year in Review (YIR)—an attempt to chronicle human folly and world events for the entire year. It captures key moments before they slip into the brain fog. The process of trying to write a coherent narrative helps me better understand WTF just happened and seminal moments that catch my eye. By far my favorite end-of-year recap for the last ten years. Finished it yesterday. Once again David hasn’t disappointed. He’s on my I want to go to dinner with list. ~ Jim Pallotta (@jimpallotta13), money manager and former owner of Boston Celtics I’m game, Jim, even if it’s just a pretzel, nachos, and a brewski. The title, “Crisis of Authorities,” is a double entendre. On the one hand, previously trusted authorities that we relied on to better understand the world are long gone. Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Tim Russert have been replaced with Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and Brian Stelter. Oops. Scratch Chris Cuomo. Ponder the following: which acronymed organization do you still trust? FBI? CIA? FEMA? DOJ? CBS? ABC? Fox? CNN? At one point I would have comfortably offered up the CDC, FDA, and NIH. Portions of those three should be razed. Social media offered up one acceptable answer: KFC. The second, more deeply disturbing meaning is that smoldering socialism has veered toward authoritarianism, a seismic shift that is global and quite possibly unstoppable. 2021: The year liberals threw eggs at black politicians, republicans pushed to legalize pot, conservatives declared “my body, my choice”, and libertarians muttered, “just shoot me now.” I am suffering future shock—the struggle to adapt to an abruptly changing world. Topics that seemed farcical not long ago are less entertaining now. Silly events in public schools and college campuses loosely defined as political correctness have morphed into religious wars. Progress was made in the Cancel Culture Wars. They tried to get Joe Rogan and couldn’t put a glove on him. The populace and the workers at Netflix went after Dave Chappelle and learned that not everybody kowtows: If this is what being canceled is like, I love it… To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody’s demands. ~ Dave Chappelle, wisdom Politicians groping for their vig—10% for the Big Guy—have mutated into total MAC (Mutually Assured Corruption). Social contagions are more virulent than biological pathogens. Attempts to stem the movements are emblematic of proto-authoritarianism of the past. I am unable to keep up—unable to even catch my breath on some days. Following up after listening to a widely distributed QTR podcast, a friend and long-time YIR reader asked, “Are you OK?” I said I was fine, but on further reflection realized I was not so sure. You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks. ~ Winston Churchill (@DeadGuy) I have lost friends and made new ones all because of the Great Partisan Divide. (Please excuse the caps throughout; everything now seems to demand a proper name and acronym.) My colleagues have put to rest doubts about whether I am nuts, noting that I am contrarian on all topics. Of course, they don’t hear about the ones for which I have no gripe, but their assertions are not entirely wrong. Friends let me be me, but there is something isolating about it. By contrast, I have many friends in the digital world for which the Venn Diagram of Ideas has a much greater overlap. You can have friends without ever seeing them in the flesh, but these digital pals become bucket-listers for me to meet. Some accept my invitation to have dinner on my deck overseeing Cayuga Lake. Try explaining to your wife that you are having dinner with some guy you met on the internet. This has included famous people like David Einhorn, Tony Deden, Cate Long, and Doug Noland as well as walk-ins whom I knew nothing about until they showed up with a bottle of wine. They have, without fail, brought rewarding evenings of lively chat. Disclaimer: Opinions and ideas expressed herein are not my own. I also don’t use asterisks, so you are just going to have to grow a f*cking pair. If this message is lost because you have sh*t for brains, my advice is to stop reading now. Philosophy. I have let go of the belief that I know truth, because I am relentlessly doubting the veracity of the data from which my narrative derives. In the Age of Narratives, all I can offer is Dave’s Narrative. There is also no topic in the Year of Our Lord 2021 in which my opinion is non-partisan because all opinions are now partisan. Consequently, I may come off as a right-wing white supremacist who moonlights as a Russian operative while serving up nostrums characteristic of an anti-war ex-hippie. This guy is so left wing that he doesn’t even understand his own bias. ~ Rich Weatherford, commenter on a podcast   The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to quote him. ~ Richard Benchley My attempt to create a Unified Theory of Everything is very much like building a jumbo jet in mid-flight. In science, when your model is right, it starts playing like the tail end of a game of Solitaire or a jigsaw puzzle—the cards and pieces naturally fall into place. If the nothing makes sense no matter how hard you try, it may be time to tear down that Rube Goldberg structure and start from a fresh perspective. My greatest strength and weakness are an ability to entertain almost any idea—entertain conspiracy theories and scamper down rabbit holes—until I hit paydirt or hardpan. Feel free to call me a conspiracy theorist; it helps me identify narrow-minded boneheads. What baffles me is why “conspiracy” is so pejorative. Men and women of wealth and power conspire. Anybody who cannot concede that point is an intellectual dingleberry (or works for the Deep State!) Alex Jones got more right than CNN. ~ Dave Smith, comic and possible presidential candidate   Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. ~ Matt Taibbi I am an openly white, right-leaning, closeted hand-sexual male with audacious opinions. I promise, however, that I will sling barbs without regard to race, creed, or color. If I think you are a douche bag, I will say so. When anger consumes me, however, it gives way to angst because somebody may have suckered me into playing a role in some higher authority’s master plan to disrupt the American Dream. As we are being dazzled by the Harlem Globe Trotters, recognize that we are the Washington Generals. Remember the olden days when the wealthy and powerful nefariously assaulted the unsuspecting populace? If caught, scandal followed, heads rolled, and we moved on, leaving us plebes with the sense that justice was served. Since the government was small relative to GDP, the systemic corruption represented a few percent of the system. It’s now growing like a tumor and devoid of consequences for the powerful. In the Age of Narratives, we snarf down platters of propaganda served by powerful media empires. This bread and circuses is free but leaves us marinating in ignorance. It’s a trap Mickey: the cheese is not free! The Western media is now the arm of the State, no better than Pravda. Failed business model led the media into the oldest profession. How many narratives have we fallen for? How many have you fallen for? I think you owe it to yourselves to replay the tape from years past and ask whether you were duped. Malcolm Gladwell’s latest (see Books) suggests we are hard-wired to trust. As social animals, we cannot function if we don’t. It’s difficult to push back but push back we must. The more highly politicized the topic—climate change, pandemics, vaccines, elections, central banking, foreign wars—the greater the urgency to repel. I offer up one of several quotes from Gore Vidal, a thought-leader canted profoundly left whom I have come to view as the intellectuals’ George Carlin: Our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own. ~ Gore Vidal Sources and Social Media. I am a Twitter long hauler with 70,000 followers but haven’t yet figured out how to monetize the micro-fame enough to buy a mocha Frappuccino. I do, however, find it a useful sounding board. One tweeter—probably a Twitter bot—captured the essence: If you need something researched for free and you don’t feel like doing it just post a tweet about it that’s mildly incorrect and wait. ~ @InternetHippo My Twitter long hauling has occasionally been interrupted by Twitter time-outs. They range from 12 hours to ponder the err in my ways for posting an inappropriate link to Bichute or The Lancet, to a full week for calling Tony Fauci “a skanky whore.” A permanent ban would (will) be painful because I have old and new friends there—Rudy: I love ya man!—who enrich my life with their wisdom. New posse members joining the already eclectic mix include @JonNajarian (getting me closer to winning CNBC Twitter Bingo), scholar and author @BretWeinstein (see Books), actor @AdamBaldwin, polymath rapper @ZubyMusic, and waves of bitcoin hodlers. Favorite news sources include podcasts—I am an audiophile—as well as blogs and newsletters by Tony Greer, James Grant, Jesse Felder, Bill Fleckenstein, Automatic Earth, Grant Williams, Ron Griess of The Chart Store, Chris Martenson, emails from a woman named Denise, and the 500 lb. gorilla of the internet—Zerohedge. I know I’ve missed many more. Apologies. The trouble is, you think you have time. ~ Buddha Figure 1. Toddler hacks the US Strategic Air Command; nuclear war was averted. Topics Untouched. As usual, I am up to my ass in debris on the cutting room floor writing this beast. Some topics simply proved unworthy; others were not ready yet. One of the great merits of blogging is that blogs stand alone; write them when you wish. A once-a-year narrative, by contrast, demands some sort of theme or glue, and, frankly, you can’t write The Wealth of Nations in November. By December the tank read “Empty”, but there were topics I had to finish. I actually started getting minor migraines. What follows are thumbnail sketches of a few stories that were left largely untold. There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen. ~ Vladimir Lenin By late 2020, it was clear that I had overlooked China as the global provocateur. They are Orwell’s hole in the air—the blurry schlieren in the jungle as the Predator arrives to tear out Arnie’s organs. The Chinese have infiltrated all aspects of the West’s geopolitical and economic system. Josh Rogin’s Chaos Under Heaven (see Books) is an excellent primer. I’ve heard second hand that the military top brass believes we are already at war but just don’t realize it yet. I regret punting the most important story, but they invented the punt for a reason. I’ve taken a pass on campus politics, cancel culture, and all things politically correct. I know how much joy it brought many of you to find out how much you wasted sending your children to college, but this was an off-year. Cancel culture may be fading because, to put it bluntly, nobody likes a bunch of clueless douche bags. Critical race theory (CRT) with its deeply Marxist underpinnings and intentions is a bad idea whose time has come. In a law school, there are scholarly components. As it seeps into the K–12 zone it becomes a steaming load of crap. If you have kids, you should go to school board meetings and get arrested for speaking up or, what is now called, being a domestic terrorist. It masquerades as objective science but was written as—all right, I’ll use the word—propaganda. ~ Steven Koonin (@SteveKoonin), former Cal Tech physicist, Obama Science Advisor, and author of Unsettled? The 2019 YIR tackled climate change.ref 1 I thought I might be augmenting it this year, but I will simply leave it by noting a few high-water marks. Steve Koonin, former Cal Tech physicist, expert modeler of complex systems, and Obama chief science advisor wrote the book Settled?. (See Books.) Like many other “climate deniers” his creds are beyond reproach. Steve had chaired the American Physical Society’s committee of 12 elite scientists that examined the state of climate science. After paying some lip service to Mankind’s contributions, Steve eviscerated the models and absurdities comprising the Climate Change Narrative. This, of course, caused a seismic shift in the scientific community’s view of our global climate initiatives. Just kidding. Nobody gave a shit because trillions of dollars have already been spent on it and an estimated $150 trillion more will be handed out to anybody willing to feign belief in the Scriptures. I also had a long talk with a Stanford University psychologist and media expert who went down that rabbit hole and became a denier. Nothing will get in the way of this $150-trillion-dollar juggernaut. All hail Greta! By the way, Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans appears to have snuck back on YouTube after being banned for truthiness. It is a good documentary.ref 2 Despite numerous podcasts with Holy Rolling Bitcoin Hodlers with their Scriptures under arm trying to sell me currency warranties, I remain on the sidelines (a no-coiner, pejoratively speaking). I cannot add much to this heated debate except to congratulate them for riding Metcalf’s Law to riches. I suspect their next test will be a Tether insolvency or a good ol’ fashioned credit crunch, prefacing the final Battle of the Bastards pitting the Hodlers versus The State unwilling to forfeit control of the money supply. All of this presumes cryptos aren’t just a fad. I wish you laser-eyed crazies well. Dude –you deserve a Pulitzer for your coverage of the George Floyd Story, and I’m going to tweet that out. ~ Tony Greer (@TgMacro), TGMacro In the 2020 YIR I wrote extensively on why Chauvin would be a tricky conviction.ref 3 At least two of us thought it worthy. The trial went off without a hitch. The media’s minor lipservice given to why angry mobs in the street would make it hard for the jury to remain unbiased while obsessing over why he should be convicted no matter what. The jury did their job. The part that was missed was the witness nullification. I must confess to not watching much, but nobody—as in not a single person in court—wanted to provide the testimony that got Chauvin acquitted. You could hear witnesses choose their words carefully. I’m not even sure the defense team wanted the win. Oh well, I wouldn’t underwrite Derek’s life insurance policy. Prosecutor: But you decided you needed to run because of the fire of [inaudible]: why? What was so urgent? Kyle Rittenhouse: There was a fire. Enter the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. In shades of the Covington Scandal, even the President of the United States fondled the scales of justice to ensure the right outcome. The talking heads served up narratives that were fact-free clickbait to pay the bills. The prosecution was so comically bad—moments of great levityref 4a,b,c—that I began to wonder if they were tossing the case intentionally. Both the judge and the prosecution appeared to be intentionally setting up a mistrial. Kyle is gonna have a college essay to die for. Good luck getting it past all but Liberty University’s admissions committee.ref 5 In a related story, Nick Sandmann of Covington fame got his third quarter of a billion dollar settlement for defamation of character. Early negotiations are rumored to involve a 50:50 split of CNN by Sandmann and Rittenhouse. Figure 2. Judge David Collum and Kyle Rittenhouse playing Call of Duty-Modern Warfare. And now to bullet a few drive-by shootings: The Epstein story could have been resurrected from the 2019 YIRref 6 with the arrest of Head Pimp, Gishlaine “Gizz” Maxwell, caught hiding in a New Hampshire mansion already surveilled by the FBI, but it is just starting. I’m guessing she will be convicted of a 1997 minor traffic(king) violation, punished with time served, and retire comfortably on the MPP (Mossad Pension Plan) to live out her days in seclusion with her manly girlfriend, Jessica Schlepstein. Durham’s investigation of the Steele Dossier could heat up but hasn’t yet. Indictments are working their way from the bottom up. I won’t believe that plot has legs till I see it running. Nobody in power ever pays for their misdeeds. The Pandora Papers showed galaxy-class criminality of the global elite socking over $11 trillion dollars away in off-shore accounts, but prominent Americans were notably absent.ref 7 The media assured us that there are no crooks of such sociopathy in America.ref 8 The story had the shelf life of a souffle. John McAfee offed himself (or not). There were rumors that he had a kill switch that would hew vast stands of powerful people including voter fraudsters.ref 9 Well, McDeadGuy, we’re waiting. It won’t matter anyway because…oh never mind. Major Themes of 2021. Enough already: what are you going to talk about? I cover the usual topics on the economy and investing and take a bat to market valuations again. Broken Markets are a prominent because they’ve never been more broken. Covid-19 and the vaccine get serious facetime as the opening act of a much bigger drama. The events at the January Insurrection offers more plot thickener as one of the most important single days in American history. That anagnorisis arrives when the voice says, “The call is coming from inside the house!” The final scene will be the rise of global authoritarianism—total global domination—and you squeal… I did nazi that coming. WTF just happened? Figure 3. Change comes with little warning. Contents Part 1  Introduction My Year Investing – Gold, Energy, and Materials  Gold and Silver The Economy Inflation The Fed Valuations Broken Markets Part 2 (Coming Soon) Covid-19 – The Disease Covid-19 – The Response Vaccine – The Risks Vaccine – The Rollout Part 3 (Coming Soon) Biden – Freshman Year One Scorecard Capitol Insurrection Rising Authoritarianism Conclusion Acknowledgment Books My Year This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read. ~ Winston Churchill I read a book on narcissism. Although I flunked yet another test having checked a paucity of the boxes, there were a couple of categories demanding a big Sharpie. Narcissistic tendencies underly all achievement so there’s that too. This section is where I wander through the last calendar year of my life looking for college-essay material. It can be skipped by all but the most loyal readers (three at last count). That isn’t writing at all, it’s typing. ~ Truman Capote Self-Improvement. OK. Let’s call it attenuated personal decay. I had dropped 26 pounds of comorbidity in 2020 and another 10 pounds in 2021. I am by no means emaciated yet. I was pestered by London money manager Mitch Feierstein into playing a seminal round of golf after decades of neglect and was hooked. While watching the final hole of the FedEx Open, Cantalay hits a 371-yard drive, a 217-yard 6 iron 10 ft from the cup and two-putts for a birdie and $15 million. I’m thinkin’, “Hey: I can birdie a par 5 with a few Mulligans!” .....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 3rd, 2022

The 21 best audiobooks of 2021, from striking memoirs to gripping thrillers

From bestselling memoirs on Audible to enticing new thrillers and romances, here are the best audiobooks of 2021. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.From bestselling memoirs on Audible to enticing new thrillers and romances, here are the best audiobooks of 2021.Audible; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Audiobooks bring stories to life with incredible and unique narration. Our favorite apps to discover new audiobooks are Audible,, and Libby. The audiobooks on this list were bestsellers and notable favorites from 2021. Last year, I completely fell in love with audiobooks. It can be difficult for me to make time to read between long commutes, busy workdays, and a seemingly endless list of household tasks. Fortunately, I found I could make time for my love of reading by listening to audiobooks in the car and while walking my dogs. I've discovered countless incredible reads through apps like Audible,, and Libby. The audiobooks on this list came from's 2021 bestseller list, Audible's Best of 2021 list, and recommendations from Goodreads reviewers. So whether you're looking for a great listen to accompany you on your holiday road trips or a cozy audiobook to play while cooking dinner, here are the 21 best audiobooks from 2021. The 21 best audiobooks published in 2021:"Crying in H Mart" by Michelle"Crying in H Mart" by Michelle Zauner, available on and Audible, from $28The #1 bestselling audiobook on in 2021, "Crying in H Mart" is an emotional memoir about Michelle Zauner's search for her identity in the wake of her mother's terminal diagnosis. When Michelle's mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Michelle begins a journey of reckoning to find herself through food, music, and memories in this intimate and memorable read."The Four Winds" by Kristin"The Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah, available on and Audible, from $37.94This award-winning historical fiction novel illuminates the Dust Bowl era of the Great Depression, where farmers in Texas and Oklahoma dreamed of traveling west to escape the drought-ridden farmlands. This story follows Elsa Martinelli as she must choose between staying and fighting for her homeland or leaving in search of a better life. "The Final Revival of Opal & Nev" by Dawnie"The Final Revival of Opal & Nev" by Dawnie Walton, available on and Audible, from $27.95This historical fiction read is about Opal and Nev, an interracial 1970s rock duo who quickly rose to fame until their record company signed a controversial new band and tensions came to a violent head. Now, the duo is considering a revival tour when journalist S. Sunny Shelton sets out to write their story and uncovers all the hidden truths about their infamous rise and fall from stardom."Just as I Am" by Cicely Tyson, Michelle"Just as I Am" by Cicely Tyson, Michelle Burford, available on and Audible, from $34.49Told with grace and wisdom and published only days before her passing, Cicely Tyson's memoir is a beautiful depiction of a life well-lived. An iconic American actress whose career spanned over 60 years, Cicely shares her legacy in this memoir and discusses the challenges and progress both she and society have seen along the way."Firekeeper's Daughter" by Angeline"Firekeeper's Daughter" by Angeline Boulley, available on and Audible, from $31.04"Firekeeper's Daughter" is a young adult mystery novel about Daunis, a biracial, unenrolled tribal member who has put her education on hold to care for her mother. When Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, she begins an investigation of her own, until the threat reaches too close to home and Daunis must uncover the corruption in her own community."Klara and the Sun" by Kazuo"Klara and the Sun" by Kazuo Ishiguro, available on and Audible, from $28Klara is an Artificial Friend, waiting to be chosen and fulfill her purpose as the best possible companion and friend to her child owner. With careful observation and a strikingly unique perspective, this science fiction read becomes unforgettable as Klara slowly unravels her deeper purpose."Broken Horses" by Brandi"Broken Horses" by Brandi Carlile, available on and Audible, from $28Brandi Carlile is a six-time Grammy winner whose insightful memoir takes readers on a journey through her life, shaped by music. From a devastating childhood illness to being openly gay in a small-town church, Brandi's memoir is a genuine and intimate experience brought to life through her audiobook with a song at the beginning of each chapter."How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America" by Clint"How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America" by Clint Smith, available on and Audible, from $29.88This historical read takes readers on a journey through United States monuments and landmarks to demonstrate how slavery and racism have shaped American history and society. With explorations of plantations, prisons, cemeteries, and more, Clint Smith's deeply researched work reflects upon the ways history can be productively remembered to inspire a brighter future."The Anthropocene Reviewed" by John"The Anthropocene Reviewed" by John Green, available on and Audible, from $28While John Green is well-known for his bestselling young adult novels, he also has a critically acclaimed podcast with his brother. Born of conversations from their podcast, this essay collection expands upon his observations of humanity in the current age and is John Green's first nonfiction work."Beginner's Mind" by Yo-Yo MaAudible"Beginner's Mind" by Yo-Yo Ma, available on Audible, free"Beginner's Mind" is an incredible audiobook experience that brings readers into Yo-Yo Ma's music and his inspirational messages about self-discovery and humanity. This enticing listen blends memoir and music for an unforgettable audiobook about Yo-Yo Ma's past and his hopes for the future."Apples Never Fall" by Liane"Apples Never Fall" by Liane Moriarty, available on and Audible, from $37.94When Joy Delaney of the famous tennis-star Delany family goes missing, the four grown Delaney siblings are torn between believing their father is guilty and defending his innocence. As the siblings square off in a terrible fight, their family's history is reexamined in this suspenseful family mystery."One Last Stop" by Casey"One Last Stop" by Casey McQuiston, available on and Audible, from $31.04August has just moved to New York City, cynical and determined to make it on her own, when she meets a gorgeous woman on the Q train. When August realizes Jane seems to be stuck on the Q train permanently, the two discover that Jane is actually magically displaced from the 1970s and August must help her figure out what happened, even if it means she might lose her. "We Should All Be Millionaires" by Rachel"We Should All Be Millionaires" by Rachel Rodgers, available on and Audible, from $24.14Though only 10% of the world's millionaires are women, this business book aims to change that by instilling confidence and education in businesswomen. Rachel Rodgers is a self-made millionaire who shares all the secrets and advice from her journey to help other women achieve financial success. "Project Hail Mary" by Andy"Project Hail Mary" by Andy Weir, available on and Audible, from $20.69When Ryland Grace wakes up on a strange ship in the middle of space, he has no memory of who he is or why he is millions of miles from Earth. As his memories slowly return, Ryland discovers he's the sole survivor of a desperate last-hope mission to destroy an extinction-level threat to humanity. "Black, White, and The Grey" by Mashama Bailey, John O."Black, White, and The Grey" by Mashama Bailey, John O. Morisano, available on and Audible, from $31.50"Black, White, and The Grey" is a dual memoir from chef Mashama Bailey and media entrepreneur John O. Morisano as they created The Grey — a nationally-acclaimed restaurant located in a formerly segregated Greyhound bus station. As the two tell the story of creating this restaurant, they recount their trials and triumphs that made them the people and the business owners they are today."People We Meet on Vacation" by Emily HenryLibro.fmPeople We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry, available on and Audible, from $28Best friends Alex and Poppy used to take an annual summer vacation together until two years ago, when one night changed everything between them. Though the two haven't spoken since, Poppy is determined to rekindle their friendship and invites Alex on one last week-long trip to sort through all the complicated feelings that still exist between them."Detransition, Baby" by Torrey"Detransition, Baby" by Torrey Peters, available on and Audible, from $31.50Reese once had a nearly perfect life with her partner, only missing a child to complete their family. But when Ames detransitioned, the two split and Reese's life fell apart. Now, Ames' boss is suddenly pregnant with his child and Ames can't help but wonder if this could be the opportunity for a child he and Reese always wanted."You Are Your Best Thing" by Tarana Burke, Brené"You Are Your Best Thing" by Tarana Burke, Brené Brown, available on and Audible, from $28Tarana Burke, the founder of the Me Too movement, and Dr. Brené Brown have teamed up to create this essay collection about Black experiences of vulnerability, resilience, and healing in a white-dominated world. With contributions from Laverne Cox, Jason Reynolds, and Austin Channing Brown, this anthology is a moving collection of essays born from trauma, reflection, and healing."The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty" by Patrick Radden"Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty" by Patrick Radden Keefe, available on and Audible, from $38.50This nonfiction read illuminates three generations of the Sackler family, one of the wealthiest families in the world who made their fortune by creating and marketing OxyContin. Pinpointed as the catalyst for the opioid crisis, this riveting read combines investigative journalism and gripping storytelling to cover the Sackler family story since 1904."The Last Thing He Told Me" by Laura"The Last Thing He Told Me" by Laura Dave, available on and Audible, from $27.59Before Owen mysteriously disappears, he manages to leave his new wife, Hannah, a note reading "protect her," clearly about his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey. When the FBI arrests Owen's boss, Hannah and Bailey must uncover who he really is and why he disappeared, unwittingly building a new future for themselves in the process."Malibu Rising" by Taylor Jenkins"Malibu Rising" by Taylor Jenkins Reid, available on and Audible, from $31.50Told over 24 hours and switching between 1983 and the decades prior, the famous Nina Riva and her siblings are preparing for her annual Malibu house party. By morning the Riva mansion will be up in flames but first, the story will unravel through the siblings' turbulent childhood, Nina's rise to fame, and long-buried family secrets.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 15th, 2021

Charlottesville Verdicts Say “Sue The Bastards/Rioters”

Charlottesville Verdicts Say “Sue The Bastards/Rioters”; Other Victims of Unpunished Rioters Should Follow This Lead Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Jury Hands Down Verdict On Charlottesville Riots WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 23, 2021) – A jury has just handed down multi-million dollar verdicts, including punitive damages, against 12 individuals and several organizations it […] Charlottesville Verdicts Say “Sue The Bastards/Rioters”; Other Victims of Unpunished Rioters Should Follow This Lead if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Jury Hands Down Verdict On Charlottesville Riots WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 23, 2021) - A jury has just handed down multi-million dollar verdicts, including punitive damages, against 12 individuals and several organizations it found were responsible for the riots in Charlottesville in 2017. This should further encourage - and perhaps even help to provide a blueprint for - victims of many other riots over the past several years to bring civil suits to recover for the damages they suffered, and to deter further criminal actions, especially in situations where known participants in riots were able to walk away without paying for any of the damages they caused, or spending any time in jail, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf. These new verdicts come on the heels of several civil lawsuits which were filed against former President Donald Trump and some of his allies for harm caused by the January 6th riots, but now a major new civil lawsuit targeting some of those who actually engaged in the criminal activities has finally been filed. The suit, filed by seven Capital Police officers, and which named as defendants individual members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, came as D.C. judges are expressing frustration about alleged leniency in the criminal cases of those who actually participated in the riot. This is a good sign, and may encourage other civil legal actions where - as has been proven in case after case and in many cities where protestors engaged in destructive conduct - the criminal law isn't working to deter such criminal conduct, nor to make the perpetrators pay for the harm they caused, says Banzhaf, who has been proposing and developing tactics for such lawsuits. Three other similar riot lawsuits have been filed against Trump, but this appears to be the first, and apparently the most important, to target the actual criminal rioters, and not just those who allegedly inspired the riots, argues Banzhaf. The Trump Train As another example, consider that victims of a criminal political protest - when Trump supporters allegedly harassed and tried to force their campaign bus off the road - have sued several members of the caravan (called the "Trump Train") in a civil law suit; accusing them of violating the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which bars violent election intimidation, as well as local Texas laws. As predicted and encouraged by Professor Banzhaf, whose complaints triggered two separate criminal investigations of Donald Trump in Georgia, this was only the latest is a growing number of law suits using civil actions to obtain some redress, and hopefully to also deter future unlawful actions, by those who engage in criminal conduct to advance a political purpose or goal. Banzhaf notes that, in addition to the KKK act, there are numerous grounds under existing law which would probably apply to this and many other situations in which political activities extend far beyond protected free speech and involve clear violations of criminal law, often against innocent and uninvolved third parties. In another recent legal action likewise using the KKK act, Representative Bennie Thompson filed a civil lawsuit against Trump, as well as against his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, notes Banzhaf, who has urged victims of unlawful criminal protests - whether by or against Trump supporters, protests against alleged police misconduct, etc. - to use civil law and civil lawsuits since the criminal law is too often ineffective in deterring such unlawful conduct. Here are few examples where others have followed the route he has suggested. Street Violence In New York City In New York City, victims of street violence are in fact beginning to sue those whose criminal conduct caused injury, with one law suit already filed, one by a civilian broadcaster being weighed, and several more promised. A New York City police detective has filed a civil tort suit seeking monetary damages against an alleged rioter for physical injuries he alleges he suffered during widespread looting. A broadcaster discussed on his TV program. with Professor Banzhaf as his guest, his hopes of suing the criminals who damaged his studio during the New York City rioting. The president of the New York City Detectives' Endowment Association, which represents some 19,000 current and former detectives, has vowed to sue any protestor, rioter, or looter who attacked its members. And a civil law suit inspired by Banzhaf against those who unlawfully blocked the George Washington Bridge, effectively imprisoning thousands in their cars, and allegedly leading to a death when an ambulance was delayed, is ongoing. One journalist has now brought a civil law suit, and another has publicly discussed bringing such an action, says Banzhaf, who has been urging adding civil law suits, and especially class actions, to the weapons against those who engage in criminal conduct to make a point. Banzhaf was recently called "a king of class action lawsuits." Journalist Andy Ngo has filed a law suit against rioters and others who physically beat him while he was covering a protest which turned into a riot. The law suit, filed in Oregon's Multnomah County, includes claims of assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and Oregon's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act. More recently, journalist John Tabacco discussed, on his program "Liquid Lunch," how he is considering bringing a law suit for damages his TV studio suffered as a result of the recent riots. Banzhaf, who was his on-air guest on the program, explained the advantages of a civil law suit, and how Tabacco might go about bringing it. Criminal Protest Actions Continue To Proliferate Banzhaf notes that criminal protest actions have continued to proliferate, despite increased law enforcement presence, curfews, and pious pronouncements, and many of the victims of this criminal conduct are members of minority groups whose places of business - often uninsured - were damaged or even destroyed. But just because government has so far proven ineffective in protecting them, the innocent victims are not without some remedy, notes Banzhaf, who is known for advocating and using legal action as a tool for fighting wrongdoing and achieving social justice. For example, he and his law students successfully sued former vice president Spiro Agnew to force him to disgorge - with interest - the money he received in illegal bribes. Although arrests (with little threat of significant jail time) and small fines have generally be ineffective from discouraging those seeking to draw attention to causes by going far beyond their First Amendment rights to protest, and instead engaging in serious crimes against the public welfare and against completely innocent third parties, a major civil class action lawsuit for all the damages suffered by the hundreds of people adversely affected is much more likely to deter them from engaging in such crimes in the future, suggests Banzhaf. The law professor notes that, under the legal doctrine of "joint and several liability," any one person or business injured or damaged as a result of criminal rioting can sue any one or more of the criminals (called joint tort feasors) who actively engaged in criminally destructive and unlawful behavior for the total of all the damages caused, even if it is impossible to identify with specificity which criminal caused each specific instance of damage. If the threat of arrests and possible fines for rioters who commit serious crimes which endanger or harm others isn't enough to deter them from engaging in criminal trespass, destruction of property, arson, looting, obstruction of traffic, destructive vandalism, and even physical attacks, perhaps it's time for a new remedy - civil law suits by one or more victims of such crimes, where the standard of proof needed to win is much lower than in a criminal trial - says Banzhaf. The idea of using class action law suits to punish criminal activities and deter such illegal wrongdoing is neither new nor strictly academic, notes Banzhaf. For example, at least one law suit inspired by Banzhaf was brought on behalf of drivers effectively imprisoned (the tort of false imprisonment) by illegal blockages of the George Washington Bridge in New York City. Indeed, now that the Supreme Court vacated the criminal sentences of two major conspirators, this civil action may be the only hope of bringing justice to the victims, and of deterring such unlawful action for the future. Banzhaf notes that civil law suits against those who commit criminal riots in concert with others - even those actions far less serious and less harmful than burning buildings and assaulting police or even blocking traffic - to try to advance their cause have also been successful in a number of notable instances. For example, as early as 1988, a federal jury found two white supremacist groups - the Ku Klux Klan and the Southern White Knights - and 11 people responsible for the violent disruption of a 1987 civil rights march in Forsyth County, Ga., and awarded nearly $1 million in damages to the plaintiffs who filed the suit. When other groups learn that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been forced to pay $2.55 million to Japanese companies for illegally using acid and smoke bombs to disrupt their whaling, they may think twice before blocking traffic or occupying buildings - much less engaging in widespread destruction - to advance their agenda, says Banzhaf, who has promoted the idea - and the very slogan - of "Suing the Bastards" when the law is broken. In another example, a student who illegally chained himself to some construction equipment because he opposed an oil pipeline was forced to pay out big bucks for his criminal conduct. As NPR reported it, he was apparently ready to accept a relatively painless conviction for trespass, but not to pay the pipeline company $39,000 in restitution. Similarly, eleven protesters who allegedly engaged in illegal activities at the Mall of American faced restitution claims from the City of Bloomington. In these and many similar situations, criminal protesters are often willing to accept a small fine for a chance to focus attention on their cause, especially if it means they get to have a criminal trial which can generate even more publicity for them and for their grievance, argues Banzhaf. In contrast, a civil law suit, in which each and every participant in the criminal riot can be sued for the entire amount of the damages suffered by all victims under the legal principle of "joint and several liability," might serve as a much more effective deterrent than the minor threat of arrests and possible criminal prosecution, suggests Banzhaf. While everyone has a constitutional right to protest in public, that right clearly does not extend to engaging in serious crimes to draw attention to a cause or grievance, no matter how important or righteous that cause may seem. As illegal criminal riots by various groups - including the riot in Charlottesville - continue to proliferate, causing serious harm to governmental bodies as well as to innocent third parties, those harmed may no longer be helpless, even when police refuse to take appropriate action and/or prosecutors decline to prosecute, and even when the individuals who actually caused specific harms cannot be conclusively identified, says Banzhaf. Banzhaf, famous for developing novel winning law suits - including over $12 million from McDonald's over its french fries, and against Spiro Agnew to recover the money he took in bribes - has been called "a Driving Force Behind the Lawsuits That Have Cost Tobacco Companies Billions of Dollars," "The Law Professor Who Masterminded Litigation Against the Tobacco Industry," and an "Entrepreneur of Litigation, [and] a Trial Lawyer's Trial Lawyer." Updated on Nov 23, 2021, 5:22 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 23rd, 2021

The 20 best books of 2021, according to Book of the Month readers

Every year, Book of the Month crowns the best book of the year in November. Here are all the 2021 nominees, based on readers' favorites. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Every year, Book of the Month crowns the best book of the year in November. Here are all the 2021 nominees, based on readers' favorites. Amazon; Bookshop; Alyssa Powell/Insider Book of the Month sends great books from emerging authors directly to subscribers. At the end of each year, readers vote for their favorite books they read through the service. Here are the 20 most loved BOTM selections of 2021. The winner will be announced on November 11. Book of the Month sends new and noteworthy books - often before they become popular - to subscribers each month. In the past, the company has picked hits such as "The Great Alone" by Kristin Hannah, "Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee, and "The Girl With the Louding Voice" by Abi Daré to bring to its readers.Membership (small)At the end of the year, the club's thousands of subscribers vote on the best books they read through the service, making it a more curated version of Goodreads' best books of the year. For example, the 2020 winner was "The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett, which also won the 2020 Goodreads award for Best Historical Fiction.Below, you'll find a reading list of the top 20 books of 2021 according to Book of the Month readers. Book of the Month will announce the best book of 2021 on November 11, awarding the winning author a $10,000 prize. The 20 best books picked by Book of the Month in 2021, according to its readers:Descriptions are provided by Amazon and edited lightly for length and clarity. "Things We Lost To The Water" by Eric Nguyen Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle into life in America, she sends letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father.But with time, Huong realizes she will never see her husband again. While she attempts to come to terms with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memories and imaginations. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong gets involved with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his adopted homeland and his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity — as individuals and as a family — threatens to tear them apart, un­til disaster strikes the city they now call home, and they are suddenly forced to find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them. "Imposter Syndrome" by Kathy Wang Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.59Julia Lerner, a recent university graduate in computer science, is living in Moscow when she's recruited by Russia's largest intelligence agency in 2006. By 2018, she's in Silicon Valley as COO of Tangerine, one of America's most famous technology companies. In between her executive management (make offers to promising startups, crush them and copy their features if they refuse); self-promotion (check out her latest op-ed in the WSJ, on Work/Life Balance 2.0); and work in gender equality (transfer the most annoying females from her team), she funnels intelligence back to the motherland. But now Russia's asking for more, and Julia's getting nervous.Alice Lu is a first-generation Chinese-American whose parents are delighted she's working at Tangerine (such a successful company!). Too bad she's slogging away in the lower echelons, recently dumped, and now sharing her expensive two-bedroom apartment with her cousin Cheri, a perennial "founder's girlfriend." One afternoon, while performing a server check, Alice discovers some unusual activity, and now she's burdened with two powerful but distressing suspicions: Tangerine's privacy settings aren't as rigorous as the company claims they are, and the person abusing this loophole might be Julia Lerner herself. The closer Alice gets to Julia, the more Julia questions her own loyalties. Russia may have placed her in the Valley, but she's the one who built her career; isn't she entitled to protect the lifestyle she's earned? Part page-turning cat-and-mouse chase, part sharp and hilarious satire, "Impostor Syndrome" is a shrewdly-observed examination of women in tech, Silicon Valley hubris, and the rarely fulfilled but ever-attractive promise of the American Dream. "The Lost Apothecary" by Susan Penner Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99Hidden in the depths of 18th-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary's fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious 12-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.Meanwhile, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her 10th wedding anniversary alone in present-day London, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London 200 years ago, her life collides with the apothecary's in a stunning twist of fate — and not everyone will survive. "This Close To Okay" by Leese Cross-Smith Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $15.62On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing at the edge of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett. Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. What she doesn't realize is that Emmett isn't the only one who needs healing — and they both are harboring secrets.Alternating between Tallie and Emmett's perspectives as they inch closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge's edge — as well as the hard truths Tallie has been grappling with since her marriage ended — "This Close to Okay" is an uplifting, cathartic story about chance encounters, hope found in unlikely moments, and the subtle magic of human connection. "We Are the Brennans" by Tracey Lange Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $19.49When 29-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it's not easy. She deserted them all — and her high school sweetheart — five years before with little explanation, and they've got questions.Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family's pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets — secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes — and ultimately find a way forward together. "The Maidens" by Alex Michaelides Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.78Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this, Mariana is confident. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike ― particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana's niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?When another body is found, Mariana's obsession with proving Fosca's guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything ― including her own life. "Razorblade Tears" by S.A. Cosby Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $20.10Ike Randolph has been out of jail for 15 years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah's white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.Derek's father, Buddy Lee, was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed of his father's criminal record. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their prejudices about their sons and each other as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys. "Malibu Rising" by Taylor Jenkins Reid Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.80Malibu: August 1983. It's the day of Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over — especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud — because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he's been inseparable since birth.Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can't stop thinking about has promised she'll be there.And Kit has a couple of secrets of her own — including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.By midnight the party will be entirely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family's generations will all come rising to the surface. "Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.49Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the land's bounty is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman's only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: Marriage to a man she barely knows.By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work, and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa's tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa ― like so many of her neighbors ― must make an agonizing choice: Fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family. "The People We Keep" by Alison Larkin Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $22.99Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, picking up shifts at Margo's diner, she's left fending for herself in a town where she's never quite felt at home. When she "borrows" her neighbor's car to perform at an open mic night, she realizes her life could be much bigger than where she came from. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and leaves for good — setting off on a journey to find her own life.Driving without a chosen destination, she stops to rest in Ithaca. Her only plan is to survive, but as she looks for work, she finds a kindred sense of belonging at Cafe Decadence, the local coffee shop. Still, somehow, it doesn't make sense to her that life could be this easy. The more she falls in love with her friends in Ithaca, the more she can't shake the feeling that she'll hurt them the way she's been hurt.As April moves through the world, meeting people who feel like home, she chronicles her life in the songs she writes and discovers that where she came from doesn't dictate who she has to be. "The Heart Principle" by Helen Hoang Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands — the more unacceptable the men, the better.That's where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex — he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna's family, she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love — but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves. "Instructions for Dancing" by Nicola Yoon Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.40Evie Thomas doesn't believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began… and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: Adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything — including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he's only just met.Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it's that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk? "Once There Were Wolves" by Charlotte McConaghy Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $20.99Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing 14 gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape but Aggie, too — unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she's witnessed ― inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet, as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept that her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn't make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect? "People We Meet On Vacation" by Emily Henry Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $9.98Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She's a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year, they live far apart — she's in New York City, and he's in their small hometown — but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven't spoken since.Poppy has everything she should want, but she's stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together — lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong? "The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina" by Zoraida Cordove Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $21.49The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty or why their matriarch won't ever leave their home in Four Rivers — even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.Seven years later, her gifts have manifested differently for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly's daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea's line. Determined to save what's left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador — to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back. "Damnation Spring" by Ash Davidson Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $19.81Colleen and Rich Gundersen are raising their young son, Chub, on the rugged California coast. It's 1977, and life in this Pacific Northwest logging town isn't what it used to be. For generations, the community has lived and breathed timber; now, that way of life is threatened. Colleen is an amateur midwife. Rich is a tree-topper. It's a dangerous job that requires him to scale trees hundreds of feet tall — a job that both his father and grandfather died doing. Colleen and Rich want a better life for their son — and they take steps to assure their future. Rich secretly spends their savings on a swath of ancient Redwoods. Colleen, desperate to have a second baby, challenges the logging company's use of herbicides that she believes are responsible for the many miscarriages in the community — including her own. The pair find themselves on opposite sides of a budding conflict that threatens the very thing they are trying to protect: Their family. "The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany" by Lori Nelson Spielman Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $10.95Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than 200 years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily single baker at her grandfather's Brooklyn deli, claim it's an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it's an actual hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she'll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her 80th birthday — and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed — secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse. "The Last Thing He Told Me" by Laura Dave Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $12.92Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her.Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers — Owen's 16-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother. As Hannah's increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen's boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn't who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen's true identity — and why he disappeared.Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen's past, they soon realize they're also building a new future — one neither of them could have anticipated.You can read our interview with author Laura Dave here. "The Office of Historical Corrections" by Danielle Evans Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $17.49Danielle Evans is known for her blisteringly smart voice and X-ray insights into complex human relationships. With "The Office of Historical Corrections," Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters' lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multiracial characters experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love and getting walloped by grief — all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American history — about who gets to tell them and the cost of setting the record straight. "Infinite Country" by Patricia Engel Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.80I often wonder if we are living the wrong life in the wrong country.Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally reunite with her family.How this family came to occupy two different countries — two different worlds — comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia's parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro's deportation and the family's splintering — the costs they've all been living with ever since. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

The 10 books on the 2021 National Book Award"s fiction longlist includes picks praised by Oprah and Obama

The National Book Awards longlist for fiction in 2021 includes books by Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and an Oprah's Book Club pick. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. The books on the National Book Award fiction longlist in 2021 include "Bewilderment" by Richard Powers and "The Prophets" by Robert Jones, Jr. Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider The National Book Foundation announced the 10 best US fiction books this week. Judges will name their top five in mid-October, and the winner in November. Below are all 10 books on the list, including ones from Pulitzer Prize-winning authors. Every year, the National Book Foundation crowns the best US literature of the year in five categories: Non-fiction, fiction, translated literature, poetry, and young adult books. 25 judges (five experts per genre) nominated by former winners, finalists, and judges spend the summer reading hundreds of hopeful submissions (about 150 for poetry to more than 500 for nonfiction) in search of standout books.By mid-September, they name their 10 favorites on a longlist. By mid-October, they cut it down to their top five. No one knows who the winner will be until the very day it's announced, when judges meet to hash out the best book. Winners, announced in November, receive $10,000, and finalists receive $1,000. Both can expect a boost in prestige and book sales. Past fiction winners for National Book Award in fiction include now-classics "Sophie's Choice" by William Styron, "All the Pretty Horses" by Cormac McCarthy, and "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen, as well as recent rising stars "Sing, Unburied, Sing" by Jesmyn Ward and "Interior Chinatown" by Charles Yu.Below, you'll find the 10 nonfiction books that made the National Book Award fiction longlist this year, including new novels by Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of "All the Light We Cannot See" and "The Overstory", an Obama summer reading selection, and an Oprah's Book Club pick. The 10 books on the 2021 National Book Award longlist for fiction:Descriptions provided by Amazon and lightly edited for clarity and length. "Cloud Cuckoo Land" by Anthony Doerr Bookshop "Cloud Cuckoo Land" by Anthony Doerr, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $21.49Set in Constantinople in the 15th century, in a small town in present-day Idaho, and on an interstellar ship decades from now, Anthony Doerr's gorgeous third novel is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope — and a book. In "Cloud Cuckoo Land," Doerr has created a magnificent tapestry of times and places that reflect our vast interconnectedness — with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us, and with those who will be here after we're gone.Note: Doerr's earlier novel, "All the Light We Cannot See" won the Pulitzer Prize in 2015. "Matrix" by Lauren Groff Bookshop "Matrix" by Lauren Groff, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $15Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, 17-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease.At first, taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. But in a world that is shifting and corroding in frightening ways, one that can never reconcile itself with her existence, will the sheer force of Marie's vision be bulwark enough? "Abundance" by Jakob Guanzon Amazon "Abundance" by Jakob Guanzon, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.40Evicted from their trailer on New Year's Eve, Henry and his son, Junior, have been reduced to living out of a pickup truck. Six months later, things are even more desperate. Henry, barely a year out of prison for pushing opioids, is down to his last pocketful of dollars, and little remains between him and the street. But hope is on the horizon: Today is Junior's birthday, and Henry has a job interview tomorrow.To celebrate, Henry treats Junior to dinner at McDonald's, followed by a night in a real bed at a discount motel. For a moment, as Junior watches TV and Henry practices for his interview in the bathtub, all seems well. But after Henry has a disastrous altercation in the parking lot and Junior succumbs to a fever, father and son are sent into the night, struggling to hold things together and make it through tomorrow. "Zorrie" by Laird Hunt Amazon "Zorrie" by Laird Hunt, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16As a girl, Zorrie Underwood's modest and hardscrabble home county was the only constant in her young life. After losing both her parents to diphtheria, Zorrie moved in with her aunt, whose own death orphaned Zorrie all over again, casting her off into the perilous realities and sublime landscapes of rural, Depression-era Indiana. Drifting west, Zorrie survived on odd jobs, sleeping in barns and under the stars, before finding a position at a radium processing plant. At the end of each day, the girls at her factory glowed from the radioactive material.But when Indiana calls Zorrie home, she finally finds the love and community that have eluded her in the small town of Hillisburg. And yet, even as she tries to build a new life, Zorrie discovers that her trials have only begun. "The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois" by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers Amazon "The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois" by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $21.38W. E. B. Du Bois, the great scholar, once wrote about the problem of race in America, and what he called "Double Consciousness," a sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive. Since childhood, Ailey Pearl Garfield has understood Du Bois's words all too well. Bearing the names of two formidable Black Americans — the revered choreographer Alvin Ailey and her great grandmother Pearl, the descendant of enslaved Georgians and tenant farmers — Ailey carries Du Bois's Problem on her shoulders.To come to terms with her own identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family's past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors — Indigenous, Black, and white — in the deep South. In doing so Ailey must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story — and the song — of America itself.Note: This book has also been selected by Oprah's Book Club. "The Prophets" by Robert Jones, Jr. Bookshop "The Prophets" by Robert Jones, Jr., available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.99Isaiah was Samuel's and Samuel was Isaiah's. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man — a fellow slave — seeks to gain favor by preaching the master's gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel's love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation's harmony.As tensions build and the weight of centuries — of ancestors and future generations to come — culminates in a climactic reckoning, "The Prophets" masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance, but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love. "Intimacies" by Katie Kitamura Bookshop "Intimacies" by Katie Kitamura, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $15.95An interpreter has come to The Hague to escape New York and work at the International Court. A woman of many languages and identities, she is looking for a place to finally call home.She's drawn into simmering personal dramas: her lover, Adriaan, is separated from his wife but still entangled in his marriage. Her friend Jana witnesses a seemingly random act of violence, a crime the interpreter becomes increasingly obsessed with as she befriends the victim's sister. And she's pulled into an explosive political controversy when she's asked to interpret for a former president accused of war crimes.A woman of quiet passion, she confronts power, love, and violence, both in her personal intimacies and in her work at the Court. She is soon pushed to the precipice, where betrayal and heartbreak threaten to overwhelm her, forcing her to decide what she wants from her life. Note: This is one of Obama's 2021 summer reading list books. "The Souvenir Museum: Stories" by Elizabeth McCracken Bookshop "The Souvenir Museum: Stories" by Elizabeth McCracken, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.99In these stories, the mysterious bonds of family are tested, transformed, fractured, and fortified. A recent widower and his adult son ferry to a craggy Scottish island in search of puffins. An actress who plays a children's game-show villainess ushers in the New Year with her deadbeat half-brother. A mother, pining for her children, feasts on loaves of challah to fill the void. A new couple navigates a tightrope walk toward love. And on a trip to a Texas water park with their son, two fathers each confront a personal fear.  "Hell of a Book" by Jason Mott Bookshop "Hell of a Book" by Jason Mott, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.20In Jason Mott's "Hell of a Book," a Black author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives "Hell of a Book" and is the scaffolding of something much larger and urgent: Since Mott's novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour.As these characters' stories build and converge, they astonish. For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it's also about the nation's reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America.Who has been killed? Who is The Kid? Will the author finish his book tour, and what kind of world will he leave behind?  Unforgettably told, with characters who burn into your mind and an electrifying plot ideal for book club discussion, "Hell of a Book" is the novel Mott has been writing in his head for the last 10 years. "Bewilderment" by Richard Powers Bookshop "Bewilderment" by Richard Powers, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $21.64The astrobiologist Theo Byrne searches for life throughout the cosmos while single-handedly raising his unusual nine-year-old, Robin, following the death of his wife. Robin is a warm, kind boy who spends hours painting elaborate pictures of endangered animals. He's also about to be expelled from third grade for smashing his friend in the face. As his son grows more troubled, Theo hopes to keep him off psychoactive drugs. He learns of an experimental neurofeedback treatment to bolster Robin's emotional control, one that involves training the boy on the recorded patterns of his mother's brain…With its soaring descriptions of the natural world, its tantalizing vision of life beyond, and its account of a father and son's ferocious love, "Bewilderment" marks Richard Powers's most intimate and moving novel. At its heart lies the question: How can we tell our children the truth about this beautiful, imperiled planet? Note: This is also shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Powers' earlier book, "The Overstory" won the Pulitzer Prize in 2019.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2021

Elon Musk"s Twitter just reinstated the account of white nationalist Nick Fuentes, who previously said Hitler was "cool"

Fuentes, who was originally banned from Twitter in 2021, has a history of antisemitic comments. In 2022, he dined with former president Trump. Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist organizer, on November 14, 2020.Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images Elon Musk's Twitter has reinstated the account of white nationalist Nick Fuentes.  Fuentes is known for making antisemitic remarks and has praised Hitler, calling him "cool."  Numerous right-wing figures have been brought back to Twitter after Musk's takeover in October.  Twitter has just reinstated the account of prominent white nationalist Nick Fuentes, who previously expressed his belief that Hitler was "cool."Fuentes announced his return to Twitter on Tuesday after being banned from the platform in July 2021 for "repeated violations of the Twitter rules."He celebrated his return by posting a meme from the cartoon "SpongeBob SquarePants."Fuentes has a history of extremist behavior including attending a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, denying the Holocaust, and making racist and antisemitic comments. Fuentes has also praised Hitler in a video repeating that he is "cool" and "awesome."Fuentes is just one of several right-wing figures to have their accounts have restored on Twitter since Elon Musk bought the company for $44 billion in October 2022. Figures including Donald Trump, Kanye West, Jordan Peterson, and Andrew Tate, as well as satirical conservative website The Babylon Bee, had their accounts restored.Fuentes, who is helping Ye — formerly known as Kanye West — with his 2024 presidential campaign, was seen with him at Trump's Mar-a-Lago, and reportedly had dinner with the former president in November 2022. An anonymous source told Axios that Trump liked Fuentes at the dinner and said: "He gets me." In a December interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Ye — who was joined by Fuentes — praised Hitler and made a number of overtly antisemitic remarks. Musk suspended Ye's Twitter account after the interview over repeated antisemitism saying: "I tried my best. Despite that, he again violated our rule against incitement to violence. Account will be suspended." Fuentes also has an online show called "America First with Nicholas Fuentes," where he has also repeatedly made antisemitic comments.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 25th, 2023

Trump poses for photograph with convicted mob boss, in a flashback to controversial dinner with white nationalist Nick Fuentes

Donald Trump posed for a photo with Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, who was once the head of the so-called Philly Mob, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. Former President Donald Trump, left, and a file photo of Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino, right, in a composite image.AP Photo Donald Trump was pictured with a man who is a convicted mob boss, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. The former president was criticized for dining with white supremacist Nick Fuentes last November. The ex mob boss, Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, said Trump wasn't aware of who he was. Former President Donald Trump posed for a photo with Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, who was once a Philadelphia mob boss, earlier this month.The photo, obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer, comes just months after a white nationalist visited Mar-a-Lago for dinner uninvited, supposedly prompting the Trump campaign to enact new protocols to vet people who want to meet him.The grainy photo seems to cast doubt on whether those protocols have been effectively implemented.—American Party® (@AmerPartyPublic) January 24, 2023 Trump, Merlino, and a third unidentified man are pictured in the photograph giving thumbs-ups while at the Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach in Florida. The photo was widely shared online on Monday, prompting questions as to whether Merlino and Trump knew each other."President Trump takes countless photos with people," a campaign spokesperson told The Inquirer. "That does not mean he knows every single person he comes in contact with."The campaign, however, did not respond to questions from The Inquirer and Insider on whether Trump knew who Merlino was when they took the photo, or if he was aware of Merlino's criminal background at the time.Merlino was reputedly the boss of the so-called Philly Mob, an Italian-American Mafia family. He has spent time in federal prison on racketeering, illegal gambling, and extortion charges.Merlino told The Inquirer that Trump "had no idea" who he was, adding that he was just one of the many people waiting in line to take a photo with the former president.Trump, who is running for president in 2024, received backlash after Nick Fuentes, a self-described white nationalist, turned up to dinner at Mar-a-Lago with Kanye West, who goes by Ye, late last year.The incident reportedly led to his campaign introducing new rules to ensure that people who meet with him are approved and fully vetted, according to the Associated Press.The new protocols are meant to ensure that a senior campaign official is present with Trump at all times, according to those familiar with the arrangements.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 24th, 2023

Jack Ma, who disappeared from public view in 2020, has resurfaced in Thailand. Here"s how the Alibaba and Ant Group founder got started and amassed a huge fortune.

Jack Ma grew up poor in China, failed his university-entrance exam twice, and was rejected from dozens of jobs before finding success with Alibaba. Jack Ma.VCG/VCG via Getty Images Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Alibaba and Ant Group, resurfaced in Thailand on Friday. Ant Group said Ma will give up control of the fintech company amid closer scrutiny from Beijing. He grew up poor and faced multiple job rejections but amassed billions. Here's a look at Ma's life. Alibaba and Ant Group founder Jack Ma has appeared to resurface on Friday in Thailand after he disappeared from public view in 2020. Jay Fai restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand, posted a photo of Ma, which he appeared to have just visited. The caption reads: "Incredibly humble, we are honored to welcome you and your family to Jay Fai's."The billionaire faced a crackdown from Chinese regulators in 2020 that resulted in an antitrust investigation, a suspended IPO, and Ma losing $12 billion of his fortune in just a few months.The billionaire has reportedly been laying low amid all the scrutiny he faced. His net worth is now estimated to be at $34.1 billion.This isn't Ma's first rodeo facing difficulties, however. He grew up poor in communist China, failed his university entrance exam twice, and was rejected from dozens of jobs, including one at KFC, before finding success with his third internet company, Alibaba.Here's how Ma got his start and made his fortune.Jillian D'Onfro, Charles Clark, and Taylor Nicole Rogers contributed to an earlier version of this post.Jack Ma — born Ma Yun — was born on September 10, 1964, in Hangzhou, southeastern China. He has an older brother and a younger sister.Jack Ma in 2014.REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson Source: 60 Minutes, USA TodayHe and his siblings grew up at a time when communist China was increasingly isolated from the West, and his family didn't have much money when they were young.Hangzhou, China, where Ma was raised.rongyiquan / Source: 60 Minutes, USA TodayMa was scrawny and often got into fights with classmates. "I was never afraid of opponents who were bigger than I," he recalls in "Alibaba," a book by Liu Shiying and Martha Avery.YouTube, Life NewsSource: USA Today, Business InsiderAs a kid, Ma liked collecting crickets and making them fight, and was able to distinguish the size and type of cricket just by the sound it made.Ma in 2016.REUTERS/Bobby YipSource: USA Today, Business InsiderAfter President Nixon visited Hangzhou in 1972, Ma's hometown became a tourist destination. As a teenager, Ma started waking up early to visit the city's main hotel, offering visitors tours of the city in exchange for English lessons. The nickname "Jack" was given to him by a tourist he befriended.Richard and Pat Nixon.APSource: 60 MinutesAfter high school, he applied to go to college — but failed the entrance exam twice. He finally passed on the third try, going on to attend Hangzhou Teachers Institute. He graduated in 1988 and started applying to as many jobs as he could.WEFSource: 60 MinutesHe received more than a dozen rejections — including from KFC — before being hired as an English teacher. Ma was a natural with his students and loved his job — though he only made $12 a month at a local university.ReutersSource: Business InsiderAt the World Economic Forum in 2016, Ma revealed he has been rejected from Harvard — 10 times.REUTERS/Jason LeeSource: Business InsiderMa had no experience with computers or coding, but he was captivated by the internet when he used it for the first time during a trip to the US in 1995. He had recently started a translation business and made the trip to help a Chinese firm recover a payment. Ma's first online search was "beer," but he was surprised to find that no Chinese beers turned up in the results. It was then that he decided to found an internet company for China. AP ImagesSource: Business Insider, USA TodayThough his first two ventures failed, four years later, he gathered 17 of his friends in his apartment and convinced them to invest in his vision for an online marketplace he called "Alibaba." The site allowed exporters to post product listings that customers could buy directly.Alibaba's headquarters in Hangzhou.ReutersSource: Business Insider, 60 MinutesSoon, the service started to attract members from all over the world. By October 1999, the company had raised $5 million from Goldman Sachs and $20 million from SoftBank, a Japanese telecom company that also invests in technology companies. The team remained close-knit and scrappy. "We will make it because we are young and we never, never give up," Ma said to a gathering of employees.Screenshot / The Crocodile in the YangtzeSource: Business InsiderHe was known for maintaining a sense of fun at Alibaba. In the early 2000s, when the company decided to start Taobao, its eBay competitor, he had his team do handstands during breaks to keep their energy levels up.The home page of Chinese e-commerce site Taobao.(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)Source: Business InsiderWhen the company first became profitable, Ma gave each employee a can of Silly String to go wild with.Dollar TreeSource: Business InsiderIn 2005, Yahoo invested $1 billion in Alibaba in exchange for about a 40% stake in the company. This was huge for Alibaba — at the time it was trying to beat eBay in China — and it would eventually be an enormous win for Yahoo too, netting it $10 billion in Alibaba's IPO alone.HYSTASource: TechCrunchIn 2014, Ma told Bloomberg he knew Alibaba had made it big when another customer offered to pay his restaurant bill. The customer, Ma said in the interview, had left Ma a note that read: "I'm your customer of Alibaba group, I made a lot of money and I know you don't make any money. I'll pay the bill for you."Andrew Burton/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderMa stepped down from his post as CEO in 2013, staying on as executive chairman.Alibaba Group Holding Ltd founder Jack Ma (2nd L) poses as he arrives at the New York Stock Exchange for his company's initial public offering (IPO) under the ticker "BABA" in New York September 19, 2014.REUTERS/Brendan McDermidSource: Tech CrunchAlibaba went public on September 19, 2014. "Today what we got is not money. What we got is the trust from the people," Ma told CNBC at the time.Ma arrives at the New York Stock Exchange in 2014.REUTERS/Brendan McDermidSource: CNBC, NYSEThe company's $150 billion IPO was the largest offering for a US-listed company in the history of the New York Stock Exchange. It also made Ma the richest person in China, with an estimated worth of $25 billion at the time.Ma after his company's initial public offering.Andrew Burton/Getty ImagesSource: BloombergMa's fortune comes from his 4.2% stake in Alibaba and a 10% stake in payment-processing service Alipay, which rebranded to Ant Group in 2014.Alipay logo is seen at a train station in Shanghai.Thomson ReutersSource: BloombergAlibaba employees threw a big party at the company's Hangzhou headquarters to celebrate the IPO. One employee even took the party as the perfect opportunity to propose. Ma told employees at a press conference that he hopes they use their newfound wealth to become "a batch of genuinely noble people, a batch of people who are able to help others, and who are kind and happy." by TencentSource:, USA TodayThe biggest day in the calendar for Alibaba is China's "Singles' Day" — a retaliation to Valentine's Day — which supposedly celebrates the country's singletons. In 2016, the site recorded nearly $20 billion in sales in 24 hours.Ma looks back at a giant electronic screen showing real-time sales figures on the "Singles' Day" online shopping festival.REUTERSSource: CNBCIn 2020, the total value of Alibaba orders placed on Singles' Day topped $56 billion.Taylor Swift performs at a show to mark Alibaba's Singles' Day global shopping festival in 2019.REUTERS/StringerSource: CNBCAlibaba's success may have made Ma an extremely wealthy man, but he has made very few flashy purchases, and he still has some pretty modest hobbies. "I don't think he has changed much, he is still that old style," Xiao-Ping Chen, a friend of Ma, told USA Today. He likes reading and writing kung fu fiction, playing poker, meditating, and practicing tai chi.Jack MaAssociated PressSource: USA TodayHis big splurge was a vineyard and a chateau in Bordeaux, France, in 2016.Ma's vineyard not pictured.Wikimedia CommonsSource: Forbes, CNBCIn March 2013, Alibaba spent a reported $49.7 million on a Gulfstream G550, mostly for Ma's use.Dean Morley / FlickrSource: China DailyOne of his greatest passions is the environment. According to Fortune, Ma developed an interest in environmentalism when a member of his wife's family became sick with an illness that Ma suspected was caused by pollution. He sits on the global board of The Nature Conservancy and spoke during a session of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2015. He has also, according to Fortune, been instrumental in funding a 27,000-acre nature reserve in China.Chelsea Clinton, left, and Jack Ma.Shannon Stapleton / REUTERSSource: FortuneMa has largely kept his family life out of the spotlight. He married Zhang Ying, a teacher he met at school, after they graduated in the late 1980s. They have two children — a daughter and a son.Alibaba founder Jack Ma in January 2018.Wang HE/Getty ImagesSource: BloombergIn 2017, Ma made headlines after meeting President Donald Trump. Despite Trump's protectionist attitude towards trade, Ma said China and the United States were not about to be drawn into a trade war. "Give Trump some time. He's open-minded," Ma told a panel at the World Economic Forum in January 2017.Donald Trump with Jack Ma.APSource: Business InsiderMa is something of a celebrity in China, and crowds of people show up to listen to him speak. The company also hosts annual talent shows, and Ma is a natural entertainer. At a company anniversary event, he dressed up as a punk rocker for a performance in front of 20,000 Alibaba employees.Steven Shi / REUTERSSource: 60 MinutesCompany lore has it that Ma came up with the name "Alibaba" while sitting in a San Francisco coffee shop. In "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," a secret password unlocks a trove filled with unbelievable riches. Ma's company has, in a way, revealed the potential of small and mid-sized businesses across the globe.AP ImagesSource: EntrepreneurMa stepped down as Alibaba's chairman on September 10, 2019, his 55th birthday. The company threw him a farewell party in an 80,000-seat stadium in Hangzhou, and Ma performed with other Alibaba executives.Courtesy of AlibabaSource: Business InsiderMa picked Daniel Zhang, who has been the CEO of Alibaba since 2015, to replace him as chairman. According to CNN Business, Ma decided to pivot to full-time philanthropy.AlibabaSource: Business Insider, CNN BusinessWhen the coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a halt in March 2020, Ma sourced and shipped N95 face masks and COVID-19 testing kits to over 100 countries dealing with shortages, including the US.Jack Ma/TwitterSource: Business InsiderIn May 2021, SoftBank announced that Ma would resign from the troubled investment fund's board of directors.Masayoshi Son, SoftBank's chairman and CEO.Reuters"Stepping down from SoftBank Group's Board, I believe, and he said to me actually, was something that he decided on his own," SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said during the firm's earnings announcement. "That's sad, but we still keep in contact directly and right before the COVID-19, we met face-to-face every month to have dinner, to talk about businesses, to talk about lives. And we will remain friends for the rest of our life, I believe."Source: Business InsiderIn October 2021, Ma made headlines again in relation to Ant Group's highly anticipated IPO. Ant Group was expected to raise $37 billion with a valuation reportedly surpassing $300 billion. But then, Ma publicly snubbed China's financial regulatory system, calling it 'an old people's club.'The mascot of Ant Financial.Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderSoon after, regulators introduced new online lending rules that directly impacted Ant's business. Officials then said there were "major issues" with Ant's listing, and by November, the IPO was suspended.Ant Group's headquarters in Hangzhou.Chen Zhongqiu/VCG/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderOnce China's richest man, Ma's net worth has fallen by more than $25 billion since he disappeared from public view, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His net worth is now estimated at $34.1 billion, making him China's ninth-richest person.Jack MaShu Zhang/ReutersSource: Bloomberg,ForbesChinese regulators opened an antitrust investigation into Alibaba in December 2020, yet another crackdown on Ma's empire.ReutersSource: Business InsiderIn January 2021, Yahoo Finance reported that Ma hadn't been seen publicly in more than two months and had been replaced as a judge on the TV talent show he founded, which raised the question of whether Ma had gone missing.Bryan Thomas/Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider, Yahoo FinanceMa's absence mirrored similar situations where Chinese businessmen had disappeared after battling with regulators, but multiple sources said that Ma was not missing — he was simply "laying low" amid the government scrutiny and new regulations.Charles Platiau/ReutersSource: Business Insider, Business InsiderMa appeared to resurface in Thailand on Friday after Jay Fai restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand, posted a photo of him on Instagram. The caption read: "Incredibly humble, we are honored to welcome you and your family to Jay Fai's." A post shared by JAY FAI (เจ๊ไฝ)⭐️ (@jayfaibangkok)  Source: InsiderHis reappearance comes as Ant Group said Saturday it was streamlining voting rights to prevent any one shareholder from having a controlling vote.A scene of AI technology and digital smart Life at the Booth of Alibaba and Ant Group at the World Intelligence Congress in Shanghai, China, in July 2021.CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty ImagesSource: InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 7th, 2023

How anti-abortion activists, corporate bigwigs and conflicted parties co-opted a little-known society to buy priceless access to the Supreme Court

Joining the board of trustees of the Supreme Court Historical Society provides priceless access to justices -- at a surprisingly affordable rate. Rachel Mendelson/InsiderHow anti-abortion activists, corporate bigwigs, and conflicted parties co-opted a little-known society to buy priceless access to the Supreme CourtIn late 2000, the Supreme Court Historical Society was in dire straits. Founded by Chief Justice Warren Burger in 1974 to preserve artifacts and support scholarship related to the court's history, the small, stodgy nonprofit had taken stock of its finances and found a yawning gap between its ambitions and its means. Its president at the time, Leon Silverman, a former assistant deputy United States attorney general, announced in the group's quarterly newsletter that things needed to change. He wrote that the society needed "to place substantial and immediate emphasis on its Annual Fund campaign and should consider adding a corporate sponsor program with assistance from corporate officers on the Society's Board of Trustees" to "identify sympathetic corporate and foundation donors." Going forward, he added, the society would select new trustees for its board of directors largely based on their ability to provide "financial support" for the organization. Before Silverman raised the alarm, the society hadn't attracted much attention — or money — from people outside the legal profession, Insider's review of the nonprofit's trustees throughout the 1990s found. Most of its donors were legal-history buffs and aging philanthropists.But it wasn't long before new faces started showing up at society events and board meetings.In 2003, the Ohio real-estate developer Don Wright joined the board of trustees. In 2007, so did Tom Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza. By 2010, they were joined by the GOP megadonor Harlan Crow, the son of the real-estate magnate Trammell Crow. These new members were part of a wave of right-wing ideologues, corporate representatives, and wealthy conservative power brokers who flocked to the Supreme Court Historical Society over the past two decades, Insider's analysis found, using the little-known group to gain unprecedented access to one of the most elusive and secretive judicial bodies on the planet. The donors leveraged relatively small sums of cash into privileged face time with the very Supreme Court justices who were in some instances deciding cases to which their companies or affiliated advocacy organizations were parties.An analysis of the society's donors published by The New York Times in late December identified at least $6.4 million in donations since 2003 coming from groups or individuals that argued cases before the court. (The Times had previously reported that one donor, the anti-abortion activist Rob Schenck, claimed to have used the society to infiltrate Justice Samuel Alito's inner circle and gain access to information about a pending decision.)Insider's investigation into nearly three decades' worth of Supreme Court Historical Society records found that the extensive network of donors and trustees with vested interests before the court was rife with right-wing religious activists and corporations. In exchange for as little as a few thousand dollars in contributions to the nonprofit, these people received easy access to events where Supreme Court justices would be. Among the new donors were Monaghan, the founder of a stable of nonprofits and political action committees advocating against abortion access, including one that was a party to a case before the Supreme Court last year; Jay Sekulow, a longtime member of President Donald Trump's personal legal team; Sidney Powell, the attorney who's promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory; and Crow, the scion of a real-estate fortune who in 2009 gave $500,000 to a conservative consulting firm founded by the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.Supreme Court Historical society trustee Jay Sekulow, center, represented President Trump during the latter's impeachment trial in 2020.OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty ImagesNeither the historical society nor the Supreme Court responded to questions and requests for comment sent with detailed descriptions of Insider's reporting. But in interviews with Insider, people close to the historical society argued that the nonprofit's influence pales in comparison to better-known avenues of access to Supreme Court justices. Alumni of the law schools at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and New York University, for instance, can attend events with justices sometimes several times a year.Others disputed that schmoozing with justices at society events could be an avenue for influence. "I can't imagine anyone trying to gain any insight or any special favors through the historical society," said Chuck Dietz, the former general counsel of the Fortune 500 manufacturing company 3M. Dietz served as a trustee from 1991 through the early 2000s and was listed as a major donor in a society newsletter in 2021. Getting time with a justice, he said, meant that "you visit, you small-talk, that's it." Four other people close to the society echoed the view that the nonprofit's events would be an unlikely way to grow close to the justices. The US Supreme Court is seen behind fences in Washington, DC, on May 11, 2022.Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty ImagesAn in for ideologues, at an affordable priceBut if Supreme Court justices are intended to be above the political fray and carry a noble air of inaccessibility, the historical society offered partisan activists such as Wright, Monaghan, and Crow an inroad at a surprisingly affordable price. Less than $10,000, two recent trustees said, could ultimately earn a donor a spot on the board. Wright, Monaghan, and Crow have had ideological interests in the decisions of the court. They shared a history of conservative activism and have been major donors to right-wing Christian causes. In many instances, they have called for the Supreme Court justices to take an expansive view of religious liberties that would limit abortion access and enshrine Christian values in government. Monaghan, the octogenarian pizza magnate, has founded a slew of right-wing nonprofits dedicated to ending legal abortion. One of the groups he founded, the Thomas More Law Center, has filed dozens of amicus briefs on cases pertaining to abortion access, the separation of church and state, and marriage equality — including at least four while Monaghan served as a trustee between 2007 and 2013. Thomas More Law Center has also been a named party in two cases seeking a hearing before the Supreme Court. The court declined to hear one of the cases, which challenged the Affordable Care Act, in 2011. In the other, in 2021, the court sided with the law center and a group funded by the Koch brothers in saying that states could not compel nonprofits to reveal their donors. Neither Monaghan nor the law center responded to requests for comment.Anti-abortion advocates cheer in front of the Supreme Court after the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was announced in 2014. The decision, holding that family-owned corporations could not be required to pay for employees' contraceptive healthcare, was widely seen as a victory for the Christian right.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesCrow, the Texan megadonor who owns a formidable collection of statues of dictators, is best known for his close friendship with Justice Thomas — a friendship that has at times seemed to be fueled by Crow's largesse. Crow spent millions to build a museum in Thomas' hometown, a project said to be close to the justice's heart. In 2009, Crow gave Thomas' wife, Ginni, $500,000 to start a lobbying group linked to the Tea Party.Crow is a major backer of libertarian think tanks and political action committees. A cofounder of the anti-tax Club for Growth, he is also on the board of the American Enterprise Institute, which has offered backing to legal efforts aimed at overturning provisions of the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action, including two cases that will be decided by the court in the coming term. Crow did not respond to a request for commentSchenck said in testimony before Congress last month that Wright, who died in 2020, was one of the people who infiltrated the society under Schenck's direction. (Schenck did not respond to requests for comment.) Wright and his wife, Gayle, grew so close to Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas through their involvement with the historical society that they hosted the justices for vacation getaways, went on hunting trips, and privately ate meals together.Schenck has said that at a dinner in 2014, Alito told the Wrights about the court's decision in a consequential case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, before it became public. (The New York Times reported in November that it had seen documents corroborating Schenck's account of the dinner.) The case, codifying that employers could decline to cover health plans that included birth control, was widely seen as a victory for the religious right.Alito and Gayle Wright have denied that the justice ever shared information about a pending case. Alito did not respond to a request for comment on his involvement in the Supreme Court Historical Society. Gayle Wright could not be reached by phone or email, and messages left with her real-estate-development company went unanswered. While Don Wright was a trustee, Faith and Liberty, Schenck's religious nonprofit that for years was known as Faith and Action, had a stake in numerous cases before the court. Another trustee and Schenck ally, the personal-injury lawyer Bernard Reese, submitted seven briefs to the court on behalf of Faith and Liberty, arguing against abortion rights and in favor of prayer and religious monuments in public institutions. Reese died in 2021. Schenck did not respond to requests for comment.Selling access is the 'entire fundraising model'Though Wright, Monaghan, and Crow were some of the clearest examples of the new wave of right-wing ideologues who joined the society, they were hardly alone. While the society itself avoided partisanship and included left-leaning trustees and Democratic administration alumni, it increasingly attracted trustees whose proximity to the judges could represent conflicts of interest.The society's enabling of donors with pending business before the court to mingle with justices is "ethically risky," said Gabe Roth, a judicial-reform advocate who serves as the executive director of Fix the Court. Though the society may have started as "a mutual-benefit society with a fun lecture circuit," he said, it has transformed "to something potentially nefarious." Do you have a tip or insight to share? Contact reporter Katherine Long via phone or the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-206-375-9280), or at Contact reporter Jack Newsham via Signal (+1-314-971-1627), or at slow infiltration of the historical society may have been especially pernicious in part because of the group's low profile and stodgy reputation. "Court personnel assumed the society properly vetted its trustees," Schenck testified last month before Congress, saying he hoped his operatives' "status as trustees might assuage suspicions about" their motives.Donald Sherman, the senior vice president and chief counsel for the left-leaning government-accountability nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, described selling access to Supreme Court justices as the historical society's "entire fundraising model." Top society donors, such as far-right Christian attorney Kelly Shackelford, receive awards ceremonially presented by Supreme Court Justices at the nonprofit's annual dinner.Supreme Court Historical SocietyThe society prints photos in its quarterly newsletter of justices handing out awards to top donors — then asks for donations. Justices attend nearly every one of the society's events: its annual dinner, held in the capacious marble entryway to the Supreme Court's chambers; its fundraising gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York; its lecture series; and its less formal discussion groups. Leon Silverman, who was the society's president for 11 years, said in one newsletter that the justices' "attendance at these events gives members an opportunity to meet them in a relatively informal setting."Insider did not find evidence that the society's benefactors discussed pending cases with justices at society events. Whether that took place, though, is immaterial, advocates for judicial transparency say. As the society's wealthy trustees and donors — many of whom have business before the court — wine and dine justices, opportunities for conflicts proliferate. Supreme Court justices are not governed by the same ethics and transparency standards that apply to lower courts and are not required to recuse themselves from ruling in a case where they have a conflict of interest. That means justices can rule on these cases without the public or the opposing party in the case ever knowing about their conflicts.That lack of transparency explains how a quaint nonprofit with an earnest mission can easily become "a thinly veiled effort by interested parties to inappropriately influence the justices," Sherman said. "You don't have to scratch too hard beneath the surface to understand how actual conflicts can arise."An unusual level of accessAt a rally in front of the Supreme Court last summer to celebrate the Court's overturning of Roe v Wade, a YouTube livestreamer attending the event asked the anti-abortion crusader Peggy Nienaber a question."You actually pray with the Supreme Court justices?" the livestreamer said."I do," Nienaber, an employee of the right-wing public-interest law firm Liberty Counsel, replied. "They will pray with us, those that like us to pray with them."In the just-released majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito had cited a legal brief written by Liberty Counsel in support of eliminating the federal right to legal abortion. Rolling Stone described how Nienaber had prayed with Alito, Scalia, and Thomas — sometimes in their chambers. Nienaber did not respond to requests for comment.Peggy Nienaber, second from right, seen here praying on the steps of the Supreme Court in 2007 after the court upheld a ban on partial-birth abortion, has said she prayed with justices in their chambers.Jonathan Ernst/Getty ImagesThe revelation that an employee of a conservative activist group with an interest in a case pending before the court had such intimate access to the justices sparked newfound interest in the Supreme Court's murky ethical boundaries.The relationship between Liberty Counsel and the justices doesn't end with Nienaber. Liberty Counsel's founder, Mat Staver, has been on the board of the Supreme Court Historical Society since at least 2008, issues of the society's newsletter indicate. Nienaber does not appear to be a member.In an email to Insider, Staver said he had not attended a society event since "at least 2019." (The society moved most of its programming online between 2020 and 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic.) "Being a member of the Society is not at all about influencing the Justices," Staver said. Liberty Counsel brought a case that appeared before the Supreme Court last year. In a 9-0 decision, the court sided with the religious nonprofit that Boston had erred when it refused to allow a Christian group to fly a flag with a cross on it from a City Hall flagpole.Louis Virelli, a professor at Stetson University's law school who wrote a book about Supreme Court recusals, said the Liberty Counsel case presented the clearest example he'd seen in his career of a conflict of interest at the high court.Even if a justice didn't talk about anything related to that case, Virelli said, Liberty Counsel was "clearly interested" and "several members of the organization spent intimate, private time with justices" while they were deliberating whether to rescind a federally recognized right to an abortion.He said that if, as Schenck has alleged, the Supreme Court Historical Society were to enable members such as the Wrights to host justices for private dinners and lavish getaways while the court decides cases in which their groups have a vested interest, that would create "a very serious concern about the justices' ability to remain impartial."A foothold for the Christian rightOther conservative public-interest attorneys arguing high-profile religious-liberties cases have gained a foothold on the society's board of trustees in the past two decades.Jay Sekulow, who in 2019 represented Trump before the Supreme Court in the president's failed bid to keep his tax filings out of the reach of New York's attorney general, became a trustee in 2003. Sekulow, the director of the conservative legal organization the American Center for Law and Justice, has argued more than a dozen cases before the Supreme Court, largely with the aim of expanding religious groups' abilities to pray, proselytize, and protest in public places. Sekulow did not respond to requests for comment.In 2003, Sekulow and Joe Moderow, then the general counsel of UPS, used the weight of their organizations' lobbying arms to convince Congress to mint a commemorative coin in honor of former Chief Justice John Marshall. A portion of the coin's sales, roughly $2.5 million, went to the historical society.Justice Clarence Thomas, right, and wife Ginni Thomas, shown here arriving for a 2019 state dinner at the White House, are entangled with several trustees of the Supreme Court Historical Society.AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyAnother trustee, Kelly Shackelford, the founder of the Christian legal firm First Liberty Institute, has successfully represented clients before the Supreme Court, such as in the case in which the court ruled last summer that a Maine law prohibiting the use of public funds to pay for religious schools was unconstitutional. Shackelford also represented the Washington State football coach Joe Kennedy in a 2021 case where the court ruled that public-school employees have the right to pray during school sports activities on school grounds.In an email to Insider, Shackelford disputed that being a society trustee afforded access to justices. The society supports "a good cause," he said, describing Insider's reporting as "baseless innuendo."Another co-counsel on the Kennedy case was also a society trustee: Paul Clement, the star litigator and former solicitor general who famously quit two white-shoe law firms rather than stop defending the gun industry or the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned federal recognition of marriage for same-sex couples. Clement did not respond to a request for comment.Shackelford also sits on the board of the Center for National Policy Action, an influential right-wing nonprofit whose members include old-guard Republicans, Tea Party activists, and ardent Trump backers. After the 2020 presidential election, CNP Action called on its members, including leaders of the National Rifle Association and the Federalist Society, to pressure lawmakers into challenging the election results and appointing alternate slates of electors.Also on CNP Action's nine-person board: Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas. (Shackelford said he never attended a board meeting with her.)!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 7th, 2023