More evidence of The Big Grift comes out. I would actually classify this as espionage, not just bribery. Done on a massive scale, and pretty much right out in the open. From Letters From An American:
But those stories pale in comparison to the news broken last night by David D. Kirkpatrick and Kate Kelly of the New York Times: six months after Trump left office, an investment fund controlled by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), invested $2 billion with Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, despite the fact that the fund advisors found Kushner’s new company “unsatisfactory in all aspects.” At the same time, they also invested about $1 billion in another new firm run by Trump’s former treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin.
Kushner has little experience in private equity, and his firm consists primarily of that Saudi money; no American institutions have invested with him. The Saudi investment will net Kushner’s firm about $25 million a year in asset management fees, and the investors required him to hire qualified investment professionals to manage the money.
It certainly looks as if Kushner is being rewarded for his work on behalf of the kingdom, and perhaps in anticipation of influence in the future. Kushner defended MBS after news broke that the crown prince had approved the killing and dismemberment of U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Kushner helped to broker $110 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, even as Congress was outraged by MBS’s war in Yemen. Most concerning, though, is that Kushner had access to the most sensitive materials in our government. Career officials denied Kushner’s security clearance out of concern about his foreign connections, but Trump overruled them.
Here’s a new way (at least it’s new to me) of thinking about our cultural divide and how it might be bridged. Bad Faith Communication has become the norm in America, and somehow we have to reverse that. The article lays out a framework for how and why we’ve gotten here, but not really any plan for fixing the problem. And a nice insight – the endgame here is chaos, a completely dysfunctional society, not one side winning. From the article:
Given well-documented advances in the field of information warfare, there should be no illusion: today’s culture war cannot be won by any side. Mutually assured destruction is now the name of the wargame. The saturation of bad faith communication throughout culture is steadily increasing, like a kind of dangerous background radiation emitted from scientifically engineered memetic weaponry. Public political discourse is quickly becoming a toxic warzone, leaching externalities into families, friendships, and identity structures.
Life sadly imitates art. Wolverines.
If the amazing trailer for the next season of Stranger Things doesn’t give you chills, then you might want to adjust your meds. Love the show, love the characters, and it looks like the 2022 version will be epic.
And since we’ve segued into media, here’s a podcast/audiobook that I think I’ll like. Sounds like The Office updated for 2022 and on Mars. Machina, on Realm.
Two rival tech companies compete for the chance to bring AI to Mars.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: If you enjoy a gripping story full of corporate espionage, high-stakes science, and robot dogs that are well-versed in mixology, then this fictional workplace drama is perfect for tuning out your real-life version of it.