Politico: Facebook lobbying surges to $5M amid whistleblower uproar

Politico: Facebook lobbying surges to $5M amid whistleblower uproar. “The $5.1 million spree outpaces the company’s big tech peers Google, Amazon and Microsoft. In fact, the only entities that outspent Facebook on lobbying for the quarter were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Realtors, Business Roundtable and the drug lobby PhRMA, according to disclosures filed late Wednesday.” That’s for a quarter of the year. A quarter.

Washington Post: How the ultra-rich are traveling during covid, according to their travel advisers

Washington Post: How the ultra-rich are traveling during covid, according to their travel advisers. “After a year of being confined to their one, two or three homes, they are spending more than ever on vacations to make up for lost time. So what does a dream pandemic vacation look like when you’ve already been everywhere and bought everything? That’s the question travel advisers for ultra-high-net-worth individuals have to ask themselves on a regular basis.”

Pandora Papers: Secret wealth and dealings of world leaders exposed (BBC)

BBC: Pandora Papers: Secret wealth and dealings of world leaders exposed. “The secret wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians and billionaires has been exposed in one of the biggest leaks of financial documents. Some 35 current and former leaders and more than 300 public officials are featured in the files from offshore companies, dubbed the Pandora Papers.”

Analysts: Google to pay Apple $15 billion to remain default Safari search engine in 2021 (9to5 Mac)

9to5 Mac: Analysts: Google to pay Apple $15 billion to remain default Safari search engine in 2021. “It’s long been known that Google pays Apple a hefty sum every year to ensure that it remains the default search engine on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, a new report from analysts at Bernstein suggests that the payment from Google to Apple may reach $15 billion in 2021, up from $10 billion in 2020.”

New York Times: Here’s How Bored Rich People Are Spending Their Extra Cash

New York Times: Here’s How Bored Rich People Are Spending Their Extra Cash. “Rather than elbowing past each other for reservations at the latest restaurants from Marcus Samuelsson and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, or getting into bidding wars for apartments at 740 Park Avenue, they are one-upping each other in online auctions for jewelry, watches, furniture, sports cards, vintage cars, limited-edition Nikes and crypto art. Bread lines grew longer, Birkin bags got hotter. A number of retailers were reticent to speak about the trend, stating that they did not wish to be on the record talking about nearly sold out $90,000 earrings during a time of growing wealth inequality.”

Gulf News: The men who made billions during COVID-19

Gulf News: The men who made billions during COVID-19. “The pandemic has been a boom time for America’s richest billionaires. The wealth of nine of the country’s top titans has increased by more than $360 billion in the past year. And they are all tech barons, underscoring the power of the industry in the US economy. Tesla’s Elon Musk more than quadrupled his fortune and jockeyed with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos for the title of world’s wealthiest person. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg topped $100 billion. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin gained a combined $65 billion.”

Reuters: How a 10-second video clip sold for $6.6 million

Reuters: How a 10-second video clip sold for $6.6 million. “The video by digital artist Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, was authenticated by blockchain, which serves as a digital signature to certify who owns it and that it is the original work. It’s a new type of digital asset – known as a non-fungible token (NFT) – that has exploded in popularity during the pandemic as enthusiasts and investors scramble to spend enormous sums of money on items that only exist online.”

Calling all billionaires: here’s how to keep your superyacht Covid-free (The Guardian)

The Guardian: Calling all billionaires: here’s how to keep your superyacht Covid-free. “It is a problem not many us have to consider: how to ensure your multimillion dollar superyacht remains a coronavirus-free zone despite taking on board crew from around the world. But for the billionaire owners of floating luxury homes there is now a solution – a very expensive one, naturally. An Australian naval architecture firm is launching a new double-hulled support vessel, in which new crew and guests can isolate while they await coronavirus test results from onboard medical staff.”

Super-Concierge Doctors, High-Design Home Classrooms, and Catered Backyard Dinners: Lifestyles of the Rich and Quarantined (Washingtonian)

Washingtonian: Super-Concierge Doctors, High-Design Home Classrooms, and Catered Backyard Dinners: Lifestyles of the Rich and Quarantined. “Dr. Brown said he would charter the plane himself. He was nervous—the patients wanted him at their summer home in St. Michaels to screen them for Covid immediately. But it was a Thursday in summer, and driving would take forever. Forget about taking the car. Instead, Ernest Brown, owner of Doctors to You, a Washington-area concierge-medicine group whose house-yacht/private-jet calls start at $600 a pop, drove to Gaithersburg and hopped a puddle jumper to the airport in Easton. The patients, who needed to be screened in order to meet with another VIP, sent a car to meet him. All told, Brown was at their waterfront estate for ten minutes, max. Results: negative.”

ProPublica: A Doctor Went to His Own Employer for a COVID-19 Antibody Test. It Cost $10,984.

ProPublica: A Doctor Went to His Own Employer for a COVID-19 Antibody Test. It Cost $10,984.. “When Dr. Zachary Sussman went to Physicians Premier ER in Austin for a COVID-19 antibody test, he assumed he would get a freebie because he was a doctor for the chain. Instead, the free-standing emergency room charged his insurance company an astonishing $10,984 for the visit — and got paid every penny, with no pushback. The bill left him so dismayed he quit his job. And now, after ProPublica’s questions, the parent company of his insurer said the case is being investigated and could lead to repayment or a referral to law enforcement.”

New Yorker: How Trump Is Helping Tycoons Exploit the Pandemic

New Yorker: How Trump Is Helping Tycoons Exploit the Pandemic. “On June 22nd, in the baking heat of a parking lot a few miles inland from Delaware’s beaches, several dozen poultry workers, many of them Black or Latino, gathered to decry the conditions at a local poultry plant owned by one of President Donald Trump’s biggest campaign contributors. ‘We’re here for a reason that is atrocious,’ Nelson Hill, an official with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, told the small but boisterous crowd, which included top Democratic officials from the state, among them Senator Chris Coons. The union, part of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., represents some 1.3 million laborers in poultry-processing and meatpacking plants, as well as workers in grocery stores and retail establishments. Its members, many defined as ‘essential’ workers—without the option of staying home—have been hit extraordinarily hard by the coronavirus. The union estimates that nearly thirty thousand […]

Billionaires By The Numbers: New Website Offers Insights Into Nation’s Biggest Fortunes (Americans for Tax Fairness)

Americans for Tax Fairness: Billionaires By The Numbers: New Website Offers Insights Into Nation’s Biggest Fortunes. “A new website launched today provides in-depth insights into the startling reality of America’s billionaires—their growth in numbers and fortunes over recent decades, staggering real-time net worth, and growing political influence. ‘Billionaires by the Numbers’ tracks the fortunes of U.S. billionaires and is particularly vital right now for a nation confronting long-standing economic injustice brought to light by disease, recession and racial oppression.”