How To Type Your Darkish Academia Aesthetic For Spring

Transform your dark academic style for spring by swapping out your heavier garments for lighter fabrics. Book a blog in the warmer months chasing daisies suggests wearing lighter colors. Instead of wearing a thick wool sweater, wear a thin sweater vest or a linen blazer over a plain T-shirt. This look is the perfect summer outfit. Depending on your mood Cosmopolitan recommends keeping it simple with a plaid short dress or a matching short blazer and mini skirt set.

Spring has full permission to borrow elements from Dark Science’s sister aesthetic, Light Science. Follow the fashion and beauty blog to bring the heat-friendly aspects of light science into your wardrobe Gigi’s adventure‘ and tucking a lightweight turtleneck into a skirt. You can also choose to wear tops in lighter colors and keep your favorite pieces in rotation, including your dark pants and loafers.

In her aesthetic style guide youtube Series, fashion and lifestyle vlogger Nava Rose showcased the versatility of the dark science aesthetic by styling different outfits. In one outfit, she wore a yellow plaid blazer over a lace top and high-waisted black trousers. For her next look, she swapped yellow for gray and black, rocking a ruffled plaid skirt, sheer tights, an oversized sweater and blazer. She completed the look with oxford shoes, a chain anklet and gold rings.

Dark science lends itself to creativity. You can take this style in so many directions. Go out and get your scholar.

Inexperienced Lantern collection on HBO Max would have a darkish fashion like Watchmen – CVBJ

Warner Bros. has had many problems developing its superheroes’ stories successfully over the past few years, but the above keeps them passionate about developing stories for the small screen. With the premiere of the Marvel Studios series on the Disney Plus platform, Warner wants to do justice to the occasion with new projects for television, one of which is Green Lantern, which was announced a few months ago for HBO Max. With that title, things are gradually taking shape and now it is revealed by The Illuminerdi that the production would have a grown-up and dark tone similar to that of Watchmen – 80%.

Do not miss: Eternals: Chloé Zhao says a Marvel-DC crossover is not a good idea

What are the details we know about the new Green Lantern series? It will have 10 chapters and its showrunner is Seth Grahame-Smith, author of LEGO Batman: The Movie – 91%. Green Lantern represents a broad catalog of characters who have rarely had the opportunity to be developed in live action projects, but soon fans will see their dreams come true. Warner and HBO already got the series off the ground and it seems like something great is coming.

Illuminerdi reports that Warner wants something spectacular with the Green Lantern series with Finn Wittrock, something on par with what Watchmen has achieved, this prolific series that caught the attention of the Emmy Awards some time ago. The production will include some of the most popular Green Lanterns in comics and would have been the style of Guardian; It’s clear that with this title the studio wants to go a long way in terms of adapting the Alan Moore comic, or even what WandaVision has achieved – 95% back then. Very soon we will witness an insatiable competition where the superhero genre is again the most viewed and commented on.

We invite you to read: DC introduces the first transgender Amazon in the new Wonder Woman comic

This isn’t the first time we’ve had a real action adventure for the famous Green Lantern. Remember the 2011 film that tells the story of the ruthless test pilot Hal Jordan who receives an alien ring that gives him unearthly powers and introduces him to an intergalactic police force called the Green Lantern Corps. Green Lantern was directed by Martin Campbell and additionally Reynolds, features appearances by Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard and Mark Strong. Without a doubt, it’s one of the worst-received jobs in the world Ryan and Warner, and we need very little footage to find out.

Few fans will agree that in live action, Green Lantern was forever cursed by the movie from Reynolds and that we will never see altitude adjustment again. But maybe Warner Bros., with the series prepping for HBO Max, will make us change our minds and grant an adventure worthy of the character on television. At the moment there is no release date known for the project.

Warner Bros. and DC have many film and television plans. Despite the many setbacks in the past, the club is working with all its might to become the first choice for fans of the genre and is presenting ambitious projects with their favorite characters. Is it time Green Lantern got the recognition it deserves in live action format? Time will tell whether it achieves pride of place among DC and Warner Bros. productions and stands out from other superheroes who have been successful in the cinema or on television.

You may also be interested in: DC Comics President supports his support for the new bisexual Superman

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The “previous cash aesthetic” and darkish academia are taking up TikTok and Pinterest

From the seventh grade to the second year of high school, my outfit on the first day of school was almost always the same: a denim mini skirt that barely adhered to the rule of “has to reach the end of the fingertips”, ballerinas, a pearl necklace, and an Abercrombie polo. It was the mid-2000s and that was the height of cool in my opinion.

I think of this outfit genre a lot, not because it looked particularly good, but because arguably the biggest fashion trend right now is Y2K, or a modern take on the bright, busy chewing gum styles of the early 2000s, influenced by those 70s psychedelics and themselves overt sexiness. This style is loving at times referred to as “waste”. It’s in contrast to the aesthetic I’d say it played a more crucial role in the 2000s, at least for other middle-class white girls in New England: preparation.

Nobody really uses that word anymore, but in the past few years I’ve started seeing his offspring on TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram. Smooth whites in khakis and oxford shirts laze on a sailboat; Tweed blazer inside a Ivy League library; Tennis skirts and croquet in front of someone’s summer house; Blair Waldorf and The talented Mr. Ripley. It goes online under various monikers, sometimes categorized as dark science (or light science if it’s a picture of a sunny setting), the WASP look, or the celebrity lifestyle, but the most common descriptor I see is “Altgeld Aesthetics”.

It’s kind of a hilarious name on the nose; “Old money” sums up what all fashion trends are, namely abnormal consumption. And yet it seems to arrive on time, as a counterweight and companion to the loud, whimsical design associated with Gen Z and the name brand-heavy “California rich” Look how the Kardashians were made inevitable.

While GQ predicted the preppy Comeback in 2018, it referred to menswear brands pairing prep with streetwear in a semi-ironic nod. This is not what #oldmoneyaesthetic pictures and videos crave for: you want to the uncompromisingly presumptuous Ivy League-Slash-Oxbridge Kennedy’s fourth cousin Country club Mood. They want to name their children like “Thrive” and “Montgomery”, after the many old money baby names TikToks that are out there. “WHY BE LA RICH, IF YOU CAN BE SO RICH?” Reads a comment below such a video (although the fact that many of them are set to Lana Del Rey adds an additional absurdity).

Unlike the years I’ve had several Abercrombie tote bags pinned to the inside of my closet as a kind of deranged shrine, the difference is that there are people out there who have context about the less Pinterest-friendly story of. deliver prepared and rooted wealth on the same platforms on which it spreads. It’s not that no one noticed how racist and classicistic the Abercrombie aesthetic is (remember, terrible “look politics”?) was at the time, but the review didn’t necessarily reach its target audience of teenagers obsessed with the brand. Social media has helped change that: on TikTok, for example, the popular story and film account @deadhollywood made a recent video about how the trappings of the leisure class are actually “the high point of white supremacist fashion, not rednecks and camouflage”.

“This style is the absence of flesh, the absence of blackness, the absence of extravagance. And that’s why it’s so damn boring, ”she explains. “It particularly relies on the slimness, refinement and elegance of white women as opposed to the fleshy, maternal, non-sexual but overly sexual body of the black woman.” The slightly fascist influences of minimalism and Coco Chanels Relationship with the Nazis. While the biggest indictment of the 2000s preparation came from places like Curtis Sittenfeld’s novel of the same name, in which the protagonist recognizes the emptiness of boarding school hierarchies on the east coast, the backlash this time around is much more direct.

Prep has always been conservative by nature, although a lot of young, progressive blacks and queer people are embracing the 2021 iteration online. Ana Quiring argued in the LA Review of Books Earlier this year, that an aesthetic like dark science “de-exceptionalizes the elite school environment as much as it romanticizes it,” and argued against the cynical view that the visual subculture glorifies photos of books and libraries rather than the actual books themselves, or the longing for the old money lifestyle only serves to revere the upper class.

Beyond that, however, the old money aesthetic strikes me as a pendulum swing against the ubiquitous display of wealth in society today, much like the way Prep was both a backlash and an inclusion of “Trashion” in the 2000s. Billionaires and influencers, both symbols of “new money”, set the standards and expectations for a dignified lifestyle, while old institutions such as royalty and high society buckle under the weight of social and economic change (see also: Society of New Yorkers complain that the Met Gala has too many influencers and wealthy Hamptons residents resent their even richer new neighbors). The new upper class doesn’t seem to care or care about good taste even dress yourself. Note to the tech bros: If you want to secure your place in cultural history, you might want to dress better.

This column was first published in The Goods Newsletter. Sign up here so that you don’t miss the next one and receive exclusive newsletters.

Simple shifts takes darkish Mediterranean room to shiny transitional type

During the pandemic, Beth Walker often worked in the kitchen instead of the home office.

The more she stared at the dark floors, dark wooden cabinets, and the copper hood, the less she liked her.

“At first I thought let’s just get white cabinets everywhere,” said Walker, 43, a legal recruiter at Neuhaus Noblinsaid about her kitchen bathed in a Mediterranean color palette. “We wanted to work with what we had without having to redo the counter and the tiles.”

Your interior designer Yesely Love of Canaima designShe knew she could do a lot more by adding color and texture to a lighter and brighter kitchen in a transitional style.

Instead of doing a complete remodel for the Briarcroft house where the Walkers have lived for three years, they opted for a refresh that kept most of the closets but put in new doors, added new lighting, and painted the closets. Love said that replacing doors while storing cabinet boxes can save a homeowner about 65 percent since cabinets are an expensive part of kitchen remodeling.

It also saves time and means a family doesn’t necessarily have to move out of their home during the remodeling. The project started in mid to late November and the Walkers were able to host a family for Christmas.

The cabinets have got the biggest makeover, with glossy paint in Sherwin-Williams “White Sand” and new Shaker-style doors that replaced older ones with a lot more ornamentation.

The raised edge of the island was torn off so that the surface was entirely on one level. Then they painted it Sherwin-Williams “Stormy Sky”, a blue that is part of today’s kitchen trends.

The whole kitchen originally had granite countertops with a creamy background and beige and brown swirls. Rather than replacing them all, Love encouraged her client to install a 2-inch maple top on the island, a blonde wood tone that matched the colors of the granite and beige back wall, which they also kept.

A lower counter at which Walker, her husband, 47-year-old Raymond, was attorney Walker iron brown, and their two children, 11-year-old Lillian and 7-year-old Graham, can now eat together, prompted the purchase of four bistro-style bar stools by Serena & Lily.

They kept their appliances, sinks, and plumbing, but painted their copper hood the same blue paint and silver trim.

Another trend in kitchen cabinets is to provide upper and lower cabinets with different surfaces. Sometimes designers and their clients opt for different paints or a combination of wood stain and paint, but in this case Love recommended installing grass wallpaper – Windfield Thybonys “chain” Pattern in powder blue, a shimmering chain link pattern on natural fiber – on the front door panels of the wall units.

Door panels on one end in a butler’s pantry and the other on a bar and wine rack are fronted with glass.

Dark pendant lights with light bulbs have been replaced by new LED pendants with wood decor, plus a large pendant light with a woven fiber shade from Shadow of light was placed over the breakfast table.

“All I wanted was a lighter kitchen, all white. Yesely kept showing us ideas and pictures. She said there is so much more you can do and have a unique kitchen that is unique and different, ”said Walker. “I’m so glad she pushed us; I love what we have. “

diane.cowen@chron.com

Darkish cash group launches marketing campaign to push Portland-area leaders for outcomes on police reforms, homelessness, cleanup efforts

A new anonymously funded political group launched a campaign on Friday to encourage elected leaders in the Portland area to move faster and better coordinate to address challenges viewed by unnamed donors as the greatest challenges in the city.

Many of the things they want to do, from creating safe homes for people on the streets to reducing gun violence, are in great demand with voters and officials from across the political spectrum. But they do not have easy solutions and there is no broad consensus on which steps to take in the right direction.

The dark money charity People for Portland began broadcasting television spots Friday urging officials at all levels of government to “end the humanitarian crisis on our streets, reform the police force, restore public safety and cleanse our once beautiful city “.

“Portland is still full of potential, but the politicians are doing too little, too slowly, to save our broken city,” says a woman in the TV ad as black and white pictures of tent camps, graffiti and headlines about murders pass by.

“Let’s tell the politicians to do their job to save the city we love,” concludes the ad, suggesting that people go to the group’s website and sign up for unspecified future political activity.

With the group’s funders remaining largely anonymous, the two longtime political advisors who lead the campaign have a more public role in the appeal. Dan Lavey, who has worked for independents and Republicans like Chris Dudley, and Kevin Looper, who has worked for progressive causes and Democratic candidates like Governor Kate Brown, are partners in this effort.

Under state and federal campaign funding rules, it is legal for the group’s donors to remain anonymous under their establishment as a political nonprofit.

Looper said in an interview on Friday that the central problem Portland is facing is “the lack of courage among elected officials … which makes them more afraid to do wrong than to do something”.

The campaign targets every elected official with ties to the Portland area, including city officials, district officials, metro regional government councilors, the sheriff and district attorney, state lawmakers, and the Portland-home governor who is also from Portland. Through digital and television advertising, the total cost of which they rejected, Lavey and Looper plan to urge local voters to contact their elected leaders and urge them to take action on People for Portland’s priorities.

“We need to get the public more involved so … elected officials at all levels feel the heat of the people they represent,” Lavey said.

Local leaders, particularly on the Portland City Council, are already working to resolve most of the problems that People for Portland lament. But the group says they want them to get results faster.

That includes making body-worn cameras mandatory for the Portland Police Department, which the U.S. Department of Justice asked the city to enforce July. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler directed the police bureau this month to prepare for body-worn cameras, including researching various camera systems and getting bids. OPB reported. Long a vocal opponent of body-worn devices, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said she was learning how to use the technology successfully in other cities, OPB said.

People for Portland urged the city to request the body-worn cameras in a comment sent to The Oregonian / OregonLive and made separately available to the newsroom on Friday.

The city commissioners are already in the process of defining six locations where it will be built Protected Villages with showers, toilets, laundry service, psychiatric care and case managers. The move is tied to the latest from the city council politics in the evacuation of camps, which lowered the bar for the removal of “high impact” camps, in part because of the idea that people could move to the city-sanctioned villages.

The city and other regional and state government agencies also began concerted efforts to accelerate garbage collection and landfill cleaning in the Portland area after service cuts and lack of coordination resulted in solid waste accumulations around the city during the last year. However, the group says governments have more to do and “professional sanitation is an expected basic function of government”.

In addition, People for Portland wants Multnomah County’s District Attorney Mike Schmidt and other prosecutors to “prosecute those involved in violence and vandalism” during demonstrations, according to a form letter posted on the group’s website. Schmidt has obtained guilty pleadings and multi-year prison sentences for several people charged with arson, window smashing and other vandalism in connection with nighttime protests in downtown and other parts of the city.

People for Portland Cities Survey paid for by FM3 Research as proof that many Portlanders agree with its priorities and want local executives to deliver faster results. According to the group, a poll of more than 800 likely voters conducted more than three months ago showed that 84% of respondents agreed that tent camps are a “humanitarian emergency” that requires more urgent action from city and county officials, and 85% supported it Redirecting existing taxpayers’ money to create “50 Safe Sanitary Villages” for the homeless across the city. When it comes to public safety, the group cites survey results that found 62% of respondents said the Portland police force could be reformed, 91% supported police body cameras, and 49% believed the city had too few police officers. 84 percent of respondents agreed that law enforcement agencies “should aggressively pursue the small number of people who use protests to cover for property damage and violence”.

Finally, People for Portland asked if Portland voters would stand against the city and county incumbents in the next election if things didn’t get better. Almost nine out of ten eligible voters surveyed said they did.

A poll of 300 Portland residents conducted by Portland firm DHM Research for The Oregonian / OregonLive over a very similar period April 30 through May 6 found that 42% said the city should hire more police officers . Most of the city dwellers surveyed said the police presence should remain unchanged (30%) or decrease (24%).

Lavey and Looper repeatedly pointed out a short timeframe – Looper suggested two years – in which elected leaders need to make significant improvements to prevent Portland from becoming a “lost city” in which a critical mass of people have decided not to renew commercial leases and stop supporting elements of a vibrant city like art.

Andrew Hoan, CEO and President of the Portland Business Alliance, did not immediately respond to a call Friday afternoon asking whether the group supports the People for Portland campaign.

However, two well-known business owners expressed their support. Businessman and philanthropist Jordan Schnitzer, whose commercial real estate company owns Portland real estate, said he had “been approached about funding,” met with the group, and believed the campaign had “some good goals.”

“I support anything that helps Portland get back on track,” said Schnitzer, who refused to say whether he made a donation to People for Portland.

Tim Boyle, President and CEO of Columbia Sportswear Company, was open about his support for the group in an interview Friday. “I contributed some money to surveys to validate what everyone in town thought was right,” said Boyle. “The city is close to my heart, I grew up here.”

“Every elected official in the state of Oregon, especially the senior official, is all complicit in the problem we have in Portland today,” Boyle said. “Half of them live in Portland, the other half visit Portland, and it’s a shame they don’t actively move forward on all the issues that are clearly visible to everyone.”

Boyle said some Columbia Sportswear Company employees cited problems in the city as the reason they were leaving, and some potential hires turned down jobs they should have worked in the city.

“I’m more than happy to talk about this out loud and put my name on my loudness,” said Boyle. “I’m not a black money person.”

– Hillary Borrud

hborrud@oregonian.com; @hborrud

FirstEnergy admits it managed darkish cash group began by DeWine aide

The mammoth 2019 energy rescue package scandal seemed to be getting closer to the government of Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine on Thursday.

FirstEnergy said in a deferred law enforcement agreement that the man DeWine appointed head of Ohio’s Public Utility Commission took a payment of $ 4.3 million and then on behalf of the Akron-based energy company in lieu of the top regulatory agency of the state acted.

That man, Sam Randazzo, has resigned.

But FirstEnergy also helped control a 501 (c) (4) “dark money” group set up by a senior DeWine advisor when he was a FirstEnergy lobbyist, the agreement showed. The company headed under a successful $ 61 million expense to buy a $ 1.3 billion rescue package funded by the installment payers, the document signed by FirstEnergy says.

While acting US Attorney Vipal J. Patel beat up the dark money group, DeWine and the adviser, Legislative Director Dan McCarthy, did not respond to requests for comment. DeWine has steadfastly defended McCarthy since the scandal started almost exactly a year ago.

Patel held a press conference in Cincinnati Thursday to announce that his office had a Deferred charge agreement with FirstEnergy. The company will pay $ 230 million and, if it meets the terms of the deal, drop a conspiracy charge.

Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, has been charged on the case. He was stripped of his spokesmanship last year and was expelled from the House earlier this year.

Two of the Householder employees indicted in the case pleaded guilty and a third, Neil Clark, took his own life March.

For its part, FirstEnergy fired CEO Chuck Jones and two other executives and is conducting its own investigation.

In Cincinnati, Patel stressed on Wednesday that the investigation was ongoing. But he didn’t want to comment on anything other than the agreement with FirstEnergy.

DeWine advisor McCarthy has not been charged and last summer denied wrongdoing. But Partners for Progress, the black money group he founded, was the subject of the indictment agreement.

McCarthy, then FirstEnergy lobbyist, founded it, “Weeks after certain executives at FirstEnergy Corp. traveled with (Householder) in the FirstEnergy Corp. jet for inauguration (of Donald Trump) in January 2017, ”the agreement says.

The indictment agreement added, “Although Partners for Progress looked like an independent 501 (c) (4) on paper, in reality it was in part used by certain former executives of FirstEnergy Corp. controls who funded them and directed their payments to companies associated with public officials.

“For example, FirstEnergy Corp. formed Partners for Progress and decided to incorporate the company in Delaware, not Ohio, as Delaware law made it more difficult for third parties to get background information about the company. Certain executives at FirstEnergy Corp. were also involved in the selection of the three directors of Partners for Progress, two of whom were lobbyists for FirstEnergy Corp. were.”

Millions would flow through Partners for Progress while McCarthy was its president, and tens of millions more would later run through it and into the furious efforts to get the bailout off after McCarthy stepped down to become DeWine’s director of legislative affairs in early 2019 .

The indictment agreement also appears to designate McCarthy as “Official Advisor 1” as he worked on DeWine’s behalf to enforce the bailout that DeWine would sign later that year.

It cited emails from energy managers saying Official Aide 1 and others were “fighting” to extend the life of a rescue package for two failed nuclear reactors in Northern Ohio. It also cites a text message discussion between a FirstEnergy manager and the aide about language that would make it harder to challenge the bailout in a referendum.

And at the press conference, Patel said the scandal would never have happened had it not been for the black money group, of which McCarthy was president, and another, Generation Now, pleaded guilty.

“This effort would not have been possible – in terms of both the type and the amount of money provided – without the use of 501 (c) (4) s,” said Patel.

The acting US attorney described the plan and even the name of McCarthy’s former black money group as dishonest.

“According to the (tax) code, these should be charities. Do you all see a lot of welfare? Not me, “said Patel, adding,” What about those names? Partner for progress? Which partners are there here? The conspirators? How is the progress? Carrying out (saving energy) through bribery?

While DeWine’s office did not answer questions on Thursday, the governor defended its director of legislative affairs in February.

“As far as I know, Dan McCarthy was respected for many, many years, long before he was our legislative director, and I have confidence in his integrity,” said DeWine.

For Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democrat who challenges DeWine in the 2022 election, that’s not good enough.

“Today’s charges make it clear that this corruption case is reaching the highest levels of government in Ohio,” she said in a statement. “Enough is enough. It is time for Governor DeWine to speak about his knowledge and involvement in this scandal.”

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A number of REvil ransomware websites are down on the darkish internet

Dark websites in connection with the REvil ransomware gang were not operational on Tuesday morning, CNBC has confirmed.

It’s not clear what caused the ransomware-as-service group’s websites to go down on Tuesday. Visitors to the last active sites were greeted with the message “A server with the specified host name could not be found”.

The disappearance of REvil’s publicly accessible websites associated with Russia, also known as Sodinokibi, follows an international ransomware outbreak on July 2nd, for which the group had received credit.

A National Security Council official declined to comment on Tuesday morning to CNBC.

On Friday, President Joe Biden was asked by a reporter whether it “makes sense” for the United States to attack the computer servers that have hosted ransomware attacks.

“Yes,” Biden replied.

A National Security Council official told reporters later that day that US authorities expected action against ransomware groups soon.

“We will not telegraph what exactly these actions will be,” said the official.

“Some of them will be manifest and visible, others may not. But we expect them to take place in the days and weeks to come.”

Zoom In Icon Arrows pointing outwards

John Hultquist of Mandiant Threat Intelligence told CNBC on Tuesday, “The situation is still developing, but there is evidence that REvil has suffered planned simultaneous destruction of its infrastructure, either by the operators themselves or by industry or law enforcement action .

“If it was a disruption operation, all the details may never be revealed,” Hultquist added in an email.

He also said analysis shows that “known websites associated with the REvil ransomware RaaS are offline or unresponsive.”

“REvil’s darknet (.onion) and clearnet (decoder.re) websites are offline, and while we can’t see exactly how their darknet sites were shut down, the domain of their clearnet site simply stopped being in an IP address and its dedicated name to resolve servers are still online, “said Hultquist.

CNBC policy

Read more about CNBC’s political coverage:

In addition to the July 2nd attack, REvil The group is also believed to have attacked computers recently associated JBSwhich forced the world’s largest meat packer to cease operations in the United States for a day in June and also suspended operations in Australia.

JBS paid the equivalent of $ 11 million in ransom to get the gang to reverse the attack.

Bleeping Computer’s Lawrence Abrams tweeted earlier Tuesday that the REvil sites were down.

Several cybersecurity officials later confirmed this report to CNBC.

Ransomware attacks involve malware that encrypts files on a device or network, causing the system to become inoperable. Criminals behind such cyberattacks usually request payment in exchange for the release of data.

The FBI previously warned victims of ransomware attacks that paying a ransom could encourage further malicious activity.

The latest ransomware attack, announced earlier this month by Florida-based software provider Kaseya, spread to at least six European countries, breaking the networks of thousands in the United States.

In May, a hacking group called DarkSide with alleged links to Russian criminals launched one Ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline forcing the US company shut down around 5,500 miles of pipeline.

It cut fuel supplies to the east coast by nearly half, causing fuel shortages in the southeast and disruption to airlines. Colonial Pipeline paid a $ 5 million ransom to the cyber criminals to restart operations.

A few weeks after the attack, US law enforcement agencies were able to recover $ 2.3 million worth of bitcoins from the hacking group.

How Darkish Cash Threatens Us All

Periodically, we hear from authoritative sources that the art market is a leading vehicle for money laundering by villains of all stripes – drug lords, seedy oligarchs, kleptocrats, terrorists, and the like. The art trade lends itself to such abuses because of the privacy and opacity of the shops. Most recently, on July 19, the New York Times published a huge one items on the subject of “As Money Launderers Buy Dalis, US Looks At Lifting The Veil”.

As with most reports of this type, the reader remains dissatisfied and wonders how it all works, why it continues and whether it matters to the rest of us. The answer is yes it does. The global art market is an integral part of the alternative dark money economy used by authoritarian regimes to stay in power and undermine Western-style democracies.

Last July, the US Senate published a report with details that we seldom see. describes how around 18 million dollars were allegedly laundered through art for the prominent Rotenberg brothers, sanctioned Russian energy and construction oligarchs near Putin.

We rarely see such details, especially in the news media, as the details often concern litigious oligarchs with ultra-powerful lawyers. (Thank goodness the Senate can’t be sued that easily.) As always, history is “the tip of the iceberg” while the global art market “is valued at around $ 64 billion and the US accounts for 44 percent”. of the share “. This is the usual chorus and, as always, puzzling questions arise. If the market is so opaque, how can anyone tell their overall size, or America’s share in it? Above all, why should we worry and how does that affect us or what is important to us?

I spent my early years as a journalist writing about the illegal art and antiques world from the late 1980s onwards. I know what I’m talking about more than most. It’s a nefarious hall with cracked mirrors to be safe. But again, what the heck – aren’t we talking about a rare elitist world of activity with no practical impact on our monotonous lives? Is it important? Yes, it does. It hurts us badly and fits in perfectly with the geopolitical concerns of this column. Because while global dark money travels unhindered around the world, it feeds the alternative world economy of authoritarian regimes and funds their undermining of Western values ​​and interests everywhere. This column has often dealt with the subject of “odorless” commodities, the political threat they pose, currency substitutes like oil, gold, uranium, cryptocurrency, drugs, and dark money havens like real estate, big soccer teams and the like. Art is another. Let’s explore further.

At the simplest level, you come to an complicit art dealer with loads of illegal cash and they agree to launder it. He uses your money to buy a painting (probably by himself) and sells the painting back to himself, possibly using a mailbox company in between. During the transactions, he deposited the money in the bank. He then takes it out and gives it back to you (minus his commission). Your money is now laundered. That is with drug money customers or other customers who want to be completely in the dark. However, if you’re a big oligarch, start a mailbox company and buy the painting from the dealer. The dealer gets the money and deposits it in a bank, which means it is now laundered and in circulation. Another mailbox company buys the painting from the first mailbox company. The title of ownership can switch between mailbox companies. At some point, you can sell it back to the dealer, or even auction it off, using the owning mailbox company as the official seller. Anyone trying to find out who owns the mailbox company has an endless task, as they are often registered in offshore locations with sparse disclosure rules. More on that later. These are just a simple example or two. The greatest oligarchs can choose to operate in broad daylight while using such methods on the side because an art collection or a yacht, etc. gives them seriousness.

Somewhere in the process, for example in the oligarch example, a painting becomes a currency substitute. You can sell shares in it to get cash or to maximize its value. This is a great way to help other oligarchs launder their money. Basically, the painting behaves like the gold in Fort Knox during the gold standard. You spend paper money against the value of the painting in the safe. Because of this, the total dollar size of the global art market has exploded in recent years and cannot be quantified. Note that only a controversial painting like “Salvator Mundi” fetched half a billion dollars at auction. Unlike real estate or gold, there is no register of the public exchange rate of a work of art once it shows up and secretly changes hands, dealers and investors. The work itself never has to move. It can stay in a secure home, free port, or vault anywhere. You only know the true market value when a work of art is publicly auctioned. Even at auctions, the price can be artificially driven up by a cabal of operators who want the artist in question to increase in value because they bought him / her privately elsewhere.

The key here is that, especially in the contemporary category, no one knows the true value of anything resembling art, as there is no sure way to determine it. There is no generally accepted measure of skill, quality or beauty as a universal criterion. With gold and oil and real estate, global markets create demand-driven value despite their usefulness as an anonymous parking space for money. Not so with contemporary art, a commodity that nobody actually needs. As such, the artwork is purely symbolic, not dissimilar to cryptocurrency, and the newest such vehicle is the NFT or Non-Fungible Token. Here is a report that states that NFT trades have reached $ 2.5 billion

NFTs are essentially just digitally created visual images that exist in some sort of digital vault against which digital copies are sold. They occupy the no man’s land between art and cryptocurrency. And that is more and more the way of art.

All of this corresponds to the proverbial need for secrecy among oligarchs. It’s not uncommon for stocks or property to be exchanged via a handshake, and not just for art. There are many examples of disputes going on in court (very often in London) over such paperless “honorable” deals that get sour between post-Soviet oligarchs. The famous case by Boris Berezovski, who fell out with Putin and (allegedly) killed himself a year after losing a billion-dollar lawsuit in 2012 with Roman Abramovich, famous owner of Chelsea football club. The decisive factor in these changing deals and disputes is not so much an oligarch’s asset portfolio, but the underlying guarantor of his financial position, the political power in the country of origin of his wealth. For the Russians, it is their relationship with Putin. In Turkey it’s Erdogan. In Venezuela, it’s Maduro. For Ukrainians, it depends more on how much money you’ve invested in politicians.

If you are politically out of favor, you cannot save all the world’s assets, for all too often, if a formal title exists, the rule of law has been dubiously acquired in a country with poor males, primarily through nepotism, bribery or kleptocracy. As a result, property is all too easily challenged in foreign courts until you go broke. Likewise, what you, shall we say, have in Russia can be taken away from you. Therefore, most tend to believe that oligarchs who are still successful at home and abroad are agents of their national regime. Unless they are extensions of Moscow that affect the political life of their own post-Soviet country or beyond. And this is about the rest of us. Oligarchs who park their money in art or real estate or the like have to act sooner or later as instruments of an alternative political order that is hostile to Western democracy and the rule of law.

What does that mean in practice? It means exploiting and thereby undermining the institutions of freedom that sustain our lives – through disinformation, by infusing foreign funds into our political and legal system, by binding our courts, by feeding lots of money into the legal brotherhood and thus making it free to speak in different ways, by secretly spying on each other and thereby exploiting journalists and politicians. Suppress our freedom of expression? Yes, see for example the London lawsuits against authors / journos who have written investigative books on Putin and others. Here is one example. Spy on everyone? Yes, also through ours Cell phones.

The West finally seems to be waking up to the threat of dark money. Last month, lawmakers launched a number of initiatives to address the problem. Here is a list of them by a top Helsinki Commission policy advisor, Paul Massaro

It begins on June 2nd, with Congress announcing the caucus against foreign corruption and kleptocracy. The next day, President Biden declared corruption to be a “core problem of US national security”. Several other points follow, including a June 13 G7 statement, including taking action against “corruption, letterbox companies, the ability of illegal actors to hide wealth, including in real estate”. The list goes on, at one point the Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, who lives in Austria, is quoted by name, who is said to have used his money from Moscow’s Gazprom to influence politics in Ukraine. All of these initiatives sound active and dynamic, but the proof of the pudding shows when they are put into practice – where they often fall short due to endless legal obstacles funded by the oligarchs’ huge litigation coffers.

the guardAre our places a playground for bullies? Just ask Catherine Belton | Nick Cohen

ReutersNFT sales volume grows to $ 2.5 billion in the first half of 2021

POLITICSInvestigation in Congress: Russian oligarchs use art to evade sanctions

New York TimesWhile money launderers are buying Dalís, the US is trying to lift the veil on art sales

Jasmine Cephas Jones Shines in Starz Darkish Comedy ‘Blindspotting’ | Leisure

Ashley played by the effortlessly responsive Jasmine Cephas JonesShe has an unhappy new year at Starz’s Blind spotting: Her 12-year-old partner Miles (Rafael Casal) is arrested for drug possession and destroys her near-bourgeois life in Oakland.

She and her son Sean (Atticus Woodward) are forced to move in with Miles’ mother, Rainey (the star) Helen Hunt) and his intense half-sister Trish (Jaylen Barron). And this is where the real story begins in this 2018 spin-off of the critically acclaimed dark comedy – both from the minds of Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) and Casal.

The free-spirited Rainey appears in headphones for the first time, transports groceries and grooves on the sidewalk to Tower of Powers “We Came to Play” – or does it? The characters begin to dance and then return to the narration.

We never know what’s coming. And despite the gravity of Miles’ plight, there is lively dialogue and comedic situations: he is on the phone on a smuggled “butt-phone” from prison; a weed-fueled night ends in a cook-off.

(Image credit: Starz)

When Ashley raises her 6-year-old in the midst of the chaos, she reconnects with a neighborhood she thought she left behind. This is the kind of show we like – weird, but with a heart.

Blindspotting, series premiere, Sunday June 13th, 9 / 8c, Starz

Letter to the editor: Deceptive advertisements funded by darkish cash PACs

It is disturbing to see the waves in the air flooded with advertisements sponsored by dark money political action committees that are full of falsehoods and half-truths. But it’s no surprise to see that Karl Rove‘s Super-PAC (American Crossroads) is against HR 1 / S.1, the For the People Act, which among other things would eliminate dark money in politics, and that US Chamber of Commerce seeks to protect the drug industry’s grossly inflated profits by preventing Medicare from negotiating drug prices.

I am all for freedom of expression, but a line should be drawn against deliberately spreading lies. At a time when the very existence of our democratic form of government is under attack, these advertisements serve no useful purpose.

Joseph Duclos
Shapleigh

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