Amazing photos from Kinshasa's scrap car-parts megamarket

The N’Djili district of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo is home to an enormous market of scrap auto-parts, carefully salvaged from Japan's waste-stream and meticulously arrayed on blankets by merchants eking out a marginal existence. Read the rest

Entrepreneurs explain how Obamacare let them found businesses and create jobs

Obamacare has some significant structural problems, all stemming from the way it gives the whip-hand to insurance companies, who get to demand ever-larger sums from both the government and Obamacare users; nevertheless, the ability to get insurance makes an enormous difference for people contemplating starting innovative businesses and stepping away from big, lumbering corporations that are big enough to extend coverage to their employees. Read the rest

Superstar academic economists charge $1000+/hr to defend disastrous corporate megamergers

In 1977 Richard Posner (then a prof at the University of Chicago's notorious ultra-libertarian school; now a federal judge) teamed up with an economist and law student to form Lexecon, which has since grown to a firm worth more than $130,000,000, whose major business is to serve as intellectual guns-for-hire who will produce plausible-seeming economic models defending giant corporate mergers against anti-trust regulators. Read the rest

Steve Bannon wants to deport Asian-born tech CEOs to preserve "civil society"

White supremacist media baron Steve Bannon ran Donald Trump's campaign; now he is Trump's presidential Chief Strategist. Last year, he did an interview in which he declared his belief that people from Asia who attend top US universities and found and run successful US firms should be kicked out of the country because they represented a threat to "civil society." Read the rest

Yes, humans are capable of creating a happy and successful liberal society: The Netherlands

As U.S. headlines bombard us with proof of how low humanity can go, here's a look at a happy, peaceful, and prosperous country -- The Netherlands -- to remind us that it is actually possible for the human race to get it right. If people want to change present circumstances through liberal ideals, it's helpful to look at a liberal, politically stable country with a strong and open economy. Also known as Holland, the country does not have the same history and culture that creates the inherent social and economic problems in the U.S., but it is clearly moving in the right direction -- forward.

It's a great destination for liberal ex-patriates looking for a place to live and work -- especially in the tech sector -- that already has its shit together, in case you really are now considering moving out of the country. Staying or going, it makes sense to see what a liberal society looks like and how it works. 

We've compiled a list of facts about The Netherlands to show you what humans can do when they're not fighting en masse on Twitter:

The Dutch government plans to ban the sales of petrol and diesel-powered cars in 2025Healthiest country in the world for dietKeeps closing prisons due to a lack of prisonersFirst to legalize same-sex marriageHighest concentration of museums in the worldHighest English-proficiency in the world where it is not first languageHighest population density in EuropeHome to more bikes than peopleCycling in the Netherlands is the safest in the worldAmsterdam’s Schiphol airport offers more direct flights than any airport in the world83 percent of the population live in urban areas but there are few high risesLargely secular country: up to 40 percent of Dutch say they have no religion, 30 percent are Catholic, and 20 percent are Protestant. Read the rest

US foreclosure map predicts US battleground states map

Tom Adams, a lawyer and 20-year veteran of the securitization business, compares a map of America's largest foreclosure inventories with a map of key battleground states. Read the rest

A Spotify bug thrashed subscribers' drives for the past five months

The Mac/Win/Lin versions of Spotify wrote hundreds of gigabytes of bad data per day to their 40,000,000 users, thrashing their drives. Read the rest

Senate investigates Wells Fargo retaliations against whistleblowers

One after another, ex-Wells Fargo employees have come forward to reveal that when they blew the whistle of millions of frauds committed against the bank's customers, the bank's management fired them and blackballed them from the banking industry for life, by falsifying claims of wrongdoing on a semi-secret list of corrupt bankers that is consulted by the industry before they make new hires. Read the rest

John Oliver shreds multi-level-marketing pyramid schemes

Oliver's 30+ minute investigative piece on Mary Kay, Amway, Herbalife, Avon, Rodan and Fields and the rest of the MLM basket of deplorables shows how the Facebook era has supercharged these semi-criminal enterprises, entrapping thousands of people in a cycle of debt and deception that is fuelled by celebrity endorsers, including Madeline Albright. Read the rest

That time Walt Disney's oppo researchers claimed his business rival was laundering money for Jimmy Hoffa

Len Testa writes, "Back in the early 1960's, Walt was interested in buying and developing the Mineral King ski area in California, which was being put up for sale by the U.S. government. Another potential bidder on the project was industrialist Robert Brandt, husband of Hollywood actress Janet Leigh." Read the rest

Canadians are getting "blackmailed" by US copyright trolls

Copyright trolls like LA-based CEG TEK are exploiting Canada's "notice-and-notice" copyright system to force ISPs to pass on extortion letters to their customers, threatening them with dire consequences unless they pay hundreds of dollars to settle unsubstantiated accusations of copyright infringement. Read the rest

Sole and Despotic Dominion: how a 20th century copyright law is abolishing property for humans (but not corporations)

In the 18th century, William Blackstone wrote the seminal "Commentaries on the Laws of England," which contained one of the foundational definitions of property: "that sole and despotic dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in total exclusion of the right of any other individual in the universe." Read the rest

British curry restaurants say the Tories betrayed them on Brexit

People involved in the £4B UK curry industry overwhelmingly backed Brexit on the promise of future easing off of visa requirements for curry chefs from south Asia, hoping to reverse the current waves of curry restaurant closures driven by a lack of skilled chefs. Read the rest

Donald Trump weaponized fine-print to make it impossible to sue Wall Street for fraud

In 1993, Donald Trump won a lawsuit brought by his investors that alleged he had defrauded them by lying in a prospectus; his defense was that his "perfect prospectus" contained lies, but it also contained enough fine-print cautioning investors about the possibility of lies that it was their own fault that he cheated them. Incredibly, the judge (a pre-Supreme Court Samuel Alito!) bought this. Read the rest

Cable prices have risen at more than double the rate of inflation for 20 years

Average US inflation since 1995 has been 2.2%; in the same time, cable TV prices have increased by 5.8% per year on average. Read the rest

Wells Fargo blackballed employees who refused to commit fraud, forcing them out of the industry forever

Earlier this month, Planet Money aired an interview with a Wells Fargo whistleblower who was fired for trying to alert the bank to the millions of criminal frauds being committed against its customers, and we learned that the whistleblower had been added to a confidential blacklist used by the finance industry, preventing her from ever getting work in the industry again. Read the rest

Office space for happy mutants in San Francisco's Mission District

My dear friend Bruce Tomb -- accomplished architect and creator of Maria del Camino, a "flying" art-car made from a 59 El Camino and a tank -- is renting out office space in his building in the middle of San Francisco's Mission District. Read the rest

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