Shamrock shake: Pfizer's Irish "unpatriotic loophole" ducks US taxes


Pfizer's used a tax-dodge called a "reverse-inversion" to sell itself to a much smaller, Irish pharma company, moving its corporate nationality to Ireland at the stroke of a pen. Read the rest

Private funding of public services is bankrupting the UK


The right-wing Telegraph can't deny what critics have been saying since the Tony Blair years: when you use private to fund public services, the only people who benefit are the shareholders. Read the rest

America's CEOs and hedge funds are starving the nation's corporations to death


Stock buybacks (previously) allow CEOs to drive up the company's share-price by using profits to buy shares back from investors, rather than investing the money in wages, R&D, capital or expansion. Read the rest

Not (just) the War on Drugs: the difficult, complicated truth about American prisons


U Penn political scientist Marie Gottschalk has a new book out, Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics, in which she expands on her prodigious work on the root causes of America's astounding rate of incarceration. Read the rest

How big offshoring companies pwned the H-1B process, screwing workers and businesses


Giant multinational offshoring firms have figured out how to game the H1-B system, flooding the application queue with thousands of requests the instant the process opens each year. It's transformed the H1-B Visa category from a lifeline for companies who need to bring in critical foreign talent into a way to shut down whole departments in the USA and replace them with lower-cost overseas workers who are exploited far from home. Read the rest

Unevenly distributed future: America's online education system


In a characteristically insightful essay, Clay Shirky discusses the largely invisible rise of online education and dissects the causes of that invisibility: namely that the American higher education system is an iron-clad requirement for economic success, and it is remarkably bad at serving people who are already poor. Read the rest

Paid Patriotism: Pentagon spent millions bribing sports teams to recognize military service

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Army service members stand at attention and salute during the singing of the National Anthem on the field at Giants Stadium for a pre-game ceremony honoring veterans, Nov. 15. A Coast Guard detachment sang the National Anthem and were joined by a joint-service color guard before the New York Jets game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Chief Master Sgt. James A. Roy, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, presented the coin for the pre-game coin toss.(Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Randall A. Clinton)

Those big, splashy shows of gratitude to America's soldiers at halftime? They're the best patriotism the taxpayers' money can buy. Read the rest

RFID-shielded, ultra-strong duffels for carrying cash through dangerous territory


SDR Traveller caters to people who, for one reason or another, need to haul huge amounts of cash money through dangerous territory. The bags are made from a super strong, super light synthetic material designed for yacht sails, are RFID-shielded, and are rated by how much cash in US$100 bills each can carry, from the $1M Hauly Heist to the Money Pouch in denominations from $10K to $400K. Read the rest

Predatory lenders trick Google into serving ads to desperate, broke searchers


Google bans ads by predatory lenders who promise foreclosure prevention and high-rate short-term loans, but they do allow payday loan ads; when you search for "need rent money fast," the predatory lenders target you with payday loan ads that collect your information and turn it into a lead for a high-pressure sales-call from one of Google's shitlisted usurers. Read the rest

If the Kochs want criminal justice reform, why do they fund tough-on-crime GOP candidates?


The Koch brothers have done a lot to rehabilitate their reputation as Immortan Joe climate-destroyer/plutocrats by talking about criminal justice reform, a cause dear to the hearts of the libertarian right as well as the left. But when push comes to shove, the Brothers Koch would rather fund get-tough-on-crime politicians if it means attacking judges who give big awards to class action suits against giant corporations. Read the rest

America's a rigged carnival game that rips off the poor to fatten the rich


America boasts a collection of one-of-a-kind policies that send wealth from the poor to the rich: the lack of competition in cable operators gives Americans some of the most expensive Internet anywhere; the rules permitting pharma companies to pay generics companies not to make cheaper versions of off-patent drugs gives Americans the most expensive pharmaceuticals in the world. Read the rest

As America's middle class collapses, no one is buying stuff anymore

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From Walmart to Hershey to Campbell's Soup, America's biggest retailers and manufacturers are warning their shareholders that flat growth is a fact of life because of "consumer bifurcation," which is plutocrat-speak for "everyone is broke except the one percent." The companies' plan for rescuing themselves is to turn themselves into luxury brands targeted at the wealthy. Read the rest

Hallowe'en with NYC's super-rich


The New York Times's slideshow of the Hallowe'en displays of hedge-fund managers and other NYC oligarchs has some pretty impressive haunts, though nothing that justifies the socially corrosive effect of out-of-control wealth gaps. (Photo: Christian Hansen) (via 3 Quarks Daily) Read the rest

Charity with US Characteristics: how our oligarchs buy their way out of criticism

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The Koch brothers give a lot of money to universities, but on the condition that they get to approve the economics faculty. They give to public television, but only if they can cancel the airing of documentaries on climate change. They're not the only ones. Read the rest

The more unequal your society is, the more your laws will favor the rich


Political scientists and economists who've undertaken peer-reviewed research into policy outcomes have concluded that all over the world, and at every level of government, wealth inequality is correlated with corrupt policy-making in which politicians create laws and regulations that favor the rich at the expense of the wider public. Read the rest

Elite "wealth managers": Renfields to the one percent bloodsuckers


Lorq writes, "This brilliant piece of investigative research shines a light on one of the mechanisms of wealth inequality -- the secretive field of wealth management for the one percent. It's one thing to hand-wave vaguely about wealth disparity; it's quite another to become a certified expert in its procedures and institutions and then report back to the rest of us -- which is what Brooke Harrington does here. An audacious study of the enablers of the rich." Read the rest

Investing in David v Goliath: hundreds of millions slosh into litigation finance funds


Litigation finance (AKA champerty) is the practice of investing in other peoples' lawsuits, with the expectation that you will share in any court awards or settlements should your side win the case. Read the rest

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