Goldman Sachs really only has to pay half of its settlement for world-destroying financial fraud

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The headline figure of a $5B settlement that Goldman will have to pay after admitting to the toxic-asset fraud that led to the global economic collapse is just window-dressing: in the fine print are exemptions and giveaways that could cut that number in half. Read the rest

Congresscritters spend 4 hours/day on the phone, begging for money

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John Oliver is, as always, a flamethrower crisping the Shield of Boringness that protects a corrupt, terrible system: this time, it's Congressional fundraising, which sends our elected reps off-site for four hours a day to a cubicle-filled call-center where they strap on a headset and wheedle strangers for money, and, on every third day, sends them to DC restaurants to host rubber-chicken fundraiser dinners. Read the rest

John Oliver versus credit-reporting and background checks

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1 in 20 credit reports contains grave errors that seriously harm the people whom the reporting bureaus are libeling; the credit reporting industry -- which controls access to rental accommodation, employment, and loans -- says this is proof that the system is working, because they're only ruining the lives of 10,000,000 people. Read the rest

Tax investigators and bill collectors use Rich Kids of Instagram to uncover oligarchs' hidden millions

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One of the perks of being insanely wealthy is you can hide your money, so when you rip people off or hide your taxes or divorce your spouse, your victims can't figure out how to get their due. Read the rest

The international art market is a money laundry whose details are in the Panama Papers

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If you've got $50M you need to hide, and want to be able to move around invisibly, what better way than to buy a painting through a secret, numbered offshore account, stick it in a vault in Basel, whence you can liquidate it, retrieve it, and move it on a moment's notice. Read the rest

Man recreates TSA's $47,400 "head this way" app in 10 minutes

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TSA guards at airports had a new weapon in their arsenal in 2014: tablets that they held up to randomly direct travelers into different lines. According to the TSA's documentation, they spent $47k developing the app that did this. In this YouTube video, Chris Pacia develops a clone of the app in a few minutes.

The implication is that the TSA is astoundingly wasteful: Kevin Burke's FOIA request reveals a total spend of up to $336k to develop and distribute the related software, and about $1m more for the actual devices and training. Use of the app was discontinued by the TSA in any case.

You know, I've been thinking about it a while, and while they obviously have travelers' safety and best interests at heart, after seeing TSA guards ostentatiously standing with their arrow apps and "swiping" travelers this way and that, I'm beginning to suspect – forgive me! – that this whole deal might have had more to do with the appearance of security than the real thing. Crazy, right? And that in the absence of any real objectives, expertise or oversight, these guys are easily taken to the cleaners by opportunistic contractors. Someone should figure out a snappy phrase to describe this "theater of security" and do something about it. [via r/PoliticalVideos] Read the rest

Banned on China's Internet: all discussion of the Panama Papers

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On Sunday, 100 news outlets published the first tranche of articles based on the largest leak in history, 2.6TB worth of records from Mossack Fonseca, the third-largest lawfirm specializing in confidential offshore shell-companies. Read the rest

Pollster explains how Chamber of Commerce can steamroller empathetic execs into opposing progressive policies

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The US Chamber of Commerce is a business lobbying group that fights against paid family leave, increases in the minimum wage, rules protecting sick time and guaranteeing predictable work-times and hours. Read the rest

Iceland's Prime Minister says he won't resign, mass demonstrations gain momentum

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After storming out of an interview where he was questioned about his ownership of an offshore company implicated in the Icelandic banking scandal, Iceland's Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, has said he will not resign (he did apologize for doing a bad job on the interview). Read the rest

Panama Papers reveal the tax-avoidance strategies of David Cameron's father

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The fact that Ian Cameron -- father of UK Prime Minister David Cameron -- ran a firm called "Blairmore Holdings" that rich Britons used to move their assets offshore and out of reach of UK taxation is no secret. Read the rest

Panama Papers: Largest leak in history reveals political and business elite hiding trillions in offshore havens

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An anonymous source has handed 2.6TB worth of records from Mossack Fonseca, one of the world's largest offshore law firms, to a consortium of news outlets, including The Guardian. Read the rest

33 state Democratic parties launder $26M from millionaires for Hillary

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The Supreme Court's 2014 McCutcheon v FEC ruling eliminated aggregate caps on individual campaign donations, and this paved the way for the DNC and the Hillary Victory Fund to collaborate with 33 state-level Democratic parties to accept $10,000 donations from the millionaires and billionaires who back Clinton, kicking them back up to Hillary, allowing each couple to donate up to $1.32M to the Clinton campaign. Read the rest

White SC cops pull black passenger out of car, take turns publicly cavity-searching him

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White cops from Aiken, SC improperly stopped a car driven by a black woman (they claimed the stop was motivated by temporary tags, but driving with current temporary tags is not grounds for a stop), then improperly questioned her passenger, who voluntarily gave them his ID, then induced a drug dog to "alert" on the car, then forced both black people to expose themselves in public, culminating with two officers taking turns sticking their fingers up the passenger's rectum, again, in public. Read the rest

Four days in, and the BBC hasn't even mentioned the biggest bribery scandal in history

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On Wednesday, Fairfax and Huffington Post broke the Unaoil story, revealing that they had been leaked a trove of email from an obscure Monaco family business that had acted as a global fixer in bribery and bid-rigging that looted the treasuries and oil-fields of some of the world's poorest countries, from Iraq to Yemen, acting on behalf of blue-chip companies like Rolls-Royce and Halliburton. Read the rest

After biggest bribery scandal in history, police raids and investigations

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It's been two days since the first article detailing the contents of a trove of leaked emails from Unaoil, an obscure family company from Monaco that was revealed to be the fixers in a global web of bribery in corruption that helped the biggest blue-chip companies on earth loot the oil-fields of some of the world's most vulnerable, poor, and war-torn nations. Read the rest

Qatar's World Cup stadium is being built by modern slaves

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Qatar, one of the worst places in the world to be a worker (even the flight attendants experience human rights abuses), was picked to host the 2022 football world cup by the famously corrupt FIFA organization, despite the physical danger to spectators (and athletes!) from the incredible temperatures. Read the rest

"Reputation management" companies apparently induce randos to perjure themselves by pretending to be anonymous posters

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Pissedconsumer has noticed that a bunch of "reputation management" companies are filing lawsuits to get anonymous customer complaints removed, and very quickly identifying the anonymous posters, who swear affidavits okaying the removal of their complaints. Read the rest

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