Elizabeth Warren asks why criminal bankers are too big to jail

There were 800 convictions in the S&L crisis, but the DOJ hasn't prosecuted a single banker involved in the financial crisis; as Matt Taibbi points out in the brilliant, essential book The Divide, if shutting down a huge bank would impose too many costs on society, then why don't prosecutors insist that the banks be split up as a condition of not dropping the entire C-suite into the deepest dungeon in the nation?

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Elizabeth Warren speaks for allowing states to limit campaign finance

It's a stirring Congressional speech in support of Tom Udall's (D-NM) Constitutional amendment.

(via Reddit)

Mayday anti-super-PAC backs anti-corruption senate candidate in NH GOP primary

Brian from Mayday.US writes, "Lessig's anti-corruption Mayday PAC is entering its toughest race of this election cycle - supporting pro-campaign finance reform NH Senatorial candidate Jim Rubens in the Republican Primary against Scott Brown. Lawrence Lessig's anti-corruption Mayday PAC has just launched an online tool where supporters of campaign finance reform across the nation can call voters on the phone and urge them to come to the polls and vote for reform. Its first test is this Tuesday, September 9th."

Scott Brown Senate campaign threatens Lessig for calling him a "lobbyist"

Colin Reed, the campaign manager for Scott Brown's primary race, says that because senate rules don't define his boss as a lobbyist, he'll use his "legal options" against Lessig (Brown, a former Mass. state senator, works for "Nixon Peabody, a law and lobby firm, as counsel").

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Kleargear's parent company issues hilarious press release about company's future


The shady ripoff merchants are doing so well they're going to start selling through Amazon, and their apparently imaginary bricks-and-mortar sister company Gift World is shutting down.

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Market Basket victory: worker-friendly, fair business trounces looting klepto-investors


(WBUR)

The beloved, profitable, worker-friendly Market Basket grocery chain is back in the hands of former CEO Arthur T Demoulas, following a mass worker and management revolt at the news that Demoulas's cousin, Arthur S Demoulas, was taking over the company, bringing in a notorious former Radio Shack CEO, and getting set to break up and sell off the company in order to extract higher dividends for shareholders.

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City of London Police reject FOIA request for their dealings with copyright lobbyists

They say they have so much correspondence with the industry, and are apparently so incompetent at searching their own records, that they can't fulfil the request without being unduly burdened, and thus they are not required to comply with the Freedom of Information request.

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Hedge funds gave Mugabe $100M for genocide, got platinum mines in return


Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe unleashed a storm of brutal, genocidal violence after losing the 2008 elections -- and now we know that it was funded by western hedge-funds and banks, led by Och-Ziff Capital Management, the largest publicly traded fund, with assistance from Blackrock, GLG Partners, and Credit Suisse, who raised $100M for Mugabe's weapons and torture-chambers in exchange for a sweetheart deal on the country's platinum mines.

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Anti-super PAC ads from anti-super PAC super PACs

Both Mayday and Counterpac -- who are raising super PAC money to elect politicians who'll vote against taking money from super PACs -- have released new campaign videos that beautifully lampoon the kind of political discourse we get from dark-money elections.

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Spoof "honest candidate" campaign in Kentucky's $100M Senate race

Brian from Mayday.US writes, "Represent.us, a campaign finance reform and anti-corruption group, is running a satire candidate, Gil Fulbright, (though for the right amount of campaign donations, he's willing to change his name to Phillip Mamouf-Wifarts), in the Kentucky Senate race that is expected to cost more than $100 million."

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Have your say on TSA tax-hike

If you'd rather that the cost of US airline tickets not rise an average of 5% to pay for additional invasive and largely pointless TSA screening, you can tell them so. (Thanks, Dwen!)

Wall Street as cause and beneficiary of skyrocketing university tuition

A deep, carefully argued, carefully research report from Debt and Society makes a strong case that sky-high tuition (and brutal, lifelong student debt, up 1000% in 15 years) is not primarily caused by bloated administrations or high professors' salaries. The explanation is a lot more banker-y.

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IRS says free software projects can't be nonprofits

In a disturbing precedent, the Yorba Foundation, which makes apps for GNU/Linux, has had its nonprofit status application rejected by the IRS because some of projects may benefit for-profit entities.

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How accounting forced transparency on the aristocracy and changed the world


In the 16th century, celebrated Dutch painters did a brisk trade in heroic portraits of accountants and their ledgers. That's because accounting transformed the lowlands, literally bringing accountability to the aristocracy by forcing them to keep track of, and report on, their wealth. As Jacob Soll (author of The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations) writes in the Boston Globe, from the 14th century invention of double-entry bookkeeping until the 19th century -- when accounting became a separate profession instead of something that every educated person was expected to practice -- accountancy upended the social order, elevating financial transparency to a primary virtue.

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Best-paid CEOs perform the worst


In Performance for Pay? The Relation Between CEO Incentive Compensation and Future Stock Price Performance , a paper from U of Utah business-school professors, the relationship between executive performance and executive pay is intensively investigated. The authors carefully document that the highest-paid executives in the 1,500 companies with the biggest market cops from 1994-2013 perform the worst, and that the higher a CEO's pay, the more likely it is that he'll perform worse than his low-paid colleagues. The effect was most pronounced in the 150 highest-paid CEOs.

The authors propose that sky-high pay leads CEOs to be overconfident -- after all, if they're getting $37M for a year's work, they must be pretty damned smart, so anyone who disagrees with them is clearly an idiot, after all, look at how little that critic is paid! The longer a CEO is in office, the worse his performance becomes, because he is able to pack the board with friendly cronies who keep hiking his pay and overlooking his underperformance. And CEOs suck at figuring out when to exercise their stock options, generally getting less money than they would by following conventional financial advice.

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