US credit union regulator crushed Internet Archive's non-predatory, game-changing bank


The Internet Archive's Brewster Kahle writes, "We founded a credit union to build a new path after the banking debacle of 2008 and it's been crushed by federal regulators. The regulators close 200-300 credit unions every year, and have been since their founding of the NCUA in 1970. Only a couple are allowed to start each year. We were one of four in our year." 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

House GOP defends the right of racist car-dealers to overcharge people of color


House Bill HR1737 will create penalties for auto-lenders who substantially overcharge black and latino customers through gouging on dealer markups. Read the rest

TPP will let banks write their own regulations and stick taxpayers with the bill


One of the most controversial aspects of the secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership is its inclusion of investor-state dispute settlements (ISDS) -- a procedure that allows a corporation to sue governments to get rid of laws that undermine its profitability. ISDSs epitomize everything that's messed up in "trade" agreements, have resulted in corporations being given billions of dollars in tax-payer money in "compensation" for environmental, safety and labor laws; and, most notoriously, were used by Philip Morris to attack countries that passed laws aimed at reducing smoking. 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

Complexity of financial crimes makes crooks unconvictable


Following a mistrial in the Dewey & LeBoeuf case -- a complex financial fraud involving a tony white-shoe law firm -- Bloomberg tries to analyze what happened to the jury, who were unable to convict despite four months of hearings and 22 days' worth of deliberations. Read the rest

Solder a 0.3mm chip onto a credit card and Chip-and-PIN is yours to pwn


No one's exactly sure how fraudsters stole over $680,000 from hijacked chip-and-PIN credit cards in Belgium, because the cards are still evidence and can't be subjected to a full tear-down but based on the X-rays of the tampered cards, it's a good bet that the thieves glued a 0.3mm hobbyist FUN chip over the card's own chip, and programmed it to bypass all PIN entries. Read the rest

Eric Holder: I didn't prosecute bankers for reasons unrelated to my $3M/year law firm salary


The Intercept's Dan Froomkin played turd-in-the-punchbowl at outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder's victory lap party at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reception on Wednesday, asking why Holder had declined to put one single banker in jail for the monumental frauds that collapsed the world's economy in 2007-9. Read the rest

Bankers' "Vulnerability Index": scoring employees' desperation


Back in 2009, SF author Peter Watts had dinner with a retired investment banker from TD who described the bank's "vulnerability index" -- a numeric score that expresses how desperate you are for your paycheck and thus the extent to which you can be reliably expected to forego your dignity and principles to keep your check intact. Read the rest

Litigation Finance predators: champerty loves company


Litigation Finance involves loaning people money in return for the right to finance a lawsuit in their names. On its face, there's lots to love about this: it's a financial jiu-jitsu that turns every abusive act from a giant company into a target for an investor. The bigger the bully -- the deeper its pockets -- the more financiers there'll be waiting to sue it on your behalf when it screws you over. Read the rest

Bitcoin Ponzi operator pleads guilty over $150M fraud


Bitcoin Savings & Trust founder Trendon Shavers pleaded guilty to fraud over his company's Ponzi scheme, whose victims believed they would earn one percent interest every three days -- an annual rate of 3,641 percent. Read the rest

Naomi Klein, David Suzuki, Leonard Cohen, Donald Sutherland and Ellen Page's vision for a better Canada

The Leap Manifesto calls for a Canada remade as "a country powered entirely by renewable energy, woven together by accessible public transit, in which the opportunities of this transition are designed to eliminate racial and gender inequality." Read the rest

UK Labour Party elects its first left-wing leader in more than 20 years

After decades of Blairite, New Labour politics that catered to banks, built out mass surveillance and attacked unions and the working poor, the UK Labour Party has elected a genuine left-wing leader, by a landslide: democratic socialist Jeremy Corbyn. Read the rest

DoJ says it will consider jailing executives who order corporate crimes

The doctrine under former AG Eric Holder (documented in Matt Taibbi's brilliant The Divide) was to allow executives to pay fines that were less than the profits from their crimes. Read the rest

Record street-marches in Moldova against corrupt oligarchs

The impoverished, corrupt former Soviet state has erupted over a banking fraud that saw $1B disappear from the system, presumably into the offshore accounts of President Nicolae Timofti and his elite cronies. Read the rest

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