Boing Boing 

Lawrence Lessig on how to fix America's campaign finance corruption problem

lessig_forehead

“Real reform will require changing the way campaigns are funded — moving from large-dollar private funding to small-dollar public funding,” writes professor Lawrence Lessig in a New York Times op-ed today. Basically, what if elections relied more on lots of little contributions from lots of different regular working people, instead of relying on a small number of huge donations from the rich and powerful, or the big and powerful institutions that serve their interests.

Democrats, for example, have pushed for small-dollar public funding through matching systems, like New York City’s. Under a plan by Representative John Sarbanes, Democrat of Maryland, contributions could be matched up to nine to one, for candidates who agree to accept only small donations.

Republicans, too, are increasingly calling for small-dollar funding systems. The legal scholar Richard W. Painter, a former “ethics czar” for President George W. Bush, has proposed a $200 tax rebate to fund small-dollar campaigns. Likewise, Jim Rubens, a candidate in the Republican primary for Senate in New Hampshire last year, proposed a $50 tax rebate to fund congressional campaigns.

Either approach would radically increase the number of funders in campaigns, in that way reducing the concentration of large funders that especially typifies congressional and senatorial campaigns right now.

The Only Realistic Way to Fix Campaign Finance [nytimes.com]

Molly Crabapple's dystopian take on The Great New York Stock Exchange Outage of July, 2015

What a bunch of bull.


What a bunch of bull.

“I was met by fires in the streets, the screams of the dying tourists and the shouts of former traders offering sacrifices to their new gods.” The NYSE experienced an outage of unspecific technological origin today, and Molly Crabapple is on it.

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Greek finance minister resigns


Yanis Varoufakis, a "libertarian Marxist" who played the heavy in Greece's negotiations with its creditors, has stepped down after helping to secure a historic popular mandate rejecting austerity.

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Anarchy in the UK Mastercards


Because irony is alive and well in the 21st century. I'm holding out for my Kill the Poor platinum Amex.

IRS leaks 100K taxpayers' data to identity thieves


The IRS sent extensive dossiers on 100,000 US taxpayers to identity thieves who used weak "secret security" questions to trick the agency's "Get Transcript" service.

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Anti-austerity parties soar in Spanish elections as Greece threatens default


Two new, anti-establishment parties (including one that grew out of the indignados movement -- a kind of Spanish precedent to Occupy) took key seats in regional and municipal elections in yesterday's Spanish election, which is a kind of dress rehearsal for the upcoming national elections.

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Hedge funds buy swathes of foreclosed subprimes, force up rents, float rent-bonds


When a giant hedge fund is bidding on all the foreclosed houses in a poor neighborhood, living humans don't stand a chance -- but that's OK, because rapacious investors make great landlords.

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Today's terrifying Web security vulnerability, courtesy of the 1990s crypto wars

The Logjam bug allows attackers to break secure connections by tricking the browser and server to communicate using weak crypto -- but why do browsers and servers support weak crypto in the first place?

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Finance deserves its corrupt reputation


Harvard/Chicago economist Luigi Zingales published a sharply argued, searing paper about the finance industry's reputation for corruption and social uselessness, concluding that it's largely deserved and that academic economists have a role to play in reforming it.

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Class of 2015: most indebted in history


A report (issued by a college savings business, caveat lector) says that the US graduating college class of 2015 has more debt than any other class in history.

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Slack's CEO gives charmingly bullshit-free justification for $2.8B valuation


The delightful Stewart Butterfield: "Q So do you think Slack is worth $3 billion? A It is, because people say it is."

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Emma Thompson on tax-strike until HSBC tax evaders are jailed


The actor and her husband, Greg Wise, have vowed to withhold their tax until the UK tax authorities begin to imprison the tax-cheats who were revealed to be using HSBC's Swiss money-laundry, even if it means going to jail themselves.

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Billboards tell the stories of professionals who can't afford London anymore


The London is Changing project collects the personal stories of professional people who are leaving the city because it has been remade as a playground for the global rich.

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HSBC boss used tax havens to keep underlings from discovering his outrageous pay


HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver admitted that he used two secretive banks -- one in Switzerland, the other in Panama -- not just to avoid taxes, but to hide his amazing compensation package from other HSBC bankers, lest they wax jealous.

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Alien overlord: stop blaming me for your city's housing bubble!


Zathbog of Planet Cibwarv wants us to stop blaming him for buying up all the property in your favorite big city, ensuring that even families with solid double incomes can barely afford to rent, and will never own a home of their own; after all, you should see the hardships he endured while building up his immense off-planet fortunes in the the interstellar mining industry.

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London: the dead-eyed banker psycho dream

PSYCHO

"Its protagonist lives in a world of almost continual night, with the hungry eyes and dead affect of an Ayn Rand wet dream: his world is constituted of chrome, glass, a palette of white-to-taupe, a spatter-pattern rug and one book, a single book, on graphic design" - Piercepenniless on the Redrow London property development promo video.

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A modest proposal for Wall Street's future


Michael "Flash Boys" Lewis gives us a wish-list of eight (implausible) steps that Wall Street could take to check its feckless, reckless, destructive lurch through the 21st century.

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