Boing Boing 

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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IBM's banking security software demands the right to spy on you


IBM's Trusteer Rapport is a security package that many banks recommend to their customers -- but its latest license agreement includes this gem:

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Wall Street phishers show how dangerous good syntax and a good pitch can be


Major Wall Street institutions were cracked wide open by a phishing scam from FIN4, a hacker group that, unlike its competition, can write convincingly and employs some basic smarts about why people open attachments.

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Chicago schools lost $100M by letting Wall Street engineer their finances


In 2007, the school raised $1B, and instead of issuing bonds, it let the bankers who'd been courting it talk it into issuing a floating-rate bond that it swapped into a fixed-rate issue.

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Chip-and-PIN cards let nearby fraudsters steal $1M at a time

Visa's new Paywave chip-and-PIN credit-cards have a $1M limit on foreign-currency transactions that can be verified "in-card," meaning that someone who gets close enough to your UK wallet can simply wave a phone at it and charge a megabuck to it without raising any realtime security alerts.

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Payday loans for kids


Pocket Money Loans is the latest from prankster/artist Darren Cullen (previously), offering 5000% APR loans to children so that they can "get out of debt with a loan" and "spend each day like it's your last."

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What's financialism, and how is it destroying your life?

As businesses start retaining and investing larger cash-reserves, they're turning into banks. Banks, meanwhile, need to find another line of work: they become asset traders. Meanwhile, your wages have been stagnant for decades, which means that in order to survive, you must become a debtor.

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American businesses devour themselves to enrich the 1%


A Goldman Sachs report on stock buybacks shows a suspicious clustering in the fourth quarter, just when management bonuses are being calculated.

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Why the UK middle class should be rioting in the streets


Alex Proud, a lifestyle columnist for the right-of-centre UK daily The Telegraph, has an incendiary and essential column about the end-game of financialized capitalism, which, having destroyed the lives of working class people, has now set its sights on the middle class, as private equity firms buy up productive businesses, saddle them with debt, cash out huge dividends, and leave the businesses to collapse.

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Finance industry profiteers exploit prisoners' families


Companies like Jpay lobby hard to be the exclusive conduit for remittances from prisoners' families to the inmates, taking a huge rake off the top of funds sent to pay for essentials like warm clothes, medical care and food.

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Skinner-box rats trained to predict currency market movements


Viennese artist Michael Marcovici's Rat Traders uses reward, punishment and selective breeding to create a strain of lab-rat that can predict the movement of international currency markets.

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Fed whistleblower secretly recorded 46 hours of regulatory capture inside Goldman Sachs

Carmen Segarra is a former FTC regulator who joined the fed after the financial crisis to help rescue the banking system -- but she was so shocked by the naked regulatory capture on display that she ended up buying a covert recorder from a "spy shop" and used it to secretly record her colleagues letting Goldman Sachs get away with pretty much anything it wanted to do.

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Eric Holder: creator of the "Too Big to Jail" bankster


While you contemplate Eric Holder's track record of surveilling, intimidating and indicting journalists, remember that he also invented the Too Big to Jail doctrine, the failed idea that the answer to breathtaking criminal activity by gigantic banks is big fines, not criminal prosecutions.

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Class war meets the War on General Purpose Computers


The subprime auto-lending business -- writing car-loans to people who can't afford them -- is fuelled by GPS-enabled immobilizers that let lenders track and shut down cars whose drivers violate terms of service, from missing payments to fleeing the tri-county area in order to move into a shelter for abused women.

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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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