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

It's not just NOₓ. Now Volkswagen says 800K of its cars have false CO2 levels, too


Germany's Volkswagen is already in a whole heap of global trouble after the car maker was caught cheating on U.S. tests for nitrogen oxide emissions. Then, we learned “Dieselgate” also involved VW subsidiary brands Audi and Porsche.

Now it gets worse. Today VW announced that an internal investigation has revealed "unexplained inconsistencies" in the carbon dioxide emissions from some 800,000 vehicles.

Volkswagen logo is seen at a power plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

From AP:

The company warned Tuesday it estimated the possible "economic risks at approximately 2 billion euros" due to the new problem.

It did not identify which vehicles were affected, but said the flaw in no way compromised the safety of any of the vehicles.

The statement says the company will "will endeavor to clarify the further course of action as quickly as possible and ensure the correct CO2 classification for the vehicles affected" with the responsible authorities.

"VW's top management will immediately start a dialogue with responsible authorities regarding the consequences of these findings," a VW spokesperson said. Read the rest

Megachurch televangelists lay hands on Donald Trump, ask Jesus to vote for him


GOP presidential candidate and noted scumbag Donald Trump met with a bunch of televangelists, Tea Party “teavangelicals,” and preacher profiteers at his Trump Tower office Monday afternoon.

The elite group, which included some megachurch chiefs who have previously been investigated by the federal government for misuse of donations, prayed while performing the “laying on of hands” to infuse him with the Holy Spirit. The goal: Jesus, get our man elected. Read the rest

In Volkswagen emissions fraud scandal, proprietary software is the real villain


“Proprietary software is an unsafe building material. You can’t inspect it.”

Columbia University law professor Eben Moglen made that observation 5 years ago. It's timely today, as the Volkswagen emissions fraud scandal--enabled by proprietary software--worsens. Read the rest

It's surprisingly easy to set up a convincing, highly regarded fake online business


Kashmir Hill invented a totally imaginary business -- "Freakin’ Awesome Karaoke Express" or FAKE -- and paid people on Fiverr to follow it on Twitter with thousands of fake accounts, and to flood Yelp and Facebook with positive reviews. Before long, people were calling her and asking her to take their money in exchange for a nonexistent karaoke truck. Read the rest

VW's car DRM let it get away with cheating on its diesel emissions testing


The EPA has accused Volkswagen of rigging its software to cheat the agency's diesel emissions standards so that its cars could be on the road while spewing 40 times the legal limit for diesel emissions. Read the rest

False weight scam captured on camera

Sneaky scales.

UK Tories forged letter of support in the Telegraph from "5,000 small businesses"

David Cameron tweeted it and the Telegraph published the letter on the front page, listing 5,000 businesses who endorsed the Conservative Party in the General Election, many of which weren't businesses, weren't supporting the Tories, were repeat entries, or were individual employees of businesses who were incorrectly presumed to speak for their employers. Read the rest

DEA and Secret Service agent charged in Silk Road fraud schemes


Former DEA agent Carl Mark Force IV and former Secret Service agent Shaun W. Bridges were charged this week with money laundering and wire fraud stemming from their involvement in the Silk Road dark web undercover investigation. Read the rest

Prisoner escapes by faking an email ordering his release

Neil Moore was locked up in England's notorious Wandsworth Prison when he used a smuggled cellphone to send an email to the prison that appeared to come from a court clerk who was ordering his release on parole. Read the rest

DMCA abuser ordered to pay $25K to WordPress

Straight Pride UK, a homophobic organization, used a fraudulent copyright complaint to censor an article about them, but WordPress fought back. Read the rest

FBI seizes LA school district's Ipad purchasing docs

It's not clear what they're investigating, but the DoJ subpoenaed everything related to the $70M program to give Ipads to all 650K kids in the district. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

Larry "Wide Stance" Craig busted (again)

The former conservative GOP senator from Idaho illegally used his campaign funds to defend himself on charges of soliciting sex in a men's toilet in the Minneapolis airport. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

Fake drugs and the plague that never lifts

To pharmaceutical firms, legitimate replicas and outright fakes are much the same: neither make them money. But to sufferers in the developing world, the difference is life and death. Charles Ebikeme on the big business of counterfeit medicine in the developing world.

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