7 years later, Sun Microsystems cofounder Vinod Khosla loses bid to privatize public beach

For 5 years, we've been tracking the tribulations of billionaire Silicon Valley VC Vinod Khosla, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems who, in 2010, bought land adjacent to a public beach in Half-Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, and then fenced off the beach and hired private security guards to chase swimmers and sunbathers off the public land. Read the rest

70 top-paid US health industry CEOs raked in $9.8B since Obamacare passed

You know all those health industry lobbyists who say that the American healthcare industry will go broke if it has to take care of the health of Americans? Read the rest

New hedge-fund HQ will have "Champagne" buttons for the traders' desks

Any time a trader at Enstar Capital's new London Soho offices fancies sushi and Champagne delivered to their desk, they can press a dedicated "Champagne" button that's being installed at each workplace, as a kind of grotesque, guillotine-inspiring homage to Amazon's Dash button, which lets mere mortals order laundry detergent. Read the rest

Truck-driving is a modern form of indentured slavery

USA Today undertook a year-long investigation into southern California truckers, so-called "independent contractors" who form a critical link from America's busiest port to the rest of the country, and found that drivers are sunk into deep pits of debt due to predatory contracts they signed under duress, debts that are used to force them to work unsafe hours, falsify their work records, and sometimes bring home literal pennies a week after working 80+ hours (some drivers even finish the week in deeper debt, owing money to the companies they "contract" for).

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Israeli company's spyware used to target corruption-fighting journalists and lawyers in Mexico

The NSO Group is an Israeli firm that describes itself as a "cyber warfare" company, dealing exclusively to governments, including the famously corrupt and dysfunctional government of Mexico. The NSO Group is presently for sale, with a $1 billion pricetag. Read the rest

China's billionaires are disappearing into police custody and/or early graves

Dozens of the richest executives in China have disappeared under mysterious circumstances and are assumed to be in police detention as the country pursues an aggressive anti-corruption agenda. Read the rest

Leaked tax-haven data shows that the super rich are way, way richer than suspected

When Thomas Piketty and his team undertook their landmark study of wealth inequality in the world, they had to rely on the self-reported income of the super rich to see just how income was distributed -- by definition, they couldn't directly measure the unreported income hidden in tax havens (though they did estimate it, with what was eventually shown to be pretty good precision). Read the rest

A Hong Kong parking space just sold for USD664K

The 188 square foot parking space went for HKD5.18m (USD664,300) -- HKD27,500/sqft. Read the rest

London fire: just last year, Tory landlord-MPs rejected Labour's tenant safety law

The death-toll on London's Grenfell Tower fire continues to mount, it's worth remembering that there are no "natural disasters," only human disasters, created by people who weigh different interests in the balance and create policies based on the way the scales come up. Read the rest

Shareholder revolt at Mylan over Epipen-gouging CEO's $98M bonus

The board of directors at Mylan have rewarded former CEO Robert Coury with a $98m bonus as he steps into the executive chairman's role, having overseen a price-gouging scandal over the Epipens used by people prone to life-threatening allergic reactions. Read the rest

Across America, employers are using noncompetes to claim ownership of employees' skills

Noncompete agreements have historically been the provision of highly-placed execs and critical "knowledge workers" (and even then, fast-growing economies like California have banned them in the interests of encouraging competition and growth) but now employers are routinely making the "agreements" a condition of unskilled waged labor, from making sandwiches to digging holes for $10/hour. Read the rest

Connecticut's undertaxed super-rich hedgies get "tax bills" from anti-cuts protesters

Connecticut, home to the richest hedge-fund managers in America, is going broke, cutting services and gutting pension plans to try and fill its $1.8B budget hole -- a hole it plans on filling by taking away $1.5B from the state's workers. Read the rest

Orange County's Seal Beach jail offers posh, $100/day accommodations to rich crooks

If you're convicted of a crime in Orange County, you can shell out thousands of dollars to be housed in Seal Beach's fancy "pay to stay" jail, which made $365,000 in the last fiscal year by aggressively marketing its "work release, flat screen TVs, computer/media room, clean facility, new beds" to deep-pocketed criminals, who pay $100 a night to stay there rather than one of Orange County's notoriously violent, dirty jails. Read the rest

Financial Times columnist advocates imprisoning dirty corporate executives

Rolls Royce just arranged for a "deferred prosecution" with UK prosecutors over revelations that it had committed jailable offenses by bribing overseas officials in order to secure their business; under this arrangement, prosecutors have allowed Rolls Royce to pay to have the prosecution halted and to have their executives immunized from criminal repercussions for their actions. Read the rest

300 prominent economists call on world governments to end tax haven secrecy

Oxfam has published an open letter signed by hundreds of respected economists, including Thomas Piketty, which describes tax havens as "serving no useful economic purpose." Read the rest

America's prisons are replacing vital in-person visits with expensive, nonfunctional video calling

A new documentary, "(In)Securus Technologies: An Assault on Prisoner Rights", tracks the rise of for-profit video "visitation" programs, which are being rolled out across America's unimaginably huge prison system, replacing the in-person visits that have been shown to be vital for prisoners' successful rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Read the rest