Obama moots mandatory voting

I agree that mandatory voting is a powerful check against moneyed interests hijacking the government, but Australia, which has both mandatory voting and preferential ranked ballots, has still managed to elect some fucking awful politicians. Read the rest

IT feudalism: the surveillance state and wealth gaps

My latest Guardian column examines the relationship between technology, surveillance and wealth disparity -- specifically the way that cheap mass surveillance makes it possible to sustain more unequal societies because it makes it cheaper to find and catch the dissidents who foment rebellion over the creation of hereditary elites. Read the rest

Finnish millionaire gets EUR54K speeding ticket

Finland has progressive fines for driving offenses, so the more you earn, the more you pay. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

$10,000 robot leggings

In 2009, Balenciaga rolled out "Transformer" leggings: made to order, from non-precious metals, at $100,000 per. Read the rest

Nuanced view of corruption: money doesn't buy elections, it buys influence

Jonathan Soros, son of George Soros and heavy donor to campaigns to get money out of politics, writes a nuanced account of what huge, open campaign contributions do to electoral politics. Read the rest

Money talks: policy with a business model

It must be Groundhog Day, because British politicians are making us debate their repeatedly-failed spying legislation -- how is it that some policy initiatives never die, while others can't get any traction at all? Read the rest

Koch brothers raise 2016 election warchest that's on par with either party's spend

The Kochs will raise $889M from conservative millionaires and billionaires to spend in the 2016 election, which, thanks to Citizens United, can be used to buy effectively unlimited political advertising to support policies that will make more money for the donors. Read the rest

House of Lords demands its own caterer because Parliament's Champagne isn't good enough

A move to save money by merging the Lords' and Parliament's catering has come under fire because some Lords fear that the quality of the free Champagne will decline as a result. Read the rest

Walmart holds food drive...for Walmart employees (again!)

Once again, a Walmart store has set out a collection box for food donations to support its own employees, who are paid so little that they depend upon social assistance (and public generosity) to survive. Read the rest

$100K life-size T-Rex skeleton replica

It's 40' long from nose to tail, is composed of 190 bones, is billed as "museum grade" and comes with an assembly crew that will stage it in any "anatomically possible" pose. His name is Stan. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

HK police arrest "triad gangsters" who attacked Umbrella Revolution camps

The protesters accuse the police of working with the thugs, who wore masks as they attacked the encampments; the violence has led to postponement of the planned talks between the Umbrella Revolution leaders and the Hong Kong administration. Read the rest

Walmart heirs' net worth exceeds that of population of a city the size of Phoenix

It's grown 6,700% since 1983, to $144.7B in 2013 -- greater than the net worth of 1,782,020 average Americans. Read the rest

Daughter of Hong Kong leader thanks "taxpayers" for diamonds on Facebook

Chai Yan Leung thanked the taxpayers who paid for it, and then dismissed her critics as non-taxpayers, since employed people wouldn't have time to comment on Facebook. Read the rest

Canadian gov't economists insist that stats on collapsing middle class mean just the opposite

Dave sez, "Last year, Employment and Social Development Canada put together a report suggesting that the Canadian middle class has seen wage stagnation and is experiencing record levels of debt; Finance Canada felt that this 'appears to conflict with the general message in Budget 2014 and previous internal briefings' so they made a new report -- that says the opposite, while looking at the same data."

Read the rest

Market Basket victory: worker-friendly, fair business trounces looting klepto-investors


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. Read the rest

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