Everything Belongs to the Future: a tale of pharmadystopian, immortal gerontocrats

Laurie Penny's first science fiction book, Everything Belongs to the Future, is available to the public as of today: if you've followed her work, you're probably expecting something scathing, feminist, woke, and smart as hell, and you won't be disappointed -- but you're going to get a lot more, besides.

Billionaire tech investors back ballot initiative to purge homeless people from San Francisco


Sequoia Capital Chairman Michael Moritz and angel investor Ron Conway have donated to San Francisco's Proposition Q: if passed, "the city would give residents of tent encampments 24 hours’ notice to relocate to a shelter or accept a bus ticket out of town." Read the rest

The coming fight over "nonlethal neuroweapons"


The Chemical Weapons Convention has a giant loophole in that it allows for the stockpiling and use of chemical agents in law-enforcement; with the Eighth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) coming up next month, there's an urgent question about whether "neuroweapons" (chemical agents intended to pacify or disperse people) will become tools of law-enforcement and "defensive warfare." Read the rest

Wells Fargo whistleblower describes bank's culture of blackballing threats and coerced corruption


On the latest Planet Money podcast (MP3), a former San Francisco Wells Fargo banker describes the bullying and coercion she faced from senior management while working at the bank's head office, and how the bank forced her out when she blew the whistle on fraud and then blacklisted her with other banks, forcing her out of the sector altogether. Read the rest

California's 40-year-old ban on property tax raises has made the rich a lot richer


In 1978, California ballot initiative Proposition 13 capped property taxes at 1% of assessed value and increases at 2% per year, creating a massive hole in the ability of cities to fund their operations, which has only been partially plugged by hiking sales taxes and utility rates, regressive moves that disproportionately shift the burden of civic services to low-income households. Read the rest

The Wells Fargo fraud came to light because of union organizers


Though Wells Fargo had been pressuring its employees to commit fraud since 1998, firing those who couldn't make quota, as well as the whistleblowers who came forward to report the fraud, it wasn't until the Committee for Better Banks launched a unionization drive to organize retail banking workers against punitive sales quotas that the crimes came to light. Read the rest

Report paints UK as the sick man of Europe


The pro-Brexit narrative insisted that the UK was one of Europe's greatest, most vibrant economies, and that, unshackled from European regulation, the country would be able to soar to the heights it deserves. Read the rest

How many Wells Fargo employees were fired for NOT committing fraud?


When Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees for opening 2,000,000 accounts in its customers name (stealing their cash and trashing their credit scores in the process), it wanted us all to know that it had cleaned house, because this was just 5,300 people who, without any help from senior management, all happened to coincidentally engage in the same fraud. Read the rest

Your tax dollars subsidized $125m executive bonus for Wells Fargo exec who led massive fraud


Normally, companies that give "performance pay" to their execs can only write off the first $1M: but when Wells Fargo gave $125M to Carrie Tolstedt (shown above receiving American Banker's 2010 award for being "the most powerful woman in banking") as she "retired" after overseeing a 5-year period in which Wells Fargo's top brass were aware that their employees were opening 2 million fake accounts in their customers' names, Wells structured the payment as a "bonus," meaning that the company took a $78 million off its taxes, pocketing $27m in savings. Read the rest

Lickspittle consigliere: how the super-rich abuse their wealth managers as loyalty tests


Sociologist Brooke Harrington got her Trust and Estate Planning certification in order to study the super-secretive world of the wealth managers who are in charge of hiding the $21 trillion controlled by the world's super-rich from tax authorities, feckless descendants, religious leaders, tax justice activists, kidnappers and extortionists. Read the rest

Free trade lowers prices -- but not on things poor people need (and it pushes up housing prices)


Part of the economic argument for free trade deals is that they benefit workers by producing cheaper goods -- even if you lose your manufacturing job, you can buy stuff a lot cheaper with the next job you get. Read the rest

What yesterday's hilariously awful testimony by Wells Fargo's CEO portends for his future


Yesterday, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf addressed the Senate Banking Committee about his bank's years of fraud, driven by threats of firing for low-level employees if they didn't meet unrealistic sales-targets, overseen by an executive who was given a $125m retirement bonus when she quit last summer, just before the scandal broke (though the bank had known it was going on since 2011). Read the rest

Execs with long coporate crime rapsheets stand up for Apple's tax evasion and "the rule of law"


The EU has ruled that Apple has to pay taxes on the billions it laundered through Ireland by pretending that an empty room with no employees was the company's "head office," a move that has enraged the Business Roundtable, which has sent a letter calling on the EU to respect the "rule of law," whose five signatories have all presided over acts of shameless lawbreaking. Read the rest

Leaked: damning Scott Walker dark money docs that judge ordered destroyed


Again and again, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker flouted election laws to raise millions from some of the richest executives and biggest corporations in America, illegally laundering the money through the nominally independent, nonprofit Wisconsin Club for Growth -- and now we have all the details, thanks to an enormous leak of documents that a Wisconsin judge ordered destroyed. Read the rest

Five government contractors account for 80% of America's surveillance workforce


When Edward Snowden came in from the cold, it catapulted his employer, Booz Allen Hamilton -- a giant military/intelligence contractor -- into the public eye, but Booz is small potatoes, one of the Big Five in the intelligence contractor industry, but it's dwarfed by Leidos Holdings, which recently merged with Lockheed's  Information Systems & Global Solutions to become the largest business in the $50B industry. Read the rest

UK inequality: top 1% owns more than bottom 20%


Oxfam has released the latest version of its ongoing series of analyses of the relative net worth of the very richest when compared to the very poorest: in this case, they found that the top 1% of Britons own more wealth than the bottom 20% of Britons combined. Read the rest

Wells Fargo won't claw back $125m retirement bonus from exec who oversaw 2m frauds

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Carrie Tolstedt is the Wells Fargo executive who presided over a titanic, multi-year fraud through which at least 5,300 of the employees who reported to her opened up fake accounts in Wells' customers' names, racking up fees and fines, trashing the customers' credit ratings, and, incidentally, pulling in record revenues for Tolstedt's department, which Wells' management recognized by giving her a $125M parting gift when she left the company at the end of July, just weeks before the scandal broke. Read the rest

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