Wells Fargo cuts 26,500 jobs, shutters branches, declares "excess capital" and drops $40.6 billion on stock buybacks

Wells Fargo is America's most scandal-haunted bank, which is quite an accomplishment in a heavily competitive field; now the bank has started closing its branches and cutting jobs (after pressuring employees to commit mass fraud on pain of being fired and blacklisted from the industry). Read the rest

America's most notorious patent troll, now bankrupt, values its bullshit patents at $1

For more than a decade, Shipping and Transit LLC (AKA Arrivalstar) has been aggressively pursuing dubious patent claims against public transit companies, shippers, and other businesses whose practices overlapped with Arrivalstar's absurd, obvious patents on using GPSes to figure out where stuff was. Read the rest

The dialysis industry just set a campaign spending record to fight California limits on pricing

At $111,000,000, the California dialysis industry's campaign spending against Prop 8 (which caps the price of outpatient dialysis) is now the most expensive in US history. Read the rest

Thunder Bay: podcast about Canada's hate crime and murder capital is a cross between Serial and Crimetown

The remote north Ontario city of Thunder Bay leads Canada in murders and hate crimes and features a local government mired in scandal, from a mayor who was charged with extortion to a police chief who went on trial for obstruction of justice. Read the rest

America, Compromised: Lawrence Lessig explains corruption in words small enough for the Supreme Court to understand

Lawrence Lessig was once best-known as the special master in the Microsoft Antitrust Case, then he was best known as the co-founder of Creative Commons, then as a fire-breathing corruption fighter: in America, Compromised, a long essay (or short nonfiction book), Lessig proposes as lucid and devastating a theory of corruption as you'll ever find, a theory whose explanatory power makes today's terrifying news cycle make sense -- and a theory that demands action.

All the economists who told the FTC we shouldn't break up Big Tech are paid by Big Tech

From the Open Markets Institute's Mat Stoller and Austin Frederick, who analyzed the FTC's panel, "The Current Economic Understanding of Multi-Sided Platforms," in which economic experts told the regulator that Big Tech's monopoly power just isn't a problem: "every single economist testifying on the issue of corporate concentration derived income, directly or indirectly, from large corporations. Beyond that, the hearing itself was held at the Antonin Scalia Law School, which is financed by Google and Amazon." Read the rest

Wanna get into Harvard? Just ask your parents to donate a building.

A batch of internal Harvard admission-related emails have come into the public domain as part of a lawsuit alleging that Harvard discriminates against Asian applicants, and they reveal that the admissions process is tilted in favor of members of families who are major donors to Harvard. Read the rest

Deleting Facebook is not enough: without antitrust, the company will be our lives' "operating system"

Facebook is the poster-child for the techlash, the worst offender in the monopolistic bunch, and recent books like Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy by Siva Vaidhyanathan (previously) and Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier present variations on the main critiques of Facebook with some prescriptions for what to do about it. Read the rest

Why Do-Not-Track browser settings are useless and what to do about it

The long fight over Do-Not-Track followed a predictable trajectory: a detailed, meaningful pro-privacy system was subverted by big business, and then published as a "standard" that offered virtually no privacy protections. Read the rest

Facebook lied: its in-home "Portal" cameras will collect your data

Facebook Portal is a camera that is supposed to follow you around your house while you videoconference; the product launch was repeatedly delayed because of the company's string of horrific privacy breaches; when the company finally pulled the trigger on the launch it was at pains to insist that Portal would not collect your data while you used it. Read the rest

New York Attorney General expands law-enforcement investigation into the bots that killed Network Neutrality

The FCC justified its Net Neutrality-killing order by claiming that comments it received showed strong public support for dismantling the rules that stop your ISP from deciding which parts of the internet you get to use; but it was widely reported that the comments in the Net Neutrality docket were flooded by bots that opposed Net Neutrality, using names and personal information from stolen identities of dead people, sitting US senators, journalists and millions of others. Read the rest

The growth of Jamaican phone-scamming caused a crime-wave and martial law in Montego Bay

In the late 2000s, Jamaican authorities launched a crackdown on drug dealers, extraditing the country's most notorious crime-bosses to the USA; the power-vacuum was filled by telephone advance-fee fraud (419/Spanish Prisoner/etc) scammers who targeted American victims, bringing an estimated $300,000,000 to Montego Bay and its region, the epicenter of the scam. Read the rest

Trump: “rogue killers” murdered Jamal Khashoggi, maybe. Everyone else: Saudi Arabia did.

President Donald Trump talked to reporters today about his phone conversation with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz, during which the two despots discussed the disappearance and apparent killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Read the rest

Britain's Corbyn-panicked oligarchs are shifting money offshore

Since the Thatcher years, the UK has built itself into a powerhouse money-launderer, selling financial secrecy to the world's most corrupt and vicious looters; but with a Labour victory looking more likely with each passing day, the super-rich of Britain are starting to panic. Read the rest

The documentary Dark Money exposes how corporations buy elections and lawmakers

PBS premieres Dark Money on Monday October 1. It's a sobering look at how the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC is trickling down to local politics. John S. Adams, a Montana-based reporter profiled in the film, says, "This is scary stuff, but I think this is the proving ground for the American experiment." Read the rest

FBI will face lawsuit for putting people on the No-Fly list for refusing to inform on friends

Even though the DoJ has expressly prohibited using the No-Fly list to gain leverage over potential informants, the FBI has continued its longstanding practice of blackmailing American citizens by putting them on the No-Fly list because they refused to work as informants. Read the rest

Mexican forces seize control of entire Acapulco police department

Mexico's governance crisis continues: beyond the clandestine mass graves, the kidnapping of elected officials (and assassination of political candidates) and coordinated attacks on anti-corruption candidates, there's the well-known problem of corrupt police officers and whole departments, including, it seems, the Acapulco police department, who have been raided and disarmed by federal forces, with two officers charged with murder and the rest under investigation. (Image: Tomascastelazo, CC-BY-SA) Read the rest

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