Jury awards $2b to California couple who say Bayer's Roundup weedkiller gave them cancer

Back in 2018, evil got a shot in the arm when Nazi collaborators Bayer were allowed to buy Big Ag monopolists Monsanto, celebrating the marriage by getting rid of the Monsanto name (on the grounds that Monsanto's tactics had tarnished their reputation even worse than Bayer's use of concentration camp slaves and fatal medical experiments on Jews and others imprisoned by the Nazis, to say nothing of their notorious product Zyklon B). Read the rest

Sanders and AOC team up for an anti-loansharking bill that will replace payday lenders with post-office banking

Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jointly introduced The Loan Shark Prevention Act, which will cap credit card interest rates at 15% (and closes the loopholes that lets credit card issuers exceed their stated APRs with the use of hidden fees) and which re-establishes American post-office banking. Read the rest

Buried in Uber's IPO, an aggressive plan to destroy all public transit

Uber is a wildly unprofitable company with no conceivable path to profitability in any universe, under any circumstances, but the company's founders and early investors (having already taken massive write-downs on their investments) are hoping to get at least some of their money back through the time-honored "greater fool" methodology. Specifically, they're floating the company on the stock market and hoping that naive investors hoping to wring above-inflation gains out of their 401(k)s and avoid being made into dog-food in their old age (we're waaaaay past the era in which impoverished old people get to eat dog-food) take their shares off their hands. Read the rest

In 2008 "synthetic CDOs" destroyed the global economy, and now they're back

"Collateralized Debt Obligations" (CDOs) are a financial derivative that is a kind of bond that pays out based on revenue generated by a pool of assets: for example, a giant hedge fund might buy thousands of homes whose owners went bankrupt and suffered through foreclosure, and then rent them out at the highest possible rent with the least possible maintenance, and this generates thousands of revenue streams. Small slices of the revenue streams from many properties are pooled together into individual CDOs and these are sold to investors: when you buy one of these, you get a little bit of the rent from each of the tenants in the hedge-fund's holdings (other assets can be pooled together too, like payments on car loans, student loans, etc etc). Read the rest

Chase's idiotic poverty-shaming "inspirational" tweet, and Twitter users' magnificent responses thereto

Every Monday, some poor "brand ambassador" at Chase has to post a "Monday motivation" tweet aimed at convincing people that one of America's largest, most rapacious banks is actually a cuddly, responsible business whose $12 billion bailout from Uncle Sam was perfectly justifiable and sure to be put to excellent use. Read the rest

The Boston Globe on breaking up Big Tech falls into the trap of tech exceptionalism

The Boston Globe has published a giant weekend package of responses to Elizabeth Warren's proposal to break up the Big Tech monopolies. Read the rest

How hedge funds, Goldman Sachs, and corrupt executives used Gymboree's chaotic bankruptcy to cash out while destroying the careers of loyal employees

Gymboree is one of the many companies acquired by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, through a "leveraged buyout" through which the company was loaded up with debt so that the hedge fund could cash out; the company was left with massive debts and cycled through a succession of incompetent, inexperienced grifter CEOs who eventually ran the company into bankruptcy. Read the rest

AOC grills Equifax CEO: the Congressional record now contains the obvious, infuriating truth that everyone else already knew

Virtually everyone who's ever had the credit-rating system explained to them immediately understood that this was a complete scam: these companies that most of us have never heard of nonconsensually ingest gigantic mountains of data about you and your life and produce a numeric score that is nearly impossible to explain and extremely frustrating to alter, and that number is used to determine your access to work, rental accommodations, loans, mortgages and more. Read the rest

How the payday loan industry laundered policy by paying academics to write papers that supported its positions

When Elizabeth Warren inaugurated the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one of her prime targets was subprime/payday/predatory lenders; and the lenders' lobbyists went on an all-out blitz, eventually prevailing under Trump's CFPB boss Mick Mulvaney. Read the rest

France fines UBS €3.7b for helping rich French residents launder more than €10b

Swiss banking giant UBS has been hit with the largest fine in French history: €3.7b, the result of a 7-year investigation of the bank's role in helping the wealthiest French citizens hide €10b from tax authorities. The fine is more than ten times larger than the next-largest fine in French history, when HSBC paid €300m over its wrongdoing. The fine represents 92% of the bank's 2018 profits. Read the rest

Bank lobbyists are scared to meet with AOC because she might humiliate them on Twitter later

A "lobbyist for a major bank" told Reuters that they're afraid to meet with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who now sits on Congress's Financial Services Committee, because "anything you do or say can be used against you" -- the lobbyist likened meeting with AOC to "going in to talk to the FBI." Read the rest

Addressing inequality is foreign policy, not domestic

The scholarship on inequality has been producing a wealth of empirical findings about how inequality is created, expanded and perpetuated, building on the work of Thomas Piketty in tracing capital flows. Read the rest

The rent is too damned high because money-laundering oligarchs bought all the real-estate to clean their oil money

In an absolutely epic Twitter thread (unrolled here) author CZ Edwards lays out an incredibly compelling explanation of spiralling real-estate prices: oligarchs need to launder a lot of oil money -- think Russia, Iran, ex-Soviet basket-case states, Saudi -- and so they plow the money into offshore Real Estate Investment Trust that then cleans it by outbidding any actual real-estate investors or would-be homeowners, bidding up and snapping up all the property in desirable cities, and then realizing the rental income-flows as legitimate, clean money. Read the rest

Predatory lender found to have swindled veterans' pensions for eight years, so Trump's CFPB fined him $1

Mark Corbett has settled with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- founded by Elizabeth Warren and then gutted by Trump appointee and awful person Mick Mulvaney, now the White House Chief of Staff -- over the complaints that he ran an illegal loan-sharking operation that swindled veterans out of their pensions for a decade.

He has been fined $1. Read the rest

Jamie Dimon is getting fed up with the protesters who "occupy" him everywhere he goes

Jamie Dimon is CEO of Jpmorgan Chase, the massive bank that settled a $13 billion mortgage fraud case with the DoJ in 2013 by committing more mortgage frauds to raise the cash; he has since taken the bank into some of the dirtiest business on Earth, from the loans that keep the Keystone XL pipeline viable to funding the private border prisons where Trump's Kids in Cages are being held, terrified and separated from their families. Read the rest

Wells Fargo blames "computer glitch" for its improper foreclosure on 545 homes

According to Wells Fargo, a "computer glitch" caused the improper denial of 870 loan modification requests, which led to 545 foreclosures in which Wells Fargo customers lost their homes; the bank is now offering those former homeowners -- some of whom saw the breakup of their marriages as the result of the stress of foreclosure -- insultingly small sums, like $25,000. Read the rest

Here's how the Pentagon swindled Congress with $21 trillion worth of undocumented, untraceable, unaccounted for expenditures

Remember when the Department of Defense's own internal auditor revealed that the agency had committed $6.5 trillion in accounting fraud in just one year? Read the rest

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