Heirs' property: how southern states allow white land developers to steal reconstruction-era land from Black families

Back in 2017, The Nation ran a superb, in-depth story on "heirs' property," a legalized form of property theft that allows primarily rich white developers to expropriate land owned by the descendants of Black slaves. Read the rest

Bulletproof thobes and abaya

Tailor Saleh Alnahdi is courting the conservative Saudi gentleman who still worried about being gunned down in the street with a line of bulletproof thobes and abaya, lined with Aramid ("a little more expensive than kevlar") and complying with the US National Institute of Justice Body Armor Compliance Certificate requirements. As @evacide quipped: "This is not what I was expecting from the dystopian cyberpunk present, but here we are." Read the rest

Understanding "transfer pricing": how corporations dodge taxes through financial colonialism

Every day, the world's poorest countries lose $3b in tax revenues as multinationals sluice their profits through their national boundaries in order to avoid taxes in rich countries, and then sluice the money out again, purged of tax obligations thanks to their exploitation of tax loopholes in poor nations. Read the rest

How Memphis's Methodist University Hospital, a "nonprofit," sued the shit out of its Black, poor patients while raking in millions and paying execs more than a million each

Methodist University Hospital in Memphis is a nonprofit: it pays virtually no local, state or federal tax; but unlike other Methodist hospitals, Methodist University Hospital is relentless in pursuing medical debts from indigent patients. The hospital owns its own collection agency, and is one of the leading litigants in Tennessee's debt courts. Read the rest

America's super-rich write to Democratic presidential hopefuls, demanding a wealth tax

18 of the richest people in America have sent a letter to all the candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, demanding that their election platform include a annual wealth tax on the largest American fortunes, something advocated by economist Thomas Piketty in his blockbuster book Capital in the 21st Century and subsequently integrated into Elizabeth Warren's campaign platform (with Piketty's endorsement). Read the rest

Texas Instrument's post-#taxscam budget for financial engineering is $5B -- triple its budget for actual engineering

The Trump #taxscam was supposed to create jobs by handing $1 trillion in cuts to multinational corporations and one percenters, who, we were promised, would put that money into R&D, business development, and other job-creating initiatives. Read the rest

Ukrainian oligarchs accused of laundering $470b, buying up much of Cleveland

Billionaires Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennady Bogolyubov used to own Privatbank -- the largest bank in Ukraine -- and now they are being sued for using it for a decade to launder more than $470b (through its Cyprus subsidiary) ($470b is more than double the GDP of Cyprus over the same period). Read the rest

Reverse mortgages: subprime's "stealth aftershock" that is costing elderly African-Americans their family homes

Reverse mortgages -- complex home loans -- are aggressively marketed to elderly people, especially in African-American neighborhoods, using deceptive tactics that offer false promised to "eliminate monthly payments permanently" with "a risk-free way of being able to access home equity." Read the rest

After American juvenile offenders are released, they can be re-imprisoned for failing to make restitution payments

Many states require criminals to make financial restitution to the victims of their crimes -- paying to replace the things the damaged or stole -- and this applies to juvenile offenders as well as adults. Read the rest

Americans are too poor to survive whether or not they're working

A new study from the United Way claims that 43% of American households are in a status called "asset limited, income constrained, employed" (ALICE), which denotes employed people who can't afford housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation, and a cellphone -- the basics of modern living. Read the rest

On Grenfell's second anniversary, 60,000 Britons are still living in firetraps clad in the same deadly, decorative materials

It's been two years since the Grenfell tower block in north Kensington burned, killing at least 72 people: the blaze revealed deep corruption and indifference among Britain's richest people and the millionaire Conservative politicians who do their business in Parliament, from the fact that the highly flammable cladding responsible for the blaze was added so that the building would be more attractive to rich people in nearby luxury tower blocks, to the fact that the fire came five years after Tory PM David Cameron declared war on "safety culture" to the fact that Tory politicians (overwhelming landlords themselves) had voted down a bill to require landlords to ensure that the properties they rented were safe and "fit for human habitation", to the fact that local Tory councillors had deliberately chosen a more fire-prone cladding to save 5.7% on the cost of materials -- the same local government that forced Grenfell survivors to bid against each other for new homes and then paid the same company that installed the flammable cladding to replace it. Read the rest

Pharma company will pay $15.4m in fines for bribing docs to prescribe an overpriced med that brings in $1b/year

In the 2000s, the pharma company Questcor started raising the price of Acthar, an off-patent, 1950s-era drug prescribed for seizures in babies; they raised the price more than 10,000%, from $40 in 2000 to $38,892 today. To get doctors to prescribe their price-gouging meds, Questcor secretly offered bribes, a fact that came to light thanks to whistleblowers. Read the rest

New Jersey law would force Verizon to pay the taxes it avoided for a decade

A 1997 New Jersey law allows telcoms companies to stop paying taxes while continuing their access to municipal infrastructure (poles, land, lines, etc) if they serve fewer than 51% of the people in a city; in 2008, Verizon started to claim this exemption, by 2015, it was paying no municipal taxes to 150 of New Jersey's 565 cities. Read the rest

For the first time since the 70s, New York State is set to enshrine sweeping tenants' protections

There isn't single county in the nation where a minimum-wage worker can afford to rent a two-bedroom home; and although LA has the worst homelessness crisis in the country, New York state is catching up, with homelessness growing by 46% since the financial crisis -- the fastest rate in the nation. Read the rest

Wealth is correlated with greed, dishonesty and cheating -- are these effects or a causes?

There's a wealth of psychological research that correlates wealthy people in the real world with negative traits like rudeness (people driving fancier cars are less considerate of pedestrians and their likelihood of cutting off another driver is correlated to the cost of the driver's car); greed (rich people take more candies out of dishes set aside for kids than poor people); generalized unethical behavior; cheating at games of chance; and overall stinginess. Read the rest

Chinese environment ministry finds widespread pollution coverups and corruption at the local government level

The Chinese central environment minister has released a report detailing thousands of instances of corruption and coverups from local governments in ten provinces last year: the report details instances of fabricated meetings, imaginary progress on remediating toxic waste spills, and falsified claims that polluting factories had been shut down. Read the rest

The UK grew rich by looting the world; now it launders billions for other looters

The British empire was a globe-spanning criminal enterprise that produced vast riches for England (and, to a lesser extent, Scotland and Wales) by stealing the lands of others while slaughtering and enslaving them; today the empire is in decline and the UK is no longer reliant on direct looting. Read the rest

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