Gawker's new owners demand right to search journalists, ban encrypted email and institute dress code

After Deadspin's Laura Wagner published an incredible, brave, detailed look at how her new private equity masters -- Jim Spanfeller/Great Hill Partners -- were running Gawker now that they'd acquired it from Univision, the company (now called "G/O Media") struck back. Read the rest

Schadenfreude watch: Porno copyright trolls' investors sue, say the grifters they backed stole their money (the grifters say their lawyer stole the money from them first!)

Malibu Media (previously) is the nom-de-lawsuit for Colette Pelissier and Brigham Feld, notorious copyright troll pornographers who send "speculative invoices" to people whom they accuse of downloading the pornography and B-movies they claim copyright over in the hopes that the people they ding will just send them a check rather than going to court. Read the rest

As Uber's stock craters amid billions in unanticipated losses, a hiring freeze on engineers

Uber -- a bezzle -- projected $8b in losses this year; but it lost more than $5b in a single quarter, and despite an initial stock price rise (dead cat bounce?) the company's shares have tumbled by more than 10% since, hitting an all-time low. Engineers who were scheduled to interview at Uber have had those interviews canceled by the company's HR department, who told them the company now has a tech-worker hiring freeze. (Image: Tarcil, CC BY-SA, modified) (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

Big Pharma's origin: how the Chicago School and private equity shifted medicine's focus from health to wealth

Between 2010 and 2016, the FDA approved 210 new medicines and every single one was produced at public expense, part of a $1T US government investment project in medical research. Despite this massive public subsidy, the pharma industry has only grown more concentrated and rapacious, raising prices and diverting the profits to their execs and investors, who now pocket 99% of industry profits: the industry made $500B in profits between 2006 and 2015, and during that time, the US government pumped $33b/year into pharma research. Read the rest

A loophole in nonprofit law means that corporate lobbying is at least double the official figure

Officially, Americas total 2017 corporate lobbying group spending was $535m, but as much as $675m more was funneled from industry groups to politicians as part of influence campaigns. Read the rest

Man donates mother's body to science, discovers it was sold to the military for "blast testing"

When Jim Stauffer's mother Doris Stauffer died at the age of 73, he sought out a way for her body to be used to further scientific study: she had Alzheimer's but did not carry the genes commonly associated with it, so he thought that her brain might yield further insights into the disease. Read the rest

Your massive surprise hospital bills are making bank for private equity

Private equity firms like Blackstone and KKR have acquired massive health companies like Teamhealth and Emcare, which bill out doctors to the hospitals they work for, taking those doctors out of the hospitals' insurance agreements and massively hiking their fees -- that's why when you go to a hospital, even one that's covered by your insurer, you still end up with massive surprise bills for your care. Read the rest

#29leaks: someone leaked 15 years' worth of data from London's most notorious shell-company factory

Formations House is a London "financial services" firm that has been implicated in some of the world's most notorious money-laundering and fraud schemes, a company that has formed more than 400,000 companies, trusts and partnerships for its customers, many of them prefabricated, anonymous "shelf companies" that have been used to disguise the parties behind breathtaking frauds, some perpetrated by corrupt heads of state. Read the rest

A deep dive into Elizabeth Warren's plan to tame private equity

Yesterday, I published a brief analysis of Elizabeth Warren's plan to close the loopholes that allows private equity to defraud investors, creditors and workers to make billions while destroying the real economy. Read the rest

FBI agent describes finding "Frankensteins" and a "cooler full of penises" at an unregulated Arizona body-donation center

Phoenix's Biological Resource Center advertised that it would collect your relatives' remains and dispose of their body parts for medical purposes, cremating the unused portions and returning them; it was founded by the aptly named Stephen Gore, whose highest level of educational attainment was a high school diploma and who learned the processes by which he dismembered and preserved the bodies in his care "from books or the internet." Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's banking proposals are designed to demolish the private equity sector and force finance to serve the people

Elizabeth Warren's bid for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination has been dominated by a series of bold, detailed policy proposals that are designed to enact deep, structural changes in American law and policy to reverse 40 years of post-Reagan corruption and wealth accumulation by the richest 1%. Read the rest

An Indian research university has assembled 73 million journal articles (without permission) and is offering the archive for unfettered scientific text-mining

The JNU Data Depot is a joint project between rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously), bioinformatician Andrew Lynn, and a research team from New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University: together, they have assembled 73 million journal articles from 1847 to the present day and put them into an airgapped respository that they're offering to noncommercial third parties who want to perform textual analysis on them to "pull out insights without actually reading the text." Read the rest

Ex-Fox & Friends host, accused of a Ponzi scheme that turned Indianapolis real-estate investors into slumlords, moves to Portugal

Clayton Morris -- a former host of Fox & Friends -- was part owner of Oceanpointe, a company that sold turnkey landlord services in Indianapolis to investors who could send Oceanpointe money, which the company would invest in properties that they would repair and rent out. Read the rest

Putting a price on our data won't make the platforms stop abusing our privacy

There are several proposals at the state and federal level to force the Big Tech platforms to disclose how much our data is worth to them -- with the hopes that this will curb their abuses of our privacy and even offer an income-stream that could benefit low-income users. Read the rest

MLMs are cults that prey on moms, Mormons and the military

Pyramid schemes are illegal, but "multi-level marketing" schemes are not; the difference is supposedly that pyramid schemes don't really sell anything -- they just sell the right to recruit people who will recruit people who will recruit people, each paying up the pyramid to their "uplines" -- while MLMs supposedly actually sell stuff. 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

High art subprime: borrowing on private art collections surges into billions

The international art market is a looter's go-to gambit for grifting their money out of their national borders and getting it into a no-man's land out of reach of every tax authority in the world, but it is also stubbornly illiquid, because selling your Picasso takes a ridiculously long time. Read the rest

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