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Our latest cover story: The Art of Financial Warfare: How the West is pushing Putin’s buttons
The U.S. Treasury is taking the lead in punishing Russia as Washington develops a new kind of warfare.
“This is the 21st century version of waging war.”
These bugs were considered extinct until…
Just before the coast disappeared into sea and sky, Jerrie Mock switched on her airplane’s long-range radio and found only silence. She tried again and again, leaning her ear to the speaker, and still heard nothing, not even static.
When Mock departed from Columbus that morning, she had heard the tower controller’s voice on a loudspeaker. “Well, I guess that’s the last we’ll hear from her,” he told the crowd gathered to see her off to Bermuda. He was joking, but suddenly his words had the ring of truth.
In an aircraft not much larger than a cargo van, surrounded by gasoline tanks, Mock was completely alone, navigating to a speck of an island with a compass and paper charts. Unable to report her positions or call for help, she could have become another Amelia Earhart: a woman trying to circle the world, lost at sea, never to be found.
Yet Earhart was a full-time aviator with a passenger who served as navigator; Mock was a full-time mother of three flying solo. Earhart had crossed both oceans; Mock, a licensed pilot for only seven years, had never flown farther than the Bahamas. Compared with Earhart’s brand-new, twin-engine airplane, Mock’s single-engine Cessna was 11 years old, with fresh paint covering the cracks and corrosion.
Suddenly — and suspiciously — cut off from communications, Mock considered turning back. She wasn’t flying around the world to become rich or famous. Initially, she hadn’t even realized she could set a record. Her original impetus for making the trip: She was bored.
More than two decades ago, during the savings and loan crisis, Bill Black exposed the Keating Five, senators who took big campaign contributions from the most infamous of the savings and loan executives and then tried to hide their crimes by stopping bank examiners from doing their job.
The scandal ended the careers of three of those senators. One of them—John McCain—went on to run for president. Black also helped prosecutors convict more than 3,000 crooked bankers, a third of them high-level executives. He also trained bank examiners and FBI agents in what to look for and showed prosecutors how to frame charges and present complicated evidence to juries in a compelling manner.
After that, Black, a lawyer, got a doctorate in criminology and developed a theory he calls “control fraud” to describe how corrupt bankers turn legitimate institutions into criminal enterprises. He devised techniques to help bank regulators quickly spot crooked banking practices, and rolled all this into a book,The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One.
With a track record like that, you might think Black would have been the first person President Barack Obama called when he took office five years ago as the economy was being gutted because of reckless and rapacious banking practices that plundered profits through subprime mortgages and devilish derivatives. A second Great Depression was stalking America, as the stock market was tanking and businesses small and large were hemorrhaging jobs.
Let’s say you’re a family making $50,000, married with one child. Let’s also say you put 2 percent of your wages toward a 401(k), don’t itemize, and claim the Saver’s Credit and Child Tax Credit. This is what your tax receipt might look like. You’re paying $440 to have the finest military on the planet. You’re paying $9.59 on unemployment insurance. You’re paying $15.98 to ensure that the federal government can help you out if there’s a natural disaster that takes out your town. You’re also paying about $4,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes.
The Details, plus more charts: How America Pays Taxes—in 10 Not-Entirely-Depressing Charts)
President Bill Clinton’s Eulogy for the Bombing Victims in Oklahoma City, 04/23/1998
Item from Records of the White House Office of Records Management (Clinton Administration). (1993 - 2001)
Today is National Oklahoma City Bombing Commemoration Day. Here are President Bill Clinton’s words as he spoke to the families of the victims.
THE DAILY PIC: The sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux painted this wild little image in about 1870, and it’s now one of the most impressive and surprising pieces in the survey of his work at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The canvas shows his wife giving birth (so I’m not sure why the experts are in doubt about its date). It must be one of the first – and only – Old Master pictures to document that moment. Whatever the drawing’s relationship to an actual scene Carpeaux might have witnessed, it is amazing that he could conceive of birthing in such grandly romantic terms, and that he would want to claim to have made a record of it.
CUERNAVACA, Mexico — Once the plutocrats’ plague, kidnapping for ransom in Mexico has gone decidedly mass market.
Shopkeepers and family physicians, carpenters and taxi drivers: All have been targeted in recent years as minions of young criminals enter a trade long run by guerrillas and gangland bosses. That puts Mexico, along with Colombia andVenezuela, among the world’s most kidnap-prone countries.
President Enrique Peña Nieto, 16 months into a six-year term, has struggled to meet his promises to dramatically lessen the crime. Both abductions and extortion continue to soar even as his government’s campaign against crime syndicates impacts drug profits and gang discipline weakens as kingpins are killed or captured.
Many wealthy Mexicans have long hired bodyguards and taken other security precautions, making them harder to get. The typical profile of kidnappers, meanwhile, is becoming younger and less sophisticated — more willing to favor quick paydays over substantial ones.
That’s making Mexico’s middle class, and even the working poor, the criminals’ targets of choice.
Photo by AFP/Getty Images