The swindling saga of legendary Wall Street conman Bernard Madoff has inspired the creation of The Vile Plutocrat, a website devoted to the notion that “rich people suck.”
The Vile Plutocrat gathers news about the misdeeds of “the entitled class,” mixes in scathing editorial commentary and then links stories to biographies of the purported villains.
“The idea was born out of the Bernie Madoff scandal,” Paul Burton of 16 Toads Design told AFP late Saturday at a South By South West Interactive gathering here.
“In a nutshell, we are looking for any kind of news that revolves around people in the upper echelons of society that are doing something that takes money away from the middle class.”
Madoff was arrested on December 2008 and sentenced in June to 150 years in prison after pleading guilty to a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme in which existing investors were paid returns stolen from new investors’ capital.
To the horror of thousands of investors, including major banks, Hollywood moguls and savvy financial players, Madoff, a former chairman of the NASDAQ stock market, admitted that for decades he had not been investing their money at all.
Instead, he had been shuffling the funds in an endless pyramid operation, using new victims’ contributions to pay phony interest to others and funding his own luxury lifestyle.
Madoff claimed to have been managing 65 billion dollars, but in October the court-appointed liquidator said the real bottom line was 21.2 billion dollars.
Burton said that after the scandal broke there was “a tsunami” of similar stories about Ponzi schemes and other abuses of trust and power by people of privilege.
He watched as the stories slipped from front pages of news outlets to inside pages and then vanished completely.
“It effectively prevented people from learning about what was happening and the people behind it,” Burton said of scandal stories seemingly becoming so common they got short shrift.
“We take the stories and tie them to the individual behind everything then let people judge for themselves. It is definitely a news site; nothing is made up, nothing is extemporized, it is all real.”
He admits that his website is a little biased, noting that he has always been a “very political” person.
Thevileplutocrat.com front page Sunday included stories of a US congressman being admonished for accepting expensive trips as gifts and a probe into what role big US banks may have played in Greece’s financial crisis.
In the year since Burton created the website it has grown to attract about 2,000 weekly readers.
The Vile Plutocrat is among five blogging category finalists that will find out Sunday whether they have won a SXSW award for sites that “revolutionize the power of publishing.”
“The short version of the website is rich people suck,” Burton said of the small operation based in the US state of Georgia. “We pull in news from around the world and it involves people from every country.”
George Floyd’s brother tears up discussing condolence phone call from Trump: ‘It hurt me’
The brother of George Floyd described the condolence phone call he received from President Donald Trump during a Saturday interview on MSNBC.
Philonise Floyd was interviewed by the Rev. Al Sharpton on "Politics Nation."
While Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third degree murder, the other three officers involved in the killing remain free.
"They all need to be convicted of first degree murder and given the death penalty," Floyd said.
"What was the conversation with President Trump like?" Sharpton asked.
"It was so fast," Floyd replied.
"He didn't give me an opportunity to even speak. It was hard, I was trying to talk to him, but he just kept like pushing me off, like 'I don't want to hear what you're talking about.' And I just told him I want justice. I said that I couldn't believe they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight."
Bill Barr slammed by ex-FBI official for ignoring the right-wing ‘Boogaloo Bois’ infiltrating protests
Attorney General Bill Barr was slammed by the former assistant director for counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Saturday for misleading Americans about the source of violence at the protests over the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.
"There's evidence developing, Brian, that the organization we're seeing of the most violent protesters is coming from a couple of disturbing places," both, by the way, there's disparate in terms in being from the right or the left. here's what those who monitor these groups and sites are seeing.
"We're seeing a far-right group, one group for example known as the Boogaloo Bois, who on their private Facebook page and social media outlets are calling for violence, calling for people to show up," Frank Figliuzzi told MSNBC's Brian Williams.
Trump is the ‘greatest troll in the history of the internet’ and Twitter needs to ‘pull the plug’: NYT columnist
President Donald Trump would face an existential crisis if Twitter were to enforce it's own rules and hold him accountable -- and one New York Times columnist wants to see it happen.
"C’mon, @Jack. You can do it," Maureen Dowd wrote, referring to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey with his username on the platform.
She urged Dorsey to "just pull the plug on him."
"You could answer the existential question of whether @realDonaldTrump even exists if he doesn’t exist on Twitter. I tweet, therefore I am. Dorsey meets Descartes," she explained. "All it would take is one sweet click to force the greatest troll in the history of the internet to meet his maker."