Taibbi

Eviction epidemic: the racialized, weaponized homes of America's cities

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Americans are being evicted from their homes at record levels, and the evictees are disproportionately single mothers of color. Read the rest

Keep your scythe, the real green future is high-tech, democratic, and radical

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"Radical ecology" has come to mean a kind of left-wing back-to-the-landism that throws off consumer culture and mass production for a pastoral low-tech lifestyle. But as the brilliant science journalist and Marxist Leigh Phillips writes in Austerity Ecology & the Collapse-Porn Addicts: A Defence Of Growth, Progress, Industry And Stuff, if the left has a future, it has to reclaim its Promethean commitment to elevating every human being to a condition of luxurious, material abundance and leisure through technological progress.

Donald Trump does politics like US TV, which is why he's so popular

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Matt Taibbi is on fire as ever in Rolling Stone, analyzing the weird relationship between Donald Trump and the media: he does politics in just the way that cable news reports on it: disjointedly, without empathy or nuance or complexity. Unlike polished American politicos, Donald Trump is a TV watcher, and he knows how to speak to his people. Read the rest

Multi-generational cruelty: America's prisons shutting down kids' visitations

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The history of American prison visitations are a mix of racism ("black men, denied sex, will riot in jail") and compassion -- especially the late 1960s' ground-breaking, multi-day family visitation programs that allowed prisoners to play and live with their children for a whole weekend a few times every year. Read the rest

Pandering to the lizard brain: American media versus objective reality

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Matt Taibbi, in typical blazing form in the Rolling Stone, asks how it can be that millions of Americans believe Donald Trump's fairy-tale about Muslims cheering after 9/11 when it just didn't happen. Read the rest

The more unequal your society is, the more your laws will favor the rich

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Political scientists and economists who've undertaken peer-reviewed research into policy outcomes have concluded that all over the world, and at every level of government, wealth inequality is correlated with corrupt policy-making in which politicians create laws and regulations that favor the rich at the expense of the wider public. Read the rest

Eric Holder: I didn't prosecute bankers for reasons unrelated to my $3M/year law firm salary

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The Intercept's Dan Froomkin played turd-in-the-punchbowl at outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder's victory lap party at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reception on Wednesday, asking why Holder had declined to put one single banker in jail for the monumental frauds that collapsed the world's economy in 2007-9. Read the rest

The hockey-stick from hell: US incarceration per 100,000 people, 1890-today

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Vox parsed out the Bureau of Justice Statistics' numbers on incarceration in prisons (excluding jails) and produced this ghastly visualization tracking the transformaiton of America into the country with the highest rate of incarceration in the history of the world. Read the rest

DoJ says it will consider jailing executives who order corporate crimes

The doctrine under former AG Eric Holder (documented in Matt Taibbi's brilliant The Divide) was to allow executives to pay fines that were less than the profits from their crimes. Read the rest

Baltimore's police brutality is just the beginning

Matt Taibbi writes that the recent blow-up is about much more than the killing of Freddie Gray. Beyond that murder, there is a complex legal infrastructure that encourages — and covers up — police violence.
Most Americans have never experienced this kind of policing. They haven't had to stare down the barrel of a service revolver drawn for no reason at a routine stop. They haven't had their wife and kids put on an ice-cold sidewalk curb while cops ran their license plate. They haven't ever been told to get the fuck back in their car right now, been accused of having too prominent a "bulge," had their dog shot and their kids handcuffed near its body during a wrong-door raid, watched their seven-year-old dragged to jail for sitting on a dirt bike, or dealt with any of a thousand other positively crazy things nonwhite America has come to expect from an interaction with law enforcement. "It's everywhere," says Christen Brown, who as a 24-year-old city parks employee was allegedly roughed up and arrested just for filming police in a parking lot. "You can be somewhere minding your business and they will find their best way to fuck with you, point blank. It's blatant disrespect."

Photo: A demonstrator raises his arms as he faces law enforcement officers near Baltimore Police Department Western District during a protest against the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, in Baltimore April 25, 2015. Thousands of people marched peacefully through downtown Baltimore on Saturday to protest the unexplained death of the 25-year-old black man in police custody but pockets of violence erupted when a small group smashed windows and threw bottles at officers.

Read the rest

David Graeber's The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber follows up his magesterial Debt: The First 5000 Years with a slim, sprightly, acerbic attack on capitalism's love affair with bureaucracy, asking why the post-Soviet world has more paperwork, phone-trees and red-tape than ever, and why the Right are the only people who seem to notice or care.

Eric Holder: creator of the "Too Big to Jail" bankster

While you contemplate Eric Holder's track record of surveilling, intimidating and indicting journalists, remember that he also invented the Too Big to Jail doctrine, the failed idea that the answer to breathtaking criminal activity by gigantic banks is big fines, not criminal prosecutions. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren asks why criminal bankers are too big to jail

There were 800 convictions in the S&L crisis, but the DOJ hasn't prosecuted a single banker involved in the financial crisis; as Matt Taibbi points out in the brilliant, essential book The Divide, if shutting down a huge bank would impose too many costs on society, then why don't prosecutors insist that the banks be split up as a condition of not dropping the entire C-suite into the deepest dungeon in the nation? Read the rest

Blogging History: Student debt destroying a generation; Adding weight to gadgets for gravitas; Mexican cops get chipped

One year Student debt and tuition hikes: destroying the lives of America's children: Matt Taibbi takes a long, in-depth look at the scandal of student loans and tuition hikes, a two-headed parasite sucking America's working class and middle class dry as they plunge their children into a lifetime of ballooning debt in the vain hope of a better, college-educated future.

Five years Gizmo with a weight added for extra heft: The IDSA Materials and Process Selection Blog discovered a surprise inside a Pinnacle Video Transfer gadget: a weight seemingly added for the sole purpose of making the device heavier and less "cheap"-feeling.

Ten years Mexican cops get themselves chipped: The government of Mexico is RFID-tagging police in order to combat record high levels of kidnapping and disappearances. About 170 officers are said to have been subcutaneously tagged in their arms with microchips about the size of a rice grain of rice. The chip grants them access to a crime database and becomes a tracking tool in case they're kidnapped. Read the rest

Summer reading list: nonfiction

Some of my most popular nonfiction reviews from the past year, from 'Capital in the 21st Century' to 'The Divide.'

NY DA says he won't prosecute minor drug possession; NYPD officers ordered to go on arresting

The memo -- requiring Brooklyn cops to continue their racist, brutal stop-and-frisk campaign to make minor drug busts -- is required reading for beat officers.

Last year, the NYPD made over 8,000 minor marijuana possession arrests. As Matt Taibbi documents in The Divide, these arrests are part of a racist, all-out war on young people of color. Even if the DA won't prosecute the people that Brooklyn cops take into custody, the busts will continue to beef up the department's arrest statistics.

DA Thompson's order really doesn't eliminate that many possession arrests. His memo stated that those smoking in public (especially around children), 16-17-year-old offenders (who will be placed into a diversion program) and people with existing criminal records will still be prosecuted. This just leaves mainly the truly harmless: recreational users.

But the War on Drugs is every bit as essential to the NYPD as the War on Terror, and the NYPD (with new chief Bill Bratton's blessing) will continue to make meaningless arrests -- arrests made even more meaningless by DA Thompson's announcement.

If nothing else, this ensures the sort of job security that's usually only touted in sarcastic tones by the deeply cynical. According to the New York Times, arresting recreational users is full-time work for Brooklyn cops.

NYPD Tells Brooklyn Officers To Continue Making Low-Level Drug Arrests DA Has Stated He Won't Prosecute [Tim Cushing/Techdirt]

(Image: NYPD Occupy Wall Street Eviction, Nick Gulotta, CC-BY) Read the rest

Blogging History: Snowden seeks Russian asylum; Goldman Sachs, vampire squid; EFF's patent hitlist

One year ago today NSA leaker Edward Snowden asks Russia for asylum, issues statement via Wikileaks: A Russian consular official confirms Edward Snowden has asked for political asylum in Russia.

Five years ago today Taibbi on Goldman Sachs: "Planet-eating Death Star," "Vampire squid": Matt Taibbi's epic Rolling Stone piece this month, he describes the financial firm as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity"; and "the planet-eating Death Star of political influence".

Ten years ago today 10 Internet patents that are going DOWN: EFF has picked its list of ten dumb-and-bustable Internet patents after a public competition, and we're saddling up to gather invalidating prior art we can submit to the US Patent and Trademark Office to have them struck down. Read the rest

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