taibbi

Clown Car 2.0: Matt Taibbi on the Democratic nomination race

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi (previously) is one of my favorite political writers, with the style chops of Hunter S Thompson, but without Thompson's often juvenile politics (Taibbi having outgrown that phase, something Thompson never managed to do). Read the rest

Matt Taibbi finally makes sense of the Pentagon's trillions in off-books "budgetary irregularities"

The finances of the US armed forces have been in a state of near-continuous audit for decades and despite spending billions of dollars and thousands of person-years trying to make sense of what the military spends, we're no closer to an answer, and no one disputes that there are trillions of dollars' worth of unaccountable transactions (but importantly, not trillions of dollars in spending) that make it impossible to figure out whether and when and how the Pentagon is being ripped off, or wasting money, or both. Read the rest

Matt Taibbi on Chris Christie's "agonizing" memoir: "an epic literary self-own"

Chris Christie's got a new memoir, "Let Me Finish," and Matt Taibbi (previously), Rolling Stone's most incandescent and relentless writer, has done us all the mercy of reading Christie so we don't have to. Read the rest

Matt Taibbi on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vs the US political establishment

Matt Taibbi (previously) is in characteristically fine form here: the average Congressjerk is mythologized as a "brilliant 4-D chess player" but "would lose at checkers to a zoo gorilla": they are only in office because "someone with money sent them there, often to vote yes on a key appropriation bill or two. On the other 364 days of the year, their job is to shut their yaps and approximate gravitas anytime they’re in range of C-SPAN cameras." Read the rest

Yellow Vests stand for and against many contradictory things, but are united in opposition to oligarchy

From a distance, it's hard to understand the nuance of the mass "gilets jaunes" protests that rocked France; with one in five French people identifying as a yellow vest and more vests marching in Basra, Baghdad and Alberta (and with Egypt's autocrats pre-emptive cracking down on the sale of yellow vests ahead of elections), it's clearly a complicated and fast-spreading phenomenon. Read the rest

How Doonesbury helped turn George HW Bush into a mass-murdering war criminal

George HW Bush was a mass murderer and a war criminal and now he is dead. Read the rest

New Sanders bill: If a bank is too big to fail, it's too big to exist

In 2008, the Bush and Obama administrations both argued that they had a duty to transfer more than $700,000,000,000 of American taxpayers' money to the largest banks in the country, because these banks were "too big to fail" and allowing them to collapse would do much more harm than a mere $0.7 trillion subsidy. Read the rest

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of the collapse of 2008 and things are much, much worse

Nobody covered the Wall Street collapse, bailout, and corrupt resurgence better than Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, from giving Goldman Sachs its unforgettable epithet to covering the hearings on the bailouts to documenting the foreclosure mills, to deep dives into the sweetheart deals the banks got; to the revolving door between finance regulators and the finance sector to the rise of Occupy; to the consolidation of financial primacy after the collapse; to the double-standard for criminal justice revealed by the collapse; to the frauds that surfaced after the crash; to the tiny bright spots where bankers were brought to justice; all capped by an incandescent, outstanding book about the crisis and the systematic racial and economic justice it revealed. Read the rest

Teachers on four continents stage mass strikes

In the USA, there are tens of thousands of teachers in open rebellion, in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, and things are heating up in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa and Colorado. Read the rest

Burglar doesn't realize he's being filmed

This burglar doesn't realize he's got about a minute to get his work done before the Scottish police turn up. It's interesting seeing British commenters complain that he was treated too roughly by them, while the American ones marvel that he wasn't executed on the spot.

My guess is the copper didn't see the crowbar until right on top of him in the cramped backyard, creating an opportunity for the burglar to strike and thereby necessitating a pre-emptive beating that sadly lacks the usual jaunty interaction between British police and suspect, the extended ironic ruminations on the nature of crime and the inevitability of justice, the perverse yet socially reinforcing affectations of honor and fair play, the tea and biscuits down the station, etc., that are the usual hallmarks of modern British policing and its interactions with the criminal element. Read the rest

Demolition of derelict robotic parking garages reveals entombed vehicles, trapped for 15 years

When the £5m Autosafe Skypark opened in Edinburgh, it was heralded as the UK's most technologically advanced car park, but in 2003, the owners went bankrupt and turned off the computers that controlled the lifts that raised and lowered cars into their bays. Read the rest

Scottish police confirm requests from world governments to find money laundered through "the UK's homegrown secrecy vehicle"

Scottish Limited Partnerships (previously) are notorious corporate entities whose true owners are easily disguised, making them perfect vehicles for money laundry. Read the rest

Senator Bob Corker owed $120.5M when he was elected; now he's worth $69M

Senator Bob Corker got a rush of progressive love when he dissed Donald Trump in public, then fell from grace when he flipflopped on blocking the tax-bill after his colleagues modified it to personally give him millions -- but that guy was always dirty as hell. Read the rest

I Can't Breathe: Matt Taibbi's scorching book on the murder of Eric Garner and the system that let the killers get away with it

Matt Taibbi is one of the best political writers working in the USA today, someone who can use the small, novelistic details of individuals' lives illuminate the vast, systemic problems that poison our lives and shame our honor; his 2014 book The Divide conducts a wide-ranging inquiry into the impunity of corporate criminals and the kafkaesque injustices visited on the poor people they victimize; in I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street, Taibbi narrows his focus to the police murder of Eric Garner, a Staten Island fixture and father, and the system that put murderers in uniform in his path.

The white supremacist origins of "public choice theory," the bedrock of contemporary libertarian thought

Hang around libertarians long enough and eventually one of them will start talking about "public choice theory" (I last heard it raised by a prominent libertarian scholar to justify corporations imposing adhesion contracts on their customers to force them to buy expensive consumables and service). It's a kind of catch-all theory that can handwave away any negative outcome from unregulated capitalism, the "freedom" of which is key to a kind of libertarian thought, above freedoms like "the freedom not to starve to death". Read the rest

Forensic science envisages face of woman persecuted as witch 313 years ago

Her name was Lilias Adie, and she died in prison while waiting to be burned at the stake as a witch. Forensic artist Dr Christopher Rynn used the latest reconstructive methods to show us her face.

Lilias Adie was tortured in prison and it is believed she may have taken her own life.

Louise Yeoman said: "I think she was a very clever and inventive person.

"The point of the interrogation and its cruelties was to get names.

"But Lilias said that she couldn't give the names of other women at the witches' gatherings as they were masked like gentlewomen.

"She only gave names which were already known and kept up coming up with good reasons for not identifying other women for this horrendous treatment."

Read the rest

The Tories replaced benefits with "universal credit" and left a town to starve

In 2013, the Scottish city of Inverness had the unfortunate fate of being picked as the trial site for a pilot of "universal credit," one of the UK Conservative government's big ideas, in which the various benefits paid to low-income people were replaced with a single payment, centrally administered. Read the rest

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