Matt Taibbi Talks About Criminalized Poverty and Why Wall St. Is Above the Law
It’s not exactly breaking news that the American criminal justice system is wildly unfair. Thewar on drugs sends thousands of black and Hispanic kids to prison for using the same illegal substances that their white peers can more often get away with smoking or snorting; meanwhile, the Wall Street bankers responsible for the financial crisis get off with zero punishment and huge bonuses. These gross disparities in how the rich and poor are treated by the police and courts are the subject of The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, a book illustrated by VICE columnist Molly Crabapple and written by Matt Taibbi, the former Rolling Stone investigative journalist who has made a career of lampooning our entitled upper class (and just left that magazine to start a new website about political corruption).
I called Taibbi to chat about how America got to this terrible, dystopian place and where we should go from here.
VICE: The core theme of the book is that we’ve seen two parallel, and very different, systems of criminal justice emerge in this country—one for the wealthy and powerful, another for the poor and brown. That concept in and of itself might not totally shock people, but the timeframe—just how novel that phenomenon is in our democracy—should, right?
Matt Taibbi: Obviously it’s not a new story that the rich get off and poor people get screwed. I think that’s a narrative that probably couldn’t be more obvious, but there are some new developments that have made this situation worse. There are these parallel policy and political developments that happened in the early 90s that mirrored each other, with the Democrats coming over on the issue of welfare reform and also deciding to follow the Republicans in terms of courting money from the financial services and hopping on board with deregulation. I think what both of those decisions meant was that, basically, poor people no longer had a lobby in Washington consistently, and the very wealthy now had a consensus behind them. So we started to have this phenomenon of much more aggressive law enforcement against the poor. On the other side, it begins with deregulation of white-collar commerce, and then it kind of ends in non-enforcement of white-collar crime. That also seems to be a political consensus. It’s not just the same old story that has gone back to the beginning of time… This is also a new political development that has to do with the alignment of the two political parties in this country and how they’ve changed recently.
Cowboy Bebop Episode 1 “Asteroid Blues” (1998)
This Military Robot Can Jump From The Sidewalk Onto A Roof
Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just completed a series of landmark reports that chronicle an update to the current state of consensus science on climate change. In a sentence, here’s what they found: On our current path, climate change could pose an irreversible, existential risk to civilization…
Been having throwback fun going through the tens of thousands of photos to choose. The Outback: unselfconscious beauty.
After the interesting effect when Google is showing different information about Crimea if you come from a computer in Russia than from Ukraine, this is even more interesting.
If the nation state is dependent on one thing to maintain its existence it is the power over it’s history. Even democratic countries are picking their historical facts and teach children the “right” story in schools. Yes, you could argue that Internet already have had an disruptive impact on that. I doubt it… At least not yet. But I bet this will.
If you take away the nation states power over it’s history (and let Google run it) we have a completely different game! I wonder if the board of Google have pondered deep enough on the statement “Don’t be evil”.
Geeks seems to think that being objectively true stands over good and evil… It is much more complicated than that!
NYPD Twitter Campaign Catastrophically Backfires Within Minutes
Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, vocativ.com
NYPD Twitter Campaign Catastrophically Backfires Within MinutesThey called for city residents to tweet pictures of themselves posing with police officers using #myNYPD. The result was a huge bust, but not in a good way The New York Police Departme…
What can we learn? If you a negative reputation, don’t think that a social media campaign can help you… At least not without thinking deep about the rhetoric you use!