PDF NEW The Divide American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap ¶ Matt Taibbi
Taibbi updated some poverty and wealth ap stats for my Intro SOC class here and reminds me of the Country Western song about in the honky tonk the wealthy person dances and the poor person pays the band Beyond the drive to alcoholic drinking and heavy drugs how the poor also pays is through receiving disproportional punishment in the US system The poor have large jail and fine punishments All I feel is outrage And despair Matt Taibbi has written a book which explains in layman s terms how United States citizens and many around the world were conspired against by Wall Street banks brokers and investment businesses If you were one of the those who ended up bankrupt or in foreclosure or if you lost your job because the investment plan of your employer disappeared overnight in the crash of 2008 this will explain some of how it happened The variety of tricks and lies are amazing particularly since they made almost no effort to hide their crimes internally within these companies More impressive is how these top executives went on with their lives wealthier and with even reater respect heaped upon them by their peers and received even bigger bonuses while their companies either went bankrupt or limped back to healthy earnings after loans provided by the US overnment Why Too big to failInexplicably none of the major individuals responsible for the financial crash are poor now paid fines went to jail or have a criminal record on the books Instead some of the major companies no humans involved such as Citigroup JPMorgan Chase Goldman Sachs Wells Fargo or Bank of America had their hands slapped and are now still trying to et away with as much thievery and law breaking possible still using variations of the cons they did before Outside of a few weeks of embarrassment they did not lose much of their incredible wealth These companies lost only a few days of income after paying multi millions in fines even though they stole billions and billions of dollars Some as we know went bankrupt Some human beings mid level patsies received tougher punishment but no high level executive has been punished in any way for malfeasance or any criminal felony Socially they still attend the best parties and everyone who they meet still kisses their feet hoping for a some benefice Personally I m frustrated by the ignorance the average middle class person has about the tremendous wealth of the no taxes top 10% About the dozens of yachts the 50000 purses the hundreds of classic cars which can t be driven in climate controlled arages the dozens of mansions one may own which they can t possibly visit much less live in in a decadeMeanwhile as alternating case histories of poor people who commit the same types of crimes as bank and brokerage employees did who are illegal immigrants live in the wrong neighborhood are not white sell drugs fraudulently Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge get food stamps or welfare default on credit cards or other contractual obligations are detailed by the author we see how these criminals end up arrested mistreated beaten put in prison and must pay off fines for the rest of their lives while having rights such as voting or the ability to pass credit checks for jobs and loans forever taken away Many end up in prison due to shortcuts used in the legal system which rob the defendants of fair trials Sometimes the custom of robo signing of documents without checking for pertinent information or banks outsourcing the processing of paperwork to inexpensive secondary companies will bring ordinary innocent customers before courts and placed under arrest by police for crimes they did not commit The way these cases are now handled does not mean records will be cleared even if everyone knows a mistake was made The reason The financial institutions and banks are too big to be held accountable The customers on the other hand may never clear their record which follows them for life The worst of it is even though EVERYoNE knows a miscarriage of justice has occurred police lawyers and sometimes judges will put pressure on the defendant to pleaduilty so the case can be closed The innocent victims will be told it won t hurt anything if they say they are uilty maybe a 50 fine or hours of public service but in fact they will not pass background checks anyJustice for all No Right now there are two justice systems One for the wealthy and one for the rest of us Global warming isn t the only problem people are ignoring At least until it s you being pulled over by a cop under orders to meet a uota or it s your wallet or mail being stolen and the theft paperwork is mishandled or it s your house being taken by a bank which has committed crimes costing billions with no penalty when you missed some payments of a few thousand dollars OOOh boyI will have to take a breath process this for a bit before I can et my thoughts on this one in lineIn short We suck US and we re doomed People are beginning to become disturbingly comfortable with a kind of official hypocrisy we ve become numb to the idea that rights aren t absolute but are enjoyed on a kind of sliding scale Matt Taibbi The Divide American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth the opposite of poverty is justice Bryan Stevenson Just Mercy A Story of Justice and Redemption Matt Taibbi a journalist who writes for Rolling Stone magazine and the author of this book The Divide American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap began this investigation because of a weird statistical anomaly he had been noticing Conventional wisdom says that when poverty rates increase crime rates also increase After a period of declining poverty rates in the United States during the 1990s and corresponding drop in crime the poverty rates once again began to rise in the 2000s particularly after the financial crisis in 2008 but oddly the crime rates remained low Even strangely despite this drop in crime the prison population had exploded In fact as Taibbi points out The prison population is the biggest in the history of human civilization There are people in the United States either on parole or in jail today than there ever were in Stalin s Making Sense of Leadership: Exploring the Five Key Roles Used by Effective Leaders gulags And for what it s worth there are black men in jail right now than there were in slavery at its peak How could this be This anomaly led Taibbi to investigate and attempt to answer who DOESo to jail in the United States And whyMatt Taibbi had reported on the 2008 financial crisis for Rolling Stone a crisis which he refers to as the reatest crime wave in a eneration It was this crisis that made him take note of the double standard that appears to be built into the structure of America s justice system Moving back and forth between the activities engaged in by investment bankers and hedge funds that led to the financial crisis which was responsible for eliminating 40% of the world s wealth and the activities occurring daily in neighborhoods such as Brooklyn NY and San Diego California where residents mostly non white and poor are arrested for crimes such as riding bicycles on sidewalks walking around the street with open containers of alcohol and jumping the turnstile in the subway Taibbi provides research and anecdotal evidence to demonstrate the stark contrast in the penalties meted out for these activities or crimes Matt Taibbi does a thorough job of taking the reader through the play by play of the banking crisis patiently explaining financial terms such as mortgage backed securities and subprime loans in terms that the average citizen like me could understand He provides example after example of the cheating and fraud which was occurring on Wall Street and around the world the secret 4 billion deal which was occurring involving a few remaining Lehman Brothers executives and top executives of Barclay s bank during those final hours before Lehman Brothers announced their bankruptcy a deal which both Gandhi Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age groups lied about not only tot he bankruptcy judge but also Lehman creditors who were left with little in terms of valuable assets He describes the mortgage fraud involving the biggest banks which left tens of thousands of people in foreclosure and the tax payers responsible for paying out bailout cash He even presents details of the case involving the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation HSBC which had been laundering 850 million for drug cartels in Central and South America The importance of these cases in terms of the thesis he presents in this book is to demonstrate how justice was carried out in these cases Simply no one invo. NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERA scathing Of An Urgent New an urgent new crisis Over the last two decades America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery Povertyoes up Crime oes down The prison population doubles Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth The rich et massively richer No one oes to jail In search of a solution journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends rowing wealth ineuality and mass incarceration come together driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to. ,
He d come up with for the next corporate criminal in his sights Vampire suid The Divide is Taibbi s best book an essential despairing look at the two completely different ways we prosecute crimes committed by poor people and by super rich people primarily because Taibbi s writing itself has maturedMake no mistake the white hot rage is still very much present it irradiates every page of this igantic often exhausting book It s that the indignation is self explanatory Taibbi trusts his writing He doesn t need to open the thesaurus to come up with hilariously hyperbolic descriptions of CEOs not when he can meticulously lay out their crimes for you and let you come up with your ownThe result is a book that s less onzo than his previous works a little less Hunter S Thompson in favor of a reporting and writing style that can now assertively be called his own He is a bullshit caller of the first order and someone we desperately need aroundAs for the content within what can I say The central conundrum Taibbi lays out in the introduction why it is that crime overall is down but the poverty rate is way up and our prison populations are skyrocketing is answered so thoroughly that it barely seems controversial By the end of the book your anger at our impotent legal system will The Lives of Stay-at-Home Fathers: Masculinity, Carework and Fatherhood in the United States give way to a begrudging numbnessThe author has since left his perch at Rolling Stone to begin a new venture that also includes Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill I admire those journalists but prefer Taibbi mainly because unlike the others he knows how to use humor to illuminate the outrages without it these When I first started reading this book I thought it wasonna be a liberal s take on the ap between the wealthy and the poor I soon found out that the author has definitely done his homework and lays the blame eually across all party lines This was an extremely eye opening book It is not an easy read and there are parts that I don t uite understand since I don t have a background dealing in stocks or have a firm understanding of what oes on in Wall Street But the premise of the book is extremely important in that our society does not treat everyone eually Somewhere along the way minor crimes Gone: The Disappearance of Claudia Lawrence and Her Father's Desperate Search for the Truth get major punishment and major crimeset minor to no punishment at all The author explains how the wealthy et wealthier and the poor et poor Being firmly in the middle class this is a hard pill to swallow and once your eyes are fully opened you can t ignore the injustice any This is a must read for everybody in our society today Sometimes the rating for a book is very heavily dependent upon timing This is an excellent book Well worth reading I listened to the audible version which was excellent The first thing that comes across from the very beginning is that Matt Taibbi is very angry He s angry about the systemic injustices about the unfairness and the outright prejudices within this society and the way the justice system is rigged But what he is most angry about is the ineuality between the poor and wealthy that is so perverse that the wealthy steal and cheat openly flouting any system of justice knowing that whatever they do it will be ignored because they have wealth and because of the complexity of the crimes Taibbi focuses on minor or nonexistent crimes that are prosecuted to the full extent of the law causing rievous injury to poor people to make remuneration The justice system has no mercy for the poor in Taibbi s examples Their basic crime is being poor and powerless to fight allegations The wealthy white collar crimes in contrast are far harmful to society with some of Taibbi s examples being millions of dollars stolen or fraudulently used to bilk cities out of tax funds that would presumably be used for schools or roads or retirements etc These crimes o unpunished or fines of nominal amounts that do not even cause the perpetrators any hardship at all Or crimes committed by an organization with decisions detrimental to society at large be it pollution or fraud or price rigging etc being made and no one not the corporation or the management is held accountable Meanwhile a single mother with children under 5 whose husband has been deported is driving with an expired driver s license is punished with 300 hours of community service The judge thinks he s lenient when he hands down this sentence But to her 300 hours of community service will bankrupt her She has to pay for child care She can t earn the money to take care of her family because the money she earns oes to childcare so she can do her community service To do the community service and work to earn money and she has no time with her kids It s insane Her response seems logical How is this benefiting anyone The very wealthy can contract lawyers who can parse and Uibble And Negotiate The Crimes and negotiate the crimes to nothing o free while inflicting significant tangible measurable damage to significantly people Politicians do nothing about it because these people also fund campaigns and have influence over the types of laws being made and the types of restrictions on enforcement This book is filled with examples of extremely minor or nonexistent violations of the law being prosecuted heavy handedly on the poor and people of color and immigrants He also has numerous examples of white collar crime when discovered not being prosecuted or if prosecuted the sentences are far lenient and much judicial concern about the impact on the lives of those people It s an ongoing theme no mercy for the poor Ignore the rich and let them do as they please It s infuriating and it oes on to a degree that I never suspected Even the Obama administration has turned a blind eye to what has occurred Eric Holder seems to be a champion for Civil Rights but some of that may be a diversion from prosecuting financial malfeasance cases Very cynical and unfortunately likely trueTiming is everything I listened to this book while an event occurred where a Stanford college athlete son of a wealthy family raped a coed while she was unconscious He was caught in the act The judge ave him 6 months jail time and some community service The judge deemed that any harsher punishment would do irreparable harm to the athlete This was a flagrant case of the wealthy being held to a different standard than the poor It was a flagrant case that was understandable to the masses that there was an ineuity in the way that justice is applied That moment of injustice in my view did to expose the ineuities associated with wealth than this book did Taibbi concentrates on the complex crimes of the wealthy and contrasts them with the simple crimes of the poor I think there are countless examples of the ineuities of justice that would be accessible to the masses Certainly the crimes that Taibbi outlined were far devastating to a far larger roup of people But to really highlight the ineuities I think the book would have been impacting if it showed the disparity in treatment of similar crimes and then basically said but it s far worse than you think because the wealthy are doing far damage to everyone and no one being held accountable In other words it s a forest for the trees argument In short I think Taibbi is right to be angry and supports his arguments fiercely My only complaint and it is minor is that his indictment of the wealthy though accurate was not very accessible There should be accessible events that spell out the disparity I don t think those event are in short supply I mean Affluenza as a defense for murder These would have created the
Foundation Upon Which Toupon which to before oing to the far complex and damaging examples in the book Additionally though he hints at this heavily Taibbi in a rare move does not come out and say that he believes racism and maintenance of the patriarchy are also a huge parts of this disparity He seems to think the wealth ap that is the root of the problem He thinks the wealthy don t care about anyone Very Bernie Sanders of him I think the injustices and disparities are maintained by all kinds of people not just the wealthy And I think systemic inbred cultural racism misogyny and maintenance of privilege are big pieces of those disparities Sense of entitlement hubris and not suffering conseuences of their actions aka untouchable have a lot to do with it as well At any rate I highly recommend this informative and influential book Taibbi make a compelling argument and I think he s mostly correct I m angry at the disparities in this country We agree on the situation though "not uite as much on the root causesbut we aren t "uite as much on the root causesbut we aren t far apart eitheralmost 45 Stars. Punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop and frisk world where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense As he narrates these incredible stories he draws out and analyzes their common a perverse new standard of justice based on a radical disturbing new vision of civil rights Through astonishing and enraging accounts of the high stakes capers of the wealthy and nightmare stories of regular people caught in the Divide’s punishing logic Taibbi lays bare one of the reatest challenges we face in contemporary American life surviving a system that devours the lives of the poor turns a blind eye to the destructive crimes of the wealthy and implicates us ,
Read The Divide American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth GapLved in any of the described activities and cases spent even a day in jail The institutions themselves of course were reuired to pay fines billions of dollars combined but no one lost a single day of their freedom for what they had done And perhaps importantly no one was even reuired to admit to any wrong doing Meanwhile not far from Wall Street in a Brooklyn neighborhood an African American man named Andrew Brown was experiencing the American justice system in uite a different way Andrew Brown had lived a difficult and troubled life and had spent his teen years in one scrape with police after another After the death of his chronically ill and long suffering mother and after meeting a young woman who provided him with encouragement and support Andrew turned his life around He married this young woman and they started a family and he secured his first real job working the night shift driving a casino shuttle busAlthough he was living his life as a responsible citizen he found that he continued to be arrested by police He received summonses for standing on street corners and talking with friends failure to disburse for blocking public access to his own apartment building while talking to a neighbor in front of the building in the early hours of the morning and he was arrested multiple times by police for fitting the description of wanted criminals although it was VERY clear that the only characteristic that Andrew shared with these wanted criminals was the color of his skin Matt Taibbi relates example after example of cases which share a reat deal in common with Andrew Brown s case In an immigrant community in Gainesville Georgia Taibbi met an undocumented immigrant named Alvaro Fernandez who had come from Colombia and had been operating a construction business in Georgia for many years Alvaro did not possess a valid driver s license as many states including Georgia does not permit immigrants without documents to obtain driver s licenses Alvaro had been arrested at a roadside checkpoint As Taibbi points out these checkpoints have become and common across America Although they are referred to as sobriety checkpoints it is not lost on people in the immigrant communities that they are only set up in areas which border the neighborhoods in which immigrants live and are used at times of the day when members of the community are oing to work and returning home Alvaro describes a harrowing tale of his experiences after being arrested by police and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents ICE The process of deporting undocumented immigrants often moves so swiftly that many do not even have time to say Once a Wicked Lady: A Biography of Margaret Lockwood goodbye to their families In a final example of the divide which exists in the justice experienced by our two Americas Matt Taibbi traveled to San Diego County in California where he learned about a program called P100 which was implemented in the state as a result of Clinton era welfare reform He follows several people mostly non white through the process of applying forovernment assistance cash assistance called CalWORKS and food stamps The process is exhausting and includes many hours and days sitting in overcrowded and understaffed assistance offices And if a person is tentatively approved for assistance they must agree to an investigation of their home and life by a state fraud investigator The applicants Taibbi meets describe investigators barging into their homes unannounced and rooting through their refrigerators and cupboards and even their underwear drawers and closets Applicants were threatened over and over told that if they lie in the application process they would lose custody of their children and would be sent to jail And not surprisingly to me Taibbi cites several cases in which applicants were indeed sentenced to jail terms for failing to report that a partner lived with them in their residence or for failing to disclose a source of income Finally a court case was filed in 2004 to challenge this law Rocio Sanchez et al v County of San Diego The American Civil Liberties Union ACLU brought the case on the behalf of six litigants on the basis that it violates the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures Ultimately the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that P100 was not unconstitutional because these visits from friendly Forbidden Reading government investigators were not searches The Court also said that the public has a strong interest in ensuring that aid provided from tax dollars reaches its proper and intended recipients Of course this statement issued by the Court isn t EXACTLY true because if it were anyone receivingovernment aid of any kind would be reuired to have hisher home searched People who receive tax deductions or credits student aid to attend college farmers who receive agricultural subsidies and yes even bankers who receive bailout money should be open to the same sort of A Northern Line Minute: The Northern Line government investigators inspecting their homes and personal belongings On the surface perhaps it may seem that Matt Ta I debated about reading this book when it was picked for our non fiction read with my local book club I read Will s review here on Goodreads It inspired me So between Will s reviewiving me a better context for this book plus local pressures and personal internal self pressure thinkingthis might be valuable for meas I felt some type of moral emotional responsibility to try to inform myself better about the social issues which can make people s blood pressure rise facing the realities on how we are criminalizing poverty Large companies can commit obscene frauds people Future Focus go on with their lives companies pay the fines but nobodyoes to jail People on the other end of the economy Major Problems in American Urban and Suburban History: Documents and Essays get tossed into prisons for much smaller crimes This is a book about social justice White collar crime and criminals that are never prosecuted Banks and other institutions that are too big to fail The larger the organization everyone isuilty but nobody is uilty or at least it s hard to know who to point the finger at Much of guilty or at least it s hard to know who to point the finger at Much of book is just sad with infuriating stories about poor people etting the really raw deal with the welfare system and criminal justice systems Other parts of the books taps into your anger emotions about how Wall Street screws over investors on purpose There is corruption at the top and bottom in our society but so very different at different ends It s frightening to realized how much this country disrespects the poor and weak They are actually punished for itThe rewards revolves around the powerful and by powerful we are speaking If a person is extremely wealthy Power Speaks for itself Pretty thick book often funny haha the author is in YOUR FACE no holds back using pretty crude language at times which may or may not put readers off But emotions will o up and down like being on a roller coaster So many stories to chew on which reinforce the reality thatThe rich et richer and the poor Devil's Red Nickel get poorerLight bedtime reading ha If you have a lot of it money the legal road youet to travel is well lit and beautifully maintained If you don t it s a dark alley and most Americans would be shocked to find out what s at the end of it Taibbi clearly describes the sharp divide in our system of justice detailing how individuals leading large banks stole billions of dollars unpunished while others poor and usually black are hauled off to jail for crimes as nonsensical as blocking pedestrian traffic Some of the stories are horrifying to read Unfortunately the divide is Social Class in Contemporary Japan: Structures, Sorting and Strategies getting worse this book precedes our current president s policies Even though this is a depressing book it is very educational and important reading There is no law only power The author looks at some of the details of how this is manifested in the USA and offers in addition some insight into the psychology of criminal targeting Matt Taibbi is widely known and respected as a hard hitting author and financial reportereditor for Rollingstone Magazine His previous book Griftopia went into considerable detail about how debt is used by large corporations to ensnare customers how commodity speculation screws us all how some politicians are selling off public assets for their private politicalain and how the vampire suid that is Goldman Sachs has been draining the fiscal blood from the planet If "you Clubland UK: On the Door in the Rave Era get off on seeing what isoing on behind the curtains this constitutes ood times Well "get off on seeing what is oing on behind the curtains this constitutes ood times Well is at it again He decided to l Matt Taibbi s previous books were fun to read riotous accounts of populist anger and part of the thrill was seeing what incendiary language. Go unpunished while turning poverty itself into a
*crime but it’s impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side In *but it’s impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side In Divide Matt Taibbi takes readers on a alvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice the fun house mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistleblower who ets in the way of the largest banks in America only to find herself in the crosshairs On the other side of the Divide Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly.