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Writing Worth Reading

Cruel And Unusual Punishment: The Shame Of Three Strikes Laws

In California, the first state to pass a “three-strike” law mandating long prison sentences for third-time offenders, thousands of people are serving life sentences for non-violent and often trivial crimes. “Have you heard the one about the guy who got life for stealing a slice of pizza? Or the guy who went away forever for lifting a pair of baby shoes? Or the one who got 50 to life for helping himself to five children’s videotapes from Kmart? This Frankenstein’s monster of a mandatory-sentencing system isn’t just some localized bureaucratic accident, but the legacy of a series of complex political choices we all made as voters decades ago” (6,334 words)

Gangster Bankers: Too Big To Jail

“For at least half a decade, HSBC helped to wash hundreds of millions of dollars for drug mobs, including Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, The bank also moved money for organisations linked to Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and for Russian gangsters; helped countries like Iran, the Sudan and North Korea evade sanctions; and aided countless common tax cheats”

Secrets And Lies Of The Bailout

“We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we ended up doing was the opposite: committing taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system”

Greed And Debt: The True Story Of Mitt Romney And Bain Capital

“He is the frontman of an economic revolution, in which transactions are manufactured instead of products, wealth is generated without prosperity, and Cayman Islands partnerships are erected while American communities fall apart”

From An Unlikely Source, A Serious Challenge To Wall Street

Could local government use eminent domain to seize sinking mortgages? It could be “the first true open, pitched battle between Wall Street and the homeowners and communities who have been the primary victims of financial corruption”

Fear And Loathing 40 Years Later

Introduction to new edition of Hunter S. Thompson’s campaign-trail classic. Thompson “stared right into the flaming-hot sun of shameless lies and cynical horseshit that is our politics, and he described exactly what he saw”

The Scam Wall Street Learned From The Mafia

How banks defrauded small towns across US. “No thumbs were broken, and nobody ended up in a landfill in New Jersey, but money disappeared, lots and lots of it, and its manner of disappearance had a familiar name: Organised crime”

How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform

In 2010 Obama passed Dodd-Frank, 2,300 pages of regulation with which to end Wall Street corruption. But world of finance fought back, soon brought government to heel. How? Simple: Complain, sue, stall, bully, then exploit loopholes

The Odd Couple: Romney Vs Gingrich

Rollicking ride on the campaign trail. As often with Taibbi, it’s rude, crude and great fun even if the analysis does involve a certain amount of shooting from the hip. So buckle up for Plastic Man vs the Beltway parasite

Best Of 2011: Real Housewives Of Wall Street

“Huge roaring river of cash” has flowed out of Fed since 2008 crash, to prop up US financial system. Now Fed has been forced to open its books. Money has ended up in some odd hands. Those of Morgan Stanley’s boss’s wife, for example

Mike Bloomberg’s Marie Antoinette Moment

Another fast and furious tirade, this time aimed at New York mayor. Bloomberg’s recent comments on OWS “allow us to see under his would-be hip centrist Halloween mask and look closely at the corrupt, arrogant aristocrat underneath”

Rick Perry: The Best Little Whore In Texas

“You have to go pretty far to stand out as a whore and a sellout when you come from a state that has produced such luminaries in the history of political corruption as LBJ, Karl Rove and George W. Bush. But Rick Perry has managed to set a scary new low in the annals of opportunism”

Wall Street Isn’t Winning – It’s Cheating

Sweary but enjoyable rant sparked by pundit’s comment that OWS protest is driven by envy of the rich. No it isn’t, says Taibbi, who gives both barrels in this response, arguing that the finance game is rigged

My Advice To Occupy Wall Street

“The time is rapidly approaching when the movement is going to have to offer concrete solutions to the problems posed by Wall Street. To do that, it will need a short but powerful list of demands. There are thousands one could make, but I’d suggest focusing on five”

Is The SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?

On recent allegations that the SEC has been systematically destroying records of investigations. “Federal regulators have weighted down a huge sack of Wall Street’s dirty laundry and dumped it in a lake, never to be seen again”

Michele Bachmann’s Holy War

Aspiring Republican gets the Taibbi treatment. “Bachmann is exactly the right kind of completely batshit crazy. Not medically crazy, not talking-to-herself-on-the-subway crazy, but grandiose crazy, late-stage Kim Jong-Il crazy”

People vs Goldman Sachs

“A well-connected firm with the ear of the president and the Treasury appears to have conquered the entire regulatory structure and stands on the precipice of getting away with one of the biggest financial crimes in history”

Why Isn’t Wall Street In Jail?

Financial crash was full of scandals, but not one big bank executive has been convicted of crime. Further evidence that Wall Street has turned its regulators inside out. SEC and DoJ officials don’t punish bankers, they protect them

Giffords Shooting: We Did It

Media share blame for climate of political violence. “What wins market share is bashing the living fuck out of people your audiences love to hate.” Most readers, listeners keep such polemics in context. Jared Loughner could not

Crying Shame Of John Boehner

On the new Speaker of the House: “He’s a five-tool insider who can lie, cheat, steal, play golf, change his mind on command and do anything else his lobbyist buddies and campaign contributors require of him to get the job done”

Courts Help Banks Screw Homeowners

Report from “rocket docket” court in Jacksonville, Florida, where banks repossess homes. Doesn’t seem to matter if they’ve lost the paperwork, or faked it, or they’ve got the wrong house. Judge nods it all through

Tea & Crackers

Portrait of the Tea Party as a tribe of disoriented white people on Medicare, against government spending except on themselves. By Taibbi’s standards a restrained piece of writing. Simple points, well expressed.

Flat And All That

“Just when you begin to lose faith in America’s ability to fall for absolutely anything, along comes Thomas Friedman, porn-stached resident of a Maryland mega-mansion, husband to the heir of one of the largest shopping-mall chains in the world, as an oracle of anti-consumerist conservationism”

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