Criminalize failure, poverty, and weakness / Immunize strength, wealth and success

Yesterday we talked about EPD dividing the city along racial and economic lines. Today were going to talk about this on a national scale like we did in our post on Thomas Pikkety’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”


The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap’ – a new book by Matt Taibbi

Taibbi chronicles Americans slide further away from the principles and image that made it a beacon to the world for two hundred years.


Here’s some of the stand out quotes:

“Chase’s was a junkie’s banking strategy, shooting speed in the morning and spending all day foraging for the cash to dope down at night, an endless quest to chase the debt dragon.”

“For a country founded on the idea that rights are inalienable and inherent from birth, we’ve developed a high tolerance for conditional rights and conditional citizenship. And the one condition, it turns out, is money. If you have a lot of it, the legal road you get 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.”

“The rich have always gotten breaks and the poor have always had to swim upstream, The new truth is infinitely darker and more twisted.” “Today, the rule of law has slowly been replaced by giant idiosyncratic bureaucracies that are designed to criminalize failure, poverty, and weakness on the one hand, and to immunize strength, wealth and success on the other.”

“Twenty-six billion dollars of fraud: no felony cases. But when the stakes are in the hundreds of dollars, we kick in 26,000 doors a year, in just one county.”

“So the only time RICO was used to fight mortgage fraud was when the criminal was a black gang member and the victims were banks. (Ironically, nobody thought to wonder how it was possible for a Lincoln Park gang member to buy 222 houses with no money down. Heading into that particular rabbit hole would have led to the larger crime, but nobody did.)”

“Obsessed with success and wealth and despising failure and poverty, our society is systematically dividing the population into winners and losers, using institutions like the courts to speed the process.”

You can buy Matt’s book “Divide” locally at:


4 thoughts on “Criminalize failure, poverty, and weakness / Immunize strength, wealth and success

  1. Yes. It’s _been_ like that for a while. I like your social analysis direction. Can you do some articles on the 1800s-era destruction of the American labor movement, and the variety of types and structures of unions in the world and their role (or lack of role) in government? Like that Nissan plant in Tennessee that wouldn’t unionize and nearly lost an international contract (maybe it was Volvo?) Functional labor representation is one among many factors supporting other societies’ success..


    • It was VW. UAW lost this very close vote despite the support of VW in the face of government intimidation (Governor Hassler and Senator Corker threatened plant closures), UAW appealed the election but inexplicably dropped it at the last minute as witnesses were at the courthouse waiting for the hearing to begin. Threats or bribery? No one but the people at the top knows; but the anti-labor, pro-slave wage forces are primarily on the right and heavily funded by neoBircher Koch brothers.


      • VW in Germany only works with union plants, and they found it crazy that American plants weren’t – right? Is VW still going to build it? Does Germany have several seats in parliament for union reps from particular careers, like a rep for the auto industry in particular and a rep for the railroad? Or was that France? I know in the 1950s in this country a person could lose their job for even understanding these concepts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s