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Matt Taibbi On Unequal Justice In The Age Of Inequality

Muckraking journalist Matt Taibbi sees a huge and growing divide in the US justice system, where big money buys innocence and poverty means guilt. He joins us.

In this file photo, author and journalist Matt Taibbi speaks to a crowd of Occupy Wall Street protestors after a march on the offices of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, in New York. There was a heavy police presence around the 42nd Street area as the demonstration began Wednesday morning outside. (AP)

In this file photo, author and journalist Matt Taibbi speaks to a crowd of Occupy Wall Street protestors after a march on the offices of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, in New York. There was a heavy police presence around the 42nd Street area as the demonstration began Wednesday morning outside. (AP)

Muckraking journalist Matt Taibbi makes us look at what we might want to avoid, ignore.  And he does it with a rage that compels us to keep looking.  He’s gone after the lords of Wall Street as a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”  This time out, he’s going after a great skewing, he says, of American justice.  In an age of great inequality, says Taibbi, our rule of law has been subverted.  Divided into two tiers. Free passes for the rich.  Criminalization for the poor.  This hour On Point:  Matt Taibbi on separate and unequal American justice in the age of inequality.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Matt Taibbi, project editor at First Look Media. Author of “The Divide: American Injustice In the Age of the Wealth Gap.” Also author of “Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History” and “The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire.” (@mtaibbi)

Authur Laby, professor of law at Rutgers University.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Book Review: ‘The Divide’ by Matt Taibbi — “It would be one thing to simply point at such judicial disparity and cry foul. Mr. Taibbi’s contribution is to trace the bureaucratic process that created a prosecutorial doctrine that calls for weighing ‘collateral consequences’—that is, anything that might hurt innocent bystanders—when deciding whether to bring a case against a corporation. ‘Prosecutors may take into account the possibly substantial consequences to a corporation’s officers, directors, employees, and shareholders,’ reads a 1999 Justice Department memo written by a then obscure lawyer named Eric Holder.”

 Washington Post: ‘The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap’ by Matt Taibbi — “Taibbi is a relentless investigative reporter. He takes readers inside not only investment banks, hedge funds and the blood sport of short-sellers, but into the lives of the needy, minorities, street drifters and illegal immigrants, to juxtapose justice for the poor and the powerful.”

NPR: In Book’s Trial Of U.S. Justice System, Wealth Gap Is Exhibit A —  “What I ended up finding is that it’s incredibly easy for people who don’t have money to go to jail for just about anything. There’s almost an inverse relationship between the ease with which you can put a poor person in jail for, say, welfare fraud, and the difficulty that prosecutors face when they try to put someone from a too-big-to-fail bank in jail for a more serious kind of fraud.”

Read An Excerpt of “The Divide” by Matt Taibbi

 

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