From: The National Memo
By Leonard Pitts Jr.
Fair warning: This book will make you angry.
The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, by Matt Taibbi, is a volume of stories. Like the Vietnamese refugee and rape victim in San Diego who applied for public assistance, only to be visited by a “welfare inspector” who barged into her home and began yelling that he would take her children away if he found she was lying about being destitute and not having a man. All this as he’s rummaging through her belongings. Finally, he holds up a pair of sexy panties on the tip of a pencil, demanding with a triumphant smirk to know why she needs these if she has no boyfriend.
Then there’s Patrick Jewell, rolling a (tobacco) cigarette and smoking it outside a New York City subway station, only to be thrown against a wall by some guy who yelled “What the (expletive) do you think you’re doing here?” and when he tried to escape, having his head slammed against the concrete by a gang of men in black jackets. Jewell thought he was being robbed or kidnapped, but it turned out his assailants were cops: He was thrown into a van and charged with smoking marijuana and resisting arrest.
But it is not simply these stories that will make you angry. No, what will really spike your blood pressure is when Taibbi juxtaposes them with other stories: tales of the bankers, money men — and occasional women — who committed billions of dollars in fraud, laundered money for terrorist organizations and drug cartels, precipitated the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression, yet never spent a night in jail. MORE