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As many reading this may already know, author and subdued "gonzo school” journalist Matt Taibbi’s been kind of busy over the past few months. He left Rolling Stone and he’s now working for eBay Board Chairman Pierre Omidyar’s new venture: First Look Media. Additionally, he’s now a father. And, his sixth book, “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap,” will be available online and on store shelves this coming Tuesday, April 8th.

Here’s a link and an excerpt from Los Angeles Times book reviewer David Ulin’s take on Taibbi’s latest work (I strongly encourage you to read the entire piece)…

Matt Taibbi rips into America's growing income gap in 'The Divide'

Matt Taibbi starkly details how far U.S. ideals have fallen in 'The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.'

By David L. Ulin
Los Angeles Times Book Critic
March 27, 2014, 11:40 a.m.

Matt Taibbi begins his sixth book, "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap," with a simple formulation: "Poverty goes up; Crime goes down; Prison population doubles." It's a snapshot, a way to represent what Taibbi sees as the through-the-looking-glass reality of contemporary America, where rule of law has been subverted by, on the one hand, corporate greed and, on the other, a kind of institutionalized abuse of the poor…

…"For a country founded on the idea that rights are inalienable and inherent from birth," Taibbi writes, "we've developed a high tolerance for conditional rights and conditional citizenship. And the one condition, it turns out, is money..."

...To make the case, Taibbi shifts throughout "The Divide" between macro and micro, juxtaposing two distinct, and separated, worlds….

…Taibbi zeroes in on a memo, written in 1999 by "a little-known official from Bill Clinton's White House named Eric Holder" that established the principle of collateral consequences. The term refers to avoiding fallout from prosecution on corporate "officers, directors, employees, and shareholders" by pushing for fines and civil sanctions instead.

Here we see the roots of TARP, with its too-big-to-fail ethos — and why not, since these white-collar crimes are essentially victimless? The catch, however, is that they're not victimless at all…

…the heart of "The Divide" emerges from what he finds on the other side, on the streets of Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy and Riverside County and Gainesville, Ga., where an overlapping matrix of police initiatives, immigration laws and an "Obama-era initiative bearing the Bush-Orwellian catch-phrase 'Secure Communities'" has made going to work or applying for assistance a source of persecution and anxiety.

These are the stories that will keep you up at night, so many I hardly know where to begin…

…but even worse is how they fit into a growing legal framework by which the underclass is effectively criminalized…

… "The Divide" is not just a report from the new America; it is advocacy journalism at its finest, an attempt to stir us up...

The Divide
American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
Matt Taibbi
Spiegel & Grau: 416 pp., $27

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Here’s Amazon's "romance copy” on the book…

A scathing portrait of an urgent new American crisis

Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery:

Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles.
Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail.

In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends—growing wealth inequality 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 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 The Divide, Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing 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 gets 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 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 source: 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 greatest 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 all.

Love him or hate him (it should come as no surprise to those reading this when I state, “I’m a big fan”), he is widely acknowledged to be one of the great muckrakers of our time.

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A special note to all Kossacks in and around “Koslandia”: Radio station KPFA-FM 94.1 will be hosting a benefit (for the station) event featuring a lecture by Matt Taibbi at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, United Church of Christ (2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA, phone: 510-848-3696), on Saturday, April 12th, at 7:30PM. Tix are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and may be purchased at independent bookstores or by calling: 800-836-3006. Click RIGHT HERE and/or HERE for more info.

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I know the following’s unnecessary but, for the record (since the above post reads like somewhat of a promotion), the only reason I’m posting this is due to the fact that (reiterating) I’m just a big fan of Taibbi’s work.

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Originally posted to on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 11:06 PM PDT.

Also republished by Readers and Book Lovers.

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