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Matt Taibbi and the Invisible Americans

Part of my problem as we go forward towards a progressively bleak future, is that back in 2008 some of the best progressive writers exposed themselves as pretty horrible thinkers.

For example here’s Matt Taibbi then:

The New Nixon

Moreover, like Nixon, her “invisible Americans” deal is carefully couched to appeal to the fears of her own version of the silent majority — fears about energy prices, layoffs, health care, terrorism. It’s a conscious decision to contrast her approach to Obama’s hokey-inspirational politics — hence the relentless emphasis on the part of stooges like Penn on her “preparedness” and leadership, as opposed to Obama’s airy “vision” and “hope.”

Was Taibbi serious when he dismisses Hillary’s platform issues (and by implication the depth of her knowledge of those issues) as an appeal to Nixon’s silent majority?  And he goes on throughout the piece quoting virtually every classic distortion regarding  Hillary:

Here’s Obama, a black man, coming into a crucial debate having watched his white opponent and her henchmen slyly remind voters about what he was doing “in the neighborhood” as a kid and then point out that MLK couldn’t secure his legacy without the help of a white man with a title.
. . .
She refused an invitation to describe him as “prepared” for the presidency
. . .
After all these years in public life, the only time Hillary Clinton sheds a tear is when her own political career is on the line? I didn’t notice her crying when kids started coming home from Fallujah in rubber bags because of a war she voted for.

His history of Hillary-Hate makes me inclined to to distrust his judgement.  But, Matt Taibbi’s  recent financial stories are readable explanations  of how the on-going crises are affecting regular people.   Most recently, Taibbi published another of his depressing exposés in Rolling Stone, “Matt Taibbi: Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners.” This time Taibbi is on the side of invisible Americans.  I think.

The article describes a morning Taibbi spent viewing a “rocket docket” process mortgage foreclosures in Florida. Here are a few of the highlights:

The judges, in fact, openly admit that their primary mission is not justice but speed. One Jacksonville judge, the Honorable A.C. Soud, even told a local newspaper that his goal is to resolve 25 cases per hour. Given the way the system is rigged, that means His Honor could well be throwing one ass on the street every 2.4 minutes.


Kowalski’s current case before Judge Soud is a perfect example. The Jacksonville couple he represents are being sued for delinquent payments, but the case against them has already been dismissed once before. The first time around, the plaintiff, Bank of New York Mellon, wrote in Paragraph 8 that “plaintiff owns and holds the note” on the house belonging to the couple. But in Paragraph 3 of the same complaint, the bank reported that the note was “lost or destroyed,” while in Paragraph 4 it attests that “plaintiff cannot reasonably obtain possession of the promissory note because its whereabouts cannot be determined.”

. . .

Now, months after its first pass at foreclosure was dismissed, the bank has refiled the case — and what do you know, it suddenly found the note. And this time, somehow, the note has the proper stamps. “There’s a stamp that did not appear on the note that was originally filed,” Kowalski tells the judge. (This business about the stamps is hilarious. “You can get them very cheap online,” says Chip Parker, an attorney who defends homeowners in Jacksonville.)
. . .
Thus, when Soud tells Kessler that he’s dismissing the case, he hastens to add: “Of course, I’m not going to dismiss with prejudice.” With an emphasis on the words “of course.”

Instead, Soud gives Kessler 25 days to come up with better paperwork. Kowalski fully expects the bank to come back with new documents telling a whole new story of the note’s ownership. “What they’re going to do, I would predict, is produce a note and say Bank of New York is not the original note-holder, but merely the servicer,” he says.

And so it goes, for eight pages.  A few defendants have lawyers, some come to defend themselves.  But, the judge handles the vast majority of cases after barely opening the case folder.  And those families always lose their house.

It’s a sad story — one we’ve read it too many times these past couple of years.  And I’m glad Matt Taibbi is sticking with it.  But, I can’t help thinking that if guys & gals like Matt were on our side three years ago then things might not be this bad today.

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38 Responses

  1. We are invisible, how else do you account for our primary votes for Hillary disappearing?

  2. Prick. Problem with most of the Obot prog bloggers is immaturity.

  3. According to Wiki Matt is 40 years old. That means he’s too young to have much more than vague memories of the Carter administration but would have been in his twenties when the Big Dawg took office.

    How can anyone have so much hate for the one successful presidency in his lifetime?

    • 40 going on 14. 😛

    • Little Matt doesn’t remember 21% interest rates or long gas lines.

      He’ll find out.

      • (nodding) I had a 13% interest rate on my first house and thought it was a good deal.

        • Me too. A lot of our friends could not buy houses because the payments were so high with that rate. We are in the same house and glad we bought a smaller house because that was what we could afford. It was all we needed and we avoided too much house syndrome.

  4. My bumper sticker: “I miss Bill.”

  5. Who the hell nominated Tabibi to be one of “the best progressive writers”?

    • The oh-so-wrong “creative class.”

      They’re a little more bitter & clingy these days.

      • I’ve read that, once upon a time, people who called themselves “Left” or “Liberal” or “Progressive” in the USA supported working-class USAmericans instead of sneering at them.

        I guess we’re just not cool enough for the “creative class” any more. 😛

    • Well, there was some irony in that sentence but, I DO enjoy his writing style in these Rolling Stone essays. He’s a good researcher and writes with clarity.

      The problem is that he is also capable of writing out of prejudice. And with these economic essays, how can someone like me know how those prejudices affect the story?

      • Anybody who can tag Goldman Sachs with “vampire squid”… There’s talent there, undeniably. And the “rocket docket” story was terrific. Who else is covering that stuff.

        It’s just that… Somebody should take Taibbi aside and straighten him out on misogyny.

        • I’d forgotten that “vampire squid” came from him. And you’re right -no one else is covering this stuff (at least not in language accessible to me)

          I think we need to come up with a TAG for authors who are writing good stuff now but, have had questionable instincts/prejudices in the past.

      • Usually, Taibi leaves BO out of it, and instead points the finger at Clinton and those who worked in his administration.

    • He thinks he’s the next Hunter S. Thompson.

  6. Taibbi’s callow contempt for Hillary, and for the working-class citizens who supported her, are the primary reasons I allowed my Rolling Stone subscription to expire in 2009.

    I take much the same attitude toward Taibbi that I do toward the unrepentant Communist pundit Alexander Cockburn; I admit both men serve useful purposes sometimes, but I dislike them.

  7. Spammy got its knickers twisted over something again. 🙄

    • To quote Beavis speaking to Butthead, “You said ‘cock.’ He he he.”

      • Are you serious? Spammy can’t tell the difference between an alternative word for “rooster”, which also serves as a slang term for one of the male genital organs, and part of a family name?

        Haruhi-sama preserve us. 🙄

    • Actually, someone should do one of these Xtranormal exchanges with a sane person talking to an Obot. All you have to do is write the script and plug it in to the free application on the site, and voila you have a political animation film. Xtranormal clips go viral very fast these days. 🙂

  8. South Korean animators do the G20 in rap…

  9. It’s this comment that so many people I know kept claiming that Obama was from the hood. Still hard to change that meme:

    “Here’s Obama, a black man, coming into a crucial debate having watched his white opponent and her henchmen slyly remind voters about what he was doing “in the neighborhood” as a kid and then point out that MLK couldn’t secure his legacy without the help of a white man with a title.”

    • Paul Krugman:

      What’s particularly saddening is the way many Obama supporters seem happy with the application of “Clinton rules” — the term a number of observers use for the way pundits and some news organizations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent.

    • Shows their ignorance. Obama was not a child of the Hood – quite the contrary he was a child of privilege – most of us were not. To quoe the clown again “Koolaid is one helluva drug”.

  10. People can begin to mature into thining individuals in 2 years. Just re-print that old article for him and sign it, Mr(s). Invisible American, circa 2008. Remember us?

  11. thinking, although thin(n)ing too if you’re broke like me.

  12. I’ve had less than zero respect for Tabibi since the first thing I read by him. He was being funny about child rape to jazz up a heeelarious column for Rolling Stone about the campaign trail in 2008. Interestingly enough, the link at Rolling Stone has gone 404. Shakesville wrote about it at the time and quotes what to my disgusted memory seems like one of the barely printable parts of the piece.

    Since the original is gone, here’s the quoted bit. Trigger warning, of course.

    A youngish kid with long hair and a red t-shirt in this crowd started telling me his story, about how he’d been busted for possession of drug paraphernalia. “It was a couple of pipes…” he began.

    I waved him off and explained that, as a member of the national campaign press, I was here to write about what I wanted him to say, not what he wanted himself to say. “Look,” I said, holding up a bill. “I’m willing to pay twenty bucks to the first person who’ll say whatever I want him to say about Fred Thompson.”

    About ten sets of hands flew up, including the kid in front of me. I held up the twenty.

    “Name,” I barked.

    “Gary Blakeman,” he said.

    “Age,” I said.

    “Seventeen.”

    I wrote that down. “Gary, does Fred Thompson look like a pedophile to you?”

    He looked at me pleadingly. “Yes, right?”

    “Right,” I said.

    “Yes, he does,” he answered.

    “So what you’re saying, Gary,” I prompted, “is that you wouldn’t be at all surprised to walk into a room and see this candidate’s penis in a four year-old child?”

    “Of course not!” the kid said. “Because he looks like a fucking pedophile, dude!”

    “Mmm-hmm,” I said. “And what kind of face would you expect him to be making at that moment?”

    The kid grit his teeth and strained his neck muscles. “He’d be like, unnnnhh!” he shouted.

    “Thanks,” I said, handing him the twenty. He took it and walked off with his hands over his head in triumph. I looked over at the wire-service girl, who was still humping an old couple about the Hillary thing. Amateur, I thought.

    After that, I’m not reading the scum until I hear he’s had a major conversion event.

  13. “FRAUD IN THE COURT” and “NO DUE PROCESS IN CALIFORNIA”

    My Civil Case regarding Wrongful Foreclosure went Judicial in California.

    The Judges turned a “Blind Eye” to the Back-Dated, Forged, Non- Acknowledged Fraudulent Foreclosure Documents and EMBEZZLEMENT Scheme, removed the LIS PENDEN, allowing GOLDMAN SACHS to FORECLOSE ON MY PROPERTY.

    GOLDMAN SACHS does not own my property, but their name is all over the Insurance documents.

    To all Foreclosure Victims:
    If you are in need of Affirmative Defenses to combat these thieves and injustice, feel free to visit my blog at http://www.bushnellcomplaint.blogspot.com.

    And Click on this link to view my current Unlawful Detainer:
    https://fdaaccount.box.net/shared/nuym44jzj0

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