A significant manifesto for judicial reform that aims at cracking the cabal of big-money grifters at the top.

BIG DIRTY MONEY

THE SHOCKING INJUSTICE AND UNSEEN COST OF WHITE COLLAR CRIME

A scathing indictment of white-collar crime and its unpunished practitioners.

So-called street crime—robbery, burglary, etc.—costs American society about $16 billion per year, according to FBI statistics. Conversely, “white collar crime in America, such as fraud and embezzlement, costs victims an estimated $300 billion to $800 billion per year.” So observes Vermont Law School professor and legal activist Taub, who adds that, as in other aspects of life, the holders of the big ticket pretty much get away with it every time out. Even if they don’t, they get a pass, as when in February 2020 Donald Trump pardoned various perpetrators of “bribery, investment fraud, public corruption, computer hacking, an extortion cover-up, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the federal government, obstruction of justice, mail fraud, wire fraud.” Taub adds, “No white collar crime left behind.” The laxity with which white-collar crime is treated speaks to social inequality, and the author looks deeply into cases such as that of the opioid-peddling Sackler family, who were given ample time to hide their assets offshore when caught violating federal drug laws. Even though three top officials of their Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty, none served prison time. “They are as bad as the drug pusher on the street corner or the kingpins behind the cartel,” Taub notes with appropriately righteous indignation. For their part, those caught insider trading face an essentially toothless Securities and Exchange Commission. And so on. In this steely-eyed examination of these brazen criminals, Taub holds that this lack of effective punishment merely encourages the wealthy to prey on the rest of society. Though it would be impossible and even undesirable to prosecute every one of them, “we do need to make an example of those who are the worst offenders”—especially when a “lying, cheating, megalomaniac American president” is available to issue pardons like so many doses of Oxycontin.

A significant manifesto for judicial reform that aims at cracking the cabal of big-money grifters at the top.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984879-97-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

THE WAR ON THE WEST

A British journalist fulminates against Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, and other threats to White privilege.

“There is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world—its past, present, and future.” So writes Spectator associate editor Murray, whose previous books have sounded warnings against the presumed dangers of Islam and of non-Western immigration to the West. As the author argues, Westerners are supposed to take in refugees from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while being “expected to abolish themselves.” Murray soon arrives at a crux: “Historically the citizens of Europe and their offspring societies in the Americas and Australasia have been white,” he writes, while the present is bringing all sorts of people who aren’t White into the social contract. The author also takes on the well-worn subject of campus “wokeness,” a topic of considerable discussion by professors who question whether things have gone a bit too far; indeed, the campus is the locus for much of the anti-Western sentiment that Murray condemns. The author’s arguments against reparations for past damages inflicted by institutionalized slavery are particularly glib. “It comes down to people who look like the people to whom a wrong was done in history receiving money from people who look like the people who may have done the wrong,” he writes. “It is hard to imagine anything more likely to rip apart a society than attempting a wealth transfer based on this principle.” Murray does attempt to negotiate some divides reasonably, arguing against “exclusionary lines” and for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s call for a more vigorous and welcoming civil culture. Too often, however, the author falters, as when he derides Gen. Mark Milley for saying, “I want to understand white rage. And I’m white”—perhaps forgetting the climacteric White rage that Milley monitored on January 6, 2021.

A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-316202-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Broadside Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2022

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