Bust: Bill Clinton. / Cliff
The Baffler,  April 18, 2016

Daily Bafflements

Bust: Bill Clinton. / Cliff
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• Here’s Tom Frank in The Guardian, on the recent slurry of articles claiming that Bill Clinton’s draconian, racist 1994 crime bill didn’t cause mass incarceration:

There is indeed something worth criticizing when a Democratic president signs on to a national frenzy for punishment and endorses things like “three strikes,” “mandatory minimums,” and “truth in sentencing,” the latter being a cute euphemism for “no more parole.” The reason the 1994 crime bill upsets people is not because they stupidly believe Bill Clinton invented these things; it is because they know he encouraged them. 

In her “Bad Behavior” column, Natasha Vargas-Cooper wrote about this year’s Supreme Court decision to allow the two thousand people sentenced to life without parole as juveniles, as a result of that bill, to appeal for parole.

• Come to think of it, since it’s Patriots’ Day, here’s Vargas-Cooper again, on Bill Clinton’s taste for anilingus.

• What happens when the rise in subprime lending aligns with the ascendance of devices with access controls? “Tracking systems—whether GPS-based, or otherwise—make sure that the property never truly leaves the creditor’s sight,” writes Sarah Jeong, over at The Atlantic.

• Hey look! Baffler contributing editor Barbara Ehrenreich is cited, alongside Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, in an article entitled “Economic Inequality Complaints Are Just A Cover For Anti-Rich Prejudice.” We shouldn’t dehumanize the rich, argues the author—a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute. “To the extent that any demonization is going on,” Ehrenreich once covertly and dehumanizingly prejudiced, “one can’t help thinking that the rich have been, perhaps inadvertently, asking for it.” 

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Further Reading

 April 4

Official oversight commissions tend to perform all of the trappings of democratic accountability while rarely resulting in lasting reform.