Many defendants in low-level criminal cases sit in county jails until trial or are coerced into pleading guilty due to their inability to make bail. / Thomas Hawk
The Baffler,  September 4, 2015

Daily Bafflements

Many defendants in low-level criminal cases sit in county jails until trial or are coerced into pleading guilty due to their inability to make bail. / Thomas Hawk
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WikiLeaks praised David Graeber’s Baffler no. 28 salvo on bullying and warmaking. Writes Graeber,

In militaristic societies like the United States, it is almost axiomatic that our enemies must be cowards—especially if the enemy can be labeled a “terrorist” (i.e., someone accused of wishing to create fear in us, to turn us, of all people, into cowards). It is then necessary to ritually turn matters around and insist that no, it is they who are actually fearful. All attacks on U.S. citizens are by definition “cowardly attacks.”

• Our friends over at Pacific Standard report that regardless of their crimes, defendants who cannot afford bail are four times more likely to be sentenced to time in prison. Maura Ewing writes that

on any given day, the nation’s 3,000-plus jails detain about 731,000 people—nearly as many people as live in San Francisco. But for their inability to post bail, many of them would instead be at home. In New York City in 2013, for example, over half of jail inmates—54 percent—were held until trial because they couldn’t afford a bail of $2,500 or less. About three-quarters of the people in jail are there for non-violent misdemeanors such as traffic violations or drug or public order offenses—like turnstile jumping or bar fights . . . Shackles and orange jump suits, it seems, affect the perception of a defendant by those deciding his or her fate.

• Today in billionaires: despite conflicting reports earlier this week, Bono’s not one. As Niela Orr has previously summed up on the blog, “Bono’s brand—the benefactor with a rough brogue, the one-man global eradicator of poverty—has made him rich.” However, the aging rock frontman and Facebook investor is not, after all, worth ten digits. Don’t worry, though, his 2011 tour with U2 was the highest-grossing musical tour of all time, bringing in $195 million.

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Further Reading

 November 9

There was no quibbling over what item on the menu might be more digestible---Virginia voters just carted off the whole buffet.