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MSNBC: Mark Ames and Yasha Levine
Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
Yasha Levine

Brentwood Victorville

The richness of Victorville’s fossil record never fails to surprise an amateur scam-historian like myself. See, all this time I thought I had been living in a brand new tract home development built on the virgin sands of the Mojave Desert, when in reality my McMansion has been sitting on a sacred Reaganomics burial ground, atop an older civilization, a failed scam-settlement established at the very tail end of the S&L-fueled real estate boom that swept over the nation in the 1980s. (more…)

Posted: August 11th, 2009


High desert living in Victorville offers outstanding opportunities for plentiful, secure employment, home ownership, higher education, safe neighborhoods and nearby desert, lake and mountain recreation. Victorville has 20 parks, two municipal golf courses, highly rated schools, truly affordable housing and so much more…

—City of Victorville Economic Development Dept., 2006

Yes, a lot more… (more…)

Posted: August 10th, 2009

Glenn Spencer

This article first appeared in Vice Magazine

It is a sweltering afternoon in May on a patch of empty Arizona desert straddling the US-Mexico border. There is not a soul in sight, no one to mind the cloud of dust Glenn Spencer kicks up as he brings his Hummer to an abrupt stop in front of a green shack the size of an industrial refrigerator. Spencer, cranky and impatient over the telephone, is in good spirits as he describes the inner workings of a sophisticated surveillance post that could be easily mistaken for a weather station. (more…)

Posted: August 8th, 2009

FDIC Love Letter To Banks

A little while back I wrote about how the new mark-to-model accounting rules, which allowed banks to inflate the value of their assets to whatever sum they desired, had caused a huge glut of foreclosed properties not being put on the market and artificially inflated banks’ worth. It seems that this is finally making some lawmakers and investors a little nervous, and they’ve prodded the FDIC into half-assed action. (more…)

Posted: August 4th, 2009

I was channel surfing last night when I stumbled upon a couple of Citi commercials—or PSAs, since taxpayers own more than 30% of Citi—that offered viewers a number of depression-era, cost-cutting lifestyle suggestions. With the billions in bonuses Citi has paid out to their workers, the ads so brazenly mock Wall Street’s massive plundering of taxpayer wealth that it’s almost hard to believe that Citigroup had the guts to have them made—and bill us 30 cents of every dollar paid for production and air time costs. But they did.


Posted: August 1st, 2009


A few weeks ago, the Daily Mail wrote about a low-ranking British diplomat named James Hudson who was caught on hidden camera by the FSB (formerly the KGB, formerlier the MVD, formerlierer the NKVD, formerliest the Cheka) getting it on with two Russian hookers in a Yekaterinburg brothel. The paper published a couple of frame grabs from the video, but I wanted to check out the raw footage for myself. It looked like one of those classic sex scandals set up to blackmail someone into cooperation, and there’s nothing cooler than being able to watch real spy games in action. So I headed straight for, Russia’s biggest muckraking/political scandal news site. (more…)

Posted: July 28th, 2009

Victorille: Prison City of Tomorrow

It’s 5 AM in Victorville, California, and I haven’t slept in 48 hours. Outside my second-story window, the sun is rising up over the jagged mountains across the desert. In the three months I’ve lived here, I’ve seen more sunrises than I have in my 28 years. There is something about living in a barren house in a half-empty suburb out in the middle of a sun-baked nowhere that brings out the tweaker in me—and judging by daily news reports, most of my neighbors, too.


Posted: July 21st, 2009