Useful Idiots: Matt Taibbi, Katie Halper With Shahid Buttar - Rolling Stone
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Useful Idiots: Shahid Buttar on Police Reform, Kente Cloth, Running Against Nancy Pelosi

Plus, hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper look at the significance of Kente cloth, and discuss the recent turmoil in major newsrooms around the country

In this week’s quarantine episode of our Useful Idiots podcast, Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper are joined once again by Shahid Buttar, the San Francisco attorney and community organizer who is running against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Our hosts break down Congressional Democrats kneeling for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while wearing African Kente cloth scarves, during the introduction of the Justice in Policing Act. Our hosts takes issue with the symbolism of kneeling in general, and that “this brings it to a new level,” according to Katie, and Matt is left literally speechless by the Curb-esque gesture.

Matt and Katie investigate an image of Chris Cuomo accidentally photo-bombing his health influencer wife’s Instagram Live yoga class. The CNN anchor and brother of a certain New York Governor was nude at the time. “You don’t see the butt cleavage that’s there, in bodies, you just see each side of the butt,” says Katie.

Katie and Matt also take stock of the upcoming showdown between Biden and Trump, now that the former has secured enough delegates to claim the Democratic nomination.

Shahid Buttar comes back on the show to talk about his campaign for Congress, the momentum he has gained (especially from Bernie supporters), the EARN IT Act and free speech on social media, and police reform.

“The Justice in Policing Act re-prizes movement demands from ten years ago. And it falls far short of the movement’s demands today. And the difference between Pelosi and I is that she’s showing up a decade later to propose things that I’ve been in the streets for ten years trying to force Congress to adopt,” says Buttar, who breaks down where the bill falls short on demilitarization, qualified immunity, and other issues. “It is striking that it’s 2020 and they only just got there now. We’ve been calling for this since the mid-2010’s. Even under the Obama administration. And so to see Democratic leaders not only showing up late, but actively promoting unhelpful measures while they’re engaging in this empty performative stunt, while even worse engaging in cultural appropriation while doing it, right, there’s just layers upon layers of offensiveness.”

You can find the Useful Idiots podcast on AppleSpotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.


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