BTS 11/12/10: Washington and Wall Street’s Long Con; Survivors of Stalin's Gulag

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With last week’s election now behind us, we are rapidly approaching a high-stakes lame duck session of Congress in which implementation of the recent financial reform bill will be on the line. This legislation, however, is not a foregone conclusion. Now that the ‘deficit commission’ issued a power point proposal, it turns out tax reduction for the wealthy was at the top of their list, and deficit reduction number 7. We go beneath the surface on the story behind, with a preview of the conversation taking place Nov. 12 at Largo at the Coronet Theatre, between award-winning columnist Matt Taibbi and Demos Senior Fellow Nomi Prins on the finance industry's role in the destabilization of the American economy and political system. Nomi Prins has insider knowledge, having worked at Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns –she tells that story in her book It Takes a Pillage - while Matt Taibbi brings the outsider perspective (analytical, clear and superbly written) found in his newest book, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America - a fresh analysis of how the finance industry has done a disservice to all Americans. Taibbi and Prins grasp Wall Street's villainous groupthink and put it into layman's English. Don’t miss it.

Stephen F. Cohen just returned from another trip to Russia – we’ll ask him about repression of journalists and the direction of the country under Medvedev’s leadership (with Putin in charge) and we’ll review his newest book The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin. He’ll be at a book talk with his wife, publisher of The Nation, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, at Book Soup on November 18. Somewhere between 12 and 20 million perished during Stalin’s forced collectivization of agriculture and political purges-- an attack on his own population during peacetime. Those who survived are telling their stories, and Stephen Cohen’s interviews over thirty years with them brings us the voices of the voiceless, a mighty rebuke to Stalin’s efforts to silence any form of dissent, actual or potential.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Matt Taibbi is a political reporter for Rolling Stone magazine and a sports columnist for Men's Journal, has written several books, including his latest, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America, and The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion. He blogs at True Slant, and you can check out all his book titles on Wikipedia – but a must read for a glimpse of Russia during the rocky ride of the 90s is The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia.

2. Nomi Prins is a journalist and Senior Fellow at Demos. She is the author of Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of America (The New Press, October 2004), chosen as a Best Book of 2004 by The Economist, Barron's and The Library Journal, Jacked: How "Conservatives" are Picking your Pocket (whether you voted for them or not) (Polipoint Press, Sept. 2006) and The Trail, a thriller written under her pseudonym, Natalia Prentice - selected to Forbes' CEO Book Club in April, 2008. Before becoming a journalist, Nomi worked on Wall Street as a managing director at Goldman Sachs, and ran the international analytics group at Bear Stearns in London. She is a regular commentator and journalist on broadcast media and print. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, Fortune, Mother Jones, Slate.com, The Guardian UK, The Nation.com, The American Prospect, The Left Business Observer, LaVanguardia, Against the Current and other publications.