BTS 9/14/09: Racial Backlash; The Real Obscenity; Economy A Year After Lehman

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It is one year since Lehman Bros was allowed to fail and finance capital collapsed, credit seized and the world nearly plunged into the abyss. State intervention in the form of bailouts and nationalizations prevented the worst, but Main Street is suffering mightily in this epic recession while Wall Street is still in charge, bolstered by taxpayer cash. Unemployment is at record highs, poverty is soaring, houses are still foreclosing, hitting black and brown families hardest, where depression has become a fact of life. On tonight’s BTS we talk to Nomi Prins about Wall Street and the economy a year after the meltdown, chronicled in her new book, It Takes a Pillage, out later this month. Nomi puts her Wall Street experience and expertise on the “arcane methods used to turn your money into their bonuses” into a scathing account that shows how “the key players escaped being brought to account and kept their pet officials in power.”

We begin tonight’s program with our own Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who has been blogging and broadcasting about the boisterous backlash targeting President Obama’s efforts to reform healthcare. Hutchinson points to the paranoid, racist extreme right wing politics behind the mobilization, whipped into a frenzy by the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh -- who along with longer-term leaders of the far right are exploiting the fear, anger and frustration of outright racists, conspiracy theorists, gun enthusiasts and anti-tax activists. Hutchinson writes that hate groups bank on the volatile mix of frustration and hostility toward a government they feel has betrayed them, and a black President whose message of change scares them – to swell their ranks. That, he says, is a chilling prospect for Obama and all of us.

Continuing where Earl Ofari Hutchinson leaves off on the theme of crazy, paranoid, racist politics in our bizarre culture and politics, Paul Krassner joins us to preview his latest collection Who's to Say What's Obscene. With his usual irreverence and unique perspective on obscenity and comedy, Krassner looks at free speech and self-censorship in the face of threats — real and perceived — from religious fundamentalists. He also riffs about busted public figures, counterculture, free speech, late-night talk shows, censorship, sex, and the current state of satire. "These are times of repression," says Krassner, "and the more repression there is, the more need there is for irreverence toward those in authority."

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst and syndicated columnist. His new book is The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House (Middle Passage Press, February 2008). He has published nine books on race, politics, and social issues. His numerous published articles appear in newspapers and magazines across the country.

2. Paul Krassner is an author, journalist, blogger, stand-up comedian, and founder of the freethought magazine the Realist, (1958 to 2001), co-founder of the Yippies and a member of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters. He received an Upton Sinclair Award for dedication to freedom of expression. Krassner was a close friend of Lenny Bruce and the editor of Bruce's autobiography, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People. A prolific writer, his articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, Spin, Playboy, Penthouse, Mother Jones, National Lampoon, Funny Times, and many other venues. He has been a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brian and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher and writes regularly for High Times, Adult Video News and Huffington Post.

3. Nomi Prins is a journalist and Senior Fellow at Demos. She writes about politics, money and relationships. Nomi is the author of Other People's Money: The Corporate Mugging of America (The New Press, October 2004), Jacked: How "Conservatives" are Picking your Pocket (whether you voted for them or not) (Polipoint Press, Sept. 2006), and her new book, It Takes A Pillage.