BTS 8/27/10: Economic Crisis; Katrina 5th Anniversary

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Jack Rasmus joins us to comment on Fed Chief Ben Bernanke’s speech today. Another large stimulus is needed but can’t get through Congress, so all hope was pinned on Bernanke’s actions from the Fed. But how much can monetary policy do about the slowing economy? What about the nearly 2 trillion in cash being hoarded by banks and businesses who are not investing in Main Street, but are engaging in speculative trades that raise the question about a secret, non-shadow or shadow-shadow banking industry? Jack will also talk to us about the growing problem with unemployment and the crash in new home sales and what it all portends.

Laura Maggi, reporter from the New Orleans Times Picayune joins us for this fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. She is part of the team of reporters from The Times-Picayune, PBS Frontline, and ProPublica who have examined the NOLA Police Department leaders' authorizing the shooting of looters. A documentary drawn from that work aired this week on PBS’s Frontline. The story was also done by The Nation. Five years later we're still struggling to get the facts straight and to figure out what they say about race, disaster and differing views of human nature. African Americans are justifiably embittered about their demonization by the media and the government. The widely told but false initial version, based on rumors and racism, portrayed an absence of authority, anarchy and violence that called for an armed and ruthless imposition of authority. NOLA PD and Blackwater mercenaries shot at citizens with little fear of repercussion. While the focus was on young men of color as the peril, police and white vigilantes went on a murder spree that was glossed over at the time. Laura Maggi has been on the story and fills us in.

Greg Mitchell, who does The Nation’s Friday Daybook comments on Katrina’s fifth anniversary and whether it was a natural or unnatural disaster, plus his take on the Tea Party and the rise of ‘know-nothings’ – and its implications for our body politic.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Jack Rasmus is a Professor of Economics at St. Mary’s College and Santa Clara University. He is a freelance economics journalist and author of The War At Home: The Corporate Offensive From Ronald Reagan To George W. Bush (2006) and several stageplays. He has been a business economist, market analyst, vice-president of the National Writers Union and elected local union president and organizer for various labor unions.

2. Laura Maggi is a reporter at the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

3. Greg Mitchell is the former editor of Editor & Publisher and author of nine books, including "So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits and the President Failed on Iraq;" "Why Obama Won"; "The Campaign of the Century"; "Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady"; and (with Robert Jay Lifton) "Hiroshima in America" and "Who Owns Death?" He was senior editor at the legendary Crawdaddy during the 1970s. His Twitter feed is @MediaFixBlog.