BTS 1/21/08: Presidential Primaries; MLK's Legacy; Recession or Depression?

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Why are these primaries so politically superficial (not to mention misleading) and ultimately unsatisfying? We talk to David Sirota, the populist rabble-rouser – who says if we want change we’re looking in the wrong place, and if we want electoral reform, it is easier than we’re being told.

We then honor Martin Luther King Day. King spent the last part of his life talking about ending the war in Vietnam and fighting passionately for economic justice, and against inequality. He said, "Equality means dignity. And dignity demands a job and a paycheck that lasts through the week." As we face a bleak economic outlook and a superficial presidential campaign, we talk to Horace Small of the Union of Minority Neighborhoods, who has committed his organization to fights that can be won – and has just scored a victory in Massachusetts for ex-criminal offenders who never get a chance of re-entry… it is truly one of the key civil rights struggles of our generation with one in four black males in some phase of the criminal justice system.

And finally, the coming recession – is it already here? Or is it a coming Depression? Jack Rasmus takes a look at Bush’s palliative stimulus on offer and shows why it won’t work – it is too little, too late.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. David Sirota is a political journalist, New York Times bestselling author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist living in Denver. He is the author of Hostile Takeover (Crown, 2006) and the forthcoming Uprising (due out in June). He is a senior fellow at the Campaign for America's Future and a board member of the Progressive States Network — both nonpartisan research organizations. His daily blog can be found at He is widely known for his reporting on political corruption, globalization and working-class economic issues often ignored by both of America's political parties.

2. Horace Small, an African American and the Executive Director of the Union of Minority Neighborhoods, has been organizer for 30 years and was the National President of the National Federation of Black Organizers and Activists for a two-year term and founder of the Philadelphia Community School, which trained hundreds of activists in the skills of organizing and citizens empowerment.

3. Jack Rasmus is currently chair of the San Francisco Bay Area's National Writers Union local chapter 3, UAW 1981, AFL-CIO. Jack has worked many years both as a union organizer, business agent, local president, and labor educator, as well as a journalist, playwright, producer, and most recently book author. As a union organizer, Jack worked for the United Steelworkers, Service Employees, Hotel & Restaurant Workers and Communications Workers unions. For several years he served as a local vice-president and president with the CWA responsible for collective bargaining, arbitrations, and strike coordination and served as a delegate to national conventions and several labor councils. Jack also taught and was a director of labor studies programs in several community colleges in California. Jack has previously written The Political Economy of Wage and Price Controls. He is currently working on the non-fiction book, forthcoming in late summer 2004, entitled The War At Home: The Bush-Corporate Offensive Against American Workers and Their Unions.