Sunday, April 16, 2017

Work, Debt, and Crisis

Part 1: New World Notes #476, 29:11 (April 18)
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Part 2: New World Notes #477, 28:18 (April 25)
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A fine audio collage--originally titled Observations on Work--by Chazk, a.k.a. Virtual Renderings. An intriguing and sometimes rocking blend of satire, music, and also analysis by several voices (among them economist Richard Wolff's).

It explores the economic problems of our time--fallling wages, consumer debt, overwork, unemployment, decline of manufacturing, corrupt politicians, crooked banks and bankers, soaring corporate profits, and stratospheric executive salaries ... among others.

I have slightly condensed the original audio collage--mostly by shortening some of the musical selections.  The original (of July 26, 2009) is available on You'll find a link to Virtual Renderings' (almost) complete work on the right sidebar to this page, under "Worth a Look."

This pair of programs was previously broadcast, as NWN # 371-371, in April 2015. MP3 files downloaded from the links, above, may be identified by those program numbers.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cheap Junk and the Deindustrialization of America

New World Notes #475, 29:12 (April 11)
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We explore the connections among ubiquitous cheap junk merchandise ... domestic unemployment and poverty ... starvation wages abroad ... pollution everywhere ... the destruction of the environment ... the deindustrialization and Third-World-ization of America ... and the ever-increasing wealth of the already-rich.

Was there a vote on all this that somehow I missed?

Includes unflattering words on G.E. by labor leader Marie Lausch,  a passage on IKEA from Ellen Ruppel Shell's book, Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, and a song by Anne Feeney.

I recorded Connecticut United Electrical Workers Union president Marie Lausch at a symposium on converting Connecticut to a peacetime economy held at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, November 14, 2009. The Shell passage is as reprinted by the Toronto Globe & Mail, July 19, 2009, condensed for radio by me.

This is a replay of NWN #180 (2011). MP3 files downloaded from the links, above, may be identified as NWN #180.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

50th Anniversary of MLK's "Beyond Vietnam"

New World Notes #474, 29:17 (April 4)
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We play major portions of one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s finest--yet now little-known--speeches. He delivered "Beyond Vietnam" in New York on April 4, 1967.

For this speech, King was denounced by the entire Establishment (including the NAACP!) and the corporate-controlled media. The speech is a stirring indictment of misplaced national priorities, including cutbacks in social programs at home in order to fund an unnecessary, counterproductive, and evil war abroad.

This is as stirring an indictment of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex--and of the government's priorities, and of unrestrained capitalism--as we are likely ever to hear. And it's a strong call to resist.

Change a place-name or two--substitute "Iraq and Afghanistan" for "Vietnam"--and the speech talks directly to us, today ... about our own government and our own world.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

From Serving Money to Serving Life

New World Notes #473, 29:06 (March 28)
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 David Korten (2010)

A clever audio collage by Chazk (Virtual Renderings), slightly condensed by me. It features selections from David Korten's Earth Day 2015 talk in Seattle.

Korten shows that the fundamental maxims of corporate capitalism--"the Sacred Money and Markets Story"--are both false and preventing us from saving our environment. Based on a synthesis of principles from religion, science, and mysticism, he proposes a different set of maxims--the "Sacred Life and Living Earth Story."

As usual, Chazk interweaves with the spoken words several relevant song passages, film clips, and other interesting audio.  I have condensed the original collage--mostly my shortening the musical selections--to fit our radio timeslot.

NWN previously broadcast this program, as #387, in August 2015.

The original, unedited version of Chazk's/Virtual Renderings' collage--and more than 100 others by him--are available for free download or online listening. For a liting, find the link on the gray sidebar to this page, under the heading, "Worth a Look."

NOTE: MP3 files downloaded from the links, above, are identified as NWN #387.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Is Water the New Oil?

Part 1: New World Notes #471, 27:57 (March 14)
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Part 2: New World Notes #472, 27:41 (March 21)
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Darling's own title for his talk. I like my title better.

Scientist Seth Darling offers a comprehensive--and sobering--look at an endangered vital resource: fresh water. Blending history, political science, chemistry, ecology, and several other academic disciplines, he surveys society's water policies and the probable disastrous results of failing to change them.

In the 20th century, many bloody conflicts were for the control of oil. In the 21st, many will be for the control of water. Darling ends on a positive note, though, reviewing some encouraging advances in purification technology. Science itself, though will not solve the problem.

In the recent past, fresh water was cheap, safe, and abundant. In the 21st century, Darling argues, we can have any two of these three qualities, ... but we can't have all three.

Part 1 includes an introduction by KD. Part 2 includes a song on pollution by Tom Lehrer (1965).

Dr. Seth Darling

Seth Darling is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Argonne National Laboratory. He spoke in Chicago on May 18, 2016. The original recording was provided by Dale Lehman of radio station WZRD (thanks!). I have slightly edited and condensed the talk for radio broadcast.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Jill Stein

New World Notes #470, 28:51 (March 7)
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Progressive activist and presidential candidate Jill Stein speaks on the corrupt Republican-Democrat party ... on how citizens have been getting a bad deal for decades ... and on how real change can come from the grassroots.

Introduction and afterword by KD.

Stein spoke at the Inaugurate the Resistance rally in Washington, D.C., January 21, 2017. Thanks to Wilton Vought (, for this live recording, which I have gently edited.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Helen Caldicott on the Three Global Crises

New World Notes #469, 28:39 (February 28)
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Famed antinuke crusader Helen Caldicott, MD, displays her signature combination of wit, compassion, passion, and technical expertise. She spoke in Houston on November 12, 2010.

Caldicott discusses, in turn, what she sees as the three greatest threats to life on earth--global warming, nuclear war, and nuclear power--and urges the audience to take concrete actions against each. She even suggests a few specific actions.

With preface by K.D. & a song (from 1965) by Tom Lehrer.

The talk was recorded by Wally James. It was previously broadcast by Scooter, on "The innerSide" on KPFT-FM, Houston. Thanks to both.

Previously broadcast, as NWN #149, in January 2011. MP3 audio files downloaded from the links, above, are identified as NWN #149.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Peasant of the Dawn

New World Notes #468, 28:58 (February 21)
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Nice audio collage by Virtual Renderings (a.k.a. Chazk), introduced & slightly condensed by me. It's a meditation on class warfare, the ruling elite's dislike of democracy, American exceptionalism, economic inequality, mind control, and the prescience of George Orwell.

Voices heard belong to Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Noam Chomsky, historian Morris Berman, and Ken Nordine (himself a master of audio collage), among others. Includes dramatic readings from Orwell's 1984 & some good music.

At last count, 111 audio collages by Virtual Renderings can be downloaded without charge from For a listing, click on the link at the top of the gray sidebar, to the right (under "Worth a Look").

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Diamond Cartel

New World Notes #467, 28:45 (February 14)
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Advertisement from the Belgian couture house Natan

An ironic salute to Valentine's Day features an expose' of the worldwide diamond cartel (a.k.a. DeBeers). And how a U.S. advertising agency--hired by the cartel to increase sales--invented and marketed the "tradition" of the diamond engagement ring.

Lyn Gerry, of Unwelcome Guests, reads from Edward Jay Epstein's article, "Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?" in Atlantic Magazine, February 1982.

Plus a few ironic and/or kinky love songs by Tom Lehrer and The Kinks.

Originally broadcast, as NWN #51, in February 2009.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Chris Hedges - Bernie Sanders

New World Notes #466, 28:44 (February 7)
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In a fiery post-Inauguration speech, Chris Hedges calls for resistance--not just to Trump but to the whole corrupt and oppressive system. Then KD reads a similar though milder short essay by Bernie Sanders. In-between: an appropriate song by Ethan Miller and Kate Boverman

Thanks to Wilton Vought (, who recorded Hedges in Washington, D.C., on January 21, 2017. Sanders' op-ed essay (which I have slightly condensed) was published in newspapers in late June 2016. Thanks too to Chazk/Virtual Renderings for Miller & Boverman's "Song for the Unnamed Capitalist."

Fat-Free Snake Oil

New World Notes #465, 27:26 (January 31)
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Two critical views of the American economic system--one trivial, one profound. First, product marketing run amok. KD discusses the 40 different varieties of Colgate toothpaste at the supermarket And he explains why spray cooking oil--which is 99% fat--is sold as "fat-free spray oil."

Then Noam Chomsky discusses Big Business's expensive campaign to accelerate climate change regardless of its threat to all life on the planet. This recent talk is titled, "Wrecking Nature for Short-Term Profit."

Of particular interest: Chomsky explains that the Magna Carta had two sections. The section establishing political liberties (the Charter of Liberties--the part we've heard about) has been largely scrapped by the Bush II and Obama administrations. The section establishing the people's rights to the natural resources they needed to live (the Charter of Forests) was scrapped a few centuries back, in the early days of capitalism.

This installment was previously broadcast, as NWN #275, in June 2013. Note: MP3 audio files downloaded from the links, above, are identified as NWN #275.

Nader: The Government's Crimes Against the Constitution

New World Notes #464, 28:40 (January 24)
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In this hard-hitting talk at Harvard Law School, Ralph Nader indicts both Barack Obama and G.W. Bush for their (clearly impeachable) crimes against the U.S. Constitution and against the people of the United States. And he denounces the needless suffering and deaths caused by government policies that place corporate profits over the welfare of the citizens. On a positive note, Nader urges law students to be "first responders" in defense of our liberties. Includes selected Q&A.

From Harvard Law School's official video of Nader's talk, February 8, 2012. Gently edited for radio by K.D.  Previously broadcast, as NWN #209, in March 2012.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

James G. Anderson on Climate Change

Part 1: New World Notes #462, 29:05 (January 10)
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Part 2: New World Notes #463, 27:59 (January 17)
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Harvard climate scientist James G. Anderson interviewed by Dale Lehman.

In Part 1, Anderson lucidly explains why "global warming" is a bad term to use (it understates the problem's breadth and severity). He makes short work of the claim that climate change is natural, not man-made. And he has interesting things to say about the ozone layer ... the Kyoto Protocol ... and why electricity is overwhelmingly the best fuel, not only for transportation but for heating too. Plus a song by David Rovics.

In Part 2, Anderson discusses--among other matters--how vulnerable the U.S. is to climate chnge, what steps need to be taken, and how to persuade the American people to act. Plus a short talk on climate and the environment by political scientist Michael Parenti (2006) and another song by David Rovics.

Thanls to Dale Lehman (WZRD, Chicago) for the interview and for the original recording, which I have gently edited and condensed.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Haiti: The Shape of Things to Come?

New World Notes #461, 28:44 (January 3)
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Third World people are intentionally kept poor so that our rich "investors" may become still richer. British journalist Johann Hari argues this case, using Haiti as example. Political scientist Michael Parenti (early 1990s) concurs, with examples from Haiti and elsewhere. I suggest that the U.S. is now being pushed down the same road as Haiti. And comedians Bob and Ray offer a comic look at a domestic company that has adopted a Third-World business model: The Great Lakes Paper Clip Company.

Previously broadcast, as NWN #139, in November 2010.

Johann Hari's "Suffocating the Poor: A Modern Parable" from Common Dreams, September 19, 2010.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Crime and Punishment

New World Notes #460, 28:32 (December 27)
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The electric chair at Sing Sing (date unknown)

KD ties together several recent crime stories--from a vehicular homicide trial in his town ... to the police shootings in Ferguson and New York ... to the rash of alleged gun-suicides committed by frisked and handcuffed black men in the back seat of police cars ... to the surprising indictment of former mining company CEO Donald Blankenship.

Among the perps, we see who gets the book thrown at him, who gets his wrist slapped, and who walks away without even a trial. Is there any pattern here?

Includes commentary by Glen Ford and a song by Anne Feeney.

With an update of December 2016. Much of this program was previously broadcast, as NWN #353, in December 2014.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Scooter's War on Christmas Kickstarter

An "encore performance" from 2015.  For a summary and download links, please click here.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Three Global Crises: How Should We Respond?

Part 1: New World Notes #457, 28:31 (December 6)
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Part 2: New World Notes #458, 28:49 (December 13)
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Vincent Emanuele

An eye-opening and well-researched talk by activist Vincent Emanuele. He explores the three crises that are making the world--at best--highly unstable. Then he suggests some steps that the people can take to make our uncertain future as livable as possible.

Since neither government nor business is likely to do anything positive about these crises, useful responses will have to come from the grassroots.

All three crises are deeply rooted in the United States. Two of them are now global. The crises are
  • social collapse in the U.S.
  • militarization
  • ecological disaster

 In Part 1, Emanuele shows the dimensions of social collapse and militarization and begins his discussion of the ecology crisis.

In Part 2, Emanuel explores the ecology crisis in depth and then proposes some general actions that the organized grassroots can take to maintain (insofar as possible) a good,decent, and cooperative life for the people.

Emanuele spoke at the Open University of the Left, in Chicago, on September 24, 2016. Thanks to Dale Lehman/WZRD, for the original audio recording, which I have condensed and slightly edited.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Apokaluptein Tales

New World Notes #456, 29:24 (November 29)
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Occupy Wall Street, 2011

An intriguing audiocollage (from 2010) by Virtual Renderings--condensed for radio by KD. It weaves together political commentary, music, clips from The Matrix, and more. It combines critical views ranging from the Left (Noam Chomsky) to the far Right (stefbot)--and music ranging from the Stones to Harry Shearer to J.S. Bach & more.

It's an engaging, intelligent critique of a U.S. corporate state that pretends to be capitalism and pretends to be democracy. Wrong on both counts!

This program was previously broadcast, as NWN #298, in November 2013. Audio files downloaded from the links, above, are identified as #298.

The unedited, hour-long version of "Apokaluptein Tales" is available in both high-fidelity (56 MB) and low-fidelity (14 MB) versions. 110 additional audiocollages by Virtual Renderings  (at last count) are available on  For a listing, click on the link in the gray sidebar on the right-hand side of this page (under the heading, "Worth a Look").

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Hollow Men

New World Notes #455, 28:51 (November 22)
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First, K.D. contrasts Halloween (good) with Black Friday (bad)--setting the stage for historian Morris Berman's brilliant and witty talk (ca. 2013).

For Berman, the essential hollowness of America's leaders reflects the hollowness at the core of many of us--and the hollowness of The American Dream (which seems to be just a wish for more stuff). "The System" seems to be collapsing--leaving Morris with very mixed emotions.

Then singer-satirist Roy Zimmerman offers a more upbeat view of the oddness of American life. And last, a few lines from the poem Berman is alluding to, T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men."

Thanks to Robin Upton, of Unwelcome Guests, for Berman's talk.

This installment was previously broadcast, as NWN #297, in November 2013. MP3s downloaded from the links at the top of this page will be identified as #297.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Norman Finkelstein on Palestine

New World Notes #454, 28:05 (November 15)
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Norman Finkelstein

Mideast expert Norman Finkelstein reviews the horrors of Israel's attacks on Gaza and then explores Palestine's three options for regaining its freedom. Two of them--diplomacy and armed struggle--have failed to work, Finkelstein argues.

That leaves nonviolent mass resistance--with an immediate focus on ending Israel's blockade of Gaza. The tactic has worked before, including in Gandhi's India, in apartheid South Africa, and in fact in Palestine's FIrst Intifada. It can work again--if Palestine can overcome the handicaps of a demoralized population and corrupt political leaders.

Introduction by KD. I have condensed and edited Finkelstein's talk.

Finkelstein and Tariq Ali discussed the Israel/Palestine situation at the 2016 Left Forum. Ali's talk was broadcast in NWN #446, in September.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Firesign Theatre Election Special

New World Notes #453, 28:59 (October 18)
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For Election Day 2016: selections from The Firesign Theatre's 1970 classic, Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers.

Masters of irony, parody, travesty, and sound effects, Firesign created radio dramas satirizing a nation unable to tell reality from the nonsense on TV--nonsense concocted by prostitute politicians and corporate greedheads. The perfect program for this Election Day!

The Firesign Theatre

The plot (such as it is): Flipping TV channels late at night, retired actor George Leroy Tirebiter finds dreck galore plus two old movies starring him, playing simultaneously on two different channels. These are Parallel Hell (a war movie) and High School Madness (featuring all-American teenagers Porgy and Mudhead). In one--or is it both?--of the movies, Tirebiter is running for office: either Dogkiller or People's Commissioner. (You decide!)

With an updated introduction by K.D. The Firesign Theatre material was originally broadcast, in NWN #244, on November 6, 2012.

God Save the Republic! (What's left of it, anyway.)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ending the Many Wars in Syria

Part 1: New World Notes #451, 28:21 (October 25)
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Part 2: New World Notes #452, 28:40 (November 1)
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A fine new speech by Progressive writer and activist Phyllis Bennis.
She argues that Syria is suffering not from a war but from a half-dozen different wars now being fought there. Many of these are "proxy wars" between other countries (e.g., Saudi Arabia and Iran) being "fought to the last Syrian." There is no military solution to the Syrian disaster--and furthermore, every military adventure the U.S.has taken in this century has been a dismal failure. But our record at diplomacy has been good. So let's try diplomacy instead of war in Syria.

Bennis offers fresh and interesting insights, not only about Syria but about America's role in Iraq and Afghanistan as well.

The talk was given at Emanuel College, Boston, October 13, 2016. Many thanks to Dave Goodman, of I.B.I.S. Radio (, for the original recording.  I have snipped out a few stumbles and pauses; the talk is otherwise uncut.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Eugene Jarecki: The Drug War

New World Notes #450, 28:27 (October 18)
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Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki's documentary on the drug war, The House I Live In, won a top award at Sundance in 2012. Now Jarecki talks about some things he learned while making the film.

Among them: 90% of crack arrestees--but only 13% of crack users--are Black. Drug laws, always a means of race control, are now also a means of class control, with poor whites increasingly targeted. And the original "War on Drugs"--launched by Nixon in 1971--devoted two-thirds of its budget to treatment programs (vs. almost nothing today).

Introductory & concluding remarks by K.D.

Jarecki's remarks are taken from an interview by Michael Slate, broadcast on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK, Los Angeles. Many thanks for permission to rebroadcast.

* New World Notes originally broadcast this program (as NWN #220) in May 2012. Audio files downloaded from the links, above, may be identified as NWN #220.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Morris Berman

New World Notes #449, 29:06 (October 10)
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With great wit and humor--and clever specific examples--cultural historian Morris Berman argues a gloomy main point: American civilization as we know it is doomed. Few prophets of doom are as enjoyable to listen to as Berman, though.

Here he discusses 13 ways America is going to hell in a handbasket. (#2 includes this item: the new American History school curriculum in Texas has a unit on Estee Lauder but not George Washington. Berman asks: why not Kim Kardashian?)

With a preface by K.D. on Berman's ideas.

Morris Berman

This program is excerpted from an hour-long talk by Berman in Seattle, November 4, 2011. Video of the entire talk is available from Pirate TV Seattle ( The complete audio track is available from Unwelcome Guests (

Berman's most recent book is Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline (Wiley, 2011).

* New World Notes originally broadcast this program (as NWN #200) in December 2011. Audio files downloaded from the links, above, may be identified as NWN #200.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Chris Hedges Ad Lib.

New World Notes #448, 28:47 (October 4)
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Unscripted, incisive discussion of a range of issues by Progressive journalist, essayist, and activist Chris Hedges.

Topics include the corruption of the judiciary ... the mass media as the propaganda organ of the Corporate State ... how the Democratic Party has betrayed its constituents ... the false promises of Barack Obama ... the growing public opposition to Israel's Palestine policies ... and (not unrelatedly) the increasing attacks on free speech.

Hedges' remarks are taken from a question-and-answer session following his lecture, "The Algebra of Revolution" (Seattle, April 2016). The lecture was broadcast by New World Notes in August 2016. Thanks to Pirate TV Seattle for the original video recording. I have condensed and edited the audio.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Dave Zirin on American Football

New World Notes #447, 28:17 (September 27)
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University of Pennsylvania football team, 1901

Progressive sports commentator Dave Zirin explains the upper-class origins of American football. And he shows football's connections with "muscular Christanity" and with 19th century US imperialism.
The game has always been violent and has caused countless player injuries and deaths--but Zirin argues against those who would ban the sport. Zirin's solution: for all jobs--including NFL football--is this: support the workers in their struggle to control workplace rules and working conditions.

I have never been a sports fan. I think the last football game I watched was in 1968. We--that is to say, Bucknell--won. Or maybe we lost. Who cares? Instead of warming the bleachers, I should have burning my draft card.

But even I find Zirin's talk to be to be witty, interesting, and well worth a listen.

Dave Zirin

I have condensed Zirin's talk, which he delivered at the Socialism 2012 conference, in the Chcago area, in September 2012.

This program was previously broadcast, as NWN #240, in October 2012. Audio files downloaded fro the links, above, are identified as #240.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tariq Ali on Palestine

New World Notes #446, 28:41 (September 20)
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A fine talk on the past, present, and possible future of Palestine and its people, now enduring a brutal blockade and half-century-long military occupation by Israel. Much of Ali's criticism, though, is directed not against Israel but against the corruption of Palestine's "leaders"--the PLO and the so-called Palestinian Authority. These "leaders," conniving with Israel, have enriched themselves while the mass of Palestinians suffer, and they have made a "two-state solution" now impossible

Ali also criticizes the Arab countries, the United States, and most of Europe for their indifference to the Palestinians. And he praises the B.D.S. movement (boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel)--while noting its limitations.

Also of note: Ali's comparison and contrast of Palestine today and apartheid South Africa of years past ... and his discussion of why the Bernie Sanders movement is so encouraging.

Ali's remarks--which I have edited and condensed for radio broadcast--are from a panel discussion at the Left Forum, in New York, in May 2016.

Thanks to David Schonfeld, my colleague at WWUH-FM, in West Hartford, for technical assistance.

London-based Tariq Ali is an activist and a scholar of international affairs. He is the author of more than a dozen books and the editor of the New Left Review.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Joe Bagent

New World Notes #445, 28:28 (September 13)
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Joe Bageant

A celebration of writer Joe Bageant (1946-2011). He wrote brilliantly, profanely, and with humor on the corporate plundering of America ... on the connivance of our politicians ... and on a despised minority group: poor whites ("rednecks"). He was born and raised one himself. He's best known for his best-selling book, Deer Hunting With Jesus (2008).

This installment features readings from 2 of Bageant's essays, a nice obituary in a style much like Joe's, and selections from recorded interviews.

This program was previously broadcast, as NWN #167, in May 2011.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


New World Notes #444, 28:36 (September 2)
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Which is worse: a job where your bosses are idiots, you don't have a prayer of success, it's 110 degrees, sex is a distant memory, once in awhile people shoot at you, and the nearest bottle of beer is 100 miles away? ... Or unemployment?

That's a close call. Listen and decide for yourself.

This week we look at jobs, unemployment, and federal policies that affect the economy. We start with a good short movie by Progressive economists ECON 4. They say that the country's budget deficit is not an important economic problem. The main economic problem is widespread unemployment, and increased government spending should be part of the cure. Politicians of both parties are lying.

Then we hear about a really bad job--in both senses of the term. KD reviews a scathing and very funny book, full of first-hand details of how the State Department botched Iraq reconstruction--written by a foreign service officer on the scene who helped botch it. (We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, by Peter Van Buren, Metropolitan Books, 2011)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Chris Hedges: The Algebra of Revolution

Part 1: New World Notes #442, 28:41 (August 23)
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Part 2: New World Notes #443, 28:38 (August 30)
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Chris Hedges

A new, hard-hitting speech by journalist/essayist Chris Hedges. It's about the corruption of "the System" ... the increasing power of "the one percent" ... the betrayal of the people by the Democratic and Republican parties ... the century-long crackdown on dissent ...

And it's about our increasingly meaningless national politics, in which our real and pressing problems (climate change, oligarchy, a plundered economy) are seldom even mentioned--let alone debated, let alone put to a vote.

Hedges devotes some particular attention to the three national candidates: Clinton, Sanders, and Trump. None of them advocates the sort of radical change that (to Hedges) is our only hope.

Introduction by K.D.

Hedges spoke in Seattle on April 25, 2016. Video recording courtesy of Pirate Radio Seattle. I have edited the soundtrack for radio broadcast.

Photo (above) by Justin Norman, Creative Commons licanse (by-cc). Thanks.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dog Day Afternoon at the Movies

New World Notes #441, 29:04 (August 16)
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The neighborhood movie theater of my youth: Manor Theater,
Prospect Park, Pa. (destroyed by fire in 1970)

Three short, Progressive documentary films on our environmental crises--specifically, on fossil fuels, air and water pollution, consumer-electronics trash, and Wall Street schemes.

The films are
  • 300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds by the Post Carbon Institute (Richard Heinberg)
  • The Story of Cap & Trade by Annie Leonard
  • The Story of Electronics by Annie Leonard
Annie Leonard is now (since 2014) Executive Director of Greenpeace USA.

This program was previously broadcast, as NWN #283, in August 2013. MP3s downloaded from the links, above, are labelled with the older program number.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

GMOs Are Bad. The System Is Worse.

New World Notes #440, 29:20 (August 9)
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Mickey Z.

Writer and activist Mickey Z. concisely explains everything that's wrong and bad about genetically modified crops (GMOs), particularly Monsanto's GMOs. He shows what's wrong economically, environmentally, nutritionally, politically, you name it.

But GMOs are a part of a larger evil--monopolistic corporate agribusiness. And that is a part of an even larger evil: "the whole System." 

But people have power to bring about change, and Mickey Z offers some suggestions and examples.

With an introduction by K.D.

Mickey Z (Mike Zezima) spoke in New Yok City on May 25, 2013.  From a video by Wilton Vought, available at  Edited by KD. Many thanks to Wilton.

This program was previously broadcast, as NWN #317, in April 2014. MP3s downloaded from the links, above, are labelled with the older program number.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Part 1: New World Notes #438, 28:08 (July 26)
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Part 2: New World Notes #439, 28:22 (August 2)
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Robert Lustig is a physician (pediatric endocrinologist) and medical researcher. In this engaging and wide-ranging talk, he identifies the most important cause of America's epidemic of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary disease, liver disease, and metabolic disorder. The culprit is sugar, specifically fructose.

Industry is increasing the amount of fructose in packaged foods, including and especially soda. High fructose corn syrup is not the only villain: many forms are bad, including table sugar (which the body turns into fructose).

Lustig explores the politics, economics, and biochemistry behind this now-global problem.

With an introduction by K.D.

Robin Upton, of Unwelcome Guests, adapted Lustig's lecture to radio. A video also is available, on YouTube.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine

New World Notes #437, 29:02 (July 12)
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An essay on America's current problems from Class War Films. A wide-ranging but concise critique of how America is run by a financial and corporatist elite. It's also about how our national myths (e.g., American Exceptionalism) are used to sugar-coat and justify imperial war abroad, political repression at home, and economic exploitation everywhere.

Beneath the Doomsday/Armageddon tone and style of this piece is an intelligent, cogent, left-of-center critique of our current system.

Plus--relatedly--a few words by me on this unhappy election season.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

How the Government Spies on You

New World Notes #436, 27:52 (July 12)
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A talk by technology expert and civil-liberties activist Chris Soghoian.

The government tried to prevent strong encryption of phone calls and text and email messages. Failing that, it now hacks and decrypts personal communications at will ... and worse. It's not just the NSA and FBI: with federal funds, local police forces also are acquiring and using the latest secret surveillance technology. Citizens have been fighting back--often successfully--through the courts and the media.

Soghoian spoke in Seattle on March 11, 2016.  The original audio recording (which I have edited and condensed a little) courtesy of Mike McCormick.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bitter Lake

Part 1: New World Notes #433, 29:15 (June 21)*
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Part 2: New World Notes #434, 29:00 (June 28)*
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Part 3: New World Notes #435, 28:12 (July 5)*
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Carlos Latuff, "Obama and Vietghanistan" (2009)

Adam Curtis's new video documentary, condensed and adapted to radio by KD.

It's about the history and politics of Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and the U.S. since the 1940s. It's about the repeated failures of reformers--American, Russian, and Afghan alike--to remake and modernize Afghanistan.

It's about shrewd and cynical calculations by Saudi and American leaders--who promoted development and stability in Saudi Arabia by exporting Saudi extremist Islam (Wahhabism) abroad--including to Afghanistan.

It's about Wall Street giants, fat with Saudi petrodollars, beyond the control of any government. About Western governments that don't want to govern, anyway.

It's about how Afghanistan always seems to destroy the armies that invade it--and damage the invading countries. And it's about those two pillars of Western foreign policy: blowback and unintended consequences.

An original and interesting view of the world today and how we got here.

Russian troops leaving Afghanistan, late 1988 or 1989

Part 1 looks at the fateful postwar U.S.-Saudi alliance ... early attempts to modernize and Westernize Afghanistan ... and how, for decades, Saudi rulers achieved stability at home by exporting the reactionary, extreme form of Islam-Wahhabism--abroad.  And it looks at decades of political upheaval in Afghanistan, leading to a home-grown socialist revolutionary government--and Russian intervention when that fell apart.

Part 2 focuses on the failed Russian attempts to reform Afghanistan in the 1980s ... the failed American attempts to reform Afghanistan since 2001 ... the transfer of political power in the West from governments to defense industries and the banks ... the naive "Good vs. Evil" worldview shared by Washington, London, the Taliban, and Osama Bin Laden ... the vicious battle of the Afghan Mujahideen and the Russians ... and how the West aided the rise of Islamic extremism.

Part 3 shows the corruption, conflicts, complexity, warlordism, and ever-shifting local alliances of Afghan society today. And it shows the naivete and ignorance of the English and American occupying forces--and of the politicians who dispatched them. Armed with a simplistic "Good vs. Evil" worldview--and ignorant of the complexities and conflicts of modern Afghan society--the occupying troops are increasing death and destruction while moving Afghanistan farther away from the goal of stability and democracy.

Filmmaker Adam Curtis

More by Adam Curtis: New World Notes adapted Curtis's film Love and Power to radio, in two installments, in December 2013. For more information and links to the audio, see our Web page for that program.

*MP3s downloaded from these links are numbered as New World Notes #362, 363, and 364.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Amy Goodman in Cambridge

Part 1: New World Notes #431, 28:45 (June 7)
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Part 2: New World Notes #432, 27:43 (June 14)
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Amy Goodman

Selections from a recent talk in Cambridge, MA, by journalist Amy Goodman, longtime host of Democracy Now!  Goodman tells stories that explore the corruption of the corporate media and that show ordinary people fighting back against the System--sometimes successfully.

In Part 1, many of her stories come from the recent past--specifically 2011. Highlights include the trial and execution of Troy Davis, popular rebellion in Wisconsin, Occupy Wall Street, and some memorable climate activism.

In Part 2, Goodman tells of KPFT-FM vs. the Klan ... the 2015 murder of Black church members in Charleston ... and Bree Newsome's heroic (if felonious) cuting down of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse lawn. Plus tales of Emmett Till, Rosa Parks, and more. Plus a song by David Rovics.

Goodman spoke in Cambridge on May 10, 2016. The original 75-minute recording--which I have condensed and edited--courtesy of Stan Robinson for Truth and Justice Radio (

Goodman's new book (with Denis Moynihan and David Goodman) is Democracy Now!: 20 Years Covering the Movements Changing America.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Slippery Slope of Memorial Day

New World Notes #430, 28:31  (May 31)
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An anti-war, anti-militarism perspective on Memorial Day.

Journalist Robert Fisk explains that (and why) there's been no "Good War" after 1945. KD reads Howard Zinn's famous 1976 column on Memorial Day (which got Zinn fired from the Boston Globe). KD also reads and demolishes the beloved war poem, "In Flanders Fields." Plus Steppenwolf's antiwar rock classic of the 1970s, "Monster."

This program was first broadcast (as NWN #65) in May 2009. Fisk talk courtesy of Zinn essay, "Whom Will We Honor Memorial Day?"--and much other good stuff--from The Zinn Reader (Seven Stories Press, 1997).

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Potpourri 4 (Resisting the Oligarchs)

New World Notes #429, 27:32  (May 24)
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Joseph Keppler, The Bosses of the Senate, 1889
(Click to enlarge.)

A bit of this, a bit of that--all loosely connected by the theme of how the Powers That Be wield their power in practice. Includes comic satire by The Final Edition, a new song by David Rovics, and thoughts on Trump and the media by KD.

The real story about Trump, KD argues, is not his personal failings or his unsound policies. The real story is how the US oligarchs--and their mouthpiece, the media--work to destroy politicians who are not reliable servants of the oligarchy.

Final Edition sketch courtesy of Scooter's "innerSide" radio program (KPFT-FM, Houston).

David Rovics's song, "State House Lawn," is from his recent album, The Other Side. .

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Why Our War Against ISIS Can't Be Won

Part 1: New World Notes #427, 29:59 (May 10)
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Part 2: New World Notes #428, 28:04 (May 17)
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Phyllis Bennis

Progressive activist Phyllis Bennis explains how US actions in the Middle East gave rise to ISIS and sustain it. Since ISIS's terrorism is a response to the profound damage the US military has done to the region--and to other US crimes and blunders--still more US military action will only make matters worse.

There is no military solution, Bennis argues, but diplomatic solutions are indeed possible. But does the US even want a diplomatic solution instead of unending war?

In Part 2, Bennis also brings in Israel, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia; and I add a few thoughts on 9-11 coverups.and the Northern Ireland peace agreement of 1998.

Phyllis Bennis's new book is Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror: A Primer (2015).

Bennis spoke in Seattle on February 2, 2016. Original recording courtesy of Mike McCormick, of "Mind Over Matters."  Many thanks.