Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pinter on Truth, Lies, and War

Part 1: New World Notes #395, 29:05 (Sept. 29)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #396, 28:54 (Oct. 6)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Too ill to travel to Stockholm, Pinter delivers his
Nobel address by video from London, December 2005.

Playwright Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize acceptance speech of 2005 (newly edited by KD) is a stunning indictment of U.S. wars and imperialism since 1945.

Pinter contrasts dramatic art--where "truth" is elusive, perhaps unknowable--with public life. Here truth can be known. But citizens don't know the truth because the government is lying and deceiving nonstop to cover up its imperialist plundering and its vicious wars of aggression.

The heart of the speech is a stunning denunciation--and survey--of U.S. military aggression abroad since 1945. Pinter pays particular attention to the then-current war against Iraq and the proxy wars of the recent past (notably against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, under Reagan).

Ten years on, this remains a powerful and moving indictment of U.S. foreign policy--and of the foreign policy of the U.S.'s "lapdog," Pinter's own country, the United Kingdom.

With an introduction by KD and (in Part 2) a relevant song by Ethan Miller & Kate Boverman.


2015 marks the 10th anniversary of Pinter's Nobel speech and the 85th anniversary of his birth (in October 10, 1930, in Hackney, London, UK). He died in 2008.

Thanks to the Nobel Prize Committee for the video of Pinter's address.  I have cut approximately six minutes from near the beginning of the speech (a close analysis of parts of certain Pinter plays) and shortened several long pauses.  The speech is otherwise complete.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Trump, Iran, and Government Lies

New World Notes #394, 27:52 (September 22)
Broadcast quality MP3 (38 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Voice of the Establishment (one of many):
House Speaker John Boehner (R, Ohio)

The Establishment is aghast at presidential candidate Donald Trump. Why? Because Trump cheerfully acknowedges that the System is thoroughly corrupt and serves the interests only of the wealthy and powerful.
KD connects the Establishment's rejection of Trump ... the phony Congressional "debate" over the phony "Iran nuclear crisis" ... and the huge gap between the Official Explanation of our government's policies and what those policies actually are.
Then Richard Saunders discusses many of the government's baldfaced lies and fake "crises" that have served as pretexts for war for more than a century--with a little help from the corporate-controlled media.

Plus a song by David Rovics.

Richard Saunders is Coordinator of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade.

Thanks to the Global Research News Hour for the Saunders interview (of September 2013), which I have excerpted and edited.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Part 1: New World Notes #392, 28:10 (September 8)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #393, 28:13 (September 15)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Consumerism and overconsumption, from the perspective of "evolutionary psychology." A radio adaptation (by me) of the video documentary, Consumed: Inside the Belly of the Beast.

It's an interesting view of our addiction to consumer products and (relatedly) of our estrangement from nature. The piece offers some very good insights from the fields of psychology, sociology, and economic history. Introductions by K.D.

Part 2 includes also some reflections on the same theme by economist/philosopher Charles Eisenstein.

Steve Jobs introduces Apple's iPad

This two-part program was originally broadcast in February 2013.  

Thanks to Robin Upton, producer of Unwelcome Guests, for introducing me to the documentary.

Note: If you have any problems downloading the programs from the links at the top of the page, here is an alternative source of the program (broadcast quality MP3): Part 1 and Part 2 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Labor Day Musical Special

New World Notes #391, 29:13 (September 1)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Bindery workers assembling the Sears, Roebuck catalog (1942)
(Click to enlarge.)

American Labor celebrated in some really good contemporary songs--by Anne Feeney, The Foremen, Mad Agnes, John McCutcheon, Utah Phillips, and David Rovics. Featuring (in order of appearance)

David Rovics, The Day the Minimum Wage Workers Went on Strike. An upbeat celebration of the working class and of strength in solidarity ... with some very nice banjo picking

Mad Agnes, Katie. A witty and sharp critique of bourgeois life from the perspective of the long-suffering--and admirable--cleaning lady

The Foremen, Workin' on an MBA. Comic satire of the cushy life & boundless self-pity of the men in the gray flannel suits--set to a tune that recalls a chain gang work-song. Yep, one of those voices is Roy Zimmerman's

Utah Phillips, Moose Turd Pie. Spoken, with a little guitar. Utah recalls (with only the slightest hint of exaggeration) the worst job he ever held

Anne Feeney, Business News / Hallelujah, I'm a Bum! A beautiful rendition of an 1890's song about unemployment. A fine homage to Simon & Garfunkel's 1965 classic "Silent Night / 6 o'Clock News" and a good song in its own right

John McCutcheon, Doing Our Job. McCutcheon applies Cal Ripken Jr.'s modest remarks upon breaking a major-league record to working people generally. A long-overdue celebration of the best of American working-class values.

This installment was previously broadcast in September 2010.

Charles C.Ebbetts, Lunch: Rockefeller Center (1932)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ralph Nader and Chris Hedges

New World Notes #390, 28:15 (August 25)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Ralph Nader

A conversation between two great Progressive activists and essayists: Ralph Nader and Chris Hedges. (Technically, Nader is interviewing Hedges.) They discuss
  • the corruption of the System, including the Democratic Party
  • the oppression by the 1% of everyone else
  • the sad plight of college students and other young people in the ravaged American economy
  • the necessity of nonviolent popular rebellion
And they agree that--by staying within the corrupt and corporate-controlled Democratic Party--Left-ish presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is doing more harm than good.

Introduction by KD.

Chris Hedges

Excerpted from an installment of the KPFK-FM program, Ralph Nader Radio Hour, July 11, 2015. Audio courtesy of

Chris Hedges' new book is Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt (Nation Books, 2015).

Friday, August 7, 2015

Taken for a Ride

Part 1: New World Notes #388, 28:26 (August 11)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #389, 27:22 (August 18)
Broadcast quality MP3 (38 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)


A documentary on how General Motors destroyed America's light-rail transit systems and then created the Highway Lobby. That forced Americans to buy cars, build millions of miles of new road, and suffer the bad results--greater expense, long commute times, destroyed cities, air pollution, and worse.
Jim Klein directed this 1996 documentary film, which I have (at long last) adapted to radio.
Los Angeles "Red Cars" (streetcars) slated for destruction

In Part 1: How GM bought up and intentionally destroyed city trolley systems, replacing the rapid and efficient streetcars (which commuters loved) with slow, crowded, polluting diesel buses (which commuters hated). GM built the buses and secretly owned the bus-line companies, but their real goal was to force people to buy cars.

In Part 2: How GM--aided by the oil companies, road-building companies, tire companies, and others--formed the "Highway Lobby" to ensure that almost all funding for transportation would be spent on new roads.  And about the struggle by cities to halt the growth of urban highways and promote more sensible--and more humane--transportation systems.

Alas, the Lobby--in cahoots with Silicon Valley--has a vision for the future: automated cars, and three times as many of them.


Monday, July 27, 2015

From Serving Money to Serving Life

New World Notes #387, 29:05 (August 4)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

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

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 (among other bad effects). 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.

With a brief introduction by me.

David Korten was a professor at Harvard Business School.  He is now an activist warning of the dangers--to society and to the planet--of unrestrained corporate capitalism.  His best-known books are When Corporations Rule the World (1995, 2001) and The Great Turning (2007).

A free archive of Chazk/Virtual Renderings' audio collages is available: see the link on the sidebar to the right of this page (under "Worth a Look").

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The "Seven Sisters" and the Oil of the Middle East

Part 1: New World Notes #385, 28:50 (July 21)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (14 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #386, 28:56 (July 28)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (14 MB)

The "Seven Sisters" was Big Oil. It was the cartel of huge private oil corporations that ended up owning almost all the oil in the Middle East. They stole and kept this treasure by hook and by crook, in violation of many laws, with help from corrupt monarchs abroad and muscle from the U.S. government, armed forces, and CIA.

We adapt to radio a new video documentary on the very subject.

Part 1 takes us from the founding of the cartel in 1928 (by Standard Oil, Shell, and BP) to the creation of OPEC in 1960.

Of note in Part 1: The story of how BP came to own all of the oil in Iran--and how, in 1953, Iran's parliament tried to regain control of the country's oil--and how the United States government responded by overthrowing Iran's democratic government and installing the Shah as dictator of Iran. (We then gave Iran's oil to US-based oil companies, not back to BP.)

Man of the Year: The last prime minister of democratic Iran, Mohammad Mossadeq (January 1952). For his crimes against Big Oil, the CIA ousted him and installed a brutal dictator, the Shah.

Part 2 takes us from the creation of OPEC in 1960 to the fate of Iraq today (its oil weath again taken away from the Iraqi people and again handed over to the big oil companies). Includes the Suez crisis, OPEC price hikes, Iraq's nationalizing of its oil in 1972 (succeeding where Iran in 1953 had failed), the Iranian revolution, and Gulf Wars I and II.

Introductions by K.D.   

New World Notes previously broadcast these two installments (as NWN #273 & 274) in May-June 2013.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Dispatches From the Class War

New World Notes #384, 27:51 (July 14)
Broadcast quality MP3 (38 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

T.E. Lawrence ("of Arabia") astride Vincent SS100

Insightful comments on class conflict in America--some recorded, some read aloud--by Noam Chomsky; Nicholas Kristoff; Paul Burchheit; yours, truly; and (very briefly) George Carlin.  Plus a song on the same theme by Jonathan Blackshire.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Three Populists

New World Notes #383, 28:30 (July 7)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Tommy Douglas

Three notable & highly entertaining populists, in their own words:
  • Canadian reformist politician Tommy Douglas (d.1986), telling his comic fable about unresponsive politicians, Mouseland
  • Texas journalist & commentator Molly Ivins (d. 2007), speaking in Berkeley, CA, around 2005. (Don't miss her stories about governor Rick Perry.)
  • Texas commentator, agitator, & former state official Jim Hightower, with some recent brief podcasts.
Each offers a witty critique of The System--and a call to action.

This installment was previously broadcast, as NWN #187, in October 2011.

Molly Ivins recording courtesy of Scooter, of "The innerSide" on KPFT-FM (Houston, Texas). Jim Hightower's commentaries are from his Web site:

Molly Ivins

Friday, June 19, 2015

George Carlin Memorial

Part 1: New World Notes #381, 28:59 (June 23)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #382, 28:43 (June 30).
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Ceorge Carlin, ca. 2008

On the seventh anniversary of his death we celebrate the political and cultural satire of the great stand-up comedian George Carlin. We focus on the last two decades of Carlin's long career--by which time his political views had moved well to the left of center.

Carlin is one of the most astute critics of capitalism, imperialism, American popular culture, and American arrogance--and certainly the funniest. He died on June 22, 2008.

Sketches in Part 1:
  • Religion = B.S.
  • Airlines English
  • The War on Homelessness
  • Euphemisms

Sketches in Part 2:
  • They own you / the class system
  • Airport security / germs / parents
  • The Book Club
  • American B.S. / children
With brief introductions by KD.  Suitable for airplay: naughty words have been bleeped.

Thanks to Scooter, of The innerSide radio program (KPFT-FM, Houston), and to Colorado Free Radio for some of the recorded material. The Carlin routines in Part 1 were previously broadcast in New World Notes #179 (June 2011).

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Backlash Against Women

New World Notes #380, 28:50 (June 16)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Writer and activist Jennifer Roesch explores the apparent contradiction in our culture: rampant hypersexualiztion and commodification of women but also increasing repression of women's sexuality. In combatting the former, she argues, we should be careful not to promote the latter. Let's not recreate the 1950s--the late 1960s are a better model of progress and liberation.

For Roesch, the ultimate cause of both sleaze and repression is capitalism run amok. And we can't have sexual freedom without social and economic freedom.

Roesch spoke at the Socialism 2013 conference, June 27, 2013.  Audio (which I have condensed and edited for radio) courtesy of

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Empire Turns on its Citizens

New World Notes #379, 27:46 (June 9)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Chris Hedges

Two short talks by journalist/essayist Chris Hedges on the bad effects of empire at home.

As empires buckle under their own weight, the harsh measures of control they use to subjugate countries abroad are turned on their own citizens. We see the evidence all around us: government spying on everyone, economic plunder, militarized police, trumped-up charges against dissenters, and the world's largest prison system.
The goal of the repression is to crush dissent and opposition, says Hedges

Hedges selections are taken from an interview with Sonali Kolhatkar, February 9, 2015, courtesy of Uprising Radio; and from a speech in Newark, NJ, October 9, 2014, courtesy of Building Bridges Radio. Many thanks to producers Sonali Kolhatkar, Ken Nash, and Mimi Rosenberg.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Part 1: New World Notes #377, 29:27 (May 26)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #378, 29:36 (June 2).
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

A 2-part broadcast of a fine talk by historian Thaddeus Russell. Russell is the author of the extremely interesting book, A Renegade History of the United States (Free Press, 2010)

Part 1 focuses on work and leiure. The leisure we enjoy today--weekends, vacations, etc--was not granted freely by employers. Rather, it was taken without permission by "renegade" workers of decades past. These included slaves, drunken craftsmen, unmotivated factory hands, etc. For instance, plantation slaves established the practice of "vacation"--much to the annoyance of their masters. (They'd agree to return in exchange for not being punished.)

Without the groundbreaking work by these renegades, we might still be working for 14-16 hours a day. (Maybe that should be "goldbricking" rather than "groundbreaking.")

Thaddeus Russell

Part 2 focuses on sex and on women's rights. Many rights and freedoms enjoyed today by U.S. women (and their male friends) were won for them--not by feminists--but by 19th & early-20th century prostitutes & madams. These include the right to own property; to acquire wealth; to dance, smoke, and drink in public; to wear attractive clothing; to give or receive oral sex; to have interracial intimacy; and to use contraceptives.

A rollicking good story, well-told by Thaddeus Russell.

These two installments of New World Notes were previously broadcast in April 2011.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Hidden Ideology of the News Media

Part 1: New World Notes #375, 28:39 (May 12)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #376, 28:41 (May 19)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Another in our series of classic talks by Progressive political scientist Michael Parenti.  This one--one of his best--dates from 1997.
Parenti demolishes the myth of "the liberal media."  With wit, humor, facts, and examples, he shows that the US news media are little more than the propaganda arm of the the most powerful corporations and the government.

Parenti spoke in Burlington, Vermont--at the same university that had fired him for his antiwar activism 25 years earlier.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Gay Rights as a Free-Speech Issue

New World Notes #374, 28:39 (May 5)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Paul Siegel  (Photo by Kenneth Dowst)

Civil-liberties activist Paul Siegel has advice for people, particularly gays, challenging discrimination in court: Think 1st Amendment, not 14th. This intelligent and often funny talk should have wide appeal.

Highlights include a funny account of what was and wasn't allowed into the Yellow Pages ... stories of clueless school administrators who think the 1st Amendment does not apply to teenagers ... and the story of a gay student suspended from school and "outed" to her parents for the crime of kissing her girlfriend.

I recorded the talk, "Gay Rights as a Free-Speech Issue," live at the University of Hartford on April 27, 2010. I have edited and condensed the talk for radio. Originally broadcast on NWN (#118) in June 2010.  With a new introduction by me (May 2015).

Paul Siegel is a longtime civil-liberties activist. His day job is Professor of Communication at the University of Hartford

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bad Buisiness: Nuclear Power

New World Notes #373, 27:17 (April 28)
Broadcast quality MP3 (38 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (14 MB)

 Mid-20th-century propaganda. Coming soon! Nuclear-generated electricity that's clean, plentiful, and too cheap to meter

Vermont's creaky nuclear power plant was finally shut down. Not for the 500 best reasons but because it simply wasn't profitable to run. Turns out, nuclear power never did make any business sense, anywhere, and it's making less business sense each day.  Noted management consultant Jeremy Rifkin and veteran power-system administrator David Freeman each explains why.
So why do government and the nuclear industry keep promoting this failed product? In part, because it's a fig-leaf for nuclear weapons development, says Freeman.

Freeman talk--condensed and edited by KD--courtesy of  The video of Rifkin's remarks is available on YouTube.

Entergy Corp.'s Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant (2004)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Work, Debt, and Crisis

Part 1: New World Notes #371, 29:11 (April 14)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #372, 28:19 (April 21)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

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 Richard Wolff's).

The piece 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.

More by Chazk. An extensive, free archive of Chazk's / Virtual Rendering's collages is available.  You'll find a link in this Web site's "Worth a Look" section, on the gray sidebar on your screen's right.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Women, War, and Violence

New World Notes #370, 29:18 (April 7)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Modern warfare kills and injures many more civilians than soldiers--and female civilians are especially hard hit. Filmmaker Lisa F. Jackson discusses rape as a war tactic in Congo. Then Ynar Mohammed speaks of the violence against and oppression of women in Iraq ever since the U.S. invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Plus some commentary by KD and a song by Bonnie Raitt.

This installment is a replay of one of New World Notes' first broadcasts, #16, from June 2008. With a new introduction by KD.

Thanks to Mike McCormick and his show Mind Over Matters for the Jackson talk, and thanks to for the Ynar Mohammed interview.  I have edited and condensed both.

Illustration: Jacques-Louis David, Intervention of the Sabine Women, 1799

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Body Toxic

New World Notes #369, 29:03 (March 31)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Journalist Nena Baker discusses the hazardous chemicals increasingly present in everyday products--pizza boxes, butcher paper, microwave popcorn bags, dental floss, tin cans, clothing, upholstery, you name it.

She focuses on a group of chemicals known as "endocrine disrupters" or "hormone mimics." These chemicals are doing serious harm to our bodies--and government agencies lack the power to regulate their use. There's some hope, though.

Baker's talk is based on her book, The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-Being ( She spoke in Seattle on April 1, 2010. I have slightly condensed the talk, which was originally broadcast on Mike McCormick's Mind Over Matters in Seattle. The uncut version is here.  Thanks to Mike.

New World Notes previously broadcast this installment, as #148, in January 2011.

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Sad Heart At the Supermarket

New World Notes #368, 28:32 (March 24)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Why is supermarket shopping so tiring and depressing? Maybe it's the constant vigilance required to prevent your getting fleeced.

KD contrasts the supermarket's celebration of deception, swindling, and bad faith (all legal) with the eccentric charm of the small shops of Pittsburgh in the 1970s.

Adding to the critique of corporate agro-marketing are two short talks by Jim Hightower and a song by David Rovics.

Music added: David Rovics, "Sometimes I Walk the Aisles"

Jim Hightower's short essays, both written and spoken, can be found on his Web site, .

On a similar theme:

If you enjoy this installment, you might also like NWN #275, "Fat-Free Snake Oil," from June 2013.  (The link takes you to the blog's page for that installment.)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Chris Hedges on the Empire of Illusion

New World Notes #367, 28:57 (March 17)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

In a brilliant and wide-ranging talk, journalist-prophet Chris Hedges discusses

  • the pacification of the exploited citizenry by the corporate media
  • the financial fraud at the heart of the national economy
  • Wall Street's destruction of the U.S.'s manufacturing sector
  • "Brand Obama"
  • the perfidy of Obama and of other "courtiers" to the real power
  • the failure of the Left to challenge Obama's Bush-ist policies, and
  • the funeral of Michael Jackson
Our best hope, Hedges concludes, is a revival in the U.S. of Democratic Socialism.

Music added: Leonard Cohen, from Democracy

Hedges spoke in Winnipeg, Alberta, Canada, on October 14, 2009.  Original recording courtesy of Ethan Osland and Black Mask Winnipeg.  I have edited Hedges' 50-minute talk to fit this half-hour radio program.  The uncut original recording is available from

New World Notes previously broadcast this installment (as #115) in May 2010

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Peaceful Atom: Early Daze

New World Notes #366, 28:58 (March 10)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

First-class postage stamp, 1955

A nice audio collage by Virtual Renderings (a.k.a. Chazk). Explores the wild promises made by proponents of civilian nuclear power projects--and the very scary reality behind the propaganda--from 1950 through the meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. Sound sources include old propaganda films, news reports, interviews from documentary films, and some music--all very nicely woven together.

Previously broadcast, as NWN # 181, in August 2011.

An archive of Virtual Rendering's collages is available on

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Deep Politics and the Boston Bombing

New World Notes #365, 28:14 (March 3)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Investigative journalist Russ Baker gives a wide-ranging talk on FBI corruption, "Deep Politics," the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and the failure of the U.S. news media.  And yes, they're all related.

Baker's Web site for investigative reporting is .

Credits: Baker's complete talk (and Q&A) was videorecorded in Seattle in August 2014 by Pirate TV Seattle.  Many thanks. The video is available at  I have condensed and edited the original for radio broadcast. 

More by Russ Baker:

Baker is the author of the book Family of Secrets (2009), a fine account of the Bush dynasty and the Deep State. The book presents some surprising discoveries and conclusions--including GHW Bush's long-standing CIA ties ...  and the idea that the Watergate affair was in fact a successful attempt by Texas oil billionaires to frame and oust President Nixon. 

An audio book review by KD (8+ minutes) is available.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bitter Lake

Part 1: New World Notes #362, 29:15 (February 10)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #363, 29:00 (February 17)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 3: New World Notes #364, 28:12 (February 24)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Russian troops leaving Afghanistan, late 1988 or 1989

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.

Filmmaker Adam Curtis

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.

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.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dubious Achievements

New World Notes #361, 28:28 (February 3)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

We remember magazines that have bit the dust--and defunct magazine features, too--notably Esquire magazine's wonderful Dubious Achievement Awards (died February 2008).  This funny annual satire on the year's vice and folly is much missed--and much needed today.

Surely a Dubious Achievement Award would have gone to the Keystone Pipeline. And to Saudi Arabia, for joining the recent Paris march celebrating freedom of the press.  And to the U.S. Senate, which just decreed that humans are not causing global warming.  And to ...

We still have Conn Hallinan's "Are You Serious?" Awards. We'll read some of the latest. Plus another take on the Keystone Pipeline by singer David Rovics.

 Conn Hallinan