Saturday, July 4, 2015

Three Populists

New World Notes #383, 28:30 (July 7)
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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: http://www.jimhightower.com/air

Molly Ivins


Friday, June 19, 2015

George Carlin Memorial

Part 1: New World Notes #381, 28:59 (June 23)
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Part 2: New World Notes #382, 28:43 (June 30).
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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

1960s
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)
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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 wearemany.org.



Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Empire Turns on its Citizens

New World Notes #379, 27:46 (June 9)
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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

Renegades

Part 1: New World Notes #377, 29:27 (May 26)
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Part 2: New World Notes #378, 29:36 (June 2).
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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)
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Part 2: New World Notes #376, 28:41 (May 19)
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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)
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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

http://www.aclu.org



Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bad Buisiness: Nuclear Power

New World Notes #373, 27:17 (April 28)
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 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 tucradio.org.  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)
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Part 2: New World Notes #372, 28:19 (April 21)
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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 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)
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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 democracynow.org 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)
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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 (http://www.thebodytoxic.com/). 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)
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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, www.jimhightower.com .

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)
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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 radio4all.net.

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)
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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 Radio4All.net.






Saturday, February 28, 2015

Deep Politics and the Boston Bombing

New World Notes #365, 28:14 (March 3)
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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 http://WhoWhatWhy.org .

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 archive.org.  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)
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Part 2: New World Notes #363, 29:00 (February 17)
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Part 3: New World Notes #364, 28:12 (February 24)
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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)
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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




Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Salute to General Weirdness

New World Notes #360, 29:02 (January 27)
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Instead of gloom and doom this week, we take a look at events that are just ... weird.

How about a plan to reduce carbon emissions in Australia by shooting wild camels? (Their burps and farts contain methane, you see.)

How about a required history unit on Estee Lauder in Texas schools?

Plus journalist Conn Hallinan's Are You Serious? Awards; odd newspaper items from Connecticut; and satire (or is it?) by The Onion, Roy Zimmerman, and George Carlin.

This installment is a replay of NWN #207 (February 2012).

Photo by Barry Pinkowitz.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Jean Shepherd vs Creeping Meatballism

New World Notes #359, 28:08 (January 20)
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A look at radio great Jean Shepherd's humorous critiques--from the 1950s--of Americans' conformity, consumerism, and false sense of "progress."

KD reads (and briefly discusses) Shepherd's famous short essay, The Night People vs. 'Creeping Meatballism.' Then--on the same theme--we hear selections from one of Shep's late-night radio broadcasts (May 2, 1959).

Here Shep talks about credit cards ... Green Stamps ... a used atom-smasher for sale ... "progress" ... self-help advice from Senator Lyndon Johnson ... how many ice cream flavors Howard Johnson's restaurants actually have* ... and the brief but glorious crime spree of Ronald Medsker.

* (Claimed = 28. Highest number observed = 26, at the HoJo's at the New Bedford exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.)

Recording of Shepherd's 1959 broadcast courtesy of Flick Lives!  Many thanks.

More by Jean Shepherd.  We explored Shepherd's art from a different perspective--and heard a different sample of his work--in an earlier installment of New World Notes.  This was NWN #52 (February 2009), rebroadcast August 2012.  Click the links to take a look or listen.

Jean Shepherd, searching in vain for a size "small" tube of toothpaste. Illustration by Wally Wood to Shep's essay "The Night People ...," in Mad magazine, April 1957.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Searching for the Authentic on a Motorcycle

New World Notes #358, 29:47 (January 13)
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This week's show is mostly monologue.  It's an extended "personal essay" by me, more or less in the tradition of Blue Highways and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  With I guess a few echos of "News From Lake Wobegon."

It's about authenticity and its opposites.  It's also about motorcycle design, and simplicity versus clutter, and the rebirth of the "Indian" brand, and the quiet, subtle virtues of a Harley-Davidson. It's about how New England place-names sort of begin to make sense after you've lived here 20 or 30 years.

It's about corporate franchises and their phony food and their phony architecture--including fake gables, fake windows and even fake "widow's walks."  And it's about taking a motorcycle to search for "the authentic"--and sometimes even finding it when you get far enough out of town.  Uncasville, maybe.


The photos (Click to enlarge)

Top: Mel's Diner, Uncasville, Connecticut, January 2, 2015, by Kenneth Dowst. (Copyright. Creative Commons license: Attribution--Non-Commercial.)  The diner is discussed in this installment.

Above: K.D. and H-D Road King.  Photo by Barry Pinkowitz.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Myth of Progress, the Necessity of Rebellion

Part 1: New World Notes #356, 28:07 (December 30, 2014)
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Part 2: New World Notes #357, 29:28 (January 6, 2015)
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In a brilliant speech, journalist/essayist/prophet Chris Hedges argues that the class war is real ... that the ordinary people are losing ... that all of society's institutions have betrayed the people and "sold out" to Established Power ... that whatever political and economic justice there has been exists only because ordinary people struggled hard against the elite to create that justice... and that widespread nonviolent rebellion by the people is now essential to prevent disaster.

Part history lesson, part political science, part cultural analysis, and part sermon, Hedges' talk is an intellectual tour-de-force--and also a great listen.

The audio (taken from a videotape recently made available online) was lightly edited for radio by Robin Upton and previously broadcast on his Unwelcome Guests program (unwelcomeguests.net). Thanks again to Robin. I have made some small additional cuts in Part 2.  I believe that Hedges delivered this speech in 2011. 

Introductions by KD. I am responsible for the title used here.

Manila, 2011




Saturday, December 20, 2014

Comic Satire for Christmas

New World Notes #355, 27:14 (December 23)
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Brief commentary by me, five satiric seasonal songs, and one imitation Broadway "big production number." All take a comic but critical view of American hypocrisies, religiosity, commercialism, class warfare, and other Christmastime traditions.

I'm especially fond of the pseudo- "big production number": Stan Freberg's 1958 masterpiece, Green Chri$tma$.  The audio fidelity is very good even by today's standards; the production is rich and sophisticated; the script is witty; and the message (alas) is still relevant.

Other contributions by Hugh Blumenfeld, Simon and Garfunkel, Anne Feeney, Roy Zimmerman, and Tom Lehrer.

This installment was previously broadcast (as NWN #303) in December 2013.




Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dispatches From the War on Christmas

New World Notes #354, 29:23 (December 16)
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A mostly lighthearted look at the Right Wing's favorite seasonal fantasy. Which is that "secular progressives" have declared a "war on Christmas"--allegedly part of their larger war to destroy Christianity, promote drug use and gay marriage, separate church and state, and so on.

We'll hear some ravings by Bill O'Reilly, a funny rebuttal by Jon Stewart, personal reflections by KD, and a short history lesson. (The only real wars on Christmas were fought by the Puritan Christians). We end with selections from a humorous audio collage on the subject by Scooter.

This installment was previously broadcast, as NWN #302, in December 2013.

Scooter produces the weekly radio show "The innerSide" on KPFT-FM, Houston.  His Web site is www.aksisofevil.org .



Saturday, December 6, 2014

Crime and Punishment

New World Notes #353, 27:54 (December 9)
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This week we tie together several recent crime stories--from a vehicular-homicide trial in my town to the police shootings in Ferguson and New York ... to the rash of alleged gun-suicides by frisked, handcuffed black men in the back seat of police cars ... to the surprising indictment of former coal mine executive Donald Blankenship.

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.

Glen Ford's recorded commentary courtesy of Black Agenda Report (www.blackagendareport.com).


Photo: The electric chair at Sing Sing, date unknown.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Conspiracy and Class Power

Part 1: New World Notes #351, 29:36 (November 25)
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Part 2: New World Notes #352, 28:30 (December 2)
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 Occupy Zurich, 2011
Apres moi, le deluge, I believe the signs say.

Another installment in our series of classic talks by political scientist Michael Parenti.  Parenti gave this talk (to a very enthusistic audience) in Berkeley, Califormia, in 1993.

Long before 9/11, Americans were trained to dismiss any claim of concerted wrongdoing among the elites as a crackpot "conspiracy theory." Parenti argues that conspiracies are real and common--just one tool among many that the wealthy and powerful use to advance their own personal and class interests.

He discusses several examples of claims first dismissed as "conspiracy theories" and now accepted as historical fact--for instance the Gulf of Tonkin fabrication and the FBI infiltration of civil-rights and antiwar organizations.

Parenti's trademark wit, humor, and incisive analysis are much in evidence in this classic--and still extremely relevant--lecture.

Many thanks to Maria Gilardin and TUC Radio for making this archival recording available.





A-Infos Radio Project http://www.radio4all.net

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Potpourri 3

New World Notes #350, 28:10 (November 28)
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ZDoggMD (left)

A fragrant blend (or should that be flagrant?) of different themes and topics. We examine . . .
  • The ebola hysteria in the US--with a funny song parody by ZDoggMD and a newspaper story of school administrators in Milford, Connecticut, having an ebola panic  (A student had come within 1,000 miles of Liberia.)
  • Comedian Bill Hicks--with 2 routines we didn't have time for in our Hicks show in April (NWN #318). Plus KD compares the art and the careers of Hicks and George Carlin.
  • How high tech promotes high alienation--with a neat rap/poem by Marshall Soulful Jones.
Plus miscellaneous commentary by KD.

Bill Hicks



A-Infos Radio Project http://www.radio4all.net