Sunday, April 13, 2014

Imperialism Old and New

Part 1: New World Notes #319, 29:29 (April 15)

Brodcast quality MP3 (41 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (14 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #320 -- Coming soon

A classic talk from 1999 by political scientist Michael Parenti.  It's just as illuminating today as it was then--and often funny, too. It is titled, Globalization: the New Imperialism.

In Part 1, Parenti shows how the Western colonial powers un-developed the "Third-World"--increasing poverty there in order to enrich private corporations at home. Indeed (Parenti argues), almost all U.S. foreign policy seems aimed at increasing the profits of the Fortune 500.

This is the real purpose of the hundreds of U.S. military interventions abroad--many of which overthrew democratically elected governments, replacing them with dictatorships friendly to U.S. corporate interests. Boosting corporate profits likewise is the reason befind our recent spate of "humanitarian" military interventions.

With a brief introduction by KD.

Recording courtesy of Sally Soriano and People's Video-Audio.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Bill Hicks

New World Notes #318, 28:56 (April 8)

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Cultural critic and stand-up comedian Bill Hicks died 20 years ago at age 32. In memoriam, we present a sampling of his recorded routines (suitable for broadcast).  With brief introductions by KD.

  • The war
  • The elite
  • Hillbillies
  • Gays in the military
  • "This is your brain on drugs"
  • Jay Leno
  • It's only a ride

Thanks to Scooter at KPFT-FM in Houston for some of the selections here.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

GMOs Are Bad. The System is Worse.

New World Notes #317, 29:20 (April 1)

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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 (and Monsanto) are a part of a larger evil--globalized, monopolistic, animal-products-based corporate agribusiness. And that is part of an even larger evil: "the whole System." 

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

With an introduction by KD, who finds the mindset that gave us agribusiness and GMOs close to home.

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire.
Setting the standard of home lawn care since 1722.

Mickey Z (Mike Zezima) spoke at a rally in Washington Square Park, New York City, on May 25, 2013.  His words are taken from a video by Wilton Vought, available at  Edited for radio by KD.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Glenn Greenwald on NSA Spying and the Hypocrisy of the Press

New World Notes #316, 29:14 (March 25)

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Glenn Greenwald (l.), Edward Snowden (r)

Journalist Glenn Greenwald revealed the story of Edward Snowden and the US government's secret program of spying on every American. Here Greenwald talks about Snowden and about the government's surveillance, assault on civil liberties, & hypocrisy about leaks.

And he talks about the disgraceful behavior of the US "mainstream" news media--determined to serve those in power rather than to hold them accountable.

With an introduction by KD, on the US news media's unanimous and unceasing Putin-bashing since before the Olympics.

Greenwald's words are taken from a video interview conducted in Rio de Janeiro in November 2013.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Top Ten

New World Notes #315, 29:12 (March 18)

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Top-10 Quote-of-the-decade #5, by
master military strategist G.W. Bush

Social satire, often comic. Let the corporate media fret about the Top 10 fashion blunders, TV bloopers, waist-trimming foods, tennis players, and the like. We'll  read or play recordings of more oddball Top-10 lists:

(a) Quotations, 2000-2009; (b) Reasons to visit New Zealand; (c) High-level political sex scandals (Bill & Monica didn't even make the list!); and--this ya gotta hear--(4) Military combat rifles.

I add a few footnotes but--honest!--I didn't make ANY of this stuff up.

This program is a replay of NWN #101 (Feb. 2010).

Special live show on WWUH only:

It's the station's semi-annual Pledge Marathon time.  New World Notes's hour-long live broadcast (Tuesday, March 18, noon to 1 PM Eastern time) will include The Top Ten and more.  Call between noon and 1 to make a pledge, and I'll thank you on-air (unless you prefer otherwise).  To make a pledge, call 1-800-444-9984.  You can also pledge online:  Many thanks!

Top-10 Political Sex Scandal #6: James Buchanan (President 1857-1861). His lover, William Rufus King, was known to his critics as "Miss Nancy."  Alas, King died before he could become First Lady.  At the time of his death, in 1853, King was Vice President

Sunday, March 9, 2014

What Does Woman Want?

New World Notes #314, 29:00 (March 11):

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Dr. Joycelyn Elders

Some new reflections on International Women's Day (March 8) set the stage for an "encore performance" (that is, a rerun) of an installment from September 2009.  It features a brief but shrewd and funny speech by Dr. Joycelyn Elders on human sexuality, women's health, women's rights, and  warped national priorities.

Elders was U.S. Surgeon General until President Clinton fired her for her vocal advocacy of liberal and sane public-health policies.  (She opposed both "abstinence-based sex education" and the Drug War.)

Plus an introductory monologue by K.D., a relevant song by The Foremen, and part of another by James McMurtry.

Thanks to the National Radio Project for the Elders talk.

Unlike fluoride in the water and sex education in schools, International Women's Day really was a Commie plot!  It dates back to 1912.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Shadows of Liberty

Part 1: New World Notes #312, 29:09 (February 25):

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Part 2: More Media Monopoly: New World Notes #313, 27:40 (March 4):

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A new documentary film examines how a few huge, for-profit corporations control the news media--and so control the "news."  Brief history lessons on the U.S. media alternate with close looks at particular stories the corporate news media suppressed.

Amy Goodman, Robert McChesney, Julian Assange, Janine Jackson, Norman Solomon, Daniel Ellsberg, John Nichols, Dan Rather, and several other commentators appear.

Adapted to radio by K.D.

Shadows of Liberty was written, directed, and produced by Canadian filmmaker Jean-Plilippe Tremblay.

In Part 1:

Topics this week include two stories investigated and then suppressed by CBS News: Nike's exploited workers and evidence suggesting that TWA Flight 800 was shot down by a U.S. Navy missile.  Plus the really free press in the early days of the Republic and the rise of media monopolies from the 1930s.

In Part 2:

How a wave of corporate mergers--each with the government's blessing--created near-monopoly control of the news. And the story of reporter Gary Webb. Webb was destroyed by the big corporate media after exposing the CIA's role in the crack-cocaine trade in the US.

Plus an essay by Paul Krugman on why the latest proposed media merger--Comcast and Time Warner Cable--is another really bad idea.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Only Mutiny Can Save the Ship

New World Notes #311, 29:25 (February 18):

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In Brief

A stunning talk by journalist/prophet Chris Hedges.  Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick is an apt (and scary) metaphor for the U.S. today, says Hedges.

The relentless pursuit of an insane goal: that's Captain Ahab on the ship Pequod, and that's corporate capitalism today. On the Pequod, the pursuit yielded repression and then destruction of ship and crew. That's where the world today is heading.

Only mutiny by the crew could have saved the Pequod, and--Hedges argues--only nonviolent rebellion by citizens can save the U.S. and the planet's ecosystem

I have condensed Hedges' talk substantially.  He delivered the talk, under a different title, at Moravian College on October 22, 2013.  A video of the complete talk is available on YouTube.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Map Is Not the Territory

New World Notes #310, 27:28 (February 11):

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Click to enlarge (all graphics)

In brief

Illusion vs. reality in America today.  Getting lost on Groundhog Day inspires a reflection by K.D. on S.I. Hayakawa's maxim, "The map is not the territory." The "map" of reality handed to us by the corporations and politicians falsely depicts the lay of the land (so to speak).  Inaccurate maps are useful to Established Power, bad for the rest of us.

Plus--making similar points--a selection from Virtual Renderings' new audio collage. Includes commentary by Woody Harrelson, Chris Hedges, and Jordan Maxwell and a timely song by Jackson Browne.

Virtual Renderings' collage is titled, "Ponderings From Within Leviathan."  The complete (56-minute) version is available for free download. (Lo-Fi version and program information page are also available.)

Above: S. I. Hayakawa
Below: Suzuki Hayabusa
(Easy to confuse!)

Sunday, February 2, 2014


New World Notes #309, 29:06 (February 4):

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In Brief

In Israel, military service is close to universal. Motivated by conscience--and at substantial personal risk--some Israeli soldiers refuse to serve with the occupying forces in Palestine. These soldiers are known as Refusers. We explore this important movement. And we'll hear one Refuser's story in depth, that of air force Major Yonatan Shapira, interviewed by Mike McCormick.

Music added: Chumbawamba, "Walking Into Battle With the Lord."

This installment was originally broadcast on New World Notes (as #66) in June 2009.  A broadcast quality (192 kbps) MP3 recording is now available for the first time.

Major Yonatan Shapira, IDF Air Force Reserve, and the Apache "assault and rescue" helicopter he piloted.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Censored Stories 2014

New World Notes #308, 28:15 (January 28):

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Got oil?  US railroads spilled more oil in 2013--1.15 million gallons--than in the previous four decades combined.

In brief

A look at recent sins of omission and sins of commission of the mainstream news media

For omission, we look at some of the stories in the latest report by Project Censored.  For commission, we explore the rash of recent news stories warning of shortages of particular branded products--Butterball turkeys, Sriracha sauce, and now Velveeta! 

Plus a clip from Project Censored's movie, a news story in song by David Rovics, and an update on the great toilet paper shortage of 1973.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What If You Knew

Part 1: New World Notes #306, 28:52 (January 14):

Part 2: New World Notes #307, 28:42 (January 21):

Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
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In brief 

Virtual Renderings' new audio collage on our environmental crisis, especially global climate change. Features many perspectives and a wide range of voices going back as far as 1958 ... and some relevant music . . . and a little post-apocalyptic science fiction.  I've chopped the piece into two parts.  Introductions and a few inserted notes by K.D.

I've condensed the 55-minute collage slightly to fit our radio timeslots.  The complete 55-minute version (50 MB MP3) may be downloaded  here.  (Right-click then Save. . . .  The download may be slow.)  A smaller, low-bandwidth file (13 MB) also is available.  A large archive of Virtual Renderings' audio collages is available for free listening or download.

The title song is (IMHO) one of David Rovics' best. It's played in its entirety near the end of Part 2.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Love and Power

Part 1: New World Notes #304, 28:40 (December 31):

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Part 2: New World Notes #305, 29:18 (January 7, 2014):

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In Brief

We adapt to radio a documentary film by Adam Curtis.

Advocates of (1) computer networks, (2) Ayn Rand-ian "heroic individualism," and (3) financial deregulation--each claimed that their cause would increase personal freedom, expand democracy, and produce eternal prosperity and stability. These three causes were interconnected--and were combined in Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan.

All believed that the best thing politicians and governments could do would be to get out of the way and let "the New Economy" work its magic unhindered.

But it was all nonsense. This film explores these interconnected 20th-century delusions and their aftermath.

Part 1 takes us from the emergence of Ayn Rand in the 1950s to the economic bubble of the Clinton years (late 1990s).

Part 2 explores the love-affairs that damaged Ayn Rand's influence and Bill Clinton's power. It shows how computers and deregulation nearly destroyed the economies of several Asian countries while enriching U.S. bankers. And it shows how today's U.S. economy has been propped up and stabilized not by "heroic individuals" or computers or deregulated financial markets--but by politicians and government.  Specifically: by the politicians and government of China.  

Now what?

Love and Power (2011) is the first segment of Adam Curtis' trilogy, All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Comic Satire for Christmas (2013 Edition)

New World Notes #303, 27:15 (December 24, 2013)

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(Not satire: a real ad)

In Brief

Some brief commentary by me, five seasonal satiric songs, and one satiric imitation Broadway "big production number." All take a comic but critical view of American hypocrisies, religiosity, commercialism, militarism, 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.


  • Hugh Blumenfeld, "Long-Haired Radical Socialist Jew"
  • Simon and Garfunkel, "Silent Night / Six O'Clock News"
  • Anne Feeney, "Brave New Christmas"
  • Roy Zimmerman, "Buy War Toys for Christmas"
  • Stan Freberg, "Green Chri$tma$"
  • Tom Lehrer, "A Christmas Carol"
(Same here!)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dispatches from the War on Christmas

New World Notes #302 (December 17, 2013)

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In Brief

A mostly lighthearted look at the right wing's favorite fantasy. Which is: that "secular progressives" have declared a "war on Christmas"--part of their larger war to destroy Christianity, promote drug use, legalize prostitution and narcotics, etc., etc.

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

The uncut, 30-minute version of Scooter's collage (and other interesting audio) is available from his Web site,

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Obamacare to Ecocide

New World Notes #301 (December 10)

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Derrick Jensen

In Brief

This time
we start with comic absurdity--a funny satire on the Obamacare rollout.

Then we move to scary absurdity--the NYPD shoots some more innocent bystanders, then blames the unarmed man they were shooting at (Glenn Broadnax) for the bystanders' bullet wounds. 

We end with global calamity, with a fine talk (from 2011) by radical ecology activist Derrick Jensen.   

Something for everybody!

 Glenn Broadnax (left)

Monday, December 2, 2013

American Food

New World Notes #300 (December 3, 2013)

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Li'l Oscar and the Wienermobile
(I saw them in person
ca. 1957.)

 In brief

'Tis the season to think of food. Not only the stuff itself but the politics, economics, and ecology of the American agricultural system. Some personal reflections by KD are interwoven with eight short commentaries by progressive populist Jim Hightower and a song.

Topics include packaging chicanery at the supermarket, declining food-safety rules for corporate meatpackers, low wages at fast-food chains, huge "agricultural" subsidies for the rich, how the drug-warriors destroyed an organic farm, and a family vegetable farmer near Hartford decides to add a few pigs and sell a little pork.

Jim Hightower's recorded commentaries are from his Web site.

Jim Hightower

Saturday, November 23, 2013

False Stories TV Tells Us

New World Notes #299 (November 26):

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Dr George Gerbner (1919-2005)

In brief

Most of what we know about how the world works comes from the stories we are told. For a few generations now, most of the stories have been created by the corporate elite and told though the corporate-owned mass media--especially television. Researcher Dr. George Gerbner discusses how American TV distorts our understanding of how the world works.

Example: TV violence does not increase real-world violence.  But it does make people more afraid of violence--and more supportive of harsh "anti-crime" measures.

Gerbner's research found that the more you watch TV, the more afraid of your environment you're likely to be.  And the more you watch, the more you are likely to believe that women are not as capable as men, that racism does not exist, that most Americans are middle-class, that most Black Americans are middle-class, that poverty is not a social problem, and that the cure for crime is more police, more jails, longer sentences, and more capital punishment.

Gerbner's career as a communications scholar included 25 years as Dean of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communication (1964-1989). He died in 2005.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Apokaluptein Tales

New World Notes #298 (November 19):

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Occupy Wall Street, 2011

In brief:

An intriguing audio collage (from 2010) by Virtual Renderings--condensed for radio by KD. It weaves together political commentary, music, clips from the movie 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 and 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!

More from Virtual Renderings:

The unedited, hour-long version of Apokaluptein Tales is available (56 MB). (Left-click to listen online; right-click and save to download the recording.)  (A low-fidelity, low bandwidth version [14 MB] also is available.)

A large archive of Virtual Renderings' audio collages is available for free listening or download from You'll find this same link on the right sidebar on this page, under "Worth a Look."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Hollow Men

New World Notes #297 (November 12, 2013):

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Morris Berman

In Brief

KD's brief reflections on folk holidays (Halloween--good) vs. corporate holidays (Black Friday--bad) set the stage for a brilliant and witty short talk by historian Morris Berman.

Berman sees the essential hollowness of America's leaders as a reflection of the hollowness at the core of many of us--and the hollowness of The American Dream.  In its present form The American Dream is little more than a wish for more stuff.  The current political/economic system does seem to be unsustainable and collapsing--leaving Morris with decidedly mixed emotions.

Then singing comic-satirist Roy Zimmerman offers a more upbeat view of the oddness of American life.  The show ends with a few lines of T.S. Eliot's 88-year-old poem, from which we've swiped our title.

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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Can the People Change the System?

New World Notes #296 (November 5, 2013):

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It's strictly coincidence--honest!--but this installment will first be broadcast on Election Day 2013. The election here is for city council, school board, and so on--so maybe it will not be as meaningless as our Presidential elections have been.

Hope springs eternal. But Chris Hedges reminds us that hope needs to be grounded in reality.

In any case, this week Hedges returns, reflecting on American capitalism run amok--driving Americans closer to poverty and destroying the ecosystem.

And he reflects on the U.S. government, dedicated to furthering the interests of the corporate elite at the expense of the 99%.

Fears of popular rebellion against the (unsustainable) system--not terrorism--have moved the Obama administration to destroy Americans' civil liberties and spy on every citizen. But since the radical Left has been destroyed--and since the Democratic Party is as devoted to protecting the elite as the Republican Party is--change from within the system is impossible, thinks Hedges.

What to do?  Hedges sees making the elite afraid of the people--through widespread nonviolent resistance and protest--as the only strategy that has a chance of working.

A sobering but intellectually powerful and persuasive talk.  Excerpted from interviews with Paul Jay on The Real News Network (  Thanks to Robin Upton, of the Unwelcome Guests radio show, for the audio, which I have edited (

Sunday, October 27, 2013

War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

New World Notes #295 (October 29, 2013):

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 Chris Hedges

In Brief

Prophet and former war correspondent Chris Hedges reflects on the psychologically destructive--yet addicting--nature of war.

He focuses not on rulers and generals but on the people on the ground--civilians and enlisted soldiers and war correspondents too. This talk is based on his own experience and based on his book, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002). 

Plus some additional reflections by Hedges on PTSD among soldiers who fought in World War Two.

Audio courtesy of Robin Upton's Unwelcome Guests radio program (

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Can Technology Save Us?

New World Notes #294 (October 22, 2013):

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In Brief

Even though you know the answer (no), you'll probably still enjoy the show, which features selections from two funny and inteligent talks.

Jello Biafra explains how the last supposedly revolutionary technological advances--cell phones and the Internet--have weakened real communities and increased alienation.

Then urban-design theorist James Howard Kunstler discusses our technology gurus' (at Google) inability to understand that technology cannot solve the problem of declining fossil fuel reserves. In a nutshell: you can make iPods out of petroleum (Dude,) but not vice versa.

This installment is a replay of NWN #58 (April 2009).

James Howard Kunstler

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Prostitute Press, the War Machine, and Anwar al-Awlaki

Part 1: New World Notes # 292 (October 8):

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Part 2: New World Notes # 293 -- (October 15):

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In Brief

A fine talk by journalist Jeremy Scahill based in part on his recent book, Dirty Wars

He tells the story of the radicalization of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki--who was assassinated by order of President Obama in 2011. But this is also the story of an ever-expanding national security state, of the U.S.'s ever-expanding global wars, and of Barack Obama's war against whistleblowers and press freedom.

And it's also the story of the corrupt U.S. news media, determined to serve the powerful rather than hold them to account.

In Part One, Scahill lambastes the Establishment media's Washington press corps and begins the story of Awlaki. He shows how how the Bush Administration's "Global War on Terror" transformed this American from a nonpolitical student . . . to the darling of the Washington elite . . . to a radical opponent of the U.S.'s wars in the Middle East--and a man marked for death by the Obama administration.

In Part 2, Scahill tells of Obama's secret war in Yemen, revealed by Yemeni journalist Abduleleh Haider Shaye--who was then abducted by US forces and imprisoned by Yemen's dictator at the insistence of President Obama. Scahill contrasts Haider Shaye's courage with the sycophancy of the US press corps.

Scahill tells also of the Obama administration's war against the press--and of the government-ordered assassination without trial of US citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and then his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman.

Jeremy gave this talk at the "Socialism 2013" conference, in Chicago, in June 2013.  A video is available from

16-year-old American citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, son of Anwar. Killed in Yemen by a U.S. drone strike two weeks after his father was killed. The President refuses to say why.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Palast & Pilger on Colonialism & Democracy

New World Notes #291 (October 1, 2013):

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(L to R:) Hugo Chavez (Venezuela),
Fidel Castro (Cuba), Evo Morales (Bolivia)

In brief

Two dispatches from South America show progress from (1) colonialism to (2) neocolonialism to (3) neocolonialism disguised as democracy to (4) democracy.

Greg Palast reports from Ecuador (Stage 3), ruthlessly exploited by & practically a colony of the World Bank and global financial institutions.  John Pilger reports from Bolivia, which has recently and tentatively arrived at Stage 4.  The US should be so fortunate!

Notes, credits, & links

We play selections (on Bolivia) from John Pilger's film, War on Democracy, adapted to radio by Lyn Gerry for the Unwelcome Guests Collective (  Many thanks.  KD reads passages on Ecuador from Greg Palast's book, Armed Madhouse.

Music added: Chumbawamba, "The Bad Squire"; Sam Cooke, "A Change Is Gonna Come" (Pilger film theme-song)

This is a replay of NWN #71 (July 2009).
Journalist/filmmaker John Pilger

Monday, September 23, 2013

Vermont Yankee, Farewell (Sort of)

New World Notes #290 (September 24, 2013):

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Entergy Corporation's Vermont Yankee
Nuclear Power Station (2004)

In brief:

The good news: New England's most decrepit nuclear power plant--Vermont Yankee--is ceasing operations after more than four decades.   

The bad news: All its deadly radioactive material will just sit there untouched, on the banks of the Connecticut River, for the next 60 years. 

The really odd news: For many years the public has tried and failed to shut this plant down.  For three years, the Vermont legislature has tried and failed to shut this plant down. But the owner, Entergy Corporation, defeated every attempt to close its little New England moneymaker.  Then in August 2013, Entergy Corp. itself decided to shut to shut the plant down.  Just another business decision.

Moral: The public be damned, but business is business!

We'll hear details on the closing and then selections from Dr. Helen Caldicott's memorable 2009 speech--in Brattleboro, Vermont--on why the people have to shut Vermont Yankee down (and all its brethren as well).

 Vermont Yankee, 2007 (cooling tower collapse)

 Vermont Yankee, 2004 (overly warm transformer)

Monday, September 16, 2013

US vs Syria: What the Heck is Going On?

New World Notes #289 (September 17, 2013:

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In brief:

President Obama's rationale for bombing Syria is so preposterous, so illegal--and so unpersuasive to the American public--that one has to ask, What is this warmongering really about? 

The show features some provocative answers to that question by commentators Bruce Dixon and Eric Margolis, law professor Marjorie Cohn, singer Pete Seeger, and yours, truly. One thing all agree on: chemical weapons are not the real reason.

Credits and links:

Marjorie Cohn audio is excerpted from an interview on The Michael Slate Show.  The hour-long show is available here.  Thanks to Michael Slate.

The complete, uncut text of Eric Margolis' "Syria: March to Disaster" is available on Common Dreams.

Bruce Dixon's audio commentaries may be heard at Black Agenda Report.

Marjorie Cohn