Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hannibal Lecter To Replace Dodd in Senate

New World Notes News
Vol. 3, No. 9 -- February 27, 2010

This Week on New World Notes: Radio pgm. #104, March 2:

Hannibal Lecter To Replace
Dodd in Senate,
Psychopaths: An Introduction

The Ford Pinto, 1971-1980 (1979 model shown)
All photos: Click to enlarge.

Executioner's summary:

Psychopaths are quite common. Most are not hands-on killers. They differ from us in their lack of conscience, inability to imagine others' pain, and total lack of remorse for harm they cause. With these advantages, they rise to the top of hierarchies; and hierarchies become top-heavy with psychopaths. Which explains a good deal of U.S. domestic and foreign policy. Drs. Susan Rosenthal, Michael Parenti, K. Dowst--& redneck social commentator Joe Bageant--explore the implications.

Pinto gas tanks would explode from a 28-mph bump on the rear, jamming
the doors and incinerating the occupants. Ford designed a fix that would
prevent this at a cost of $6 per car. Then Ford did the numbers, calculated
it would be cheaper to settle with the deceased's next-of-kin, and decided
not to employ the fix. Susan Rosenthal tells more, in this installment.
(Photo: skoblin,

This week's song

  • James McMurtry, Dancin' in the Ruins of the Realm

Notes and credits

The passage by Dr. Susan Rosenthal is read by Lyn Gerry, rebroadcast from an installment of her Unwelcome Guests radio program (see link under "Worth a Look," in the gray sidebar; the URL is below). Thanks to Lyn & the Unwelcome Guests Collective.

The passage is from Chapter 2 of Rosenthal's 2006 book, Power and Powerlessness. The book is available--in some cases without charge--in 3 ways: (1) printed & bound, (2) by Internet download, (3) read aloud over several installments of "Unwelcome Guests."

Joe Bageant's "Bass Boats and Queer Marriage" is here:

The hour-long "Corbett Report" podcast has a couple of interesting installments on the same subject: #90 ("Our Leaders Are Psychopaths") & #113 ("Meet George Soros").

For more fun, see LA Weekly online's "12 Consumer Products That Should Not Have Exploded But Did: Recall-a-rama" (April 1, 2009). Of course they include the Pinto, a.k.a. "the barbecue that seats four."

New World Notes
is produced under the auspices (Latin for "Freedom of Information Act") of WWUH-FM, a community service of that beacon of light in darkest Connecticut, the University of Hartford. Feedback to kdowst at hotmail period com.

Free weekly NWN email newsletter on request.

Top and bottom: New Orleans rooftops, 2005. The authorities knew the
flood was coming, did nothing to prevent it, and took no steps to evacuate
the (mostly poor and black) citizens. Somebody explain why ethnic
isn't the best term for what happened. Michael Parenti has
more to say on it, in this installment.

Did I mention that--for the first time in 32 years--New Orleans now will have
a white mayor? Scion of the statewide ruling-elite Landrieu family? Son of the
city's last white Mayor (Moon) and brother of a U.S. Senator (Mary)? Mitch
takes office on May 3, 2010, God willing.

Coming Soon

  • March 9 -- Psychopaths With Occam's Razor. The Official Explanations of, say, why the U.S. is invading Afghanistan ... or of what happened on 9-11-2001 ... are of baroque complexity. The principle of "Occam's Razor" suggests that simpler explanations are more likely than Rube Goldberg fantasies to be true. Could "psychopathocracy" be part of a simpler & better explanation?
  • March 16 -- The Second Coming (in American consciousness & popular culture)

Catch New World Notes (all times Eastern):

    Semantics 101: In a disaster, white folks scavenge for food. Black folks
    loot. No officials were available to help evacuate the city's poor & infirm.
    Few were available to rescue the stranded; feed, clothe, & shelter the
    victims; or provide medical care to the injured or ill. Plenty of officials
    were available to protect property (already flood-damaged!) from
    "looters." Incompetence? Or
    Heckuva job, Brownie! ?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Resisting Violence: Kathy Kelly (R) + LIVE on WWUH

New World Notes News
Vol. 3, No. 7 -- February 20, 2010

This Week EXCEPT on WWUH: radio program #103, Feb. 23:

Resisting Violence: Kathy Kelly

Last week's installment, "Not ALL Christians Are Evil," started off by whacking the Institutional Church--Protestant Division. This week's starts off by whacking the Roman Catholic Division. Outraged Catholic listeners are asked not to turn off the radio the instant they hear the late Cardinal Spellman described as a "fascist warmonger." Please wait for the "However, . . . ."

This "encore presentation" (with minor revisions) celebrates and features the great American and Catholic antiwar activist Kathy Kelly. She tells a touching and funny story about ordinary citizens who fought against the U.S. War Machine . . . and won. The hero(ine)s of the story happen to be ordinary citizens of Ireland. But who's to say it wouldn't work just as well at home?

Kelly says almost nothing about her religious beliefs--which, however, clearly underlie her antiwar crusade. Imagine! Two weeks in a row, we've managed to turn up some people (two of them still alive!) who believe that Christianity requires something other than killing "evildoers," stealing oil, and persecuting homosexuals! Who'd a' thunk?

(l. to r.:) Kathy Kelly, Australian Catholic Worker activist Ciaron O'Reilly,
and the five Pitstop Ploughshares, outside the courthouse, Dublin, 2006.

For details and more photos, please see the blog entry for the original incarnation of this installment: . Note that the links to the audio file on that old page are to the unrevised, lower-audio-fidelity version (installment #39), of December 2008.

Listeners in central Connecticut--and all others--who wish to hear the updated version of the program (installment #103) can listen online or download an MP3 audio file for later listening. You'll find the download links at the top of this blog page.

This Tuesday, noon to 1 PM, on WWUH 91.3 and

Special Hour-Long Live Show

In this special broadcast for Pledge Marathon Week, regular but brief appeals for money will punctuate a potpourri of insightful political/social commentary by a range of voices. You'll hear none of these voices on corporate-controlled radio or TV stations--neither the overtly commercial stations nor the ones dependent on grants from Cargill, Exxon Mobil, and other social ils. Plus we'll have a reflection or two by me and two or three songs (not by me).

Black Agenda Report Senior Columnist Margaret Kimberley

Pledges of support to any noncommercial, alternative, community-based radio station are always in good taste. Pledges of support to WWUH made by telephone while New World Notes is broadcasting--noon to 1 PM (Eastern) this Tuesday, February 23--are even nicer, as I'll be able to thank you on-air . . . unless you prefer to remain anonymous. A tally is made of the amount pledged by phone during each show--and the loser has to buy beer and pizza for the other 67 volunteer staff members. No, just kidding about the beer and pizza.

The phone number for pledges is 1 - 800 - 444 - WWUH ( - 9984). You can also pledge online at or else print out a form and mail in a check (same Internet address).

Words and voices included in this Tuesday's show come from people including

  • the late the Rt. Hon. Robin Cook, MP--a high official in Tony Blair's Labour government--denouncing the U.K.'s imminent invasion of Iraq and resigning from the Government (March 17, 2003). Ends with the first-ever standing ovation in the House of Commons. Then the next day they voted for war. Cook died in 2005
  • Margaret Cook--Robin's estranged divorced wife at the time of the resignation--in a stunning new appreciation marking the Chilcot Inquiry, titled, "I'm So Proud of You, Robin Cook" (February 7, 2010)
  • Margaret Kimberley on the Obama administration claiming the right--and attempting--to assassinate U.S. citizens (Don't the 5th and 12th Amendments sort of discourage this sort of thing?)
  • Jello Biafra, in the summer of 2008, predicting almost exactly what an Obama presidency would be like. Jello's batting average: .980. He failed to imagine assassinating American citizens or the magnitude of the strings-free giveaway of the nation's wealth to Wall Street
  • Michael Parenti, from a phone interview with me last October, discussing the real agenda of U.S. foreign policy
  • comedians Jimmy Tingle and George Carlin, proving that you can be serious and funny too. And that even the darkest tragedy can use a little Comic Relief. Yes, we do lighten up from time to time . . . at frequent intervals!
  • 3 Vietnam Veterans--Greg Payton, Susan Schnall, and David Kline-- recalling their and other GIs' rebellion against an evil and unnecessary war
  • urban poet Benjamin Zephaniah, showing the ill effects of bad media choice, in "(I've Been Listening to the) Rong Radio Station"--performed in the back of a cab driving around west London. Listener, beware! Don't let this happen to you!*

Robin Cook, denouncing the imminent Iraq War and resigning from
Blair's Labour Government, March 17, 2003. His speech prompted
the first-ever standing
ovation in the House of Commons. "Principled
resignation" is another bit of eccentric British behavior unknown in
the upper ranks of American government. Compare Colin Powell.

Catch New World Notes (all times Eastern):

* Thanks to fellow radio guy Tereza Coraggio ( for finding & sharing the Zephaniah video from which I'll broadcast the audio.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Not ALL Christians Are Evil!

New World Notes News
Vol. 3, No. 6 -- February 13, 2010

This Week in New World Notes, radio program #102, Feb. 16:

Not ALL Christians Are Evil!

How to destroy a religion: Establish it as the official religion
of your empire, elect yourself Pope, then appoint the
bishops yourself. Worked for Constantine (shown), ca. 313.
Detail from mosaic at Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, ca. 1000.
Click graphics to enlarge.

Executioners' summary

Organized Religion (O.R.) has served Mammon & Mars well, while diverting its customers from virtuous thoughts & actions. ("Episcopal" does mean "overlook"!) What killed O.R. for me--by age 10--was the Required Weekly Perjury, a.k.a. reciting the "Apostles' Creed." A few Believers, though, actually try to enact the teachings of their religion's founders and thereby do much good in the world. We'll hear two speak: veteran CIA analyst Ray McGovern and Martin Luther King, Jr. (from the Riverside Church antiwar speech, April 4, 1967).

A few more details

McGovern lucidly shows the oily roots of the Bush-Obama invasion of Afghanistan. Parts of his talk are funny--for instance when he recreates a discussion he had with a burgher of a rich Milwaukee suburb, on whether saving a dollar a gallon on gas is worth a half-dozen dead American soldiers a week. And on how many Commandments the State Department and Pentagon have broken by the time the gasoline reaches the pump.

Martin Luther King's hour-long speech contained, among other delights, a lucid history of the Vietnam conflict (not rebroadcast here), a fine discussion of how a Christian should respond to Communist revolutionaries, and a stirring denunciation of the Administration's policies of defunding programs that helped the poor ("both black and white") at home in order to pay for more bullets, napalm, bombs, and bombers to kill (primarily) innocent peasants abroad. Does any of this sound at all familiar?

One sign of the quality and power of King's speech: it was strongly denounced by almost all of the corporate-controlled American media. "Life magazine called the speech 'demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi,' and The Washington Post declared that King had 'diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people'" [Wikipedia].

Notes and Credits

New World Notes is produced under the auspices (Latin for "table") of WWUH-FM, a community service of that beacon of light in darkest Connecticut, the University of Hartford. Feedback to kdowst at hotmail period com.

Thanks to Seattle's Mike McCormick for the talk by Ray McGovern--which I yanked from a half-hour interview on Mike's radio program, Mind Over Matters (November 2009).

Owing to time constraints, only Christians reached the mic today. They don't hold the patent on virtue. Just to toss off a few names that come immediately to mind, let's acknowledge the faith-based good works of Jews Howard Zinn, Rabbi Michael Lerner, journalist Amira Haas, and the hundreds of "Refusers" in the Israeli military, among many others.

Moslems--apart from "terrorist suspects"--receive scant attention in America, but two that come immediately to mind are Malcolm X (see the final photo caption, below) and the Grand Ayatollah Sistani. The latter was responsible more than anybody for bringing to Iraq whatever measure of democracy it enjoys today--bringing it in the face of determined opposition by the U.S.-installed Coalition Provisional Authority, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the administration named after W Bush.

Free weekly NWN email newsletter on request.

Top: 27-year veteran CIA analyst--now social activist--Ray McGovern.
Bottom: Detail from "Expulsion From the Garden of Eden." Artist: Bolton
Morris (1920-2004); Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Media, Pennsylvania.

This week's song

  • Bye Bye Birdie (Original Cast), Hymn for a Sunday Evening (1960)

Coming Soon

  • February 23 (except WWUH) -- Resisting Violence: Kathy Kelly (R)
  • February 23 on WWUH -- Special hour-long live show for Pledge Marathon week

Catch New World Notes (all times Eastern):

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Top: Delivering his address, "Beyond Vietnam," at a "Clergy and
Laymen Concerned ..." antiwar rally, Riverside Church, Manhattan,
April 4, 1967--one year, to the day, before his assassination.
Bottom: With Malcolm X, March 26, 1964--11 months before Malcolm's
assassination. The two leaders' paths had already begun to converge.
Following his conversion to Sunni Islam and his pilgrimage to Mecca,
Malcolm adopted the racial inclusivenesss of King's approach. For his
part, King came to adopt more of Malcolm's willingness to oppose and
confront established power including the national government--as we
can plainly hear in his great speech at Riverside Church. IMHO, this is
King's finest speech.
Each man died at age 39.
In each case, elements of the National
Security State either connived in the assassination (Malcolm) or else
pulled the trigger (MLK).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Top Ten

New World Notes News
Vol. 3, No. 6 -- February 6, 2010

This Week in New World Notes, radio program #101, Feb. 9:

The Top Ten

Top quotation of the decade #5

Executive summary

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 discussing the Top 10

  • quotations, 2000-2009
  • reasons to visit New Zealand
  • high-level political sex scandals (Bill & Monica didn't even make the list!); and . . . this ya gotta hear . . .
  • military combat rifles.

I add a few footnotes here and there, but--honest!--I didn't make any of this stuff up.

This week's song

  • Jeanne C. Riley, Harper Valley PTA (1968)

Top: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (2009).
Bottom: Top high-level sex scandal #5: JFK & Marilyn Monroe.
Is that Dean Martin on the far left? The President also enjoyed the
favors of Angie Dickinson (actress), Inga Arvad (journalist),
Blaze Starr (stripper), Judith Exner Campbell (mistress to Mob
boss), two White House secretaries affectionately called
"Fiddle" and "Faddle," and possibly Jacqueline B. Kennedy--though
who could blame her for having a headache? And they
complained about Clinton!

Notes and Credits

New Zealand and combat rifles from videos available on YouTube. David Rosen, "America's Top Ten Sex Scandals," CounterPunch, August 1, 2007. David Sirota, "A Decade's Top Ten Quotations," Common Dreams, January 1, 2010.

New World Notes is produced under the auspices (Latin for "gun") of WWUH-FM, a community service of that beacon of light in darkest Connecticut, the University of Hartford. Feedback to kdowst at hotmail period com.

Each site has its quirks and blind sides . . . but for consistently fine analysis, commentary, and (in the latter case) news--all from a Progressive perspective--you won't go wrong with CounterPunch ( and Common Dreams ( Each updated daily, each free, each with very unobtrusive (CP) or no (C.D.) advertising.

Fearless Prediction (a propos de rien), here placed on the record: Venezuela gets it next. Before Iran. You read it here first!

Free subscription to weekly New World Notes email newsletter upon request.

Top sex scandal #6: Two prominent politicians and diplomats of the mid-
19th century--
James Buchanan and William Rufus King--were house-
mates and long-term intimate companions ... intimate enough to attract
the mockery of their peers. After serving six weeks as Vice President
(1853, under Pierce), King died of tuberculosis and hence was unable to
act as First Lady during Buchanan's presidency (1857-1861). Historians
still hotly debate who was the worst President ever: Pierce or Buchanan?
For a century and a half after Buchanan, Americans have resolutely
refused to elect another homosexual or another Pennsylvanian as President.
Daguerreotype of King by
Matthew Brady.

Coming Soon

  • February 16 -- Not All Christians Are Evil
  • February 23 on WWUH -- Live, hour-long program (Pledge Marathon)
  • February 23 elsewhere -- Resisting Violence: Kathy Kelly

Catch New World Notes (all times Eastern):

Top: Top combat rifle #4: M-1 Garand. The M-1 talks, nobody walks.
The WWII-era soldier holds a "clip," which holds eight .30-'06
cartridges for the rifle. By now, armies have largely replaced big,
heavy, powerful
battle rifles such as the M-1 (Garand is the name of
the model's inventor) with smaller, handier, and less-powerful
"assault rifles." While
assault weapon is a meaningless if scary-
sounding term concocted by the Gun-Ban Lobby to frighten the
assault rifle is a real type of rifle.

Bottom: April 17, 2004. Flanked by NRA Executive VP Wayne
LaPierre (left) and NRA President Kayne Robinson, Vice President
Cheney admires the new Model 2003A2 U.S. Army Assault Rifle. The
'03A2 is slated to replace the current standard, the ageing M-16, by
the end of 2011. A Marine Corps sniper version now in late
development--the Model 2003A3--features a longer barrel, collapsible
ramrod, and a telescopic sight engraved with verses from the New
Yes, I'm pulling your leg about the Model 2003A2 & 'A3. The rifle
shown is a new flintlock "Kentucky long rifle"--the sort of gun used
by Daniel Boone's uncle. In 2004, the Vice President accidentally
shot and injured a friend and hunting partner. Why the NRA would
give the man a firearm escapes me!