Monday, July 31, 2017

John Pilger

New World Notes #491, 28:48 (August 1)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Documentary filmmaker John Pilger discusses the real story behind the U.S.'s opposition to Russia, China, North Korea, and Syria. Pilger's shrewd analysis of actual U.S. foreign policy naturally leads to a discussion of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the corruption of both Clinton and the Democratic Party, the propaganda served up by the mainstream media, and (in Pilger's view) Clinton's well-deserved loss in the 2016 election.

Pilger responds to questions from Cindy Sheehan, from a broadcast of May 23, 2017. Audio courtesy of The People Speak, with Cindy Sheehan. The original program is available on I have edited the audio slightly, mostly removing stumbles and hesitations.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dispatches from the Class War

New World Notes #490, 27:51 (July 25)
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.

Note: MP3s downloaded from the links, above, are identified as NWN #384.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Costs of Empire

Part 1: New World Notes #488 (July 11):
Broadcast-quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #489 (July 19):
Broadcast quality MP3 (40MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

In brief 

A brilliant, witty speech by Progressive political scientist Michael Parenti, delivered in 1994.  One in a New World Notes series of classic talks by Parenti.

In Part 1, Parenti argues that the U.S. is an imperial power.  However, the goal of this empire is not national glory but rather increasing the profits of the Fortune 500.  He shows how "neoimperialism" has replaced "direct-rule" imperialism, how empires cannibalize the republics from which they sprang, and how imperialism is a matter of class politics more than national politics.

In Part 2, Parenti develops his point that empires are about class and wealth, not nationalism. Empires are ruinously expensive, but the expense is paid by [what we would now call] the 99% in order to make the 1% even richer. The costs include not only dollars but also environmental damage, the gutting of the civilian economy, loss of liberty, degradation of politics and public discourse, increasing poverty, many deaths and injuries of our soldiers, and many others.

The gloomy picture is enlivened by Parenti's trademark wit and humor

With many examples from recent U.S. history.  Introduction by K.D.

Note: In Part 1, Parenti and I each discuss the U.S.'s glorious military victory over the island nation of Grenada. This year marks our great triumph's 34th anniversary!

Michael Parenti

Note: MP3s downloaded from the links, above, are identified as NWN #286 and #286.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Jean Shepherd vs "Creeping Meatballism"

New World Notes #487, 28:08 (July 4)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

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.

Note: MP3s downloaded from the links, above, are identified as NWN #359.

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.