Friday, December 27, 2013

Love and Power

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

Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

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

Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

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)

Broadcast quality MP3 (37 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

(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)

Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (14 MB)

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)

Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

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)

Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

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