Saturday, October 20, 2018

Human Resources

Part 1: New World Notes #554, 27:42 (October 16)
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Part 2: New World Notes #555, 29:28 (October 23)
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Part 3: New World Notes #556, 28:33 (October 30)
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Part 4: New World Notes #557, 27:47 (November 6)
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Scott Noble's wide-ranging and fine documentary film of 2010. It's about the many attempts--some fairly successful--to reduce human beings to mere "cogs in the machine"--in order to further increase the wealth and power of the elite. Aiding this process at every step were the findings--and often the practitioners--of research in psychology, especially the "behaviorist" school of psychology.

Part 1 focuses on industrial relations. Through "scientific management," power in the workplace was taken from workers and given to management--yielding higher profits for the owners but degrading conditions for workers.

Part 2 begins with public schools. Schools were never designed to educate children--still less to empower them--but to turn them into obedient, docile workers and passive citizens. So argue both John Taylor Gatto and Alfie Kohn

The film then begins to explore how "the System" causes violence among the oppressed--and how that violence helps cement the elite's rule.

Part 3 shows psychology's "frustration-aggression" principle used as a means of social control. One predictable result of the human frustration "The System" creates is mass murder--as shown in the case of killer James Huberty.

But the worst mass-murderers are governments and politicians. With that claim (by anthropologist Elliott Leyton), the film begins to explore the CIA's infamous Project MK-ULTRA and other deadly experiments the U.S. government conducted on unwitting citizens in the decades following World War II.

A key figure in MK-ULTRA, infamous CIA-funded mind-control experimenter Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron destroyed the physical and mental health of scores of his patients. (Part 4 of this series)

Part 4 begins with KD reflecting on connections among the film, his life, and the recent massacre in his (and Mister Rogers') former neighborhood, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh.

Then the film focuses on MK-ULTRA and its trail of damaged human beings. With MK-ULTRA, the CIA failed to discover the techniques of mind-control it was seeking. However it did find new techniques of torture, which it employed in recent years at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere.

Human Resources was adapted to radio by Robin Upton, of Unwelcome Guests. Many thanks to Robin.

This and other films by Scott Noble are available without charge at

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Climate Change Hope

New World Notes #553, 28:58 (October 9)
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Australian climate scientist Tim Flannery reviews some new, cutting-edge approaches to restraining or halting global warming.

Flannery opposes risky "geoengineering" schemes. But the new, "Third Way" approaches, he says, are different. Based on natural processes, they actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

These new technologies--combined with a shift from fossil fuels to wind and solar power--give us some reason to hope that climate catastrophe may be averted.

Tim Flannery

Flannery spoke in Seattle on November 12, 2015. The audio of his complete presentation was provided by Mike McCormick, producer of Mind Over Matters, in Seattle. (Many thanks.) I have substantially condensed the talk for this radio program.

This installment was previously broadcast as NWN #413, in February 2016. Files downloaded from the links, above, may be identified as #413.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

How to Fight Back?

New World Notes #552, 28:28 (October 2)
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With the Kavanaugh hearings, American politics seems to have reached yet another new low; and the majority of Americans are sick the whole corrupt system. But the Progressive opposition is fragmented and without a unifying vision. What to do? KD briefly explores the problem.

Then Progressive Black activist and intellectual Glen Ford proposes a solution: unite the opposition in a crusade to nationalize the banks.

Could this work?

Ford spoke at the Left Forum in June 2018. I have slightly condensed his talk. For the original audio recording, thanks to Wilton Vought, of the YouTube channel and podcast, Other Voices, Other Choices.