May 09, 2012

Slouching Towards Nuremberg


Strange things are happening in the United States these days, and every day seems to bring additional scary news.  The similarity to the erosion of civil liberties in Germany during the 1930s is a bit too close for comfort. Many will regard this statement as hyperbole, and, to some extent, it is. But let’s take a close look at what is going on before we dismiss the comparison out of hand.

In terms of the historical record for Germany, legal discrimination against Jews certainly existed before the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, and grew steadily over time. There was always a feeling in the Jewish community—most of whom regarded themselves as Germans, after all—that “OK, that’s the worst of it.” Hence, the decision to stay. Then came the next set of restrictions, and again the response: “This is as far as it will go.” It was like the classic experiment of turning up the heat on frogs placed in warm water. Gradually, they get boiled to death, because the increase of heat is incremental.  It was only toward the end of the thirties that the choice began to look like: jump or die. Finally, it became simply, die.

In 1933, the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service banned “non-Aryans” from the civil service.

In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws deprived Jews of German citizenship and prohibited marriage between Jews and “Aryans.”  They also prohibited sexual intercourse between Jews and “Aryans,” and the employment of “Aryan” females under forty-five years of age as domestic workers in Jewish households. In addition, Jews could not work as lawyers, doctors, or journalists; could not use state hospitals; and could not be educated by the state past the age of fourteen. They could not enter public parks, libraries, or beaches, and could not receive winnings from the national lottery.

In 1938, Jews with first names that were not characteristically Jewish had to adopt the middle name Sara (if female) or David (if male). Passports of German Jews were stamped with a “J”.

In 1939, Jews living in German-occupied Poland had to wear the yellow star. This was extended to all Jews living within Nazi-controlled areas in 1941.

By way of comparison, one thing that makes me particularly nervous is what has been called the “conspiracy of silence.” Almost nobody spoke up in Germany as this process was unfolding, and the American public has been similarly silent about the events documented below. Indeed, I would venture to say that 98% of the American public (maybe more) is unaware of events such as these, or of the passage of repressive legislation, and that they wouldn’t care even if they did know about it. (“Hey, I ain’t no Ay-rab!”) The classic quote that has come down to us is from Martin Niemoeller, a German pastor and theologian who wound up in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps (he was liberated by the Allies in 1945). It goes something like this:

“First they came for the communists, but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me,
but by that time there was no one left to speak out.”

It is no accident that Chris Hedges entitled a recent article “First They Come for the Muslims” (see below, Item IV).  God forbid something like that might happen in the U.S., but the signs of a gradual slide towards Nuremberg, and concomitant citizen apathy, are very much present in the current political milieu. Let’s have a look at what has been going on in the decade since 9/11. I’m going to discuss the following topics:

I. The creation of a political climate in which the police are out of control, arbitrarily free to intimidate anyone for virtually anything
II. The persecution of whistleblowers, protesters, and dissenters
III. The dramatic expansion of the surveillance of American citizens on the part of the National Security Agency (NSA)
IV. The corruption of the judicial system by means of show trials of Muslim activists
V. The construction of political detention centers, also known as Communication Management Units (CMU’s)
VI. The shredding of the Bill of Rights by means of the National Defense Authorization Act
VII. Future scenarios: The “disappearing” of intellectual critics of the U.S. government?


I. The creation of a political climate in which the police are out of control, arbitrarily free to intimidate anyone for virtually anything

The evidence for this is perforce anecdotal, but events such as the ones discussed below are getting to be so common that we have to keep in mind that when you have accumulated enough anecdotes, the result is called “data.”

-In June 2011 the sheriff of Nelson County, North Dakota, called in a Predator B drone from the local Air Force base to capture three men who had stolen some cows. Once the unmanned aircraft located the suspects, police rushed in to make the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with the help of a Predator spy drone. It turns out that predator drones are frequently used for domestic investigations all over the U.S.—by the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and by state and local law enforcement officials.

-In July 2011 police in a small town in Georgia shut down a lemonade stand being run by three girls, ages 10-14, who were trying to save up for a trip to a local water park. The police said that they didn’t know what was in the lemonade; and in addition, that the girls needed a business license, a peddler’s permit, and a food permit in order to run the stand. The permits, by the way, cost $50 a day.

-In January 2012 the library system of Charlton, Massachusetts, called the police to collect some overdue books charged to Hailey Benoit—a five-year-old girl.

-Also in January 2012, a young couple was arrested in Baltimore for asking a police woman directions to highway I-95. They spent the night in jail.

-In April 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that jail authorities may strip search people arrested for minor offenses before they are jailed while awaiting a hearing. Individuals have been strip searched for offenses such as biking with an inaudible bell, walking a dog without a leash, and driving with a noisy muffler. The sexual humiliation involved in these searches, writes Naomi Wolf, is clearly a way of keeping the masses in line, politically docile. How long, she asks, before saying anything controversial online or on the phone (see Item III, below) will result in the “guilty” party facing arrest and sexual humiliation?  I think we need to pause a moment before we summarily dismiss this as paranoia.


II. The persecution of whistleblowers, protesters, and dissenters

This has been going on throughout the past decade, first under President Bush, and then more aggressively under President Obama.  According to the New Yorker, “the Obama Administration has pursued leak prosecutions with a surprising relentlessness.” To which the New York Times added: “In 17 months in office, President Obama has already outdone every previous president in pursuing leak prosecutions.” In the famous case of Bradley Manning, who revealed government documents to Wikileaks, Mr. Obama publicly declared him guilty before he went to trial or was convicted of a crime. The overall result is that the government has basically criminalized public servants who speak out to expose waste or corruption or unethical behavior. Whistleblowing and dissent have, in themselves, become criminal activities.

-Since 2006 the filmmaker Laura Poitras, who made a documentary about the U.S. occupation of Iraq, has been detained and questioned at airports more than forty times. Government agents confiscate her computer and notebooks without a warrant. She is hardly an isolated case. With no oversight or legal framework for its activities, the Department of Homeland Security routinely singles out individuals who are suspected of no crimes, detains them at the airport when they return to the U.S. from an international trip, and then seizes their laptops, cameras, cellphones, notebooks, and credit card receipts.

-William Binney, an intelligence official who worked for the NSA for nearly forty years, resigned in October 2001 when massive domestic spying became the norm. Binney and several other NSA officials reported their concerns about this to Congress and the Department of Defense.  In 2006, he exposed the NSA practice of installing secret monitoring rooms in major U.S. telecommunications facilities.  Finally, in 2007, a dozen FBI agents charged into his house with guns drawn, pointed their weapons at his head, and interrogated him at length. Three other ex-NSA employees were raided the same day.

- You can now go to jail in the United States simply for speaking. In July 2011, environmental activist Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in prison for his repeated declaration that environmental protection required civil—i.e., nonviolent—disobedience. One wonders if the same judge, Dee Benson, would have also put Rosa Parks and Mahatma Gandhi in jail, had he been around during their lifetimes.

-In March 2012 the president signed H.R. 347, the so-called trespass bill, into law, which allows the government to jail anyone protesting near someone with Secret Service protection for up to ten years. This makes it quite easy for the government to criminalize protest per se, because the exclusion zones defined by the law have no clear boundaries. In fact, they can be as large as the law wants them to be; which means that the free speech zone is a moving target.


III. The dramatic expansion of the surveillance of American citizens on the part of the National Security Agency (NSA)

-On 19 July 2010 the Washington Post reported that 854,000 people work for the National Security Agency in thirty-three building complexes amounting to 17 million square feet of space, in the DC Metro and suburban area. Every day, collection systems at the NSA intercept and store 1.7 billion emails and phone calls of American citizens, in what amounts to a vast domestic spy system. Writing in the New Yorker on 23 May 2011, Jane Mayer reported that the NSA has three times the budget of the CIA, and has the capacity to download, every six hours, electronic communications equivalent to the entire contents of the Library of Congress. They also developed a program called Thin Thread that enables computers to scan the material for key words, and they collect the billing records and the dialed phone numbers of everyone in the country. In violation of communications laws, ATT, Verizon, and BellSouth have opened their electronic records to the government. At the height of its insanity, the Stasi in East Germany was spying on 1 out of 7 citizens. The U.S. is now spying on 7 out of 7.

-To make the surveillance of American citizens even more comprehensive (assuming that is even possible), the NSA is currently building the biggest-ever data complex in Bluffdale, Utah, as part of a secret surveillance program code-named “Stellar Wind.” The center, scheduled for completion in 2013, will be twice as large as the U.S. Capitol, and contain 100,000 square feet of computer space, at a cost of $2 billion.  In addition, the NSA has established listening posts throughout the country as part of this operation.  All in all, there are now 1,271 government agencies and 1,931 private companies that work on programs related to counterterrorism and homeland security in about 10,000 locations across the U.S. The goal is to store and review the e-mails, phone calls, online shopping lists, and virtually every bit of information about every single American. Everything you do, from traveling to buying groceries, will be displayed on a graph. William Binney (see above, Item II) has stated that we are about two millimeters away “from a turnkey totalitarian state.”


IV. The corruption of the judicial system by means of show trials of Muslim activists

This was discussed at length by Chris Hedges on truthdig, 16 April 2012. That very week, Tarek Mehanna, a U.S. citizen, was sentenced to 17½ years in prison. He was convicted of conspiring to kill American soldiers in Iraq and giving material support to al-Qaeda. No proof of these charges was provided. What seems to have been the more relevant issue is that Mehanna had spoken out against U.S. foreign policy, and had refused to become a government informant.

These types of trials have been going on since 9/11. In them, federal lawyers are allowed to prosecute people on “evidence” that the defendants are not allowed to see. Stephen Downs, a lawyer who has defended Muslim activists since 2006, has documented the phony charges used to label these people as terrorists and then put them behind bars, typically for long stretches of time. He told Hedges: “People who have committed no crime are taken into custody, isolated without adequate recourse to legal advice, railroaded with fake or contrived charges, and ‘disappeared’ into prisons designed to isolate them.” Basically, they are condemned before they have committed a crime, in a process that Downs calls “pre-emptive prosecution.”

Downs discovered all this in 2006, when Yassin Aref, the imam of a mosque in Albany, New York, was entrapped in a government sting operation. What then happened, he told Hedges, was that the government “put together a case that was just one lie piled on top of another lie, and when you pointed it out to them they didn’t care. They didn’t refute it. They knew it was a lie....But the facts are irrelevant. The government has decided to target these people.” Essentially, he went on, the government lawyers “must know they’re prosecuting people before a crime has been committed based on what they think the defendant might do in the future.” These are, in other words, kangaroo courts.

The bottom line, of course, is that if you destroy the judicial system, then finally nobody is safe. The government could wind up railroading anyone they don’t like, and I very much doubt that this possibility is far-fetched.  First they came for the Muslims...


V. The construction of political detention centers, also known as Communication Management Units (CMU’s)

Where do the suspected Muslim terrorists go? It turns out that the government is using secret prison facilities to house inmates accused of non-violent activities, i.e. of allegedly being tied to terrorist groups. As it turns out, these are not just Muslim groups; the CMU’s are also being used to house environmental activists. The first CMU was built in 2006 in Terre Haute, Indiana; in 2008 a second facility was constructed in Marion, Illinois. Restrictions on contact with the outside world are quite severe—for example, having all phone calls monitored and limited to fifteen minutes per week. Among the so-called terrorists housed in these units are the following:

-Rafil Dhafir, an Iraqi-born oncologist from Syracuse, New York, who created a charity called Help the Needy to provide food and medicine to the people of Iraq who had been suffering from U.S. economic sanctions. He was sentenced to twenty-two years in prison for violating those sanctions. (I cite some of these in Dark Ages America; they include a ban on the importation of medicine and toilet paper.)

-Daniel McGowan, an environmental activist who committed two acts of arson to protest logging in the Pacific Northwest, was sentenced to seven years.  He was not convicted of any terrorist crime or being affiliated with any terrorist group, although the government claimed that he was a member of the Earth Liberation Front, which they regard as a domestic terrorist organization.  One thing that did not help was his public visibility, both through media appearances and his website.

-Andrew Stepanian, recently released—the first prisoner ever to be released from a CMU. He spent three years in jail, which included six and a half months at the Marion facility, for trying to shut down an animal testing laboratory. He was then put under house arrest in New York. In fact, he was not accused of any violent crime or property destruction.

What distinguishes the CMU’s from other jails is that they are political prisons. All of the defendants are incarcerated there for what appear to be ideological reasons. Meanwhile, the definition of “terrorist” continues to grow (see below, Item VI); it won’t necessarily stop with Muslims or environmental rights activists.  Significantly, the word “ecoterrorism” was coined by corporations in the early 1980s. The CMU’s even contain antiwar tax protesters. In general, the legal wall separating “terrorist” from “dissident” is starting to break down, if, indeed, it hasn’t already.


VI. The shredding of the Bill of Rights by means of the National Defense Authorization Act

The NDAA, also known as the “indefinite detention bill,”  was signed into law by President Obama on 31 December 2011. It has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by Mr. Obama or any future president to military detain U.S. citizens.  As in pre-Magna Carta days, you can simply be swept up and put away forever—disappeared—with no explanation of why, no right to call a lawyer or anybody else, and no right to a trial.  You can actually be tortured to death, if the government decides it is in the national interest. The NDAA is probably the greatest rollback of civil liberties in the history of the United States. Under the Act, literally anyone can be described as a “belligerent,” or as they are now called, “covered person.” The president claimed that he signed the bill only to provide funding for American troops, and that he had been reluctant to sign it because it included American citizens. This b.s. was subsequently exposed by one of the bill’s sponsors, Senator Carl Levin, who revealed that it was Mr. Obama himself who insisted that the indefinite detention clause include U.S. citizens.  Meanwhile, the White House had been conducting a misinformation campaign to secure this incredible dictatorial power while portraying the president as some type of reluctant absolute ruler. It is also important to note that there was virtually no coverage of this issue on the part of the mainstream media. In effect, as Naomi Wolf has written, the U.S. “is sleepwalking into become a police state.” The New American website posted the following comment on the new law:

“The universe of potential ‘covered persons’ includes every citizen of the United States of America. Any American could one day find himself or herself branded a ‘belligerent’ and thus subject to the complete confiscation of his or her constitutional civil liberties and nearly never-ending incarceration in a military prison.”

You don’t have to be convicted of terrorism to be rounded up, under this new law; you only have to be suspected of terrorist activity. And as Senator Rand Paul pointed out prior to the passage of the bill, the Department of Justice now has a list of “identifying characteristics” of terrorists that includes having one or more fingers missing from your hands; having more than seven days’ worth of food in your house; and having a loaded weapon on your property—which describes half the households in the United States. In effect, with the NDAA, if the government, for any reason, doesn’t like you—for example, if you are simply a critic of the U.S., nothing more—they can brand you a terrorist and put you away forever, with literally no one knowing what happened to you.

Note also that even before the passage of this law, the president had the legal right, even though it violates the Geneva accords, to designate anyone on the planet an enemy, and have him or her assassinated. Thus on 30 September 2011, Mr. Obama had two American citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, assassinated because of suspected—i.e. not proven—al-Qaeda membership and terrorist activity.  Two weeks later, the CIA killed al-Awlaki’s sixteen-year-old son. The real problem in these cases is not whether these people were actually guilty of terrorism; it’s that the Constitution says that no matter how heinous the crime, every American citizen has a right to his or her day in court. If I remember correctly, it does not say that the president has the right to rub them out without a trial.

(Just as an aside, there are, in general, more people under “correctional supervision” in America than there were in the Russian gulag under Stalin, at its height. Writing in the New Yorker on 30 January 2012, Adam Gopnik declared: “Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today.”)

VII. Future scenarios: The “disappearing” of intellectual critics of the U.S. government?

This leads me to my final point. The distinctive characteristic of American democracy, from 1776, was the protection of the individual and the preservation of individual rights. That no longer exists. Anyone is a potential terrorist now; anyone can be persecuted, prosecuted, and in effect, destroyed. Democracy is only  possible if dissent is not only permitted, but also respected. This too is finished. What does this mean for someone such as myself?, is something I lay awake nights thinking about. I have published three books, and half a collection of essays, showing where we have gone wrong, predicting our eventual collapse—indeed, this repression is part of that collapse—and arguing that the U.S. no longer has a moral compass; that it is spiritually bankrupt. I run a blog that is anything but polite: it says the U.S. is finished; that it is basically a corporate plutocracy, run by a gangster elite; that the American people are basically morons, with little more than fried rice in their heads; and that anyone with half a brain and the means to do so should emigrate before it’s too late. I’m not really a threat to the U.S. government, largely because I am not a political activist and because it’s not likely that more than 74 people out of 311 million regularly read my blog (it’s probably more like 24, in fact). But as the definition of terrorism widens in this country, what is to prevent the creation of a category known as “intellectual terrorism” from arising, and putting folks like myself in that category? What is to prevent the government from calling such activity a clear and present danger to national security? As must be obvious by now, the government can do anything it wants to now; as in Nazi Germany, we now have a government of men, not of laws. Indeed, the “laws” are little more than a pretext for whatever the government wishes to do.

Is the following scenario completely paranoid? Five or ten years down the line, as I fly into the DFW Airport en route to giving a lecture somewhere, or simply visiting friends, I am suddenly surrounded by government agents, whisked off to a holding cell, and eventually sent to Guantanamo. Nobody knows what happened to me, and I’m not allowed to phone anyone—not my lawyer, not a friend, and certainly not Chris Hedges, who is probably being tortured in the adjoining cell. Two points to remember here, historically speaking:

-When a country puts laws such as torture or indefinite detention or arbitrary assassination on the books, sooner or later it will use these legal instruments.  They won’t just lie dormant, in other words. As in the case of technology, once the mechanisms are there, the temptation to employ them simply becomes too great to resist. That is what is happening today.

-In a world that is politically construed along Manichaean lines—which, as I have argued elsewhere, America has been doing since Day 1—the first line of attack is against the enemy outside. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about Protestants or Catholics or al-Qaeda operatives or infidels of any kind, the first order of business is to go to war with them. But as the British anthropologist Mary Douglas shows in her book Purity and Danger, or Norman Cohn demonstrates in The Pursuit of the Millennium, if the war goes on long enough, inevitably the enemy is also seen to be a fifth column, i.e. within the walls of the body politic itself.  They become Huguenots or Marrano Jews or heretics of whatever stripe, and as in the case of Goya’s famous painting, Saturn Devouring His Son, the country begins to eat itself alive.  Everybody becomes an enemy; no one is safe any longer. And so I believe that I, and you, really do have reason to worry.

Somewhere along the line, God stopped blessing America.  We are not marching to Pretoria; rather, we are slouching towards Nuremberg.  To quote Edward R. Murrow, Good Night, and Good Luck.


(c)Morris Berman, 2012



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164 Comments:

Blogger Unknown said...

The rule is that the top 20% must get theirs first. What's left over goes to the rest of the Americans, who are getting slightly
upset by this patriotic, God-given
rule. Restraints must be placed on their displeasure at this rule, so do not be surprised if The Bill of Rights is reasonably corrected for our perilous times.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Julian said...

MB,

As I started reading your article, Putin is delivering his commencement speech at Russia’s 2012 Victory Parade, recalling the enormous price (and 27 million dead) that his country paid during World War II.

One wonders how much greater a price this planet and humanity will ultimately have to pay for America’s expanding insanity and unreason.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this excellent summary. In a better world I would pass it around to convince people of the current state of affairs. In THIS world, though, it won't make a difference: most people cannot actually read and, for the few that can, the power of denial remains triumphant over any fact.

Here in Mexico (the US-wanna-be part, not where you live) happens the same with the systematic pillage by politicians and the ever increasing kidnappings, robberies and general violence.

'No one does something because no one cares' say the few who can see the upcoming disaster, but they fail to see the complete picture: no one CAN 'do something'. These problems/politicians/judges/policemen/etc. didn't come from an interstellar hole in the sky, they are spawned from the same society/culture which they are destroying. If there were men able to stop these things from happening we wouldn't have these problems in the first place. The reason we have a decadent, intolerant, corrupt, self-destroying system is because WE ARE a decadent, intolerant, corrupt, self-destroying society, not the other way around (Nietzsche's whole 'confusing causes with effects' bit).

Gracias por seguir escribiendo. Un abrazo,

-PedroC.

5:30 PM  
Blogger patricia walsh said...

I recently discovered your work when I heard your interview with Chuck Mertz on “This is Hell.” The interview caused me to order your book “Dark Ages…” and I am now reading: Why America Failed. I just found your blog today. In reference to today’s post, I refer to the “conspiracy of silence” exhibited by the German people in the 1930’s. Last night my son (who lives in Portland, ME) sent me a link to a story that appeared in the Portland Phoenix: the story is about the proposed building of a privatized road that is to be constructed through the interior of Maine. Leaving detail aside, the article just crushed me because it mentioned that the legal framework had already been laid and that a “waiver” had already been granted to disallow FOIA requests until the decision of the Maine DOT had been made.

I live in South Carolina and none of the details of this situation apply to me but I was immediately filled with a sense of futility – I mean that this is basically something so regional and so (relatively) small, yet so full of implication, precedent and imminent destruction and it’s happening EVERYWHERE. This “public-private” partnership will basically charge the taxpayers of Maine to destroy their own environment to build a toll-road for the convenience of a cross-border business deal between Canadian and American corporations and they have no say in the matter. I was filled with the thought: How on earth does anyone fight this and continue to have any sort of productive life? Again, it’s not my fight and I am certain that there are many outside my doorstep (I do live in South Carolina) that I remain unaware of.

So, I wonder about Germany’s “conspiracy of silence” and wonder what is happening here. I am sure that 1930’s German citizens were not as overwhelmed with detail and information as we are today – probably they knew and refused to care as so many do here. I struggle with overload – the more I learn, the more impossible it seems to act effectively. Are we going to be cursed with this label? It seems that discordant voices are drowned and silenced today but………..should I be shouting louder? Will history consider the discordant voices? Or will all of us be condemned as collaborators in this mess?

I know that as an artist – a painter – I struggle often between my desire to paint what I find beautiful and interesting and my feelings of finding a way to scream a visual message of what is happening here. I have not solved this conflict. Hell, I live in a physically gorgeous place where people seem to have lost their minds. The guy returning carts at the grocery store routinely yells: “Praise Jesus” in the parking lot and it sort of makes me smile but, damn, it’s dangerous.

Anyway, I love your writing and am glad I found your blog………..you must get lots of people “venting” on you. Patty

7:22 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"Unknown" in the first comment is one M. Bergot, easly confused with one M. Berman.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

The Holy Land Foundation in Richardson, TX was convicted of "terrorist activities" even though:

"Attorney Nancy Hollander represented HLF President and CEO Shukri Abu Baker. She said he "was convicted of providing charity. There was not, in ten years of wiretapping his home, his office, looking at his faxes, listening to everything he said, there was not one word out of his mouth about violence to anyone or about support for Hamas."

In addition to this:

"(1) Names of two prosecutorial witnesses were withheld from defense attorneys, including its key one. Doing so violated Fifth Amendment due process rights and the Sixth Amendment's right of a defendant to confront accusers."

But they got to go to jail anyhow. Is this what my father fought in WWII to defend? I don't think so.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Patty,

Yes, I do get a certain amt of hate mail, but far less than I wd have expected.

Re: situation in the US: the fact is that the "fix" is in; things can only get worse, and loss of civil liberties is merely one area (tho obviously a crucial one) in which this is occurring. Hence, at present, the US is a wonderful place to leave, and I encourage anyone interested in a better life to do so. After all, you can read my blog from practically anywhere in the world... ;-)

Praise Jesus, pass the ammunition-

mb

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shortly after the NDA was signed and assassination-at-will became legal, a columnist on one of the alternative/progressive news sites -- forget which -- wrote an "apology to President Obama" for whatever it was he had been doing. Being so critical and unhelpful, I guess. The tone of it was quite serious, no obvious sarcasm in the content, but in the context of NDAA the message was quite clear. Now I wish I could find that article. But there were so many headlines about the NDAA that I have no clue how to track it down after several months.

9:18 PM  
Blogger PWS said...

Professor, before I moved to Mexico two years ago, I was a bit trepidatious because I didn't know what the laws were or what rights I had. I have a blog like yours, with even less of a following, and I'm going to the states next month to visit two of our children. I'm frankly more than a little worried, because I KNOW what the laws are, and that I have no rights any longer.

What a change two short years have wrought up there. It was easy to predict, but it's really hard to watch - especially when so few Americans recognize what's happening to them.

Pete

12:31 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

I’m afraid it’s all necessary. As long as one of our seven billion fellows somewhere on this planet is contemplating blowing up his underwear, Americans just can’t take any chances. Only after the country is turned into Stalag 17 can Americans feel safe and happy again.

4:17 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. Berman DAAers fellow iconoclasts and metamorphs:

It looks like we are headed for critical mass and the collapse ( as Hank Williams would say it) is just over the hill. This latest post could ruin the whole day for an American (if one could actually read) I'm kinda schizophrenic(and paranoia to) about the whole thing. One always wants to see justice take a hand but not be part of the punishment handed down. Also wishing that people get their come-uppance goes against the spiritual life I try to lead. Anyway I have been cultivating a garden in preparations for the big collapse (though I don't know how long one can live on turnups and spaghetti squash or chopped liver for that matter)
Just checking-in Dr. B to let you know I appreciate your blog.
I'll leave you with some Wendell Barry.
You will be walking some night in the comfortable dark of your yard and suddenly a great lighr will shine round about you and behind you will be a wall you never saw before. And you will know suddenly; that you were about to escape and you are guilty. You misread the complex instructions, you are not a member, you lost your card, or you never had one. And you will know that they have been there all along with their eyes on your letters and books, their hands in your pockets, their ears wired to your bed. Though you have done nothing shameful, they will want you to be ashamed. They will want you to kneel and weep and say you should have been like them. And once you say you are ashamed, reading the page they hold out to you; then such light that you made in your history will leave you. They will no longer need to persue you. You will persue them begging forgiveness. They will not forgive you. There is no power against them. It is only candor that is aloof from them and an inward clarity unashamed that they cannot reach. Be ready, when their light picks you out and their questions are asked; say to them I am not ashamed and a sure horizon will come around you and the heron will begin his evening flight from the hilltop.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

DM-

I'll try to keep that quote from Berry in mind when they are waterboarding me. Or else just hum a little Hank W., to try to melt their frozen hearts:

"Drink fruit jar [i.e. white lightning from a jug], play guitar, and be gay-o/Son of a gun we'll have great fun down by the bayou."

mb

11:54 AM  
Anonymous TonyU said...

Dr Berman, please do not take the following as a personal attack. You wrote: “The distinctive characteristic of American democracy, from 1776, was the protection of the individual and the preservation of individual rights. That no longer exists. Anyone is a potential terrorist now; anyone can be persecuted, prosecuted, and in effect, destroyed.”

The American founding fathers plagiarized the ideas of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant, but they ignored the warnings of Baruch Spinoza. The philosophy of Kant summarizes the ideas of these other white philosophers and can be summed up in one phrase: the golden rule of the Bible. From Hegel down to this day, the golden rule has been at the center of every Western ideal. However, all Western ideals live inside books, never practiced in real life. If practiced at all, they applied to the white people, not to other peoples from other cultures. But before Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, and American founding fathers were born, Spinoza warned humanity about certain things, especially relative to the contents of the Bible. Nobody listened.

Who was an individual in 1776, 1800, 1950, 1960?
Who is an individual in 2012?
What was democracy in 1776, 1800, 1940, 1960?; what is democracy today in 2012?

“Unemployment on Pine Ridge is estimated at around 70 percent
“Half the population over 40 on Pine Ridge has diabetes, and tuberculosis runs at eight times the national rate. As many as two-thirds of adults may be alcoholics, one-quarter of children are born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and the life expectancy is somewhere around the high 40s”
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/opinion/kristof-povertys-poster-child.html?_r=2&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

"The law of karma states that everything which happens in our lives is nothing but the reaction of our past activities. Everything that we are today is the sum total result of all our activities performed up to this moment. If we wish our lives to be different in the future we have to change our activities in the present; and by doing so we change the direction of our lives"
http://www.yoga-philosophy.com/eng/karmalaw.htm

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question, Morris Berman:

Did leaving from America solve all of your problems, personally?

I'm asking because you finally left America after six decades of "culture shock" since the whole culture was corrupt.

However, what I'd like to know is that are there any American problems you "still have" while living in Mexico, if I were considering emigrating?

To be more precise, most of your problems while living in America were because of the combination of a country that encourages narcissistic isolation AND YET refuses to tolerate true scholarly solitude.

Are there any problems of that sort you're still having in Mexico, or did all your troubles clear up when you left the United States?

Thanks in advance!

4:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Well, as u know, a lot of problems come from simply being human, so in those cases, it really doesn't matter where u.r.

In addition, don't get fixated on Mexico. Many countries have rural areas that are out of the corporate-commercial mainstream. If yr thinking of emigrating, I suggest you explore a # of different options, not just one country.

Leaving America didn't solve all of my problems; but it did solve most of them. What I can tell u is that when I lived in the US, I was basically an anxious and depressed person, and now that I don't, I'm basically a relaxed and happy one.

Get busy, amigo: leave as soon as u can.

mb

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet more CRE: Polling shows that nearly half of under-thirty people in the US think there is a good possibility they can become "rich" and enjoy the disproportionate benefits that everyone else suffers to maintain. Did the pollsters ask if they thought ordinary people who don't become "rich" deserve a decent standard of living, I wonder? It's mathematically impossible for 1/2 of the population to become the wealthy elite, so most people will have to live at the basic level. But few seem to think about that. It's all about personal ambition, not rationality -- even if it's about rational self-interest. And the pollster thinks this is a sign of "optimism"!

APR: What Americans think about the rich

Ryssdal: There's an aspirational part of this too, right? Do Americans, have you asked people: Do they think they will ever be rich?

Newport: Fascinating question: How likely is it that you will rich in your lifetime? And you know, this is a heartening of 18 to 29-year-olds -- almost half, Kai, 47 percent say they say it's at least somewhat likely they will be rich at some point in their lifetime. Now that drops dramatically by the time that you're 65-plus -- only 8 percent. Still, 8 percent of seniors think they'll be rich someday, if they just hold on long enough.

Ryssdal: I want to meet that 8 percent, man.

Newport: Yeah, absolutely. But I think it's heartening that so many young people today are looking ahead and at least dreaming that some day they'll strike it rich.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Sometimes I think that being an American, ipso facto, means that yr demented.

Meanwhile, remember what Garrison Keillor said abt Lake Wobegon: all the children are above average.

mb

10:02 PM  
Blogger anoptedmonk said...

Hello, Morris. I've been meaning to write you for a long time, if only to say that I read your blog whenever a new one is posted. I've also read The Re-enchantment of the World, Coming to Our Senses, The Twilight of American Culture, Dark Ages America, A Question of Values, and Why America Failed. Still, I never post comments on your blog for whatever reason. What I'm getting at is that I can't be the only admirer who doesn't leave comments on here. That should boost your number up from (Minerva help us!) 24 I would think.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous James Sosa said...

@TonyU

America has never practiced equity and human or individual rights (aka democracy). When the white people were enjoying bloody loots they pillaged from other people, they thought they were enjoying a democracy. Now that they have turned on each other after perfecting their greed with other people, they are feeling the pains. The cries you hear today are the cries for return to their old looting ways. But the world is wiser today – the Chinese, Indians, and others have beaten them on their own games.

12:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Monk,

Well, of my nonfiction stuff, the best awaits you: Wandering God. Hope u enjoy it.

As for admirers, thank u for the encouragement. Remember that the Owl of Minerva only flies at dusk.

mb

3:28 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

As we used to say in the 60's: Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean no one's out to get you. True, you are not a political activist but perhaps the US govt. has adopted the Soviet idea that words are,in fact, deeds. Besides enjoying Thai beaches I've been reading Hedges' Death of the Liberal Class and much of the loss of civil liberties in the US can be traced to liberals selling their souls for crumbs dolled out be the elites. They were too afraid to fight the Right always trying to find accomodation. Hell, they tossed M.L. King overboard when he came out against the Vietnam war. So here we are, as you say, not sleeping very well at night worrying much as the Jews did in Germany if there will be a knock on the door.

5:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

It may be that in order to have, or enforce, a plutocracy, you have to have a thugocracy as well. Hence the phrase, 'corporate fascism'. Hence I suggest that all Wafers who have a car get themselves a bumper sticker that says, "Every Day, More Thugs". This will be a great conversation starter. (Or perhaps: "A Docile Citizen Is a Good Citizen".)

mb

6:43 AM  
Blogger Robo said...

So it's not enough to keep your head down and your mouth shut, tend your garden, get to know your neighbors, and stay under the speed limit? They'll come for you anyway?

At some point even Americans will have to get tired of that.

Meanwhile, Blogger is insisting that I must tell them my mobile phone number ... for security reasons.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Robo-

Well, Radio Shack wants to know the same thing, and this only for buying batteries. As for yr neighbors: Americans tend not to know their neighbors, as a rule. Besides, once u get to know them, you'll wish you didn't.

mb

9:27 AM  
Blogger Nicholas Colloff said...

It is only mildly reassuring that when our UK (coalition) government tried to extend surveillance laws recently, it did generate significant commentary and push back and has now been kicked into a 'consultation' phase where the measures begin to be watered down significantly...

As it happens I watched Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck last night and the rather depressing ending where it is 'entertainment' considerations that clip Murrow's wings at CBS rather than McCarthy! Democratic vigilance vanishes in a haze of pleasure!

9:58 AM  
Anonymous TonyU said...

1)
Constitution's Anti-Democratic, Outdated Values in Need of Purge
By Blair Bobier, New America Foundation
January 31, 2010

The California constitution is a veritable Tower of Babel – an unwieldy, self-contradictory document badly in need of reform. The U.S. Constitution, a model of innovation at the time of its adoption, is similarly ill-suited to govern the lives of its increasingly diverse citizenry. Created by and for an exclusionary elitist society, the original Constitution established a government for a fledgling nation that was then a thin strip along the Eastern seaboard with a population of 2.5 million people. Not only did the original document enshrine slavery as an accepted practice, it created a number of blatantly anti-democratic institutions.

The past few decades have seen a number of campaigns focused on romanticized notions of "taking our country back," as though the country actually belonged to "We, the People" in the first place.

In truth, it never did: the Declaration's pursuit of happiness was not meant to include people of color, women and working-class citizens; all have been enfranchised, but only after years of struggle. Now the most dangerous threat to American democracy is the stubborn and misguided belief that we actually have one. The Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision, expanding corporate influence over the electoral process, should challenge this unfounded assumption.

http://newamerica.net/node/27023


2)
"Why should we feel bound today by a document produced more than two centuries ago by a group of fifty-five mortal men, actually signed by only thirty-nine, a fair number of whom were slaveholders, and adopted in only thirteen states by the votes of fewer than two thousand men, all of whom are long since dead and mainly forgotten?"

from:
How Democratic is the American Constitution? 2nd edition, (c) 2003
By Robert A. Dahl

11:44 AM  
Anonymous White Indian said...

Why have a civilization if we're no longer interested in being civilized?
~from God Bless America Movie
The movie trailer
Frank's office rant
Frank's last words

5:00 PM  
Blogger eugene12 said...

As far as I can tell, America has always been like this. As one descended down the class ladder rights became fewer, police "brutality" became more common and the mythology of America was a fiction.

Now things are far more open and the loss of rights is ascending the ladder. The few I interact with are blissfully unaware and, frankly, could care less. They complain about the government but implicitly trust it. Lost in American Idol and Survivor.

The only folks I relate to are a few old PTSD vets who lost their innocence long ago. Or I should say a few old outcast vets living on the fringes of society.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Once again: A lot these problems cd be solved if everyone was issued an AK-47. I mean, Rick Santorum's daughter is 3, and an official member of the NRA. This is the way to live--"free".

7:56 PM  
Anonymous teri schooley said...

Dr. Berman,
I think it has gotten to the point where they are not even trying to hide things any longer. They have discovered the true depths of the apathy of the American population and now they just outright take and destroy without the old-timey, worn-out gimmick of obfuscation.

Bailed out the banks, gave them a casual 14 trillion in further backdoor bailouts, let them foreclose on millions of homes with fraudulent paper filings. So Oblahblah gets the states AG's to settle with the banks and promises investigations. Except the "investigation team" is never staffed. It won't be.

In the tri-state area of Md, Pa, and WVa, a private water company has been given permits to withdraw 3 million gallons of water/day from the drought-stricken Susquehanna. They are selling the water to fracking companies, who lace it with chemicals and force it into fracking wells, where it leaks into ground streams and poisons the drinking water. Oh, and the water company gets to claim eminent domain and force communities in its way to relocate.

The CIA just "stopped an terrorist attack" on a US airliner, which they admit openly was being run by a CIA operative. Nonetheless, this "plot" requires that drone-bombing be increased in Yemen. (Why don't they just bomb the CIA building; they'd stop way more terrorist plots that way.)

Obama just issued an executive order which reads that he can take over all the resources, private companies, and modes of transportation in the US in times of peace or war, should he feel the need has arisen. The "liberal" blogs brushed this aside by noting that Clinton and Bush had basically the same orders while they were in office - but that only begs the questions: why then did Obama feel the need to issue his own, and why now? And why are such orders allowed to be executed anyway? He also signed a long term treaty with Karzai without consulting Congress and issued an executive order the week before last imposing further sanctions on Iran and Syria, all by hisownself. (For using social media to crack down on dissidents. Snort.) So where is Congress? Oh, yeah, all 100 Senators voted "yes" on the NDAA.

And just the other day, I had to explain to a relative what a "drone" was. But to be fair, she was also the one who said "bullshit" when I told her about the massive NSA data-storage capabilities. She lives in...Utah.

Life is but a dream. Or something like that.

Best,
Teri

9:39 AM  
Anonymous satyaSarika said...

Dear Doctor Mauricio,

If you were to be arrested while coming into our fair land, I would have to believe that was a very good sign for any prospective healthful change here because that would mean your ideas were actually a threat to the elite. As it is, your recommendations to leave the country can only be in line with their goals to achieve a state consisting only of themselves and their slaves -- the rest of us.

As an intellectual, rather than an activist, you are absolutely no threat whatsoever, sad to say. I think Doug Hofsteader said it best in his tome about anti-intellectualism in the US.

However, you do give us much pleasure and comraderie, and for that I sincerely thank you!

2:17 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

M. Bergot wonders why M. Berman is surprised by all this.
After WWI came the first Red scare,
which had the potential of unions agitating for more money. Then came the Red scare with that beloved patriot Joe McCarthy, who let us know that some mysterious evil enemy is in our midst. Then came AIDS, abortion, same sex marriage, Evolution of a hosts of other things threatening our way of life. Whatever all these things are, they mean only one thing, fear of whatever you can show me.
In the good old days America could manipulate and control its environment to get abundance; it could also do the same with other countries. Now neither is available...something to fear. If there are so many grounds for pervasive and virtually nameless fear, what can we do about it?
I know: What if it is all being caused by disloyal Americans right within our very own borders? Maybe we should manipulate and control them to prevent them from continuing with their evil ways.
Be reminded that had Hitler prevailed, you would have gotten a further cleansing of the Master Race once the SS took control after his death. When all external enemies have been subdued, then you continue the movement by turning on your own citizens.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sat-

Well, I guess if they start arresting folks like me, they've really hit the bottom of the barrel. BTW, the author yr thinking of is Richard Hofstadter.

Teri-

I too am puzzled by the need of the gov't to stage phony terrorist attack attempts, w/the purpose of spreading fear among the population. Again, just equipping everyone (including 3-yr-old girls) with semi-automatic weapons wd accomplish the same goal. All these complicated, convoluted plots, when we cd simply be blowing each other out of the water, 24/7. Too much restraint on the part of the FBI, CIA, Pentagon, etc. Long overdue to take the gloves off.

Of course, we did have that incident of some congressman saying that he had the names of 76 communists in the House of Rep. That was gd, altho I'm sure the figure was far too low. I'm also concerned that no one in the House has brought up the matter of the need to bomb Toronto and/or Paris, which is also long overdue. And then people wonder why we are in decline! To quote one of my heroes, Madeleine Albright, who said it was worth having 1/2 million Iraqi children die of malnutrition/starvation, "Why have a fabulous military if yr not going to use it?" I tell u, my kinda gal. And then of course Hillary announcing that the phony terrorist attack attempt just shows how impt it is for us to be always on guard, ever vigilant.

I'm telling you, we just have the most wonderful people in office!

Oblamdi, Oblamda, Oblamdi--brah! La la la how life goes on...

mb

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

DAA’ers,

When Dr. Berman tells us that, we “just have the most wonderful people in office” he reminds me of the old Pete Seeger song which goes:

What did you learn in school today?
Dear little boy of mine.

I learned our government must be strong.
It’s always right and never wrong.
Our leaders are the finest men,
And we elect them again and again.

Nowadays, we would complain about the song's sexist language and crow about the progress we have made in the field of women’s rights. It is hard, however, to see Madeline Albright and Hillary Clinton in positions of power as any kind ‘progress’ – except in the sense that some diseases are ‘progressive’.

David Rosen

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Julian said...

It is my great pleasure to announce the release of my May 2012 line of bumper stickers. This new collection sports two backgrounds (rebel flag and star-spangled banner) in your choice of font. The theme this month honors our national heroes: The Thugs. Just look at this amazing sampler:

“These Thugs Don’t Run”
“Got Thugs?”
“ThugNey 2012”
“Proud Thug Wife”
“Land of the Thugs, Home of… More Thugs”
“Thugery IS Patriotic”
“Hug a Thug”
“Give Thugs a Chance”
“Support Our Thugs”
“I ran the 10 Mile Thugaton!”
“Have You Submitted to a Thug Today?”
“Gog Bless Our Thugs”

6:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

J-

I just want to suggest one modification: "Hug a Thug for Christ". It has a nice ring to it. Plus one addition: "Support the Thugocracy".

DR-

And then there's Condi Rice: a black, female--war criminal! God, we've made so much progress in the Land of Equal Opportunity. Which suggests yet another bumper sticker: "Thugs Are Thugs!"

mb

7:09 PM  
Anonymous satyaSarika said...

Thanks for the correction. Got Richard confused with douglas of godel, escher, bach fame.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

From the news today:

"US government officials have accused Ali Musa Daqduq, a Lebanese citizen, of involvement in a string of attacks, including the killing of five US soldiers on a base in the Iraqi city of Kerbala in 2007, while he was acting as the group's liaison to a shadowy Shia insurgent group, the League of Righteousness."

Daqduq has been released by an Iraqi court for a lack of evidence. And now, many U.S. politicians are upset at the Iraqi justice system.

MB, is it not ironic in the extreme that whereas the American justice system has thrown out due process (since 'suspected terrorists' can be killed at will by the president) and created a class of "enemy combatants" effectively without legal rights, who can be detained indefinitely without charge, these American politicians have the expectation that the legal systems of other countries (such as Iraq) have to conform to American expectations? It just seems to me like a case of incredible hypocrisy and double-standards. They must be living in some kind of bubble.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/13/iraq-hezbollah-daqduq-us-reaction

9:32 PM  
Anonymous TonyU said...

Although I refuse to generalize, sometimes I wonder: In what kind of homes do these kids grow up? What kind of surrounding nurtures kids like these?

But then I reflect back to my years before and during high school outside USA: no single student would think this way in my elementary, secondary, and high schools. None of my children will ever think this way although they were born and raised in USA. Therefore, it has something to do with the parents, homes, media culture, and environmental factors. Read and feel sorry for this abused teacher:

Carlos Eugene Cain, Jr. And Devon Ewing, Doss High School Students, Arrested For Filming Up Teacher's Skirt, Posting Online

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/11/doss-high-school-students-arrested-for-voyeurism_n_1510100.html

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Mike Alan said...

Thank you for the latest article. I had much to think about after reading it. I wonder when we will see Mexico and Canada consider building a border fence to keep out all of the American illegals running from tyranny?

I actually did make bumper stickers, T-shirts and other anti-Bush, anti-conservative Christian Wacko graphic items during the Bush years. I remember most everyone buying those things having so much hope and faith in Obama. I personally was hopeful that we would see change, but my usual cynicism would not allow me to have much actual faith in the guy. Obviously, my cynicism didn't fail me.

The one good thing Obama has done is wake up many former slumbering non-conservatives to the reality that most all politicians in America are corporate shills who care little to nothing about the average people. What, if anything, they do about it other than fret and fear is the next question.

Here are a few funny experiences and observations about America and Americans that I've had recently:

I encountered a working poor woman who was complaining that she had lost her "really good" job that paid her $2,000 per month. She now made about half that or less and she was mad that Rick Santorum was out of the Republican primaries. But she said she wold likely write in Sarah Palin if Mittens Romney got the nod. I have always found hardcore conservative, working poor people so enigmatic. Not that the Dems really care about working people anymore either, but being working poor and voting for Rethuglicans is like the slave getting to choose the whip or the stockade as their punishment.

I follow stories at Zerohedge.com in an effort to keep up with the collapse. It's always funny to see the comments about any country in Europe that's having a hard time financially, like Greece, France, Italy, etc... You can always count on several posters to insult the people of those countries as lazy, layabouts who don't know how to work. Perhaps the problem was the hustlers of their society trying to impose their hustling worldview on a culture in which hustling doesn't work. Even though many of these cultures have been around for centuries and have contributed much to what is now known as Western Culture, Americans see them as failures since they don't want to hustle 24/7/365. After all, making more money to buy more things, and of course impose yourself on others while doing it, are the only reasons to live...right?

One more thing, I follow a number of boards and websites focused on collapse and the economy. Within the last two weeks or so I have noticed a number of articles and essays about another ugly economic step down for America and likely the world within the next few months. Such articles are not uncommon, but it seems as though a higher than usual number of them have shown up lately. We will see if they are harbingers or not soon enough.

Good luck to all here in dealing with the lemmings if things get ugly soon. Keep up the good work Dr. Berman. I always love coming here to read everyone's comments and your responses.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...

Mike Allan,

I spend my time between the US and Eastern Europe, and I too follow sites such as Zerohedge and Naked Capitalism. I tell you this much: despite all the anti-Europe propaganda constantly being spewed out by American MSM, the situation in Europe is not nearly as tragic as it is in the US. I live in Romania, which is one of the least developed nations in the EU, yet I don’t see nearly the same level of desperation I see when I come to the US. Here there is no stressing out over the future, no fatalist predictions, and no fear that the entire social structure is about to collapse, as we see in America. Throw in socialized health care, free university education, a fairly socialist state, and a collectivist culture, and people here know that their society will somehow muddle through. After all, they survived under various ruthless occupations, starting with the Roman Empire 2000 years ago and ending with the Nazis and the Soviets in the 20th century. They made it through feudalism and communism, so they are pretty sure that they will make it through this crony capitalism they now have (largely thanks to the “Washington Consensus – IMF and World Bank). At the end of the day, Europe (and probably just about every other mature society on Earth) is more stable and far more resilient than the US society will ever be.

4:11 PM  
Blogger seydlitz89 said...

My first comment. Very much liked your book, "Why America Failed". Am currently reading Lewis Mumford's "The Condition of Man" which is due to your comments on Mumford in your book. I'm a small town Southern conservative, so the comments you have made in connection with the agrarian movement hit a strong chord with me . . . Living in Europe now . . . it's complicated.

I would only comment that the Nazi takeover involved a lot of physical brutality. They set up hundreds of "wild" Concentration Camps when they first came to power to physically intimidate people. Also there were shoot outs between Nazis and their political opponents in 1933 after the 30 January takeover . . . that is the German opposition did actually put up a fight.

Hermann Rauschning in his book, "The Revolution of Nihilism" describes it well. I would also say that his description brings up certain interesting parallels which you have not mentioned.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous TonyU said...

There is a critical difference between resignation and termination. When you resign, you keep your over-bloated compensation package:

JPMorgan Resignations: Three Executives At Bank Reportedly Will Resign Following $2 Billion Loss
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/13/jpmorgan-resignations-three-expected-to-resign_n_1513305.html

Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson To Step Down
In a letter addressed to the Yahoo board on May 3, Loeb pointed out that Thompson's CV said he earned an accounting and computer science degree from Stonehill College, when in fact he had obtained only an accounting degree.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/13/yahoo-ceo-scott-thompson-step-down_n_1512923.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/scott-thompson-resume-yahoo_n_1475700.html

This guy, Saverin, received the best education the country has to offer, but it is immoral to pay taxes to the society:

Just In Time For A Facebook IPO Tax Break, Eduardo Saverin Renounces U.S. Citizenship
11 May 2012
http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/11/eduardo-saverin-facebook-ipo-us-citizenshi/

Meanwhile, the effects of the above type of gambling, mad capitalism, and insane tax policy continue to compound:

The Ph.D. Now Comes With Food Stamps
The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 6, 2012

Ms. Bruninga-Matteau is part of an often overlooked, and growing, subgroup of Ph.D. recipients, adjunct professors, and other Americans with advanced degrees who have had to apply for food stamps or some other form of government aid since late 2007.

"I am not a welfare queen," says Melissa Bruninga-Matteau.

Ms. Bruninga-Matteau, a 43-year-old single mother who teaches two humanities courses.

"I find it horrifying that someone who stands in front of college classes and teaches is on welfare," she says.

Her take-home pay is $900 a month, of which $750 goes to rent. Each week, she spends $40 on gas to get her to the campus; she lives 43 miles away, where housing is cheaper.

Elliott Stegall, a white, 51-year-old married father of two, teaches two courses each semester

When he and Ms. Stegall stepped inside the local WIC office, … he had to fight shame, a sense of failure, and the notion that he was not supposed to be there. They receive food stamps, Medicaid, and aid from the Women, Infants, and Children program (known as WIC).

http://chronicle.com/article/From-Graduate-School-to/131795/

10:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Noah Linden:

Thank you for writing in. In order to post your messages, I need you to do two things:

1. Send them to the most recent blog post. Folks tend not to read the old ones, so if u.r. sending to those, there's really no pt.

2. Limit yrself to one message a day, 1/2 page of text per message, maximum.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing what u have to say.

mb

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New York Times prints Un-American editorial, risks "National Security" action. Some of the staff might end up in Gitmo for this one.

NYT OpEd: Capitalists and Other Psychopaths

THERE is an ongoing debate in this country about the rich: who they are, what their social role may be, whether they are good or bad. Well, consider the following. A recent study found that 10 percent of people who work on Wall Street are “clinical psychopaths,” exhibiting a lack of interest in and empathy for others and an “unparalleled capacity for lying, fabrication, and manipulation.” (The proportion at large is 1 percent.) Another study concluded that the rich are more likely to lie, cheat and break the law.

The only thing that puzzles me about these claims is that anyone would find them surprising. Wall Street is capitalism in its purest form, and capitalism is predicated on bad behavior. This should hardly be news. The English writer Bernard Mandeville asserted as much nearly three centuries ago in a satirical-poem-cum-philosophical-treatise called “The Fable of the Bees.”

...

I always found the notion of a business school amusing. What kinds of courses do they offer? Robbing Widows and Orphans? Grinding the Faces of the Poor? Having It Both Ways? Feeding at the Public Trough? There was a documentary several years ago called “The Corporation” that accepted the premise that corporations are persons and then asked what kind of people they are. The answer was, precisely, psychopaths: indifferent to others, incapable of guilt, exclusively devoted to their own interests.

...

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

To piggyback on Julian's list, every thugocracy needs music, right? Here is my list of songs to humm as the thugocracy finds their way to your house:
1) I've Got Thugs Under My Skin
2) She Loves Thugs (yeah, yeah, yeah)
3. Hello, I Love Thugs (won't you tell me your name?)
4) Thug River (wider than a mile)
5) I Just Called to Say I Love Thugs
6)Thugs Light Up My Life
7)It Had to be Thugs
8)Thugs For the Memories
9)Thugs and Marriage (go together like a horse and carriage)
10) Thugs Do Something to Me (something that mystifies me)

11:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, clearly the thugocracy has given us a lot to think abt. This is why I'm hoping for a Rom Mittney victory. Obama is a thug-promoter; he really doesn't know who he is (empty), so he kisses thug ass to feel OK abt himself, acquire an identity. Mittney is himself a thug, so we'll have a lot more clarity coming outta Washington as a result.

"Thugs for the Memories"--I love it.

mb

11:49 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Why worry? We'll all get filthy rich on the internet. "Scamworld: 'Get rich quick' schemes mutate into an online monster". Warning: You may be at risk of crying if you read that article.

4:02 PM  
Blogger jerome langguth said...

Thanks to Dan and Julian for the amusing song titles. I nominate Roxy Music's brilliant "Love is the Thug."

Jerome

5:14 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Well, we know thugs are trained to be that way,
so here's a site for all of the tough little thugs-in-training.

http://www.littletugboatdaynursery.co.uk/

Yeah, I know there's an "h"missing.
Just pretend it's a Cockney thing...

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Julian said...

I just wanted to mention that today (May 14), Amy Goodman had a full hour with Noam Chomsky on her show (http://www.democracynow.org/). I thought his remarks at minute 35 about the (thuggish) attitudes of 18 to 24-year olds in the US were interesting. Also, his remarks at minute 55 about Latin America were insightful, where he points out just how irrelevant the US has become in its own hemisphere.

On top of that, the interview that Karzai gave today to several Russian media is quite revealing about the declining posture of the US in South Asia as well: http://rt.com/news/afghanistan-karzai-russian-media-176/

Evidently, this Anglo-Saxon empire bullshit is being put out to pasture, and the world is moving on. I give it 5 years before full retirement into the Dark Ages. OK, 6 years max! :)

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

MB and Friends,

Campaign slogan of the O.

Obama 2012: He's a Bad MotherThugger!

Vince

6:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Noah-

I won't repeat this: you need to send yr messages to the most recent post; no one reads the old ones.

Thank you!

mb

10:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, the topic of thuggery is keeping us all busy. I suppose the crucial question is how much time does it take for a hustler to become a thug? And for a hustling society to become a thugocracy? Richard Bushman wrote a bk yrs ago called "From Puritan to Yankee," about the rise of hustling in Connecticut, 1690-1765. Now we need a sequel: "From Yankee to Thug, 1765-1776?" Or to be generous, perhaps a bit later. I tell u, I've got thugs on the brain now.

mb

10:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a good description of the sheer depth of American Cranial-Rectal Embedment (CRE):

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/14/why-america-is-doomed-to-one-disaster-after-another/

11:46 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Read Mr. GABRIEL KOLKO's CP article and realized that everything in this world was simultaneously birthed and ruined by Cain. Talk about a thug.

Also, my wife got stopped by one the other day in the form of a small town policeman.

Where I live the sheriff's department just bought a damn CAMO-HUMVEE, "To fight Crime". Everybody was all giddy about it. Just what we need especially in parades.

O&D

8:08 AM  
Blogger Lance Michael Foster said...

http://www.thedailybeast.com/content/dailybeast/galleries/2012/04/23/the-13-most-useless-majors-from-philosophy-to-journalism.html

LOL, I not only read this article but also the one on the 13 MOST useful degrees, and I noted a few things. They say the lists were built based on equal weighting of unemployment, growth, salaries (both beginning and experienced), etc. Well, historian and anthropologist (useless) do better in terms of salaries than do elementary educators (useful). I read both lists, and though I didn't crunch the numbers, I think there is actually a metanarrative underneath it all, one of compliance to the national narrative of serving the military-industrial corporate complex ("useful degrees" like engineering, finance, economics) vs those "useless" occupations that don't serve the interests of the preferred corporate narrative... useless historical troublemakers like artists, anthropologists, philosophers, historians, journalists, writers... keep that Koolaid coming! ROFLMAO!

9:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I tell u, u think the CRE has hit a limit, and then--there's more of it, even deeper. In the history of the world, has there ever been a larger collection of morons in one geographic locale than there is in the US today?

You can go online and find out crime rates or suicide rates country-by-country, but as of today there is no index for the dolt rate. We need a Dolt Index, and we need it now. This is truly the #1 indicator of a country going down the tubes.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. Berman DAAers
The dolt index is plotted on cartisian coordinates where the CRE is plotted against the Thuggery. The resultant graph is nonlinear and logarithmic in which as the CRE increases, the Thuggery increases by the square and extends on out to infinity.
O&D
PS It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Thug to Cry or Just like Tom Thug's Blues

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And as it turns out, the government agrees that all Americans are thugs, or at least potential thugs. DHS is developing a "PreCrime" system (although they don't actually use the PK Dick name for it) to catch people "acting suspiciously". False positives are not a problem for DHS. They know everyone is a potential criminal, after all.

Homeland Security's 'Pre-Crime' Screening Will Never Work


Here is a quiz for you. Is predicting crime before it happens: (a) something out of Philip K. Dick's Minority Report; (b) the subject of of a Department of Homeland Security research project that has recently entered testing; (c) a terrible and dangerous idea which will inevitably be counter-productive and which will levy a high price in terms of civil liberties while providing little to no marginal security; or (d) all of the above.

If you picked (d) you are a winner!

The U.S. Department of Homeland security is working on a project called FAST, the Future Attribute Screening Technology, which is some crazy straight-out-of-sci-fi pre-crime detection and prevention software which may come to an airport security screening checkpoint near you someday soon. Yet again the threat of terrorism is being used to justify the introduction of super-creepy invasions of privacy, and lead us one step closer to a turn-key totalitarian state. This may sound alarmist, but in cases like this a little alarm is warranted. FAST will remotely monitor physiological and behavioral cues, like elevated heart rate, eye movement, body temperature, facial patterns, and body language, and analyze these cues algorithmically for statistical aberrance in an attempt to identify people with nefarious intentions. There are several major flaws with a program like this, any one of which should be enough to condemn attempts of this kind to the dustbin. Lets look at them in turn.

...

5:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

DM-

Even thugs have bad hair days.

Anon-

Why the DHS is pulling its punches w/all this "suspicious behavior" shit is beyond me. The thing to do is to start disappearing everybody, in ever-larger detention facilities, until we've got all 311 million Americans behind bars. Now *that's* safety!

mb

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

Hi, Morris;

I read your book "Coming to Our Senses" some years ago, and I enjoy your perspectives, even when I do not always agree with them.

I came to the same conclusion about America you did, and I left a good many years ago.

Mostly, I think you are on target with this post. The only (very gentle) disagreement I have with you, is that you seem to assume that we are facing a low-intensity "dirty war," as with Argentina or Chile in the 1970's. That kind of thing can only work if you have tight control over the media and can keep such things from being reported. Generals Pinochet and Galtieri could do what they did, because the Internet did not exist then, and they had control over their own media and the co-operation of the Anglo-American press. Nowadays, false-flag scams are exposed almost as soon as they are perpetrated. Examples include "Stop Kony 2012," Underwear Bomber #2 and the Iranian “plot” to assassinate the Saudi ambassador.

The Overclass is getting desperate. Their scams aren't working anymore. Even American audiences are starting to wise up to them.

So, what are they preparing for? Why this furious ramp-up of in-your-face repression? Why the sudden snow blizzard of Nuremburg Laws and "enabling acts" coming out of Congress in the last six months? Why the DHS order for enough hollow-point ammunition to shoot every man, woman and child in the U.S.? Why the vast network of (now publically admitted) FEMA camps? Why all the traffic checkpoints to distribute flyers (among other meaningless activities)?

Based on the sheer scale and size of recent operations, I think that the Overclass is planning a Stalin Purge or a Jacobin Terror. I don't think this is going to be "low intensity." What we have seen so far is a softening up operation, to get the public used to being mistreated. Thus, when the trigger event (whatever that is) happens, and mass arrests start taking place, there will be little resistance.

History suggests that the Overclass will:

(a) swoop down on the whole population at once (as in Stalin's Russia),
(b) separate and liquidate anyone who is capable of putting up or organizing resistance, and then
(c) release the rest of the population to go back to being exploited by the Overclass.

This will be very bloody. Experienced military officers, professionals and intelligentsia will be especially targeted (think of the Katyn massacre in Poland). Entire regions of the U.S. could be depopulated (as with the Ukrainian "Holodomor" under Stalin).

Naturally, to rational people, this is insane. Why would you deliberately destroy your own country's best talent and thus foul your own nest? The answer is that America is now what the late Polish psychologist Andrew Lobaczewski called a "Pathocracy," that is, a regime run by, and for the benefit of, pathological people. To understand what the American Pathocracy will do, study what the Communist and Nazi Pathocracies did. History seldom repeats exactly, but it often rhymes.

Thus, I advise you and anyone else who lives overseas, to never set foot in the U.S. again for any reason, if you can possibly help it. If you have a beloved friend or relative who is seriously ill or dying, then go for a visit and pray for Divine protection. Other than that, stay out. Any business you must conduct in the U.S. needs to be done either remotely, or through trusted intermediaries.

Once a Jacobin Terror or Stalin Purge gets started, it tends to be pretty indiscriminate. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could get swept up in a dragnet, never to be seen again.

I have no idea when all this will happen. It could be five weeks, five months or five years from now. The timing is impossible to predict, although my gut tells me it will be sooner rather than later.

Just my $0.02 worth. Stay safe!

3:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Michael-

Thanks for writing in. In the future, if you could make your messages just a bit shorter (i.e. compress by abt 1/3), I'd appreciate it. In response to yr content:

1. As far as a dirty war not going on in the US, consider this:
In an essay entitled “America’s Disappeared,” posted at truthdig.com on 18 July 2011, Chris Hedges writes:
“Torture, prolonged detention without trial, sexual humiliation, rape, disappearance, extortion, looting, random murder and abuse have become, as in Argentina during the Dirty War, part of our own subterranean world of detention sites and torture centers….We know of at least 100 detainees who died during interrogations at our ‘black sites’…. There are probably many, many more whose fate has never been made public. Tens of thousands of Muslim men have passed through our clandestine detention centers without due process. ‘We tortured people unmercifully,’ admitted retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey. ‘We probably murdered dozens of them…both the armed forces and the CIA’….Tens of thousands of Americans are being held in super-maximum-security prisons where they are deprived of contact and psychologically destroyed. Undocumented workers are rounded up and vanish from their families for weeks or months. [In fact, in the two years following Obama’s speech calling for immigration reform, the US government deported a million immigrants.] Militarized police units break down the doors of some 40,000 Americans a year and haul them away in the dead of night as if they were enemy combatants. Habeas corpus no longer exists.”

You see, you assume the American public is 'onto' the government; that it is getting wise to what is going on, because of info on the Internet or whatever. There is no evidence for this. What seems to be the case is that Americans live in the dark and haven't wised up to anything.

2. Alleged desperation of the 'Overclass', as you call it. Again, no evidence for that at all. They do what they want, and stuff like OWS makes no difference whatsoever. In the US, the rich sleep soundly in their beds. The grotesque differential between rich and poor in this country shd be a major issue in the upcoming election, and--it never even gets mentioned. Americans are more focused on Rom Mittney's haircut.

3. For that reason, a Stalinist-style purge is very unlikely. It's possible, but it tends to occur when the control mechanisms of the ruling class are failing. They aren't failing; they are brilliantly successful. The scams are working quite well, and the resistance to corporate control is feeble to nonexistent. What *does* work is to pick off individuals one by one, harass them or put them in jail (Laura Poitras, for example, or various environmental activists I mention in my post).

In a word, we are slouching towards Nuremberg, not leaping toward it; at least, as far as I can make out.

mb

4:19 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Once again, I'm away for just a little while & I have to catch up on a wealth of wonderful posts!

My wife & I have been busy planting our first small vegetable garden, which we plan to expand in time. We've also been recycling what others would throw out into useful new things, e.g., my wife turned an old belt of mine into a guitar strap, now that she's taken up her guitar again after 30+ years. We're not only doing our best to make do with what we have, but to make all we can out of what we've already got. The NMI future will call for that.

As the acknowledgement of American decline & collapse begins to spread into the mainstream, the inevitable pushback follows. Here's an article from a book confidently refuting declinist talk:

http://www.salon.com/2012/05/14/
is_american_decline_real/singleton/

What's interesting is the comments section -- without fail, they rip his puerile & illusory arguments to shreds.

I don't worry too much about an overtly violent purge -- as MB says, the culture is only too happily ignorant & acquiescent. Back in 1972, Ted Roszak quoted Herman Kahn cheerfully explaining how dissidents such as the hippies would be "absorbed into the general relaxation" -- just make that "the general distraction" now, I suppose.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

I normally wouldn't post again so soon, but here's another step forward in the destruction of civil liberties & freedom of speech:

http://www.salon.com/2012/05/16/
obamas_new_free_speech_threat/singleton/#comments

1:01 PM  
Anonymous sancturary! said...

"Why would you deliberately destroy your own country's best talent and thus foul your own nest?"

Keeping down potential competition is a concern that traditionally is uppermost in the elite mind. John Taylor Gatto showed that the American public school system was implemented on the assumption that the masses must be squelched. Not genocided, but menticided (for lack of a better term). If the zombification system is broken and angry uncooperative rhetoric is (tho largely braindamaged) widespread and issuing from every segment of popular political opinion, and if it's felt that this may make dealing with the imminent national bankruptcy and smashup difficult, then why not plan to graduate to detention camps the adult plebs who have been released from school? Even more importantly, what of the privately/expensively educated people who used to support national goals and were part of the system, who gradually find the regime illegimate - or who will find it so, when their compensation becomes chronically late? Those brains will have to take up a cot in a camp, too. Destroying your best talent is something Saturn is good at.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI: Truthdig: Judge Blocks Portion of NDAA

Posted on May 16, 2012
A federal judge Wednesday issued an injunction against a National Defense Authorization Act provision that grants the military the right to detain anyone it suspects of involvement in terrorism. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled in favor of a group of plaintiffs, including Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, who filed a lawsuit against the legislation within weeks of President Obama signing it.

Hedges was joined in the suit by linguist, author and dissident Noam Chomsky, Pentagon whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg and other high-profile activists, scholars and politicians.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

"Date on which Wyoming introduced a bill to create a "continuity" plan in the event of a federal collapse: 2-16-2012."

"Eyeless shrimp, clawless crabs, and fish with uncovered gills were discovered near the site of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill!" (DOH!)

Also, Justin Beiber wants "to be a billionaire, so so bad".

O&D!

8:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sanc-

Yes, Goya had that one rt. I prefer the term 'moronization', except I have this sinking feeling that most Americans are now born morons; they don't have to go thru any socialization process. In other words, rt now, as we speak, OB-GYN wards across the country are cranking out imbeciles. Not future imbeciles; imbeciles.

Anon-

I'm really happy abt this, esp. since Chris is a friend; but I also have misgivings, since a ray of light is not what we need rt now. In order for the system to crash, we need unrelieved stupidity; which is nearly 100% of what we are getting these days. The fact that a US District Judge did the rt thing, the decent thing--well, let's just hope this type of intelligence remains an isolated incident. What we need rt now is Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, and above all: Rom Mittney.

mb

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike Alan said...

As a 51-year old parent of a 6-year old, I can agree with your comment about people being born imbeciles. When I go to school with my kid and see all of the tattooed-up and pierced younger parents stroking and holding their iPhone like a religious fetish, and talking like morons my first thought is "their kids have no chance in hell." I especially enjoy the dads who dress up like urban gang thugs. Believe me, many of these parents could stand as poster examples for NOT homeschooling kids. I feel bad for their kids.

I realize it's not uncommon for older generations to have little regard for the younger generation, but I believe most stats and demographics indicate we really do have something to worry about when these losers gain the reigns.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Glad you liked "Thugs for the Memories." Of course that was the theme song for Bob Hope-less who never met a foreign intervention he didn't like. I mean talk about the elite's court jester. I think JFK found him particularly corny but the other presidents loved him especially Nixon.
I think Michael is being overly dramatic. I think the idea is to create a feeling of normalcy while the elites pick off their opposition quietly but methodically.As for destoying the country's best talents, the public education system is doing a yeoman's job. You couldn't design a system more efficient in destroying what it means to be a young and curious individual.

5:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would take such criticisms more seriously if the "imminent arrival of American fascism" was confidetly predicted for the last 70 years and more by communists and their fellow-travellers, and they have been wrong. which were so often and so confidently predicted, had not repeatedly been shown to be wrong. Surely a grain of salt is required?

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You want more drivel? How about this: A new type of Segway has been introduced so more people will be encouraged to get in everyone else's way in pedestrian environments and also avoid walking.

Yahoo: Honda creates a butt-steered Segway with the Uni-Cub rolling stool

Designed to mimic the speed and height of walking, the Uni-Cub's lithium batteries power a trick wheel that can move any direction. Using sensors on the seats, riders simply shift their weight in the direction they wish to travel -- there's also a smartphone control app -- and the unit rides high so that the riders have eye contact with people not cool enough to glide around the office up to 3.7 miles on a charge

9:12 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. Berman & DAAers
The best thing that could happen at this time is for Rom to get elected, expedite the fall. Perhaps this will minimize the damage being done to the environment. If the collapse drags on the eco-system will continue to deteriorate and no action will be taken to stop it's decline. From a personal perspective, I fear the collapse, but given that the climate deniers have the power and control of the money, the media and the Dolts I see no other way that the planet can be saved. All we can do is pull down our pants and slide on the ice.

I believe deniers know in their minds(I don't think they have a hart or soul) that the planet is in decline and are consolidating their power, hoarding their wealth and securing land in areas they think will be least affected or away from population centers. Call me a conspiracy theorist, I wear that name proud. Just because someone says conspiracy doesn't mean there isn't one (to steal a line and paraphrase it).

Sura 92:14-21
I warn you of a fire that sears
One hard in wrong will burn there
a denier, one who turns away

We will spare from it
whoever keeps the faith
Who shares what he owns, making it pure
Who looks to no one to return the favor
seeking only the face of his lord most high
That one will know peace of mind
O&D

9:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mike Alan-

Really, after 400 yrs of this, it might as well be genetic, even if it isn't really; tho I suspect it may be genetic, really--i.e., in the American DNA. What u.r. describing is Buffoons On Parade; and more to come, amigo, don't doubt it for a minute! When I visit the US, half the time I'm giggling, and half the time I worry I'll get into an argument w/someone over nothing and they'll shoot me. So many buffoons! We are cresting toward a tsunami of buffoons--a buffoonami.

1st Anon (wish u guys wd identify yrselves--we have too many Anons)-

The problem is that the NDAA literally puts us back to pre-Magna Carta days; and there are many other examples one cd provide (NSA data bases, the CMU's, etc etc). Surely all this is radically different from anything we've had in the past, no?

DM-

Rom is my guy, I tell u. MITTNEY FOREVER! I wish to study at his feet, master the Principles of Mittnism.

mb

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Berman:

I agree with TonyU above about the vital question of who is afforded the rights and status of an "individual" as being central to this analysis. It is a matter of determining one's status as human. In this context, I find it perplexing that your commentary does not touch on the issue of anti-immigrant legislation and violence, particularly in Arizona (banning of Ethnic Studies, SB 1070, murders of immigrants by Border Patrol and pseudo-paramilitary proto-fascist "Brown Shirt"-like vigilantes, etc.). But as we have seen, this extends beyond Arizona throughout the country recently as more states pass similar laws and enforce similar social and juridical harassment and targeting specifically of Latina/o immigrants. I find this gap in your analysis especially perplexing given that you live in Mexico near the border. The issue of the border and of Latina/o immigrants and their dehumanization is absolutely central to the comparisons you make here to the fomentation of Nazi Germany around the dehumanization of Jews, as many of these laws and proto-laws pushing the United States toward fascism are being experimented and carried out in the specific context of Latina/o immigration and dehumanization of Latina/o immigrants. Why the gap?

RM

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...

Speaking of Saturn devouring his own children, here is a good illustration of that:

http://www.alternet.org/health/155459/how_big_pharma_and_the_psychiatric_establishment_drugged_up_our_kids/?page=entire

Last year I wrote an article on a similar theme, but I was afraid to publish it in America, so I did it in Europe. You know, I’ve been talking about this sadistic drugging of children and the prison industrial complex for years, and during that entire time people would look at me like I was crazy, or like I was some kind of terrorist for daring to criticize anything about “the greatest nation in history.” And now, suddenly, everybody talks about it... just as they are being rounded up to serve ungodly sentences for offenses equivalent to jay walking, in these third world dungeon-style American prisons, to be tortured for months on row in solitary confinement, and to be pumped up with antipsychotic drugs around the clock. I say, serves them right. But I feel very sorry for the kids.

MB,

Above you wrote “Tens of thousands of Americans are being held in super-maximum-security prisons where they are deprived of contact and psychologically destroyed.” Actually, it’s not just the super-max prisons where inmates are being kept that way. All American prisons, regardless of security level (from camp to super-max) have large SHU units (Special Housing Unit), which are solitary confinement cells where inmates are kept for months and even years with no contact with the exterior except for 1 hour a day when they are taken outside into a 10 by 12 cage so they can catch some sunshine. It also happens that most people in SHU are simply psychiatric patients whose symptoms have worsened and keeping them in SHU makes it more convenient for the Mengele psychiatrists to pump them up with toxic and largely useless drugs. And by the way, the practice of keeping inmates naked and not to provide them with mattresses or pillows is a widespread practice in SHU – Bradley Manning was simply receiving the standard treatment.

That’s American psychiatry and American justice for you, alright!

USA! USA! USA! (sorry, I couldn't resist)

12:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

RM-

I dunno; I guess I'm just a gap kinda guy.

Seriously, I had a post some time ago that discussed "Crossing Over," a film about ICE and their brutality; plus, I talk about it in the c-span and/or Seattle lecture I gave last November. You know, a writer can't really manage to cover Everything in one short essay.

BTW, I don't live near the border.

mb

3:25 PM  
Anonymous TonyU said...

The Basis/Foundation:
We could perhaps say that there is a law of karma. Here we are using the word, law, in the same sense as when we speak of the law of gravity. Under normal conditions and in the physical universe as we experience it, when a fruit disconnects from a tree (and if nothing interrupts it) it travels towards the ground. This is just what happens.

What influences karmic consequences?
We are told that there are five conditions that modify the "weight" of karma -- three are subjective and two objective.

The three subjective conditions are
(a) persistence or repetition of the action
(b) willful intent on doing the action, and
(c) absence of any regret.

http://www.khandro.net/doctrine_karma_rinpoches.htm

Application/Example:
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/10-5

6:32 PM  
Anonymous White Indian said...

Morris,

Just recently you addressed the phenomenon of people who try to invalidate your critique of the American Dream because you "don't offer any solutions to make it all better."

What was it you said, or where did you say it?

Thanks for you help!

7:08 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Tried this yesterday...it didn't stick...let's see if I can remember the main points...

Tim, Michael, and Morris,

Back in the 1972-75 era I read 3-4 of Herman Kahn's then-current books, mostly about economic development and social policy projections. I don't believe he would have the same opinion about US Iraq/Afghanistan vets today as he had about the hippies back then.

The US has thousands of reservists returning after multiple tours to an economy that is, whether by bad luck or cruel design, poised to grind them down to the poverty line or further. Hippies went back to the land (or into business, like in "The Big Chill") and had a generally easier time of it due to a less threatening economic environment. Hell, back then there was something of a middle class, although unions were beginning to be re-targeted.

Today we have active-duty families on food stamps and reservists returning to jobs that have disappeared. Most will undoubtedly submit, hunker down, and hope/pray for the best. But sooner or later, maybe after their home is foreclosed on and when the vehicle they are living in is about to be repossessed, some will lash out. I suspect we are on the verge of seeing more vets like McVeigh. If enough of them act in a short enough time, militia groups in Idaho or Oregon could be the targets of roundups and their members could be the first wave of guests at Club Fed CMU's, even before anyone gets around to bothering with the Occupy folks. Painting militia groups with the "intending to foment a race war" brush would be child''s play for the DOJ & MSM. If/when militias in other locales execute actions to try to avenge their comrades, they could become the next wave of CMU inhabitants. The Domino Theory revisited.

For years I have thought that we will soon be seeing US citizens acting as domestic, anti-US suicide bombers...basically vets and others driven to desperation by economics. Recent research has led me to believe that the suicide part may not be as necessary as I had previously thought (in terms of a tactic for getting close to or inside a selected target). Drones are becoming affordable, and there are plenty of folks with RF model airplane experience and serious video-game-derived joystick chops. So, packing a drone with high explosives and flying it to a target is one way to lash out and still do the Travolta/BeeGees Boogaloo.

But if a group of vets teamed up and did a few bank robberies, they might be in a position to afford some of the gear outlined in the links below. At the right price, the Russian model might be delivered to them on a SouthEast US shoreline by a cigarette boat outbound from Cuba. Maybe Morris is right about the Overclass not being desperate just yet, but four teams of two vets each firing just a couple of rounds into government or corporate buildings in LA/Dallas/Chicago/NYC would go a long way to raising their paranoia level. Pretty safe to bet that Jamie Diamond wouldn't be holding any lawn parties, nor would the Goldman Sachs management be going on any outdoor morale building retreats.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2007/11/thermobaric-gre/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermobaric_weapon

God Bless America...

"That was cool. Do we have any more of those things?" was the Commander’s response.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

White-

Well, I'm sure I said something like that at some pt. The real pt is that the validity of a critique has nothing whatever to do with solutions, which are hypothetical and exist in the future. Hence, both from an existential pt of view, and from an analytical or logical one, folks who say that are just trying to find an easy way out, i.e. trying not to face the implications of the critique. This response is very typical of Americans, who believe that everything can be solved, when the truth is that many of the big problems in life can't be solved. In fact, the truth can be quite depressing; that doesn't make it any less true. Finally, keep in mind, at all times, that Americans have cottage cheese (small curd) in their heads, which puts severe limitations on their ability to think in a coherent fashion; or, at all.

Ty-

Too long! I normally don't post messages of more than half a page in length. Please compress by 50% the next time u have the urge to post. Thanx.

mb

8:31 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

It makes you want to scream when picking through the slime known as Oprah (as well as all the others):

"Oprah’s school (In Africa) cost $40 million and will accept 150 girls, all hand picked by Ms. Winfrey.

The school is a 22 acre, 28-building complex that features a yoga studio, beauty salon and sheets with a 200-thread count. Each girl gets a large closet for her small wardrobe and will eat food on the best china plates. Ms. Winfrey has determined that education can only take place in the lap of luxury.

When asked why she had to travel so far away to help the down trodden, she said that too few black American kids care about education (talk about a bitch)."

"I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there (Don't suppose it is politics and greed, do you Queen Bee). If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school."

8:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Shep-

Be sure to read the biography by Janice Peck.

mb

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...

I’m afraid we are going off on a tangent here. So here’s a piece of news to refocus everybody on the only topic that matters: THUGS.

"Tasing a Pregnant Woman in Front of Her Kid? The Outrageous -- And Dangerous -- Abuse of Tasers by Police"

http://www.alternet.org/rights/155487/tasing_a_pregnant_woman_in_front_of_her_kid_the_outrageous_--_and_dangerous_--_abuse_of_tasers_by_police/

2:51 PM  
Anonymous TonyU said...

This article was published in 2004, but it captures the essence of everything.

Greed is responsible for crooked cops and crooked politicians.
Greed causes the constant efforts to destroy unions that protect basic worker rights.
Greed has produced rash tax cuts that have given money to the rich and in effect taken it away from the poor. Greed has led to the immigration policy in which hundreds of poor men and women die every year as they struggle across the desert for the jobs that el norte promises them. Greed accounts for the efforts to take profitability out of the pensions and health insurance. Greed is responsible for the fact that so many Americans have no health insurance. Greed is responsible for the obscene salaries of CEOs. Greed is the cause of the high wages paid to the bosses even if the company is failing. Greed is responsible for the endless stress and ruthless competition of the workplace and the strains and tensions of professional class marriages. Greed is responsible for outsourcing. Greed generates the reckless ventures. Greed drives loan sharks. Greed is responsible for the success of big box stores that tax the poor with low wages to provide bargains for affluent suburban shoppers. Greed is the reason poor white Appalachians, poor African Americans and poor Native Americans must fight the wars that the wealthy start. Greed causes worldwide sex slavery of women and children. Greed drives the murders of the narcotics world. [These things] happen every day in our greedy country.

Question: Who is/was at the center of the decisions driving these things – Mexicans, African-Americans, American Indians, or European descendants????

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0820-09.htm

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Larry Shultz said...

http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture/wendell-e-berry-lecture


Morris, I thought you would like this link based on reading your most recent work

4:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Julian-

There's actually too much restraint on the part of the police. They need to taser everyone in the country, and then disappear them all into detention centers. What the hell are they waiting for?

Larry-

Yes, I read it, thank you.

mb

6:00 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Interesting articles about the nature of our political system designed to thwart democracy and maintain oligarchy.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/social-network-french-election-inspires-us-left/story?id=16297837#.T7bwHsWFA3x

David Brooks loves oligarchy.
http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/

As for the the police state, you have to remember that for more than half a century Americans have watched millions of hours of TV cop shows deifying the police. Here’s the appropriate Goya. Americans would be waiting in long lines for a chance to be one of the guys on the right side of the painting.

http://www.free-desktop-backgrounds.net/Art-painting-reproduction/Art-painting-reproduction-pictures/Fusilamientos-del-3-mayo-Francisco-Goya-painting-reproduction-art.html

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Sosa James said...

@Zosima:
Thanks for the link to the analysis of Brroks' ranting at http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/

The blog poster asks two interesting questions about Brooks' ranting:

1) It isn’t that what he’s saying is “wrong.” But when he talks about all that selfishness which needs all that watching, who is he talking about?

2) Brooks just bought a $4 million house. As he prepares to move in and up, he’s troubled by the little people. So grasping! So greedy! So unrestrained in their appetites, whims and desires! Meanwhile, what did Brooks do to receive his four million?

I read Brooks' full rant at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/18/opinion/the-age-of-innocence.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper

I searched for Brooks' background and I was not surprised to discover this:

“Brooks, who is Jewish,[4][5] was born in Toronto, Canada – his father was a US citizen living in Canada at the time – and grew up in New York City in Stuyvesant Town.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Brooks_%28journalist%29

When I stated somewhere in this blog that America has been invaded, hijacked, and cannibalized to death, some people asked me to state who invaded America.

They say that Mayor Bloomberg of New York City is a billionaire. I ask the same question as the blog poster: What did Bloomberg produce for the billions under his name?? Do you know??

If you are still wondering who has invaded America, well, you will never know.

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Story out of Chicago in the Tribune. Related to the NATO summit but looks like more heavy handed police surveillance and intimidation.

http://www.miniurl.com/s/15S

El Juero

9:10 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Soza James -- while the Jewish people, like all other peoples, have their share of bad traits and "bad actors" (to use the economists' term), to suggest that Jews per se are "invaders" responsible for the breakup of late-stage capitalism or for whatever smells, as I suspect you're trying to do, is mistaken. And unhelpful to everyone but the camp guards, perhaps. Or did you mean Bloomberg is a Canadian?

Legit crit of groups can be technically interesting (see Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer), but tends to degenerate into ethnic foodfights and worse.

Dr. B's philosophy of cultural analysis seems the more sensible. That's identifying a culture with a common economic and political system, and accordingly regarding ethnic and other interests (such as sex war) as informative but secondary. While such a philosophy might be described as Marxist, modern left analysis leaves me cold - it's about blaming everything on DNA (race or gender), or as the Nazis would say, blood.

If there is anything the US teaches by example as well as by precept, it's that dumbasses come in every color.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Bruce Paul said...

I am not a Muslim. But I am not a Christian or Jew either. I am a human being with a very strong sense of justice.

Imagine where Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, and Robert Rubin were all Africans persistently doing the evil deeds described clearly in this video:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/view/

Or, imagine where Galloway is talking about the persistent satanic and bloody-thirsty deeds of a group of Mexicans:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au5HVoZokJg

Imagine that this tiny group of people act like human beings towards other human beings like Jimmy Carter:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epvvYrgqXjA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r92wQDmk-RU

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...

Now that we have finally zoomed in on Jews as root cause of America’s problems, may I suggest that we further focus in on the element of Jewish thugs (a.k.a., “thugojews”).

Once we exhaust this group, may I propose we also consider other societal elements equally responsible for America’s decline, such as (but not limited to): nigothugs, spikothugs, wetbackothugs, islamothugs, Budothugs, Hindothugs, Confothugs, Cathougs, fagothugs, and last but not least, lesbothugettes.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

J-

So many thugs! So little time!

mb

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Danii Guber said...

Bruce Paul – thanks a lot!

Let them name all these thugs: nigothugs, spikothugs, wetbackothugs, islamothugs, Budothugs, Hindothugs, Confothugs, Cathougs, fagothugs, and lesbothugettes.

These other zillion thugs have nothing (nil, zero) to do with the gambling going on in the Wall Street. This is a fact. These other thugs have nothing whatsoever to do with the past, present, and future financial and institutional cannibalization of America. Nothing! Nil! Zero! You got it????

One thing is very clear: Name all the thugs in the world; you will have solved nothing until you properly pinpoint your problem; you would be solving the wrong problem, leaving your main problem unsolved!

I do not believe in magic, thanks to Chris Hedges! Listen to Christ Hedges - maybe he will help you discover some CRITICAL elements of your problem (vis-à-vis the tiny group in the Wall Street):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV_c1ElZl7Q&feature=relmfu

12:40 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Apologies to John Sebastian and The Lovin' Spoonful...

He emptied out his ear drums,
I emptied out mine,
And everybody knows,
That the very last line is,
The doctor said,
Give him thug band music,
It seems to make him feel just fine.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Well. I was hoping for some discussion of these statements from the first article that put our Constitution as the major reason for lack of the success of socialism. Especially this one by Gavin Wright, a Stanford professor of American economic history who said, “the socialist movement is hindered by the Constitution itself — a document that helps protect the rich by creating a complicated system of government that generally favors the status quo.”
German socialist Werner Sombart wrote 100 years ago that the American worker "perceives a kind of divine revelation in the Constitution of his country, and consequently he reveres it with devout awe. His feelings toward the Constitution are as if it were something holy that is immune from mortal criticism," the German wrote. "This has been rightly spoken of as 'constitutional fetish worship.' "
So, in America we have a case of the common people worshiping a system that was designed to ensure their powerlessness. Brooks merely makes the case that the system is doing its job by keeping the people from getting anything from their government and by protecting the oligarchy. Otherwise we would have something he considers a hell on earth, Europe, where people expect things like healthcare, good public transport, and good education as their birthright.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ty-

Try Chuck Berry:

Just let me hear some of that
thug band music
Any old way you choose it
It's got a back beat, you can't
lose it
Any old time you use it
It's gotta be thug band music
If you want to dance with me.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Mrs Martin said...

Well, we can't afford blindness anymore. There are tens of thousands of thugs who loathe liberty and love death, and want to annihilate Western civilization.

By Tony Snow

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/thugs.html

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anon One said...

Mark Twain and Sri Guru Granth Sahib captured the existing economic thuggery better than any song can render it (http://thinkexist.com/quotes/with/keyword/thug/):

Mark Twain
“If there is a God, he is a malign thug”

Sri Guru Granth Sahib
All of my companions are intoxicated with their sensory pleasures;
they do not know how to guard their own home.
The five thieves have plundered them;
the thugs descend upon the unguarded village.

Translated:
Your God is a thug; his modern-day prophets and disciples are thieves.

While you were busy wagging your tails of pleasure, you left your village and homes unguarded. As a result, the God-sent economic thugs descended on your village, took over your homes, and cannibalized everything. Blame yourselves (the victims) for allowing the divine thugs (the thieves) into your village.

End of the story.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mrs. Martin, Anon One (u need a better handle, amigo; Corned Beef?)-

I can't help it; I just love thugs. I think they're adorable. Hug a Thug for Christ--my latest bumper sticker.

Noah Linden-

Yr not paying attention. This is my 3rd and last message 2u: no one reads previous posts. If u send messages to the most recent one, I'll be glad to run them. Otherwise, it's just 'Delete'. Capito? I hope u.r. reading this.

mb

8:12 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Mittens has a team of immigration lawyers working round the clock trying to get US citizenship for Mr. Jagger.

They'll try to capture some of the youth & boomer vote with the Mitt 'n' Mick ticket.

Campaign Theme Song ? Gotta be Under My Thug...

10:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ty-

"I can't get no satisfaction" might be more appropriate.

We need, once again, to review the Core Principles of Mittnism.

mb

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Lukas209 said...

Your favorite topic has been fully explored in this book:
Among the Thugs, by Bill Buford
http://www.amazon.com/Among-Thugs-Bill-Buford/dp/0679745351

Sample (p. 362):
http://serichardson.com/2308Readings/Buford.pdf

Everyone had regrouped, brought together by the little lieutenants, and was jogging along in that peculiar walk-run, and I noticed that in front of us was a man with his family, a wife and two sons. He was shooing them along, trying to make them hurry, while looking repeatedly over his shoulder at us. He was anxious, but no one seemed to notice him: everyone just carried on, trotting at the same speed, following him not because they wanted to follow him but only because he happened to e running in front of us. When the man reached his car, a little off to the side of the path we were following, he threw open the door and shoved the members of his family inside, panicking slightly and badly bumping the head of one of his sons. And then, just as he was about to get inside himself, he looked back over his shoulder - just as the group was catching up to him and he was struck flatly across the face with a heavy metal bar. He was struck with such force that he was lifted into the air and carried over his car door on to the ground on the other side. Why him, I thought? What had he done except make himself conspicuous by trying to get his family out of the way? I turned, as we jogged past him, and the supporters behind me had rammed into the open car door, bending it backwards on its hinges. The others followed, running on top of the man on the ground, sometimes slowing down to kick him - the head, the spine, the ass, the ribs, anywhere. I couldn't see his wife and children, but knew they were inside, watching from the back seat.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Lukas-

That sounds like Mittnism in action. Or wait: maybe it's actually Obamaism. (Hard to differentiate.)

mb

3:50 AM  
Anonymous TonyU said...

I think this business of thuggery holds the key to understanding the nature of democracy and human nature. The more I read about it, the more I want to read:

Obama's Chicago Politics: Thuggery Not Civility
http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbarone/2012/05/03/obamas_chicago_politics_thuggery_not

_civility

Political Thuggery in Vogue
http://www.sptimes.com/2004/10/31/Perspective/Political_thuggery_in.shtml

The mother of all thuggery - the scientification of thuggery:
Thuggery is an act characterized by rudeness, hooliganism, touting, intimidation and harassment. It is a behaviour that contradicts peace, harmony and co-existence among groups. Political thuggery is an illegitimate and violent means of seeking political power with a view to subverting national opinion for parochial ends through self imposition.

political thuggery is simply the criminalisation of politics. When politics is criminalized, it is left in the hands of ruffians, thugs and hooligans, because the good people are scared away.

http://www.oxford-germansoc.org/political-thuggery-and-violence-in-nigeria-the-bane-of-women-partiicpation-in-politics.htm

5:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Tony-

I may hafta change the name of this blog to THUGS. In the meantime, check out Hopeless, by Jeffrey St. Clair, which is abt the war criminal in the White House. Mr. Obama is basically a thug in a suit.

On another topic, the following is from Underground, by Haruki Murakami:

"Haven't you offered some part of your Self to someone (or some thing), and taken on a 'narrative' in return? Haven't we entrusted some part of our personality to some greater System or Order? And if so, has not that System at some stage demanded of us some kind of 'insanity'? Is the narrative you now possess *really and truly* your own? Are your dreams *really* your own dreams? Might not they be someone else's visions that could sooner or later turn into nightmares?"

I hafta wonder if he's been reading my stuff...(actually, Underground was published in 1997).

mb

6:06 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

MB: Glad to see you are reading Murakami, he is one of my favorites and right up there with Vonnegut.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Since I can't leave the US(Cause I enjoy my family too much. If only my parents had given me the beatings every American child deserves.), I have decided to make a FEMA approved rendition thug kit instead of an emergency kit. The way it works is you place it above your front door of your house. It contains blank hoods for everyone, enough zip ties to cut off circulation to all extremities, batteries for electric truth therapy, and don't forget a reclining table with built in water feature for that underwater breathing. Can't wait for that late night knock on the door.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

JWO-

Bonzai!

Brian-

Always good to be prepared, and a Rendition Thug Kit (RTK) is one of the best ways. But I suspect that what American children need are not beatings, but brain replacements, and pretty early in the game.

mb

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...

In business news: Should an entrepreneurial thug wish to diversify his operations into cyber-thuggery, it looks like thugs.com, thugs.org, and thugs.net are still available.

It’s the future, people!... I mean, thugs! Jump on it!

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone recommend a country/city that's especially good for artists/creative ppl (i.e., musicians, writers, actors, etc.?) Might get an honest answer on this site. (Other sites seem to be wanting to sell/promote something.)

Known about this for years.Read about the Holocaust a lot &when Bush was pres. noticed where we were going then.That's how I found out re: Dr. Berman who was expressing what I've been thinking all these years.

-Musician-

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

America: Hubris and Narcissism on a foundation of Profound Ignorance, covered with a thick coating of Corruption like heavy glaze on a cheap doughnut.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

J-

Check out thugsforever.com as well. Meanwhile, economist Paul Craig Roberts writes: "The United States is an immoral country, with an immoral people and an immoral government. Americans no longer have a moral conscience. They have gone over to the Dark Side." This is a direct quote. The verdict: We are a collection of thugs, living in a thugculture and ruled by a thugocracy.

Anon-

Why not pick a handle, like Chopped Liver? We have far too many Anons on this site. As for most hoppin' creative city in the world rt now: Berlin. Best state in the US (if u insist on staying here): Vermont. Good luck.

mb

1:29 PM  
Blogger Boris the Spider said...

A study says that members of Congress speak like high school sophomores. I'm surprised they're rated that high.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/21/members-of-congress-speak_n_1532666.html

1:57 PM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. Berman & DAAers
Another Anecdote: Last Friday my wife and I had dinner with the usual crew. While proceding into the resturant most were occupied with one's cell phone and were not cognizant of the people around them. They did not see an elderly lady with a cane coming through the double doors. She was caught between the doors and could not move. My party proceded into the resturant leaving her stuck. As I was bringing up the rear I could see the whole event and I help the lady, who was completely exasperated, through the doors. When I caught-up with them and informed them that they were quite rude and that they should pay attention to what is going on around them and not play with theirs toys, the responses were what I expected. One gentleman immediatly pulled his toy out and began to play with it, another ask who pissed in my cornflakes and another ask why I even brought it up. Not a single person ask about the elderly lady. Sound a bit thuggish? My folks, when I was a kid, would not let me bring toys into a resturant.

And if you haven't noticed, primetime television and movies are done in thuggavision these days.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Here is a story that defies thug theory. I have never read of such cruelty.

It is about forced slavery of blacks in Georgia at the turn of the century through the Prison system.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120674340028272915.html

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Julian said...

MB,

In case you’re thinking about getting back into teaching, I just discovered that “thugs.edu” is still available. Just think of all those NSA thugs down in Bluffdale, NV needing mandatory continuing online education in order to maintain their thugeous jobs. Given your knowledge of history, they would all benefit from learning the finer points of medieval torture techniques. I could help out too--after all, I grew up under Ceausescu’s regime… not to mention that I probably am somehow related to Vlad Dracula.

That would be our humble way of helping America get to its Dark Ages even sooner.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

J-

I love the Vlad connection. I may simply call my course, "Vlad".

DM-

Typical American scenario. We are disgusting human beings--there's just no way around it. And buffoons as well. Decency left us long ago.

Boris-

Me too. I'm surprised they can do anything more than drool.

mb

7:02 PM  
Blogger Stone said...

Dear MB,

If you have a minute, see this article, posted on May 7, 2012:

"The U.S. Internment Camp: Prison for a New American Century," at

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/05/us-internment-camp-prison-for-new.html.

Things definitely don't look good.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Stone-

Pretty terrifying. Once stuff like this is in place, it eventually gets used.

mb

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hollywood isn't all bubble-heads, it seems. A new Brad Pitt movie is mostly about the US economic crisis without quite admitting it...

Reuters: Brad Pitt mob movie portrays broken American dream

Brad Pitt's latest movie paints a bleak picture of the broken American dream, blending a violent but comic gangster story with overt criticism of politicians' failure to address the economic crisis.

"Killing Them Softly" takes place in an unspecified U.S. city which has borne the brunt of the financial collapse -- houses are abandoned, shops are shuttered and petty criminals and mobsters alike are struggling to get by.

The movie, co-produced by Pitt, is in the main competition at the Cannes film festival this year, and has its red carpet world premiere on Tuesday.

...

The political message of the film is unavoidable. News channels play in the background in bars and on the radio in cars, and the topic of debate is invariably the financial crisis, political failure, greed and shattered dreams.

Barack Obama, John McCain and George W. Bush appear on the 2008 campaign trail making promises to address the economy and preserve the ideals on which the country was built.

In a scene at the end, Cogan launches a scathing attack on Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, whom he accuses of being a liar and hypocrite.

"I live in America and in America you're on your own," Pitt's character declares. "America's not a country, it's just a business."

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...

Wow! Scary info on "The U.S. Internment Camp: Prison for a New American Century."

We now return you to Dancing with the Stars, already in progress.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Wd apprec. it if u wd give yrself a handle. I suggest Pastrami On Rye. Anyway, thanx for Pitt movie info. That last quote is abs. perfect.

mb

11:50 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It seem students in Montreal are very angry about money for college tuitions. One wonders if US kiddies will see the picture:
(a)Stay in school to conceal youth unemployment.
(b)Fill your head and forget.
(c)Get into much debt.
(d)From (c) you will take any job at any wage to pay off this debt.
(e)Finally move out from your parents' home when you are age 32.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Once again, from Murakami's book "Underground":

"I think inside all Japanese there is an apocalyptic viewpoint: an invisible, unconscious sense of fear. When I say that all Japanese have this fear I mean some people have already pulled aside the veil, while others have yet to do so. If this veil were suddenly drawn back everyone would feel a sense of terror about the near future, the direction our world's heading in. Society is the foundation stone for people's lives, and they don't know what's going to happen to it in the future. This feeling grows stronger the more affluent a country becomes. It's like a dark shadow looming larger and larger."

8:08 PM  
Anonymous TonyU said...

Listen to Robert Samuelson and E.J. Dionne struggling to apply our theory of thuggery to two “competing visions of capitalism”

Samuelson says there are a controlled/bad capitalism and an uncontrolled/good capitalism.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/role-of-american-capitalism-on-trial/2012/05/20/gIQAj7k2dU_story.html

Dionne says there are a social/good capitalism and an anti-social/bad capitalism.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-choice-of-capitalisms/2012/05/20/gIQA2h31dU_story.html

The two journalists are only interpreting the following passage from “Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Friedman (published in 1962):

"The key point is that, in his capacity as a corporate executive, the manager is the agent of the individuals who own the corporation . . . and his primary responsibility is to them (p. 9). Few trends could so thoroughly undermine the very foundations of our free society as the acceptance by corporate officials of a social responsibility other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible (p. 133)"

Friedman's OPINION above has been the ONLY source of the ideological divide in the US since 1960. The passage basically says there is only one type of capitalism: capitalism of the thugs by the thugs and for the thugs. The thugs own the firms, the CEOs/managers work for the thugs, and therefore the CEOs/managers must apply thuggery to enrich the thugs at the expense of any other STAKEHOLDERS such as the workers, the communities, the nation, the government, etc. Per Milton Friedman, free society means feed the thugs and fu'ck everyone else. Robert Samuelson says yes, leave the thugs uncontrolled. E.J. Dionne says no, because this kind of thuggery is anti-social.

4:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Do you hear any talk about the next BIG one=student loan defaults?

3:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Unknown-

Pls, make yrself known. A nice handle, like Baked Halibut, wd help a lot.

Lots of articles rt now on the subject of the crushing burden of student loans. But maybe the defaults will amount to trillions of dollars, so it's not all bad.

mb

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles Ferguson, who produced the "Inside Job" documentary a few years back has now written a book to follow up...

Onpoint: Predator Nation

When the U.S. economy melted down in 2008, Charles Ferguson stepped up with a blistering documentary on the collapse called “Inside Job.” He named names and laid blame for the crash in a way that regulators and law enforcement were unwilling to do. “Inside Job” won the Academy Award for best documentary.

Now, Charles Ferguson is back with more. A deep, furious critique of American finance and politics today as fundamentally corrupt and corrupting. Dangerous. Predatory.

This hour, On Point: bare-knuckled critic Charles Ferguson and the “predator nation.”

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Julian said...

MB,

It looks like thoughtful lawmakers from New York are about to solve your struggle with these Anons:

http://rt.com/usa/news/new-york-anonymous-internet-020/

Meanwhile, I’m thinking of changing my handle to “psycho” or “chopped liver” or something like that... that in order to appear more anonymous to the NSA thugs, but of course...

7:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Wd be nice if u gave yrself a handle; I may hafta start deleting Anons, it's a bit of a drag. May I suggest: Chicken Kiev? Anyway, I'm pretty sure I saw "Inside Job," quite a film. Wish he had called the next one Thug Nation.

Julian-

I tell u, too many Anons! Why can't they pick something like Thug55? I may hafta start deleting these characters.

Thugs Rule!

mb

10:39 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

MB,

From the Wiki page on the Thugee cult:

The term Thuggee is derived from Hindi word ठग, or ṭhag, which means thief. Related words are the verb thugna, to deceive, from Sanskrit स्थग sthaga meaning cunning, sly, fraudulent, dishonest, scoundrel, from स्थगति sthagati (English: he conceals).

The killings were performed in honour of the goddess Kali and were very ritualistic. They would then rob the bodies of valuables and bury them. This led them to also be called Phansigar (English: utilizing a noose) a term more commonly used in southern India.

Since Phansigar >> Fancy Car, I suggest you assign handles such as Bentley-xyz to the next 999 or so Anon's. If they don't like it, they could opt for Cohiba-xyz, as that is a reasonably Fancy Cigar (although the extra syllable does make it a bit less elegant).

12:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ty-

Well, this brings back memories. I do love Sanskrit research.

Remember that song from the 60s by Country Joe and the Fish, "Don't bogart that joint"? What most people don't know is that Lawrence Wagner, who wrote the lyrics, was fluent in Sanskrit, and the original title of the song was "Don't thugna that joint". But the recording studio considered that just a tad too obscure, so changed it to bogart; and it subsequently appeared in the film "Easy Rider". Yet another example of American cultural imperialism, I guess. People now use "bogart" to mean, impose yr will, when they cd be saying "thugna". Sometimes, thugs don't rule, I guess.

mb

1:02 AM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

MB,

Maybe a parallel universe thing going on, but in Wiki-world Don't Bogart Me was written by Ingber/Wagner of the Fraternity of Man group.
FWIW, Ingber was an original member of The Mothers of Invention, and another bandmate, Richie Hayward, would go on to join Little Feat, who would include the song on their double-LP, Waiting for Columbus.

Sometimes thugs don't rule
Think of it as a variation of Rock-Scissors-Paper:
Empire = Rock
Thugs = Scissors
Masses = Paper

Recent advances in composite materials technology that make it possible to have ceramic scissors may have been a causative factor in the US political developments in which Thugs are now incorporated into the fabric of Empire...but they're probably just a mirror image or analogy.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

M. Bergot says: Lies! Lies! All from those foreigners.
http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/the-happiest-countries-in-the-world.html?page=1
Everyone knows that America is #ONE!

2:16 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I missed your comment about entering my name, which is stil M. Bergot,fequently confused with M. Berman. Consider person bankruptcy for all its possible reasons. What would happen if in one week FIVE million people said,
"Forget it! I am buried in debt, so toss it all in with bankruptcy."? How could the courts handle all the paperwork?

2:22 PM  
Blogger jerome langguth said...

Dear Dr. Berman and friends:

Are you aware of the new book by Carlin Romero, "America the Philosophical"? Given that he intends no irony, Romano must surely be the Bizarro-Berman. From the introduction:

"The surprising little secret of our ardently capitalist, famously materialist, heavily iPodded, iPadded and iPhoned society is that America in the early 21st Century towers as the most philosophical culture in the history of the world, an unprecedented marketplace of truth and argument that far surpasses ancient Greece, Cartesian France, nineteenth century Germany or any other place one can name over the past three millennia."

Indeed.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ty-

You got me. I made it all up. I was just testing the waters, trying to see if anyone wd catch me; and u did. This is good. But I do like, "Don't thugna that joint," I confess.

Bergot-

Nice name. From now on, pls use it as yr handle, thank u. BTW, I very much doubt we're in the top 11.

Jerome-

Don't u just adore dementia?

mb

5:37 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

M. Bergot,

Re your idea of millions clogging the courts with bankruptcy filings.

If the Occupy crowd organized three million people to do this, they would create a new 1% class to talk about.

With debt amnesty for that many people, the freed up money they could spend on other things might even help the economy a little.

While waiting in line to file the paperwork, a chant arises...

Hey, Hey, B of A
How many foreclosures did ya do today ?
Don't be a destroyer...be an embracer,
and don't thugna that debt eraser !

11:22 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Doctor Berman:

I have a friend that made the following comment about your WAF book.

After reading the copyright page, he said, "They are saying, 'We (Wiley and Mr Berman) take no responsibility for the accuracy and content of this book. He puts everything in here (copyright page) to cover his ass'." I cd not believe it, and told him so.

I wish you would comment for my comrade's benefit.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

M. Bergot, like the other MB fled his sacred Fatherland America. He still keeps in touch via e-mail with the presidents. Since an election is soon, I sent two items into the White House: (1)As prizes for state lotteries, rich people will have their wealth liquidated to give to the winners; this way much-needed tax revenue will increase. (2)US prisons have two million guests who would be ideal for the Free Enterprise Army. The incentive for foreign adventures will be that each soldier gets a percentage of the goodies stolen; again, further saving of taxpayers' money.

Do your readers know of Joel Kovel? He has the ONLY reasonable position: "Smash Late Capitalism or the Planet dies!"

Finally, MB should not reconsider returning to beautiful Stockton, CA.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Shep-

Well I'll be thugna'd! I checked my other publications, and no such disclaimer appears on the copyrt pg, so I guess this is some b.s. that Wiley puts out to cover their rumps. I never read it up to now. Anyway, I wish they had spoken for themselves, because I certainly assert the accuracy of the book; altho I can't vouch for the completeness; what author cd? In fact, I vouch for the incompleteness, and hope other scholars will be inspired to go out and write bks of their own in response to mine. Anyway, this is some sort of Wiley legalese; u can tell yr friend to relax. I am impressed, in any case, w/the care he gave the copyright page; let's hope he does the same with ch. 4, note 41.

Bergot-

1. Joel cd also have said, "Smash the planet or late capitalism dies!" Well, I guess we're already doing that.

2. I confess I have never been to Stockton. I hear wonderful things abt it. For example: did u know that the homicide rate in Stockton--9 per 100,000 people per annum--is the same as that of Mexico City?

mb

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Charlie Mansun said...

Bernard Madoff 2.0

The SEC alleges that John A. Geringer, who managed the GLR Growth Fund, used false and misleading marketing materials to lure investors into believing that the fund was earning double-digit annual returns by investing 75 percent of its assets in investments tied to major stock indices. In reality, Geringer’s trading generated consistent losses and he eventually stopped trading entirely. To mask his fraud, Geringer paid millions of dollars in “returns” to investors largely by using money received from newer investors. He also sent investors periodic account statements showing fictitious growth in their investments.

http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2012/2012-101.htm

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/05/25/state/n142709D12.DTL

http://scottsvalley.patch.com/topics/John+A.+Geringer

9:54 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

M. Bergot thinks MB has it all wrong about beeUUUUtiful Stockton=it has the highest foreclosure rate in the country--when MB gives up his silly notions and moves back to the Fatherland he can score very cheap home. When he returns, he'll see the FAB franchise opportunities after he reads David LEVY "Love and Sex with Robots" and Googles "Roxxxy".
The spying potential for sex robots will get Homeland Security very keen on distributing them for FREE, and they will come to MB International Consolidated to buy them in bulk.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bergot-

Gosh, u make it sound so attractive. I shd probably start planning my return to the US rt now. Today Stockton, tomorrow Peoria.

mb

2:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

M. Bergot reminds MB that asparagus are very inexpensive in Stockton. M.Bergot also wonders if MB knows that long ago Erich Fromm, once a real Marxist, also hung around Mexico City.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Saul Bellow as well.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

M . Bergot continues with more sad
reports abut the Fatherland. Do you know that fully ONE-THIRD of the applicants for US military are
rejected because they are overweight. Hmmm? Think of the money made by feeding the youth of the Fatherland fattening garbage--think fast & convenient foods & the corps' profits. Are these people traitors, crippling our fighting boys to defend the nation?

3:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Berg-

Not that sad. According to a Top Secret Pentagon Report, BLUBBER2012, the military will be accepting these large fellows into its ranks, with a view to rolling them at the enemy, thereby crushing them to death. At least, this is more personal than predator drones, it wd seem.

mb

3:28 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Hard-core Marxist until the bitter end, Trotsky also spent some time in Mexico City, but he missed meeting Saul Bellow by a day.

Late to the Party, Fromm didn't hit town until nine years later.

Not sure about the other two, but Trotsky would have lived longer if he had been more of a hard-core asparagus devotee and left la ciudad grande for Stockton.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ty-

Clearly; but he cd just as well have caught an icepick in the head in Stockton as in Coyoacan. (Stalin never sleeps.)

mb

6:40 PM  
Blogger Stone said...

Dear MB,

Here's another piece relevant to taking stock of our increasingly dismal predicament here in the U.S.

The article is titled: "Bipartisan Congressional Bill Would Authorize the Use of Propaganda On Americans Living Inside America."

Available at this link:

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/05/bipartisan-congressional-bill-would-authorize-the-use-of-propaganda-on-americans-living-inside-america-because-banning-propaganda-ties-the-hands-of-americas-diplomatic-officials-mil.html

Best wishes,
Pierre

8:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pierre-

It doesn't really matter.

1. Americans have shit-for-brains, so being bombarded by propaganda will go unnoticed anyway.

2. They are *already* being bombarded by propaganda. It's called TV, the New York Times, CNN, cell phones and other electronic toys, etc. etc.

Meanwhile, I'm still baffled at the restraint of the Pentagon with regard to American citizens. Ultimately, they are all dangerous, and need to be rounded up and disappeared, sent to Gitmo or to the CMU in Marion, IL. Then, as in the Gaza Strip, all their homes need to be razed to the ground. Finally, selected cities need to be nuked; in particular, NY, San Fran, and Upper Sandusky, OH. That these things have not yet taken place only proves what I've been saying all along, that our military is just a collection of pussies. (Note how 'well' they've done in Iraq and Afghanistan, e.g.)

O&D!

mb

11:43 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

The assassin rather muffed the job in Mexico...guess he didn't have Bird's Eye aim.

And if the hit had gone down in Stockton, Stalin could have gotten uncharacteristically poetic and ordered the deed done with a (wait for it) asparagus spear.

Ho, ho, ho (Chi Minh)

12:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ty-

NLF is gonna win!

Not that muffed:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jun/16/past.russia

That wd make a great opera: "Stalin in Stockton" (if Einstein can be on the beach, Stalin can be in Stockton).

mb

4:10 AM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Well, 'muffed' was meant in the US football sense.
Sure, the execution eventually succeeded, but there was definitely a flag on the play.

Per Wiki's Trotsky page:
The blow to Trotsky's head was poorly delivered and failed to kill Trotsky instantly, as Mercader had intended. Witnesses stated that Trotsky spat on Mercader and began struggling fiercely with him. Hearing the commotion, Trotsky's bodyguards burst into the room and nearly killed Mercader, but Trotsky stopped them, laboriously stating that the assassin should be made to answer questions. Trotsky was taken to a hospital, operated on, and survived for more than a day, dying at the age of 60 on 21 August 1940 as a result of blood loss and shock.

Stalin in Stockton doesn't have much of a Gold Rush-y or nitty gritty agricultural ring to it.
Since Einstein on the Beach has a segment called "Mr. Bojangles", I'm leaning more to something in the vein of Desperados Waiting for a Train (written by Guy Clark but popularized by Jerry Jeff Walker, aka Mr. Bojangles).
The Stockton-ish possibilities so far:
Like a Caterpillar with a One-Track Mind
Stalkin' the Wild Asparagus
Stalin for Thyme

11:52 AM  
Blogger steven andresen said...

Patricia Walsh said,

"...So, I wonder about Germany’s “conspiracy of silence” and wonder what is happening here. I am sure that 1930’s German citizens were not as overwhelmed with detail and information as we are today – probably they knew and refused to care as so many do here. I struggle with overload – the more I learn, the more impossible it seems to act effectively."

I remembered that one of the reasons people gave for the inability of our intelligence services to have prevented the 9-11 murders was the fact that there was so much information flooding the analysts, that they couldn't have figured out what was happening even if someone was screaming to them all about it.

I am skeptical that information overload is a real problem for our spook services.

I am skeptical because the spooks have been creating and running the plots that have been exposed to us as "terrorism" against us. I know the FBI has been setting up environmentalists for decades. I have been suspicious that they were behind 9-11, as well as most of the other plots that have been carried out against Americans and western institutions over the last decade or more.

If that is the case, then the mountain of data that they have generated for themselves is not now so much a burden for them, but cover.

The spooks can easily say, we could not have prevented this bombing or that attack because we were overwhelmed with so much misleading information beforehand. None of that, I suspect, would really matter because the people who did the bombing or carried out the attacks were really controlled by the American spooks.

Since 9-11 and since the FBI was exposed as having entrapped people into domestic terrorism, we have to suspect that any terrorism is run by our own spooks against us.

It is unlikely that people are apathetic because they are overwhelmed with information. People deal pretty much with lots going on.

Rather, I think they are in denial because they do suspect they are being terrorized by their own leaders. They don't like to be manipulated. And, they do not know how to free themselves of this oppression.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Steve-

Just so u know, I have made it a rule not to entertain discussions of 9/11 as an inside job. As with most conspiracy theories, there is no 'smoking gun' here, that I can see; and we could go back and forth on the 'evidence' for ages. There are numerous websites devoted to this topic, and I always ask folks who are really into that stuff to direct their attention to those sites. For a # of reasons, I don't believe it was an inside job, and in any event, I don't really think that's the crucial issue, any more than the Reichstag fire was the crucial issue in German history during 1933-45.

That being said, I have no doubt that the FBI regularly infiltrates left-wing or environmental groups w/spies, or with agents provocateurs. This has been exposed on a # of occasions, and besides, what else are these folks going to do with their time? And I'm also sure it's gotten worse since 9/11, as has everything else. But the problem of proof or evidence remains an important issue, at least for me.

Besides, one could argue--cf. me, Chomsky, Wm Blum, Chris Hedges, Steven Kinzer--that US foreign policy since 1953 (CIA overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh) has been one of terrorism, if one extends the term to include the terrorism of the state. This, I think, is the greater terrorism; altho as empires crumble, there is a tendency to find 'enemies' w/in the gates, and to focus on them as well. I think we both agree that it's not exactly a pretty picture.

Anyway, I mention all of this because I appreciate your feelings of horror and indignation; but just so u know, I normally don't post any refs to 9/11 as a conspiracy. It wd turn this blog into a very different type of forum than I intended, and as I said, there are plenty of websites that argue that theme.

All the best-

mb

11:52 PM  
Blogger steven andresen said...

mb,

Sorry to bring up the 9-11 allusion.

Your original post discussed certain similarities between Nazi Germany and our current United States. This comparison has been popular. I think the Ayn Randians have written about the same calling them "Ominous Parallels." A Bertram Gross wrote about "Friendly Fascism" in America.

I think the comparison suggests we have many issues that should make us concerned. I hear there are numbers of people leaving the country now because they see these changes and don't want to be caught in country.

I have thought that another useful comparison is between America and Rome and the time we now live in is similar to the transition period into the medieval period when the primary economic and political system was feudalism.

I think feudalism was basically the idea that the rich and powerful are the job makers and acquire and wield their power because they deserve it. Maybe God gave them their power and wealth because he knew that they would be the ones most capable of ruling.

This seems to be the current rationale for allowing the financial services, insurance, and real estate people to acquire their great wealth and power. The thought would be that the fact they can steal and finagle with impunity shows their leadership skills and worthiness for rule.

Something like the 'divine right of bigshots and wiseguys.'

I am skeptical that we are going to turn this situation around easily or soon. It took a thousand years to change the dynamic of the middle ages.

3:31 PM  
Blogger steven andresen said...

Scialabra wrote, as his conclusion,

"...An interval — long or short, only the gods can say — of oligarchic, intensely surveilled, bread-and-circuses authoritarianism, Blade Runner- or Fahrenheit 451-style, seems the most likely outlook for the 21st and 22nd centuries. Still, if most humans are shallow and conformist, some are not. There is reason to hope that the ever fragile but somehow perennial traditions and virtues of solidarity, curiosity, self-reliance, courtesy, voluntary simplicity, and an instinct for beauty will survive, even if underground for long periods. And cultural rebirths do occur, or at any rate have occurred.

Berman offers little comfort, but he does note a possible role for those who perceive the inevitability of our civilization’s decline. He calls it the “monastic option.” Our eclipse may, after all, not be permanent; and meanwhile individuals and small groups may preserve the best of our culture by living against the grain, within the interstices, by “creating ‘zones of intelligence’ in a private, local way, and then deliberately keeping them out of the public eye.” Even if one’s ideals ultimately perish, this may be the best way to live while they are dying..."

I found this commentary about your (mb's) position just now, so the feudal medieval comparison is not news here.

I suspect that there were a few free thinkers who appreciated the virtues of mercantilism and democracy who survived the fall of Rome. They were mostly unhelpful, though, in alleviating the suffering that befell the vast majority of people living through the medieval period.

I also suspect that the changes that occurred in the society of the medieval/feudal ages that brought about change were random and arbitrary. I also think that the powers that will be going forward who profit from such a top down feudal civilization are going to resist any kind of agitation to change. They are not going to allow any renaissance or flowering of free science to occur. Why should they? They are also going to seek out and co=opt any of these monastic enclaves mentioned herein. Why should they allow enclaves of terrorists to exist in their countries in a feudal era any more then than the intelligence services would allow any terrorist enclaves to exist in our country now? No, the changes in the laws that have been enacted over the last6 few years that allow for the interception and recording of our private communications are intended to prevent any such monastic existence.

No. I think the comparison between America and pre-medieval Europe is apt, however, I don't think that it allows for any out. There is no silver lining or escape route for us in such a comparison.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Michael King said...

Writing from Vancouver, BC. My wife and I went to your recent lecture here. Thank you for coming. Thanks also for this excellent essay. It's a keeper and I've put it on my hard drive. Your work is vital at this time in history. Yes, your audience may be small. But, at least the work is being done and is appreciated. I hope you visit the city again. Abrazos, Michael King/Laurel Enright

10:52 AM  
Anonymous jaket kulit said...

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10:07 AM  

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