February 20, 2013

Obama: Sugar-Coated Poison

Check it out, amigos:


How is it that the 99% are persistently deluded by lofty speeches? Is there no point at which the "Left" will wake up?


Anonymous JWO said...

As a former Obama-bot I can say thoughtful reflection on specifics have nothing to do with it. For much of the "left" and especially for the youngsters (I'm 36) it is "Obama good. Other guys bad." It may seem like I'm exaggerating, but any WAF-er who has tried to have an informed discussion about, say drone killing (as others commented on in the last post) you get nowhere and they retreat to tired old chestnuts like Kunstler did: "Obama was better than the other guy."

8:25 AM  
Blogger John D. Wheeler said...

Just more proof that the US has a one-party system with two faces.

I am in favor of a two party system, Libertarian vs. Green. I would have to choose based on the person.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous gloomy said...

I do not know what circle of hell we are presently in, but the pictures of China (2008 and before) posted by Joe are holocaustic. The one (they are all beyond sickening) with the person "washing" in a cesspool of trash and who knows what, is not possible! This cannot be.

I remember reading somewhere that the equivalent in China to our Congress (do not know the name - something like the supreme council) has far more wealth accumulated than the .001% in this country. They are well-trained.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

But MB, he talks real purty!

Any president can afford to sound good & even throw out a real crumb or two of legislative encouragment for the 99%. It burnishes his image, it maintains the facade, and allows all the corporate whoring to go on unnoticed. And he can depend on media supporters to explain why he has to "compromise" with the 1% in order to "help" the rest of us.

Meanwhile, things like this continue:


Another example of former science fiction becoming everyday fact. Note the comments posted, such as this one:

I used to really detest what I saw as a nihilist streak in some of my friends about the likelihood of humanity causing its own extinction. I'm increasingly convinced that either nanos, artificial intelligence that turns on its inferior creator, a super virus, a 120 degree earth, or some other manmade colossal mistake is going to bring it all down.

So, now, when I read about this shit, I start selfishly thinking, well, probably not in the 30 or so years I've got left (assuming one of those cute little bug drones doesn't get me).

I know that feeling ...

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


You should know better! Many of the 99% are utter dolts, especially the so called "leftists" or "progressives". Most idealogues are particularly prone to having their convictions crowd out perceptions and basic facts. i.e. the fact that Obama comes from an international background, that he went to Harvard, that he is black and he belongs to the democratic party makes him a saint to 1/3 of the nation--no matter what he actually does he has been beatified. Such is how ideogolgy is always a tool of disimulation and fooling the masses. Is also not so much that the 1/3 defend Obama they are defending their own sense of idnetify, goodness and hipness....show me an Obama supporter I will show you a prius drving narcissist a friend is fond of saying...

11:47 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Dr. Berman and Bingo,

You guys are right! Yesterday's mayhem in the placid suburbia of Orange County is indeed small- time thuggery and murder. There's simply no excuse for such a low body count. Of course, Dorner should be severely criticized as well. Heck, with his skill, rage, and access to weaponry, I was expecting dozens to be KIA; and even believed we would get to see a drone or two in on the action.

In order to wear the the badge of Wafer proudly... or one of our future T-shirts... I'm gonna hafta toughen up.


12:30 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

I was wondering if other WAFers found it ironic that Obama & Congress are considering immigration "reform", as record numbers of immigrants are leaving the US and returning to their homelands. Considering that the only direction for the US economy is down, the only question is how steep and how fast, I guess I just think that any discussion of immigration at this point is misguided, as there is no opportunity left to pursue in the US. I've read articles about the social effects this is having in Mexico as Americanized children come to school not knowing Spanish, and the serious social effects of Americanized Mexicans who have spent many years in the US "gringifying/juerifying" Mexico when they return. MB, I was wondering if you have noticed this, and to what degree you attribute "gringification" to returning immigrants...

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Daniel said...


Yeah, they are spending a lot of time and money developing things that contribute nothing to the happiness of mankind. They will theorize based on their lust for blood that all human beings are evil and bellicose in nature (thereby justifying the huge sums they waste in war machines and wars).

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Hey, Obama is just serving the corporate masters who put him in office. It's what any modern president has to do. Even when the corporations can't get what they want in a direct or literal form, they find ways around the law to get what they want some other way. Check out this utterly blatant job-hiding seminar where lawyers talk about how to comply with the law in a way that avoids having to hire American workers -- so they can hire H-1B slaves ^H^H^H^H^H^H workers instead at a fraction of the cost.

Youtube: Fake Job Ads defraud Americans to secure green cards for foreign workers

Uploaded on Jun 16, 2007

Immigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby explain how they assist employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants, and the steps they go through to disqualify even the most qualified Americans in order to secure green cards for H-1b workers.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

A few minutes ago, here in France, I chanced upon a TV item. It showed a beautiful orchard in blossom. It was in the US somewhere. The bees were buzzing with the sound of fruitfulness and energy. It was pleasing. I remembered in my body how satisfying was the sound of bees.

The shot switched to a guy observing the bees. He said "Do you hear that? That's the sound of money".

A bleak moment in an otherwise pleasant day with the hint of spring.

Amid the grip of madness, no-one can hear you scream.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

J. Wheeler says he would have to "choose based on the person". Unless there's irony here I don't detect, how on earth would he know who's the better person? And aren't we interested in policy and not if someone comes across well on TV? Surely we're past that?

From a distance (from Europe) I see the cult of (perceived) personality to be an absolute and lethal disaster. As we saw with Stalin.

Obama has a(perceived)attractive personality. He says all the right things, he looks good; but he is a killer. A real day to day killer.

Mostly he kills overseas, so that's ok for now. Who cares about the 1000 Pakistanis murdered by drones? But those drones are coming to a place near you, John.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Mike Sosebee said...

Today I saw an Obama /Biden sticker on a Prius. I have about as much chance of convincing that voter that Obama is a douche-bag as I do a racist southerner that Obama is not the Anti-Christ.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for writing in. If in future you cd limit yrself to 1 post a day, I'd appreciate it. Just trying to get other folks to come outta the woodwork and onto the blog.


I don't post Anons. Perhaps you cd pick a handle and re-send. I suggest Rufus T. Firefly.


It is indeed hard to estimate how many people need urine on their shoes. In any case, when I marched vs. the war in Iraq in 2003 (this in DC), I was impressed by how many protest signs had elementary words misspelled. When I say, There is no hope, I'm not blowing smoke.


8:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Here's a nice line from Alexis de Tocqueville, about Americans:

“All are constantly seeking to acquire property, power, and reputation, but few contemplate these things on a great scale."

They never see the larger picture, not in the 1820s, and not today. Tocqueville never used the words 'douchebags', 'buffoons', or 'hustlers', unfortunately (I'm at a loss as to what the French equivalents would be), but that is in fact his subject.


8:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps2: Nearly 200 yrs later, a recent film (billed as a comedy, actually quite depressing) provides a fairly accurate portrait of Americans, and American society: "This Is 40". I'm wondering how the non-Wafer population wd view it: a celebration of American life?

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Tanara said...

Hi Mr B,

Reading your work for a little while, charmed by your analysis of the modern condition of the US citizen. Trivial question really, but trivial questions appear common on here, yet you still seem to snap back at a lot of them with some fruitful citations etc.

Just curious if there is any oscillation or relativity in your opinion on these things when one modifies the modern American indiviudal into either the male or female modern American.

Is there any pragmatic "feminism" or women's movement that you relate to? Or anything in the modern psychoanalysis camps that judges current womanhood and citizenship interestingly?

- Tamara

10:06 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

John Zorn,

What was the nature and topic of the TV item you mentioned?

10:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There are no trivial questions on this blog; you must be confusing this w/some other blog. Wafers are interested in serious questions only; except for those times when we engage in uncontrolled frivolity. But some wd say that even our frivolity is serious.

As far as gender diffs for the typical American, most of the polls I've cited don't seem to think that distinction is important. For example, 20% of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth; 50% believe extraterrestrials have visited the earth in the last year; something like 70% think Darwin had it wrong; and 59% believe Christ will return and they'll be 'raptured' up to heaven. 62% approve of the use of predator drones that murder women and children. When I began discovering stats like these, starting from the mid-90s, there were no gender biases attached to them. I.e., American men and American women alike seem to be violent and stupid. So I cd be wrong, but the 'modification' you are asking abt doesn't seem to be there. Tho if you cd find data to that effect, us Wafers wd certainly be interested.

When I think of women on the political horizon, dummies like Sarah Palin (a very violent person) and Michelle Bachmann come to mind, or Condi Rice (a war criminal) or Hillary Clinton (staunch defender of the American imperium). Not that there aren't folks like Elizabeth Warren, of course. My point is that stupidity and violence don't seem to be the monopoly of one particular gender. My guess is that in terms of analyzing US society and culture, the category of 'American' is far more significant than those of male American or female American; tho if there really are data that show significant diffs, that wd surely be interesting to think abt.

Are there any women's organizations specifically opposed to American imperial power? The extreme maldistribution of wealth? The hustling way of life? The corporate control over education and every other American institution? The use of cell phones in public? There may be; I just haven't heard of them.

One thing that made a great impression on me during the Iraq war (2003) was an appeal made by a group of Iraqi mothers before American TV cameras, in which they appealed to American mothers to oppose the war. "Our sons are dying," they cried; "you are mothers, you have sons too. Please help us." Not a single women's organization in the US spoke out in response to this emotional, heart-wrenching plea. (This info is buried somewhere in DAA; I just tried to find it, but no luck, the damn bk is just too long.)

As for psychoanalysis and women, there is a huge literature on the subject, although I don't really know what you mean by "interestingly". Certainly, the lit. finds female psychology interesting; it wd be rather odd if it didn't.

Meanwhile, on mostly unrelated topics, I encourage all Wafers to check out these inspiring links:





10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hola amigos!
A check in of sorts from SE asia.

I am back into the outside world after a 6 week or so work contract (long story) in China. I was in a fairly industrial/business area outside of Hong Kong.

You may find this interesting but this blog (along with a variety of other sites) is blocked by the Chinese government. Must have been the "Mandarin-America" comment awhile back!!

And I should mention an important coincidence for me was your recent interview with the Mexican radio station during which you mentioned the original, unaccepted title Capitalism and its Discontents of Why America Failed.

At least in the area where I was, China has extremes of wealth & poverty that make the US look like Norway. The pollution that was linked to by a WAFer poster a post back is no joke. I was in a province that was part of the "pollution gallery".
Frankly, anyone with money (access) there seemed to be as tech-obsessed as the typical American

At any rate, I just wanted to say I'm happy to be back and have uncensored internet access and glad to see that there is an ongoing openness on this blog about the issues of capitalism and its effect on the global landscape.

As always - appreciate the posts and comments.

El Juero

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

"To Martin Ramirez:

Thank you for the quotation from Livergood (what you describe as a synopsis)!

In which writing of his does it occur?

Thank you in advance for letting us know.

The synopsis is for his book-length treatise, Realizing a New Culture. Much like us WAFers, he also views the dominant American culture (and increasingly more of the world) as a violent and stupid racket benefiting immoral elites, which must gradually be replaced, through the work and dedication of all educated persons of conscience throughout the planet, by what what he and his wife call "cooperative commonwealth communities". Hell, if you want an idea of the couple's opinions on capitalism, imagine Chris Hedges' or Berman's writings on the topic, but on steroids and taken to the nth level. As for Morris' reply, he may sound like a polite apologist for 'Murikans, but he does share our belief that the society and its lackeys are not only diseased monsters, but will inevitably be replaced and destroyed, even if it means much suffering for the human race- he simply recommends us to continue struggling to keep the flame alive for the noblest human achievements, as bleak as the circumstances may be, and while definitely not a perfect utopia, to lay the groundwork for a more humane alternative to the current civilization's paradigm years, decades or even centuries down the road. This is his definition of the commonwealth form:
"The original phrase 'common wealth' or 'the common weal' is a changed translation of the Latin term res publica ('public matters'), from which the word republic comes, which was itself used as a synonym for the Greek politeia, meaning commonwealth, as well as for the republican (i.e. non-monarchical) Roman constitution. The English noun Commonwealth dates originally from the fifteenth century. The meaning of this term we're concerned with in this essay is: A political unit founded in law, by agreement of the people, for the common good."
His primarily values are based on the great philosophers, the spiritual schools I previously mentioned, and the rational application of science (i.e. not techno-buffoonery or voodoo economics). His documentation of 'Murikan pathology is quite extensive, too.
I must finish, since neither I nor Morris want longer comments, and leave the two main pages with most content accessible. Take care:

2:17 AM  
Anonymous Stone said...


Here's another exemplary female American politician, Madeleine Albright.

On May 12, 1996, Albright defended UN sanctions against Iraq on a 60 Minutes segment in which Lesley Stahl asked her "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" and Albright replied "we think the price is worth it."

For an update on this woman politician's support of the murderous, heinous, and criminal activities of the U.S. government, I recommend the following Feb. 19, 2013 article: "Madeline Albright on Morality and War: 'Drones Very Effective'," published at CommonDreams.org.

In my estimation, this sort of behavior, and the above remarks made by MB, pretty much sum up the contemporary feminist predicament. It's dreary.


2:32 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Where’s Mittney when you need him?

Shane W,

I’ve been thinking about that too. Last year more Mexicans left the US than came in, a reversal of a 50+ year trend. I think the reason Obama is now proposing “immigration reforms” and states like Illinois are issuing driver licenses to illegal immigrants is to keep them from leaving. Many sectors of the economy depend on them. But it’s too late. Bush scared them with his anti-foreigner rhetoric, and Obama scares them with a dismal economy. And then America’s depravity and violence are antithetical to most immigrant cultures. Also, globalization did improve economic conditions in many formerly poor nations, so the economic factor is not going to keep them here either.

6 years ago I left too, after 30 years of living in the US. It took me a year or so to readjust, but my quality of life is higher in Romania, food, water, and air are much better, there’s very little violent crime, I have decent socialized health care, and if you factor in the price/income ratio my standard of living has gone up. And then there’s the human/community/family factor, which is better than in the US. Even the commercialism the US is known for is no longer attractive, because “thanks” to globalization, there are plenty of cleaner malls and Starbucks in Romania, if I really cared about that.

Immigrating to the US makes no sense anymore. What makes sense now is to liquidate one’s assets and book out asap. Not only that, but seeing this explosion of violence, WAFers better run for their life while they still can.

3:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Improvement of economic conditions in poor nations--India is a good example--was only for a small sliver of the population. By and large, it widened the gap between rich and poor. As a result of globalization, 250 individuals (mostly American, I believe) have wealth equivalent to the bottom half of the entire world population (ca. 3.5 billion), and something like 3 billion are living on less than $2/day.


It's additionally sad that Madeleine had part of her family murdered during the Holocaust, and can't transfer that horror to the holocaust she visited on Iraq when she was in office, or to the civilians being murdered by our drones. Another awful female politician wd be Margaret Thatcher, who did a good job wrecking unions, the universities, and the poor during her tenure as British p.m.


I sound like "a polite apologist for Americans"? Really? Hang on a moment, I'm going to go kill myself.

El J-

I guess I shd be flattered that this blog is off limits in China. Ironically enuf, I just signed a contract for the Mandarin translation of WAF with a publisher in Beijing; it shd be out later this year. Wonder if the Chinese gov't will confiscate it. I did, at one pt (on the blog), call the Chinese regime 'brutal' (e.g., check out Falun Gong on google, or "Corpse Walker" on amazon).


6:02 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

I meant Norman D. Livergood, not you, Morris. I beg your forgiveness for not being clearer. Sometimes, I type too quickly (a minor tic I should correct) to improve the quality. The author I referenced: him, but because I used the word "he" directly after El Buen Berman's name, it sounded like I confused both. Te pido mil perdones.

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

And the hustling continues:


But as John Zorn noted previously, everything in the USA is about money & nothing else. It's the measure of all things, and it's the only thing.


I've wondered about the role of gender in the American decline myself. While I loathe the narrow model of manhood that dominates American culture today, I agree with MB. It's not so much about men OR women, as it's about maturity. Everyone operates on a perpetually adolescent level: dumb, loud, aggressive, self-centered, crude, and immensely proud of it. Nobody wants to be a grown-up any more, it's too hard, demands too much.

Also, we sometimes underestimate the assimilative ability of the culture. Yes, there are more women, minorities, marginalized groups in the public & private sector now -- but notice how they all sound & think alike?

Yesterday I happened to see the documentary The Art of the Steal, which tells how the treasure trove of art of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia was essentially stolen in a hostile takeover. I highly recommend watching this film. It depicts so-called charitable foundations & ostensibly liberal individuals operating for the benefit of more wealth & power, period. The naked ego & greed on display is breathtaking; the only thing more disgusting is the self-righteousness. A scathing portrait of the 1% mentality in its best liberal, concerned-for-the-public-good finery. Basically, they're the feudal lords of contemporary society.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

Unfortunately the obama devotees are as resistant to criticism of the anointed one as the last 28 % that continued to support W as his term was ending.

It's a sad situation. People I know that are quite intelligent can only see the world in black and white-Democrats good, Republicans bad.

Hope all is well,


9:22 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Wonderful documentary 'Mindscape of Alan Moore' you recommended on the last thread:

"Our culture is turning to steam"

I'm not a fan of his graphic novels but he can certainly talk an interesting game.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Rossana said...

Why assume that any of the speech is anything more than rhetoric intended to please both the 1% and the 99%? Is a contemporary political speech meant to be anything else but pablum? Neil Postman says it best in _Amusing Ourselves to Death_ when he notes that tv "devastated political discourse," turning politicians into celebrities bent on amusing us to death (126).
He reminds us, too, of what Orwell once said: that "politics has become a matter of 'defending the indefensible'" (129). Es asi.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd thing I changed my mind at the last minute and didn't kill myself.


11:36 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

Stone and Berman:

Nothing shocks me anymore. The so-called leaders in America are there for themselves, not for the people they lead. They will kill anybody to make personal gains. Killing is killing no matter how form it takes or where it occurs. It occurs daily in America. Check out how they kill Americans inside America (it is long, but spend the time to learn about "the American dreams"):

Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us
By Steven BrillFeb. 20, 2013

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Mark Notzon said...

Dear MB et al,

I am perusing a volume that I just discovered, hadn't heard of it before, and wondered if you or any other WAFers had come across it:
"Pain, Sex, and Time" (1939) by British savant and free lance philosopher, Gerald Heard.

The book apparently inspired Aldous Huxley to study Eastern meditation and mysticism, and Huston Smith to go into the Perennialist tradition. (Smith wrote the preface to this edition.)

Writing at the advent of WWII, Heard pessimistically postulates that the excess capacity of the human nervous system resembles in some way the baroque and useless features evolution endows species with when their kind is nearing extinction, such as the profusey knobby skulls of the later dinosaurs, and so on. Hyper- capitalism and individualism may be the cultural outcomes of a species so designed but ill-fated to explore the possibilities of its own destruction, while of course celebrating "progress" all along.

Worth putting on the bookshelf of your NMI bunker. Reading diet to rinse sugar coated poison out of your system.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous swordfish said...

And more predictable, sad, idiocy.


"The Las Vegas Strip became a scene of deadly violence early Thursday when someone in a black Range Rover opened fire on a Maserati at a stoplight, sending it crashing into a taxi that burst into flames, leaving three people dead and at least six injured."

at least they were in cool cars, and that is, after all, what counts most.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...


Regarding the Art of the Steal. The film is a bit hot-headed and one sided, but it does shine a light on cultural institutions in the US. I've worked in many different kinds and currently work in a large museum and I can tell you that what you are seeing in that film has been going on everywhere, the commercialization of culture and institutions. Just one look at (nearly) any University shows how they shill for corporations all the time to make up for lack of state funding.

However, at the Barnes it was really about one kind on elites: commercial (i.e. Philadelphia) vs. another kind of "elites": Art and Culture types. The movie may portray the latter as the "good" guys but trust me, neither really wanted the Barnes to be what Mr. Barnes wished, an educational center for the study of fine art and art history. There is no way in hell an art school could come close to paying just the insurance on a collection like that ($25 billion+), so you are left with either commercializing it in downtown philly while allowing a larger audience to see the work (the old Barnes got maybe 60,000 visits, the new is in the 200,000+) or modifying Barnes’ original intent to keep the old location alive, which in itself is a form of commercialization. Now the question becomes, who decides what modifications to make? If 200,000 people want to visit, who says no to whom? Poor people that cannot pay the entrance fee are out? People not there to finish their art history Ph.D are out? Sadly much of the problem was Barnes’ own fault, in his hatred for the Philly cultural elites, he hobbled the future of his collection which cannot survive today in its original form.

Oops, sorry I got a little museum geeky on all the WAF-ers out there. Thanks to my overpriced education I could go on and on…

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Hello Wafers. I am surprised that people still are dragging out any of the isms--feminism for example. This old Mexican is of the view the fix was in when hamburger helper made it on the scene. A cheap extender for cheap meat for people who are time constrained as women were not so much working to enjoy the marvels of the workplace and their newly empowered selves but because if every adult in the house does not work the family starves or goes on welfare. Feminism was nicely developed by Eddie Bernays to get women to smoke and doubling revenues for his clients. Mostly feminism is a nice scam to get women to work and have the same miserable lives as men in the U.S. Feminism also brought us that marvel known as family law where to reduce welfare men are reduced to atms and have no enforceable rights to see their kids and are jailed for non-payment. Go girls. See thanks to feminism women in america are equal to men in their utter nastiness. That is progress!

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

UN Committee asks US to obey its own laws...

Foreign Policy: U.N. committee tells Obama to stop waiving sanctions on countries that use child soldiers

The Obama administration has waived sanctions on countries that use child soldiers for three years in a row, and today a United Nations committee urged the U.S. president to take a tougher stance.

Last October, President Barack Obama issued a presidential memorandum waiving penalties under the Child Soldiers Protection Act of 2008 (CSPA) for Libya, South Sudan, and Yemen, along with a partial waiver for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Those penalties were put in place by Congress to prevent U.S. arms sales to countries determined by the State Department to be the worst abusers of child soldiers in their militaries, but the Obama administration has waived almost all of them each year, arguing that continued arms sales to abuser countries are needed either to bolster those countries' fragile security or to support cooperation with the U.S. military in areas such as counterterrorism.

The president's move to waive the sanctions came just one week after he issued a new executive order to fight human trafficking, touting his administration's handling of the issue.

"When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed -- that's slavery," Obama said in a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative. "It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world. Now, as a nation, we've long rejected such cruelty."

On Tuesday, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child released a report containing recommendations on how countries can address the issue of child soldiers -- along with some criticism of Obama.

"The Committee urges the [United States] to enact and apply a full prohibition of arms exports, including small arms and light weapons as well as any kind of military assistance to countries where children are known to be, or may potentially be, recruited or used in armed conflict and/or hostilities. To this end, the [United States] is encouraged to review and amend the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act with the view to withdrawing the possibility to allow for presidential waivers to these countries," the report stated.


2:58 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Tim Lukeman said: "Also, we sometimes underestimate the assimilative ability of the culture. Yes, there are more women, minorities, marginalized groups in the public & private sector now -- but notice how they all sound & think alike?"

On a related topic, if you are a prominent American nowadays the quickest way to get many people, especially dimwitted liberals and progressives, to overlook your bad acts is to publicly declare how "tolerant" you are. It used to be blacks and Hispanics who were on the receiving end of all this "love," but these days it is gays who are the "fashionable" minority.

Sow here comes Laura Bush in her latest effort to put a smiley face on the public image of America's most murderous clan by being publicly supportive of gay marriage. Of course, being a true Bush (even if only by marriage), she couldn't help but completely screw the pooch:


3:02 PM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

I must admit, I'm not very knowledgeable about Romania, I've done some reading on its history, and I'm fascinated by the paradox of being an Orthodox country with a Romance language, guess the inverse of Poland as a Catholic country with a Slavic language. All I remember are the reports by the Western media when the fall of the Iron Curtain was all the rage about the severity of Ceaucescu's dictatorship, the orphanages, and pictures of environmental devastation & sooty children which looked very much like the pictures of China we've been commenting on here. I'm sure that didn't really paint a fair or accurate picture. You mention that the environment is cleaner there, and I was wondering if that is because the environmental destruction portrayed by the West was not accurate, or if Romania has come a long way in cleaning up the environment, or both.
As a Spanish speaker, I'm fascinated by the similarity of Romanian, and I think I could pick it up easily. Latin America and migrants here in the US has always fascinated me--I'm fascinated by their stories and their struggles. I've been wanting to volunteer for the local migrant organization, but am self-conscious and hesitant, being a juero who's Spanish can be broken at times and in need of improvement. Sometimes, I dream of just finding some returning migrants and heading back with them....

3:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sure, but I think Cooke is saying that what Obama says for the benefit of the 99% is just lofty rhetoric, and what he says to the 1% is what he actually means: I'll protect you, your wealth, and the corporate state.


Yes, I do know of Heard. For an update on the evolutionary dead-end hypothesis, check out the work of Cornell U economist Robt Frank.


3:12 PM  
Anonymous Tamara said...

Grr I'm so sorry that I worded the sentence the way I did, but I was referring to my own question as trivial, of course not referring the questions guiding your work, Mr B. (In my defense I also spelled my own name "Tanara", when in fact it is Tamara....ouch.)

And I think most of the dialogue by fellow readers is also erudite much of the time, but every few odd number of days you certainly get "trivial" ones like mine.

I will work on my clarity. Really I was just trying to milk ya for some neat books/reading material. But I guess it sounds like a dry well in regards to that topic.

Thanks for your time!

- TaMara

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Paul Emmons said...

Gail Collins's NYT column today was about the ridiculous names that American institutions are willing to give their facilities for a price.

Examples include: Whataburger Field, Beef O'Brady's Bowl, Minute Maid Field (formerly Enron Field-- naming rights: good. Renaming rights: better), GEO Group Stadium (GEO Group being a private prison corporation. I'm surprised that someone thinks its profitability depends on being liked.), and a KFC-Yum! Center at U. of Louisville. Ms. Collins checked with the center's marketing manager (of course!) who assured her that the exclamation point was part of the deal.

What a feast of hilarity on the co-dependancy of hustlers on other hustlers. In summary: "When you're strapped for cash [who isn't?] dignity is the first thing to go."

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

I will have to check out Heard and Frank. The conclusion I finally came to is that on some cosmic level humanity realizes we've reached the point of diminishing returns on our evolution and have hit the subconscious self-destruct button.

The next plane of evolution would have required us to face and start coming to terms with the only three essential truths that matter:

1. There's nothing we are supposed to be doing.
2. There's nowhere we are supposed to be going.
3. There's no one we are supposed to be being.

We weren't up to it.

The practical aspects of Buddhism and ancient Greek and Roman Stoicism, here in America--Emerson and Dewey--are examples of where we could have gained some orientation/traction. Plenty of others.

Que sera sera. I'm sleeping better than I have since childhood. There's alot to be said for resignation and ambivalence...and justice.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Will the madness ever let up?

Here is the sugar coating brigade:


Geobbels and Orwel are somewhere smiling.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Ort said...

• As long as we're recommending "Counterpunch" articles, I think Linh Dinh's latest-- "Deranging America"-- resonates nicely with the spirit of this blog.

• Re: "Is there no point at which the 'Left' will wake up?"

Here's another instance where Bob Dylan's line "Trying to prove that your conclusions should be more drastic" comes to mind-- "your" referring to the hapless "Left" you appropriately enclosed in ironic quotes.

I don't mean to be glib or convoluted, but those who remain unable or unwilling to wake up are pseudo-leftists at best. They're the worst kind: even when they're well-meaning and and have some degree of sociopolitical awareness, they're moderate to a fault.

They don't want to "wake up", i.e. radicalize. It's too scary and threatening to their collective peace of mind.

"The Fake Left" was coined to describe the array of progressive liberal-lite hucksters who make a good living as political Pied Pipers; they lull True Believers to sleep in the first place by advocating ostensibly "pragmatic" traditional political activism-- working within the system to facilitate incremental change for the better.

"Lesser-evil"; "the art of the possible"; "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good". They have their own lexicon of pet, pat terms.

But the organized "Fake Left" wouldn't exist if there weren't a constituency of desperate anti-wingnut Good Progressives yearning for decent leaders to follow. This need overwhelms underpowered consciences.

Obama is just the latest in a series of Snooze Alarm buttons that mutes the apocalyptic blasts of the bitter truth.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman and everybody else too,

Glenn Greenwald described the liberal left in his post-election article in the Guardian on Nov. 7, 2012:

"So the delirium of liberals this morning is understandable: the night could scarcely have gone better for them. By all rights, they should expect to be a more powerful force in Washington. But what are they going to get from it? Will they wield more political power? Will their political values and agenda command more respect? Unless the disempowering pattern into which they have voluntarily locked themselves changes, the answer to those questions is almost certainly "no"."

He follows this with six easy steps to surrender the left will most certainly take that are funny, insightful and completely accurate.

Here's the link if you're interested:

It's always entertaining,if not discouraging, to watch MSNBC and hear the mental back-flips it takes to justify Obama's actions. Words are meaningless unless followed by action and we used to all know the meaning of "talk is cheap."

6:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

All of this stuff abt the Left and Obama reminds me of a line from Garrison Keillor: "Here in Lake Wobegon we have the ability to look reality right in the eye and deny it." For the most part, I don't think 'progressives' are con artists or badly intentioned; what I think is going on is that if they *did* look reality in the eye, they'd sink into a deep depression, and many wd probaby kill themselves. On an unconscious level, then, they decide that denial and self-deception is preferable. You can be sure that in 2016, after fuck all has been accomplished (save that the US is more repressive and militarized, and the gap between rich and poor is even greater than today), they'll be lining up for the next Liberal Hope, aka Snooze Alarm: probably Hillary. Oh yes, finally a 'true' left-winger. What a joke (and one w/o end).


Yr mode of communication is so convoluted, it's hard to know what to say. But what the heck, I'll give it a shot. How do you know the 'well is dry'? I don't even know what u.r. asking! If you want bks on women and psychoanalysis, as I said, there is roughly a ton of them. For starters, plug 'women and psychoanalysis' into google, see what u get. Finally, once again: nothing trivial on this blog. You have this blog confused w/some other blog, quite obviously. Best of luck in your search.


6:33 PM  
Blogger Mercury4 said...

How is it that the 99% are persistently deluded by lofty speeches? Is there no point at which the "Left" will wake up?
The 99% still believe in the dream, but nothing a couple of decades of climate change, financial collapse and peak energy won't change.

As for the "Left", what is there to awaken? The American political system is corrupt beyond a joke and they are a part of it.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Berman,

What we have going on in America right now is the two political parties are two sides of the same coin. They pretend to be different so no matter who wins, the people lose. So what we need is a new coin, but is there any way to make that happen?

8:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...




Yr probably rt. But lately I've been having this idea, of holding a world conference in NY, perhaps at the UN or in the space of the former Stage Deli (7th Ave between 52nd and 53rd Sts.), called "How Deep Is the American Head Embedded in the American Rump?" No optimists wd be allowed to lecture. Topics cd vary: education, military, the media, the economy, culture, social relations, whatever, but in each case the speaker's job wd be to demonstrate that we are totally and irrevocably fucked. All speakers wd be expected to say something along the lines of, "In this area, it turns out that things are much worse than we originally thought." This wd go on for several days, w/participants trying to out-depress each other. Anyone suggesting that short-term (10-20 yrs) improvements in our situation are possible, or using a cell phone, wd be severely beaten and then thrown in a nearby dumpster. The final answer to the conference question would be: About 2 meters. Then, large platters of corned beef, pastrami, and chopped liver wd be served; after which, we wd plan to meet in a year, and document how much worse things got in the intervening time.

The problem is the funding...deli meats aren't cheap, after all. If anyone has any ideas on how to raise a few mil for the World Congress on American Cranial Rectitis (WCACR), please let us know.

I confess, I'm really excited abt this. It makes so much more sense than conferences on Climate Change, Saving the Earth, or whatever nonsense is currently fashionable, that are designed to make participants feel self-righteous, but wh/change abs. nothing (a cycle that has been repeated over and over again).


9:36 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hello Wafers,


I haven't a clue as to how we could raise the few million needed for the WCACR. However, all great conferences need great "swag bags" or complementary "goodie bags". I have a few suggestions:

A Wafer T-shirt

Shoe Horn for head in rump extraction

Ear plugs when in close proximity to anti-Wafer nonsensical rambling

Ball-peen hammer to smash cell phones

Rubber rain boots for Wafer Urine Detail

And finally... a complementary weekend stay at bermanicmonasteries

Enjoy the swag,


11:39 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Fellow WAFers,

I think we should invite some Pastafarians to this World Congress colloquium on WCACR. Now I will grant you this: Pastafarians don't have the Latvian Orthodox Church backing them up. BUT: love the hats! Gotta love the hats. And the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster...well, they're nothing to sneeze at. And let's face it, their Leader isn't resigning at the end of this month.


11:51 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

The World Congress on American Cranial Rectitis (WCACR). I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor. This does look like humanity’s last best hope. But no important problem can be solved without music, so we’re going to need a We Are The World type theme song sung by publicity seeking celebrities pretending to care. As an incentive, we could offer to crown one of them Wizard of Rectitis, or pope Rectitus I. BTW, I hope this won’t cause a schism, but I insist that Philly cheese steak sandwiches also be served.

2:35 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


Romanian is similar to Spanish and Italian. How this language came about is obscure, but 2000 years ago the area came under Roman rule and Latin was imposed.

The transformation Romania experienced after 1989 is, in some ways, what MB suggested Japan might have to undergo down the road.

Ceausescu was obsessed with industrialization and the country was very polluted. But after 1989, the IMF/WorldBank came on the scene, and most industry was “privatized”, sold for scrap, and demolished. After deindustrialization the environment recovered quickly, not because of some “wise Romanian government actions” (an oxymoron), but because nature seems to quickly heal on its own if left alone. What also helps is that Ceausescu built many hydroelectric plants which are still operating, but don’t pollute like coal plants do elsewhere in Europe. I think that today most US states where I lived (FL, NY, TN, TX, MO, IL) are more polluted than Romania. Bucharest might be an exception, but I avoid that city like the plague.

After de-industrialization, the country went to a more local economy, at least in my area, which is near the mountains. In my town it is possible to buy all food grown locally and know where it came from. In big cities this is more difficult, and you depend on corporate stores (where you might get horse meat passed for beef, as is now fashionable in Britain and France...LOL). In my area there are skilled local craftsmen and small businesses for most types of services. There is culture in big cities 100 miles away, opera, symphony, book fares, when we get the urge for that. With a modest income by US standards you can have a decent lifestyle.

The story of the orphans in the early 90s was sad. Many were also infected with HIV because of an improperly administered vaccination program. A lot of them were gypsy children. Gypsies have been marginalized and were enslaved by the Orthodox Church for centuries, and as a result have social issues still. But there’s more to this. The orphan situation was heavily exploited by “charities” to extract donations and government support. Most money didn’t reach the kids, but enriched some of Ceausescu’s former secret police officers and Western “charities” who orchestrated the campaigns. Similar to “Farm Aid” or to Clinton’s Haiti aid, etc. Today the country’s orphanages are of EU standards, but the memory of that episode remains.

Today, the country is slowly divorcing itself from Western-style capitalism and slowly heading back to socialism, like Latin America. Recently it reneged on adopting the Euro, which I hope is a step toward eventually ditching its EU and NATO memberships. Despite its flaws, Russia was not nearly as evil and corrupt as Western Europe proved to be these past 22 years since we’ve been dealing with them. We might just as well end up in the warm embrace of Mamma Russia again... I can hear her call: come home, my little children, I have cheap oil and gas waiting for you, come home to papa Putin...

4:35 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Raising a few mil for the deli meats, room rent etc deeply besmirches the ideological purity of those involved in the WCACR, so I'd suggest flogging something educational and perversely uplifting for the true believer in CRE, something 'motivational' like this inventive range:


We could at least con ourselves for a while that we were not part of the problem, at least until we hit the big time and listed on the NY stock exchange.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Jerome Langguth said...

Dear Dr. Berman and Friends,

I stumbled on a review of John Gray's recently published The Silence of Animals this morning. The following quote from Gray's book reminded me very much of the central theme of your own Wandering God, so I thought I would share it here. Gray is explaining his own "Godless mysticism", which seems very close to WG's nomadic spirituality.

“Godless mysticism cannot escape the finality of tragedy, or make beauty eternal. It does not dissolve inner conflict into the false quietude of oceanic calm. All it offers is mere being. There is no redemption from being human. But no redemption is needed.”

5:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sounds pretty good! I'm a big Gray fan anyway, and (WG) definitely a godless mystic (I've always said 'mystical atheist' when asked, actually).


I do like Philly cheese steak sandwiches, myself, but I wonder if serving them at the WCACR might not dilute our Message. Also, we already have a song: CRE, composed by someone on this blog, a long time ago. It is, however, a tad cacophanous, but perhaps that's appropriate.


Personally, I salute the Pastafarians, but again, I don't wanna mix their message up w/ours. It does inspire me to think that everyone at the WCACR could wear a corned beef sandwich strapped to his/her head.


Am seriously impressed by yr list. A few thoughts:

1. Instead of a shoe horn, I wd suggest a crowbar and a tube of K-Y Jelly.

2. Once head-extraction is attained, we could replace the head w/their cell phones (more K-Y, obviously); which is where they really belong.

3. Wafer Urine Detail: WUD cd be a T-shirt logo, clearly. In addition, we cd have T-shirts and buttons that say, "WUD you be mine?" etc.

4. Coffee mugs, pens, etc. with the WCACR logo on them. Also toilet paper.

5. A tote bag, to carry away a few extra corned beef sandwiches.

6. Aluminum foil hats (obviously).

All of this is very inspiring. Can you believe that chick, Tamara, accusing this blog of dealing in triviality? Sheesh! I mean, in a year or two, the WCACR will be hotter than Davos. And if we manage to extract enuf heads from rumps, we might slow down the collapse of the American Empire by, oh, I dunno, 5-6 hours.

O&D, amigos!


6:16 AM  
Blogger jml said...


The book about Oprah Winfrey by Janice Peck might be good reading regarding female consciousness at this stage of the American experiment.

I agree with Capo about feminism - it was sold to us like we were being liberated from something and should be grateful. My mother came from a farming community with lots of aunts and female cousins who could do just about anything. She made our clothes, she cooked amazing meals, she did odd jobs around the house. The word feminism threw her into a tizzy - she hated the idea and would often say through clenched teach, "I am NOT a feminist." Yet she is/was the strongest woman I have ever known. Something about the idea drove her crazy. She also said, "Men and women are different." Wise words, simply spoken. I have an old sepia photo of her grandmother (my great grand) and a bunch of the other farmers' wives hanging in my house. I look at the strength in their faces for consolation when I see evidence through the media (Oprah, Sex and the City, females fighting on the frontlines, Madonna, etc., etc.) that I am supposed to want to take on the cruder characteristics of masculinity. I can't help but think that my generation and those that came after were sold a rotten bill of goods.

Thank you Capo for acknowledging this truth that practically no woman speaks.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


Thanks for the further info on the Barnes controversy. I'll admit that I have mixed feelings, in that I do like the idea of more people being able to see the artwork. Still, it's fascinating to see that power mentality in action. No doubt some of the parties involved genuinely believe they're working for the public good, without having the slightest notion of what being a member of that public is actually like. Nor caring for the most part, I would imagine.

Paul Emmons,

Here in NJ, the former Garden State Arts Center became the PNC Bank Arts Center some years ago, and it was then "improved" to cut out cheap lawn seats, allow only certain vendors who jacked up their prices outrageously, and generally ruined as an outdoor venue.

Now that may seem like a minor thing in the general decline. But it's one of the ten thousand tiny little cuts that are bleeding our society dry, such as as the increasing amount of sheer rudeness, callousness, and crassness that we all see every day. It's pervasive, an overall feeling of fraying & disintegration, a grimy, sour pall that seeps in & irritates, coarsens, stains everything. And it takes a lot of energy to counter it, once you're aware of it, because it's a never-ending struggle.

For me, poetry, music, making art, Nature, and a wonderful wife & friends all help considerably -- in short, my effort to live an NMI life. I'm actually quite lucky that way. But for so many, it's not that easy. I can see how despair eats away at them.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

The reason the left fails to see this is because our side is deluged with postmodernist claptrap where it's unacceptable to point out a problem or criticize unethical or unintelligent behavior: such things are "putting people down" or "biased", you see.

I myself, for example, had to leave a group because of this. They made it a requirement that I not be so critical of American culture, else I would be considered "pathological" and not mentally healthy. I need to be more tolerant of our cultural intolerance and crudeness (I think I mentioned that something similar happened to that boy on the Internet who got obsessed with My Little Pony dolls; he was pressured to be more tolerant of violent movie culture and cruel schoolchild culture, but nobody was tolerant of HIS OWN desire to live in a world of peace and kindness).

It's basically a "two-facedness" or "doublethink" we suffer under, not just politically but in our PERSONAL lives as well.

Meanwhile, when the RIGHT speaks? They have legions of friends and defenders, people who boost their self-confidence and self-esteem and tell them they're being courageous and doing the right thing.

But on the left, if we criticize the right even mildly, we get blasted by the right AND BY OUR OWN SIDE, for being too "rude."

The Right gets to exhibit agency on the world and have confidence in their ideas and beliefs, while the Left isn't even allowed to PRESENT EVIDENCE in its own defense without jerks on the Left's own side attempting to pressure and browbeat them into mediocrity and conformity.

That's it in a nutshell, Morris Berman. It's no "great mystery" why the Left isn't able to see that the average American is as dumb as a stick. It's because we're defeated by our own niceness, pressured from the time we're schoolboys and schoolgirls to never demand that claims be based on evidence, never demand basic courtesy and civility from the people we have conversations with, never stand up for ourselves when we're mistreated, etc.

And this, I repeat, comes from our own side's solipsistic postmodernist "there is no such thing as truth" garbage as much as it does from the Right's "there is only our truth" garbage.


12:53 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Ha! Love the WAF "goodie bag" idea.

Anyway, today when I first woke up and started scanning the headlines, I was immediately reminded as I so often am of Robert Heinlein's 1959 "classic" military sci-fi novel, "Starship Troopers." I remember first reading the book back in those heady "peace dividend" days of the early-1990s and thinking that it's underlying message that the planet (read: America) needed to remain in a perpetual state of warfare with the rest of the galaxy (read: world) in order to be truly "safe," and thinking, "how trite."

Then, to my horror, during the very next decade Bush came along and it was like he had dug up Heinlein's body and appointed him SecDef (Rumsfeld even LOOKED a little like a reanimated corpse at times). Of course, the premise of "Starship Troopers" involves a 9/11-like attack that puts humanity on it's perpetual warfare footing, and I have this vision of Rumsfeld a Wolfowitz sitting around during quiet moments at the Pentagon reading passages from the novel to each other.

So now in the next decade, what had once been a radical redirection of American foreign policy by a bunch of crazoid neocons, based consciously or unconsciously on the writings of a man who among other things was an intimate of L. Ron Hubbard, has under Obama become the new normal as we apparently won't be satisfied until there are American troops traipsing across the landscape in just about every nation on earth, not to mention predator drones filling the skies everywhere:


"Obama Dispatches 100 US Troops To Niger To Support Predator Drone Base"

1:38 PM  
Anonymous TimR said...

Re conspiracy theory, it's an impossibly broad term to discuss without defining it first. IMO much of what's considered "conspiracy theory" is basically just stuff the major media outlets won't touch, and hence people who don't read (and research) think it's all baloney. Much "conspiracy theory" (aka reality, history, stuff that really happened) is well documented, sometimes even acknowledged in major newspapers and magazines, at least in fragmented details - but putting the facts together into a coherent narrative that contradicts the establishment worldview is never done, and any disturbing facts that do happen to come out are just a blip that quickly disappears down the memory hole.

As an example of a well documented (and far-reaching in its implications) "conspiracy theory", ellen brought up operation gladio in a previous thread, and I would just add that James Corbett of corbettreport.com is currently running a series of interviews with Sibel Edmonds on that subject - pt. 4 is up now, worth checking out if you suffer from Alan Moore's apparent delusion that conspiracy theories represent a naive search for order in a chaotic universe.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

It is true that we should not judge all Americans based on the actions and behaviors of individual Americans. Still yet, some things I read do not make sense to me, especially when Americans claim to be civilized people and highly developed civilization.
Why did this woman kill the three kids?

Who are their fathers and how come the fathers did not come out 6 months earlier looking for their kids? Do not tell me the kids fell from sky and therefore had no fathers. Let’s be real here: if she is crazy, how come she had three kids and made her pregnant? I have so many questions!

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- An Illinois woman believed to be the mother of two infants found dead in the trunk of an impounded car admitted Thursday to leaving another baby girl to freeze to death along a rural roadside nearly five years earlier.


2:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Oh, it's a whole lot more complicated than that. Fear of falling into empty space is much more relevant, for example.


Yes, Oprah is another example of a woman who has done incredible damage to this country, while the women (and men) she is damaging applaud wildly. In general, isms are such sad things; substitutes for thinking, really.


4:00 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

It's true that "conspiracy theories" have grown to mean anything not acknowledged by the mainsteam media. The bigger problem though is that the highly compartmentalized minds of the rank and file liberal is at this point incapable of touching anything that threatens the denial their furious mental compartment juggling is desperately trying to protect.

It's a hobby of mine to go to Huff Post once in a while and post something that can't be reconciled to the Republican or Democratic talking points (i.e.- the truth). A third of them will call me a teabagger counter-insurgent, a third will peg me as a friend of Bill and Hill still bitter about the 08 primary, and the other third will hit me with a tin foil hat barrage.

It's just a state of utter desperation...and cowardice. As easy a target as simple-minded conservatives are, it's the so-called sophisticated liberals who I find the most despicable and pathetic.

I don't know why I should feel as incredulous about it as I do at times. I've been trying since sixth grade, after all, to get someone to explain to me what the hell a liberal or moderate Christian is and how you get there. To no avail. I should have seen this state of affairs coming.

Dr. Berman- add some scantily-clad feminists manning juicers and I'm in. Nothing goes better with irreverent depression than a tall glass of nitrate-rich deli meat juice.

5:20 PM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

So, here's this:


Ugh. Is Worst Species or Most Destructive Species an official thing? I think we humans are winning that contest, hands down. At least us industrial capitalist humans. The new monastic orders will be very tiny indeed.

Tamara asked about a feminist/gender take on WAF. I haven't come across such a thing, but if anything, I not only think women are at least as dumb/clueless about these issues, I think they might be worse. (I am one and know many.)

Good luck finding a woman who can give WAF-type issues more than glancing notice. You might think that at least mothers would care about the future their kids will face, but no dice. From what I can tell they mostly just assume everything will be OK, and they think everything IS OK now. These concerns are not even on their radar.

BUT, women who care about clothes, makeup, home decor, and celebrity gossip are ten a penny. I know women who never, ever read anything they don't have to for school or work, but will readily get into an IN-DEPTH conversation about eyeshadow.

Which is not to say that the majority of men are much better. But where/when these issues are discussed, it is mostly men doing the discussing.

We are so, so screwed.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I've noticed that too; but when you eavesdrop on the men's discussions, you want to beat your head against a wall for 15 minutes just to calm down.


I doubt there's enuf urine in all of the US to thoroughly soak the shoes of all of its "progressives".
I keep saying: 315 million douche bags, and people think this is hyperbole, somehow.


7:05 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


Congratulations for signing your Chinese contract for WAF.


The West has now finally overcome the comical stage of its collapse, and, as of today, it has officially reached the farcical level:

“French President gets UNESCO peace prize”:

I realize that last year the European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize. But I say it’s about time that each and every dead or living individual Western European mass murderer is honored with his or her own custom-tailored peace prize. Next in line: Hitler.

Personally, I am grateful to the entire Western "developed" world for providing such high quality comic relief material during otherwise such dire times. Thank you, Europe. Thank you, America. You’re the best.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Berman,

You said "How is it that the 99% are persistently deluded by lofty speeches? Is there no point at which the "Left" will wake up?" With the way the system is the "Left" can't wake up. To be a politician on the national stage, especially president, means to be in the pocket of the corporate lobby. The GOP even made it so third party candidates couldn't participate in the debates. No one with an alternative vision for America even has a chance to get voted into public office, let alone a chance for the majority of Americans to hear their message. As your response to my previous question suggests, we are now tied to one coin until the bitter end.

Having seen the data from Guy Mcpherson and reading about a potential megadrought starting in the next eight years, I don't even think the race is close.(http://truth-out.org/news/item/14655-worse-drought-in-1000-years-could-begin-in-eight-years) Rome took 200-300 years to finally collapse; Guy Mcpherson says we have 20-30 years.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


When I refer to 'Left' or 'progressives', I'm not talking abt the national electoral level. The Left doesn't exist on that level. I'm talking about folks like those at The Nation, for example, or some of the 'progressive' websites. I say they are asleep because if u read those essays, they still believe in the American Dream (Geo Carlin said u hafta be asleep to believe it). They still believe in America, and they still believe that things can be turned around. None of them say: Game Over, hit the road. Oh no, not for a moment. Their denial, their belief that the Game is *not* over, is truly astonishing (to me, at least), and a testimony to how powerful the process of brainwashing is in this country. Obama can turn out to be a genocidal fascist; OWS can turn out to be a limp dick; things can get demonstrably worse by the day; but there they are, these wonderful progressives, w/their Plans for how we can save or reverse this or that. And when, 3.5 yrs from now, we're even deeper in the shit than we are now, they'll be telling us that Hillary is better than the other guy, so rally round! They'll still be crying "Democracy Now!", poor saps. So this is what I'm talking about when I say that there will never, ever, come a pt of enlightenment. There cd (and will) be a crash worse than 2008; we cd have martial law, w/a soldier on every streetcorner in every city; we cd have folks like me rounded up and sent to CMU's (political detention camps), or Guantanamo; we cd have innocent Muslims being tortured (well, we already do); and the Left will still be talking abt how we 'need' to do this or that. There will never--I repeat, never--come a day when they stop being chumps.


9:53 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

All right, it's just after midnight here, so I hope I'm not violating the one post a day rule, but I just had to respond to Daniel's post:

Two decades ago, I not only used to work in Rockford, Illinois (a depressed, rust belt hell hole even back then), but was actually employed in a job that required me to frequently visit public housing projects. Single women with three or four kids by different "baby daddies" were the norm rather than the exception in those places, and race wasn't even a factor as I saw white, black and Hispanic women all living in the same utter squalor (BTW- if you ever hear any idiot refer to a "welfare queen" and how great they have it on the public dole, do me a favor and punch them in their stupid face for me).

That's one of the big problems with mainstream liberals and progressives, especially the upper middle class types. Most of them have never deigned to observe first hand either the very real poverty in their own damn country or the very significant struggles of working class Americans to make ends meet on their increasingly meager paychecks (which is also why its so easy for the conservatives to use social issues and subtle racism to set those two groups against each other on election day).

BTW - that is one horrific story.

12:06 AM  
Blogger jml said...

Pink - I completely agree with you about females. It is nice to hear if from another female. I feel the same way about my gender as MB does about all of America. Although I have to say, I think the America propaganda machine hits females especially hard. All you have to do is stand in line at a grocery store to see this. In what sane society would you have the front pages of magazines revealing female celebrities' cellulite as if they have committed a huge crime and that this is something the public needs to know about? Or the endless covers of female celebrities in their bikinis proudly smiling because they have finally lost weight. I won't even mention the plethora of t.v. shows like Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, Cougartown, etc., etc. It's a major industry - turning American females into hysterical, childlike, embarrassing, worthless nincompoops. And I consider it completely tragic that so many women have fallen for it. (Sometimes thinking it's the same thing as "empowerment" a la Oprah) I have found it impossible to find smart women to talk to who have not been afflicted.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Your comments remind me of a New Yorker cartoon, ca. 1966, showing some wealthy folk sitting on the balcony of their hi-rise condo and looking down at the city going up in flames from urban riots. One guy says to another: "Me responsible for this? That's ridiculous; why, I've never even *been* in a ghetto!"


7:41 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I cannot disagree with MB. It is impossible to do so, given the situation which becomes worse and worse each day. Some of the horrors in the US are appearing in Europe. The UK govt, when it's not doing a Monica Lewinsky on the White House no matter the occupant, is winding up their assault on the poor while the economy goes belly up. The culprits in the UK are immigrants, muslims, other EU workers, the poor, the unemployed and the working poor. Not the banks, not the rotten parliament, not the complicit media, oh no!

Yet only a few in the US/UK will bail out to another country. What are they to do when they watch their country dismantled, as they become poorer and the population becomes stupider?

There has to be some action they can take. Apathy/ignorance/indifference only encourage the destroyers of your 'life, liberty, and happiness'. Such as is left to you.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

Dude and Dan-

I grew up in the LA inner city. The homicide rate there in the early 90's was supposedly twice that in Iraq this past decade during its most violent months.

Something about the inner city nurtures the wrong things in people. Your guard is up at all times and you learn how to be "hostile" w/o being too hostile (if that makes any sense) since you still have to interact w/ people.

Just to give you guys an idea of how bad life is in the inner city, I once had a therapist who grew up in the same neighborhood I did and then went on (incredibly) to Harvard and other universities. He told me that when you're in the inner city and you give explicit threats of violence, you're being "assertive." When you're out in the "real world," that same behavior comes across as aggressive.

I grew up in a real family w/ parents who had values, so in some ways I was spared the worst of it. Some of the other kids there, though, led some truly depraved lives.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Mr. Berman,

Congratulations on your Mandarin debut! What other languages have you published in?
Regarding your low oppinion of most lefties in the U.S. have you considered a public or at least printed debate/discussion with one of those optimists? The answer is probably "no", I'm sure, but it would be interesting to see how they would counter your evidence.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman, Daniel, Dude:

I used to post on this blog quite frequently – sometimes more often than I should have. It’s been a bit over a year since I got caught up in a local political struggle here in rural Iowa. By now, that would take a book to write about.

I have, however, been checking in on the blog all along – about three times a day (otherwise it’s hard to keep up with it).

Over a year ago I wrote in about a woman in Houston who beat her little girl to near-death, but nobody was interested in discussing what may have driven her to do such a thing.

Now that the subject has been broached again, I’ll suggest for a second time that WAFers take a look at Bertolt Brecht’s poem, “Concerning the Infanticide, Marie Farrar”. It contains the words:

‘But you, I beg you, check your wrath and scorn

For man needs help from every creature born.’

(Please note that the sexist language comes from the English translation, and is not present in the original German.)

One simple but overwhelming fact is that the ‘nuclear family’, which we tend to take as ‘normal’, is a bizarre anomaly in human history and prehistory.

I’ll try and chime in from time to time.

David Rosen

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Yesterday was the 70th Anniversary of Sophie Scholl. I wonder if we will ever see an American with such courage and strong principles. just a kid and had more balls in her pinkie than any clown farting behind a desk at 1600 or the Pentagon. 1000 Day of Bradley Manning in Prison. I bet ya there are Americans who think using current legal and national security rationales that Sophie Scholl and even Col Von Staufenberg were traitors. Its interesting that Reich Courts in Germany had a 90% conviction rate--federal prosecutors in U.S. A today 99%. Progress!

As for the Rockford Ill single mothers with kids of different sires, I can say that its tragic what they have chosen to do with thier lives. Welfare queens--well if you have spent time like I have in Chad, Bangladesh and CAR yes the mentality and actual life of the public housing dwellers in the U.S. will disgust you.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sheh-sheh (that's Thank You in Mandarin). WAF is also coming out in Korean. As for debates w/'progressives': hell, they could win and they'd still be wrong, really. As the Stones once put it: "Ti-i-i-ime is on my side; yes it is!"


Check out Elijah Anderson, "Code of the Street."


11:37 AM  
Anonymous Sali33 said...

@jml and Berman on Oprah and feminism:
I have noticed the trend on the self-destructive power garnered by the American women. When they become very wealthy, American women become destructive to themselves and to other people. Think about Martha Stewart. Think about the huge number of women in the US Congress since 2000. What have these women with power done for the society and for other mothers in the country? What have they done for wage equality, for healthcare reform, etc? In fact, as more and more women get into Congress, the more the country is going down fast. You would think that the large presence of women in power would make life better for Americans; you would think that all those women in power would change medical care and voting rights in America. On the contrary, things are going in the opposite direction. The women in Congress are busy amassing wealth as their male counterparts. It is the dictatorship of the proletariat against the proletariat.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hello Wafers,

Further evidence and examination of the moral, economic, social and political bankruptcy of the United States is found in Charlie LeDuff's new book, "Detroit: An American Autopsy." It is a grim look at a dying metropolis. Woven into the work is the real possibility that the tragedy of Detroit is only the beginning. I'm at the halfway point and as far as I can tell, it offers zero substantive solutions or redemption for Detroit or America in general. I think the author would be a good addition to the WCACR.

Dr. Berman-

More bad news on the Deli front:



12:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Welcome back! You've been missed.


1:13 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

MB- Perhaps the Left/progressive "chumps" are well enough funded by corporate sugar daddies that they don't want to get *too* outre... they yap, but they don't bite.

jml, pinkpearl- You two are like double agents or something, this is fascinating. Do you have any identifying markers so that I might distinguish your kind in future from the rest of your sex? I hope you're "babes" as well as being intelligent, just to know that's possible, since I don't have a GF and I was really hoping to find one with both those qualities....... Well I'd settle for a hot babe, to be honest, but it would be nice if she could talk about the collapse of empire from time to time, too. I'm sure this won't be difficult to find here in the good ol US of A, right? ... (Not that I can afford to be choosy, god knows I don't bring very much to the table - besides the horse pills.)

Dr. Hackenbush
(formerly TimR, I've been meaning to rechristen myself in honor of one of this blog's patron saints)

1:27 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

Dr. B.-

Thanks for the recommendation. Added it to my Amazon wish list.

I have a lot of reading to do this coming summer.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, horse pills are gd, I suppose. But in terms of setting up a Wafer dating service...now there's a thought. While we have very few women on the blog, I'm abs. sure they are

a) Interesting and intelligent
b) Babes.

Anyway, u made yr pitch; now let's see how yr love life progresses.


4:03 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


What you & others have mentioned about American women is one more indication of how something that began as something good was quickly co-opted & turned into something for profit. I welcomed feminism in the 1970s because it also offered the possibility of better models of manhood, something I thought this culture desperately needed (and still does).

But it didn't work out that way. As previous posters have noted, "the liberated woman" soon became a female version of the capitalist man. Once enough women had the approved mindset, they were welcome in places of power, since they not only helped perpetuate the same system, but gave it a feel-good, inclusive gloss.

The American model of an adult these days is a badass, hypersexualized, power-hungry, self-serving throat-cutter. And there's equal opportunity for all to embrace that model, too!

WAFers are rather like Ovid, only we don't have to be banished to the barbarian hinterlands, as we're already there now.

I do wonder about the paradox of body & sexuality in American culture. On one hand, we're drenched in those hypersexualized images. On the other hand, everyone is at the emotional level of an adolescent just hitting puberty (and that's being generous). Sexuality is reduced to physical sensation & immediate gratification; the really intimate experience of the body now seems found solely in torture & killing. Wilhelm Reich, thou shouldst be living at this hour!

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

Thanks for the information on Romania. Very interesting. When you mentioned that the factories were dismantled and sold piece by piece, I wonder if this could have been an effect of the global "race to the bottom" for cheaper wages/production that has left abandoned factories in the American rust belt to decay? Maybe Romania wasn't cheap enough for global corporations? Maybe it was better that they were dismantled rather than left abandoned like the factories of Gary, Detroit, etc?
While I'm not from L.A (I'm originally from KY), I was homeless for a short period in L.A. in '04, and lived in L.A./Long Beach from '04-'12. I was involved in AA and familiar with recovery/rehab/etc. during that time, and I saw firsthand the horrors the US and the American system perpetuates on its underclass. There is really no limit to the sad hopelessness of the situation and the social maladjustment of the situation. It really is an inhumane meatgrinder void of any hope. Coming from KY, I could see that "ghetto" and "redneck" are really just flip sides of the same coin, just slightly different expressions of the same social ills of poverty, ignorance, and violence. As for 12-step based recovery, the US is unique among the "developed" world in depending almost exclusively on this unproven placebo of a cult for drug/alcohol recovery. All of the scientifically valid studies have shown that AA is no more effective than no treatment, or even worse, which is why drug/alcohol treatment programs in other countries are based on scientifically proven therapies rather than 12-step. Of course, considering the US affinity for evangelical fundamentalism, you understand why a "higher powered" God-based pseudo cult would be popular, but the damage it inflicts on people is tangible, nonetheless.
As to the discussion on "'-isms", it does seem to be the politically correct fashion to focus and emphasize differences between groups, but I have to agree with those posting here that the similarities outweigh the differences. I did my undergrad at an urban Cal State campus, and studying ethnocultural differences in everything under the sun was all the rage in my Psych dept, but it all pretty much bored me...
In regards to the differences between the "left" and the right in American politics, it helps me to understand where they're coming from by realizing that both sides are saturated and permeated by underlying intense fear that their way of life is coming to an end (which it definitely is). The fear then gets directed at each other in the increasingly vicious arguments (right vs. "left"), but the basis of the fear is the same, and it explains a lot of the irrationality and insanity of both sides of American politics.
Last, I'm so despondent that even the Amish now have joined the hustling culture. It seems that their avoidance of electricity is now just a mere technicality to work around. Does anyone know their logic behind what is or is not a permissible technology? Do they understand that vast amounts of electricity is required to move natural gas through pipelines to their homes and businesses or to operate pneumatic appliances?

4:45 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

As a result of discovering WAF, I’m now in the process of reading all of Dr. B’s books. In Twilight of American Culture I came across his very discouraging experiences at the Alt. U. “distance learning” institution. [TAC p. 123 et seq.]
And then shortly afterwards, I stumbled across this.

Jack Welch of GE infamy now has his own online MBA program through the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer “University”. For only $32,000 you too can be a Master of the Universe. http://jackwelch.strayer.edu/admissions/tuition. Oh, and they do stress the “value” of having a degree with that Jack Welch name on it. Sort of like Grey Poupon.

This whole commoditization of everything seems to have much in common with those knock-off Rolexes and Gucci bags they sell here in New York in Chinatown. Hey, if it looks the same as the real thing, . . . ? And like our hardy street vendors, Jack Welch emphasizes how much cheaper his degree is than one you get at a place with tables and chairs and classrooms and libraries and stuff. Although I’m sure he’s much more academically rigorous than Alt. U. was, because with his $700 million, it’s not about more money, it’s about helping people. If it was about the money that would make him some sort of sociopath or something. Like Edward G. Robinson in Key Largo wanting “More”.

I assume we can look forward next to the Bernie Madoff Shell Game Center at Kaplan University [the dba name of College Acquisition Corporation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaplan_University] which will offer appropriate “distance learning” in the manipulation of peas, walnut shells, and the books.

Strayer “University” itself is an outgrowth of the old Strayer Business College which taught secretaries, and farm boys aspiring to city life, business skills such as stenography, typing and filing. It was originally started in Baltimore around the turn of the century, but later opened a branch in Washington, D.C. It used to be near my office in D.C. which is how I know some of this. I got curious walking by one day because although it said “College” on the outside, it didn’t look like a “College”. It looked like a secretarial school.

Anyway, sometime in the 30’s they got the right to grant accounting degrees. Which turned out to be perfect for the needs of J. Edgar Hoover who had put in a requirement that all his agents had to have either law or accounting degrees. A LOT of agents made their degree bones at Strayer which had some sort of deal with the FBI. J. Edgar was a man of vision, far ahead of his time, in seeing the “value” of a degree, especially in explaining to Congress why you needed ever more money for your department of “highly trained” law enforcers. Plus ca change, etc.

We seem to be headed for the world in Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Player Piano where everyone has a graduate degree but doesn’t actually know how to do anything. Which Vonnegut said was based on his own experiences while employed at (gasp) GE! Where Jack Welch was President! OMG, the circle closes!

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


Dismantling of industry in Romania after 1989 also took place in Russia and other Eastern European countries. Instead of receiving support in their transitions, those countries were viciously assaulted by the WorldBank/IMF/US embassy and the corrupt Western corporations they have in tow. These corporations and the WorldBank/IMF/US embassy corrupted the political process, supported the most retrograde local politicians in order to literally plunder anything that had even minute value. It goes under the guise of “privatization.” Multi-billion dollar plants were sold for scrap of for brick value, railroads sold for scrap iron, millions became unemployed. Vast oil and gas resources were sold for peanuts. Naomi Klein described this in her book Shock Doctrine.

This is not the first time that Romania went through this. Between WW1 and WW2 a similar situation existed, with Western monopolies having accomplished the same. The saying back then was, “the foreigners stole our country”. Similar to the Weimar Republic. That is what brought about the communist revolutions in 1945. Fortunately, Romanian politicians are afraid of the people (Ceausescu was shot, after all), and now that the West is collapsing, they are distancing from neoliberal policies, I think more of fear of another revolution. Right now the country reneged on buying fighter jets and drones from the US, and has denied IMF’s pressure to privatize its health care system and a few remaining Communist era factories. The US embassy is also losing its influence.

The West really only understands corruption, theft, murder, and lies. It is incorrigible, so it will have to collapse. And Karma has its wonderful ways. We now see the same policies being imposed in the US, UK, Greece, Spain, Italy, and soon they will begin in the core of Europe. Detroit is a sign of things to come to the whole of America. The capitalism these corrupt nations love so much will devour them alive. I say, “Bon Apetit mon ami capitaliste”.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Reader said...

MB, apparently my first post didn't post ... here it is again.

Jml said, “I have found it impossible to find smart women to talk to who have not been afflicted.”

That is quite a blanketed statement, whereas, either you or pinkpearl must be a Wafer imposter, since, by your simplistic reasoning, there can’t be two of you.

As a woman, I find just the opposite. The handful of people (small, I admit) that I can have a real, in-depth conversation with are women. Enlightened women bring a thread of empathic truth and wisdom to the conversation, which I do not experience with the men. It is my opinion that women who choose to know the truth can more easily cut through and recognize the crap and lies because we have less to lose, as we are already a sexualized and oppressed group. In other words, intelligent women who understand and experience truth, also have an intrinsic understanding of the inter-relatedness of social and political history to racism and sexism, both of which must exist in order for capitalism/plutocracy/corpocracy to flourish. What better way to keep women down than to sexualize us and to pit us woman against woman; just another arm of the divide and conquer mentality. Intelligent and enlightened women have moved beyond a blind acceptance of the traditional male definition of women (read above, we are still open season from both sexes, being reduced to sexual jokes and belittlement … and even this blog is not above it). Men and women on the so-called left are just as guilty as the blatant men and women on the right, when it comes to mysogyny; it’s as intrinsic as racism in American society and it will continue to be a fact that some, even those who consider themselves enlightened, will abuse the oppressed in order to delude themselves of their own oppression, hopelessness, or fears.


This is not the first thread in this blog where I have seen woman-bashing comments pop up, which just indicate that some Wafers are still in diapers. Thank you for at least clarifying the truth about one item. The welfare queen was a manufactured myth during the Reagan era. I’m surprised to find bloggers here spewing right-wing, mythical, propaganda, well, actually, no I am not.



6:33 PM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...


Identifying markers? Hmmm... having our noses stuck in a book that isn't Fifty Shades or Eat Pray Love? Possibly even WAF or DAA?

This almost worked for me once. I was on the subway, reading Peck's Oprah book and a cute guy was sitting near me reading Lasch's narcissism book. We caught each other eyeing the books, then joked about how those two books would have a lot to say to each other, and then somehow we got on to David Harvey. And then it was his stop, and that was that. Sigh.

But books can be deceiving. Two of the eyeshadow-enthusiasts in my current circle of acquaintance - one has a degree in art history and the other has - I sh1t you not - a master's in International Relations from the LSE. They must have read some books sometime, but you'd never know it. They will however have a lot to say about the red carpet fashions at the Oscars.

Good luck out there!


Just today I found a milk crate full of books on the sidewalk, put out as a giveaway (happens all the time in my neighbourhood). Of course I had a look-see. I found Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth. Remember that one? It was HUGE at the time. I remember young women talking about it a lot, and going without make-up etc as a result.

I don't think the whippersnappers today would really get what TBM was even about. Their role models really are the women from SATC and Real Housewives. And the girls are into those g-d Twilight books. (Including my niece. I really had to bite my tongue when she brought it up.)

It's a mess and MB is right, there is nothing to be done. There just aren't enough people *thinking* about this stuff, never mind agreeing with us WAFers.

Oh! I got another one for you all! It came out that a very senior boss in my workplace, a supposedly well-educated person, believes that the inflation rate is set in advance. (She asked an employee to find out what it would be for the next couple years.) I mean... I can't even... I give up.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I remember how shocked I was when David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, endorsed the invasion of Iraq in 2003. I realized then that everyone can be cowed, even folks who ought to know better. The idea is to stay on the gd side of the govt, so as to show that u.r. still a 'player'--even if it means endorsing genocide and corporate plutocracy. I cd be wrong, but I don't remember Remnick ever apologizing to his readers for doing such a shameful thing. Now I learn that in response to the recent Obama SOTU address, Remnick referred to the performance as "Barack Obama without apology--a liberal emboldened by political victory and a desire to enter the history books with a progressive agenda." How amazing this is, and confirmation of my argument that in the US, even the very smart are dumb, and 'progressives' the most deluded of all. Remnick actually thinks words are important; that just saying something makes it so. The fact that Obama spent 4 yrs giving lofty speeches and then doing the opposite--this means nothing to him. No understanding of the kind provided by Shamus Cooke in this post (see the link); no recognition of the fact that Obama never once referred to the social and economic inequality that increases every day, and is pulling the country into the ditch. Commenting on this in The Nation (Feb. 25), Eric Alterman adds that household income in 2011 fell to its lowest level in 16 yrs, while the gap between rich and poor is larger than it's been in the past 40. And that under Obama, "corporate profits rose to their biggest share of the national income in 70 yrs, [while] workers' wages fell to their smallest share in the same period."
Some 'progressive agenda'. And then, when things are appreciably worse in 2016 (and you can bet on it), will Remnick and other 'liberals' say, "Well, gee, I guess we were fooled"? No way Jose! Instead, it'll be: "Hillary's acceptance speech shows that she is going to move the nation in a progressive direction." Over and over again, I keep telling u folks that these people will never, ever wake up.

Yes, the New Yorker.


7:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Hell, woman, why didn't you tell him that was your stop too, and get off, suggest coffee etc.? I mean, I can't imagine David Harvey is responsible for getting a lot of people laid, but it was certainly worth a shot, no?

I remember some short story Woody Allen did yrs ago, sending up his own dating pattern, in which he gets excited because he finds some woman sitting on a park bench in Washington Square, wearing boots, dressed in black, and reading Sartre. Ha ha. This must have been around 1962. 50 yrs later she's dressed like Kim Kardashian and rdg EatPrayLove. *There is no hope*--engrave that on yr brain.


8:06 PM  
Anonymous Michael Sosebee said...

I like your idea MB of having lectures where all of the lecturers attempt to out-depress each other. I did a film about that exact lecture starring Dr. Guy McPherson James Howard Kunstler and Chris Hedges named "Somewhere In New Mexico Before The End Of Time", I also found some amazing small tribal communities living off-grid. How long will they allow us to get away with that? Here's a link to a preview of my film. I'm releasing it on DVD next month. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ZsPqtWfIQoQ

8:10 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Dear Dr. B,
Read your link to The Productive Narcissist. As your resident narcissism expert - based not on education but rather on-the-job experience with my text-book case mother - all I can say is OMG!

Anyone who would suggest that narcissists - soul-sucking vampires – can offer a positive leadership model has to be certifiably insane or, more than likely, a narcissist himself. Narcissists and psychopaths (some claim they’re interchangeable) are already running the show and one of the reasons we’re going down the tubes at breakneck speed.

On another note, I’m not sure why anyone would expect that women CEOs, politicians, etc., would be any more caring, aware or sensitive than their male counterparts. For a woman to make it in a man’s world means she has to be even more male-like (in the dysfunctional sense) than the men…unconscious maleness on steroids…and this means being even more psychopathic than the run-of-the-mill psychopaths that rule the world.

What possible role-model of femininity are woman like Margaret Thatcher, Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Condi Rice, Pelosi, Feinstein, Palin, etc.? And even if they come in with good intentions, they’re going to be corrupted or out on their butts. The entire system is contaminated and infectious. As far as I can see, instead of bringing in the yin side of the equation, most women in power morph into yang-yang.


8:57 PM  
Anonymous Charlie said...

Berman stated: I remember how shocked I was when David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, endorsed the invasion of Iraq in 2003. I realized then that everyone can be cowed, even folks who ought to know better.

Did you notice that since 2001 when Bush and neocons started killing and torturing people, America has never been the same again. Every day, somebody is out there in America killing people. The media publicize the big ones like 1) the guy killed in a theater in Aurora, 2) the other guy killed in a school in Connecticut, but there are hundreds of other killings in America per day. In Chicago in one weekend, more than 40 people were killed. Kill, kill, and kill is the mindset and answer to everything under the sun.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't know the link yr referring to, but then I'm getting fairly brain-dead in my old age. As far as the yin-yang thing goes, perhaps it's something like this: Archetypally speaking, women stand for nurturing, and men for competition/achievement. The American system is (again, archetypally) a male value system, so as you say, in order for women to be players in it, they have to essentially become men. These are what Thatcher et al. are, and hence no less destructive than male politicians. During her 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary hired as her political adviser a guy named Mark Penn, who had been CEO of Burson-Marsteller, and had advised the military junta in Argentina. The firm did PR to cover up the junta's human rights violations (savagery and torture that was among the worst in the world). This didn't bother Hillary in the slightest. (This is also why focusing on male vs. female in the literal sense is pointless; men can, in fact, have female values.) But there is no way of getting Female nurturing values into a culture that's been hustling for more than 400 years. In fact, one cd look at the alternative tradn I identify in WAF as archetypally female, and it was never able to get a voice--which is why America failed. And I doubt there's very much chance at this late date that we are going to switch value systems. In fact, the country is getting more Male, more aggressive and oppressive, and this is why I keep saying that the way out is thru: we have to push this Male model to the pt of collapse, after wh/the Female model might start to look a bit more attractive. Which brings me to


Thanks for the link, and please remind Wafers abt the DVD when it's available. I like your ref, in particular, to the transition movement. I call this the Dual Process: alternatives springing up as capitalism disintegrates. This is really our only (long-range) hope. Spain, suffering badly from capitalism and austerity measures, now has no less than 325 such alternative expts going on, plus strong secessionist movements in the Basque region and Catalonia. Be sure also to check out my friend Joel Magnuson's forthcoming bk, "The Approaching Great Transformation," which is gd theoretically plus gives some details of alternative expts in the US. Good stuff, amigo, and thanks for clueing us in! Which brings me to

Wafers! Pls check out


It has some problems, as it sees the collapse strictly in economic terms, which is far too narrow an analysis. (It also fails to realize that actual unemployment, rt now, is 18%.) As a result, it overlooks at least three crucial facts:

1. Most Americans are complete morons. They have shit for brains. Never forget this, because this is abs. crucial to the collapse. In a baroque way, Kim Kardashian is on our side.

2. The upper 1% are sociopaths. These are vampires, not well-intentioned statesmen or captains of industry. As Geo Carlin liked to say, "They don't give a fuck about you." In a word, what's happening is personal, not just structural.

3. Eventual riots in the streets (absolutely inevitable) will be gunned down by the US military, who will be only too happy to murder civilians in cold blood in the name of Law and Order.

I also recommend





10:22 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Greetings all,

At first I thought I would add to this thread, but decided otherwise after reading littlebro's entry and Dr. B's on why the left is moribund. I could have embellished on their contributions but figured what the heck. They pretty much captured the essence of what I might have offered -- only with more verve.

After reading down a little further in the thread I rethought my premise -- there might be something I could offer for everyone's edification.

The quotes below were made back in the early 80's in South Dakota, in what was dubbed as a "Survival Gathering" -- they come from a speech that was given at that event by John Trudell.

He made some very prescient observations, one in which he stated, and I paraphrase...
"There is a new Indian this time, and the new Indian is white -- they don't need you anymore..." and he went on to explain how the Euro-American was going to be undercut by an new economic order which later would become known as globalization, outsourcing etc.

The excerpts below are from that same speech -- I think they relate to what what was offered in this post and expressed in this thread -- it confronts the nature of identity politics to confuse and distract. It too goes to the heart of why the left is inept because of the shallowness of its analysis -- because of a failure to think -- to recognize that the game is over, and to plan accordingly.

"...We must not become confused and deceived by their illusions. There is no such thing as military power; there is only military terrorism...That is all that it is. They try to program our minds and fool us with these illusions so that we will believe that they hold the power in their hands...All they know how to do is act in a repressive, brutal way...They want us to believe in them and depend on them, and we have to assume these consumer identities, and these political identities, these religious identities and these racial identities . They want to separate us from our power...from who we are...

"We must move to the time when we truly understand our connection to real power because these people who deal with illusions and imitations...they want to keep us confused with sexism and ageism, racism, class. They want to keep us in a confusion so that [we] will continue to believe in one lie after another as they programmed them into our minds and into our society...The ruling class...are going to lie to us and they are going to create the illusions of change...

"We have to understand our role as a Natural Power. We have to understand that when our oppressor treats us this way and does these things to us, that we allow him to do it as long as we accept his lies...We have been allowing it for too long... "

And yes,the left has accepted those lies and functions within that framework.

Again for those of you who have read this far I offer another video of interest -- it isn't long, 6 or 7 mins of your time. It is from a 2003 interview with JT, this segment of the interview is entitled: The Futuristic Police State check it out here:

10:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


What happens on the outside eventually happens on the inside, because the mindset is contagious. This is inevitable, and it's what's happening today. For a helpful illustration, check out Goya's "Saturno devorando a su hijo":



10:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Re: identity politics: it really is a red herring, imo. As John Cassidy once observed, "one of the advantages of emphasizing civil rights is that it doesn't cost any money." This is spot-on. Sometimes I'll give a lecture and someone will say, "But what abt civil rts? What about the women's movement? Look at all that positive social change!" And I say, "True, but altering the color or gender of those in power, or those w/money, doesn't change the structure of power in America. It does nothing to alter US foreign or domestic policy. If a woman breaks the 'glass ceiling' at Goldman Sachs, so what? It's still Goldman Sachs. A black war criminal (Powell, Rice) is still a war criminal allowing the American military to murder people of color in the Middle East. Identity politics is finally a shuck." This doesn't make them happy, esp. if they are 'progressives', because that means they can only think in formulas.

Game Over
Game Over
(say it with me)
Game Over!


12:02 AM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Why is it that the women who most readily identify themselves as feminists are also the ones who project the greatest amount of helplessness? How enlightened or in touch with the truth is a woman who is repressed by a joke that speaks to men's simple, visceral nature in matters of attraction? Women could have turned the tables on men long ago (and we would all be better off for it), but they didn't want the responsibility. So, there's plenty of culpability to go around now. Isn't equality grand?

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

MB, Sarasvati,

Re. the missing nurturing mother archetype. You could say that America’s “Anima” archetype is a primitive one, possibly only at the “Eve” or “Helen” levels (as per Jungian psychology). The primitive Animas can actually accommodate a female war criminal like Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, or Madeleine Albright. Nonetheless, the lack of a nurturing mother archetype (“Mary” and “Sophia” levels) from the American psyche is likely a major factor why this society is now disintegrating socially and psychologically. This is likely the root cause for this out of control militarism and violence. Of course, such societies collapse quickly, the way Nazi Germany did.

David Rosen,

The nuclear family is another capitalism-related anomaly that America embraced and blew out of proportions. The clan-style extended families which prevail across most of the world (except for North America and Western Europe) are much healthier to children development. Another reason why parents should immediately emigrate, before they lose their kids to this crazy "society."


Try to secretly give your friends copies of MB’s books. My wife, despite being a highly intelligent doctor, was not interested in WAFer issues. But 6 months ago I inadvertently changed the homepage of our internet browser to AlterNet.org (I know, a progressive site), so now she reads articles there every day. I am glad to report that today she is better informed about WAFer matters than anybody I know, and is now ready to read DAA and WAF. As an added benefit, before she still clung to parts of the American Dream, but now she can’t wait for us to get the hell out of the country.

5:28 AM  
Blogger jml said...

Reader - I am not a WAFer impostor - I don't think my "blanketed" statement is all that different from MB saying that he left the U.S. b/c he couldn't find anyone to talk to.

The "affliction" that I speak of was not a misogynist put down of "Woman" - it referred to the disastrous/tragic effects of the consumer/beauty/advertising/entertainment industries on female consciousness. It's very difficult to overcome and see through and many women don't or aren't able to.

I am critiquing the culture, not broadly putting down those humans who happen to be anatomically female.

I can't help but wonder if your insistence that women are an oppressed group is obsolete. Today, more women than men graduate from college, women can fight on the front lines with men, our previous secretary of state was a woman, three supreme court justices are women as are countless doctors, CEO's, lawyers, etc. The 2012 election saw a record number of women being elected senators. In the current economy, many women make more money than their husbands/partners.

Why is that someone can critique the lame-brainedness of men who are obsessed with sports and Monday night football without being accused of hating all men and the very essence of Manhood? Yet, the minute someone critiques women for being obsessed with things that are just as stupid - like eyeshadow and Beverly Hills Housewives - that person gets called a misogynist?

8:18 AM  
Anonymous gloom n' doom said...

I'll be damned!. A huge ray of light has come into my life. I ain't so gloomy any more because there are so many geniuses on this blog to explain and enlighten me on what the hell is happening to us humans.

This is a large problem though when you are NOT a genius too. It is hard to participate in a meaningful way and thus I careen back into the depths.

It doesn't matter I guess because I have discovered, today, life may be worth living after all is said and done.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

Sarasvati stated: I’m not sure why anyone would expect that women CEOs, politicians, etc., would be any more caring, aware or sensitive than their male counterparts. For a woman to make it in a man’s world means she has to be even more male-like (in the dysfunctional sense) than the men

A little history and slight familiarity with the lives and works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Rachel Cason would have informed you "why anyone would expect that women would be more caring". Women suffered greatly in the past in America. They had to fight to be included in schooling and leadership in the country. Therefore, they should naturally understand what it means to be excluded from the economic and political sections of the country. American women have gained a lot and much is expected from those given much. Oh well, much was also given to the American people by those colonists who died to free America from the British rule; if America is now much worse than the British Empire in colonization, militarism, and murder, why should the American women be any different? You are right that I should not expect anything different than what we get today since apples do not grow in mango trees.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

MB -
You took the words right out of my mouth re: identity politics/-isms. During the '08 campaign, I remember all the rhetoric how Obama was supposed to be such a vastly different president because he was of color, had an immigrant father, had lived overseas, then, bingo, same ole , same ole. I remember some unenlightened family member saying something like, "he'll be all for the blacks" and my response was that no other president could afford to ignore the black community more. Indeed, he has to ignore the black community or face allegations of bias. Just his very being is enough for the black community, save some mild chastising by the congressional black caucus. Maybe there are some fringe radical black groups off the radar speaking up...
Anyway, I'm just so excited to be able to actually vote for someone who might help bring about end of empire: Rand Paul! He could go a long way if he doesn't sell out. Man, I'm soon campaigning for this man if he runs for pres! Default would be guaranteed! And he might be enough for Vermont to set off a secession wave, all with Rand's support. Exciting!
As for that Reader chick, WAFers impress me as the type to urinate on shoes, not in diapers. WAFers seem way too grounded for something so bizarre as a diaper fetish, but hey, you never know...
BTW, have the buffoon posts slowed/stopped?

10:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Of course yr a genius! All Wafers, by definition, are. Well, most, anyways. And since they have managed to find a place where they can talk to other geniuses--a place that is dolt-free, in short, wh/is no small accomplishment in the US--they are happy! So don't worry, be happy.


12:29 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...


re: radical black groups critical of Obama. Check out this site: http://www.blackagendareport.com/

This blog is like some kind of addiction. I need to get back to grading papers...

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


We get all bent out of shape by stories of child abuse, but bringing children up in ‘God’s own country’ is itself a serious form of abuse – sort of like a slow-motion lobotomy.

While teaching English to international students at Texas A&M University eight or so years ago, one of my West African students told me that his sister had just died. When I talked to him about it later, he said that she had several small children, so I asked him what would happen to them and where they would go to live. He seemed to regard it as a silly question, and replied that they would stay right where they were – in a house with a grandmother, two aunts, and a number of cousins. It was clear that his idea of a ‘family’ was quite different from ours.

Back in the 70’s I remember hearing Margaret Meade commenting that the nuclear family causes American children to live in a subconscious terror of something happening to their parents.

This reminds me of a bit from Brecht’s 1937 play, “The Exception and the Rule” that goes:

“Let nothing be called natural
In an age of bloody confusion…
And dehumanized humanity, lest all things
Be held unalterable!”

For the word ‘natural’ we can substitute ‘normal’, or for that matter, ‘human nature’.

David Rosen

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Re: Alan Moore -- Please read the quote again. He does not deny the existence of conspiracies. He denies that any of them are in control of the world. (And if you watch the documentary for context, he says he was learning specifically about the activities of the CIA for a project he was asked to do.)

The "Gladio B" stuff is not surprising. The original Operation Gladio was about ginning up "Leftist" terrorism when so-called Socialism was the enemy, to keep European countries like Italy in the so-called Capitalist camp. So now that they have a new enemy they are running a new operation to gin up "Islamic" terrorism. This is just the bureaucratic complement/equivalent of those mullahs who try to provoke crowds to attack US Embassies after some odd video that somehow "insults" Islam is posted on Youtube. There are elements on both sides who want to stir up conflict, for some purpose of their own.

The main lesson of this, I guess, is that you can't have a world without conspiracies. Too many people want to control events to suit their own plans and goals, so there will always be someone trying to do so, even if it is ultimately hopeless. The world is just too complex to fully control.

Lord Acton's comment on power seems to hold true at all levels. Power corrupts, and in proportion or scale to how much is held. In yet another example of the complete sickness and corruption eating US society, a story has appeared about people at homeless shelters being abused and exploited by the staff supposed to be "helping" them. Some of them think that the homeless/helpless women who show up are available for their own picking and choosing, for example.

Alternet: I Went Undercover at a Homeless Shelter -- You Wouldn't Believe the Shocking Abuses I Found There

Renee Miller was sexually propositioned by a staff member immediately upon arrival, and that was just the beginning.


1:56 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

mb said: "True, but altering the color or gender of those in power, or those w/money, doesn't change the structure of power in America. It does nothing to alter US foreign or domestic policy. If a woman breaks the 'glass ceiling' at Goldman Sachs, so what? It's still Goldman Sachs. A black war criminal (Powell, Rice) is still a war criminal allowing the American military to murder people of color in the Middle East. Identity politics is finally a shuck."

And in a story just published yesterday, we can all revel in the glorious fact that it is a woman rather than some grey-haired old white male who as CEO is getting paid many millions to finish off the walking corpse that is the Yahoo corporation:


This is sure to end as just as well as when Citigroup's stock price dropped over 90% under the "leadership" of Indian-born CEO Vikam Pandit, and the bank had to be bailed out by the U.S. taxpayers under the hideous TARP law in order to avoid bankruptcy. MB is absolutely right in saying that when it comes to the 1% and their enablers, the color of their skin, gender, religion or even their sexual orientation mean absolutely nothing in terms of those jackals having any empathy whatsoever for the rest of us.

2:02 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Hi WAFers,

Thanks very much to all for this exchange: input, advice, feedback.

Desperately trying to teach others (without coming across as a nut case), especially family members about what the deal is before I emigrate. Sadly, I am not very convincing (well, my sister may be agreeable to getting passports for her young children and her husband).

Thanks for all these videos recommendations. I think they are useful: ie., potential guides & signposts that can help myself and others find a lexicon or a "new" vocabulary for disaster: ie., to be able to speak as a "native" in the (developing) vernacular of "catastrophism" (that MB refers to in his essay on the Hula Hoop Theory of History).

(and must say: nice work here from Michael Sosebee; look forward to seeing the finished version).

I say "thank you" to all you WAFers because, for me, I don't seem to be able to get the message across to friends or family right now. This blog does help and gives me "hope" that we can acquire some kind of "didactic" skill, ie., specific pedagogical tools and a skill set that I can use to help others needing and seeking (NOW!) answers (albeit, we are speaking about those capable of accepting certain "teachable moments", ie., they really want to have the CRE procedure done ASAP, even if it requires a crowbar).

Finally, here's another not-to-miss piece over at Counterpunch (ie., something else for the proverbial toolbox and "future" reference as we try to connect-the-dots):


Check out the 2nd para., Wafers will appreciate this:

"The pathology of the processed food industry is that rather than earning a reasonable living by selling healthy nourishment, they HUSTLE[*] for hyper maximized profits by selling taste addictions as stealth wrappers around food-like media whose consequences of consumption they externalize as our costs in obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, strokes, cancers, and an explosion of health care costs sapping the national economy.

[*] emphasis added, albeit a WAFer-like emphasis, made in good faith.(Ie., if you don't "get it", the emphasis that is, then READ the author's work, or do a little research. Of course, if you are here on this blog as a "troll" then you are a buffoon, and won't really "get it". In which case, and you are already "done for" ("troll" should be included in that list of more than 200 American English words that refer to a swindle).

2:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Trying to persuade others of the Waferian viewpt is a gd way to enervate yrself. Why bother, really? It's *your* life that finally counts, not theirs; and the chances that your friends and family have their heads rammed up their rear ends and are rolling around like doughnuts are very high (you know this). Impt thing is to get out, whether they understand u or not.


Not to worry; I'm working on a scheme whereby you can obtain the blog in liquid form. All u need is a syringe and a piece of rubber tubing, and you'll be gd to go.


2:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

As for the current state of feminism:



2:33 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Berman,

The only thing I can think of as to why the "Left" and progressives deny reality is to try and gain readership. Maybe they believe if they put a happy spin on their story at the end more people will see it and the message will spread. You personally know Chris Hedges; why do you think he says the problems can be fixed at the end of his articles? Has he really been "brainwashed" by the culture of America? Is it that he can only see so much of the truth? Or is it that he, and other writers of his ilk, have become attached to the idea of America? Which, is of course, now only a sad joke.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

I think a lot of traditional leftists are still in the "blows against the empire" mode of thought, with the idea that if you just galvanize enough people with The Truth, they'll rise up against the oppressors & institute a new utopian society. And I'll be the first to admit that I wish it really could be that way.

But it's not, and it won't.

The oppression today is more of a sickly-sweet miasma of promises & illusions we ingest at every moment. We're bathed, immersed, marinated in it. And more importantly, it's one we willingly embrace, even when we tell ourselves that we're oh so very hip to what's going on. Self-aware irony is a great way of living with cognitive dissonance!

Note that I'm not excluding myself. Everyone here has experienced the same constant battle to tune out the negative culture & realize when it's starting to seep into our brains again. That's one reason this blog is so vital. Just knowing that you're not the only one who sees that there's something terribly wrong helps!

I do agree that what are usually defined as female values are sorely lacking in this culture, denigrated & dismissed whenever possible. And even the portions that are admitted, such as nurturing, are marketed & made into mawkish, maudlin caricatures of their full potential.

At the same time, only certain masculine values are promoted, ie.e., the most adolescent & low-IQ ones. In both cases, men & women are encouraged & molded to be cartoons at best, paper-thin mockeries of what they could be in a truly civilized society.

And the problem with trying to discuss this with most people is that they're in the black/white, all/nothing mode of thinking -- if "thinking" is the right word. It's more like a laundry list of superficial responsive defaults that require no real thought at all. Thus even genuine issues such as race, gender, etc., are reduced to catchphrases, either pro or con. W spoke for all America when he said, "I don't do nuance."

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Sophie Scholl, Jesse's Cafe Americaine has a nice article up with translations of some of her leaflets opposing the Nazis to mark the 70th anniversary of her execution. Strong words, from a very courageous person. http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2013/02/on-anniversary-of-death-of-sophie.html

4:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I probably shouldn't try to speak for Chris, but I do know he is a person of great integrity, and wd not be saying anything he didn't really believe, certainly not for the sake of book sales. But I think in general it is really difficult to let go of America, for a variety of reasons, and therefore hard to not keep insisting, in the teeth of reality, that things can be turned around.

It may (again, in general) be a question of how one feels about death. For many on the left, if America dies, the fear is: What else is there? My own approach is, Hey, everything dies, including civilizations; that's just the way it is. We cd possibly go into a black hole, or in the long run we might witness the slow growth of a post-capitalist civilization. Frankly, I think the latter option is extremely likely, but I don't think it's going to happen on American soil. We're too blind, too insistent on our own way of life; there's just no flexibility in the system, as there might be in Europe, say, or Japan. We were fools, really: we squashed all the alternatives from the 17C on, and the price of that is collapse (not transformation). That's why WAF has no happy ending--for America, at least.

On some level, I suspect Chris does know it's Game Over, but that he feels morally committed to fight the gd fight. Which is admirable, esp. from the pt of view of leaving a record of how America fucked up. (E.g., if he wins the NDAA lawsuit, it won't matter, because the govt will ignore the law and continue to assassinate US citizens—as apparently has been going on even during the injunction of Justice Katherine Forrest--but then Chris will report on *that*, etc.)
But here are some diffs that might obtain (continued below):

5:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

1. Chris trained as a seminarian, I as an historian. I'm not that interested in noble gestures if it's simply too late to turn things around; and it is, beyond a doubt. This is Robt Bellah's concept of "path dependency," whereby after a certain pt, the fix is in. We passed that pt a long time ago. Any Jew who stayed in Germany beyond 1936 was frankly nuts, imo. As an historian, what I'm interested in is not opposition to evil for the sake of opposition, but in what is likely to happen. And I think I can guess at that fairly well. (Hint: it won't be a rebirth of the US.) Anyway, Chris and I come at all this from different angles. I respect his angle; but it's not mine, altho he is one great NMI, no doubt abt it.

2. A lot of folks on the left, and perhaps Chris as well, are consciously or unconsciously caught in a Marxist-Hegelian dialectic, according to which things inevitably get better over time. They believe in 'progress'; they are 'progressives'. Many historians believe this as well. Not me. There is simply no evidence that some great metaphysical principle, History in the Marxist sense, is lurking behind the drama of our times, and is going to eventually bail us out. As Stuart Hampshire once said, "There is progress in history, to be sure; but history does not *consist* of progress." In my view it's much more cyclical: civilizations rise and fall. That, not 'progress', is the historical record, and I know of no way one cd prove--as Marc Bloch liked to say--that a peasant in 15C Provence was less happy than a businessman in 20C Paris. Do you want to argue that the Enlightenment abolished medieval torture? Ha! Bloch was tortured to death by the Nazis, and there are dictators in Uzbekistan or wherever who boil their political enemies alive. America, purported home of the Enlightenment, is one of the worst torturers on the planet. You get my point.

3. I'm in my Golden Yrs, and frankly, I feel I spent too much time in the US already. Surely, as an old codger, I deserve some fun in the last third of my life? Culturally speaking, America is a very narrow box to be in; the world is a much wider, and more interesting, place than the US. And after all those decades of dealing with angry, aggressive, depressed, and frankly stupid people on a daily basis, I can't tell you what a pleasure it is not to have to do that anymore. So emigration served a double purpose, for me: since things can only get more violent and repressive in the US, it comes as some relief to be out of it; and since I was exhausted from daily dealings with a destructive society and the destructive people in it, it's fabulous to live in a culture that is gracious and relaxed. After decades of struggle, I think I deserve a break; and I was smart enuf or lucky enuf to get one.

4. Chris will write and struggle vs. America for the rest of his days, very likely; it's his destiny, and that's fine. But I personally want to think about other things, and that's hard to do from w/in the US, since the corporate culture is so all-embracing. I wd never have written a novel, and a vol. of poetry, neither of which are abt America, if I had stayed north of the border, I'm sure of it. Or a 'spiritual guidance' book (being released June 1st), or a bk on Japan. My pt is that if you stay in the US you get hung up on the US; it's just inevitable. As I said, the world is so much larger, and so much more interesting, than the US, and I am happy to have the opportunity to explore it.

So that's it. Long-winded, I know, but then us historians do tend to be colossal windbags.


5:21 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Apropos of nothing,

I'm drinking pink champagne and watching the Oscar red carpet event--Actually, I'm drinking pink champagne and reading this blog while listening to the chick version of the superbowl. Not only am I tipsy I'm feeling positively borboryginous!(or is it -genous?).

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman and jml,

I was a young woman in the late sixties but was never involved in the feminist movement personally. There have been real gains for women as far as opportunity goes and that's no small accomplishment and some of the gains have also been societal as it's no longer a stigma to be divorced, single women can adopt and living alone is not seen as a failure to find a husband. But the costs have been steep as we all know. I see no let up in the demands to be beautiful (note all the plastic surgery day clinics everywhere, rampant eating disorders, grown women dressing as teenagers) and a lot of the protections that were in place when I was 18 are gone. When I tell my daughters no men were allowed beyond the dorm lobby, there was a strictly enforced curfew and the clothes everyone now wears used to be called "underwear", you weren't expected to have sex with some guy b/c he bought you dinner--well, they find it hard to believe. But if we saw a man above stairs we knew he wasn't a visitor or lived there, a curfew got us out of really late night parties and even more trouble and dressing even slightly more modestly and not feeling pressured gave us some breathing room. Sometimes I wonder, looking at my daughters and their friends, how they cope with so many conflicting demands. I wish I had more answers and jml you're right in stating there's really no one to talk to about serious matters.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

pinkpearl- I'm keeping my eyes peeled for hotties reading WAF. So far, no dice. I'm in the Southeast - maybe the publisher can do some sort of air-drop (like those pamphlets we used to rain down on enemy civilians, telling them how hopeless their position was) and one or two cute girls will give it a read, at least if they survive being bonked on the head with it. Then, I can approach them with a bouquet of flowers and ask if getting bonked on the head has put them off bonking in general (no offense to Reader or the women out there, I admit I'm still in diapers as she says some here are, so please make allowances for that. I'm basically a quivering mass of rage and desire as per MB's diagnosis. Not sure whether I'm marginally more or less offensive for being so despite having read and accepted the critique.)

Savantesimal- I should have been more clear about my objection to Moore's comment. It's true, sure, even lacking context, but it's a strawman. How many conspiracy theorists, other than the most fringe caricature of one, believe that some single group controls "everything"? Even Alex Jones, who's nothing if not hyperbolic, talks about a struggle between various factions.

However, not to say "everything" isn't the end goal and disturbingly closer day by day, as the news relentlessly shows us a global prison of drones (soon micro drones), surveillance, biometrics, corporate controlled food supply, power grabs and all the rest being constructed around us like frogs boiling in water (debunked analogy or not.) Was Aldous Huxley a mere conspiracy theorist when he prophesied a future "scientific dictatorship" - and we see things moving so steadfastly in that direction that it seems *some* powerful forces desire it. Even if it's historical forces, that abstraction is being carried out through concrete groups and individuals.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Liberals and progressives think it’s great that our ruling death cult now allows members of previous outgroups, with the proper thug skills, to rise and lead our “kill anything that moves” empire. It allows them to say, “see, the system is not so bad, it’s now enlightened and tolerant, it can be reformed, so let’s keep working with the system, there’s no need to get radical like those Wafers over there.” And when some future transvestite president pushes the button to nuke Iran, they’ll all be ecstatically cheering like Oprah, “you go, girl/boy!”

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

edit: "limbic"
Previous comment should read "... basically a quivering mass of limbic rage and desire,"

sigh. That was the whole pt of my post, to use that line, and I go and forget the key word, losing the assonance with "quivering". &%$#.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Dr. Berman,

Interestingly you used the word believe twice in explaining your thoughts on Chris Hedges/left -- bear in mind I'm not taking umbrage with that.

It's interesting because smack in the middle of the word believe is the word LIE. Lying to oneself is a prerequisite to believing. Mr. Hedges it would seem is steeped in believing what with his background in theology. I say that at the expense of having respect for much of what he has to offer as a writer -- not unlike my respect for JHK -- of whom I can be critical of as well.

Nonetheless, believing imo, is diametrically opposed to critical thinking -- the believing provides the crux from moving beyond the "path dependency" concept you allude to.

"People everywhere enjoy believing things that they know are not true. It spares them the ordeal of thinking for themselves and taking responsibility for what they know." - Brooks Atkinson

"Believing: it means believing in our own lies. And I can say that I am grateful that I got this lesson very early." - Gunther Grass

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Dr. B,

The progress thing....You wisely point out that the progressives and most americans beleive in progress. It is a religious belief shared by both the right, the left and the middle in the U.S. They are all as John Gray likes to note--Meliorists. Whether is freeing the market from the right or providing more rights from the left is all the same mindset developed in England/Germany 1760 to 1860 or so as you know...Meliorists all. But as you, Gray and Mencken and your humble poster will note that consistent improvement and progress in societies has yet to be observed. Hell Jacques Barzun argued its been downhill for 500 years--what sane informed person can disagree. Incidentally, leaving D.C. and going back to Mexico. Hope to see you around.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I believe yr making too much out of too little. Vernacular use of the word is equivalent to 'think', and I believe that's quite acceptable. It's not the same use of 'belief' as in the title of Eric Hoffer's bk. We have the same thing in Spanish: "Que crees?" What do you think? It's not really a big deal w/heavy etymological significance, really.


9:00 PM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Frankly, we partially got into this mess because we threw out the baby with the bathwater. Let's not repeat that historical mistake when we throw out THIS culture.

Take our critique of feminism, example.

I know one woman on the Internet who grew up in an extremely right-wing, fundamentalist Christian area, and one day, when she was in her teens, one of the young men nearby raped her, getting her pregant.

Her church and community proceeded to blame HER for not taking enough cautious steps to prevent herself from being pregnant; in fact, they then forced her to MARRY her rapist, because the rapist happened to be charming and convinced everyone that he and the woman just "made a mistake", and he'd fix it by making an honest woman out of her.

How do I know this? Because now the woman is trapped in a loveless marriage with a guy she can't stand, all because one day he pinned her down and forced himself into her and her community won't let her leave...and I had to speak to this woman online to comfort her and prevent her from committing SUICIDE, because she was confiding to me that I was the only person in her life who acknowledged her reality, so to speak.

We can critique feminism's missteps, but let's keep in mind it, along with our culture's emphasis on personal freedom, arose for a REASON.

I really don't want more women like this one to suffer a fate as horrible as people literally altering her reality so that she was to blame (and thus had to be punished by forced marriage) for something a violent man did.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Reader said...

In America, which we all agree has failed; there are groups, historically, which have been oppressed; to name a few … the Irish, the Jewish, women, blacks, and Mexicans. On this blog, I do not read any despising rhetoric or jokes about any of these groups, except about women. C’mon, no good ol’ Jewish jokes? Mexicans? Blacks? Gays or Lesbians? Why not?

My point? My bubble has popped, once again; and I have awakened to a new level. Yes, it's a bit of a heart-break to discover that this blog is nothing more than just one more fake slice of the American pie. Thankfully, my Amer. escape plan was in place before discovering this blog, so no need to back-track ... but, MB, still love your books.

I bid you all my best; and farewell.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Can anyone imagine anything like the following happening in the US?:


11:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More Food for Thought Dept.:

Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

--Cree Native American proverb

11:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, that was a bit too long, esp. for a quote. You might try a couple of (short) excerpts instead.


12:38 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Reader said:

"C’mon, no good ol’ Jewish jokes? Mexicans? Blacks? Gays or Lesbians? Why not?"

Babes like humor so it's probably good for the lonely male WAFer to stock up on jokes. Here are some good Jewish jokes from Wellesley Weston Chabad in Mass:

The one I always tell cute girls goes something like this. A Jewish mother and son are walking on the beach. The son is wearing a hat. Suddenly, a giant wave sweeps over them and washes the son out to sea. The mother prays to God to save her son. God sends another giant wave, delivering the son unharmed. The mother inspects the son and then lifts her voice to God once more: "And his hat?"

It has made a few of my dates laugh. I guess this makes me a Rapist and a Racist, in the eyes of the fake Left.

4:24 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Sheryl Turkle’s book, “Alone Together” (a cogent criticism of Techno Buffooner), was mentioned in past posts in this blog. She just wrote a very good article for AlterNet:


@David Rosen

Indeed, classic psychological literature discusses the anxiety of losing their parents that infants and children experience. I think American children (and children in other Anglo-Saxon nations alike) grow up with an acute sense of loneliness and insecurity. What makes it even worse is that American parents typically expect their children to “leave the next” shortly after finishing high school, which is a form of abandonment. The adult child then lives life with a sense of loss (often self-medicated with drugs or materialism) but also with anger directed toward parents, which explains why so many children dump their elderly parents in nursing homes and never visit them again. So we have a family structure here in America which fills children’s hearts with anger and desire for revenge against their own parents. Not a great formula for a cohesive society.

There’s also Mary Ainsworth’s classic study called “A Strange Situation” which explored such anxiety as expressed in the type of attachment the child exhibits. I have not heard whether her study was ever repeated with people from different ethnic backgrounds (reflecting nuclear family vs. clan-like families), but that would be an amazing study to do. Here’s a nice clip of “A Strange Situation”:


5:07 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, scrolling back, I cdn't find any jokes about women, any more than I cd find jokes abt Jews or Mexicans. I did find disagreements with feminism; and this strikes me as being perfectly legit. After all, it's not some sacred doctrine (except to its hard-core devotees); I wd expect some Wafers to agree w/it, and some to disagree--which is what I see here. If Reader, or anyone, feels that that makes this blog "nothing more than just one more fake slice of the American pie," I doubt there's anything I or any of us can say to change their minds.


6:02 AM  
Anonymous Stone said...

To Savantesimal and anyone interested in operation Gladio:

The Swiss historian Daniele Ganser wrote an entire book about the matter. It's titled NATO's Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe (Routledge, 2005).

From the book's blurb:

Codenamed 'Gladio' ('the sword'), the Italian secret army was exposed in 1990 by Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti to the Italian Senate, whereupon the press spoke of "The best kept, and most damaging, political-military secret since World War II" (Observer, 18. November 1990) and observed that "The story seems straight from the pages of a political thriller." (The Times, November 19, 1990). Ever since, so-called 'stay-behind' armies of NATO have also been discovered in France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Greece and Turkey. They were internationally coordinated by the Pentagon and NATO and had their last known meeting in the NATO-linked Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) in Brussels in October 1990.

The deadliest terror attack orchestrated by Gladio took place in 1980 at the train station in Bologna, Italy: it left 80 people dead and injured 200 others.

The book is 'must' reading. Yes, conspiracies, and very deadly ones at that, do exist.

See also Ganser's paper, "The 'Strategy of Tension' in the Cold War Period," in David R. Griffin and Peter Dale Scott, eds., 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (Olive Branch Press, 2007), pp. 79-99.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The Ganser bk cd be accurate, for all I know--there is a lot abt the argument that seems likely--but check out the Amazon revs, the one by M. Hanson, wh/ throws serious doubt on Ganser's sources, in particular an Army Field Manual that proved to be a KGB forgery (or so Hanson says). This creates problems for me, at least; not being an expert in the Gladio intrigue, I am left not knowing what to think. Thanks for the ref, in any case.


6:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: The following is from a review by Lawrence Kaplan (Georgetown U.) in The International History Review:

"Ganser marshals impressive information to base his case against Gladio. But
there are problems with his sources that he could not solve, despite the range and
depth of his research. A major one concerns NATO itself, which plays a Delphic
role in this account despite its prominence in the title of the book. Repeatedly, he
identifies an Allied Clandestine Committee, which under different names controlled
the conspiracy from its headquarters in SHAPE [Supreme Headquarters
Allied Powers Europe]. It is worth noting, however, that historian John Prados
makes no reference to a NATO link in his foreword.

"Connecting the dots between terrorist organizations in NATO countries and a
master plan centred in NATO's military headquarters requires a stretch of facts
that Ganser cannot manage. He can go no further than citing secondary sources
implicating NATO in the conspiracy. Without evidence, he links Italy's Alcide de
Gasperi as a servant of US interests who knowingly retained the old Fascist
bureaucracy in his supposedly liberal governing coalition. Similarly, Paul-Henri
Spaak, a NATO founding father, is tarnished by the assertion that his elevation to
secretary-general was a reward for his loyalty to the Belgian stay-behind army."

7:06 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

It is quite readily acknowledged, though not much publicised, that stay behind armies were set up in various European countries directly after the war, funded by the US and UK, as a hedge against the USSR and communism taking root in Europe. It was an extension and development of the successful Great Game stategy of the British Empire where unrest was fomented locally first in areas where Britain wanted to gain control. The unrest depended on the infiltration of agent provocateurs to get the ball rolling.

Part of the problems of verifying that this did in fact occur come from the fact that no legally constituted organisation is willing to admit to carrying out this dirty work and has to be caught red-handed--as happened in Italy in the 90's, and to a lesser extent in Belgium.
Enough of the high level participants have admitted to the extent and nature of the network though to make it reasonable to assume that such a successful strategy for gaining power has not been abandoned by the power hungry.

The UK is a pretty much a spent force now re empire-building but many past operatives have admitted to using these tactics. The official documents are unlikely to ever be released. But I can see the pattern of these tactics at work in the US involvement in the middle east and Africa--'humanitarian' efforts by armed forces are strangely concentrated only in those areas with massive natural resources up for grabs--and the UK is ever ready to lend its extensive knowledge and expertise of this strategy to the US.

None of this is really unknown--the meddling of the CIA in various countries, toppling democratically elected governments which might not sufficiently serve US economic interests, is also widely acknowledged, though not much discussed by TPTB.

Its time we saw through this, as much of Latin America has now done, after many years of hardship and struggle.

In the UK currently we have a scandal coming to light of undercover policemen infiltrating peaceful activist groups and acting as agent provocateurs to attempt to radicalise and entrap these groups into extremist behaviour--same tactics again but no longer working so well. Peaceful activists, environmentalists, occupy participants, political groups are now labelled, surveilled and
treated as 'domestic extremists' --and my taxes pay for this juvenile walter mitty, spy game idiocy.
I despair.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

I can't speak for anyone else here, of course, but it seems to me that most of the comments posted here lately about feminism aren't disparaging its original goals & purpose, but rather the ways in which it has been co-opted, homogenized, and turned into another placebo by the powers that be. This is in part for sheer money-making reasons, but also to denigrate, depower, and repurpose it to the needs of the status quo. The same holds for all the hard-won advances of any & every minority or marginal group.

What frightens me is how very fragile those advances really are. They depend upon a civilized society -- or at least one still going through the motions of civilization. When things do start to get so bad that even the most doltish can see it, I fear those advances will be among the first things to go. A dark, chaotic time favors the zealot, the authoritarian, the fundamentalist, since they'll offer (and often impose) the most obvious & immediate control & security.

One thing that strikes me about the Renaissance, after centuries of darkness, is just how little of the ancient world is the foundation of the modern. Of all the art, poetry, plays, philosophy, etc., only a tiny fraction survived. Which makes me fear for so much that I love & cherish now, because I've little doubt that much of it will be lost in the coming decades & centuries. Libraries are already in a bad way, and digital storage won't be much good if (or when) the power grid & the Internet collapse. How many museums will endure? How many of their treasures? How much will be lost?

Those questions won't matter much to people desperate to know where their next meal is coming from, or clean water, or medicine. All the more need for the NMI!

Frankly, I hope I'm being overly alarmist & melodramatic. But if there's one thing history does show us, it's just how quickly & thoroughly any civilization can collapsed & be destroyed.

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

I disagree with regards to Chris Hedge's "blind belief"; he is the diametric opposite of a Pat Robertson or the Westboro Baptist Church, as un-fundamentalist as they get. I am no fan of organized religion (I despise the reactionary, servile Catholic Church and its Protestant counterparts, despite growing up in a Christian family- the noble Quakers and Unitarians are more the exception), but in light of the failures of technological progress, isn't spirituality, of which Bermnan's atheistic mysticism is only one variant (many more believe in deities or entities) a valid approach to life? Contrary to what fundie zealots or proselytizers and dogmatic atheists such as Paul Zacchary Myers claim, there is no one way humans are supposed to be. Philosophy and the life of the spirit (for which I favor Gnosticism, Sufism, Buddhist literature and Kabbalah) are pretty much all we have now after the excesses and mistakes of the modern ages. Speaking of which, it would be sad to completely lose the products our species has worked towards achieving since the Renaissance. I wish we could find a technologically and materially modest middle point between the popular progress fantasies and the harsher peak oil predictions, with rich, sophisticated cultures to live in. Take care.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm a little puzzled by yr remarks, since I don't think I was accusing Chris of 'blind belief', and I don't think he falls into that category. Maybe u were addressing yr remarks to someone else, I dunno. Nor have I ever said that spirituality wasn't a valid approach to life. Unless I'm seriously off-base here, this seems to be a straw man argument.


12:51 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Julian -

You will enjoy this comment from an article in CounterPunch today about horse meat in the beef mkt for increasing profit on the sly.

"When the Irish first discovered horsemeat in the food chain, they claimed innocence and blamed the Poles. It turns out, however, that a small slaughterhouse in Tipperary was shipping horsemeat labeled as beef to the Czech Republic. The British blamed the Romanians, and Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper, The Sun, took the opportunity to indulge in his favorite sport: ethnic bashing. A “grim Romanian slaughterhouse built with EU (European Union) cash” was the culprit, blared the largest (and sleaziest) tabloid in England.

The Romanians did indeed use EU cash to build a plant, but the slaughterhouse produced records showing that they had correctly identified the meat as horse. Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta complained that Romania was routinely made the EU’s scapegoat."

12:52 PM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

Reader probably won't see this, but I think he/she overreacted. This blog has been criticizing Americans for at least the months that I've been here, if not since its inception. MB has said that Americans have fried rice for brains, and worse. Yet it's not OK to say that (American) women are just as bad? They are 50% of the American population, why would they be exempt from the fried rice phenomenon? Yes, some of the WAFers and NMIs are women. No one here disputes that. But most are not. Why would anyone come to this blog, of all places, and expect to find otherwise?


I read that Sherry Turkle article. Of course she's right, but very, very few people would be willing to give up their devices, even while acknowledging their negative impacts. (Just like we carry on trashing the planet. Same deal.)

I don't have a cell phone or tablet, but like the people in Turkle's article, I don't pick up my (landline) phone anymore either. I noticed years ago that people treat those calls like therapy sessions rather than conversations. It's like they are so unused to actual contact, a real-time live listening ear, that their self-awareness goes out the window and they try to milk it for all the attention they haven't been getting in their daily lives. I think I've commented here before on the conversation-as-therapy trend. Is it just the people I know or is this happening to anyone else?

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Stone said...

Regarding MB's reservations concerning Ganser on Gladio:

In light of the Italian ogvernment's own revelations, it would seem that Hanson and Kaplan's handwringing is irrelevant.

In 2000, the Italian Senate -- unlike the U:S. Senate which refuses to discuss 9/11 -- exposed the Gladio machinations in all their horror. A year later, in March 2001, Giandelio Maletti, ex-head of Italian counter-intelligence, confirmed the murderous and massively anti-democratic acs.

(Please excuse the redundancy - this is the correct version.)

1:30 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...


Thanks for the straight talk. Good word there: enervate.

We had a euphemism for CRE in the Army: "get your head out if your 3rd point of contact". ( I think if you we're an airborne soldier it was "4th point of contact": ie., after jumping out of a plane you might land 1. Balls of your feet; 2. Sides of your legs; 3. Thighs; 4. Ass).

Of course in some way, much of the Waferian dialogue stream consists of a series of euphemisms for "game over" (as in that's baseline, and without that (at the very least) tacit acceptance, how can there be any worthwhile or meaningful conversation upon which to build?

Stated another way, what is there to say when most of what passes for speech in the U.$.A. is a euphemism for "hustle" and being "on-the- make"? When the dialogue is shadowed in the language of commodities, endlessly caught in some kind of horrific echo chamber and feedback loop?

So yes, got to get out. The writing is on the wall. It's disheartening when you have to mimic speech or lip-sync certain rhetoric (and perform all sorts of high-wire balance & trapeze artistry) just to dance around the elephant in the room: it's over and your head is squarely shoved into your 3rd point of contact! Dude: it's gonna be too late. Tolerance and pretend games just ain't cut tin' it...

Welll, thought I was going somewhere with this. But grateful for the real dialogue and company that exist here. Thanks again.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Welcome back. When I saw yr name on the blog once again, I wept like a baby.


Yeah, poor Reader; that was indeed an overreaction. Even if she had been right--and she wasn't--her walking off in a huff was a gd example of throwing out the baby w/the bathwater. Well, maybe she'll find a nice feminist blog, one that meeets her exacting politically correct standards, and which isn't "just one more fake slice of the American pie," who knows. It's quite depressing, how ideologies so easily override common sense. (I recall a slogan from yrs ago that went something like, "I was fine until my karma overran my dogma". Hopefully, Reader will hit the same wall b4 2 long.)


3:29 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Savantesimal, I thank you for linking to this:


Some pointers from the link are here:

Many of the guys sleep outside under the polebarn, which is fenced in onShelter property. They told me that they are not allowed to bring their backpacks inside when they go eat. When they come back out to the polebarn their backpacks were collected by staff and thrown in the dumpster.

Many of these backpacks contained all the men had to their name, including important documents like their Birth Certificate, and photos and letters from loved ones.

When one of the men went back up to tell staff that they all needed blankets, the staff member yelled at all the guys, "You are not getting blankets tonight and I don't care if you all freeze to death!"

This is America for you! The staff members at the homeless shelter are under the same spell as the woman who killed her three children (See the link in a couple of posts above - it is posted by a poster named Daniel). The inhumanity dished out to human beings in America is unimaginable. Read the book "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl. The dehumanizing behavior of the Nazi guards described in the book a child's play compared to the way Americans are treated today by other Americans.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Commie said...

Senator Ted Cruz has responded to The New Yorker’s report that he accused Harvard Law School of having had “twelve” Communists who “believed in the overthrow of the U.S. Government” on its faculty when he attended in the early nineties. Cruz doesn’t deny that he said this; instead, through his spokesman, he says he was right: Harvard Law was full of Communists.

His spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told The Blaze website that the “substantive point” in Cruz’s charge, made in a speech in 2010, was “was absolutely correct.”

She went on to explain that “the Harvard Law School faculty included numerous self-described proponents of ‘critical legal studies’—a school of thought explicitly derived from Marxism—and they far outnumbered Republicans.”


Dr Berman and all Wafers must be communists since you people desire kinder society and economy, right?

4:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Didju ever see this?:


I'm impressed by the incredible cruelty of Americans; it's as tho it's sewn into their very DNA.


Personally, I'm committed to the overthrow of Ted Cruz; the problem is that it's like cutting off the head of a Hydra. In any case, the US won't be overthrown; rather, it will just fall apart.


4:50 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

I think the saying is, "my karma ran over your dogma."

6:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Not the version I saw. Google cites them both, for what that's worth. My own pref is for my/my: much more pie-in-face humility kinda thing.


6:28 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

MB- what's odd to me about those photos is that usually that class of people has more "sensitivity" - even if their actions are cruel, they put a veil of euphemism over everything. Maybe in this case, the cruelty was too blatant to do that, so they reconciled it with themselves by dehumanizing the victims and making them Others. Not to excuse them or anything, just analyzing it.

pink- wanted to add that I too really found your train encounter story to be a real downer. That sort of thing doesn't happen to me much, but I'm definitely the type to pathetically not take a chance and get a # if it did.

Reader- I don't know if my comments were part of why you're leaving? I didn't mean them to be offensive if so. But as it is said, you can't please everyone.

Zosima- ha, that is amusing, and I agree for the most part. Although I'm not sure the outgroups really do rise to the highest levels of power in our "death cult". My take is that most of the visible power players are functionaries to one degree or another. At the very highest levels, there may still be a lot of racism and eugenicist ideas, a concern with "bloodlines" and a desire to have their untainted DNA eternally triumphant. I can't prove that mind you (though I do have sources that suggest it) so take it with a grain of salt.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Berman,

I think even if the locksmiths in America did try to fight the banksters they would either end up in court and lose or the banksters would open locksmithing schools and then hire them to lock people out. Or maybe I'm getting more cynical on a daily basis.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Oh I'm so excited:


9:02 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Berman,

I know there is a one post a day rule, but I felt you would want to see this. So post it in your name if you would like and let wafers rejoice, since you too can now have your drone. Unfortunately, I did not see any information regarding weapon systems but we all know Americans are do-it-yourselfers, so there is hope that the general population will begin killing each other like this. Oh, the joy!

1:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I recall seeing a Jackie Gleason TV show in the 50s in which he said that one could now buy yr very own atomic bomb kit. "Be the first on yr block to rule the world!", he exclaimed. This individual drone thing is an updated version for the 21C, but we need to get it weaponized so that Americans can start bumping each other off, toot sweet. In my bks I remark that we are so alienated from each other that we don't even know our next-door neighbor. But now, that's not necessary: we can just kill him! We are such an advanced society.


1:50 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB
There's a very interesting article up at the Atlantic Magazine about human extinction. In discussing various threats, here's the money quote : " The concept of an existential risk certainly includes extinction, but it also includes risks that could permanently destroy our potential for desirable human development. One could imagine certain scenarios where there might be a permanent global totalitarian dystopia. Once again that's related to the possibility of the development of technologies that could make it a lot easier for oppressive regimes to weed out dissidents or to perform surveillance on their populations, so that you could have a permanently stable tyranny, rather than the ones we have seen throughout history, which have eventually been overthrown."
Quote #2 : "I think various developments in biotechnology and synthetic biology are quite disconcerting. We are gaining the ability to create designer pathogens and there are these blueprints of various disease organisms that are in the public domain---you can download the gene sequence for smallpox or the 1918 flu virus from the Internet. So far the ordinary person will only have a digital representation of it on their computer screen, but we're also developing better and better DNA synthesis machines, which are machines that can take one of these digital blueprints as an input, and then print out the actual RNA string or DNA string. Soon they will become powerful enough that they can actually print out these kinds of viruses. So already there you have a kind of predictable risk, and then once you can start modifying these organisms in certain kinds of ways, there is a whole additional frontier of danger that you can foresee."
It's all here : http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/print/2012/03/were-underestimating-the-risk-of-human-extinction/253821/.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Stone said...

" One striking but little discussed element about the new Netflix Washington political drama series, House of Cards, is that every time a character picks up a cell phone, something bad happens. The character's phones shadow them at every turn like evil twins, giving the impression that the US government, and everything in its orbit, is run not by human beings but by cell phones. The people attached are merely puppets of the phones.

I don't think this is a sign of the rumored "singularity," the point at which human and machine intelligence supposedly meld into a shimmering synthesis of silicon masturbation fantasies. Rather it's just another demonstration of the diminishing returns of technology -- or how thinking you're so smart actually makes you stupider. Surely we are a stupider nation politically than we were before the age of texting, drones, and high frequency trading."

From James Kunstler's blog of yesterday.

Three corrections to my last intervention:
1) 'government's' instead of 'ogvernment's'
2) 'acts' instead of 'acs'
3) never mind the parenthetical remark at the end

7:31 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Regarding the locksmiths in America versus the banksters: there would be no need to open locksmith schools, just to bus in some blackleg locksmiths from several towns away to do the work at a premium price. There would be plenty who would take up the offer.

Its how the unions were busted and worker solidarity undermined.

This whole culture of greed, competitiveness and every man for himself is deliberately fostered to prevent any form of solidarity movement amongst the worker drones; the masses rallying and working together is what the bosses are most afraid of and will sweat the hardest to prevent.

I worked very successfully as a union organiser years ago. I wouldn't try it today as it would be too much like Sisyphus labouring to manhandle a boulder uphill only for it to roll back again each night.

Things are going to have to get a lot worse before the average joe will move to help himself--so I'm voting to arm the personal drones too. According to the comment thread under the French personal drone vids there is already a remote controlled flying shotgun on the market.

liberté, égalité, fraternité! etc etc

9:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't think Kunstler shd have chgd #1. I kind of like the word, 'ogvernment'. I can hear Reagan intoning (and also drooling): "The problem is the ogvernment!"


That 1st quote is the alternative post-capitalist scenario to the eco-sustainable one I've talked abt on this blog. This is where NMI activity becomes important, because w/o local, decentralized expts, The Matrix cd certainly become our future. Francis Fukuyama discusses this somewhat in "Our Posthuman Future," altho Brave New World, and BNW Revisited, still remains the classic statement. I'm glad you brought this up, because while I've talked a bit abt what I call the Dual Process--an alternative green, steady-state world arising as capitalism disintegrates, it cd well be that the real contest we have to face is not that one, but the one between an alternative green world and a "permanent global totalitarian dystopia." After all, we now have drones that can fly over a city and read the time off the watches of people walking down the street. I think this is a topic Wafers might want to discuss; it makes critiques of technology, such as those of Sherry Turkle et al., much more pressing. Certain sci-fi writers might also be relevant. BTW, compared to this struggle, the eclipse of capitalism might be small potatoes.


9:48 AM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

Sometimes, I think the blog is flying at a level over me, which is why I enjoy reading more than posting.
I remember my dad, during the cold war, and particularly after, remarking that he knew Communism was weak and destined to fail, and that he never really believed the hype of the Cold War and the threat of Communism. I tend to feel the same way about US based global capitalistic (anti-)society and the technology it has spawned. At some visceral level, I just think the US and the global techno-capitalist order is much weaker at this stage of the game than even we realize. Just my opinion, but I think it is an optimistic one, because I believe it will fail before such dystopias become possible. I just think back to the nuclear holocaust/WW III between the US and the USSR that never happened. (Who knows, tho, maybe the US may still perpetuate nuclear holocaust) Personally, I think it will collapse before it gets that bad simply because Americans are such morons, as MB says.
I think the Achilles heel for all of this dystopic technology is electricity. Notice just how little technology developing countries possess. Developing countries are not developing drones, etc. All of this technology requires vast amounts of energy to produce, and vast amounts of energy to produce the electricity to keep it going. In the future, if electricity becomes way more expensive due to resource scarcity, or becomes unreliable due to social unrest/breakdown of the electric grid, than it won't be long before all of this techno gadgetry, drones included, become useless artifacts. Even batteries require recharging.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Doc -

Thank you, I hope. I'm not the brightest bulb, as you know.

Also, glad Dovidel is posting!

O & D!

10:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


No need 2b shy; we always enjoy yr posts. And now DR is back, so we're resurrecting the old gang.


I hope yr rt. I have this horrible dystopian image, of every American w/a cell fone up his/her ass, operated by sphincter control. And ads for them on TV: "The Ultimate Suppository!" Don't think Americans wdn't run out and buy one. Whee!


12:11 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Sorry for 2nd post, but, I guess ur running up on the 7th anniversary of this blog and I did not want to lose these thoughts!

Today, I looked back, at the beginning, in April 2006 and it dawned on me! This blog is a better source than any library. It lasers toward what matters. Obviously sincere individuals post responses to ur brilliant essays with countless life extending comments that one could spend a lifetime sorting through all the good. Quite extraordinary!

One of my favorite things is to go to the remarkably few one star reviews of the good Doctor's books and blast the m*****f******ing trolls as best I am able. Great sport with immeasurable pleasure.

I responded with gusto recently to an individual (2-2013) and discovered today that this person (debatable) has been assaulting Dark Ages America since ur second post in 2006.


12:16 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


Yes, I'm amazed at how many technophiles seem totally convinced that electricity will remain available & plentiful unto eternity. At the same time, we can easily find news stories about both governments & corporations developing deadly computer viruses & EMP weapons. And having lived through Sandy, I saw for myself how swiftly the power grid can be disabled & how long it can take to get back online.

For a prescient look at the fall of the grid, go back some 100 years to E. M. Forster's story The Machine Stops.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for yr support. It always bewildered me that various people got so worked up abt my bks or this post, because I'm so minor an author, I'm not even on the radar screen, really. Why shd they even bother? But the truth is that it's abt *them*: like most Americans, they are hurting/angry/depressed, and (of course) not terribly bright, and they need a target for all of this pain--even a trivial target will do. I tell u, being a (minor) author, and running a (very minor) blog, is an eye-opener in this country, because u really get to see how much hurt is out there, and how Americans are unable to grasp the source of their pain. The only consolation I get is rather cold comfort: Wow, there really *is* no hope for this country! However, then there are folks like u. Thanks again.


12:53 PM  
Anonymous swordfish said...

fwiw, i think Shane's right about running out of energy/resources before the "permanent global totalitarian dystopia" takes root. According to Gail the Actuary, http://ourfiniteworld.com/, we have probably 20 years before it becomes too expensive to extract fossil fuels, because we've used up all the stuff that's easy to extract. Now, as we see, we're turning to the tar sands, oil shale, and oil in the deep arctic ocean, all places where it takes a huge amount of energy just to get the oil, let alone refine it into usable form. Also, acc to GtA, the financial system is so tied to oil prices that it will implode once we can't get ready oil.

I sure don't know how things will play out, but a global totalitarian system HAS to take a lot of money/energy to keep up. Unless some Koch Brothers employed scientist comes up with fusion, in which case all bets are off.

As to feminism, i have to poke my head up (not my ass, hopefully, although, being amurican, it's probably already there..) and say I too am a female WAFER. hear me roar ;). Not an expert on it by any means, but i always tended to think that feminism, at least the second and third waves thereof, were pretty much upper middle class and white phenomena from the get go. That said, amurica is in no way an egalitarian society, even now that we wimmin can become Madeleine Albright and Hilly Clinton...and even Condi Rice. I don't really know what kind of culture we have going here, it's not exactly male, it's more infantile --- Gimme Gimme. One of my favorite books is UK LeGuin's _The Dispossessed_ which depicts an egalitarian society, and contrasts it with one that is pretty recognizably ours, both, of course, on other planets.

Ok I will go back to my lurking now, this blog is addicting. MB, didn't you say you were going to offer this blog in liquid form? I'm down with that. then eventually we can all go on DAA AA...


1:41 PM  
Anonymous satyaSarika said...

Some of the remarks about feminism seemed to imply some kind of monolithic philosopical stance that never really was present. There are mainstream middle class feminists, radical feminists, separatist feminists, eco-feminists, and socialist feminists. I've known women who fit in all these varieties, tho not at once of course! Now there are also 3rd wave feminists, which I don't know so well.

I've never known any women who are concerned with 'women's issues', ie rape, reproductive freedom, violence against women, who enjoy being characterized as 'chicks, babes, hotties'.

As to the New York Times article on the Facebook CEO, well after all, it is the rag of the Times, and not some legitimate source. :)

Perhaps it was the language that offended Reader. Regardless, I generally found her posts thoughtful, and am sorry she felt revolted enough to abandon the blog. I admit to the same feeling on occasion, but I am not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I love MB'S work, and find some of the references really useful. Without the blog, I doubt I would have found the work of John N Gray. I am currently enjoying his book, "Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia". Perhaps some day I shall get around to Vassily Grossman ...

I shall miss Reader and hope she pops up again.

I do find this blog to be lacking in womens' input ...

2:02 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Feminism: I hafta say I really love how this has played out over the years. Young women are told that they can be/do anything they want, have it all, encouraged to be taken seriously but, by the way, please dress like a whore. And you owe any man who takes you to dinner a roll in the hay. In its own clever way, this is the U.S. version of the burqa. There were serious issues that needed to be addressed and while some progress has been made, overall the result has been pretty pathetic (I don’t consider allowing women in combat to be a mark of progress – just an expansion of the cannon fodder pool).

Smith: Years ago here in CT a visiting priest from Poland went to the home of a 16 year old rape victim. While her grandmother was out of the room, he proceeded to have sex with her to, as he later explained, prove to her that sex needn’t be bad. The church community called the girl a whore and rallied around the priest. My husband worked with many of the church members who very freely voiced their opinions.

Drones: I read an article that said these small drones are in the future. Several years ago a good friend mentioned them, including the fact that they can recharge themselves on electric wires. If the M/I complex is publicizing things of the future, please know that they’re already here…they’re just trying to get us used to the idea and spin the next repressive tool as positively as they can.

Conspiracy: It’s always interesting when novels and supposedly arcane documents come to light (and after the initial flurry of interest, always announced to be a forgery). And then, guess what? The things they talk about actually happen: Just a coincidence, nothing to worry about.

In the end what we do very well is control each other.

3:24 PM  
Blogger jml said...

I came across this quote by Dorothy Day today and thought it would be appreciated here:

"Tradition! We scarcely know the word any more. We are afraid to be either proud of our ancestors or ashamed of them. We scorn nobility in name and in fact. We cling to a bourgeois mediocrity which would make it appear we are all Americans, made in the image and likeness of George Washington, all of a pattern, all prospering if we are good, and going down in the world if we are bad. These are attitudes the Irish, the Italian, the Lithuanian, the Slovak and all races begin to acquire in school. So they change their names, forget their birthplace, their language, and no longer listen to their mother when they say, 'When I was a little girl in Russia, or Hungary, or Sicily.' They lose their cult and their culture and their skills, and leave their faith and folk songs and costumes and handcrafts, and try to be something which they call 'an American.'"

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman & Shep,

My goodness, I never thought I was noticed – except of course when my posts came too often and were too long. Thank you both and I’ll try not to let your warm welcome go to my head.

Shep: Please don’t sell yourself short. Being interested in this blog and Dr. Berman’s books places you in the upper stratosphere of American intellectual life. The best any human being can do in a lifetime is climb up onto the shoulders of giants, and then make some contribution.

Dr. Berman: I don’t consider you a minor author at all. What does it mean to be on the American ‘radar screen’ anyway? Would you feel better if you found yourself alongside an intellectual giant like Thomas Friedman, or a guest on Charlie Rose? I’m sure it would be nice to sell more books, but if you sell too many in the US, it means you’re doing something wrong.


Some years back I bought a CD of a talk given at the Atlanta Jung Society by an anthropologist (Brad Shore of Emory University) who was studying myth and ritual in the American middleclass family. He contrasted the American nuclear family with the wide variety of family structures found in the world, and said that the American nuclear family is the only family type he knew of whose long-term goal was to self-destruct.

I remember him telling a story of a young man returning home during his first year away at college and finding that his room had been converted into a guestroom – only to realize that it had *always* been a guestroom!

Most Americans have never known anything else, and they just accept it as ‘normal’. Also, there is very little to keep young people in Iowa, so there are a lot of older people here with children and grandchildren scattered all over the map.

David Rosen

4:02 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

I think Shane is correct. As oil and gas supplies slowly constrict (and "alternative" energy is finally revealed to be a pipe dream in terms of keeping BAU going), the elites will slowly retreat to ever tinier (well fortified and energy supplied) enclaves, while the masses are left to fend for themselves in an increasingly anarchic landscape dominated by gangs, thugs and warlords.

It sucks, but the reality seems to be a choice will eventually be between being oppressed by a national government or instead by some tin pot local dictator. The Governor character on the current television series The Walking Dead is likely a good template, though he was portrayed much more realistically as a brutal and sadistic thug in the graphic novels the series is based on.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't care if my bks actually sell; I just want them to get read. Since that amounts to practically 0 nationwide, that I know of, I call myself a minor author.


They may call it Bermanon. Ugh. But then, perhaps we'll hafta refer 2u as a Waferette. Whee!


7:09 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Berman & fellow Wafers,

Any one else notice all the isms - racism, sexism, ageism, etc., are bad things except for (supposedly) feminism?

I unfortunately think we will not run out of energy any time soon. Oil, yes. But most electricity is not produced by oil, it is produced from coal. Recently, I attempted to look into how much coal is left in the world and it will last way longer than oil. Even if it is controlled only on a regional scale, electricity will come back as long as the people in charge are alive, because they will try to perpetuate the same system. As for cars? You can already buy an alternative fuel source for cars which comes from corn - ethanol, so those will still be around. And remember, there are plenty of various ways to create electricity which we don't use because of cost or the amount created is small by todays standards. It's beginning to seem Dr. B is correct saying a dystopian totalitarian regime is more to fear than capitalism.

Realized last night for all of our "progress", we still live in a mostly feudal system, just industrialized. The more things change . . . . .

8:29 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

For what it's worth, I'm very late to this party since I only recently discovered both WAF and this blog.

I can't remember the exact connection, but I was reading something (which was written by Dr. B., but not the reason I was reading it) and he referenced some of Gregory Bateson's work and I said OK, I want to know what else this guy has to say.

So, Dr. B, we may be thin on the ground, but real readers are out here. And the reported sales of WAF are both an outrage and an unfortunate confirmation of the book's thesis. You are only a (minor) author in the sense that Cassandra was a (minor) prophetess.

I believe the reaction of some of the hostiles to you is simply an illustration of Freud's observation that anger is transmuted fear.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hello MB and Wafers-

Holy smokes... the music never stops on this blog for sure! It's movin' like bullet train over the past 48-72 hours and I am enjoying every sentence. Many thanks to Troutbum for the Atlantic Magazine article dealing with human extinction. I personally feel that a global totalitarian dystopia is a strong possibility before the resources that sustain capitalism run out. If you think about it, we are already on such a path as far as the United States is concerned. As MB has argued, most people in America do not object to a tiny elite running the show. Furthermore, many who are oppressed by the system as it currently exists, see it as a non- oppressive system. The one thing that this blog has taught me, like being hit repeatedly over the head with a 2 by 4, is never underestimate the stupidity and violence of the American people. Am I too jaded to believe that a majority will willingly sign up for, or vote in fascism?

Dovidel and SatyaSarika-

I second the motion that if you're on this blog, you're in, as Dovidel says, "the upper stratosphere of American intellectual life." That being said, I was saddened to read about the departure of Reader. I too enjoyed her comments and point of view. The loss of a Wafer for any reason is indeed a sad event.


9:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, maybe Reader will stop lurking and return to the fold, who knows. We shall welcome her w/open arms. But one problem re: gender on this or any blog is that names reveal nothing. "Joe Blow" cd be a woman, for all we know. I remember some movie yrs ago in which a 50-yr-old guy w/a large beer belly was answering online ads for the lonely (or horny) hearts, with the handle "Love Jugs 85." He described himself as 22 yr-old-female, svelte and beautiful. Myself, I'm more interested in the quality of the sharing than the gender of the participants; but if, like Swordfish, women wanna come outta the closet and declare themselves as Waferettes, that's OK too. I do wanna add that I regard all isms (including feminism) as ways of thinking by formulas, and ultimately harmful to the mind; with the exception of delimeatism (aka cornedbeefism), which actually strengthens the neurons. (See current issue of the Journal for Buddhist Pastrami, essay by C. Liver: "Esoteric Rye Bread References in the Bhagavad Gita".) Anyway, we're going to need a whole new line of T-shirts, I suspect:


(Talk abt esoteric, eh?)


9:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks. I'm abs. convinced that if there is any one emotion driving Americans, it is (unrecognized, unacknowledged) fear. In fact, I think most of them are in an unwitting state of terror. The ease w/which this emotion gets channeled into fascism is, of course, legendary.


It's true, the loss of a Wafer (or Waferette) is a tragedy of cosmic proportions. On the bright side, the blog is (after Tim's heroic spam-clearing activities) back to 1400 hits/day. Who *are* these people? Mama mia!


9:47 PM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

Perhaps some of you are already familiar with this photographer's work, but I just stumbled onto it.

The photos of apartment buildings & tiny flats in Hong Kong got me thinking about Hedges' comments on where the oligarchy is leading the USA. This is what it will look like.


There's also a Blade Runner and Escape from New York vibe too.

Now we just need some pics of clearcuts, industrial farms and feedlots for the spaces in between the cities and presto! a complete picture.

@Hack - I was going to post about more subway chat-ups but since this is not a dating blog, I won't. But if you have a blog I will post it there. Yeah, that wouldn't be weird at all....from WAF to pick-up tips...

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

MB & Stone:

There is an amazing and detailed four-part interview on corbettreport.com with Sibel Edmonds about Gladio. Edmonds is an FBI whistleblower, and seems intimately familiar with the details of Gladio, NATO’s role, the links to terrorism and the drug traffic, etc. She says that she worked on some of these matters while with the FBI. A WAFer must see:



That’s a very cogent Dorothy Day quote. Tradition plays a central important role in maintaining social cohesiveness and stability across generations. Capitalism and Americanization have caused serious damage to traditional values not just here in the US but across the world.


What you describe about Iowa also takes place in Eastern and Southern Europe. Ancestral villages are now largely inhabited by the elderly, while the young hustle in cities under this harsh capitalist system. The only hope is that usually the land remains in the family, and as capitalism finally crumbles, these young people will have no option but to return to their villages and continue the sustainable agriculture that their grandparents are now struggling to keep alive.


It’s common for Western Europe to point the finger at Romania, Bulgaria, Poland. Their favorite lecture is about “corruption”, which we find highly entertaining, considering that since 2008 we have all seen that the West is far more corrupt than the East ever was. Personally, I hope they got lots of donkey meat from Romania. Last summer I went with my family to the Black Sea, in the eastern part of the country. One day, on a secluded beach we saw a lovable little donkey tied to a tree, waiting for its master – we took a few pictures of it. I now have to worry that that cute donkey ended up on Kate Middleton’s plate… As far as those EU funds go, some Romanians utilized them for various projects, usually farming related. But Mr. Murdock does not seem to know that Romania contributes 20 times more to the EU in taxes than it receives back (while the UK has a 1-to-1 ratio). Heck, I’m tempted to file an application myself for a “fish farming project” -- one in the shape of Roman swimming pool with a separate heated jacuzzi and a tiki bar at one end – the fish would love it!

Re. foreclosures, you don’t need locksmiths in America. The banks can just deploy GPS-guided armed drones to shoot the locks open.

WAFers and WAFerettes, please don’t forget to take a look at the Sibel Edmonds clips above – it’s well worth your time.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Mercury4 said...

In America today, "prosperity" is manufactured at the printing press, going along with the state/corporate B.S. is the patriotic way and the most useless, corrupt and craven President in modern times is considered a reformer and man of peace.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...



You mean this *isn't* a dating blog? And here I was so excited abt my new role as matchmaker...


12:07 AM  
Anonymous Cranial Rectal Inversion said...

Greetings Dr. Berman,

I recently discovered your blog after reading your trilogy. Living and teaching is Europe has opened my eyes to the fact that you're absolutely right and the only author who actually gives realistic, practical advice. We're driving off a cultural cliff, so the most we can do is laugh about it and try to pull a few more people out of the car before we plummet to our collective destruction. But people in this country are morons, so we will mostly laugh.

My tipping point came when one of my colleagues (in our illustrious public education system) phoned the parents of an 8 year old to inform them that she was offended because the 8 year old asked her who she voted for. I'm amazed at how many teachers are not only idiotic, but hate children as well. I'll end on a charitable note by saying that most of my colleagues are feeble minded and will probably end up with honorary degrees from the "Alt. U" that you described in Twilight. I'm hoping one day I can show them my WAFer shirt, but visibility is bad inside of one's colon so I doubt it will amount to anything. Perhaps they'll let me back in Europe as a garbageman. Anything to escape the cesspool.

-Cranial Rectal Inversion

12:48 AM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Re: personal drones,

Maybe the whole point is to engineer another Rwanda but here in the U.S. The ruling elite, having gutted our economy (the modern equivalent to shooting buffalo) and now attacking our pensions, home equity, access to health care and education, and moving investment oversees, because that's where the growth is (and they can get their labor elsewhere) now want to get rid of us: we're played out and no longer any benefit to them. Their behavior in recent years certainly seems to confirm this idea. What better way to accomplish this and keep their hands clean than by entraining the people, especially the children through propaganda and technology, turning up the stress, distributing the weapons ahem, enabling devices) and letting the bastards (i.e. "us") kill each other. Economic/political/environmental problem solved.

12:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check it out: http://money.cnn.com/2013/02/26/news/economy/over-50-unemployables/

CRI (we usually say CRE, here)-

Welcome to the blog, and I do hope you can get back to Europe, but not b4 peeing on yr colleague's shoes. Americans are just plain dumb. I believe Alt U. is still going strong, giving out joke degrees, tho I never pd it any mind after I escaped. The mental and spiritual vacuity of the place was literally unbelievable, while they were all taking themselves so seriously. 2 yrs of my life I pissed away at that place; altho it *was* a valuable insight into a typical cross section of America. Until I worked there, I had no idea people like that actually existed; but as the years passed, I realized that in the US, *I* was the exception, not them. I guess the idea was to collect a lot of mindless buffoons (students *and* faculty) and call it a "university." Only in America.


1:10 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Three human lives are wasted again:


Life goes on in America as no person knows how to stop the slaughter. The kills two police officers. Other police officers respond by killing the man. Justice is done, there and then, immediately. Justice is personal to the police; the courts and the communities have no say. Yet the police people work for the communities, not for themselves.

It is now difficult to know what is personal madness and what is public duty.

Please read The Culture of Vengeance and the Fate of the American Justice by Terry K. Aladjem

6:24 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Apologies for the second daily post Dr B, but I omitted this link fom the first.
The BBC2 doc from 1992 on this 'cynical game':


7:32 AM  
Anonymous The Mule said...

I'm tired of voting for the "lesser of evils" because just like Ralph Nader said: "At the end of the day you're still left with evil." A progressive friend of mine pointed out "Yeah but the lesser of evils is you know, less evil." I'm going to start voting for Greens, Socialists and Marxists if that's where my nose leads me. At least I'll sleep at night.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

What is fascinating is that despite all the pathologies noted and obvious decline of U.S. Soceity, the drum beat of positive news and pushing for positive thinking and optimism continues apace. There is nothing more wretched than going through msn news to get to a hotmail account. You see the exclamation of the best things to do with retirment, how to work out, the ten best whatever, tips for saving taxes, best diners, best vacations, etc. The more serious news outlets seem to drone on about various efforts of american virtue to help the misguided others on the earth. Where ever you go news of recovery and how america is gaining its edge via our unique genius and capacity to innovate! Need a positive attitude. Despite solid efforts its impossible to avoid this delusional dreck. Soon leaving thank god.

10:21 AM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

MB - OK then, the next post and comment thread can be on the dating adventures of WAFers. That should be very entertaining.

Re: over 50 workers, the solution is obvious: Logan's Run. Make it a reality TV show, with commercials for Soylent Green at the break. We're like 2-3 years away from that anyway.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous swordfish said...

@Joe Hohos, you're right about coal and electricity. However, if GtA is right and the world economy is tied to oil prices, then as oil gets scarcer (or harder to extract) we have massive financial meltdown, which will put a serious crimp in the techno-totalitarian control mechanisms, I think. Or maybe I'm just an optimist. I'd say cockeyed optimist, but that would be sexist. ;)

But as I said before, I have no idea. I haven't done any serious study of this at all. I'm kind of clinging to the notion that techno-totalitarianism won't be possible, but it could well be that you and MB are right, which would suck way more than GtA's vision of the future, in which we're forced to return to 1728 technology.

And of course there are a million other factors: food shortages, WATER, climate, pollution, superbugs, monsanto-devastated cropland, the list goes on and on. Even a dystopia has to feed those in power. But, quien sabe? Maybe it will be a shortlived tyranny.

Yours in wafer(ette)dom

11:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Let's not forget the Waferettes! They too need love and dating adventures. As for yr 3rd(!) post: try tomorrow, thanks. (You see how addictive this blog is, even w/o the lure of sexual satisfaction.)


The phrase "drone on" has a doble sentido these days, verdad? Meanwhile, your post reminds me that there isn't enuf urine in the entire country to drench 315 million pairs of shoes. I mean, do you think those folks are reading Barb Ehrenreich's "Bright-Sided," and laughing at those ads? Not bloody likely. The sliver of real intelligence in this country is 200,000 people, maximum (I'm being generous).


Problem is that power doesn't reside in the W.H., or Congress. Those are just the puppets. The puppet masters are in Lower Manhattan and Va. Never forget that wonderful 60s graffito: "If elections could change the system, they would be declared illegal." Do u think it's an accident that Mr. O has his lips firmly planted on the rumps of the Pentagon and Wall St.? In the US, a Green/Socialist/Marxist president (and good luck w/that one) wd wind up doing the same thing (unless he enjoys chewing on steel). Social change now can only come from collapse; which is why I was in tears over Mittney's defeat. The worse, the better, in short.


But this is why *everyone*--every last American--needs to be armed to the teeth. Let us pray that it is sooner rather than later.



11:16 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

I thought of a good research project for a bright student who agrees with WAF. "America's Nervous Breakdowns" You cld show the underlying thread connecting such cultural events as the 50s Red Scare and my personal fave, the period 1988-1994, when the Soviet Union (The Evil Empire) collapsed and an extraordinary twin explosion occurred: of extreme PC, on the "left," and racist militias, on the "right." (In that period the mask really came off and a kind of hysterical anti-racism/"diversity-ism" erupted, quickly replaced by white racism and anti-Semitism of a virulence I had never before imagined possible in this country - the American fault line of race shook mightily yet again, revealing yet again that the American mind [?] has real issues.)

Like business cycle downturns, these nervous breakdowns happen periodically. We really can't live this way.

Many books have been written abt the separate breakdowns, but taking a page from MB's "The Way We Live Today" (here) I say they need to be synthesized under one understanding, as mere symptoms of a chronic condition. The paper issuing from such a research project wld make a nice complement to WAF.

What am I saying? Of course no student in America's corporatized universities will undertake this project; none will cite WAF, that's fer sure. And no one at Alt.U will undertake it. Oh well. Maybe a good Romanian researcher will do it; let's hope so.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Mark Notzon said...

Dear MB et al,

On feminism and "forumulaic" thinking.

Back in 2007, I taught at a school in Kathmandu, Nepal, which offered space for talks led by Johannes Galtung, the eminent "free lance" expert in conflict resolution. Warring factions in Nepal were in armisitice and readyng to begin a convention to draft a constitution for the country.

On the table was an amendment concerning women's rights. Galtung warned the mixed audience to expect a backlash once the amendment was passed. He further advised "..not to hire a North American academic feminist" to help sort it out. I sat in the back row chuckling at this while the American ambassador (or his representative) got up in a huff and walked out.

Galtung was cautioning against idealogy and simple minded MacThink which would not contribute to eradicating gross abuses of human rights (human trafficking)or encouraging empowerment of women in daily life at home or work.

(Think Ellen Nussbaum vs. Judith Butler? Read Nussbaum's masterful critique of the latter's "radical" and post-modern word salad at the "Arts and Letters Daily" website (aldaily.com), article found listed under the "Nota Bene" column.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB,

The "permanent global totalitarian dystopia" took another step closer to a cemented reality with yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on the FISA Amendments Act, which vastly expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants. Citing the ever vigilant Glenn Greenwald, " With perfect Kafkaesque reasoning, the Obama DOJ says that (1) who we spy on is a total secret, and therefore (2) nobody has the right to obtain a judicial ruling as to whether what we are doing is legal or constitutional." Which of course, the Supreme Court fully bought. Glenn continues, " In sum, the US government has constructed a ubiquitous Surveillance State.... As both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly proven, they are free to violate the Constitution at will just so long as they do so with enough secrecy to convince subservient federal courts to bar everyone from challenging their conduct."
Please note, this ongoing continual surveillance is directed at millions of Americans. Glenn's article is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/26/supreme-court-eavesdropping-law-doj-argument .
This dystopia is evolving and I predict will be used to prevent the fall of current elites, their system of power and their financial system, in other words, it will be used to maintain capitalism as a status quo arrangement.
We know have a national security state with complete electronic surveillance backed up with drone strikes and yes, it's just a matter of time before drone strikes will be used domestically.

Go here : https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/02/secretive-stingray-surveillance-tool-becomes-more-pervasive-questions-over-its
And here : http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/146909-darpa-shows-off-1-8-gigapixel-surveillance-drone-can-spot-a-terrorist-from-20000-feet .

12:10 PM  
Blogger jml said...

Bingo - I agree with you about the importance of tradition. It seems that it is part of the American indoctrination/education system to lead people to be ashamed of cultural traditions from the Old World. It's like we gladly traded our identities for a blank slate. I have felt for a long time that this is primarily what was wrong with white kids from the suburbs. I used to call it the white disease. They have no absolutely no idea who they really are or where they came from. (Disclaimer: my skin is as lily white as it gets, so I'm not trying to offend those of you with white skin - I used to be one of those kids.)

As far as the nuclear family vs. multi-generational living arrangements, I just came across another article today that speaks of the trend of large numbers of college graduates living back at home with mom and dad. (http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/heres-exactly-how-many-college-graduates-live-back-at-home/273529/)
These articles are always written as if this is such a horrible thing. In the course of human history, it's only been a teeny-tiny, miniscule period of time that we were brainwashed into believing that there was something wrong with multi-generational living arrangements. I have elderly parents and I can say that the modern single-family arrangement is awful for all of us. Yet, they would consider living with me or me with them a disgrace. It's so strange. How did all of this happen? Most Americans think they are so lucky and fortunate and yet so much about our lifestyle is just plain sad.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Industrial disease strikes in Europe this time:
BBC: Three dead in Swiss factory shooting

But what I really wanted to bring to your attention today was a new book about the processed food industry. The author is a NY Times reporter and he has a long article in the NYT and is starting to make the NPR talk show rounds.

NY Times: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

NPR: How The Food Industry Manipulates Taste Buds With 'Salt Sugar Fat'

The most interesting and/or shocking thing I heard in the interview was that the food companies [i]cannot[/i] remove the huge amounts of salt and sugar from the food they make. That's what masks the awful taste of the stuff they are pumping out of those factories. When the author was given a chance to taste-test some of the grocery standards with the salt and sugar dramatically reduced or completely removed he found them inedible. So now I have to wonder -- even if they can get any [b]real[/b] food, can Americans actually [i]eat[/i] it now? We've been living on machine-extruded goop for several generations. Besides not being able to grow and prepare our own food, looks like we can't even eat it. Things are going to get ugly when the industrial food system breaks down.

BTW, I was wondering about you personally, MB. Do you eat a local and relatively unprocessed diet there in Mexico? Or are you a secret "Junk-food Junkie", still sneaking out somewhere to buy all those deli meats and stuffing instant mixes, cheesy poofs, and candy bars into your grocery sacks?

1:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


No decent corned beef down here (sob). I'm not much into junk food, really, tho I cd probably do better on the cholesterol front. ps: best to send messages to most recent post, as folks tend not to read the older ones.


1:27 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

Re: fear & fascism, that's why I don't put much stock in the "progress" that civil rights, feminism, & gay rights has made. As we've said, they're still buying in to the among system lock, stock, & barrel, but, also, using nazi Germany as an example, it can all disappear quickly. Before hitler, Germany was probably one of the best places to be Jewish, and Jews were highly integrated into German society, certainly life was better than under the pogroms and anti-semitism of Russia and the Slavic countries. Weimar Germany was also way more progressive on sexuality & gay issues (magnus hirschfeld). All that was quickly swept away when hitler came to power, and I don't think for a minute that American "progress" couldn't be just as quickly set aside.
call me an optimist, but I just think the system is way too frail at this point to survive to global techno capitalist totalitarian dystopia. I'm just thinking about the "sunshine" period that follows the end of any empire, when everything comes to light, like imperial Japan & nazi Germany at the end of WW II, and the USSR and the Communist bloc from 1989-1991. People find out just how weak & dysfunctional the system was, and are incredulous that it held out as long as it did. The emperor really did have no clothes, wizard of oz type thing.
I just have this feeling of people in the future, after the US has collapsed, looking back, being incredulous that an empire of incompetent morons could have held on for so long. & I DO believe that the elite in charge are as moronic as the average American. They'll be saying, "it was worse than even Morris Berman realized."
You mentioned Poland, I thought Poland was about as staunch an ally of the US as it comes, I thought Poland was about as far up uncle Sam's ass as they come? They've supported the US with troops on all our recent adventures.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I've often said that American stupidity is not nec a function of IQ. Consider Robt McNamara, e.g.
Meanwhile, best to send messages to latest post; folks tend not to read the older ones.


1:50 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Revusky said...

"You may find this interesting but this blog (along with a variety of other sites) is blocked by the Chinese government."

Actually, all of blogspot.com is blocked from mainland China. As well as most typical social media sites like facebook and twitter and youtube as well.

This blog is not specifically blocked. It strikes me as quite unlikely that the Chinese government would object that much to the message of the the collapse of America.

6:56 AM  

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