March 13, 2013


Dear Wafers:

Last post was nearing 200 comments, so it was time to move on. This is post #173, and frankly, I have nothing to say. Oh, wait: some of you wanted info on my April 5 lecture at UBC in Vancouver. It's going to be at 11 a.m. in the Neville Scarfe Bldg., Rm 100. For those of you who can't make it, I'll post the link to the videotape sometime after the lecture.

Onward and Downward,



Anonymous ennobled little day said...

I thought you guys might find this interesting:

It's about the alledged corruption of anthropology in the service of the military, among other things.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

A quick visit to Google news provides the details on the claim from the previous comment thread. Yes, a man waterboarded his own sons, apparently to "show them what it was like"...

Huffington Post: Man Waterboards Four Children, Including Sons, 9 And 12, In Montana

HELENA, Mont. -- A Montana man accused of waterboarding four children as a learning experience for them has reached a plea deal with prosecutors in which he will receive probation.

The children were the Jefferson County man's 9- and 12-year-old sons and two neighbor kids, ages 13 and 15, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.


9:33 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Dr. Atomic said...And if any of you are finding yourself just a little sluggish in the morning, just write the words AMERICANS ARE MORONS on the top part of your bathroom mirror, and AMERICANS HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS below. Trust me, the resulting shock and horror will keep alert for the rest of the day.
And you can definitely get by without caffeine when you know that our military is increasingly made up of fundamentalist Christians of an end times persuasion. Then imagine such a crew of about 100, after 3 months underwater in one of these little beauties.

Each is a planet killer -- 24 missiles x 8 /12 warheads = 192 / 288 cities nuked. And it’s all over in 30 minutes. But OK, lets talk about drones, yeah, if we could only get rid of those, we’ll all be safe.

“Sir! I have a plan... [stands from his wheelchair] Mein Führer, I can WALK!”

10:16 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

'Caudillo' is a new one on me, not being a Spanish speaker--so I looked it up on the google. It struck me that it aptly describes the current trajectory of the US Presidency, maybe not quite there yet (military dictatorship) but definitely going in that direction. It would explain the phonily promoted need for a constant state of global war--the populace generally accepting that democratic concerns are shelved as counter-productive in times of war, and truth universally acknowledged as being the first casualty.

Maybe those wily cardinals have sniffed the winds of change also and are shifting the business base from the west to the upcoming sphere of influence, South America, and preparing the ground with a humble 'saint' rather than the usual political operator. Going back to their roots, so to speak.
Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB,

Robert McChesney has published an interesting paper at Monthly, Nov. 2012 issue, titled "This Isn't What Democrcacy Looks Like".


The most striking lesson from contemporary U.S. election campaigns is how vast and growing the distance is between the rhetoric and pronouncements of the politicians and pundits and the actual deepening, immense, and largely ignored problems... The trillion dollars spent annually on militarism and war is off-limits to public review and debate. Likewise the corporate control of the economy, and the government itself, gets barely a nod. Stagnation, the class structure, growing poverty, and collapsing social services are mostly a given, except for the usual meaningless drivel candidates say to get votes. The billions spent (often by billionaires) on dubious and manipulative advertisements—rivaled for idiocy only by what remains of “news” media campaign coverage—serve primarily to insult the intelligence of sentient beings. Mainstream politics seem increasingly irrelevant to the real problems the nation faces; or, perhaps more accurately, mainstream politics is a major contributing factor to the real problems the nation faces.......
Today, the United States is better understood as.... a “Dollarocracy”—the rule of money rather than the rule of the people—a specifically U.S. form of plutocracy. Those with the most dollars get the most votes and own the board.

The other side of the coin in Dollarocracy.....Public education and libraries are under constant attack, as their existence runs counter to the values of Dollarocracy. Social Security and Medicare, likewise, are in the crosshairs.

The physical infrastructure of the nation—roads, transit, bridges, electrical and water systems—has become increasingly dilapidated and is pathetic by comparison to other advanced nations, whereas fifty years ago the United States was the envy of the world. the triumph of neoliberalism and the transformation of the political domain into a domain of dollars, making the notorious corruption of the Gilded Age seem tame by comparison. Dollarocracy....constantly moves on to wherever there is new big game to be bagged: stripping the government for parts, sometimes called the “outsourcing” of public services, and the handing off of these to corporations, who increasingly manage our prisons, conduct key military functions, and even direct (while privatizing and degrading) our schools. These private firms then generate guaranteed healthy profits by tapping into public monies, and in some cases by degrading public services so as to promote private “alternatives” funded with public money.....Not surprisingly, one of the areas in which the Dollarcrats have cut the federal budget to the bones is in regard to those very officials charged with monitoring and accounting for spending and enforcement of contracts. It is basically open season for graft and all kinds of chicanery."

The conclusion,"The task before us, then, is to shine so bright a light on the gross abrogation of democracy in the contemporary United States as to give rise to a social revolt aimed at the creation of a genuinely democratic and egalitarian order: socialism by its or any other name."

It's spot on about how the "free private enterprise" mentality has consumed almost all of American life. But I'm guessing, Dr. MB, that you don't believe that a "social revolt" is in the future.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Good post, but in future pls compress a little, as it's a bit long. 1/2 a page is the suggested limit. You shd note that Benjamin Rush, ca. 1800, called the US "bedollared." This is a gd analysis of how orwellian things have become in the US. But there are 2 problems here: Bob talks abt "insulting the intelligence of sentient beings." Not an issue in America: the beings have no intelligence, and they don't even seem to be sentient. What's the difference what the political regime is, in a land of robots? 2nd, I wish Bob and other 'progressives' wd stop clutching at straws, and just admit that this is the end of the rd. I think it's possible that we shall have a social revolt in this country, but that it will come from the right. Compare what the Tea Party accomplished--getting hold of the House of Rep--to what OWS accomplished (bupkis). And future rt-wing revolts will probably not be so 'polite'.


See discussion w/Trout. Yes, we are sinking ever so steadily into orwellian dysfunction. However, Obama is more a puppet than a caudillo. All he's done is orchestrate increasing corporate and military control of the nation. Chavez, at least, was ruffling a few feathers.

Look, we've talked a lot on this blog abt where this is all heading, and have discussed the possibility of the end of capitalism as a socioeconomic formation by 2100. Month by month, it continues to disintegrate, and--this is my thesis on Dual Process--there is a corresponding rise in alternative expts for a decentralized, eco-sustainable future, that is a genuine steady-state socioeconomic formation and not a pile of Al Gore/Thos Friedman green bullshit. Spain is a possible model rt now: the austerity gets increasingly deeper, the govt increasingly stupid, and meanwhile there are at least 325 expts w/alternative currencies, energy, and so on. Plus, Catalonia and the Basque region have strong secessionist movements. Japan might be another possibility (I'll be talking abt this at UBC on April 5.) But there might be another Dual Process going on that's less optimistic: not the contest between a dying capitalism and a bourgeoning new way of life, but between the latter and the techno-surveillance state, which will be a variant of The Matrix, and wh/will kill anything that moves, so to speak. The NSA is recording this message, as well as your own, and all of our emails and fone calls. Drones will soon be hovering across the American skies, and they can read your watch from 2000 feet up. Dystopia, in short; and next to this as a potential threat, the eclipse of capitalism might look like a cakewalk. We cd be heading into much more difficult times than large-scale unemployment, in short. In such a context, BTW, social revolt, including from the right, is unnecessary as well as impossible, because in a sense it will have already occurred. The "end of history" indeed.


10:22 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

If we are indeed headed toward a techno-dystopia -- and that seems an entirely likely possibility -- how long can it last? After all, it would be dependent on power & resources, both of which have finite ends. What could follow that sort of collapse is truly chilling, because it would almost be certainly the worst of the right-wing, who would welcome the end of any legal restraints. And let's not even suggest moral restraints; they already have none. Ever since the survivalist groups of the Reaganite 80s, it's been obvious that such people don't fear a complete collapse of civilization; if anything, they desperately hunger for it, and the Id-drenched wasteland it would usher in. If that should come to pass, NMIs, lie very low indeed!

10:45 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Why People Are Walking Around With Their Noses Glued to their Smart Phones, Part 378

Study at least 20 photos at that site, & then ask yrself: Do I feel the need for warm, touchy-feely interaction w/ this?

"These are yr neighbors," someone once said.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hi Dr. Berman:

I read that you will post the presentation here, but will David Barsamian be sending an Alternative Radio crew to record your Vancouver talk?

2:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I sent Dave the where and when info, in case his team wants to sample exotic Western Canadian food; but I also told him that UBC wd supply him with the audio link, so I'm guessing he'll probably just use that. You can then buy the CD's from Alternative Radio, send them to people who foolishly believe capitalism has a future, and watch the veins in their foreheads throb. Or perhaps Dave might give u a discount on a bulk purchase, and u can hand them out to people at Wal-Mart.


3:42 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Bellevue, Washington: "A 50-year-old man shot and killed himself in front of a group of people, including children, who were attending a gun safety class Sunday in Bellevue, Washington, according to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Brian J. Parry reportedly used a pistol provided to participants to end his life in front of about a dozen people. A coroner’s report issued earlier in the week ruled his death a suicide, the Intelligencer noted.

The shooting took place at the West Coast Armory, which bills itself the state’s “premier indoor shooting range” at 31,000 square feet, featuring state-of-the-art shooting stalls and “NRA certified Range Safety Instructors” present at all times.""

What incredible buffoons these people are- I wish it wasn't true of all Americans. These people must be too stupid to realize that if you really want to be "safe," you shouldn't be handing out guns to one another or, for that matter, be allowed to own them. But instead, these buffoons have "gun safety classes" and worship the Second Amendment (as if the right not to be killed by guns could be trumped by the right by the right to have them). This is pure buffoonery, nothing more and nothing less. I can totally see why you would want to leave such a land of dolts.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


People in other countries don't 'think' like Americans do; this has by now been statistically established (Joe Henrich, Hazel Markus, Ethan Watters, et al.). What we have in the US is 315 million dunces. And just when you think they can't stick their heads any farther up their asses--they do! "You can never underestimate the intelligence of the American public."--H.L. Mencken


6:14 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

On your favorite subject:

"If you have just read the same paragraph 12 times because the person sitting next to you on the bus or in the airline lounge or on the subway is chatting on the cellphone, feel free to show the talker this: scientists have found another piece of evidence that overheard cellphone conversations are far more distracting and annoying than a dialogue between two people nearby.

In a study published Wednesday in the journal PLoS One, college students who were asked to complete anagrams while a nearby researcher talked on her cellphone were more irritated and distracted — and far more likely to remember the contents of the conversation — than students who worked on the same puzzles while the same conversation was conducted by two people in the room.

The study is the latest in a growing body of research on why cellphones rank so high on the list of modern irritants. Mounting evidence suggests the habits encouraged by mobile technology — namely, talking loudly in public to someone who is not there — are tailor made for hijacking the cognitive functions of bystanders.

One reason, said Veronica Galván, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of San Diego and the lead author of the study, is the brain’s desire to fill in the blanks.

“If you only hear one person speaking, you’re constantly trying to place that part of the conversation in context,” Galván said. “That’s naturally going to draw your attention away from whatever else you’re trying to do.”

It is also a control thing, Galván said. When people are trapped next to a one-sided conversation — known nowadays as a “halfalogue” — their anger rises in the same way it does in other situations where they are not free to leave, such as waiting for a train or a plane."

I stopped by my oldest daughter's home this afternoon to say hello to my son-in-law's brother and wife (whom I've known for 10 years) and they spent most of the time on their iphones. The simplest questions about their lives seemed to be of no interest to them and anything to do with their four kids, strictly an afterthought, best answered with monosyllables. Strange and sad that the simple courtesies that used to be in place are gone.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...


Thanks for the statistical information, doesn't surprise me to hear that. As you say, it's as if Americans are stuck in the 17th Century, living the script of possessive individualism written by John Locke, with no real hope of a better future. Instead of imagining how society could be radically improved, progress in America takes the form of very minor changes, usually in the way of increased formal rights (e.g., gays being allowed to marry or enter the military, more women in business, etc.). Not once do they question their own individualist and militarist ideology, instead concerning themselves every four years with the shallow spectacle of whether their choice for President will become elected. Surely, such blindness to the meaning of one's own life can't be part of human nature, and Americans will some day change (after a disaster, perhaps?)?

6:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There's also some evidence that they cause brain cancer, except that people who use them have no brains. Have u ever actually listened to someone's c.p. conversation? It's hard to believe how boring their lives are. But in terms of accelerating the decline of the American empire, I think these gadgets are actually making a major contribution. So I'm upset when people use them in Mexico (or Europe), but quite happy when I see them being used up north. O&D!


Americans wdn't change if they were starving and the police were tracking them w/drones and gunning them down in the streets (both of wh/are slowly starting to happen). I've talked on this blog about Robt Bellah's concept of "path dependence", that past a certain point in a historical or political situation, the fix is in and things hafta just run their course. Well, that is certainly true of our collapsing empire; but it also applies to CRE, amazingly enuf. After a certain point of insertion of the head into the rectum, you cannot extract it! Check out the article in the Jan. 15 New England Journal of Medicine, "Irreversibility in Acute Cranial Rectitis," by Julius Scheisskopf, M.D., for further details.


7:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


ps: What do Venezuelans say to each other in December? Ans.: "Feliz Chavidad!"

7:47 PM  
Blogger Prolesser said...

Most of the "tyrants" or ancient Athens were good. Solon was a "tyrant." It was the democracy that killed Socrates.

Chavez should have stayed in for 16 years. There is nothing wrong or "anti-democratic" about that in the least. Had the US had FDR for a full 16, or better yet, 20 (assuming his health improved in my what-if), the US would be infinitely better-off now.

The best thing Chavez did, anyhow, was not "feeding the poor," much as I like that. It was the Bank. Do you all understand how, by creating a Latin American IMF, he created a real revolution. Greg Palast, my hero, explains it for you.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

WAFerism validated:


1 in 3 counties now dying, with rural and exurban areas hit hard; immigrants help avert losses

Without new immigrants, many metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and St. Louis would have posted flat or negative population growth in the last year

“Immigrants are innovators, entrepreneurs, they’re making things happen. They create jobs,” said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican


10:54 PM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

I'm having trouble dissociating the "techno dystopia" from capitalism. MB, you mention that the Matrix style, total surveillance/violence techno dystopia as something that will follow capitalism, but I'm having trouble divorcing techno dystopia from capitalism and the hustling culture. I guess I just see the techno dystopia as a product of capitalism--all those drones, cellphones, cameras, computers, etc. are bought and sold on the market, whether to individuals or the government, and make a hefty profit to their manufacturers/creators. Not to mention all the costs involved in maintaining all that surveillance. I think Tim hit the nail on the head, looking at a PC or a "smart"phone, it may not seem to use that much in energy/resources, but most forget the vast server farms needed to maintain the internet and the techno dystopia & how much energy they demand. There will come a time of scarcity when there won't be enough resources to maintain all that, and they will become worthless relics.
I really do believe in some sort of "karma"--that the US will come to collapse & fail long before the feared dystopia comes to be. In that regard, I guess I'm an optimist, and I agree w/MB when he says he has faith in humanity, but not the US. I just keep thinking back to all the Cold War/WW III dystopias that never came to be. I think the US is way more fragile than some give it credit for.
Unfortunately, my experience w/Mexico has been limited to interactions w/immigrants in the US and the border near Baja. Like MB, I find Mexicans enchanting and gracious, and I've never experienced the "horrors" that Americans warned me about Tijuana, and I've been lost there at night, taken a "libre" taxi, among other things a gringo should never do. (I went down for body work on my car, and the guy was most helpful and good) But, then again, I'm not a typical gringo, and have been very aware of being a guest in another country, and was very conscious of my manners, summoning as much of my traditional Southern upbringing and etiquette as I could muster. Same goes for time spent in Canada, as well. My time spent around the border only whet my appetite for more--the autopista beckons me further in to see/experience more. I'm somewhat skeptic about claims that Latin America is more homophobic than the US, I'm not sure that that is not just xenophobic bias on the part of Americans. FWIW, I know that the DF and maybe other parts of Mexico recognize same-sex marriage.
I've just now had the opportunity to review the page on MMT, and it does seem to be "progressive" and suffer from the flaws the MB has mentioned regarding "progressives", namely, that it is addressed some idealistic population, not TAP (the American people) It doesn't take into account the fact the American people are ignorant (the much noted CRE) and violent. I just don't see Americans embracing full employment or any of the other prescriptives of MMT, and the preference for American government spending is on violence through the military. Besides, the will of the American people is to default on the debt--most Americans, Congress included, are just too stupid to understand MMT, let alone implement it.

11:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You raise an interesting pt abt the diff between capitalism and techno-dystopia, and whether there is any. I'd like to hear from other Wafers on the subject...


2:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


All well and gd, but we're not living in ancient Greece anymore. As for FDR, most historians are agreed that his goal, and his historical function, was to save capitalism, and that he accomplished that. He had no interest in any type of genuine socialist society, regardless of what the GOP or political right says abt it. The two-term law (22nd amendment) was passed after he was elected for the 4th time, because Congress understood that it's potentially dangerous to have the same person running things for too long a time--something that Chavez certainly failed to grasp. When all is said and done, what Lord Acton said about power remains a truism.

ps: Shane: I forgot to mention this: try to limit yr posts to about 1/2 page maximum. Thank you.


3:37 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


Can you tell whether her baby’s cranium is embedded in her ass or in her uterus? I’m having a hard time telling.

“Pregnant Kim Kardashian's '4 stone baby-weight gain' hasn't just gone to her bump - check out that bum!”:


Immigrants are already leaving the US by the millions. Here in Chicago, our daughter’s public school’s newsletter recently described a problem the city is now facing. Namely, in the past couple of years about half of students simply disappeared, so now there are a lot of empty schools the city has no clue what to do with. Chicago used to be one of the largest (if not the largest) Mexican community in the US. Five years ago there were Mexicans all over the place. Today, I see a great deal fewer Mexican-looking people around this city (forgive me for my habitual racial profiling). Other immigrant groups also left in droves, in particular Indians, Chinese, Eastern Europeans. I am sure this is happening across the US, as is in Western Europe, by the way.

This is why Chicago recently started offering illegal immigrants drivers licenses. To stop them from leaving. The economy cannot survive if many more first-generation immigrants continue to leave. Without immigrants, who will mow the lawns, pick up trash, wash dishes, etc? No wonder weeds are 6 feet tall all over this city, we’re swimming in street trash, and there are no busboys at my favorite restaurant anymore.

MB & Shane,

I highly recommend that WAFers watch the movie The Hunger Games. I think it is a lot closer to the techno-dystopia that is not being prepared for us, complete with total surveillance, drones, a bread-and-circuses neo-feudal economic system, a barbaric ruling elite closely observing the 7 immutable rules of Mittneyism, and a strikingly similar geographical configuration to UN’s Agenda 21 plans.

A Hunger Games type of future is a lot more plausible to expect than The Matrix. What makes it worse, the author of the Hunger Games book trilogy is related to one of the high ranking elites, and I suspect she saw their actual plans (very much like Aldous Huxley did before her).

5:47 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Techno Dystopia and the modern form of capitalism seen in USA are inseparable. The dystopinaism is a feature and not a bug. Moreover, as the system moves to cartel use enforced by the state technology is essential. Technology has been enbeded as a means to differentiate products and productivty and drive innovation. But as schumpeter said its not always a "good" thing. Technology is a trap and clearly alienating--spending 30% of waking hours pecking and gawking at a device, having 35 PIN numbers, shopping on line....Ughhh. A good sense of techno dystopia being a feature can be had in the work of JG Ballard and Phillip K Dick. Mike Judges film idiocracy can probably also be understood as a depiction of techno dystopia.

Profs post is interesting for it shows how deeply the hagiorgraphy of FDR taught in schools takes hold....Hoover Bad, FDR Good, Kennedy Good, Nixon Bad, Bush Bad, Obama Good. Civil rights good. See there is your U.S. civics and history education.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Re: techno-dystopia

In the vein of Trout who earlier quoted McChesney, see this double book review in alternet:


It is a bit short and hipsterish, and written by a techno-apologist, but interesting none-the-less.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for yr message, but it's better to send messages to the latest post, since no one reads the older stuff. You might wanna re-send, in short.


You see, I'm not really sure abt that. I cd see capitalism collapsing due to resource stress and other factors we've discussed here, and the emergence of a kind of neofeudal state controlled by an elaborate surveillance and military technology, to make sure the 1% oligarchy stays in power, and that everyone else knows their place and keeps their head down. The purpose of the latter wd not be profit, or economic expansion, because those options will eventually (I believe) be closed off; it will be simply to maintain an archaic type of status quo, a very sharp hierarchical pyramid. The other alternative to capitalism is the eco-sustainable decentralized model (horizontal rather than vertical) we've also talked abt. But the eerie thing is that w/capitalism effectively defunct, both systems would be steady-state, economically speaking, and hence both might be described as a variety of neofeudalism. The diff is that one wd be a horror and the other more or less 'libertarian'. The contest between these 2 possibilities strikes me as potentially more significant than the one between the eco-model and capitalism, because capitalism simply has no future; its eclipse is assured. Hence, the character of what succeeds it probably needs to be the focus of our attention. It's also why secessionist movements, whether in Catalonia or VT, might hold the key to the future (and possibly some of the wrtgs of Ursula Le Guin).

Yr rt abt FDR etc. Wm Appleman Wms, in fact, a great American historian, argued that FDR was not so hot and Hoover much better than usually assumed. Also, Americans tend to subscribe to a 'great man' theory of history, as u indicate, rather than being taught any real sociology, i.e. that social forces are far more impt than single individuals (to wit, Obama is nothing more than a puppet of those forces). Michael Moore makes this simplistic error in his very bad film, "Capitalism, A Love Story," in which FDR's death is seen as the cause of the end of a socialist-type regime (hardly), and Reagan the cause of the opposite. All this shows an absence of any real historical understanding.


I think Hunger Games was partly inspired by Shirley Jackson's story, "The Lottery," wh/I read more than 50 yrs ago, and never forgot. Thanks for the rec.


10:10 AM  
Blogger jml said...

i could be completely misunderstanding the idea of a techno-dystopia future but doesn't constant technological surveillance imply some form of centralization? and if the future we are headed for is a collapse due to a combination of factors like resource limits, doesn't collapse cause decentralization? james howard kunstler talks about this - there won't be enough energy to power the technology or the centralized bureaucracy. he seems to see a future that is small and local, like those of the middle ages. i think the hunger games is more reflective of the world we are living in today rather than the future. but maybe i'm too hopeful.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That's why different scenarios are possible, and I'm sure the Pentagon is quite busy running them on computer simulation in their Games Room, as well as training select personnel in population control. Yes, centralization to be sure; but there will be some resources left, after all, and the idea is that the 1% will control these, and use them for surveillance purposes. I don't think collapse *necessarily* causes decentralization, wh/is why secessionists movements potentially have an impt role to play, historically speaking.


10:46 AM  
Anonymous Zaid said...


1) If Jesus suddenly appears today, do you think he will step on the soil of USA?

2) If he steps on the soil of USA, do you think he will be distracted by the beautiful ass Kim Kardashian?

Jack Schaap, Indiana Pastor, Claimed Jesus Wanted Him To Have Sex With Teenage Girl

A disgraced Indiana megachurch leader who seduced his teenage parishioner evidently told her Jesus wanted them to have sex.

As part of the government’s sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors this week released incriminating letters between Jack Schaap, the former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Ind., and his teen victim.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Rowdy said...

I have to say that I'm dubious about this whole techno-dystopia meme.

It's not just being able to afford the drones, it's the complex technological infrastructure needed to support them e.g. locating and mining rare-earth metals, building micro-chip fabrication plants with "clean" rooms, training and manning the complex electronic communications rooms in order to fly them etc.

Drones work because they piggy-back on top of the giant consumer electronics industries (mostly located outside the US) that allow their componentry to be resourced cheaply in an economy of scale.

I could see this kind of dystopian scenario lasting for maybe 20 years after the fall of capitalism, kluged together from old computer parts, but, frankly, I see a Chinese or Korean invasion of the (former?) USA being far more likely.

Meanwhile, in other news, Japan is pulling out all the stops to keep capitalism going:

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Sami said...

40 years vs. 50 years

DUNCANVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – Police in Duncanville are searching for the person who murdered 74-year old woman Wednesday morning, as she answered the front door of the home she’s lived in for 50 years.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A mother and son are dead, found fatally shot inside a home in southwest Houston Saturday morning. And now, a person of interest has been named in the case.

According to police, the two were found shot to death at a home in the 7100 block of Bahia near Willview. That's where the now-deceased woman has lived with her two children for nearly 40 years.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB,

Regarding Japan, I thought you might be interested in the remarks of Kyle Bass, a rather prominent hedge fund owner/manager. He points out that both the Japanese real estate and stock markets have lost 75% of their value in the last 20 years. Japanese government debt now totals over $1 Quadrillion Yen, the interest costs are 25% of central government revenue annually; the central government takes in $43 Trillion Yen and spends $ 102 Trillion Yen and has spent at least 2X revenue annually for the last 5 years. 95% of the government debt is held inside of Japan and 95% of that is held by Japanese institutions, not by individuals. Now the largest Pension in Japan is a net seller of government bonds because it needs to pay pensioners. He goes on to discuss the demographic problems, an aging and shrinking population. My favorite Bass factoid : In Japan in 2012, more adult diapers were sold than baby diapers.
Bass believes that there will soon be a "detonation of Japan's Debt Time Bomb". In other words, a sovereign debt default of huge proportions.

My favorite question from the university audience:
Question: Do you buy guns, gold, neither, or both?
"I don't get paid to be an optimist, I don't get paid to be pessimist, I get paid to be a realist - and a prudent fiduciary of the capital, and then if I have time I care about the social issues of the world.
If I am right, the social issues are going to be very difficult. I don't think we devolve into anarchy and I do think the payment systems will continue to work but what they will pay with will be wumpum...
We will go thru a period where it's a little tougher...
We went through a period where it was briefly tough and now there are 1400 new billionaires in the world - maybe some capital was misallocated..."

It's all here:

And here:

1:29 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Excellent points regarding the historical narratives surrounding FDR and others. Most Americans think history is, overall, the story of "progress"; filled with winners and losers, good versus evil, saviors and scoundrels. Of course, we have had plenty of scoundrels, but this is beside the point. When you can get them to think, even just a little bit, about the American past, they pay absolutely no attention to the perceived losers. Hence, who cares what a guy like Jimmy Carter had to say... he's a loser with a capital "L"! A subtlety about the past, living within a certain type of ambiguity about American history, or thinking about the U.S. outside of the progress train is not an option for most.

Regarding techno-dystopia, the creation of a surveillance state, imperial agendas, drones, nukes, permanent war, and the erosion of democracy, I tend to think that most Americans, even if they are aware of all this on an elementary level, don't really much care about any of this. They don't see these things as obvious violations of freedom and democracy and threats to the world and themselves (as wafers do), they see them all as somehow protecting America. This is how complete the brainwashing is.

I don't know if it matters much, in terms of the scope and dimension of what is discussed and dissected on this blog, but I recently asked students in my history class, if they had ever listened to Bob Dylan's song, "Masters of War." This, while we were discussing the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the counterculture. Two students, out of a class of sixty, raised their hands. Keep in mind that this is a college level history course.


1:46 PM  
Anonymous Pauli said...

Obama, Obama, Obama, yeahhhhh!

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM). Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon sought to hide escalating trading losses that surpassed $6.2 billion, misled investors and dodged regulators as the bank’s position deteriorated last year, a Senate probe found.

The largest U.S. bank “mischaracterized high-risk trading as hedging,” and withheld key information from its primary regulator, sometimes at Dimon’s behest, according to a report today by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The 301-page document also shows how managers manipulated internal risk models and pressured traders to overvalue their positions in an effort to hide growing losses in a “monstrous” credit derivatives portfolio in London.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

It's difficult to say how "techno" it will be, but we certainly seem to be headed for dystopia. Public media and culture seems to be getting more and more strident and ugly every day. And the US might be leading the way towards this, but it's not alone. This story from a British newspaper makes me wonder if the US as such is really a culturally seperate entity. Maybe it's just the strongest faction of the entire group of Anglo-culture states, and they are all going down together. When someone else writes the history books in a thousand years, maybe the British and US regimes will be lumped together as a single entity, much as the different phases of many other empires which regarded themselves as separate get run together by later historians. (Or maybe someone in Europe can say whether this is a widespread trend outside the English-speaking world?)

Cambridge undergraduate tells of shocking abuse by male students at elite university

As an experienced speaker on the international debating circuit, I have fended off countless heckles from both men and women.

But I have never experienced anything like the misogynistic insults hurled at me by a group of male students during the finals of the Glasgow University Union (GUU) Ancients Debate last week.

I was booed and subjected to cries of ‘shame woman’ from the moment I stood up to discuss the motion, ‘This house regrets the centralisation of religion’, with my debate partner, Marlena Valles.

After the debate, we confronted both the individuals involved.

When Marlena approached one of the young men, he shouted: ‘Get that woman out of my union.’

Female audience members who came to our defence were shouted down with more demeaning abuse and the retort: ‘What does a woman know anyway.’ One was even called a ‘frigid bitch’.

We later discovered the gang had openly discussed our appearance and made lewd sexual comments about the size of our breasts and body shapes.

Sadly, this behaviour is not limited to one ugly debate with a renegade group of boorish students.


2:01 PM  
Anonymous Mike Alan said...

Concerning the capitalism and techno dystopian relationship, I see all of it completely connected to the cheap energy inputs we've had over the past few hundred years. As those energy inputs diminish and rise in price the party will start to wind down, as the past few years of economic stagnation have shown as easy-access oil fields around the world are depleting.

I know the cornucopians have their historic examples of people finding alternative fuels as their whale oil diminished due to over killing them. I don't see those ideas carry much weight when we are talking about approximately 18 million barrels of oil consumed in the US daily. There is no new fuel to switch to AND maintain our current levels of economy.

Capitalism as we have known it cannot exist without energy inputs, especially anything involving interest payments as the new money to pay interest must come from somewhere (newly discovered energy sources in the past). Technology as we know it today cannot exist without cheap energy to build most of it, let alone distribute and run it. Further, both capitalism and technology require stable social situations and reliable networks (electric, transportation, finance, etc...) to function. As I often talk about with my friends who have a clue, all it will take is one blip and things could get really ugly really quickly.

For anyone interested, Jay Hanson covers this topic of energy inputs into our system quite well at: It can be depressing reading for the uninitiated, but most Waffers likely passed that point long ago.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous satyaSarika said...


Thanks for your info on being gay in Mexico. Glad to hear there is a tradition of tolerance. I know that it's a largely Catholic country so I definitely wondered. It's hard to know without experience what kind of influence the traditionalists of the Church have on the day to day life of the people.

Another question: Is the macho tradition more of a steotype than a reality? That is, what is your opionion of the reality of women's lives in Mexico in relation to men? Say, as compared to the states?

On CMU's ... Just wanted to mention that as I was doing some research on the CMU's, my computer got infected with a nasty piece of malware ... something calling itself 'Disk Antivirus Professional'. Coincidence???

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

Interesting, I read that FDR hadn't even conceived the New Deal during the '32 campaign, that he pretty much campaigned on a "feel good, change" theme (sound familiar)--the theme was "Happy Days are Here Again", and just was swept up in the intense hatred of Hoover. In fact, I've read that he and VP Garner accused Hoover of practicing Socialism with the programs he'd instituted. I'd read where FDR copied the New Deal from ideas that Hoover had already conceived before he left office. Of course, once out of office, Hoover accused FDR and the Democrats of Socialism for introducing the New Deal.
I agree w/MB about revolution coming from the right--certainly the "left" will abide and abet the techno dystopia. If you look at the Tea Party and its leaders, like Rand Paul, you find that they support decentralization and have even advocated secession. I think the path to secession and decentralization lies with the Tea Party, which is why I strategically support it, even though I would not want to live in the dystopia they'd create, it's still the only way to kill the empire, IMO.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

@Morris: I am sorry about the Chris Hedges comment- I was too stressed to think clearly. One very humorous aspect of my daily life is my bipolar reaction to what I have learned from the alternative media and authors like you- on some days, I want to see a possibly more vibrant life after this century's problems have passed away, on others I fear the future and have lost the will to live. I am currently contemplating becoming a full-on diabetic to not see the worst of it. Speaking of which, it sure is lonely being a Cassandra- no one around me believes global warming, American decline, peak oil, etc. (let's not even mention the friend who said you "just bashed America"), and my father is somewhat of a psychological wreck with a diminutive intellectual and spiritual life. "What has to happen has to happen", but let's hope it's not for the worst. The possibility of a better world is something still worth struggling for me, and if not, why not put ourselves out of our misery, as VHEMT reccommends? Take care.

5:16 PM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

Re: The Hunger Games -

That`s not a dystopia, it`s better future world where America sacrifices *only 24* of its young people to the system.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

This is interesting, with regard to possible future scenarios. Shimon Peres addressing the European parliament, the outcome for Greece and Italy and what it means for the rest of the world, what high finance intends with globalisation which is less a plot than: 'simply the inevitable outcome of the dynamics of the system of capitalist market economy system'

'It is clear therefore, that the transnational elite is already in the process of taking the necessary steps to institutionalize its transnational role. The immediate aim is to pull down the “regulatory barriers” impeding the free exchange of goods and services, initially between Europe and America (in fact, a transatlantic trade and investment deal seems ready to be agreed between EU and NAFTA)[8] and then between this huge trading block and the rest of the world, which will be forced to accept the terms of trade of the former. The ultimate aim is the formation of a vast single deregulated market, controlled by transnational companies, in which social controls over markets to protect labor or the environment will be minimized.'

6:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


What Chris Hedges comment?


Yes, FDR did copy 'socialist' plans or ideas from Hoover; this is true.


Cd well be...


Not gd. Glasgow is a tough town, but I didn't realize the DBD(Douche Bag Density) had skyrocketed in recent yrs.


No letters from Jesus?


7:22 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Just another #winning day for America's stupid gun culture:

1). "10-month-old baby accidentally shot dead by dad in hotel room"

2). "A federal prison guard has been charged with shooting his own finger in a drunken attempt to remove his wedding ring during an argument with his wife at their northwestern Pennsylvania home, police said."

I think that second idiot would be the perfect guy to hire to hire to guard an elementary school--post Newtown.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said... - just caught your question about the falling rate of profit concept in previous thread. I think the original/main proponent is Marx himself, so you could try reading "Das Kapital". If that's too much of a tome, there's "The Great Financial Crisis" (by Monthly writers Foster and Magdoff) which, IIRC, discusses the concept. Also, I recently found a podcast I like called "From Alpha to Omega" and he had this interview w/ a Marx scholar that may be relevant:

Shane W- As I said, I recommend study of MMT as a *descriptive* analysis, not for its associated *prescriptive* side necessarily. You write "...most Americans, Congress included, are just too stupid to understand MMT, let alone implement it" but MMT describes the system we have *now*, not some future potential system. We have fiat money now, and MMT breaks down what the implications of that are, how it works and why it works. To me it seems critical to get a grasp of the reality of the situation, if only to have some chance of saving oneself, before thinking about "what is to be done". Most economists paint a false picture of how the system works, and our "national dialogue" (yes ha ha) is out of touch w/ reality. I don't think people who consider themselves critical thinkers (as I assume WAFers do) should accept this lazy propaganda line from the media, and base their opinions on it. for those seeking more info

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


Immanuel Wallerstein’s March 15 commentary, “After a Charismatic Leader, What?” was posted today. Find it at:

I think he gives a pretty good assessment of the Hugo Chavez administration.

Also, there is an interesting article in the “New Statesman” of March 14 titled “Habemus Papam: time for a fresh start at the Vatican?” Find it at:

It’s not about the new pope, but it gives a good picture of the context he’ll find himself in. Bergoglio is probably better than we should have expected considering how the College of Cardinals was packed. We’ll have to see how he turns out and what he can accomplish – I hope he isn’t a ‘nowhere man’ like Obama.

Why care about the Roman Catholic Church (RCC)? The decline, collapse, and replacement of the capitalist world system will take many decades, and how it gets replaced is by no means certain. The last paragraph of Wallerstein’s above mentioned commentary is particularly relevant, so I quote part of it here:

“…For me, this effort is part of the larger task we all face during this structural crisis of historical capitalism and the bifurcation of two possi¬ble resolutions of the chaos into which our world-system has fallen. We need to debate what is the nature of the better world we, or some of us, are seeking. If we can't be clearer on what we want, we are not likely to win the battle with those who seek to create a non-capitalist system that nonetheless repro¬duces the worst features of capitalism: hierarchy, exploitation, and polarization.”

The RCC has lived through several civilizational transformations already, and is likely to influence the next world system. The Liberation forces within the church may well favor our side; the Fascist forces would not.

David Rosen

11:48 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

I wish I could have confidence in anyone’s 2013 predictions of what life will be like in 2100. How well did the people of 1913 fare in predicting life in 2000? Of course, nobody cared by 1914 when history hit western civilization across the face with a great big sock filled with horse manure, later referred to as WWI. It looks like the US and Israel wish to commemorate WWI by starting WWIII. Dumber things have happened. My prediction--expect more dumb things to happen.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Prolesser said...

Not fair. You slid past both my points. You should be a politician. I wasn't talking about FDR's policies. I am not an idiot. I have heard that chestnut about saving capitalism since I was weaned. I was talking about FDR versus Truman. That's all. 20 years of FDR is better than 1 of Truman. Not perfect. Not great. Just better, relatively. Saying "we're not in ancient Greece anymore" is like saying "it's only a movie." It begs the question. I'm saying that there is nothing wrong with tyrants. If they give us what we want, or even better, what we need, then they are certainly better than a democracy that gives us nothing. As long as we are channeling historical figures, I will answer Churchill: "Yes, there is a government that is better than democracy: a good czar." I have conflated two famous quotes. See if you can identify them. But the point stands. A good czar is very much better than a democracy. There is, of course, the problem of succession. Like there isn't a problem of succession in democracies. PS I wonder if anyone notices that I am deliberately speaking sacrilege here. Probably not. Another sign of the apocalypse. What sacrilege? Where's the remote?

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


In recent months we have talked about the various dystopias, The Matrix, Hunger Games, the technological singularity, drones, population decrease, elites, etc. Along those lines, this is a good interview with Texe Marrs (assuming you can put up with Alex Jones’ interruptions).

“Rule by DARPA Death Bots?”

6:03 AM  
Blogger jml said...

Odd Coincidence:

After reading Bingo's remark about the author of The Hunger Games, I wanted to know more about her.
I found this on her wikipedia page:

"Collins resides in the village of Sandy Hook, within Newtown, Connecticut with her husband and their two children."

7:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, very fair, I think; I didn't slide past anything, tho I have to say, you shd definitely *not* be a politician! You never mentioned Truman in your earlier message, or that you understood anything about what FDR was up to. In fact, you seemed quite confused abt what he was up to. Twenty yrs of anyone wd be a bad idea--again, as Lord Acton noted. And your appreciation of Greek tyrants makes no sense to me. Of course, that was a different world; but at one pt Athens had 1 million slaves working the silver mines. This, to you, is better than a real democracy? Keep in mind also that there are democracies and democracies; they don't all nec. operate in an identical fashion, or kill Socrates-types. You seem pretty confused (and confusing)...I don' know what else to tell u. If u really wanna believe that a gd czar is better than democracy--well, godspeed. I think it's you who needs the remote, quite frankly. And I wd appreciate it if you wdn't insult people on this blog--you are much more a sign of the apocalypse, and far less intelligent, than anyone here, my friend.


8:46 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

In fairness to Glasgow, those abusive students could have come from anywhere.

Like Edinburgh, for example.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


O surely not Edinburgh! I mean, think of Alan Warner (Morvern Callar, one of the greatest provincial Scottish novels of the late 20C). And what about Inverness, or the Firth of Forth? I faint, I swoon...


10:01 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...


I'll give you your two Churchill quotes:

"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with an average voter"


"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

He might have been an inspirational war leader (battle-hardened and very experienced army vet) but he was voted out in favour of a socialist govt by the people at the end of the war.
He never got over the rejection.

You're right about the Greek origins of 'tyrant' too--the word had some benign connotations then but those were different times when 'democracy' only enfranchised a small number of property-owning males--the workers and women were voiceless (a bit like the world-view Churchill was steeped in, come to think of it)
Chavez would be turning in his grave, if the poor sod was allowed one.

Dr B,
Glasgow Neds were notorious 30 years ago but Glasgow has become a city of culture lately. The truth is, as Golf Pro says, that you can find such types in any British town, or more likely they will find you. We Brits are barbarians under the skin, couldn't have controlled and exploited a vast unruly empire for 400 years otherwise.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Well, they could have been Sassenachs up from Newcastle, or even Liverpool. Maybe braying toffs from the Home Counties.

The possibilities are endless really.

If they were genuine Glaswegians, they would have drunk themselves into incoherence long before the event started, so they're the last people I'd suspect.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Acute CRE Dept. (tho I think the guy meant to say 73%, not 37%):

These are yr neighbors...

12:02 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Good Day, WAFers.

"Americans tend to subscribe to a 'great man' theory of history, as u indicate, rather than being taught any real sociology, i.e. that social forces are far more impt than single individuals..."

People should read more Tolstoy. We're all being carried along by forces we can't even recognise. Father Zozima's right about the march of time; expect dumb things to happen. Progress is a myth.

Jeff T
Only two of 60 students knew "Masters of War?" That might not be a bad thing; L'il Bobby Zimmerman is a fraud artist.

Down with long sentences!

12:10 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...


Thank you very much for pointing out the most recent column (& the other "COMMENTARIES" column) by Immanuel Wallerstein. Wow. Such clarity. Clear, crisp, clean writing. That makes it memorable both: not just what he saying & but how he's saying it. Form & content are inextricable somehow.(And he possesses emotional intelligence, too...a crucial attribute to possess, as is pointed out here many times; ie., if we don't want to turn into socio/psycho-paths aka. Robert McNamara).

Yeah, thinking about this reminds me that I don't know 'jack squat' (as the late Chris Farley would say) about how to write. Kind of embarrassing really, that I don't know what I'm doing.

There must be huge gaps in my knowledge... missing chunks to both what I know and how I know it. Just came across this a few weeks ago in wikipedia (re: Trivium: "the three roads" forming the foundation of a medieval liberal arts education):

In medieval universities, the "trivium comprised the three subjects that were taught first: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. "Grammar is the art of inventing symbols and combining them to express thought; logic is the art of thinking; and rhetoric, the art of communicating thought from one mind to another, the adaptation of language to circumstance".

It's obvious when I read Wallerstein (and Morris Berman, of course) and other thinkers that these folks know what they're doing (& you write clearly too, David Rosen).

Anyhow, that's it for now. Thanks. Ok, maybe I'm showing some 'false humility' (at least I know that I don't know!)...nonetheless, it's probably time to (as Chris Farley would say) just "shut my big yapper".

Thanks again,


12:13 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Several months ago I saw the film, Off The Map, after rummaging through MB’s earlier blog postings and finding the recommendation. It depicts some very interesting NMIs living in New Mexico. All this Scottish talk gives me the opportunity to recommend a film that has become quite an obsession with me called, I Know Where I’m Going! It’s also full of Wafer and NMI themes like hustling culture vs gracious traditional culture, industrial civilization vs pre-industrial or even primitive culture, and the idea that there is more to life than money. It also has some wonderfully strong female characters. In the film commentary by Ian Christie from the Criterion DVD he talks about the theme of shaking off the dead parts of tradition--renewing the good parts--and making a new start. This sounds much like MB’s Gary Snyder quote about finding good ideas from the past that may have been discarded, bringing them back, and making use of them again.

Also, even though I sometime present a bleak outlook and expect nothing but ongoing stupidity from a society like ours ruled by slavish obedience to it’s greediest members,
doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it, or figure out ways to try to stop it. Even if we ultimately fail, going through the process of trying is worth it and means we’re not dead yet, and keeping this blog’s discussion and the ideas it generates going, is part of that process.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Another favorite NMI film of mine: 'Local Hero' (Burt Lancaster). You'll love it.


6:16 PM  
Anonymous Mark Notzon said...

Dear MB,

"Local Hero"--yeah! With Jenny Seagrove as the "selkie" (Scottish mermaid, sort of.) Saw it in '85 when I was working two computer jobs and the main character Happer's confinement to the telex environment really hit home.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Interesting that a couple of people mentioned Immanuel Wallerstein as I came across his website a few days after posting a possibly related question to Dr. Hackenbush (thanks Dr. H! I'll read your link once the noise from the remodeling dies down). I read a couple of Wallerstein's articles regarding our socio-political-economic trajectory. I think Dovidel quotes from one in which he (I.W.) describes the likely clash of paradigms in terms of vertical v.s. horizontal power relations: Davos v.s. Porto Alegre. He suggests that the elite aren't even particularly attached to the ideology of capitalism so long as the basic structure and nature of their privilege remains, hence, the non-capitalist authoritarian model. I'm wondering, what would this look like? Would the humane, non-technobuffunal eco-sustainable model necessarily be squashed entirely? It would probably be the only generator of quality and value, and folks at the top are always (or so they think) searching for those very things.

RE: the 10-month old accidently shot dead and the prison guard shooting his finger to get his wedding ring off (what about going to a jeweler?), in addition to all these shootings lately. Did stupid shit like this happen in such abundance throughout history and it just wasn't reported or has there indeed been a sudden exponential increase in asininity?

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Well, in amongst the flood of news about CRE behavior, a little bit of sense. But don't worry, another judge will set things back on the proper course just like with the NDAA case.

NY Times: California Judge rules National Security Letters unconstitutional

A federal judge on Friday struck down a law that allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation to secretly seize subscriber information from Internet companies and other communications service providers without a court warrant. The ruling, by Judge Susan Illston of Federal District Court in San Francisco, struck down the law because it forbids companies from disclosing that they had received such an order, called a National Security Letter, making the statute “impermissibly overbroad” under the First Amendment, she wrote. She also struck down a statute on legal challenges by recipients of the security letters, but stayed her ruling to allow the government to appeal.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


FBI will do whatever it wants, anyway. They hardly care about the rule of law.


You know the answer to yr last question. I'm just hoping that these buffoons get high-level govt positions with lots of responsibility; that they hold the fate of millions in their hands.

Re: Wallerstein: he's exactly rt, imo, and this what I've been saying. In the crunch (esp. a resource crunch), capitalism might be blown away like a feather, because the real interest of the 1% is only that they remain on top; this is their true 'ideology' (narcissism). Capitalism, shmapitalism, socialism, vegetarianism, deli-meatism--they don't really give a damn, as long as power relations remain the same. And to have that--basically a violent, neofeudal state--what they need is the NSA collecting data on every single American, CMU's to lock up people who disagree (or even have the wrong attitudes), and predator drones scanning the landscape for any 'suspect' activity. That, and not capitalism vs. eco-sustainable steady-state green decentralized blah blah, cd well emerge as the real struggle by 2030 or even sooner.

The only way that the techno-totalitarian scenario can be stopped is if the entire system falls apart, such that it simply doesn't have the power or resources to monitor 315 million daily bowel movements. Which is abt 30-40 yrs away, if it happens; and I'm guessing secessionist movements will be impt for this, as I've said b4. Phony wars will also help, because as in the case of Rome, this imperial overstretch, as it's called, will seriously weaken the center (as it has already). The debt will increase; China will finally be the one calling the shots; instead of a 1/3 poverty rate, which we have now, it will climb to 90%. Mass migrations and riots will be the order of the day, and altho the Pentagon is (I'm quite sure) running training exercises in Nevada as we speak to prepare for total chaos, at some pt they simply won't be able to keep everything in check. Probably, parts of the military will defect, or go AWOL, just for their own survival. (Also, the joy of gunning people down in the street might pall, after a while.) At this pt, things will basically implode, because there really aren't enuf alternative expts in the US for the Dual Process I've talked abt to make a go of it. We're not like Europe, where those alternatives flourish, and where there are lots of smart people still left, as opposed to clowns who literally believe the sun revolves around the earth and that extraterrestrials are among us. If you guys haven't read "Riddley Walker," by Russell Hoban, now wd be a gd time to do so. As I've said b4, the human spirit will prevail--but not on American soil.


8:32 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

I must ask a question: As for the rest of you, could I please print or save my favorite comments? There is just so much to think over- their contents are a breath of fresh air compared to the dross you see everywhere from Yahoo! to CNN (though it should be expected). For an example of an online space completely dominated by dolts, read these comments to an article from a video game review site: After those nasty personal attacks, wouldn't you wanna meet these lovely people in real life?
@Morris: My grasping at straws about a week ago. Do you remember now? I am sorry.
That is enough for today. Take care.

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

WAFer's, Dr. Berman,

I've heard from a few people the derivatives bubble will be the next to burst.
When that happens too big too fail will no longer have any meaning at all. Read the infographic in the link and look at the staggering amount of money involved. Sure, the 1% may still be in charge but of what? The 1% are invested in precious metals and art, among other things. When they are the only ones left with money and valuables, doesn't that then make what they have invaluable? What are they going to do, sell the art and metals back and forth to each other for higher and higher prices? And Dr. Berman, this collapse is going to happen any day, not 30-40 years.

And I guess I'm missing one important thing - shouldn't the private banks have nothing to do with capital coming from the gov't? It seems to me the gov't should be a direct lender to the people and private banks should get their capital from private investors. Also, shouldn't a central bank be a gov't institution? Or shouldn't the gov't just be its own central bank? Having it as a "quasi-governmental agency" sort of seems like a quasi bad idea. WAFer's, I'd like your input on this, because I'm either missing something or . . . .

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

MB & Golf Pro,

They're definitely from Liverpool. Here they are:

“Harry Enfield - The Scousers Visit London”:

5:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I was referring to a total collapse, not just a financial one, and I doubt that is going to occur tomorrow; tho, ya never know. As for a rerun of 2008, only worse, I'd guess inside of 5 yrs. The problem with Obama's handling of the previous crisis--and there were many--was that besides giving $19 trillion to the wrong people, he hired as econ. advisers precisely those people whose neoliberal philosophy brought on the crash in the 1st place. This was having the foxes guard the hen house. So of course, with that as a signal, Goldman Sachs and everyone else on Wall St. resumed the CDO's, derivatives, and credit default swaps with a vengeance. Given that fact, where else cd we wind up again but in the toilet? My friends Nomi Prins, Rick Wolff, and others pointed that out in 2009, and you can add Frank, Stiglitz, Posner, and Krugman to that list. No matter: Obama was going to make sure the folks that got him into office got their payback. So they got their $19 trillion, 18% of the country is unemployed, the debt is over $14 trillion, and the economy has been, since 2009, a slow-moving train wreck heading for disaster. Nobody in this Congress was going to bring back Glass Steagall, or prohibit the whole derivative shell game...this is how empires go to hell in a basket.


I don't remember, but then as my critics will tell u, I'm obviously going senile. As for private use of blog material: as far as I know, there are no restrictions on that. The only time copyright gets involved is if the material is posted somewhere else, somewhere public. Even then, books have a "fair use" law: it usta be you could quote up to 250 words from a bk without permission, you just had to acknowledge yr source. Frankly, people copy my posts all the time, for use on their own blogs or whatever--sometimes, an entire essay--but as long as they acknowledge the source, and don't represent it as their own, I don't care. So I say, knock yrself out.


6:07 AM  
Anonymous pascal said...

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Let me second the recommendation of I Know Where I'm Going & suggest two more Powell-Pressburger films dealing with tradition & a meaningful life: The Edge of the World & A Canterbury Tale.

I recently rewatched Soylent Green & realized it's all too prescient in its depiction of a near-future America run by & for the 1%, complete with mass illiteracy & rapidly dwindling resources. I know it's being remade now -- probably with more action & CGI -- but the original remains worth seeing.

Let me also recommend a small British TV-film from 1968, The Year of the Sex Olympics. In a future dominated by TV shows about food (gluttony) & porn (depersonalized sex), a family is placed on a desert island with no modern conveniences -- the first reality TV show. Viewers then sit back & enjoy watching them descend into savagery, especially once a psychopath is introduced onto the island to "spice things up" a bit. It was written by Nigel Kneale, who wrote the excellent Quatermass series.

It's not as if intelligent people didn't see the current world coming, is it?

10:49 AM  
Anonymous capo regime said...


Well the macho thing remains in some quarters and like all such notions limited to the small towns and lower classes, and some indigenous groups. Though in Oaxaca there used to be a group with a tradition of the youngest son taking care of the parents and who was encouraged to be gay so as not to have competing famiy etc.... Church has influence but for whatever its fualts is not like the protestants in the U.S. where they have to legislate morality. In fact government and churches well sperated in Mexico. As a gay person you will do fine in the more cosmo quarters of Mexico City and surrounds.

As an aside, as a long ago former academic economist who became a trader 25 years ago will tell you all this--there are no conspiracies. The people trading and manipulating have no end in sight. You would be surprised at how little they (we) care about anything beyond the next trade. This of course leads to instability but alas this is truly how it has ever been. The polity and stability in U.S. post WWII is the anomaly and we are reverting to norm--the norm has always been rather nasty and brutish.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Mo Ronich said...

There is some truth in this statement regarding movements, protest etc. While it makes some good criticisms, could it be read as another example of the essentially optimistic attitude of many critcs, writers?

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Joe- The Federal Reserve IMO was a private takeover of the "money power" by major banking interests in 1913. I think Ellen Brown ("Web of Debt") probably addresses a lot of the points you raise. I have not read her books yet but she talks along those lines- how should banks be set up to benefit the public. Of course she is definitely an example of somebody having probably great ideas that get virtually no hearing in the halls of power or the major media (although a # of states are taking up her idea of state-run public banks, whatever that is.) Also her books are said to be written in a very compelling, readable way, so it's not just dry economics.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...


I'd be interested in reading what your research turns up on CMU's. Just from a cursory understanding of the units they seem to be an extension of a control unit, or behavior modification unit in a supermax prison -- Marion, Ill was one of, if not the first of its kind.

From the little I've read it would appear Marion's control unit got the CMU upgrade.

The BMU/CU are sensory-deprivation facilities -- today there are whole institutions using the Marion model. California's Pelican Bay and Florence, Colorado, are but two of the most infamous. State penal institutions also have them. Women's prisons are not exempt either, the control unit in Lexington, Kentucky being a prime example.

See What is a Control Unit? here: -- there are also official documents found on-line that explain what these units are.

Since their inception, the control unit has been an integral part of the u.s. government's repressive policy as it relates to imprisoned political dissenters and liberation movement activists.

The following references aren't policy derived papers -- instead what they provide is a look into the effects the BMU/CU has on prisoners who have been entombed in them.

- In the late 70s or early 80s I remember reading a publication circulated by the Marion Brothers Prison Project entitled Breaking Men's Minds: Behavior Control and Human Experimentation at the Federal Prison in Marion, by Eddie Griffin. You can find it via this link (pdf heads-up):

- In the Belly of the Beast: Letters From Prison, by Jack Henry Abbott -- Abbott too describes his experience in Marion's control unit as well as the one in Butner, NC -- quite the story. Info on that book can easily be found doing a web-search.

- Voices from Solitary - A Sentence Worse Than Death, is a very recent essay by William "Billy" Blake, linked below, on what his life has been like for 25 years in NY prison's Special Housing Units - SHU -- the SHU is a step or two below a control unit environment, but the psychological damage is indistinguishable.
Well worth the time you'll invest reading it -- his life, not explained in the essay, mirrors that of Jack Henry Abbott's. Which by-the-way is a whole other discussion.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The problem is that the only reason anyone shd wanna see the guy is to urinate on his shoes. It's possible that private polls taken by the W.H. revealed a great desire on the part of enuf Americans (for whatever reason) to drench his Guccis, and thus they used 'economizing' as a pretext, to keep would-be urinators (including hundreds of thousands of Wafers) out.

Clearly, we hafta find a way to get around this. Wafers are encouraged to submit solutions to this dilemma, including the use of predator drones carrying torpedos filled with yellow fluid.


11:24 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Matt Lauer has been named as a potential successor for Alex Trebek as the host of “Jeopardy,” the New York Post reports. According to sources close to the show, the “Today” show host’s name is at the top of a secret list of Hollywood personalities who might be tapped to replace Trebek when he steps down from the show in 2016.

The news could not come at a more opportune time for Lauer, who has spent the week fending off rumors that he’s about to be ousted from the “Today” show. According to the Post, the “Today” show, which has suffered from a ratings decline in recent months, is not expected to renew Lauer’s $25-million-a-year contract with NBC when it expires in 2015 — which coincides with the end of Trebek’s three-decade tenure as “Jeopardy!” host.

Dr B.
This issues has been on my mind for years: Why do these TV and radio personalities make more money than teachers and professors?

It is not only that these clowns make more money, look at how significant the difference is: $25 million versus $75,000.

What determines the value placed on the services the teachers and the clowns provide to society?

Is there a correlation between the downward spiral of the country and this out-of-balance pay rates?

11:43 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

I cd not exist w/o this blog.

Things are so bleak and inevitable. Maybe the movie suggestions will be enuf to bide my time.

A remake of Soylent Green? Thank goodness, Charlatan Heston is dead?

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Daddy Issues said...


Gratitude for all of the excellent posts. I've made it a habit to read this blog before my weekly visit to the library. I consider it vital research as I plan how to best navigate the undeniable collapse we're experiencing.

On the topic of media, and given the interest in Japan, I wanted to point out the "Hunger Games" is based on a Japanese book "Battle Royale" published in '99. A manga series and movie adaptation followed in 2000, which became one of the highest grossing films in Japan.

The story is about rebellious junior high school students who are forced to fight each other to the death in a program run by an authoritarian Japanese government, known as the Republic of Greater East Asia.

"Hunger Games" happens to be my tween daughters favorite movie. The almost cult like following of the film and soon to be released sequel reminds me of the Star Wars phenomenon from my childhood in the 70's. Makes me wonder if their generation gets it on some level.

I know. Too little, too late. Still, worth noting as a cultural observer.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Berman,

Is this why people dislike unions?
In the article it talks about the negotiation to get these retirees their benefits back. "The company would pay a minimum of $44 million over the next ten years toward its coverage, provided it was able to restart the Ravenswood plant." Can anyone not predict what happened next? The company says now they can not open the plant; therefore, the retirees will have no benefits. The outcome is so predictable it's like a bad Hollywood script. And from what I've learned in history, unions have a horrible record of negotiation and the fact our gov't has never outright supported them, gives them even less leverage. Unions seem to be one of those utopian ideas where people work for the common good of their fellow workers, but they never materialize, through their own shortcomings and/or outside forces.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't post Anons, so pls pick a handle and re-send. I suggest Rufus T. Firefly.


But things are so absurd they are actually funny. Meanwhile, movies can help. Well, the rt ones. You'll love "Local Hero." In addition, just treat yr social environment as material for anthropological investigation. The tribe is a suicidal bunch of morons known as the Douche Bags. Take notes, make a careful study, report back. Yes, these people are horrifying. But they are, from a certain angle, hilarious! Cultivate that angle, mon cher. Perhaps think of starting a newsletter called Doltwatch. Etc.


I think the rule is that yr salary is inversely proportional to the amt of gd u.r. doing for the culture. Therefore, if u.r. seriously hurting it, you make tons of dough. Keep Kim's rear end in yr mind's eye at all times: it's like a lodestar, guiding us across troubled waters (Simon and Garf.).


3:17 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

For Tim Lukeman:

For Bingo:

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

I agree with and extend Tim's comment: anything by the great Michael Powell (mostly with Emeric Pressburger - The Archers) is wonderful. (I would love to see their adaptation of Mary Webb's "Gone to Earth." Hard to see in the US because it was mutilated by Selznick and released as "The Wild Heart.")

Also, "Comfort and Joy" and "Housekeeping" make a great Bill Forsyth (what ever happened to him???) trifecta along with "Local Hero."

4:00 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

Could this be a tipping point, you know where the toboggan starts picking up speed downhill?

It looks like the EU is getting ready to steal a percentage (between 6% and 10%) of every bank deposit in Cyprus. They’re calling it something else, but that’s what it is and what they’re really doing. The good news is that the hedge fund bondholders of the troubled Cyprus banks won’t lose any money, Praise Jeebus!

This is analogous to the FDIC saying to an American bank depositor they were just kidding about that deposit insurance. Think what the reaction to that would be and how likely you’d have an old fashioned run on the banks.

There’s apparently a lot of Russian oligarch money in Cyprus that they really want to nick, but everyone else - Cypriot pensioners, school teachers, etc. - also has to suffer. You know, because.

This time Friday (if the banks re-open) you can say there used to be a lot of money, Russian and otherwise, in Cyprus. Or in the eurozone generally. Because it won’t be lost on anyone that they can do this in any EU state and if you’re dumb enough to have your money there . . .

So, say this triggers a tsunami of capital flight from the eurozone, could anything bad happen?

Well, I don’t know any economics, but remember that melt-down thingy a couple of years ago?

Now take a look at this.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

According to the author, The Hunger Games was completed before she'd ever heard of Battle Royale. But with books and films like The Running Man and Videodrome, too, it seems that many people have tapped into a similar idea and explored it in different ways. Supposedly Suzanne Collins was in an airport and saw some violent piece of CNN news on one screen and some stupid reality show on another, and the idea was born.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

(Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The Senate's 10-Year Iraq War Anniversary Gift: War With Iran

@Edward, if the country is not broke, there would be no fear of disintegration.

The country is going broke because the priorities of the decision makers are out of whack. Even the current $6 billion fiasco at Chase is tied to media not doing their job.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Other countries have military drones now? Uh oh! Suddenly the game needs rules!

Reuters: As drone monopoly frays, Obama seeks global rules

President Barack Obama, who vastly expanded U.S. drone strikes against terrorism suspects overseas under the cloak of secrecy, is now openly seeking to influence global guidelines for their use as China and other countries pursue their own drone programs.

The United States was the first to use unmanned aircraft fitted with missiles to kill militant suspects in the years after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

But other countries are catching up. China's interest in unmanned aerial vehicles was displayed in November at an air show . According to state-run newspaper Global Times, China had considered conducting its first drone strike to kill a suspect in the 2011 murder of 13 Chinese sailors, but authorities decided they wanted the man alive so they could put him on trial.


7:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Zaid and Sav-

This is very gd news. What I said above abt imperial overstretch, and how it was a crucial factor in the demise of the Roman Empire, will surely be a factor in the demise of the American one as well; the more so since we are always courageously scanning the planet for other countries to go to war with. So let me say unequivocally that I support our troops, and I support the expenditure of trillions upon trillions of dollars to keep them bogged down in various verkakte countries on the other side of the globe that pose no threat to us whatsoever. Today Iraq/Afghanistan; tomorrow Iran; and day after tomorrow...oh, I dunno, maybe Chad, or Monaco. We simply cannot allow there to be an upper limit to killing. Such a thing wd be un-American, and as such, I reject it with every fiber of my being.

As for other drone programs: also gd, but it still leaves the problem of American infants and neonates without weapons. You may recall that I said I wrote the Pentagon about putting an AK-47 in every cradle in the land (the fools never bothered to respond; their loss). I've changed my mind. What we need is to put a small, fully operative drone in every cradle in the land. This could (if the Pentagon wd only listen, this time) lead to a TAS, or Toddler Assassination Squad--the cutting edge of a Secure America, as I'm sure you will all agree. I ask all Wafers to join me in this effort. The Pentagon can ignore me as just one individual, but with 45 other signatures on the petition, they'll finally hafta stand up and take notice (and not a moment too soon).

Nos morituri te salutamus!

Caput en recto fortissimus insertatus!


7:50 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


Some of you seem to be worried about the future. For what it’s worth, my worldview includes two things that are inevitable, with a third quite likely.

First is the decline and replacement of Capitalist World System, resulting in one we would see as worse, or hopefully better – or a multipolar world with different systems. Morris Berman, Immanuel Wallerstein, and John Gray are good guides here.

Second is climate change on a grossly overpopulated planet. An unusually stable climate over the past 10,000 years has made the Earth ideal for agriculture and civilization. Very likely is a major human population crash as happens when any species overshoots the sustaining capacity of its environment – now the planet. Remember, the ‘green revolution’ that enabled the population to exceed three billion depends on nonrenewable resources.

Third is nuclear contamination from either war or accumulated nuclear waste. This is still likely, either suddenly via war, or slowly as nations collapse, and has been a favorite of dystopian novelists since the 1940’s.

Important: Scientists and experts in these fields often overlook or underestimate the fact that two or three of these things are going to happen simultaneously, with the resulting synergy making the nature, timing, and outcome of the process much harder to predict – and probably worse. Most also go off the deep end by telling us how we can fix everything.

Very Important: As the US becomes a dystopian hell, the best way to a better and more interesting life is to get out and become international. You should know that when life ceases to be an adventure, it’s time for your funeral.

Well that’s my two-cents. But maybe I’m wrong and Thomas Friedman does have the solutions after all.

David Rosen

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Captain Spaulding said...

On the subject of unlimited killing, Chris Hedges posted a review of Nick Turse's new book about the Vietnam War, "Kill Anything That Moves" at Truthdig.

That's the downside to imperial overstretch, we'll take a hell of a lot of people down with us.

On another note: I've noticed, Dr. B., that you haven't really engaged the climate change/global warming argument that some people (not in this thread) have advanced. That is, that the collapse of the US may, ultimately, be a moot point if we keep amassing CO2 in the atmosphere and accelerate global warming at the levels that scientists have been recording. One contributor mentioned Guy McPherson - whose videos, which I watched as a result of his or her post, were probably too alarmist (he predicts that the earth's temperature might rise 16C by 2100 which would make us, effectively, Venus). Clearly, even more temperate critics are now saying we'll have catastrophic climatic "blowback" as a result of 200 years of industrial capitalism. How does global warming fit into your analytic about US imperial collapse? Or does it?

11:50 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

I saw the Hunger Games--wasn't impressed. The violence was far too sanitized and the supposedly "hungry" looked pretty well fed to me. Seemed to me to be just the latest fad for the Harry Potter set.

That said, we are living in a new golden age of End of the World fiction--the best since the 50s and 60s when we had the spectre of nuclear annihilation hanging over our heads. Here's a dozen of my favorites from this past decade alone--all good reads if you are into this kind of stuff:

World War Z by Max Brooks (2006)
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (2003)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
Sleepless by Charlie Huston (2010)
Wool (Omnibus Edition) by Hugh Howey (2012)
The Passage by Justin Cronin (2010)
The Last Policeman by Ben R. Winters (2012)
Summer of the Apocalypse by James Van Pelt (2006)
Zone One by Colson Whitehead (2011)
The Postmortal by Drew Magary (2009)
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (2010)
Liminal States by Jack Parsons (2012)

The scariest of the bunch (though not the highest in terms of literary quality) might actually be Magary's "The Postmortal," in which America just a few short years from now discovers the secret to medical immortality and makes it widely available to the average person, which turns out about as well as you might expect it would.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, I haven't said much abt it because I have no expertise in the area, and suspect that the answer to those questions depends on the *rate* of warming, which I guess no one can know for sure. In other words, I'm certain that we're screwed, but I just don't know how badly or how quickly. I'm just hoping some or all of us will get the oppty to pee on Thos Friedman's Guccis b4 the apocalypse. Otherwise, what's the pt of it all, really?


12:28 AM  
Anonymous Captain Spaulding said...

MB -- True enough: in the words of J.M. Keynes, "in the long run, we're all screwed, glued, and tattooed." Michael T. Klare thinks that the 21st century will be a series of escalating resource wars - especially between the U.S. and China/India which, I think, is probably correct. Check out his "Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet" sometime. It will certainly hasten things along. As George Carlin said back in '99 when predicting social collapse, "just sit back and enjoy the ride."

Until then, nostrum Wafer Pontifex:
Vivat gluteus maximus maximus kardashianii.

12:57 AM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Oh now lookee here: it's the Unmanned Systems Caucus!:

A lobby group for Drones. Phew! What a relief: it"s about time. There are real American interests at stake! For pete's sake what took you so long?

And fellow Wafers, there's an email address at their website! So i took it upon myself to draft a letter to them (in our inimitable O&D style) but of course I need input and suggestions from you all before I make further epistolary gestures in their direction. Afterall, they are very busy.

Dear Unmanned Systems Caucus,

Thank you for all you do, you are Fine Americans. We are so moved and so grateful knowing that you are hustling to keep us safe! We've come up with a great PR idea for your Drone Program and we are so excited to share it with you!

You know what would really warm the cockles of our dear yankee hearts? A drone naming contest in our elementary schools from sea to shining sea! Think what an icebreaker this could be for our fellow Americans, kind of a meet and greet opportunity for us out here who have some concerns. And here's something else: So heartwarming, we could have a drone logo contest!!

Now you know that our precious little cherubs could come up with some inspiring & heartwarming logos. Let's have the Sandy Hook elementary kids do some kind of a memento mori thingy on the side, ie., the 20 heaven-bound chidren's names painted on the sides of the drone. Glorious! Gone but not forgotten.

On the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting , may we suggest that some drones do some fly-overs for the school on this solemn occasion. But we are concerned that as technologically advanced as these systems are, those angelic hearts would be even more impressed if the drones could do some sky-writing. Could you check into that and pleade get back to us. Also different colored smoke. Plain old white smoke is so, well...boring. Now, not only would this delight the assembled crowds and media folks gathered would also remind us that drones are patroling our skies, on the lookout for any dastardly deeds that could escape most conventional security and surveillance techniques. I'm sure the Adam Lanzas of this world will think twice, knowing that a drone could strike at anytime. Just a simple 911 call from the school Principal announcing something untoward occurring and a stylishly painted drone could be there lickety-split!
Thank you for what you do every day so the rest of us can be safe from future home-grown terrorists!

Godspeed from,

The Wafer Nation

3:03 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I was kinda sleepy when I read yr message, and thought it said Unmanned Systems Cactus. Wafers are invited to describe the purpose and function of such an entity, and how we can get it from the drawing board to reality. (God those spikes hurt!)


4:50 AM  
Anonymous k_pgh said...

Unmanned Systems Cactus

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6:15 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

A drone is just a mechanical policeman in the sky, and we all know how much Americans love their policemen and prisons. So Hollywood is sure to produce hundreds of TV shows showing how loveable drones are, just as they have done with their innumerable cop shows. I’m sure that within five years everyone will be arguing over who the favorite TV drone cop is, the way they did with Columbo or Miami Vice, and no toddler will be able to sleep without their favorite TV drone toy. They’ll probably also give them cute pets for sidekicks. It’s inevitable-- Drone Scene Investigation. Hawaii Five-Dr0ne.

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Daddy Issues said...


You're right about "Hunger Games." It's marketed to a tween demographic, esp girls, who have shown they are the age group most likely to see a movie multiple times. At least it's a step closer to our harsh economic reality from the magical fairy tale Potter movies. After seeing HG, overnight my girls decided the HP movies were 'juvenile.' (If you want graphic violence, check out HBO's Game of Thrones for some brutal medieval style beheadings)


Thanks for the correction. I hadn't heard that quote from Collins. I made the mistake of assuming she was influenced by it, given HG was published in '08

I'm always fascinated when artists (or scientists, or any thinkers for that matter) hit upon similar ideas at the same time in the 'collective.'

That may be one crumb of hope we have to battle the incessant brainwashing on the one hand, and the strong urges of the limbic on the other. That is, not only the growing sense in the collective that things are very wrong, but also the active search for how to deal with our situation.

Not that I'm holding my breath. I agree with other WAFers that we won't have to endure a drone controlled 1984 police state for very long, because global climate change and/or dwindling oil will inevitably kick our collective asses.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

High schools, colleges, and universities need to start teaching how to kill people, how to solve personal conflicts with explosives and guns. The American culture is simply gone to the dogs. When I heard from CNN this weekend how Iraq was pillaged and destroyed by Bush and his friends, I say to myself, "These people cannot get away with this level of wickedness and wanton destruction of other people's lives and communities". The chicken, they say, is coming home to roost. Karma is real:

Body, bombs found in University of Central Florida dorm

11:13 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,


Two points:

1. I probably can't convince you, but it *is* bad that not enough students know "Masters of War." Regardless of personal views and opinions about Mr. Dylan, I believe there's a powerful message in those lyrics.

2. I hope this satisfies your concern about my long sentences.


Get your domestic drone today!


1:45 PM  
Anonymous swordfish said...

Wow I love all the latinus creativus flowing around here..."Caput en recto fortissimus insertatus!" "Vivat gluteus maximus maximus kardashianii"... I am in awe.

As to "courageously scanning the planet for other countries to go to war with", North Korea is always a good whipping boy:

But, there may be a glitch in our courageous and generous project! As one writer notes: due to widespread obesity (cuerpus maximus maximus) in the US, more people are failing the armed forces fitness tests! "The numbers are now staggering, relative to those in 2004. While there is much to laud in the campaign from the First Lady to eat better and get fitter, the implications of this green project are obvious. Community gardens, the growth of urban food, will make a better recruit, or at least allow them to pass the physical. Obesity is effectively disarming the United States, a thrilling state of affairs if you are a pacifist, and appalling if you are into exercising the muscles of empire. But let’s keep mum about that."

This is why it is important to stress that drones be made available regardless of age, weight or gender. Perhaps, pursuant to the ADA, some could be made with controls that can be activated by batting one's eyes, or lifting an eyebrow.

(By the way, thanks to our gallant host and the WAFerii for alerting me to John Gray, I'm reading his books "Straw Dogs" and "Black Mass" now.)

2:36 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...


Maybe I'm missing the point a bit but I think you're a bit too over the top. Make it sound like you're sincere, but without losing the douche bad. That way it'll have a better chance of becoming reality.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Meanwhile, there's this:

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Dr. Berman sez:

...and altho the Pentagon is (I'm quite sure) running training exercises in Nevada as we speak to prepare for total chaos...

Well in 2012 Chicago, Boston, Little Rock, Los Angeles and Miami all for sure experienced training excercises:

- Blackhawk Choppers Buzz Chicago Skyscrapers (video available)

- LAPD And Special Forces Conduct Military Maneuvers In The Skies Above Downtown LA
(video available)

- Los Angeles Added To Disturbing Trend Of Joint Military, Police-Homeland Security Exercise List

- Military training in the middle of Miami jolts residents out of bed

Could the reference below on war games and exercises in anyway be related to the articles above? Dunno, but thought I'd share it as it would seem to tie-in.

Fueling the Future Force - Preparing the Department of Defense for a Post-Petroluem Era, Sept 2010, prepared by the Center for a New American Security.
On page 21 point 12 Plan for the Worst states:
For instance, DOD should imagine scenarios involving absolute shortages of energy, major price spikes, alternative fuels that simply cannot scale up fast enough and major technological or environmental game-changers that fundamentally alter how DOD meets its energy needs.
If worst-case scenarios transpire, they could cost DOD its ability to operate effectively. DOD, including the war colleges, combatant commands and OSD, has already conducted war games and scenario exercises that include fuel shortages, extended blackouts and other contingencies.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


u.c.? And when I tell people the US is finished--they laugh!

Meanwhile, do u have a link for the 2010 report?


8:13 PM  
Anonymous Capo REgime said...

Westerners and Americans in particular have always had an apocalyptic bent in outlook. Always some scary thing going to end the world as we know it! The real issue is that the last century or so the great wealth of the west and U.S. have enabled the pursuit of what Gray would point out are various utopian projects. Whether socialism, marxism, nazism, maosim, techno fantasism, neo-libralism, libertarianism, communitarianism, these are all utopias designed to avert the apocalypse and to save us and launch us into a higher level of perfection and well being. Of course the utopian dreams always produce hellish results. So now we are seeing the hellish results and then we will find a new utopia with localism with green sustainability and no big gulps or corporations. No drones people will just bore each other to death with the new sanctimony of a movement led by former prius driving brooklynities.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Dr. Berman,

Here's the link you requested:

My apologies for the 2nd post of the day, gotta go.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks, it's gd, but the report doesn't say anything about riots, mass migrations, and how to control them, or the DOD training exercises that are preparing for these contingencies. Perhaps that's in another report (not available to the public).


I love the idea of former Prius-driving Brooklynites; tres chic. Meanwhile, check out the essay I did on Counter Punch a while back entitled "The Hula Hoop Theory of History."


11:13 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

The Counterpunch article on the wealthy and corporate domination of progressive politics is vitally important. People need to understand just how thoroughly dominated America is by capitalism. What does it tell you that they even own their own political opposition? And I doubt the domination is much less elsewhere in the world. You can say that alternative movements in Spain or resource depletion is going to kill capitalism, but I just don’t see it. Resource depletion has been talked about since at least the sixties, it sounds like a replacement for the proletarian revolution that never happened. If resources go down by 90%, then we will still be a capitalist society, only with 90% fewer resources, just like 100 years ago the economy was 90% smaller and completely owned by capitalists. There are billions of people that live on less than two dollars a day, they pick through garbage dumps, and probably engage in a lot of barter, and live more or less outside of the capitalist system. But would you call this the formation of an alternative system? What is going on it Spain is just people being pushed into poverty, not the formation of an alternative system to capitalism. No, I need to see real evidence of a collapse of capitalism, which should take the form of the collapse of some real live capitalists. When I see some bankster ceo’s executed on live television, then I’ll believe some alternative is coming.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I went to a Beatles tribute show on Sunday with about 3,000 geezers in attendance. The John Lennon character tried to get everyone to chant "All we are saying is give peace a chance." Very few joined in. I surmised that the audience thought "How can we support peace when we have to fight the terrorists?" In other words, to paraphrase Kurtz in the movie Apocalypse Now "The brainwashing, the brainwashing."
By the way, I'm on sabbatical now just so I don't have to administer the state's standardize test next month. In a truly just world I would be dragged off the Hague for inflicting psychological torture on my students.
Finally, see the piece in Counterpunch about the so called progressive websites like which are little more than fundraising fronts with little interest in promoting a progressive agenda? Now we know why Pelosi did not support impeaching Bush in 2006 or stop funding the wars-it would have impinged badly on Democratic fundraising appeals. Yeah, real hope for change in this country.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, you could be right, but I think the Dual Process I've talked about is more subtle than that. Resource stress could take us in two possible directions: the decentralized sustainable culture we've mentioned--and there are many experiments involved, 325 in Spain alone; or a technological neofeudal control system. It's not that the eco-sustainable alternative will 'kill' capitalism, but it will be there as a possibility as resource depletion hits us full force. Yes, it's been talked abt since the sixties, but it does take time to reach the 'limits to growth', and I personally can't see how we are going to avoid that via more technology or anything else. The proletariat can (and were) be bought off, after all; I doubt that we can 'buy off' the earth. Both the decentralized scenario and the totalitarian one will no longer be capitalist, because the economy will perforce be steady-state (nonexpanding); the question is whether the label is important. The 1% don't care about the name, or even if the economy is a nonexpanding one; they just want the current structure of power relations to be preserved. The real struggle may thus be between centralized power vs. diffused power, and in that sense I do have some sympathy w/OWS, because it was trying to achieve the latter. The problem, however, is a catch-22, because you can't really change things based on a 'horizontal' model; you'll lose to the vertical one every time, and they did. But clearly, they were trying to avoid the historical conundrum that revolution always seems to be a revolving door: different personnel, same vertical arrangements.

This brings us to the Counter Punch article, and the stark godawful reality that the elite Dems and 'progressives' own their own political opposition, as u put it. Jesus, what a farce, The Nation etc. as the new elite. We see, in this, how the vertical model is preserved. I recall hearing abt a very famous 'progressive' speaker--everyone here wd know her name--who insisted on arriving at the lecture hall in a limousine, and accompanied by all the pomp and circumstance that that involves (plus groupies fawning over her, etc.). More directly, I recently learned of a case where a famous left-wing website (again, you all know it, check it out regularly) held a conference, and it was run in a very top-down, practically totalitarian manner. Both of these scenarios are laughable, because both Ms. X and have no real power. But they do have influence, at least in some circles, and that's apparently enuf to trigger the syndrome Lord Acton spoke of. In the last analysis, human beings need to feel superior to other human beings--that even shows up in the Paleolithic record (grave goods, jewelry, and so on). This becomes a problem when it gets translated into something beyond just personal self-importance, i.e. into concrete social and economic power that some people wield over others. This is what the 1% want, regardless of whether the system is called capitalism or choppedliverism; the problem is that Ms. X and want the same sort of power for themselves (it doesn't matter what they say, just look at how they actually behave). And yet, hunter-gatherers did it, i.e. avoided all this, largely because they avoided sedentism and storage. Once there was 'stuff' to be accumulated (and distributed), the human race was fucked. In a word, the eco-sustainable steady-state model has its work cut out for it, because within civilization, at least, power does abhor a vacuum.

On another note, I discovered (in "The Telling") that Ursula Le Guin has her own phrase for what we've called on this blog 'techno-buffoonery': 'undigested techshit'. Yes, Ursula; we are wallowing in undigested techshit, for sure.

Thank u, Z, for raising these questions.


9:32 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Morris - thank you for the comment - it meant a lot.

Viewed "Local Hero" on U-Tube and enjoyed it throughly, especially the humor, the actresses, and the outcome.

Z -

I agree the capitalist will be the last standing, after all, they control the guns, the money, the sycophants...everything.

Nature Bats Last, tho, I hope.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It cd be that they didn't join in because they were jaded: i.e., they know the govt will do whatever it wants, regardless of what liberal audiences sing abt.
As for the C.P. article, I posted the link to it above (see also Z's comment on it). Glad to hear yr on sabbatical; now you'll have time to scope out what country you wanna move to.


9:50 AM  
Anonymous Rowdy said...

Well, there is another model for the future, which isn't the decentralized model nor the techno-feudal model.

It's the feudal model minus the technology, which is JH Kunstler's prediction. He foresees strongly-enforced overt local hierarchies run by ranchers, traders, trappers etc. with armies of foreclosed suburbanites as their serfs.

In this world, there will be no nebulous 1% calling the shots from afar, but people you know and see regularly, people who are often very mean, who will make no bones about the fact that they more or less own you.

This is the kind of vision that is perfectly in tune with the secessionist movement. I can easily foresee the nice people of the Vermont Republic running hard-labor agricultural operations behind their sunny rhetoric of localized democracy.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

Men, I tell you, this country is gone for good:

Prosecution: Sandra Layne deliberately murdered her grandson at West Bloomfield home

11:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, that *is* the decentralized model, or one (dark) variant of it. There's no requirement that the eco-sustainable model has to be hi-tech, after all.


11:52 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Nature most certainly will bat last, the great George said so: a bad case of fleas.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Golf Pro,

Thanks so much for the link to Penda's Fen. Are you familiar with Peter Woodcock's book This Enchanted Isle, which delves into the spirit of place in Britain (or more properly Albion? It includes a short chapter on the Powell-Pressburger films.

If I'm not mistaken, as far back as Hawthorne, American writers said that one of American culture's great flaws was that it had no real history, no tradition, no ruins & mysteries. And while there's a tissue-thin nod to a fictionalized Founding Fathers today, it seems the majority of Americans don't want any history or tradition -- nothing with roots or substance. An elusive, glowing Progess that's always just ahead but never really arrives seems to be the preferred substitute.

Let me recommend an early 1970s film, Glen and Randa,, set in a post-apocalyptic America. Survivors are traumatized into permanent emotional childhood, unable to learn or retain any knowledge. But as shown early in the film, one type not only survives but thrives: the Hustler. Not unlike the cockroach.

This past weekend marked the 45th anniversary of the My Lai massacre. The comments posted to various online news sites carrying the story were telling: to this day, countless excuses for what happened, the "few bad apples" theory, a refusal to consider what America was doing in Vietnam in the first place. And if anyone dared make comparisons to current wars in the Middle East, forget it!

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

...and, of course, Queen Hill took a break from her rest to bestow her blessings upon the gay.

Guess the "choice" for 2016 is clear. It makes unquestionable sense for the next president to be a woman. By the next presidential term, there surely will be plenty of civil unrest (economic disparity expansion, eminent domain for fracking, coastal dis/re-locations, surveillance state blowback, etc.) A woman giving the command to put down the insurrections for "the common good" will make it all so much easier to take.

Well-enough shattered shards of the glass ceiling can resemble sugar, after all. Not exactly Socrates; but I'll take it.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Read and enjoyed the Hula Hoop Theory of Histroy--really good. If only a few more people read Montaigne, Gray, Becker and understood them!(on on literary side Conrad, Ballard and Musil)! Great synthesis and a good bit of originality. In any case the operational lesson is we cant really change things and there is no true progress in human affairs. Always some new wave and it always crashes. Everybody wants to know what is next (infirmity and death actually) and how to make the best of it! I suppose that is why the psychics and the inventors of new religions always do so well. On that note will go drive my porsche as its a lovely afternoon and for this may be my last day! Seriously WAFERS take care of today--thats it actually.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

And now New Zealand is considering a "make the peasants pay for the aristocrats mistakes" plan like the Cypriot bailout tax! Had anyone even heard that New Zealand had any banking problems? This cannot be good for confidence in banks. It looks like mattresses world-wide are soon going to be storing more than dust and squeaky springs. (But the way things are going, maybe the new stuffings won't be any more valuable than the old.)

NZ government planning Cyprus-style solution

The National Government are pushing a Cyprus-style solution to bank failure in New Zealand which will see small depositors lose some of their savings to fund big bank bailouts, the Green Party said today.

Open Bank Resolution (OBR) is Finance Minister Bill English’s favoured option dealing with a major bank failure. If a bank fails under OBR, all depositors will have their savings reduced overnight to fund the bank’s bail out.

"Bill English is proposing a Cyprus-style solution for managing bank failure here in New Zealand - a solution that will see small depositors lose some of their savings to fund big bank bailouts," said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

"The Reserve Bank is in the final stages of implementing a system of managing bank failure called Open Bank Resolution. The scheme will put all bank depositors on the hook for bailing out their bank.

"Depositors will overnight have their savings shaved by the amount needed to keep the bank afloat.


3:53 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

MB - thanks for the Counterpunch article.

About ten years ago, I began writing off all of the mainstream media outlets that were cheerleading the Iraq War. Then, after Hopey-Changey's re-election, I started doing the same thing with all the outlets listed in the CP article (my "moment of clarity" with Jon Stewart was his hideous Rally to Encourage People to Do Nothing right before the 2010 midterms).

Anyway, I'm surprised no one mentioned today's 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion (or if they did, I apologize for missing it). In honor of the anniversary, the "liberal" Atlantic Wire did a "Where Are They Now?" segment as if the war criminals responsible for that atrocity were actors on an old sitcom or something:

4:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well of course things change over time; Europe is not the same now as it was in 1412, or whatever. But there does seem to be a curious continuity around zeal, i.e. in terms of the true believer syndrome. Reflexivity continues to be marginal at best.

Meanwhile, there's this:


5:34 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

@Tim Lukeman,

Yes, I think I read Woodcock's book some years ago, from my local library.

It's always difficult to estimate how prevalent the magical-visionary tradition is in Britain. It's very obscure, but also very persistent.

I always suspect there's a vast, extensive subculture here, but I personally can never seem to track it down.

Perhaps it helps to be a virginal Scottish policeman....

6:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, Theosophists, u name it--England's crawling w/them.


7:11 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

No communication, no human contact, not friends, no relatives, etc. We are talking about college community where people should interact with each other. Imagine what life is like in apartments and homes if university environment is like this. Life is a torture inside USA:

"Seevakumaran's roommate, Arabo Babkhani, described him to a student reporter as a quiet man who avoided people.

In fact, Babkhani said Seevakumaran never made direct eye contact with him until Monday morning, when he saw Seevakumaran in their dorm room, staring back at him while holding a gun.

Babkhani said he rarely spoke to Seevakumaran and that he often looked away and purposely avoided all contact. He said he had never met any friends [or] family of Seevakumaran.

On Thanksgiving, Seevakumaran stayed home and cooked a full meal for himself"

7:54 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

@WAFers - Just FYI regarding Drones in our airspace:

"By Sept. 30, 2015, drones will have to have access to U.S. airspace that is currently reserved for piloted aircraft". Here's the link:
@k_pgh - Hilarious! Loved you're take on "Unmanned Systems *Cactus*". I'm still laughing about that one.
@ennobled little day - Yes, you're critique is succinct and dead on. I need to cut out the glib tone and be more 'respectful' if this is ever going to be taken seriously. I need to re-read Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal", it's been too many years since I read it. But maybe Swift can get me in the right frame of mind (that is, if I do follow thru w/ this letter to the Unmanned Systems Caucus).

@Zosima - Yes, you are catching the spirit of what I was getting at (and I got a "kick" out from your take on drone toys for the tots & TV shows featuring drones). Is there anything left in America today that mass society won't (if it hasn't already) "relentlessly seek to subvert, co-opt or destroy"? NO. And that's including drones becoming incorporated into our daily lives. Ho-hum.

Let's face it, Americans are zombies. We're walking dead. Oh sure, we'll huff & puff about "drones in our airspace" for awhile, and yes, some of us may be creeped out about it (but most won't give a shit). And then (eventually) we'll wonder "what was the big deal in the first place?". And then we'll forget that we ever had a problem with Drones in the first place. And then (one step away from oblivion) we'll forget that we had forgotten in the first place. Kids will get model drone sets for Christmas & birthdays, there'll be ''neighborhood watch drones'', and "the weather channel drone", etc, etc, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. Drones, yaddah, yaddah we get used to the "new normal" of these killing machines flying overhead.

You know what this lethargic "non-response" reminds me of a little bit (when it doesn't remind me that most Americans don't give a shit, that is?). This feels like that short story by Donald Barthelme: "The Balloon". I hope you can read it if you haven't already. I read it about a year ago. It's supposed to be some kind of a contemporary classic. David Foster Wallace said it was the first short story he read that made him want to try and write short stories. That's why I picked it up, to see what the fuss was about.

Here's a synopsis from wikipedia w/o giving away too much: "The narrator of the tale inflates a giant, irregular balloon over most of Manhattan, causing widely divergent reactions in the populace. Children play across its top, enjoying it quite literally on a surface level; adults attempt to read meaning into it, but are baffled by its ever-changing shape; the authorities attempt to destroy it, but fail..."

1:07 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Here is something appropriate for the ten year anniversary of the Iraq war crime. In the film Citizen Kane, there’s a scene where Kane and his wife are at breakfast arguing, when she says, “but the people will think...” Kane angrily cuts her off, “what I tell them to think!” Kane is Hearst. This, from Wikipedia on William Randolph Hearst, sounds remarkably similar to the run up to the Iraq war, and mirrors the journalist philosophy of our entire corporate media:

Hearst's use of yellow journalism techniques in his New York Journal to whip up popular support for U.S. military adventurism in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines in 1898 was also criticized in Upton Sinclair's 1919 book, The Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism. According to Sinclair, Hearst's newspaper employees were "willing by deliberate and shameful lies, made out of whole cloth, to stir nations to enmity and drive them to murderous war." Sinclair also asserted that in the early 20th century Hearst's newspapers lied "remorselessly about radicals," excluded "the word Socialist from their columns" and obeyed "a standing order in all Hearst offices that American Socialism shall never be mentioned favorably."

3:45 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MB, Indeed "things" change. Technology, techne, economic and social structures etc. Human tendencies seem to cycle and certainly repeat. Technology particularly in the manipulation of tastes and thoughts followed by that of "news" probably have sped up the cycle of decline for empires. What the mind jelling effects of processed food, television, pads, screens and phones will have on the ability to respond to the many and sundry challenges that life will pose to porcine americans will be something to behold. While there may be small pockets of active and imaginative folks about (the vermonters in the independence movement) the bulk are like horned cattle pointlessly pecking at their phones and pads.......Wonder if these "people" are any match for the sorts in 1590 who sailed from Estremadura or Wales for the new world. Progress? Change yes but progress?

7:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, we do have anaesthetics, after all. As G.K. Chesterton remarked, "Can you imagine a world without chloroform?" Or, I wd add, a hunter-gatherer with a bad toothache? As far as technology goes, it's a question of when 'progress' became unprogressive. Did we really need CD's? Ol' vinyl LP's worked just fine...I guess the cutoff might be around 1925, and certainly 1965, but then I'm a bit of a Luddite. Check out my essay "The Moral Order" in QOV, and somewhere on this blog (archives), in any case.


I like the idea of every American owning a drone, and then firing cacti at each other. This wd make for a fine endpt to our technological evolution. Wafers are invited to submit a (very) short story entitled "The Cactus," modeled after the one by Barthelme.


The problem is that Sinclair forgot to mention that Hearst was a douche bag. Of course his readership wasn't much better...


9:19 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


Today I am traveling incognito through DoucheBagLandia, so I have to be brief as not to have my cover blown. I am observing and collecting data from the field.

At the moment I am at a Starbucks (favorite douche bag meeting spot) at a suburban Chicago mall. To better fit in I have my computer as well as a smart phone on my table. To observe the great American tradition of community, I am sitting alone at the table. Every few minutes I have to nervously check my phone, and fake sending a text message. I think the douche bags think I am one of them, because they’re acting like maniacs. We’re talking zero restraint here! There are numerous loud cell phone conversations all around me. The two young women at the table next to me are shouting at each other without making any eye contact, while obsessively fidgeting with their respective iPhones. I am hearing a lot of private information today. These two women are discussing their sex lives, and the douche bags on their cell phones are disclosing sensitive personal financial information for all to hear. Overall, these conversations are meaningless, the intended audience obviously being the people in the café. It’s weird.

On the economic front, this used to be an affluent area until not too long ago. However, I am happy to report that this mall now has about a 75% vacancy rate. Total ghost town! There humongous parking lot is empty. I should also mention that there are two homeless people sleeping on the couch in the corner of the café. They look like folks who once may have worked as teachers, firemen, or real estate brokers. So, WAFers rejoice, because capitalism never looked in worse shape in this bastion of hustling.

I will have to end my dispatch now, not only because I can no longer take all this shouting around me, but, believe it or not, I’m about to freeze to death because the café has its air conditioning blowing full force... this while outside temperature today is 16 degrees Fahrenheit (for European WAFers, that's minus 9 degrees Celsius). How’s that for crazy?!


11:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is very exciting: you are actually in the trenches, as it were, the front lines, bringing back valuable data on ADB (American Douche Baggery). For your next foray, let me suggest this:

1. Approach several DB's on fones and ask them why they don't just end it all. Tell them that surely they were made for better things than this.

2. Get some fotos for an eventual 1-man show in Chicago, "Douche Bags in Action." Wafers will fly in to see it, I assure u.

3. Bring a tape recorder to record various conversations, then transcribe and post here. All of us are very interested in eavesdropping on these fascinating discussions.


11:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: All u guys know how much I like Counter Punch; after all, they are the only online site that publishes my essays. But I've been thinking that it wd be gd if we were to design a new site called Counter Lunch. It wd deal w/chopped liver and deli meats, of course, but we shd probably think in even larger terms--political menus, so to speak. Wafers are invited to submit menu entries for the soon-to-be-born Counter Lunch!


3:38 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

MB -

Just read, yo friend, Chris Ketcham's great CP article about WAF.

He handles the job better than all others.

I'm glad to see Julian is reporting for "Doltwatch". Hilarious!

I will try to add some observations from our daily breakfast club KKK members here in Alabama.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Rufusteena Firefly said...

Okay. I can stand it no longer. I know I'm only an ignorant female, but I must know what exactly qualifies the term "douche bag" as a perjorative. Please, some all-knowing gentleman, would you inform me?

3:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Glad u spoke up; it's a profound and interesting question. To avoid sexism, the State of Massachusetts tried (summer of '67, for 2 mos.) to encourage the use of "jockstrap" as an alternative. But it never caught on, and everyone went back to douche bag. It might be the name itself, wh/sounds awful. Incidentally, on one show of "30 Rock," Tina Fey says, "I will not tolerate douchebaggery!" Why didn't I marry that gal while I had the chance, will someone tell me? (Oh, right, I forgot: I never had the chance!)


Yeah, that was a decent essay, I agree; Chris is a gd writer, in general. As for Julian, he's out there on the front lines, preparing eyewitness reports on jockstrappery.

Meanwhile, check this out:

These 2 guys belong to an al-Qaeda affiliate called Al-Shabaab. I'm thinking one of the 1st items we might offer at Counter Lunch (see above) could be called Al-Kebab.


3:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More Signs of Douchebaggery: Why make love when you can play w/yr iPad?

3:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And finally, where Americans put their attention (on unreal sex, as opposed to the real variety):

We are such an intelligent nation!

4:06 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

My vote is for the Onward and Downward Deli.

Maybe we can convince Langer's Deli to change the name of their Number 19 to the WAFerwitch? Or perhaps Katz's could do a Dolt on Rye special?

Here in Minnesota we are stuck with Cecil's, but I think we can maybe have a Spicy Reuben and just call it the Head up Rump-witch.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

There is hope for humanity:

Also, it's really worth reading the comments. How often do you get to say that?

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

@Rowdy: I'm starting to sympathize with Heaven's Gate. Their prescience of the Earth's "recycling" disturbs me. And f*** "enjoying the ride". I have barely completed my second decade of life, and the forecasts are this bleak?!! I urgently need to push my blood sugar to a lethally high level before 2020 arrives.
The Voluntary Human Extinction movement sounded the alarm, but we refused to listen. If human existence is mostly getting kicked in the dirt, why not just die off with dignity? Shame that our world so strongly resists critiques and reforms, while the population lacks the tools of nuanced thinking necessary to comprehend and appreciate this message. As repressive as it may be, I can understand the Chinese "one child" policy.
@Morris: Have you heard of political theorist Corey Robin's book "The Reactionary Mind"? Much like you, he argues that contrary to 'Murikan national ,mythology and the words of so-called "moderates", conservatism and right-wing politics have always served up convenient rationalizations for greed, bigotry, warmongering and domination. Even The American Conservative, despite its posturing as "a constructive alternative", repeats the same racist/ultranationalist/Zionist douchebaggery you see elsewhere. After analyzing what i know about Gringolia, I happen to agree with Robin's thesis.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

Does anyone remember the film GATTACA? Whenever you guys talk about whether there will be enough resources to run a totalitarian state, etc. I start thinking about the following:

Back in the '90s it cost several billion dollars to sequence a handful of human genomes. By 2010 the price had dropped to $10K for a single genome. Now it's probably around $1K. At the current rate, "in the not-too-distant future," you may be able to get your genome sequenced by your local pharmacist for well UNDER $100 buck.

Research into genetically engineering humans will probably pick up substantially by then. Have any of you thought about how that may affect America, and the world, in the coming decades?

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Victor5 said...

It looks like Syria is their gateway to Iran, so the neocons are seeking for a war with Syria as a way of getting into Iran. They are now talking about the use of chemical weapons in Syria as if God appointed Obama the judge and jury on the internal affairs of other nations. Remember, they said the same thing about Saddam Hussein and America is still bleeding from the rumbles in Iraq.

Watch this interesting video:

5:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


How about the douche baguette?


5:35 PM  
Anonymous JadedSamurai said...

More evidence for the fact that Americans are beyond salvation:

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

This is so good and so representative of WAF. When was the last time being mean and abusive to people brings peace?

5:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

My Kinda Guy:


This is a joke, rt? Daily Dolt? That was *my* idea, dammit!


7:24 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

MB- I like the idea of a technology cut-off date. Not sure how that would work exactly, but it's very appealing. It kind of gets around the problem where people try to make it a choice between gadgetry vs. returning to the stone age. "No, no, it's okay. It'll be like 1925 forever." Selfishly, I wouldn't mind 1986 or thereabouts since that's when I was a kid, so naturally that level of tech feels very reasonable to me. Atari, early Nintendo, fine. But no need for this Nintendo 64, people!

Re: drone merch
I'm already way ahead of you guys. My last comic features a character called "Dronar - America's Favorite Drone-Based Superhero." Although it is actually a comic-within-the-comic, supposedly drawn by a character who's a cartoonist. I have some story outlines for Dronar as well, and am hoping to work them up into full comics featuring Dronar in all his glory.

See the first panel of this page for a depiction of Dronar (click to enlarge if image is too small):

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Captain Spaulding & Daddy Issues-

The decline and fall of capitalism is not a separate issue from climate change. One of the reasons capitalism is dying is that it requires ever expanding growth which is exhausting and destroying the planet. This goes far beyond ‘peak oil’. It is industrial capitalism (and socialism as a poor imitation) which has been and still is causing global warming.

Some people don’t make the connection since with capitalism and its ‘scientific revolution’ comes a tendency toward ‘one problem – one solution’ thinking. You can do a lot with that kind of reductionism, but eventually you have to put things together in a more ‘holistic’ way, or you’re just buzzing around like bees in a jar.

See what Dmitry Orlov has to say about US collapse:

Things that enabled Russians to survive the collapse of the USSR are missing in the USA, so most Americans will be alone and helpless. Cities will be dominated by gangs and the countryside by armed militias – with endless miles of sprawling suburbs becoming wastelands.

See: “Gun Control debate Fueling Explosive Rise in Far Right Extremist Groups.”

Remember New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and then ask how the US military will cope with that kind of chaos in even half the country.

How well did our revered military do keeping a lid on Iraq? Imagine them attempting to ‘pacify’ a territory the size of the US? Trying to invade and occupy continent sized areas, Russia and China, wore down both the German and Japanese military machines during WW II.

All that’s uncertain is the timing, but the US is not going to be a safe and pleasant place for your children and grandchildren.

David Rosen

8:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I think it may come down to how people feel about having nano-drones installed in their recta. 62% of Americans approve of murdering women and children with drones, so presumably they will be in favor of the new anal mini-drones. 38% percent, the Luddites, will be opposed.


9:10 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Very funny Julian, and very brave for putting yourself in harm’s way like that. When the time comes to appt a WAFer Chief of Intelligence, you will get my recommendation. If the incoming douchebaggery gets too heavy, here’s an idea. Go to an army surplus store and by some kind of uniform, give yourself a rank of colonel of higher, go back to the Starbucks and start talking real loud into a cell phone like someone in every American spy or military thriller you’ve ever seen, and say something like:

“That’s right sergeant...terrorist activity located...prepare drone strike in ten Starbucks at Hustler Acres Mall...get a fix on this location...grid”

You’ll then be able to drink your coffee in peace, and laugh at all the morons who just trampled each other to death on the way out the door.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Also switch to Romanian occasionally, plus say "copy that" a lot.


10:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Douche Bag Under the Microscope Dept.:

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Pascal said...

Dr B, I believe you once said that no matter what happens to the American people, they will never protest; they will simply keep sleeping. Take a look at what is happening in other nations:

Then read here to see the anger boiling at Obama; take your time and go through the comments (two years ago, you would never see or hear any bad word about Obama on the site):

1:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The people of Portugal (Spain, Greece) have a sense of dignity, and the courage to fight. Americans lack both testicles and spines; recent history has demonstrated this over and over again. Basically, a collection of 315 million useless pimples; a joke population. As for criticism of Obama: eh!


3:08 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB,

On a recent travel through those internet tubes, I ran across this:

"The World is not Billy Bob's Rib Pit"

"The United States is the most hated country in the world, followed closely by Israel, and then by nobody. Why? Why not Ecuador? China? Russia? East Timor?
....the explanation for the hatred is obvious: Meddling. Relentless, prideful, uncomprehending meddling, frequently military, often with horrendous death tolls. Americans, adroitly managed by a controlled press, historically illiterate, incurious, decreasingly educated, either have never heard of the American behavior that angers others,...... Add to unfamiliarity with the wider world the constantly inculcated assertion that America is the greatest, most wonderful nation ever to exist, a light to the world, a shining city on a hill, and you get a dangerously delusional state. Especially now. In the past, American economic and military supremacy were such that the US didn’t have to care what others thought. The times, they are a-changing......Truculent patriots at Billy Bob’s Rib Pit know none of this. The combination of clueless ignorance and a sort of Walmart-parking-lot arrogance make mysterious to them much behavior of other countries."

Of course, we know one could fill a library documenting the atrocities.


6:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Great essay, but he forgot to say douche bags, cretins, and buffoons.
Also useless pimples (UP's, from here on).


7:08 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

And this on Counter Punch. Cd not resist the laugh at empire.

Adam with toy?

7:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, that was a nice article Chris did on WAF. CP is now doing a new mag in hardcopy format.


11:28 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

I came across an interesting article about the evolution of whales & started reading the comments posted by other readers:

It's one thing to hear that a percentage of Americans firmly believe in scientifically idiotic ideas; it's another to read their actual comments. You'll get whiplash from shaking your head in disbelief & dismay so much!

This works for any online science article allowing comments, by the way.


11:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well someone in that comment section must be a Wafer of sorts; he wrote:

"We are becoming a country of clownish buffoons..."

Becoming? Where has this guy been the last 10 yrs?


12:48 PM  
Anonymous satyaSarika said...

Thanks for your comments on gender relations in Mexico

I used the word 'research' on CMUs rather loosely, as I just checked on some online references briefly. Thank you for your pointers. (btw, that *was* definitely where I picked up the malware.) Here are some (malware free) URLs:

Dr MB:

Besides the fact of the blog being more active, I think your older books are selling now, judging from their price and availability. Maybe the publishers will have to make a new printing. I still think it's a crying shame you got talked out of your original title, "Capitalism and its Discontents", for WAF. That really killed sales, I'm sure. OTOH, we would not now be calling ourselves WAFers.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

B's prediction is becoming real so fast; America closing schools in 21st century when other nations like China and Singapore are extending the hours kids spend at school:

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Public Schools administrators are considering closing more than 100 schools as the system faces declining enrollment and huge budget deficits.

Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said on Wednesday that 129 schools are now on that target list–or about 19 percent of the schools in the system. School administrators spared another 201 schools after receiving community feedback.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A gd thing really, as American students are learning nothing anyway. Might as well shut the whole farce down and let them go to malls and talk on cell phones all day long. Recent report on high schls in NYC said 80% who graduate can't read. Neither can their parents, and neither will their children. Any institution you look at in the US, the same thing obtains: Game Over.


3:37 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

In a nod to whale evolution, check out one of Kurt Vonnegut's final novels, "Galapagos."

5:05 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

I just found this documentary, I found it fairly unique. It was made by a young member of the famous Johnson & Johnson pharma co. family. An insiders view...

5:29 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...


All day today I've been thinking about your question regarding the douchebag perception issue, turning it around in my mind trying to grasp the essence of its perjorativity. I suspect it might have something to do with the combination of flaccid consistency and awkward/embarrassing function(inserting into genital/excretory areas with intent to cleanse). In its own right a douchebag is rather comical to look at, even more so with the above association. One can easily transpose this quality of embarrassing flaccid ridiculousness onto a stupid person.
The term "jockstrap" as a perjorative brings to my mind similarly embarrassing impressions, but with a difference. The sense I get is that of an obsessive, constricted, uptight sort of stupidity; graceless, peevish, and unseemly, provoking in the beholder the same revulsion as pocket poolers and bicycle seat sniffers. I do recall hearing it used quite a bit in my youth. I suspect these terms run in cycles like any other fashion. At any rate, perjoratives seem to originate in the squeamish corners of our minds.
Let it be known that I object neither to internal cleansing nor to anatomical support; there are times in life when these things are necessary.

Mr. B,

You said I knew the answer to my own question regarding the increase in profoundly stupid behavior. I am not so sure of that. While I am aghast at the volume of imbecility these days I still think it best not to make assumptions about the past based on the events in one's own lifetime, especially the present. The seeming increase may in fact be a result of increased communication. One hundred years ago, two hundred, and so on, people were doing creepy, cruel, stupid things but they weren't all recorded and immediately transmitted for the entire world to see. I just have a hard time believing that what's going on today is somehow new or different. Trying to shoot one's wedding ring off, however, does seem to set some kind of a record.

12:53 AM  
Anonymous satyaSarika said...

Regarding secession:

Looks like the Scots may get a chance to be an independent nation:

2:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd pt, but then there's been all this work done since 1948 (J.Z. Young et al.) on the plasticity of the brain. It's affected negatively by screens, for example, which weren't around 200 yrs ago. A hundred years ago, the middle class was able to locate the countries of the Middle East on a world map; 50 yrs ago, the NYT best-seller list was mostly made up of challenging bks, not self-help garbage--etc. There are lots of indicators that functional (and actual) illiteracy has increased in the US over the last 50 yrs; and so on. I do think we've reached the heights of dumbness--and are about to go beyond them! (A development I find very exciting, myself.)


9:02 AM  
Anonymous Pascal said...

@Zaid and Dr B:

I noticed the use of the word CEO in the article provided by Zaid:

"Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said on Wednesday that 129 schools are now on that target list–or about 19 percent of the schools in the system"

I read the same word here:

"We don't have an elected school board. The mayor is in control of his group of monkeys. It's sad. The last few CEOs of the school system were a joke. One was a student of mine in grad school at U of C. He was a suck-up who came into my office constantly to try to talk up his grade. I never gave in. He had no education background, just an administrator and ex-cop. The one before him is now in Washington, but really no better. The last one was a failed educator from Rochester, NY. The current one drove the Detroit schools into the ground. What do they all have in common? They are YES men to the mayors. They are Rhee-formers too."

Is the CEO a new replacement for school principal or what? If the student are not learning anything, what happens to them after their schools are closed?

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Dani said...

This is how you solve all problems: kill your opponents with a gun! The marine has no mental issues, does he?

A Marine killed a male and female colleague in a shooting at a base in northern Virginia before killing himself, officials said.

No names were immediately released but Solivan said the suspect and both victims were Marines. Authorities believe the suspect was a staff member at the officer candidate school, Solivan said.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


What MB said -- and perhaps one more thing as well. The increased information flow, the ceaseless torrent of "news" & factoids, has undoubtedly accelerated & exacerbated The Dumbening. There is simply too much to think about in depth, especially considering the ratio of genuine knowledge (minimal) to that of sheer meaningless crap (to infinity & beyond).

I do think the transitional period was during the 1950s-1980s. There was enough communication technology to enable ideas to travel the world instantly, but not yet so much that it overwhelmed people. A single book, movie, record album, etc., could actually have a powerful effect on culture; such things were discussed in depth as they appeared on the scene. But once the digital floodgates were opened, and all that bandwidth needed filling -- especially when there was money to be made from it -- anything that remotely resembled depth was shunted aside in favor of cheap distraction.

I've mentioned this before: I collect old young adult novels, as libraries began discarding them in bulk years ago, and I can see how they've changed. The older they are, the more complex the vocabulary, the plot structure, the dialogue, the description, the emotional resonance. The newer they are, the exact opposite, even if they they do have the freedom to be much more explicit today. But that's largely superficial. You can see the same thing with many films & TV shows decade by decade. They used to be filled with literary, historical, and cultural quotes; now they just reference the emptiest of contemporary pop culture. Everything is shinier but shallower.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB,
You know you live in a sick society when thousands of kids die and your leaders shrug and walk away.

A child or teen dies or is injured from guns every 30 minutes.
• 18,270 children and teens died or were injured from guns in 2010.
1 child or teen died or was injured every 30 minutes
50 children and teens died or were injured every day
351 children and teens died or were injured every week
More children and teens die from guns every three days than died in the Newtown
• 2,694 children and teens died from guns in 2010.
1 child or teen died every 3 hours and 15 minutes
7 children and teens died every day
52 children and teens died every week

• Between 19792 and 2010, 119,079 children and teens died from guns. This is more child and teen deaths in 32 years than U.S. soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam (47,434), Korean (33,739), Afghanistan (1,712), and Iraq (3,518) wars combined.

The number of children under five who died from guns was more than the number of
law enforcement officers who died from guns in the line of duty in 2010.


10:05 AM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...


For a while there, I was reaching the same conclusions as fern. But then you posted the following:

"...but then there's been all this work done since 1948 (J.Z. Young et al.) on the plasticity of the brain. It's affected negatively by screens, for example, which weren't around 200 yrs ago. A hundred years ago, the middle class was able to locate the countries of the Middle East on a world map; 50 yrs ago, the NYT best-seller list was mostly made up of challenging bks, not self-help garbage--etc. There are lots of indicators that functional (and actual) illiteracy has increased in the US over the last 50 yrs; and so on."

And now I'm a born-again WAFer!


They're supposed to be called superintendents. Principals are in charge of a single school.


I once met someone who worked at the NSA for several years. He once told me that everyone there (and in many other similar agencies) are supposed to carry a gun all the time. Not surprisingly, you get one or two shootings among these government employees every year, which for some reason the media almost never covers.

If I'm not mistaken, this guy worked for the NSA back in the '80's.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

There ya go, MB, children with guns! Obviously infants need their own guns, too!

Detroit Free Press: Police seek suspects in shooting of baby in stroller

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Police with automatic weapons went door-to-door in a coastal Georgia town searching for suspects after a gunman opened fire on a baby as his mother pushed him in his stroller.

The suspects in the Thursday killing of the 13-month-old boy and wounding of his mother are thought to be from 10 to 15 years old, Brunswick Police Chief Tobe Green said.


11:03 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There's lots of other evidence, of the kind Tim is referring to. The "Hardy Boys" series got dumbed down in subsequent editions, for example. Sound bites of presidential speeches have gotten progressively shorter (as have dialogues in movies--compare the ones from the 40s and 50s to today). Lawrence Stone did a bk on literacy in the Colonies, and it was way higher (%-wise) than today, even w/slave population factored in (I think). In Natchez, Miss., in 1816, something like 30 (or was it 60?) Shakespeare plays were produced in a single season, whereas today--I doubt most Americans cd even say who Shakespeare was. There are lots of studies of this sort, some of the results collected in bks just over the last decade or so, w/titles like "Just How Dumb Are We?", etc. I don't think it's hard to conclude that the country has undergone a severe mental deterioration--and an emotional one as well (studies of decreasing empathy etc.). And as Trout's figures indicate, a corresponding rise in violence, wh/strikes me as no surprise. We are being increasingly sucked downward into a vortex of pain and rage and stupidity, and we do not have the mental capacity, or the will, to stop and look at what's going on, and to assess the causes. Instead, we have a president who comes up w/lofty speeches and then deports alien residents by the millions, murders civilians in Pakistan, and feeds his corporate sponsors while starving out the poor and the desperate. I keep hammering away that it's Game Over, because there is simply no indication, whether from the govt or the population at large, that there is any mechanism that can turn this around. Education? Don't make me laugh. Schl superintendants are now CEO's, h.s. grads in NYC can't read (80% of them), and schls in Chicago are going under. Public debate consists of shouting from opposing ideologies; no analysis is going on here. Etc. This is exactly how a civilization collapses; this is what it looks like. We aren't the 1st, and we won't be the last. So let's not delude ourselves w/talk of 'reversing the trends' or whatever; that's just the blather of denial.


11:09 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

I work in a post-secondary school, and my ultimate boss is a CEO, not a superintendent, principal, or even a chancellor.

We grimly joke that our graduates are products that the factory churns out.

OK, cell phone zombies and their supporting infrastructure bug me, but what's with all those people who cannot be in public without having a beverage to slurp on? Every second person is carrying around a coffee mug or a water bottle.

Is this a psychological regression to breast-feeding? Is the atmosphere so arid that people must be in a constant state of hydration? Is there an electrolyte deficiency in the general population?

I need answers, dammit!

11:40 AM  
Blogger NearFar said...

MB (and WAFers)-

Some menu items for "Counter Lunch" (or if it's a "food-court" in the U$A: 'counter-feit' lunch).

I hope we'll be serving some kind of pasta, 'cause of course those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it.

Here are a few items (political menu):

Barack-oli Cheese Soup (any CREam soups are popular); ChickenTort(reform)-tillas; Barackwurst; Short-attention "spam" (an American favorite, though I already forgot why); Obamaloney (thank you Mitt Pastromney for that one); Chopped Liver (w/ shiit-ake mush-rooms); Hustlin' hash (scattered, smothered, & covered); Machiavelli (& Cheese); Gorbychops; Shrimp CREole; Napoleons; Lenin meringue pie; Banana CREam pie hole;

@David Rosen - thanks for the occasional insights you bring, I'm finding them helpful. Ie., Dmitri Orlov's essays. And that slide presentation you linked to from Orlov is very good. Also is an excellent resource.
This talk of food & closing the ''collapse gap' led me to this page:

It may point in some useful direction for some Wafers out there (it help me a little). I found it informative, and some interesting links on the page. But I think it's for folks in rural areas. It starts out talking about different kinds of "collapse" that could happen, when for real it's just a huge "systemic" collapse here in the U$A. (And of course, the economic collapse has already happened, we're just in some kind of purgatory now, as we transition to some other 'system' (?) or phase as mentioned here at DAA blog). Someone on the site asks about "roving bands of starved armed gangs"'. But there's really no follow-up.

Orlov gives his reasons why mass migration to the cities will occur during and after systemic collapse (and again, is that what Orlov is talking about?).

Until I am made to understand otherwise, the elites (here in the USA, for sure) are going to get not just the largest slice of the pie, but ALL of the pie.

As Chris Hedges writes: "The elite will withdraw into heavily guarded gated communities where they will have access to security, goods, and services that cannot be afforded by the rest of us. Tens of millions of people, brutally controlled, will live in perpetual poverty. This is the inevitable result of unchecked corporate capitalism. The stimulus and bailout plans are not about saving us. They are about saving them. We can resist—which means street protests, disruptions of the system, and demonstrations—or become serfs". ("The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress")

11:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


How about this: they are lonely, angry, and hurting?


1:11 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

I have just learned about a documentary made by Phil Donahue titled "Body of War". I really do not know how I missed it. Here is a recent interview of Phil Donahue.

"Donahue was a rare anti-war voice on television during the run-up to the war, but he was fired in early 2003, even though his show was a highly rated one on the network. A leaked memo later revealed that NBC executives considered him a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war."

As it turned out, one of the people reportedly pushing for Donahue to leave was Chris Matthews."

3:21 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Eventually some of this stuff will get through:

3:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Except 73% is much closer to the mark.


In the US, decency loses every time. There's just no place for it to flourish. Matthews even wrote a bk called "Life Is a Campaign", i.e. a hustle. As for pro-war sentiment, a recent poll discovered that a large fraction of the American population still hates the Dixie Chicks, 10 yrs later; they now hafta look for gigs in Canada. To survive in the US, you hafta pretend black is white and up is down.


4:25 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

Here is a laundry list of all the problems discussed in the alternative/underground media: Peak oil. Global warming. Environmental degradation. Endless war. Religious fundamentalism. Political repression. Ethnic and sectarian conflicts and hatred. Prejudices and discrimination of all stripes. The incipient police states which will make Earth into the "Prison Planet". Gross commercialism and plutocracy which put money above human dignity. Mass poverty. Destruction of culture and the arts. Censorship. Ignorance and illiteracy. The lack of understanding. Resource exhaustion. Organized crime. Delusions. Psychopathy and sociopathy. And of course, American cranial-rectal embedment and techno-buffoonery. What a wonderful world...
We all have a stake in this- that said, I cannot help but be angry at the Baby Boomers. The world will obviously never be a utopia, but the opportunities they had to move it in a more positive direction were quite abundant. And they wasted most of them.
All will probably go the dogs in the end, but we might still leave something for historical study at a later date. I have set a deadline for myself to accomplish something significant (at least a few goals) before New Years' Eve 2020, and I hope I make it. I also plan to end my life by then at the age of twenty-seven. I hope to have some luck.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Didn't Steve Allen deal with the American intelligence issue years ago with "Dumbth?"

6:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yr rt, Steve was a precursor of Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" segment. Steve wd go outside the studio, come up to the 1st guy in the st., and say: "Excuse me sir, but are you a heterosexual?" Almost always, the guy wd stiffen, rise up to full height, and reply indignantly: "Of course not!" And this was 1964, when a few Americans still had their gray matter intact.


Don't do it, amigo! You've got yr whole life ahead of you! Besides, you can never predict what will happen. You might wind up writing a dozen bks and courting a dozen beautiful women and pissing off most of the US population! (What a pity there are no awards for this trifecta, eh?)

Yr rt abt the Boomers: the sellout was almost instantaneous; but it wasn't complete. Some did go into pollution or poverty law, for example, or write some decent bks
:-) Not everyone went the route of Jerry Rubin and the culture of narcissism. But if u want a very pessimistic look at the 60s, check out the bk by Jenny Diski (for England, at least). And always keep in mind that concluding line from Eric Berne ("Games People Play"): "Although there isn't much hope for the human race, there is for a few members of it."


7:22 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...


I wont tell you not to do it, as I had a serious bout of depression a few years ago myself when I was very close to checking out.(I was in the DEP on an 18x contract for 5 active/3 reserve after scoring 99% on the AFQT...I would have been one of Obamas vaunted spec ops minions. The cognitive dissonance nearly killed me, literally.) I've also always thought about my own mortality in a very different way and have a lot of trouble discussing it with anyone in my family. Obviously we could take about this for quite some time...the essence of what I feel is pretty close to MB's line above. I find solace wherever I can with those others who do see through our species bullshit, which tends to be the cloudiest in the US. Forums like this help. I got a dog a couple years ago... I feed her raw, I watch her stalk birds...she calms me down. Her life just makes sense, if that makes any sense. Sad, in a way, to say but shes easily the most intimate relationship in my life. So, my dog helps. Eating cleanly helps. Jiu jitsu helps. Yoga helps a bit. Maybe this will help you.


9:56 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

I don't know so much in buying in or making much of the conception of baby boomers. Its just a marketing notion and part and parcel of post wwii myth making. BABy boom is just some trope used by pundits to evoke some sort of xanadu period were possibility and wonder were wtihin our grasp--please. Woodstock and Civil rights and killing 2 million vietnamese....supporting and laying seeds for middle east craziness, and an endless list of other mischief. Don;t see the AFricans or Indians going on about the post green revolution baby booms. Its futile to look back and be angry at what you think based on some stylized notion should have done or not.... We don't understand our present, we have a half witted understanding of the past and well its pointless to speculate on the future--other than to be assured things will be different and none of us will fully understand.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, the *theory* at least is that famous line from George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." The problem is that those who *can* remember the past are *also* condemned to repeat it. Freud called this the 'repetition compulsion', for individuals; but it may apply to nations as well. Interviewed a few yrs ago (he's now dead), Wm Lederer, the author of "The Ugly American," said that the American govt had learned abs. nothing abt foreign relations since he wrote the bk in 1958. The stuff he was describing for Vietnam later rolled out in eerie duplication in Iraq. But in any case, I do think it's meaningful to think about that Boomer generation, and wonder what cd have been accomplished if the unconscious coding for the last 400 years hadn't been: Me!


Thank you for talking abt yr own experience. At least you survived, and are here to tell the tale. I dunno how these people do it, folks like Viktor Frankl, who can do things like live thru the Holocaust and turn it into something of great value, to give to other people. Start w/where u.r., I guess: nothing wrong w/loving a dog.

Martin, pay attention to this man, eh?


10:35 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

Dr. B, I know I'm violating the one post rule but fuck it...


I'm in a similar boat, although I set my cutoff date at 35. I doubt I'll stop there, though. Two or three years ago I started planning beyond that.

On days when I could not think, I would lie on the floor, put some headphones on, get on youtube and listen to random stuff. Schopenhauer was a favorite. I would then "allow" my mind to wander between the audio and my thoughts. Here's a taste:

Bertrand Russell's A Free Man's Worship is also on youtube and I highly recommend it.

Neither Schop. or Russell may be your "cup of tea," but I recommend doing something like this. I must have listened to a bunch of stuff, but it's been a while since I've done this on a regular basis.

11:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Russell said there were 3 things that kept him going:

1. The search for truth
2. The experience of love
3. The pain he felt for the unfortunates in the world.

Not a bad roster, imo. But I wd add something else. Mark Strand has a line in one of his poems abt getting up every morning "to suck the sweet marrow out of the day," or something like that. Of course, a lot of days can be fairly routine, esp. if you write bks. But a gd part of the time, something will happen that is completely unexpected. It's not always good, but it does catch me by surprise. So every day when I wake up, I wonder: What the hell's coming down the pike today? Curiosity has a very alive feeling to it, even if the surprise is a pie in the face.


11:49 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


I thought I'd share a post I just made in an online professor group on Yahoo. I have no respect for the higher education system or those who work in it anymore, which is why I wrote with such contempt. I usually get strong reactions after my posts, and in the past few months there were several unsuccessful attempts to kick me out of the group. CRE levels are very high among university professors these days. Most of them are struggling to make ends meet and have no job security or benefits such as health insurance, but if you dare criticize the system they react violently in defense of it. I periodically stir the pot, mainly for self-amusement.

Title: Sent from my iGarbage

No offense meant, but it looks really unprofessional when so many posts here end with “Sent from my iPhone/iPad”. It looks like you are cheapening your thoughts and ideas to the point where they have become nothing but vehicles for spreading commercials for some greedy and disgusting corporation, be that Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, or whatever.

I realize that most people in this society have been hopelessly brainwashed by corporations to the point where they cannot think for themselves anymore. I also realize that the core virtues of this society are greed and hustling, which makes criminals like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates into national heroes most of you would love to trade places with (well, maybe not with Steve Jobs anymore). However, as educators, please learn to be mindful when you are so overtly exploited by one of these vile corporations. Let us be mindful of the simple fact that corporations have already destroyed the education in this country and implicitly your careers, so at least let’s try not to be mindless advertising automatons for them, shall we.

So, how about you do this right now:
In your iPhone/iPad, tap on “Settings”
Tap on “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”
Scroll down and tap on “Signature”
Tap on “Clear”

Our next lesson will deal with how to take your family out to lunch and NOT spend 90% of the time staring at your stupid so-called “smart”-phone. Meanwhile, to better prepare you for that lesson, your homework is to read this highly acclaimed new book:

Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle (2012).

4:16 AM  
Anonymous shep said...


Add Shep to the suicide squad. A pie in the face wd feel rather good sometimes because there is no question what is causing the hurt.

Russell (esp my Jack Russells, smile) is a favorite of mine but the pain of the unfortunates works in the opposite fashion for me.

Loved Johnson's Doc - he drove Uncle Milton (Napoleon Complex) Friedman nuts!!

6:40 AM  
Blogger jml said...

al qa'bong:
regarding insatiable hydration: i worked in a restaurant in los angeles where oftentimes the customers ordered 3 drinks - sometimes strange combos like diet coke and coffee or diet coke and iced tea or iced tea and coffee and water. and many often needed lots of refills. back in texas where i waited tables and the glasses were huge (like texas) it was often not possible to keep people's glasses even half filled because they just consumed so quickly. these were usually people about my age (gen x). the older generations would sip slowly and say they didn't need any more when i tried to refill. most european customers usually never wanted refills if they even finished half of their beverages. they seemed to be aware of not wanting to waste or take more than they needed. i came to the conclusion that this rabid need for hydration had something to do with our rabid consumerism and the feeling that our culture induces in us through constant advertising that we are always empty and need to be filled. isn't that a symptom of narcissism? that continual, gnawing empty feeling that doesn't go away that we try to fill with lots of stuff? (food, drugs, shopping) also, lots of times customers would come in with water bottles that we had to tell them to throw away. a coworker and i often spoke about how it was as if people were carrying around their baby bottles.
on another note, working in a restaurant is really fascinating if one is interested in human nature.

7:03 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

I won't tell you not to do it either. I grew up through the 'Boomer' times and had suicidal fantasies throughout--it wasn't the barrel of fun and potential it was puffed as, though there was some great music around then. I got to be older though by putting one foot in front of the other, which I learnt from watching my dogs and other natural beasties.
Vonnegut said that all man's problems come from having a too big brain, and that is true. Animals live in the present and don't spend too much time thinking about the past or projecting into the future. Keep your eye on your dog and pick up some tips from her.

Human life is essentially absurd, being able to laugh at it and oneself helps.

BTW, I still have bouts of those suicidal thoughts, in a weird way they have become quite comforting over the years--an hour sitting in a graveyard being morbid is guaranteed to cheer me up.

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@ennobled little day, Thanks for the following suggestion:

"On days when I could not think, I would lie on the floor, put some headphones on, get on youtube and listen to random stuff. Schopenhauer was a favorite. I would then "allow" my mind to wander between the audio and my thoughts"

You can also listen to the original thoughts of your favorite authors by going to

This is an organization that records audio books with the help of volunteers. The audio books are free for download.

There are a lot of classic writers in there. For example, supposing you want to know if they have any book from Schopenhauer. Follow these steps:

1) Go to the catalog section of the website:

2) Type in the author's name in the space next to Author.
Leave everything else blank and click on Search

So, type in Schopenhauer and click on Search

3) You will see the following:

7 matches

Completed works

5 matches (5 completed) in 'Sammlung kurzer deutscher Prosa'
Schopenhauer, Arthur. "Art of Controversy, The (or: The Art of Being Right)" • (readers)
Schopenhauer, Arthur. "Few Parables, A" (in "Short Nonfiction Collection Vol. 008") • (readers)
Schopenhauer, Arthur. "Studies in Pessimism" • (readers)
[German] Schopenhauer, Arthur. "Über die Weiber" • (readers)
Schopenhauer, Arthur. "World as Will and Idea, The Volume 1" • (readers)
[German] Schopenhauer, Johanna. "Reise durch England und Schottland" • (readers)

These are the books by Schopenhauer they have in audio right now. They may have some more in the future; you have to search again in 3 months, 6 months, or 2 years to see if something new is available under Schopenhauer.

You can listen to the original thoughts of your favorite authors rather than listening to filtered commentaries.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...


I also remember reading Shakespeare's Hamlet obsessively. As a naive science major I would often, figuratively, beat myself senseless with the text. I could not really understand it but I felt compelled to read and re-read it over and over again until I got sick of it. (I did the same with Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation of Hamlet.) It seemed that too much of it hinted at stuff I wanted to know more about.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Info from "The Dark Ages," by Jill Lepore, New Yorker, March 18:

-On Jan. 28 Obama had the State Dept. shut down the office of Daniel Fried, whose job had been to close Guantanamo. 168 men still remained imprisoned there.

-According to the NYT, the Obama Admin holds "Terror Tuesdays" meetings in wh/Obama and his nat'l security advisers discuss wh/suspected terrorists shd be assassinated by drones. In 1/3 of these cases, Obama names the targets himself. These include American citizens.

-NBC News released an undated Justice Dept. memo in Feb. that explains how it is that the president has the power to order the killing of men w/o anyone bringing evidence before any judicial body, including an unconstitutional military commission.

-Habeas Corpus is essentially nonexistent now; in general, says the author, we have rolled things back to before the Magna Carta (1215).

Yes, this is the USA Today.


10:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a gd (if obvious) essay:

Check out the last 2 sentences, esp. I wish he had said something about mass CRE, but the pt. is made nonetheless.


12:29 PM  
Anonymous Captain Spaulding said...

To help close out this thread, MB, I'd like to mention that the CRE theory has an important intellectual antecedent in the writings of the great H.L. Mencken, who outlined the typology of "boobus americanus" over 80 years ago.

And here's some more data to add to the funeral pyre and to show that Mencken is still relevant.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, time to switch over to a new post, as we've just abt run out here. I agree w/u that Mencken was ahead of his time in identifying CRE, and it's a great pity he was ignored. The truth is that it's the rock on which all hopes for the future (of America, at least) run aground, and the one thing absolutely no one (Wafers excepted) wants to own up to. The poor guy is lucky he never had to run a blog, in any case; u get to see a lot of it close up. But also the pain and anger of Americans, as they flail around, unwilling to confront the American Dream and the narrative of fantasy that keeps them on the hook.



4:10 PM  

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