March 05, 2013

Spring Lecture Schedule

Attention all Wafers and Waferettes:

Since we are approaching Comment #200 on the previous blog post, and since we probably need a break from the “culture wars,” I thought it might be time for a new post. My lecture “schedule,” as it were, consists of 2 talks:

1. April 5, 11 a.m., University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC; room TBA.

2. June 22, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan; room and time TBA. I’m being presented with the Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity by the Media Ecology Association.

For those of you who can make it to either of these, I look forward to seeing you!

mb

196 Comments:

Anonymous JPF said...

Looking forward to the details of the Michigan lecture. Congratulations!

Also, any word on your new book about spirituality? Any chance of a sneak peek?

8:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

JPF-

In keeping w/a major theme of the book, the publisher (One Spirit Press) and I are hoping to produce this thing as a work of craftsmanship. I was lucky to find someone who shared my outlook on this. So we are currently selecting fonts and paper shading (varieties of off-white), and she is beating the bushes to find a capable illustrator (cover + 5-6 watercolors). The hope is that all this can get done in time for a June 1st release date (Span trans August 1st, for you hispanohablantes out there). I might even come to Portland (where the press is based) in July for a bkstore rdg, if we can find a hippie millionaire willing to pay my airfare. In the meantime, I'm really excited about it; I just never imagined I wd ever write this type of bk. Anyway, stay tuned for additional details...

mb

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Captain Spaulding said...

Glad to hear that you're coming to Michigan. I'll have to bring something up from the Sidetrack Grill (Ypsilanti, MI) and a copy of Rokeach for the occasion.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Congratulations on the award, Dr. Berman - it couldn't go to a more worthy recipient.

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

http://news.yahoo.com/too-much-money-spent-iraq-too-few-results-051221182--politics.html?.tsrc=attmp

Wow, this is really amazing. The three different tribes/sects that have been fighting in Iraq for ages agree on one thing: uncle Sam's incompetence & corruption. I mean damn, the US makes colonial Britain or France look like small potatoes...

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

MB,

Your appearance on Amy’s show would represent the ultimate test of her allegiance to the eternal doctrine of Waferism, as well as an opportunity to demonstrate the depth of her appreciation of the 10 immutable points of Wafic philosophy. Wafers should immediately start emailing her to demand she schedules you for an extensive 5-part interview series.

As far as peed Guccis are concerned, the guy in the picture at the top of this article demonstrates commendable initiative:

“The US is the Don Corleone of international politics” (by Adrian Salbuchi):
http://rt.com/op-edge/the-us-is-the-don-corleone-of-international-politics-730/

Pascal,

This is why the DHS now considers returning veterans to be one of the greatest national security threats. I’m sure banksters worry that one day they might foreclose one veteran’s home too many. This is why future foreclosures will likely be carried out by drones.

1:50 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

I'm also looking forward to your new book. Despite loathing and despising anything that smacks of religion, (and not seeing anything except semantics differentiating the current notion of 'spirituality' from religion-lite) I still like to think about these ideas that have always had such influence over the human race.

Regarding your impending nuptials with Marianne (another one of ours and an ex catholic convent school girl to boot--which explains much)
she will probably 'eat you for breakfast'. They are tough and twisted cookies that come out of RC convent schools, often very 'unspiritual' in reaction to the indoctrination. Don't be fooled by the one-time angelic countenance.

Someone suggested 'Broken English' as a fighting song/theme--I'd like to offer the Who's anthem 'Won't get fooled again'
which is a banging tune and a working class poem of a lyric. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"-- says it all really-and gets your blood pumping as a bonus.

Which puts me in mind of the only Chris Hedges book I own, the searingly insightful 'War is a Force that gives us Meaning', relevant here considering religion and spirituality seem to be mostly a search for meaning, any meaning in an intrinsically meaningless world.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

Thank you. Seems hard to believe, quite honestly.

Shane-

1. Wm Lederer, "The Ugly American"
2. http://www.amazon.com/Imperial-Life-Emerald-City-Inside/dp/0307278832/ref=la_B0034OI3XA_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1362562702&sr=1-2

Julian-

Good article (Salbuchi). You'd think we wd learn something, but we never do. See #1 above. Lederer died in 2009, in his 90s. Interviewed a few yrs ago at his home in VT (on NPR, I think it was), he said that 0 had chgd since he wrote the bk in 1958. Check out #2, and also Steven Kinzer, "Overthrow." We're thugs--that's the bottom line. As for Amy: I have this recurring fantasy, that she has this earth-shattering epiphany, becomes a Waferette, and has me on the show. In the preface to the actual interview, she sobs, and exclaims: "How could I have been so blind? All that 'progressive' ideology--it was all blather, utter kaka. I was a complete fool." (more sobbing). "I mean: WHAT WAS I THINKING??! That the US was going to miraculously become a different country, and somehow save itself? HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SUCH A JACKASS?" I pat her on the shoulder, say "There, there," and tell her that her awakening might blaze a trail for other pathetic 'liberals' and believers in the American Dream to wake up. "But their heads are in their rumps--like mine was!" she cries. "I THOUGHT I WAS A BEACON OF LIGHT, WHEN I WAS NOTHING MORE THAN A DELUDED BUFFOON." (sobbing is now hysterical) "I mean, it was CRE, all the way." Etc. Now that wd be my kinda radio show.

mb

ps: Shit, I think I just spotted some pigs flying overhead. I really do hafta lay off the acid.

5:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ellen-

Many thanks for the warning on Marianne; tho I might not mind being eaten for breakfast, I'm not sure. ("You're the cream in my coffee...") As for my new bk: not to worry: it's abt as far from Oprah as one can get. I remain an atheist (tho a mystical one--to me, life is not inherently meaningless, and I'm not just referring to salt beef, wh/Selfridge's does very well, BTW).

mb

ps: Check out my novel, "Destiny," the 3rd section. Rt down yr street, really.

5:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The end of the road, as Janis Joplin put it:

http://us.cnn.com/2013/03/05/politics/obama-drones-cia/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...


Dr. MB,
Your constitution is now officially toilet paper !

Quoting Senator R. Paul,
"“Say you’re an Arab-American in Dearborn, Mich., e-mailing your brother in the Mideast, and they think your brother is a terrorist,” Mr. Rand said in an interview. “Does that mean they can use a drone to kill you?”

The answer, evidently, is yes!


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/us/politics/brennan-vote-by-senate-intelligence-panel.html?pagewanted=1&hpw

6:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Only in America Dept.:

Let's not be angry at the admin that waged a phony war, oh no: Let's be angry at the Dixie Chicks, who called it a phony war:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/05/opinion/granderson-dixie-chicks/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Most Americans today, if they remember the Vietnam war, are not angry at soldiers who dropped napalm on babies; oh no. They are angry at the anti-war protesters!

When and where, in the history of the world, has there been a greater collection of morons situated in one geographical location?

mb

7:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The Dregs of Humanity Dept.:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/04/health/california-cpr-death/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

7:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's another way of framing all of this. In 1949 the Japanese philosopher Nishitani Keiji wrote the following:

"Neither 'Americanism' nor 'communism' is capable of overcoming the nihilism that the best thinkers of Europe confronted with anxiety, the abyss of nihility that opened up in the spiritual depths of the self and the world. For the time being they are managing to keep the abyss covered over, but eventually they will have to face it."

Now that is what I call a prescient remark!

One can, and should, do an economic analysis of why the USSR collapsed (Rick Wolff, e.g.) or the US did (me, e.g.); but it's possible to approach these subjects in a Spenglerian way as well, and talk about spiritual factors in decline. Russia pasted over the abyss referred to by Nishitani w/Lenin, and it worked for about 70 yrs or so; America used consumerism, and it had a much longer run. But the abyss finally caught up w/the Soviet Union in 1989, and the jig was up. And now, it is our turn to face it, which is what is happening today. Look at all the links I just posted: these are examples of the abyss poking thru, w/no possibility of hiding from it any more. (Of course the scenario w/Amy Goodman will never happen, but I personally believe she's smart enuf to know, deep down, what the story really is.) It is now America for whom the bell tolls...

mb

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Dr. Berman,

I know I asked this question when I first surfaced on the blog and you took a pass on answering. Perhaps I phrased it in a way that seemed a little loaded. So I'll try again, promising to drop it if you don't want to go there:

What is the Mexican view of Chavez, the leftist movement in South America, and South America in general? As U.S.-oriented as Mexico is, is South America every bit as much an afterthought there as it is here in the states?

I haven't done as much reading about the Chavez revolution as I should, but it's hard to trust sources. Do you have any books/blogs/analysts who offer an even handed assessment of Chavez and South America you can recommend? (in English, porque mi espanol es no bueno)

When I was in Ecuador a few years ago, I met a 20-something American guy who had spent over a year in Venezuela to witness the Chavez revolution and he ended up leaving a little disillusioned (and out of fear for his safety.) I also met a Canadian man whose brother had married a Venezuelan and lived in Caracas with her for a decade or more and they were in the process of leaving Venezuela due to crime.

I know this doesn't provide a fair or thorough assessment of the situation there or the merits of the Chavez revolution on paper or in reality, but it's all the info I have that I can deem reliable. The fact that crime has risen during Chavez' time in power seems indisputable. Correa in Ecuador is also getting heat for a similar rise there.

One thing that I'd like to know more about is what kind of decentralization efforts were undertaken during his rule. I read something a while back that pointed to a number of plans, but little in the way of action ever materialized.

I don't mean to disparage Chavez here. At the very least, he had alot of courage. Perhaps he didn't have the politcal accumen to implement or the resistant forces were always just strong enough to keep him distracted from the kind of on the ground progress necessary to build something that would last.

So essentially, my impression is that the Chavez revolution is destined to be a chapter in the country's history,nothing more... at least in Venezuela. I'd love to see some info pointing in the other direction; but until then, I'm sticking to my hypothesis that no system, status-quo or alternative, is viable going forward without a miraculous eradication of humanity's deep state of sociopathy.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Rowdy said...

What was interesting about the Soviets is that although they eschewed the capitalist focus on number-as-value expressed as money, they instead focused on number-as-value in the form of production statistics.

So whereas in the West we have absurd share values and banker bonuses, they had absurd tractor production stats. They're both examples of "runaway", only focused on different outputs, or perhaps different (largely fictitious) measurements of output.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dean-

My problem is that I don't know much abt it, and so can't speak w/any authority at all. There was a recent negative evaluation of Chavez in the New Yorker; and I've heard it said that the regime was pretty repressive. I suspect that's true, because as in the case of Cuba, for example, if you leave the wealthy elite intact (wh/Castro did *not* do), they'll do their best to undermine the change u.r. trying to implement. In a word, socialist revolution requires that heads roll, or else you won't be able to hang onto the revolution (cf. what happened to Chile, where heads did *not* roll). Plus, it usually slides into totalitarian control. The up side is that the lives of the poor (who understandably don't give a damn about freedom of expression) are vastly improved: just compare their situation before and after Chavez, or Castro, for example.

Traveling around Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Columbia, as I've done, my impression is that the U.S. is the socioeconomic model; there is very little sympathy for Castro- or Chavez-style changes that I can see. Che Guevara, w/his idea of a unified Latin America, seems more an icon, something you see on T-shirts, rather than any type of real political platform. Not that there aren't Marxist movements; they just don't have much clout.

Personally, I don't think humanity is inherently wicked (see "Wandering God"; I also don't think it is inherently good, either). But I do think yr rt abt in the long term, Chavez will be seen as a chapter on the march to a consumerist society (until the latter collapses on a worldwide basis, wh/I believe it will). As for Cuba, US developers are poised for heavy investment as soon as Castro croaks, returning the island to a Batista-style capitalism, complete w/luxury hotels at one end and extreme poverty at the other (and a playground for wealthy Americans, very likely: casinos, whorehouses, etc.). You know Cuba's motto is "Patria o muerte, venceremos!"--Fatherland or death, we shall conquer! There's a joke in Mexico that after Castro it will become, "Patria o muerte, compraremos!"--i.e., we shall buy (consume). Check out the quote from Nishitani above: capitalism proved to have more staying power than communism, but in the end, there was no future in either. So I'm guessing that whatever follows Castro and Chavez will also be chapters in the history of those countries.

However, as I said, I'm no expert; this is all impressionistic, and I'm sorry I don't have any references to give you.

mb

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Ellen,

Let me start by saying that I don’t believe in belief. That said, I think that religion comes from something inside of us that will never go away. That is why all of the secular ideologies in the ‘Christian’ West are, upon close examination, religion in disguise.

Check out a recent talk and discussion by John Gray called “Uncertain Minds: What an agnostic can believe”.

Uncertain Minds Part I:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgj3Nqs5LVM

Uncertain Minds Part II:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcnbOZU1oeA

Dr. Berman,

Regarding the refusal to do CPR, please check out Paul McLean’s March 5th Guardian article: “CPR more often prolongs seniors' suffering than saves lives.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/05/nurse-refuse-cpr-seniors-suffering

After my father died in 1979, my mother worked at a local nursing home as a volunteer for 25 years where she saw a lot. Because she lived alone out in the country, her friends urged her to get one of these techno devices where she could press a button to summon medical help. They told her that if she had a stroke or heart attack Emergency Medical Services would come out and resuscitate her. Having seen so many people who had been resuscitated sitting in the nursing home for years or decades wondering who and what they were, she recoiled with horror at the idea!

I agree with you that such a decision should not come from a corporate headquarters with an eye (probably both eyes) on the bottom line. Based on probability, which is really all I have to go on, I would guess that to withhold CPR from an 87 year old may well have been an act of mercy. And I think that we need to accept the fact that what would have happened had the nurse acted differently is unknowable. (Except in fiction – see “Destiny”.)

David Rosen

1:18 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Not to dredge up the "culture" discussion again, but--

As much as I like Frank Zappa, that particular quote is terribly off base.

It's very fashionable now to say that various folk movements are more "authentic" or whatever, but that does not negate the fact that folk culture and so-called 'high' culture are not the same thing. Sure there are gray areas, sure lots of stuff overlaps, but it's not the same. The "not better, just different" argument even skirts around this, by using the word "style" very loosely. Style when comparing rock bands is not style when comparing Rembrandt and Picasso. Those two didn't have different styles, they were in different universes altogether; but they share some kind of high-art aspirations, and I think it's a terrible loss if we lose high art as a worthy goal (though not the only worthwhile goal, of course).

Moreover, calling classical music "commercial" music of its time makes no sense, as pre-mass-production, pre-Culture Industry "commercialization" has nothing to do with what we have now. There was no such thing as a commercial music industry.

Folk culture, high culture, and mass culture all overlap but have distinct characters. Henry Jenkins also coins a term "convergence culture" to describe the appropriation of folk culture practices by high culture, though it's not clear whether he's against this.

It's a bit of a sore point for me as a classical musician, I suppose, because while South America has the Landfill Harmonic, in which the people make instruments out of literal garbage just to be able to have a symphony, even those who should know better in the States like to take pot-shots at classical music and 'high' culture as if they are synonymous with caricatures of their snootiest patrons.

P.S. Always thought the American Tolstoy was David Foster Wallace? The books are long enough....

1:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

DR-

If I understand it correctly, the refusal was based on issues of legal liability, not 'mercy'. The nurse was looking out for herself, not the patient, in other words: Not quite the same thing.

Michael-

I agree. Besides, why shd anyone listen to Frank Zappa? And all culture is hardly equivalent, tho I know that's the politically correct line. Truth is, there's better and there's worse. But I think we've probably done the culture thing to death by now...

ellen-

I lay out what I see as the source of religion in "Coming to Our Senses"; tho it's interesting that w/exception of Australian aborigines, hunter-gatherers didn't have any beyond animism, a sense of the aliveness of the environment("Wandering God"). But DR is rt that secular systems are inherently religious (see work of Carl Becker).

mb

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

Bong--
I'm glad you mentioned Canada! I find CRE in Canadians more exasperating than Americans! I find a lot of Canadians I talk to are as unable to wrap their heads around a post-American world as Americans. I'll try to talk to them about how natural resources, immigration, and cultural fluidity/flexibility make them well positioned for the post-American world, and I just get blank looks, or no response, before they revert back to a self-righteous anger about what's wrong w/the US and insistence that Canada MUST be dependent on and deeply affected by the US for all eternity. It's frustrating that Stephen Harper seems to be the only Canadian shrewd enough to be bullish on a post-American Canada, and to position Canada to take advantage of the post-American world. I really wish you would see an alternative post-American vision in the NDP or the Liberals, but so far, no. I must say that I think the rigidity of thinking seems to be generational--the 30 & under crowd seems more bullish on Canada that the older crowd, imo.
I just think that Canada could be well positioned to take advantage of the post-American world. Its natural resources provide it wealth and buy it time to transition away from US dependence when the US fails, if they keep the wide-open immigration policy, demographic transformation will continue to strengthen its ties to the BRICs, and the flexibility and fluidity of Canadian culture and identity makes it much better positioned in relation to the rigidity of American identity. Plus, there's all the new provinces Canada might pick up post US secession.
Hack--
I'm familiar with Keynesian theory, and I think Keynes influenced Bretton Woods to some degree. The basics of Keynesian theory, as I understand it, is that the government spends and runs deficits during downturns/recessions, and saves/runs surpluses during expansions. It is through this recessionary spending/expansionary saving that the boom & bust cycles are moderated. The converse of recessionary spending is expansionary saving/surpluses. Keynesian theory doesn't dismiss deficits/debt altogether, and state that deficits/debt doesn't matter at all. I mean, it's just a basic definition of a fiat system that the value of the currency is based on the faith in the government issuing the currency. That is just a fundamental definition of a fiat system. And there is no denying that countries do default on their debt and hyperinflate their currency. It has happened, and will happen. The biggest question is when default and hyperinflation occur. It's like blowing up a balloon, you don't know just how much air it can hold before it pops, you don't know what puff of air will cause the balloon to burst. Economists do think that countries that own more of their own debt (like Japan) are more stable/have more control than countries whose debt is controlled by others (the US) MB covers the evolution of capitalism well in DAA. Basically, in the West, we're at the end stage of capitalism now, finance capitalism. Basically, just playing with numbers/derivatives to create profit, a shell game/smoke & mirrors. We've long stopped creating something tangible and selling it for its value. The Chinese and others in the developing world are the ones creating tangible goods of value.
I mean, if a fiat system is based on faith of the government to manage the system, there's really no reason to have faith in the US system--a system run by dishonest, hustling, violent morons.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous k_pgh said...

CDC sounds alarm on deadly, untreatable CRE.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/03/05/173526084/infections-with-nightmare-bacteria-are-on-the-rise-in-u-s-hospitals

“Infectious disease specialist Dr. Brad Spellberg, of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, likens the situation to the Titanic's ill-fated voyage. ‘We're not talking about an iceberg that's down the line,’ he says. ‘The ship has hit the iceberg. We're taking on water. We already have people dying. Not only of CRE, but of untreatable CRE.’”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/05/superbugs-infections-hospitals/1965133/

“There is little chance that an effective drug to kill CRE bacteria will be produced in the coming years. Manufacturers have no new antibiotics in development that show promise, according to federal officials and industry experts, and there's little financial incentive because the bacteria adapt quickly to resist new drugs.”

2:19 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Thanks for visiting Canada, Dr. Berman. Unfortunately, like As'ad "The Angry Arab" Abu'Khalil, you're visiting only Vancouver.

The best we've done in Saskatchewan recently was Robert Fisk.

Michael
Classical music was commercial in the sense that composers lived like pilot-fish off whatever fell from their patrons.

Shane W.
In what manner is Stevie-boy Harper postioning us for anything, never mind a post-US world? Is he neo-Chinese...neo-Spanish...or what?

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Will you be checking in with The Extraenvironmentalist (Justin and Seth) again when in Vancouver? Perhaps they can air the talk?

Ellen - Per your comment on religion vs. spirituality, you might want to read the final chapter of Sam Harris's "The End of Faith." Per Harris: "Mysticism [Kevin comment: I would use the word "mindfulness"] is a rational enterprise. Religion is not." He makes a similar point to Dr. Berman's in CTOS.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kev-

Yes, that's the group that invited me. They'll be doing a video of the talk, and then I'll post the link here.

mb

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Classical music was mostly supported by regular patrons, but there were also ordinary salaried positions (JS Bach was a church composer for much of his life), and it was also common to commission a work for a specific purpose. You could pay a composer to produce what you wanted, just like you could pay to have a musical instrument made or a building constructed. Mozart's last great work, the Requiem Mass in D Minor, which was highlighted in the movie Amadeus, was privately commissioned. It is believed that the "mysterious" patron of that one wanted to pass it off as his own work. It's interesting to speculate whether Mozart would have approved of someone else claiming his work, even if it was "paid for". Did he have a sense of "authorship" the same as we think of modern artists having? Or was composing just a "job" like building a house for him?

But besides the direct control of money through patrons, there were very clearly standards of what was "allowed" and what was not -- even if the actual standards were not so clear. :D If the audience didn't like something new, they would often express their disapproval openly. The premiere of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (1913) has been described as a near riot. And sometimes a work or even a composer was so unpopular they were subjected to what can only be called campaigns of harassment. Richard Wagner provoked this sort of reaction more than a few times.

Similar disputes can be found in the Renaissance and even Medieval times over music and many other forms of art. Art for hire and the tension over what exactly is "real art" and what is commercial/formulaic and how important those categories are dates from well before the modern era.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Laskus said...

Berman, your wish may come through soon. Remember, you always say that Pentagon should bomb France and Canada.

Well, America will bomb America from drones, and Obama will be the first president to start such a thing. If he sets the precedent, who knows what a Republican president would do - wipe out all democrats?


"Paul, an outspoken libertarian, pointed to what he called the abuses of executive power and civil liberties under Obama's administration. In particular, he objected to the contents of a letter he received from Attorney General Eric Holder that asserted the U.S. government had the legal authority to kill a U.S. citizen on American soil."

http://tinyurl.com/a9bz7gw

5:14 PM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

k_pgh said...

“There is little chance that an effective drug to kill CRE bacteria will be produced in the coming years. Manufacturers have no new antibiotics in development that show promise, according to federal officials and industry experts, and there's little financial incentive because the bacteria adapt quickly to resist new drugs.”

This is just more evidence for the illness that we are as a society - god forbid anyone would do anything if there's not a "financial incentive" involved. The public good? WTF is that?

MB - your interview from a few posts back was so spot on ... you really pegged the sickness in the US so precisely and profoundly that I recommend that interview as a "must listen" to my one or two friends who see through the veil enough to care.

If anyone is interested in the implosion of another giant organization, check out Matthew Fox on Democracy Now talking about the Catholic Church. The Rat literally left the sinking ship - Fox asserts that he made the decision to resign after reading a particularly damning document regarding sexual abuse by priests, leaving it "in the drawer" for the next pope to handle. Fox is sort of the Noam Chomsky of Christianity and of Catholicism in particular (although they kicked him out as one might expect).

DTE

5:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Doug-

Sorry, I don't really like to post people's individual work on this blog; it's not designed for that.

Dio-

Thanks; which essay r.u. referring to?

Laskus-

My hope is that the Pentagon will be able to reduce the price of drones so that everyone in the US will be able to purchase one. Then, if someone pisses you off, just go to yr computer and take him out.

Sav-

Thank u. Hopefully, we've completed our discussion of culture, high and low. When I saw yet another post on the subject, I went out to my garden, where there is a long stone wall, and beat my head against it for 10 mins. I feel much better now.

mb

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Laskus,

Dr Berman also stated that lots of intellectuals have been leaving USA due to fear of prosecution. Chris Hedges is still in court trying to force Obama to do the right thing.

I am not a Republican and I do not like Rand Paul. However, he is 100% right this time. President has the right to kill Americans inside America without formal trial?? If you give him to right to kill any time he wants, then he has the right to fu'ck your wives, your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, any time and anywhere he likes it. We are done as nation!! We have worked ourselves to insanity!

8:30 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Amy Goodman's affect always strikes me as pissy. Her eyes light up, and she smiles mechanically, ONLY when introducing a guest who claims to have solutions.

There have been a lot of those guests over the years. But, so far, no solutions have worked.

Oh well. It's a living. On the CV: "PROFESSIONAL HOPER".

What do you wanna bet that she & others like her are privately so anti-hope that John N. Gray or MB wld seem like moonstruck utopians by comparison? Mencken once observed that no one hates music more than a prof musician.

Speaking of which, this WAFer promises not to discuss Beethoven v. Zappa any more, since it evidently harms a fine garden wall.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Edward-

Actually, I didn't say that. I don't know if any intellectuals are leaving the US, and I have no data whatsoever on the subject. It wd be the smart move, imo, but these folks are typically smart only in a one-dimensional way. I can't imagine that in 10 yrs or less, my writings, among those of many others, won't get classified as "intellectual terrorism," and be grounds for indefinite detention. The govt isn't bldg CMU's for nothing. But this, and the elimination of the 1st amendment, can't be too far off.

As for drone strikes on Americans on American soil: pls note that the dolts--all 315 million of them--don't give a shit! Of course we're finished.

mb

9:05 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Pardon my density Mr. B but what is a CMU?

10:30 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Here is another thing that 315 million American dolts don't give a shit about--that America has become a place where a citizen with mental health issues can be arrested on a relatively minor charge and then held isolated in a padded cell for 22 months without even once appearing before a judge:

"During his imprisonment, Slevin says that he was ignored for such long stretches of time that he was forced to pull out his own tooth, since he wasn't allowed to see a dentist. According to NBC News, 'his toenails growing so long that they curled around his foot, and fungus festering on his skin because he was deprived of showers'."

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/03/two-years-solitary-confinement-worth-155-million-these-days/62838/

The NBC article also contains this priceless quote:

"Williams, the Dona Ana County public information officer, said no jail personnel have been fired over Slevin's treatment. However, he said, the jail has been working to improve the care it provides for mentally ill inmates."

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/06/17212442-man-left-in-solitary-confinement-for-2-years-gets-155-million-settlement?lite

11:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Fern-

CMU, or Communication Management Unit, is a euphemism for a political detention camp, or prison esp. for political dissidents. There are two, so far, located in Indiana and Illinois. That more are being planned, I have no doubt.

Sanc-

Amy needs massive amounts of CRE therapy--crowbars, K-Y Jelly, the works. Unfortunately, my work sched is such that I can't really help her out rt now, so she'll just hafta roll around like a doughnut for a few more yrs, smiling away at all the groovy new 'solutions'. Will u pls tell me how people get this dumb?

I like the idea of being called a 'moonstruck utopian', however; neat!

As for my garden wall: it seems to have survived intact (unlike me).

mb

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Hal said...

It is about time people start asking questions. This country is no more. I think it is karma. We are living what we have become – nasty, wicked, and mindless killing machines:


The ACLU says they want to know as much as possible about the type of training given to local SWAT officers, as well as information about the types of technology used by agencies around the country.

"The American people deserve to know how much our local police are using military weapons and tactics for everyday policing," adds Allie Bohm, an advocacy and policy strategist for ACLU. "The militarization of local police is a threat to Americans' right to live without fear of military-style intervention in their daily lives, and we need to make sure these resources and tactics are deployed only with rigorous oversight and strong legal protections."


http://rt.com/usa/police-militarization-comes-under-nationwide-investigation-914/

11:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sean-

Your post was too long (we have a half-page limit here, give or take), and in addition it came thru in a very odd and unwieldy format: a narrow column. I'd appreciate it if you cd edit it down by 50%, and also reformat it as a normal letter. Thanks.

mb

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

MB,

Considering the severity of Amy’s Cranial Rectal Embedment, I think before you appear on her show she needs to take some concrete actions to prove she won’t backslide into “hope and change” again. Changing the title of her show to “FailedDemocracyNow!” would be a great start.

K_pgh,

The antibiotic resistant germs are also in large part the result of feeding subtherapeutic doses of antibiotics to chickens and other animals raised in factory farms. Over 80% of all antibiotics produced in the US are sold to factory farms. There’s no better way to create antibiotic-resistant germs than to expose them to prolonged subtherapeutic doses (which won’t kill the germs, but will make them immune to that entire class of antibiotics). However, this practice makes the chicken plump up quicker and that in turn increases corporate profits. And that’s the only thing that matters, isn’t it.

“Doctors Take Aim At Antibiotic Resistance From Factory Farming”:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/16/factory-farms-antibiotic-resistance-doctors_n_928140.html?page=1

2:15 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

DR,
A thought provoking discussion with John Gray that you linked to, I've read a lot of his work and he is always good value. Interestingly, the Anglican priest who hosted the discussion was the one who originally welcomed the Occupy camp onto the forecourt of St Paul's as a sort of grass roots congregation, and then resigned when his superiors insisted that it be evicted. No men of principle required in the religious bureaucracy, obviously.

Diogenes,
With regard to Rome and the Rat's resignation, apparently several bodies are working hard to have the Pope arrested and indicted for his very large part in overseeing the corruption and that factor may have influenced his decision. That has, of course, been denied but he has sought immunity from prosecution from the US government and his future living arrangements ensure that he always stays firmly within Vatican territory. (recognised as a sovereign state so reasonably safe from a dawn arrest)
It was odd that he used a helicopter to transfer from St Peter's to his summer palace -a distance of only a few miles- to go into retirement but maybe he is now feeling less than secure about being on the non-Vatican streets amongst the common people he claims to care so much for.

4:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

el-

I think we can all agree that Papa Razzi needs to have his shoes drenched w/urine. Did I ever tell u the joke abt the pope and Elvis?

al-

If u like, u can call me Ay-hab, the Ay-rab, Sheik of the burnin' sands...

Julian-

That, and wearing a T-shirt for one month prior to my appearance on the show that says: I'M A HORSE'S ASS. Then, when I arrive at the studio, I'll give her a replacement shirt that says: WAFERETTE AND PROUD, wh/she will agree to wear for 6 mos., even in the shower. All subsequent interviewees will document how the US is headed for total and irrevocable disaster, and Amy herself will provide detailed testimony of her conversion to Waferism. Pigs fly, god exists.

mb

6:38 AM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Oh ok, I get it now. Some of the folks on 'Democracy Now' are 'embedded' reporters. Thanks for clarifying.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous turnover said...

Greer has a pithy comment this week in his Archdruid Report. Granted, the name of the blog often makes people wonder, but it's usually pretty good.

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-hard-road-ahead.html

He writes: " The vast majority of Americans are committed to the belief that the lavish wealth they enjoyed in the last half dozen decades is normal, that they ought to be able to continue to enjoy that wealth and all the perks and privileges it made possible, and that if the future looming up ahead of them doesn’t happen to contain those things, somebody’s to blame. Try to tell them that they grew up during a period of absurd imperial extravagance, and that this and everything connected with it is going to go away forever in the near future, and you can count on getting a response somewhere on the spectrum that links blank incomprehension and blind rage."

8:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Turn-

Well, there still was an underclass in America, postwar; that's what led to Michael Harrington's work, e.g. But down to the Bretton Woods repeal of 1971 (see DAA, ch. 1), the gap between rich and poor had remained stable for a long time. It began to widen after that, and esp. after Reagan entered the W.H. Now, 1% owns the lion's share of the wealth, and there's certainly no way I can see to reverse that. But the American Dream was always a mistake; it's just becoming more obvious now. But as u say, tell that to the vast majority and they go ballistic.

Near-

Yes, embedment is a widespread condition among our 'Fourth Estate'.

mb

10:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Life in a Thug Culture Dept.:

http://www.salon.com/2013/03/07/holder_banks_too_big_to_prosecute/

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Speaking of lavish wealth, unreal expectations, and obscene shallowness:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-most-ridiculously-expensive-gadgets-money-can-buy-194045755.html

Land of opportunity, folks!

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman,

I have no way of knowing the circumstances under which the nurse in a California nursing home refused to do CPR on an 87 year old patient, but we also have no way of knowing what she was actually thinking. Doctors and nurses frequently have to make difficult decisions quickly, and there are certain decisions regarding patients approaching the end of their lives where they can’t admit their real motivations – sometimes even to themselves. A person in that nurse’s position just might have been very grateful for an administrative rule forbidding her from doing CPR under those circumstances.

I recently heard an emergency room doctor say, “To allow a person a pain free death is a noble thing.” Imagine the shtuss that would be going on right now had the nurse said something like that to the 911 clerk.

While I’m willing to cut a nurse under those circumstances a lot of slack, I wouldn’t be so quick to attribute noble motives to the management of an American nursing home.

It reminds me of another little gem that jumped out of “Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead” as recorded by Lucien Price: “In England, we get our best morality, our better standards, class for class, from the upper strata of the workers and from the conscientious or the gifted members of the aristocracy. In between, a good many in the professional and commercial classes are unkind, unjust, greedy, crass, and inferior in any true sense of morality.”

In the US we never had an aristocracy with a sense of noblesse oblige, so American values tend to come from the greedy, crass, and morally inferior hustler fragment we got from Europe.

DiogenesTheElder & ellen,

Matthew Fox was deeply influenced by Alfred North Whitehead. Check out ‘process philosophy’ and ‘process theology’.

David Rosen

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Mo Ronich said...

MB's Oeuvre: Agreed. So, has anyone good tips or stories about getting out? I'm curious about the practicalities. You can't simply move to another country without some sort of extended visa, and presumably you must return at some point on a regular basis. If the option to marry a foreign national is not in the cards citizenship would be difficult? I once saw a foreign statistic on rejected asylum applications from US citizens. They probably were laughed out of the office. Maybe not for long though...

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Paul Emmons said...

http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2013/02/reviewed-locust-and-bee-predators-and-creators-capitalisms-future-geoff-mulgan

Dear Morris, A heads-up: here's a review (in The New Statesman) that I think you could almost have written yourself, of a learned but possibly sophomoric and reductionistic new book (The Locust and the Bee) published by Princeton University Press. If you think it worth your time to read both, I'm sure your comments would be illuminating.

On the American Conservative site, where I saw this, I commented that you essentially got there first (as to the review, not the book) in Why America Failed.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

DR-

I dunno; seems pretty bad to me:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/05/california-nurse-cpr-dying-woman

Mo-

You need to get busy and do the research. Options will depend on yr situation in life. For example, acceptance at the Sorbonne (or wherever) will get you a student visa to live in France. But there are all kinds of ways to do it, and countries to go to, you can be sure of that. Get going, amigo; time's a-wasting!

mb

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Dr Berman, I stand corrected on the issue of intellectual leaving USA. I think I read that from an article posted on this blog, but the article was talking about American intellectuals during the era of McCarthy’s hunts for communists. I must have confused what I read from you with what I read from other author.

Today, Senator McCain contributed his brain power to the drone debate. He says (I paraphrase) that the terrorists should not have anywhere to hide, not in Iraq or in Ohio or Michigan.

What do we conclude from McCain’s ideas? Answer: If the terrorists are here, kill them quick with drones and then ask questions later; deal with the rule of law later. I am not surprised: If your enemies are on your sight, kill them quickly even if it means taking out your father, mother, sister, son, daughter, or an entire city in USA. The objective is to kill, and it does not matter who you kill.

What of Adam Lanza of Sandy Hook School shooting? He cleared off his perceived enemies using the same principle advocated by Obama and supported by McCain. Why then do people cry about gun control in America?

2:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Edward-

GI motto in Vietnam, taken from the Albigensian Crusades: "Kill 'em all; let God sort 'em out." Which is what we did in VN, and what we are doing now. The drone thing will make it more comprehensive, esp. if it goes domestic. Meanwhile, I still have hopes that b4 2 long, every American will own his or her own drone, and use it on a daily basis.

mb

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

The culture debate started when you compared US culture to European culture. So, blame yourself for the tedious argument about what "serious" culture is. :)

In other news, the mercenary forces of "capital" continue to eat away at even basic decency. Freelance journalist finds national magazine will ask for his work for free, but not pay for it.

Nate Thayer: A Day in the Life of a Freelance Journalist—2013

Here is an exchange between the Global Editor of the Atlantic Magazine and myself this afternoon attempting to solicit my professional services for an article they sought to publish after reading my story “25 Years of Slam Dunk Diplomacy: Rodman trip comes after 25 years of basketball diplomacy between U.S. and North Korea”

...

3:36 PM  
Anonymous General J said...

Edward and Berman: America is doing so well in the slippery-slope modeling of aggression. Kill your enemies abroad where your enemies are those who refuse to be humiliated and exploited by your rapacious foreign policy (credit goes to Chris Hedges for this idea). Now bring the policies that worked so well abroad to the home front: kill Americans who challenge your power to pillage Americans through your accomplices in the banks and Wall Street. NRA is right – gun control is one part of their plot to kill us at home as they kill abroad.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Hal,

Thank you for providing the link for the police militarization article.

My though on reading the article was the ACLU campaign is a tad tardy -- perhaps they should have started back in 1968 with the advent of Operation Garden Plot - DoD Civil Disturbance Plan. OGP laid the ground work for the militarization of domestic law enforcement and intelligence agencies under Pentagon directive.

SWAT, JTTF, SOG (Special Operations Group - US Marshalls) and related para-military police units are manifestations of OGP. Local law enforcement received Garden Plot training on military bases under FBI tutelage.

Reading the quotes attributed to the ACLU in the article I couldn't help but think how hopelessly pathetic the thinking is that guides that organization. I was pleased to see RT quoted Dr. Peter Kraska and gave him the final word.

Incidentally Dr. Kraska has written on this subject for quite some time -- I recall reading some of his essays and papers on this subject 20 yrs or so ago -- he too discussed how the Pentagon was equipping domestic law enforcement with used military hardware.

Perhaps the ACLU should read his book Militarizing the American Criminal Justice System: The Changing Roles of the Armed Forces and the Police, as a primer.

For some historical background it might have been beneficial for the ACLU attorneys to have read Frank Morales' U.S. Military Civil Disturbance Planning: The War At Home, for anyone interested it can be sourced here:
http://cryptome.org/garden-plot.htm -- footnotes are worth investigating too.

"Yeah, there's a monster on the loose
It's got our heads into the noose
And it just sits there watchin'

The cities have turned into jungles
And corruption is stranglin' the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can't understand" - Monster, Steppenwolf

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

Bong--
sometimes, you've got to give the devil his due. I'm not defending Harper, he's probably the most power-mad Prime Minister Canada has had, and he's willing to do whatever it takes, including trampling the Canadian Constitution to amass and maintain power. He's a very dark, evangelical fundamentalist, power hungry control freak. That being said, he DOES know something about power, and he knows Canada's clout lies in its natural resources, and he's worked to open up trade beyond the US. While he hasn't explicitly said "the US is finished, time to move on", he's definitely IMPLIED that he understands the changes and Canada's need to pivot away from US dependence. So, I don't know, maybe he's neo-Chinese? neo-Indian? neo-Brazilian? neo-Arabian? I mean, Harper doesn't have any grand vision for Canada other than diversifying trade/selling natural resources to other countries, which is why its disappointing no other parties are advancing a compelling picture of a post-American Canada.
It kinda follows a pattern with Canada--i mean, Canada's identity evolved from Britain as the British empire declined in the early 20th century, now, its identity vis a vis the US should change as the US fails. Of all the points I mentioned about Canada in a post-American world, you didn't respond to any of them, it kinda confirmed what I was saying about the blank look/nonresponse I get from Canadians when I bring up post-American Canada...

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark Notzon said...

Dear MB et al,

A bit more on the arts:

Turns out a local symphony orchestra, which is strapped for an audience and funding, has presented one live concert program of soundtracks to popular computer games, with massive screens above the orchestra displaying related scenes.

Currently they are getting ready to perform the soundtrack to "The Matrix" running the movie at the same time, orchestra conducted by the score's composer. .

I remember when the "William Tell Overture" and "The Ride of the Valkyries" were considered light romantic kitsch. But compared to the above, they are like works of Beethoven or Shostakovich.

I know its tough finding or keeping a job in a symphony orchestra, but I wonder if there are any NMI converts among them, ready to flee and recover/rediscover the space of a sacred conservatory some where else.

4:23 PM  
Blogger John Zorn said...

Mo

This has been discussed briefly here a few weeks ago.

See if you have Irish relations; Ireland will give you a passport. Then you can legally live in any of the EUs 27 countries. You must check out all the details.

Get married in the EU where you will surely meet the love of your life. Check it all out.

What occupational skill have you? Is it in demand in Europe or Australia/NZ? Or wherever? Latin America?

As far as I know, the EUs Schengen Rules only allow you 90 days as a tourist. I believe they are strict on this, but I don't know. And it's no good popping in and out and renewing - that is covered. You want this legal.

Firstly, get a passport if you don't have one; I believe that only 18% of US punters have one. But shssh! hey, we dont want those crazies over here! Let them be passportless! They'll think they're spreading democracy to the natives in Europe.

Good luck. If not, get some drone protection clothing and a Faraday cage for your phone.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Rowdy said...

http://news.sky.com/story/1061227/boy-raped-and-drowned-by-babysitters-ex

http://news.sky.com/story/1061384/forgotten-prisoner-gets-15-5m-compensation

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Regarding the nurse and the dying woman...it seems she did not want intervention.

SACRAMENTO — An elderly woman who died after a nurse at her independent living apartment refused to provide CPR had chosen to live in a facility without medical staff and wanted to pass away without life-prolonging intervention, her family said Tuesday.

Lorraine Bayless’s family said in a statement they do not plan to sue the facility where the 87-year-old woman died last week.

A nurse refused to cooperate with a 911 dispatcher who was pleading for someone to start CPR. Her response has prompted multiple state and local investigations at Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield.

http://bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2013/03/05/calif-woman-dies-after-nurse-refuses-cpr/xn9P8De8ruF0WME9RgvREI/story.html

5:20 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Re. involuntary euthanasia (or whatever one wishes to call it):

Mencken (I am lately reading too much of the old right-wing bastard but he was a trenchant critic of "boobus Americanus" and a hoot to boot) reported that his physician friends at Johns Hopkins admitted to him that children born w/ severe birth defects or merely into a large poverty-stricken family were sometimes simply given a "merciful" shot of something, to the knowledge and tacit approval of the faculty. This is about 1900-1920 in Baltimore. It sounds like something out of MB's "Wandering God," which states that infants were the oppressed (genocided) class in prehistory.

Back then, they killed infants. In the future of "Logan's Run," they whack anyone over 30. In America today, they are killing the poor & preparing to kill random innocents (untried people) w/ domestic drones. Lesson: unless you're a perfectly healthy, rich, flag-waving twentysomething, watch yr back. Oh hell, no matter who u are these days, watch yr back!

The great film director Fritz Lang was impressed by a poster in the Weimar era, which said: "Berlin, your dancing partner is death." Rgt b4 Hitler came to power. And now DeLillo's cloud is spreading again.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Sean Hunter said...

Mo Ronich,

I have lived in the Dominican Republic since 2008. I obtained residency, which took 9 months to process and cost $900 dollars (that includes the services of a lawyer).

Last month, on April 6th, I became a citizen. That cost $1500 dollars for everything, using the same lawyer. The DR is a fairly easy place to get residency and citizenship. Other countries are different, of course, you have to gather information online. I'll be glad to help with any questions you may have about the Dominican Republic, I can even put you in contact with the dominican attorney I used, she speaks english if you can't speak Spanish.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sav-

Actually, I blame *you*. After all, anyone can start (almost) any subject they want, related to collapse of American empire; no problem there. But this doesn't mean it hasta go on forever. It didn't start out tedious, after all. Capish?

Trout-

But the nurse involved didn't know that, as far as I can make out; and she certainly didn't say anything to that effect to the 911 dispatcher who was pleading w/her to save the woman. That's why an investigation is underway regarding criminal negligence. However, we may be missing the pt here: which is that callousness is common in the US, when someone is dying. Here's just one other example:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/esmin-green-died-brooklyn-hospital-floor-perished-sitting-article-1.347467

mb

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

Berman states this: But the nurse involved didn't know that, as far as I can make out; and she certainly didn't say anything to that effect to the 911 dispatcher who was pleading w/her to save the woman.

If the nurse involved had bad intention, then why did she call 911?

I understand that she had to call 911 because she was instructed to do so by her employer in cases like she was facing. Therefore, I do not know why anyone would blame her for following instructions per her employer's policy.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/07/obama-administration-responds-to-paul-on-drones/?hpt=hp_c1

This is not gd news. I was hoping Obama wd just start arbitrarily droning anybody he didn't like. Of course he still might, but it won't be legal. Bummer. Wafers are encouraged to draft letters to the president, urging him to randomly drone people walking down the street. Anything less, and the security of the nation will be threatened.

mb

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Shane W- A sovereign nation's debt is different from household/business/city etc. debt. A "currency user" is constrained by budgets; a "currency issuer" is constrained by real resources and labor supply. The US federal govt is a currency issuer, though this is somewhat obfuscated by the arcane system of supposed borrowing that it engages in. Borrowing and taxing are not necessary to fund the government, since the govt has the Fed which will "monetize" (create money) to match whatever it spends.

Much of the US bond buying is done by large banks, who then turn around and sell them to the Fed (plus interest.) Where does the Fed get the money? Keystrokes. Thin air. Remember it is fiat: it has to start somewhere. (It's funny to me that people are always okay with all the *existing* supply of fiat money, but any *additional* fiat money strikes them as insanity.) But anyway, China and other lenders are not funding the US govt, they're just parking their surplus in the best place they can think of. And where did they get their fiat money to lend in the first place? It was either created by the Fed, or by the private banks, who also expand the money supply when they make loans. The difference is that private bank debt has to be repaid, contracting the money supply; whereas Fed/govt issued currency has no such condition: it is just added to the private sector.

The government "debt" is just an accounting entry. A big negative number, identical (except for the negative sign) to the positive number on the private sector side of the ledger.

Go back to a hypothetical Day One. Where does the money supply come from? The govt spends it into existence: it contracts with road builders (or drone builders more likely), who then buy coffee and donuts (or pastrami sandwiches.) So our new govt is now, let us say, 5 kabillion "in debt", but the private sector is 5 kabillion richer. Should we be worried that everyone will lose faith in the govt currency? No, the govt has a "printing press", so that 5 kabillion debt is just an accounting entry on their ledger. Inflation only becomes a concern under extreme, unlikely circumstances, and if such arises they can tax to decrease money supply (or do other stuff no doubt.)

What insures the value of this fiat money? You gotta have it to pay taxes. And if not, then to do business with those who need it to pay taxes. Or so the MMTers say (hopefully I'm not butchering their ideas.)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/03/philip-pilkington-hyperinflation-the-libertarian-fantasy-that-never-occurs.html

Now the "falling rate of profit" and financialization, that might be a problem IMO, unlike the US govt debt...

8:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jessica-

I don't think it was the nurse who called 911, but I can't remember. Also, I never said she had bad intentions; it looks like she had *no* intentions, which is the crux of the problem. In any case, as already noted, this one particular incident is not really the pt. Callous disregard of the sick and dying seems to be an ingrained American habit. (See link abt Bklyn hospital, above.)

Mike Alan-

Sorry, amigo; this blog is abt the collapse of the American empire, not about UFO's. Suggest you post yr ideas on the latter on a UFO-oriented blog. I'm guessing there are quite a few of them around.

mb

8:38 PM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

David,

Yes, I was familiar with process theology but not the Whitehead influence. Thanks for the reference; I will check it out.

MB

Love the idea of peeing on fmr. Papa Ratzi's red pradas.

DTE



9:30 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. B

consumerist.com/2011/09/how-free-really-works-online.html/ Isn't this the truth?

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

WAFers,

Check out this picture of a desperate TechnoBuffoon who’s about to pawn off his gadgetry for a loaf of dry bread:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/jobs-fill-employers-wait-perfection-190422709.html

Re. the nurse and the 87-year old. Some residents in those facilities have DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders in their files, especially if they have frail bones and CPR can lead to rib fractures and a later more painful death. But that nurse sounds incompetent regardless.

I know we've been bashing on poor Amy lately. Not that this cures her of the chronic case of CRE she’s been afflicted with for many years now, but today she had a marginally interesting show about South America during the Pinochet era and a new movie about Mexican immigrants. Might be worth watching:

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/7/operation_condor_trial_tackles_coordinated_campaign

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/7/the_girl_abbie_cornish_stars_in

3:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Julian-

Yes, I know I've been kinda hard on poor ol' Amy; she does do some gd stuff, obviously. So we need to retire her as a topic, and move on to more interesting subjects, such as how to purchase yr own personal drone.

mb

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Buy your drones here:

3D Robotics drone store

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

This is what happens when hustling is part of one's DNA (you lose your human dignity, and then you lose your soul):

Arrested Woman Concealed Weapon In Her Vagina–NRA Must Love This (VIDEO)

http://egbertowillies.com/2013/03/08/arrested-woman-concealed-weapon-in-her-vaginanra-must-love-this-video/

1:37 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Bingo,

Michael Townley, the CIA operative who features in Condor, had links to Gladio through Delle Chiaie and to the OAS through Spaggiari in the attempted killing of Bernardo Leighton in 1975. Thatcher,of course, allowed Pinochet to walk after his arrest in London.

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


The Spanish judge who instigated the Pinochet arrest warrant is currently defending Assange. (who is definitely not being allowed to walk for far more dubious allegations)

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Jerome Langguth said...

Dear Dr. Berman and Wafers,

A philosophical film about the importance of embodiment and craft, and featuring interviews with philosophers Hubert Dreyfus and Albert Borgmann:

http://www.beingintheworldmovie.com/

I thought that it might be of interest to many who frequent this site.

Jerome

2:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Edward-

I've been wrtg the Pentagon abt the possibility of developing nano-drones, to be inserted in various orifices of the body, and the torpedos discharged via various muscle groups. For women with lots of belly dance experience, the Vaginal Nano-Drone. Then we'll need an Anal Nano-Drone, operated via sphincter control; a Nasal Nano-Drone; an Aural Nano-Drone; etc. Technology: the endless frontier.

mb

3:49 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

In the CRE theory confirmation department:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/08/the-bradley-manning-survey/

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Jerome,

Thank you for the link to the Being in the World trailer. It's definitely something I'd like to see. The whole idea of craft & discipline is important to me, both as an aspiring amateur artist & as a human being.

Just a few random thoughts proceeding from that ...

I forget who said it, but someone in the early 20th century predicted the rise of more personal mythologies & narrative fictions, as the old ones lose their cohesive power. Certainly culture has no living binding narrative left now, and the major religions are failing as well. This is the fatal flaw in many conservative NMIs, I think -- they hearken back to a past that no longer exists, if it ever did. (Someone like "crunchy con" Rod Dreher is an example of that.) This reminds me of Jung's comment that when the spirit moves on, only a husk is left -- and too many people continue to worship the husk & do their best to breathe life back into it, to no avail.

And isn't that what's happening now? Julian the Apostate tried to revive the pagan tradition in the face of Christianity, but that was a doomed attempt. It seems to me that belief systems or narrative fictions such as Christianity, capitalism, American exceptionalism, etc., are in that same situation now, with their followers desperately trying to revive a quickly cooling corpse that's already hitting rigor mortis.

So it doesn't surprise me that more people seek prefabricated mythologies, such as Star Wars, as guiding stories. Perhaps the rise of geek culture is a larger example of that? Fans arguing over who can or can't lift Thor's hammer, or whether the Hulk can beat Superman in a fight, sound like modern versions of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. And they have countless political & ideological brethren.

As I said, just random thoughts, all revolving around a nebulous question, I suppose. MB, I wonder if your forthcoming book on spirituality will deal with some of this: the need for a common narrative, the explosion of dubious cult phenomena as a poor substitute, etc.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

Hack--
actually, I am opposed to a lot of the existing fiat money--I think there is way too much meaningless cash out there. I'm not sure WHY you think US government spending is a good thing, considering that most US government spending is used for the military and large corporations, things like drones, Iraq/Afghan War, CMU's, Halliburton, Guantanamo, bank bailouts, corporate welfare. I mean, there's a saying here on the blog that "bad is good", so having the government default means no money for drones, Halliburton, torture, etc.
I agree that it's all just accounting numbers, sleight of hand/keystrokes, so why isn't it better to just default and get rid of $14 trillion in one fell swoop? Why shouldn't the US just default, cancel the bonds, issue a "new US$" that is worth, say 2-3 "old US$'s"
Your post is incredibly America-centric, I mean, it's not like the US is the only country with a printing press selling bonds and printing $s. India is printing rupees, China--yuan, EU--euros, Canada--Canadian $s, etc. Why should or would US economic hegemony continue? Why wouldn't the Chinese get tired of our overinflated ego and pull a "Suez moment" on the US$ when they get tired of us, just like Eisenhower did the British? Why wouldn't the Chinese start parking their money in their own bonds? Why wouldn't Americans stop trusting the US$ and start using/hording yuan or reals or something? I mean, the only constant is change, & its incredibly naive & simplistic to think the US economic order will continue indefinitely. I mean, this blog is about how the US has failed, if the US economy doesn't fail through default & hyperinflation, then how IS it going to fail?
Lastly, how do you explain economies that have defaulted/hyperinflated? Was it because they weren't Keynesian enough? Had they been more Keynesian, they wouldn't have defaulted/hyperinflated? You could use the American exceptionalism argument about why the US is different, but I don't think that argument would go very far here, where the whole theme of the blog is that the US is just another failed empire like so many that have come before.
The crux of the whole thing is your argument is that there are no systemic checks & balances on the US economy, and I simply don't think that is logical. There must be weaknesses and faults in the system, and it seems way more logical to me to think that the US economy will follow in the footsteps of other empires that have come before it.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Says it all, doesn't it? Americans are not merely ignorant buffoons; they are also degraded. They wouldn't care abt Bradley Manning if the gov't burned him alive on the Smithsonian Mall.

Of course, anecdotes aren't data, but then if u collect enuf anecdotes, it's called data. Missy could have kept asking beyond her dentist's office: anywhere, in the street, in bars, offices; she could have asked 10,000 people, and not 50 wd have heard of him.

Degraded. For sure, these people are getting the govt they deserve.

mb

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

-on expatriation


I am kind of torn about this. It took me into my 40's before I started getting out to see some of the world and have had it in mind to find somewhere to resettle. At this point though I have doubts about what right I have to impose myself upon other peoples/nations.

All the exploitation, undermining, and destruction done by my country on to others and now that the going is getting rough at home I ask these same exploited, undermined, and destroyed people/nations to give me safe harbor? More and more I'm inclined to think it more appropriate to stay where I belong and go down with this ship of exploiters, underminers, destroyers, and fools (dolts).

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to judge what someone else may do in this regard. Certainly, Dr. Berman, you have made your contribution in documenting the debacle and even providing humanity in general with alternative ways forward. I'm sure others have done enough to walk away without guilt.

Me? I come from a family of Fox bots, who were surprised to find out that people from other parts of the world live in houses too, who admire Sarah Palin, who believe Obama is the anti-christ, for christ's sake.

Do I deserve anymore than the opportunity to emulate Nero? Perhaps even, that is as good as it could possibly get for me? What more could I want? Who's gonna be there to fiddle from the fucking heart? Who's gonna piss on those last, hot-stepping shoes?

Cancel my resurrection to the subscription.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Shane- I think I can address a number of your points just by clarifying that my comment was not intended as an endorsement of the system, but as a *description* of how it actually works (based on what the MMTers say, who claim the conventional wisdom is false.)

You seem to contradict yourself saying it's all worthless fiat, so let's replace it with some new fiat valued at 2-3 times the old fiat. Sounds like the same thing to me.

I never said this system would last forever as you suggest. Maybe China et al will out-juke the US somehow. The US *is* a special case though, given its imperial posture and outsize military. Also the dollar is used as the global reserve currency.

I don't know if/how the US will fail, but since you ask IMO default/ hyperinflation is not the likely mechanism (did you check out the link about hyperinflation? That article also has some links in it to articles about Weimar and Zimbabwe.) For one thing default is impossible, except as a political decision (as the Repubs recently threatened.) Bond-holders cannot beat a printing press and won't try to - the "bond vultures" attack countries like Greece & Spain that don't have sovereign currencies.

You say the crux of the whole thing is my "argument that there are no systemic checks and balances on the US economy," but in fact I did say that the US is resource and labor constrained. The federal govt has real world constraints, not funding constraints. I hope you'll check out neweconomicperspectives.org and read their "MMT primer" if you're interested, I'm really no expert. But this helps me test my understanding, describing it to someone.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dean-

1st of all, Obama *is* the anti-Christ. What cd be more obvious? Plus, he's a douche bag, which is worse.

2nd, think in terms of what you might be able to do for yr adopted country. For example, I employ people for various things from time to time, and pay them 2x the going rate; I take friends out to dinner; and (often enuf) I lecture across the country for free, and give interviews for the media when asked. It's not that much, really, but if opportunities arise to do more, I will. The Mexicans are a great people, and I'm honored to live among them. They are gracious and decent, and although they realize that most Americans are douche bags, they are too polite to say it. Wherever u decide to move, you don't have to 'exploit' the country; I mean, why even think in such terms?

Getting back to the Bradley Manning survey: Here's an idea for all u Wafers out there: do yr own survey, in yr own dentist office, or out on the street. Ask anyone u meet the following 3 questions:

1. What's an oboe?
2. Where is Belgium?
3. What's the relationship between depression and anger?

Be sure to take notes, report back. This exercise is called 'Dolt Shock', BTW. I.e., if you were still harboring the notion that your fellow countrymen were anything but drooling morons, this shd serve as a huge wake-up call.

mb

8:20 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Shane wrote:
"Of all the points I mentioned about Canada in a post-American world, you didn't respond to any of them, it kinda confirmed what I was saying about the blank look/nonresponse I get from Canadians when I bring up post-American Canada..."

I don't recall reading many of those points, but your concern about Canada's role in a "post-American world" brings us right back to Hegel and negative identity. Why do you define yourself in relation to the USA?

I say we do a combination of turning inwards and developing our resources for our own good...and maybe improve trade with Europe. We must also invade some small country such as St. Kitts or Haiti and begin the "Canadian Century."

Back to the culture wars for 'arf a mo'...I host a radio programme, on which I'll be featuring Bix Beiderbecke this Sunday, celebrating his 110th anniversary.

Here are the intertube co-ordinates:
http://www.cfcr.ca/

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Jack13 said...

Dean stated: 1) ..I have doubts about what right I have to impose myself upon other peoples/nations. 2) All the exploitation, undermining, and destruction done by my country on to others and now that the going is getting rough at home I ask these same exploited, undermined, and destroyed people/nations to give me safe harbor? 3) More and more I'm inclined to think it more appropriate to stay where I belong and go down with this ship of exploiters, underminers, destroyers, and fools (dolts).

1) This is why I am extremely sorry for everyday Americans. They are victims in this saga because their government does not always let them know what actions and behaviors go on in other nations in the name of the American people. This is why the governments of UK and US want WikiLeaks founder dead and buried with the evidence. Some people will argue that Americans are not innocent here because they voted the politicians into offices. This argument would be valid if the votes of the American people actually count. Further, most Americans I know are good people who are caught up in the hustling culture. The culture is a vicious cycle that no person who lives here can escape, especially if you are born and raised inside the system.

2) To be honest with you, the American government has done a lot of exploitation and meddling in too many nations. The funny thing is that the American people did not always benefit from the exploitation and undermining that happened in the past. I like to know one can prove that the American people were given free food, free gas, free shelter, and free clothing taken from other lands. The loots went to the elites who engineered the looting.

3) I think like your thoughts here. Even better, the American people should rise up and fight the evil elites that have destroyed the country. I know some will argue that the system was evil from the get-go when you look at how the American Indians and Africans were exploited and exterminated - that the Karma is inevitable for the founding fathers of evil and their evil descendants..

10:42 PM  
Blogger Sean Hunter said...

Dean,
Regardless of where or who you come from, the fact that you're intelligent enough to know what's right makes you deserving of a better life without having to feel like you're imposing on anyone. Unlike most americans who are closed minded, you'll find that most foreigners are open minded and will welcome you in, especially since you don't think and act with the arrogance and stupidity like the average american does. If you leave America you won't regret it, but the odds are that you will regret not leaving.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jack-

Nice thoughts, but off-base. That you might personally know a few good Americans is wonderful, but it proves very little. Americans are not decent, well-intentioned people; not at all. One year ago the Pew Charitable Trust ran a poll regarding attitudes toward the wealthy elite in the US, the famous 1%. Most Americans said they had no objection to a tiny, wealthy elite running the show. Rather, they just wanted to become part of it. As John Steinbeck said years ago, in America the poor regard themselves as "temporarily embarrassed millionaires." Their ideology is identical to that of the rich. They have zero interest in creating a just society, or even in society. As for The People rising up if they knew what was going on: hell, man, a recent poll turned up the fact that 62% of Americans approve of the use of predator drones in the Middle East. 38 states have capital punishment; 24% of Americans say that it is OK to use violence in the pursuit of your goals. Studies of empathy in the US show that it has dropped off significantly in the last 30 years. Americans support the military (unless we start losing) very strongly; during Vietnam (and probably to this day, if they even know what VN is), their upset was not with soldiers dropping napalm on infants, but with the protesters who were objecting to the soldiers dropping napalm on infants. A recent poll revealed that 10 yrs later, they hate the Dixie Chicks for their opposition to our destruction of Iraq--even tho the Chicks proved to be 100% correct. If these people are victims, they are very willing victims; not 'raped' by the powers that be, but rather very easily seduced. As George Carlin once put it, "Where do you think our leaders come from? Mars?"

The American People are continually evoked as some sort of mystical entity, whereas the truth is that they are not only violent and narcissistic, but dumb as a stick. The statistics are overwhelming on this pt, and what's more, they hate intelligence; they regard it as 'elitist'. Make no mistake: they despise people who are articulate, such as yourself, and who use words like 'karma' and 'exploitation', which they cdn't define if their lives depended on it. If they were ever to rise up, it wd not be against the 1%, but against people like you and me, amigo. So please don't tell me abt 'false consciousness' and 'manipulated consent', and how the wool has been pulled over the eyes of intelligent, well-meaning people. They are neither, and as I've said before on this blog, the wool *is* the eyes. What u.c. is what u get; this really is who they are. The time for illusions is over.

Dean-

See Sean's last message: copy out the last sentence in block capitals, stick it on yr bathrm mirror, and be sure to look at it at least once a day. If 12 mos. from now you are still looking at it in a bathrm located in the US, you have made a terrible mistake.

mb

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Ray said...

From the last few posts about emigration, perhaps this synthesis, or compromise...

A.)If you want to get out of a geographical area artificially defined as a country, it is your human right to act on this desire. B.)If you want to enter another geographical area artificially defined as another country, it is just as much your human right to act on this desire. However.....
C.) The only way that A.) and B.) can be morally defensible is if these rights are extended to EVERY single human being on the planet.
No nation should be able to restrain its citizens from leaving, and no nation should be able to prevent strangers from entering it if they wish.

We in the West tend to pay most attention to A.), somewhat less to B.), and very little to none at all to C.)

If even ONE human being on this planet is denied A.) or denied B.) (IN OTHER WORDS, UNDER CURRENT CONDITIONS)the nation-states of the world will degenerate into an interlocking global system of mobility repression centers operated by political and economic elites at the expense of everyone else. Some of the "normal" or "average" population in the "prosperous" countries get to enjoy a kind of theoretical asymmetrical travel freedom unavailable to "average" people from less fortunate countries, who generally find most other countries effectively barred to them.

Here's a fourth axion: 4.)The utopian universal human right to symmetrical travel freedom (being able to leave AND enter all countries) is not dependent on a person's moral character, just as it should not be dependent on a person's wealth, armed effectiveness, culture, geographical or ethnic background.

In the real world, all this means is that ALL Americans (dolts and non-dolts) have the right (or rather, the power) to seek refuge abroad, by hustling or non-hustling means. They should feel free to exercise this right (and/or power), as long as they are aware that they enjoy this right/power asymmetrically, and can theoretically hustle their way into most countries (with enough personal effort and courage) in a way that is effectively legally impossible for the majority of their fellow human beings. In other words, they should realize the injustice, on a global scale, of what on a single human scale is their laudable effort to live a more human life by emigrating. In other words, seek your expat bliss, try not to be a liability to your host country, but don't demand a clean conscience and the cake to eat it with. Under current conditions, weighing the elective pros and cons of becoming an expat ("country shopping") sadly fails the categorical imperative. It canot help but be a provocation to all those unfortunates around the world for whom this exercise of a desirable human right is BOTH practically and procedurally impossible.

So knock yourself out.

2:55 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Dean,

Sounds like you’re a little depressed and carry too much guilt about this whole situation. In my opinion, you should not feel this way, because you’re not Dick Cheney or Henry Kissinger.

As MB pointed out, by living and spending your money abroad, you will, in a sense, repatriate some of the money looted by American (and other Western) elites. You will help people.

Another area in which you can contribute is to save others from the pain that the American Dream might potentially inflict on them. There are still people in the world who see America as the Promised Land. Most would be very disappointed upon arrival here, as I was 30 years ago. Just think of how many minds can you change by your very presence. Think of how many families might be spared the long separation that immigration to the US often demands of them.

Also, the amount of harm the US has done varies from nation to nation. Obviously, people in Iraq and Afghanistan are unlikely to be welcoming toward Americans for a few more decades at least. But there are many countries where this is not the case. And then keep in mind that the US does not stand alone in the accused box, as it merely embraced an already established Western European model of crime and looting.

Finally, keep in mind that most people across the world don’t spend much time contemplating America’s actions anymore. That may have been the case 10 or 11 years ago, but the world has since moved on to more interesting subjects. So most people won’t judge you based on your nationality. For example, I read the Romanian newspapers, and on most days America is not even mentioned in any of the news. It’s a non-issue. When I am in Romania and talk about America, most people start yawning. At this point, Americans are celebrities only in their own minds.

Heck, I would get packing, and, as Sean says above, I’d look into getting a residence visa asap. Time is running out. This place is headed for dictatorship quickly.

3:11 AM  
Blogger Prolesser said...

I guess I am not allowed to say that those who do not think that Cesar Chavez was one of the greatest leaders in history are either ignorant or paid mouthpieces.

I don't get it. You seem to think Bradley Manning is alright. At least you have that going for you. But a guy who actually does feed the poor and hurt the rich? Is it because he's foreign or something? You know that Bush/devil remark was a fart joke, don't you?

3:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pro-

Who is Cesar Chavez?

mb

6:48 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Pro -

Hugo is (was) the greatest!

see:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/08/obituaries-for-hugo-chavez/

7:32 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Cesar Chavez was a US Trade Union icon from the 60's and 70's.

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

He at least is spared the indignity of having his mouldering mortal remains on show to all comers for the forseeable future. (I viewed Lenin some years ago--hands visibly rotting--even Putin thinks it time he was buried)

Pro,
Life belongs to the living.
I hope that the people currently grieving the loss of Hugo get to work to protect and continue the revolution that he began and do not fetishise him into some kind of paternalistic saviour while waiting for the next paternalistic saviour to come along and do it for them.

Viva Chavez!
From the Urban dictionary:
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=viva%20chavez

A fair minded determined leader who pissed off the Bush administration by
1.Getting elected by the people without rigging it
2.putting issues of poverty and education high on agenda
3.Having a national resource(oil)

"Who does Hugo Chavez think he is?Using money from petroleum to combat poverty and build schools instead of handing it over to the U.S.? HOW DARE HE!!!!!!"

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Pro,

What do you know of (presumably) Hugo Chavez besides what you read (or watch) in the U.S. media?. Have you lived in latin armerica or read latin am papers? Or do you get your views from Venezulan expats living in million dollar condos living in miami upset that the could not bilk more money or exploit more people in partership with their U.S. "business partners" Just for the fact he defeated and exposed a U.S. financed effort to oust him, Chavez warrants some award and indeed that is admirable--he is of the F+_( You U.S. and leave us alone and we will do as we wish sort of leader. Not the greatest leader but not too shabby and his people like him so if you don't thats too bad. Cesar Chavez was a political symbol made by the media. He was a sell out. Bradley Manning is a hero. If you think that Manning is a traitor (as many americans do) you then should think that Von Stauffenberg and the other Wermacht officers involved in the plot to murder hitler were traitors as they too took an oath and violated it.

Other than big brother telling you Chavez is a big meanie and some sort of commie what could you possiblly have to say about him one way or another?

9:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pro-

I knew, of course, u meant Hugo, and not Cesar; I was just being difficult. Here's a recent essay written by a friend of mine, in any case, that you might enjoy:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/05-8

Anyway, what is it you don't get? I never said I was opposed to Sr. Chavez. In fact, some yrs ago he went on Caracas TV and talked very favorably about my book, "El crepusculo de la cultura americana." Shortly after that, his admin invited me to speak at a conference down there, but I decided not to go, for various reasons. Evaluations of Sr. Chavez depend on where you are on the socioeconomic scale, I suppose. He did a great deal for the poor in Venezuela, and I applaud that; but as with all communist regimes, there was a lot of repression involved--the Cuban model, one might say. (It seems to be the norm that heads roll under communism, but perhaps there is no real choice, given the fact that the elite will work energetically to undermine the program of redistribution of wealth. Salvador Allende, in short, was a bit naive, and of course the CIA hardly helped the fledgling Marxist democracy.) Is freedom of speech a luxury? Yes, if yr starving. But as w/Fidel, I personally have problems with political repression, the cult of personality, attempts to be president for life, and so on. But I do regard both of them as courageous, and heroic figures. They were motivated by the desire to relieve suffering, and to get the US off of their peoples' backs, and I admire that enormously.

As for the UN remark about the devil: this was accurate, in my view. Bush Jr. is a war criminal, a dunce, a sick and violent person, and (it now appears) a really lousy artist, whose 'paintings' are creepy--like him. An absolutely awful human being: the devil incarnate.

mb

10:37 AM  
Anonymous swordfish said...

MB, congratulations on the award!

Now, here's more on the O&D front:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-21722377

South Dakota "has enacted a law allowing school districts to arm teachers and other school staff."

of course, the WAFer question is: why not drones?

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

ellen, DiogenesTheElder, et al,

Before I left New York City in 1971, the first and the sixteenth of each month were big days in the lively but dangerous neighborhoods where I lived and worked because that’s when welfare checks were issued. Nowadays I consider the first and the fifteenth of each month important because that’s when Immanuel Wallerstein posts his semimonthly commentary. This month he asks, "Should Non-Catholics Care Who is Named Pope?" It may not be particularly profound (although it does beat the hell out of the small-town newspapers here in rural Iowa), but anybody with any interest Papa Razzi’s replacement may wish to check it out at:

http://www.binghamton.edu/fbc/commentaries/

A nun (now ex-nun) was giving me a ten-cent tour of an old Catholic school which was about to be demolished because they couldn’t afford to keep it up and nobody else wanted it. The Rat had just been made pope and I said that I shouldn’t comment on it because I wasn’t Catholic, but that I found it troubling. She blurted out, “I hate him, and I hope he dies! Imagine, bragging about dismantling liberation theology!” I guess there have always been two churches, and our empire has been backing the fascist one.

Diogenes..,

Whitehead’s own writings on process philosophy are heavy going, but you’ll find them in his “Process and Reality” and “Religion in the Making.”

Since you know about process theology, you should be familiar with David Ray Griffin, John B. Cobb, and Charles Hartshorne.

C. Robert Mesle of Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa has tried to make Whitehead’s ideas more accessible in his “Process-Relational Philosophy: An Introduction to Alfred North Whitehead”.

And of course, Morris Berman’s first trilogy, on human consciousness, is highly recommended!

David Rosen

11:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sword-

Many thanks. Re: the South Dakota law: good, but not enuf. The level of killing in the US is much too low. We need widespread distribution of drones and semi-automatic weapons, plus violent attacks on Toronto, Paris, San Bernardino, and Rapid City. And Omaha, it seems to me, is getting away w/far too much for far too long.

mb

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Dr. Berman,

I think you did an excellent job of making the case in your essay, From Hustlers to Thugs, on the continuity of exploitation from past to present. I'm not familiar with the authors you cite but it is astonishing that even historians, people in academia, will corroborate and perpetuate a mythology -- to do otherwise I suppose would undermine the whole edifice on which they survive.

From my reading of the history I think the founding father cabal, and their predecessors, were thugs from the git-go -- not to say they weren't hustlers, but the dominant characteristic, imo was that of thugs. The veneer of hustler had to gradually be cultivated, refined, to provide an illusion, to mask the brutish reality of the system they created, and still exists.

The way I see it a hustler is slick and shifty -- whereas the thug had bloody hands from wielding the bullwhip, musket, saber and cross.

To corroborate your essay, the following is a snippet from a speech given by the comedian/activist Dick Gregory at Kent State in 1971 -- mind you, it's not verbatim.

"The cats that came here were in a sick, weird, degenerate bag... You wanna know how sick them founding fathers were, go get yourself a good history book, one that white folks wrote, it's in there... They landed at the Plymouth Rock and shot and murdered their way clear across to California...

...Get yourself an anthropology book, study of man, and down through the years you'll see man's behavior pattern didn't differ that much from one man to another -- until we got to the American man... as sick as the Romans were, nowhere in the history of the world was there a wild wooly west. You realize how sick you were to want to be a cowboy? Big ole hat on yer head, toe-pinchin' shoes, strap two guns around yer belly with a LBJ look on yer face talkin' bout law and order.." (The Dick Gregory speech was up on youtube but was removed save one segment which can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBcyhaSBgWk)

Out of DG's satire you can see they came here committing genocide, practicing slavery all the while talking about democracy, liberty, law and order -- I'd argue that's thug and his alter-ego the hustler.

Of note too, is a book entitled Toward an American Revolution - Exposing the Constitution and Other Illusions by Jerry Freisa. Freisa too explains the thuggery of the framers -- who and what they really were, what the economic and political forces were that underpinned the creation of the Constitution and spurred them to revolution. The book was published in the late 80s -- it's available as a free pdf download. A web search of the title and author will get you to it -- if it piques your interest.

Closing this out -
...Two Ends of the Historical Spectrum -- I understand the use of Hustler to Thug as a construct -- notwithstanding for me though, I see no distinction or delineation of such in the lineage -- same shit different assholes!

Thanks again for your work, I appreciate it.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Prolesser said...

Alright, that's better.

I personally, being poor, do not mind suppression. If it is of the right people.

I am all for the suppression of nazis. I do not believe in this silly live and let live naivety.

I also like how the troll says I appreciate Hugo Chavez because I am brainwashed by the US media. Which roundly and to a man demonizes, castigates, anathematizes him. This is the stupidity you speak of. They think the exact opposite of the truth.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

I can't remember if I first came across this sentiment through a link from here, I just have a screen capture of it in my phone, but I think of it every time you mention your "I live among dolts" strategy.

Krishnamurti: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

2:54 PM  
Blogger dg said...

MB

Don't forget to post the Vancouver info as soon as you get it.

Have to organize day off from the salt mine. My corporate overlords need at least
100 years notice and forms filled out in triplicate in both official languages to give me 4 hours off with no pay.

No need to post. Just a friendly reminder. I missed you last March.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

More stories about "managed children" getting into trouble with drugs because they have no sense of self to control their own lives. At least someone seems to be zeroing in on the source of the problem/

The Atlantic: The Existential Pain of Being Young, White, and Affluent

Abuse of prescription drugs is most common among those who enjoyed the most advantages in adolescence, causing some to rethink the consequences of privilege.

...

It's a narrative that has been written about often in the past five years, and few have done it better than the psychologist Dr. Madeline Levine. She was one of the first to theorize that an elite lifestyle could be detrimental to the character of a child, with her New York Times bestseller, The Price of Privilege. She wrote of the "enormous amounts of attention and resources that adults pour" into many of today's children, and how "paradoxically, the more they pour, the less full many of [her] patients seem to be."

"Indulged, coddled, pressured and micromanaged on the outside," she writes, "my young patients appeared to be inadvertently deprived of the opportunity to develop on the inside."

This deficit in individual autonomy is precisely what makes these drugs so attractive. They allow young adults to continue their lifestyles of overdependence and reliance even once they leave the crust-less sandwich comfort of their homes. Their lack of experience in failure, unpleasantness, or dealing with various forms of hardship also paints the "quick-fix" as the optimum solution. You just have to pop a pill, and the magic carpet slips right back beneath your feet.

...

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

This is a good start, but we need to do better. First, we need the death penalty for everybody like this mother. Second, we need to aim for a 100 percent graduate illiteracy rate.

"Homeless Mother Jailed [15 years] for Sending Son to Public School with Fake Address":
http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/8/headlines#389

"Shocker: Eighty percent of NYC graduates unable to read":
http://rt.com/usa/nyc-graduates-unable-to-read-011/

WAFers, remember: death penalty for everybody and 100% illiteracy rates, or else. No more fooling around.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Re: Jack 13 -

Gary Brecher, aka "The War Nerd" wrote an outstanding essay on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 called, "Ten Years On and a Long Way Down" in which he excoriated not only the Bush administration's subsequent invasion of Iraq but the fact that a vast majority of Americans went along with it. The whole essay makes for good reading for anyone who still needs to be convinced that it is not just our so-called "leaders" who are destroying America but Americans themselves. Brecher concludes the essay by writing the following about Bush's reelection in 2004 despite the debacle the Iraq War had already become:

"But Bush’s support held. That’s when I lost my country, when he was reelected. I used to be an unhappy American nationalist, like a passenger in the back seat wondering how many drinks the driver’s had. But when we invaded Iraq, the car hit a tree—and all the passengers got out and voted to reelect the driver.

That’s the legacy of 9/11: Two dozen spoiled unemployable dimwits managed to lobotomize my country, bankrupt it, make it such a nasty alien place I didn’t even feel part of it any more. I can’t give Osama much of the credit for that, I just don’t see him as that smart—but you know, he did say his goal was to destroy America. And with a lot of help from all you guys who used to be my fellow Americans, he could die content, because he actually managed it."

http://exiledonline.com/war-nerd-913-ten-years-on-and-a-long-way-down/

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Ken Smith said...

Michael,

I don't claim to know much about music, but I am in full agreement with Frank Zappa regarding classical music -- as quoted by al-Qa'bong in the previous thread -- "… it's formula music, the same as top forty music is formula music. In order to have a piece be classical, it has to conform to academic standards that were the current norms of that day and age.”

Zappa's public persona gave little hint that he was quite knowledgeable about classical music. Somehow, even though he had no direct exposure to classical music, he seemed to absorb it from the air, even when very young.

Zappa idolized Edgar Varèse, a French-born composer who immigrated to the USA in his twenties. Before leaving Europe, Varèse spent time in Berlin where he became acquainted with and influenced by Busoni, Strauss, and Debussy.

On his 15th birthday, Frank's mother tried to give him $5 -- a generous sum in 1955 for a working class family. Frank declined the cash and instead asked to place a long distance phone call to Varèse, phone calls being expensive back then. I was there. Along with several other uncultured teen punks, I encouraged Frank to take the money. But, the possibility of actually talking to Varèse was a stronger pull.

Frank found the phone number and placed the call. Varèse was in Europe at the time, but Frank did talk with Varèse's wife Louise. Some months later, Varèse sent Frank a letter thanking him for his interest and saying that he hoped to meet the young man some day. They never met, but they did exchange letters and a phone call.

Frank framed the letter from Varèse and proudly hung it on his bedroom wall, inviting anyone with even a mild interest to take a close look.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Avalanche of commentaries these days. Waferism Lives!

Dude-

Hell, even the *New Yorker* supported the war in Iraq! (Yes, the New Yorker)

dg-

All I know is April 5 at 11 a.m. I'm hoping they give me the location b4 2 long, but I'm guessing there is an Events Office at UBC, and that if u call on April 3 or 4, they'll be able to tell u the venue. Or let's hope.

mb

7:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Just released, a documentary called "Greedy Lying Bastards," abt how oil co's are conniving to block any attempts to stop global warming. From the review in the SF Chronicle:

"The film does not take into account perhaps even greater problems than the greedy, lying bastards: the lack of political will among the American people to fix the problem..."

8:44 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I tell ya: people will look you in the eye, tell you they don't know much about something, and then tell you that it must be exactly such and such.

Ken:

Well, if Zappa and a jazz trumpeter said it, it must be true. Why bother exploring the repertoire oneself, and coming to one's own conclusions? Much less fashionable! (Shakespeare sonnets were also notoriously formula-bound--yuck!)

Also, "academic" is completely inaccurate, because music was studied via apprenticeship models.

Bong:

The term "commercial" in the era of mass production bears little structural similarity to patronage, and patron/artist relationships are often far from pilot-fish/shark relationships.

Sav:

Without minimizing the plight of the over-coddled or over-medicated kids, I feel articles like that miss the larger point: even without indulgent parents or the sacrificing of kiddies to big pharma, the rest of the culture is still a cesspool that can hardly give anyone a sense of wholeness.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

The Salvadorisation of Iraq, a five minute trailer and 50 minute doc that links an ex US colonel, veteran of 'counterinsurgency' and death squads in VN, El Salvador and Nicaragua with US funded death and torture squads in Iraq.

trailer:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/mar/06/us-petraeus-torture-iraq-video

full doc:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/mar/06/james-steele-america-iraq-video

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Repatriating to Mexico has been great. Back and forth between Mex and D.C. but soon just mex. Its great to get back! Its a wonderful thing that most americans think the place is run by drug lords. Also in the american imagination there is no difference between Sudan, San Salvador and Mexico. For reasons that elude this old economist the american mind is fixated with India--much more business like and evolved than those darn mexicans. Well, as our Romanian Wafer pointed out--it does not and should not matter what 99% of americans say. Hell 80% of NYC graduates can;t read and I would rather be found at night in Mexico City than in Camden, Detroilt, Baltimore or Chicago. Ultimately, let the gringos continue with their nuttiness. They will be a coninued blight on earth but I think and hope for not much longer....Keep up the good work MB! Hopefully will run into you in Mex!

11:47 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

David-

As someone who was a raised Catholic, I encourage everyone on this godforsaken planet to vehemently condemn the thoroughly criminal and fascist leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. Showing respect for the leadership of the RCC makes no more sense that showing respect for the leadership of Fox News or the National Review. A case could be made that the USA, the RCC, and US Mini-me clone, Israel, represent the true axis of evil in the world. The leadership of each is of the same essential character. Though the RCC is the only one of the three that doesn’t possess nuclear weapons, its crippling influence reaches into the minds of far more people. The world will not survive the current incarnation of any of the three, let alone all three. Condemn, mock, and oppose them in any way imaginable.

Nevertheless, we should all feel a tinge of sadness, for never again will we have a Pope who can say he worked for both Hitler and Christ.

@Dude
"But Bush’s support held. That’s when I lost my country, when he was reelected. I used to be an unhappy American nationalist, like a passenger in the back seat wondering how many drinks the driver’s had. But when we invaded Iraq, the car hit a tree—and all the passengers got out and voted to reelect the driver.

Not all of them, 48% voted for a guy who is now sec of state who said that he would have hit the tree slightly differently.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Elan-

Pls pick a non-linked handle, and re-send yr message. I don't feel comfortable w/folks 'advertising' on this blog. Thank you.

Capo-

Felicidades. I've actually walked around Mex City at nite and never felt a lick o' fear. I love it when US newspapers tell Americans the place is dangerous, as this foolishness keeps the gringos out, and man, we sure don' need any more of them fucking the place up w/wrong values and $ and obnoxious behavior.

mb

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Jerome Langguth said...

Tim,

I am glad that you found the film interesting. Thank you for your thoughts about the need for unifying narratives and cults, etc. I believe that you are right, and that this is a large part of what Charles Taylor (A Secular Age) calls the "malaises of modernity." Dr. Berman's "nomadic spirituality" and the NMI path seem to me the most sane and humane responses to the malaise.

In the annals of CRE department:

Tom Friedman is selling some new snake oil in the world of higher education, MOOCs (massive open-enrollment online classes). MOOCs are great, Friedman argues, "Because increasingly the world does not care what you know. Everything is on Google. The world only cares, and will only pay for, what you can do with what you know."

8:48 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Just in case you didn't barf up your breakfast:

www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/realestate/billionaires-club-grows-as-do-high-end-home-prices.html

8:49 AM  
Blogger jml said...

Dean - regarding your American guilt: you had as much control of being born into America in a family of Fox bots as the "poor" or oppressed people of other nations. Look at yourself as a human first, not as an American. And consider that our culture is as culturally, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally impoverished as others' may be materially. Americans are always told that we are so privileged and I just don't buy it. The spiritual impoverishment of our culture is pretty hard for the human spirit to endure. Look at yourself as a refugee from this and consider that people in other nations may pity you for having to live in a culture that is so depraved and brainwashed.

Regarding the Steinbeck quote about the poor and millionaires, here's another from The Grapes of Wrath that is one of my favorites:

"If you're in trouble, or hurt, or need - go to the poor people. They're the only ones that'll help - the only ones."

10:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

CRE-in Action Dept.:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opinion/sunday/morozov-the-surreal-side-of-endless-information.html?hp

11:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More of Same:

http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/07/ten-years-after-the-invasion-of-iraq-a-world-of-hurt/?src=rechp

Jesus, what a country!

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

One more anecdote from today's NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/education/harvard-searched-staff-e-mails.html?ref=us&_r=0

So for Harvard, the big bad thing that happened wasn't the cheating scandal itself, but the fact that someone let the world know about it. And of course finding & punishing that someone is what really matters now. Ah, Harvard! What ethical & moral leadership!

Jerome,

It occurs to me that the American narrative was already stated succinctly & accurately by Orwell's O'Brien: Power for the sake of power. Period.

Which is why talk of conservatives vs. progressives is ultimately beside the point. As Jerry Mander pointed out some 30+ years ago in Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, there's no such thing as a neutral, agenda-free technology. And this can be extended to any manmade structure, including belief systems & worldviews. Power, wealth, greed, control, destruction: these are sufficient & complete unto themselves, no matter how they're gussied up for local conditions. Stalinist Russia, Capitalist America -- it's the same basic, innate agenda of maximizing power & maintaining it. The politics are window dressing.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Zosima, et al,

I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), but I do see it as an important influence in the world. Although the Vatican has fallen on bad times, the RCC still contains much that is admirable (Liberation Theology), and of course much that is evil (outright Fascism). Many American Catholics are well aware that their church is in trouble and long to see it looking better.

I agree with you that the US Empire, the leadership of the RCC, and Israel are forces for evil – I just wish they were the only evil forces in today’s world. On the religion front, as the RCC loses followers around the world, particularly in Latin America, they are often picked up by Evangelical missionaries sent by the US Christian right – the ones that Chris Hedges calls American Fascists. Is this an improvement?

I pay attention to religion because within the ‘civilized’ world we inhabit, people seem to have an inherent need for some sort of religion, which when cast it off is frequently replaced by superficial secular ideologies; these are often very destructive. ‘Religion’ needs to be more than just believing six impossible things before breakfast and then shutting off the brain, as typically happens in America.

About serving Christ and Hitler: America’s civil religion has merged God and country pretty completely. I could rewrite the James Joyce poem to read:

America my first and only love,
Where Christ and Caesar are hand in glove.

What alternative does American society offer anyway? In “The Twilight of American Culture” Dr. Berman proposes NMI (or perhaps New Monastic Community) survival strategies for the collapse of our empire. How could they not be ‘religious’ in character?

David Rosen

1:04 PM  
Anonymous gloomier said...

The worst part of this country is it's "Christianity". It is also the best source on comedy.


Thank you "Z" for the pope working with Hitler & Jesus.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

It looks like the future of capitalism has arrived in the country that invented it. This article describes how it is now common for British citizens to be bought and sold into slavery by their own compatriots:

"UK authorities turn ‘blind eye’ to ‘shocking underworld’ of human trafficking":
http://rt.com/news/human-trafficking-slavery-shocking-050/


Capo:

The same is true in Romania, except that we don't have to deal with Americans, but rather rude Western Europeans. You can always tell when a group of French people are in a restaurant by the incredibly loud conversations they are having. The French are the worst.

But you can spot the occasional American family by their psychotic children. American teenagers stick out like a sore thumb: they look depressed, paranoid, entitled, don't talk, don't socialize, and are just weird.

There's also a US military base near the Black Sea, and in years past it was common for the American GI ignoramuses to raise hell in bars and restaurants, improperly touch waitresses, refuse to pay their bill, etc. Until one day, when a group of frustrated Romanian gypsies beat the crap out of them and put a few of them in intensive care. Now the American GIs are quiet, respectful, and always pay their bills...LOL

1:37 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB

You are being mentioned and appreciated, along with some speculation, in the comments section of this post.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/03/work-is-the-force-that-gives-us-meaning.html

1:51 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Ken wrote:
"Well, if Zappa and a jazz trumpeter said it, it must be true. Why bother exploring the repertoire oneself, and coming to one's own conclusions?"

A "jazz trumpter." Mfxfrgfft!

That's Bix yer talkin' about! According to a guy who was there, Bix and his buddies would injest muggles or bootleg hootch and sit around a room lit by only a lightbulb painted red or blue (for ambiance) and listen to Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky on the Victorla. Today is Bix's 110th birthday anniversary, by the way.

As for exploring the repertoire, as a teenager, back in the 70's, and before I had been exposed to either Bix or Zappa, I used to cruise around listening to a cassette I made on which one side had "Never Mind the Bollocks" and the other, Beethoven's violin concerto. Zappa has been known to quote Holst and Stravinsky in his own compositions.

Regarding Friedman and Google, that reminds me of a talk given by a prof from Regina who was all excited about the knowledge we to which we have access on Google. His thesis is that anybody can "know" anything, as long as he has an intertube connexion.

My problem with that idea is that Google could become to our ability to think as Gutenberg's invention was to our ability to remember. If what we know is to be found online, our brains will necessarily atrophy.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

DR-

I don't follow yr logic. Why *shd* they be (religious)? I certainly didn't write Twilight w/that in mind, and there are lots of bonding alternatives to religion. The real problem in America is that bonding itself, community, is nonexistent; hence, I'm not expecting too many NMI groups to spring up, whether religious or secular. Octavio Paz once wrote that south of the border, friendship is regarded as communion; north of the border, as contamination. Es la verdad, chico.

mb

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Jack13 said...

Thanks a lot Dr Berman for correcting me on the complicity of the American people in creating the exploitative and debasing culture the US exports around the world.

Does anybody know about books I can read on this topic? I really need to read more on it - documented and researched books, so that I can quote others next time I deal with the topic. Thanks in advance!

2:44 PM  
Anonymous satyaSarika said...

mb,

You speak about your positive experiences in Mexico and how safe you feel there compared to the states. Do you know any white women who live there on their own? How about white, butch looking, lesbian women?

Just curious ...

5:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sat-

I'm sure they exist down here; I jus' don' know any of them.

Jack-

That's a tough one. The topic of the stupidity, violence, and complicity of the American people is the 3rd rail of politics, because once u let that info in, esp. if yr a 'progressive', yr sunk: it's game over. Positive change can't emerge from lunkheads, obviously, so the subject is taboo. There are a whole slew of bks in last 15 yrs on American stupidity, but they are innocuous because they don't connect this w/politics as such. The fact is, I am the only historian/cultural critic to pt this out, that I know of, and that's because I'm much more interested in truth than phony optimism. You might start by checking out the appropriate sections of DAA and WAF, including the ftnote refs. Also try plugging 'americans stupidity' into google, see what comes up.

mb

6:05 PM  
Blogger Boris the Spider said...

I just saw the movie "God Bless America", directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. A very WAFer movie. The main character gets fed up with the vapid meanness of his fellow Amercans and goes on a shooting spree to take out the worst offenders -- it's MB's dream come true of an AK-47 in every crib.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Boris-

Yes, the film is both depressing and inspiring. I'm hoping that in the sequel, the 2 main characters get resurrected and use predator drones instead of guns. Gotta keep up w/the times!

mb

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

To satyaSarika,

I had a very butch lesbian aunt who established and ran a clothing store which became a mini chain in the 1950's. She ran it well into the 1980's. About 20% of Mexicans are considered what would in U.S. parlance would be white and interestingly there is a long tradition of tolerance of gay people. Though since Benito Juarez there has been no officieal racial classification in mexico so its all an estimate--we are just mexicans. Two of my cousins (one male one female) are openly gay in Mexico city. And to make it more interesting--we are all Mexican and also Jewish. You can google the stats--the violent crime rate in Mexico City is actually much lower than D.C, LA or Chicago and comprable to NYC.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Eric Holder, Obama's attorney general said that banks are too big to be prosecuted. Hence the banks can now kill people in America and get away free of prosecution. Thanks to Obama:

Wells Fargo Typo Victim Dies in Court
The bank billed Larry Delassus $13,361 owed by his neighbor, then foreclosed

http://www.laweekly.com/2013-03-07/news/wells-fargo-typo-victim-dead-larry-delassus/

10:31 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

David and fellow pope watchers-
One can hope with Wallerstein that they will appt a Jimmy Carter type pope who might question a few things and show some compassion, but as MB says about America so it is with the RCC--the only way out is through. The Cardinals are not going to offend their wealthy fascist base of Bill O'Reilly, Bill Bennett, Rick Santorum, Paul Ryan types and appt a pope who will start being nice to those California nuns they are now persecuting for helping poor women. It’s just not going to happen--so expect more Rat style popes. As with the US, the RCC is telling people who have compassion and care about the poor that they just don’t want you around, that if you're not here to worship authority and the rich, leave. Caring human beings are not wanted in either the US or the RCC. Same is true for Israel, the only way out is through-which for them means keep slowly exterminating the Palestinians and having war after war--that eventually ends with the use of nukes.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike Alan said...

To Jack 13 and others interested in additional critiques of the hustling society, they do exist, but from some interesting sources.

As a guy who spent most of his college days in the Environmental and Earth Sciences Depts. in the late 1980s I came across many similar ideas in writings of the anarchist movements of roughly the early 1900s and the so-called eco-anarchists that arose in the 1980s, like Earth First. I read quite a bit of what I could find in the pre-internet days, which wasn’t always easy. I started off with books by Ed Abbey, Thoreau, Mikhail Bakunin and others. Then I sought out what I could find on the internet as it grew as a source of information. Some of these older essays now are on the internet as well as writings from contemporary folks. Some are quite witty and humorous, something all WAFers need every now and then.

If interested in this perspective on the whole work-consume-die mentality here are some websites you might enjoy:

CLAWS: Creating Livable Alternatives to Wage Slavery - http://www.whywork.org/

Anarchist Writers - http://www.spunk.org/texts/writers/index.html

Anxiety Culture (lots of humor here) - http://www.anxietyculture.com/index.htm

The Tyranny of the Clock by George Woodcock (a favorite of mine) - http://www.spunk.org/texts/writers/woodcock/sp001734.html

These websites and essays do not compile the wide variety of information into a nice, tight body of work as Dr. Berman’s books do, but they do offer some additional support and interesting reading. I hope you find something to enjoy.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Z-

I think the eventual Israel-Palestine scenario will be a demographic one. The Palestinian population is growing at a much faster rate than the Israeli one; so eventually, the apartheid character of the whole configuration will be impossible to ignore, or maintain. Something along the lines of a South African resolution will have to occur: a handful of Ashkenazi Jews will not be able to rule over millions of Arabs. Whether that transition can be managed as smoothly as it was in South Africa, of course, is anybody's guess, but I personally tend to doubt that Israel will make it to its 100th birthday (2048). What a terrible tragedy this whole thing has been; how awful, that the trauma of the Holocaust made it impossible for the Old Jewish Guard to retain even a modicum of flexibility. I for one don't see the treatment of the Palestinians as being of a Nazi-style variety (no death camps, for one thing); but it certainly ain't good, and Edward Said's characterization of the latter as "the victims of the victims" is pretty accurate, I think. I'm looking forward to seeing the recently released "The Gatekeepers," in any case--the confessions of the Shin Bet. Honestly, whenever I think about what happened to Israel since the end of the British Mandate, all I can do is say "oy." Of all people, the Jews are not supposed to be the oppressors. This is Irony with a capital 'I'.

mb

11:41 PM  
Anonymous shit_head said...

MB,

just listened to your interview with juan carlos guerra --amazing stuff. Super interested in listening --and surely translating-- your talk abt Japan as a model for post-industrial society. Do you know it's gonna be recorded?

4:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Shit-

You really need a different handle, amigo. I mean, I doubt yr a shithead. As for my UBC lecture: yes, they are going to video the thing, and then I'll post the link here. When u say translate, I'm assuming u mean into Spanish. Where do you propose to post the trans? I ask because I suggested to my editor at Sexto Piso that he do a trans and then publish it as a panfleto, but I don't have an answer from him as yet.

mb

5:18 AM  
Anonymous gloom said...

MB -

I really do not see how the Israeli's got to the top of the holocaust sympathy heap. There are so many exterminations and they are usually, finally, spit on and then forgotten, or, ruled over as you explain for South Africa?

Somehow, I am missing something?

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Dani said...

@Edward, there is a serious debate on the atrocities of Wells Fargo here (read the comments to get a taste of the anger brewing against the bank):

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/10/1192963/-Wells-Fargo-Has-MORE-Blood-on-Its-Hands

7:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Gloom-

Sure; it was the 1st (and last, to date) industrial-style, assembly line murder in history, and of a total of abt 12 million people, 6.25 million of whom were Jews. Furthermore, it's a special kind of genocide: killing off a large section of your own population, who to that pt thought of themselves as nothing other than loyal citizens (i.e., Germans; in fact, it even included WW1 heroes).

mb

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Daddy Issues said...

Hope someday you make it to Santa Fe. I'm sure you'd have a great turnout.

FWIW, I'm now seriously looking into immigrating, not only because of the many reasons discussed here, but also for college education for my two kids.

At the rate it's going, by the time they are ready in about 8 years, it will cost in the area of 125 K for each kid, and given the need for loans, they will have to work many years to pay them off. A move, as well as the cost of developing the skills required for employment in another country, will be far less expensive.

Many countries offer the same level of college education (if not better) as the States, for very little. Germany, for example.

I'd greatly appreciate any tips on countries that offer exceptional education at a reasonable cost, given your experience and knowledge.

Thanks in advance!

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman --

Upon further reflection, I guess I have to agree with you about the NMI strategy not necessarily being ‘religious’. Religion is very hard to define precisely, and sometimes I tend to apply it to too broad a range of ideas and behavior.

However, when I start seeing virtually anything other than hustling as religious, it shows that my outlook has been poisoned. Please accept my apologies. I’ve been stuck here in the US (and rural Iowa, at that!) for years, so that anybody with a worldview loftier than Al Capone’s looks like a saint to me. Further proof that this is a truly perverted society, which leaves none of us untouched!

My wife and I have spent years caring for my mom who had Alzheimer’s, and who recently died at a hundred years old. We are now probating a will, selling a house and small farm, getting all kinds of other stuff together – and we expect to be heading south of the border in about a year or so.

We’re both working on our Spanish (mine will always be contaminated by Portuguese), and our whole object will be to ‘go native’ as much as possible and to limit our contact with gringos.

By the way, my own ancestors, that is two great grandfathers who were rabbis, were very anti-Zionist. They considered the creation of a modern nation-state of Israel to be an act of hubris – a kind of idolatrous false messiah. The Satmar Chasidim still don’t recognize the state of Israel.

Zosima, ellen, DiogenesTheElder, et al—

Dissent Magazine has an interesting article with the title, “Will the Next Pope Embrace Liberation Theology?” It also appears on Truthout.org.

Check it out at: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/will-the-next-pope-embrace-liberation-theology

David Rosen

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Here is a marginally interesting article by Noam Chomsky.

"The Corporate Assault on Public Education":

http://www.alternet.org/education/chomsky-corporate-assault-public-education?pag\
e=0%2C2&paging=off

Personally, I think that while Noam Chomsky demonstrates his typical high-quality historical analysis, I also find his refusal to face the present reality to be bordering on the delusional. Like most progressives, he just cannot get past all that truckload of "hope and change" BS he was sold 5 years ago. He is unable to get past the "civilizing 60s" delusion and cannot accept that the America he grew up in is no more. He's still looking for some magical solution to do the trick. Despite his grasp of history, he fails to apply its lessons to current realities. He just cannot see that in a so-called "rich nation" that now survives entirely on printed fiat dollars, Wall Street scams, and mercy loans extended by TRULY rich nations such as China, Russia, Germany, and others, there are no more rabbits to be pulled out of the hat. There are no solutions other than a total collapse of education, economy, finance, social structure, etc. The only hope remaining is that 100 years from now, when all the ignoramuses produced by the current failed educational system would have died off, we might get a revival. Chomsky is so typical of progressives and liberals in general.

Sometimes I get the feeling that people like Chomsky are like America: running on yesteryear’s glory.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Julian-

Noam is a great man, a man who was talking about the horrors of US foreign policy long b4 anyone else was, and had the courage to withstand the opprobrium and death threats that one who criticizes the US will typically receive, esp. way back then. But I think yr rt: he's finally an American, and can't let go of 'Hope' and 'Change', no matter how unlikely those things now are. Americans are always looking for a magic bullet, they are always going to pull things out at the last minute. But all of our institutions are finished, the educational ones in particular. I wish Noam and Amy and all those folks wd get together, hold a funeral service for the US, and say Kaddish. (I would perform the role of cantor, and sing "Cranial-Rectal Embedment.)

DR-

Glad to hear yr hitting the rd. Yes, be sure to avoid the gringos; I'm telling u, they really are the pits. Altho it's interesting to observe them from an anthropological distance, blindly doing their American thing. It takes your breath away, the stupidity and the arrogance--and most of it unconscious. It's quite grotesque; I hafta witness it on a daily basis, unfortunately, even tho this is not an ex-pat community.

Daddy-

Glad to hear yr planning yr escape; you won't regret it. As for schools, I really don't know; you'll hafta research it on the Net. But I'm guessing that more than the particular country in imptc, is the particular school. For that, I'm sure there are ex-pat websites and discussion groups that can help you.

mb

1:13 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Doc -

"Altho it's interesting to observe them from an anthropological distance, blindly doing their American thing. It takes your breath away, the stupidity and the arrogance--and most of it unconscious."

This article describes your sentence to a "T".

http://www.opednews.com/articles/How-the-Texas-1-Live-by-Clay-Reynolds-130310-701.html

For me: As for leaving this sorry ass place, I have no option but to stay put and refuse to do a damn thing anyone ever asks or expects me to do. Screw the gringos! That includes me!

2:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Shep-

Urine is the answer!

mb

2:26 PM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

Fellow WAFers, fear not! Eric holder sent a letter to Rand Paul, 2 or 3 sentences (is this guy concise, or what?) in which he stated that the President does not have the authority to drone an American citizen who is not engaged in combat on American soil. Phew! False alarm, everyone, go back to watching American Idol and Kim Kardashian's behind.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bull-

The problem is that I *am* engaged in combat, of an intellectual sort, and it is only a matter of time b4 Eric comes up w/a category called "intellectual terrorism." Then, I might (legally) get visited by a drone.

As for Kim, there was some TV show in the 50s hosted by Kate Smith; she used to sing a song called "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain." I'm thinking Kim could use a theme song along the lines of, "When the Moon *Is* a Mountain." It might even become a Waferian Anthem, along w/CRE.

mb

4:05 PM  
Blogger jml said...

daddy issues:

this quote from the chomsky article on public education:

"Two years ago I gave some talks in Mexico at the National University, a very good one. It's free. Some years ago the government attempted to add small costs. That led to a national student strike that practically closed the country down and the government backed off. Something similar incidentally just happened in Quebec. In Mexico City there was a leftist mayor who established a university that was not only free, but had open admissions. Anybody can go. That's Mexico. A poor country.

From Mexico I went on to California, to the Bay Area. That's one of the richest regions on earth. They are destroying the greatest public education system in the world, systematically. The major universities are practically being privatized for the rich, becoming like Ivy League colleges. And educational opportunities in the rest of the public system are slowly being modified to provide some kind of technical training.

Something similar is happening all over the country. By now, in most states, tuition covers more than half of the costs for colleges. Pretty soon only the community colleges will be publicly financed under current tendencies and even they are under attack. Analysts seem to agree. To quote one, “The era of affordable four-year public universities, heavily subsidised by the state, may be over.”"

5:32 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Wafers and Waferettes,

MB-

Some lyric ideas for Kim's "When the Moon *Is* a Mountain."

Kate's version:

When the moon comes over the mountain
Every beam brings a dream, dear, of you
Once again we'll stroll 'neath the mountain
Through that rose-covered valley we knew

Kim's version:

When my moon comes over the boob tube
Every shake brings a dream, dear, just for you
Once again you'll stroll' neath my mountains
Books are for boneheads when my image will do

I dunno, probably should keep my day job...

Jeff

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Dr. Berman said,

"Americans are always looking for a magic bullet, they are always going to pull things out at the last minute."

Following lyrics are from B-Movie by Gil Scott-Heron:

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia. They want to go back as far as they can – even if it's only as far as last week. Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards. And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment. The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse - or the man who always came to save America at the last moment – someone always came to save America at the last moment – especially in "B" movies. And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne. But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan – and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at – like a "B" movie...

...Nostalgia, that's what we want...the good ol' days...when we gave'em hell. When the buck stopped somewhere and you could still buy something with it. To a time when movies were in black and white – and so was everything else...

...As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation. And here's a look at the closing numbers – racism's up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot - the House claims all ties. Jobs are down, money is scarce – and common sense is at an all-time low with heavy trading. Movies were looking better than ever and now no one is looking because, we're starring in a "B" movie. And we would rather have John Wayne...we would rather have John Wayne...

Below are two links for two versions of the song - the first is the studio version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSOp507HJMA
the other is a live version with vintage b/w movie clips - the Marx brothers provide the opening scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFUPaT-h91M

9:14 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

David-
Thanks for the “Will the Next Pope Embrace Liberation Theology?” article. I would have gotten back to you sooner, but I was busy reading an older article, “What to Expect from the Coming Kucinich Presidency.”
---------------
Chomsky's right, there has been progress in a number of areas. Of course, there have been a few minor setbacks too, like the fact that the corporate conquest of the Earth is nearly complete, and will likely result in human extinction. But really, no one can deny that gays in the military is not a monumental achievement.
---------------
MB-
When the Wafervarian Revolution sweeps into power, can I be Sec of Kim’s Booty?

9:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Z-

Like Rastafarian, I guess: Waferfarian. As for Kim's impressive rump: we are going to need an entire staff to deal w/it, but u can be Chief of Staff, Kimstushie Division. Your 1st assignment: installing an Anal Nano-Drone.

mb

9:32 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

I'm not an feminist, I'm not even a woman, but...

In the last several posts, this blog has been getting a bit pervy..

9:42 PM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

Dovidel,

Thanks for the link to the article in Dissent. It does seem that the last time a Pope tried to "pull a fast one" by, you know, actually trying to follow some of the teachings of Jesus, he turned up dead not too long after. Of course, I am speaking of John Paul I. There appears to be evidence that his death was an inside job, and I would not doubt it.

With regard to a new pope embracing Liberation Theology, I refer to what a fellow conference-goer once said about Ratzinger after JPII died: "if Ratzinger becomes Pope, I will KNOW the holy spirit has left the Catholic Church." Indeed, the paucity of integrity and spiritual depth continues. Given the pall over the organization as a whole, the chance that anything we might call positive will emerge from the church is slim to none.

On the other hand, if they would elect Sr. Joan Chittister as pope, I might just dust off my choir robes!

On education in the United States: my wife is a teaching assistant in an elementary school, and daily teachers are encouraged/rewarded for using more and more "technology" in their classrooms. They think it is doing the kids good. You know, it is incredible to me that in a country that is so much about assessment and "evidence" in so many fields these days (evidence-based this and that abound), the public has accepted that computers make education better without a shred of evidence whatsoever. Another example of corporate propaganda at work, preparing more CRE and starting them early!

DTE

10:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Day-

Well of course, there is gd pervy and bad pervy, and given the centrality of Kim's rump to American consciousness, this strikes me as gd pervy. Personally, I won't be able to rest until her behind replaces George's face on the $1 bill. (Which will coincide w/Amy Goodman wearing a SHIT, BERMAN WAS RIGHT T-shirt.) Anyway, stay tuned: this is the land of miracles, rt?

mb

10:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Craig-

Thanks for your post, but this is not a blog devoted to 9/11 conspiracy theories (sorry). There are, I believe, many websites that are, and I suggest directing your comments to them, as they will be eager to have your input. If you'd like to talk about the things we do discuss on this blog, however, I'll be glad to entertain your contributions.

mb

12:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What Americans Are Concerned Abt Dept.:

http://marquee.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/11/olivia-wilde-talks-beliebers-hilarious-abuse/

1:28 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Diogenes et al,

As a life-long heathen unfortunately born into Irish Catholicism, I'd say that the chances of a new pope embracing liberation theology are nil, and have been nil since Emperor Constantine filled a gap in the market with the institution way back when. It simply isn't in the business plan.

It seems to me that whenever a state adopts a religious belief system as official, it is with an eye to extending more complete control over the populace by covering all bases of the 'needy' human condition. Constantine wouldn't have given the Catholic Church such a leg-up if it didnt provide more potential control of an unwieldy empire than the previous multifarious little cults and gods.
I think that catholicism was the fore-runner of the ubiquitous TV/movie/internet cult, the 'opium of the people' as someone once said--which in my cosmology puts the pope on a par with the interest in Kim's spectacular bum, just a lot more pervy.

Thoroughly jaded, me.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ellen-

Take heart; there was Angelo Roncalli, after all.

mb

7:17 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

The possibilities are endless... imagine 35 million Beliebers armed with palm-sized nano drones.

This just in from CNN. The Papal Conclave, led by Cardinal Angelo Sodana, has decided to order in sandwiches from the local Pastramicus Maximus Deli before the official announcement of Habemus Papam.

Jeff

12:18 PM  
Anonymous SlowGrowsTheAvocado said...

This is a tad off-subject but I still feel it ties in with the overall theme of this blog.
Has anyone noticed how often their e-mails go ignored? I like to investigate various topics online, and often have to e-mail various people and organizations to find out information. I am polite, cordial and much more often than not remember to thank them for taking the time to read the e-mail. People respond less than 1/3 of the time.
There's a good article about this here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-schwartz/the-rudeness-of-ignoring_b_734858.html

The author feels the same way I do. He acknowledges that people can be very busy and not have time to respond, but he also knows many people just don't feel obligated to respond.
What was really surprising were all of the snarky comments saying things like "Nobody owes you their time." and "It must be you."
Judging from the comments, I guess ignoring e-mails is A-ok. Still seems rude to me.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Of course, in Spanish 'papa' also means potato. Appropriate in this case, I think. ("We have a potato!" Jesus, you sure do.)

Slow-

Yeah, I agree w/u, but u hafta remember that Americans are a very rude and narcissistic people. But for the most part, sending an e-mail and getting no response is a lot like extending your hand for a handshake and having the person walk rt by you. Of course, authors get deluged w/stuff that they don't want to answer: hate mail, for example, or endless requests that I deal with topic X on my blog. Another problem is that I often get letters that are simply too long to read, timewise, and I hafta write back and say, "Please compress this down to a single paragraph, and I'll try to deal w/it." But certainly, I've had the experience of writing to Professor Y, just asking for a reference source or bit of info, and they are apparently too impt to bother w/a lowlife such as I. What're ya gonna do? The US has the highest DBD (Douche Bag Density) of any country in the world, I'm guessing.

mb

1:20 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

Diogenes the Elder, you should check out:

http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Name-David-Yallop/dp/1845294963/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363107679&sr=1-1&keywords=yallop

You know that old saying that "just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean nobody's really out to get you"?

Was there a crime? There was motive (oh, was there motive - he was going to clean out the vermin in the Vatican Bank), opportunity and a mysterious death to the benefit of numerous very bad people. Oh, and unlike any modern state, no investigation or autopsy. Just a quick burial and "nothing to see here".

There were some remarkable coincidences too. John Paul's death the night before his reform of the bank was to start. And late-riser and Vatican banker Marcinkus unaccustomedly lurking outside the Papal windows in the dark pre-dawn hours.

You might also want to look at:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Vatican-Connection-Richard-Hammer/dp/0441860532/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363108470&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Vatican+Connection

The story from a NY detective who was closing in on Marcinkus, the Vatican Bank and a billion dollar bond forgery until Nixon killed it off so as not to upset American Catholics just before the election.

Dr. B,
It's not just Americans who've got the hustler culture. Although to be fair, Marcinkus was an American.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

We may be overpoping at this pt, I'm not sure. I still think we need to have the next pope sitting on a piece of toast all the time, so that he wd be known as Pope on Toast. If he were Jewish, even better. (Rome becomes deli capital of world.)

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Daddy Issues,

Over a year ago I sent our Romanian wafer the following story, and I think it’s appropriate that I send it to you:

“I met a Romanian couple at Kuwait University’s faculty club about fifteen years back. The man was an academic who taught in the US for many years, and their son had graduated from an American high school. They decided to move back to Romania so the lad could go to university there, since it would be very expensive for him to go to college in the US. Well, the poor boy just couldn’t make it in a Romanian university – he simply didn’t know anything! And they were quite sure it wasn’t a language problem either. They had to send him back to the US to go to college, which is why I found them in Kuwait, working to make enough petro-dollars to pay for it.”

The moral of this story is, since simply graduating from an American high school doesn’t seem to be preparing students for even American community colleges, it will almost certainly take some extra preparation to get your kids ready for a European university. I’m not trying to discourage you, but your kids will have to take the responsibility to prepare themselves properly – the American school system won’t.

As Dr. Berman says, you’ll have to do the research. But I know it can be done since I’ve met people all over the world who have gone overseas for university degrees. I remember visiting some Hungarian friends in Kuwait, and when I walked into their living room there was Bedouin Arab speaking with them in fluent Hungarian. He had done his engineering degree in Hungary.

David Rosen

2:46 PM  
Anonymous nincompoop said...

I have an opportunity to attend, what may be an interesting talk! I would love to tape the event (but, have no phones etc) and report on the message, if anything interesting pops up.

Here is the hook: "This will be a special event as our guest speaker is ..., the son of Class of ’58 friend, ...., ... graduated from ... in 1996 and, after graduating from Vanderbilt, got his Masters at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and then joined the CIA. He will give us some perspectives on the rise of Al-Qaeda and the U.S. response to 9/11. He now works at ... where he develops strategies to enhance operational security for most of the electric power system in the Southeast.

Also:

To Ellen:

I'm positive all available WAFers would like to propose to one with ur intellect and outlook.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Fred sounds like a commie to me!

http://www.fredoneverything.net/Abroad.shtml

7:14 PM  
Anonymous swordfish said...

Well, with Kimtushie dollars, and a Kimtushie cabinet, duz that mean Amurka will become a rump state? (if it ain't already?)

sorry for the pervy pun, couldn't resist...

7:42 PM  
Anonymous capo Regime said...

The Dunning Kruger nation.

The Dunning Kruger effect is truly a useful idea to understand the U.S.A. Basically, really stupid people have no idea they are stupid and have a false sense of superiority. You see it in students. The worse students have high self esteem and confidence whereas those who know a little something have some doubts and the truly smart have a grasp of how difficulty things are and are often plagued with doubt. This when aggregated to nations explains a great deal. The Swedes, the Belgians, the canadians, Aussies Japanse and yes the Mexicans are a careful and circumspect bunch in foreign relations, politics and national expression. The U.S.A? Chasing evil does and very self confident and full of swagger--an no sense of its utter vacuosness and stupidity. Also if you ever see a group of USA high school students walking about and say a group from another nation it will really make an impression--sweat pants, flip flops, messy hair, loud blank looks vs uniforms, good posture and moderated tones. Its striking also to see Mexican kids in mexican schools and then in the U.S. The U.S. schools makes these kids into creeps.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sword-

Many thanks. Things were getting just a bit too vanilla, so I appreciate your ramping up the P.Q. (Perve Quotient) for us. Wafers! Let's get pervy!

Ninc-

If u wanna propose to Ellen, better chg yr name, no? She doesn't wanna be called Mrs. Nincompoop, I'm sure. In any case, I'm quite sure it won't be a Catholic ceremony.

mb

8:39 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Yet another "Americans in a nutshell" example, Gallup took a poll in which they THOUGHT they were determining which countries around the world are the most popular and unpopular among Americans, but in which they really only managed to prove that idiot Americans will in fact give you a strong opinion about places they have not only have never visited and know NOTHING about (other than corporate media propaganda), but most likely couldn't even find on a map:

"Iran scored an all time low of 9% when it came to those voting in favor with North Korea coming second last with another meager 12% espousing a favorable view. Saudi Arabia a long term ally of the United States scored a relatively low 36% in-favor rating in the same relative area shared with the likes of Cuba (34% expressing a favorable view), Egypt (40%) and Venezuela (also 40%).

"China and Russia are viewed less favorable by the minority scoring 43% and 44% approval respectively.

"The Palestinian Authority wasn't highly favored scoring a mere 15%, a mere 1% more favorable than Syria, along with Afghanistan."

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/345520#ixzz2NNMqbZUn

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Berman,

This says it all.
features.cgsociety.org/newgallerycrits/g34/304034/304034_1231502912_large.jpg/

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@The Dude

You can almost write a book on the results of the poll you cited:

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/345520#ixzz2NNMqbZUn

Just look at the grouping of the countries you mentioned:
Iran and North Korea

Saudi Arabia and Cuba

Egypt and Venezuela

China and Russia

Palestinian Authority, Syria, and Afghanistan

You can deduce a lot of things about America, Americans, and the propagandized American media by simply looking at the nations and how they are grouped together. If America could wave a magic wand to make all the people in all the nations in the grouping disappear tomorrow, I bet she will do it instantly without blinking. The resources and perceived threats from those nations are too much to ignore in the eyes of America.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous mikbeth said...

Dr. Berman:

I work for a large non-defense Federal agency and I get to see first hand the idiocy that is our elected officials especially since my department deals with federal budgets. Your work has helped me understand reality far better than most of my colleagues. Of course they think I'm crazy but then what I told them would happen does happen they avoid acknowledging anything I said and keep on ignoring the truth. Lately I've been advising people to be happy with the sequester and move on as any "grand bargain" is likely to be worse.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Further back somewhere around the middle, Dr. Hackenbush mentioned the concept of the falling rate of profit as a possible serious problem worth considering. I'm not well read on economics and so don't feel qualified to comment but a quick search of the term led me to believe that it might have relevence to what's going on politically and socially now and in the future. Does anyone else have any thoughts on the matter? Dr. Hack?

10:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

Something odd happened w/that link. When I plugged it into my browser, I got "Not Found 404 Error". Then it disappeared from yr post altogether! Cd you check it out, make sure it's real, and then re-send? Thanks.

Mik-

Here's the single most impt fact u need to know in order to live a moderately sane life in the US: the people around u have shit for brains. I'm not saying this as a metaphor; they actually have excrement in their heads instead of gray matter. Once you grasp this, all the stuff around u--love, work, relationships, driving on the interstate, bowling, Whatever--starts to make sense. Trying to get sensible, intelligent behavior out of those around u is a blood-from-stone scenario: they can't give it 2u because they don't have it. No need to get angry, or even to react very much. As long as you choose to remain in the US, what is regarded as insane outside of America is regarded as sane w/in it. I'm telling you, once you just start to regard the people around you as no-loads, as hopeless, things will go a lot better for you, because you'll be in touch w/reality, and not jumping up and down thinking things shd be different. Stick a post-it on yr bathrm mirror to that effect, and look at it every day: EVERYONE IN MY ENVIRONMENT IS SERIOUSLY BRAIN DAMAGED. (Don't just read this and laugh; get yrself a post-it pad and a magic marker and put a note on the mirror; go on--now!) The truth is that there has never been, in the history of the world, a people or a nation as aberrant, as totally off the wall, as us. We are at the extreme far end of the neurotic spectrum, and that is the god's honest truth.

Edward-

No need for a magic wand. A vigorous nuking of all those countries (plus France and Canada) wd solve a lot of our foreign policy problems. (Trivia Question: in "Dr. Strangelove," when Slim Pickens went down w/the the bomb, when it was dropped at the end, what did he yell?)

mb

11:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Joe: Link came back, but I'm still getting a "Not Found" message.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Dani said...

Dr B

Remove the slash (/) at the end.
Ie, enter the url like this (copy and paste into your browser):

http://features.cgsociety.org/newgallerycrits/g34/304034/304034_1231502912_large.jpg

2:30 AM  
Anonymous k_pgh said...

Morris Berman said:
Joe: Link came back, but I'm still getting a "Not Found" message.

It's the extra slash at the end. Remove the slash, and Joe's link works.


Re: Eric Holder’s letter

The quasilegal phrase “engaged in combat” is Orwellian. It’s a precise sounding phrase, but its actual meaning lacks specificity and, perhaps worse, accuracy with respect to what you’d expect it mean.

Law Professors Kevin Jon Heller and Ryan Goodman have talked about this. Glenn Greenwald has a good summary near the end of his March 10th article at the Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/10/paul-filibuster-drones-progressives

http://opiniojuris.org/2013/03/07/color-me-unimpressed-by-holders-response-to-paul/

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com.br/2013/03/hiding-behind-details-wordsmithing-gwot.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/09/opinion/the-drone-question-obama-hasnt-answered.html


(I tried submitting this the other day, but I suspect something went wrong. I was blocking google’s scripts at the time. So, maybe that was the problem. On the other hand, blogger.com’s scripts were allowed to run, and I received confirmation that the comment was sent, but who knows. Whee tech!)

4:36 AM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

Kim's ass on a dollar bill would be a "remarkable" thing to see. Who knows what the hell that old white dude on it did to get there anyway...

O&D!!

6:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Thanks for help w/Joe's link. That really is a grim picture of USA today. How sad, that we got to this pt.

As for the Holder letter: those are gd links. Rand Paul will become a big hero, of course, but the real problem (to me) is: Why take Holder's word for it, even if there was no ambiguity at all? The US govt is not bothered by being in contempt of court, or being outside the law. They shoot 1st and provide justifications after. If they wanna drone a US citizen on US soil, they'll just do it. Nor will 99% of our fine upstanding citizens give a damn, as everyone on this blog knows.

mb

7:17 AM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

WAFer's,

Thanks for the help w/ the link. It is sad we got to this point, Dr. B., but I think it's even more sad "the fix is in" as you put it. When, in your opinion, did the fix start? Was it Nixon and the repeal of Bretton Woods, or was it 12 years of Reagonomics? And lets not forget, as sad as the situation is, the American people are complicit because this is what they wanted. Our gov't is great, let's just let them do what they want, pay no attention to the world, and keep living like all resources are limitless. I just hope we teach the world a lesson for a long time. Money, production, goods, are all well and good but only on a sustainable level.

12:28 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

Dr. B:

I like your idea of the message card taped to the bathroom mirror and I totally empathize with your “I AM SURROUNDED BY DOLTS”.

However, for my own card, hat tip to Capo Regime, I have chosen “I LIVE IN A DUNNING-KRUEGER WORLD”.

I believe this more closely reflects my own perceptions and the people I daily encounter (for instance, I have a relative who is referred to within the family as “Often Wrong, Never in Doubt”).

It has the additional benefits of simultaneously:
1. Defining the situation in which I find myself.
2. Providing a rule-of-thumb for dealing with it
(reminding me that dolts are always sure they are right).
3. Baffling, without insulting, my guests who see it
(and think it probably has something to do with the Higgs boson.
See Point 2, supra).

12:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

In an odd way, the fix has been in from sometime in the 17thC, as I suggest in WAF. Every time we had the opportunity to listen to an alternative voice, we didn't: it was hustling ueber alles. And then finally the Civil War, wh/originally was not fought for the purposes of slavery but for crushing the non-hustling way of life. Our fate was certainly sealed after that. Mark Twain called the subsequent period the Gilded Age; he said America wd never have a Golden Age, because it was just gold plating on top of a heap of dross. He called us out on our imperialism; we ignored that as well. After BW repeal, what had remained relatively stable in distribution of wealth began to flow in direction of the rich. But the pt remains that the 'vector' of America has been unidirectional from the late 16C, and made us so lopsided that finally we are tipping over. There can be no reversing 400 yrs of doing things one way, short of divine intervention.

mb

12:45 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Nincompoop -

You should consider taking Ray McGovern with you to ask questions and several pairs of shoes to sling at the former agent. Also, I suggest that u come up with a demonstration outside the venue focusing on HUGO CHAVEZ!

I agree about changing ur name too.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Shooting of the day:

http://news.yahoo.com/4-killed-ny-shops-police-search-suspect-155730840.html

The only thing that can surprize me now is a day without a shooting.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Tim-

True, but I think the thing we shd now be gunning for (pardon the pun) is 3-a-day: a breakfast shooting, a lunchtime massacre, a dinnertime blowout, and perhaps even an evening snack. Ideally, these wd all be carried out by privately owned drones. It's amazing how we keep saying that every killing is the work of a lone nutjob, never connecting the dots and grasping that the US is a lone nutjob.

Bowtie-

Well, you might try I AM SURROUNDED BY HIGGS BOSON PARTICLES. That shd keep 'em guessing!

mb

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman & Joe Hohos-

Indeed the fix has been in since the Civil War.

Some time back I mentioned that Alfred North Whitehead considered Walt Whitman “to have been one of the few very great poets that have ever lived.” While Whitman celebrated America in his early works, after the Civil War he recognized the ‘Gilded Age’ for what it was and, wrote in his later prose works:

“Society in these States is canker’d, crude, superstitious, and rotten… The spectacle is appalling. We live in an atmosphere of hypocrisy throughout… The depravity of the business classes of our country is not less than has been supposed, but infinitely greater. The official services of America, national, state, and municipal…are saturated in corruption, bribery, falsehood, maladministration… The best class we show, is but a mob of fashionably dress’d speculators and vulgarians… It is as if we were somehow being endow’d with a vast and more and more thoroughly appointed body, and then left with little or no soul”

I hope I don’t resurrect a ‘discussion’ of American vs. European culture, but check out Robert D. Faner’s 1951 book, “Walt Whitman & Opera.” Whitman was a real opera buff who frequented opera houses in New York, New Orleans, and wherever. According to Faner, Whitman’s poetry was deeply influenced by opera, particularly Italian opera, so that later in his life he wrote to friend, “But for the opera I could never have written “‘Leaves of Grass’.”

O&D,
David Rosen

3:01 PM  
Blogger Prolesser said...

Some Chavez facts from recent CP article that suggest that this "cult of personality" is unlike any "cult of personality" before:

A. Maduro has implicit support and is following his lead in thumbing his nose at the US.
B. In 2005, Chavez helped scuttle the U.S. goal of a Free Trade Area of the Americas. Later he spearheaded the formation of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) in 2008.
C.In 2010, Chavez again played a major role with the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, made up of hemispheric partners, excluding the United States and Canada.
D. The Bank of the South, also promoted by Chavez, seeks greater South-South monetary and financial autonomy.

Cults of personality usually fade after the personality fades. They are also not known for establishing long-term international cooperative institutions.

It also kills me that anybody from the US dares to use the word "dictator" to describe Chavez. There is this article I read a long time ago, actually, that argues that the computer makes everyone irony-challenged. It requires "flat" reading, taking everything literally. I would add, it also deadens self-awareness.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

The Dennis Rodman goodwill tour continues. The U.S. govt. should seriously consider sending Rodman to Afghanistan. After all, could he do worse than Chuck Hagel? Heck, Dr. Berman, I thought you were just kiddin' around about Kimmy dollars and a Kimmy cabinet. At the rate the U.S. is going, Rodman deserves to be defense secretary or at least put on the five-spot. Who's with me on this one?

http://news.yahoo.com/dennis-rodman-shows-rome-check-election-pope-182907844--nba.html

Jeff

4:39 PM  
Blogger Dr. Atomic said...

The mention of Mark Twain reminds me of the beginning of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, where Tom dupes his friends into not only whitewashing the fence for him, but actually paying him for the privilege. Truly, an all-American thing to do. Mark Twain knew what a hustler was.

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.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. B.,

I've seen you say more than once you feel the North crushed the South to prove their hustling way was right. Isn't slavery the ultimate form of hustling? Treating people like garbage and getting your fields tended for free while you sit back and do nothing sounds like the ultimate hustle. It seems like the plantation owners were enjoying their own style of hustling.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

The new Pope at least believes in humility and helping people:

Bergoglio himself felt most comfortable taking a very low profile, and his personal style has been the antithesis of Vatican splendor.

"It's a very curious thing: When bishops meet, he always wants to sit in the back rows. This sense of humility is very well seen in Rome," Rubin said before the 2013 conclave to choose Benedict's successor.

Bergoglio has stood out for his austerity. Even after he became Argentina's top church official in 2001, he never lived in the ornate church mansion where Pope John Paul II stayed when visiting the country, preferring a simple bed in a downtown building, heated by a small stove on frigid weekends. For years, he took public transportation around the city, and cooked his own meals.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/francis-first-pope-from-americas_n_2869332.html

5:12 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Here's something both "pervy" and "topical" (but perhaps I'm only in tacit compliance w/ "collapse of empire" rule here):

Of course, all the convents near the Vatican City have been given the heads-up!, and so are in the midst of preparations (just in case!) for a possible visit from the newly elected Holy Father. This was reported from one of the convents hoping to receive a such a visit:

At this undisclosed location, the mother superior, to get the place spruced up, assigned two nuns to repaint the guest bedroom. "Do a good job," she ordered, "and don't get any paint on your habits."

The nuns decided that the best way to not get paint on their clothes was to work in the nude. They had been painting for a couple of hours when there was a knock at the door.

"Who is it?" they asked.

"It's the Blind Man."

They figured that a blind man wouldn't be able to tell that they were naked, so they told him to come on in.

The door opened, and he exclaimed, "Hey, nice tits! Where do you want these blinds?"

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I read the news today, oh boy!"

A man waterboarded his kids.

Part of the descent into hell, I'd say.



6:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

I normally don't post Anons, so in future pls pick a handle. I suggest Rufus T. Firefly. Also, wd be gd if u cd provide link to that article. Thank you.

Near-

Remind me to tell u the Elvis/Pope joke, when I have a bit more time.

Joe-

I do say in WAF ch. 4 that it's pretty easy to have a laid-back way of life when you've got 4 million people doing yr work 4u (this is the type of remark my critics ignore, of course). But it actually depends on one's definition of hustling, and for me it was the presence of a for-profit, expanding economy. Slavery is really neofeudal (or even prefeudal). As to whether it really was part of the hustling cash economy, that's a huge debate, and I spend several pages discussing it in footnote 41, wh/I urge you to read. In the end, I think Gene Genovese had the edge in the argument: the economy may have been capitalist enuf, but antebellum Southern society and culture really were pre-capitalist. The pt is that 'hustling' is actually something of a technical term; strictly speaking, it doesn't mean just 'taking advantage of'. (Which wd make ancient Greece and Rome hustling societies, and they weren't.) Anyway, note 41 and the paradox of antebellum Southern society were lost on my critics, who generally weren't too bright. I think I can count on you to read what I actually wrote.

Pro-

There's no question that Chavez did a ton of good for the poor. But he was also a bit of a caudillo; trying to get himself elected pres for 25 yrs, or whatever it was, is one example of that.

mb

7:28 PM  

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