April 18, 2013


OK, Wafers and Waferettes: Nothing between my ears right now but the sound of wind in a tunnel, so I'll just give this one a number and we can continue on our merry way. Just remember: you live among dolts.



Anonymous Mike said...


You ask, "Cd there be any better evidence that the sun is finally setting on the American Empire? We still need a "Suez Moment," but it can't be far off now."

While I agreed with the rest of what you had to say in your comment, here I feel somewhat compelled to disagree with you. At least from a purely military standpoint, the American Empire does not seem to be collapsing. Whereas after the Suez Crisis, the British suffered a major blow to their prestige and influence in the Middle East, there is no event on the horizon that looks like it would play a similar role in the U.S. American unilateral military dominance, the sanctions on Iran, treating the whole world as a global battlefield where it can execute people at will - none of this has provoked any real, effective resistance on the world stage. Not only is the US a military empire with an estimated thousand-plus military bases, but it has many allies throughout the world enabling it to remain so.

While I agree with you that American culture and the capacity of Americans to think is currently in a state of collapse, at least from a purely military point of view no such collapse seems to be imminent. As I see it (and I admit I don't have your long-range vision as a professional historian), the defining feature of an empire is its global military predominance, its capacity and willingness to exploit other countries beyond its borders through coercive techniques. Since this is not in threat, I find it hard to agree with you that the American Empire is in a state of imminent collapse. Don't get me wrong though, I wish it was collapsing.

Also if I recall correctly, you have shown in WAF how influential American culture is throughout many countries. Does that fact not also call into question the idea that America faces imminent collapse as an empire?

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Its fascinating how people view collapse. Perhaps short attention spans and too many disaster movies incline people toward thinking the collapse will occur next wednesday at 3:00 p.m eastern time... As you point out its well underway and much like is noted by Gibbon the end comes in the form of a death of a thousand cuts. If you read Grossman or spent any time in the Soviet Union the collapse had really begun in 1918 and WWII reall sped it along. I was there in 1980 and as a young man was puzzled how people in the U.S, could concieve of the place as a threat--it was a mess. Things are headed down hill. Just for a moment consider that for 2016 Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton are the plausible presdential canditates. Lets see 300 million population and the best that can be done is these two? And morevoer what kind of "democracy" has these kind of dynasties? Not even Peru! Think of the fact that college students do not have to take calculus to graduate anymore (remember core curriculums), debtors prisons are now the norm in many states and I cant get a decent pastrami sandwich in D.C. Ah the culture of Spectacle. but alas even the spectacles du jour all seem rather played out--the ultimate sign of collapse--no creativity asde from gizmos and entertainments.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Boris the Spider said...

Another sign of Japan's appreciation of personal craftsmanship is the work of Miyazaki, the wonderful animation director. I highly recommend his films for a vision of a world where life moves more slowly and at a human pace. My favorite is "Totoro," which actually inspired a forest preservation project to save the woods where Miyazaki grew up, called the Totoro no Furusato
(The Homeland of Totoro) Foundation.

Here in the States, Disney has dubbed most of his films into English, and they're actually not badly done.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for writing in; you make some gd points. The problem w/imperial overstretch, as it's called, is that it can look powerful from the outside and yet be bleeding the country to death from the inside. This was Rome's situation, and I believe it's ours as well. In addition, our glorious military can't even win two small wars in two small countries, and these failures are there for everyone to see. Most of our allies play along with the illusion of US power, but they know that once severe economic rot sets in, our days are numbered. (See also my essay on "Rope-a-Dope" in QOV.) Military glory is the last resort, last holdout, of an empire, and given the fact that the military has a rather shabby record--no serious victory since WW2--I think collapse is fairly obvious. Korea was a stalemate, Vietnam a loss, and so on. We're basically cowards: we just pick on tin pot dictators, like Saddam Hussein, and even then, the results turn out to be mixed or worse. US Naval War College has predicted that we will be eclipsed in power by China in the Pacific Rim w/in 7 years. And so on. The US can't exploit China, or Russia, or even the EU, with coercive techniques. It can exploit weak, single states, but that is indicative of its own weakness, it seems to me.

As for the influence of American culture, that is certainly real, but it's not clear what it amounts to in terms of power politics or geopolitical control. Plus, there is the question of how much of it now is actually associated w/the US, as just opposed to being a kind of World Junk Culture.

In any case, I think the cutting edge of the collapse will probably be economic. China and Japan already own our debt--$3 trillion worth--and our economy wd collapse if they called it in. This may be a slo-mo Suez Moment, I dunno. But my point is that the military is a facade, a show; and even then, it's making a poor showing. 12 yrs in Afghanistan and bupkis to show for it, for example.

Of course, we could disintegrate without a Suez moment, but then no one expected the actual Suez moment in 1956. The future remains an open book, and I suspect there will be many unhappy surprises in store for the US. Whether they'll be overtly Suez-like is hard to say.

So take heart, amigo; we are definitely coming apart at the seams. We'll probably be a 3rd-rate power by 2050 (nothing I can prove, but it seems likely).


5:50 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

The u.s. could piss China off in some way, like invading north Korea or some other way (remember, we're not very diplomatically adept), and they could call in our debt like Eisenhower. I'm sure that the Chinese have studied the u.s. actions during the actual Suez crisis, and I'm sure that their purchase of our debt is a strategic effort to be able to pull their own Suez moment when they feel the time is right. My guess is that the Chinese don't feel the time is right just yet

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Not only has America failed to accomplish much of anything other than massive destruction, displacement of population, and the creation of more enemies in Iraq & Afghanistan, we still have plenty of pols & pundits calling for war with Iran, and possibly North Korea as well. The military itself knows that American power is stretched dangerously thin right now; how much more will any further wars stretch it? To the breaking point? Could well be. Not to minimize the horrific power of American military technology by any means -- but I think MB is right about this. It seems to me that other countries don't fear our power now so much as they just flat-out hate it. And there's a big difference between fear & hate. My gut feeling is that America will continue to look militarily all-powerful up to a certain point, when that illusion will abruptly collapse with terrifying speed, and with such impact that nobody will be able to doubt it.

Even more telling is the overall atmosphere of everyday in America these days. Even its boosters (perhaps especially its boosters) sense that something is irreparably broken; everyone can see countless little signs of disintegration & decay. It's an almost tangible feeling, a sour, bitter taste in the air, a shadow growing in the corner of the desperately averted eye. As Leonard Cohen sings, "Everyone knows."

Let me second Boris the Spider's recommendation of Miyazaki's films, My Neighbor Totoro in particular. And let me add his more recent film, The Secret World of Arietty, for the sheer beauty of its intricate, loving detail & and its slow, contemplaive pace.

For a similar film of slow, contemplative beauty, I'll also recommend The Scent of Green Papaya.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The fear vs. hate thing is perhaps an impt pt. Remember Chavez giving a talk at the UN a few yrs ago, standing where Bush Jr. stood the day b4, and saying that Bush was the devil, and that the place smelled of sulfur? 15 yrs earlier, no Latin American leader wd have had the nerve to do such a thing; to publicly say to the Pres of the US, "Stick it, douche bag." It's not a Suez Moment, but it certainly ain't nothing.


7:40 PM  
Anonymous Marcos said...


Have you being watching the coverage of the explosion in Texas? The members of the media keep comparing the explosion in the little town to explosions in Iraq. Is this an intentional or dumb mistake?

All the explosions in Iraq were intentional and they were carried out by the members of the US military following the orders of a Texan named Bush. There was no justification for Bush to invade Iraq to cause the deadly explosions which killed millions of innocent Iraqis. I am confused about the slips of tongues in the media in comparing West, Texas to atrocities in Iraq. Are they saying that Karma got those Texans in West Texas? WTF?

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Joao said...

I also think it's prudent to question whether the US is truly on the road to collapse per se, as opposed to simply transforming into something more overtly oppressive and plutocratic. (It's always been those things, of course, but there seems to be a waning interest in pretending otherwise anymore.) Dr. Berman and others have made excellent, undeniable points about this society's numerous failings and insurmountable problems, but who can say what the future holds? Couldn't the apparent inevitability of collapse be nothing more than yet another stage of naively optimistic denial--ie, of that Hollywood-inculcated sense that the baddies will eventually get their just deserts and that things ultimately must get better? (I'm oversimplifying a bit, of course--this is the internet, after all.) As long as some supply of TV shows, technotrinkets, propaganda parading as news, etc. can be maintained, people will continue eating it up and worshiping wealth even as they're standing in bread lines or dying for lack of affordable medical care. Perhaps things will get bad enough to be considered de facto collapsed, but in my estimation that doesn't guarantee that the likes of Lockheed Martin, CitiGroup, Monsanto, etc. (ad nauseum) are going away anytime soon. I may not be saying anything terribly shocking to this crowd, but my point is that "collapse" may not be the best term for what's happening around us, insofar as it carries an unwarranted promise of metamorphosis and renewal. (Remember, too, that many of those who held power in the Communist Bloc did very, very well for themselves as their society "collapsed".)

(Then again, maybe I'm just hooked on doom porn! "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." :)

10:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We did discuss that possibility on the blog a while ago. The usual "Dual Process" scenario says that while capitalism (not just the US) crumbles, alternative expts of a steady-state, eco-sustainable nature emerge, become a shadow socioeconomy, and eventually replace the dying system. But there is another Dual Process possibility wh/instead pits the alternative expts against a 1% techno-neofeudal regime, run by a tiny elite, determined to defeat these expts and to keep themselves in power. Drones, spying, NSA, CMU's etc. wd all be part of this Orwellian world, and as at the end of Brave New World, the 'alternate people' wd hang out on Indian reservations (of sorts), marginalized, trying to preserve their humanity--NMI's in short. Because the Power Elite doesn't really care if capitalism collapses, or what the economic system is called; it could be called choppedliverism, for all they care. Semantics be damned: all they want is that the relations of power remain the same, and a neofeudal pyramid regulated by hi-tech surveillance and weapons systems wd certainly do the job. Evolving beyond capitalism might prove to be a cakewalk. Evolving beyond some combo of Orwell and Huxley: different story. Wafers are encouraged to draw up scenarios for this 2nd version of the Dual Process, in which the Neofeudal Technostate collapses from w/in, and the alternative folks slowly emerge victorious--like Christianity in the late Roman Empire, perhaps. (By which time it got too victorious, of course, and under Constantine *became* the state. Ugh. Why do we keep doing that? See my essay, "The Hula Hoop Theory of History," in QOV.)


11:20 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Given America’s size, it may take the cuts of 1000 “Suez Moments” to bring about a full collapse, which is why the collapse feels more like a steady decline. These Suez Moments are taking place at an increasing pace. Just in recent weeks North Korea defied, mocked, and humiliated the US and the US backed down in the most cowardly manner possible. The other day Venezuela accused the US of plotting a coup, but the US was not able to respond coherently. Iran has been defying and mocking the US for years now, and the US is unable to do a thing about it. The same goes for Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq. Then we have the ongoing Gitmo hunger strike, the Assange situation, this week’s 600 page report indicting Obama and Bush over torture and war crimes. Then there’s the Connecticut school shooting, the Boston bombings, etc., etc. The collapse it well on its way. More so, it has already taken a farcical turn. One can’t help but laugh seeing Kim Jong Un’s impertinence or hearing Ahmadinejad state that “all options are on the table” when dealing with the US. Let’s face it, nobody is afraid of the US anymore. The US has become a caricature.

Re. American culture, rumors of its influence on other countries has been greatly exaggerated. People in other countries don’t live their lives by the standards Hollywood sets for them, and non-American teenagers don’t listen to much hip-hop or gangsta rap. The penetration of US culture in other countries is just another desperate exaggeration by the US mainstream media.

Also, US corporations are despised across the globe today. For example, Bechtel managed to irreparably ruin America’s reputation in Romania, and, after a brief experiment with Monsanto, that company is now hated by virtually all farmers. People in other countries are not as dumb as they are here, and they also have a memory. Additionally, Julian Assange and Anonymous really put the fear in the hearts of corrupt politicians across the globe, so they now think twice before signing another no-bid contract with the ilk of Bechtel.

The best description of the US Empire is Chris Hedges’ “Empire of Illusion”. An illusion that is fading quickly.

5:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, it's interesting to think abt all this, and what actually constitutes a collapse. An accurate image of the US today might be Uncle Sam as an old, broken-down man, but with a big gun in his hand, which he is waving about: all he's got left, poor shmuck. But a few things come to mind:

1. Yr rt abt Kim Jong Un giving the US the finger, but for what it's worth, the guy looks like he fell on his head at a very early age.
2. Iran has also been jerking us around, and we can't seem to do much more than huff and puff. Perhaps we're waiting for Israel to attack them for us, I dunno. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad is also a horse's ass.
3. What 600-pp. report r.u. talking abt?
4. I remain very curious as to the motives of the Boston bombers. Photos of suspects are of white guys. Are they Timothy McVeigh types? If so, this is a very different scenario than Ay-rab terrorism, and it might suggest that the gov't just can't contain things any longer; that we are disintegrating internally at a faster rate than we thought.
5. I hear hip-hop and gangsta rap all over Mexico, even as background music in stores. In my gym, I occasionally ask the folks at the desk to change the disk, because I get tired of working out to "moffo," "bitches," and etc.--lyrics that the staff doesn't understand.
6. Empire of Illusion is a gd title. I had been thinking of writing something called "Empire of Children," because that's how I see the American people--childish and immature, ignorant of the adult world, and preoccupied with toys. Several of the late Roman emperors were actually kids, BTW. Clinton and Bush Jr. aren't much more than that, emotionally speaking.


5:56 AM  
Blogger jml said...

This video may be of interest to you, maybe you've already seen it. About 8 1/2 minutes into it David Susuki compares how differently Americans react to natural catastrophe vs. the Japanese. He uses Katrina and the typhoon which hit Japan a couple of years ago as an example. After Katrina, there was looting and destruction and mass hysteria (remember the Superdome?). In Japan, they sat quietly and waited until they could make sense of things to slowly rebuild.


Also, an article entitled "How Empires Fall" by Charles Smith which may be of interest to fellow WAFers

A quote: "Two of the key characteristics of an empire in terminal decline are complacency and intellectual sclerosis, what I have termed a failure of imagination."


7:58 AM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

Next week I'm headed to rural Kansas for a five month long job near Cimarron National Grassland. I'm planning to live off the grid as much as possible: no apartment, no appliances. I'm taking what I need to camp while I attempt to build my first earthen house -- I've also got what I need for gardening and woodworking. I was frustrated with my corporate job in a glass box, so I've decided to start my journey to live much simpler and see how much I can do for myself. It's taken a lot of self-education to be able to do this, all I'd known my whole life is working long hours at jobs to pay for a pile of consumer goods; I had no idea how to be self-sufficient. More than anything I'm doing this for my happiness, not so much a fear of collapse or concern for the environment. If other people feel strongly about the US system of chaos, hustling, and consumption, this is an option -- totally doable if you're willing to work at it.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Here is an article I found to be very interesting history, by Christopher Ketcham (re: monopoly genesis), in the most recent CounterPunch magazine.


These magazines shud be preserved for future aliens so they will know people existed like, Senor Doctor Berman, Dovidel, Bingo and Tim Luckman.

This article reminds me of the t-v garbage show aptly called the "Shark Tank". The billionaire contestants constantly screw, mock, and gang up on the millionaire proles but they bravely hang in there hoping to get ahold of a little more cash.

You can see their faces markedly light up when they realize a money machine idea has a "letter of patent".

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I know presidents often have to hold 2 contradictory ideas at the same time. For example, JFK prosecuting the Mob knowing that they were instrumental in getting him elected. But I think Obama's speech yesterday in Boston is the mother of all cognitive dissonance during which he said "In the face of those who would visit death upon innocence we will choose to save [drone attacks on first responders],and to comfort [drone attacks on funerals]and to heal. We choose friendship. We choose love." This from a man who has waged Murder Inc. upon at least 6 Arab countries. As someone wrote in Counterpunch, Boston was a violent act in a violent country.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

As far as collapse goes, not only are the N. Korea's and Venezuela's of the world unafraid, but the rest of the countries in the emerged and emerging markets that I've seen pay the U.S. little mind. Sure, they discuss the products (iPhones still everywhere) and finance, and they often import copious amounts of our bad TV and music, but as (I think it was) MB pointed out before, that stuff isn't really American anymore, it's just kind of global crap-culture. American Idol is translated w/ the exact same format into something like 50+ languages (and was British to begin with). The huge big-budget special effects films are being funded more and more by Dubai, or Russian oligarchs, etc., and cater to global tastes (if that's the right word). This crap culture, while stil crap, is becoming un-American rapidly, though many don't seem to notice.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

May I add a suggestion? I opine that "I live among dolts" is too short a phrase to accurately describe the situation. I would lengthen it to "I live in real life and browse the Internet among dolts." Almost every major page, esp. if it's American in origin, from Yahoo! to CNN, attracts bigots, trolls and dunces with simplistic, prejudiced, one-track thinking. The comments sections after articles simply draw them in like flies. In the case of Yahoo!, EVERY single political story is responded to by rabid nativist/pseudo-patriotic muppets (with all due respect to Jim Henson) who like comparing Hispanics to cockroaches and the primordial ooze, and who believe anything other than bedding the military or the foreign policy establishment constitutes an act of treason. What is worse, not even personal blogs are safe. Here, MB and WAFers, delight yourselves with this example (head to the comments): http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/racism-against-middle-easterners-in-america/
As you can see, these clowns could have easily been called anti-Semites if their vitriol had been directed at Jews instead of Muslims, Arabs and Iranians- not only that, but they show no political or historical sophistication whatsoever regarding U.S. entanglements in the Middle East.
Oh, and I would like to finish with one more point to consider: Norman Livergood of hermes-press.com may not be as direct or harsh as MB, but he certainly doesn't entertain the illusion that his fellow Yanks are decent and rational. I recommend six articles from his library: "America's Suicidal Ignorance", "People Cannot Recognize Evil", "Moral Evolution", "Contemporary America is in Essence Nazi Germany", "The Ideology of Nastiness" and "Arrested Mental and Spiritual Development". The titles speak for themselves, don't they? I will finish by quoting him: "This culture will undoubtedly not survive, and many persons will probably not survive either." "..."and similar to what was said in the Declaration of Independence, when a culture and its causative world-view become destructive of human welfare, it is the right-and the necessity-of humans to disaffirm the old world and bring forth a new culture."

12:34 PM  
Blogger Lucia said...

Greetings Dr B and WAFers

Long time lurker, first time poster here.

Heard on the radio this morning a very interesting tidbit about one of the Boston suspects which is repeated here in Slate:


“Originally from Chechnya, but living in the United States since five years, Tamerlan says: ‘I don't have a single American friend, I don't understand them.’

Tamerlan says he doesn't drink or smoke anymore: ‘God said no alcohol.’ A muslim, he says: ‘There are no values anymore," and worries that "people can't control themselves.’”

Although I can’t agree with the no alcohol part of his statement as it is Friday and there is a margarita that will need drinking this afternoon, sadly (but in no part condoning his actions) I do sympathize with his statement that I don’t understand most Americans either.

I don’t feel comfortable suggesting that whatever anger this young man had was a product of his contrary feelings about America and that that in any way is an excuse for the devastation that he wrought, but really, Americans really are a collection of hostile shallow morons, and that factor couldn’t have helped.

America seems to be a very comfortable place for those who are fully invested in the circus but an otherwise very hostile and lonely place for many others who don’t or aren’t willing to drink the American brand Kool-Aid.


1:04 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hello Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Tim Lukeman-

Indeed, the creation of enemies and U.S foreign policy in general are two very big parts of the larger problem America has with the world. I remember scratching my head about the date of September 11; scratching, while the planes were hitting the WTC and the Pentagon. Of course! The coup in Chile, I blurted out to my wife. This has to be retaliation for what Nixon and Kissinger did to Chile on September 11, 1973. Little did I know, back then, that this was blowback for a half century of screwing around in the Middle East.

After 9-11, it slowly began to dawn on me just how hated we were. Once I began to break out of the fog (thanks to the Waferian Outlook), I realized that one could circle a map of the world with an index finger, drop it virtually anywhere, identify the location, and make a compelling case as to why this particular location has a deep-rooted hatred for America. Not a pretty picture for sure. Thanks for your thoughts...


1:18 PM  
Anonymous Politically Incorrect said...

"Evolving beyond some combo of Orwell and Huxley: different story. Wafers are encouraged to draw up scenarios for this 2nd version of the Dual Process, in which the Neofeudal Technostate collapses from w/in, and the alternative folks slowly emerge victorious--like Christianity in the late Roman Empire, perhaps. (By which time it got too victorious, of course, and under Constantine *became* the state. Ugh. Why do we keep doing that? See my essay, "The Hula Hoop Theory of History," in QOV.)"

I think you hit the nail on the head with that one... why do we keep doing that? is precisely why we keep doing it...you say look around at the stupidity that surrounds us. I postit that we will very likely do the exact same thing or something very similar.. I recently ran across a series of videos ("How should we then live?")by evangelical theologian Francis Schaeffer which concluded with him saying that we would either choose to go back to some form of spiritually (Christian in his terms) directed type of society ("Utopian" probably very short lived and ending as a theocracy) I just couldn't help think that in hinting to the mystical takes into account some of your previous work in Wandering God - or it could follow an imposed order devolving into an appocalyptic abyss (totalitarian - police state - 'Blade Runner' on steroids). Which there would still be some 'other side' to come out of?

Anyway, I thought the reference to us needing mystery in the world to keep a sense of our relation to it sounded very familiar in your work. Nowadays there's the notion science can conquer anything, that it's a one size fits all answer to everything ... which is the crux of our problem... I don't personally subscribe to Schaeffer's 'vision' as he got hooked up with some real kooks (Ultra rt wing Dominionists like Rushdooney among others) But I think there's something to how the pendulum has swung toward the nihilistic world we are living in - reaching a point of no return causing a split or spin off to a return to some form of monastic (if somewhat warped spiritualism). You've referenced sf writer Le Guin on this. Anyway, food for thought... I'd think it's kind of hard to put the genie back in the bottle but who knows? Maybe someone will find a tattered copy of WAF and build a religion based on it... just think of the possiblities!

1:50 PM  
Anonymous For What it's Worth said...

Here's an interesting tidbit from a book about Zen Buddhism. The English language has an emphasis on personal pronouns, (I want, I need, I have) while in Japanese, it's possible to make sentences without the "I" or other personal pronouns in all but a few cases. The author concludes "The strong assertion of the "I" in contemporary American speech, as well as the decline of the passive voice in favor of the active, may reveal that we no longer value humility and self effacement, if we ever did." Something to meditate on.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Remember Bush:

Fool me one, you can be fooled again:


The same day the gun control legislation was voted down was the same day the bombs went off in Boston.

The uncle of the two brothers says that they are losers. The aunt of the two brothers says that someone out there is setting them up to take the blame and that they are not capable of such bombings.

Do research on the internet about security cameras on traffic lights. This has become a lucrative industry for big security companies. They now want to place security cameras in every street in America. I am very suspicious especially after all the crimes and looting in Iraq by Bush and his cronies.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Al Qaeda picked 9/11 because you dial 911 in the US in case of emergency, and they wanted to pt out that we were in an emergency situation. But it backfired, because instead of reflecting on ourselves, we made them the problem. Not that they were doing us any favors, but we cd have reacted more intelligently, reviewed our own record in the Middle East. Anyway, that's my own theory on the subject.

All in all, I'm coming to the conclusion that Waferism is the only answer.


3:37 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...


That sounds like fun! I haven't been to the region before, but I love my grasslands.


Don't forget your T.S. Eliot--

"This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper"

4:18 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...


Here is an even more interesting take on the Texas explosion. While Boston is in total lockdown, the corporate criminals whose lies led to the destruction of a small town and the killing of TEN TIMES as many people as the Boston bombing have not even been arrested, nor will they likely ever be:

"In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency fined the company that ran the fertilizer plant $2,300 and told the owners to correct problems, an EPA spokesman told CNN.

"David Gray said the company certified that it had fixed the deficiencies, which included a failure to file a risk management program plan on time.

"Also in 2006, West Fertilizer had a complaint filed against it for a lingering smell of ammonia, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality website shows.

"Separately, the plant had informed the Environmental Protection Agency that it presented no risk of fire or explosion, according to The Dallas Morning News. It did so in 2011 in an emergency planning report required of facilities that use toxic or hazardous chemicals.

"The plant's report to the EPA said even a worst-case scenario wouldn't be that dire: There would be a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that wouldn't kill or injure anyone, the newspaper reported.

"What happened Wednesday night was much worse."


I would also point out that this information appeared at the very bottom of the CNN story.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

It's hilariously indicative of who the "official voices" of our "culture" consider the real "Enema" that they were predicting that the Boston culprit wld be a "right-wing Constitutional Christian militia white boy." When it's a massacre by a white culprit, he's a "lone nut" - no pattern. When it's a massacre by a black culprit (e.g., Omar Thornton), it's down the memory hole - what massacre? And when it's a massacre resembling terrorism (bombs 'n' stuff), it's "right-wing Christian militias." In short, the media, though blinkered by absurd taboos & stereotypes, blurt their deepest & realest fear: that the entire country will be burned to the ground by Billy Bob and their other Middle American neighbors. The Enema is us (t-shirt slogan).

Chechnya isn't on their radar screen, Nicaragua isn't, East Timor isn't, El Salvador isn't (they couldn't find these places on a map if their lives depended on it - and they do). When fear & anxiety seize them, these people instinctively leap to a conclusion: the cause is either A-rabs (The Other!) or Brad & Steve (My Neighbors!).

Think it's any better on levels higher than that of a TV weather person? Well, as Shane said, "we're not very diplomatically adept," & here is one example:

As Bertrand Russell once said, "It's TV weather people all the way up."

(Apologies to TV weather people.)

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

MB- I know you recommend alternative news sites over the old print/TV media, and I completely agree with that. However... even those "big" alt sites have their critics, among the many smaller alt sites. Sibel Edmonds, for instance, claims that if you really look into the sponsors of Common Dreams, Alternet, etc. you typically find they are beholden to many of the same big corporations that control the old media. So, they're "better", yes, but still have "third rail" issues they won't touch, she would say. Wondering what you make of that.. (Sibel's own site is boilingfrogspost.com btw.)

James Newlin- That sounds interesting, please report on your results. Have you heard of the home style called "Earth Ships"? I think they started in the 70s as an experiment building self-sustaining houses. They have thick earthen walls, often built into hillsides, and window layout that's sensitive to the path of the sun. They are self-heating/cooling in winter and summer, plus have methods for waste disposal and water collection, and much more. As I understand it, it's been an ongoing experiment, many of them in the Southwest. People can learn about them by working on them for others, in some sort of trading situation. I've always wanted to investigate that, visit some. I'm sure there's a main website for it if you google it.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You may recall that Counter Punch essay by John Stauber a short while back, abt how The Nation, Democracy Now, and so many supposedly left-wing media outlets are actually beholden to rich Democrats wanting to channel dissident energy into the Obama camp. Frankly, w/the exception of CP, none of the alt. websites will touch me w/a 10-ft pole, because I don't say what they want to hear: in particular, that it's Game Over. I can get a hearing indirectly on sites like AlterNet, Truth-out, or Truthdig, if someone comments or reviews me or sponsors me etc.; but they'll run a direct essay by me when pigs fly. It's pretty depressing, it seems to me; I can't be the only one they marginalize, obviously. CP is a true, courageous anomaly.


"I will show you morons in a handful of dust."


9:45 PM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

Newtown or Boston was not caused by guns; they were caused by self. Therefore, we need self-control, not gun control.

Read and enjoy:


11:29 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

“The suspect hid on a boat.”

And where was our carrier fleet? Nowhere to be found! I’ve already called all my elected officials and told them we need to immediately double the aircraft carrier fleet to at least thirty vessels so we will never be left defenseless again. I encourage all Wafers to do the same.

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Chechnya's pro-Russian president, Ramzan Kadyrov, has spoken out about the suspects' backgrounds.

"It is necessary to seek the roots of evil in America," Kadyrov wrote, according to a translation from Foreign Policy.


1:10 AM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

Dr. Hackenbush - I have heard of earthships, though I don't know much about them. I've been reading The Art of Natural Building, a collection of essays about different forms of natural buildings, from earthbags, to wattle and daub, to hemp. Working as an architectural engineer and building scientist, I had never heard of these forms of building.

It's amazing that in such a short time period we've lost so much knowledge about these buildings - now building less energy efficient, less comfortable, industrialized tract homes and McMansions. In 1900 there were 1 million cob houses in Britain and 50,000 people working as thatchers. Now, Britain is following the same destructive industrialized building practices as the US, using non-renewable resources, clearcutting, and light-frame construction that can be sold and shipped around the world (including Britain's thatch, once local, but now imported from China).

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


That picture of a geriatric Uncle Sam armed to the teeth is hilarious. One of his problems seems to be that he’s been losing his eyesight and can’t aim so well anymore.

This is the report I was referring to:

“New Torture Report Blames Obama and the Media for Not Confronting the Truth”

This is Amy’s reporting about it:

Re. the Boston attack, to me this looks like a poorly implemented false flag. Can we trust a government that now openly funds and arms Al Qaeda in Syria and Libya? Or an FBI that routinely radicalizes and then entraps suspects? Or after Gladio has been documented? How could this attack have happened with so many private security and military all over the area? And then CNN and the BPD changing suspects three times, first a domestic Tea Party type, then a Saudi, and now Chechnyans. They just can’t seem to get their story right. One theory I heard is that the Boston attack was merely a distraction from the report mentioned above.

In any case, I think the security state is accelerating its rise. In the past few months it seems to be all about mercenaries and private security firms.

From your knowledge of history, do you think the mercenary element resemble the Roman Empire's final phases?

7:06 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Sorry! Left out Zosima and Sanctuary.

Dr B -

Op-Ed News seems to be a site that would love to interview u AND run ur essays.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I doubt the Boston thing was any sort of US govt conspiracy. The truth is that much of the world hates the US, and that probably includes Chechens--and the suspects were Muslims to boot (I gather). We have been conducting a war vs. Islam since 9/11, to replace the USSR so we can have an enemy and thus bolster our shaky sense of who we are; and as Jeremiah Wright said, "If you are going to terrorize other people, they are going to terrorize you back." In relatively open societies, such as Europe or the US (or India, for that matter), it's pretty easy for anyone so inclined to strap on a bomb and wander into a crowd, or leave a bomb in a wastebasket or whatever. Unless the US goes into total martial lockdown, nationwide, we can't protect ourselves from this sort of thing, really (altho apologizing to the Islamic world might be a start, eh?). But if we really wanna go the paranoia route, it might be something like this: Remember my scenario, of what I called the Dual Process? Well, in what shd be called Dual Process II, the conflict is between the eco-sustainable alternative and the Neofeudal Techno-State, the 1% that want total control of everything via surveillance, the NSA, CMU's, and etc. I suppose a gd way to get that is to start hiring Chechen rebels or whomever to do random bombings. I recall yrs ago I said that we were one more terrorist attack away from a police state (this was before the NDAA etc.). Well, we now have a police state. How many terrorist attacks b4 we go into total martial lockdown? We wd probably need one Boston bombing a month, arranged by the US govt--well, I'm just not that paranoid, I confess.

Meanwhile, here's a strange article that wants to simultaneously indict and exempt the American soul:


He talks abt how 91% of Americans want stricter gun controls, and how the barbarism is located in the Congress and Senate. No mention of the fact that 50% of American households own guns, or that 62% of Americans approve of drone strikes. Ernest Renan wrote that every government is a daily plebiscite, and it shd be clear by now that the barbarism is not located just in Washington or Wall St.

Thanks for torture report ref. The problem is that the report accuses Obama only of a cover-up of what Bush-Cheney did, not of continuing the torture himself. What we need now is exposure of what is *currently* going on at Gitmo and black sites in Eastern Europe; I very much doubt that torture ended w/the election of Mr. Obama. (And then, as far as American barbarism goes, I'm quite sure most Americans are willing to give Bush-Cheney a pass on all that, since they were 'protecting' the country.)


9:20 AM  
Anonymous Marcos said...

Here is a good measure of success in American market economy (as Berman asks in one of his radio appearance, success to who?):


10:51 AM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

Ah, Dr. B.,
I just wish you weren’t right so often.
Or as the Lily Tomlin line used to have it, “No matter how cynical you are, it’s hard to keep up.”

So, in recent dolt news, during the shootout with the Boston Marathon Bomber, people were standing out in the line of fire, trying to video the thing on their cell phones.
Here’s an excellent article on why that’s a bad idea:

People worry about conspiracy and the police state.
But really, how hard is it to control people with the intelligence of cows?

11:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is where we come up against the limits of the usual Michael Moore or Chomsky argument, about a well-meaning, intelligent people being oppressed by a vile, rich elite. Americans are not well-meaning, and they are not intelligent. And the study released by the Pew Charitable Trust, March 2012, indicates that most of them want to be *part* of that vile, rich elite, if they had the chance. 24% of them say it's OK to use violence to get what you want. 29% believe the sun revolves around the earth, or don't know which revolves around which. The data on the stupidity and violence of this population are in, and I'm afraid it don' look so good. *These* are the people who are going to reverse the collapse of American civilization? They don' even know what civilization *is*.

A recent article in the journal n+1 about police persecution of a commune in France (a gd example of what I've called Dual Process II: the Sarkozy govt going after a group trying to practice decentralization, eco-sustainability, etc.) was amazing to me. At one pt a police captain is reporting on a bk published by the commune, and writes that the 1st 7 chapters are "arranged in a structure that recalls Dante's *Inferno*". Can u imagine an American police captain writing such a thing, or even knowing who Dante was? Then a judge questions the alleged author of the book, and says to him:

"Curiously, the dates of October 25 and November 7 are not as harmless as they appear, since everyone knows that in October 25 in the Julian calendar--which is November 7 in the Gregorian calendar--is the date remembered by history as that of the Petrograd Insurrection, a key episode in the Russian Revolution....This same night of October 25 to 26, 1917...the Winter Palace was taken by insurgents."

Can you imagine such a discussion taking place in an American courtrm? Can you imagine an American judge saying "since everyone knows..." Most Americans don't even know that Russia had a revolution in 1917 (or ever). Go out in the street and ask the 1st 1000 Americans you meet what the Gregorian calendar is, see what happens. Or ask them who Lenin was, or who our allies were during WW2. Etc.


1:29 PM  
Anonymous Mr. D said...

Just FYI, the copy of Joel Magnusson's "The Approaching Great Transformation" which I pre-ordered from Amazon has finally arrived. It looks like a good book. I understand the inevitability of the decline of corporate consumer culture, but I appreciate his pragmatic optimism in pointing towards mindful and healthy responses.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mr. D-

I suspect you'll enjoy it. Joel and I don't agree on prospects for the US, since my estimate is that it's roughly negative infinity, and I told him that when we met several yrs ago. But we remained friends, w/a lot to talk abt; and even if he's wrong and I'm rt, it's still worth exploring the expt'l alternatives going on in the US and trying to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Joel's hustling-crap detector is very gd, as you'll see. I'm trying to get it published in Spanish for him; it seems to me that folks in Europe concerned abt steady-state etc. might benefit from his evaluation of what works and what is green b.s.


3:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: a new Post-It I just thought of, wh/I encourage u all to put on the bathrm mirror:


3:52 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

MB - I love your new Post-it.

Here is yet another astounding factoid about the West, Texas explosion:

The West, Texas fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, killing dozens, was only supposed to have had less than 400 lbs of explosive ammonium nitrate — instead, it had 270 tons of the substance. 400 lbs is the threshold where the plant would have had to inform the Department of Homeland Security about the amount of explosives it had. Unfortunately, DHS didn't even know the plant existed.

"This facility was known to have chemicals well above the threshold amount to be regulated under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act (CFATS), yet we understand that DHS did not even know the plant existed until it blew up," Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said in a statement.

On top of that, the plant, whose explosion registered on the Richter Scale, did not have any sprinklers, firewalls, or water deluge systems, according to the AP.


So the questions must be asked: why are the corporate criminals who ran this plant not in jail and being subjected to at least as much contempts as the Boston bombers? And how many other idiot Americans are blissfully living right next door to similar ticking time bombs while obsessing over the Boston story?

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

New arrival in the DOLTS department:

"Czech Republic Ambassador: Don't Confuse Us With Chechnya"


Best quote: "The Czech Republic is trending because idiots are confusing it with Chechnya. If you're not sure whether to laugh or cry, cry."

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

what kind of a sick culture dances, celebrates, and waves its flag when suspects of a crime are arrested (or killed, obviously)? Well, ours, of course. the triumphalism, the flag-waving, the songs, the chants of USA USA...did anyone do that with the guy in Colorado that shot the theater up, when he was captured? Or any of the other countless school/theater/mall shootings? And now we have US senators (McCain and Graham, to be exact) stating that this suspect should be treated as an 'enemy combatant' and not as a suspect of a crime. He's an American, who committed a crime on American soil. Or did America declare war on Boston, and I missed it? How else is he an enemy combatant?? What the fuck? Ok, had to rant to my fellow WAFers. hope everyone is well.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Alan Dershowitz already scored McCain and Graham (the Two Stooges) as absurd. But then as u know, I love stupidity. Plus, this will contribute to the increasing militarization of the country. The chants and flag waving go on because Americans have so little, really, esp. on the level of an inner life.


After 9/11, many Sikhs living in the US were attacked in the streets, since the dolts equated turbans with Islam, and all of Islam with Evil Ay-rabs. It can only get worse. Meanwhile, here's a song we can all sing (courtesy Ray Stevens):

"Let me tell you 'bout Ahab The Ay-rab
The Sheik of the burning sand
He had emeralds and rubies just dripping off 'a him
And a ring on every finger of his hands

"He wore a big ol' turban wrapped around his head
And a scimitar by his side
And every evening about midnight
He'd jump on his camel named Clyde...and ride"

Wafers are encouraged to compose a similar song based on American dolts. Alternatively, we are accepting speculation on why Ahab's camel was named Clyde, and why he rode him only at midnight.


6:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Interesting article in today's NYT, on bombers' possible motives:


6:22 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

So now its "Boston Strong." For what? For so willingly and happily giving up your civil liberties upon the alter of the national security state? Some birthplace of the revolution. And to find a lone gunman? I'm sure across the US at this very moment there are at least 5-10 murder suspects at large. So now each of those cities or communities should endure lockdown (read: martial law)? Good law enforcement does not need such a display of power to find one gunman. So why the show of such force? I postulate the following:
1. It was a drill to prepare for real, declared martial law.
2.It was designed to impress upon gun owners in the US the futility of armed insurrection.
3.It was designed to impress upon nations the futility to resist neo-liberal capitalist penetration.
4. It was designed to impress upon Congress the need for more funds (though the national security state usually gets whatever they ask for).
For many of my left leaning friends this was a salutary event. Now almost all agree it's as you say "Game over" in the US. The chance for any progressive change here is nil and will only drift even more quickly to the right. Time to get out of Dodge in other words.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

College should be all about metrics & the number of immediate, high-paying jobs it can guarantee, or so they're saying in Texas:


And not just in Texas, of course.

Quote from one of the comments:

I work with bright high school juniors and seniors, and I am appalled at how little most of them know about history and geography. Their understanding of recent history seems to be informed more by media than by their schools, and bright children from staunchly conservative homes have ways of repeating nonsense that they have heard with an air of certainty.


As I see it, the people pushing for "education reform" linked to dollars made in the work force is a short-sighted goal. What good does graduating hundereds of computer programmers who, due to lack of training in the humanities, cannot communicate on a competent level? Judging by Mr.Perry and his co-horts,b intelligence isn't a pre-requisite for success; making money is the only "true" measure of a person's worth. People like Albert Einstein, especially in his early years, would have been deemed "failures". I feel education on a college level should be available to all who have the competence for a higher education whether it be a degree in Computer Science or Romantic Poetry. I do not think I would like a world without Shakespeare, Lord Byron or Longfellow. Really, it is more than just "making money".

Voices crying in the doltish wilderness, alas.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Apropos of the Lily Tomlin quote:

I confess to having been actually surprised by this one.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

"29% believe the sun revolves around the earth, or don't know which revolves around which."

The sun is a sufficient but not necessary condition for revolution. All celestial bodies will revolve around the greatest center of gravity.

For the Earth, in this case the earth does revolve around the sun but only because ours sun is the greatest center of gravity.

Dr. B, how is it that I know all of this, absorb and understand this information quickly, on the autism spectrum but can't get nor keep a job?

9:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The scams arose literally w/in minutes of the explosions. We don't know much else, but we do know how to hustle.


Myself, I don't see any 'design' in any of this; it's just how American police react. And who knows, maybe that sort of dragnet was necessary to catch the guy. But as far as it being 'game over': every event, which is happening practically on a daily basis now (shootings or whatever), is another nail in the coffin. I personally believe most Americans do know, on some level, that the country can only spiral downward at this pt, but that they do their best to keep it out of conscious awareness. But every event penetrates the denial just a tiny bit, like water dripping on a rock. American optimism dictates that there is always a solution, but I'm guessing that day by day, more and more people are awakening to the fact that this just ain't so. Of course, that cd open the door to a different sort of consciousness, asking questions like:

1. Does the American Dream make any sense at all?
2. Why is it that attacks on us (9/11, e.g.) are intolerable, horrific, but what we visit on other countries is no big deal? Only our pain counts, that's the idea?
3. Is there a way of life beyond hustling?
4. Why do we get to dictate how other countries shd live, what they shd do, whether (e.g.) they shd (Israel) or shd not (Iran) have nuclear weapons, and so on? Why isn't it OK for Cuba to have a military base in Florida? Might makes right, then, and that's it?

Unfortunately, there will be no soul-searching, or consideration of such questions. Learning from our mistakes might be something other nations will do, but it won't happen w/this particular population. For that, you need a mind, and a heart.


10:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Speaking of which, is the New Yorker finally catching up to me? A cartoon in the April 8 issue shows some schlemiel sitting in a chair, barefoot, wool hat on his head, the room strewn with garbage. He's holding some sort of electronic device in his hands while sitting in front of a large screen. His eyes are glazed. Meanwhile, his wife stands over him, arms akimbo, and says: "You're the reason nations fail."

No shit, sherlock.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

Thanks Dr B for providing the following link:


There is a lot in the article. Consider these quotes:

1) Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s statement in an interview long before the attack that after five years in the United States, “I don’t have a single American friend”

2) In the history of Islamic radicalism, there are far more prominent figures who spent time in the United States. The Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, who would become the most influential philosopher of jihad against the West, visited on an educational exchange program from 1948 to 1950, developing a deep-seated revulsion for what he saw as American materialism and immorality.

In America, you cannot have serious friends unless you are deep in American materialism/immorality.
Did you hear what one of uncles said: the boys are losers and they harbor hatred for those who have settled themselves in America.


Also, I read that the aunt used to live here, but she moved to Canada. Did she move to Canada because Canada has better healthcare than USA? She said the boys did not do it; like the father and mother of the boys, she blamed the whole thing on frame up by someone. In other words, she is not happy with the US.

Further, I read that the members of the family do not talk to each other since they moved into USA. Why would they move from a poor nation to a wealthy nation and then became angry with each other? When they were in a poor nation, they lived like family. When they moved to USA, they lived like enemies, they interacted less with each other. There must be WAFERian explanations for these things! There are anomalies not being articulated by the media - and only WAFERS can see these things.

Think about it: the two boys were in college before they did the bombing and yet their uncle calls them losers. The two boys were on the right path of life, and yet the uncle calls them losers.
Where did the two boys get the money to feed themselves, to pay for their housing arrangement, to buy some foods to eat? I ask because remember that it was reported that they hijacked a car and tried to withdraw some funds with the victim's debit card. There is more to the condition of the two boys. I am not saying that they are justified in doing the bombing, but I am asking you to think about where they lived, how they ate, how they drove around in Boston if they had no cars. Did they have a jobs? Think about these things in the context of the uncle calling them losers. Also their parents moved back home to Russia after living here for few years, why? Please, provide some WAFERIAN explanations.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't know if I have any solid explanations; maybe other Wafers can help. And until the younger brother is able to talk, we really can only be guessing at what's going on. I do remember the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007, carried out by a Korean kid who nevertheless had been raised in the US. I think he left a note (or there was something in his diary) abt how pretentious his classmates were--something like that. My guess is that like the Chechen boys in Boston, there was a conflict of value systems that finally exploded. To come out of Korean or Muslim value systems that emphasize community, family, loyalty, and so on, and then have to live in a hustling American dog-eat-dog culture in which 'friendships' are superficial or nonexistent and people don't care if their neighbors live or die: well, something's gotta give. (I think also of Qutb, who lived here for 2 yrs. I doubt recent arrivals to the US are going to start bumping people off; you have to live in the US for a while, b4 the cultural diffs really begin to disturb yr psyche.)

The business abt not making a friend after 5 yrs certainly resonated w/me, and I think yr rt when u say that you hafta buy into American materialist values in order to have friends here, because that is what the culture is all abt. What do Americans talk abt, after all? It's all superficial horseshit. I had no chance at all, really, being born into a European social democratic tradition, rdg poetry and playing chess at age 7, having a grandfather who read 10 languages--what cd I be in the US, but a freak? I always felt like the proverbial stranger in a strange land, and it always came as a relief when I cd travel to other countries, and get out of the whole commercial-corporate-consumer wraparound culture. After all those decades in America, I retain only a very few friends there; and they are folks who think the value system sucks. Of course, not everyone in a "2-culture" type of situation is going to plant bombs in a public place, quite obviously; but there is very little place in American culture for the people Susan Cain (in "Quiet") calls introverts. Everything is sales, everything is glad-handing, self-promotion; barf, really. So my theory is that the Chechen boys, like the Korean kid at Va. Tech, finally felt that their entire being was bent out of shape under American influence, and it created an impossible internal tension. The symbolism of the pressure cookers that they used strikes me as obvious, whether conscious or unconscious.

Islam rightly has a revulsion of American values, and they make no bones abt it. I discuss this in DAA. In his 2004 address to the American people, Osama bin Laden said, "You have no Guide, no Helper." You have no real values, in short. Other Islamic preachers have said, "All they (Americans) really believe in is the Almighty Dollar." This is not to say that Islam doesn't have some rather huge drawbacks of its own, but I'm just saying that folks coming out of traditional cultures often cannot abide our own. A study done yrs ago by a Prof. Vega at UC Berkeley turned up the fact that mental illness among Mexicans living in the US was 2x that of mental illness among Mexicans living in Mexico. The pt seems obvious. Still, I haven't talked to the Chechen boy in the hospital; I'm just speculating here.


1:15 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

MB - I think you hit the nail right on the head with your last post about "friends." I'm a college educated professional in my late 40s and have quite a number of people I consider to be friends, but in the past few years as my eyes have fully opened and I've come to see America for what it really is (DAA and WAF were a big part of my "education"), I've learned just how far I can push the envelope on discussing the truth before they become uncomfortable...and with most of them, liberal or conservative, it doesn't take much of a push.

So I basically refrain from expressing what I really think, which only serves to make me feel somewhat lonely even when other people are around. And yes, I am a classic introvert--though not normally shy in conversation. If that's how I feel having grown up in this culture, I can only imagine what a bucket of cold water over the head it must be for someone who moves here from abroad and isn't prepared for it.

One a related note, the other day I was having a conversation with one of my friends when I mentioned that one of the reasons I rarely watch television is that I have grown to absolutely loathe the commercials. His response was, "even during the Super Bowl?" to which I replied, "ESPECIALLY during the Super Bowl because that is when they are the most relentless." He just laughed it off and obviously couldn't even grasp my point.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Someone once said that loneliness was not a longing for company; it was a longing for "kind". I.e., kinfolk, people who think like u do. It's not hard, in the US, to fill up yr dance card, and call those people 'friends'. But when push comes to shove, in terms of sharing the same deep spiritual outlook--there's almost nobody. The # of Americans who have escaped the mainstream value system is minuscule, and if one is honest, u really don't have any friends, because you finally can't say what u really believe. I probably have that w/5 or 6 people in the world, and sometimes I think, "That's probably a lot." But they've rarely lived in the same city I was living in, and so the relations I did have were basically 'social', i.e. meaningless.

BTW, according to Susan Cain, shyness and introversion are not the same thing. I can go to a party and (believe it or not) be quite outgoing and even charming (w/o drugs, yes); then I hafta go home and sleep for 10 hrs. So, I don't go to too many parties!


4:54 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB,

I ran across another WAFer - like blogger today, Charles Smith @ http://www.oftwominds.com. His recent post reads like a fellow traveler.
Consider his leading paragraphs:

The Silent Epidemic in a Broken, Deranged System: Stress (April 18, 2013) http://www.oftwominds.com/blogapr13/stress4-13.html

"It's not only the individual who needs help adjusting to chronic stress--the deranged system he/she inhabits needs to change.
Longtime readers know that I see our system not just as financially sick but as spiritually and psychologically deranging. The illnesses are related, of course--a distorted economic system (i.e. financialization) that rewards parasitic sociopathy and political predation cannot help but make its participants physically and psychologically ill."

Here is a selection of the many entries I've written on this largely ignored topic:
Serial Addictions, Serial Speculative Bubbles: a Sickness Unto Death (Feb. 2, 2010)
Welfare Nation: Addiction, Denial and Magical Thinking (February 1, 2010)
The Wider Context for Twenty-Somethings (Gen Y) in America (February 19, 2010)
Opting Out and the Culture of Entitlement (March 29, 2010)

Readers are often puzzled by the term The Politics of Experience, which is the core of the Survival+ analysis. The term comes from psychiatrist/author R.D. Laing, and I use it to describe the subtle ways that our worldview is molded to make certain forms of political and financial dominance so "natural" that we lose awareness of its arbitrary, carefully engineered structure.

America Is Just Going Through the Motions (November 19, 2010)
The Junkie in the Pool and False Idols (August 10, 2011)
Japan and the Exhaustion of Consumerism (October 18, 2012)
Narcissism, Consumerism and the End of Growth (October 19, 2012)
When Belief in the System Fades (March 12, 2008)

After discussing stress and the reasons today, he finishes with :

"I say few dare mention state-cartels and debt-serfdom, because once you question these you question the entire debt-based "growth" that underpins our social order. If people refuse to become debt-serfs, the system will implode. If the cartels were boycotted, the State would implode, because the political order depends on the concentrated wealth of private-sector cartels and the financialization Aristocracy.

In other words: eliminate the real sources of stress and you bring down the entire economic, political and social order. The Status Quo hopes another med or two will make all the debt-serfs' stress decline to manageable levels, but it's not only the individual who needs help adjusting to chronic stress--the deranged system he/she inhabits needs to change."


5:15 PM  
Anonymous Matthew said...

Morris, your historical perspective is inspirational to me as an amateur history buff myself. You are an inspiration to me in as far as the notion of craftsmanship and skill building rather than working for "the man" and I embrace your ideas about japan--though it is for them to make that decision ultimately, I would hope that they conform to theirs and your own instincts eventually.

I myself am a young and aspiring spiritual and political philosopher, with the ambition to change the paradigm of our society in america; to put it on its head, or more accurately on its feet, in such a way that the social and political norms are reversed in a sustainable and healthy way. I realize my desires require an optimism that you are likely to call unrealistic, but I maintain that if even a glimmer of hope can exist here, the entire world can be changed for the better.

If there is a chance that we could begin a conversation I would be honored to hear from you, and to begin a dialogue with you about how best to establish the agrarian and very Jeffersionian principles that are necessary for a sustainable and reasonable society to come into being. I live in maryland, not far from DC, and I am in a position to devote my entire time to this cause, but I am at a loss as to whom to talk with, and where to begin really.

I have developed ideas about education, economy, and politics, which I believe hold the key to solving the problems that prevent true civilization. These ideas can be found on a publishing website called scribd.com, and a title in particular would be the World Citizen Constitution and Definition and Color of a Civilized Society, as well as Developmental Education: Replacing the Failed System and Developing the Mind.

My email is mattrick_O@yahoo

Thank you and Namaste
Sincerely Matthew Patrick

7:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB said "Someone once said that loneliness was not a longing for company; it was a longing for "kind". I.e., kinfolk, people who think like u do."

Thanks for that.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't have much time for online dialogue these days, sad to say, but there are all kinds of intentional communities around the US you can check into or explore. Also see Joel Magnuson's latest bk, "The Approaching Great Transformation." There's no dearth of literature on these subjects, in short; but I wd advise u to relocate to another country and pursue your goals in a less demented context. You stay here, you'll just knock yrself out and wind up bitter, because there simply is no possibility of any significant change in this country. At best, it'll be a hustling, sustainable culture, a "Greener Than Thou" paradigm--you can bet on it. Yr young; don't waste yr time in, or on, the US. You'll look back yrs later and will kick yrself around the block, that you ignored this advice.


Thanks for the ref. Interesting post there on Japan.


7:39 PM  
Anonymous Matthew said...

Damn! Morris, thank you for responding to my post, and I do appreciate your advice. You may be right about the "greener than thou" paradigm being the result of the american transformation--if it occurs at all.

I would be out of here in a heart beat if I had the resources. I have a friend who lives in New Zealand, and others because of working in Yellowstone. One place I am looking at is ecuador, because of a friend that has dual citizenship here and there.

I hope that our paths may cross some day, but in the mean time I must power through, and work to achieve my worthy ideals however I may.

The reason developmental education would work most effectively in America is because of Her vast population of foreign speaking individuals. The first stage of developmental education is infancy, and to have a grandmother speaking spanish or mandarin to an infant, who's first language will be english, would instantly increase the intelligence of the child. Gradually increasing the stimulus-- with classical music after a few months, and sign language after a year-- would inevitably increase both the intelligence and critical thinking of the students involved. The idea is to develop the brain and the mind according to the stages of development. This education system--in combination with a different kind of economy, which i call reciprocism-- would eliminate the relevance of money and the elite who wield it by generating community and culture around a societal vector.

I wont bore you with the details, but this is something ive been working on for some time, so it is the content of my character so to speak.

Once again thank you, and I wish you well.


8:41 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


The folks in the U.S are a snapping. Denying collapse or shall we say decline is like denying that night follows day...A snap shot.

Suicide has surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of injury death for Americans. Even more disturbing, in the world’s greatest military, more U.S. soldiers died last year by suicide than in combat;
Fully one-third of the nation’s employees suffer chronic debilitating stress, and more than half of all “millennials” (18 to 33 year olds) experience a level of stress that keeps them awake at night, including large numbers diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder.
Shocking new research from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that one in five of all high-school-aged children in the United States has been diagnosed with ADHD, and likewise a large new study of New York City residents shows, sadly, that one in five preteens – children aged six to 12 – have been medically diagnosed with either ADHD, anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder;
New research concludes that stress renders people susceptible to serious illness, and a growing number of studies now confirm that chronic stress plays a major role in the progression of cancer, the nation’s second-biggest killer. The biggest killer of all, heart disease, which causes one in four deaths in the U.S., is also known to have a huge stress component;
Incredibly, 11 percent of all Americans aged 12 and older are currently taking SSRI antidepressants – those highly controversial, mood-altering psychiatric drugs with the FDA’s “suicidality” warning label and alarming correlation with school shooters. Women are especially prone to depression, with a stunning 23 percent of all American women in their 40s and 50s – almost one in four – now taking antidepressants, according to a major study by the CDC;
Add to that the tens of millions of users of all other types of psychiatric drugs, including (just to pick one) the 6.4 million American children between 4 and 17 diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Ritalin or similar psycho-stimulants. Throw in the 28 percent of American adults with a drinking problem, that’s more than 60 million, plus the 22 million using illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants, and pretty soon a picture emerges of a nation of drug-takers, with hundreds of millions dependent on one toxic substance or another – legal or illegal – to “help” them deal with the stresses and problems of life.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/04/americans-snapping-by-the-millions/#xm6GoJIKWWmDGbWF.99

9:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Don' look too gd, does it? But we also need data on CRE. I'm guessing 99.5%, but that may be too low.


10:05 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...


Thanks for the link to the other site. I can tell you from personal experience at work that the author of that site is correct in posting about the stress at work.

The expectations on how much a person can do are just plain ludicrous. The more I do, the more work that is given to me. Skipping lunches, taking short breaks, and working over during the week never seems to be enough. If I wanted to, I could work 7 days a week. But I refuse to. 5 days is simply too much to handle these days.

It takes me 2 days to get enough energy to start another week. This is all part of the need for my managers to hit their "numbers". It really has very little to do with servicing our customers. But this should really come as no surprise to any WAFERS. I have come very close to quitting on numerous occasions.


Enjoyed your last talk that you posted. I only wish that I could find some reasonable people to discuss the topics that you cover. Neither family nor friends want to hear it. Their is no shortage of complaining but the conversation dies off as the facts get grimmer. As you have said before, it cuts too close to the bone.

Thanks for posting my previous post concerning the Titanic. The main point that I wanted to make was that the denial runs as deep today as it did 101 years ago. Technology is blindly worshiped, even in the face of disaster.


10:22 PM  
Anonymous Mike Alan said...

I hear you Dr. B about the whole introvert thing. I can be quite social when needed, but then I am completely wiped out and need to recover.

I also used to think I was lonely at times until I figured out that this whole loneliness thing is thrown out by extroverts and pushed by them to make everyone feel as though there's something wrong with them if they are not lonely too under certain circumstance.

Some time back my wife had me take the Myers-Briggs test to determine my type. I ended up being an INTP. After reading more about INTPs and the test, I am quite content knowing that my usual reaction to avoiding most all parties and social situations was just part of who I am.

After thinking more about my own introversion and the American public I now wonder if it's a chicken and egg scenario. Was I born an introvert and that's why I find so many fault with most of my fellow Americas? Or, did the grotesque, perpetual hustling, and attention-getting of so much of America make me an introvert? I'm an Earth Sciences guy, so this is a question for the sociologists and psychologists here.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, they're not mutually exclusive, eh?


An expt for u 2 carry out for this blog: gather up yr family and friends and tell them u discovered this new concept called CRE, and u wanna discuss it w/them. Be sure to have a tape recorder running. Then transcribe the conversation, post it here. I see several possibilities:

1. A psychotic break. People w/CRE, confronted w/the concept of CRE, can't take it and simply flip out. They gnash their teeth, beat their heads against a wall, go into a fetal position.
2. Denial. I.e., even deeper CRE.
3. Extraction. This is the least likely possibility: the person removes his/her head from his/her buttocks, and begins a whole new life. Perhaps even makes plans to fly to DC, pee on Obama's Guccis.
4. They kill themselves.
5. They kill you. In which case, we probably won't get any blog material.

Let us know how it turns out. High risk/high reward, I guess.


11:43 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Anyone who has a dollar more than you, kiss his rear end. He is the source of everything valuable. Truth is whatever he says.

Anyone who has a dollar less than you, kick his rear end. He is the source of all your troubles. Everything he says is false.

That is the entire Amerikan soul.

Amerikans have literally no morals outside of this. The only thing that keeps order is the tacit or explicit threat of private or government violence. ("I can't simply steal his wallet - because he might punch me - he seems pretty big and manly, he might do that... and that wouldn't look good for Brand Me... shit, I probably would be the one who gets arrested, and just think how much money an arrest would cost.") ("Those damn homeless bums. Why don't they get a job and make money? I want to set them on fire. They're parasites like Bill O'Reilly wrote on the TV screen for me to follow with my finger. But, thanks to liberal laws, the Gestapo would grab me if I torched those bums... And why bother, there's no money in it, anyway, thanks again to the FBI and other parts of the overreaching govt.")

1:32 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Capo Regime

That WND article on Americans Snapping By The Millions got more and more interesting as I read the the author’s reasons as to why this was happening:

Make no mistake: This sort of stress on Americans is not only intentional on the part of Team Obama – it is strategic. he’s utterly committed to replacing one societal structure – America’s constitutional, limited-government, free-enterprise system – with another – a socialist, wealth-redistributionist system run by an all-powerful government.

The pressures of modern life are being greatly multiplied by a socialist government that thrives on promoting everything dark, perverse and angry (and therefore stress-producing) in human nature. Remember, Winston Churchill called socialism “the gospel of envy.”

his “sudden obsession with employing every means possible to deny law-abiding Americans their constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms”


Yep, that’s what happened to me, I was deliriously happy until Jan 2009 when Obama turned my country into New Sweden, ended the free-enterprise system, and redistributed all the rich people’s money to wage slaves like me. I became despondent when I got my redistribution check in the mail knowing that America’s 400+ billionaires were now paupers--and then when Obama’s red guards came and took all my guns--I snapped.

4:05 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Hi WAFers and Dr. B--

A few articles I thought you'd all appreciate on how that good ol' ambition and striving "ain't" all it's cracked up to be:



It's funny . . . when I think of the short-term horrors that lie ahead, I can't resist thinking of _The Death of Ivan Ilych_, and the days upon days of horror that character experiences when he realizes his life was a mistake and he rues having lived a life of regret. Similarly, I anticipate that we'll have an onslaught of later-life Boomers who--perhaps--come to realize on their deathbeds that the "life without limits" mantra that so defined their cohort was a ruse.

Buckle up . . .



5:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, some socialist that Obama is, eh? But I think we need to devise more interesting ways of snapping. For example, people biting each other, or perhaps beating their heads against each other. Some time ago, a friend of mine was at the Baltimore Symphony Orch., and this couple A approached couple B, who were apparently sitting in the wrong seats. What ensued was a melee, which included the woman of couple B hitting couple A with her high-heeled shoe. I love it. We need a lot more of this sorta thing.


9:23 AM  
Anonymous Marcos said...

The exchange between Mike and Berman is revealing:
Mike: While I agree with you that American culture and the capacity of Americans to think is currently in a state of collapse, at least from a purely military point of view no such collapse seems to be imminent. As I see it (and I admit I don't have your long-range vision as a professional historian), the defining feature of an empire is its global military predominance, its capacity and willingness to exploit other countries beyond its borders through coercive techniques. Since this is not in threat, I find it hard to agree with you that the American Empire is in a state of imminent collapse.

Berman: Military glory is the last resort, last holdout, of an empire, and given the fact that the military has a rather shabby record--no serious victory since WW2--I think collapse is fairly obvious. Korea was a stalemate, Vietnam a loss, and so on. We're basically cowards: we just pick on tin pot dictators, like Saddam Hussein, and even then, the results turn out to be mixed or worse. US Naval War College has predicted that we will be eclipsed in power by China in the Pacific Rim w/in 7 years. And so on. The US can't exploit China, or Russia, or even the EU, with coercive techniques. It can exploit weak, single states, but that is indicative of its own weakness, it seems to me.

Majority of Americans thinks like Mike in the sense that they believe strongly that America got more powerful military and guns with which to intimidate and exploit other nations - They believe that America ought to do so too because they got the baddest guns ever. This mindset baffles me. If America has technologies, schools, and means of taking care of her citizens, why meddle with other nations? Why exploit other nations outside your boarders? Why call other people terrorists when you live and breathe terrorism? Is this not why you make the most noise when other nations embark in developing their own nuclear bombs to counter your congenital terror mindset?? A correct reading of the world history proves that you are the ONLY problem of this earth because your actions and thoughts have been undermining peace, progress, and harmony among nations.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

"Majority of Americans thinks like Mike in the sense that they believe strongly that America got more powerful military and guns with which to intimidate and exploit other nations - They believe that America ought to do so too because they got the baddest guns ever. This mindset baffles me. "

Marcos, you are completely misrepresenting my views. I certainly do *not* believe that America ought to dominate the rest of the world. I would much prefer that America stop acting as a global bully, stop supporting dictators throughout the Middle East, stop supporting a government in Israel that practices Apartheid, etc. I was simply pointing out that America's global military predominance does not seem to be eroding, thus predictions of the collapse of the American Empire may be premature. Please, don't misrepresent my views, because I disagree with what 99% of my fellow Americans believe.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I think Mike is rt here: he doesn't approve of US foreign policy and military control of the globe; he just thinks the military is powerful, whereas I think it has feet of clay. Time will tell, of course, but in the interim, it does remain the #1 military power in the world. It took a long time for this type of imperial overstretch to do Rome in; things happen much faster today. I'd estimate 20 yrs or so. Meanwhile, other nations are playing a waiting game (I believe), pretending that the US is forever, so as to flatter us, because for now, it's in their interest (financial, esp.) to do so. But they all know that time is on their side, not ours; that the US is dying from w/in; and that eventually, the pretense won't be necessary anymore. This is what I refer to as a "Suez Moment." Meanwhile, when yr dealing w/a senile, deranged uncle who's waving a bazooka, you tread carefully, until the disease finishes him off, and the gun falls from his hand. Asian countries are particularly adept at this game; check out my essays on the subject in QOV (Rope-a-Dope, Asian Rd to Victory).


11:39 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


I too don't find the reasons convincing or rather they are silly. But thats part and parcel of the binanry thinkng so called journalists or analysts/citizens in the U.S.--cannot understand what and why is going on around them. However, the symptoms of decline (whatever the cause) are everywhere plain as day and more a comming!

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

I wonder if cognitive dissonance helps explain the motives of the Boston bombers? To immigrate to the U.S., don't you have to drink the Kool-Aid to some degree? Immigration is a long, drawn out, and difficult process that requires a degree of motivation and commitment. Julian had discussed his experiences and the experiences of his family on here, and how when he came here, initially, he was taken in by the VOA propaganda he'd heard, and how members of his family still believed. So, the cognitive dissonance of believing in the American dream, the land of the free, etc., and not accepting that it's all just a big lie could lead to rage in a immigrant just as easily as a native born. Obviously, the perpetrators were enraged at the U.S., suggesting that they couldn't accept that the U.S. is a meaningless place. If they could accept that the U.S. is nothing, then they'd be on this blog, laughing at the folly of the U.S., instead of planting bombs...

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

MB, I am starting to wonder- is the very concept of religious denominations or sects outdated? I would say yes. I am probably one of the few people who believes you can learn from atheists, agnostics and those who profess spiritual or supernatural beliefs- different perspectives allow you to become more informed. David Hume, Karl Marx, Carl Sagan and company were most definitely right in pointing out how religious institutions perpetuate ignorance, prejudices, delusions of grandeur ("We are the chosen!") violent conflict and the subjugation of mankind to small elites. From the Catholic Church's Crusades, persecution of heretics, forced conversions of indigenous peoples, collaboration with European and Latin American dictatorships, and cover-ups of sexually abusive priests, down to Yezidi Kurds stoning a woman to death for wanting to a marry an Iraqi Muslim instead of their own superior race and religion (yes, this what they believe- they don't even allow for converts or foreign friends; simply being born into the tribe makes you one of God's chosen, better than any outsider ever will be), it is clear that they still oppress man. However, people also seem to feel an innate longing for spirituality (expressed in practically every culture around the world), and modern materialism has proven itself just as empty, degrading and superfluous. Maybe we need to abolish all clergy and partisan or tribal allegiances conducive to bigotry and anti-social behavior, then simply make the literature related to the great wisdom traditions or the higher mysteries available for study by interested parties, much like we do with philosophy and the natural sciences. In my opinion, the one truly timeless and valuable aspect of say, Judaism and Buddhism as examples of two major religions, is their underlying collection of moral, eschatological and metaphysical reflections or teachings, not dogmas, customs or rules such as "never question your superiors" or "don't wear mixed fabrics" that are often clearly products of a certain society or institution in a certain time period. I want to conclude with four more quotes attributed to Mr. Lennon:
"Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV, and you think you're so clever and classless and free... but you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see." -from the song "Working Class Hero"
"I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong." "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock and roll or Christianity." "I'm not claiming divinity. I've never claimed purity of soul. I've never claimed to have the answers to life. I only put out songs and answer questions as honestly as I can... But I still believe in peace, love and understanding."

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

To all concerned

The unreality of the balance of power has, nevertheless, resulted in an America bound and determined to hold that balance at all costs. Even within its own borders, as the people of america begin to awaken to the imperial reality, the sinister balance of its political and economic collusion repress and dominate its own people. So the empire is facing two very precarious fronts, one from outside, and the other from within. How long can this global corporate empire sustain its war of propaganda--the battle to repress civil liberty--;how long will americans stand for the deterioration of their inalienable rights?

It is a testament to the sheer quality of the propaganda, and the practice of conditioning in our public school system, that this empire has not been recognized or overthrown by now. Indeed it is a disgrace that history has rhymed with such exponential intensity, that the empire is no longer a national monarchy, but a virtually global corporatocracy.

The problem is that this is not the american empire anymore than it is a washington DC empire. What we face is not solely american but a global crisis emanating from the financial capstone of the pyramid of power. It is less a political problem than it is a corporate one, with political implications.

Further, due to the global reach of this empire, the fall of america, as a mere aspect of the global corporate empire, will not be an end to the global turmoil and economic strife, rather it will act as a stepping stone; like the phoenix rising from the ashes, this monstrosity will feed off the turmoil, and use for the further enslavement of mankind as a whole.

That being said, we must take a page from Gandhi--expanding on it of course--by useing non-cooperation techniques, combined with emergent community structures to establish the conditions necessary to render these predatory superorganisms and dynastic family units irrelevant to our prosperity, security, and happiness.

Here are some links that are relevant to the process of healing the planet from this ideological disease:





1:23 PM  
Anonymous Mo Ronich said...

Quote du jour regarding folks chanting "USA! USA!": "...the Czech Ambassador, Petr Gandalovic, felt the pressing need to distinguish his country from Chechnya at this moment may not be unconnected to these displays of braggadocio."

1:54 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

Today is the birthday of Immanuel Kant. From the writer's almanac -

"Though he enjoyed hearing travel stories, he never ventured more than 50 miles from his hometown, believing that travel was not necessary to solve the problems of philosophy."

I can't remember who said it, but I heard a quote once that said something like most people travel just to brag about where they've been. Just look at the facebook feeds of upper middle class white folks.

I've always felt this way, it seems like lots of people work so they can blow a huge pile of cash on going somewhere and tell everyone about it. Russell Means used to ridicule travelers too.

It didn't take me spending time in other countries to know that the free market, hustling, and microprocessor technology aren't good progress.

I think we can learn from books and media, and that it shouldn't be seen as a bad thing that we don't all travel. 300 million people hopping jets around the planet to learn about other cultures doesn't seem like a good idea to me when we could just as well read books. And just because you travel doesn't mean you'll learn anything.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB,
Another insider speaks truth to power, Dr. Jeffery Sachs of Columbia speaking loudly:

" I believe we have a crisis of values that is extremely deep, because the regulations and the legal structures need reform. But I meet a lot of these people on Wall Street on a regular basis right now. I’m going to put it very bluntly. I regard the moral environment as pathological. And I’m talking about the human interactions that I have. I’ve not seen anything like this, not felt it so palpably. These people are out to make billions of dollars and nothing should stop them from that. They have no responsibility to pay taxes. They have no responsibility to their clients. They have no responsibility to people, counterparties in transactions. They are tough, greedy, aggressive, and feel absolutely out of control, you know, in a quite literal sense. And they have gamed the system to a remarkable extent, and they have a docile president, a docile White House, and a docile regulatory system that absolutely can’t find its voice. It’s terrified of these companies.

If you look at the campaign contributions, which I happened to do yesterday for another purpose, the financial markets are the number one campaign contributors in the U.S. system now. We have a corrupt politics to the core, I’m afraid to say, and no party is – I mean there’s – if not both parties are up to their necks in this. This has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans. It really doesn’t have anything to do with right wing or left wing, by the way. The corruption is, as far as I can see, everywhere. But what it’s led to is this sense of impunity that is really stunning, and you feel it on the individual level right now, and it’s very, very unhealthy.

I have waited for four years, five years now, to see one figure on Wall Street speak in a moral language, and I’ve not seen it once. And that is shocking to me. And if they won’t, I’ve waited for a judge, for our president, for somebody, and it hasn’t happened. And by the way it’s not going to happen anytime soon it seems."

It's all here: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/04/jeffrey-sachs-calls-out-wall-street-criminality-and-pathological-greed.html

5:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There is something to be said abt the role of the body in learning, and to do that, you've got to bring yr body physically to the source of that learning. I had studied up on Japan for 2 yrs b4 going there; then I got there (last October), and the actual experiences I had blew all my Western categories. In the last analysis, there is a big diff between intellectual knowing and ontological knowing.


There will be no 'awakening' from w/in; that day will never come. Americans are not only stupid; they are also spineless. Here's an expt 4u 2 try: Put on a police or military uniform, get yourself a stick, go to anyone's house in any American city--select it randomly--and proceed to beat the inhabitants. After, tell them that the next time, you'll haul them off to jail. Now, wait for their response. Believe me, in this country, the rich enjoy a deep and dreamless sleep.


5:12 PM  
Anonymous Mike Alan said...

Concerning the US Military's feet of clay, Jim Willie writes an economic newsletter for the gold crowd. He's had some pretty good forecasts due to having a few well-placed sources that fill him in on what's happening behind the scenes. I used to subscribe to his newsletter and there were several times that he wrote a possible and sudden economic collapse in which the US Military suddenly pulls out of countries, just leaving soldiers and hardware behind. The soldiers would be left to their own means to either make the best of things right there or find their own way home.

So, maybe the whole big military show the US constantly puts front and center is still strong and dominant, or maybe there’s a huge façade being put in front of us, complete with non-stop military worship from nearly all media outlets to prop it up. Not all of Jim’s forecasts come true, but he does have a pretty good handle on big picture political and economic issues that others often do not see. At the rate things are happening anymore we might see if he’s right about this one soon enough.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


No reason for surprise; those people are sociopaths. If you haven't seen "Margin Call," now wd be a gd time. But at least they, and I, agree on Obama: he's a spineless piece of garbage. If Lloyd Blankfein were to show up at the Oval Office and urinate on the president's Guccis (oh, to be a fly on the wall!), Obama wd just say, "I'm sorry! I'll try to do better! I'll kill Social Security! I'll give you more money!" And can you believe the 'progressives'? They actually think they are going to turn things around! Don't go tellin' me America's idiots are confined to the Ozarks, Maw!


8:16 PM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

OK I've got one for the WAFers.

At some college in the USA (I don't know which) there is a psychology course that tasks students with diagnosing the personality disorder of a celebrity of the past based on historical records as an assignment. My acquaintance, who is taking this course, chose Marilyn Monroe.

I pointed out to my acquaintance several of the problems with this assignment, and she honestly didn't understand. She really thinks you can diagnose someone you have never met, and that press clippings about movie stars are credible sources of info. And apparently her college professor thinks so too.

THIS is higher education? Eek! We are doomed. DOOMED.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Wafers,
Fascinating albeit depressing article on the signifcance of the Boston incident by Dmitry Orlov up today.

"The US can no longer afford to fight foreign wars. It just doesn't have the money. The twin fiascos in Iraq (where only something like 50 people got killed in terrorist attacks on that same day) and Afghanistan (similar story) have cost the country a prodigious amount of money, most of it borrowed, with precious little peace and stability to show for it, and now there are simply no resources for further overseas military adventures. But the US military is a beast that cannot be tamed by anyone—not the President or the Congress—because it is simply too profitable. And so, of necessity, the new venue for military operations will have to be the US itself. "


9:12 AM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

I found the following on the oldest of the Boston Bombers:


His Chechen aunt believes he was too Americanized, to the point that he couldn't fit into Chechen society. He apparently didn't fit into American Muslim society either since he was once kicked out of a mosque. He spent a lot of time on the web learning about Islam. Coupled with his apparent sense of alienation ("I don't have a single American friend"), he seems to be another, run-of-the-mill American on a mass shooting.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Dr Berman states: "But at least they, and I, agree on Obama: he's a spineless piece of garbage"

I used to defend Obama. That was before I saw through his fake cries and false promises. At the recent church service for the victims of the Boston bombing, Obama cried more than the bereaved. YET, bankers and wall street thieves murdered more than 1000 times the number of innocent Americans murdered by the Boston bombers. To verify my claim, simply search the internet for suicides in America after the financial heist of 2008, or start here:



11:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


He's also a war criminal: 2000 people (mostly civilians) now killed by drones in Pakistan alone. No tears for them, apparently.


That will happen, but as far as foreign wars go, we are too addicted to fighting 'enemies' to stop at this pt. The $ will come from squeezing the poor, the middle class, the elderly, and allowing everything in the country (schls, infrastructure, etc.) to deteriorate. Proposal to reduce SSA benefits is already on the table. This is definitely the Roman pattern.


11:36 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...


I wrote these things before I discovered your books and blog Dr. B. These are my thought processes. If you do not mind will you and others take a look?

Dr. B, with your permission, I would like to incorporate what you say into future posts I will write. I want to help convey what you are saying but put it in the lens of my experience.

The next post I want to write is about American culture as I understand it and why I can't succeed it.

If I am allowed to quote you, use your thoughts and incorporate them into my own then I can hit a grand slam home run especially in my personal life. May I have your permission to do this?

12:32 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

Dmitry Orlov is a fear monger. I think people who are predicting a sudden collapse like he does, need to give a time frame, after which point they lose credibility. He's been talking about collapse since 2005, and I think his time is up. He thought collapse was going to happen soon after 2007, and that's why he loaded up on supplies. He was wrong.

Despite how close we might have come to the collapse he wants, it didn't happen after the recession, and I don't think businesses will shut down suddenly like he thinks. You can't claim collapse for years on end, then when it happens, say, "see! I was right!"

I think we have to live simply because it's the right thing to do, not because we're scared of a collapse. I think the main reason we should want to live simply is happiness - not fear, not climate change, not inequality.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We do have a 1/2-page recommended limit on posts here, and repeating what I've said will make your posts too long. In addition, it will make them too complicated. Try to keep things simple, not make a Project out of all this--it's not worth it. Keep in mind that I and other folks here don't have tons of time to sort thru lengthy or additional material. Whole idea is just to post a relatively brief comment on the state of the American Empire, or carry on a discussion w/other Wafers on that subject. Try to keep it short and sweet (or bitter). Thank u for yr understanding.


12:46 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

James Newlin--

Here, here to living simply because . . . well, because. Or, as Leonardo de Vinci put it, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

Or, in a broader sense, I quote Abba Macarius: "This is the truth. If hermits regard contempt with praise, poverty as riches, and hunger as a feast, they will never die."

Not a hermit on this end, per se, but I do draw inspiration from these early desert dwellers.

In solidarity--


12:51 PM  
Anonymous Xiale said...


I never really post anecdotes about American ignorance, but here goes. Recently while at a dinner party with a bunch of college educated professionals someone asked where the zoo animals go in the winter. I then said, " Probably inside Holden Caulfield". This being a clear reference to the question about the Central Park ducks. In return I received nothing but blank stares, as not one of them was aware of the name Holden Caulfield. Among the blank faces were 5 B.A. degrees, two Masters degrees, and two MBA's. Should it come as a surprise that Holden Caulfield hates them?

1:09 PM  
Anonymous joe hohos said...


Those personality tests suck. You have to pretend like you are a robot when answering them. The question you posit in your link "Is life unfair?" is designed to see if you blame others for your problems. As you've prob noticed from the writings on these blogs, most people in this country don't look any deeper than the surface. They don't want you to actually think, they want you to give the standardized answer. By answering yes to that question, according to the test, you are saying you are not in control of your life and you do not accept responsibility for your actions. This is not what I think, but rather what the test is designed for. The second question you posit is a sign of American individualness. We all know "it's not what you know, but who you know" but they want to think you've done everything on your own. I found through trial and error to use the agree and disagree, not the strongly's, for the best results. Change your mind, change your attitude. Instead of changing the stimulus, change the way you think about the stimulus. For instance, I have always had a hard time getting jobs and have bombed many interviews. The last interview I had I decided to think like "normal" Americans and hustle. So I increased my work experience a little and told the interviewer what he wanted to hear - that I could do anything he wanted and I could learn fast. It worked. I hope this helps a little Cube.


Another movie with some interest to WAFer's is "The Rum Diaries". Some really great quotes about hustling in there.

Dr. Berman,

Do you know anything about, or have an opinion of Hunter S. Thompson?

1:26 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

James Newlin said, "I can't remember who said it, but I heard a quote once that said something like most people travel just to brag about where they've been."

Schopenhauer in Parerga and Paralipomena (1851). He made the additional pt that they never learn anything & lose a lot of money too.

Schop. was the grump par excellence of 19th c. philosophy. He is unimaginable in Amerika then or now.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

James Newlin,

Why does anybody have to give a precise time for a collapse? Failure of complex adpative systems occurs over long periods of time across many dimensions. The collapse is well underway in many ways--economic, social cultural. Even my beloved father a retired oncologist could not predict the failure of a simple system such as patient with late stage cancer. Same state took 2 weeks in some cases five years in others. Also, social collapses are fractal a lot of things go wrong for a long period of time and the system lumbers on and the all of a sudded its just too much. Why it makes a difference if it happens next wedenesday at 5:00 or in 2020 is unclear to me--the path is set. Fearmongering is often thrown at people who do not communicate in the postive american way with a lot of status quo and optimism bias. Like Orlov I have seen social collapses and it aint nice--as MB points out the ontology of collapse is a lot different than the idea of it or denial. For several thousand the collapse already happened and after loss of job, house and identity have blown their brains out. Orlov is correct--you can't opt out unless you are far away am afraid a postive attitude and a virtous approach wont save ya from what is already happening..

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

More of the same from another experienced journalist. Letting the foxes watch the hen house resulted in completely predictable disaster. And things can not get better until there is meaningful reform. Not quite as outright "doom-saying" as David Stockman, but clearly holds a view very similar.

KQED Forum: Hedrick Smith on 'Who Stole the American Dream?'

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Hedrick Smith argues that over the past 40 years, aggressive deregulation, pro-business tax policy and the demise of corporate responsibility have undermined the American dream. Smith discusses what he sees as the growing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, its implications for the middle class and what it would take to restore shared prosperity in the U.S.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

So it now turns out that the Boston bombers were motivated in large part by the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But far from provoking Americans to question why their wars could provoke such a reaction, it seems all the public discussion is centered around how to prevent further attacks and catch people who become "radicalized" before they attack. This concern in turn is leading many to advocate more civil liberties violations, including torture.

But since the US won't address the core problem that provokes attacks in the first place - US aggression throughout the world - such attacks are almost certain to continue. Likewise, the ineffective efforts to prevent them will lead to stronger and stronger police state, and a further criminalization of anyone who appears not to be 'normal.' To take one instructive example: one US Senator (Dan Coats) has called for anyone who's a "loner" in a classroom shoulfd be IDed as a potential terrorist.

This historical dialectic is quite depressing, it must be admitted, especially for those like myself who are still stuck in the US.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

American Compassion Dept.:




4:11 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

DR B, thanks for the following two articles mocking homelessness in America:




Who does not know who is behind the current decay in America, especially when you read the first article and know for sure who is controlling the wall street? We can dance around the nonsense until the cow comes home, but historical information is everywhere to prove the wickedness of these people.

Of course nobody will do anything because the wicked goons have cornered the Congress and the Whitehouse with the funds they stole from the American people.

The best we can do now is to get a front seat and watch the nation disintegrate before our eyes because Americans have been subdued and conquered. There is no single person in American that thinks like John Brown of Harpers Ferry who once cried: "in an unjustified state of war against you, you do what is necessary to defend your life because the Lord orders that the wicked must die and the land must be washed with their blood for peace and justice to reign in the nation"

6:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Only problem is, "the wicked" include the (wo)man in the street as well. Callousness pervades the entire country.


6:50 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

Just wanted to be the first to message about AP's twitter account being hacked and the message sent that there was an explosion at the white house that hit Obama, upon which the stock market plummeted. Do we need any more evidence how fragile our institutions really are? I was laughing my ass off over this one.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Another fellow traveler emerges @ the Economic Collaspe Blog. In a blog post titled, "America: #1 In Fear, Stress, Anger, Divorce, Obesity, Anti-Depressants, Etc."
he lays it all out, follow the link below and marvel how the US leads the world in so many areas of sickness.

"The United States is a deeply unhappy place. We are a nation that is absolutely consumed by fear, stress, anger and depression. It isn't just our economy that is falling apart - the very fabric of society is starting to come apart at the seams and it is because of what is happening to us on the inside. The facts and statistics that I am going to share with you in this article are quite startling. They are clear evidence that America is a nation that is an advanced state of decline. We are overwhelmed by fear, stress and anxiety, and much of the time the ways that we choose to deal with those emotions lead to some very self-destructive behaviors. Americans have experienced a standard of living far beyond the wildest dreams of most societies throughout human history, and yet we are an absolutely miserable people. Why is this? Why is America #1 in so many negative categories? Why are we constantly looking for ways to escape the pain of our own lives? Why are our families falling apart? There is vast material wealth all around us. So why can't we be happy?

Just look around you. Are most of the people around you teeming with happiness and joy? Sadly, the truth is that most Americans are terribly stressed out. Yeah, many of them may be able to manage to come up with a smile when they greet you, but most of the time they are consumed by internal struggles that are eating away at them like cancer.
So why is this happening? Is modern life structured in a way that is fundamentally unhealthy?"

Go here:

7:29 PM  
Anonymous srsguynogames said...

Hello everyone, first time commenting. I've, for the most part, quit internet commenting and forums because I don't have the energy to debate/argue with people who don't dare question their surroundings. However, I've been reading these threads for the past few weeks and it's full of information and like-minded individuals.

I don't have a problem with people who aren't like-minded, but most of them seem unwilling to even entertain certain ideas.

Anyways, my friend gave me the perfect snapshot into the American psyche. A few weeks ago, during the whole North Korean (non)Threat hoopla, we were watching CNN or MSNBC, some garbage, and he blurts out something to the effect of "we should bomb them to hell". I asked why. He says that they challenged us, threatened us, etc. Ignoring any history of American hegemony in Asia, I granted him that point.

As the conversation goes, I ask him "how is North Korea any worse than the US?" (intentionally, a loaded question). And he begins to go on and on about human rights abuses, insane leaders, brainwashing, propaganda, etc., and how that's all horrible. Yet, minutes ago, he was saying we should level the country because of those crazy horrible leaders.

What's more important to Americans: helping other humans, or massacring anyone who challenges our collective ego?

The answer is, obviously, the latter.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers,

A few more somber examples of American society in free fall:

1. Boomer suicides on the rise.


2. Nevada dumps its mentally ill citizens on Greyhound buses to be shipped to other states.



9:07 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...


There is a homelessness problem at Bloomington, though. The homeless use to congregate around a certain square on Kirkwood Ave., which then turned into an Occupy encampment. Kirkwood also happens to be a popular destination for students. Since IU is a top public university, you probably get rich kids coming face-to-face with the homeless on a regular basis on that street.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hi Wafs:

Have you checked out Counterpunch lately?

"Our criminal bankers, meanwhile, are kept in high style with billion-dollar bailout after bailout, as served up, shuffling and grinning, by our criminal politicians, with the entire criminal enterprise sanctioned by American voters, whether conservatives, liberals or progressives, and explained away or ignored by our moronic or dishonest intellectuals. It’s no wonder we’re bankrupt.

Critical thinking is dead in this country, at least in the public sphere, for the most serious and urgent questions are never asked, or only briefly aired to be ridiculed. "

Lihn Dihn is a kindred spirit.


His field notes on the failure of America are compelling reading.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Welcome to the blog! Now put a Post-It on yr bathrm mirror and you'll be a full-fledged Wafer. Yr friend sounds like a true American, i.e. a mindless dolt. I presume you understand that there are many more of him, than there are of u.


It wd have been more exciting if it said that someone broke into the W.H. and peed on Obama's Guccis.

Trout, Jeff-

I get a kick out of it when people ask me when the collapse is going to occur. What do they think they are seeing around them, on a daily basis?


11:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Wafers, please.

Thank you.


12:16 AM  
Anonymous k_pgh said...


The site's title and apparent motto:

Now Everyone Can Drone!

"Our emphasis is on low-cost. The challenge we give ourselves is to build drones that cost no more than a decent pair of field binoculars. These drones could also potentially be adapted for other environmental applications."

"This project is partly supported by the Waitt Foundation/National Geographic Society, The Orangutan Conservancy, Philadelphia Zoo, Denver Zoo, Zurich Zoo, and DroneMapper.com."

"We believe that Conservation Drones have great potential for environmental and conservation applications, which include near real-time mapping of local land cover, monitoring of illegal forest activities, and surveying of large animal species."

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Here's a tidbit from last week's events:

NBC pulls episode of serial killer drama ‘Hannibal’ in wake of Boston, Newtown violence


And by "respect" they mean a fear of public outcry, a drop in ratings, and a loss of ad revenue.

But looking a little more deeply -- what is the American fascination with serial killers? This isn't the first TV series about them, and there have been countless movies about them in the past 2-3 decades.

It strikes me that they're the culmination of the American Dream: someone who does whatever he wants, without regard for law, conscience, or other human beings. All that matters is that he wants to do, he can do it, and so he does it. Isn't that what American policy is all about these days? American business? The only crime, the only sin, is getting caught. Otherwise you're to be admired & envied. And copied, of course.

And all those CSI shows are just one step away from serial killer shows themselves. They revel in the minutia of death, the more sickening & ingenious, the better.

Such is our ideal role model!

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

@al-Qa'bong thanks for the article by Lihn Dihn

Every WAFER should read the article. Here are quotes from it:

1) “Human beings are not supposed to live like this. Look at the birds and squirrels. They can go where they want and sleep where they want. These animals can piss and shit where they want and still look civilized. Man, I’d rather be an animal!”

2) Take the Boston bombing incident. It is known that the FBI has lured and guided many fanatical idiots into participating in fake bomb plots, with each step of the process meticulous planned by their FBI handlers. Duds planted, these framed fools can be triumphantly arrested by the US government as it points a finger at its chosen enemy. For the US government, however, any major event allows it to bring in agents to facilitate the planting of duds or bombs, as it sees fit. Finally, let’s not forget that our terrorist government has often aligned itself with, and manipulated, lesser terrorists of every stripe and level of competence, from Italy to Syria, and many, many other countries.


1) Animals in the jungle are better than human beings in America. At least, the animals do not spend decades going to schools to be socialized. Americans spend half of their life learning and going to schools, and yet they are still dumb.

2) US government is the #1 terrorist in the entire planet. The author got this right, and WAFERS need to take note of this.

Someone here please explain the following contradictions for me:
a) America got the best schools, but her citizens are getting dumber than ever.

b) America knows how to farm the land and there are plenty of lands, but her citizens are hungrier than ever

c) America invented freedom and democracy, but her citizens are more enslaved today than before the American civil war, and the current slavery is done by American corporations and politicians.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

RE: Indiana Sorority Homeless Party

Hate to say it but!

In 1959-60, I was a Robert E Lee, Kappa Alpha in Athens, Ga.

Most of my "friends" were SAE's, so, one time they had a party called, I think, something like "Losers Ball". The point was to find the ugliest girl on campus and invite them to the dance. We were giddy competing to find the obvious winner of the ugly trophy.

The dance arrived and it was awful. Soon, all the ladies instantly knew they had been scammed. They all burst into tears and quickly fled. The shortest dance in history.

Nothing ever happened as a consequence!

We were all brutes and spoiled brats. That still did not teach us much. Most, I'll bet, still laugh about it today, some 54 years later.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe, we have been in collapse since, at least, 1776.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

@Dr. B

I will make a real concerted effort to keep things to a 1/2 page and very simple. My neurological configuration is different than most people. If I slip up all, I ask is that you please grant me mercy. For me, a lot of times complex is simple and simple is complex. There are times I may not know how to keep it simple. I am working on it though and I do want to learn and understand more. It is said by professionals that those like me are rigid in our thoughts. When I talk to the average joe I can't seem to get him to budge from his thoughts and his slogans.

@joe hohos

When you state "question you posit in your link "Is life unfair?" is designed to see if you blame others for your problems" I don't understand their thought process. How is it logically possible for one to be at fault for all problems one has in life especially when one does not have absolute knowledge of time, space, and all possible events that could happen? How does this extreme internal locus of control stand up to rational analysis. When you state "last interview I had I decided to think like "normal" Americans and hustle" there is only one problem and that is I don't understand how normal Americans think whatsoever. Their thoughts make no sense to me as I can't seem to get to the underlying depthness and the essence to their thoughts. Their thoughts are one liners and slogans that are so vague and nebulous. All they tell me is to be more confident and to be positive. How does this help in the slightest? Their thoughts are so alien to mine. At charitable events its like they care more about the apperance of doing good than actually doing good. It just makes no sense. I do not know how to process this with my autistic neurology whatsoever. Why is one expected to project confidence when most things are not absolutely certain? For instance, in America, one is expected to state a date on which he can get something done. How does he do that? How does he derive this estimate? There are so many variables that may make doing this thing take longer than expected. Why is it expected that one projects like he can do something with 100% absolute certainty? In America, one is expected to make a promise he may not be able to keep. If this is the case then isn't one forced to be deceptive?

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

srsguynogames--I would recommend you read Hoax by Nicholas Von Hoffman for an entertaining and accurate overview of US policy and belief systems. He describes Americans as living in a biosphere where no information, dissenting POV, or insight into much of anything is allowed to penetrate. It all just bounces off. From Hoax:

"It is heavy lifting to tell anything to the people of the biosphere. They are so neurotically needy that they cannot listen unless it is the voice of praise, the one voice from the far side of the plexiglass which Americans harken to. They also hear the voice of criticism. They have rabbit ears for that. It is the voice of reason which bounces off the glass."

11:09 AM  
Blogger Michael said...


The comments... wow. Folks are genuinely mystified, though we're still within the realm of arithmetic.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Pascal said...

America's Focus on Terrorism Blinds Us To Everyday Violence and Suffering
by Steven Rosenfeld

There are all kinds of violent events in America that go unheeded. The British-based Guardian newspaper reported that on the same day as the bombing, 11 people were killed by guns across the U.S. That sad list included a pregnant woman in Dallas allegedly shot by her boyfriend; a 13-year-old who took his own life after being bullied at school; and an off-duty New York City policewoman who killed her husband, her year-old baby, and then committed suicide with her police-issued handgun.


The report by Guardian newspaper is here:
Why does America lose its head over 'terror' but ignore its daily gun deaths?


11:33 AM  
Anonymous St Bernard said...

Fox News Attacks Muslims Relentlessly In Wake Of Boston Bombing
By Jack Mirkinson
Posted: 04/24/2013 9:23 am EDT


The media has been going on and on and on about Islam and Muslims. It is go on for the next 6 weeks or so.

Nobody will attack Christian religion or Jewish religion when the members of these other religions commit unspeakable atrocities.

Imagine where Bernad Madoff or Adam Lanza was a Muslim. I think this is part of the reason America is going down quickly - Americans are being brainwashed so much so that they cannot make intelligent decisions about events and policies affecting their lives.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Sigh, only in the US (and in one of the richest states) would voters do this:


11:56 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Interesting article:


12:02 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Consecutive posts on an NC thread today; stood out to me. As MB has said, this nation was founded on hustling. From http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/04/even-harsh-frontline-program-on-retirement-investments-understates-how-bad-they-are.html

"banger says:
April 24, 2013 at 10:43 am

We live at a time when the hustler mentality has taken up a greater part of the society. There have been hustlers always in American society–our culture is based on it in many ways. But there was usually a balance and that balance could be maintained. Some morality some adherence to rule of law would come into play at critical times. Some great political figure or figures would come out and reform the system and make it work. But the stakes have become too high–the old morality (however ignored in the past it still had a strong effect even on Wall Street as a few old pirates have told me) has died out and we are in the stage where the focus of every executive is on looting the public for personal gain. It is the cultural of narcissism gone into overdrive.

The real-estate bubble showed how an entire industry from originator to investment banker could be dramatically and systematically corrupted as an engine for looting. The entire community of banks, insurance companies and so on are largely run by a criminal mentality. From what little I’ve seen the internal politics of the larger corporate entities is highly competitive, brutal and nasty.

TomDor says:
April 24, 2013 at 11:37 am

Getting something for nothing

The great sore spot in our modern commercial life is found on the speculative side. Under present laws, which foster and encourage speculation, business life is largely a gamble, and to “get something for nothing” is too often considered the keynote to “success”. The great fortunes of today are nearly all speculative fortunes; and the ambitious young man just starting out in life thinks far less of producing or rendering service than he does of “putting it over” on the other fellow. This may seem a broad statement to some: but thirty years of business life in the heart of American commercial activity convinces me that it is absolutely true.
If, however, the speculative incentive in modern commercial life were eliminated, and no man could become rich or successful unless he gave “value received” and rendered service for service, then indeed a profound change would have been brought in our whole commercial system, and it would be a change which no honest man would regret.- John Moody, Wall Street Publisher, and President of Moody’s Investors’ Service. Dated 1924"

1:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Thank u all for the interesting posts. Gd evidence for the country as a collection of bozos. I love it that 'progressives' think they are going to turn all this around. Hey, I just saw a pig flying across the sky!


Good post, but I don't run Anons. Pls pick a handle and re-send. I suggest Sam Schmeck, Ph.D. (or DDS, if yr into teeth).


I just want to make sure you understand that this blog isn't a therapy group; it isn't designed for people to work through their own personal problems. (Of course, if our discussions shd inadvertently help people with this, that's fine w/me.) Some folks have tried to use it like that in the past, and then got hurt and angry when I wouldn't cater to their needs. If you want to send in comments on the American Empire, that's fine; but I wd also suggest finding a website along the lines of Asperger's support group--that might be a valuable thing 4u 2 participate in. Then you could discuss your own personal situation w/them, and politics w/us. Thank u 4 yr understanding.


1:32 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B, No problem. I didn't know. Sorry for my disrespect.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Not to worry; there was no disrespect on yr part, and nothing to apologize for. I just wanted to clarify the guidelines. Thanks.


Thanks for post. In future, if u cd limit them to abt 1/2 a page, that wd be gd. Meanwhile, be sure to see a film called "Margin Call," I think you'll like it.


2:49 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

More interesting interestingness:


3:10 PM  
Blogger Ort said...

I truly despise the expression "breaking news", as I do almost everything connected with mass-media newsmongering. And it's not even "corporate" mass-media, aka Establishment newsmongers-- even the so-called progressive alternative news organizations piously use this cliché. Sigh.

The only redeeming quality to this breathlessly hysterical nonsense phrase is that it has an almost-identical idiomatic twin, although few notice the resemblance: breaking wind.

I wrote the above lines in an e-mail to my thirtysomething niece, prompted by the Boston Massacre Team Coverage. She, in turn, favored me with this excellent parody:

Comedian Hasan Minhaj Takes On CNN’s Boston Manhunt Coverage

Here's a YouTube link.

I think it captures the surrealistically absurd state of both corporate mass-media "journalism" and its stupefied, overwrought, complacent Amerikan audience. It's also hilarious.

YMMV, and Dr. Berman is the ultimate judge of this, but I think such satirical pieces have a place here; in my opinion, they speak to the WAFer weltanschauung and offer a complementary counterpoint to the blog's regular anecdotal horrorshow.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Need to put my name!

Thought conveyed recently by a sharp eyed Bolivian immigrant in D.C.... Any place you go such as U.K, Spain, Australia and even China, immigrants from greece, mexico, china set up restuarants, cultural festivals and even mutual aid societies (yes there are mexicans in Sydney and put up a couple of restuarnts, there is even a decent mex place in Lagos Nigeria, and Greeks and Chinese). But what about americians? One or a million americans in a country and what exactly will they set up? Hot dog stand or just be sales reps for multinationals? Dance? Food? Cultural Festivals? Nope nothing--its a stale hustling culture with little else.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...


Is it just me, or have any of you noticed how increasingly challenging it is to distinguish news articles in the "legit/mainstream" press (so to speak) from those you'd expect to see in _The Onion_?

I bring you Exhibit A:




5:12 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...


Chomsky: "...Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project. That's an Obama initiative and it's a very serious attack on civil liberties. He [Obama] doesn't gain anything from it – he doesn't get any political mileage out of it. In fact, most people don't even know about it, but what it does is extend the concept of "material assistance to terror" to speech.

Scary stuff!

7:29 PM  
Blogger jml said...


Am trying to come up with a comment for this disturbing piece of news. Seems American life is going to get a lot more violent. In celebrity news, I read that Brad Pitt installed a shooting range for Angelina b/c, you know, guns and shooting things are sexy.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

NPR was in fine form today. Bostonians, and really all Americans, are now filled with immense affection for each other thanks to the unity provided by the marathon bombing. The singing and hand holding circles in the streets like the Whos in Whoville was going to begin at any moment. I was about to fire off the Wafer all clear signal, but just before I was about to start sobbing with joy, they switched to their favorite topic--getting the US into a war in Syria.

Yes, only US troops can save another yet another 4000 year old Middle Eastern country -- its why we exist as a nation. They went into such tremendous tactical detail about what our soldiers would do, that I felt for sure all the reporters must have been wearing full combat gear. My favorite was -- seize Syria’s chemical weapons depots. And who gets to do this lovely duty in the midst of a hot firefight? Not the children of NPR listeners, no, it will be the children of those at the other end of the dial listening to the country radio station. Yep, and I’m betting those poor dumb slobs will do it too, with happy dreams of Jesus and Armageddon in their heads.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Do you want to know what is funny? I was in a class that taught how to give speeches, talks and presentations. The instructor critiqued all of us separately.

This is what he told me. He told me that I was the only one who followed the directions on how the presentation was to be set up presented. I asked him if he was serious and he said he was serious. He seemed to have this look of jubilation. Even though he gave directions no followed them and they did their own thing.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Thanks again for pile of messages; u guys are pretty fertile these days.

I think we can say that the next few yrs are going to see dramatic increases in all of the following:

1. The sheer amt of CRE
2. Ditto, violence of all kinds
3. Pervasive sense that the country is coming apart at the seams
4. Decay and disintegration
5. The size of Kim's rump.

Tidings of comfort and joy...


10:46 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Mike said:
This concern in turn is leading many to advocate more civil liberties violations, including torture.
Bloomberg Says Interpretation of Constitution Will 'Have to Change' After Boston Bombing
and on internet privacy (that's an oxymoron by-the-way) GOP Senator Calls For Vastly Expanded Internet Surveillance In Response To Boston Bombing
Expatriotism — The New American Dream might resonate with many of you on this blog

7:21 AM  
Blogger jml said...


"By the way, that’s not that easy to paint, water hitting water just so, you know, and the perspective… It’s a beauty, isn’t it?” Bush told ABC on Wednesday. “It may reflect my precocious nature, me painting myself in a bathtub...People are surprised. Of course, some people are surprised I can even read."

Makes one proud to be an American.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

These two stories are actually related. Wafers are encouraged to elucidate the connections:




8:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And also these:




8:35 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Day -

Alrighty then, now we're making progress.


Doctor friend of mine in Georgia (1071-2) had a range in his basement "for the 'N*****' hoards that are surely coming out of Atlanta to take over".

8:48 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Cube: Thought you might like this:


Z: I don't have a computer nor a TV at home so I am stuck with the radio for news and yeah, NPR has been driving me crazy with all the false balanced reporting and how they have fallen into the "Southern Russia" instead of "Chechnya" trope.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I can't thank you enough for telling me about the whiteboard that can be used as a shield in an emergency. How naïve' of me to think that a whiteboard was only for educational purposes. Another article about it cited a security expert who absurdly said that the whiteboard may only provide a false sense of security and that the best thing to do is to retreat from the danger. Is he insane? And he calls himself a security expert? Better have someone check his credentials.
I prefer the Minnesota police chief who stabbed it with a knife, used a karate kick on it and hit it with a baton. Now that's the kind of security expert I'd follow to the ends of earth.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

@Cubeangel: Don't give up, and find a decent support group. Although DAA isn't dedicated to this topic, you have my support.
@James Newlin: Keep in mind, we can't always get every prediction right. To me, Orlov seems genuine.
As for the Zen Gardener site, there is a posted image accompanied by the title "Green is the New Red", the visuals consisting of a PhotoShopped juxtaposition of natural scenery and Soviet postage stamps (God, how can these retards see communism behind everything they don't like, no matter how different or diametrically opposed it may be?). This erased all doubts from my mind- since most of the progressives and conspiracy-minded share the same CRE themselves as mainstream Americans, they'll absolutely never be able to make significant changes, no matter how triumphalist their outlook. Now, let me repeat it one more time for them (at least I'm safe here): Not every problem in the world is related to Communism or socialism, you stupid ninnies!!! Besides, on what planet could the anti-egalitarian corporate shills in the Republican, Democratic and Libertarian Parties who disputed the USSR's power during the Cold war be equal to reds under the bed? And if we don't preserve the ecosystems, we die with them, ignorant bozos.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Hello - I think I have figured out what all the violent killers of late have in common: they're all lonely and they don't see any other way out of their misery. The two men in Boston were lonely and they couldn't figure out how to relate to Americans. The man who shot up the movie theater in Colorado had no friends. The same was true for the man who shot up the school in Connecticut. The man who shot up Virginia Tech a few years back was an Asian immigrant who could barely speak English. He was embarrassed by his lack of ability to communicate and shunned human contact. America is a cesspool of loneliness. Our disdain for others is shocking. Throw in our obsession with techno-toys, and we have even fewer opportunities to interact with real-live humans. Humans are social animals and are wired to be with other humans. This American cesspool we have created becomes a fertile breeding ground for all sorts of vermin to thrive. We have people who think it's okay to walk into a school and indiscriminately kill a score of little kids. Worse, we have millions of idiots who will defend the killer's rights to carry his weapons, even as he is mowing down children. To make this story short, expect many, many more of these horrific events in coming years, and be sure to duck.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Dr B, the connection between the two articles is hustling for material things:



The second article about the medical doctor has this to say about money:

"Primary care is highly respected here. That's not the case anymore in America," said Snyder. "In the United States, health care has become more about the business of making money. The personal side of medicine is going away."

You can substitute some words about learning and education and get meaningful description of the current America (in terms of education and prom):

"Learning is highly respected here. That's not the case anymore in America," said Snyder. "In the United States, education has become more about the business of making money. The personal side of learning and wisdom is going away."

2:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The Korean boy spoke English very well, I believe. He came to the US at age 8, was 22 when he died. "Lonely" may be true, but it's a lot more complicated, I think: it involves a revulsion against the American value system. After all, he spent his formative yrs in a culture that honors community, friendship, and loyalty, and then entered a culture that values hustling. In his diary, the boy had written abt how pretentious and snobby his classmates were, and I'm quite sure that's true--it's the American way, the celebrity culture, organized around power. Similarly, the Tsarnaev brothers had spent a gd # of yrs living in the US; but as Muslims, over time, the culture conflict began to eat at them--at least, at the older boy. The older boy did say that after 5 yrs, he didn't have a single friend; given his Islamic value system, it's not that surprising. As for James Holmes (Colorado), he was born in the US, and does seem to have rapidly gone nuts, at the end; his motives and psychology were never sorted out. Adam Lanza: bullied and beaten at school; I guess he finally couldn't take it. But the question is why he was targeted; if he didn't fit in, why not? Did he read poetry? Paint and draw? We still don't know the answers to this.

Given American culture, anyone w/a different value system or non-mainstream interests is going to feel alone and isolated. It doesn't mean that all the lonely people ("where do they all come from?") carry out a massacre; but yr rt, it can't be unrelated. American society doesn't take care of real existential needs; it just makes its citizens sick, in a whole variety of ways. So, some are going to react violently to what seems to be a dead-end life. Yes, we can expect many more horrific events in the days ahead, yr rt.


2:53 PM  
Anonymous srsguynogames said...

Thanks for the warm welcome, much appreciated. Looking through some of the links from the past few days.

Here's a phrase you come across a lot in the aftermath of terrorist attacks, and one that was mentioned in the Economic Collapse blog that was posted a couple days ago (not sure if this has been talked about before here).

The phrase is "we shouldn't let the terrorists change our way of life". Now, if that isn't quintessentially American, I don't know what is. Don't question any underlying reasons why these things happen, don't think maybe there's something wrong with us, just keep on living our More Valuable, Morally Righteous, and Mostly Perfect Lives.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous James said...


Brian said earlier that it's getting harder to differentiate between news from The Onion and mainstream media. Here ya go:


3:46 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Barbie explains American campus values to her sorority sisters.

Warning: profanity.


(Here's the context: http://tinyurl.com/csuzc65 )

3:57 PM  
Anonymous For What it's Worth said...

G. W. Bush library opens today. Reading the comments below the news of the event was revealing. While there are a few "War Criminal!" comments, there's also a number of "He was a great leader who never apologized!" and "He was a TRUE American" (OK, that one is on target) But the best comment on the new library: "I wonder if it will have a puppet theater?"

4:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Honestly, I keep wondering when the 'progressives' are gonna pack it in. When will they finally say: "Oh, I get it: we're hopelessly fucked, and abs. nothing can change that. I think I'll move to eastern Oregon and grow rhubarb."

What's it gonna take? A Boston bombing, or Newtown shooting, on a daily basis? The US finally (long overdue) bombing Paris and Toronto? Latreasa Goodman elected VP? The revelation that there are no bks in the Bush 'library'? Drones flying over American cities and randomly killing people, just for target practice? WHAT'S IT GONNA TAKE, WAFERS? HOW LONG WILL THE 'PROGRESSIVES' BE CAUGHT UP IN ADVANCED CRANIAL RECTITIS?


5:09 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

WAFer news break!

“Gang Leader Impregnates Four Female Prison Guards”:


“5 people murdered in small Illinois town, suspect dead”:


The downward descent accelerates.

5:27 PM  
Blogger likebike said...

The GW Bush Library! With what, colouring books?

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB,

What kind of society treats their children with such disdain? How sick must a society be to allow hunger to happen upon their children:

From : http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

Here are some signs that child hunger in America has already started to explode...

#1 Today, approximately 17 million children in the United States are facing food insecurity. In other words, that means that "one in four children in the country is living without consistent access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life."

#2 We are told that we live in the "wealthiest nation" on the planet, and yet more than one out of every four children in the United States is enrolled in the food stamp program.

#3 The average food stamp benefit breaks down to approximately $4 per person per day.

#4 It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps before they reach the age of 18.

#5 It may be hard to believe, but approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are currently living in homes that are either considered to be either "low income" or impoverished.

There are 9 more bullet points below.... To those who ask when will the collapse occur....just look around.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Hey, those kids are lucky to be getting food stamps. In a few yrs, they'll just be starving in the streets.


I'm told some of his papers actually have writing on them (doodles, I guess).


9:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: They are all the same people, really:


9:33 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and fellow Wafers and Waferettes,

Seeing George W. Bush back in the spotlight today, standing in front of his Lie-brary, gave me goosebumps. It also gave me the opportunity to think back on some of his more memorable quotes. This one in particular seems to sum up Bush's intellectual gifts and moral qualifications:

When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world and we knew exactly who they were. It was us versus them. And it was clear who them was. Today, we're not so sure who they are, but we know they're there.
~George W. Bush

Thanks for the memories W. We wuv you!

O&D W! O&D!


10:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps2: Topics that I think cd use more attn on this blog, esp. in conn. w/the collapse of the American empire:

1. The collapse of the Stage Deli (last yr)
2. The collapse of Rod Blagojevich
3. Ted Koppel's 'haircut'.

Wafers are encouraged to add to the list.


10:04 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Like all things the collapse, devolution, transition or whatever it can be described at will include the several items you list and more! The as Mencken called them the "cult of hope" will be busy suggesting all manner of solutions. Hilary as president! New "programs" and a "community dialogue". Efforts to "empower" the diverse economy. New sustainable green efforts to help "communities" be empowered and be globally competitive. A new dialogue about education! Online education! Technology! The progressives will of course pull out every frigging treakle they can--its corporate greed, it was bush, its the republicans, christians, hasids and heterosexual meat eaters to blame, so to the right wingers with their phantoms. The place is already a 3rd world country but without any charm or sense of fun. Just a bunch of addled fat morons and yes the sooner people realize how completely fucked the U.S. the better...

10:12 PM  
Blogger WuzZappnin said...

Top priority - identifying who radicalized the brothers Tsarnaev. And then the US will intensify the drone strikes until we have eliminated everyone who has a grudge against us.

In other words, "The beatings will continue until morale improves."

11:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We need an Addled Fat Moron Liberation Front (AFMLF), clearly.

Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh!
AFMLF is gonna win!

Who will speak for the Addled Fat Morons, after all? If u prick them, do they not bleed?


What's really scary is that his stature is rising in the polls. Only in America. I'm telling u, in two yrs he'll be at the top of the list, along w/Ronnie. A nation of douche bags celebrates its douche bag leaders: I love it (I mean, wuv it). But I think Rod Blagojevich will be outta prison in 2024, so eligible to run for president at that time. Go Rod!


11:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, the logic is kinda elementary, really: we make war on Islam; they strike back; so we step up the war on Islam (while shredding what's left of civil liberties at home)! Smart!


12:03 AM  
Anonymous Pascal said...

LL Pete says "Top priority - identifying who radicalized the brothers Tsarnaev."

I was waiting for someone to use the magic word "radicalized". The members of the American media have been having some fun throwing the word around. What does that word mean? Try to define it for yourselves. once you get a good definition, try answering these: Are WAFERS radicalized? Who or what radicalized Bush Jr and Obama?

1:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Good pt. But then, maybe they were Talibanized. After the WTO protest march in Seattle in 1999, Silvio Berlusconi called them "Talibanized hordes." I found this intriguing. What's the process? Do I first get myself Talibanized, and then join a horde? Or do I, together w/a large group of people, go in for Talibanization? Do the Wafers constitute a Talibanized horde? These sorts of questions keep me up at night.


6:49 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB,

Yet another fellow traveler, Jim Quinn of the http://www.theburningplatform.com/ uses a brutally honest style.

Quoting from his latest missive:

“The most disgraceful example of abnormality that has infected our culture has been the cowardice and docile acquiescence of the citizenry in allowing an ever expanding police state to shred the U.S. Constitution, strip us of our freedoms, and restrict our liberties. Our keepers have not let any crisis go to waste in the last seventeen years. They have also taken advantage of the willful ignorance, childish immaturity, extreme gullibility, historical cluelessness, financial illiteracy and techno-narcissism of the populace to reverse practical legislation and prey upon irrational fears to strip the people of their constitutionally guaranteed liberties and freedoms…… The cosmic obliviousness and limitless sense of complacency of the general population with regards to a blatantly obvious coup by a small cadre of sociopathic financial elite and their army of bureaucrats, lackeys and jackboots is a wonder to behold.”

Commenting about events in Boston,…… “After stumbling upon these amateur terrorists by accident, the 2nd responders, with their Iraq war level firepower, managed to slaughter one of the perpetrators, but somehow allowed a wounded teenager to escape on foot and elude 10,000 donut eaters for almost 24 hours. The horde of heavily armed, testosterone fueled thugs proceeded to bully and intimidate the citizens of Watertown by illegal searches of homes and treating innocent people like criminals. The government completely shut down the 10th largest metropolitan area in the country for an entire day looking for a wounded 19 year old. The people of Boston obeyed their zoo keepers and obediently cowered in their cages. “

Dr. MB, I'm starting to wonder just how many WAFers are out there, it seems there are many fellow travelers even if they don't fully embrace WAF ism.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: So now potential criminal actions constitute terrorism:


Is Billy a member of al-Qaeda? Has he been Talibanized? Radicalized? What, at this pt in American history, is *not* terrorism?


7:18 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps3: Wd this constitute terrorism?:



Waferism, please.

I love the term 'techno-narcissism'. The US is surely the land of this (not of the free). But Mr. Quinn has captured an impt aspect of the American public, in addition to their stupidity, and the fact that they are completely unaware of the NDAA, Bradley Manning, and etc.: they are spineless. They'll take any shit dished out to them and ask for more. But u cd be rt: perhaps there are a few unidentified Wafers out there, just waiting to be Waferized and put a Post-It on their bathrm mirrors. If I published a 6-vol. set, "Cornerstones of the Waferian Credo," how many copies wd I sell?
If I called for donations to support the construction of a Waferian Institute, a large neoclassical marble structure on the Potomac, how long wd it take to raise the necessary $30 million? Every day I become more convinced that Waferism is the only answer. Musical Wafers are invited to compose and submit a Waferian National Anthem or marching song, to help the movement along. Allons enfants de la patrie...


7:37 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

Just out of curiosity do you have plans to write another book?

Have you even been to Australia? If yes, what is it like there culturally and what is the medical system like there? It has been recommended that I take up residence there.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

While Brokaw is hardly Cronkite, this is interesting:


If he continues to say such things, how long before he's shown the door? Or else walks back his comments?

Meanwhile, Boston bombing victims face enormous medical bills:


The news will be filled with heartwarming stories about donations & private fundraisers to help pay those bills, I'm sure; but not a word will be said about the for-profit healthcare system that denies all citizens the care that any civilized nation offers.



8:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Be sure 2c Michael Moore's film, "Sicko." There's a scene where those who volunteered at Ground Zero cdn't get any medical aid afterwards (powder in lungs etc.), and Mike takes them to Cuba, where they are given free medical attn. As for donations for Boston: charity is the bourgeois form of justice.

Yes, the statement by Brokaw is remarkable, if obvious. I wonder if he'll get Dixie Chicked, as a result. For Americans, dumb clucks that they are, the problem is always 'out there'; *we* never do anything to incur hatred of us, or attacks on us. Oh no, we are the Great White Innocents.

Meanwhile, the Marines have been dispatched to the Moron Army Base in Spain; I thought that was appropriate.


I've got a bk entitled "Spinning Straw Into Gold," soon to come out--maybe June or July; and I'm working on a bk on Japan. As for Australia, I dunno dick, but u can find ex-pat discussion groups online for just abt any country, and ask those folks what their experience is.


9:12 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


I lived in Australia for 5 years and worked as an academic some time ago and have friends and vist. Its what the U.S. was like in the 60's with a lot of englis sensibility. Its very multicultural--Italians and Greeks the largest group after Anglo Irish. Its expensive--very. To immigrate you must have either a great deal of money (1 million to retire placed in a bond) or many points on the skilled visa test and a sponsoring employer. Very hard to get in. Great and low cost health care system. People very bright warm and fun. Easy to get laid. Like most things americans are quick to suggest a concept but slow to realize the details. Its really a fine place but of late Aus gov very cozy with U.S. govt and pikcing up some bad habits. Try it for three months or if you are under 30 you can get a temporary work holiday visa for 2 years.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

In America, under our current set of living arrangements, what exists now represents the best you can ever hope to see in your lifetime. That’s right, Obama is better than any future president we can ever hope to have, and the 1% will have an even greater take of the nations wealth in the future. More gun massacres, more military and wars, more police and prisons, more ignorance and hated of intelligence, more religious fanaticism, more greed and less kindness and compassion. It’s inevitable, it’s pre-programmed, and all of it is not a flaw in the system, but a design feature. Please consider this, especially if you’re young, and you think you can change this system. Don’t waste your precious time. Instead, learn foreign languages, and make plans to get out, asap. I recommend going somewhere that is the least like America, not Aus/NZ/UK/Can, better to go somewhere completely different and put some real distance between yourself and this decrepit culture.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Amen. Of course, most will ignore yr advice; but then, they are Americans, which means they have fried rice in their heads.


9:50 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB,

Quoting Dr. Krugman, ( I know, I know ) regarding the elites drive towards austerity in America citing this paper http://faculty.wcas.northwestern.edu/~jnd260/cab/CAB2012%20-%20Page1.pdf .

"The paper compares the policy preferences of ordinary Americans with those of the very wealthy, and the results are eye-opening.
Thus, the average American is somewhat worried about budget deficits, which is no surprise given the constant barrage of deficit scare stories in the news media, but the wealthy, by a large majority, regard deficits as the most important problem we face. And how should the budget deficit be brought down? The wealthy favor cutting federal spending on health care and Social Security — that is, “entitlements” — while the public at large actually wants to see spending on those programs rise.
You get the idea: The austerity agenda looks a lot like a simple expression of upper-class preferences, wrapped in a facade of academic rigor. What the top 1 percent wants becomes what economic science says we must do”.
Well, of course, Rich and Powerful first…….


10:24 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Good article by Ralph Nader in C-P:


10:43 AM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

A taste of the American public education system:


From the article:

"Recently, a friend and former teacher half-jokingly suggested we start a charter school together. 'Look, the only two ways to get rich quick in this town are growing weed and starting a charter,' he mock argued. 'It’s all about real estate: You buy a property, rent it to the school at inflated rates. Cook the test scores and cherry-pick the students with Tiger Moms and drum out the SpEd kids and slackers until your ranking scores are sky-high and everybody is banging down your door to enroll. Then give ’em all a strict, textbook-based education with no frills, taught by 25-year-olds willing to work for 30K.'"

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Xiale said...


I wonder how Americans view other countries when they travel abroad, and if these travels produce any changes in how they view the U.S. upon their return. Do any vacationing Americans ever engage you with questions regarding your experience in Mexico?

My guess would be that Americans see other countries and cultures as backward, especially cultures that aren't organized around the principles of war and aggressive consumption.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

Dr Berman states: ps3: Wd this constitute terrorism?:

Of course that is terrorism. Obama and his wife and kids are not more valuable than any other American family. In fact, Obama makes enough money with which to buy health insurance to cover his family. But NO, he must get medical care free of charge while Americans who make $10 an hour must fend for themselves in medical care. This is terrorism especially when Obama is taking the tax money from these other Americans who make $10 per hour.

Like Obama, the members of the media make millions of dollars per year, and they get free healthcare. When debates come up about universal healthcare, the insurance company band together with media and politicians to deny rational legislation that should help the American people. The politicians, the members of the media, and their paymasters in the banks and wall street are the most deadliest terrorists in America today.

Obama is terrorist. The members of the media are terrorists. The bankers are terrorists. The people at the wall street are terrorists. All politicians are terrorists. The question is who radicalized them?

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Dr. Berman,

I so enjoyed your further exploration of my comments yesterday about mass killers and loneliness. You are so right when you say that loneliness is just what we see on the surface of a much larger problem underneath. I also appreciated how much you know about the young killers I mentioned in my post. I wish my memory was that good! I think many of us who are exiled in America feel that same sense of detachment that you talk about frequently. It's so sad to see it all falling apart around us, but I agree with you 100%: there isn't a heck of a lot we can do to stop it. Anyway, that was my first post to this blog, so I appreciate your ability to take an idea and give it legs. I will keep reading and may continue posting. There are some really smart people on this blog, and I always look forward to reading the day's posts and checking out the links people share here.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Mo Ronich said...

If this doesn't offer more proof of what we already know, I don't know what does. From yer favorite democracynow.org

U.N. Official Condemned for Highlighting Role of U.S. Policy in Boston Attacks

A United Nations official is facing calls for his ouster following his comments about the role of U.S. policy in the Boston Marathon bombings. Richard Falk, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, wrote: "The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world. In some respects, the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks ... We should be asking ourselves at this moment, 'How many canaries will have to die before we awaken from our geopolitical fantasy of global domination?'" Officials in Canada and Britain as well as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice have called for Falk to be fired. Officials who questioned the surviving suspect in the bombings say they were motivated at least in part by the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was badly wounded in an overnight standoff with police last week. He has now been moved from a hospital to prison.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Read and cry: everything is rigged against me and you.


2:40 PM  
Blogger jml said...

Speaking of Addled Fat Morons, did anyone else notice how chubby and out of shape many of the heavily armed Boston police looked who were involved in the manhunt? Many of them looked like jogging a mile would be hell if not impossible. I can't help but think there is a correlation between these two things:
1. America's obesity/health problems
2. Our obsession with technologically state of the art lethal weaponry
It's like the obsession with gigantic trucks (I live in Texas-they are everywhere) I sometimes get the feeling that hiding behind the wheel are some very scared, confused little boys.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Here's a really interesting article from Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone on further massive financial criminality:


'Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world's largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.'

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Upstream in this thread Dr. Berman quizzically stated : Honestly, I keep wondering when the 'progressives' are gonna pack it in. When will they finally say: "Oh, I get it: we're hopelessly fucked, and abs. nothing can change that. I think I'll move to eastern Oregon and grow rhubarb."


An answer to Dr. B's question can be inferred by the comments shouted out by Medea Benjamin of Code Pink as she is being hauled out of a presentation by CIA Director John Brennan (video clip here) — some of the last words you'll hear her shout out are: I love the rule of law, I love my country. She's gonna windup loving it to death.

The flag waving, USA chanting troglodytes in Boston love their country too — what separates the two is what place they occupy on the ideological spectrum, and both will experience the wrath that will be unleashed by their unrequited love.

The sorry observation is Benjamin, Hedges, Goodman et al. should know better, but not unlike their counterparts they too are delusional. So when will the progressives pack it in? Probably, and unfortunately, not until they have their Victor Jara moment.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

Leaving the country seems like a difficult option because of the culture shock. America has a lot of beautiful land and good soil; you just need to meet the right people to live with. However, when you're raised on credit cards, Mickey Mouse, and fish sticks -- becoming self-sufficient and living simply seems very daunting. People are receptive to checking out of the hustling culture, they just don't want to lose their friends, and they want meaningful work that can give you a happy life. It's hard to do that when all you know is working for a corporation doing something highly specialized.

I grew up in a tract home, and no one taught me anything about gardening, traditional food preservation, or being self-sufficient. It was: go to college and get a good job so you can pay the bills. I have to teach myself through books what used to be handed down (I ask around too, but get very little help that way).

I think people know things suck, and they're dealing with it through technology, music, and junk food. To temporarily relieve the suck, open a new iPhone, listen to synthesizers through line arrays, or eat a cheesburger. Or substitute the above for whatever hobby people obsess over - my Italian family criticizes Americans' love of hobbies.

I think that if an alternative tradition emerged where you could have high quality and affordable food, water, healthcare, and clothing, people would flock to it. But for now, hustling seems better to most people than living in a hippie eco-village where you play in mud and hold hands.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Ellen DeGeneres doesn't seem to like techno-buffoonery either:


Only watched the first 20 minutes, but it's interesting to hear a theater packed with people laugh at this stuff, yet iPhone sales continue through the roof.

4:01 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Yemeni youth activist Farea al-Muslimi, on a visit to the US:

"Now, however, when [villagers in Wessab, a village in Yemen where US drones terrorized thousands of farmer] think of America, they think of the terror they feel from the drones that hover over their heads, ready to fire missiles at any time. What the violent militants had previously failed to achieve, one drone strike accomplished in an instant. There is now an intense anger against America in Wessab."

US drone strikes are terrorizing whole populations in Yemen, and radicalizing them in support of al-Qaeda. But hey, not all the news is bad. At least we can be sure that with this war on terror generating its own rationale in the form of radicalized populations, Homeland Security will forever be a booming industry.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


My pal Nomi Prins is coming out with a bk on that subject in the near future. Stay tuned.


It's funny; Tom Brokaw recently made a similar statement, and I guess he's untouchable--or at least I haven't seen any calls for *him* to be fired. This 'blowback' thesis is so obvious only morons cd deny it--i.e., most of the nation. Susan Sontag, I believe, was fired from New Yorker in 2001 after saying, after 9/11, that the problem was US foreign policy. Of course, I said it in extenso in DAA, but I didn't get fired. Oh, wait: I didn't have a boss.


Man in st. is terrorist also; he's terrorizing himself. He applauds legislation that will hurt him badly. He's actually a Terrorist-Douche-Bag (TDB). You can yell at Wall St. all u want; w/o the TDB's, this country wd not be collapsing. I love them. To quote Gore Vidal: "Stupidity excites me." I'm so excited on a daily basis I'm practically fainting.


Check out Antonio Gramsci on 'hegemony': Ideas of the ruling class are the ideas of the people at large.


12:33 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

@Winter in America: Don't touch my dear Chris Hedges! He is at the very least another good chronicler of American decline, and although naive about the "goodness" of Amerikkkans, still a man with a better conscience and sensibility than most.
@Troutburn: In the postmodern world, if you're too old or too young, you're not worth anything in the eyes of society. Of course Yankeestan takes the lead here; Where else are social programs for elders being brutally eliminated with such fervor, and are you considered mature enough to lose a limb in Iraq at eighteen, but not enough to drink even a shot of Corona beer or attend men's/women's clubs? Europe is generally more cultured and developed than 'Murika (I particularly admire France and Scandinavia), obviously better in most regards, but in the case of Germany, youth, families and seniors are also treated quite badly. Just consider the quasi-fascist ban on homeschooling, draconian censorship and parenting laws "to protect minors and families", and their often hostile exclusion from public spaces. Oh, and don't think for a second ultraneoliberal Angela Merkel will show under "austerity" an ounce of mercy to Deutschland's aged.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous srsguynogames said...

Personally, I'm enjoying everything falling apart. I have no dog in this fight.

What's worse? Rich morons who hate everyone but themselves, or poor morons who hate everyone but themselves?

I tried to bring up an important point about the whole Miranda rights kerfuffle a week ago (that, in typical American fashion, has been completely forgotten about). The point is that it doesn't matter one bit whether he was read his Miranda rights or not. Two reasons: 1.) theoretically, he has those rights anyway, and 2.) he was essentially declared guilty the minute the FBI fingered him as the bomber. The second point is what I was saying.

No response. Not one. No disagreement, no agreement, just ignored into irrelevance.

Triumph of American justice indeed.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


The invaluable Glenn Greenwald writes about the same obvious reason for so much blowback here:


What's especially interesting are the comments posted, in which pretty much everyone not only agrees with him, but argue that creating more enemies is in fact the express purpose of the endless War on Terrorism, so that it will indeed be endless & forever profit- & power-making for The Powers That Be.


I get incredulous reactions from people when I tell them I don't have an iPhone, don't use Facebook, don't own a Kindle, etc. Sometimes they even get downright angry about it, though when I ask them why, they sputter about "getting with the times, you can't fight Progress, you must be stupid" & other such nonsense. I have noticed that when some people admit to having trouble using the digital world, they're more often mocked & insulted rather than helped by those supposedly in the know. The outright contempt shown to anyone who can't or won't quite fit in is appalling (but not surprising).

I've also found that if you try to talk about a different approach to life, one that attempts to be more civilized in the best sense of the word, you'll probably be attacked as elitist, as thinking you're better than everyone else, and so on. I've had more than one person say, "Don't try and tell me how to live!" when I was doing no such thing, just explaining how I was trying to live. But simply suggesting that there are alternatives is seen as a threat.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

James N,

I don't think its culture shock per se that makes it hard for americans to leave the country its that they are useless dolts. I folks from Kenya, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ukraine can simply get up and move to London, Madrid or Sydney and figure things out why can't americans--easy they are dolts. Besides with very few exceptions americans do not have the skills or attitude to fit in anywhere. Its o.k., must people can;t stand americans. Yes of only there were a magic fantasy land with low prices we would all run toward it! Got news for you--we tried that and that is the source of our problems.

Wafers I am so disabpointed. Who gives two f*^@s what Tom Brokaw says--thats validation? He is just a news reader and his opinions are likely less developed than a cab driver in guadajara.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hi Tim.

You wrote:
"I get incredulous reactions from people when I tell them I don't have an iPhone, don't use Facebook, don't own a Kindle, etc"

I get some of that, but people already think I'm weird for being a vegetarian, year-round cyclist (in Saskatchewan, when it's 30-below sometimes) who hosts a radio show on which I play nothing but music of the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

I just finished reading "The Day of the Locust." Nathaniel West was a pioneer Waferian.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

CBS Sun day orning just had a story about Eric Schmidt of Goggle & his glowing predictions of our wonderful digital future.

For example, a smartphone that constantly talks to/advises you, i.e., "Eric, you're in the office, you should be working!" or "Eric, you're walking by a clothes store, you need new pants, the shop on the left has them for less money!" (Just what we all want, right?)

Or for another example, how we'll have the equivalent of the Star Trek holodeck within our lifetime. He enthuses about being able to "attend" a concert from at home, and it'll be "the exact same experience." Presumably you'll be able to "hike" in a forest from home, or "deep sea dive" from home, and it'll still be "the exact same experience" each time.

Excuse me, but isn't this what E. M. Forster described in The Machine Stops a century ago? And what countless science-fiction writers have warned about ever since? Isn't this the Matrix without the need for tyrannical machines in control? Because, let's face it, the majority of people will quite happily & willingly plug themselves in permanently to such a future.

Questions nobody asked: Who will be running those machines? Who will be in charge of them? Who will program them? And with what? And where will the power to run them come from?

9:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, for most Americans Brokaw = validation. However, they won't grasp what he's saying anyway. How cd Americans possibly be at fault in any situation?


10:51 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

It occurred to me that a problem is "Awards", and such things. They apparently mean nothing accept deadly hierarchy. Any books or discussions written on this, wafers?

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Kay Johnson said...

He enthuses about being able to "attend" a concert from home, and it'll be "the exact same experience." Presumably you'll be able to "hike" in a forest from home, or "deep sea dive" from home, and it'll still be "the exact same experience" each time. -- Tim Lukeman

Your comment/post reminded me of a conversation I overheard several years ago. And, I knew the people. They were talking about having ridden in a gondola, as if they had been to Italy, and more specifically, to Venice.

I thought they had just gotten back from Las Vegas!

Their answer to me was that their gondola ride in Las Vegas was as good as going to Italy! Why spend the money in Italy?

Fantastical delusions -- to say the least. But these people believed the mirage...

Very scary! I'm sure they'd all be happy to stay home and take a walk in the forest!

1:34 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

TV for dogs

Why have a dog if you work, say, 16 hrs a day? At least now Fido won't be wailing, barking, & screaming in utter agony for 16 hrs w/o a break every day; he will watch TV instead. Even Fido must be turned into a dolt.

3:07 PM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

@Tim Lukeman

I've talked to people about The Machine Stops and they aren't even impressed by Forster's prescience, never mind being curious about they story and what it might mean.

One of the things it means - I think - is that dumb obedience to authority and technology isn't just an American thing. Maybe it's a Western civilization thing? Seems like it's mainly indigenous peoples who give new technologies the side-eye, anyway.

I was just travelling in Italy and I don't think the CRE is any better there. Based on what I saw, Italians just love cell phone covers (yes, the covers, or whatever they're called). They are for sale EVERYWHERE. I guess one can't just have any old cell phone cover?

The inward migration continues...

6:19 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...


Could you provide some examples of skills possessed by other groups but not Americans?


Is it so bad if the majority of people live their lives plugged into a simulacrum? It seems that large numbers of people could be crammed into fairly small areas thus minimizing to some extent their ecological impact while keeping them pacified and content. Give them the illusion of prosperity and choice and package it as some kind of environmentally friendly service/experience product-in-lieu-of-material-stuff and it'll go down smooth as honey. It seems to be what people want anyway, so what the hay? This development makes me sad, a lot of psychological richness is being lost, but perhaps enough people will resist the worst of it that enough of what is most beautiful and vital in the human experience will be preserved. A combination of folk traditions and classical education ala "Patrick" (see link above) could be a powerful means to that end.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Rufusteena Firefly said...

Here's something you all might find interesting...if only because OWS is commented on (in passing to be sure) by Salman Rushdie.


Imagine! Someone of this stature seeming to think that fighting back, i.e. evincing moral courage, no matter the consequences, is worth it. Not giving up doesn't seem a popular idea here, though...

2:25 AM  

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