July 29, 2013

Kim's Buttocks Are The Future

Wafers: We're moving into a whole new phase now. Existential Strain, SSIG, and finally, Kim's Rump! The future is bright...



Peace and Love, amigos-



Blogger Boris the Spider said...

I look forward to getting the book. Amazon told me it shipped. I'm downloading the extraenvironmentalist podcast now, to listen to in the car, in the hopes it will mitigate the insanity of the other drivers.

The Pope has now spoken out for protecting the Amazon (the river, not the online bookstore), the Amazonian natives, and today he says it's not his job to condemn gays. What's next? Will he release an encyclical praising WAFerism?

6:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Be sure to hold firmly onto the steering wheel when u get to the part abt Kim's tushie. (You need to click on link #2, while looking at yr computer, to get the full impact of her crevice, however.) Pope has contacted me re: issuing a Papal Bull on the healing effects of Waferism, but I told him, 1st let's clear up the matter of yr silence in Argentina during la guerra sucia. Also, I told him that I wd co-sign the Bull, but only if he designated it as Papal Bullshit. Finally, I said he wd hafta sprinkle holy water on Kim's buttocks and bless them. He's having a hard time digesting all of this, of course, but he may come around. In saecula saeculorum.

m. bermanus

7:19 PM  
Anonymous shep said...


I'm not too sure about this Kunstler guy. He sure throws a lot of bombs. The comments (plenty of ES there) from his readers sure are that way.

I read one of his articles that I was interested in and he makes statements about blacks that I would like to hear addressed by other blacks that I trust (not an elite) and esp. not his readers.

I just don't know.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

mb - I just read your tribute to Joe Bageant (don't know how I missed it before) and I wanted to say bravo. I strongly identified with Joe's "Deer Hunting With Jesus" and "Rainbow Pie" books, not to mention his outstanding blog essays. While I'm not a true "leftneck" myself, I was raised in a conservative small town in the Midwest and many of my friends growing up were the children of Reaganite working class whites (I don't qualify because my parents were college educated, and even though my dad was raised Republican he turned his back on the party when Nixon first got elected. My folks also raised us kids to be open minded and not to be bigots or racists, for which I will always be especially grateful).

Bageant was certainly one of the few who understood the mindset of his "people." Two others who do are Mark Ames and Gary "The War Nerd" Brecher--formerly of The Exiled and now of NSFWCorp. A constant theme in Brecher's writing is about how the "rubes" hating the "coastals" is actually a phenomenon all over the world. And the discussions on this blog about how America's coastals do not understand their own country is spot on. I had a conversation this weekend with my NYC-born, Boston area denizen, conventional liberal sister-in-law in which I got her to admit that she did not understand the thinking of people who are not of her social standing--yet every time I attempt to enlighten her she doesn't want to hear it.

That's the scariest part of America's divide--the hatred of the frothing right wing grows more virulent every year and is matched only by how obtuse the liberals are about it. Anyway, it is hard to believe Joe has only been dead a bit more than two years because it seems like things have gotten so much worse since he wrote his last blog entry. RIP to one of the precious few who "got it."

7:49 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Dr. Berman-

Love www.MoveOverGeorge.com! I tell ya, I keep imagining that I see a little tiny George, Obama, and Bernanke falling into the gluteal cleft, so to speak.



8:27 PM  
Anonymous Crowbar And Vaseline said...

The "moveovergeorge" website is hilarious. I busted out laughing.

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...


Re: Kunstler - I presume you are talking about this:


"On one side of the street you have Slate podcasters foolishly wringing their hands over “the N-word” while over on the other side Kanye West is making millions shouting “nigga, nigga, nigga.” We pretend to want to have a national conversation about race, but the truth is that it makes us too uncomfortable, so we retreat into platitudes and sentimentality. ....."

"There are ways of understanding historically how we got to the current situation but they may not offer much consolation. The Civil Rights victories of 1964 and 1965 — the public accommodations act and voting rights act — created tremendous anxiety among African Americans about how they would fit into a desegregated society, so the rise of black separatism at exactly that moment of legislative triumph was not an accident. It offered a segment of the black population the choice of opting out of the new disposition of things. Opting out had consequences, and over several generations since then, the cohort of poorer black Americans has grown only more oppositional, antagonistic, and economically dysfunctional — with the sanction of America’s non-black 'diversity' cheerleaders, who remain adamant in their own opposition to the idea of common culture."

As far as I am concerned, all Kunstler is doing is actually trying to talk honestly about race in America. Having lived overseas for almost 15 years, I can tell you, that the biggest relief for me in leaving America, is that I no longer have to lie to God's face about screamingly obvious facts, in order to maintain social peace. Americans are used to living every moment of their lives being caught out in some "gaffe." As Michael Kinsley put it, a "gaffe" is a statement of truth, accidentally blurted out.

Now, I don't know if Kunstler is correct in his analysis or not. That is far less important to me, than the fact that no such discussion is allowed to take place at all in the U.S.

I don't know if you (Shep) are still in the U.S. or not, but you sound as though you still are. You still display the psychological reflexes of a culture of mendacity in which telling the truth is condemned as "immoral." As long as you are still marinated in that culture, you can't see what I am talking about. Once you emigrate, you will see this more clearly.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

Edit post: I meant to say:

"Americans are used to living every moment of their lives in fear of being caught out in some "gaffe."

My fingers moved faster than my brain on that one!

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Mikbeth said...


I totally support Kim for President. She's a great example of leading from behind!

11:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I tell u, I'm fed up w/people saying I've 'quit' the American political scene. This movement to get Kim's rump on the $1 bill, of which I am the official head (or tail), is as significant, imo, as, say, whoever is going to be our next president. And I'm not kidding abt that--not even slightly.



12:03 AM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

Battered by Economic Crisis, Americans Turn to ASS Networks

JACKSONVILLE, Florida — The first time he bought Pop Tarts, Doritos and Mountain Dew at a local pharmacy using not dollars but an informal ASS currency, John Smith, an unemployed electrician, was thrilled.

“I felt liberated, I felt free for the first time,” Mr. Smith said in a recent interview at a local hot dog shop in this city in northeastern Florida. “I instinctively reached into my pocket, but there was no need to.”

Mr. Smith is a co-founder of a growing network here in Jacksonville that uses a so-called Local Alternative Unit, or ASS as it's locally known, to exchange goods and services and to receive discounts at some local businesses.

“We’re still at the beginning,” said Mr. Smith, who lost his job as an electrician at a factory last year. In the coming months, the group hopes to have a borrowed office space where people without computers can join the network more easily, he said.

For Ms. Smith, the network has a psychological dimension. “The most exciting thing you feel when you start is this sense of contribution,” she said. “You have much more than your bank account says. You have your mind and your hands.”

Dave Jones, 37, who runs the Web site for the network in Jacksonville, said, “We’re in an uncharted area,” and hopes the group expands. “There’s going to be a lot of change. Maybe it’s the beginning of the future.”

12:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That's all well and gd, but what abt this?:


1:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers: pls note that JH Kunstler is onto the theme of Kim's body parts as well:


1:14 AM  
Anonymous Eric in Hiroshima said...

Render unto Kim's Ass the things that are Kim's Ass's, and unto God the things that are God's" [Matthew 22:21, updated]

2:57 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

At the end of your podcast interview the extraenvironmentalist did a puff piece for the new dollar bill. The 'call to action' was that the UK had already printed their new bank note. I thought you might like to see it:


Manning's verdict is due today:


3:47 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

I was so struck by this quote you posted earlier from Immanuel Wallerstein's short little book, "World-Systems Analysis", where he explains what makes capitalism so different from what came before:

"We are in a capitalist system only when the system gives priority to the *endless* accumulation of capital. Using such a definition, only the modern world-system has been a capitalist system. Endless accumulation is a quite simple concept: it means that people and firms are accumulating capital in order to accumulate still more capital, a process that is continual and endless. If we say that a system 'gives priority' to such endless accumulation, it means that there exist structural mechanisms by which those who act with other motivations are penalized in some way, and are eventually eliminated from the social scene, whereas those who act with the appropriate motivations are rewarded and, if successful, enriched."

This may be the most important thing I’ve ever read on your blog. Do people realize the ominous importance of this, not just for America, but for the whole world, since capitalism exists almost everywhere?

“it means that there exist structural mechanisms by which those who act with other motivations are penalized in some way, and are eventually eliminated”

This means that anyone and anything that gets in the way of “endless accumulation” will be eliminated, destroyed. This doesn’t mean just dissidents, it means whole cultures, peoples, natural habitats, other species, wilderness, a stable climate. Eventually everything is in the way of endless accumulation, how could it not be? This is devastating, how could anything be more important than coming to terms with this?

6:23 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Thanks for the interview, I'm looking forward to listening to it. If I might also share some links in the interest of our collective education:

Turning a Page - Latin America and the US: Empire: Al Jazeera

Niall Ferguson on the Degeneration of the West

America: the powerful and the powerless

6:39 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Great Extraenvironmentalist podcast and what an opening! I still occasionally see a South American shaman who was raised by her grandmother and uncle, both Currenderos. Through her I’ve learned to pay attention to the messages I receive from nature. Since we’re surrounded by a 4500-acre wildlife sanctuary, I have many occasions to refer to my book “Animal Speak”

As far as Oprah and The Secret go, I wouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Of course the approach is simplistic and ignorant (therefore suits the majority of the American public), but there are subtleties that have value. The mind is most powerful, runs on its own without much input from us, and to an extent it does create our reality…as you think so you become. Our thoughts may not determine the circumstances of our life, but they can determine how we experience them. IOW, is the glass half empty or full? The major problem with this is if you’re not alert it will take you into denial (again the majority of the American public). Of course the notion that visualizing a bike will cause it to appear on your front porch is a joke.

The Oprah meme that we’re totally responsible for how our life goes is not only hogwash but dangerous...it’s allowed American society to become even more calloused and cruel than it already was. Also, I know too many “New Age” people who blame the victim…until of course something happens to them. In the end, I wonder just how much free will we actually have. For example:


I was delighted that your interview ended with a clip of a Rupert Sheldrake talk. I heard him speak about ten years ago at UConn, and he’s one of my heroes. Amazon promises that your new book will arrive today and I’m looking forward to reading it. And, last but not least, MoveOverGeorge is a classic!

8:22 AM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Yes, I can see how Kim's likeness is sure to gain currency. (I mean, afterall, she loves not only Kanye, but any gold man's sacks for that matter). Kunstler sees that too. By pointing out that the Federal Reserve "has been trying to offset a permanent and necessary contraction of techno-industrialism," Kunstler has "uncovered" these stategies for what they are: last-gasp (& futile) "rearguard actions" (ie., defined as 'an effort put forth by means of preventive or delaying measures or tactics and usu. against great odds in defense of a threatened existing order or situation or in opposition to a proposed new deparure').

Oh so blessed indeed, I am I say, to have been born (and reared) in the U$A. Oh but that MLK were still alive, to join this noble effort! Indeed, he too would've made the necessary accommodations:

“The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Toward Kim's Luscious Ass"

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Michael in Oceania,

You are spot on. You nailed it. Hey its MB's blog but as a NMI, Wafer or just a sort of freeman the U.S. PC attitudes must be viewed for the nonsense they are and to me are rather unwaferlike. I would argue they are a large part of the war on reality and pattern recognition waged by american society, government and media.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Every day I visualize peeing on Oprah's shoes, but so far my mind has not been able to shape reality in this direction.


This is why Joyce Appleby named one of her bks on capitalism "The Relentless Revolution." Here's another quote from Wallerstein:

"To maintain hegemony, the hegemonic power must divert itself into a political and military role which is both expensive and abrasive. Soon or later, usually sooner, other states begin to improve their economic efficiencies to the point where the hegemonic power's superiority is considerably diminished, and eventually disappears. With that goes its political clout. And it is now forced to actually use its military power, not merely threaten to do so, and its use of military power is not only the first sign of weakness but the source of further decline. The use of 'imperial' force undermines the hegemonic power economically and politically, and is widely perceived as a sign not of strength but of weakness, first externally then internally. Far from defining the world cultural language, a declining hegemonic power begins to find its preferred language out of date and no longer readily acceptable."

I'm guessing that by 'cultural language' Wallerstein does not mean English, but way of thinking, value system. For capitalism and the US to go the way of history, it's necessary that the rest of the world begin to see the American way of thinking, and its values, not as 'chic' but destructive and embarrassing. 'Friends' hasta stop being the #1 popular TV show in the Gaza Strip, for example. Coke and jeans hafta be seen as tired, hackneyed. The notion that happiness = endless accumulation needs to be regarded as what it is: addiction. And so on.

I do think our use of 'imperial' force, such as a worldwide electronic spy system, or killing civilians in Pakistan w/drones, is bringing much discredit to the country, esp. from outside the country. American moral 'coinage', after the defeat of the Nazis, was very high, worldwide. The ensuing decades have debased that coinage, and now it's very low. It will go lower still, I'm quite sure of it. Foreigners esp. observe that true morality lies elsewhere--in the environmental movement, for example. Finally, as he says, all that firepower is correctly perceived as weakness, not strength. If we have no moral leverage, and little economic leverage (owing $2 trillion to the Chinese and $1 trillion to Japan, to buy up our debt and prop up the consumer economy), what's left? Hollow demonstrations of force. This is what the end of empire looks like.


10:07 AM  
Blogger Himanshu Tiwari said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

On the extraenvironmentalist.com interview you mentioned that you practice mantra meditation. Would you mind sharing what mantra meditation you practice? I do mantra meditation as well (Gayatri Mantra), but I am not very disciplined.

I liked your discussion about existence, consciousness, and mantra or bliss meditation. There is one Sanskrit word "Sachidananda" which translates as Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. You may find some of what you said echoed in Sri Aurobindo's magnum opus "The Life Divine" especially in chapters 11 and 12 titled "The Delight of Existence - The Problem" and "The Delight of Existence - The Solution" respectively.

Suggestion for the new dollar bill with Kim's rump: Replace "In God We Trust" with "In hustling we Trust".

Thank You,

10:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Everybody take a look at Pilgrim's message on previous post, regarding limitations of digital bks. Another reason why the Kindle world is so superficial, and why screens finally don't cut the mustard intellectually. And then there's this, regarding one of America's greatest douche bags:



10:41 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

From The Onion, a spoof news site:

Unambitious Loser With Happy, Fulfilling Life Still Lives In Hometown


The Move Over George website isn't working for me. Black screen. Or maybe it's a meta joke. I can't be sure these days what's for real & what ain't.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Try this: just plug www.moveovergeorge.com into yr browser, see what happens.


10:52 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Yeesh the f'ing Kindle. Oh but millions love it. yes and millions like taking heroin, eating fast food and voting. But seriously, the obvious problems with Kindles are well they are a.) electric and thus have a limited operational range. b.) being electric they do emit electrons--a problem, c.) cant write in margins. d.) cant give it or lend it to somebody not plugged in, e.) chances are you don't actually own the thing, f.) case of a disaster and servers in suburban d.c. go down kiss getting more "books" goodbye, g.) you look like a prick reading on a kindle h) sailing, camping and

12:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I esp. like (c) and (g), altho I think douche bag is more accurate than prick. Other than that: post only once a day, amigo; gracias.


1:34 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Capo and MB:

RE: Capo's letter e). As far as I know you do not "own" your e-books on a Kindle or Nook or whatever.


Bad for the reader and bad for the author.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There is by now a large lit on how screens rot the brain, alter synapses and mental processes. Nicholas Carr collected a # of these refs in "The Shallows," but I think there's more. Consider what TV has done to the American public. Introduced in the late 40s, it now has resulted in 315 million people whose reasoning processes don't rise much above drooling and grunting (not that other factors, such as commodificn of educn, didn't also play a role). Screens = buffoons, as far as I can make out. (This wd also make for a gd post-it.)


1:54 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

@ MB ...enjoyed the R J Eskow article re: Friedman his own poster child for the type of "Rent-A-Douchebag" brand reputation he envisions.
Dystopian indeed.
More like 'a nation of prostitutes'; which I'm sure would be fine with Friedman, as long as they're cheap.

Coincidentally, "Elysium" is scheduled to be in theaters August 9. Jodie Foster is reportedly brilliant as the sociopathic class warrior / ice queen. Reminiscent of Angela Lansbury's Mrs. Shaw-Iselin in "The Manchurian Candidate".

In other news, Manning not guilty of 'aiding the enemy', but convicted of lesser charges.

*** T-shirt idea: SIGnificant Other


2:05 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Good day Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Dr. Berman-

I received SSIG yesterday and have read through it. It is a remarkable meditation on many levels. I most assuredly need to reread it before attempting to organize my thoughts about the work in any coherent way. I do want to say, however, that I found your writing, surrounding the issue of Kantian deontology, through the work of Javier Marias fascinating. How you confront and question the limitations of the categorical imperative, by looking, first, at the world as it "is" versus how it "should" be through the tension of the novel, and then by way of the unconscious, via your dream sequence, is mind blowing! I'm still trying to get my head around this part of SSIG; relate it to my own life, the positions and beliefs that I take and hold about a number of things. I understand what you describe as the "dopamine addiction" i.e., its possible centrality to America's mania and lack of empathy. I'm unclear, however, as to how this relates to Kant's categorical imperative and widespread social dysfunction? Any thoughts or comments to set me straight on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much,


2:18 PM  
Anonymous Naked Jogger said...

Oh but millions love it. yes and millions like taking heroin, eating fast food and voting. But seriously, the obvious problems with Kindles are well they are a.) electric and thus have a limited operational range. b.) being electric they do emit electrons--a problem, c.) cant write in margins. d.) cant give it or lend it to somebody not plugged in, e.) chances are you don't actually own the thing, f.) case of a disaster and servers in suburban d.c. go down kiss getting more "books" goodbye, g.) you look like a prick reading on a kindle h) sailing, camping and

Actually you can take notes in the Kindle. You can also highlight. You can look up word definitions instantly as you're reading. You can carry an entire library around with you, which is neat, but not always good because then it's easy to become indecisive about what books you decide to read. I still like traditional books. I use both. I really like being able to leaf through pages rapidly, which you can't do on the Kindle, and that's a major disadvantage.
As far as looking like a prick goes, I guess I've never thought about it really. For one thing when I read I'm usually alone. What other people think about me doesn't seem to factor into my reading experience very much.

As far as owning the book goes, you can extract the DRM with special software -- it's pretty easy. No matter what kinds of barriers they put up to prevent people from freely distributing knowledge "hackers" (i hate that word) will always find ways of getting around them I suspect. However there is a major issue with this -- and that is, how to compensate authors for their work? The newspapers are becoming exstinct, Hollywood is struggling, the music-recording industry is dead. Eventually book sales will be affected by piracy as well. Which makes me wonder about how authors were paid prior that period in history when printed books became commodities. Were authors commissioned by aristocrats? It would be pretty awful if we reverted to a system like that. I guess we'd find ourselves in a kind of techno-medieval world.

I'm going to read Sparrow's book, and then I'll get back to you guys on those issues you raised.

Naked Jogger

2:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It looks like Manning will spend many years in prison. What a blot on the nation, really. I feel for him, and for heroes like Snowdon; there aren't many, and they risk all for the Idea of what America originally was supposed to be. The only positive outcome is that as the US continues to accumulates these blots, including use of drones, genocide, NSA and world surveillance, its moral capital continues to spiral downward--part of the national decline. Bad Is Good; see quote from Wallerstein, above.


You must be the 1st person besides myself, my editor, and my publisher to have read SSIG. Many thanks for yr feedback. Regarding dopamine and Kant, see top p. 81. What I'm saying here is that dopaminergic behavior, following Kant's categorical imperative, cannot be extended to creating a dopaminergic society (e.g., the US) without the whole thing going completely dysfunctional and self-destructing (plus destroying the planet as well). Short-term, it's perhaps no big deal: someone criticizes me (in my dream), and I beat him up. Awful behavior, but not earth-shaking. But if that becomes the social norm over the long term, as it has, for example, in the US, then what we have is drive-by shootings on a daily basis, and an Adam Lanza going on a spree every 6 mos. And that kind of situation results when people are not swayed by the categorical imperative; which they aren't, by and large, in America: all that counts is me, myself, and I. (I dunno if that makes it any clearer.)

But I'm most happy abt yr comment regarding relating the discussion to yr own life, because that was the intent of the essay. After all, I'm not a famous person, so why even bother to publish such a thing? Who gives a damn, really? But I published it because the truth is that it isn't about me, per se; it's abt all of us, and my hope was that readers wd ponder the implications of the issues I raise for their own lives.

The matter of aggression, and my dream, is a good example. Can I really be the only person who contains this kind of deep, inner potential violence? A few months ago I was having lunch w/a gringa in this town, a nice little old lady who is a very fragile, rather docile, wouldn't-hurt-a-fly type of person. She told me that a couple of yrs ago she was making her way back to her apt. w/2 heavy bags of groceries she had just purchased, foods that she particularly wanted. Exhausted, she put the bags down on the ground, in front of her apt, to catch her breath, when a teenage boy came along, grabbed the bags, and ran off. "If I had had a gun at that moment," she told me, "I wd have shot him." Well, if *she* cd kill a kid in the heat of the moment for $100 worth of groceries, anybody cd. In the case of my dream--true, it was 'only' a dream, and I did apologize even w/in it--I was confronted w/a possible refutation of the narrative I have in my head of being a decent sorta guy. And maybe I am, more or less, but that's hardly the all of it, for me or anyone else, including the elderly gringa. So I spent much of the wk after that dream grappling w/this challenge to my self-serving narrative. And as I said, my goal in writing this up (it wd have been easy to have edited this unflattering part out, of course) was to help the reader think abt his/her own life and narrative. Which is what yr currently doing, it wd seem. Hope the exercise is a gd one 4u...


3:09 PM  
Anonymous Mikbeth said...

Apropos of the discussion regarding Amazon. See this link.


Looking forward to the interview on the Extraenvironmentalist. As a skeptic and atheist I am interested in your take on spirituality. I still need to read Wandering God. Perhaps SSIG covers this somewhat but I've yet to receive my copy.

Though I am a nonbeliever and really don't even put much stock in the concept of free will, I still think there is something to the "spiritual" experience that cannot simply be written off as a delusion. Even if it is just a by product (i.e. emergent from the brain) it is still a "real" phenomenon from which we can draw significance or meaning.

@ Zosima

I agree with your perspective on the Wallerstein quote. If I think about it too long, my head explodes. It's so clearly accurate it astonishes me.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life (I love it):


3:18 PM  
Anonymous Cyberslut said...


Free Will is recognized as an illusion and an impossibility in the "spiritual experience." Also the notion that it could be a by-product of the brain -- this too is seen as illusory and impossible.
The reason being that the "spiritual experience" involves the dismantling of the materialist paradigm. The idea that brains generate anything at all is a product of the materialist belief structure.

Spiritual inquiry involves seeing the present, actual facts of your immediate experience, without any conceptual overlay. Notice that the 'brain' isn't really present in your immediate experience. Even if you open your skull up and examine the brain in a mirror, can you honestly say that you ARE that brain or even something inside of it? If so, then what is it that's observing the brain?

Also, the spiritual experience is not really an experience at all. That sounds like a contradiction, but if you decide to take up spiritual inquiry then you should make friends with contradiction early on, because he will be a constant companion, I can assure you.

My advice, forget about all spiritual related things. Don't even go near it. You will lose everything and you will gain nothing, and contrary to what spiritual teachers will tell you, it will not "ease your suffering" or any of that bullshit. It can be extremely painful, and once you start seeking you will not be able to stop. As a guy I know once said, "the spiritual search is alot like having sex with a 500 pound gorilla. You're not done, until the gorilla's done!" Be content with your illusions, and maybe they will evaporate on their own without any effort -- effortlessness is the goal anyhow, and no amount of effort can ever get you there!


4:08 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB and fellow WAFers:

Regarding the article from Commondreams on " Teachers in Arkansas to Carry Concealed Handguns at School", I offer a counterpoint from David Waldman's excellent weekly series titled "GunFail" which can be found here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/07/27/1225271/-GunFAIL-XXVIII .

Quoting from the article:

"Just your basic, routine week of 40+ accidental shootings and other gun mishaps. Three Responsible Gun OwnersTM exercised their right not to take the bullets out of guns they were cleaning. One gent "forgot" he was carrying a loaded firearm as he entered a county courthouse, but he was in good company, as 33 more just like him apparently "forgot" they were carrying as they tried to board commercial aircraft. .... One would-be hero brought his gun with him to the movies on the one-year anniversary of the Aurora movie theater shooting, but accidentally fired it during the show, thereby demonstrating how quick and easy it is to go from "I'll save everyone in case there's a shooter in the theater" to "Oh my God, I'm the shooter in the theater. (But I love the Constitution so much that it really shouldn't count.)" Meanwhile, another would-be hero found himself in trouble in Milwaukee County, for firing at suspect the police were pursuing through his neighborhood. He wasn't trying to break into our hero's property or anything. The guy just thought he'd help out. With bullets."

It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

Dear Mr. Berman,

I've been going through your "brilliant but pointless" America trilogy (I've read Twilight and am currently reading Dark Ages) and I'm curious about one thing: In both your books and your interviews/talks, you've always maintained that while an emergence from our current dark age will not happen on American soil, it will probably happen elsewhere. While I love (and agree with) your general pessimism about the US, I think you're being a bit naive here. To me, the big elephant in the room (which I haven't heard you comment on yet) is climate change and the fact that most scientists agree that life will not be sustainable on this planet for much longer. This is an inevitability that makes a "reemergence from the dark age" not only unlikely, but impossible. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this and I apologize if you address this subject in some of your other works.



5:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for yr question. Problem is that u come to the party kinda late: we've hashed this out extensively on previous posts and comments. I guess all I can do is suggest u plow yr way thru those, so you can get an idea as to where I and the other Wafers are coming from.


6:22 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

from Obama's talk at Amazon today:

"Obama wants to cut the corporate tax rate of 35 percent to 28 and give manufacturers a preferred rate of 25 percent."

more on Amazon:



6:30 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB and fellow WAFers:

It's official....many of your fellow Americans are mentally ill. In an article by Liah Greenfeld who is Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Anthropology at Boston University,she points out, and I'm quoting :

.... "A massive statistical study, conducted from 2001 to 2003 by the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), estimated the lifetime prevalence of major depression among American adults (ages 18-54) at more than 16%. Lifetime prevalence for schizophrenia was estimated at 1.7%. There is no known cure for these chronic diseases; after onset (often before the age of 18), they are likely to last until the end of the patient’s life....

....Surveys among US college students estimated that 20% fit criteria for depression and anxiety in 2010, and that nearly 25% fit these criteria in 2012. Other studies have consistently shown rising rates of prevalence with each successive generation, and it is argued that, if older statistics were faulty, they erred on the side of underestimating the spread of mental illness..... All of this suggests that as many as 20% of American adults may be severely mentally ill...... one may add that a much larger share of the population (estimated at close to 50% in the NIMH study) is affected by less severe forms of mental disease that only occasionally disturb their functionality."

What's that chant? We're #1.. We're #1.. We're #1..in serious mental illness.

It's all here : http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/america-s-global-leadership-in-serious-mental-disease-by-liah-greenfeld

7:41 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A few yrs ago I read a medical report that said that at any given time, 25% of the American population was mentally ill. I thought it was a misprint; that they really meant to say 75%. I mean, just look around. The problem w/these studies is that they don't measure the % suffering from CRE, independently of mental illness. Throw that figure in, and you've got 99% of the population is either mentally ill or has its head up its ass. It's not a pretty picture.


8:31 AM  
Anonymous Joey the Fist said...

I'm a tad skeptical about these claims that so many Americans are mentally ill. I'm sure there's some truth in them, but I wonder about the role the pharmaceutical industry plays in funding these "NIMH" studies. Also, to what extent does pharma influence the criteria they use and the diagnostic categories themselves? I have heard that the inclusion of certain categories into the diagnostic manual of psychiatry is sometimes promoted for the purpose of targetting specific drugs. Yes, you heard me right -- they don't just target illnesses with drugs, sometimes they also target drugs with illnesses!

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Hi WAFers--

Great piece from Alternet in case you missed it ("Why Life in America Can Literally Drive You Insane"):


The piece includes this passage from Mumford:
"The most deadly criticism one could make of modern civilization is that apart from its man-made crises and catastrophes, is not humanly interesting. . . . In the end, such a civilization can produce only a mass man: incapable of spontaneous, self-directed activities: at best patient, docile, disciplined to monotonous work to an almost pathetic degree. . . . Ultimately such a society produces only two groups of men: the conditioners and the conditioned, the active and passive barbarians." —Lewis Mumford, 1951

SIGning off for now . . .

Best; in solidarity--


8:45 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

I've been thinking about the supposed rise of mental illness in America myself, and I wonder if it has something to do with the reductionist, materialist worldview that informs our culture. Everything is metrics, down to & especially for the intangible, the ineffable. Everything & everyone has to fit in a pre-labeled niche; if not, they're made to fit.

You see this everywhere -- for example the rise of geek culture, where people argue over the minutia of superhero or Star Trek or Star Wars continuity, exactly like medieval scholars arguing over the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin. Story, atmosphere, emotional complexity -- all of this pales before making sure everything little piece fits together & makes sense.

In short, it's the rigid, airtight sterility of a closed system, the kind that William Blake was opposing & railing against some 200 years ago.

Another example: I've seen a lot of reviews & comments by younger viewers raise din this environment about My Dinner With Andre. They have a lot of resentment against Andre for pursuing his explorations (that existential strain), but many of them can only conclude that he was mentally ill. The idea that "reality" might be a lot more fluid, flexible & permeable than they've been taught doesn't occur to them -- much less the idea that a fair amount of "reality" is a cultural & psychological construct, specifically validating some experiences & utterly invalidating others.

So anyone who doesn't quite fit, who won't buy into the official model of "reality" is mentally ill & needs treatment. I saw a news story recently about the development of software that'll scan the faces of grade school students for signs of "maladjustment" so they can be caught & "treated" early. Look for more of the same in the future.

And of course nobody wants to consider the late R.D. Laing's notion that some "insanity" is in fact a sane response to an insane society.

As the Poet says in one of the last lines of Mindwalk, "Life is not condensable."

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Joey the Fist,

I'd say that indeed Americans are mentally ill to the extent that NIMH studies indicate and more. I do think your point as to whether the nostrums offered by big pharma to help them is the issue. So I disagree and would suggest that yes americans are nuts but that dopin them up won't help and as I noted in another comment--may actually make things worse.

Tim L: Great points. It is an insane society.

Symtoms abound. Americans are the only people I know who talk to the characters in movies or TV. Thin grasp of reality is suggested by this.

Carelessness. Just today work began on correcting the incorrect quotes on the MLK stature in D.C. Yes the major monument has incorrect quotes and was made in China. The statue looks vaguely Asian and some jokingly call it Ming the Merciful. Even the memorial of one of the greatest men in recent history is debased.

Then there is Anthony Weiner.....

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Pilgrim said...

On the topic of Joe Bageant...

Here's some sources of some of Joe's interviews...




Also, the iTunes site has several free podcasts available. Simply search on "joe bageant".


"How on God's green earth did we Americans ever come up with the notion that a bunch of downtown pickle vendors, gasoline retailers, and real estate hotwires are the bedrock of our democracy? That they are an indicator of what is right for America?" JB/DHWJ

Fare you well, Joe.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Dr MB,

John Keats.

Thank You.

As a child I was a supreme brat. Hated to study, just wanted to be in love (very successfully in fact). Hated poetry (What! Huh?) along with anything that required work.

I heard/read (radio, maybe) a comment by Robert Frost that, when asked, what was the meaning of a certain couplet: "It has no meaning, it just rhymes." Aha, I said, see there, I told you so. This killed poetry for me. Plus, I struggled because I never could seem to make any sense out of it.

Recently, 7-11-2013, the best and probably only friend I ever really had, died. Heart attack in his pasture where, of all people, I found him. (He had told me he hoped to die in his pasture with his animals.)

I used a Keats couplet in my tribute on the funeral home site, from a poem Keats wrote about roses that someone had thoughtfully sent to him. I changed a word, they (roses); to he (John Haralson Hayes).

"Soft voices had HE, that with tender plea
Whisper’d of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquell’d."

Again, thank you, maestro. I'm on it!

12:03 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...


Thanks for the Joe Bageant links! It was interesting listening to Joe explaining the US to an Australian audience.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, if u like Keats, u might also like Yeats:

"Think where man's glory most begins and ends/And say my glory was I had such friends."


1:14 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Good day Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Dr. B, Wafers-

Speaking of the insane and the stupid, or perhaps just plain evil, Rummy has decided to sit down with documentary film maker Errol Morris
of "Fog of War" fame. In the early 1970s, Nixon famously described Rummy as
"a ruthless little bastard." Can you even imagine that?


Tim, Capo-

Excellent points! The boundary between image and reality has imploded. Adding to Capo's point about people "talking" to TV characters, is the example of the TV show, "Marcus Welby, MD." Robert Young, who played Dr. Welby, received thousands of letters asking for medical advice and later appeared in magazine ads where he advised readers on the wonders of decaffeinated coffee. This, in the early 1970s, before Big Pharma. And, of course, we have all heard the stories of soap opera villains and villainesses hiring bodyguards to go out in public to protect them from irate fans angered by their shenanigans in the television world...

Dr. Berman-

Thanks for your response to my question regarding SSIG. It helped very much and I appreciate it.


1:15 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

A frightening and violent mob swept through the normally quiet seaside community of Huntington Beach last night following a surfing competition in the area. Businesses were vandalized and looted, portable toilets overturned, and brutal fistfights waged right out in the open. It was an ugly display and a sad day for California. But more than that, it was a reminder that we must begin to seriously consider the values of our thuggish white youth.


1:42 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Clearly CRE is here to stay, and Kim's ass represents the pinnacle of capitalism we should all aim for. How could anybody dispute that?

Then there's this:

"XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet'":


2:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for the link. We are going 2c a lot more of this sorta thing as the country goes down the tubes.


2:22 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Dr B,

I want to know what is happening in Ohio. This is the 3rd time I read about this kind of atrocity in Ohio AFTER the exposure of Ariel Castro. Why Ohio? Why this constant kidnapping and killing of women? There must be something in the water and foods they eat in Ohio.

CLEVELAND — A man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to kidnapping and killing three women whose bodies were found wrapped in trash bags earlier this month.

Michael Madison, 35, appeared via a video feed from jail for his arraignment, for which he was handcuffed and wearing orange jail scrubs. When the judge asked him how he was, Madison answered, "I've been better."

The judge continued his $6 million bond and said she would appoint two attorneys to represent him. A pretrial hearing was set for Tuesday morning.


3:40 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

George Orwell couldn't have written it better.

Techdirt: Obama Promise To 'Protect Whistleblowers' Just Disappeared From Change.gov

The folks from the Sunlight Foundation have noticed that the Change.gov website, which was set up by the Obama transition team after the election in 2008 has suddenly been scrubbed of all of its original content. They noted that the front page had pointed to the White House website for a while, but you could still access a variety of old material and agendas. They were wondering why the administration would suddenly pull all that interesting archival information... and hit upon a clue. A little bit from the "ethics agenda":


[But not to worry. Most Americans will never hear of this and wouldn't understand what it meant if they did.]

Photoshopped? Or real comment?? Only Facebook knows for sure.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


I certainly can’t answer for Dr. Berman, but here are some of my thoughts on the question of climate change and the decline of Capitalism as a world system.

Dr. Berman’s America trilogy (plus “A Question of Values”) are right on about the history of America, why the US is what it is, and why it has no future. All this is now taking place within the declining Capitalist World System, and I would suggest you read his (3 Dec 2011) post on this blog called “La longue durée”:


One feature of this decline is massive ecological damage caused by industrial Capitalism’s use of fossil fuel.

I think you’re mistaken when you say, “most scientists agree that life will not be sustainable on this planet for much longer.” Only our present way of life is unsustainable. When a population of any species overshoots the carrying capacity of its environment, it suffers a population crash, which is where humans seem to be headed.

In both religious and secular thinking, our Judeo-Christian civilization tends to cling to a ‘religion of progress’ as long as possible, and then swing to apocalyptic visions of an imminent end-of-days.

I suggest that you read the following ‘Archdruid Report’:


Check your apocalyptic thinking against what he describes.

The collapse of America, the decline and fall of Capitalism as a world system, and serious climate change will happen; it’s the details and timing that remain to be seen.

I think some kind of reemergence from the dark age is not only possible, but very likely. It’s probable, however, that there will be, to a greater or lesser extent, a quite different planet with a considerably smaller human population.

A better world is possible, but a different world is certain.

David Rosen

6:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


OH and KS may be the cutting edge of the Great Collapse. All Americans can be proud of them.

Meanwhile, this from Immanuel Wallerstein, "World-Systems Analysis":

"[Eventually] the system encounters problems it can no longer resolve, and this causes what we may call systemic crisis....True crises are those difficulties that *cannot* be resolved w/in the framework of the system, but instead can be overcome only by going outside of and beyond the historical system of which the difficulties are a part....[Eventually the system] leans in one direction. It normally takes quite some time before the definitive choice is made. We can call this a period of transition, one whose outcome is quite uncertain. At some pt, however, there is a clear outcome and then we find ourselves ensconced in a different historical system. The modern world-system in wh/we are living, wh/is that of a capitalist world-economy, is currently in precisely such a crisis, and has been for a while now. This crisis may go on another 25 to 50 years."


6:53 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Reza Aslan is a scholar of religions of the world. Accord to a reporter at Fox News, Aslan must answer why he decides to write about Jesus when he is not a Christian. If you did not get it yet, let me put it in a form that makes sense: Dr B is not Japanese, so Dr B must answer why he decides to write about Japan.


7:19 PM  
Anonymous Seven-layered Foreskin said...

Wallerstein really is a genius. I'm surprised he's not more well-known. What am I saying...this is America, a land not known for appreciating its intellectuals. That really I tend to hope that the crisis will only last for 25 years rather than 50. But then I slap myself on the forehead and say, "why the fuck are you hoping again? goddamned stupid fucking American with your idiotic hopefulness! give yourself thirty seven floggings!" Then I grab the whip and get to work. You should see my back now! Looks like a giant slab of spam. Oh asceticism. 'Tis the only life for me!

7:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry to hear abt yr foreskin. That's a terrible image.


Have u checked yr post-it recently? America consists of 315 million very stupid people.


7:55 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

@ MB Re: Wallerstein "World-Systems Analisis"....
Systemic crisis is the foundation (?) that large scale gangster-capitalism is built on. Failing economies are designed that way.
All 'wars' are economic at their basest. What we are going through at present is "neutron bomb" economics...destruction of wealth, capital, and means of production through the expansion and dilution of 'money'.

This is how the plutocrats wage a revolution. It's a rigged carny game where the suckers that play can never win.
Every time the suckers think they've scored big, NO - NO the rules are suddenly changed, and you get the cheap plastic comb, instead of the plush teddy bear on the wall you thought you won.
AND, you're bald !

It's the charade of the 'Hall of Mirrors', that is the fractional banking system... an invention of the con-artist elite.

Now, I'm not arguing for 'hard money / real assests' moneterism...except as short term, individual protection. Maybe the only thing the truly 'little guy' that is not destitute can do.
I wonder if one of my silver dimes will soon be worth a billion Kim ButtBucks note ?

**** another T-shirt / post-it note concept:

WTF ? --- WAF !

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Kay Johnson said...

I've been trying to think of the names of some of the independent bookstores I've visited here in NYC, but a couple of them are defunct -- sadly!

Do you know about St. Mark's Bookshop, located at 31 Third Avenue, between 8th and 9th Streets in the East Village?

I think I attended some book talks at the store, but I could be wrong. Currently, they have NO events scheduled.

All of the contact info -- phone number and e-mail address -- are listed within their website:


From the website -- "Our specialties include Cultural Theory, Graphic Design, Poetry & Small Press Publishing, Film Studies, and Foreign & Domestic Periodicals and Journals."

It might be worth a try!

Kay Johnson

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Berman,

I've received your new book & read it through. I need more time to digest it & perhaps then I'll comment.

I did, however, want you to know that the paragraph on pg. 82, the only paragraph on the page, is identical to the last paragraph on pg. 87. Was there supposed to be a different paragraph on pg. 87? If so, let me know & I'll add an erratum.

By the way, I was one of the few who received the first printing with the "it-- would seem to be a variation...." sentence missing. If I could just get you to sign it, then I would have a true collectors item & in 20 years I could sell it & get that French villa I've been dreaming of!

Rufus T. Schmeck

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Mikbeth said...

@ Cyberslut

Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. I wasn't looking for advice and I really struggled to comprehend what you are saying. I probably wasn't clear, but I really just wanted to indicate that I'm interested in how MB handles the topic of spirituality in his work.

Perhaps spirituality isn't a good term. To put it another way, I enjoy the poetry and thoughts of many mystics like Rumi, but their work has been co opted by New Age hacks. I'm trying to understand how to incorporate the insights of the truly great mystics within an atheist framework without distorting the intent and context of their work. It may be impossible for all I know.


Just received SSIG. Looking forward to it.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Ah, shit. 7 copies were apparently sent out rt away that might have had those errors: duplicated paragraph and missing line. Like I've said a couple of times here, I was working w/a printer who was not too swift. Amazon told me that not all 7 got the screwed up edition, but a few did. Anyway, to make the text coherent, you need to add that missing line I wrote abt a while back, and strike the extra para on p. 82. I'm really sorry abt this.

However, as u pt out, there may be a major advantage here. Remember that stamp that got printed a century ago, w/airplane upside down? It's worth a fortune today. I look forward to visiting your villa in the Vaucluse, if I can still walk by then.


Many thanks. I just dropped them a note. I was cruelly rebuffed by the Community Bkstore in Bklyn, where I did a rdg for DAA in 2006, but am still wtg on 3 other possibilities besides St. Marks.


Like the T-shirt. Another possibility:

(Front) THERE'S WAF...


11:15 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

Well I haven't even read it yet but I would still like to thank you for writing this new book! The subject matter is just what the doctor ordered. For about a decade I've been trying to call people's attention to the victims of the US military and economic system, only to find out that it's not that they don't know... more than anything it's that they don't care (including many church-going folk that I once thought had a strong moral fiber). So you'd think I'd be welcoming our economic collapse with open arms, but it's depressing as hell to witness the world I was raised in disintegrate--especially since so many people seem semi-aware of it but are doing nothing to prepare for it. I discovered Sheldrake's Science Set Free several months ago and it has been a great tool in helping me to appreciate the wealth of life, and it sounds like Spinning Straw Into Gold will also help in this regard. How neat a coincidence to hear both of you in the same episode!

11:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Speaking of SIGnificance:

I remember that Pall Mall cigarettes (wh/I haven't looked at in about 50 yrs) usta have a Latin motto on the front of the pack: In hoc signo vinces--In this sign you will conquer. How's this for another trendy Wafer T-shirt, then:

In hoc SIGno vinces

Wonderfully esoteric...


12:44 AM  
Blogger took_the_red_pill said...

In the Alternet article mentioned by Brian, there is an amazing statement:

"A June 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have “checked out” of them. Life may or may not suck any more than it did a generation ago, but our belief in “progress” has increased expectations that life should be more satisfying, resulting in mass disappointment. For many of us, society has become increasingly alienating, isolating and insane, and earning a buck means more degrees, compliance, ass-kissing, shit-eating, and inauthenticity. So, we want to rebel. However, many of us feel hopeless about the possibility of either our own escape from societal oppression or that political activism can create societal change. So, many of us, especially young Americans, rebel by what is commonly called mental illness."

For many people, that is probably a statement of the obvious, but I suspect that it might be difficult to get copy like that past the editors at the NYT (or even your city paper, assuming you still have one).

link to Alternet:

Why Life in America Can Literally Drive You Insane

You can find a discussion of the article here:

discussion forum at DU

Apropos of the late Joe Bageant, I've noticed that he had a large audience in Australia but was nearly invisible here in the States. That is also true for Paul Stiles, the author of "Is the American Dream Killing You?". (Stiles was interviewed on at least two radio shows in Australia; Bageant made many more appearances there on radio and TV). It's really depressing that one so often has to rely on the foreign media to learn anything useful about what is going on right here in the US.

12:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, given the fact that the major belief- and value-systems of the country are insane (e.g. American exceptionalism), it's not surprising that most of the population is as well. As for Bageant and Stiles, et al.: the country stays insane because the media make sure that voices of sanity are completely marginalized. Self-betrayal and lunacy are encouraged; authenticity is repressed. This is the spiritual aspect of the American collapse, and it gets worse every day.


1:08 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Assange interview on Democracy Now discussing the new state (global?)religion of the NSA, information apartheid, the implications of the Manning verdict on all this, etc.

Strange and scary times ahead of us all.


3:29 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

MB said:
If we have no moral leverage, and little economic leverage (owing $2 trillion to the Chinese and $1 trillion to Japan, to buy up our debt and prop up the consumer economy), what's left? Hollow demonstrations of force. This is what the end of empire looks like.

Maybe we should view the US military as merely international capital’s corporate security force. If you see the world for what it has really become (essentially a giant Walmart store) then the US military is just store security sent out to stomp on those who disrupt the world’s shopping experience. There are no countries, they are just branch offices or departments of the same global corporation. The $1-2 trillion is just Japan and China giving the security guard a Christmas bonus every year, it’s a drop in the bucket and essentially meaningless.

What has happened is unprecedented, call it what you will, Empire, The Spectacle, The Matrix; it means that history as we know it is over. Wallerstein in interviews says capitalism is in trouble because the cost of labor and resources has increased and is becoming too high for continuing “endless accumulation.” I’m not an economist, but I do see plenty of cheap labor out there among the 7 billion yet to be mined. I don’t see people anywhere in the world donning their Che Guevara berets, so it’s hard to blame Americans for focusing on Kim’s tush, it takes our minds off the capitalist bear trap the whole world has stepped in. The only difference between America and the rest of the world is that our shopping experience is a bit more frenzied and brutal and people get trampled on occasion, but the rest of the world is destined to catch up to us in all areas including our horrible aspects. I see no way out, and no single country to blame.

4:49 AM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

What has the Great Recession done to us? Scrappers, a documentary in photographs with more than 50 stark and unsettling images from Dayton, Ohio, offers answers. It is about the rise of urban armies of the poor devoted to a new economic boom in scrap metal.
Scrap is among the top exports from America in an age of downward mobility, deep industrial decline, unchecked globalization and political drift. This book is a vision of what we are becoming as a nation and a glimpse of a grim future we still have a chance to avoid.


Brain, took_the_red_pill

Herman Cain has commentary on this poll: "let me give a little fatherly advice to those who hate their job: you are a loser!"


This from the guy who taught burger king employees how to fake a smile. Is this like Oprah with a boot up the ass?

7:22 AM  
Anonymous shep said...


"one (MLK) of the greatest men in recent history"

Ur stock with me went to the top because of the above quotation.

There are very few individuals that can claim the title.

I do not believe he wd have folded to bribery. After all, some don't, Thomas Paine for one, and presumably WAFers haven't. Yet!

How is it that ONE race can be so despised? I don't get it, especially since another one (white) is in fact the overwhelmingly despicable one.

Thank you.

Here is one example of recent white dominance: "This court (Sixth Circuit Ct of Appeals) noted that between 1988 and 1995 in seventeen states which included large cities such as Boston, Denver, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas, not one white person was tried under federal regulations for a crack cocaine related offense.


8:38 AM  
Anonymous Pilgrim said...

Shep, regarding your comment...

>> Recently, 7-11-2013, the best and probably only friend I ever really had, died. Heart attack in his pasture where, of all people, I found him. (He had told me he hoped to die in his pasture with his animals.) <<

I would say that you finding your friend, there in his pasture, was a gift. Just as, paradoxically, my mother's sudden death was when I was a kid. It affected me deeply - much more so than I realized at that time. It drove home the truth that safety is an illusion. The quiet but powerful effect this had on me has become clearer now, decades later. Yet here's the deal: I would never, ever, return to a life less conscious of my mortality, my vulnerability. It has sharpened and sweetened my life. Given me a deep, deep sense of reverence. And a sense of hope, curiously.

"I only know myself as a human entity; the scene, so to speak, of thoughts and affections; and am sensible of a certain doubleness by which I can stand as remote from myself as from another. However intense my experience, I am conscious of the presence and criticism of a part of me, which, as it were, is not a part of me, but spectator, sharing no experience, but taking note of it; and that is no more I than it is you. When the play, it may be the tragedy, of life is over, the spectator goes his way. It was a kind of fiction, a work of the imagination only, so far as he was concerned." Thoreau/Walden

You mention poetry. The poet's (and writers, artists, etc.) have been saying this for centuries - much better than I. I too, am now ready to listen.

I have a hunch (actually, a conviction) that our culture would benefit enormously by its members coming to terms with their mortality. It's a concept that our culture has nothing but utter contempt for - unless it's dealt with by religion, but even then, I suspect that a great deal of religious practice is an escape from, not a confrontation with, mortality. Anyone with a lick of self-knowledge knows that running from your fears only turns them into monsters. We're surrounded by children. Children, afraid of the dark.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


It's amazing how relevant are today Senator Frank Church's words on the NSA. He said this more than 35 years ago, before the Internet, email, cell phones, and personal computers even existed.

"That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. Telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology. I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return." - Senator Frank Church, 1975

11:20 AM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Hi Wafers,

Here's an article on the passing of Robert Bellah. I post it here b/c it's got some useful links within the article itself, tho I can't necessarily vouch for the author's p.o.v. (but I like what Robin says, a nice tribute):


I've not read Bellah's work (yet) but am aquainted w/ it, thanks to WAF & MB often mentions "path dependence," something that really sticks w/ me as I try to understand this unavoidable trajectory we're on (and I seem to recall that Bellah has looked at some of your Japan work?) .

My condolences to you Dr. Berman & others affected by his passing. I will certainly track down Bellah's work and do more research.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Christ almighty, I had no idea. Shit and double shit. This was a great man, and--altho I only met him once, and we corresponded only two or three times (he was enjoying what I had written on Japan, up to that pt)--I regarded him as a friend. What a terrible loss.


12:50 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Be careful what you search for on Google.


This is the company whose motto is "Don't be evil."

And the country whose motto is "give me liberty or give me death."

USA is a total joke.


PS: Please remember when you enter yr password below (to "prove yr not a robot") to consider entering only the word, not the street address number. It works just fine, so don't worry abt that. The rumor is that Google (which owns Blogger) is getting users to confirm hundreds of thousands of street address numbers without telling us that is what it's doing.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The Cold War upside down: Russia grants asylum to an American fleeing American oppression: Snowden gets a 1-yr visa. Too much!


2:37 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...


Just finished SSIG and enjoyed to quite a bit, especially in light of some of you recent blog posts In Praise of Shadows and The Existential Strain. If I had to pick, I think my favorite part was the idea of "narrative-blindness" plus, now I'm going to have to find a copy of Your Face Tomrrow.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Glad to hear it. YFT, vol. 1, is selling used on Amazon for $2.16.


5:11 PM  
Blogger Boris the Spider said...

Holy smokes, I'm so happy -- your book is like Oprah after all, but instead of a car I'm getting one of those French mansions on the Riviera, 20 years from now when the rare "oops" edition is worth mega bucks.

I just checked my copy from amazon and, yep, it's one of the rare few missing that sentence. I found your old post, pulled out my pen, and scribbled the proper line in.

Egads, I hope my attempt at clarity doesn't lower the value of this priceless relic!

7:36 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Well I just watched Gasland II, and it has moved me into alignment with Guy McPherson and near term extinction...except global warming/climate change isnt the problem scaring me. According to internal documents from fracking companies, the failure rate for wells over 30 years is 50%. We have hundreds of thousands of these wells drilled already. No water=no life.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Dr. B,

The fact that Snowden was granted asylum in Russia shows two things. First, that the limits to the US government are growing, as other governments show how powerless it is on the world stage. Second, that American officials are really clueless and buy into the absurd worldview of American exceptionalism. US officials have been saying that Snowden is betraying his country by going to "repressive" and "undemocratic" countries such as Russia and China rather than standing trial in the "free" US, when actually their own conduct is extremely repressive, as they throw whistleblowers like Manning into life-long detention for bringing to light government abuses. I think it goes back to a more general tendency among most Americans, which is that they demonize the other while failing to recognize their own flaws.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Writing in the missing sentence probably increased the bk's value. I'd also cross out that extra para on p. 82, if yr copy has it. I look forward to drinking champagne on yr estate in Provence, mon cher.


8:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Tim-

Many thanks for that immensely kind review of SSIG on Amazon. I realize I'm not very much on the radar screen in the US, but this is a bk I really wd like Americans (or anybody) to read and think abt.


8:51 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Imagine where Edward Snowden ran to Zimbabwe or to Panama or to Chile. Suddenly, Obama would grow huge balls to tell the leaders of Zimbabwe, Panama, or Chile to return Edward Snowden to USA in two days or face the consequences; Obama would further send in drones to harass or kill the leaders of Zimbabwe or Panama or Chile. Compare to what is happening today with Putin and Russia. Obama would never try or think of harassing Putin because Russia has enough nuclear bombs to respond to such threats.

Edward Snowden’s father was on CNN two days ago; he said something that got me thinking. He said, “I am very happy that my son is in Russia because no harm will come to him in Russia.”

Today, a democratic Congressman was on CNN talking about the asylum granted to Edward Snowden in Russia today by Putin. Among other things, this Congressman said that Edward Snowden will now suffer in Russia as the Russians will intimidate him, harass him, take away his freedom of speech, and curtail his freedom of movement. I was sitting there thinking to myself: what is this fool talking about? Doesn’t he realize that he is listing everything done to Bradley Manning inside the United States? Doesn’t he realize the whistleblowing is a crime punishable by imprisonment under Obama? Does he know that a lot of Americans are under bondage caused by poverty and lack of access to quality/preventive healthcare?

I think America is finished! When lawmakers think, talk, and act like these buffoons, I know for sure that the country is finished.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, I've never been a big fan of Putin's, but by granting asylum to Snowden he unloaded a large quantity of urine on Obama's shoes. It's not exactly a Suez moment, but it does say to the US: Hey, yr not as important or as powerful as you think. And BTW, kiss my ass.

I think that very slowly, the tide may be turning. Internationally spkg, we really look like shit. Like we stand for violence and paranoia and repression, and gee, I wonder why? Millions regard Manning and Snowden as heroes. The US can huff and puff, but it's starting to look like bluff. Meanwhile, we're so heavily in debt to China and Japan it's mind-boggling. The clock ticks, and the bell is tolling...


10:13 PM  
Anonymous LW said...

Well, I received SSIG today, and read it today. I threw a review up on Amazon so if anyone is interested they can check it out there. But I'll just say that I really enjoyed it. It was just plain fun to read. It was short, yea, but so what? It was like revisiting and sitting with a lot of interesting concepts about life, some of which I may have briefly pondered previously, but they were discussed in a unique way and cast into a new light here.

And as with all of MB's books, it opened up whole new worlds to me. I keep a note pad by me when I read his books now because I know he will be referring to other authors' works and movies that I will want to read and see for myself.

I really liked it, thanks MB, and like a big pussy, I welled up a bit after reading the last page. It gave me the same feeling I got after the final scene of Shawshank Redemption. I know - I'm crazy, whatever, I'm dealing with it.

In all seriousness though, good book. Thanks.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Just read yr kind review, wh/I found wry as well as complimentary. Didn't mean to make you tear up, but what the heck. Really glad u enjoyed it, in any case.


10:47 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

A friend told me about this about a year ago: that FBI and the government can use the microphone in your laptop and cellphone to listen to your conversation wherever you are. First, I did not believe it. Then I read about it somewhere. Now you can read it here:

FBI Spying Uses Hacker Tricks: WSJ
Posted: 08/01/2013 8:29 pm EDT

The FBI is using tactics more commonly used by hackers to spy on suspects, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

According to the WSJ, modern criminals are increasingly communicating online, making them impossible to wiretap. So, the FBI is using tools to monitor things like chat rooms and encrypted programs. For example, agents can secretly activate the microphone on Android phones as well as laptops.


My advice:
When you are not using your laptop and cellphone, take out the battery (I do not mean unplug it from electricity; rather, take out the battery to deactivate the microphone; with out the battery the microphone is dead).

11:13 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

I reflected on this interview a bit today and was reminded of my own recent thoughts about epistemology. You say that in many ways modern society is epistemologically superior because science has come to more accurate conclusions concerning the physical reality of the universe, although this is all for naught if the materialist worldview is inherently a self-destructive one. I would take it one step further. I believe that the primary characteristic of civilization itself is a disconnection from reality. For civilized folk the natural world has become increasily substituted by a man-made world, which warps one's perception of reality. We have brought the material world under greater and greater control, allowing us to better understand disciplines like physics and chemistry. However, I believe these intellectual gains pale compared to what we have lost. Our ancestors had a more intimate connection with the natural world, and thus had an intuitive understanding of aspects of reality that we can barely imagine.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Happy Birthday in advance, Dr. Berman! I look forward to your latest book becoming available in Canada and will grab it as soon as I can up here (feel free to hold this here post until Saturday, if you want since it is, after all, *your* blog! :))

I've been pretty much solely lurking on your blog for the last year or so due to my mom's horrific struggle with Stage IV breast cancer over the past two years or so. I even took her to Baja California for alt. cancer treatments for a month last Oct. I liked being there (had only been to Mexico for short work trips, etc. before). I enjoyed hanging out there and taking care of my mom. Didn't really buy into the treatment regimen but I thought a change a scenery for her couldn't hurt. I've been pining for Mexico ever since.

The ugly, slow, drawn-out death of a loved one tends to occupy most of one's thoughts, time and energy as you can imagine. Much of the time I've been in a sort of daze and time seems to move so differently when heavy stuff like this is happening.

Anyway, I wish you all the best and look forward to posting more in the near future.

- Chris

12:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Very sorry to hear abt yr mother, and what's been going on for her and you over the past year. I just hope she's not in a lot of pain these days.

As for ordering SSIG: I'm guessing it can be ordered online from Amazon from Canada, but you'll hafta check.

Take care of yrself-


4:44 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@Capo Regime: Thanks for this: “Carelessness. Just today work began on correcting the incorrect quotes on the MLK stature in D.C. Yes the major monument has incorrect quotes and was made in China. The statue looks vaguely Asian and some jokingly call it Ming the Merciful. Even the memorial of one of the greatest men in recent history is debased.”

This is why I come here many times a day: I learn new ideas and facts.
Sometimes, I just come to read without posting anything.

Now, there is something that baffles me. Does it mean that there was/is no person in America capable of making the stature in America??? Does it mean that no American could use the money or could be hired to do the work?

Sometimes, Americans defy logic or even nature. Consider this: in the last presidential election, it was reported that about 76% of whites voted for Mitt Romney. It was also reported that more white women than white men voted for Mitt Romney. I sat there and looked at the figures. I thought and thought and thought about it for many days that I thought I was going insane.

I said to myself, look at Mitt Romney who made his money by destroying jobs in USA and shipping jobs to China. More white men have lost out in this OUTSOURVED economy than white women. Even the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, admitted on national TV during nomination debates that Mitt Romney was practicing vulture capitalism that destroyed jobs and the economy in America. Yet, 76% of whites voted for him.

That was when I gave up. I am not suggestion that Obama is better or that white people are racists. I just could not understand why I would vote for someone who helped to cause the events that led to my poverty and destruction of the American economy. I thought this was an opportunity for whites to protest the system that gave them two devils to choose from. Imagine where 76% of whites protested and stayed home on the day of the election – Obama would not be president because Electoral College would disqualify him!

I Googled the topic:

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


The review was a pleasure to write because SSIG was a pleasure to read. Apparently I'm one of the "lucky 7" who got the rare first edition; I printed up my own little Errata slip & tucked it into the appropriate page. Now, where are those French villa listings?

The part about having a story to tell really hit home for me. Like so many others, I've previously spent (wasted) far too much time in struggling to come up with a Good Story for everyone, as if I have to justify my life to them, require their validation of its worth. As if "worth" is even a valid judgment in itself! Now that sort of thing doesn't seem to matter to me, I'm relieved to find.

And that's an example of why I like SSIG so much. Each short chapter made me stop & think about what you were saying, as applied to my own life.

LW, I really liked your review -- tantalizing & fun! You know, if Amazon still lets us make Lists, maybe it's time to start an NMI Recommended Reading (& Viewing & Listening) List.

Pilgrim, if there were some way to highlight a few select comments for each post, I'd be clicking on the button for yours right now. The power of poetry, in fact of all the arts, is not to be underestimated. William Carlos Williams: "It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there."

11:19 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...


A short essay (and another one referenced) about leaving the US:


although it was for Puerto Rico...

11:55 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Dear Wafers and Wafeuses:

I checked amazon.ca for SSIG, but they don't have it. I suppose we Canadians can do something outrageous such as asking a local bookstore to order the book.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Politically Incorrect said...

some tidbits to ponder...not sure what to think of Catherine Austin Fitts but hey if this is what the watchers of those in the know think...look out.


2:19 PM  
Blogger Judy Sacco said...

It is heartening to see that a lot of the American public sees Snowden as a whistle blower and a hero. Many people are upset, not at his revealing the secret surveillance, but at the surveillance itself. Nobody seems to be buying the government's version, that Snowden is an enemy of the state. Obama doesn't seem able to get anybody riled about Snowden. He's shouting into the void.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous MK said...

Received my copy of SSIG yesterday and have started to read it. You have hit quite a chord with me. Am taking my time to read and ponder it. Thanks!

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Muska said...

Which is worse: keeping the deer in the house or bringing a lot of guns to take the deer?
Other issues: why euthanize the deer? why this love for conflicts and use of guns?

Armed agents raid animal shelter for baby deer
UPDATED 9:47 AM CDT Aug 01, 2013

"It was like a SWAT team," shelter employee Ray Schulze said.

Two weeks ago, Schulze was working in the barn at the Society of St. Francis on the Kenosha-Illinois border when a swarm of squad cars arrived and officers unloaded with a search warrant.

"(There were) nine DNR agents and four deputy sheriffs, and they were all armed to the teeth," Schulze said.

The focus of their search was a baby fawn brought there by an Illinois family worried she had been abandoned by her mother.

Agents told staff they came to seize the deer because Wisconsin law forbids the possession of wildlife.

"I was thinking in my mind they were going to take the deer and take it to a wildlife shelter, and here they come carrying the baby deer over their shoulder. She was in a body bag," Schulze said. "I said, 'Why did you do that?' He said, 'That's our policy,' and I said, 'That's one hell of a policy.'"

Supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer said the law requires the DNR agents to euthanize animals like Giggles because of the potential for disease and danger to humans.

"Could you have made a phone call before showing up, I mean, that's a lot of resources," WISN 12 News investigative reporter Colleen Henry asked.

"If a sheriff's department is going in to do a search warrant on a drug bust, they don't call them and ask them to voluntarily surrender their marijuana or whatever drug that they have before they show up," Niemeyer said,

Niemeyer denied agents killed Giggles at the shelter. She said they tranquilized her and then euthanized her off-site.

"I don't care where they would have killed her, it would have been wrong," shelter president Cindy Schultz said.


4:32 PM  
Anonymous Pilgrim said...

MB: I got your book yesterday. Read it last night. Loved it. I'll post further this weekend.

FYI, my copy did NOT have the printing error. The sentence was indeed continued onto p. 82.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

I think the end is much closer than can be imagined. The collapse of this white, Protestant, Calvinist, unkind, slaughtering, lying, messed up nation is virtually imminent. The alternative media is daily documenting the implosion. It would not surprise me to wake up tomorrow with the beginning of martial law in this sorry ass place.

"“A civilization which for any reason puts a human life at a disadvantage is worthy neither of the name or of continuance,” Agee writes, and those who profit from the disadvantage of others are human beings “by definition only, having much more in common with the bedbug, the tapeworm, the cancer, and the scavengers of the deep sea.”



5:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, that's gd news. Glad to hear u liked it.


Vignettes like that give us a gd look into the (dark) heart of the American soul: violent, and stupid. Jesus, the sheer rage that these people contain.


The pleasure is mine, I assure u.


Obama is a piece of garbage. Yes, u may quote me.


That is truly outrageous. Meanwhile, I asked my publisher if we cd get the bk onto amazon.com.ca.


Yr gonna be rich, I tell u. Try frenchvillas.com.


Scroll back, find that article by Mark Ames on The Exiled.


5:16 PM  
Blogger Cj said...

Hello Professor, your new book just arrived today and I read it in one sitting whilst I was 'working from home'.

Terrific work. I really enjoyed it.


5:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Chuck-

Many thanks, but keep in mind I couldna dunnit w/o u: u were the one who turned me on to Marias.

the berm

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

To Muska on White Tail deer,

I am certainly not defending the actions of the DNR or the Police in this case but the law is clear and there's good reason. First of all, the fawn was not abandoned by its mother. Fawns are left alone for long periods by their mothers except for feedings. Fawns have no scent when born, have natural camouflage in their coats and because of this predators are not likely to find them. Plus the mother needs to feed itself considerably when nursing which requires a wide range. Once a fawn is handled by humans, the mother will no longer associate with the fawn where upon it will usually starve to death. So the law is based in knowledge. So when humans intervene with fawns, its based on ignorance and stupidity. Yep, sounds like Americans.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous bdrube said...

Edward- it isn't really all that surprising. Starting with working class whites and now spreading to the middle class, as they see their comfortable lives eroding away they are much more interested in looking for scapegoats to blame rather than expending the mental energy to figure out who is really responsible.

Interestingly, if you read up on the history of German society circa 1933-1939 before the war started, one thing that stands out is how the wealth of the average German was slowly being sapped to pay for Hitler's upcoming wars (yes, he put a lot of the workers back to work, but he was able to finance it through outright theft, first of Jewish assets, but then through the debasement of the middle class consumer economy). Yet, his support was always strongest among the middle class, even when he was robbing them blind (many of the workers had supported the communists and the socialists prior to 1933 and remained lukewarm to cowed to early concentration camp inmates).

As long as you have this huge block of angry, bitter, willfully stupid voters who would rather see it all go down in flames than change their own stupid lives or actually learn a thing or two--this ship is going down.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Pol. Inc.- Thanks for link to Catherine Austin Fitts interview. I like her frame about the old civ., "USA", and the "Breakaway Civilization"... It does seem like the 20% feel they have no connection to the 80%, do not exploit them (or believe they pay fairly for what little the 80% does), and hence have no responsibility/obligation for the 80%. So the wealthy are abandoning all public goods, putting their money in havens, and moving into a private gated community.

Interesting though that CAF sees some tension between the G7 (representing the old civ., the masses; though obviously under the sway of the Breakaway Civ.) and the Breakaway Civ, i.e. that the G7 are trying to get into the Breakaway Civ's tax havens and money shelters... Which suggests she sees the nation-states still acting somewhat in alignment with the little people; that the nation-states are acting somewhat as a check and balance on the drive by the wealthy to completely abscond with their money and live in secluded compounds (real and figurative.)

I question her view that the fracking and US "oil independence" is real though.. I see various reports out there that it is a Ponzi scheme, that these "plays" will play out very quickly and they're just drawing in the suckers with hype and hot air. It can't really compete with what are still (even if on the down-slope) the major oil-producers, SA, et al.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Douche Bag Update:


10:48 PM  
Anonymous Ken Smith said...

I readily admit that I don't know much about American pop culture. I've been living outside the USA for the past dozen years. I read the posts and comments here regularly, but I don't get the fascination with Kim Kardashian. Who is she? What does she do? So today, after seeing yet another reference to Ms. K, I searched Google Images for "kardashian butt".

Of course, I had seen her name and photo before -- I skim Huffington Post daily to see what the Obama cultists are saying, and there is often a photo of Ms. Kardashian, doing something or doing somebody. I don't care. I read the headlines but never read the articles.

Thanks to Google, today I looked at hundreds of photos of Kim Kardashian's butt -- unattractive to my taste in women. Not proportionate to the rest of her body. And, besides her big butt, she wears far too much make-up. Looks like it was applied with a putty knife.

It is good that we have different taste in women. If not, there would be three billion men chasing one very tired woman.

Some years ago I was in a bar with an African-American friend. A rather stout black woman walked by and my friend started to drool. He told me that there is nothing sexier than a "Selma, Alabama church choir high ass". I told him that he was either drunk or crazy, or both. He said white boys just don't understand what they're missing.

Kardashian is an Armenian name, so I assume she has Armenian heritage. However, she reminds me of that stout black woman with the Selma high ass.

I'm not picking on Armenians. I point to Cherilyn Sarkisian, or Cher, of Sonny and Cher about two generations ago. She had a nice butt and she's Armenian. Maybe she still has a nice butt.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's true, there's no accounting for taste; but I hafta admit, I find Kim grotesque--shockingly ugly. And this is one reason why her rear end needs to go on the $1 bill. Move Over George!


11:18 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Brendan Behan said, "Other people have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis".

Americans have a messianic complex ...and that messiah is themselves.

@ MB ...long out of print, suppressed, "A Million Guinea Pigs"
( not "100,000,000 Guinea Pigs" that the Goog comes up with ).
George Washington, the first gay President. He took Martha Custis as a beard bride well past fertility.

Kim K is just a tragic burlesque.
Let's have the fundaments of ultimate buffoonery adorn our currency: the asses of Oprah, Limbaugh, Gates, Reagan, Obama et al:
to proudly proclaim to the world just what americans worship.

12:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It doesn't really make sense in the case of Reagan, because his face already looks like a horse's ass--appropriately enuf.


10:01 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Some WAFers might be interested in this:

Guy McPherson Says:
August 3rd, 2013 at 1:58 am

1. Tim Garrett’s paper in Climatic Change indicates only complete collapse prevents runaway greenhouse: http://unews.utah.edu/news_releases/is-global-warming-unstoppable/ But now it’s too late, as some of your favorite generals, admirals, and politicians surely know.

2. Read the whole thing: http://underminers.org/

10:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Americans Are Such *Good* People Dept.:


10:16 AM  
Anonymous LW said...

@ Tim Lukeman - I'd love an Amazon reading list OR a reading list anywhere that was put together by other WAFers. I just started Ernest Becker's "The Denial of Death" myself.

As a note, I'm not sure if it has been discussed here before but has anyone given any serious thought to the effects of porn on American society? (Chris Hedges discussed it in one of his books - Empire of Illusion). I don't mean to sound like a prude, and I'm not talking about the normal, hot, "hardcore" porn that you may be thinking about. I mean have you seen some of the abusive, degrading, weirdness that passes for sexual arousal aids theses days? It is really disturbing and I can't help but conclude that this stuff is having an inevitable rippling effect throughout our already "on your own", dog-eat-dog society as more and more generations of kids are exposed to it. And let's not fool ourselves, most people watching this garbage are teenagers and young adults.

I just bring it up because it is sort of the elephant in the room where people are shouting about women being treated poorly in the workplace, and about the harmful effects of domestic battery - with ZERO mention of easily accessible videos of girls online getting throat f'd to tears and made to drink their own puke while being slapped and spit on. Gee, I wonder if that type of stuff has a negative effect on people's psyche and on society at large?????? Do you think there may be a link?????? I'm sure someone more well versed than I can link it to the last days of Rome.

Nah, what am I thinking? Forget it, pass me the remote and a beer.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Another step toward the Suez Moment:

“Germany scraps old surveillance pact with US, Britain over NSA leaks”:


Ken, Tim,

Kim Kardashian is the product of the sexual perversion that now drives America’s psyche. She is a disgrace to the Armenian culture – a total, absolute disgrace. She shares zero values with the Armenian culture. Her late father also, was a low-life hustler attorney, who probably showed her by his example that one must do whatever it takes for money.

But Kim Kardashian is more representative of American women than most would like to admit. American women have no idea, no clue, what a raw deal they got with their “sexual liberation” movement.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

I think porn is conceptually dubious, regardless of the content specifics, because it is all about not recognising and respecting boundaries, to whit:

i) The boundary of intimacy - the performers are generally strangers to one another

ii) The boundary of privacy - it is not normal human behaviour to watch other people having sex

iii) The boundaries of time and space - it is not normal to watch the intimate, private moments of others, from another part of the world, six months later.

Thus, I can well understand why porn might quietly fry peoples' minds.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous bdrube said...

I believe Salon.com has now passed up The Atlantic as the most obtuse, clueless and superficial "liberal" news site on the Internet (though there is a lot of competition out there). File under "Things that Stupid Liberals and greedy Football Team Owners Really Believe" is that a racist, redneck moron can somehow overcome twenty some years of apparently being a racist, redneck moron through the "magic" of counseling:

"Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper is taking temporary leave after he was caught using a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert. A statement from the Eagles said, “Riley Cooper will be seeking counseling and we have excused him from all team activities.”

On Wednesday, a video of Cooper threatening to “fight every [n-word] here” went viral, even eliciting a response from Chesney, who was “shocked” by Cooper’s words.

“This is all new territory and we are going to evaluate this timetable every step of the way. He will meet with professionals provided by the Eagles during this period of time to better help him understand how his words have hurt so many, including his teammates,” said the statement.


No, all this "reeducation" is going to do is to teach this racist, redneck moron to keep his racist, redneck thoughts about wanting to fight all the n*****s to himself until after he is retired and out of the public spotlight.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

LW -

"girls online getting throat f'd to tears and made to drink their own puke while being slapped and spit on"

A lot of people do this in person, check out collarme.com. Fantasies came before porn, not the other way around.

For some people, I think porn is a mix between fantasy and compulsive coping mechanism, a way to temporarily check out from reality; I think we need to face what we're trying to get away from. The porn may one day disappear, but the fantasies will always be there, and people will always act out "weird" things, because humans are sexual creatures.

While I'm on sex: How about our system that gives many women no option but to sell their pussy for money because for many women in the US, there is no other way to get an apartment, pay debts, and eat. Like David Graeber talks about, some women take out debt from big banks for school, can't get a good job, then have to fulfill fantasies of the men who work at these banks to pay back their loans they owe them! What a waste of human effort.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Okay, WAFers, now for some much-needed levity; enjoy (my personal highlight is the schtick on dying . . .)




5:25 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Dr. Hack,

Catherine Austin Fitts is very interesting, a former president of Hamilton Securities and former deputy director for HUD. In her interview, "They Will Either Depopulate Us or Bankrupt Us", she claims that the U.S. is actually doing quite well, at least as a political-economic entity serving the elite. She mentions biotech, robotics and ambient tech (ubi-comp, embedded technology) as the next areas of growth. As she is both a business and political insider I believe she is a fairly credible indicator of what is happening in the upper strata. Some claim that she is a disinformation agent, which may very well be, but still she makes it easy to read between the lines. Her take is that this process is less of a collapse and more of a coup d'état, which is my view as well. So, people holding their breath thinking that collapse is going to liberate us from oppression and spiritual sickness should probably just let it out and go on breathing. I think Hal Smith of "The Compulsive Explainer" blog has it right when he says that, collectively, humans have willingly given up their humanity to become machines, thinking it an improvement.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

in.fern.all- Or maybe a third option, a "collapse" (shrinking pie), thus necessitating a coup d'etat to expand their share of said diminished pie. (Though I'm sure they never cared for the historical aberration of middle class prosperity in the first place. Just look what it led to in the 60s - the horrors of a generation of Americans with ambitions that went beyond good jobs, with an interest in expanded consciousness, etc. A potential embrace of "alternative traditions"? That had to be stopped..)

A disinfo agent... yeah, who knows, anybody could be, in this strange world we live in. That odd note she threw in, about chem trails poisoning everyone --- hard to discount it when she does seem to be very astute and tuned in. I guess I once would have doubted if you told me fluoride was a problem, but I read a whole book about it once (The Fluoride Deception) that was (like the Russ Baker book, for anyone who followed that debate) thoroughly documented and level-headed in its presentation. And if you read it, I don't think you could dispute there is some, well, skulduggery of some sort surrounding fluoride in water supplies. (In the case of fluoride though, it has elements of being partly a fluke of history, rather than purely a scheme to poison the public. That was just, you know, sort of a bonus or, at best, an "oh well, gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette" type situation. The story is fascinating as a little historical side-road though, that sheds light on the nexus of science, industry and govt.- plus, again like Baker's book, despite being non-fiction it is a real page-turner.)

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Mikbeth said...


Thanks for the link to the underminers site. Looks very interesting.


I just started SSIG and I keep thinking that the book is like a mirror in that through your words the reader is able to see himself more clearly. At least that has been my experience with it so far. It is also notable to me as we have had some similar experiences in life.

There's a lot I could say as SSIG has opened up a wellspring of memories and thoughts for me.
Rather than trying to explain further I'll just say thanks for putting the book out. I appreciate it.

10:23 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

in.fern.all said... Hal Smith of "The Compulsive Explainer" blog has it right when he says that, collectively, humans have willingly given up their humanity to become machines, thinking it an improvement.

Capitalism insists that people become machines, there is no choice. As Wallerstein made clear, capitalism is a machine blindly programed for continual and endless accumulation, where anything and anyone that stands in its way is eventually destroyed. It doesn’t stop until something stops it. The idea that a revolution stops it has been abandoned, the new idea is that some kind natural or inherent limit stops it. About this, I have grave doubts.

But onto more important things...

In the spirit of fairness to the ladies I think Kim’s ass should be balanced by Weiner's wiener. Maybe combine the two on a new flag to the replace the Stars and Stripes. Asses and Wieners Forever!

10:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That's a wonderful idea, since both are quite ugly. But it still only covers 2 genders; what, after all, about cantaloupes? Shd they not be represented as well?


Glad to hear all that, since reflection was my purpose in publishing it. There really can be no other rationale, since I'm not famous and what happened in my own life matters to no one except myself. Nor shd it, except insofar as the reader can identify--as u apparently did. Thank you.


11:00 PM  
Anonymous Paul Emmons said...

>It is heartening to see that a lot of the American public sees Snowden as a whistle blower and a hero. Many people are upset, not at his revealing the secret surveillance, but at the surveillance itself.

Count me in, not that I'm surprised.

>Nobody seems to be buying the government's version, that Snowden is an enemy of the state. Obama doesn't seem able to get anybody riled about Snowden. He's shouting into the void.

The spectacle of various high government officials from Obama on down (1) going into panic mode and threatening international incidents, all over one gentle, geeky little private citizen and something he might say; while (2) assuring us that everything he has to say is being done according to the law-- is highly amusing.

So is the co-operation of the mainstream American media in quickly turning the story into a story *about* Snowden and the personal aberrations that just gotta be there to provoke someone like him into such 'self-destructive behavior' (although from what I've seen, they have found nothing). All to deflect attention neatly from what he has revealed.

Dr. Berman asks whether he is the only one with violent dreams. Not at all. Doctor, I'm having these dreams about blowing up another federal building or two. In Utah.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Two very interesting new reading sources for me, The Compulsive Explainer and the Underminer blog. Thanks for the tips, Shep and in.fern.
I particularly liked this from the Explainer:

"Really, being a complete failure is the only way to go. I have the best of possible worlds – in the middle of the worst of possible worlds".

He reminds me a little of the emotional tone of Kafka, who I read at a young age and was deeply impressed by, strongly identifying with the foggy mood of what was being expressed. It's called paranoia right up to the moment that the fog lifts a little.

There was a BBC TV programme in the 60's that caught this claustrophic realisation and confusion (that only subservient and well-behaved machines are tolerated within a capitalist system) well:


As its Sunday again, here's some relevant soundtrack:


3:31 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


I agree with you about porn. While sexual fantasies aways existed, the majority of porn available to the mainstream generally seemed to be about mutally enjoyable sex between partners; the men consuming it liked the idea of women who liked & wanted sex as much as they did. Basically the Playboy model, which was the path of initiation for those of us of a certain age. Shallow, of course, but still about sensual pleasure rather than dominance & power. What's currently available to everyone via the Web tends to lean heavily on pain, humiliation, human beings as disposable commodities -- not even the thinnest gloss of romantic consensual satisfaction. It also pushes the idea of women as craving that pain & humiliation -- our grossest national product in every way, really.

A few years ago I began some DAA-inspired lists at Amazon, which I'll post here. These were more personal & do require considerable updating & expanding, though:




Perhaps I'll start a few more?


You're right, man-as-machine sums it all up succinctly & eloquently. Any machine, one it breaks down beyond repair, can simply be replaced by an identical machine, after all. Machiens have no dreams, hopes, or needs; they only have function.

And you're right about the 1960s, too. Why else would The Powers That Be still attack that era regularly after nearly half a century has gone by? Aren't the 1960s supposed to be long dead & gone? Not until all memory of them has been distorted beyond recognition or downright eliminated, I suppose.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous MK said...

Hello MB! I just finished SSIG and all I can say is wow! You wrote with such clarity and insight and that has encouraged me as I have been questioning life, and seeking a more "aware, real life" these last ten years.

8:45 AM  
Blogger shep said...

Check this fellow out. He is insane with ES. U shud see the Southern boys tho and their shenanigans.


8:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Glad I cd be of help. I'll c.u. on the farther shore, muchacho.


11:21 AM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

Sigh, honestly, I get so tired of the "conspiracists" and the "apocalyptsists" trying to place way too much order and control in an inherently disordered world. The western industrialized world is way too unnaturally ordered as it is, and requires way too much energy and effort to maintain such an unnatural state. So while the 1% may want to maintain power and control, I fully believe that they will fail and misjudge just as much as the elites of any other dead or dying empire/system have in the past. I'm fully with Greer on this one, sigh, no, it's not different this time, and the elites and the 1% are just as fallibly human as the rest of us. At heart, I just believe in the inherent anarchy of it all.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life:


11:49 AM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

@ MB re: the commondreams article about 'Trust' by Bruce Schneier.
I find it ironic that there are links to facebook and twitter at the end on the left scroll.
Most of Dolt America needn't concern itself with security and surveillance. They willingly give it away.

In checking out that article, I ran across this: www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/01-12 "Retiring the American Empire" by John Feffer.
There are some disputable claims in the article itself, but one should read the comments. Dr. B is mentioned...and it would seem that there are a few more WAFers out there.
Historian Alfred McCoy asserts that the US empire won't last to 2025. Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung thinks the demise will be sooner.

As for Fitts, the 'coup' has already happened; but most do not realize it because it has been financial, with the military a subsidiary ...not a "Seven Days In May" scenario. Debasement of the currency was the initial stage.

So, here we are ...after the fall and in the midst of a depression so insidious where hardly anyone acknowledges it.
We coulda used an FDR, but we got a Chamberlain instead.
Will that be followed by a Schickelgruber ?

12:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, 2025 is a gd # to shoot for. We'll be semi-toast by then, if not actual toast. Only glaring omission in the essay is role of CRE: with 315 million people suffering from impactment of head in ass, chances of a national recovery are kinda slim.

O&D, y'all!


1:59 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Here's something SIGgy that harks back to classical music. I once borrowed a CD of Brahms art songs from the public library (that darn socialistic institution...). After I'd listened to the CD, the thought struck me with absolute certitude:

If I get into this music, my ability to hold a job will vanish.

This thought was inexplicable at the time (it didn't really make sense on any familiar level). It wasn't that I loved the music, just that it came from a different world, i.e., a dangerously seductive world. I returned the CD w/o listening to it further & continued my career as a losing corporate drone for about a decade after that.

The story of America is Gold Into Straw, made of billions of moments like that one.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Paul Emmons said...

bdrube quotes a statement from the Philadelphia Eagles:

>“This is all new territory and we are going to evaluate this timetable every step of the way. He will meet with professionals provided by the Eagles during this period of time to better help him understand how his words have hurt so many, including his teammates,”

While offstage they're still laughing all the way to the bank. Despite all subsidies from the public purse, and cable TV deals that don't depend on who's actually watching, they still need hordes of happy fans to keep those multimillion salaries chugging along.

Remember, these are tough guys who've submitted for decades to routinely being buttonholed while naked in the locker room by female reporters (who are doubtless fully clothed themselves). They've made this sacrifice for the same reasons: publicity and political correctness. With a tradition of such steely discipline, I'd guess that they can easily take the words above in stride as a trivial indignity.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a gd satire on MOOCs:


5:29 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Wafers and Waferettes,

Only recently have I realized that Robert Bellah (1927 – 2013) was probably one of America’s great, underappreciated scholars. I first became aware of him when I read a hatchet job review of “Habits of the Heart” in the “Wall Street Journal” way back in the 1980’s. It gave the impression that he was a kind of left-wing ‘pop sociologist’.

Later, when I started reading more about religious studies, I began to appreciate the importance of his work, and I wasn’t surprised to see Dr. Berman praising him here on this blog.

The NY Times and the Guardian have yet to publish an obituary, but I recommend the following piece from the website, “Religion Dispatches”:


Here is a paragraph from the above article:

“Over fifty years ago, in 1957, Bellah rocked the field of religious studies with a different kind of pioneering study, this one focused on Japanese religion. In ‘Tokugawa Religion’, Bellah did for Japanese Buddhism, Confucianism and Shinto what Max Weber did for Christianity in ‘The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.’ He showed how the social values embedded in religious thinking can help to support certain kinds of social transformations. In the case of Tokugawa Religion these values helped to pave the way for Japanese industrialization and global economic success.”

In view of what Dr. Berman has written and said so far about Japan, it does seem that he and Bellah share interests and ideas. This also appears to be the case for ‘Civil Religion’, particularly as found in America. There is a real depth and quality to their works.

I tend to collect books faster than I can read them, but Bellah’s “Religion in Human Evolution” beckons from my ‘top-priority’ shelf.

David Rosen

7:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, I lost a partner in dialogue when Bob died. He read my UBC lecture on Japan in advance, and really liked it. I was looking forward to having him read the entire ms. next yr, when it's finished (inshallah!), but that was not to be. He was, in addition, a very likeable guy. A major loss, clearly.


8:28 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

A Place At The Table

A documentary that investigates incidents of hunger experienced by millions of Americans, and proposed solutions to the problem.


This story is very sad, the people are wasting their time going to congress, and the problem of food insecurity will continue to get worse.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

I'll add another favorable vote for "The Compulsive Explainer" blog. I note that the blogger lives in Costa Rica, so, maybe he and MB can compare notes!

I particularly relate to what he said about loveless marriages and families in America. That is so very true, and reflects the kind of family I grew up in, as well. I am sure many on this blog would say the same thing.

When I was a youngster, I knew that my own extended family was "dysfunctional" going back at least 3 generations. As a young man, I vowed not to pass that along to the next generations. I vowed that either (a) I would find a healthier model of family life or (b) remain a bachelor. Well, my fate was (b)! Sad, but much better than the marital disasters I saw in my generation.

I have indeed found a healthier model of family life, in the first generation immigrant Orthodox Christian parish of which I have been a long-time member. However, that wasn't until middle age. Too late for me, but not too late for me to help the next generation in my church start on the right path in life. The latter gives me a sense of purpose in the twilight of my life.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Interesting ideas in this article. Militarism as a wasteful drain on societies. America’s economic success in the 19thc and early 20thc is linked to its *lack* of militarism and standing armies in comparison to European powers. Likewise, we can thank our recent decline in economic and social well being compared to Europe and Japan on our huge post-WW2 military spending. This could even explain China’s recent success (2.0% of GDP spent on military compared to US 4.7%). Some devastating facts, but not a surprise to the few Americans who have been to Europe.


10:09 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Dr B stated: "Obama is a piece of garbage. Yes, u may quote me."

The proof is here:


Members of Congress denied access to basic information about NSA

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

Looks more promising this time that Congress will pull its own Suez moment and default the dollar. Tea party is more entrenched and exerting enormous pressure on red district congressmen not to compromise. Ted Cruz is recommending holding the debt ceiling hostage to obamacare. WAFers should hope they get it right this time, pull a Suez & default the dollar. Spite theory in action! O & D!

6:37 AM  
Anonymous LW said...

I guess it's not used just to fight terrorism, but to start domestic criminal cases against people? Ha! How shocking....people just need to assume every damn thing you do is being gathered up and stored for future possible prosecution. If they want to get you, they will find a way, and with all the information they are now (and have been) gathering, they will find a crime they can make fit.


8:16 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Dr. B--

When I consider the thinkers who have had a considerable impact on my own (e.g., yourself, Philip Slater, Chris Lasch, Barbara Ehrenreich), something strikes me, and I'd be curious to get your reaction: do you think that--to any extent--your being born in a "shadow" generation has allowed you to cultivate the ideas that you care about?

By "shadow" generation, I mean those generations that are less dominant in terms of numbers. I share as much because, as a Gen Xer, I, too, come from a "shadow" generation, and I find it so much easier to engage others on ideas ranging from collapse to ontology with others who come from "shadow" generations.

In contrast, I find that I invoke considerable "existential strain" when I share these ideas with Baby Boomers (e.g., the idea that secondary substitutes are failed attempts to "fill the gap").

Heck, even Mumford was born in a "shadow" generation before the so-called Greatest Generation came to be.

As you write sometimes on here, "I dunno," but I've thought about this impact of generational influence for some time.

Thanks for any feedback; oh, with respect to SSIG, one Eric Hoffer is smiling somewhere, as your use of plain style to communicate profound ideas is simply masterful. All the postmodern obfuscation that I see others employ makes me want to vomit!



10:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I too spend a lot of time vomiting. Unfortunately, not on Obama's shoes; and there's nothing worse than wasted vomit.

As for shadow generation, I have no idea. There's a lot of lit out there on the subject, but I never pd much attn to it.


11:41 AM  
Anonymous Swordfish said...

o golly I've missed so much here on DAA...First, re: SSIG (the book) Yay! I'm ordering a copy today. As far as (ass?) kimbutt goes, downloading it now (hope it doesn't clog the pipeline)...

bonerward and buttward!

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Sean K. said...

Hi all, I have to thank you for turning my attention to Jerry Mander's masterpiece book, "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television." (1978) It's a bit old, but clearly very relevant. It's clearly in keeping with the ideas discussed here -- specifically with regard to being in tune with the natural world. I'm looking forward to his other books now as well.

So anyway, I grade student essays for a living. I have a front row seat to the ongoing collapse of our education system. It was never great, but over the last 4 or 5 years, I've seen a VERY noticable drop in the quality of writing I'm seeing. Most recently, I saw a college entrance essay in which the student was required to write about a group they believe is improving society. They proceeded to write about "Bronies" -- a group of male adults who are fans of the My Little Pony Franchise.

Oddly enough, that essay was at least comprehendable. I did give them a score and I think it was considered passing. Many essays are beyond my ability to comprehend. The situation is far -- FAR -- worse than is generally known. When I try to relate this to people, some are entertained, but a few doubt me and attack me personally citing my negativity. I don't get a kick out of wallowing in the absurdities of other people's lifestyles, or their poor education. I'm just saying it like it is, which is that the situation is extremely dire.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@LW, I was going to post the link to the article, but I saw that you have already posted it. You asked "I guess it's not used just to fight terrorism, but to start domestic criminal cases against people?"

Read the article carefully again. Check out this part:

The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...


Greenwalds response on Democracy Now to LW's link re the agencies using NSA intel for domestic purposes.

Gotta keep those privatised prisons at full occupancy--its in the contract ---or the taxpayer funds the shortfall.

Here we've been told by Rep Ruppersberger (?) to worry about surgically implanted bombs in Yemenis (with whom we are not at war) who are presumably a bit peeved about some of the ballistically implanted Hellfire missiles they have been on the receiving end of for a number of years.
A very convenient (strategy of tension) terror alert, complete with a now familiar (NSA) style of powerpoint graphics, but first reported on in 2010, so hardly cutting edge or particularly current and applicable.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous satyaSarika said...

A very prescient interview: Bill Moyers interviews Robert Bellah:


4:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for bringing the discn back around to the subject at hand, namely Kim's rump and its intimate relationship to the American collapse. I worship her crevice.

As for the NSA, CIA, DoD, and etc., I think it's pretty clear that their function is to crush the individual American citizen like a roach. And why not, really? What else shd these guys be doing w/their time?


7:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Meanwhile, our decline might be making some progress on the local level. Soon, across the nation, people will be gunned down just for being outside their houses:


The only thing that I found a tad retro abt it all is that the police dept. didn't use a drone to defend itself.


11:53 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

This may be a memorable checkpoint on our rush down the drain. Pathetic...


12:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I like this too: to accompany local police randomly shooting people in front of their homes, we need a major corporate attack on society in general, and need to have the NYT endorse it (I'm waiting for the Two Stooges, Friedman and Brooks, to weigh in on the matter):


Without a concerted effort to starve, impoverish, and generally kill off the population, our cultural disintegration wd proceed much too slowly. At least the American public has no objection to the process, which helps a lot.



12:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Good quote from Guy McPherson here, profile of American CRE:


1:17 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hola Waferinos-

Just finished rdg Ray Monk's biography of Robt Oppenheimer, wh/is a real tour de force, and hardly hagiography. There is much to not admire in this guy, for sure. But excerpts from a couple of lectures he gave in the 60s I found really worth thinking abt.

In the 1st, he is talking abt war, and cites the Bhagavad Gita, and asks if we can be comforted by Vishnu's words to Arjuna. Vishnu (as Krishna) attempts to allay Arjuna's anxieties abt killing people by convincing him of the unreality of suffering. Oppie says:

"If I cannot be comforted by Vishnu's argument to Arjuna, it is because I am too much a Jew, much too much a Christian, much too much a European, far too much an American. For I believe in the meaningfulness of human history, and of our role in it, and above all of our responsibility to it."

From the 2nd lecture, 3 yrs later:

"It is the knowledge of the inwardness of evil, and an awareness that in our dealings w/this we are very close to the center of life. It is true of us [Americans] as a people that we tend to see all devils as foreigners; it is true of ourselves, most of us, who are not artists, that in our public life, and to a distressing extent our private life as well, we reflect and project and externalize what we cannot bear to see w/in us. When we are blind to the evil in ourselves, we dehumanize ourselves, and we deprive ourselves not only of our own destiny, but of any possibility of dealing w/the evil in others."

This last quote...well, it's something I take up in SSIG, at least on an individual/personal level. But I believe Oppie is mostly talking abt us as Americans, who "see all devils as foreigners," and thereby "deprive ourselves...of our own destiny." This is what I argued abt American history in general, whether of Northern treatment of the South (esp. after the Civil War) or of any other enemy we've had, that we insist that we are white as the driven snow, and that the Other is as dark as dark can be. That's what Vann Woodward was saying in the 50s: that this was a way of destroying ourselves. But nobody listened to him, and nobody listened to Oppenheimer. And now, we have no destiny, really, except to collapse into irrelevance...You reap what u sow.


3:31 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Re: major corporate attacks on society in general, we in Europe are currently under threat of a vast free trade agreement with the US. There will be stringent conditions attached, austerity being the major plank. J P Morgan has issued some considered advice to Europe in advance of this free trade agreement being reached.


'At the end of May 2013, The European Research Group of JP Morgan Chase, released a document entitled "The Euro Area Adjustment - About Half-Way There." This document calls for the overturning of the bourgeois democratic constitutions established in a series of European countries after the Second World War and the installation of authoritarian regimes.

The paper goes on to argue that financial measures are necessary to ensure that major "investment houses" (members of the financial Mafia) such as JP Morgan Chase can continue to reap massive profits from their speculative activities in Europe. They also maintain that it is necessary to impose political reforms aimed at suppressing opposition to the unpopular austerity measures being carried out at the behest of the banks.

Well there you have it, no need to take the word of an angry old wrinkly anarchist, the lords of the universe have spoken.'

Full article here:


3:38 AM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

@ MB ...Yeah, Oppenheimer had an insight and possible foresight.
Previous thinkers ( de Toqueville in particular ), viewed Americans as infants ...naifs with unbridled optimism and little introspection.
Clemens was a cynic that saw through the veil.
Walter Lippman had an early understanding of American arrogance and obstinacy, though he went all exceptionalisto in his dotage.

My favorite is Walt Kelly, through Pogo...1972:
"We have met the enemy, and he is us".

\But to your point...evil begins with the notion that we ( as individuals or as a society ) are immune to it.
When we discount that, then any atrocity is possible.

4:06 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Sean K wrote:

"So anyway, I grade student essays for a living. I have a front row seat to the ongoing collapse of our education system. It was never great, but over the last 4 or 5 years, I've seen a VERY noticable drop in the quality of writing I'm seeing."

So if this is the case, how do you explain the seeming explosion of honor students in America today? ("My child is an honor student at Alfred E. Neuman Junior High."). If I had a nickel for every "My-child-is-an-honor-student-at" bumper sticker I've seen over the past decade, I'd qualify to join the ranks of the 1%. Or the proliferation of students who graduate from high school or college with GPAs over 4.0?

I have my suspicions, but would welcome the views of someone on the front lines. Are the skills involved in writing--and writing well--entirely separate and apart from those required for mastering subjects like physics or algebra? I guess they must be, because if young people write as poorly as they speak, yet manage to get Advanced Placement credits in high school by the bookbag full, as seems to be the case, then there must be something interesting going on inside their brains that makes them appear handicapped in speech and composition but at the same time is capable of producing dazzlingly accomplished results in other spheres.

Please offer an explanation if you have one.

6:50 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...


Thanks for the link, I enjoyed that interview very much.


I worked in a Univ Library and though I am not as close to it as Sean, I can tell you that until grad school, students don't write much! They take tests and copy essays from the internet. Grade deflation (or is that inflation?) plays a part too. Next time you're in a used bookstore, check out a textbook from the early 1900s and you'll see how far education and expectations have fallen. Also, just look at this crap from my local paper (http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/218017301.html). Good luck kids, but knowing HTML ain't gonna help you when cheap oil (read: electricity) runs out!

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Sean K. said...

James Allen,

I would speculate that the standards in High School are falling rapidly, and so the number of honor students by extension increases. This would be in keeping with my own personal observations. I'm only about 12 years out of HS and 8 years out of college myself, yet I see a big decline from my school days.

In a few years at this job, I have seen entrance exams to college go from averaging a solid 4 out of a possible 6 points, to a very low 3 out of 6. Our standards are held steady.

For the record, I probably grade around 10,000 essays a year (40 a day I estimate).

11:25 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Salut Wafers et Wafeuses:

I didn't find that Babbitry about kids learning computer code very interesting, JWO. On the other hand, a linked article beside the main story is fascinating.

JACKSON, Miss. — Women across the U.S. are risking their lives for black market procedures to make their buttocks bigger, often involving home-improvement materials such as silicone injected by people with no medical training.


12:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


An exciting development. Once again, Kim sets the trends.


1:32 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

I love that story sanctuary!! Here's my SGIS moment:

I was a sophomore in college and really stressed out—I felt compelled to always make the Dean's list; was raised to avoid debt so I worked full-time; and escaped it all by smoking til I passed out at night and eating mushrooms or the sort on weekends. So one day I decided to escape on a long bike trail: the experience of riding through a canopy of trees with the sun peeking through and glimpses of the lake beyond the trees... it was truly magical. I felt like I had an epiphany, a voice was telling me I need to somehow fill my life with nature and forget my old life. Like you I didn't understand what had come over me. Well, I ignored that voice but never forgot it. It took me over a decade but I did eventually reprioritize and am now apprenticing in permaculture. But it's incredibly difficult to reach for this dream—I suppose I have always subconsciously known it would be, which is why for so long I failed to even try. This mechanistic system doesn't make it easy to become truly alive.

You did eventually give up giving up Brahms, right?

8:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

a tear-

Gd 4u! Impt thing is, u didn't forget the message, and finally acted on it. And spkg of messages: best to send them to most recent post, as no one reads the olds stuff. Thanks.


9:24 PM  

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