August 06, 2013

CTOS Is Back!

Dear Wafers, and Waferettes:

I'm happy to report that the second volume of my evolution of consciousness trilogy, Coming to Our Senses, is finally back in a re-issued edition. For those of you who never read it, and think you might want to, this is now do-able. Link as follows:



Anonymous Politically Incorrect said...

Congratulations on the re-release of CTOS. Unfortunately, we are probably a ways off from "coming to our senses" in the land of the stupid and desperate as evidenced in our daily news headlines...

Be sure and check out the comments section. They're always entertaining...


12:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, for some odd reason it didn't have the cultural impact I thought it wd when I published it in 1989. I was sure it was going to turn the country around...


1:31 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB said; "Good quote from Guy McPherson here, profile of American CRE:"

I think he nailed it with " we gleefully trade in...contentment for exhilaration..."

How many people even understand the distinction between these anymore?

3:14 PM  
Blogger Boris the Spider said...

I still have my copy of Coming to Our Senses from the '90s, although I really should give it a reread. I'm glad it's back in print.

I can't recall if anyone's posted this article yet, about how meaning is healthier than happiness:

What's interesting is that meaning in this study is described as orientation to something bigger than yourself: society, other people, etc. Our atomistic individualism really is making us sick, even if we think we're happy.

They use the term “eudaimonic well-being”. Very soon after I read this articles, I listened to an audio tape of the brilliant psychologist, James Hillman, where he describes the Greek word eudaimonic as meaning "good for the daimon." That is, not good for our egos, but for the daimon, that ancient idea of a different being in each of us who is the source of our life calling.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Only one thing can turn America around, and I'm not talking about a book.


Remember him? The fantasy ticket of some of us Wafers out here is Palin/Cain. I fixate on it daily.

Here is a blogger who looked into Cain. It appears the savior may be a fraud and sociopath. Perfect for the Palin Administration.

Both P & C may be down now, but just wait until the campaign gets to roaring in 2015.


4:30 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Just got my copy of Counting Blessings in the mail & I'm slowly savoring it. I'm moved by these poems, MB. A review to follow at Amazong before long.

Meanwhile, file this under The Ugly American:

One comment posted in response sums it up nicely: "Great job at being an ambassador for my country, idiot."

Boris, the Jungian analyst/writer James Hollis has said much the same thing in his books: That what is needed for a truly rich life is Meaning, not Happiness. He also states many times that too many Americans lack a tragic sense of life, and that they dread going through sadness, depression, despair, even though they might learn much from it & enlarge their souls in the process.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I like idea of GOP ticket, Palin/Cain. On the Dem side, I propose that the party decide that if elected, there will be no VP, but rather 3 presidents equally sharing the duties of office:

1. Hillary
2. Latreasa Goodman
3. Bunmi Laditan

w/a promise to make Kim Sec'y of State and put her buttocks on the $1 bill.

The contest of the century, my friends. If Sarah wins, I'll marry her, and honeymoon on an ice floe in Alaska. We'll make love among the meese, and invite Ed Meese to come along.



5:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Fascism in all its glory dept.:

(appropriately called VIPR)

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

To Dr. MB and WAFers everywhere;

Another great Monday blog from James Kunstler over at

" I felt sorry for President Obama, going about the country trying to appear historically heroic without doing a damn thing, really, to face down to the monsters in our own midst. But then one hears the rumor of Larry Summers’ imminent appointment to chair the Fed, and it is no longer possible to feel sorry for Obama, but rather to feel sorry for the nation laboring under such a conclave of would-be wizards."

6:21 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

A McDouble leads to a whole lotta twubble for Mr. Lorenzo Riggins. The sky's the limit for Lorenzo! He and Latreasa could get this country moving again.


6:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm still trying to figure out how the US wound up w/so many stupid people in it. Everybody be sure to watch the video: "I ordered like 7 burgers." This guy needs to team up w/Latreasa, run for the presidency. They cdn't do worse than Ovomit, after all; perhaps hit Pakistan w/burgers and McNuggets instead of drones. Anyway, he's my new hero. Lorenzo, u fabulous douche bag, I wuv u!


Speaking of douche bags, check out Douglas Urbanski in the role of Larry Summers in "The Social Network." Why doesn't Ovomit just appt some Mafia boss to the position, and be done w/it?

I tell u, this country is turning into a freak show. Why not have the TSA patrolling the streets in SWAT outfits, after all? What's the diff, at this pt?


7:25 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

Hi, MB et al.;

You spoke of alternative experiments goingg on in Spain. Here is a creative way to enforce pet control ordinances:

"Some cities hand out steep fines. But in these tough economic times, the mayor here, Borja Gutiérrez, did not much like that idea. Instead, this town engaged a small army of volunteers to bag it, box it and send it back to its owners.

“'It’s your dog, it’s your dog poop,' Mr. Gutiérrez said. 'We are just returning it to you.'”

I love it!

10:09 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

"I tell u, this country is turning into a freak show. Why not have the TSA patrolling the streets in SWAT outfits, after all? What's the diff, at this pt?"

Doc B...we hafta go underground. WAY underground, or hidden in plain site.

I act the part of an idiot, a order to SURVIVE.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm assuming the figures for these questions are much worse now than in 1995. The following was reported in the NYT, 1 March 1995, results of a poll:

-60% of Americans cannot name the president who ordered the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan.

-35% don't know that the 1st atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

-25% don't even know that Japan was the target of the 1st atomic bomb.

I'm guessing that 18 yrs later, a hefty % of the American public (certainly, the vast majority)

a) Have never heard of Japan
b) Have never heard of Harry Truman
c) Don't know what an atomic bomb is
d) Have their heads firmly wedged in their buttocks.

O&D, muchachos!


1:04 AM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Hi Wafers,

Below is a passage I came across by chance (yesterday at the library) in Shirley Hazzard's book "Greene on Capri: A Memoir." So I copied out the passage knowing it could reverberate with many of you. (fyi: this memoir is, among other things, about the friendship that "sprung up" among Graham Greene, Hazzard and her husband, the Flaubert scholar Francis Steegmuller):

Graham's hostility to the American "way of life" was exacerbated by what he considered a contemptible national quest for the Grail of happiness—the pursuit itself, as he felt, unworthily enshrined as an ideal in the nation's founding Declaration, with the goal soon defined as materialism and indulgence. When we once spoke of Thomas Hardy's lines explaining the poet's refusal, on grounds of his own fateful view of existence, of an invitation to visit the United States—

My ardors for emprize nigh lost
Since life has bared its bones to me,
I shrink to seek a modern coast
Whose riper times have yet to be;
Where the new regions claim them free
From that long drip of human tears
Which peoples old in tragedy
Have left upon the centuried years...

—Graham said that he had no doubt that tears in plenty were shed in America; but that, without
the shared pathos of acknowledged pain, they were shed in bafflement and felt as failure. Bringing to mind a theme of "The Quiet American," he held that a policy of good cheer was often a repudiation of feeling: a license for indifference or ruthlessness.

1:44 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

“Why doesn't Ovomit just appt some Mafia boss to the position, and be done w/it?”

Good question, and leads to some serious thinking regarding underground illegal activities that thrive especially in light of the fact that the NSA has for years been collecting every phone call, every email, every electronic communication of any kind. So how can an Everest size mt of drugs still pass through our borders every hour, and why do so many illegal organizations and activities thrive and go untouched, such as white collar crimes and money laundering, etc., if the gov and the NSA now know everything, then this could only happen if...hey, waitaminute ...oh ... ...Oh! ... ... ... nevermind.

-60% of Americans cannot name the president who ordered the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan.

-35% don't know that the 1st atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

-25% don't even know that Japan was the target of the 1st atomic bomb.

I see a Tarantino movie here. Reagan dropped the atomic bomb on Hitler while he in Paris movie theater. Only Hitler and high Nazis were killed, the underground cleared out any civilians before hand. Plus it was a very small bomb dropped with pinpoint accuracy, as were all American bombs. You should visit the memorial, as I have, it’s not crowded, only a few American tourists go there after they visit Jim Morrison’s grave and other famous French cultural sites.

2:57 AM  
Anonymous Jerome Langguth said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

The return of Coming to Our Senses is welcome news. I read it when it was published and loved it, but have since misplaced my copy. I also greatly enjoyed SSIG, which seems to me to exemplify all of the virtues of the nomadic philosophers you wrote about in Wandering God.


7:19 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

The commenters on this piece, as always, help the author make some sense out of the puzzle.

With regard to the Tarantino movie, a famous Reagan gaffe I remember was his confusion between reality and some heroic parts he had played for Hollywood--he once reminisced in a public speech about his fighter pilot exploits (which only ever occurred on celluloid) so it may not be too much of a hard sell.

American tourists should avoid Morrison's tacky grave although Pere Lachaise is an interesting graveyard in itself, overrun with feral cats. Highgate is the gem, wonderfully gothic, overgrown, decaying and spooky on one side of the road and Karl Marx, who still gets a lot of traffic, presiding on the other.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

This is just one anecdotal of how dysfunctional our American society is. Look at the part at the description of the ideal protagonist in her version of Gone With the Wind.

Her ideal version of Scarlet O'Hara is a conniver, hustler, schemer and a user. I bet there are a lot of women in America like the author of this post. If there is then America is finished. We are done. All we need is the fork to get it out of the oven.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Carolyn said...

I've been trying to write to you, but I keep getting an error message that says I can only send a message of less than 4000 words. I'm long winded, but not THAT bad! Is there something I'm doing wrong?

9:59 AM  
Blogger Himanshu Tiwari said...

Dr. Berman,

Do you think Juan Cole is a douche bag? He thinks that the recent closings of the US embassies in the middle east is because of the GOP's witch-hunt in Libya and the Benghazi attacks. Here is the link:

Also, why is it so difficult to have genuine friends in the US?

Thank you,

10:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Wafers:

Lotsa action online these days. Thank u all for writing. Two things I wanted to mention. One, the NYT just did an obit of Robt Bellah. Two, The Atlantic Monthly, online edn, just contacted me to do an interview w/them re: SSIG. It was in the form of a list of questions, to wh/I just replied. Will let u all know if/when it appears.

Meanwhile, Jerome, mille grazie for the review of the bk on Amazon; I really appreciated it.

Near: I abs. adore Graham Greene. How he didn't get the Nobel is beyond me. All of his novels are stunning (well, I only read abt 4).

Z, ellen: Yeah, Pere Lachaise is a trip, tho I didn't make it to Jim's grave. Went to Chopin's, tho. BTW, Reagan may have had Alzheimer's during his last few yrs in office (seriously).

Cube: The fact is that male or female, America is filled with truly awful human beings. You might wanna alter yr post-it accordingly.

Carolyn: We have a few informal rules on this post. One, if you have yr head wedged in yr buttocks, like most Americans, it's probably best not to write. Two, post only once every 24 hrs. And three, pls limit yr post to abt 1/2 a page; longwindedness is not a virtue on this blog. That said, we look forward to hearing from u, esp. if u have anything to say re: deli meats. Thank u.

Himan: True friendship is non-instrumental. 99.9% of the American public consists of hustlers, i.e. people who are out for something. Ergo...Besides, how can you be friends w/someone who has his head rammed in his rump and is rolling around like a donut, holding a cell fone in one hand and a bottle of Prozac in the other? I mean, where do u start?


11:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: ellen: Isn't Highgate abs. wonderful? I haven't been there for decades, but it's truly a gem.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Crowbar And Vaseline said...

"I'm still trying to figure out how the US wound up w/so many stupid people in it."

I've thought about this too, and the reason idiocy is so widespread in America is because of Social Engineering/Manufacturing Consent/Perception Management/Thought Control.

Consider this ...there are two primary approaches of hierarchical, top-down methods of control imposed by governments against their respective populations.

1) The old way, via the threat of direct state violence - with this form of dictatorship, the elites don't care what the populace thinks on any topic because they know the people are controlled through fear, and aren't as likely to dissent or revolt for fear of violence/death for themselves and their families

2) The new way, via the manufacture of consent - this form of imposed thought control came about as a direct result of our species' long battle for civil liberties which forced The Ruling Class to devise more effective methods of pacifying the surplus populace. This form of thought control is far more heinous as it results in millions of people who, over time, are incapable of discerning actual reality versus the imposed, false Consensus Reality. The brainwashing and drive for ideological support of the status quo is then interwoven into the daily round of life, ensuring few will question its legitimacy.

(my apologies for mentioning 9/11 in the last comment, I'd love for you to publish this one)

12:18 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

In Rise of the Warrior Cop, Balko shows how politicians’ ill-considered policies and relentless declarations of war against vague enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. His fascinating, frightening narrative shows how over a generation, a creeping battlefield mentality has isolated and alienated American police officers and put them on a collision course with the values of a free society.

American neighborhoods are increasingly being policed by cops armed with the weapons and tactics of war. Federal funding in the billions of dollars has allowed state and local police departments to gain access to weapons and tactics created for overseas combat theaters – and yet very little is known about exactly how many police departments have military weapons and training, how militarized the police have become, and how extensively federal money is incentivizing this trend. It’s time to understand the true scope of the militarization of policing in America and the impact it is having in our neighborhoods. Since March 6th, ACLU affiliates in 25 states filed over 260 public records requests with law enforcement agencies and National Guard offices to determine the extent to which federal funding and support has fueled the militarization of state and local police departments. Stay tuned as this project develops.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, you've come to the party a bit late: we've had extensive discussions on manufactured consent/false consciousness etc. over the last few mos. It's partly true...maybe 10%, I'd say. Basically, it's a simplistic argument that ignores the larger cultural picture--as folks like Chomsky are wont to do. I can't rehash previous discussions abt it now, but wd suggest u plow thru past posts and comments. As for 9/11, there are shitloads of websites on the subject; this is not one of them. You wd be advised to address those concerns elsewhere.


12:32 PM  
Anonymous Carolyn said...

Hi Morris,

Carolyn here, and I think you would agree that my head in the proper place. That would be because my husband and I, feeling like aliens in our own land, bought a house in the northwest Highlands of Scotland in 2006 and made the big move here in 2009.

Someone recommended Dark Ages America to me a few weeks ago. After reading it I immediately ordered #'s 1 and 3 of the trilogy and devoured them with SUCH gratitude for your laying out in brilliant form what we have felt for decades. I hoped there was a way that I could personally thank you, and this is it.

Village life is all you describe in Mexico and more--because it's more egalitarian and safer. We had to seriously downsize to be here and couldn't be happier about that. People here are actually conscious.

With great respect and affection,
Carolyn and Tony

12:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Smooth move, kiddo; I abs. adore Scotland. I might drop in on u one of these days. Well, maybe in 2015 (my schedule is a bit crowded at the moment). Be aware that a Wafer Summit Conference is being planned for 1-5 June 2015 in Ireland (on Innishmore or in Doolin), but if there is a large inn in yr neighborhood where we all cd stay, the Highlands might be another possibility. Anyway, glad to hear u enjoyed the America trilogy. Abt 1/2 of "Question of Values" is on the same subject, so u might consider having a look at that as well. Congrats again on yr escape.


There's also this:

It's kind of inevitable: as we run out of external enemies, we start to find internal ones, or feel the need to militarize the domestic police. This "purity and danger" syndrome has been discussed by historians and anthropologists. We are now starting to eat ourselves alive--committing suicide full-bore.


1:24 PM  
Anonymous Capt. Spaulding said...

MB -- You recommended "Sundays and Cybele" recently to someone on this blog. Recently, the entire film was posted on YouTube:

Looking forward to SSIG! Ciao, the Capt.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

This is what happens when CRE Americans visit European museums:,0,1478140.story

Apparently, this clod was measuring his own hand against the hand of a 600 year old statue.
Why is it so difficult for Americans to pay attention to simple and explicitly universal rules such as, "Do Not Touch"?


2:57 PM  
Anonymous Politically Incorrect said...

On the militarization of police...

Think of weapons as being just another commodity to be resourced. (like an ipod or a hamburger for that matter) Take away the moral component - because in a purely capitalist system there isn't any other than the average citizen being only allowed to deal with whatever 'moral consequences' if they react negatively to the 'system'. What more could a cop want than the latest 'toy' in his (or her) arsenal of repression... the system being only too happy to oblige.

On Graham Greene...
"a policy of good cheer was often a repudiation of feeling: a license for indifference or ruthlessness." boy that says it all, doesn't it!

Anything goes so long as people have a smile on their face...

It reminds me of a cartoon by B. Kliban from the late 70's of an old woman working on an assembly line stamping smiley faces on bombs... the expressionless look on her face speaking volumes.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Carolyn said...

Thanks, Morris,

I'm over the top impressed that you respond (and quickly!) to people like me. We would welcome your coming here ANY time, but Lochcarron IS small, so you might consider a week of R and R after the conference in Ireland. The scenery within a 20 mile radius of us is some of the most marvelous in the world, and Scottish hospitality is all that it's cracked up to be. Troubled souls are restored here; we know that first hand. At least one can experience the grace of silence and take in the air of a land that has seen it all and found nothing lacking.

If you're serious about coming to the Highlands instead of Ireland, I'd need to know how many people we're talking about. It's all small here, but 65 miles to the east is Inverness, a city of 50,000, and facilities there can accommodate larger groups.

Thanks again, and all my best,

3:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I indicated to Wafers that this Summit Conference wd only take place if 7 people (plus myself), minimum, wd agree to actually do it, and not poop out at the last minute. Which means buying a plane ticket. It's hard to say if it'll happen, but we can revisit it on 1 Jan 2015, figure out where we're at. Meanwhile, if u haven't read Alan Warner (Morvern Callar), now wd be a gd time. (A bit more edgy than Alex McCall Smith!)


3:27 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Hello MB,

How about a 2014 summit in Mexico City, Cuernavaca or San Miguel de Allende? Queretaro? May be easier to get a Wafer minyan in Mex than Ire...In fact we can even have a bit of a program and a informal get together with Wafers. Pretty easy to get some Mexican thinkers and academics to join in on anything surrounding gringo stupidity.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't really expect Ireland to happen, but it's a nice thought. Two yrs ago I tried to arrange a gathering in the DF, everyone got excited, and then when it came time to actually do it, they pooped out. "Oh, I've got to bake a pie that wkend," etc. That's why I'm insisting on a minimum of 7, and a reconsideration of what's going on on 1 Jan. 2015. It's a long shot, but then once in a blue moon long shots come thru. At least it's not Bangkok. Arriba!


4:30 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

Dr. B:

Here’s the latest from Texas where I was born many many years ago and which I do not miss in the least (I've lived in NY City for the last 20 years).

“Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, and more than half disagree with the theory that humans developed from earlier species of animals, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.”

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

The land of the free and the insane:

Question: do private firms pay the cops extra income per month to behave like this?

Quad Cities Police Officer Caught Beating Female Shoplifter In Shocking Leaked Video

5:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Only thing that bothered me was, Why didn't the cop take her out w/a drone? I mean, he beat her; so what? Drones are where it's at. Once dead, she probably wdn't shoplift anymore.


Chas Pierce, "Idiot America."


5:22 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

The woman who is charged with murder in this clip used to work at the hospital I currently work in (I never knew her--she worked in the kitchen). She was fired b/c she was hauled off in handcuffs for--get this--slashing the tires of a coworker she was mad at. Yet a "private contractor" cleared her to care for a two year old and another child. When asked when this collapse will happen, you are correct in replying---look around. The lights are on but no one is home.

In response to your comment on Oppenheimer's take on the Bhaghavad Gita:

"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."

The battle Vishnu is encouraging Arjuna to engage in is allegorical, not a real battle killing other people. It's the ego that must be confronted and killed and old, entrenched habits that for many of us have become like members of the family -- our love of comfort, feelings of superiority and separation, self-satisfaction, etc.--that we can't imagine vanquishing and still being able to live. B/c Arjuna knows the power they exert on him and how hard it will be to defeat them (O Krishna, I see my own relations here with the desire to fight, and my limbs are weak; my mouth is dry, my body shaking, and my hair is standing on end.)he understandably tries to get out of it. Krishna responds, after listening to all his excuses, whining and desire to hang on to the status quo, "It does not become you to yield to this weakness. Arise with a brave heart and destroy the enemy."

This is explained better than I can in the three volume Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living by Eknath Easwaran.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Ken Smith said...

Mention of Graham Greene above is cause enough for me to recommend a recent book by Pico Iyer. It is The Man Within My Head -- a difficult book to categorize. I consider it a beautiful tribute to Graham Greene. Reviewers have described Iyer's book on Greene to be a counter-biography, a shadow-autobiography, a personal memoir, an original, a literary feat, or even a confession by Iyer. These descriptions are all correct.

Graham Greene was born October 2, 1904. For the 100th anniversary of his birth, celebrations were planned near his birthplace in England. I was living in Nice, France at the time, a short distance from Antibes where Greene had lived for many years.

A British friend of mine, Ted Jones, had just published a book titled The French Riviera: A Literary Guide for Travellers, much of which was devoted to Greene. Ted and I thought it would be a good idea to have a celebration in the city where Greene actually lived and wrote. We planned a gathering at Chez Felix where Greene met his mistress for lunch every day.

I visited the Antibes tourist bureau and told of our plans to honor Greene. I was told quite sternly by the manager that the bureau would have nothing to do with that awful man. Evidently the French were still quite angry about "J'Accuse", a short book Greene wrote decades earlier about the corruption of judges, police and politicians on the French Riviera. The book was banned for some time in France -- probably still is banned.

Ted and I advertised the birthday party and invited as many people as possible who might have even a remote interest in Greene. But, there were only five people attending the Antibes celebration at Chez Felix -- Ted and his wife, me, my Russian friend and her nine-year-old daughter.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, except that I've heard various swamis say that actual physical death is no big deal, and we have to see beyond attachment etc. I've actually argued w/them regarding the Holocaust and so on. So the BG may be talking abt slaying the ego, but not just, and that's what Oppie was objecting to. Me too.


7:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Shep, Jeff-

Great revs of SSIG on Amazon! Can't thank you guys enuf.

Later, chicos-


7:45 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Oh Lord, have mercy!

8:13 PM  
Blogger Sean Hunter said...

If a 2015 (or earlier) summit is held anywhere in Latin America, I can definitely be there, with 100% certainty.
Mexico's DF would be great, or maybe Montevideo, Uruguay where we could meet at the famous Café Brasilero where supposedly the writer Eduardo Galeano goes on a daily basis when he's not travelling abroad. He'd be pretty interesting to meet with.

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

Greetings All,

Haven't been able to keep up with all the traffic here -- not enough time to peruse it all never mind add to the discourse.

My copy of SSIG arrived last week, almost started reading it, but I need to get thru Orlov's TFSoC first. I generally place newer books at the bottom of my book pile, in spite of my discipline, SSIG is next in the queue. Looking forward to it.

I came across 2 links @ today that I thought some of you might find interesting. Here they are:

U.S. Air Force Transported 24 Tons of Cocaine from Costa Rica to Miami, Allegedly to be Destroyed and
Android App: DronePatrol

I had quite the chuckle in reading DP's home page that their goal is to coordinate "efforts to fight the use of drones to monitor the American people as well as addressing other privacy rights issues. Through petition, social awareness and political action." And hey, they're gonna do this via cell phones and computers -- dat's funny!

Aside from the misguided activism the mapping of where drones are being deployed is worthy.

Dr. B. glad to see the blog flourishing, I'll try checking in from time-to-time, all the best.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The Steve Jobs way of life revisited, but here, not in China; or, why is hi-tech based on slavery?:

11:30 PM  
Anonymous satyaSarika said...


I'm a big fan of Scotland. I hope to visit there within the next few years. Congrats on the move to Lochcarron. Are you and your husband retired, if you don't mind me asking?

12:16 AM  
Anonymous MLW said...

The irony was lost on most Americans (fortunately not Amy Goodman) that Obama's speech about "helping the middle class" was given at an Amazon warehouse. If Amazon jobs are what Obama means by "middle class" (spoiler alert: they are), then we're screwed (spoiler alert: we are).

I suggest everyone give this a read:

1:03 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a face 4u (Great Douche Bags of the Western World Dept.):

2:14 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

MLW said...The irony was lost on most Americans (fortunately not Amy Goodman) that Obama's speech about "helping the middle class" was given at an Amazon warehouse. If Amazon jobs are what Obama means by "middle class" (spoiler alert: they are), then we're screwed (spoiler alert: we are).

Yes, I thought, where have I heard this claptrap before? Americans are supposed to embrace $10 an hour sweatshop because they’re the “high-tech jobs of the future” the “bridge to the 21st century.”

“The American challenge will be to work smarter and harder, to be patient, diligent, committed, self-sacrificing, and persistent to rebuild, preserve, and protect the American Dream” -- from Bill Clinton The Inside Story (1992) by Robert E. Levin

It’s full of DLC business friendly buzzwords...
“third way, new paradigm, market oriented, entrepreneurial, empowerment, opportunity...”

This from his own web page:
Robert E. Levin is an entrepreneur, best-selling and renowned author of the first biography of President Bill Clinton. He’s CEO of Transclicks, investors include Time Equities and a member of the French Rothschild Family. In the late 1990s, Levin served as a strategist and asset allocator for a Swiss Family Office and Sir John Templetons fund of hedge funds.

Clinton/Obama Dems are inseparable from the Plutocracy. Get it; you be patient, you work harder...for less and less, they get richer and rich with every mouse click, and Democratic voters still fall for this crap. I always got a laugh when Clinton would use that phrase: “we’ve got to work smarter...”

4:18 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

It looks like we will be hearing from Snowden via Glenn Greenwald for a long time yet.

And this horrific tale from Texas, on another type of almost routine privacy violation:

4:33 AM  
Anonymous Carolyn said...

Carolyn again,

I'm a retired psychotherapist, and my husband is finally selling his tax business, so no more trips back to Oregon! He'll keep a dozen or so of his best and most desperate clients. We'll turn 69 in 2014, so it's time to cut pretty much all our ties in America. Family can come HERE!! We ARE lucky, as my husband was born in Brooklyn of an all Italian family, which made it possible for him to become an Italian citizen a few years ago. As an EU citizen he can live in Scotland. People in America are astounded when we tell them that even the police here don't carry guns and don't want to. Imagine what it's like to live in an energy field where no one is armed.

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

The only famous grave I managed to find in Paris was Emile Durkheim's - right at the entrance to the graveyard.

Anyway, Jim Morrison was most certainly a WAFer:

7:09 AM  
Anonymous LW said...

The moronic, narcissistic, "menu over meal" / "look at me" society claims another. Let them amuse themselves, indeed.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In this woman's eyes, I see the future of America. And then, of course, there's also this:


9:50 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

[Under the heading "You Like Me, Right Now, You Like Me" (apologies to Sally Field, who said this when she received her 1985 Best Actress Oscar for Places in the Heart)]

This item below, gleaned from Truthdig, a piece on the new "industry" that has grown up that employs Third World labor to click on the "Like" button on Internet/Facebook sites to indicate enjoyment, approval, or the like for the content or views in question, with the goal of inflating a site's (perceived) "value" for potential advertisers:

[I hope this item might fit within the!general themes discussed on this blog, and hope that my lead-in reference to pop culture (viz. Hollywood and its glitterati) will not serve to rob the item of any interest it might otherwise hold for WAFERs/-ettes.]

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

For our record here - in case someone is thinking that we are too hard on Obama. It looks like before these people get into power, they are smart and rational. After they get the power, they become dumb and wicked.

The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Hey, MLW, when I went to read the story I also saw this on Salon:

401(k)s are a sham

But I'm sure they will revive the plan to privatize all of social security in a few more years when the corporate media machine has managed to convince most of the public that government was the cause of the 2008 financial crisis...

Meanwhile, the first symptoms of real breakdown are starting to appear. This is what I wanted to post about. Decline of civil government and the rise of gangs and warlords. Look at what is happening in a town in Pennsylvania right now:

Daily Kos: The Town Of Gilberton, PA Has Been Taken Over By Miltia


With a media blackout no one has heard about this.

If I told you there was this small town where citizens who do not agree with the war lord and his armed, non-government military force live in fear. they are denied the right to go to public meetings to air their complaints and are threatened when they speak out. Most of the town's residents feel threatened, intimidated and terrorized. So is this a small town in Pakistan taken over by the Taliban? No, it's Gilberton, PA a small coal mining town about 45 miles NE of Harrisburg and 35 miles NW of Allentown.


[end article quote]

This sort of thing is going to get more and more common. And notice it's a small rural town. Sure, the same sort of thing is likely to occur in various parts of Detroit or Newark or other major cities as these city governments disintegrate, but people in small towns are not safe! Why isn't some level of civil government responding to this? Probably because they are afraid of the huge confrontation it would cause. As a counter-measure to the weakness of civil government, of course, there will be a rise of "private security forces" -- corporate militias -- and those "gated communities" of the wealthy will be fortified and pull further and further away from the general population sinking into anarchy. The cyberpunk world is going to become the real world.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Sir Tagio said...


I am on my second read of SSIG. Thank you for writing it, it is well done, and very good at provoking reflection about one's own life.

The thing that has struck me most so far comes early in the book, at page 15 where you say: "We really don't know what's in our best interest. It certainly isn't our conscious or immediate impulses; of that I'm quite certain."

I fully agree, yet this single insight completely undoes the cult of "the pursuit of happiness," the cult of self-interest, and utilitarian models of social engineering, which at bottom are founded on pure desirability of the result, and presume that we can tell what result is best for us. It is hard to imagine a greater form of nihilism or emptiness, than when our sole teleology is instrumental, founded upon an endless pursuit of the "next thing," and yet we really don't know what "next thing" is truly in our own best interest. It would be the greatest farce ever, if it weren't so tragic. Constantly fooled and distracted, because always seemingly on the verge of fulfillment. Consumerism and the idea of happiness have to be the most vicious and successful enticements that ever bedeviled mankind.

Thank you for this SIGnificant book. I appreciate the great honesty with which it was written.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sir T:

Many thanks for yr kind words; I appreciate yr appreciation.


I suspect thug govts and warlords, + martial law, are in our future. 5 yrs? 7?

I jus' wanna say for the record that I abs. adore Lorenzo Riggins, and wd fully support any presidential bid he might make.


12:55 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

Not sure if anyone else is living in a depressed area and experiencing this, but I'm north of Pittsburgh, and we've had three power outages in the last month, one lasting an entire day, and the other two lasting a half day each. Each one was on a clear, hot day, and tree branches were blamed.

I'm wondering if there is a bigger story here that cities and power companies are hiding.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

See, this is the kinda thing that pisses me off. Kid was doing graffiti, and 30 cops went after him. They tasered him to death. But why all this expense of manpower and energy? One drone wd have polished the kid off--no muss, no fuss. When will our local police forces get the equipment they need, so as to properly protect the citizenry? Sheesh.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Good day MB and Wafers of the World,

Golf Pro-

Great Doors video! Jesus, who doesn't want to climb behind the wheel of a '68(?) Mustang Fastback and just drive the hell out of here! I tell ya, it made my day.


Obama is a relentless machine designed by the rich and for the rich. The terrifying thing is that more than half of the nation believe his policies are "working"; that he stands up for the average American and is running the show like a pro. In practice, he is simply clueless and has no idea what he is doing, except making the rich richer, of course. This seems to be his modus operandi. However, the crime of his handling of the economy is only part of the equation. Can you even imagine what kind of retaliation his policies are stoking in the Muslim world? A nuke detonation by a "terrorist" on American soil is certainly in America's future, no? Call it fate, destiny, or karma...

Check out Ted Koppel on one of the last "Talk of the Nation" programs:


If the militias don't fit the bill, it could be local police forces utilizing SWAT tactics that will initiate widespread martial law. I ran across this article a few weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal of *all* places. The article is titled, "The Rise of the Warrior Cop." You can access it here:


2:36 PM  
Anonymous Carolyn said...


I just ordered Alan Warner and a few of Alex McCall Smith's books. I look forward to seeing what they're about. thanks for the suggestions.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Alex is loads of fun, and v. gd airplane rdg. Alan is gritty and brilliant. Enjoy!


3:06 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


"they are smart and rational" they become dumb and evil."

Probably a good starting point to get a pondering in the film 'I am fishead'. Having said that the folks in D.C. are smart--very smart as in a bunch of them sportin high SAT's, Ivy League degrees, some are multilingual and even interesting and charming. is the but,....they have a good damn sense of reality beyond what sentimentalists or believers in high school history or constitutions and in human decency believe. They know (and some wafers know) that Hobbes was right. People in the main are nasty and stupid and gaining some advantage and safety requires of bit of Edward Bernays PR, some media legerdemain and lots of other unpleasantness. Hypthetically--what would Obama or anyone else gain from catering to a bunch of semi literate people who's idea of the good life is sitting in front of TV smoking camel eating fast food and weighing in at 350? Try not to fight reality, accept it and plan accordingly--move! The proles in the U.S. are getting even nastier and things will get much worse. Appeals to reason or efforts to detect any underlying logic leading to a nice outcome are well a waste of time.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Sir T,

I very much like your post, as I've been thinking along the same lines -- haven't we all? So many people simply accept the mass-marketed, socially approved program & goals guaranteed to being happiness without stopping to consider whether it's even true. Indeed, the possibility of any other alternative seems utterly alien to them; they simply can't imagine it. And we see daily examples all around us of just how desperate & miserable they are, pursuing the illusion that keeps them running until they drop dead. As Lily Tomlin once said, "Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat."

I just came across James Hollis' latest book, and one of the first questions it asks is this: Do any of us really believe that we are here to make money and then die? All too many do, and often die while struggling to make the money they'll never get. It's one of the great ghastly jokes in human history that so many have settled for so little out of life, preferring an endless diminishment of possibilities & quality of life in order to try filling up a yawning hole in themselves that has no bottom.

Yet for that majority, "quality of life" means either more money or nothing comprehensible at all. I'd imagine that in all their years of (supposed) education, they've never been introduced to the concept, much less encouraged to think about it. What's that line from the Bible? "Where there is no vision, the people perish."

3:31 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

The Nature Bats Last blog is really funny in these end times if u believe there is nothing we can do about global warming. Some of the comments are full monty WAFerian.

To whit:

(Comment by Rob@thepubliclibrary)

"@ Henry: I was quite surprised by your post but I like it! Yes, every little thing that can be done must be done! But, I go the opposite way, instead of trying to bring it to it’s knees, I’m pumping it up! I want MORE consuption, MORE waste, MORE everything – because I want to speed up the collapse in hopes that I’ll be able to see the SHTF scenario in America – I want to see the riots, the looting, the marauding hoards and the wide-eyed raging cannibals… But, most of all, I want to see the govt buildings burn and the politicians hanged. So, leave the lights on, buy a new car, max out your credit cards, water your lawn daily and pour unused paint and toxic household chemicals into your local neighborhood storm drain. Support fracking. Encourage lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride."


4:28 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Salut Wafers et Wafeuses:

I suppose I'm at odds with the consensus here, but despite my having liked to drive to the tune of "L.A. Woman" many years ago, I don't think the ol' Lizard King was any more a Waferite than is Justin Bieber.

At the risk of sounding like a skipping record, to paraphrase Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison was the cream at the top of Tinseltown's "cesspools of excitement" in in the 60s.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

@Capo Regime,
Your response to Edward is strange. You say that the politicians “are smart--very smart as in a bunch of them sportin high SAT's, Ivy League degrees, some are multilingual and even interesting and charming”

There is a difference between intelligence and wisdom. Politicians may be book smart but they lack wisdom. A person without any education can be wise in many ways. There were effective US politicians in the past without any college degree.

You say “they have a good damn sense of reality beyond what sentimentalists or believers in high school history or constitutions and in human decency believe. They know (and some wafers know) that Hobbes was right. People in the main are nasty and stupid and gaining some advantage”

Hobbes wrote his ideas before the US came into existence. Hobbes died in 1679, almost 100 years before 1779 when the US Constitution was written. If the current US politicians follow the US Constitution, the country would not be in the mess it is today. The founding fathers knew about Hobbes and human nature, so they crafted a constitution that took care of self-interested ways of human beings. The problem is that no current politician is following the constitution. The people in the US are dumb to understand that the constitution gives them the right to overthrow an oppressive government imposed on them. I know that this begs the question because we can ask: why are the American people dumb?

You say “what would Obama or anyone else gain from catering to a bunch of semi literate people who's idea of the good life is sitting in front of TV smoking camel eating fast food and weighing in at 350? Try not to fight reality, accept it and plan accordingly”

America has not always been like this. In the past, education is America was strong. The American citizens who finished high school could read, write, and reason about everything. Check out the questions asked in middle school in America in 19th century:
1) Describe three of the most prominent battles of the rebellion
2) Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865.
The questions are from a book titled America the Beautiful by Dr Ben Carson.

Try listening to speeches of Dr Carson:

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Yes Jesse Hobbes wrote well before the formation of the united states. He was still correct. Do people need a sovereign and a social contract? Yes. In the absence of governance would not a state of nature arise? Yes. Histroy shows that Americans have actually always been a bunch of douches. Disagree--take it up with Native Americans, blacks up until the 1960s, the Vietnamese, the set up to rob spain in 1898, the Central Americans in the 1950's, Mexicans 1836. If you Jesse can find a five year period where americans and their government behaved in an honorable or decent manner do please share. Hagiography and propaganda do not count.

As for the constitution (a strange american cargo cult) conisder this from 1937. If you can find a date when this magical document was actually followed do share.

Constitution for the New Deal

by H. L. Mencken

THIS SATIRICAL PIECE FIRST APPEARED IN The American Mercury,, 41 (June 1937), 129-36, and was reprinted in condensed form by The Reader's Digest, 31 (July 1937), 27-29. In order to indicate what reached the widest audience, the condensed version appears here.

The principal cause of the uproar in Washington is a conflict between the swift- moving idealism of the New Deal and the unyielding hunkerousness of the Constitution of 1788. What is needed, obviously, is a wholly new Constitution, drawn up with enough boldness and imagination to cover the whole program of the More Abundant Life, now and hereafter.

That is what I presume to offer here. The Constitution that follows is not my invention, and in more than. one detail I have unhappy doubts of its wisdom. But I believe that it sets forth with reasonable accuracy the plan of government that the More Abundant Life wizards have sought to substitute for the plan of the Fathers. They have themselves argued at one time or another, by word or deed, for everything contained herein:


We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish social justice, draw the fangs of privilege, effect the redistribution of property, remove the burden of liberty from ourselves and our posterity, and insure the continuance of the New Deal, do ordain and establish this Constitution.


The Executive

All governmental power of whatever sort shall be vested in a President of the United States. He shall hold office during a series of terms of four years each, and shall take the following oath: "I do solemnly swear that I will (in so far as I deem it feasible and convenient) faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will (to the best of my recollection and in the light of experiment and second thought) carry out the pledges made by me during my campaign for election (or such of them as I may select)."

The President shall be commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, and of the militia, Boy Scouts, C.I.O., People's Front, and other armed forces of the nation.

The President shall have the power: To lay and collect taxes, and to expend the income of the United States in such manner as he may deem to be to their or his advantage;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States, and to provide for its repayment on such terms as he may fix;

To regulate all commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and within them; to license all persons engaged or proposing to engage in business; to regulate their affairs; to limit their profits by proclamation from time to time; and to fix wages, prices and hours of work;

It goes on....

1:17 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

I liked the fishead doc, probably because I have previously found the work of Zimbardo, Milgram and Hare personally useful to me.

I read this the other day though, and it underscored what I have learned myself in my lifetime of wilful awkwardness, namely that for anything to have human worth in the social sphere it requires a human face-to-face presence. We are primarily social creatures. The interwebs, however useful, will never change that.

Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiment:

was re-staged by the BBC a few years ago with one difference, they introduced an experienced, trained union organiser into the regime after a few days--the outcome was a complete reversal of the original staging. The prisoners took control of the prison and eventually co-opted the guards.

Education, experience and understanding matters and being totally risk-averse is not an option.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

If anyone is interested in a Scottish novelist who is VERY different, then check out the work of Alasdair Gray.

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

@Capo Regime,
I understand what Hobbes meant by his social contract theory: the government is necessary as a social contract to protect everyone from the problems associated with living in a state of nature. In a state of nature, the strong will kill the weak, people will fight for foods and water, and the life of man would be brutish, nasty, and short. If we agree with Hobbes, then we can say that the formation of the US government was meant to remove the conditions found in the state of nature. This is why there are police and military to safeguard the lives and properties of people inside USA. It is true that the US government has done a lot of bad things to other peoples in the past. It is also true that the US government has done bad things to American Indians and to African-Americans inside the country. I will even go further to state that the US government with the help of the British government did become some problems for other parts of the world. For example, the coup in Iran in 1953 that removed the democratically elected president Mohammad Mosaddegh, was engineered and carried out by USA and Britain. Even Mandela of South Africa went to prison for 27 years because of the CIA. All these things support your claim that the US government has always been bad. But the US government was good to the US citizens who lived inside the boarders of America through good education and healthcare until the 20th century when firms and medical doctors became greedy. There was a time when the US produced a lot of things that the world needed. After the great depression, the US government introduced a lot of good programs like the Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. Also, think about how the US helped in the first world war and in defeating Hitler in the second world war. The GI bill helped a lot of returning soldiers to get good education and to buy houses for their families. Compare to what Sallie Mae is doing to the current soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.

What I am saying is that yes I know that the current US government is useless to the people inside the USA, but there were times in the past when the US government helped the people inside the country. What happened to Rome is about to happen to USA because of the same politicians you consider as smart and intelligent. Personally, I would not fight two major wars (as GW Bush did) by placing the tabs on credit cards of the government; if the wars were necessary I would demand that the American people pay for them. A smart person does not think like Bush. Obama continued in the footsteps of Bush because he (Obama) is also dumb.

Sallie Mae, Education Department Under Fire For Student Loans To Military Service Members

8:34 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hobbes' contention that the life of man in a state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short was not a description of man in nature at all, but of mercantile man in the 17th century (which, with the addition of Locke's acquisitive liberalism, became the basis of homo americanus douchebagus)

His writing reflects what he observed around him.

Without the Leviathan of government to coerce us, is it not possible that we could revert (or is it "advance"?) to the natural man of Rousseau or Kropotkin?

11:20 AM  
Blogger deflationista said...


This Australian politician might give Sarah Palin a run for the money. She believes Islam is a country and that Jews follow the teachings of Jesus. I thought she might spark a new love in your life.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Maybe, but Hobbes *did* say that "nasty, brutish and short" was man in a state of nature, and he did believe that.


11:56 AM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

I guess it was last month I finished reading Twilight...

Chapter 4 resonated a lot with me -- the 2nd para. on pg 138 typifies, and in many ways defines my thinking as it has developed over the past decade -- which was more happenstance than something I aspired toward.

Essentially I'm a loner, but I don't live alone -- not to divulge too much, I'm married in what has evolved into a blue-tooth relationship (paired but not connected).

I interact with a lot of people -- most of whom I consider acquaintances not friends -- oddly enough I'm not bothered by that. Which brings me up to this quote attributed to Albert Einstein:

"My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a 'lone traveler' and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude..."

In deference to the word count police please pardon my trespass by closing out with the following lyrics, Always, from John Gorka's album Old Future's Gone -- not a bad cut on the album and for those inclined to check it out -- lend your ear to Old Future. I know you folks here will get it.

(Oh I know the above comes out of the blue but it ties in with some comments I read here over the course of the summer but never had time to respond.)


I will always be lonely
Nothing's ever gonna change that
It's the way that I'm wired
It's the way that I'm set back

From the man in the mainstream
From the crown in the highway
I will always be lonely
It's the way that I am

I was born in this city
I grew up in this country
Used to work in a factory
Didn't like it exactly

When the road gets bumpy
Try not to get too jumpy
Or your head'll get lumpy
End up looking like me

I will always be lonely
A blue crack in a spare part
A red line through a head start
A round world with a square heart...

I will always be lonely
It's a chronic fever
That burns the achiever
Bring on the reliever...

8:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks, but *please* limit yrself to 1/2 a page absolute max. in the future.

Attention All Wafers: Required Rdg Dept.:

Sarah Stillman, "Taken," New Yorker, Aug. 12/19.


8:57 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Morris Berman said...
See, this is the kinda thing that pisses me off. Kid was doing graffiti, and 30 cops went after him. They tasered him to death. But why all this expense of manpower and energy? One drone wd have polished the kid off--no muss, no fuss.

Doc, don’t worry, it’s coming. You’ve got to wait for technology to work its miracles. Right now cops are still cheaper that drones. A predator drone is about $4 million and a Hellfire missile is about $58K. 30 cops at $25 a hour for 1 hour is only $750. Plus, while I’m sure most there is broad support for the summary execution for kids doing graffiti, the possible collateral damage to private property would horrify most Americans.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Mike Daniel said...

I had a look at the Sarah Still man article "Taken". OMG! Hustling in law enforcement. One wonders what they do with the loot. But wait Oprah is having a fit because she was denied service in Zurich because she wanted to look at a 38,000 $ car, scratch that, no a painting, nope yes now I remember, a PURSE! The law of abundance must have been out to lunch at a boutique at the time.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Former NSA employee who became a whistleblower, Russ Tice. Listen to him; it appears that Obama wiretapped everyone in the country. Maybe he stole the election by stealing information from everyone:

website source:

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


The language and narrative used to describe what is essentially robbery and shakedowns by police is fascinating. Its a uniquely american thing--you legalistic jargon around anything and most americans and lawyers and journalists will sort of give it a pass. The article is fascinating and accurate and its only the tip of the iceberg for the multiple rackets and brigandage that is the american justice system. Ever get a divorce with kids? If male it will cost you 20k to find out wife gets kids and you loose everything, get pulled over like these poor guys and get robbed of 5k, shut up and go, "tax penalites" for a mistake on a 12000 page tax code are just gotcha shakedowns. Ha I got a ticket recently in LA. I slowed down to look at some sculptures on the lawn some old style bungalos and was pulled over for going 5 miles under the limit---ticket was $200.00! Tell ya, Mexico and Argentina are actually more honest and the brigandage of the state is much lower and nor do you have to deal with delusional clods who think that government officials are on loan from some heavenly corps of angels. What will it take for this morons (american residents) to realize they are getting f*@ked daily by their "constitutional government". Also, the capacity for american politcians, journalists and "plain" folk to rationalize or explain away plain ripoffs by government remains unplumbed and astonishing.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Primo del Capo said...

Its all like Ozymandias no?

10:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


More like the (former) Stage Deli on 7th Ave, between 52nd and 53rd Sts.


But drones are cool, and Americans like cool stuff.


11:34 PM  
Anonymous star rover said...


Just want you to know you are not alone. I consider myself a loner. There are a lot of people I know and a few a care great deal about, but with the exception of my wonderful wife I can't think of anyone to whom I am really close. I've always known that we all just come and go and there really is nothing we can do about it. I think deep down everyone knows this. Some people more than others just have a hard time coming to grips with reality, that's all.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

'But drones are cool, and Americans like cool stuff.'

So the US will be seeing a lot more of this 'civil forfeiture' to pay for them and their payloads, then.

Meanwhile, Oprah gets the highest US civilian honour to compensate her a little for her humiliation in a Swiss bag boutique. Shoppers in such places should know the unwritten rule: If you have to ask the price you cannot afford it. The rich are different, or so F Scott Fitzgerald, a rich guy, told us.

The Droner-in-chief is in attempted damage limitation mode which doesn't even merit a link as there'll be no change there then.

Today I'm brooding on Santayana's astute observation:

and something I remember from schoolgirl confrontations with Virgil's Aeneid that 'the only safety for the conquered is (the knowledge) that there is no safety'

Motorhead made much the same point in 'Ace of Spades' of course, but that's not really brooding music.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


If you haven't seen the wonderful 1979 PBS adaptation of Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven, then I urge you do do so, as it deals with much that's been discussed on this blog in terms of worldviews. The DVD is out of print, but the entire film is available at YouTube here:

In Dr. Haber you'll see the embodiment of progress at all costs; in George you'll see an alternative, far more Taoist worldview. Lots of food for thought here, presented in a poetic, lyrical film that does justice to its source material.

It's been years since I'd watched it, but last night I had a sudden need to see it again. When it was over, my wife said, both sadly & a little angrily, "PBS would never do something like that today." All too true, alas!

winter, star rover, your posts especially make me think of this film. Like you, I'm also more of a loner, with the exception of my wonderful wife & a few close friends. We don't fit; we don't want to fit. Innate NMIs from birth, perhaps?

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Alan A. said...

A while ago, Morris asserted that one cannot prove a negative. According to philosophy professor and logician Steven D. Hales, Morris is wrong.

"A principle of folk logic is that one can’t prove a negative. [...] But there is one big, fat problem with all this. Among professional logicians, guess how many think that you can’t prove a negative? That’s right: zero. Yes, Virginia, you can prove a negative, and it’s easy, too. For one thing, a real, actual law of logic is a negative, namely the law of non-contradiction. This law states that that a proposition cannot be both true and not true. Nothing is both true and false. Furthermore, you can prove this law. It can be formally derived from the empty set using provably valid rules of inference. (I’ll spare you the boring details). One of the laws of logic is a provable negative. Wait… this means we’ve just proven that it is not the case that one of the laws of logic is that you can’t prove a negative. So we’ve proven yet another negative! In fact, ‘you can’t prove a negative’ is a negative  so if you could prove it true, it wouldn’t be true! Uh-oh."

Read the rest of Professor Hales' article here: .

9:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...




What she shd get instead of a handbag is a douche bag. And a copy of Janice Peck's book. As for Clinton, nice that one war criminal is giving an award to another war criminal; does this country proud.


10:20 AM  
Anonymous Gold Pro said...

What amuses me about the Oprah-Zurich-bag-racism thing is that she is obviously unaware that Switzerland is brimming with African dictators and their entourages hoovering up luxury goods.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Can you prove a double negative?

Seriously though, a negative can be proved only indirectly, by converting it into a positive and looking for exceptions or poking holes in it (you tear down an accusation of murder by poking holes in the prosecution's case, for example). The law of noncontradiction is an axiom so it's an analytic proposition, "proved" in a different way - pronounced "true" by definition - than a synthetic proposition would be - proved "true" by adducing empirical evidence. These distinctions become important when you're on trial for murder.

I'm fairly sure MB has a discussion somewhere demonstrating that the proof isn't really in the pudding but in the pastrami. I could be wrong.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Gold Pro stated: "What amuses me about the Oprah-Zurich-bag-racism thing is that she is obviously unaware that Switzerland is brimming with African dictators and their entourages hoovering up luxury goods"

Thanks a lot for the above.
But remember that she does not even know about the suffering and deaths caused to young African-Americans in Chicago by gangs. She does not know that there are more self-inflicted deaths and racism-inducing behaviors and actions happening daily in her backyard in Chicago. You know, self-awareness comes first before the awareness of other things in one's environment.

12:05 PM  
Blogger jml said...

i'm wondering if anyone else thinks that the definition of racism is currently being stretched? it seems that that word is being used so much these days that it is losing it's meaning. i find it hard to believe that the story regarding oprah's experience in a high-end zurich purse shop is an example of racism. it is also interesting that the store defended the salesperson saying she was a very professional person. in america, the salesperson would've been fired and the store would've made sure that their dramatic apology made it on the evening news so as not to lose customers.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm so glad that we finally straightened out this issue of vital importance to this blog. That done, we can now return to the minor issues of the collapse of the American empire. Hopefully, we don't need to investigate the nature of triple negatives, etc.


4:23 PM  
Anonymous shep said...


I agree. The O thing is an example of bigotry and ignorance not racism. Racism is covert/overt oppression.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Zosima said:
Plus, while I’m sure most there is broad support for the summary execution for kids doing graffiti, the possible collateral damage to private property would horrify most Americans.

Yes, indeed...not to mention that a drone strike that tied up traffic related to a sporting event, shopping event, or other major cultural going-on would create secondary effects not wanted by TPTB.

Imagine, hundreds of citizens would be outraged, a dozen might talk to each other, and it's always possible that one or two would actually cop a clue.

As Tonto and his former chief in the new Lone Ranger film would say...nature would be out of balance.

Sorry, MB, but at least for the foreseeable future, wedding parties in Pakistan and Afghanistan will have to suffer so that drones can be fine-tuned to the point where they can be used on American soil without disrupting monster-truck demolition derbies and other instances of Kultur.

But, look on the bright side...for a while we'll be safe to spray paint Waferisms on the walls of our local Walmarts, at least on Black Fridays.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Is a Suez Moment near? When it's CNN, rather than Truthdig, that is saying the US is dancing on the rim of the toilet, u begin to wonder. Wafers need to each drink a 6-pack of Bud Lite, storm the White House, hold Ovomit down, and drench his Guccis! (They've been dry for far too long.) Now *that* wd be a great Suez Moment.


8:24 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Americans rarely vote on the basis of foreign policy. Only Vietnam (1968) and the Iran hostage crisis (1980) had major impacts. This CNN reporter seems to be the only one on the planet that still thinks that America can somehow control all events in all countries, where has she been, this is an idea that died when communist tanks entered Saigon in 1975.

Btw, Mr Snowden, listen very carefully. Remember when the first pres Bush went into Panama to snag Noriega in 1989? Hundreds of innocent Panamanians died, but Americans are grateful because it ended the importation of drugs forever. With the exception of Yugoslavia in 1999, no white country has been attacked by the US since WW2. You probably know all this, hence your wise decision to stay in Russia (or a country with nukes like China). If you were in some third world country I have no doubt some future pres would try to invade and grab you to try to prove they're not a wimp like GHW Bush did.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers! Don't miss a film called "Quartet."


10:24 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...


Regarding the Oprah incident in Switzerland, I think it is a reflection of how prone many Americans - especially black Americans - are to characterize every conflict as a racial conflict. Whereas Oprah was convinced the store incident had to do with the clerk's racism, the store said it was a matter of a language difference. "I have to admit that the employee is Italian," she said. "Of course, she speaks English, but not as well as her mother tongue. It was a real misunderstanding."

The label "racist" is today casually thrown around for almost any action perceived as offensive by black people. The Zimmerman trial proves the same point. Whereas Zimmerman had many black friends and black people who defended him, the black and "progressive" community casually assumed that it had to do with racial profiling. For all we know, it is as likely that he was motivated by the need to stop further burglaries by hooded people in his gated community, as he was by animus against black people.

As lamentable as racism and the associated history of slavery and segregation are, I think it's important not to be too politically correct about race, and throw out the term "racist" any time a black person is harmed by a white person.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

mb - that CNN article you linked could not have finished on a worse note:

"It is time for Obama to spend some time thinking about what America stands for, what its goals are and then explain it in a clear and credible way. Even if we disagree with his conclusions, at least there will be a North Star guiding his policies.

Obama's supporters and his critics should hope he can pull America forward."

Given what we Wafers know about what Obama really thinks America stands for and what its goals should be, we have to hope that he fails so spectacularly that the slow unravelling of the empire becomes obvious to even the most your average CNN op-ed writer, for example.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Sanc, okay I understand what you're saying now. I missed a certain component and I was wrong.

Dr. B, I am going to order more of your books and try your food recommendation. I do love turkey sandwiches with cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. I will try the corned beef sandwich on rye bread and get some liver with it.

I will comment from time to time but I will just mostly read.

2:27 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

More on the possibility of a Suez moment, Greenwald on some of the ongoing domestic fallout:

The comments are good on this as they are calling into question the craven positions taken by the likes of Google, Microsoft et al who are, it seems, paid a piece rate by the taxpayer for NSA access.

Yahoo's NSA compliance doc, with prices per email searched, was leaked to Cryptome four years ago:

Greenwald provides a handy round-up of alternate media reaction to this foreign policy mess:

I doubt this will take attention in the US from poor Oprah and her cultural misunderstanding--which I think was probably based on snobbery on both sides rather than racism, mega-money having no colour in European capitals. She was unrecognised, (not surprising here) which must have been a terrible blow but her stunningly effective PR machine has made some lemonade anyway. Has she a new product coming out, a line of handbags maybe?

4:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Corned beef sand. shd be on rye w/cole slaw and Russian dressing. Have the chopped liver on the side, w/sliced onion. For pickles, I recommend dill or half-dill; wash it all down w/Cel-Ray Tonic. There ya go.


Belief that US can and shd control all events is unfortunately alive and well; it had no death in 1975. You've got 315 million dummies in America believing it, plus most of the media. They haven't quite caught up to reality yet. I did find it refreshing that a CNN reporter wd be saying that we seem to be coming apart (no shit, Sherlock). Imagine if we had increasing #s of op-ed pieces saying that we were adrift, that we had no real future, etc. Most of what CNN reports these days falls into the category of "10 Things You Shd Know Abt Dolphins," or whatever.

Medals of Shame Dept.: Robt Silvers, Joan Didion, and Natalie Davis were just awarded National Humanities Medals by Obama at the White House on July 10th. Did these great thinkers decline the medals, write Obama that they cdn't accept them because he's a war criminal and a corporate/military shill? Oh no; they groveled, said Thank You! How fabulous.

I recall seeing footage in the early 70s of Vietnam vets throwing their war medals over the White House fence and yelling stuff like "You can keep your bullshit!" This is the proper response to medals from war criminals.


6:10 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Hey, come on, Berman, be fair, more Americans should be studying dolphins than they should be studying how to kill foreigners, ha ha.

I used to love reading about dolphins as a kid. More people should do that, instead of bullying each other in school, or dressing like freaks so they can win beauty pageants, etc.

This was my attempt at being humorous, but seriously, if more people could relax by watching dolphins, we wouldn't need to destroy the world.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


For the record, I jus' wanna say that I'm pro-dolphin, and if 100% of CNN's news coverage were abt dolphins, it wd be a serious improvement over what they are reporting on now. But then, so wd 100% reportage on Oprah's various activities: her handbags, her weight, and so on. Yet again, Kim's rump...


7:01 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Dr B asks: Is a Suez Moment near?

The article is one of the best I have read in a while. Whatever the writer says about the confusion in foreign policy can be said about domestic policy.
Relations with Russia have fallen off a cliff, in part, because of asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden; Obama and the US look more powerless.

Obama’s relations with the core voters and progressives who put him in office has never been worse.

2) Syria
Iran has become a major player in the region. Fears that the opposition would be dominated by extremists became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Thugs like Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers became the major concern of Obama at the expense of the desire of the people who put him in office

3) Egypt
The same people who yearned for democracy despised Washington. Both Islamists and anti-Islamists feel betrayed by Washington.

Obama is despised by both democrats and republicans because both sides felt betrayed by him.

4) Al Qaeda is resurrected, so US embassies are closed in many places.

Obama resurrected GW Bush as a better man and president when compared to Obama. Bush knew what he wanted and pursued it with vigor; Obama slept through the entire show.

5) Most nations are angry at the US because of the NSA spying thing. Germany, Bolivia, etc.

All true democrats are angry with Obama and his government.

Conclusion: It is time for Obama to spend some time thinking about what America stands for, what its goals are and then explain it in a clear and credible way.

Obama has never defined who he is and what he stands for. Is he a progressive democrat or a conservative republican? No person can answer this question!

10:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


But I can answer it. He's a hollow shell.


10:32 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

The opening sentence:

"You’d think that the market for Washington-bashing would be saturated by now. Not counting the nightly Comedy Central duo, four anti-Washington television shows were showered with Emmy nominations last month. Apocalyptic anti-Washington books with titles like It’s Even Worse Than It Looks and Throw Them All Out have become our daily bread in the Obama years—although none of them matches Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer’s Truman-era Washington Confidential, an enormous best seller in 1951 and forever to be cherished for describing the town (my hometown, I must disclose) as “the nation’s Forest Lawn, where is sunk its priceless heritage, killed by countless generations of getters and gimme-ers.”

Anyone with the slightest illusions that Democrats would really help out the 99% "if only it weren't for those evil Republicans" needs to read this. Frank Rich is always on target and a pleasure to read.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Altho I'm not an intellectual like most commenters on this blog, I feel I have something of value to say about racism.

First of all, blacks are universally hated in the US of A. by most whites, maybe, I don't really know, much more so in the good old South.

If you haven't been raised here, you will not be a good judge of racism. It comes in many forms. The Southerners that say they aren't racists are hiding behind bigotry and good old common ignorance and they think they can evade the title through this method.

I would bet the white Oprah clerk wd say, I'm not a racist, however, I'll bet she has a dislike of blacks and a set (hers) vision of them and what, she thinks, they represent. So, technically, she isn't a racist but she obviously has a lower class mind set about blacks.

No white racist bigot will ever answer the question, "Would you mind if you had been born black?". "Wd u trade your skin color?" Hell, no, they are thinking.

If you are not black, you do not know what racism really is.

Racism is rampart in the world today. It always will be and always has been since Whitey showed up.

My point is: I agree Oprah is a huge hustling white prick and charlatan but the other gal is too.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@ shep:

"If you are not black, you do not know what racism really is."

But what about "Middle Eastern" people, who are subject to racial profiling at airports, and even to broad police surveillance efforts in New York City? Surely they know what racism really is as well.

More generally though, white people who aren't subject to racism are just as capable as understanding racism black people, even if they don't directly experience it.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Interesting article about the push for museums to become more "interactive" & "participatory" in order to draw more visitors:

The comments are a mixed bag, but I liked this one in particular:

[...] taking a snap or a selfie is not a memory. It is a substitute for memory. These people's minds are so full and their memories so out of practice life has become one big greedy mc life, nothing noticed, nothing remembered. The ability to read faces or empathize gone. A cacophony of remarkably superficial experiences vying for attention. This new stuff will be what it is - mainly a reflection of consumer culture -

What strikes me about our culture is that for all its emphasis on ever-increasing sensation, most people really don't know how to genuinely feel or experience anything. The need for more sensation indicates a frightening rise in numbness more than anything else, an inability to feel, much less contemplate. As with any other drug, you need a bigger, stronger hit each time.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


You are correct about Oprah. Yet one has to be mindful of absolutes which are incorrect and outright silly.

You said:

"If you are not black, you do not know what racism really is."

Actually I have a couple of Holocaust survivor relatives who had experiences of racism well beyond the imaginings of any black american. Ask a hutu about the race attitudes of tutsis (this I saw first hand), ask an armenian or kurd in turkey or a phillipino or Bangladeshi in Saudi Arabia or a South Indian in North India. There have been recently multiple hate crimes perpetrated by blacks on Jews in Baltimore and New York (young black men punching old orthodox ladies).

Lot of black on white hate crimes as well and if you bother with data outnumber in reality (but not in reportage as it goes against the narrative of blacks always as vicitm). I would also submit that the young white boys one of which was beaten silly and another burned by acid at the hands of black youths are indeed hate crimes and these white kids have a sense of racism no? Of course if a gang of four white boys beat up a black kid the nation would come to a stanstill! Lot of latinos being attacked with blacks chanting this is for Trayvon--a bit racist no?

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

I don't have a very favorable view of intellectuals accepting awards from Obama either, however I'm not sure I can completely condemn them. We're all complicit (other than the most impoverished or the one or two(?) actual saints among us) in "the system," in taking what few baubles it can give us despite its heinous crimes. I guess I'm saying where does one draw the line--- certainly refusing awards from the system seems like it would be relatively painless, but I'm sure these recipients are already accepting highly paid positions from universities or some outfit or another. If they refuse the award, people will start looking and saying, you hypocrite, why do you accept this or that "award" of another sort? Why do you accept any benefit from the oppressive, exploitive system, at least beyond what is needed for mere sustenance (if we grant you that; why not be a complete saint and immolate yourself like a Tibetan monk?)

Also- Commenter "from Mexico" posted on about how Wikileaks cables show that Calderon inked a deal w/ US permitting vast spy operation there (and more, sorry I don't have a link.)

7:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Leaving race aside for a moment, I'd like to suggest various party slates for pres and VP in 2016.

1. The Dems:
Pres: Hillary
VP: Bunmi Laditan

2. The GOP:
Pres: Michele Bachmann
VP (2 of them): Herman Cain, Sarah Palin

3. Independent Fast-Food Party:
Pres: Lorenzo Riggins
VP: Latreasa Goodman

4. Tuna Party
Pres and VP: a tuna fish.

By way of explanation, if the tuna is victorious, it wd swim in a large tub in the Oval Office. It would have in attendance 12 priests, whose job it wd be to consult it like an oracle. For example, suppose they were to ask it: "Should we nuke Paris?" They wd then watch the fish for movements that might suggest yes or no.

This cd be a very exciting election! For me, it's hard to decide between Michelle and the tuna, given the relative similarity of IQ. Place yr votes now.


7:49 PM  
Blogger jml said...

i imagine the native americans who live on this reservation know how racism feels.

how many americans know that this is going on? why is this not on the front page rather than oprah's hissy fit?

i do not think it is possible to correctly assess that the salesperson is racist. is it possible that to her oprah was just another arrogant, narcissistic, self-aborbed, obnoxious american? i could be wrong, but i don't think the european view of race is as juvenile and simplistic as the american and i think it is simplistic to assume that all white people are "racist."

tim - when i was in my 20's, i studied art history in london for a year. the class was a mix of mostly english and american and some european. i remember being completely astounded that my english friend would stand in front of a painting for like 30 - 45 minutes, just experiencing it. so few people are able to this these days.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

MANCHESTER, N.H. — A New Hampshire man used a handgun to shoot his 9-year-old son to death before taking his own life during supervised visitation at a YWCA office in the state's largest city, officials said Sunday.

An adult supervisor was present when Muni Savyon, 54, of Manchester, produced a handgun and shot 9-year-old Joshua Savyon of Amherst before shooting himself, the attorney general's office said. Reports of gunfire shortly after 10 a.m. brought a heavy response from police officers who set up a perimeter.

The father, who was depressed after returning from his brother's funeral in Israel, sent an email to a friend suggesting he was suicidal before the shootings, said Rabbi Levi Krinsky of Chabad Lubavitch in Manchester. Krinsky said he'd seen the man last week and had no concerns about his well-being.

"What would provoke him to take his life and his son's life? I don't think anyone can figure that out," Krinsky said. "My heart goes out to the family."

8:00 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

"It is time for Obama to spend some time thinking about what America stands for, what its goals are and then explain it in a clear and credible way.” honest, yes. Here’s all he has to say:

“It is our duty as patriotic Americans to despise all Muslims. Why? Because “Gog and Magog” controls them (G W Bush). Plus, they won’t allow Israel to expand to the size of the ancient kingdom of David and rebuild the temple. If that doesn’t happen, Jesus will never come back and “split the Mt of Olives” (Romney). This is what millions of apocalyptic Christians believe. Oh, and it’s all encouraged by Israeli Zionists spending tons of money lobbying Congress. So, America is trapped in a forever war to kill off about a quarter of the world’s population “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” (McCain). Basically, the Middle East is to become whatever Israel wants it to become, and it’s America’s job as Israel’s lawyer and bodyguard to make it happen. This is America’s foreign policy, and this why it is, and will remain, a disaster. Any questions?”

8:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Boy, I cdn't disagree more. Natalie Davis (e.g.) gets pd by Princeton, not the US Govt. This is a direct award from the president, who is a war criminal and a corporate/military shill. If these folks had an ounce of integrity, they'd tell him to take his medal and shove it. It's a perfect opportunity to make a statement on what the "humanities" are all abt (this is the pres' Humanities Medal, after all), and you do what you can, where you can. In short, drawing a line in this case ain't rocket science.


8:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Post only once a day, thanks.


10:26 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,


Regarding the 2016 pres and VP election, all are fine and worthy candidates. If pressed, I would pull the lever for Lorenzo and Latreasa... for obvious reasons. No matter who is victorious, however, it's gonna be a squeaker...


10:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, Lorenzo and Latreasa are cutting-edge intellects, and we need that kind of leadership today, quite obviously. So that wd be an excellent choice. The Dems are lusterless (Hillary is abt as exciting as rancid asparagus), and the tuna option will probably appeal to only a certain esoteric element (such as myself). The thing abt the Bachmann-Cain-Palin option is that they wd drive the country into the ditch practically overnight, wh/has a lot to say for it. Also, they wd be great material for SNL. On balance, however, I think Lorenzo is probably the way to go. When I saw the video of him explaining why he called 911, I felt a tremendous kinship there. He's got his priorities straight--my kinda guy.


11:22 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

To all ... I know this is only anecdotal to an overblown, juvenile incident.

I got to see 'the oprah' up close. What a pretentious phony.
I had an antique store close to Chicago, when OW had bought that hobby farm in Indiana, and was reportedely stocking it with Biedermaier and Classical Revival antiques.
At the time, I had a superb dentist's desk of the period for sale.
I got in touch with her production company, giving them details and pictures.
An appointment was set up. I showed up in my best funeral suit.
the limo's arrived, and the clan descended.
They insisted that the only persons allowed in the shop ( my store )would be 'Miss Winfrey' and her tail fluffers.
( i should've told them all to go pound sand, but i could use the money ).
'Miss Winfrey' waltzed in like the Queen of Sheba, never looking my way.
After 15 minutes, they all walked out, with not so much as a thank you or say so.

I knew she was a fraud right then.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I've heard similar stories. Like a flight attendant who told me she bought all (all!) of the tickets in first class, so she wdn't be disturbed, and then treated the airline staff like shit. And this is the person who gives the commencement address at Harvard, as an inspiration to today's youth, and is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Truly, a model citizen.


5:53 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

I've decided that this 'Snowden Effect' is indeed a Suez moment in the making.
On democracy, the very smart warmonger Winston Churchill said roughly that: it is a lousy system--until you look at all the others.

Here is security and privacy expert Bruce Schneier,“one of the world’s foremost cryptographers” on repression, from a good piece from Jay Rosen on the somnolent press and its slow waking process:

'Both government agencies and corporations have cloaked themselves in so much secrecy that it’s impossible to verify anything they say; revelation after revelation demonstrates that they’ve been lying to us regularly and tell the truth only when there’s no alternative.

There’s much more to come. Right now, the press has published only a tiny percentage of the documents Snowden took with him. And Snowden’s files are only a tiny percentage of the number of secrets our government is keeping, awaiting the next whistle-blower.

Ronald Reagan once said “trust but verify.” That works only if we can verify. In a world where everyone lies to us all the time, we have no choice but to trust blindly, and we have no reason to believe that anyone is worthy of blind trust. It’s no wonder that most people are ignoring the story; it’s just too much cognitive dissonance to try to cope with it.'

Personally, I always vote Tuna, (or Monster Raving Loony Party as we call it in the UK ) as I see no point in deluding myself further in such a seething quagmire of delusion.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous shep said...


Great story about Missy Winfrey.

I was treated the same way by Ricky Skaggs once when I was purchasing a guitar from his banjo player. No tail fluffers but same attitude. The difference was, when I was on his bus he insisted that he leave while I was inspecting the instrument. Still got it though for a ridiculous price. A replica of a guitar exactly like Doc Watson played. (1945 Martin D-18) I ain't rich but I'm proud just like them I guess.

I think most wealthy people acquire the same look down the nose streak.

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

To Dr. Berman and fellow WAFers:

Today, I draw your attention to a fellow traveler, Henry Giroux who has posted an article " America’s Descent Into Madness".

" America is descending into madness. The stories it now tells are filled with cruelty, deceit, lies, and legitimate all manner of corruption and mayhem. The mainstream media spins stories that are largely racist, violent, and irresponsible —stories that celebrate power and demonize victims,..... Unethical grammars of violence now offer the only currency with any enduring value for mediating relationships, addressing problems, and offering instant pleasure. A predatory culture celebrates a narcissistic hyper-individualism that radiates a near sociopathic lack of interest in or compassion and responsibility for others..... all the while promoting a depoliticizing culture of consumerism..... right-wing politicians trade in forms of idiocy and superstition that mesmerize the illiterate and render the thoughtful cynical and disengaged."

In the end, I think he fails because of what he calls for, "it is crucial that all Americans think critically and ethically about the coercive forces shaping U.S. culture—and focus our energy on what can be done to change them".

"All Americans think critically" ??? How does such a miracle occur?

It's all here:

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Rushing to a Darker Ages America in my view entails many, many disruptions. Lower incomes, stress, assaults on reason and on various cherished notions. Many will find that their cherished principles and ideals were mere gossamer myths and or state generated propaganda.

I recently commented on a commenter citing the uniqueness of the race issue in the U.S. The U.S. comprises 5% of the worlds population and in turn the burdens of the minorities of that small group is central to the experience of the oppressed--which is the majority of the 7 billions out there. Relative to the vast majority of the 7 billion out there americans of al colors and orientations have had a heck of a great ride.

A bit of time in a village in Haiti, Cameroon or El Salvador will gain americans some perspective as to what they have squandered. As the U.S. careens downward many will find that as Kuntsler and others have said that reality has no ideology and that the official state sanctioned ideology of MSNBC and the ben pensants of the New York Times , after school specials and school teachers will turn to dust. It will not be pretty and what are now the quaint idiotic quirks of an Oprah or others will soon be the ugly pathologies of entitlement, money power and naricisism

8:46 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

JS and MB:

Speaking of frauds I once worked in security at a large local art museum and once Martha Stewart (before her jail time) came to visit. We had to "clear" each room before she would enter and keep it clear of the rabble while she was in it...

Even the friggin King of Sweden didn't ask for that, just an escort.

Though now that I think about it, I doubt that very many people even know he was the king, or that Sweden had a king.

9:01 AM  
Blogger jml said...

this essay by ivan illich touches upon a few issues that have been discussed here like silence, the disappearance of friendship, and the intrusion of technology on our lives and psyches.

A quote:

"Silence, according to western and eastern tradition alike, is necessary for the emergence of persons. It is taken from us by machines that ape people. We could easily be made increasingly dependent on machines for speaking and for thinking, as we are already dependent on machines for moving."

Regarding the new trend for technological/computer inter-activity at museums: Often the only thing necessary to understand or appreciate a work of art is silent contemplation and silent observation. This seems to be a foreign concept in America.

Also, Oprah's behavior at the antique shop and in first class is an example of what most Americans think they are entitled to once they become somewhat prosperous: to behave badly and treat others poorly. Americans are an immature lot and this includes those whose skin tone is white, yellow, brown, black, purple, red, green, chartreuse, pink...

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Capo, I don't think the fact that we weren't able to practice Enlightenment ideals of equality and freedom necessarily means those ideals were myths.

That sounds like sour grapes.

Those ideals were not gossamer. We did have the capacity to live up to them.

We just chose not to. As Americans, we chose money and stupidity instead of intelligence and human freedom, and we demonized anyone with real character and depth.

Let's not avoid dealing with the pain and grief of the loss of the Enlightenment ideal by pretending they were not real or that we couldn't have done it, or that only the New York Times would ever tell us about the necessity of human groups respecting each other's differences (as if only MSNBC would want whites and blacks to get along!).

We could've done it.

We CHOSE not to.

We CHOSE this, this I must emphasize. Those ideals were not fake. We simply decided they were too hard, and we threw away everything Charles Dickens was fighting for, everything Socrates was fighting for, everything MLK Jr. was fighting for, everything Thomas Jefferson was fighting for, etc.

This is my grief talking, and I choose to acknowledge the pain of that grief by not telling myself that their ideals weren't possible anyway.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous satyaSarika said...

@Dr MB:

About the humanities award: Robert Bellah accepted it from cretinous Clinton. This was at the end of Clinton's reign, after he'd effed up welfare even more than it already was, passed a horrendous crime bill, let the sanctions go on Iraq, passed Nafta, allowed Glass-Steagal to be killed. See:

Just goes to show how hard it is to resist the prez power allure.

Re: KK and the great O purse affair. I know my anti-stupid media filter is working when I find that the only way I am informed about these 'events' is reading this blog.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Sir Tagio said...

Tim Lukeman,

Thanks, glad my post struck a chord with you.

While it is very important to understand the underlying dynamics and bankruptcy of consumerism, I think it is also important to notice the political side of this mindset, which is the idea that a "savior state," responding to the demands of the petitioning masses, will provide a social "safety net" and a society structured in accord with the "ideals" of legislation. And all we have to do is sit back, express our opinions (perferably loudly and without cease), and occasionaly pull a lever for the technocrat magicians who are then going to make it all happen for us. Our notions of "politics" are no less founded on an empty, needy passivity, and no less delusional than our visions of a materialist happiness or technological paradise. Indeed, they are the same, and rely on the same mechanistic and utilitarian ideas of what "humanity" is.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That may have been a function of age, I'm not sure; I mean, of Bob's generation. Obama was the only thing he and I argued abt. He believed in the Dems, in a word--kinda old fashioned. For him, Obama was not a war criminal or corporate shill, but a real difference from Mittney. He said that once Obama was re-elected, we cd work on 'liberalizing' him. I said: Ganbatte!, the last word I spoke to him, in fact; wh/is Japanese for "Best of luck!" So for him, accepting the award from Clinton actually fit in w/his beliefs (I regret to say).


Post only once a day, thanks.


2:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks so much for that great review of "Counting Blessings"; very kind of you. As it turns out, the publisher is so fed up w/trying to work w/Amazon that she is pulling the plug on Dec. 31. I'll probably hafta self-publish the 2nd edn, just to keep it in print. And it sells at a trickle, as one wd imagine poetry does in the US; but, it's a steady trickle, so I can't complain.


2:11 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Not to get too far off-topic, Dr. Berman, but I have a publishing question.

As I think I've mentioned to you before, I just graduated UConn with a degree in English. I've written a middle grade fantasy novel that my professor wants to show to her editor at Houghton Mufflin.

Do I absolutely have to have an agent to pull this off? What do you think of my prospects here in the US?

6:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Any 1st author's publishing prospects basically suck, but what else r.u. gonna do? Hell, mine suck, and I've written 11 books.

My advice:

1. Have prof show novel to her editor.
2. If by some miracle the editor says, It's a go,
3. Start contacting agents and tell them you already have a publisher; you just need them to set up the deal.

Good luck!


6:18 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...


The recent exchange between you and some other posters here, reminds me of a major reason I left the U.S. As I've mentioned before, the thing that drove me nuts, more than anything else, is the fact that there are a multitude of subjects that no one in America is permitted to be honest about. The Civil War is one of these (as MB found out, the hard way). However, race is perhaps the biggest of all.

One thing I wish we could discuss dispassionately, is the state of black families in the 1940's and 1950's, compared to today. In the early part of the last century, black families were just as cohesive as their white counterparts, and you had such institutions as the United Negro College Fund (I still remember the TV ads for this from my childhood - "Because a mind - is a terrible thing to waste!"). Black people were starting to close a lot of the achievement gaps with whites.

Then, right about the time that the Civil Rights movement started paying off, with the Voting Rights Act and the end of Jim Crow, all this seemed to drop right off the cliff. Black families started disintegrating, and social pathologies went through the roof. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan tried to sound the alarm about this in 1968, and was promptly condemned as a "racist" for pointing out well-documented facts.

My question is, what went so terribly wrong? I really want to know, because I think this is important.

As MB recently said, we are watching an Abrams tank going off a cliff, and we will not stop this. Mostly, I want to know what happened, in the spirit of a post-mortem. Perhaps future societies can avoid such tragedies if we can get to the bottom of what happened in this case.

Any thoughts? Shep? Anyone else?

6:47 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Is the timing of the international racial handbag incident just a coincidence? Nobody here has mentioned that Oprah's return to the big screen, "The Butler," which is about anti-black bigotry, is being released August 16.

This American woman is not worth billions for no reason. Did we just see her efficiently create free, relevant, worldwide media buzz?

The clerk disputes her account ("Oprah is a liar"). But what's a little clerk, really?

Clerk disputes here:

This "coincidence" inspires in me sinister thoughts, such as that a sure way to pen a best-seller in the land of the brave is to become a notorious serial killer first, or accuse one's mother of being one.

America, your hustling ways thrill me.


8:32 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Hmm, who didn't see this coming sooner or later? The journalist shield laws, meager as they already are, will now be amended to only protect "real" journalists -- that is, people who have corporate leashes that can be yanked. This is most likely a signal that the informal news organizations that are providing real information to the small slice of the public who actually want it will soon be subjected to legal and probably also extra-legal pressure.

Prison Planet: You’re Not a Real Journalist Unless You Draw a Salary

California Senator Dianne Feinstein has proposed an amendment to the Media Shield Law – an irrelevant law ignoring protection already afforded by the First Amendment – that would limit the law’s protection only to “real reporters,” not bloggers and other upstart alternative media types.

A real reporter, declared Madame Feinstein during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, is “a salaried agent” of a media company like the New York Times or ABC News, not a shoestring operation with volunteers and writers who are not paid.

Feinstein voiced her concern “that the current version of the bill would grant a special privilege to people who aren’t really reporters at all, who have no professional qualifications,” like bloggers and citizen journalists.

Last week, Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, worried the Shield Law, if passed, would be used to protect whistleblowers and others who ferret out government corruption.


8:36 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

Michael in Oceania,

I am originally from Detroit. I was born shortly after the riots took place in '67. Someone working as a life long activist named Grace Lee Boggs has written and spoken about one of the underlying causes of the riots in Detroit: unemployment.

Many black families that moved from the South to the North for good paying manufacturing jobs, especially in Detroit, were to find out that their long term goals of being financially secure were to be dashed. From the late '60's on the Big 3 was starting to heavily automate to reduce its workforce. They were also establishing factories in the South and outside of the country.

Their was an ongoing effort to reduce unionized labor forces in the North. Soon large numbers of black Americans who moved North to live the "American Dream" had no job and no future. Those who held on to their jobs were forced to relocate or work hours not conducive to a healthy family life.

I recommend looking up Grace Lee Boggs online. She opened my eyes up to the fact that the riots weren't simply just about race relations.

On a personal note I refrain from using terms like African-American or any other hyphenated term to describe Americans of different heritages. I got into heated arguments in Detroit Public Schools over this stance. I would ask the question "Where were you born?". Of course the answer was usually Detroit. Then I would break the news to my fellow classmates who insisted that they were African-American that they were just simply American and to get over it. My family came from Europe. But I do not go around referring to myself as a European-American.

It is tough enough just coping with the fact that being raised as American has its own share of problems. The Northern way of hustling was probably a culture shock for anyone coming from the South. No doubt a corrosive factor to be considered in regards to family, community, and public well being in general.

Detroit has really never recovered. Ironically, many families have back to the South only to find that the Northern way of life has taken over the South. My family tells me that Florida becomes more and more like places such as New York, Chicago, and Detroit every year. Pity.


8:59 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

mb- Okay, maybe it is an easy call, they should reject the humanities award. But why stop there? Is Princeton really so separate from the govt, or isn't it really part of the "ideological apparatus" that supports and perpetuates the status quo? All our professional institutions, academia, the media, top biz corps., govt, are all complicit with one another in maintaining the hologram, and their special privileges within it. And once you've signed up with that gang, isn't it a bit hypocritical to take a big symbolic stand about not accepting an award - but oh, you still want your hefty salary, prestige, etc.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We're going to hafta agree to disagree. Sure, if u wanna lump everything together, then anything one does is complicit in the war machine, and there's no difference between, say, being an independent journalist (Silver, Didion) who accepts a 'humanities' award from a war criminal from one who turns it down, since the latter pays taxes or whatever. Myself, I prefer to do my sociology w/a scalpel rather than a shovel.


9:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pls post only once a day, thanks.


10:46 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Michael in Oceania, Vince-

Great questions and input. I second Vince's point. I would add that the post-war economic boom laid the foundation for the emergence of a black middle class gaining ground and making tremendous strides over the previous two decades (see William Julius Wilson's classic work, "The Declining Significance of Race"). These gains were achieved despite the ugly realities of racism and marginalization that existed in the '40s and '50s. Yet, many civil rights leaders, such as John Lewis, have pointed out that the reason these gains looked so impressive is because black folks were starting from an appallingly low level. In other words, solid structural changes hadn't really occurred; it was illusion in some ways, tied to the post-war boom. When that boom went up in smoke in the 1970s, so did the gains. Indeed, as Vince indicated, just when it seemed that the economic ladder was being climbed to new levels, the ladder was being kicked away by the tides of economic change (i.e., factories moving or closing altogether, automation and computers replacing manual labor, destruction of unions, etc.)during the 1970s. This affected all working and middle class Americans (my father, who was white, lost his job in the early seventies), but it was devastating for the black middle class and community. For black men in their twenties, the unemployment rate was at 28 percent throughout the decade! As factory employment dried up, the nuclear family fell apart and with it came widespread problems and a depressingly bleak future; much of it explained by Moynihan. All this was percolating in an environment of the rise of the Sunbelt, Reagan, and the New Right's assault on the poor and the civil rights movement, of course. As MB pointed out in WAF, the economic and social *jolts* of the 1970s should have completely reordered the American economy and worldview. Well, at least Jimmy had the balls to talk about it, but the Americans wanted Ronnie and to go shopping instead... Lights out until 2008! Oh wait, they're still out.

Goodnight Irene,


11:19 PM  
Blogger Bertrand Caso said...

Hi Mr. Berman. I just want you to know that your the man. I would love to drink some tequila with you in Mexico. That would be awesome!

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

He is 73, and he could not remember whether or not the gun was loaded with bullets. Yet the most fundamental training on guns is never load a gun unless you are ready to pull the trigger:

Gun Safety Instructor Shoots Student In Ohio
LANCASTER, Ohio -- Police say an instructor at a central Ohio gun safety class has accidentally shot a student.

The Columbus Dispatch ( reports 73-year-old Terry J. Dunlap Sr. was demonstrating a handgun at a training facility on Saturday when he fired a bullet that ricocheted off a desk and into the right arm of 26-year-old Michael Piemonte.

The student says the .38-caliber bullet hit him between his elbow and armpit. He says many of the students in the class were nurses who helped stabilize him before he was transported to a Columbus hospital.

Piemonte tells the newspaper it appears Dunlap didn't know the gun was loaded. Dunlap hasn't responded to requests for comment.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I cdn't agree w/u more. Only trouble is, after all these yrs I haven't been able to convince anyone of this obvious truth. Oh well, life's a bitch and then u die.


3:44 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Another taser killing, of a 95 year old this time, referred to as 'blowback from the new warrior cops':

And on journalists at risk, 'The Strange Case of Barrett Brown.
Amid the outrage over the NSA's spying program, the jailing of journalist Barrett Brown points to a deeper and very troubling problem.'

A helpful 2 part presentation on youtube for anyone worried about the modern surveillance state 'Privacy A Postmortem'

jml, I very much appreciated the essay on silence from Illich.

"The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." – Albert Camus

6:26 AM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Dr. B and WAFering friends ...
Thought this would be more relevant here than in the new thread.

Re: OW and her ego.
I had talked with Chicago legend Studs Terkel on several occasions, and so was familiar with this tidbit. I could only find it mentioned here:

i never heard Studs speak or lash out in anger, although his views were strong and pointed. He would often laugh at himself. And, he could tell a phony a mile away.

Years ago, he observed that Americans were suffering from "collective Alzheimer's".
I have a feeling that he would be a WAFer today.

5:51 PM  

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