April 14, 2014

219: Konnichiwafers

Dear Wafers (and Waferettes):

Things to do in Tokyo:

1. Interview otaku(nerds). They really are adorable. I may even move here and become one, though it's not likely that anyone will ever refer to me as adorable. 2. Give lectures at the U of Tokyo (later this week). 3. Eat fugu, or blowfish. Word has it that this is called Japanese roulette. Apparently you die from it if improperly cooked, and half the time it's improperly cooked. I guess it's a macho sort of thing. I may wimp out, stick to salmon.

Stay tuned, more to follow. Migi, hidari, masugu!

mb

174 Comments:

Blogger Jeff T said...

Konnichwafers,

Morhiroshi Bermansaki-

Stay far away from fugu, MB. No need to prove your machismo at a 50% mortality rate. Stick to salmon on rye with a spash of kinpiri or Japanese potato salad on the side.

Will any otaku be attending your lecture at U of Tokyo? If so, be sure to put in a plug for the blog. We can always use more otaku out here.

cubemakoto-

A portion of last night's "Mad Men" episode was filmed at Canter's Deli in LA. Don Draper ordered a Brooklyn Ave. (pastrami on rye/cole slaw/ Russian dressing) sandwich and a cup of coffee. I nearly fell out of my chair... as this is the greatest place and the greatest sandwich in the world!

Mantane,

Jeffryouichi

ps:

Nomi Prins was interviewed yesterday by Ian Masters at the LA Times Festival of Books. You can hear it here:

http://ianmasters.com/

1:15 PM  
Anonymous bobby brown said...

More mass shootings. It's interesting these often happen in areas with a lot of money.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/14/us-usa-kansas-shooting-idUSBREA3C0MX20140414

Though shootings in the US happen everywhere everyday, so my conclusion is probably wrong.

http://www.reddit.com/r/GunsAreCool/wiki/2014massshootings

2:33 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Great to hear you are enjoying your trip, Prof. Berman. Keep the anecdotes and stories coming.

Here in one of the largest concentrations of WAFers in the USA (there are 3 of us who communicate and meet), I was doing a lot of home improvement this weekend. Tired and hungry, having skipped dinner, I went to the famous burger joint nearby, where JWO often gets a happy hour brew.
Anyway, I met one of the most annoying humans I've met recently, by far! He wouldn't stop talking. He is a senior in college, studying computer science and philosophy etc. He believes the human brain is just a computer, an automaton. When I argued with him on epistemological and ontological grounds, all he could do was repeat himself, asking, "What makes you think the brain is anything more than a computer?"
I'd respond, and he'd seem to listen, then repeat the question. After three cycles of that, I gave up. He also claimed that virtual reality was the same as reality. Beyond that, he was simply, unbelievably, extremely annoying: no ability to listen, no interest in the ideas of others.
Oh yeah: he also thinks that the key to life lies in "abstract thought."

I tried to explain that human relationships, and the physical world were actually more important to happiness and wholeness, but he had no idea what I was talking about.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

MB,

Sounds like you’re having a blast. And this is American Fugu about to spin out of control:

http://rt.com/usa/nevada-cattle-rachner-row-268/

6:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cube-

My Tokyo hosts actually have one of those advanced futuristic toilets, as it turns out. It practically does yr shitting 4u. Meanwhile, keep looking deep into Kim's rump, as the depths of her crevice hold the key to America's future (and I'm not kidding).

Jeff-

Otaku may be in the audience this Thurs and Fri, but the problem is that they are by nature very secretive, so as not to appear weird in (conformist) Japanese society. Hence if I ask for a show of hands of otaku, none will go up. What can ya do (except avoid fugu). Yes, Nomi and I have eaten at Canter's, tho she's a vegetarian, so we probably shd go to Hindu restaurants when I'm in town. She writes me that she's on a whirlwind PR trip these days.

Pub-

Next time try the Urine Response (UR). Much more satisfying.

mb

6:56 PM  
Blogger Lex ov said...

Dear Morris, fellow Wafers,

We urgently need to recruit Corinne Maier among our ranks. Her book "No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not To have Children" should be mandatory reading for any Wafer. "Bonjour Laziness: Why hard work doesn't pay' is also a gem. Especially if you're a French Wafer.

Waferism wlll win.

Alexey

7:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Alex-

Yes, orig. French title was "Bonjour paresse," a takeoff on the famous bk of the 50s by Francoise Sagan, "Bonjour tristesse." French Wafers are known as Les Waferes, with an accent grave over the 1st e in Waferes. I too am hoping for an eventual Wafer victory, but have you looked outside? There's a buffoonami going on out there! Douche Bags Rising!

mb

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Pauli said...

Dr B, you left us for Japan and then all hell broke loose:

Check this out:
a representative of US Airways twitted this to an angry customer:
http://imgur.com/IfvCqAK

Here is the accompanying article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/14/us-airways-masturbating-photo_n_5148458.html

10:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pauli-

I tell u, I turn my back on the country for 5 seconds, and this is what happens. Sheesh. Well, at least it wasn't Kim's buttocks.

Had some spectacular sushi today with a Japanese friend at a dept. store, of all places. Nice restaurant on 9th floor. He sure knew what to order. We studiously avoided the fugu. Hadn't seen him for 18 mos., so it was gd to catch up. He had an interesting suggestion regarding my Japan bk: publish it in Japanese 1st! I never thought of that...

mb

5:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Then there's this:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/14/americas-great-leap-toward-global-tyranny/print

6:21 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Reading the book Demon Fish by Juliet Eilperin, a survey of sharks and their role in the ecosystem, I came across a reference to Charles Darwin and his Voyage of the Beagle.

I impetuously decided I needed to get a copy so I turned to a favorite resource, abebooks. When I selected the vendor I wanted, I placed my order. Within a few hours, I received an acknowledgment from the fellow at Reader's Corner in Raleigh, NC.

I suspect, based on the quotations inserted into his email confirmation to me, that this man would qualify for WAFER status. You may agree.

"A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste, and such a society is a house built upon sand." Dorothy L. Sayers, Brighton, March 1941.

"It must be demonstrated ceaselessly that a continually growing economy is no longer healthy, but a cancer. And that the criminal waste which is allowed in the name of competition must be halted. Economics must be seen as a small sub-branch of ecology, and production/distribution/consumption handled with the same elegance and spareness one sees in nature." Keith Murry, 1970. Gary Snyder – “Four Changes” (1970) « The Beat Patrol

"Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth." Albert Schweitzer.

"Books are the treasured wealth of the world, and the fit inheritance of generations and nations." Henry David Thoreau

Sounds like a WAFER to me.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Deborah said...

And this from the latest Atlantic "The Overprotected Kid":

In his essay, Gray highlights the work of Kyung-Hee Kim, an educational psychologist at the College of William and Mary and the author of the 2011 paper “The Creativity Crisis.” Kim has analyzed results from the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking and found that American children’s scores have declined steadily across the past decade or more. The data show that children have become:
less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle.
The largest drop, Kim noted, has been in the measure of “elaboration,” or the ability to take an idea and expand on it in a novel way.

Imagine when these kids run the country.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Deborah,

I've noticed this flattening out of the imagination in all aspects of American culture lately, from an inability to grasp metaphor & ambiguity; to the geekish insistence on intricate & utterly airtight continuity in all things, especially the arts of all places; to the demand for so-called "reality" in the arts, which is actually just reinforcement of the current trend in stylized depictions of experience, i.e., grim, gritty, edgy, glib, empty. It's a utilitarian worldview, one that fears the play of thought & wonder, and definitely shies away from it. The irony is that it claims to be hardheaded realism, when it's actually an illusion -- and a desperate, flimsy one at that.

As just one example, this excellent article by Thomas Frank on McMansions:

http://www.salon.com/2014/04/13/let_them_eat_mcmansions_the_1_percent_income_inequality_and_new_fashioned_american_exess/

Be sure to read the comments! I've seen the same things the posters have: soulless, empty spaces devoid of books; wasted grandiose space meant to impress; shoddy workmanship. They feel like deserted office buildings, except that an real bank lobby or hotel lobby has much more warmth & humanity.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

So Michael Ruppert, subject of the interesting documentary Collapse has committed suicide.
I met him at the premier in our city.
He may have had a slightly manic, overactive imagination, but he was right about the fact that the USA was becoming a police state, that the government was not doing anything about peak oil, and that we are a spiritually corrupt nation. RIP.
He should have emigrated, rather than shooting himself.

I recently received a book of haiku poetry by Paul Friedrich, my old prof from the U of Chicago. He's the only one to ever keep corresponding with me, or caring, after I left, or rather was blacklisted from that place. He's a true polymath and renaissance man: anthropologist, linguist, poet... and lover of women. He's quite old, but just never stops thinking, writing, creating. And he's actually human: appreciating art, nature, beauty, justice.
@Prof Berman: you two should meet! Give him a jingle next time you are in decaying Chicago.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MB,

Enjoy that great food and civilized environment!

Was party to an interesting discussion. How is it that for the most part in the U.S. bellies are full (or too full), have clothes and shelter and really endless entertainment and carefully designed propaganda and yet among more than a few there is a sense of unease. A fellow noted to me that cows and barn animals know when something bad is comming--bad weather a wolf etc. To some extent despite television and other media telling people all is well and hey you can have google glasses a surprising number know something is amis. Is it a biological radar for disaster or is it some sort of ennui born of emptiness and consumption as noted by commenter on Lasch? Are wafers more senstive to the dropping of shoes or did we react early on the emptiness of american consumer culture? What can it be....

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Joe the XI said...

Princeton study concludes: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy

http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf

4:16 PM  
Blogger Cj said...

Hi Professor, hope you having a great trip.

For anybody, like myself, that values contrarian opinions Arthur Silber has an interesting take on the Snowden/Greenwald saga.

http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/
A brief snippet:

"In the earlier article, I explained why I call the United States a "Death State": "More and more, oppression and brutalization have become the bywords of domestic policy as well [as foreign policy]. Today, the United States as a political entity is a corporatist-authoritarian-militarist monstrosity: its major products are suffering, torture, barbarism and death on a huge scale." It is a measure of how far we've gone through the looking glass that "dissenters" appear to believe sincerely that they can challenge a Death State by adopting its methods. But when you adopt its methods -- as, for example, by internalizing its standards for disclosure and non-disclosure -- you voluntarily render your dissent "irrelevant and utterly without meaning" insofar as fundamental change is concerned. But the dissenters' acquiescence in this charade offers an additional, invaluable asset to the State: they offer the appearance of serious dissent, while ensuring that the challenge is ultimately inconsequential."


Chris Floyd's 'Empire Burlesque' also has an interesting take that includes a peevish response from Greenwald.

http://chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2382-on-data-dumps-death-states-and-qrespectableq-dissent.html

5:05 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Tim,

Thanks for the McMansion link. A quote I liked, "human settlements organized around the premise of the Greater Fool Theory."

Also applicable to the entire country, methinks.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Jeff

My mouth is watering.

Pub

I am into computers and I do believe the brain does have computer like properties like storage. To me, we're much more than a computer. We laugh, we feel, and we love. Can a computer do this? A computer has no spirit at all.

Dr. B, just to let you know I am on page 12 and have incorporated Kim's rump and your blog and ideas into my story and it has a reference to Canter's Deli as well. I hope you and the others here like it when I'm done. The words have been flowing.

Tim

How have you been doing overall?

6:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

So, lots of stuff on end of America. I do agree that Americans, as stupid as they are, do feel this on an unconscious level. It's as tho our demise is now in the air, or the water supply. Of course, you've got 317 million people in denial abt it, but on a gut level there's no denial. These people hardly hafta read my bks, or indeed any bks, to understand this. Historically, all civilizations crumble, and this is our time, and our form of crumbling--as the essays by Chuckman and others wd indicate. It's also possible for a regime to slowly, or even rapidly, go insane, as the current situation in America or Israel (see Max Blumenthal) demonstrates. A large part of the denial--it's hardly limited to those of low IQ, as I've said b4--is the huge contradiction between what the state says it is, and indeed once was, and what it has become. This is very hard to tolerate. The cops are now militarized, they have gunned down 5000 citizens since 2001, the "law" puts an 83-yr-old nun in prison for doing an anti-nuke demo, and etc, etc. 400 Americans own wealth equal to the bottom half of the population, the place is a corporate plutocracy, the president is a de facto war criminal...The truth is staring us in the face.

mb

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@ Cj:

You quote an article saying that Greenwald "adopt [the state's] methods -- as, for example, by internalizing its standards for disclosure and non-disclosure." This is puzzling to me. If Greenwald truly adopted the state's standards for non-disclosure, would he not have refused to publish any of the NSA documents provided by Snowden at all? After all, that is what the state requested of him - not to publish any of these documents.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

WAFers,

It's nice to see that the geniuses at Princeton University and Northwestern University have finally grasped a tiny aspect of what all WAFers knew for years:

"Oligarchy, not democracy: Americans have ‘near-zero’ input on policy"

http://rt.com/usa/us-democracy-oligarchy-policy-512/

10:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Julian-

A true intellectual breakthru, that. Next they'll announce that the US is a genocidal war machine, and that the Pope is Catholic.

I'm thinking we need an essay contest along these lines. Americans are encouraged to contribute an article, 5000 words max, on any of the following:

1. America as a Death Machine
2. How America Might Expand Its Arsenal with Some Lethal New Weapons
3. How America Might Use Lethal New Weapons to Kill Americans, or Foreigners

1st prize, a week in Cleveland. 2nd prize, 2 wks, etc.

mb

2:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I tried to tell 'em dept.:

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/step_away_from_your_cellphone_its_killing_you_believe_it_or_not_20140414

2:31 AM  
Anonymous bobby brown said...

The people who created blogger have created an updated platform for writers -- medium.com.

Instead of comments below a blog post, you post notes linked to sections of the blog post.

You still have ability to approve all notes.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. Berman and Fellow WAFers:

Today, the FBI discovered an amazing plot by Al-Qaeda "To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States".

Quoting directly, “We have intercepted electronic communication indicating that al-Qaeda members are actively plotting to stay out of the way while America as we know it gradually crumbles under the weight of its own self-inflicted debt and disrepair,” FBI Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano told the assembled press corps. “If this plan succeeds, it will leave behind a nation with a completely dysfunctional economy, collapsing infrastructure, and a catastrophic health crisis afflicting millions across the nation. We want to emphasize that this danger is very real.”

The Source is :http://www.theonion.com/articles/fbi-uncovers-alqaeda-plot-to-just-sit-back-and-enj,35788/

7:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Trout-

U probably figured this out by now, but I AM al-Qaeda. I don't mean I'm in touch with al-Q, or supported by it, or part of its network. I mean, I AM al-Qaeda. What cd be more obvious?

Allah Akbar!

Jeff & Akbar!

mb

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB,
You are their High Priest!
LoL!!

8:15 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

Hi @Mike, I think what Silber and Floyd are referring to is the drip drip disclosure of the documents that is, as far as I can tell, standard operating procedure that only minimally threatens the Powers That Be. Thus far based upon the reaction of the US public and Congress I'd have to agree.

Chuck

8:46 AM  
Blogger ccg said...

As a physicist who knows a thing or two about electromagnetic (and nuclear) radiation, I just have to comment on this business of the alleged cell phone/cancer connection. Cell phone radiation does not cause cancer. I kinda wish it did, but it doesn't. Contrary to what the Truth-Dig article suggests, the electromagnetic radiation (which is microwave) used for cell phones is very low frequency and hence very low energy. It is not ionizing radiation. Gamma rays, X-rays, and ultraviolet light, those are the high frequency parts of the spectrum in order of decreasing frequency, are the parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that are ionizing to atoms and molecules in biological tissue and thus can cause cancer. But microwave radiation has even less energy than visible light, so if cell phone radiation could cause cancer so could visible light. And visible light certainly does not induce cancer because if it did, none of us would be here. Yes, sunlight induces skin cancer, but that's because of the UV light that it contains, not because of the visible light. Finally, in case there's confusion about what microwaves can do, a microwave oven does what it does because the radiation frequency is resonant with the vibrational motion of the hydrogen atoms in water molecules. The increased motion results in the heating of the food. But nothing is being ionized in microwave ovens.

Cell phones do kill, of course, but not because of the radiation they use. Or maybe I should say that cell phones don't kill people, people kill people while doing stupid things with cell phones. Like texting while driving. People need to be told not to do this? That, of course, is the real problem in a society of morons like ours. Regarding cell phones in general, well, I hate the damned things for all the reasons that have been given on this blog.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous purplecow said...

Infants unable to use toy blocks due to Ipad addiction

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10767878/Infants-unable-to-use-toy-building-blocks-due-to-iPad-addiction.html

But that's okay! According to the transhumanist cult, we'll all have personal robots to wipe our asses.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Another article about the transformation of psychiatry into a drug-dispensing, cash-collecting enterprise:

http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/some-psychiatrists-distancing-themselves-profession-drug-company-dominance-makes?akid=11721.241474.VOVmbc&rd=1&src=newsletter982158&t=13

Key quote:

A generation ago, the institution of psychiatry, with the backing of Big Pharma, began to exclusively focus on patients’ symptoms, and stopped focusing on anything but superficial aspects of their patients’ lives, while at the same time self-promoting its progress in diagnostics, research and the prescribing of drugs.

As with so much today, everything is about surface, nothing is about substance. Maintain the illusion at all costs ... often tragically human costs.

Dan, some of those McMansions blight my own neighborhood, ugly monstrosities crammed onto lots far too small for them, desperate to impress & failing miserably at it. One sure conclusion: the more money, the less taste. The sheer vulgarity is staggering.

Cube, I'm doing fine these days, I'll drop you an e-mail.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

@cube: I'm so glad to hear that you, a computer nerd/genius, have the good sense to realize that the brain is not a computer!
I finally thought of the neuroscientist who already realized this, and thinks the brain/computer analog does not work.
So a Nobel Prize winner agrees with us!

I got Jacob Bronowski's book, Magic, Science and Civilization from the library - one of you WAFers turned me on to him. I have to say - I am not impressed with the book. He's a fun and erudite writer, but he really overstates the case, claiming that science is the one and only way of valid thinking now, and that it applies to all domains, etc. He even makes snide asides about nature walks. In a connection to Berman's book Coming to Our Senses, he actually lauds the ability to look at oneself as an "other" as a key to ethics and good thinking. I'm not saying he doesn't have great points, but man, he really pushes his monism!
But again, a fun, erudite reader. Makes the trash written today by most serious writers seem... trashy. Morris Berman, Chomsky, and company excepted, of course.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Konnichiwafers,

MB, Wafers-

I just received an essay from an American named Jared Bushmaster Glock. Here is a sample:

!. "Americah as a Dethe MAcheene'

Its neet that we half many weapens in this Nathion. Americhans have rites tobe armed. The librals don''t gat how this makes we safe, here! My Gramfahder was a vetran in the secund Werld War? He was reponsiibla for killin many of Americahs' emenknees^$. He ws a god aMericahn, got rest his sole.

We kneed more guns an drones here. cause of the cummin RaAce war asnd the fatc that I wike to shoot peeple. Obamma is a commonist and trayter and shuolda be impeach.. plus, we art stil at war with alkaydah and isslamahfashion and Ossam is still alive. we musnt beleav e the maynesteet medea. Dank you for lisstnen too me>

JAred Bushmaster Glock

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Pauli said...

Matt Taibbi: America Has A 'Profound Hatred Of The Weak And The Poor'

"<= Living in America has taught Matt Taibbi that we as a society have "a profound hatred of the weak and the poor."

That's one claim the former Rolling Stone writer makes in his new book, "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap." Taibbi defended this statement in a HuffPost Live interview on Tuesday.

"Any American understands that there's this tremendous pressure to succeed and we think about people, for instance, who are on the welfare system and we think of them without compassion," he told host Alyona Minkovski. "We think of them as unsympathetic characters because they're somehow taking from us and, meanwhile, there's this incredible adulation and worship for people who make money."

Taibbi came to this realization after witnessing the discrepancy in treatment of white-collar versus blue-collar defendants in the court room, he said.

"If a poor person without means comes into a court room, the judge doesn't want to hear anything that the defense attorney has to say for that person," he explained.

"Whereas when I went to watch these white-collar cases," Taibbi continued, "there's almost an admiration that you see when the judges talk to the lawyers of the white-collar defendants." =>"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/16/matt-taibbi-the-divide_n_5159626.html

3:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ccg-

You cd be rt, but I have read articles b4 this one that argue for cell fones = brain tumors. There are a # of studies, but we probably need more data at this pt.

purple-

But who will wipe Kim's ass? This is the crucial question facing the US in the 21stC.

I have this feeling that as each American institution enters a period of the increasing frenzy of self-destruction--cell fones causing cancer, judges hating poor people, a foreign policy trying vainly to maintain US supremacy, the entertainment industry now reduced to Kim's rear end, etc.--the frenzies are coming together in one huge synergistic frenzy, driving the collapse into a phase of Ultimate Frenzy; ecpyrosis. But then, maybe not.

mb

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@ Chuck,

Thanks for that clarification. I think that the drip-drip disclosure of the documents actually makes a lot of sense. Imagine if Greenwald simply disclosed all of the information about Snowden's leaks in one week, say. The American public would take notice, be shocked, but most likely forget about the whole subject of NSA spying within a few weeks, as other stories in the news cycle would replace it. I think from a strategic standpoint it makes a lot of sense to go with the drip-drip disclosure, as that's what it takes to ensure that NSA spying remains subject to vigorous debate (as it has).

I would also point out that when the FBI's COINTELPRO program, which targeted activists, was revealed in 1971, there was the same drip-drip disclosure, and it was very effective in building up outrage over the program, which eventually led to the Church Committee and major reforms.

Perhaps you have another opinion though, which I would be interested to see.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Publius,

Regarding the book,"Magic, Science, and Civilization", does it mention three phases of human thinking, namely, the magical, metaphorical, and scientific? About five years ago, maybe, I came across a website that mentioned this theory (the theorist had a Russian name, which I have long forgotten. This Bronowski character sounds a lot like him. The idea is that human consciousness has moved through three general types of thinking: magical, which is the first type, common among "primitive" hunters and subsistence agriculturists, followed by metaphorical, which began with advanced agricultural civilization and peaked in the seventeenth century, and finally, scientific thinking, which the author claims is the final one and will supplant all others.

7:33 PM  
Blogger diana said...

Douche Bags Rising!

Yep. Here's the evidence.

According to a Princeton University study, 40 percent of infants in the U.S. live in fear or distrust of their parents, and that will translate into aggressiveness, defiance and hyperactivity as they grow into adults.

Of that number, 25 percent don't bond with their parents because the parents aren't responding to their needs. And a tragic 15 percent find their parents so distressing that they will avoid them whenever possible.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

"According to a Princeton University study, 40 percent of infants in the U.S. live in fear or distrust of their parents, and that will translate into aggressiveness, defiance and hyperactivity as they grow into adults."

Does the study you cite actually use the word "infant"? While I wouldn't necessarily doubt that some (many?) American children react to their parents with fear and mistrust, I must say I'm gobsmacked to learn that the Princeton researcher(s) were able to derive such conclusions--clever though these Ivy League folk may be--from infants. Who--at least the ones I'm familiar with--don't speak. At least intelligibly.

*(Infant, from the Latin "infans," meaning unable to speak, speechless.)

9:46 PM  
Blogger ccg said...

MB,

The notion that cell phones cause cancer is hardly new and there have been many articles alleging the connection, and there have been many studies that show no correlation at all. One of the bigger studies was done a few years ago in Denmark where they have fairly complete health records of the population because they have a great government healthcare system. No evidence was found of an increase in cancers rates in Danes brains. And because extensive cell phone use has been prevalent for some time now, if the alleged connection were true there should already be a surge in brain tumors. That isn't happening. Nor is there any mechanism through which microwaves could cause the necessary ionizations. Microwave photons simply don't have enough energy to ionize anything. It's only when you get up to the UV frequencies and higher do you get ionization. UV doesn't penetrate the skin but it causes skin cancer, as everyone knows. X-rays penetrate most tissue (not bone) because they are very high energy, and therefore are more dangerous than UV. That's why X-ray exposure must be limited. Unfortunately, CAT-scanners use much higher doses of X-rays than does ordinary X-radiography, and people are finally realizing that CAT-scanning is causes cancers because of overuse. By the way, MRI uses microwaves into and out of the body to produce images, and the reason MRI is considered a big improvement over CAT-scanning is that it doesn't use ionizing radiation. The most dangerous part of the radiation spectrum is gamma radiation whose origin is generally nuclear, but it is high energy electromagnetic radiation, not particles. Gamma-rays penetrate all biological tissue and even several feet of lead shielding.

Going back down to microwaves, just above them in energy is infrared light--heat radiation. And above that is the visible spectrum and I hope no one thinks that visible light causes cancer. We'd all be doomed if that were true. UV light is just the next highest frequency band above visible light. Microwaves are so much less energetic than visible light that the notion they could cause ionize biological tissue and cause cancer is pretty much laughable.

Yes, I know there are articles out there that claim the contrary, but the people writing these things don't know the physics or the biology behind all this stuff. They have some other motivation, I suspect. By the way, a useful popular level book on radiation has recently appeared: "Radiation, What it is, What you need to know," by Robert Peter Gale, MD and Eric Lax.
I think their presentation is very good and very reliable. Oh yeah, they give no credence to the claim that cell phones cause cancer. But then I guess it would be unlikely I would recommend the book otherwise.

This business reminds me of another claim that turned out to be bogus, the claim that measles vaccinations cause autism. That's been debunked but not too many people know that. Stories like that don't make the front page or the TV news. (Nor do the ones showing that the cell-phone/cancer connection does not exist.) So now we have a measles epidemic in California because parents who should have know better didn't vaccinate their kids. Even dumber, some of these these people believed that they need not vaccinate their kids because measles is essentially nonexistent, not realizing that its apparent nonexistence was precisely because most kids get vaccinated. Talk about people who can't connect the dots? They don't even see the dots!

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Deborah,
What are you saying? That American young people are not worth the paper they're printed on? These kids couldn't ad lib a fart at a bake bean convention. I cannot count now how many times I'm invited into people's homes, they parents call their children down to say hello, the kids look down at the ground and I may be able to hear something akin to a hello, then they go back upstairs to engage in techno-crap. Then just tonight I attended a show called They're Playing Our Song which had 6 20 somethings as the chorus and dancers. Their acting was lifeless and their facial expressions incongruous to the mood of the scene. When the show was over, all six ran out of the theater, not a word to the attendees and almost all had earphones on. Now perhaps it's me, but shouldn't people in the performing arts have some interest in human contact? Wouldn't an understanding of the human condition make them better performers? Apparently not.

12:34 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Konnichiwafers:

I oughtta get royalties every time someone uses "Konnichiwafers." I need an agent, I suppose. What do agents look like?

A few months ago I heard a young lady describe the man who done her wrong as "Captain of the douche canoe." I pictured such a vehicle as one of those gigantic Dodge half-ton trucks those young guys like these days. To go with the douche canoe are those over-sized new houses that dwarf the other homes in old neighbourhoods. I call these monstrosities "douche pads."

I had no idea you were Al-Qaida, Dr. B, I thought you were Spartacus.

1:15 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MB and gang,

Even the symbols of excellence are eording. Used to be an SAT score signified something.... Have to give it to the post modernists. A douchebag society has a key feature--all simulacra.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2606020/SAT-unveils-new-test-shorter-doesnt-vocabulary-words-no-longer-penalizes-wrong-answers.html

5:07 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

The American govt is so stupid. Here they go killing Osama, when the real culprit is brazenly walking the streets of Mexico. They cd have sent some turkey with an icepick to do me in, much less expensive.

ccg-

Pls limit posts to half a page, and post only once every 24 hrs, thank you. As for cancer: the problem for me is that I have no way to judge. I'd need to have some scientist who believes fones do cause cancer to slog it out with you.

mb

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Pub,

I've had the same reaction to Bronowski's work-- brilliantly written, always informative, but with a big blind spot regarding science, which he sees as producing only going good & beautiful things, making only the best of all possible worlds. It amazes me that he actually wrote a book praising the work of William Blake, whose own work of course was utterly opposed to such a reductionist worldview. Theodore Roszak had a few pithy things to say about that worldview in Where the Wasteland Ends.

And the brain-as-computer! What is this but an update of the human being as clockwork mechanism & nothing but, courtesy of Descartes? The discipline of eco-psychology deals with this in some detail: both the mistaken view of humanity as an alienated anomaly alone in a malevolent Universe, utterly & forever Other; and a more sane & whole view of humanity as a natural part of the Universe, perhaps even an inevitable part -- a part that belongs. Again referring to Roszak, his book The Voice of the Earth is a good eco-psychology primer, where among other things, he asks the question of why psychology looks upon humanity as being real & authentic only in urban, artificial surroundings, while dismissing Nature as something we need to escape from, something that can have no effect upon our souls.

If you want to talk about alienation, how about this little gem re: the 1% trying to pass laws against sleeping in cars, because having to look at the homeless hurts their quality of life:

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/1-wants-ban-sleeping-cars-because-it-hurts-their-quality-life

Funny, they don't show any concern about the quality of life for the homeless, though ....

Dan, I've seen the same thing myself -- so many young people who only come to "life" when they're wired in. What we're seeing, of course, is the untold origin story of the Borg.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

Hi Mike, I never said I believed in Silber's take on the situation but do find his opinions of interest.

Another factor to consider that Silber brings up is that Greenwald now works for the billionaire founder of Ebay. I think this is the same Ebay that would not allow donations to Julian Assange's defense fund.

It's difficult for me to believe that my interests, indeed the interest of the majority of the US citizenry, would align with a billionaires despite the protests of Greenwald.

I've been reading Greenwald for years and have admired him greatly. Nevertheless I don't believe he is beyond criticism and can't help but wonder what his ultimate objectives are. Many of the best and brightest have been corrupted by wealthy 'benefactors' and we need to be aware of that and challenge not only those we despise but also those we respect.

Food for thought. I'm through being misled by surface appearances.

Chuck

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

What do you make of this???

"Dear Administrators, Superintendent, et al.:

This is my official resignation letter from my English teaching position.

this evaluation system will continue to frustrate the teachers who are doing everything they can to ensure their students are graduating with the skills necessary to become civic minded individuals. We feel defeated and helpless: If we speak out, we are reprimanded for not being team players; if we do as we are told, we are supporting a broken system.

I can no longer be a part of a system that continues to do the exact opposite of what I am supposed to do as a teacher-I am supposed to help them think for themselves, help them find solutions to problems, help them become productive members of society. Instead, the emphasis on Common Core Standards and high-stakes testing is creating a teach-to-the-test mentality for our teachers and stress and anxiety for our students. Students have increasingly become hesitant to think for themselves because they have been programmed to believe that there is one right answer that they may or may not have been given yet. That is what school has become: A place where teachers must give students "right" answers, so students can prove (on tests riddled with problems, by the way) that teachers have taught students what the standards have deemed to be a proper education."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pauline-hawkins/my-resignation-letter-teaching_b_5160721.html

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Hi WAFers--

Here, I bring you from the annals of "I found this in the Onion, right? Oh, no, make that The New York Times":

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/us/politics/gop-campaign-outreach-tool-gun-sweepstakes.html?hp

Gosh, remember the days when you could win things like bicycles and appliances in raffles? I'm glad to see we've made progress . . .

Brian

10:24 AM  
Anonymous bobby brown said...

I've tried to bring up the idea of collapse w/friends, but immediately I'm labeled a "prepper" or "truther" (of which I'm neither). They dismiss anything I suggest to read, including books like "Limits to Growth" or Lewis Mumford, David Harvey, or anyone who disagrees with the idea that growth in industrial capitalism is good. I also get the "oh, that's old news" line, as if everything has already been said and it's not worth discussing anymore (although I never see these people pick up a book). Even my liberal friends think that criticizing industrial civilization and wage labor is crazy.

Then there are people who just dismiss the whole world, saying "it's total bullshit". I hear people saying "life doesn't matter at all" and similar things. Then there are people who substitute a meaningful life w/the ability to be able to go out to eat, fill their apartment w/trendy things, and have an iPhone.

I try to tell people I don't think things are the same in other countries and in other times in history, but no one would know since all they know is industrial life in the US today. We've erased history from our minds and we don't read about it.

I told some people I was reading history of the ottoman empire, and no one I talk to knows more than, "oh like that song by The Might Be Giants?" It's pretty sad, I feel like there's no one to talk to.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

A couple techno-buffoonery stories for y'all:

http://www.commondreams.org/further/2014/04/17

http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-04-08/impoverished-kids-love-soccer-ball-powers-lamp-until-it-breaks

if you listen to the soccer ball story the 26 year old co-founder of the company said this when asked about the fact their techno-gadget breaks all the time:

"This seems a little bit like a general attack on young adults trying to do something good,” she said. “It seems really sad that this is something that you'd want to do."

Huh, what? She is all sad because people are criticizing her because her crappy techno gadget doesn't work and the actual poor people don't want it? No shit! The arrogance in the above statement just blows my mind...

One of the persons in Mexico said this about it:

"For the $60 it cost a charity to provide her family with one Soccket ball, she said she could have had her home hooked up to the electric grid, and that could have provided light for her whole family for years to come."

Anyway, eat some yakitori for me MB!

2:47 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

al,

If you want an aggressive, kick-ass, take-no-prisoners agent, the USA is definitely the place to find one.

Many of the best have a sort of orange Hue to them.


Re: Carcinogenic 2-way Radios in Denmark

Could it be that in some of the studied populations the phones affect their immune systems' ability to detect and/or combat cancerous cells ?

I may be misremembering the stat, but I think we 'get cancer' between 1K and 10K times/day. Usually the immune system identifies and eliminates the rogue cells. Mess with the immuno-efficiency (for some populations) and it might look like the phones are causing a problem when something else is creating the problem and the bad news about the phones is that they are reducing the ability to correct the problem.

I was going to suggest that studies be conducted to learn the effects of adding an agent such as pastrami to the protocol. Maybe deli meats would be causative or catalytic in preventing or reducing loss of immuno-efficiency. But what if that turned out to be effective ?
The last place I want to be is behind a garrulous gaggle of Me-phone douchebags when I want to order a corned beef hero, giant pickle, and cream soda.
They can barely order at Starbucks within the downward hang-time of a pearl diver's lungs...forget I mentioned it, please.

Not sure about the deli meat intake of Danes, but maybe their catalytic agent is something in the pastry.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

I hate to wade into the cell phone and health effects controversy, but here goes. My qualifications are having a biology and genetics undergrad degree, and having studied neuroscience at the grad school level, before depression caused me to leave. I did pass the written and oral exams, though. Funny - neither the profs nor mental health professionals could help me. However, life, reading, friends and family (and having a kid) did finally help me.

CCG is right when saying that cell phones do not produce ionizing radiation.
He is neglecting the fact, however, that gigahertz frequency EMF produces biological effects in living cells, and can produce genetic damage, depending on the dosage/intensity.
This is proven.
Cell phones, therefore, could theoretically produce genetic damage leading to cancer.

Even of more concern is the personal observations of many people that cell phones and wifi produce psychological/mental effects in people, including dizziness, depression, pain, etc. In fact, someone I personally know had to stop using a cell phone.

Now, CCG could criticize these as just anecdotal stories. That critique, though, would itself be a rhetorical tack, not a fair criticism. Scientism tends to object to just those observations by real people that conflict with industry.
Personally, I become fatigued when I work near the wifi hotspots at work.
Real? "Just" psychological? Do your own research. I believe the harmful effects of wifi/cell phones to be real. Not sure about cancer.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

bobby-

Which is why I left the US, and I suggest u do so as well. But not b4 you inundate the shoes of your "friends" with urine. Americans are ignorant jerks; have u noticed that? At this pt, urine is the only sensible response.

mb

3:26 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Konnichiwafers,

Tim-

Good article. I can't speak for Palo Alto, but I can certainly speak for LA. Indeed, it is one of the most vicious cities in the US; utterly barbaric regarding the poor. On several occasions, while driving along a particular stretch of Santa Monica Blvd. close to Beverly Hills, I have seen motorists throw trash at the homeless from their cars. The homeless will then pick thru it to see if there's anything to eat. It's hard to describe, really. The place has literally descended into something less than human...

al-

I'll be your agent. I love the phrase, "konnichiwafer"! We need to incorporate it into a Wafer song or anthem.

Capo-

Boy, you said it! Nothing, I mean nothing, seems to be anchored or securely moored to anything anymore. The SAT is another example of the continual implosion of everything. At least we are Wafers, yes? In many ways, I see Waferism as a life-and-death struggle against this systematic destruction of meaning; a battle against the perpetual aphanisis of everything. Tough not to just throw in the towel, but, as Wafers, we can appreciate the fact that this bullshit can't go on forever.

Jeff

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@ Cj:

The problem with that argument is that it is a form of guilt by association that involves looking not to Greenwald's conduct or editorial independence, but solely to who he associates with. The question should really be whether Greenwald is furthering the interests of Omidyar or lacks journalistic independence due to his association with Omidyar, not whether he is part of a media organization owned by Omidyar.

To see why this kind of guilt by association argument advocated by Silber is problematic, consider the following. Morris Berman published his book Why America Failed with Wiley & Sons, the CEO and President of which is Stephen M. Smith. Stephen M. Smith received more than $5 million in compensation in 2013. Therefore, by aligning with Stephen M. Smith, MB has been corrupted by the wealthy benefactor who was responsible for the compensation he received for writing WAF.

Do you see the problem with this kind of broad-brushed guilt by association argument? If you adopt this kind of logic that ignores one's actual conduct and looks solely to who one associates with, it's a very slippery kind of logic that could be used to say that almost anyone is "corrupt."

4:45 PM  
Anonymous phil b said...

Apologies if this has been posted before:

"...and I thought: I can’t do this anymore. I can’t sit here saying: ‘Yes, comrades, we must act! We only need one more push, and we’ll save the world!’ I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it! So what do I do?”"


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/magazine/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-and-he-feels-fine.html?hp&_r=0

7:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Waferinos, Waferinas, and Konnichiwafers:

Thank u all for yr stimulating entries. Let me 1st comment on a recent event, namely some American barber put up a pic of Kim Jong Un, saying You don't wanna look like this. Indeed, the guy's haircut is so stupid, Koppelesque, really, that u wonder how he manages to appear in public, let alone run a country. I tell u, it's a disgrace. Why bother with nuclear weapons when you've got a haircut like that, I say.

Pub-

I tell ya, that gigahertz is a killer! It'll fill yr life with schmertz:

Du, Du, liegst mir am Herzen
Du, Du, liegst mir im Sinn.
Du, Du, machst mein Herz schmerzen
Weiss nicht wie gut Ich dir bin!

Ja, ja, ja, ja
Weiss nicht wie gut Ich dir bin...

mb

7:27 PM  
Blogger diana said...

James-

Yeah. The study said infants. I am surprised that you find that hard to believe. To be as violent and empty as so many Americans are, I just have to believe that the trauma to soul must start in utero.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/love-means/story?id=23208782

8:12 PM  
Blogger Cj said...

Hi Mike, it's an issue of concern despite the 'slippery slope logic' you mention.

We disagree. No big deal. There's no definitive proof one way or the other.

Like I said I've admired and followed Greenwald for years, all the way back to his blog 'Unclaimed Territory' that preceded his stint on Salon.com and the Guardian. I've found him a tireless crusader against evil in the US government. Despite that I know really very little about his political or personal ambitions or leanings. I doubt he is incorruptible. He obviously is enjoying the limelight, has a big ego, and becomes vindictive, peevish, and insulting to criticism (see Chris Floyd's 'Empire Burlesque' blog).

Personally I don't believe anybody is above question or challenge. Silber and Chris Floyd's concerns, among others, imo deserve attention. I hope you can respect that despite our difference in opinion.

It's a tricky world where allegiances and interests aren't always black and white. Self interest for many can always trump ideals. Refusing to challenge or question those in power (and Greenwald is in a position of power now) no matter their political affiliation, beliefs, actions, or claims is what power longs for. I'd prefer not to give that to them. This reminds me of the obama acolytes continued defense of his holiness despite a shameful record.

This will be my last comment on this topic. I feel no other need to continue this discussion.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Mikbeth said...

I’m a bit confused by the descriptions of Bronowski shared previously. To be transparent, I have not read any of his books but I have watched his TV series Ascent of Man which he completed shortly before his death many times. There is no reason to be surprised that he wrote a book about Blake. Bronowski’s view wasn’t that science only produced good or that the brain is a computer. Quite the opposite. In fact he addresses this issue very directly in episode 13 of the series saying that “It can’t be right.” He also was quite familiar with the horrors of science having developed the mathematical equations used by the RAF bombers during WWII and then later being sent to Hiroshima to observe the effects of the atomic bomb. As a result he discontinued his work and switched to biology.
It is not surprising at all that he wrote a book on Blake. Bronowski wrote plays and poetry. He did not separate the science and the arts. Bronowski’s view was that all of culture was based or grounded in our biology. I recommend watching the entire series but episode 13 is the summation of his thinking on these matters.

Part 13 The Long Childhood: http://youtu.be/xKiDWagIIy0

I also recommend watching Kenneth Clark’s Civilization series. Episode one, entitled The Skin of Our Teeth, is astonishing. The first 15 minutes is a tour de force and starts from the premise that civilization as we know it is very fragile and could easily collapse if we don’t pay attention. Referring to the collapse of the Roman Empire and the onset of the Dark Ages, he frankly informs the viewer that western civilization collapsed once and that it nearly disappeared but “we escaped by the skin of our teeth.” According to Clark, the Roman Empire collapsed in part due to “exhaustion.” Perhaps this is the same exhaustion we see today created by the “existential strain.”

BBC Civilisation (1 of 13) - The Skin of Our Teeth: http://youtu.be/lIAHgb79pvA

I do appreciate the mention of Roszak’s work. I’ve read much of his work and had seen him talk twice. I’ve been curious about Morris’ characterization of Roszak as “misguided and superficial” (WAF p. 30).

Sorry for the longish post.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mik-

I said *often* misguided and superficial; not always. Impt to quote authors exactly. And he was (long discussion), but he also said a lot of gd stuff as well--altho much of it was said better, and earlier, by the other authors I cite in that passage. Personally, I liked Ted; I thought his heart (at least) was in the rt place.

On another note, here's a message from a friend of mine in Germany:

"the pro-Russian militants in the Eastern Ukraine handed out lists for all Jews to register"

I assume he means register with the Ukrainian govt. Not gd.

mb

11:04 PM  
Blogger jml said...

here's an article about tech addiction:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10767878/Infants-unable-to-use-toy-building-blocks-due-to-iPad-addiction.html

a quote from it:

Rising numbers of infants lack the motor skills needed to play with building blocks because of an “addiction” to tablet computers and smartphones, according to teachers.

"Many children aged just three or four can “swipe a screen” but have little or no dexterity in their fingers after spending hours glued to iPads, it was claimed.

Members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers also warned how some older children were unable to complete traditional pen and paper exams because their memory had been eroded by overexposure to screen-based technology."

7:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More on the Ukrainian Jew story:

http://antiwar.com/blog/2014/04/17/mythical-jew-registration-in-east-ukraine-a-media-sensation/print/

9:58 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

ccg

The vaccination schedule for infants and children in this country is absolutely insane: It starts with Hepatitis B before the baby even leaves the hospital, with a recommended total of another 25+ doses of different vaccinations, all before the age of six.

http://www.empr.com/2014-vaccination-schedule-0-18-years-of-age/article/124017/

As far as I’m concerned, this is not only counterintuitive, but downright stupid. We are clueless as to what the actual results are of overwhelming an immature immune system with all this crap. Have you ever looked at the list of adjunct ingredients in vaccines, things like formaldehyde and Thimerosal, a form of mercury? Somehow if mercury is inserted into our bodies either in the form of dental fillings or vaccines it suddenly becomes safe. The bottom line is that pharmaceutical executives have a revolving door relationship with the FDA, and the pharmaceutical companies also basically finance the medical schools. It’s all part and parcel of the American Hustle.

I’ve spoken to many women who claim that their baby or child was completely normal until it was vaccinated. According to Rupert Sheldrake, “Courts of law take anecdotal evidence seriously, and people are often convicted or acquitted, thanks to it. Some fields of research--for example, medicine--rely heavily on anecdotes, but when the stories are published they literally cease to be anecdotes; they are promoted to the rank of case histories...To brush aside what people have actually experienced is not to be scientific, but unscientific…”

I'm not totally against vaccines. However, women would do much better to nurse their babies, thus protecting them with their own immunity, and building up the child’s immune system with good nutrition (combined with sanitation, something not easily available 100+ years ago), than overloading them with all kinds of toxic chemicals.

BTW, parents who have protected their children with vaccinations should have nothing to worry about if their child is exposed to viruses carried by unvaccinated children.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@cj: RE: Greenwald and Self-interest

You wrote this: “I doubt he (Greenwald) is incorruptible” and “Personally I don't believe anybody is above question or challenge.”

Of course, everyone is potentially corruptible, including me, DR B, you, Silber, and Chris Floyd. It is possible that Silber and Chris Floyd were paid bribes by someone in Obama’s administration to try to bring down Greenwald. It is possible that Omidyar is using Greenwald to further some selfish interest of Omidyar because, as you said, this is the same Omidyar “that would not allow donations to Julian Assange's defense fund.”

All these things are possible. But one thing is certain: No journalist in America has defended Snowden more than Greenwald. When everyone was calling Snowden a traitor, it was Greenwald alone who stood by Snowden. Of course, you can now argue that Greenwald was doing all these things out of ego, out of self-interest. BUT you cannot have it both ways, because everyone else was also acting out of self-interest as you claim above. In other words, these other journalists who sided with the government of Obama in pronouncing Snowden a traitor were also acting out of self-interest. Even the politicians who were calling for the head of Snowden were also acting out of their own self-interests. If you subtract self-interests of the actors and politicians and journalists, what is left behind is the interests of the nation, the interests of the people of the United States, the rule of law, the right to be left alone to enjoy the right of privacy. Defending these other things is also defending the self-interest of the defender – and these other journalists did not do it as did Greenwald. That’s the difference between Greenwald and any person you can now cite here! I think Omidyar holds the key to your hatred of Greenwald – and I will not discuss this.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Pauli said...

Balanced article on the situation in Ukraine:

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141182/keith-darden/how-to-save-ukraine

From the comment section:
by alterismus: "It's too late now. The civil war started today in the city of Kramatorsk, when the newly formed National Guard attacked pro-Russian protesters from the air. 4 people have been reported dead, several wounded, and there is army equipment around most of the cities with pro-Russian unrests. When Putin said in his press conference on March 4th "Why are you breaking up the country?" addressing this question to the Washington and Brussels - this is what he meant. The fact that in several months this is the only Western article that actually looks at deep Ukrainian divide in detail, shows the sorry state of affairs in Western base of analysts specialising in post-Soviet space. The behaviour of the West is nothing other than criminal - to encourage such violent overtake of power in a country as divided as Ukraine is a crime. If you couldn't predict that this would happen after 2/22 - you aren't fit to be analysing global politics. What utter shame."

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Mikbeth,

Thank you for that thoughtful & nuanced response re: J. Bronowski. I'm afraid I've been as guilty as any in sometimes simplifying an argument to make a point, something I dislike doing. It's all too easy to fall into that mindset!

I agree with you & Clark about the fragility of civilization. We can see how easily much of it has been frayed to the breaking point in our own lives.

jml,

That article about toddlers lacking basic hand-&-finger coordination was frightening. I then clicked on an accompanying article, which made things look even worse:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10008707/Toddlers-becoming-so-addicted-to-iPads-they-require-therapy.html

Our relationship with technology is some a complicated thing. I'm increasingly wary of many new advances promising wonders galore; at the same time, I owe my very life to modern medical technology & I'm grateful to have it. And I won't deny the usefulness of the Internet in many things.

At the same time, we're getting a lot more of this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/16/texting-driver-hits-bicyclist-i-dont-care_n_5158966.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

This narcissism, almost solipsism, is truly, deeply frightening. And technology abets it incessantly. I agree with Jerry Mander in his Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television that no technology is neutral, despite the claims made for it. Every technology has an innate agenda, or at least cultural predisposition -- use it, and society will probably take course A rather than B, because the mere existence of the tech demands it. And it happens so quickly, at an ever increasing speed, that we're swept along before we realize it. Stopping & refusing to participate without considerable thought becomes harder & harder; possibly it's seen as a threat by the status quo.

Much to ponder! (And pondering is the last thing many people want to do today.)

11:38 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Konnichiwafers,

Cosmo Kramer is Vladimir Putin's political consultant:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzLtF_PxbYw

Jeff

1:03 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

JML's item strikes me as quite important. Infants who are being conditioned to think that reality works like an iPad, rather than according to principles of geometry, physics and spatial relationships, are in for an all-too-interesting time as globalism and its assorted toys phase out - the sort of "interesting" that is likely to be associated with maladaptive beliefs and behaviors that may lead to short life expectancy and other unhappy outcomes. And I haven't even addressed the social implications.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@ Cj:

I agree with you that no one is above challenge - that was never the issue - but the criticism of Greenwald that you're repeating is not valid. This seems to me to have much more to do with the American phenomenon of 'crabs in a barrel,' which MB has referred to before. Some people on the left are finding all kinds of absurd reasons to attack Greenwald, and concocting all kinds of silly reasons to attack Greenwald (and Snowden for that matter). MB has talked about this crabs in a barrel phenomenon before, and all it really amounts to is people being driven out of envy to attack anyone who achieves any kind of success, to drag those who climb to the top of the hill back to the bottom.

It reminds me of something I heard on NPR 2 days ago. A guest on Fresh Air was claiming that Snowden was driven by "ego." In fact, Snowden has given up his family, comfortable life, tons of money, and is now effectively stateless thanks to his desire to expose mass surveillance to the American public. There could not be a more selfless and courageous act than what Snowden did, and I think most people (including myself) are probably not capable of sacrificing so much to serve the public. These attacks on Snowden and Greenwald are so unsubstantiated and so far off the mark that I conclude they are driven solely by envy.

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Mikbeth said...

MB:

Sorry for the incomplete quote. I wasn't trying to distort your comment. I was just so shocked anybody even mentioned Roszak in a book and I was curious about your comment.

I read Roszak in my late teens and his Where the Wasteland Ends introduced me to so many ideas I had never before encountered. The only reason I was reading that book was because my brother had taken a course with him at Hayward.

Anyway, thanks for responding. I've appreciated the time you have taken to respond to me on the blog over the past few years. You are unique in that respect in my experience.

Tim:
No problem about Bronowski. It's hard to keep up with everything. The more I've learned over the years the more I realize things are complicated and to really understand the nuance takes a lot of work. All the more reason why Morris is right that America will not save itself. It will take too much time and thoughtfulness that just isn't there.

9:05 PM  
Blogger ccg said...

Publius,

I'm now beginning to regret commenting on this issue. This really requires paying attention to the physics of electromagnetic radiation, a field in which I specialize.

Anyway, you are quite wrong about genetic damage resulting microwaves. Genetic damage arises from electromagnetic radiation ONLY through ionization. There is no other way. And that's what gamma rays, X-rays, and UV rays do. Those are the only parts of the spectrum where the photons have enough energy to ionize atoms and break down the chemical bonds that hold everything together. Visible light, infrared light, microwave radiation, radio waves cannot do that. End of the story. Yes, microwaves have frequencies in the gigahertz (10^12 Hz)) range. But visible light has frequencies on the order 10^14 to 10^15 Hz, much higher than microwaves. So if people are concerned that microwaves are causing cancer, why aren't they also concern about about getting cancer exposure to ordinary visible light?

You most certainly can have biological damage from microwaves. Cooking with a microwave oven can do that. There's a reason why the oven goes off when the door is opened. If you were to put your face right by the open door of an operating microwave oven you would start to cook your face, and your eyeballs would cook like the inside of a soft-boiled egg. But that's not genetic damage. Of course, biological damage can be done by radiation from many parts of the spectrum, even the visible part. Shine a red laser beam into your eye for long enough time and you'll damage the retina.

I'm sure you can find all kinds of articles on the web claiming the opposite of everything I've said. There's a big anti-science world out there that isn't confined to the far right. I was appalled to see TruthDig, presumably a left-leaning outfit, uncritically buy into the old myth that cell-phones cause cancer. There are enough real issues to worry about.

I hope this isn't too long this time. I have trouble judging the length for some reason.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Time for an update from Your Man In Tokyo. U of T lectures are over, and I think were fairly successful. A colleague on the faculty wants to get tog. with me next wk to discuss possibilities of getting my Japan bk translated and published in Japan. That wd be truly fab.

Tomorrow I'm off to Hokkaido, to stay with friends for 4 days (he's American, she's Japanese; they tried returning to the US a few yrs ago, and managed to hold out for 1.5 yrs b4 throwing in the towel, out of pure disgust). I'm hoping I won't freeze my ass off.

Interviews with otaku continue. Today I spent 1.5 hrs with a pretty gal of 27 who is involved in cosplay, or costume play. These folks dress up like their favorite characters from manga or anime. As in case of a previous gal, she gave me fotos of herself in cosplay outfits to use in my bk, if I want. The outfits are actually very elaborate and very tasteful, and (she said) expensive as hell. Otaku spend a fortune feeding their habit; work is more or less incidental in their lives. This woman told me she spends abt 6 to 7 hrs a day on cosplay activity. I might hafta have a whole section on beautiful cosplay women (that shd sell a few bks). She had a lotta class, actually: at the end, she told me (all of this going thru a bilingual friend of mine, acting as interpreter) that she was honored to be interviewed by me, because most people weren't interested in that part of her life. Later I reflected on Kim, and the difference between elegance and trash.

mb

2:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Paul Kingsnorth...potential Wafer? Seems interesting.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB,

Thanks for Kingsnorth. Just read this piece, thought it very good.

http://www.paulkingsnorth.net/journalism/the-death-of-birth/

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

CCG,

Publius may have a point and well you too and you seem to be speaking past each other. From good authority I (being a bit familiar with science as a math major and stats PhD) that indeed there is some evidence via european emprical research that yes cel phone use poses some health hazards and that screen time for children does as well (in the later case there are advisories in other countries against screen time for toddlers due to adverse effects but not of course in the U.S.A).

By way of analogy via a well trod anecdote official american sponsored research "science" did not conclude that cigarette smoking caused cancer until 1964. There were many studies and scads of anecdotal evidence that smoking caused cancer but alas the official "scientific community" government and thus interest sponsored did not approve of the methodolgy of the prior studies. My father (yay popocala now 95) is a retired oncologist and he tells me they knew all along in Mexico and europe but in U.S. they refused to admit the obvious. In the us. until the 1950s medical science suggested menthol cigs for sinuses.

As an aside, I would be very careful on glorifiying "science" as done in u.s. for it has long been captured by economic interests. People quible on modes of damage but certainly giving kids amphetamine for ADHD, extensive cell phone use, television, food additives are all harmful but its very very unlikely controlled randomized studies will be sponsored by government to test safety of products and technolgy which undergrid the profitabiliy of congressional supporters. (like tobacco in through 1964)

To repeat, many emprical studies done in Japan and in EU show conclusively that many things (like cel phones) do in fact cause damage of several types. But hey we can;t trust em foreigners with doing science right!!!

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MB, sorry forgot to append this for both Publius and CCG

http://www.surgicalneurology-online.com/article/S0090-3019(09)00145-1/abstract

12:00 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

MB:

Assume this article is behind your statement on Kingsnorth:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/magazine/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-and-he-feels-fine.html

Thanks, very interesting indeed.

Arigato.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Pauli said...

“Prosecutors say a Washington state man, accused of killing his girlfriend, sent text messages to her family members after allegedly strangling her. Gabriel Galan Navarro, 20, faces first-degree murder charges in the death of Allison Leedy, also 20. On April 12, Navarro allegedly strangled Leedy in the Renton apartment where they lived, then texted her family.

"If you are getting this you are responsible for Allison's death. You turned her against me," Navarro wrote.

Navarro also texted the woman's father, writing: "She's dead. I have the last laugh."

Prosecutors said Navarro had been aware of and angered by the young woman's plans to end their relationship and attend college in California, and was "determined to prevent Allison and her family from realizing her dreams.”

Prosecutor Adrienne McCoy described the couple's three-year relationship as one characterized by "manipulation, isolation and psychological destruction,"

Police said that Navarro also called 911 and lied to a dispatcher, saying that he had flooded his apartment with propane gas and rigged it to explode if anyone entered. He also allegedly said that he was armed with a hand gun.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/18/killer-texted-father-gabriel-navarro_n_5173010.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

Think of the description: manipulation, isolation and psychological destruction. Does it not remind you of the US government and its relationships with other nations, with the citizens of America?

12:55 PM  
Anonymous IPA Jones III said...

This guy killed himself recently. From this 6-part series by Vice, it seems he was a WAFer.

http://youtu.be/aNVHbzlzUS8 (Part 1, just follow through for all parts).

2:09 PM  
Anonymous bobby brown said...

Since you refer to Idiocracy often, you might want to read this interview Mike Judge did w/Alex Jones.

Mike Judge is a gun-loving free market guy. Maybe not the best reference.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Interesting article MB re: Kingsnorth

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/magazine/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-and-he-feels-fine.html?_r=0

he sounds rather "Andre" like ...

I like his fight against (and I quote) "what he called neo-environmentalism — the idea that, as he put it, “civilization, nature and people can only be ‘saved’ by enthusiastically embracing biotechnology, synthetic biology, nuclear power, geoengineering and anything else with the prefix ‘new’ that annoys Greenpeace.”

Alas, many of the comments are trying to be positive or even derogatory at Kingsnorth because of his "defeatism" but as we well know people on the internet will show up for postests in the millions for anything that they feel welcome to comment on...

5:18 PM  
Blogger ccg said...

Saravasti,

I have a couple of comments. From the last sentence of your previous post I fear you misunderstand something about how vaccines work. You are right to to say the the children who have been vaccinated will be pretty much protected, but I want to point out they are not being protected from the children who are have not been vaccinated and have developed the disease. The virus that causes measles is everywhere and probably most of the kids carry it. It's only the ones not vaccinated that are most susceptible to contracting the disease. Even a few vaccinated ones may get it as well because no vaccine is perfect. When most of the population is immunized there will be few cases. People tend to think that means that the virus isn't present. But obviously it was present in that population of kids in California. As long as someone somewhere has an active case of measles, the virus will be around.

About vaccinations in general, I'd like ask a rhetorical question: Does anybody really want to go back to those days where people were coming down with awful diseases such polio and smallpox? People hardly think about these diseases anymore, at least in western countries, and that's because of aggressive programs of vaccinations.

You suggested that vaccinating children at an early are is counter-intuitive. Unfortunately, naive intuition, which I suppose is based on "common sense," is fairly useless in science. There's no shortage of examples I could give to show where commonsense-intuition fails. I want to be careful because intuition informed by a deep familiarity with the subject is very important in science and mathematics. I use it all the time myself in my own research. But this is distinct from naive intuition. I don't know enough about biology to be able to comment on whether or not it makes sense to immunize kids at such young ages. But I wouldn't be surprised if perhaps that might be the best time immunize them, contrary to your intuition. Nature is remarkably indifferent to intuition of any kind.

And the business about anecdotal evidence being accepted in courts doesn't surprise me in the least. Great evil has been done by this sort of cavalier dismissal of the scientific method. People should study probability and statistics, a and, by the way, much that comes out of those subjects is counter-intuitive. (For a good example, check out what's called the Monty Hall problem.) One could get into related issues such risk assessment etc, but the important thing is to simply imagine what things would be like if we stopped immunizations, which could happen if we go further down the road towards rejecting science. We don't have to imagine, we can just read history.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Thanks for input on various topics. I'm abt to fly to Hokkaido, freeze my tushie. Wanted to tell u abt this woman who came to my lectures at U of Tokyo, a grad student I think, who gave me a bouquet of flowers after the 2nd day with a card, saying "Thank you for your wonderful lecture." (In Japanese, singular and plural are the same.) I mentioned this to an American friend of mine, and she said, "What class! This wd never happen in the US." How little grace we have, indeed.

mb

6:15 PM  
Anonymous sam shmeck said...



"American Douche Bag"

American Douche Bag, stay away from me
American Douche Bag, won't ya let me be
Don't come a-hangin' around my door
I don't wanna see your face no more
I got more important things to do
Than spend my time growin' old with you
Now douche bag, I said stay away
American douche bag, listen what I say

American douche bag, get away from me
American douche bag, won't ya let me be
Don't come a-knockin' around my door
Don't wanna see your shadow no more
Coloured lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else's eyes
Now douche bag, I said get away
American douche bag, listen what I say, hey

American douche bag, said get away
American douche bag, listen what I say
Don't come a-hangin' around my door
Don't wanna see your face no more
I don't need your war machines
I don't need your ghetto scenes
Coloured lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else's eyes
Now douche bag, get away from me
American douche bag, won't ya let me be

Go, gotta get away, gotta get away
Now go go go
I'm gonna leave you, douche bag
Gonna leave you, douche bag
Bye-bye
Bye-bye
Bye-bye
Bye-bye
You're no good for me
I'm no good for you
Gonna look you right in the eye
Tell you what I'm gonna do
You know I'm gonna leave
You know I'm gonna go
You know I'm gonna leave
You know I'm gonna go, douche bag
I'm gonna leave ya, douche bag
Goodbye, American douche bag...

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Saravasti:

You are wrong that an unvaccinated child cannot spread disease to a vaccinated child. They weaken "herd immunity" and 10% of the children they infect have been vaccinated:
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-01-06-childhoodvaccines06_CV_N.htm

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

Here is a ranking of nations with least sexual activities between men and women. Japan is ranked #1 with only 34% of Japan's population being interested in sex. (Dr B, if you are rejected by a Japanese woman, you should know why). See other nations before Japan. USA is there too. Here is how Japan is described:

"Leagues behind the other countries on this list, the lack of sex in Japan has become common knowledge internationally in recent years; only 34% of the population report having sex weekly. Indeed, only 15% of Japanese are happy with their sex lives – perhaps unsurprising, given how little of it they’re having. Another shocking stat; around 45% of women in Japan report that they’re uninterested in – or despise – sexual contact. And according to some reports, around 36% of young men in Japan report as being ‘herbivore men’ i.e. men who are uninterested in sex. In what’s been dubbed a ‘celibacy syndrome’, young people are simply not hooking up. Among the top 3 reasons why Japanese people aren’t having sex, ‘can’t be bothered’ featured dominantly – along with postnatal reluctance and work fatigue. An increasing reliance on technology, and the development of ‘virtual’ partner alternatives, has also been cited as a contributing factor to this sexless phenomenon."

http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/poorest-list/the-10-least-sexually-active-countries/?utm_source=Dis&utm_medium=CPC&utm_campaign=TR-DIS-PC

Follow the arrow!

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

ccg,

Don’t regret commenting -- it just makes for interesting conversation. In any case, while science may have a reasonable understanding of electromagnetic waves, when it comes to very complex health issues such as cancer, we really have no clue what causes most of them. Just take a look at any medical textbook, and you will see “etiology unknown” on almost every page. This is why doctors prefer to use the term “risk factor” rather than “cause.” So even if cell phone microwaves are not able to directly modify DNA, they may, for example, raise tissue temperature just enough to cause a slight change in pH, which then can lead to cellular proliferation, which often is a precursor to cancer. A number of cancers are thought to begin just that way. So microwaves could be a risk factor. As such, I’m thinking it might be wise to play it safe with the cell phone, at least until we know more -- a lot more --about these extremely complex diseases.

Jeff,

That author you quoted writes better than most of my US-born students from the online “universities” where I work. But that is a good thing, because in order to speed up the collapse, we need a lot more morons running around with university degrees in their pockets. And we need them to work in sensitive areas such as nuclear reactors, hospitals, schools, food and drug safety, oil rigs, to name just a few.

MB,

I have been in Gibraltar for several months now. Sadly, I must tell you that techno-buffoonery has reached pandemic levels here and in Spain. It is very annoying to go to a café and see everybody around me masturbating their iPhones. I might have to move to Japan.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

CCG,

Saravasti may have more of a point than you realize. A dangerous path is not so much the denial of science but the outright worship and fetishism of "science" of I may suggest you seem to be quite the advocate for. Saravasti makes a great point on vaccinations. In fact, the vaccination schedule for children in the u.s. includes twice as many vaccines as that in Sweeden, Japan and many other developed countries. Similarly, the rate of death, serious healh effects from vaccines in the U.S. is quite high--1-500 actually. So a bit of following intuition and some scepticism is in order--especially when a couple of years ago a former CDC vaccine researcher was found to have falsified findings. So you want to worship science and trust everything the nice men in the white coats tell ya you go and knock yourself out.

J.A. Schumpeter said the plural of anecdote is data. Also, abstract statistical experiments in probablily such as monty hall or black balls from urns are nice but have little to inform ingestion of complex compounds by complex adaptive systems known as humans. To conflate simple baby probabilty problems (normal and biniomial) with complex matters and actually rigged "science" is really disengenous. The evidence of "science" now used to further corporate interests and undermine public well being is pretty well trod and thoroughly documented--look it up.

I would like to remind you that "science" brought us mustard gas, thalydomine, metaamphetamine, many of the tools of the holocaust, nuclear bombs, food additives, drones, agent organge. As a matter of course "science" is not automatically "good" its just a mode of inquiry which can be subverted and abused. The fetishism of science and or scientism is not uncommon among the douchevolk!

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Seeking Sanity said...

I first came across Paul Kingsnorth when he wrote this article titled Dark Ecology. http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/7277

It's good reading for Wafers, and anyone else who cares about the environment beyond what we can extract from it.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Alex Icke said...

MB, et al.,

Have any of you heard of GUy McPherson and his claim that, due to climate change, humans will be extinct by 2030? I watched an hour + lecture of his on YouTube and found one site disputing his claims. He doesn't seem willing to answer his critics's points. I'm no scientist, so I'd thought I'd ask here for some perspective. It sounds unbelievable to me (the 2030 thing), but who knows? We are all fed such disinformation and tabloid corporate puke stories that it's hard to know what is crazy and legit these days.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

More news on the daily savagery and violence that is the USA:

"A drone strike Saturday killed 15 Al-Qaeda suspects and three civilians in Yemen's central Baida province, a stronghold of the extremist group, a security official said."

It is a vicious circle. The US is regularly killing civilians in Yemen through its drone strikes and boosting the recruitment efforts of Al-Qaeda among disaffected Yemenis who have seen friends and relatives killed despite not being involved in terrorism. The drone strikes are acts of terrorist that then incite more terrorism.

But far from realizing how immoral and counterproductive these civilian-killing drone strikes are, Americans are instead going to the mall. And on and on going the vicious circle.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

A fascinating article about the necessity for & the denigration of poetry & the arts in general today:

http://www.alternet.org/education/what-we-lose-when-we-rip-heart-out-arts-education?akid=11733.241474.oG31P9&rd=1&src=newsletter983505&t=19

The comments are thoughtful readng.

On the same subject, let me recommend a reflective, lovely, humane film, Museum Hours. There are so many examples of how awful things are, we need some reminders of what a civilized life is supposed to be. A touch of grace, if you will, which is so sadly lacking here, as MB notes.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cartoon in yesterday's Japan Times shows a scene in a restaurant. Everyone is Japanese except for 1 American. Waiter says to guy sitting at American's table: "Would your American friend also like to order a salad?" Reply: "No thanks, he ate the ikebana." (Ikebana is flower arrangement.) Everyone in the restaurant is lookoing over at their table with mild horror. Like most other peoples, the Japanese understand that Americans have no understanding of foreign customs and no interest in them. They are boors, in short. Aka douche bags, degraded buffoons, etc.

mb

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

That reminds me of a scene from one of Bob Hope's road movies with Bing Crosby. Hope was drinking tea during a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. He drank from the small cup then spit it out. Hope obviously thought Americans would find that funny. Anyway, don't think for a moment that the Japanese have any respect for Americans (I lived there for 10 years so I know something about Japanese society other than sumo and karate). Unlike brain dead American youth, they fully remember the dropping of the atomic bombs and see us as little more than just another trading partner.

9:40 PM  
Blogger ccg said...

Capo,

Just because I support science that doesn't mean that I worship it. I don't know what that means anyway. Is there such a thing as "language worship," "poetry worship," "mathematics worship,", "history worship?" I do perceive that to say that someone "worships science" is a way to attached a nasty sounding label to that person so he can be dismissed by the labeler's peers.

At times you seem to construe science as a way of understanding the world with all sorts of awful consequences than have come about from it's misuse. I could write down a similar list for the misuse of language: lies that lead to wars, to buy crappy products through slick commercials etc. But you would agree, I think, that language as a subject matter, is neutral. The same is true with science. It's really neutral, despite what some extreme leftist have tried to claim (see "Higher Superstition:The Academic Left and it's Quarrels with Science" by P. Gross and N. Leavitt). And to be clear, I don't at all advocate a "scientific" approach to structuring society and that kind of thing. I certainly agree with MB that some sort spirituality should be the center of ones life. I really hate much of modern life. I hate the way people use cell phones. I agree with what most people have to say about that subject on this blog. If I didn't I probably wouldn't be reading it. But more people have been killed by distracted cell phone users than are ever likely to be killed by miniscule chance that these things cause cancer. But don't confuse the science that makes the devices possible with the idiots that use/abuse them.

Finally, I never said that Saravastri doesn't have point and vaccinations. He very well may. I just don't know. I merely said that intuition is a generally bad guide when it come to these things. . However, I fear he does misunderstand how the vaccines work, and I just noticed another reader pointing that out too.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

@JWO: RE: Kingsnorth:

Paul Kingsnorth is great - I almost contributed to the Dark Mountain project back in 2009, but merely trying to survive in the USA took precedence.
Now I'm pursuing emigration with all energy... maybe someday I'll contribute, before the grid goes down, and we need to send our submissions via paper/snailmail that is carried on sailing ships.

@Everyone, especially CCG:
I cede the expertise in EMF to CCG.
However, honest science does not, I repeat, does not make a priori claims about what the results of an experiment should be. That would certainly be un-emperical, no?
And despite the theory espoused by CCG, at least two researches found empirical evidence that cell-phone type EMF caused DNA damage.

Now, it gets better. The researches were threatened, harassed, and punished, and another researcher whose results seemed to back up their results lots funding. I'll leave with a quote from the linked article:
"At one point, the director of a group created to manage $25 million in industry-donated research money sent a memo to then-UW President Richard McCormick saying that Lai and Singh should be fired."

This is factual. Empiricism trumps theory, even more than industrialized sciences vetted "results" trump anecdotal evidence.

One month till I'm outta this country for a month - which will hopefully lead to permanently.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Val said...

I'd like to second the proposal made a while ago by some government flack to reward drone operators with a special medal for valor, superior to the Purple Heart or the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for every time they rub out some hapless civilians from the comfort and safety of an air-conditioned room in Vegas, chowfing down nachos as they laugh over bug-splats. Truly they display American courage at its finest.

Poetry and the arts should be ruthlessly suppressed and treated with the utmost contempt. Such unmanly pursuits attract only those who play for the Pink Team, as Robert De Niro said to Leo Dicaprio in "A Boy's Own Story," and furthermore they make no money, proving their worthlessness. No funding for pinko commie art fags; hard-earned taxpayer dollars should be reserved strictly for Blackwater mercenaries, bankers' bonuses, and other such worthy causes.

Glad you're having a good time in Japan Dr. B. I hope you can send us some of that tasty ikebana. It should sell well at health food stores in Berkeley.

1:16 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Konnichiwafers:

Cha-chinggg. Thanks to those with agentile wishes for me, but I ran into an agent who identified himself only as "86." I asked if there was a chance of receiving royalties, to which he said that I "missed it by that much."

I recently dragged Kurt Vonnegut's Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons off the shelves after a decades-long neglect and ran across some astonishing essays. This guy's been a Wafer since back when Nixon still had public credibility.

"I beg you to believe in the most ridiculous superstition of all: that humanity is at the center of the universe, the fulfiller of the frustrator of the grandest dreams of God Almighty.
If you can believe that, and make others believe it, then there might be hope for us. Human beings might stop treating each other like garbage, might begin to treasure and protect each other instead. Then it might be all right to have babies again.

Many of you will have babies anyway, if you're anything like me. To quote the poet Schiller: "Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain."

About astrology and palmistry: They are good because they make people feel vivid and full of possibilities. They are communism at its best. Everybody has a birthday and almost everybody has a palm."

And this:

"People want lives in folk societies, wherein everyone is a friendly relative, and no act or object is without holiness. Chemicals make them want that. Chemicals make us furious when we are treated as things rather than as persons. When anything happens to us which would not happen to us in a folk society, our chemicals make us feel like fish out of water."

"American Douchebag?" A Winnipeg band wrote that. Before you run back to Saskatoon, I have some things to tell you...later, since I'm now at the half-page limit.

1:22 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB,

You got a shout out in this Linh Dinh piece.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/04/postcard-from-the-end-of-america-bensalem/

2:11 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Hi Capo,

Thank you so much for responding to CCG’s most recent post… I was really wondering whether I could competently do so myself, and got tired just thinking about it.

There’s hardly a thing we’ve touched that hasn’t been corrupted: family, community, spirituality, education, history, “entertainment” (neo-Roman Coliseum), journalism, agriculture, government, law, to name a few, and most depressing of all is science. What can I say? We have lots of great technical ability and no wisdom - a truly deadly combination. Even worse is that the common good doesn’t enter the picture: The only thing that matters is how much money can be made out of it. A landscape strewn with dead and maimed bodies is simply viewed as the cost of doing business.

I have no trust in the aforementioned institutions and now automatically assume that whatever they say is a lie unless proven otherwise. As far as I’m concerned, there are two underlying myths that are killing us: (1) that of human progress, and (2) scientific materialism.

Douchevolk indeed – love it!!!

7:39 AM  
Blogger jml said...

Tim-

"Museum Hours" is a wonderful film, which sadly reminded me how rare it is that we get to have real conversations in this day and age.

A book you might enjoy, "Asunder" by Chloe Aridjis - beautiful writing.

A related article from al jazeera in which some people are suggesting that reading might be bad for children - better to let them just look up pertinent facts on google:

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/4/18/is-reading-too-muchbadforkids.html

rather horrifying, huh? surely, there is a relationship between youngsters lack of conversation skills and the decline of reading? sad world we live in.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Sir Tagio said...

@Seeking Sanity, thanks for that link to KingsNorth's "Dark Ecology." A very good read.

I particularly appreciated his comments re: withdrawal as an appropriate action to take toward modern goings-on. Perhaps this resonated with me more than it otherwise would have because of Michael Ruppert's recent suicide. MR's peak energy documentary "Collapse" was one of the "stages on life's way," for me, and I don't really know why MR chose to take his life, but my own sense is that he was initially a very idealistic person who experienced a deep sense of betrayal when he found out the real nature of the political system, during the time he exposed CIA drug running, and the aftermath of that. I also fear he spent too long wrangling with collapse and trying too hard to "get the word out." When you look too long into the abyss etc.

Northbridge's NMI recommendation of "withdrawal," and focus on a positive life for oneself seems a far more healthy, life-affirming Tao.

If there are any others on this blog for whom MR meant something, you might appreciate Abby Martin's tribute to him on RT, while everyone else in the MSM just ignored his death:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWXbKOAHANQ

In other news, here's a good article on Counterpunch arguing that recent US foreign policy actions and fiascos are borne/signs of desperation over the U.S.'s rapidly diminishing power and influence:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/18/are-western-policies-evil-or-desperate/

9:33 AM  
Anonymous The Almighty & Fool Trolfoon Prophet said...

So --

when a group of islamic people very much influenced by american pop culture --and its pornographic subtext-- hit the Twin Phallus ...what were they trying to prove? Who got it bigger? Stronger? Get even with all that blonde inaccesible half-naked american women they were watching on TV on their countries? It's that at the end America? A five century hard-on due to the contact of the dry culture of the desert stepping into the erotizing & electrifyng electric field of a fertile land?

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

A little more on education, re: the latest bloviation from David Brooks:

http://www.salon.com/2014/04/21/david_brooks_couldnt_be_more_wrong_what_the_new_york_times_still_doesnt_get_about_education_reform/

Meanwhile, a general overview of where the average American stands in the quicksand:

http://www.alternet.org/economy/5-ways-american-policies-and-attitudes-make-us-lonely-anxious-and-antisocial?akid=11734.241474.E5YKzC&rd=1&src=newsletter983753&t=3

I watched the extra features on the DVD of Museum Hours ... just lovely & thoughtful & civilized.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

Just in case you're feeling a bit cool and lonely up in Hokkaido, MB, here's somethin' that should warm you right up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcarUR0KaNE

sam-

"American Douche Bag" is a stone cold gas! How about:

"No Time"

(No time left for trolfoons)
On my way to better things
(No time left for trolfoons)
I found myself some wings
(no time left for trolfoons)
Distant roads are callin' me
(No time left for buffoons)
Da-un-da-un-da-un-da-un-da

No time for a douche bag rain
No time for my brains insane
No time for revolving boors
No time for the killin' floor
No time for the killin' floor
There's no time left for a Ted Koppel hairdo...
No time left for trolfoons...

Jeff

1:16 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

@ Alex Icke,

I follow two blogs regularly...this one and Guy McPherson's "Nature Bats Last".

In the video clips of live presentations that I have seen on his site or on YT, Guy is usually careful to cite peer-reviewed article sources of things like the 2030 date and to say something like "according to a study/article published in XXX, Prof. YYY concludes that based on self-reinforcing feedback loop ZZZ, dire consequence BBB could occur as soon as QQQQ".

There is one data point in the paper that the 2030/2031 date is based on that has been revised or retracted. I gather that this has been the basis of a lot of criticism of McPherson & climate alarmists generally. But, as McPherson points out, the self-reinforcing feedback loop identified by that paper is only one of about 30 that he has identified in the published scientific literature since 2010.

McPherson's recent presentations have been careful not to say that a global temperature rise of xx degrees will not eliminate humans in and of itself. He points out that we can survive greater temperature shifts simply by going from outside to inside during a hot summer or a cold winter. What he thinks will do us in is the loss of habitat, specifically food & oxygen.

The loss of Arctic ice is causing the jet stream to drop lower than before, subjecting plants (aka food crops) to temperature swings that they cannot adapt to. If it continues, we won't have much to eat. Some of the increasing amounts of CO2 that we are releasing will fall into the oceans, causing acidification, which will continue to kill more & more plankton, which have already dropped by something like 40% since 1950. Plankton produce about half of the O2 on the planet, the other 50% being produced by ...... (if your answer is plants then you should see the predicament for life forms using O2).

Much like MB is certain of the inevitability of the collapse of the USA, McPherson is convinced of the inevitability of global collapse. But as far as I can tell neither is making assertions based only on their personal desires. Both have copious sources of other people's research upon which to base their conclusions. If you think MB's books have major-league-sized chapter notes, try the latest IPCC report's 60-page summary section.

In the meantime, while we wait to see whether the global ecosystem collapses before the USA does, a little entertainment by (not the original cast) some British prophets of the 1960's.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hJQ18S6aag

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Red Willington said...

@infanttyrone

I've watched several more of GM's videos and find his theory very interesting and exciting. He is very clear, that he believes humans are done by 2030 (when we reach 4C). And yes, he cites Malcom Light who is apparently considered a kook of sorts but GM also cites many other sources that are considered reputable. When asked why none of his sources come to the same conclusion as he does (near-term human extinction) GM says it is because they want to protect their place of privilege. I don't know if GM is right or not but jeez, if we might be extinct by 2030 things should get very interesting, very quickly.

11:18 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Dan: Thanks for the link to Dinh's essay. He is always a good person to read, but that one was especially good, if I may quote a whole paragraph.

"A man who leaves his wife is also a kind of immigrant. He rejects the home he’s always known for another. Is it a surprise that Americans have the highest divorce rate in the world? If ditched lovers are also counted, then our rate of betrayal becomes truly stratospheric. To start over and advance or save ourselves, if only in our minds, we’re willing to destroy everything. Soaked in a depthless, sampling culture, we’re also expert at forgetting. Not only do we have no historical memory, but our personal past can be willfully and instantly erased, with hardly a ripple in its wake, and there’s no one around, no community, to remind us of our shames. Extreme narcissists, we cling to bizarre narratives that allow us to make the most preposterous statements without flinching, or indulge in the most perverse and damaging behaviors."

Yep.

9:04 AM  
Blogger ccg said...

Publius,

You are absolutely correct about experimental empirical evidence. All real science is driven by experimental data, and by that I mean reproducible data. Global warming I accept because of data, not political conviction. The difference between the data for global warming and that for cell-phone induced cancer is that in the former the evidence is overwhelming but it just isn't for the latter. I can't speak to the cases you mentioned as I've never seen a report. But one must wary of claims that seem to violate what we think we know. Extraordinary claims require extraordinarily convincing evidence. You probably remember the claim a few years back about cold fusion-fusion is a bottle by those people at U. of Utah. Most of us physicist didn't believe it because it just didn't make much sense energetically and otherwise. And we were right. The claims were non-reproducible by other laboratories. Bye-bye cold fusion. The people involved were sloppy experimentalists. And there are lots of example like this. To convince us that microwaves induce cancer is going to require overwhelming evidence which has yet to materialize.

Of course, there should never be efforts to suppress data and it's sad to hear that it happened in the cases you mentioned. It's hardly shocking that scientists can be douche bags in the same way as everyone else. Believe me, I know many who are. I know an otherwise good physicist who doesn't accept global warming because his politics get in the way.

By the way, a good example of how a science can wrong due to the lack of empirical data is string theory, a theory which purports to be a quantum theory of gravity which also unifies it with the other forces of nature. Strong theory has been around in one form or another for over 40 years, yet it still can't make a prediction that can subjected to experimental tests. It's a failed theory, but you wouldn't know that from popular press accounts. The theory of everything that it's supposed to be has turned out to be a theory of nothing at all. Yet many of its practitioners refuse to see the inevitable, and for many their devotion to it is cultish. It isn't science at all, really. It's a pathology.






12:11 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

MB, Wafers,

Nomi Prins gave a very informative interview last week. A most illustrative quote: “It is very easy to see how the system could unravel because it isn’t stable. We are definitely in big trouble. There is no way we are not headed for a crisis... It should have happened already, but the level of support is epic and reckless from the political and financial elite.”

The interview is here:

http://usawatchdog.com/nomi-prins-author-of-all-the-presidents-bankers-on-upcoming-collapse/

Cheers!
Julian

8:08 PM  
Anonymous bobby brown said...

#1 book on Amazon is Capital by Thomas Piketty.

You might have to revise your thoughts on American reading habits to account for this.

http://www.amazon.com/best-sellers-books-Amazon/zgbs/books/ref=acs_ux_rw_ts_b_books_more?pf_rd_p=1615333102&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-5&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=283155&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=17M1CV993KP5Q94K3KH3

9:46 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

This guy thinks that work is making us dumb.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/working-for-life/why-work

Hes got a point.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Unknown-

Cdn't post yr post because we use only real handles here. I suggest u pick one, and try again. A gd choice wd be Cranston Butterworth III, or even Shinzo Abe Meathead.

bobby-

Yr rt; Americans are cutting-edge intellectuals. There's just no doubt abt it.

Ty-

PLEASE limit yr posts to half a page. Thank you.

mb

6:48 AM  
Blogger Lex ov said...

Wafers,

You might want to get your hands on the following documentary:
http://vimeo.com/30200061

Love from the trenches.

Alexey

2:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

bobby-

A couple of things:

1. If yr gonna attack me (or anyone else) personally, you won't be on this blog. Up 2u.
2. Amazon rankings don't mean very much. All it takes is for 2000 people (or less) to buy the same bk in a short period of time. Based on this, I'm supposed to conclude the American public is smart? More significant is the 317 million who *didn't* buy Piketty (or WAF, for that matter). Most Americans don't read, and if they do, it tends to be self-help bks. You seriously don't understand any of this?

Finally, this is a boring topic. I suggest we leave it behind.

mb

3:02 PM  
Blogger Val said...

I wish to further sing the praises of Berkeley, where I partly grew up and near which I still live. I feel it has its role to play in the glorious resurgence of American greatness that is now upon us. From there a scintillating culture of sustainability and conscientious ecological principals will soon, I am sure, sweep the land.

Recently I endured much cut-in-fronting and other rudeness from the drivers of thousands of huge gleaming vehicles as I made my way there in my small grey elderly much-dented and unwashed jalopy of jollity. It was sunny and therefore hot, as my vehicle is blissfully free from the scourge of air conditioning. My efforts were rewarded when at length I arrived in the Berkeley hills, a bijou region of winding roads lined by many large beautiful houses, some rising to the grandeur of mansions, abundant with splendid gardens and great spreading oaks and lofty redwoods. Here I like to take long walks and enjoy sweeping views of the SF Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

This region is inhabited by many prosperous worthies who are busily saving the planet. They do this by keeping reusable mugs in the cup-holders of their SUVs, by shopping with canvas bags for the organic groceries (non-GMO, free-range grass-fed tomatoes and so forth) that few but they can afford. They support social justice by purchasing free trade goods made by nice Peruvian ladies (whose pictures you can see proudly displayed in shop windows) at the many upscale boutiques in town. I gather that quite a few of them also make hefty semiannual contributions to the Sierra Club and other reputable vendors of indulgences for our ecological sins.

This region is so ecologically-minded that even the cars are committed to conservation principles. I know this because not so long ago I spotted there a large shiny silver vehicle that was absolutely covered from bumper to antenna with enormous anti-fracking messages. It was a fanatically anti-fracking car, and looked to be a brand new one to boot. One could proudly drive in such a car to the demo where placards are brandished reading "No Blood For Oil." It was parked in front of a large and exceedingly fine mansion.

I'm too little traveled in my own country to know whether other towns here are so enlightened. But I feel this is a way of life that richly deserves to be protected by the heroical activities of our drone operators (whose bravery is legendary), even if those who enjoy it may strenuously deny that they benefit in any way from said heroical activities.

I then hied me to the art supply store, where I spent my pittance on paint and pencil leads.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Val-

Thanks, but pls keep it a bit shorter in future; abt a half page max wd be ideal.

Just wanted to let everyone know that I have still not sat down to a plate of fugu (blowfish). I discovered that a famous Kabuki actor, some decades ago, boasted he cd eat 4 plates of the stuff. Which he did; then went into convulsions and died. Not gd.

Obama came to Japan, as u all know. I was hoping to pee on his Guccis, but security was rather tight; as was my bladder.

mb

2:49 AM  
Anonymous dave young said...

There an excellent show out on Radio Lab: 60 words about the authorization to use military force that led to 12 years of global war, terror, and drone strikes. They interview Barbara Lee; the one no vote in congress.

I like how they kept all 60,000 pieces of hate mail sent to her, all stored at Mills College in Oakland.

Now THAT is some amazing proof of how stupid Americans are.

Radiolab 60 Words

BuzzFeed 60 Words

6:38 AM  
Anonymous The Almighty Fool Trolfoon Prophet said...

yo Dr.Berman

just ended reading WAF and now i guess what's your reading --if any-- on the new world super popular sitcom archetype: sheldon cooper; it's basically a super nerd grown-teenager (neotenic traits?) working for the military complex and playing videogames and all that kinda stuff ... but he has a southern background, and a great deal of his obessions are driven as a reaction for his christian mother ... thinking abt it i kinda missed that issue on the book ... i've been doing a little bit of reading and seems that fundamentalism is more of a northern movement, but still if rationality was a big factor in the conformation of capitalist ethos there is a gap there in which is understandable to see southerns as "yolks" ... continuing my argument as america as a hard-on, the relationship of the women with the nerds in this sitcom is akin as that which Everclear captured in his song "Volvo Driving Soccer Mom": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK_XWH7Ryd4

7:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Prophetic Trolfoon:

What, indeed, are we going to do abt the trolfoons? This, and the question of Kim Jong Un's "haircut," are the two major issues facing the world today. As for Sheldon and the nerds: I really dunno much abt it. I did catch a couple of episodes of Big Bang, but I thought it was more of a whimper. And as for Ovomit, I deeply regret that Mr. Abe didn't serve him a large plate of fugu.

mb

8:11 AM  
Anonymous bobby brown jr said...

I thought you might like this photo.

https://31.media.tumblr.com/30bb18edad128c6f223e759a4772fce9/tumblr_inline_mn9tg7GXSL1qz4rgp.jpg

10:17 AM  
Anonymous dawgzy said...

Val- lived in Berkeley '84-86, and Oakland & Richmond for many years. Berkeley was a great attraction when we lived over the border, movies, inexpensive food and book, books, books in a fairly convivial atmosphere. . It's an unusual place with a history and identity that it becoming outgrown. It's radicalism is becoming vestigial and "Berkeley" more of a brand name. It is an interesting case study in thee co-opting of culture. (remember the Co-ops? They're mostly high end groceries now) For a few years (before leaving for Portland) we noticed that there was a hard edge developing on the streets. I don't mean from the homeless on Shattuck or the few hippies still left, but among the entitled well-off-particularly vehicular stuff and the rude consumer behavior around food and culture. Many "alternative" places -exemplified by Chez Panissse and Monterey Market- are status symbols now. CheeseBoard collective and others seem to have held on. With so many bookstore closed (Cody's ?!!!) I go there only for Cheese Board's pizza and seeded baguettes. Feh.

4:45 PM  
Blogger John Richardson said...

Re Science, here's the thing ... we have many historical events in which science was used to create a technology to achieve one particular goal (with purpose being to increase profits/power), while the larger, biosphere-destroying effects of that technology were either ignored or (and here's the thing) much more often *unknown*, at the time.

It's now just a race amongst overdevelopment, GMOs, or biotechnology to deliver the final blow.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More on Piketty:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/25/opinion/krugman-the-piketty-panic.html?_r=0

3:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

In "Bowling Alone," Robt Putnam introduced the notion of "social capital," i.e. behavior that reinforced feelings of community and connection between people. He concluded that the US had very little of it; that we were a nation of antisocial douche bags. A recent study of the positive effects of such behavior was recently written up in the NYT by Eliz. Dunn and Michael Norton, "Hello, Stranger." But since such behavior is rare in the US, we can conclude that Americans are not merely douche bags; they are, more to the pt, unhappy douche bags. Check it out.

mb

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

It's time to renew my subscription to the Philadelphia Orchestra and I am having second thoughts. It's not about the orchestra though they love their 3 B's a bit too much but it's the walking around center city that has made me literally nauseous. I cannot long endure seeing so many techno-morons. More discouraging is that there are older people who should know better equally engaged in some form of technology. And even more discouraging is seeing 2 people talking but they are listening to music on their earphones at the same time! How is that possible?
One wonders then, is that it? All the wars, the Holocaust, Hiroshima, Greek and Roman civilization all occurred so we could reach this point- a nation of narcissistic assholes? WOW, What an accomplishment!

7:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Read my new bk, "Progress and Evolution: From Hunter-Gatherers to Techno-Buffoons."

mb

8:04 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Under the heading "Douchebags on Parade," may I offer the following short items:

1. Mom's Unborn Baby Killed After Facebook Argument
http://newser.me/1jMuDzP

2. Driver Suing Boy She Killed for Emotional Distress
http://newser.me/1fdU4yw

3. Builder of 'Kids for Cash' Jails Headed to Jail Himself
http://newser.me/1ld60Ak


And, under the heading, "You Can't Make This Shit Up," an article regarding a bill just signed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal regulating--a term used here VERY loosely--where concealed-carry-authorized gun owners may have their weapons.

Jason Carter, grandson of former President James Earl Carter, is running for governor against Deal. He voted for the legislation--no surprise there--but only after managing to exclude language that would have permitted guns on college campuses and after specifying that churches* would have to opt in to be subject to the looser law rather than opt out.

*Presumably on the theory that if there was gonna be any smiting inside the House of God, it was gonna be God doing the smiting.

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/26/georgia-gun-law-carter_n_5214973.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

10:32 AM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Hi Wafers,
**DON’T MISS LINKS AT BOTTOM OF MY POST, RE: “take-down notice” (from April 30!!!) of MECW (Marx-Engels Collected Works) on marxist.org website.*
Thanks MB because I’ve been researching (as time permits) the question of “how the superstructure influences the base” and then seeing where, thanks to yr clues, that trail leads (Wafers, I’m referring to comments MB made in his prev. blog post #2I8). I can (briefly) report that for those of you heading down that “trail,” (& I kinda am “just starting out” myself in a way) an important signpost (or trail-marker) is Karl Marx’s 1859 “Preface” to “A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.” ( http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/preface.htm )
Anyhow, I’d headed there (again) just now when I came across this “take-down” notice for the MECW at marxist.org. For reasons of space, I’ll stick to that topic. Bottom-line Wafers (and all those concerned): Lawrence & Wishart Publishers have asserted their copyright over MECW, and so these will be removed from Marxists.org from April 30th onward. I did some research & here’s some of the more, imo, relevant info:
1. Go here for announcement: http://www.marxists.org/index.htm
2. Go here for links to all 50 volumes of MECW to see what you might need: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/cw/index.htm
3. Go here for a *brief* explanation of why this occurred: http://boingboing.net/2014/04/24/radical-press-demands-copyrigh.html
4. Go here for a *longer* but more thoughtful overview: http://crookedtimber.org/2014/04/24/karlo-marx-and-fredrich-engels-came-to-the-checkout-at-the-7-11/

Of course some close-readers of DAA blog may pt out that (while losing this MECW resource is very disturbing) it’s important, perhaps, to put these kind of things into perspective, or examine and critique how this fits into the ‘’macro’’-picture of a society in various stages of collapse. And of course Wafers may rightly pt out that interacting with real books (ie., perfect-bound) is the way to go these days, has harsh as this reality is. In fact, I just heard an interview on my car radio a few weeks ago w/ Maryanne Wolf from Tufts Univ. (on NPR talking abt her upcom. book) who highlighted the importance for our brains of reading a real book, rather than scanning a “screen.” MB has addressed this many times (and refers to Wolf’s research on this matter Nonetheless, the links provided within the MECW (thanks to the hard work of volunteers over many,many years) is *very* disturbing.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Dan said...
It's time to renew my subscription to the Philadelphia Orchestra and I am having second thoughts. I cannot long endure seeing so many techno-morons. One wonders then, is that it? All the wars, the Holocaust, Hiroshima, Greek and Roman civilization all occurred so we could reach this point- a nation of narcissistic assholes? WOW, What an accomplishment!

Dan, thanks for the very funny comment. As I pointed out before, six of the world’s seven billion people now have access to a cell phone. The price of them is plummeting and they will soon be cheaper than food. To talk of nations is to miss the forest -- this is a global phenomenon. You can run but you can’t hide. In a couple of years, maybe sooner, you’re going to have to cancel your subscription to the Timbuktu Orchestra because every mud hut in Mali will soon have one. To Obsess about cell phones is to obsess about the pinky toenail of capitalism, while ignoring the rest of the body.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Did some more skilled labor around the house today. My wife told her friend that I was doing "manual labor," but I maintained that sheetrocking and mudding is "skilled labor," to try to rehab the notion that working with your hands is actually a skill.
It is amazing how satisfying building physical things is compared to virtual. I work at a software company, and I just can't get over the sense that what we "make" is not just not real, but not really a good. As in, does the software REALLY help anyone? Oh, of course our software actually does do something, and that thing is probably useful to people. But humans lived without it for 99.999% of our history.
But we have built shelter for most of our history, and working on that seems even more creative than the bitstream.
I think I'll start a blog called "this analog life," and see how non-digital I can go. I'm ditching the cell phone next week, except for an emergency pre-paid phone for close family only. We'll see how that freaks people out.
Thanks for keeping us informed, Prof. Berman, of your travels. Sounds like the Japanese are gracious hosts.

1:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is kinda neat:

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/would_you_notice_your_mother_dressed_as_a_homeless_person_20140427

6:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nice Japanese expression: "Zenbei ga naita"--All of America wept. This is used to express contempt for a product or service. The idea is that if it bombed in America, it must really be a piece of crap.

mb

2:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

We need to start a separate, permanent thread called Doltwatch, to cover the activities of our fellow countrymen.

I remember, abt 15 yrs ago, I was taking a holiday in a small town in Italy, and staying at a little hotel that got the Corriere della Sera (Milan newspaper) every morning, as a courtesy to its guests. I would order breakfast and sit and read the paper, and I remember being astounded at the intellectual level of the thing, given its large circulation. Every day there would be at least two full pages discussing some aspect of culture--usually Italian--whether it was an analysis of the work of D'Annunzio or the paintings of Giotto. "If the NYT or Wash Post tried something like this," I thought to myself, "they'd be broke in 2 mos." In fact, the American equivalent to these daily mainstream newspaper articles would be articles in specialized academic journals, like the Journal of Italian Studies or whatever. It made a strong impression on me (I was writing the Twilight bk at the time).

Well, Japanese TV carries pretty much the same message. Staying in Tokyo w/Japanese friends (who are never home because they work 14 hrs/day), I occasionally flip on the telly, which again is mainstream--Toru and Naomi don't subscribe to cable--and I've seen the following programs, among others:

1. A visit to a glassblowing studio, showing how fine vases etc. are made
2. Classes in German and Korean
3. A first-rate jazz concert
4. A class in the differential calculus.

Wow! How long wd NBC be on the air, I wonder, if they hosted a regular hr-long show in calculus? 4 days?

All of this makes me reflect on how stupid Americans are, on how life in America is lived at so elementary (degraded, really) a level. The Japanese are fully aware of who Yukio Mishima was, of course. Are there more than 100,000 Americans in the entire nation of 317 million who have heard of Robt Frost? I tend to doubt it.

Yeah, we're No. 1, all right.

mb

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

While you are in Japan, life -- such as it is -- continues in the USA. More cheerful commentary from Sarah Palin. You can actually see the video of her making this statement on this page, btw.

The Atlantic:
Why Sarah Palin's Sacrilegious Torture Nostalgia Matters


Over the weekend, Sarah Palin, who Republicans tried to put a heartbeat away from the White House, told a crowd of NRA supporters, "They are not right policies that poke our allies in the eye, coddle adversaries, instead of putting the fear of God in our enemies. Come on. Enemies who would utterly annihilate America! They who obviously have information on plots to carry out jihad. Oh, but you can't offend them. You can't make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists."

...

11:38 AM  
Anonymous turnover said...

http://tinyurl.com/l4k63ln

Kunsler has a column on Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Kunsler brings up a good point: which is that while you might be able to tax the rich, it's still improbable that the West can organize/legislate a solution to pervasive decline.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

turnover-

This is why so-called progressives are wasting their time. Decline is decline; it can't be legislated away, and our time is up. The best any president can do now is crisis management, at least until things really go bust. It's why we are in gridlock domestically, and why our foreign policy is completely ad hoc. In terms of crisis management, Ovomit did it very badly, and Hillary is not likely to be any great improvement. America's job now is to gracefully collapse, get off the world stage, and stop bothering (to understate it heavily) other people. The problem is that we are not a graceful people--quite the opposite. As a result, our collapse will be pretty ugly (it is already). You can quote me on that.

Sav-

And Sarah is a gd example of this ugliness, yes? A true Christian, I suppose...

mb

1:19 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Attn: Wafers

This was posted over at Guy McPherson's "Nature Bats Last" blog in response to the death of Michael C. Ruppert. Around 8:30 and later there are some lines that resonate with WAF's thesis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xBUXTVVDDw

RIP MCR & USA

Attn: MB

Re: Eats
A new restaurant named "New Yorker" opened recently here in Grecia.
The owner/chef is Romanian, and her husband is Jewish.
They are both transplanted New Yorkers.
She can do chicken livers.
Add the guy in Escazu who makes his own pastrami and the restaurant there that at least has hummus and baba ganoush and felafel and we're approaching a 50/50 chance of you surviving your "lecture tour" here later in the year.
You might want to bring your personal supply of pickles, just in case...

Re: Poetry & Movies
Wait up a second now...fewer than 100K Americans have taken a college course in American lit or poetry or experienced "miles to go before I sleep" in high school ?
A-a-and knowing who Yukio Mishima was is like knowing who John Wayne was...but how many of them know anything about Tatsuya Nakadai ? (Don't get me wrong - I would love for the number to be staggeringly large.)

1:58 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ojRQ15My7s

Dr. Bermansaki

Maybe the Cherokee Nation will actually return.

By the way, Sarah is full of shit. Her beliefs are not what the bible says.

http://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/love-bible-verses/

It seems like what you say Japan has a more advanced culture and more intellectual knowledge than we do.

How are we #1? Where are we number 1 in? Man, Oh Man How the mighty have fallen!!

What do the people you know in Japan think?

3:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ty-

You shdn't hafta go to college to be aware of Frost, or Hemingway, or Fitzgerald. And if Mishima doesn't fit, try Tanizaki, then; that wd certainly be equivalent. I'm guessing 95% of Japan has heard of Tanizaki, 0.01% of America has heard of Frost et al. Bottom line: we're dumb.

mb

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Moosefart Williamson IV said...

I know it's old hat but I really am amazed that we can have a former VP get up at a major convention (admittedly of moron NRA members) and endorse torture. My God, we prosecuted people for waterboarding our soldiers, and now our potential and actual "leaders" endorse it proudly as a type of machismo? It really sickens my soul, I mean, I try to put up a good front but the acceptance and embracing of torture really makes my skin crawl and my stomach sink.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and fellow Wafers of the World,

MB-

Have you made it to Hanoi yet? All Wafers, myself included, are eagerly awaiting news about your upcoming visit to the Jane Fonda Institute! Miss Fonda has indicated that she will be part of your welcoming committee upon arrival. The institute has stated that you will be receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Letters along with a signed photo of Jane in her Barbarella outfit.

Word also has it, that all of Vietnam is extremely excited about your visit. Authentic Vietnamese cuisine of pho bo is being prepared special for you, of course; as well as three large platters consisting of pastrami, corned beef, and chopped liver. Enjoy the festivities MB, and be sure to check out the Deli Cafe in Hanoi when you have a few hours to kill. It ain't the Stage Deli, but it might do in a pinch...

Cheers,

Jeff

8:54 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Whaddaya Know, Whaddaya Say Wafers?

For those who quote the Guess Who, Saskatoon is going to the dogs just as much as is Detroit, albeit the Motor City has a head start...and Gordie Howe is from here.

The municipally-owned community garden that I've been growing food upon for over 15 years is being sold to real estate "developers" (why is it that "development" involves so much destruction?) who are going to turn it into row housing and McMansions.

A couple of weeks ago a kid stabbed four strangers in a Regina mall, probably mimicking a stabbing in Calgary a few days earlier in which five young people were killed.

@Infantryone: What's going on in Costa Rica? Hommous, felafel and baba ganoush? Are Arabs taking over Costa Rica? Maybe they are Palestinians who have been displaced by Zionists.


O&D

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Capo said...

Hello Wafers!

I tend to bore some when I go on about systems based on rules (the U.S.) and systems based on principles (Japan and EU). In the U.S. a widow can lose a house over a $6.30 bill. This would never happen in EU or Japan. No judge or official could do it as government is to amazingly serve people. IN the U.S. its about rules so sure the law is the law and throw out the widow and sell her house becuase of an unpaid bill of $6.30. Check it out: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/widow-who-lost-home-over-6-had-ample-notice-judge-n91881

Could there be a more horrid and monstrous aparatus than american "law". That the U.S. jails more of its citizens than other nations and that it has defacto debtors prisons and that government regularly shakes people down seems not to bother most people. That many americans are now emmigrating leads progressives in the media to conclude that people are leaving because they don;t want to pay taxes as they can imagine no other reason for doing so! I venture to say that the now level of confiscatory level of taxes and government snooping are certainly good reasons to leave the u.s.a albeit part of a panoply of reasons....

9:38 PM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Dr. B and the Wafers,

Several months back, there was a discussion here along the lines of “Why does our way of life screw us (or our children) up so badly?” I piped in to share that, whenever and wherever this sort of topic comes up, I find myself in a bind because my perception is that there is a “missing” level of things - a whole realm of underlying explanation that can’t so much as even be broached, precisely because our way of life screws us up so badly. I tried to give some idea of what that missing level might consist of while also saying that I didn’t think anything less than a book-length treatment could do it justice.

I’ve got a draft of a first chapter up on a blog now. It’s long - 45 pages in Word format - so I’m not asking anyone to read it as a kindness. But if psychological stuff is already your cup of tea, it may be of interest. I’d certainly be grateful for Wafer-oriented feedback (even if it’s only “You totally lost me by paragraph two”). Mainly, I’m curious if the chapter comes anywhere close to evoking a “missing level of things” in a way that sounds credible (or at least reasonable).

If you click on my user name (GregJS) above, it should take you to the post. Or try this: http://buildfoundation.blogspot.com

Thanks - and I hope your Japan trip yields lots of good stuff for you, Dr. B and that civilizational collapse has been going great for those of you back here in the awesome #1 USA.

Greg

10:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Waferinos-

I spent the day interviewing more nerds, 4 girls and 2 boys, all 16 yrs old. Girls into manga, anime, and cosplay; boys into trains. Girls in particular were smart as a whip. They asked me abt girls their age in the US and I told them American girls have sushi in their heads. I mean, there is *no* comparison in terms of depth of feeling, articulateness, etc. Pls, do NOT believe that teenagers are everywhere the same. Anyway, I asked tons of questions and took pages of notes (more work on bk when I'm back home). A long day, and tomorrow I'm off to the Inland Sea for 3 days of R&R. Then off to Vietnam on May 5, looking forward to hanging out w/Jane Fonda. Hope u all are having fun, observing your fellow citizens like anthropologists, laughing and crying, and watching the country smash to pieces on the rocks. Check yr post-its every day, and keep yr urine levels up, just in case u run into the president.

hugs,
mb

7:11 AM  
Anonymous dave young said...

Are you aware that the cosplay/anime/LARP scene exists in America? And that it's huge?

You choose to look at the cosplay scene in Japan, and suburbia in America, rather than the cosplay scene in America, and workaholic yuppies in Tokyo.

http://www.comic-con.org/wca

8:53 AM  
Anonymous bobby brown said...

How is Japanese cosplay not just another "lifestyle enclave" like yuppies who do crossfit, or skaters, or whatever.

I don't see how cosplay could be considered community more than any of the groups of interest in the US. It seems like just another hobby for people with too much money and a disconnect from their local community.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

bobby-

I'm not claiming cosplay is community. Otaku *are* a disconnect, in some ways, it seems to me. Not sure where yr getting yr info on my research or interpretations. Yr (inaccurately) psychic?

dave-

2nd sentence very confusing. Suburban America *is* in America, rt? Cosplayers in Tokyo are not workaholics, as far as I can make out; different crowd. Like bobby, yr kinda confused.

mb

5:30 PM  
Anonymous hellisotherpeople said...

Eating fugu is not a 50/50 death risk. It's closer to 7%, and that's of those who eat improperly prepared fugu. Just to let you know.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous wh said...

Mr. Berman,

I hope you enjoyed your stay in Japan. What kind of Otaku did you interview? How did the interviews with Hikkomori go?

I am actually part Japanese, so if you want my input about anything please let me know.

Did you find it odd that the Japanese bow even when they are talking on their phones?

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Baron Ludwig von Nichts said...

I'm sure it's true that the Japanese are more refined, cultured etc. than Americans, as are Europeans, but looking at the most primal indicator of a nation's health -- birth rates -- the United States is at least not going extinct. Don't you think that without a certain level of barbarism and animal vitality, you'll get the sort of decline and die off that we see in Japan and Europe? Is slow death by refinement really the mark of a successful civilization, or one in the late stages of collapse?

7:02 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers-

MB, Wafers-

Well, I'm stumbling thru Thomas Piketty's book. I'm nowhere near finishing this massive tome, but a few factors have penetrated my aging and dull brain:

1. TP argues that the fetish for constantly looking back to the Golden Age of capitalism, economic growth, and tech innovation of the post WW II era (station wagons and frozen foods as MB put it in one of his poems) is a fool's errand as this period was essentially an anomaly. Indeed, what we are seeing w/in the United States (and globally) at this point, regarding capital accumulation and massive inequality, *is* the norm. Wafers intuitively know this, but it's refreshing to realize this truth once again.

2. TP argues that historically, even in times of slow economic growth, income grows slowly for everyone except the top 1%. Furthermore, when it comes to their investments, they grow faster than the economy. In other words, wealth grows faster than income and a larger gap between rich and poor is formed and becomes more pronounced. It's just like the film "Margin Call," when actor Paul Bethany says that the rich never ever really lose money...

3. Like Marx, TP warns that growing inequality will create class resentment and class warfare.
These resentments will ultimately increase, as great wealth (get this, Wafers) passes from the entrepreneur and the investment class to their offspring and heirs. The luck of the draw, so to speak, in America is literally having the good fortune to be born into a wealthy family.

4. When the equal opportunity and meritocratic society are proven to be illusions (are we not there, yet?), it's curtains for the given society or civilization.

5. Solution: An annual tax on capital, raising taxes on the 1%, and reinstating a serious estate tax could/should be attempted, but this won't necessarily be a complete solution as it doesn't really get at giant pools of capital and inherited wealth. TP calls all this a "utopian idea": a logical but completely impossible task, given our anti-tax frame of mind and worship of Reaganomics. Strangely, he keeps America douchebaggery and idiocy as key causes of this crisis to a minimum.

Anyway, time for some pastrami and potato salad. Thanks for reading...

Take care,

Jeff

2:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Baron-

Time will tell!

wh-

Currently out on Nao-shima. Fab, abs. fab. And museums crammed with Jasper Johns, Pollock, and Twombly. I've lost control over my urine, am peeing in my pants. Cdn't interview hikos as they were hiding under their beds. As for otaku: boys into trains, girls into cosplay, manga characters, and anime. While all American 16-yr-olds can do is drool, grunt, and talk abt Kim, these kids were among the most articulate I've ever met, in fact more than most American adults. I'm bowing a lot myself these days.

Hell-

Whew!

mb

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Holzwege said...

A nice piece of news from the Very Young Shooters and Killers of America Department:

Today, a four-year-old shot and killed his one-year-old brother in Kansas. It was an "accident." There are about 20,000 such "accidents" a year in this country; the blog Kid Shootings tracks them.

See Common Dreams article of 04.30.14 - 1:59 PM, titled My Little Rifle.

It's all good, if it's Onwards and Downwards.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

You all will love this.

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/a-florida-resident-drove-around-with-a-cellphone-jammer-84369099229.html

Maybe we all should carry a jammer with us lol :D

I am sad that it cost him $42,000 in fines though.

I think he should've carried urine around in a super soaker as well.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Where does one purchase a jammer? (I think, not surprisingly given consumer elite interests, that they're illegal.....)
https://www.yahoo.com/tech/a-florida-resident-drove-around-with-a-cellphone-jammer-84369099229.html

Also, for Baron Ludwig: Japan isn't going extinct just (inchoately) returning itself to the sustainable 25 million mark.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Sean Kerrigan said...

The Times of Israel quoted Netanyahu ranting about cell phones and technology in general. Here is the key excerpt:
-------
“I don’t understand this new world. When do they have time to live? They’re taking pictures all the time. Only taking pictures, that’s all they do. Pictures, pictures, pictures.”

Another unseen voice then tells Netanyahu that “if you did not take a picture, it’s as if you didn’t live,” or take part, in the occurrence.

“I’ve lived and did not take a picture,” the prime minister responds. He then comes to the realization that he holds the minority opinion on the matter.

“I’m the only one here without all these electronic devices, I’m a free man, and you all are slaves. You are slaves!”
-------

In other news, the Supreme Court has refused to hear the Hedges v. Obama NDAA case, deferring the lower court's ruling. So NDAA is here to stay. Today is a dark, dark day.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Bob MIchelob said...

I thought these two pics do a good job of representing the current state of things and our collective reaction.

http://imgur.com/cdvbhoS

http://imgur.com/ffcWJhY

9:50 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

Hi Professor, a couple of weeks ago the NY Times Magazine published an article on Paul Kingsnorth the co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project. Seems like the DM Project could resonate with readers of this blog.

The NY Times article has the title 'It's the End of the World as We Know it' with the byline 'After decades of fervent environmenta activism, Paul Kingsworth decided it's too late-collapse is inevitable'.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/magazine/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-and-he-feels-fine.html?_r=0

The Dark Mountain Project website is http://dark-mountain.net/.

Their manifesto which I find quite interesting can be found at

http://dark-mountain.net/about/manifesto/

Hope all is well.

Regards,
Chuck

12:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Waferinos-

Thank u all for checking in, reporting on State of Nation. I'm back from Nao-shima, off to Vietnam in 1.5 days. Have tentative date with Jane Fonda, tho she writes that she's not happy abt my idolization of Sarah. Stay tuned for more on the Barbarella front.

mb

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

You are going to Hanoi, right? Of course go to Halong Bay but also see the water puppet show and the Literature Museum. If you have any free time, take a train to Sapa to see the hill tribes and maybe do a one or 2 day trek through the rice terraces-breathtaking vistas.
Yes, this place is going completely bat shit. As you may know it is now OK to carry a gun anywhere in Georgia. So a few days ago a man came to a little league game, brandished his gun and shouted "I have a gun!". Since he had a permit the police were powerless to do anything. Carter's grandson, talk about a profile in courage, said that churches should have the right to prevent someone from carrying a gun in a place of worship. Courage nonpareil.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Holzwege said...
Today, a four-year-old shot and killed his one-year-old brother in Kansas. It was an "accident." There are about 20,000 such "accidents" a year in this country... It's all good, if it's Onwards and Downwards

Damn, you really had my hopes up. But unfortunately only about 600 of those 20,000 are killed, the rest survive to pass on their genes (unless they shot off their genitals). People forget the great benefits that accrue from such a system - namely, purging the human gene pool of it’s stupidest elements. I once posted a picture here of Sarah Palin with a loaded rifle that she carelessly left pointed at her head. So remember, each accident may be a blessing, a potential Upwards moment both for America and for the human race.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

MB,

I am not so sure about “We’re No. 1” anymore:

“China Could Overtake the U.S. as the World’s No. 1 Economy This Year”

http://time.com/82225/china-world-biggest-economy/

That must hurt.

Julian

12:03 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Julian-

Yeah, but we remain No. 1 in anti-depressant sales, # of people in prison, infrastructure neglect, poor educational system, inferior medical care, low level of intelligence of the general population, and all-around douchebaggery. It's not likely China will top any this any time soon. We remain the cutting edge of civilizational decline, the leading example of what not to be as a nation. We operate from no moral center, and our elected leader is a war criminal and shill for corporate and military interests. His domestic policy is cruel; his foreign policy little more than a joke. As the nation slides into total incoherence, the man in the street is completely clueless as to what is happening, and the so-called progressives actually think they can arrest the clock of history, or even reverse it. Truly, nothing can stop us now!

mb

12:32 AM  
Anonymous bobby brown said...

"Yeah, but we remain No. 1 in ...infrastructure neglect"

It takes a massive growing industrial society to pay for and maintain this infrastructure. We have to emit many tons of carbon to maintain this infrastructure.

Do you or do you not oppose a massive growing industrial civilization? You are listing the decline of infrastructure as a negative, when as a critic of these things, you should not use it as a tool of criticism.

As critics, we should immediately oppose these things, and the lack of spending on infrastructure should be seen as a positive sign that things are turning around for the better.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

bobby-

It's hard for me to see bridges, roads, airports, railways etc. falling apart as a positive thing, but perhaps yr rt, I dunno.

mb

12:52 PM  
Anonymous print-on-demand said...

If anyone wants an out-of-print book, there is a service called "Espresso Book Machine" that will print on demand from pdfs to a quality paperback version.

Cost is somewhere in $10-$30 range depending on number of pages.

Thought it might be useful for your books that aren't available, for example, "Counting Blessings" is $214 on Amazon.

Are pdfs of your books anywhere for people to print on demand themselves?

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Fascinating talk between Lewis Lapham & Thomas Frank on the commodifcation of both cool & revolution In America, with questions from their audience:

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/04/our_sad_mad_men_revolution_how_consumerism_co_opted_rebellion/

4:18 PM  
Blogger Val said...

It doesn't matter whether we support industrial economic growth or vigorously oppose it. Growth is over, whether we want it to be or not.

Raul Ilargi Meijer of the Automatic Earth has recently pointed out that Obamacare has been principally responsible for stimulating a burst of 1.1 percent per annum in economic activity during the past fiscal quarter, presumably by forcing people to buy medical insurance. During the same period the economy grew by 0.1 percent - also at a per annum rate, if I recall correctly. Therefore, absent this artificial stimulation which primarily benefits insurance companies, the US economy for the past quarter has been *shrinking* at a per annum rate of 1.0 percent. As J.H. Kunstler has been pointing out for quite some time, the task that currently faces the USA's government is that of managing the permanent compressive economic contraction that will dominate the remainder of its history. Of course even mentioning this unpalatable fact is political poison and so no politician will touch it. Wall Street's Masters of the Universe are too busy pillaging the national coffers and evicting widows from their homes to do anything rational about it either. The USA is no longer being governed in any meaningful sense of the term; it is merely being operated by sinister clowns for their own short-term benefit. It's as if the ghost of Ferdinand Marcos were ruling us; perhaps even worse.

There's probably quite a bit that a smart strong executive could do to ameliorate the awful poverty and suffering that is inexorably headed our way. But at this point the President is merely an employee of the corporations. It pains me to say that our first black President is the Step-n-Fetchit of our political history. The only way open to prove his manhood is to send out drones to kill more civilians, or maybe involve us in a ruinous Crimean war, or the like.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Spectacle of enormously wealthy nation simply watching as its infrastructure collapses around it is like a scene from the movie "Idiocracy."

From my Twitter feed

1:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Val, Trout-

Yeah, I fear bobby missed the larger picture here. He picks at one pt on my list, whereas the problem is the *list*. There is a kind of "blog disease" that is probably not limited to this blog, whereby some people just want to argue, not have a serious discussion. I guess it gives them some form of (sad) validation. What are ya gonna do. (Eventually they go away, altho some of them persist for months, like locusts.)

print-

Almost everything of mine is available on Amazon at reasonable prices. Counting Blessings, 2nd edn, sells for $10.89. The problem is that Amazon screws up the listings, so potential buyers hafta search very carefully to see what's going on. I've had extensive discussions with them abt this, but basically they don't give a damn and refuse to chg any of the listings. Wish it were otherwise.

mb

6:32 AM  

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