June 05, 2014

The Empty American

Dear Wafers (and Waferettes):

In 1955, we had The Quiet American (Greene). Then in 1958, The Ugly American (Lederer). I think it may be time for The Empty American, by yours truly. Basic argument: We have no moral center, and believe in nothing except 'progress' and making $, so we fuck over other countries that have genuine spiritual content, out of an unconscious frustration that our way of 'life' doesn't really work. Honestly, it's like a cosmic joke, conceived by an evil god.

On the other hand, I just may run off to Pakistan and become a dervish. That book would be called: Give It a Whirl.

mb

197 Comments:

Blogger steck said...

Do I detect a hint of cynicism?

8:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Steck-

If u do, it's in u, not me. This post is simply realism, as all Wafers will recognize. Oscar Wilde: "A cynic is a person who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing." I know the value of lots of things, muchacho.

mb

9:15 PM  
Blogger Nebris said...

While your Basic Argument is certainly accurate, we really don't invade anybody for their 'spiritual content' because we don't care. Afghanistan and Iraq are both chaotic cesspools of tribal and ethic hatred and religious violence, as is Pakistan, a nation that was founded *because* of religious hatred. As a Jew, your survival there would be measured in days.

12:36 AM  
Anonymous DSCH said...

It was only of matter of time...

I learned today that an 11-year-old music student in a school where I live in the US and where a family member teaches was discovered with a long list of students and teachers she was planning to kill. Possibly racism involved.

Les États-Unis : ce sont finis. D'accord. Mais, considérez qu'en France, une personne sur trois prend des médicaments psychotropes, il y a de plus en plus la solitude, le chômage...Où peut-on aller ?

Continuez à tisser la paille en or.
Amitiés.

1:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dsch-

Gd hearing from u. Note that Etats-Unis is plural, hence: ces sont finis. Of course, having a kill list is not gd, but it doesn't mean she was gonna actually kill them. Cd be a way of blowing off steam. However, as things get more Orwellian, this cd come under the heading of Thought Crime.

Nebris-

Re-read my post. Note that I said *unconscious* frustration. I'm not suggesting that we are aware of what we are doing. We have all kinds of things we tell ourselves as rationalizations ("spread democracy," etc.), but I'm guessing that the real reasons go a lot deeper; and on that deeper level, I suspect we care a lot. As for being Jewish in Pakistan: gd pt, but then I cd always cover my nose. If that still doesn't work, I'll change the title of my bk to: "I Gave It a Whirl, but They Killed Me."

mb

3:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a cutting-edge 'analysis' of causes of depression in the US. Not one word abt how our way of life may be a factor. Duh. A similar type of 'analysis' appears every time there's a shooting: he was a loner, he was psychotic, etc. As a nation, we are going to our demise w/o a clue as to WAF.

http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/major-depression/why-am-i-depressed.aspx?xid=cnn_cs_depression&hpt=hp_bn8

mb

4:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Who We Really Are Dept.:

So I continue rdg Neil Jamieson's bk, "Understanding Vietnam." At one pt he discusses a comparative study of American vs. Vietnamese children, done by Mary Leichty in 1963. She handed out questionnaires to the kids; here are some of the results:

"In hopes for the future [writes Jamieson], nearly half the Vietnamese children expressed a hope for something good for someone else, usually something for their families. Not one U.S. child made a response of that kind. American children wanted things for themselves: a swimming pool, a new wagon, a trip. In response to the item 'When I am older...', over half the Vietnamese responses involved family obligations: repaying parents, helping younger siblings, and so on. Typical U.S. responses were 'have a car', 'be a nurse', or 'go to California'."

QED.

mb

5:02 AM  
Anonymous jason sans said...

another wafer: Mike Wallace

is there anything like this in the media now?

http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/film/holdings/wallace/

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Capo,

In my opinion, one can do better in the southern hemisphere, either the Spanish or the English speaking areas. No utopia, but no European hell either.

I have analyzed these nations here in Europe for many years. They are not racist only against Moroccans and Pakistanis, but they are also racist against other white people, whether from Eastern or Southern Europe. They are racist against Italians, against Spaniards, against Romanians, against Poles, against Greeks, Russians, etc., etc. Being from one of those nations myself, perhaps makes me a little more sensitive about this, and thus I perhaps took more time to try to understand the “Northern mind.” And it is also amazing how quickly their mentality has changed recently. When they were coming here to buy cheap property by the sea and drink our cheap beer, all that was hidden, but now, it’s in your face.

Seriously, Capo, do you really think that a continent with such a dismal history of genocide, arrogance, and war against very similar people has changed since WWII? If you do, I posit that human nature may still hold many mysteries for you... :)

Julian

8:56 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

A great quote here from a piece on Bergdahl:

"In the society of the spectacle, where young Americans are immersed in an entertainment culture, the world becomes a theme park or giant (real) video contest, where they can overcome their boredom in a spiritually dead consumerism by testing themselves in what they view as heroic combat in other people’s countries, riding to their rescue."

(http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/06/bowe-bergdahl-and-the-moral-rot-of-american-exceptionalism/)

Sounds about right, but one does not even have to go overseas to experience this, but to Wisconsin where 2 girls stabbed another to please a fictional internet character, or Seattle, or ...

And another one:

"Refusing to feel pain, and becoming incapable of feeling the pain, which is actually the root meaning of apathy, refusal to suffer, that makes us stupid, and half alive," she said. "It causes us to become blind to see what is really out there. We have a sense of something being wrong, so we find another target and project our anxiety onto the nearest thing handy, whether it is Muslims, or gays, or Jews, or transsexuals, or on Edward Snowden, who is now being accused of being a Russian spy and behind the Ukraine conflict. See how stupid we can be?"

taken from here which someone may have posted once already (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/24083-on-staying-sane-in-a-suicidal-culture)

9:22 AM  
Anonymous SteveR said...

Re: "Who we really are department" - Today being the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the news media are filled with stories about that era, including one about Pvt Eddie Slovik, "The Last Soldier Executed for Desertion" that bears on this overall topic. In 1945 Slovik was apparently selected at random out of thousands of post-D-Day deserters to be shot as an example. Buried in the current article, though, is this little tidbit: "He was buried in a remote corner of a cemetery in France along with 95 other Americans soldiers who had been executed, these for rape or murder..." Fast forward to Iraq and Afghanistan, where such crimes are swept under the rug and quickly forgotten. Execute one of our brave Warriors today? Unthinkable! But this is all making me think back to conversations I had decades ago with the only 2 WW2 Army veterans I knew really well; both of them told me that their units had executed prisoners so that they wouldn't have to detail men to march them back to detention facilities. So that's my offering for the "who we really are department" - or rather "who we've allowed ourselves to become."

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Sean said...

I recently emerged from a depressed state. I didn't realize until I was almost out of it that the reason was really just the last part of a very long grieving cycle. I wasn't grieving for the loss of a loved one, but rather the whole civilization and culture.

The first stage in the grieving process is denial. When I began to realize that gov. persecution in an extreme sense was a very real possibility in the near future (read into that what you will), my initial reaction was intense recoil. I didn't want to believe it. I put these thoughts off for a bit, but slowly began to accept them. Next was a type of bargaining, where I took all sorts of steps to "prep" or insulate myself from those threats in any way I could think appropriate. This was not totally irrational, but it was rather frantic. The next step was anger, where I wrote a lot. I look back on it now, and those articles I wrote were temperate (as is my style) but underneath, there was a real anger. More recently, depression hit. I began to doubt my job, handling the pressures of life generally all alone. Only when I reached acceptance, that the culture and justice were dead, but I was not, and life goes on, did I start to realize the trip I had been on. It took probably 3 years to reach that point.

I'm still saddened by the loss of my illusions and I often relapse back to these steps in a smaller, less intense way, but at least intellectually, there has been progress made. I don't think there's any easy way to reason through these steps at a faster rate, and perhaps if I had other things to distract me, I wouldn't even have noticed. Isolation tends to force you to deal with these things in your psyche you might otherwise ignore.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sean-

There is, however, a cure: leave the country (the sooner the better). Start researching other places to live *today*.

mb

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Davey Croquet said...

Re: Sharing Economy

I've seen something strange happening. Instead of companies hiring full time employees, silicon valley is figuring out ways to have all employees be temporary and disposable, while they make millions (same pattern, new technology to hurry things along). No longer do you have to give someone full time work w/benefits.

Uber: anyone w/a car is now a lower paid taxi driver

Lasership: Amazon hires anyone w/a van to be a temporary delivery driver

Taskrabbit: people can post chores online, and you can make a few $ doing random errands for people

This is the replacement for full time steady, good work. It's all technology, temp jobs, and no stability or good pay in employment. This is part of the collapse. This kind of sharing economy BS can only go on for so long.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Hello everyone! Que pasa?

Frankistan-

The Diane Rehm Show had a pretty extensive program dealing with questions surrounding Bowe Bergdahl. You can access it here:

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2014-06-04/questions-about-return-army-sergeant-bowe-bergdahl

MB, steck-

Hmmm, the old you're a cynic argument. Well, accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it. Are you not just stating the facts, MB? Cynical is a word that people use to depict realistic people in a bad light...

MB-

Just for the record: I remember scribbling down my response to the Leichty study as, "pastrami and fresh half-dill pickles for all!"

Jeff

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Bingo,

I have no illusions on human nature. Nor do I buy into some progressive nobel savage idea of the less "civilized" being somehow more authentic. Have you missed the wars in central america? Rwanda? etc, etc, etc.

Genocide, war and violence are staples of human nature. Southern hemisphere better? I know it and the world likely better than most. I am a Mexican of Polish and Russian ancestry and was an Israeli solidier and a development economist with a PhD in the field who has worked in over 40 countries. I have a decent grasp of the world and human nature based on over 6 decades of engagement in the world. Do you think that Europeans are more retrograde than other peoples? The Europeans have despite their failings brought to human kind virtually every development and invention which has furthered humankind intellectually, physically and economically. Calculus, the novel, amonia synthesis which has enabled the doubling of human population, ad infintitum.. You have analyzed europe and the northern mind? Are you a sociologist/psychologist or economist. Have you really lived there and in what capacity. My insights to human nature are pretty darn good and I suspect based on the tone of your posts that this notion of yours stems from nothing more than some sort of personal animus against the nordics. What you cite as their racism is at core a facet of human nature-the progressives don;t like it but to a large extent people are tribal in nature. Much of americas troubles are due to their being no tribe and thus no real cohesion.

I would be delighted if you could provide a reference or a link to your assertions. Last I checked the Europeans (and they are humans and thus flawed) have on every empirical measure better well being than the rest of the world save perhaps for the Japanese. Again, what is your baseline or framework for evaluating the europeans? I see just assertions. I am of a european mind set and fairly enamoured of good rigorous analysis. When we make judgements we do so relative to some basis--an archtype or some platonic form. Why would one be better off in English speakingSouthern Hemisphere (Australia New Zealand?) or Spanish speaking (Argentina?) .Nigeria is Engiish speaking and in the Southern Hemisphere--its that a good place. Last I was there I saw three dead bodies lying on the side of the road on the ride from the airport to hotel in lagos. Do share Bingo, do share...

12:38 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Merry D-Day everyone:

I hate to tell you, Dr. B, but Conrad nailed that "hollow imperialist" in Heart of Darkness. Mind you, who reads Conrad anymore? Maybe the idea needs revisiting.

Nebris, did you ever consider why Iraq and Afghanistan are today "chaotic cesspools of tribal and ethic hatred and religious violence?" They hadn't been so until Zbiggy Brzezinski and George Bush decided that it would be in the best interest of the USA to meddle in their affairs.

As for Euro-racism, my French in-laws routinely make comments about Arabs when I'm around. When I say, "Hey! I'm right here!" they say something to the effect that I'm not Algerian or like those others. My mother-in-law even refuses to go into the Maghrebian section of the Saturday open-air market in her city. Tant pis, that's where all the cool stuff is.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Michael Sosebee said...

The other day I responded to Chris Hedges essay on Truth-dig "We All Must Become Zapatistas"

"Dear Mr Hedges, it might be time to give up hoping for American proles to do the right thing or follow a good example such as EZLN. Considering the limitless access to information in the digital age it would be reasonable to assume that Americans would be the most progressive and informed population on the planet. But as the late Joe Bageant pointed out from his self-imposed exile in Belize:

"The fatal assumption was that Americans would choose to think and learn, instead of cherry picking the blogs and TV channels to reinforce their particular branded choice of cultural ignorance, consumer, scientific or political, but especially political."

The US middle class has been a beneficiary of globalization in the form of cheap do-dads from wage slaves. American values can be defined as "Junk affluence": a large flatscreen TV, cheese doodles and a healthy stream of plastic refuse that makes it to the curb on Garbage day.

Maybe it's time to move to Mexico. Viva Zapatistas!"

I was advised by several to hasten my departure. But one comment mentioned Morris Berman by name as already taken that action.

"Go WAfers!" I responded,

That's my two comments. Hope all is well MB.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Michael-

Pls post only once every 24 hrs, thanks. Re: Chris: he's in an unhappy place, I think, in that his heart and head are going in different directions. Altho he's a 'progressive', he's simply too smart to believe the US can be changed, and indeed I've heard him say as much, admit to it, to at least two interviewers (one being me, in a conversation we had in Vancouver 2 yrs ago; available online). But his heart wants a positive outcome, so there he is, hoping against hope. The question is who he, or any other 'progressive', wd be saving. As you note, Americans live inside cheese doodles; in terms of thinking, most can do little more than grunt and drool. Most hate folks like Chris and myself; they hate people who know things, use big words, read bks. For them, intelligence = elitism. They'd string us up in a minute. And they are not at all interested in the freedoms Chris is fighting for (on their behalf). Rather, their main goal is to find a warm place to shit. Personally, by 2004 I had no heart-head conflict, and this is what made it easy for me to emigrate. The relief I felt as I crossed the border was immense, and now I have a life surrounded by people who are polite, gracious, and not aggressive; where I can think, read, get work done, and enjoy a decent life. I do feel I owe the US a lot, particularly because of the open door immigration policy down to 1924, which enabled my family on both sides to escape religious persecution in eastern Europe. And I spent years contributing to the culture, writing bks that I hoped wd improve it, and improve American lives. Of course, 99.9% of Americans weren't interested in this, but that's OK: my job was to give back to the society that gave me life, and I did that, imo. Now, I hope to publish my bk on Japan, quit writing forever, and run off to Pakistan and become a dervish.

al-

I read Conrad, and I don't remember him coming up w/that particular thesis. Nevertheless, I doubt it's unique to me. It just needs restating (probably several times a day).

Capo, Julian-

Gd discussion. You might wanna check out an essay I did in QOV entitled "Tribal Consciousness and Enlightenment Tradition."

Jeff-

It's important that the pickles be *half* dill. And how, I ask u, can someone who can find ecstasy in a lowly pickle be a cynic?

mb

2:30 PM  
OpenID dermotmoconnor said...

Regarding the difference between US and Vietnamese children, the documentary "Daughter from Danang" illustrates it perfectly. A vietnamese girl, adopted by Americans at the end of the war, is raised with US values. When she returns to be reunited with her real family, the results are heartbreaking, as the Americanised girl expects a me-me event. The family, being Vietnamese, expect her to help them. They are living in extreme poverty.

The Americanised girl is horrified, thinks she is being used/exploited (poor me, boo hoo), and leaves, never to see them again.

Which is a nice proof that we're dealing with culture, which trumps genetics in as little as 10 or 20 years.

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

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Jeff,

If I may quote the indispensable Ambrose Bierce from The Devil's Dictionary:

CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.

Let me also recommend Stanislaw Lem's The Futurological Congress, in which a profusion of drugs makes everyone believe they're living in a fantastic Utopia; when our protagonist Ijon Tichy finally takes something to counter the effect of the drugs, he sees the actual Hell in which everyone is living.

Does this sound familiar?

Meanwhile, another interesting study about the limitations of the digital world in education:

http://www.salon.com/2014/06/04/study_tip_dont_take_notes_with_a_laptop_partner/

3:58 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Regarding the "Sharing Economy," as raised by Davey Croquet.

A few weeks ago, listening to BBC in the early morning hours, I learned that there is such a thing as a "zero-hour contract." In this particular case, the discussion focused on the British labor/labour market, though it may be the case that the practice exists elsewhere.

Perhaps fellow WAFers might find this feature of the modern employment scene interesting and/or outrageous. Quoting from the Wikipedia entry:

"A zero-hour contract is a contract of employment used in the United Kingdom which contains provisions which create an "on call" arrangement between employer and employee. The employer asserts that they have no obligation to provide work for the employee.[1] The employee agrees to be available for work as and when required, so that no particular number of hours or times of work are specified.[2] The employee is expected to be on call and receives compensation only for hours worked.[3][4][5] Zero-hour contracts may be ideal for some people such as retirees and students who want occasional earnings and are able to be entirely flexible about when they work,[6] but people in the general working population, including those with mortgages and responsibility for supporting a family, run the risk of unpredictable hours and earnings."

Modern capitalism and its handmaiden globalization?

[MB]

"Rather, their main goal is to find a warm place to shit"

Shades of the late Earl Lauer Butz, no?

4:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

Yes, I was quoting the esteemed Mr. Butz, tho his quote was directed against blacks. Not his finest hour. Exact quote: "All they want is loose shoes, a tight cunt, and a warm place to shit." I never understood the reference to shoes, and why a woman might be interested in a tight cunt, I have no idea. Maybe Earl thought all black people were male, I dunno. As far as warm place to shit, why he didn't extend this to all Americans I also never understood. Anyway, one of the great douche bags of American history, no doubt.

mb

4:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Tim-

This is actually a variant on an old Sufi tale, wh/Doris Lessing also used in "Briefing for a Descent into Hell." I tell u, I'm running off to Pakistan to join some Sufi cult and become a dervish. Just let me get this Japan bk published, and my bags are packed...

mb

4:41 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

Update from the Church of What's Haepnning Now"....

http://news.yahoo.com/4-10-americans-believe-god-created-earth-10-122212736.html

Hallelujah... all of them dinosaurs too...

4:59 PM  
Blogger Nebris said...

al-Qa'bong said..."Nebris, did you ever consider why Iraq and Afghanistan are today "chaotic cesspools of tribal and ethic hatred and religious violence?" They hadn't been so until Zbiggy Brzezinski and George Bush decided that it would be in the best interest of the USA to meddle in their affairs."

It seems, like most Americans, that your knowledge of history is determined almost entirely by Mass Media and is therefore largely wrong.

RE Afghanistan; I suggest you learn what really happened there from the formidable Adam Curtis. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/legacy/adamcurtis/2009/09/kabul_city_number_one.html

RE Iraq; it has never been a nation in any sense of the word. It was slapped together by the British Empire post WW1 out of disparate parts of the Ottoman Empire and held together by brute force ever since, first by the British, then by various kings and tyrants, Saddam being only the last and arguably most effective. It is now breaking up into its organic constituent parts.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Another "Lone, Insane" Person Dept.:

http://us.cnn.com/2014/06/06/justice/georgia-courthouse-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

8:04 PM  
Anonymous JM said...

Haven't posted here in ages but this blog immediately popped into my head when I saw this:

http://tinyurl.com/mdx52j7

Ah, life in the good old USA...

8:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

JM-

I think someone posted this a while back, but it was great 2c it again. You just don' wanna get between some people and their McNuggets (cf. Latreasa Goodman, a hero of mine). Then earlier this wk, we had the case of the kid who murdered his parents because they took away his iPod: What were they thinking?

http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/2014/06/02/teen-killed-parents-for-taking-away-his-ipod

These are true Americans. Their lives revolve around McNuggets and iPods. I love these folks, really; salt o' the earth.

mb

ps: Lorenzo Riggins in 2016!

8:33 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

“so we fuck over other countries that have genuine spiritual content”

Dr. B. - Both lists are long, which countries did you mean?

All we need now is a list of countries ranked by genuine spiritual content, and America’s next victim is revealed!

11:56 PM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. MB and fellow WAFers:

Today, I bring to your consideration Mitch Snyder's Economic Collapse blog : http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
which in today's edition titled "Greed Is Good? Where Will America’s Sick Obsession With Wealth And Money End?" he rather nails it precisely.
Quoting :"....we have taught entire generations of Americans that becoming wealthy is one of the primary goals in life, it is creating a tremendous amount of envy, jealousy, frustration and anger among those that have not been able to become wealthy."...."If greed was going to save the world, it would have done it by now."

Ah... the refreshing brace of realism!

5:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Trout-

Not *one* of the primary goals; *the* primary goal. Honestly, when you realize that the country is basically a large collection of turkeys, more sophisticated political analysis becomes much less impt. Listening to Americans gobble is one of the most eye-opening experiences anyone can have.

mb

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

This just in from the Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/local/wp/2014/06/05/vultures-an-inside-the-beltway-joke/

Who says that Nature (and Nature's God) has no sense of humor?

"And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great." Rev. 19:17, 18.

It was well known to ancient historians, that natural disasters and omens often precede the fall of empires.

I have always understood the Book of Revelations in a Jungian, archetypal sense. This is not necessarily the end of THE world, but it is certainly the end of A world!

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Capo,

Personally, I thought Australia, Singapore, Uruguay are not too bad – just personal opinion. Re. Europe, what kind of future an undemocratic, fascist union ran by Goldman Sachs technocrats and NATO thugs could possibly hold? We see the results across the continent already.

You asked, “Are you a sociologist/psychologist or economist?” I don’t go around waving my degrees, but yes, I am a psychologist with a PhD from a US university and clinical training in the British/American psychoanalytic tradition. I worked in many settings in the US, including prisons, hospitals, etc., so I’ve seen the worst of the US fascist system, which is why I left the US. I also taught psychology and sociology at 5 American universities.

Re. my analysis of Northern Europeans, some agree with my assessments, some don’t. Whatever. I don’t take it personally. But I warn you, most Western Europeans behave just like American progressives: they get nasty when you point out their flaws. Some even react with full-blown narcissistic rage, just like the Americans. There seems to be an incurable pandemic of “Americanism” sweeping across Western Europe these days. Very sad.

Re. the benefits of “progress”. Personally, I like the iPad best... the implantable version... :)
Prior to becoming a psychologist, I was a pretty hard core software engineer. Today, I think computers and gadgets in general have greatly harmed this generation. But I agree, some of this “progress” has been very useful. Advances in medicine, for example. Without that, there would be no Bingo writing here today. Imagine that!...

Bottom line, I don’t disagree with what you wrote. Humans are rotten across the globe. But I despise hypocrisy and demagoguery. I don’t see Mexicans, Nigerians, Poles, Iranians, etc., strutting around on CNN, BBC, or at the UN claiming to be paragons of virtue for the world to emulate, looking down with contempt on everybody else. However, I do see lots and lots of corrupt Western Europeans empty suits do that daily, and it’s becoming pretty damn annoying, if you ask me. Do you at least agree with this?

al-Qa'bong,

I feel your pain, my friend. Every time I drive through France, I take the shortest route. Usually, if I fill up my gas tank in Italy, I can drive straight through to Spain without stopping. See previous paragraph for an astute account of the hypocrisy and demagoguery characteristic of Western Europeans in general and the French in particular. :)

7:48 AM  
Blogger jml said...

i'm surprised no one here has yet mentioned sarah palin's profound words regarding the release of bowe bergdahl:

“Sympathizers now tell the media Bergdahl can't be held to account anytime soon because he can't be interviewed ... claiming he's forgotten how to speak English. Really?” Palin asked in a Facebook post Wednesday. “Then # Call 1-800-RosettaStone.”

“Does anyone remember abused POWs like John McCain, Tom Moe, James Stockdale, Tom Kirk, and other American troops forgetting the English language during their years and years of brutal, inhumane captivity?” the former Republican vice presidential candidate continued. “Seems these war heroes returned to their beloved country not speaking Vietnamese, but speaking KickAss against those who would destroy the red, white, and blue.”

that this woman was a candidate for v.p. should make all of us be looking for ways to emigrate.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Hi All,
Speaking of "empty American", I am reminded of a short story, nineteenth century American, that I read long ago whose author I can't recall. It involved, I think, a newlywed couple on their wedding night, although the details in my mind are vague. They begin to disrobe and as they do they remove various prosthetics (wigs, teeth, arms, possibly even eyes, but I'm not sure. Eventually it is revealed that there's really no real living being, just an assemblage of lifeless parts. I want to say Poe was the author, it certainly seems like something he would write. It seems an appropriate metaphor for the American "soul" and technophilia in general.
Can anyone name the story?

10:24 AM  
Blogger Michael Sosebee said...

Someone once said that "the truth will set you free". I don't believe that. It won't even make you popular.
As Howard Zinn pointed out in "The People's History Of The United States" White Europeans arrived here 500 years ago and discovered millions of indigenous peoples already living here. The first project was to exterminate them which we did methodically and with great zeal. The acts were so vile we needed a moral cover which Christianity gave us. The Catholic Church, by no means a liberal organization, became an agent of and beneficiary of imperialism. As a result, today the Vatican in Rome is perhaps the wealthiest and surely the most evil organization on Earth.

Once the land was cleared of indigenous we needed to get busy with the project of private wealth so indentured servitude and later black slavery was imported. A culture of unbridled greed by a wealthy minority grew like a cancer and by the time of the Emancipation Proclamation the largest source of wealth in the country was not real estate but black slaves. Post-Civil War reparations were paid to the white slave owners who had lost a large source of their wealth and privilege. After a brief period of Reconstruction, freedom was rolled back for black people with Jim Crow, separate but equal, red-lining by the FHA, predatory loans, contract mortgages and other sundry con-games to cheat poor blacks. There were a few blacks that were co-opted into the system also known as Uncle Toms or house slaves. As Malcolm X said "The house slaves loved their masters more than the masters loved themselves." The house slaves reassured the field slaves that they could achieve wealth if only they "applied themselves". (see Dr. Bill Cosby)

That illusion evaporated after the crash of 08' and all of that notional wealth that poor blacks had gained was stolen back and returned to the predatory bankers with bailouts under the cover of a black President. Today the fantasy of "reform" is again being sold to a naive and childish population kept ignorant by a compliant media and sugary soft-drinks.

There is now a debate over JFK and if he had lived would he have done the right thing. "Man they killed him because he was going to end the war...you're so negative dude!"

Fuck that!

Let's face it, America is a failed experiment. Any love for Kennedy and his ilk is misplaced. We all suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. We sympathize with our oppressors.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Dear Wafers and Dr. Belman:

I didn't mean to intimate that you hadn't read Conrad, Dr. B.; sorry if my comment came across that way.

It seems, like most Americans, that your knowledge of history is determined almost entirely by Mass Media and is therefore largely wrong.

For one thing, Nebris, your description of ethnic relations in the Levant and Central Asia is basically mainstream media/US propaganda boilerplate, and for another, did you actually read that blog you posted?

The western-funded educational institutions, the "seedbeds for western ideas," as described by Curtis, played a significant role in Afghanistan's troubles. He suggests they were a catalyst.

Nevertheless, an expatriate Afghani once told me how happy
he was to be sitting next to women in miniskirts in Kabul University classrooms in the 1970s. He said everything was fine in his homeland until the Soviet invasion. As for their "ethnic and tribal hatred," the Afghan immigrant family I volunteered to sponsor when they moved here in 2001 had a Dari father and a Pashtun mother. They seemed to get along just fine, and their kids were always laughing.

And yes, Iraq was cleaved from other Arab provinces (Kuwait, anyone?) by the perfidious English following The Great War, but it was hardly the racist cesspool you try to make it out to be. For example, before the US invasion of 2003, Shia and Sunni households lived in the same neighbourhoods and *gasp* intermarried. Today they have been separated as a deliberate "divide and rule" tactic by the invader.

I recommend David Fromkin's The Peace to End All Peace if you're interested in the post-Great War diplomacy that created the modern Middle East.

And finally, neither do I read mass media, nor am I an American.

O&D

11:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

No offense taken, actually; not everyone has read Conrad, and it ain't no badge of shame. I shd, however, probably publicly confess that I never read "Ulysses" nor "War and Peace." (That might be shameful, I dunno.)

mb

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Capo REgime said...

Bingo,

Indeed the posturing of the western european states is very idiotic. Similarly, they are following the U.S. in the economic fleecing of the public. The wester europeans since after world war 2 despite having achieved remarkable economic and social progress were and remain vassals (though France less so) of the united states--as shown by Ukraine events. I think what is most vexing (and dangerous) is the sancitimony of the U.S. and to a lesser extent the europeans. Unlike other cultures , the western mind has a need to believe something--usually abstract and self serving. Unliek other peoples the eurpeans and americans tend to construct vast ideological doctrines with the purpose of constructing a utopia and this always goes amiss and leads to the inevitable war, genocide and so forth.

Nowadays there is a sort of ill defined neo-liberal, multi-cultl, corporate technology and progress (its always progess that is a instigator) cult which is what is now consuming the world and posses great danger ( those droned and the millions displaced and murdered are among its victims). What sort of myth structure and identity can a person now form in the present shape of the U.S. and EU? Is Tom Friedman or Bill Gages or Kim K or Ovomit which are the guides to what is the core of an American?

Indeed one of may favorite things about Mexicans is a deeply engrained tendency to mind their own business, this is true of the Nigerians as well.

The sanctimony along with the emptiness and violence of the american state are indeed a toxic brew. It is indeed a sick place. I would not characterize it as Fascist or Racist as those are not accurate descriptors. Its something else entirely and more profoundly evil actually.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

I know, I know, this doesn't come as news to anyone here:

http://www.alternet.org/education/results-are-america-dumb-and-road-getting-dumber?akid=11892.241474.mpqDVS&rd=1&src=newsletter1000331&t=3

Michael Sosebee,

I agree, Americans desperately want to believe in "If only ..." rather than look harsh reality in the eye. And I get that feeling myself sometimes -- I just don't yield to it. It's fascinating & horrifying at the same to watch people contort their brains into impossible shapes, in order to gloss over or justify what they know at some deeper level to be the truth.

That's part of the reason for America's existential strain, I think. A great many people do know at some subconscious level that they're living in an increasingly threadbare illusion. And I think many are even aware (again, subconsciously) that they're using most of their energy to maintain that illusion.

As R. D. Laing once put it:

They are playing a game. They are playing at not
playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I
shall break the rules and they will punish me.
I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.

And that's just what they're doing, ably aided by this culture's plentiful distractions.

While all the time it's eating away at them from inside.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Mark Fuller Dillon said...

in.fern.all --

One possible source of this remembered story could be Edgar Allan Poe's "The Man That Was Used Up."

1:09 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Michael Sosebee-

Indeed, America is a failed experiment. Wafers are the only people on the planet that do *not* suffer from Stockholm Syndrome; we delight in Lorenzo Syndrome and the effervescence of an occasional Cel-Ray tonic. In terms of the *evil* of Catholic Church, what about Pope John XXII, Angelo Roncalli? This guy was one righteous dude, a mensch, and il Papa buono.

jml-

Many thanks for the update on our Sarah. Jesus, I can't believe I missed it! Come to think of it, I kinda miss Sarah. I wuv her so and want her to have 10,000 of my babies. Sorry MB...

Jeff

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Ariel Ballesteros said...

Just a couple of comments:
Just started rdng. a book by Greg Grandin, "The empire of necessity". I think some of the issues talked abt. here are well covered. It illustrates the "human and civilized character of europeans and their descents" beautifully.
And then a personal cofession: never much feel inclined to visit Europe and take pictures of the beautiful buildings there. Behind almost each one of them, there is a story of agricultural, mine, slave, cattle exploitation down south. A ruthless exploitation I shall say.
Good weekend to all of you Wafers and Dr. Berman! Salud y larga vida!!

2:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Thank you all for yr interesting contributions. Impt note: someone addressed a post to Bingo, and I accidentally deleted it, being heavily technologically challenged. 1000 apologies. Whoever u.r., pls re-send. Again, sorry.

Ariel-

Check out Steven Hill, "Europe's Promise."

Jeff-

I loved Angelo, truth be told. As for Sarah: not to worry: she probably has enuf eggs for us all.

mb

2:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: It was Capo; I found the post somewhere else, then tried to post it, but it didn't seem to take. Let's face it, I'm a dunce.

mb

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Wafers,

Isn’t it amazing how you can have such a sharp disagreement in which so much of what is said on both sides seems to be essentially correct.

I’ve worked with Europeans in both Africa and the Middle East, and observed a sub-species of European tourists on the beaches of India, and a lot of what Julian says about Western Europe rings true. An overwhelming fact of the last 500 years is that Western Europeans have fanned out over the globe committing every imaginable evil. Also, with racist and fascist parties gaining strength all over Europe, it doesn’t look as though the leopard has changed its spots as much as we’ve been led to believe.

On the other hand I have great admiration for huge chunks of European civilization and culture, especially the parts that American conquerors left behind when they came over here to rape the Americas, so I agree with much of what Capo has to say too. He’s also right that there are problems everywhere. Of course a lot of the problems being experienced around the world have been caused by European and American imperialism – but that probably means other places have been deprived of the opportunity to develop their own troubles.

It’s also probably true that anything new and better is more likely to develop on the periphery rather than at the center of a dying empire, but where Wafers choose to make their escape could vary a lot. If you’re as old as I am, and looking for a pleasant place to watch the sun set, then Europe or a country right next to the US might be fine. If you’re going to raise children there, then you need to do some guesswork about the longer term future.

John Gray has expressed pessimism about the prospects for the EU, or at least the Euro. Check out what he has said at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yNHzUl5184

David Rosen

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Excellent interview here with Greg Grandin on "The Empire of Necessity." The book looks at the historical event that inspired Melville's "Benito Cereno."

It seems one should read a bit of Melville daily....

http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/audio-video/lq-podcast-58-greg-grandin.php

5:46 PM  
Anonymous dkhinkle said...

You said the "s" word -- "spiritual". I find that it's almost a dirty word in the US. A few years ago at a Toastmasters meeting, one of the members gave a speech about yoga. (She was in the process of opening a new yoga studio.) She went on and on about the benefits of yoga on the body and mind, but she never once mentioned the spirit. I know next to nothing about yoga, but Yogananda's excellent book "Autobiography of a Yogi" seemed to indicate that yoga's primary purpose was as a method for spiritual advancement... (He also told many delightful stories in that book!)

Switching gears a bit, a number of us colleagues (at a high-tech company) were sitting around the lunch table, and for some reason I made the comment that "More technological advancement is not the solution to our problems. We already have all the technology that we need to feed, house, clothe, and generally enable everyone on the planet. What we need is more spiritual advancement." Everyone at the table had a "deer in headlights" look, and then a derisive look, and I felt very lonely... (Fortunately my wife understands this; indeed, it was she who taught it to me several years prior.)

6:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dk-

Some yrs ago I suggested that all Wafers put up a post-in on their bathrm mirrors, with the legend I LIVE AMONG DOLTS printed on it in block capitals. It might be the rt time 4u 2 do this as well.

Isn't the purpose of yoga to reduce the size of one's thighs?

mb

7:43 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

The purpose of yoga is to make money, because the purpose of everything is to make money. - Swami Americanus

But seriously, how do ya like that term Americans have now? "Monetize." It means turning everything into a business. Like to play softball with friends on the weekend? Gotta monetize it - promote yr team, sell tickets, get up a statewide league, make money off it, be a serious business. That's imperative, unless you want to be some kind of loser. (Play softball because you like it? What's that about?) Like to drink a beer of an evening? Gotta monetize it - buy a stake in a microbrewery, write beer reviews and sell them. Like to screw? Get a webcam and make sure your site accepts all major credit cards.

Like to read? You're nothing unless you get up a reading competition. A reading event, with prizes to whoever speed-reads the fastest. Who would be our sponsors? Maybe we can partner with the Chamber and the local car dealership and... you get the sorry picture. It's all abt competion & business. Americans literally don't know any other way to think, act.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Go said...

After reading some of your older blog posts, I decided to learn to play Go.

I went to a local Go club meeting, and a player at a high level was very helpful and patient w/teaching me basic strategy. I was amazed that before playing the game, he explained the respect between players and culture/mindset behind the game. This is very different than my experience w/any other game I've been introduced to before.

It's fascinating that the game has about 0 popularity in the US, but is wildly popular in Japan, China, and Korea.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Go-

You go, girl! Check out Kawabata's great novel, "The Master of Go" (based on a real championship match, in wh/Minoru Kitani emerged as the new champ, wh/in the novel was a metaphor for the rise of the "new" Japan). Go has many levels, and Japanese philosophy permeates all of them. Also note that you can buy very gd instructional bks (on joseki, e.g.) from the Ishi Press.

Sanc-

I guess we shd all take a moment to reflect on the fact that Kim monetized her ass.

There really isn't enough urine in the US to hose down 317 million pairs of shoes. However, it's clear to me now that after I publish my Japan bk and run off to Lahore and become a dervish, I'm going to monetize Sufism. I'm going to promote contests and competitions for the best dervishes (highest # of rpm's), and offer prizes like trips to Bermuda (or perhaps Cleveland). Ultimately, I intend to monetize all of Pakistan. What a concept!

mb

11:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Unknown-

I don't post Unknowns or Anons; you need a real handle. For example, Cranston Butterworth III; Hans Schmaltzkopf, M.D.; or Sauteed Camel Brains are all gd possibilities. Pls pick one and re-send yr message, thanks.

mb

5:54 AM  
Anonymous andrew jones said...

Father of released POW in Afghanistan has said about the war and Gitmo, "I think this is the darkening of the American soul"

And now the latest news: "US authorities are investigating death threats sent to the parents of Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier released by the Taliban last week after five years in captivity."

About the father: “Bob almost reads and thinks too much,” said Lee Ann Ferris, a neighbour. “You'd ask him a question and, whoah, what an answer you'd get.”

I'm not surprised the guy lives an isolated life in rural Idaho. Maybe he's trying to get away from American stupidity.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/08/bowe-bergdahl-parents-death-threats

7:36 AM  
Blogger Metagnathous said...

Death threats are as American as apple pie, baseball and lotto tickets. More so, really, as threats of all kinds underlie so much of day-to-day experience here. Americans buy what they can, kill what they can't buy and cage the rest.

The sickness runs so deep here that it's an accomplishment simply to retain a little sanity.

Idiots I could handle if only they weren't so mean-spirited.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Hola Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

I viewed your recommended film, "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," last night. A great film; two very big thumbs-up! I particularly liked the lunch scene with the book publisher who was gonna be liquidated when he said to Changez, "When you determine where you stand, the color will return to your world." Many thanks for the recommendation.

Jeff

ps: You should change your name to Abu Belman and move to Pakistan. The Pakistani people would appreciate your poetry.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Of possible interest to the WAFer community, from today's Truthout:

http://truth-out.org/news/item/24121-the-specter-of-authoritarianism-and-the-future-of-the-left-an-interview-with-henry-a-giroux

3:58 PM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

Empty. EXACTLY correct. And not in a Buddhist sort of way, either.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

JML,

I also miss Sarah’s great wisdom and insight, so I am glad to hear she chimed in on the Bergdahl issue.
I wonder what Michelle Bachmann thinks about that. USA!


Dovidel,

Personally, I do worry about Europe, now that I am here. But, as Capo pointed out, there is no perfect place, and one can do much worse than this. And, lifestyle here does make up for a lot of evils, especially if you don’t depend on a local source of income. These days, a nice cortado at the café by the sea can go a long way in uplifting one’s spirits for the rest of the day. Not to mention that here I don’t have to worry about things like this:

“Three killed, suspects commit suicide after Las Vegas Walmart shooting spree”:

http://rt.com/usa/164636-las-vegas-shooting-walmart/

5:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Julian-

You beat me to it. I was just abt to post the link re: the Las Vegas killings under the heading: "Yawn: So What Else Is New?" We're now doing abt one of these a day, with the media still telling us that the shooter was a loner, psychotic, etc.--nothing to do with the nature of American culture, of course. I can't help wondering where tomorrow's killing will take place, and then Tuesday's, and then...

mb

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Abu Bin Bagel said...

We desperately need a version of Counting Blessings in Aramaic....

Next, pastrami gatherings for all to harken to the smell as well as the sound.

We could save the Middle East for the least

ABB

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

The title of this post reminds me of something I read in Al Gore's book "The Assault on Reason".

He described the amount of time that the average American spends watching television each day. It totaled about 13 years in a lifetime. The telling part of what he had to say was the stunted interaction traits that people learn from so much television time.

See most people can shout at the television, yelling or commenting on what they are viewing without consequence because, of course, the screen can't talk back. So the target of such venom is really nothing more than an object. After a while this is how Americans learn to interact with their environment. People talk about you when you are standing right there to hear it all. Telephone talking in public that is outright rude and obnoxious. Let's not forget the way people talk to one another in public if they even take the time away from their portable screen to talk at all.

Chris Hedges talked about the screen culture in "Empire of Illusion". MB, you talked about it in Grand Rapids. The remark that the technology was "colonizing their minds" was spot on.

I fear that some time in the not too distant future that Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 will come to fruition.

Peace,
Vince

9:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ABB-

That's one of my favorite poems, actually (Leigh Hunt).

Abou ben Bagel
(May his tribe increase!)...

mb

10:04 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Mark Fuller Dillon,
I read a wiki synopsis of "The Man That Was Used Up" and I think you might be right. At the end of the article was a reference to a poem by Jonathan Swift,"A Beautiful Nymph Goes to Bed", deconstructing the tricks of illusion employed by a poor disease ravaged prostitute to make herself sexually appetizing. It's possible I might have read a reference to the latter in an article about the former, thus conflating the two.
The wiki article says that the Poe story was a satire and commentary on several fronts: on military culture, on concepts of masculinity, on race relations, and on technology. Regarding the last, Poe's feeling was that the more we supplant ourselves with machinery the more empty we become. It's definitely worth rereading.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Salaam, Wafniks;

I don't know from Pakistan, but I believe " Abu Belman" would mean "father of Belman" in Arabic.

Come to think of it, that could work. Forget whirling, Belamn could unite East and West by performing hillbilly/klezmer music in Pakistan. I see a number one hit with "I'm My Own Zayde."

Rootie tootie.

11:32 PM  
Blogger John Richardson said...

Re Vince

"I fear that some time in the not too distant future that Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 will come to fruition."

Why bother burning all that fuel to burn the books? Just eliminate the desire to read.

4:33 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

Speaking of the dirty "s" word, does anyone have any thoughts on Bill Plotkin's work? I'm a quarter of the way through his book Soulcraft and have been enjoying it a great deal. However, while what he says makes a lot of sense to me, I'm worried it might be at least partially New Age bullshit. I'm a spiritual novice, but did recently decide to start going to the Yoga studio down the street. Now that I know it'll enhance my thighs, which I've always been self-conscious about, I will be going asap. To hell with my soul.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers from Gunfighter Nation,

MB, Wafers-

Meet Jerad and Amanda Miller:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2014/jun/09/look/

Sure, it may be obvious that Jerad and Amanda were two deeply disturbed individuals, but we cannot ignore the fact that they were also *products* of American culture.

In 1923, D.H. Lawrence accurately stated: "The essential American soul is hard, stoic, and a killer. It has never melted." Jesus, that was back when the place might have had a teensy-weensy soul.

Jeff

8:15 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Jeff T,
Regarding the D.H. Lawrence quote, you might be interested in a book by David Hackett-Fischer titled, "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America". In it he describes the ways and essential characters of the Puritans(from East Anglia), the Virginians(gentry and indentured servants from the south and west of England), the Scots-Irish (north borderlands and northern Ireland), and the Quakers (north midlands). In various ways the first three could be said to fit Lawrence's quote with the last group being the cultural losers. I can't help but wonder how our country might have turned out had we adopted more Quaker values.

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MB,

A little quite on the wafer front.

Back to emptiness... In a way americans are not so much empty as full of nonsense and lies. The information (such as it is) that form the world view of americans comes from public schools, television and political speeches and talking points. Have to give credit to the imfamous Edward Bernays for contriving the means to fill people with nothing but a yearning to fill material satisfaction and seek "happiness". Bernays uncle, Sigmund Freud was a more decent source (sadly Bernays popularized rudimentary and de contextualized Freudian notions). Freud did not view pursuit of happiness as healthy for a number of reasons too many and lengthy to post here. He was an advocate of living and that in fact life should be taken as an interesting experience that would unfold in its own way. Pursuing happiness was to him a fools errand. Also the american pursuit of utopia, the idea of perfectibility of man as well as focusing on solving the insoluable are problematic. As we can see when people witness the underlying chaos of life they go bananas and kill people--disapointed that their utopia did not arrive--whether its good insurance, a good job, right to cross dress at work or taking dog to work people take it hard when their little utopia via their sense of entitlement fails to show up as promised. both Heinlein and Phillip K Dich in the Sci Fic genre had insights on this--as well as Norman Cohn and John Gray A year or two living in Guatemala or Ivory coast or a public housing project in baltimore may be the corrective for some. Oh and reading 50 good books as Mencken said with an appetite for life is a bare minimum.....

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Speaking of England, here's a charming story:

http://news.yahoo.com/sidewalk-spikes-outside-luxury-building-irritate-londons-mayor-200807912--abc-news-topstories.html

Needless to say, the comments are illuminating ... in the way that pulling up a rock & looking underneath is illuminating.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Capt. Spaulding said...

You asked where Tuesday's shooting would take place: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/06/10/1305826/--Active-shooter-reported-at-Portland-Oregon-high-school?detail=facebook

O&D,

The Capt.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Wafers & MB:

I hate to be the bearer of bad news once again, but here it is:

“Police report shooting at high school in Troutdale, Oregon”:

http://rt.com/usa/165120-troutdale-high-school-shooting/

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Holzwege said...

Breaking news for American Shootings Tracker:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 by Common Dreams

School Shooting in Oregon Now Under Control

********

Re. Amanda and Jerad Miller, our comics cop killers of this past Sunday:

Monday, June 9, 2014 by Common Dreams

Vegas Cop Killers Awash in Anti-Government, Rightwing Conspiracy

Local reporting: After fatally shooting two police officers, assailants placed 'Don't Tread On Me' flags over bodies

12:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Thank u all for latest news on some shooting somewhere. Where will Thursday's massacre occur? Rapid City? Ft. Lauderdale? Who knows? And all of these killers are 'loners', 'insane', etc. Yeah, right. Nothing to do w/the culture at all.

But it's still small beer. We need to move toward a situation in wh/every single American, aged 2-92, is fully armed, and snuffs at least 10 people a day. This slow-motion suicide is really a tad boring at this pt. We killed 3 million in Vietnam; is our present situation known as karma?
When you add in Guatemala, Iran, Chile, Iraq...(long list), it begins to seem just a bit karmic: the Death Machine itself finally dies.

Meanwhile, since Americans are not very bright, after each (nearly daily) event they wring their hands, say "Oh, how awful!", and never, ever connect the dots.

mb

1:40 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

atearinrain
I haven't read any of Bill Plotkin's work, however I went to Amazon to look at “Soulcraft,” and do have some experience with “spirituality.”
Back in 1997 I, too, was a spiritual virgin…totally clueless. Then I hooked up with a guru from India and immersed myself in the “spiritual world.” It was the happiest time of my life, and it forever changed me for the better.
However, I’m now 68 with over 15 years experience, and must say that I’m very wary about what’s out there. Spirituality is a multibillion-dollar industry and none of the books I’ve read have delivered as promised. I’ve concluded that much of the spiritual industry is just another layer of containment, another way to keep people narcotized.
From experience I can categorically state two things: One is that we are not who and what we think we are. And, two, is that our so-called reality is nothing more than an out-picturing that results from a combination of how our senses decode the primordial soup in which we’re embedded, and our conditioning. No two people live in the same world, but rather in a vague consensus reality. The old Chinese proverb holds true: “The Tao that can be spoken of is not the Tao.” This of course includes my previous categorical statements.
Two books I would recommend for the “spiritual novice” are: “Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing,” by Jed McKenna, and “Ask the Awakened,“ a real mind bender by Wei Wu Wei. It was Jed who articulated one of my guiding principles: “People don’t like to have their version of reality fucked with.” It’s taped on my mirror along with “I live among dolts.”
Good luck with your thighs, but personally I think you should just let them be.
Dear Morris: I hope I’ve stayed within the page limit.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sar-

Yes, thanks. Keep in mind that in the US, 99.9% of those peddling spiritual advice are snake oil salesmen.

mb

2:43 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Good day Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

You know, if only 90,000 dedicated Americans whacked 10 people per day, it would all be over in less than a year. Who knew it could be this simple, no?

in fern-

Yes, very interested. Thanks for the book suggestion.

Jeff

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

The perfect solution, with a possible discount for larger school districts... http://kfor.com/2014/05/29/security-blanket-unique-fabric-designed-to-protect-kids-in-class-from-bullets-debris/

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Shooting sprees are for amateurs! Real pros dismember the victim, and for bonus points eat them as well. Clearly we live in an era of declining standards when the spree killers outnumber the cannibals.

USA Today: Man dismembered, ate woman's body

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man has been charged with dismembering the body of a woman and eating part of her corpse, officials said Tuesday.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Here's my analysis of the situation, in a nutshell.

For a large variety of reasons, Americans hate themselves. Deep down, they believe they are unlovable. But this info is very painful to let in, because once acknowledged, where do you go from there? So as a result, they project the problem outward. It starts w/our foreign policy--Kill Anything That Moves, as Nick Turse says--and then finally, we start to devour ourselves. Multiple daily shootings can hardly be an accident, the product of the same goddamn 'loner' or 'nutjob', over and over again. No, this is a sociological problem. Take that individual unlovability and multiply it by 317 million, and what do you think is gonna happen? Those 317 m. are hardly going to examine the inner pain, the state of their souls. Forget that, muchacho. They are going to try to find an external target for it, which is what's going on now. This is the end-game of late-capitalism. If the 317 m. cd connect the dots, we'd be moving in a very different direction; but that ain't gonna happen. Things are getting increasingly dark: external enemies no longer suffice, so now we hafta kill each other off.

In a way, that's what I keep telling the trollfoons, who are a microcosm of this syndrome. They don't really hate me; that's an illusion. They hate themselves, and so their psychic radar goes in search of a target so that they don't hafta look inside. Most of them (not all, sad to say) find another blog, another target, and so the game goes on; there's no connecting the dots for them. I tell them: The best revenge is living well; why not learn French, or take up cross-country skiing, instead of sitting there steeped in rage and resentment? In that sense, of being brick walls, they are continuous w/the rest of the population. And (speaking w/some actual compassion now), this is a very sad population. Really, it's a shitty fate, to feel unlovable deep down, repress the awareness of it, and then think the enemy is Berman, or the commies, or the Ay-rabs. Only divine intervention can save us now, and I personally don't believe in miracles.

C'est la vie; the charade goes on.

mb

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

DR. B, I`m un-persuaded that most Americans have a "deep-down" in which to loathe themselves.
These school and mall shootings do, however, seem to have something else in common: initial reports of at least one other shooter who disappears hours later from the official story.
You don`t have to be clinically paranoid to suspect that these are false flag operations to justify the growing militarization of local police departments as reported by the NYT the other day.
Sure, the culture is inhuman but most now alive were raised in it and cannot imagine anything better. Their sub-conscious isn`t rebelling; they`re being used like black and Muslim kids to create mayhem and convince the rest of us that we need more "protection" and surveillance.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

"I tell them: The best revenge is living well; why not learn French, or take up cross-country skiing, instead of sitting there steeped in rage and resentment?"

Wait a minute, you're really right. Why am I trying to convince fools who don't want to listen? I've been trying to do this. I need to enjoy myself at Canter's Deli.

I got to get out more. Wow! I wonder if camping would be fun just to enjoy the sounds of crickets.

Dr B, how in the heck have you been?

Where's Shep at? Maybe he and I can do a road trip.

7:29 PM  
Anonymous on paper said...

I'm reading the book "On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History" by Nicholas A. Basbanes. I was surprised to learn that the Japanese did not have plate glass windows until the 20th century. A side effect of this was that during the bombing of Tokyo, the houses w/paper windows were able to burn and kill quickly.

About 100,000 were burned alive in 2 days.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

MB - Just finished a book called The Nazi and the Psychiatrist (okay book, not a recommended read for fellow WAFers), which focuses on Douglas Kelley, the army psychiatrist who did examinations on Herman Goering and other top Nazis at Nuremberg. When he returned to America in 1946, Kelley became obsessed with the idea that a Nazi-like regime could someday take power here. What stunned me was this quote from Kelley:

"The average emotional age of the American people is appallingly low. I hate to say it--I'm almost afraid to admit it--that everything we know seems to indicate that the average emotional age of a great number of Americans lies somewhere between 5 and 7 years."

Kelley was saying this the very year after "The Greatest Generation (gag)" defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, supposedly the high water mark of American greatness and exceptionalism. So maybe we haven't fallen as a nation, but instead never really rose in the first place.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Blair-

Sorry, I can't recall a single shooting in wh/someone subsequently disappeared from the official story. This is not being rigged, imo; these are just miserable people acting out. As far as depth and the American unconscious, however: hell, u cd be rt. Even more depressing than my version.

cube-

Don't use yr words on these folks; use yr urine (aimed at shoes). As for me, I've felt pretty awful ever since the shepster departed. I cry myself to sleep every nite.

Sav-

Raw, or cooked? Raw is really disgusting.

mb

10:10 PM  
Blogger Nebris said...

"Fascism is the most natural form of government." ~Norman Mailer, on the eve of the second invasion of Iraq

11:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nebris-

Setting "The Naked and the Dead" aside, and a short story called "The Time of Her Time," I never understood the vogue for Mailer, or why Americans held him in such high regard. I did also enjoy "Armies of the Night," but I thought so much of his prose was mediocre. Everyone wd rave, and I wd think: Eh!

mb

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Holzwege said...

Dear MB,

Yes, I hear your suggestion re. guns.

Imagine, though, if Americans were each given a bazooka and a machine gun, the great news items we could post. They could empty out the place in no time.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Holz-

True freedom = the rt to own an arsenal, plus yr very own drone. Maybe an Abrams tank or 2. By now, a mere AK-47 is...well, just a tad modest.

mb

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MB, I recall the naked and dead being a good read. I guess Mailer was a sort of person the media liked and had a good knack for publicity. The broader question is that of american idols today. How did they come to be? My biggest puzzlement has remained Hillary Clinton. If she has uttered or written an original or interesting thought word of it has failed to get out. Charming? Attractive? Please. Intellect? Failed D.C. bar exam and did not reveal for decades. Speeches and interviews--says "you know" a lot and "I". Accomplishments? Am baffled. Somebody or somebodies at some point must have liked her (journalists, media) much like Ovomit and elevated her and distressingly have made her face ubiqotous in the media. Seems like you just cant see a newspaper or news in the U.S. for the last 25 years site without her mug appearing several times a month. Its unheard of and I find it terrifying. admittedly, I could never figure out the Oprah thing or facebook for that matter.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Capo-

Oprah, Facebook, and Clinton are incomprehensible 2u because u.r. an intelligent person. Their popularity becomes understandable only when u realize that intellectually and emotionally, Americans are abt 7 yrs old, on average. Children tend to enjoy mindless entertainment, after all, and these things fall into that category.

Hillary is nothing more than a lackey of empire, and as president she will promote imperial goals, along w/the sort of ad hoc crisis management that Ovomit has been pursuing. She's basically a farce, but she may not even know it herself. A few yrs ago I did an essay on this blog called "A Farce Named Hillary," or something like that; it's buried in the Archives somewhere, if you wanna root around for it. It's abt her visit to Mexico (which the Mexicans saw thru). Basically, she's a douche bag, but it will be millions of douche bags that put her into the White House. Like knows like.

mb

9:24 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Capo/MB:

Yeah, Hillary. I heard on the radio somewhere that she considers Henry Kissinger a "good friend" ... war criminals stick together I guess. Of course, the instant you bring up something like this you get eviscerated by identity politics crap. At the very minimum it's "Well, at least she isn't (insert your favorite right wing nut job thing here)." Sigh.

Orlov had a thing on his blog a little while ago asking the question, "How can we talk to and convince others that the S will HTF." Sadly, my conclusion is you can't, they have to come to the same conclusion themselves. You'll get yelled at, dismissed or even threatened if you try! Any comments WAF-ers?

12:09 PM  
Blogger Michael Sosebee said...

Attached is an on-line link to all of Michael Hasting's articles on Rolling Stone's website. These are the articles that Hastings was writing before some techno hit squad took remote control of his car and murdered the guy. I've watched the video dozens of times and it looks contrived. As far as anyone knows he could have been dead at the time of the accident. I saw some nerd on you-tube describe how easy it would to rig a car to remote control.

At first I thought it was probably the FBI that knocked him off. They're real good at taking care of domestic threats and Hastings had already crossed several lines. He was a tireless muckraker and he was going after some of the most powerful and evil people on Earth. His writing was sharp concise and deeply funny in a subversive sort of way. He reminded me of Rolling Stone of yore when Hunter S. was running' things over there.

But who did the deed was that filthy prick General Stanley McCrystal and his henchman. He had been running JSOC so it's reasonable to conclude that he had it done by one of his little cock-sucking lietenants. Motive is plain: Michael's article about the General got the General fired. You know they were toasting brandy glasses and smoking cigars after Michael bought it. Bottom line it was cold-blooded murder. I imagine some pimple-faced-highschooler with a joy stick manipulated the toggle switch but it was McCrystal's hit. They figured if they could get Osama Bin-Laden they could get anybody. They were right:

Did Michael Hastings gave his life to expose the truth? I don't think he planned on being a martyr but his death and continued cover-up marks a return to domestic COINTELPRO operations by a rogue government.

http://www.rollingstone.com/contributor/michael-hastings

12:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jwo-

As I told cube, the only solution is urine, directed at shoes. Which means 6-packs of Bud Lite. Invest in Annheuser Busch now.

mb

1:04 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Yeah Wafers, the dolt factor insinuates itself into every facet of our lives. Here's a personal anecdote, tied to MB's mention of the millions of Vietnamese deaths we are responsible for. Here's how it went down: I was doing some serious revision of the Wikipedia article for historian Gabriel Kolko (following his death this past May 19). To preface my remarks, let me say this: I don't like to edit Wikipedia b/c of the dolts, trolfoons & 'sock-puppets' that lurk there. But hey Kolko just died for heaven's sake! And not only was his wikipedia page anemic in its presentation of a man's life & work, it also had an oddly 'partisan' tone to it that I couldn't account for until I learned that, somewhere along the way, Kolko's work had been appropriated by that weird "brand" of libertarian politics as it's practiced in the US, with its "sympathy (for) the quaint irrelevancy called 'free market' economics." (see his rejection of this kind of co-opting of his work in a 1973 letter to the editor of 'Reason' reproduced here: http://reason.com/blog/2014/05/20/gabriel-kolko-rip). Anyhow Wafers, before editing any wikipedia article it's best to go thru earlier versions of the page. The previous versions are stored in the article's archive (marked as a 'History' tab). Therefore you can review each and every edit that occurred. And restore unsourced or "contoversial" parts of a previous version(s) that had been removed, add the citations & voilà! Alas, I noticed that many previous versions of the Kolko article had mentioned 'millions of Vietnamese deaths', but that these were always deleted. Here's a typical justification for removal: "Just leave it at war in Vietnam that is an accurate description and millions of Vietnamese is false unsourced POV." Or "Removed embarrassingly crude synthesis." So I thought, let's put the info back in re "deaths of millions of Vietnamese" & source with a quote from Nick Turse. Afterall, Kolko was a historian of the Vietnam War. Surely he had opinion abt it? Nope, after numerous attempts at restoring the words "millions of Vietnamese deaths," into Kolko's wiki page, I've been forced back into a rearguard position. As one editor mentioned in his delete: "Don't waste my damn time. If you really have no concept of NPOV or synthesis, think it's necessary to link spam random commentary from Nick Turse who has no relation to Kolko, or believe this heavy-handed digression is appropriate; you shouldn't be editing Wikipedia." And now I am threatened w/ a review board reprimand because: "Inserting a cited source into another cited statement to create a new or altered statement is synthesis. Also, taunting and asserting an intention to subvert consensus, process and discussion is unproductive." Jesus H. Christ! Maybe I need to edit the wikipedia page devoted to "Urine." O&D...O&D

2:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Near-

Thanks for this valuable info. I was also unaware that Gabriel had shoved off. Interesting, how we usta attack the USSR re: whitewashing their history, and here we are, doing the same thing.

mb

3:14 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

Thanks Sraravravravra—as an American, that's me pronunciating your name to the best of my ability—and mb. I think I will read those two books first, and then eventually return to Soulcraft. Maybe my bullshit-detector will be more accurate by then.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. MB,
I,too missed the passing of Kolko, here's an obit:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/21/in-memorium-gabriel-kolko/

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

MB,

Do Americans really believe in history? I mean, in genuine history, as opposed to a collection of simplistic Golden Age myths, when everything was somehow just the way they want their world to be right now?

Blair,

I'd say that human beings are born with the potential for that "deep-down" but not everyone develops it. Some cultures are more encouraging of it than others. Ours at present flees from it in horror. And, as you say, people who are born into this culture don't even know that they've got such potential; and if it does come up somehow, it's derided & quashed. Thinking about things, nuance, contemplation, perspective -- these things are anathema to the hustling society.

The Dude,

Your quote about the emotional age of most Americans rings true. I see it every day. This whole man-boy model that dominates our society is one glaring example. It's one thing to retain certain positive child-like qualities into adulthood; it's another entirely to remain just plain childish into old age. And the latter is what's promoted today.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

At home and abroad, we're just doing so well:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/11/world/meast/iraq-violence/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/11/news/economy/middle-class-wealth/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

6:36 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Dr. B, Blair, and atearinrain
I can think of at least one occasion, Aurora, Colorado, where initially there were reports of a second shooter. Sandy Hook: I live near Hartford, Connecticut. At one point they captured an armed man, wearing camouflage, in the woods near the school. They handcuffed him and put him in the front seat of a police car. It was later explained that he was an off-duty SWAT tactical officer from another district. Huh? This incident quickly disappeared from the narrative, but left a very bad taste in my mouth. I do think that at least some of these events, although perhaps not these, are “false flags.”
My “political” awakening started in 2008 with the realization that there was just one political party, with the difference being one of style not substance. Were they in collusion? If I could see clearly where all this was headed, why couldn’t they? Were they that stupid? Possibly, even probably (Mark Twain: “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”), but then I also remembered Benjamin Disraeli’s statement: “The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.”
I think that we live in a very grey world and have little idea of what’s actually going on, so I now joke that I fall into the category of those who don’t believe anything until it’s been officially denied. Personally, I love David Icke’s assertion that we’re ruled by inter-dimensional reptilians…aside from being out-there far enough to appeal to my love of the absurd, it makes about as much sense as anything else.
atearinrain: Rhymes with “velocity,”sa-RAHS-va-ti. JMK is hilarious, WWW esoteric but a straight-shooter. The question is, do you want to decorate your prison cell or make a break for freedom? Most “spirituality” is about prettifying.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Militarization of the US police force continues. Surplus military vehicles being purchased even by rural Sheriffs. Despite the daily screamer headlines, total violent crime is declining and has been for decades. Some types of crime are still higher than in the 1950s, but all rates are lower than in the 70s and 80s. (Wikipedia on US Crime rates) And few criminals are heavily armed enough to even need a SWAT team let alone real military equipment. Why do they think they need this stuff? This cowboy mentality is the sort of thing that leads to the murder of homeless people suffering mental illness that we've seen in the news.

Police officer safety or surplus zeal: Military equipment spurs debate

In a pole barn in Franklin, sharing space with a motorcycle and a boat, sat an imposing military vehicle designed for battlefields in Iraq or Afghanistan, not the streets of Johnson County.

It is an MRAP — a bulletproof, 55,000-pound, six-wheeled behemoth with heavy armor, a gunner's turret and the word "SHERIFF" emblazoned on its flank — a vehicle whose acronym stands for "mine resistant ambush protected."

...

"The United States of America has become a war zone," he said. "There's violence in the workplace, there's violence in schools and there's violence in the streets. You are seeing police departments going to a semi-military format because of the threats we have to counteract. If driving a military vehicle is going to protect officers, then that's what I'm going to do."

But, to some, the introduction of equipment designed for war in Fallujah, Iraq, to the streets of U.S. towns and cities raises questions about the militarization of civilian police departments. Will it make police inappropriately aggressive? Does it blur the line between civilian police and the military?

...

9:03 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Wow, lots of great discussions going on here. Now in Denmark, visiting good friend and psychoanalyst. He left the USA years ago, feeling that was best for his family.
I do have something to say vis a vis the Capo vs. Bingo debate on the Nordics, tribalism, etc.
I have not seen any racism here. I'm sure it is here.
Regarding tribalism and such, I see humans as naturally tribal. Globalism has allowed what would be a normal, healthy regard for one's culture to morph into dangerous conflict.
Europeans have a right to preserve their culture - the little that remains in postmodernity.
That said, I do find Finland to be the least "corrupted" country, and they are not really Nordic.
Furthermore, there is a sense in which man's continuous presence here has left a deep mark, and a real cultural achievement to hold on to. Not so in the USA.
@tearinrain: regarding spirituality, there is probably no more important quest. It's wise to be careful of charlatans, but you should also be open to new ideas. In general, avoid dogmatism. Also maybe go along with the view of an unmentionable socialist thinker: "by their fruits ye shall know them," or something like that.
I've been crying all day about the fate of poor Eric Cantor. I also feel bad for all the corporatist elites who supported him, and wasted their money.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sav-

I think Dana Priest did some articles in the Wash Post on this beg. in 2010. Also her bk, "Top Secret America."

mb

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@Savantesimal thanks for the link to the article on police militarization in USA. What was the commercial again: parents who do drugs have children who do drugs?

One becomes what one thinks and practices. You can not love to blow up people without loving to blow up your own kids and your own citizens. It becomes natural.

Americans are the smartest people ever to walk the streets of this earth:

"A 3-year-old boy accidentally shot his twin brother with a gun that was left unattended at their home -- and now their caretakers are wanted by Virginia police.

Details are sketchy, but police say the boys were in their mom's Hopewell apartment on Monday when one of them fired a .25-caliber bullet that went through his brother's bottom and abdomen, according to WTVR. The victim is in a stable and improving condition, but his mom and her boyfriend are reportedly on the run"


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/11/3-year-old-boy-shoots-twin-brother_n_5484021.html

12:21 AM  
Anonymous David Clausen said...

This morning, having coffee at a place where wafer thought is accepted, even cheered, a friend reports his bike—well known to me—has been stolen. I hop on my bike and within ten minutes locate the booty in Vancouver's toughest hood. The clutch of thugs in possession are out of my pay grade. Trying to keep my eye on the ball, I flag a couple of cruising transit cops. They couldn't be bothered to upholster their thumbs and radio a real cop. Another five-minute spurt to the cop shop. No desk, just a 911 panic button; I hit it. Unfortunately, because I wasn't the owner of the stolen object no interest could be evinced. I return to the cafe, round up a phone, bike and the erstwhile owner, who phones in a 911 while we waste enough time returning to the bike's last known position for it to be forever gone. Finally a way-too-late, but quite nice cop arrives to write up a stolen-bike report. Yup, our tax dollars at work. An unholy alloy of Dilbert, Kafka and the Keystone Kops. A chatbot can become an official.

Seriously, which is best: Sig Sauer, Glock, or Mac 10. Think Glock's the answer, but a the Mac is pretty scary in a neighbourhood where "smoked meat" means different things.

Love y'all and best.

David Clausen

9:29 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

WAF-ers: I stumbled across a book that may become required WAFer reading, Henry Miller's "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare." Written in 1945 it is about Miller coming back to the US in 1939 after years abroad. I haven't read the whole thing yet, (and frankly not all of it is good) but here is a taste:

"[The US] is a world cluttered with useless objects which men and women, in order to be exploited and degraded, are taught to regard as useful. The dreamer whose dreams are non-utilitarian has no place in this world ... In this world the poet is anathema, the thinker a fool, an artist an escapist, the man of vision a criminal."

9:55 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Mr. Clausen, sorry about yr bad experience. Think y'r right that "Mad Max" or something like it is in the cards as we continue farther along the path of transition (to whatever comes next for humanity). It will be a bumpy ride. As for yr specific question, I recommend Glock, and don't forget to have a throw-down.*

Ammo kisses & high-caliber hugs,
O&D


* I kid there, of course!

11:07 AM  
Blogger Michael Sosebee said...

I have a retraction to make. The other day I posted a piece about "The Murder of Michael Hastings" the Rolling Stone reporter who died under mysterious circumstances in 2012. His subversive muckraking style and knack for pillorying the powerful was his stock and trade.

It feels like one has to go out on a limb when showing belief in “the official story.” We default into conspiracy much too easily. I had seen his writing partner Matt Farwell on Democracy Now last week and he was talking about the piece they had done together on Bowe Bergdahl for Rolling Stone, "America's Last Prisoner Of War".

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607

The piece was so hypercritical of America's occupation of that unfortunate country it was all too easy falling prey to conspiracy theories of cyber-hit teams taking out a crusading journalist as a warning to others who might be tempted to criticize the "exceptional country".

After spending hours watching and reading paranoid rants on-line the sheer volume of conspiracy fanatics on the internet trading in Hastings untimely and tragic death was overwhelming. Then I finally read Mike Rothschild's reality based article: "Why Michael Hastings Wasn't Murdered"

http://skeptoid.com/blog/2013/08/26/why-michael-hastings-wasnt-murdered/

It took down every single conspiracy theory one by one.

A couple of other things stuck in my mind as well. First, what was Hastings doing driving around at 4 a.m.? Second I watched a video of Michaels' composed and tearless widow talking with Piers Morgan on CNN. When Michael had moved to L.A. the wife stayed in N.Y. Why? I think it's reasonable to speculate that when the husband is spinning out of control with a lot of money living in Hollywood the wife would know. She didn't seem interested in finding Michael's killer and neither did his family.

And then I had a short e-mail conversation with Matt Farrell. He said: "Thanks for the condolences about Michael. Losing him was rough, almost as rough as losing my own brother and the conspiracy theorists need to pull their collective heads out of their collective asses and give their insanity a rest. Tragic accident is miserable enough."

'Nuff said.

2:01 PM  
Blogger John Richardson said...

Re Capo

"Back to emptiness... In a way americans are not so much empty as full of nonsense and lies."

Nonsense, lies, and materialism ... which makes their lives, and the spaces they create around them, "empty" in the soul-less sense. You could give them truth, but would they then create beauty?

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Josh Bell said...

Folks!

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118114/chris-hedges-pulitzer-winner-lefty-hero-plagiarist

What to make of this? Serious word-bloat and ad hominem, but, unfortunately, there really are a few justifiable allegations made...

The comments on this page reflect my temperament.

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2014/06/12/hedges/

Care to comment Dr. Berman?

I hope it is at most a case of an over-committed journalist's unfortunate patch-writing errors...

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

This isn't the first "debtors prison" we've seen in the news, and it certainly won't be the last:

http://www.salon.com/2014/06/12/woman_dies_in_jail_while_serving_sentence_for_her_kids_unpaid_school_fines/

Just saw a grim, unsettling little indie film called Detachment, starring Adrien Brody, which is not only about lost, broken people, but the daily struggle of those people to survive in a lost broken culture. Not a perfect film, a bit melodramatic in places, but I can[t get it out of my head. This is the way a lot of people live (or simply exist) today. It made me realize just how lucky I've been, too.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Greetings MB and comrade WAFers...
( Recently was caught in a conversation that turned political and quickly determined that I was surrounded and outnumbered by dolts. Did my best to remain silent or nebulous, but was pressed to offer my opinion, so I said, "Well...Americans are too stupid to change". Horrors! Challenged again, "Why do you say that?". It must be because I'm a WAFER". "Huh? Wot's dat?". "Comes from an acronym: W A F ".
"You're in the Women's Air Force ?". Beer spurted out my nose and the conversation was over. )

AFA "empty Americans", I interpret the condition of more like bottomless pits of void, and really a substitution or metaphor of FEAR. This prospect, this reality is so frightening to the undeveloped psyche ( yes, they fear cognitive learning, too ) that they try to fill it with whatever crap seems expedient. Of course, they never succeed and never will.

After the recent Santa Barbara ( close to me ) and other mass shootings, I posted comments on a local blog about the sick gun culture being a natural result from a nation of idiots.
I was then attacked ( surprise ) and accused of being angry and having an 'anti-gun fetish'.
Knowing quite well that it wouldn't matter to my trollfoons, I explained what fetishism is.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

David, you're thinking small. You belong up there. An American would claim castle doctrine from his bike and pull out a SPAS 12.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

@JWO - "How can we talk to and convince others that the S will HTF." Sadly, my conclusion is you can't, they have to come to the same conclusion themselves. You'll get yelled at, dismissed or even threatened if you try! Any comments WAF-ers?"

No you can't, unless they are among the very few not blinded by our false partisan political divide. It isn't until a person accepts the premise that there fundamentally is little difference between Obama and Bush or Cheney and Hillary that they can be at all receptive to the message that America is slowly spiraling downwards to its eventual doom.

Even in my own household, I can't verbally attack Obama too forcefully or my wife will get upset (of course, I can bash Bush and and other Republicans until my heart's content). She's appalled by the current state of affairs in this country, and she seems to accept that little can be done to change our trajectory as a nation, but she just cannot bring herself to abandon the partisanship she was raised with (even if it has devolved into the supposed "lesser of two evils"). She'll be right there voting for Hillary in 2016 while being terribly disappointed in me for abstaining yet again and risking the election of whatever thug the Republicans run against her.

It's a truly sad state of affairs.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Sean Hunter said...

Has anyone seen this article?

I don't know what to make of it. It was sent to me via e-mail tonight by someone who admires Chris Hedges as much as I do.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118114/chris-hedges-pulitzer-winner-lefty-hero-plagiarist

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Abstrecction said...

Morris Berman wrote,

"I'm going to monetize Sufism".

I am afraid that Idries Shah has already beaten you to it.

9:17 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

SARAHscat,

I'd like to think I'm not a coward, and feel confident enough to say I'm genuinely interested in the latter.

An acquaintance of mine struck up a conversation about yoga yesterday, which I thought serendipitous since that never happens to me and I had just checked out the local yoga studio a few hours earlier. I mentioned to him that I heard most American yoga teachers fail to acknowledge the spiritual benefits of doing yoga, despite that being the primary reason for it being practiced historically. He said his friend yoga teacher went on and on about it's spiritual benefits in the one class he took with her. He briefly described what he could recall, immediately followed by a five minute rant on how wealthy she is, with a large home, and is flown to Mexico to conduct retreats, and man you should see her BMW. I tried to look interested just to be polite. What do you think the chances are of it occurring to him how much he proved my point? I try to discuss spirituality in yoga and within one minute he changes the topic to how one can make a lot of money from it.

Rewind to two nights ago where I am having drinks with my cousin—a super cool guy with potential for Waferhood—and his pals. One of them brings up permaculture and asks what I thought about all the "gizmos and gadgets" (his words) that are now available for collecting data on your yard. I laugh heartily because I think he's joking, but nope—apparently these things actually exist to help "permaculturists" observe your land's microclimates, etc. Actually getting outside and making regular observations to understand your environment is just so quaint. We have technology to do all that work for us. So I shouted "Fuck it," stood up, and proudly unloaded my bladder all over his shoes. My cousin may never forgive me, but a permie's gotta stand by his principles.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

This site may not be the best place for discussions of Chris Hedges - or maybe it is, I'm aware that some people might think his writings on the death of literacy in America draw from much of the core ideas that make up the WAF trilogy. While I'm very concerned by the news, I don't find the new republic story very convincing. I would very much like to hear what other staff at Harper's have to say before I start making judgements.

I've been thinking over plagiarism as a concept a lot, lately. In my small time at college we were constantly being warned about plagiarism, on more than two dozen occasions a higher-up in the department would come into class to explain what it was and why it was bad. I was pretty shocked each time - do we really have to be told why cheating is bad? Or how easy it is, with the internet, to be caught doing so? Isn't this all self-evident? Is this really an endemic problem in academia? But then you hear about high level journalists like Jonah Lerher getting caught plagiarising, or people like Maureen Dowd completely misattributing quotes and not only do they not get fired, but they continue to prosper! No wonder my classmates were stealing so much, society keeps giving them a clear message that if they can get away with enough dishonesty to become powerful, they'll be insulated from any of the effects.

Regarding "false flag shootings", the reason early news reports tend to describe multiple shooters that later disappear is because shootings are chaotic events to report on. Often the location is on lockdown for hours, and even the authorities have no idea whats going on. It is typical to have contradictory and false details reported in the press in those first few hours. False flag operations do happen, and I think we should remain on the lookout for them (especially when the FBI is involved), but let's not fall down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole. Same goes for Michael Hastings death. It may make a sexy story but real life isn't a spy thriller. Until actual evidence presents itself it seems like he just died as a result of the risky behavior that all those who spend time in war zones engage in when they return home. And I say this as a devout conspiracy theorist!

One last anecdote: the lawnmower broke down at my previous place of residence. For various reasons, my roommates haven't been able to deal with the problem (mostly due to lack of money) so the lawn's gotten somewhat out of hand. Nothing crazy, just some tall grass. Well, the neighbors next door (who never even introduced themselves before this) were so outraged that they came over, shouting and screaming, threatening to call the cops. My ex-roomies explained the situation, and apologized, but all to no avail. The neighbors kept on, saying it was disgusting, and ruining their property values. Now, these neighbors have a perfectly good lawnmower, and it wouldn't take but 15 minutes to mow it all down. But the idea of letting my old roommates borrow the thing, well, that's just out of the question. The idea wasn't even brought up, it was so outside of their normal thought process. Keep in mind, this is in a very, very liberal city, with a strong reputation for community-mindedness!

12:32 AM  
Anonymous Holzwege said...

Publius dixit:

"Regarding tribalism and such, I see humans as naturally tribal. Globalism has allowed what would be a normal, healthy regard for one's culture to morph into dangerous conflict. Europeans have a right to preserve their culture - the little that remains in postmodernity."

I totally agree. One reason, among several, why I am opposed to the European Union (by the by, I am European).

Re. Cantor:

I, too, am unconsolable about the fate dealt to this hard working man: indeed, according to the stats, he labored selflessly 153 days in 2012 for the good of the often overfed and tattooed, and always ungrateful, citizenry of America.

He now earns a meager 193,400 dollars a year. What a way to treat this exemplary human being! I started a petition to increase his salary to half a million dollars a year. That should enable him to realize his childhood dream of owning a yacht and spending his retirement years in the sun.

Re. Iraq:

It would seem that we are finally seeing what the purpose of the U.S. invasion and occupation of that country was: the establishment of an Islamist caliphate reaching into Syria. It's uplifting to know that the billions of dollars expended on that humanitarian enterprise were so wisely invested. Cunning devils, ain't they?


4:41 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

I’m a Chris Hedges fan. I’ve read some of his books and articles, and listened to lectures and debates…he’s engaging, knowledgeable and brilliant (in spite of being touchingly hopeful). Anyway, on Monday I read his article “Rules of Revolt,” and the first thing that crossed my mind was “Uh-oh, he’s in for it.” And, voilà!, here it is.

Whenever someone high up on the food chain gets taken down, like Gen. Patraeus, Eliot Spitzer, or Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I always wonder why their protection has been removed. When something happens to people like Hastings and Hedges, I always question what’s behind it. I’m not saying that Hastings was assassinated (Mike Sosebee: to me that article didn’t prove anything, but was just another point-of-view), or Hedges didn’t plagiarize (no matter what, he’s still a brilliant voice in the wilderness), just that there’s probably more going on than meets the eye.

We live in Kali Yuga, the darkest of ages, everything is corrupted and we all have our Achilles heel. Long experience has made me cynical, perhaps even a little paranoid, but you’d have to be asleep to take anything, anymore, at face value. Nothing (NO THING) is real. In ”Maya’s Palace of Delusion,” the best we can do is buckle our seat belts and enjoy the ride.

8:28 AM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

@Michael Sosebee

Hey, after what happened to Pat Tillman, it shouldn't surprise us if many jump to the assumption that a muckraker's death wasn't an accident.

I haven't read any of the conspiracy hypotheses about this case, but I wouldn't be surprised if I found many or most of them to be at least technologically possible.

@The Dude

Yes, it is unlikely that an American will come out of their pupa shell unless they have the "OMFG, they're both subsidized by the corporations" realization.

Bill Hicks had that realization a ways back. Luckily for TPTB, he probably developed pancreatic cancer on his own, so they saved a few bucks on polonium and could pay attention to others who needed to be silenced or seduced into compliance.

Send this clip to someone you think is going to vote for Hillary. Maybe they'll stay home on election day and elect to do something useful like read a poem, cook a fine meal, or clean their gun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXpdJLJqG9U

10:00 AM  
Blogger John Richardson said...

@The Dude, whose wife shares the same affliction as mine of being dedicated to the Democratic party ... consider sharing this with her:

http://whateverittakeshillary.blogspot.com/

(Click on "tabs" at top of page to navigate.)

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

This is part of the new normal:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/12/bulletproof-blankets-body_n_5479885.html

As is this:

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175855/tomgram%3A_william_astore%2C_drafted_by_the_national_security_state/#more

The Dude,

I run into the same thing with Obama supporters I know, who share with conservatives the either-or, black-or-white, us-or-them view of reality: there are only two sides, and you have to be on one of them. Even though they're two sides of the same coin.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Continuing the thought from my comment, I saw yesterday where a recent Pew study found that Americans are now more divided politically than at any time since right before the Civil War. All I could do is shake my head in amazement at how effectively and willingly my fellow "citizens" have let the wool be pulled over their eyes.

Here is the sum total of politics in America today: some Republican troglodyte says something ignorant and inflammatory about gays, guns, Muslims, Obama or a woman's right to control her own sexuality, Democrats then respond with shrill denunciations of said troglodyte--who never retracts his or her statement. Rinse and repeat endlessly over our 24-hour "news" cycle.

I also had to laugh yesterday when I read a Salon.com reader comment asking why Salon posts countless articles about said troglodytes but rarely any stories on Democratic politicians. I responded that it was because doing stories about bland, Wall Street sock puppets is BORING.

Here in Virginia, for example, My two Democratic senators (both former governors) and my Democratic HOR member might well be dead for all you ever hear about them in the news.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

O&D Dep't:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/pascalemmanuelgobry/2014/06/13/its-urgent-to-put-the-liberal-arts-back-at-the-center-of-education/

Commenting on the upset victory of David Brat over Eric Cantor, the author says:

"In one piece of writing, Brat refers to the government as having 'a monopoly on the use of force.' ..[S]everal journalists–all of them covering politics, all of them working for reputed institutions .. all of them presumably college-educated–pounced on his use of the phrase as a portent of dangerous extremism.

Stop me if you see what’s wrong with this picture–please.

What’s wrong with this picture, America, is that the concept of the state having “a monopoly on the [legitimate] use of force” is a quotation from the highly reputed and important German sociologist Max Weber, and is a concept that is absolutely basic to our modern understanding of the State. "

".. [W]hen a bunch of people, whose job is to write about politics, who presumably have nice-sounding educations, who have editors, don’t know one of the very basics of the political thought that gave us the world we live in, the hour is very late indeed.

But see, here is the thing: no one is talking about it."

I can't believe Forbes actually published this!

4:16 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

http://www.wrongplanet.net/postp6056622.html#6056622

Everyone, please take a look at her art work. I am so impressed and love her work. What do you all think? I think it is NMI material.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Publius,

It’s very interesting what you write about the Danish psychoanalyst. It would be nice to pick his brain. Just this year I launched a small psychology practice in Southern Spain, but it’s too early to know how it will work out. I also left the US because I thought it would be better for my family. But I still have a lot of family in America, including both my parents, and I must tell you, it’s weighing heavily on my heart – I’m not sure I will ever find to complete peace with this situation.

What country are you planning to investigate next? If warm Mediterranean weather is also a factor for you, Gibraltar and Malta might be worth seeing. They are small places, but so far economically stable, and in the EU. They are also English-speaking. There are budget flights from the UK to both these places.

Capo,

Neo-liberalism is the brain cancer that the United States is suffering from. It laid much of the world in waste. And the chaos is increasingly almost on a daily basis. This moving interview covers what refugee children from Honduras have to go through to escape that neo-liberal “paradise”. A year or so ago I remember hearing some White House or State Dept’s stooge praise Honduras for being such a wonderfully business-friendly place.

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/6/13/children_on_the_run_us_detains?autostart=true

As far as Europe goes, this video interview with a well-known investigator of the Bilderberg Group is perhaps the best news about Europe I heard in almost 5 years. Let’s hope he’s right, and the European elites are now at odds with their US counterparts.

http://usawatchdog.com/bilderberg-group-worried-about-nuclear-war-with-russia-daniel-estulin/

5:48 PM  
Anonymous aintnowomangonnamakeageorgejonesouttame said...

@ Sean Hunter

As usual, those on the left, and those who are really challenging power and influence, are the ones who have to be absolutely perfect or their arguments have no merit. Meanwhile, those on the right, including the New Republic, a publication that has endorsed every single American military action since its founding, are allowed to rape, pillage, lie, steal, bribe, and murder.

I'm not a big fan of Chris Hedges, as I get the feeling that he is quite pompous and full of himself, but that doesn't make his arguments wrong. And I'd prefer a million plagiarizing Chris Hedges than a single New Republic writer.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Kasmus said...

Lawsuit Alleges County Jail Inmates Were Stripped, Tortured, Humiliated

Inmates at Floyd County Jail in Indiana were stripped, tortured, humiliated and abused, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Thursday by a local law firm.

"[The plaintiffs] were unjustifiably and unconstitutionally treated in a manner that generated tremendous and overwhelming embarrassment, humiliation, and mental and emotional distress," attorney Laura Landenwich alleges in the lawsuit.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/13/lawsuit-inmates-floyd-county_n_5492537.html

8:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ab-

Gd pt. Maybe I'll just monetize my ass. I'll call it Assbook. Or has that been done already as well?

Tear-

Nice to hear abt bladder discharge. A shining moment in the annals of Waferdom, clearly.

Zeke-

Have Tear come over, with a full bladder.

mb

8:59 PM  
Blogger S. P. Hunter said...

@aintnowomangonnamakeageorgejonesouttame,

You wrote:

"I'm not a big fan of Chris Hedges".

That's where we differ. I'm a big fan of Mr. Hedges. He has more courage in a speck of his dandruff than most people, and certainly most Americans, have in their entire family tree.
Even if he were found to have indeed committed plagiarism it wouldn't change any of the tremendous good he's done and truth he has spoken, nor would he be any less of a good man in my eyes, although I would not approve of the plagiarism.
I posted the link to the article to see if anyone had more information on what was this was all about, but I see that was a waste of time.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Hey kids.
A beautiful tall blonde Danish woman in a wine bar in Copenhagen tonight told me that Americans are considered ignorant.
She was unashamed at telling me that, yet she and her pals seemed to find me acceptable. In fact, they and their bartender friends (also beautiful Jutland women) let me stay after bar closing.
What is my point? Europe is different. Prof. Berman is right. Young, beautiful women are not afraid of me, a middle-aged (much as I hate to admit it) man. They smile, flirt, brush against me... as though I am not an axe murderer!
More profoundly, the physical/bodily sense of not being in a cage of fear here, of being physically with my fellow humans is profound. I would guess that Pat Robertson or my mother would call it sinful.

I hate to weigh in on the conspiracy stuff, but here goes: just because crazy idiots say that JFK (for example) was killed by aliens does not mean the official story was correct. All the expert shooters and hunters I talk to, for example, admit that Oswald could not have killed Kennedy with his pitiful Italian piece of junk rifle. So, when evaluating a possible conspiracy, you must first evaluate the plausibility of the official story. The fact that nutcases are also against the official story does not validate the official story. That line of thinking is a logical fallacy.
I have no opinion on the Hastings case, but I am absolutely certain, from Snowden's revelations and Jacob Applebaum's talks, that the NSA could easily have killed him by taking over his car's electronics.

@Julian aka Bingo: I believe I could arrange for you to talk to my analyst friend.
I am not seriously considering the Med at the moment due to the economics there, and my Scandi connections, both business and family, and a possible powerful option in one of the nations that allows me to apply for residency based on my grandparents. But I'm open.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Nebris said...

Most contemporary political debate is essentially the condemned haggling over the quality of the rope being used to hang them.

9:23 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Wafers: Some quick reactions after reading The New Republic's(TNR) hit job on Chris Hedges (CH):

1. If there's a single theme to what CH writes abt it would be this: it's no longer possible for us to effect real reform or change through the traditional mechanisms of power. Therefore, we must step outside of those mechanisms and carry out revolt.

2. What were the traditional mechanisms of power in the US? They were the so-called 'pillars' of the "liberal class." And CH tirelessly exposes how *all* of them, bar none (ie., the Church, the University, the Media, Labor Unions, the Democratic Party) sold out to the highest bidder (the corporate state, its corrupt oligarchic/capitalist class & the mindless cadre that serves them).

3. The 'liberal class' (ie., corporate media outlets such as TNR) will continue to attack the excesses or the foibles of the system, but they're never going to expose the system itself. Ironically, our elites are left vulnerable & exposed without the protection that a once viable liberal class had provided for them. What they can still manage, however, is 'change the subject.' Wafers, I'm thinking now of how Chomsky came to the defense of his friend Norman Finkelstein when the latter had exposed Alan Dershowitz as a fraud. Asked Chomsky: "What do you do when you're losing your case?" You do what any tenth-rate lawyer does: you change the subject.

4. So let's suppose all the charges against CH are refuted? So what! TNR (& let's say the "tribal consciousness" they speak for) still wins, even if they lose. Why? As Chomsky points out: you 'win' because we're no longer talking abt the real topic (ie., the corporate media has no autonomy, is toothless & anemic, is morally & intellectually bankrupt). Instead, we're talking about whether CH did this, that, or the other.

6. Furthermore, you win b/c from here on out, both CH & plagiarism can be mentioned in the same sentence w/o straining 'credulity.' (And it's already started: checkout Wikipedia's CH page, also today's 'Daily Call' or 'The Weekly Standard'). Finally, you win b/c "experiments show that we all believe what we want regardless of reasons...Arguments are largely instrumental; they are meant for attack or defense." (George Scialabba)

Thanks for your time, Wafers. I may have more to say later on.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous toast said...

Did anyone see the op-ed in the WSJ by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, "The Pope's Case for Virtuous Capitalism?"

A quote:

"The proper response to the problems of the free market is 'not to reject economic liberty in favor of government control,' he writes. 'The church has consistently rejected coercive systems of socialism and collectivism, because they violate inherent human rights to economic freedom and private property.'

Larry Kudlow of CNBC helped the cardinal to write this.

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Abstrecction said...

Morris,

Well, as you know, in the U.S.A., anything has the potential for monetization, so why not your ass?

No worries about Shah's having gotten there first with monetizing Sufism, though. He hasn't necessarily preempted the field. Here are a couple of suggested titles to get you started: Dark Ages Dervishing and The Reenchantment of the Twirl.

The world is your oyster.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Bingo,

Indeed neo-liberalism is a cancer of sorts. Its actually a religion with a vision of utopia. The best treatment of this is in John Grays False Dawn (back in 1998). A key oversight of neo-liberalisms advance men is that as it turns out that capitalism will not go and take a happy form that is the same everywhere. "capitalism will take on a shape as dictated by local culture and history and often morph into unrecognizable form. If you like video look for the interview of one Sir James Goldsmith on Charlie Rose back in 1994 (its on u tube). He was a billionaire but a very forceful critic of neoliberalism.

The horror that these children are enduring is actually not so much because of neo-liberalism but rather U.S. drug policy. The U.S. pushed the Mexicans to control the cartels and if fact this effort has been so successful that the cartels moved to central america (much weaker societies and states than Mexico, 1/10 of income of mex etc) and now the cartels are terrorizing the populations. I have spent time in Honduras--it is a sad place but even sadder the main streets are all lined up with U.S. franchises for fast food and big box stores next to grinding poverty. Its a surreal and depressing place. All of these horroris the U.S. fault, the former regime of accomdating drug organizations (as is done in the U.S. by the way) in Mexico worked for decades but this war mentality by the u.s.a has brought grief to all. Interestingly, key insights and peeing on loafers can be seen also on the interview of Ricardo Salinas on also Charlie Rose. Look it up--he pees on Charlies loafers. No I do not make it a habit watch that douche but when a mentor and family friend appear I do watch.

The Dude,

Have you considered getting you wife counseling or a divorce? If my wife started with going to vote and supporting a party the Capo would move across town (or France) and initiate divorce.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Bob Billshacker said...

Well, I read the article and IMO it is clear that Hedges plagiarized. Still, to me, that just makes him a typical, lazy academic. It doesn't change the fact that I agree with most of his ideas and enjoy reading his work. It just means he's lazy and ordinary -- like most people. I never believe in putting other people up on pedestals anyway. The truth is that this won't change a thing. Those that lean left and enjoy Hedges' work will still enjoy his work. And those on the right that think he is an evil communist will just had more reason to despise him. Big deal, such is life. Strangely, or predictably, the same people who believe that plagiarism is the ultimate sin are the ones that will defend the use of waterboarding and mass suspicionless surveillance.

It does appear that there is a coordinated attack on Hedges taking place though. Here is a new article that smears Hedges as an ant-semite.

http://www.newsweek.com/case-progressive-plagiarist-254746

12:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ab-

Also, "Why Sufism Bailed."

mb

6:00 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

NearFar:

"experiments show that we all believe what we want regardless of reasons...Arguments are largely instrumental; they are meant for attack or defense."

As my daddy used to say, "You can't argue a man out of a position he wasn't argued into."

6:46 PM  
Anonymous David Coy Johnston said...

Ah, the progressive fantasy: if those darned Koch Brothers would only go away and we moved from that dirty coal to solar panels/wind turbines, we will solve our two biggest problems!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok7ZJ8mS19Y#t=711

I think as things get worse this century, you'll have conservatives blaming the poor, and the liberals blaming the 1%, as if one side or the other had the right answer.

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

“What am I myself? What have I done? I have collected and used everything that I have heard and observed. My work has been nourished by thousands of diverse individuals – ignorant and sage, genius and fool, infant and elderly. They all offer me their abilities and their way of being. Often I have reaped the harvest that others have sown. My work is that of a collective being, and it carries the name of Goethe.”

What Goethe said above is true for anyone who even speaks a language. If we were conscious of all the influences that have shaped us, even ordinary speech would be peppered with references and footnotes. It must be difficult for mature writers who are drawing on a lifetime of reading and experience to be consciously aware of all the influences that color their writing.

I first encountered this Goethe quote in connection with Bertolt Brecht whose dramas were frequently adaptations of already well known works which were usually so well known that footnotes and references would be pointless distractions. In English, the same would be true of references to the Bible, Shakespeare, or Lewis Carroll.

However, a year or more back the question of plagiarism came up on the blog, and Dr. Berman replied to the claim that it wasn’t important by pointing out the damage done to a writer whose ideas are stolen by some hack who may have better connections in the publishing world.

I leave it to Wafers to judge whether the charges leveled against Chris Hedges, if true, fall into that category. To repeat phrasing that one read in a novel forty years earlier could easily be inadvertent. Some of the other charges could result from carelessness. Or Chris may have developed literary kleptomania.

Occasionally when I read the “Acknowledgments” section of a book, it leaves me wondering what the author actually contributed, and the statement, “any errors are my responsibility alone” should be followed by, “and that was my only contribution.”

David Rosen

11:12 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

As we speak, I'm on vacation in West Palm Beach. We went to this delicatessen called Too-Jays. I had their Pastrami on Rye and it was really good. You would've loved it. On the other hand, I was extremely disappointed with their Potato Latkes. They put to much bacon and cheese on them and they were made more like a loaded potato instead of a hash brown form. It was the Americanized version of a excellent Jewish dish.

I had an Orthodox Jewish Grandmother and she made it in the hash brown form and put herbs on it. Now that was real food and so much love went into making that. In the end, my wife said something about it. I didn't want to make a fuss and we ended up having that taken off of our bill. This got me thinking though. Why can't certain elements like ideas, societies, restaurants, Sandwiches, the Antebellum South have both their good parts and their bad parts? Why can't Muslims enjoy certain aspects of American culture but reject most of the other aspects? Dr. B, I understand now what you've been telling me. It was the Pastrami on Rye that showed me and the sandwich was good. They put a ton of Pastrami on it to.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous mbl said...

Re: Michael Hastings. He was working on a story that was going to expose the CIA dir's involvement in intimidating US journalists. Hastings announced publicly that journalists were not going to be intimidated by the govt shortly b4 he died. He was also friends with Barrett Brown who is in prison, apparently, for sending an e-mail. Of course, the media won't talk much about him either & a gag order has prevented Brown from speaking. But apparently, the govt felt very threatened by both men, as neither is free to speak out anymore.

Also RollingStone never published Hasting's article re: CIA's attempts to bully journalists. What happened to that article? They were supposed to publish it after his death but then nothing was spoken about it since as though ppl have forgotten about its existence.

Once a death is ruled a suicide, the police aren't reqd to investigate it anymore...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBm-DRmRP9g

http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/08/07/connections-between-michael-hastings-edward-snowden-and-barrett-brown-the-war-with-the-security-state/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFx4EqJ9glE

9:47 AM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

Greetings WAFers!

A while back we discussed handwriting and its importance for cognitive development etc.

Saw this in the NYT and thought it might be of interest:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/03/science/whats-lost-as-handwriting-fades.html

Not that handwriting will save us now. We are too far gone.

O&D! (Are we still saying that?)

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Eric Bennett said...

Going to the theme of blowback:

I'm reading the book now "MFA vs NYC." There's an article "The Pyramid Scheme" by Eric Bennett. This article talks about how creative writing programs (starting in Iowa) were led by the CIA and Rockefeller Foundation as tools in the Cold War to get people across the world to support the system of American capitalism.

http://chronicle.com/article/How-Iowa-Flattened-Literature/144531/

11:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cube-

Bacon on latkes? Talk abt oxymoronic (emphasis on moronic). This is going to push me rt over the edge.

mb

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

As always, Michael Ventura says it clearly & pungently:

http://www.austinchronicle.com/columns/2014-06-13/letters-at-3am-snyder-r-us/

I see it where I live, from the older, individually owned shops & eateries disappearing & being replaced by chain stores; to the old homes & their trees half a century old being torn down for McMansions that look like a cross between mausoleums & banks, but even less human than either; to inane, brain-dead kitsch like this:

http://www.zazzle.com/jesus_christ_and_the_american_soldier_tshirts-235815352269320183

pinkpearl,

Thanks for the handwriting link. I've found that writing letters by hand makes me think more clearly & express myself with more depth. And there's a sensual pleasure to it as well, a feeling of intangible thought made tangible on the page, the pleasure of creating something..

But as you say, handwriting won't save us now, as the real handwriting is already on the wall.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

@Capo - No divorce here. When "for better or worse" turned as bad as it could get for me in the form of a now 18-moth battle against pancreatic cancer, my wife has come through like a champ in caring for me and I daresay she has suffered almost as much as I have. I would never divorce her for something as silly as an argument over our holographic political system, and have learned a valuable lesson of the importance of true companionship as one gets older.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Atearinrain, Publius, Nearfar

Atearinrain: There are many different systems of yoga. Hatha Yoga (of which there are many schools) is the one we’re all most familiar with, the one with all the asanas (postures). One explanation I’ve heard for Hatha Yoga: thousands of years ago when yogis meditated, and while in union or on their way to union with the divine, their bodies naturally went into certain postures. They then used those postures as a way to bring themselves back into that state. Yoga means Union…Duh, obviously this was developed as a way for future citizens of the “Union” to make lots of money.

My guru once said that liberation is “freedom from the clutches of the mind.” Not the mind itself, but from its power over you. Sounds about right to me.

Speaking of gurus, I think this exposition on the word “fuck” by the infamous Bhagavan Shri Rajneesh (later on known as Osho), he of the 90 psychedelic Rolls Royce’s, is downright hilarious:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K2e7TTdeMo

Publius: You can be sure that the PTB put out crazy theories to discredit groups that question their official versions, and place agents provocateurs in organizations to stir up trouble. Works every time.

Nearfar: Item 4: It’s like with Edward Snowdon – the conversation is about if he’s a traitor, not about the Constitution being trashed. BTW, why-ever was a hack like Brian Williams chosen to interview him?

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Rosegarden said...


Scary!

From the Spring 2014 edition of the University of Pittsburgh's Pitt Magazine, page 34.

Pitt professor Andrew Stephen is a business professor trained in engineering. His research is on social media marketing.

“Another study, which assessed the consequences of using social media platforms like Facebook, found that users of those media outlets tend to overeat, overspend, and have lower credit scores. Why? Stephen's research suggests that it's because “likes” and the proliferation of positive comments from friends boost self-esteem, which can reduce self-control. Even using Facebook for a mere five minutes at a time corresponded to lower self-control, which is certainly of interest to advertisers. Caveat emptor.

“Ultimately, Stephen wants to create a clearer picture of how companies, institutions, and organizations can best use social media and contributor-generated content, like
online discussion groups, to achieve business and marketing goals. And that won't come a moment too soon.”

WHAT?

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Capo REgime said...

Cube,

Bacon on Latkes is horrifying but not as horrifying as vacationing in Florida. Seems you were looking for an overdose of douchebaggery! What is there in West Palm but strip malls, divorce lawyers, strippers, meth heads and people living in foreclosed houses. I assume your trip was anthropological in nature? If florida seems like a respite you must be living in Cleveland. Surely, if anything can get you to flee the U.S. spending time in Vegas or South Florida should do it. Do like newman in Seinfeld--vacation in Baltimore which is actually infinitely more interesting than anywhere in Florida.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

The imagery represents what will happen to America. America hoards everything: crime, food, war, irrationality, sex, fat ass, ignorance, rudeness, technology, gus, name it!

Hoarder Dies After Floor Collapses Under Weight Of Debris Inside Connecticut Home

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/16/hoarder-dies-in-floor-collapse_n_5498103.html

6:01 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

[Sarasvati, responding to Nearfar, writes]

"BTW,why-ever was a hack like Brian Williams chosen to interview [Edward Snowdon]?"

Recognizing a rhetorical question when I see one, I still feel the urge to offer a response. I hope you'll forgive my intrusion.

Williams was chosen for much the same reason that any of these dunderheads is selected to read the news or to conduct interviews: he represents a recognizable face, someone whose "recognizability" offers the reassurance that what the viewer is about to hear and see is mediated by someone he can trust. After all, says the viewer subconsciously to himself, Williams has come into our house every evening for years now. Heck fire, he's practically a family member.

It also helps that Williams has a well-modulated voice without any offensive accent and the good looks that are requisite for someone who stands constantly under the gaze of "the eye that never blinks" (TV camera).

In sum, the perfect package, a reporter who will help us get a fix on who this Snowdon fellow really is without becoming rude or obnoxious like so many of those reporters in the lame-stream media, as Sarah Palin likes to call them.

Make sense?

12:47 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

It nearly pushed me over the cliff. The latkes were an abomination I tell ya.

Capo

I live south of Atlanta. We went mainly to relax on the beach. We went to some of the museums like the flagger museum and the science museum.

It's like everywhere I go though There is so much douch baggery all around and it is all style and no substance. I feel like there was not enough depth to the museums and all they did was skim the surface.

Honestly, I keep thinking there would be a lot more substance to things and wherever I go would be different but I keep getting disappointed. It's all business and all is treated as a commodity. Even in the museums there is no vibrancy and there is no color. Everything is so stale. I enjoyed the beach but for the most part it was all dull.

2:41 PM  
Blogger S. P. Hunter said...

Capo Regime wrote:

"Surely, if anything can get you to flee the U.S. spending time in Vegas or South Florida should do it."

I couldn't agree more.
West Palm Beach was the last place where I lived in the United States just before leaving for good in 2008. Of the many places in America I had lived, Florida was by far the worst.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ATTENTION ALL WAFERINOS:

If any of you bought the Kindle version of WAF, pls let me know if it was paginated (i.e., numbered). My asst is trying to upload the WAF pb edn in a Kindle version, and tells me she needs this info asap. So please check in, let me know what's what. Thanks mucho.

mb

6:36 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

My wife purchased WAF Kindle version and it is *not* paginated.

MB, Wafers-

Boy, I'm trying to wrap my brain around the situation in Iraq. It looks like the place is coming apart at the seams. The US invaded Iraq, spent billions, trillions (?), occupied it, lost over 4,000 lives, took hundreds of thousands of lives, and ISIS is redrawing the country in less than a week... So much for attempting to control history, no? The chaos in Iraq, much of it started by the US, is more evidence that history doesn't follow America's script of optimism.

Best to all,

Jeff

7:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Many thanks; I'll pass that info on to my asst. As for Iraq: Americans, even top officials, won't give a damn. They'll just move on to the next country to destroy, while a drugged populace will cheer. Iran is the obvious choice, but I still keep writing the Pentagon abt the need to bomb Toronto and Paris, preferably on the same day. After all, what we're abt is death, so why not spread the wealth around, so to speak?

mb

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Jeff & all Wafers,

Re: Iraq and the Middle East

Check out Immanuel Wallerstien's latest commentary at:
http://www.binghamton.edu/fbc/commentaries/

It seems that as the US declines, history will go on without it.

David Rosen

9:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Who We Are Dept.:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/12/opinion/navarrette-immigrant-children/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

However, Navarrette apparently fell on his head at an early age. The article contains this line:
"Americans are known around the world as a good and compassionate people."--Wha? What planet is he living on, exactly?

mb

9:39 PM  
Anonymous kyle said...

MB-

What is your opinion on the recent legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado? Do you see this as the United States finally trying to end the war on drugs (which primarily targets black people) or is it just a fluke?

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Yo, Prof! WAF Kindle not paginated , location only as "x%, location y of z." Would you sign my copy?

12:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dawg-

Thanks for info. My asst is now busy getting the WAF pb Kindle up and running. Can't sign copy: stuff in and out of Mexico takes lotsa time, costs too much. 1000 pardons.

kyle-

To me this is abt as significant as identity politics. The Power Elite already has most Americans drugged on consumer gds; why not add pot and crack into the mix, really? Heroin wd also keep them quiet. It's not enuf that we have a stupid populace; we also need a stupefied one.

mb

8:20 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

I have a solution to the Iraq crisis! It's so simple I'm surprised that no one ever thought of it before.

Here it is: the CIA ought to install a tyrant in Iraq whom the US then supports. This tyrant will control the warring factions there with an iron hand.

The spooks should pick a local for the job, someone with a strong black mustache.

Brilliant, huh? This solution is not only unprecedented, it might even work!

(And around & around rolls the ring of emptiness, madness.)

12:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sanc-

I believe this solution *is* precedented, no? Meanwhile, here we (US) sit, w/egg on face. God, we're so stupid.

mb

12:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's the latest on the Iraq situation:

http://us.cnn.com/2014/06/17/world/meast/iraq-crisis/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

What this demonstrates is that since 1990, our foreign policy has been a large pile of shit.

Our joke of a president will probably do something; we can be sure that whatever it is, it will be a mistake.

The one thing he can do that would not be a mistake is to rename the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush, the George H.W. Douche Bag. This would do more to correct the situation in the Middle East than anything else I can think of (beyond apologizing to the entire region for our interference, and evacuating all troops immediately).

Jesus, we're dumb.

mb

2:42 PM  
Anonymous turnover said...

On the Real News Network
Chris Hedges Interviews Noam Chomsky part 1 of 3. I think other 2 have not yet been posted.

http://tinyurl.com/nepcsdv

Hedges askes Chomsky how we learn from the past so we can improve. Chomsky gives a 15 minute history, mostly about manufacturing consent and doesn't come up with solutions.

Real News puts out a quite a few of sometimes interesting short news videos.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

turnover-

Well, thank god he didn't come up w/any solutions. Chomsky is, at the very least, an honest man. As for 'improvement', here's the assessment of the great essayist Randolph Bourne, published in the New Republic the yr he died, 1918:

"Do we any longer think of evolution as a road along which mankind moves abreast in a solid phalanx onward and upward forever? Isn't mankind, if it is anything, a painful and struggling army? Will it ever be anything else? [In] an era of world war...statesmen are proving as blind and helpless as the manipulated masses...."

A century later, things haven't changed much. But 'progressives' are still telling us that we are moving onward and upward. Sigh.

O&D, amigos-

mb

5:32 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

My Dearest Wafers:

Even when progressive gringos are trying to say the right thing, their American Exceptionalism shows.

Ira Chernus, borrowing from a bumper-sticker slogan, says, "Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam."

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/06/17

I don't think Mr. Chernus has considered that "Iraq" is Arabic for "Iraq," and that the people there have an existence all on their own, outside the perception of nice yanquis like him.

6:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

I think we need to launch a project called Ethnocentric Therapy. Americans would be sent to a special camp, 3 mos. around the clock, to just get America out of their heads. This wd help them, but wd esp. help the world. The problem is, I can't think of what the therapy wd consist of. (In this case, urine wdn't work, I suspect.) Wafers are encouraged to come up with a Therapy Program to rid Americans of their "exceptionalism".

mb

9:13 PM  
Anonymous A Trolfoon By Any Other Name said...

You seem to hold Progressives in at least as deep a state of contempt as Conservatives, yet your only proposed solution is for everybody to split up, go home, and sulk individually. Were it not for Progressives, the excesses of the Right would have been far worse than they've been allowed to be. A little appreciation for that resistance to what may (or may not) be inevitable would seem to be appropriate. Otherwise it's just all surrender, let the evil people maximize their evil without even the appearance of opposition. Where would we be without your despised Progressives in offices ranging from local town councils to state houses to Congress? Do you really believe that it's best to offer no resistance? Forget that individual example nonsense; it works in Third World venues, not in massively technologized societies where mind control is a reality. The sad thing is that Progressives have to keep on organizing and fighting for what they believe in despite knowing that people who claim to share their core beliefs about justice and equality and fairness will spit on their names and deny their accomplishments. Lucky for you that they do, but sometimes they must wonder whether you smartass know-it-alls are worth the trouble. If you've abandoned the fight here and moved abroad, then kindly don't mock those who believe that the fight itself is worth the effort; at least have that much decency.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

To John Richardson: Amen.

MB,

We could call the procedure to rid persons of the exceptionalism spirit "EXORCEPTIONALISM".

I am not paying any attention to the news lately. Besides, why is anyone surprised about Iraq? We got what we went there to get, oil. Internalize the profits and externalize the costs. That has not changed.

While I respect Chris Hedges for his work, I am inclined to lean more towards the assessments that you, Guy McPherson, and Michael C. Ruppert have laid out. The system is the problem. Infinite growth on a finite planet is a certain path to collapse. The infinite growth of stupidity is also proving dangerous the seemingly finite number of rational people still left to acknowledge, let alone deal with our predicament(s).

Peace,
Vince

9:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Trollfoon-

Well, u.r. indeed a trollfoon. Or at least, have come to the discussion rather late, and thus arrogantly display your ignorance. We have spent a lot of time on this blog talking abt Dual Process (know what that is?), post-capitalist solutions, and ways to respond to the collapse of American civilization. So yr characterization of Wafers as 'sulking individually' is way off base (you seem to be the sulker, in fact), as is the 'individual example' argument--a classic straw man attack. In addition, there are contexts in which 'progressive' activity makes sense, but we are no longer in such a context; it just amounts to moral gestures at this pt. Of course, their efforts do ultimately serve the same purpose as mine, namely to generate an archive, a record of why America failed, wh/I think it's impt to have. But on no acct will their activity turn things around, as they claim to be doing; this is fantasy. Wafers have a strong penchant for reality, as it turns out.

And, mon cher, running this blog and writing the bks I do is hardly 'abandoning the fight', altho what we are arguing is that things have to run their course now; there simply is no fight left to be won. (Dual Process is a slow process, as it turns out.) Which is why emigration is a very sane thing to do.

Anyway, I hope you can grasp to what extent u.r. a jackass, showing up here like you know it all and lecturing us, when you clearly don't know shit. But if you want to be part of this discussion, you will observe the following caveats:

1. You will drop the Attitude, which is not welcome on this blog. You can state your position w/o attacking us, or strutting around like a peacock. (Hard for an American to do, I realize, but it's a requirement of this blog.) You are in no position to render judgments abt me, us, or this blog; that seems pretty obvious.

2. You will not refer to us as "smartass know-it-alls." This describes u, not us. In fact, you won't use any epithets at all.

3. You will not accuse us of anything, such as "abandoning the fight." What are *you* doing that's so politically engaged, BTW? Writing dumb messages to blogs committed to serious intellectual discussion? What a fabulous contribution to the world situation!

4. You will not give us directives, like "kindly do this or that," and you will not imply that we are indecent. Again, this word describes u, not us.

5. You will apologize to us for your rudeness, and indicate that in future you are going to state your disagreements in a courteous manner. At this point we wd welcome statements from u along the lines of, "I'm really sorry I behaved like a jackass, and can assure you it won't happen again. I also intend to read previous posts on things like Dual Process, so I actually know what I'm talking abt, as opposed to just shooting my mouth off like a douche bag. I do realize the importance of connecting my mouth to my brain, and will act accordingly in the future. I ask that you and all the other Wafers forgive me for my stupidity and my intemperate remarks."

Anyway, this is how the game is played. It's a game for adults, not spoiled brats, OK?

mb

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Ah trollfoon!

The progressives are fighting the right! Oh so noble! How about that Obama--he ran as a progressive no? By progressives you mean the people who mouth slogans but take money from the very same people the republicans and the dreaded right? Hell even the progressive outposts of the WAPO and NYT defend Obama and attach truthsayers like Glen Greenwald. Where were the progressives on Bradley Manning and on domestic spying and torture? What writing a smart retort in the forward or mother jones? Buying Hillary's "book" and know she will change things? What is the "right" these days and how is it they are different than the wall street funded "left". Do you have specifics of these progressives in office around the country doing something anything significant to "fight" the right? Building a community center with bonds underwritten by gold man sachs to parley into a job later does not count. Do you know how many "progressive" politicians go and get multi-million sinecures and play golf with the "right". Its a fantasy like world wrestling federation, blue and red trunks to get the rubes worked up. I have been to corporate sponsored dinners in the actual Rayburn Building with "right wingers" and "progressives" both feeding at the same trough. I assume you think voting matters. Somehow I think you meant to post at Huffington Post.

The revolution idea is a myth. Solutions to insoluble problems do not exist. The best so far approach is indeed checking out. The refusniks in the USSR accomplished more that any petition or protest. It would do you well to read a bit.

11:48 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

Publius,

thanks for supporting my quest. It sounds like your trip is still going very well, that's great. And it sounds like you've been able to make a bunch of important observations, which is even better. That's a killer Jesus quote, one that hasn't crossed my mind since grade school. Gotta respect the Ris(en j.c.)

Sarasvati,

that's an amazing little bit history there on the ancient yogis! And "freedom from the clutches of the mind": succinctly stated. I think that line's gonna stick with me for awhile, if I'm lucky.

mb,

how about bringing the camp to Americans? Our troops could invade one city at a time, accuse the citizens of harboring terrorists, and treat them as we've treated Afghanistan in the past decade. After 3 months their foreign policy views might change just a tad.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Capo, Wafers-

I tell ya, things were getting a bit dull around here (i.e., my house), w/the retreat of the trollfoons in recent weeks. Where the fuck are they?, I kept saying to myself. Because as must be obvious, they give purpose to my life. Taking a trollfoon and grinding him into the dirt is for me as much fun as sex, tennis, or writing books. A day w/o a trollfoon is like a day w/o sunshine. And then, suddenly, outta nowhere, Trollfoon showed up, mouthing the usual nonsense that these people do, giving me (once again) the opportunity of reducing the likes of him to the piece of dreck that he is. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
I chortled in my joy.

mb

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

See if you figure out who said the following before clicking the link:

"From the beginning, most people on the left were against going into Iraq. I wasn’t.... Liberals, you were right. We shouldn’t have."

Beck made this surprising declaration on his radio show on Tuesday while discussing the widening rift between Republicans and Democrats. He urged both parties to come together to oppose another war in Iraq.

"Not one more life. Not one more life. Not one more dollar, not one more airplane, not one more bullet, not one more Marine, not one more arm or leg or eye. Not one more," he said. "This must end now. Now can't we come together on that?"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/17/glenn-beck-iraq-war_n_5505424.html

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Xiale said...

With regards to progressives thinking they can turn it around, Neil Postman summed up Americans quite nicely.

“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.”

“Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and comercials.”

How can such people turn anything around? To think they can is to confirm just how American you really are.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers Worldwide,

Attila the Berm-

It's a joy to see that the Gods are still smiling down on you! Alas, may the trollfoons never, ever go away...

The way you obliterate various trollfoons is like watching Picasso paint his harlequins and clowns during the Rose Period. Beyond their obvious douchebaggery, trollfoons are very much like harlequins and clowns. They are tricksters, troublesome, and mischievous little devils deserving of every bit of your disdain. I tell ya, it tickles me pink to wake up to a new trollfoon; particularly one that hits the blog midweek.

Vince-

Exorceptionalism! Shit, that's a good one...

Jeff

ps: Deli Update: Langer's Deli at 7th & Alvarado, west of downtown LA. Sehr gut!

12:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I tell u, I love them. They give Meaning to my life, and I'm talking capital M.

mb

1:59 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers, beamish, vorpal, and otherwise:

On the topic of Uncle Noam Chomsky and his refusal to provide solutions, many years ago I read his reaction to someone inquiring why he had none.

He said that people should come up with their own solutions and not look for others to direct them. He gave the example of poor Bolivians who didn't look for outside guidance when their water was privatised, but instead took action themselves.

I can't see North Americans doing the same thing. Canadians today found out that Stephen Harper has approved the Northern Gateway pipeline, which nobody but oil company executives wants. We'll see what popular opposition can do about this, but I'm not optimistic.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MB,

I think you will like this recent dismantling of progressive thought

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/06/john-gray-humanity-figment-imagination

Can you imagine a trollphoon reading this review? Better yet, can you imagine a trollphoon understanding the review?

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Yo said...

People Invested $1 Million In An App That Just Says ‘Yo’

"It only took 8 hours to build the app, and the only thing it does is allow you to send the word ‘Yo’ to your friends. To many, it seems like a joke. But its inventor, Or Arbel, is totally serious."

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/06/18/3450334/yo-app-tech-bubble/

5:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Yo-

We need an app that says, "If yr rdg this, yr a douche bag."

Capo-

I always did like Gray. Meanwhile, I can't imagine trollfoons understanding anything--at all. Thinking is difficult when you have bits of rancid dogshit inside yr head, I'm guessing.

al-

"One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!"

mb

7:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, recent cnn polls have revealed that a large % of Americans think Obama's foreign policy (which is what, exactly?) blows, and that he can't really lead the country. No big surprise. I just wish these polls wd get down to brass tacks. E.g.:

1. In your opinion, is the president a douche bag?

2. Wd u say he has his head embedded in his rectum?
(Actually, this was tried, but 85% of those polled didn't know what a rectum was.)

No polls so far on our imminent invasion of Iraq, that I cd find; but I'm excited that the govt is so stupid, it's going to rerun the Bush scenario and think that makes sense. I just hope it also nukes Paris and Toronto at the same time, because their criticism is giving succor to our enemies (wh/is apparently most of the planet; wonder why?).

mb

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

To paraphrase Billy Bragg, yes, there's only a hair of difference between the left and the right in this country, but millions of people get healthcare within that hair's breadth.

Of course, that healthcare is still ridiculously expensive and shitty. And we still haven't eliminated medical bankruptcy, or people dying from lack of medical care. We just kind of cut it by two thirds or so. In the states where its not being blocked by Republican governors. Reminds me of when Obama's staff & members of the DoJ met to discuss the cocaine/crack sentencing disparity. Everyone in attendance agreed, yes, this disparity is completely racist and destructive to black communities. And then they collectively reduced the disparity to be only a fifth as racist.

On a side note, I cannot believe how many Americans I meet refuse to believe or understand how bad our healthcare is, and how in other countries access to medical care is just immeasurably better. I am told that this is because Americans so rarely travel, but I've never left the country and its not hard for me to grok basic, provable facts.

3:21 AM  
Anonymous jason sans said...

WSJ is predicting $170-$200/barrel oil by the end of the year if Isis is able to stop oil production in Iraq.

Seems either US will get involved again in Iraq, or oil prices will go way up soon (maybe both?)

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/if-iraqi-oil-goes-off-line-200-oil-is-next-2014-06-17

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Zeke,

What you are touting the obamacare fiasco>

People confound health care and health insurance. People now may get subsidized health insurance and those who enrolled. 52% have found out their enrollment is wrong.

The fact is people always had access to health care (ER rooms etc) it was spotty. People now have a subsidized health insurance plans the law which enables it was written by insurance companies and big pharma (i.e they did not expand medicaid which was the original health insurance plan.

I don't want to get into the details but obamacare is a disaster and citing it as an achievement for the "left" is really reaching. Obamacare is a total scam. Middle class pays more for insurance so a few lower middle get a lower premium. Its a complete Kluster....ck. If thats the best the "left" can do....the right to pay for shitty insurance and overpriced medicines--yay though not much good if you don;t have money.


8:18 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Good day Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

Yes, what's going on with Obama's foreign policy? I share your concern. Obama's ineffective on-the-job training in foreign policy is burying the poor sap. He has no practical sense of how to implement anything constructive, except confusion. A foreign policy of essentially "Afghan war good, Iraq war bad" in the real world can only take him so far.

Furthermore, it amazes me that for going on 14 years now (back to Reagan, perhaps), the US has had *no* coherent worldview, no real sense of how the world works, or what role the US should or ought to play in it. A great predicament to be in for an amusing downfall, it seems to me.

Dovidel-

Many thanks for the Wallerstein article. Obama should give him a call...

Jeff

12:54 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

"The Sopranos" actually quite perfectly represented the American Condition as a great cosmic joke that The Empty American could never fully comprehend. The widespread anger and confusion over the series' ending really drove home that point quite nicely.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

El-

Pls post only once every 24 hrs, thank you. Also pls send messages to most recent post.

mb

5:50 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

El Alamein - your comment on "The Sopranos" .

The Sopranos [and their competition with the other mobs] always seemed to me to be a parody of the competition between our own oligarchs.

The Sopranos real competition is the NY mobs, etc.

In the battle for ever more, the police (the government and politicians) are just something to be gotten around and corrupted to make sure the other mobs don't win.

The citizens (the voters) are grass to be walked on.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Morris,
You will be surprised to know that most Pakistanis have nothing against Jews only Zionism and what it is doing in Israel, West Bank and Gaza.
By the way are you are Zionists are helping ISIS? Meanwhile goof buddy Saudi Arabia-the Jihadi factory is trying to turn Pakistanis to be anti-Jewish by indoctrinating the poor who do not know Saudis are actually cozying up to Zionist Israel-yes they do not know this hypocrisy. Have you read the book about the Lobby, and please google what Wesley Clark has said about ME destabilization plan he heard about in 1991.

Anyway, sad but true, Israel has more poverty than Mexico and liberal Jews are running off to other more fruitful places= like Germany. What is left is the extremists, unfortunately!

Winston

11:25 PM  

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