July 01, 2014

224

Dear Wafers:

Time to start a new post, I guess. We need to leave discussions of a future Mittney presidency, the pros and cons of marriage, and the Hedges-Ketcham flap, behind us, and move on to greener pastures; unless, of course, you guys wanna continue discussing those things. Personally, I'm hoping that comments for this particular post will focus on a possible Lorenzo Riggins/Latreasa Goodman candidacy in 2016. If such a campaign materializes, I want to declare right now that I shall work relentlessly to get these cutting-edge intellects installed in the White House. Our country deserves nothing less.

Anyway, let me talk about upcoming events. Well, there really aren't too many, and my mind is as vacuous as an empty washing machine. In a month I turn 70, so there's no denying it any longer: I'm old, and as the army of critics I have out there have repeatedly insisted, completely senile. At this point I can do little more than drool and grunt. Which means you guys need to take everything I say, as of a month from now, with 6 pounds of salt. Dementia is not a pretty thing.

Despite my severe mental incapacity, the Universidad de La Salle in Costa Rica invited me to do a public lecture and give a 3-day workshop there during Sept. 25-27. So all you hispanohablantes who are into punishing yourselves for 3 days, feel free to come down. (Actually, the workshop is only for doctoral candidates at the university, so you would only be able to attend the public lecture. No vale la pena, clearly.) But if any of this gets recorded, I'll post the links on this blog. (Angloparlantes might wanna use these to practice your Spanish, though I'm obviously not the best source for this.)

On other fronts, work on the Japan book progresses slowly, as I devote myself to shepherding it through the publication process. The book has more than 20 illustrations, so you have to crop these, get the right resolution, obtain permissions to reproduce, etc. etc. Fun stuff. Hopefully, the book will see the light of day before Xmas rolls around. Stay tuned.

As spring turns into summer, I want to remind all Wafers that an important part of the Wafer code is to have fun. I mean fun beyond watching the US slide into increasing violence and stupidity. So I hope you all are taking time to smell the roses, and devour corned beef sandwiches with cole slaw and Russian dressing. Finally, keep in mind that the world is divided into Wafers--the best people on earth--and everyone else. We are Wafers, amigos; nothing can stop us now. Let us continue to celebrate Waferdom, the only true spirituality left on the planet today.

-mb

195 Comments:

Anonymous Dr.Strangelove said...

No sir, the best peeps on earth are those I overheard round here who said they were takin' their "quads" (the trail-destroying equivalent of a jet-ski) down to the Arkansas (pronounced "Our-Kansas" in these parts) River to "tear shit up." And you should see it-- it's done torn up all right, replete with trash strewn everywhere. These folks may not be your pointy-headed intellects, but they done have good old-fashioned horse sense.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

It's Ramadan, and half my office is tired from having to wake up at 3am to eat, then working a full day (since work cannot ever stop in America). Apparently Saudi Arabia takes a whole month off and people sleep during the daylight hours.

I don't think we'll ever have any understand here, especially since four in ten Americans admit feeling prejudice against Muslims

My mom told me when she grew up in Italy, the country shut down in August. Moving to the US, she got a lot of push back, so she basically dropped any Italian culture she brought.

America sees the opposite -- more sunlight means more available working hours. You saw the anxiety over the recent news about a drop in GDP, some of it blamed on the winter weather. Everyone is thrilled to be able to work longer now that summer is here.

Could you imagine us voluntarily relaxing for an entire month? For the US, vacation is like work -- you must have an itinerary, you must stay busy, and you must document the whole process to prove to other people you did something productive on your time off.

Sleeping, fasting, and prayer seems like a much healthier and sane way to spend a month.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Happy birthday Dr. B! In honor of this special event, I humbly present the following for consideration by the WAF-er collective:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVm85MdeMMQ

the hand slicing at 2:20 is a thing to behold!

Pub: Here is a little something to make you want to move to Finland even more!

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/how-finland-keeps-kids-focused/373544/

... and the comments are priceless as usual.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

A good post, MB. Here's a little something fun: A Possible Wafer Anthem sung to the tune of "Bad Company" by the band Bad Company:

Bad Wafer-

Wafering, always on my mind
In the silence, meaning you shall find
Oh, I was born crowbar in my hand
Behind the rumps I'll make my final stand
That's why they call me

Bad Wafer
And I can't deny
Bad Wafer
'Til the day I die
Oh, 'til the day I die
'Til the day I die

Rebel souls, deserters we are called
Don't stick around waiting for the fall
Now these towns, they all know our name
A crowbar sound is our claim to fame
I can hear them say

Bad Wafer
And I won't deny
Bad, bad Wafer
'Til the day I die, oh, yeah
'Til the day I die

Tell me you don't have a case of CRE
Only then, can you join our company
It's the only way the Wafers roll, truth for truth
Oh, America double-crossed me
Double-cross, double cross...

*Whaddya guys think? If you wanna listen to the original song, here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZVDzaVm3Vo

Jeff

9:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jwo-

I was weeping throughout that video. Thank you.

mb

10:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And speaking of pastrami, I'm a little unsettled by recent events in the Middle East. It turns out that ISIS is now calling itself the "Islamic State," led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. I confess, I don't care much for al-Baghdadi, and so I've decided to cease contributing to the jihadi cause. As most of you know, since 2001 I have funneled billions of dollars into al-Qaeda from my own personal bank account. Well, enuf o' that. What I now propose, and I'd like all u Wafers to weigh in on this, is that I change my name to Abu al-Deli-Meats, and put my massive wealth toward the establishment of a Pastrami State. Our goal is that pastrami take over, literally engulf, the entire world. This will put us into inevitable conflict with al-Baghdadi, but I say: "Big Dadi, you are no match for the Pastrami State." I'm even thinking of asking Dick Cheney to go over there, explain to Big Dadi that he cannot win this war, and that all of America is now chanting "Deli-Meats Akbar!" (Of course, I'm also fond of Jeff & Akbar, as well as Binky & Sheba.)

mb

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

More news about brilliant people in charge of children. Looks like a potential voter for that Lorenzo Riggins/Latreasa Goodman ticket you are promoting.

Nanny Leaves Young Kids in Hot Car to Go Tanning

It's a beautiful 90-degree day in Portland, Ore. Where does a 23-year-old nanny take a 3-year-old and 1-month-old? To a tanning salon, according to court documents, where the young children were left locked in a van until their screams led the cops to be called.

...

Meanwhile, jogging has become hazardous to your health. Someone who hasn't got a drone yet apparently needed to vent, and chose a random jogger.

Michigan Jogger Shot to Death, Not Hit by Car

A fatal hit-and-run investigation in Michigan has now turned into a homicide investigation, after authorities say a jogger was mysteriously shot to death while exercising.

...

11:41 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

"...more sunlight means more available working hours."

There's no doubt that Americans work longer hours and take fewer vacation days than do citizens of any other industrialized country.

And, given what may be a general WAFer consensus regarding the douchebaggery quotient (DQ) of Americans as a group, if we're going to be honest then we must acknowledge that they're not spending as much time at the office or on the factory floor as they do simply because they're benighted or avaricious. For a great many Americans, they're doing so because their economic circumstances demand it.

The American model of capitalism requires this sort of devotion to the workplace and to work. For every twentysomething who's voluntarily chained himself to his desk in order to demonstrate his "value" to the boss above him, or simply to execute a Wall Street trade that'll help him pay for his upcoming vacation in the Hamptons, there are likely many more who are beavering away simply to keep their jobs and meet production or performance quotas established by people whom they've never even met. With the employment climate that now exists--and that's likely to continue as it is and probably worsen over time--even the dullest among us can see that "slacking off" or "not pulling one's weight" is a surefire way to make you stand out on the job. And soon, you'll be standing out(side) the building, shuffling along toward the local unemployment office.

We might agree that the German model, where workers get a month or more vacation each year as a matter of law, or the Italian or Greek model, where (for example) lunches can last from noon to three each workday, each represents a more civilized approach to labor and laboring. But we can't justifiably criticize Americans' work behavior and characterize it as yet another illustration of their general non-WAFerness.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I'd like to nominate Curtrise Garner for high political office. She's just the kind of new blood we need in America today, one who can stick it to the poor with style and poise (to paraphrase the subtitle of her book). The New Etiquette of our political life requires the type of person who can say to delinquent ratepayers with prim complacency "We're going to have to torture you now" as they're hauled off for the rubber hose treatment, in tones implying that it's for their own good and the whole situation is really of their own making anyway. Hopefully the typhoid won't reach her side of town, 'cause she's just the type of talent needed today to lead America on its path to ever-greater glory.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Yes smell the roses and enjoy life.

The future as JG Ballard is already here--its just not televised and not hit everyone at the same time. For the depressed returning vet with no job hanging with unemployed diabetic mom in Hazard Ky or the kid in a no electricity house in Camden or the 54 y.o. acount executive laid off and uneployed for 2 years and the bill collectors calling, the 23 y.o with 60k in student loans living with parents and seeking solace in.....

Enjoy it. Its short. Frankly, there is a lot to be said for the ideas of Victor Frankel's logotherapy in finding meaning in life in even the most unpleasant situations. Lewellen Powys shows us point of life is well life....Wafers know that you don;t pursue happiness but rather take life as it is and know its an interesting and worthwhile experience. Chasing happiness is a spiritual dead end. Look at a pretty thing, talk to your child, grandchild, draw, sing, paint, cook, fornicate excessively if ability and circumstances allow.

Oh the latter is part of the Wafer shindig in Dublin--we are pre-modern and there will be a swingers night which I will sponsor. It will be tastefully done and with a buffer of the finest smoked meats and fish. As a senior citizen I will only facilitate the buffet and lodgings and encourage the younger or particularly randy older wafers. As Robert Penn Warren said, the two most overrated things are hard work and monogamy.

On a serious note, MB the old Toynbee idea of Mimeses struck me while teaching a grandson how to make whitefish salad. In mimeses people find that imitating their leaders yields favorable outcomes in a thriving culture (the leaders and their actions action are alingned with myth, courage etc). But when there is nothing worth imitating a huger internal proletariat leading a pointless existence emerges....they get tattoos, watch porn, eat to excess and shot at each other, are cruel and indifferent to one another, ignorant, uncouth etc....

3:32 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

My poor brother is now in Finland, following in our footsteps. He's having an awful time. Here's a quote:
"Yes I am depressed because I am alone. Actually I feel some kind of separation anxiety anytime leaving home for such a long time."

I tried to get him interested in being open to the otherness of a new culture, to meeting strangers and possibly connecting on a deep level, and the mysterious wonders to found there.
But nada.
He also told me today via email that if "nothing changes" he can't see himself living to old age (implicit threat of suicide) because he can't bear the thought of losing his "superior" fitness and health (he's a triathlete), as he has "nothing else" (as in human relationships).
I really try to help him. It seems that it is well nigh impossible to help others. I try to set a good example, but it simply leads to incomprehension on his part. Ah well. So it goes.
And he's now a millionaire.
He needs to eat more pastrami, to start with.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Capo-

Check out Gary Snyder, "Axe Handles."

mb

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

A new study that will surprise no one here:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/06/25/
making_caring_common_project_study_finds_that_
students_value_achievement.html

Their initiative, the Making Caring Common Project, surveyed 10,000 middle and high school students about which values are most important to them. (The kids came from 33 schools across the country and varied in race and class.) Eighty percent chose high achievement or happiness as their top priority. Only 20 percent picked caring for others. The teenagers tended to see self-interest as more important than fairness.

Are kids reflecting their parents’ values when they choose success and achievement over caring? They say yes. While most parents and teachers have told other researchers in the past that they rank children’s capacity for caring above achievement, kids don’t believe them. Four out of five of the teens Making Caring Common surveyed said their parents cared more about achievement or happiness than caring. They saw teachers this way, too.


Capo,

The Jungian writer/analyst James Hollis has repeatedly made the point that what matters in life isn't happiness, but meaning. Yet people still pursue happiness, usually via money & status, both of which are empty.

I recently saw someone arguing on a message board that the original Star Trek was unbelievable because its future managed without money. He couldn't understand how anyone could be motivated to do anything -- explore, study, learn, create -- if they weren't getting paid for it. "That's the only reason people do anything!"

4:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Lone-

I've have asked people repeatedly, that if they want to talk about 9/11 as an inside job--wh/I don't believe it was, myself--that they do this on blogs that entertain that theory. Plenty of them, I'm guessing. I now have to ask you to do this as well. Enuf, OK? Thank you.

mb

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Steven McGinty said...

MB -

The internet is CRAWLING with libertarians and people who believe 9/11 was an inside job and that the illuminati is intentionally poisoning us through "geoengineering" (aka chem trails). You'll also see "foodies" who rail against GMOs, gluten, and rave about the benefits of the paleo diet and intense exercise regimes. I believe well adjusted people are the minority posting on message boards, and many people avoid browsing the internet at all because of the junk that's posted all over the place.

I think scientific illiteracy goes well beyond fundamentalist Christians. As an example, I presented a demonstration of an infrared camera at a high school, and how it's used. The first thing I was asked was, "can you find ghosts with that?!" Joking or not, it's telling that the first thing on their mind is something from the Syfy channel. This was an engineering magnet school mind you.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Steven-

Yeah, I still get messages from people telling me the Jews are the cause of all our problems. No appreciation of pastrami among these people (the greatest single contribution to the human race in the history of the world); it's fuckin' depressing, I tell ya.

I suppose one problem here is that lots of people are new to the party, wh/may acc't for stuff abt the Civil War, even beyond the trollfoons, because newcomers aren't aware that that issue (WAF ch. 4) got fully debated at an earlier pt. Same w/my lack of interest in the 9/11 stuff: at one pt I gave a long list of *why* I didn't give a damn abt it, and wasn't going to discuss it here, and I'm not abt to keep repeating that list. So I guess newcomers can be forgiven for saying, Hey, what abt 9/11 as an inside job? All I can tell them is that I don't give a crap abt it, and that if they wanna debate the issue, there are probably several dozen websites out there that are doing it as we speak. But I'm getting a little tired of saying, Enuf w/the Civil War, and 9/11. Oh well; occupational hazard, I suppose.

mb

8:29 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Steven McGinty -

Jiddu Krishnamurti: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Shakespeare: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

9:45 PM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

@Tim Lukeman - Hollis is wonderful. I think he and MB are long lost brothers.

@MB - I tell you, sir, CTOS is one profound work. I am digesting it slowly, like fine wine. I keep saying, "yes" as I read.

I think the only other one of yours I've not yet read is Wandering God. It's in the wings; I eagerly await it since you've recently said it's the work of which you're most proud.

I so deeply appreciate your overall approach to history and the way that you combine depth with breadth. No small feat, that, but you consistently do it with elegance and grace.

With much gratitude,

DTE

10:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Di-

Many thanks. CTOS is not exactly a best-seller these days, being edged out by recent bks by Curtrise Garner and Hillary. But it always feels gd to know that *someone* has a copy, and is enjoying it. So thank you, and hope u enjoy WG as well.

mb

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Seeking Sanity said...

“…more sunlight means more available working hours.”

A while back a friend’s wife was telling me how she is eligible for retirement. I told that was great and asked what she planned to do after retirement. She then looked at me like I was crazy and explained that just because she can retire, that doesn’t mean she will. Her statement was something to the effect of “what would I do, sit around and talk to my husband all day?” She cannot even comprehend a life beyond her job, let alone the fact that her retirement might open up a job for someone who could use a job. Although, she is a republican so I’d venture that consideration for someone else's predicament is as elusive as doing something beyond her job.

These are the kinds of people the American schooling system seeks to create and the type the business system loves and rewards. There are a lot of them out there, hence one of the reason this is a soulless, despicable society.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Seeking-

Pascal once said that the hardest thing to do was to sit quietly, by yrself, in a room, doing nothing. I guess he was talking abt the French. Americans are the saddest on earth, in that respect; every moment of every day hasta be filled w/noise or activity of some sort, or they start to have nervous breakdowns. It's also the reason I have been fascinated by Eastern cultures for a long time: the concept of empty space is central to their world view, and their 'religion'. It's only when we are still that we can come into contact w/the deeper forces that are guiding our lives. Americans are rushed, harassed, and driven. Try talking to them about "deeper forces," see what reaction you get. Where else on earth do u have people who sue restaurants if their coffee is too hot, or throw a fit if they can't get Chicken McNuggets? Who talk constantly, who never stop for 2 seconds to observe their breath? And to whom it never occurs: Jesus, I'm a pathetic clown; my life is a joke.

mb

11:10 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

James Allen -

I disagree with your take on American work hours. While many people have little choice about their employment and few options otherwise, these aren't the people I'm referring to.

I'm talking about the people who have no debt, who own a large house, multiple cars, and have a large retirement. When you talk to people like this, they think long work hours makes you a better person and they don't want a different system. People enjoy the toys & comfort they are able to buy. Most type-A office workers are quick to call people lazy who ever work less than 40 hours a week, or if work is not done fast. These are also the people who pride themselves in being thrifty & smart shoppers (see: consumer reports). The idea of working less or criticizing thrift is totally foreign to them.

It's also very common for type-A people to have a love of German engineered products, Apple products, and Japanese industrial products.

It's quite easy to lump millions of working Americans together. They eat the same things for lunch, buy the same products, and have the same mindset about work.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

Pls post only once every 24 hrs. Thank you.

mb

9:20 AM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

MB...WAFers...
I suppose this has been covered previously, but here goes:

I remember the time when younger children were asked what they wanted to 'be' when they grew up.
Commonly, answers were fireman, carpenter, truck driver, baseball star, a mommy...
Today, it's all connected to success, or fame, and inevitably tied to money: sports stars, models, actors; all the cultural icons of TV and the grocery checkout.
It's all ends and no means.
See Tim L's comment above.

I guess I'm one of the few fortunate ones. Yeah, I had desired to be an astronaut ( John Glenn ), but soon at 8 YO was a paper delivery boy for the Chicago Daily News, starting a couple months before the JFK assassination.
On that occasion, the CDN printed the Bill Mauldin editorial cartoon of a grieving Lincoln on the full back page. I decided then that I would be an editorial cartoonist, and I do that now...have for 25 years.
The motivation was ( and is ) to share...a concept foreign to my contemporaries, and to most 'Murkans'.

Compare the situation with the Central American refugee children now topical. There's been a media silence concerning reporting on 'why' these children make this dangerous journey. The meager accounts describe that they do so to be with their family, and to help them.
Most 'Murkan' kids would not do so unless they thought a pot of gold would be waiting for them at the end.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Why didn't he say, "I'm like a caged douche bag"?

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2014/06/27/tsr-lkl-acosta-obama-on-the-loose.cnn&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_allpolitics+%28RSS%3A+Politics%29&video_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fpoliticalticker.blogs.cnn.com%2F2014%2F07%2F02%2Ffor-romney-this-endorsements-close-to-home%2F%3Fhpt%3Dhp_t2#/video/us/2014/06/27/tsr-lkl-acosta-obama-on-the-loose.cnn

This too is gd, but I looked in vain for the phrase "douche bag":

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/02/who-is-the-worst-president-since-wwii/?hpt=hp_t4

I esp. like this:

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2014/07/02/pkg-waitresses-open-carry-loaded-guns.kkco&hpt=hp_c3&from_homepage=yes&video_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2F#/video/us/2014/07/02/pkg-waitresses-open-carry-loaded-guns.kkco

But then this too is impt (Kim, eat yr heart out):

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2014/06/30/erin-pkg-moos-pippa-speaks-backside.cnn&hpt=hp_t5&from_homepage=yes&video_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2F#/video/world/2014/06/30/erin-pkg-moos-pippa-speaks-backside.cnn

6:08 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers of the World,

MB-

In one day, you managed to hit a CNN superfecta! Jesus, is there no end to the douchebaggery? A few thoughts:

1. Yes, the only way Obama can save his presidency is to follow your advice and head to Iraq in a cargo plane full of pastrami, pronto. He should also don a fez and a Charlie Brown shirt; a few cases of Kaiser rolls couldn't hurt, as well.

2. You know, I think I'm in love with those waitresses at the Shooters Grill in Rifle, CO. I'm particularly fond of that chick, Lauren, the one who said, "a lot of people are shocked that I carry such a *big* gun." A sorceress in a flannel shirt if ever there was one...

3. As for Pippa, I'm worried that the Berkshire Beauty will retard our drive toward sexual bankruptcy if she upstages our Kim. Kim's curves notwithstanding, she's a bit trashy, after all; perfect for American tastes and attitudes. I find Pippa's brand of beauty more refined, exquisite, and sophisticated. She could raise America's quality, so to speak. This would be disastrous to our overall goal of speeding up collapse and to our motto: bad is good.

Jeff

8:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

It's kind of odd, Obama traveling around the country, saying he's a "caged bear," and actually having nothing to say at all. I'm thinking it's time for him to just admit that he has nothing to say and that he never did. This is my dream Obama speech:

"My fellow Americans. After nearly 6 yrs of my presidency, I think it has become obvious to all that it really has been abt nothing. The truth is that *I'm* abt nothing; I've never been abt anything else, and my record is quite clear in that regard. I'm just a vapid douche bag. I *sound* a lot better than Rom Mittney, I suppose, but the truth is that I'm also a vacuous wind tunnel, with the ratings of Worst President in Postwar Era.

"Lately, all that's been on my mind are Kim's buttocks. I'm not interested in Michelle anymore; really, she's as superficial as I am, with her Health Plans and other meaningless crap. I need to sink my teeth into Kim's rump; that's all I care abt anymore, and I'm telling you, my fellow Americans, that I won't rest easy until I have that tushie for my very own. There. I've said it. This is who I really am, and you need not puzzle abt it anymore. The bottom line is that I'm just an asshole, but keep in mind: you voted for me. Which shd tell you a thing or two abt yrselves.

"Good night and good luck.

"ps: I'm a twit."

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Bad Idea said...

Seeking-

I grew up in a family of seven way out in the country. Upon hearing this a horrified (city-fied) American acquaintance asked me "There's nothing to do! Weren't you bored? What did you do?"

"We talked to each other," I said.

...He's probably still working it out.

O&D!

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Noam Chomsky has a new article out in The Nation, attacking the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions strategy against Israeli apartheid.

http://m.thenation.com/article/180492-israel-palestine-and-bds

Strange how someone like Chomsky, who has valid opinions on some things, can get it so wrong on Israel-Palestine.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...

I think the most important thing to talk about now is exactly when most Americans will cease being able to read at all. I'd say 15 years tops.

Middle and high school students who are intellectuals are always bullied, usually beaten, and sometimes even killed. It's much worse than when Morris grew up 60 years ago.

What is really interesting about this phenomenon is that Americans are totally addicted to progress, and depend so heavily on various technologies (both positive ones and negative ones), and yet, they harbor unending hatred toward the sorts of people responsible for, say, vaccines and air conditioning. I'm talking about nerds.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bid-

Check out a film called "Idiocracy." I think I may have watched it 5 times. Also a novel by Gary Shteyngart called "Super Sad True Love Story."

Mike-

Sorry to hear that, indeed. Have you read Max Blumenthal, "Goliath"? Impt bk.

mb

10:54 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

Haven't been able to keep up with the blog as much I'd like lately, but I saw this and had to share:

http://boingboing.net/2006/06/22/hoodie-with-screen-a.html

Rest easy fellow Wafers, your search for the perfect Xmas gift has come to an end. These things are gonna be flying off the shelf on black Friday, so make sure to bring your 9mm or switchblade to fend off the crowds (alternatively, I have it on good authority that the price of drones will be coming down soon!).

11:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

AS-

That's pretty gd douchebaggery, I hafta say. But as for Wal-Mart fights: every once in a while they have a sale and someone gets trampled to death. It's quite charming, of course, in a very American way; but I have a better idea. All the major delis get together and declare a Pastrami Discount Day, 65% off. This wd include Carnegie's, the 2nd Ave Deli, Lansky's, Canter's, Langer's--all the big machers. Then they open their doors, and the crowds rush in. At the climax, customers are ramming slabs of pastrami in each other's faces. A few die from meat suffocation, or from choking on matzoh balls. Wal-Mart, move over: there's a new sheriff in town.

mb

11:32 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Greetings from the Land of Smiles-Thailand. Funny you should mention having fun. As you know when a husband comes home from work in the US, the wife says,"How was your day?" When a Thai husband comes home, the wife says, "Did you have fun today?" I think that says a lot.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Mellisa said...

Could some of you (and of course, if he's available to, Dr. Berman) expand on Chomsky's view of the mess compared to, say, that of the standard WAFer. Re: the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions strategy against Israeli apartheid.

12:57 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

Mr. McGinty's comment about "libertarians and people who believe 9/11 was an inside job" deserves a reply.
He is engaging in multiple rhetorical tricks and logical fallacies (just for the record, I am not addressing 9/11 in my reply; this is a meta-discussion).
He conflates libertarians with those who don't believe the official conspiracy theory. That is not cool, it is a fallacy and conscious rhetorical trick. He may disagree with libertarianism, as I do, but come on. That’s cheap.
He then ridicules a number of other groups, including those who "rail against GMOs," or “rave” about the paleo diet and exercise, etc. Oh come on! Mr. McGinty exhibits perfectly the deranged condition known as a conspiracy panic, which leads to a mirror image of paranoid theorizing: demonizing alternative views, and worshiping authority & corporatism. Good lord, we wouldn’t want the rubes to start doubting government lies, would we? After all, such newfound doubt stopped our bombing of Syria! Luckily, Seymour Hersh’s exposure of the Obama-orchestrated lies about sarin gas in Syria was kept out of the MSM.
Let’s take one small example of how the conspiracies he ridicules are often true:
A little research would show that a French scientist who did a legitimate study finding that GMO corn causes cancer in rats, was the victim of a real conspiracy. His paper was accepted by a peer-reviewed journal. The journal was then pressured to reject it, after it was published! The lame, concocted excuses given for the retraction do not stand up to scrutiny. Dr. Séralini’s study used the same protocols that Monsanto & the corporate shills used to “prove” it was safe! What really happened was caving to powerful entrenched interests.
William James was a true scientist: he was open to phenomena, without preconceived notions, and went from there. Mr. McGinty conflates corporate-driven, skewed science with real science, and conventional wisdom with truth. He is wrong on both counts. William James would buy those children an infrared camera, and let them look for ghosts without ridicule. He’s discuss the idea of whether or not ghosts, or something like them, could exist. Now that’s a scientist and truth-seeker. Even if the kids find nothing, they learn how to think critically. Equating conventional wisdom with truth deadens the intellect, and turns people into… well, zombies. Obese zombies, who might actually benefit from trying a crazy paleo diet and a wacko “intense exercise regime.”

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Steven McGinty said...

Pub -

There is no major health/science organization that presents a link between GMO & cancer, yet, people (scientifically illiterate yuppies w/ a strong internet presence) want to believe that there are health risks.

From National Academy of Sciences: "To date, no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population."

Here's an article from Slate that deals w/these progressives nutjobs left wing GMO conspiracy.

My point is, there are people who believe a lot of BS, and they are much more prevalent on the internet than in person. Since they've been shamed & dismissed offline, they take to the internet to be heard. Case in point -- look at the top 100 20th century novels as voted on by readers. Ayn Rand & L Ron Hubbard take 7 of top 10 spots.

Conspiracy panic? Spare me. People are ignoring bigger problems to instead focus on 1) auditing the fed 2) getting Ayn Rand's views out there 3) getting labels on GMO products 4) convincing everyone of chem trails 5) getting millions of solar panels built 6) convincing everyone that jews/illuminati are behind a plot to enslave the world. We need to focus on social decline & continue to criticize all of industrial civilization.

Online (and in person) I try to talk about our social decline & our view towards nature. Instead, people are much more concerned w/issues I consider non-existent, or stupid (e.g. chem trails, or GMO labels).

Get people to think differently about their participation in nature & society, and there won't be GMOs. I think people focused on these junk issues gives meaning to their lives, and they feel they're making a difference. It's much more difficult to talk about how we don't have community or meaning in life in the US. I get massive backlash from progressives when I talk about Lewis Mumford or Robert Bellah -- they don't want to hear it. They'd rather talk about GMO labels & progress of the solar panel industry.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

MB,

I have read Blumenthal's book, I agree, it is very well-written and researched. I actually just saw him taking apart Chomsky's article on a show called Breaking the Set.

If you're interested, Blumenthal's comments are here at 9:10:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ3UZxWAcfw

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Steven McGinty,

Seems you want to follow the conventional narrative and then conflate genuine issues with silly notions.

I will tell you as an economist who plies his trade in washington in the development world a few things that are not just my opionion but a matter of consensus.

1.) GMO's are indeed problematic. Not only is there a lot of data showing ill effects, the mdified crop seed stock destroy non GMO thus insuring monopoly rights for GMO producers--GMOS reduce variety of crops..

1.) B.) the much vaunted national academy of sciences (of which I am a member actually but in name only) has been captured by corporate and political interests for decades. As concerns medicines and foods, in the the regulatory scheme U.S. "science" has to prove that something is harmful in fairly short order. European regulatory scheme its the burden of proof that the food or medicine in question must be proven safe--very different.

So the top scientists in Europe who oppose GMO's are like people who believe in chemtrails? False equivalency--lot of problems with GMO's--all documented but not in the U.S. conventional narrative. Note: for decandes people have been told by "science" that high fructose corn syrup was safe and even healthy. American "science" still devided on HFC despite rest of the world. Rest of the world figured out cigarette smoking caused cancer (and so did crazy wing nuts) back in the 1700's but in the U.S. it was not an official verdict until tobacco lost political power in the late 1950's that science in america made the link between lung cancer and smoking ca 1960. As long as monsanto has a lock on ag state senators and most of the house---science that is federally funded will not find any problems with GMO's.

2.) Audit the fed. This is actually a very sound idea. There are many problems with monetary and financial policy in the U.S. and the fed is as the center. The fed is technically a private organization with a key role in the economy--why should it not be audited? Banks are audited and so are all private firms dealing with government. What is so outlandish about this?

I take it from your post you are a progressive and still believe that science in america is still about truth?

That people are in the main stupid does not change the fact that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. If people want to audit the fed and have GMO labeling I say--good for them! What--you would rather they trust bankers and food corporations and captured science? Now that would be outright moronic.

In fact that some americans insist on GMO labeling and on auditing the fed (things I support by the way) is a sign of plain sense. That scientologists believe that aliens are coming does not make their belief in the existence of gravity mistaken.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Publius & Capo

I love you!

McGinty,

Wake up, sweetie. I’d write a rebuttal, but why bother? You have some things right, but in too many ways you’re woefully naïve. Besides, Pub and Capo have already done it for me.

Manly Palmer Hall, Morals and Dogma:

“Fictions are necessary to the people, and the Truth becomes deadly to those who are not strong enough to contemplate it in all its brilliance." (Albeit the “Truth” being referred to here is Satanism, I’m sure you get the idea.)

Believe nothing. Question everything…. Especially those things that reinforce your preconceived notions.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ay, Capo: appreciate your post, but a little shorter in future, por fa. BTW: you mean aliens are not already among us? What abt all those folks going nuts at McDonald's when they can't get their Chicken McNuggets? Oh, right: those are *Americans* (aliens from mainstream humanity).
Anyway, this is a gd discussion.

Mike-

That's a gd video, thanks. You know, it's very hard for Jews, even ones as enlightened as Noam, to finally see Israel for what it is (his father was also a linguist, I believe, wrote a bk on the Hebrew language). The "beleaguered heros" version of the Israeli state is typically inculcated at a very early age, and it isn't easy to escape that imprinting. I have avoided extended discussions of it here because I find that positions are so entrenched, and emotionally charged, that one gets nowhere w/reason and evidence; myth is far more powerful. As Blumenthal says in his bk, the trauma of the Holocaust is (rightly) so enormous that (sadly) Jews equate all criticism of Israel w/antisemitism and all opposition to Zionism w/Nazism. (I'm 'clearly' a self-hating Jew, to even be talking like this. You see, you can't win.) One of the most remarkable studies of the Zionist movement, to my mind, is by an Israeli scholar now teaching at the U of Exeter in England: Ilan Pappe, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine." Removal of Arabs from Palestinian territory was part of the Zionist vision as far back as the 19C. (On this see also work of Nur Masalha, Palestinian historian, esp. "Expulsion of the Palestinians.") Looking back at my own writing on Israel/Palestine in DAA, it now seems kind of mild, to be honest; the truth is a lot grimmer, apparently. Very telling, as Blumenthal points out, is the rather heavy 'exodus' of Israelis who understand the situation, and the essentially fascist nature of the Netanyahu govt (w/wh/most Israelis are in accord, sad to say), to other countries--Germany being a favored destination, ironically enuf. Anyway, I hope I'm not triggering an avalanche of debate on this subject, wh/as I've said tends to generate much more heat than light.

mb

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Steven McGinty,

I think the distrust of GMOs has a lot to do with the justifiable loathing so many feel for the loathsome Monsanto & its soulless corporate ilk. I fully expect them to eventually try & register trademarks on the poor so they can start churning out Soylent Green. And considering how much crap corporate food producers have allowed into their product in the past, I perfectly understand the fears about GMO foods.

lack of coherence,

A number of such people as you describe live nearby, and you've nailed them perfectly. It's clear that money is the only measure of humanity for them. The world, the universe itself, exists solely to be "developed" for their benefit. And just looking at the ghastly houses they live in tells us what their souls are like -- or the gaping hole where a soul should be, I suppose. Monstrous buildings that look like tombs of vulgarity outside, and are frighteningly barren inside. I've been inside some & none of them look lived in. Their inhabitants haven't left an imprint, not a trace of individual personality. I think their designers must have been told, "Make sure everyone can see how much money we have!" They don't actually want to be anything other than rich -- and of course, no matter how much they make, it can never be enough. But what else is there for them? They can't see anything beyond it, just as they can't find anything within themselves. Assuming they'd even look.

I'm going to watch the various birds out back for awhile, gorgeous bolts of color & bright-eyed life, and think about Walt Whitman's lines about living with animals: "Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things."

11:21 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

RE: the GMO thing, I would like everyone to remember the difference between transgenesis and cisgenesis. Lumping the both under the GMO = bad scene doesn't help anybody. This wikipedia article is pretty good:

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

Also remember what the wise man once said, Just being alive causes cancer.

Anyway WAF-ers, I'm off for a few days with no computer so I'll leave you with this:

"People Prefer Electric Shocks to Being Alone With Their Thoughts"

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/people-prefer-electric-shocks-to-being-alone-with-their-thoughts/373936/

5:15 PM  
Blogger Gisella Medina said...

Estimado Mr.Berman ¿Qué es un wafer?
gracias

5:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Gisella-

Ay, Chica; buena pregunta! Un Wafer es una persona que ha leido "Why America Failed" (WAF), y que esta de acuerdo con las ideas en este libro. (El titulo de la traduccion es "Las raices del fracaso americano", pero no es posible decir 'un rfa-er'.) Entonces, la mayoria de las personas en este blog son Wafers (se puede llamarles 'los Waferes', yo supongo). La feminina es Waferette. Usted es un Waferette?
(Espero que si.)

mb

5:33 PM  
Anonymous turnover said...

Front page of today's internet Washington Post

http://tinyurl.com/1ea6

Headline--
Study: Most men would rather shock themselves than sit and do nothing

When given the option of being alone with their own thoughts or an electric shock, researchers found two-thirds of men and a quarter of women chose the shock.
-------

Hard to beat that for a headline.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

It may seem a bit obvious to WAFers of a certain age, but I can`t think of a more appropriate song for this ghastly holiday:
http://youtu.be/nQbU-irVNFY

5:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

turnover-

It's really annoying: whenever I tell people that America is basically a collection of morons, they insist I'm exaggerating. How much more data do we need?

mb

6:36 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

I just came across an article> by Herman Daly (ecological economist) on George Mitchell. Mitchell is the person who developed hydraulic fracturing...and was also a big supporter of the "Limits to Growth" study(!), hosting conferences in Texas w/many of the key folks in the steady-state/environmental movement, including E. F. Schumacher, Jay Forrester, Wendell Berry, Lester Brown, Amory Lovins, Bruce Hannon, Gerald Barney, and Herman Daly. Mitchell also gave $750 to an environmental group last year to study impacts of fracking on water in Texas.

This kind of blows my mind. How do you develop fracking, while also supporting the steady-state movement and hosting people like E.F. Schumacher to give talks?

Was this the norm in the 1970s, or was Mitchell just a one off here? I can't imagine oil execs talking about degrowth now!

6:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is kinda neat:

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2014/07/02/pkg-woman-runs-over-two-men-gas-station.kprc&hpt=hp_c2&from_homepage=yes&video_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2F#/video/us/2014/07/02/pkg-woman-runs-over-two-men-gas-station.kprc

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

nice article y'all will probably appreciate: http://roadsandkingdoms.com/2014/chasing-orwells-ghost/
I recall going to Cantor's in '67 (on Melrose?) My roommate loved how rude and brusque the waitresses were as much as he liked the food- so we schlepped over there for study breaks. It changed my goyish outlook on life.
This bore fruit years later when I learned to execute THE GREAT ROUND REUBEN. It looks like an oversized rye loaf, but when it's cut open 3 layers of pastrami, swiss, kraut and russian dressing reveal themselves. The recipe's in Shirley Corriher's 'Cookwise." If I can make it, anyone can.

7:19 PM  
Blogger EJK said...

"I'm hoping that comments for this particular post will focus on a possible Lorenzo Riggins/Latreasa Goodman candidacy in 2016. If such a campaign materializes, I want to declare right now that I shall work relentlessly to get these cutting-edge intellects installed in the White House. Our country deserves nothing less."

Haha. That's rich, MB, I like jokes.

Face it -- Killary is coming and there ain't nuthin' any one of us can do to stop it. Except maybe leave the planet.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Karl said...

Americans would rather shock themselves than sit still and contemplate. (apologies if this double posted)
--------------------------
It would be tough to think up a more plum assignment for a test subject: Simply step into an empty room, sit down, and think.

Just think.

But in a study to appear in Thursday's issue of the journal Science, participants found the experience within their own heads surprisingly difficult to manage — if not downright unpleasant.

Stripped of their books, cellphones and other distractions, many, including a majority of men, preferred to instead pass the time by reaching for the sole form of electronic entertainment in the room: a 9-volt battery administering a "severe static shock" when touched.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/07/03/328137640/surrounded-by-digital-distractions-we-cant-even-stop-to-think

10:27 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

As my dog's week of anxiety, terror and self imposed starvation is nearing it's apex, I am wondering at all the identical sensations felt by so many "primitives" as we freed them from their homes, lives, and futures. I hope this 4th that a few of us look down, at the patterns crying out at our feet, instead of up, at the ones shocking once more.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

EJK-

I really hafta disagree. If you and a # of other Wafers were to accost Hillary, and barf on her shoes, the stigma wd be too great for her to surmount. She wd be forever known as the woman who had her shoes barfed on--a figure of ridicule. The GOP ads wd run the tape of her shoes receiving projectile puke over and over again. A walking joke can't get elected to the presidency (tho Bush Jr. obviously came pretty close to that).

Get yr barf glands working, amigo; toss those cookies!

mb

12:39 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

MB,

Israeli society is indeed fascist. Since the Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped were found dead, Israelis have regularly been marching on the streets and chanting "Death to Arabs," and calling for revenge.

With many Israeli politicians calling for revenge, the Palestinians as a whole are being collectively punished by Israel. That is what is most disturbing to me about it, that an entire Palestinian population is being punished for the acts of a few Palestinians.

But none of this is reported on in the American media, which is half the problem, given the billions of dollars in military aid the US gives Israel.

FYI, as a historian you may be interested in this book I ran across by Allison Weir, called Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the US Was Used to Create Israel. She shows how important the US was in creating the state of Israel, and also how there was a backlash against supporting Zionism among US diplomats for fear it would harm American interests.

1:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mike-

I discuss this in DAA: the State Dept. was actually opposed to the founding of Israel, but the Truman admin was very much for it. He, not they, was moving with the times.

mb

7:08 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

On patriotism and nationalism, the following from comedian Doug Stanhope:

http://youtu.be/FKT4a-RMT5o

And on the subject of Israel, Palestine, and the whole meshugeh mess, Sam Harris from a January 2007 NPR interview:

"We have Muslims and Jews by and large making incompatible claims upon specific real estate in the Middle East, believing that God is an omniscient real estate broker who has doled out these parcels of land as witnessed by the Bible or the Koran. My argument is that really we have a situation here where people have defined themselves in religious terms, they have made incompatible claims on real estate, and they are fighting for God."

Zei Gezunt, WAFerim.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Bad Idea said...

I'd like to look ahead to the 2032presidential election. Move over Mittney. Move over Sarah and ice floes (and Ed Meese). Make way for Kendall Jones: http://tinyurl.com/onumrkx

Holy President Camacho, this could happen! C'mon Fox News!

O&D!

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...

I read the little article that links to this page. Waferdom isn't the only spirituality left; it's only the only spirituality left in America. Methinks that people like the Tibetans and the Vietnamese have powerful spiritual traditions we can learn much from. So did the Native Americans, before the sociopathic American setters wiped most of them out and forced the survivors to live in reservations, bereft of their traditional cultures, where they currently enjoy a standard of living far below that of most Third World countries.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous myheadhurtscuzimmurican said...

This study pretty much solidifies WAFer thought for all time.

People would rather be electrically shocked than left alone to their thoughts!

http://news.sciencemag.org/brain-behavior/2014/07/people-would-rather-be-electrically-shocked-left-alone-their-thoughts

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Steven McGinty said...

Sarasvati / Capo / Pub -

My original post was on the prevalence of people believing junk they read online, be it Illuminati or junk science (GMOs/chem trails/gluten free). People don't want labels on GMO foods because they're concerned about seed patents (a legit concern), they want labels because they believe bad science (like the BS corn/cancer link posted by Pub). These issues of GMO & chem trails are just as prevalent among liberals, and it doesn't help to see idiots like Vandana Shiva spreading junk thinking on Bill Moyers & Alternative Radio, both media outlets w/otherwise great interviews.

Pub posted a link (here) to an article about a French scientist who published a study about GMO corn & cancer. I posted a link on the same scientist, and how his research was flawed, as pointed out by numerous other scientists.

On the "Audit the Fed" idea. It sounds great, I mean, who wouldn't want to know if the fed is doing something in secret that's terrible? However, the intention is something else -- the audit the fed movement is a Ron Paul idea, and this is part of their effort on a path towards a libertarian/free market movement. If the goal of a movement/group isn't steady-state economy or something along those lines, I'm not too interested.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Capo Annoyed. said...

Steven McGinty,

My take your thinking as expressed in your last few posts. Fist GMO's a junk issue, then it is a real issue but people are not concerned for the right reasons and you don't approve of some of the people pointing out the issues with GMO's/

Auditing the fed a good idea but alas is came from Ron Paul and thus a bad idea as it would lead to some libertarian hell? As an aside, other than maybe Dennis Kucinich and Alan Grayson, Ron Paul is unique in being honest, and consistently fought against going and invading countries and droning people. Imagine--a peacnick who thinks war and killing people is bad--the devil incarnate.

Would you feel better if all of the warnings on GMO's and on auditing the fed came from National Public Radio? The democratic national committee or some panel of experts assembled by Obama--I bet ya would.

How do you feel about people who do not smoke and are vegetarians and love dogs? Hitler was an avid anti-smoker, vegatarian very fond of dogs. In your mind then not smoking, being a vegatarian and liking dogs then are bad things given who in the past has been passionate about such things?

Happy 4th, for certainly you are an american.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Steven,

You're uninterested in audit the Fed because it doesn't have a steady state end game. Why, then, are you defending GMOs? A steady state economy would be well able to make do with natural varieties and traditional/sustainable agriculture practices. Even if GMOs are vindicated as biologically safe, they are undoubtedly the product of and mechanism for growth economics. Your position seems very inconsistent.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Dear Wafers & lurking trollfoons & whoever is reading/storing this in Utah:

OK, it isn't funny like Stanhope's bit (RIP in advance Dougie).

But Roberts mentions Gen. Smedley Butler in two paragraphs.

Doesn't mean there is any hope for the USA, but at least there is one fewer douchebag that we need to Send in the Drones for.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/03/july-4th-militarist-bunkum-encore-request/

6:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Capo-

Easy, easy, amigo. This is a civil dialogue we're having on this blog. Avoid all ad hominems, por favor.

mb

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Pascal's WAFer said...

MB,

Friends are gathering for an evening of conviviality.

I thought I'll end the night w/ one of the kinds of pleasant and beautiful films you sometimes suggest to WAFers...

Any in your head lately?

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Interesting graphic from Washington Post blog, just scroll down a bit to see it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/06/17/where-gun-stores-outnumber-museums-and-libraries/

Everyone have a nice July 4th?

11:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pascal-

"Sundays and Cybele," but I dunno how yr gonna get hold of it b4 the party.

mb

2:48 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

"It's really annoying: whenever I tell people that America is basically a collection of morons, they insist I'm exaggerating. How much more data do we need?"

This may seem crazy to you but if I was a participant I would end up talking to myself and almost having a conversation with myself. Sometimes I can reach great insights into things. I know not why.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Steven McGinty said...

I agree with many points that Pub & Capo have made. I'm definitely not qualified to be a source of information; I'm only trying to spread what I believe to be the best information I've found. I'm open to change my mind if presented with better evidence.

Here are my answers to some of the issues in previous posts:

"Why, then, are you defending GMOs?" A: I'm criticizing junk thinking, not defending GMOs. i.e. link between corn & cancer based on paper Pub cited (above) as basis for labeling GMOs.

"First GMOs a junk issue" A: I said belief in junk science is the issue. Labeling GMOs is more due to belief in bad science, not the issue of seed patents. I noticed the argument was changed right after I called out the bad science thing, which is what this was supposed to all be about.

Re: "invading countries & droning people", the libertarian issue of droning people is more related to the conspiracy of the Illuminati & FEMA camps, and mass murder/enslavement of Americans. This gets back to my original post of junk thinking on the internet - it's not about the issue of drone strikes or kill lists in other countries, it's about the belief in Illuminati.

"Would you feel better...came from NPR?...DNC...Obama" A: This is a personal attack, not related to what I said. I tend to agree w/radicals & anarchists, not liberals.

Re: "audit the fed" I was referring to the people who when they say "audit the fed" mean "end the fed and fiat currency, and return to the gold standard." This seems to be related to other Illuminati conspiracies and misunderstanding of economics (belief that fiat money will lead to hyperinflation, which it hasn't).

8:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cube-

Hell, I talk to myself all the time, but it's mostly abt deli meats.

mb

9:15 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Happy 4th! Here's a video of Americans answering questions from the Citizenship Test

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za4ZZN0SekE#t=54

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Pascal's WAFer said...

It'll be okay, the gathering is this evening and we have, in Atlanta of all places, a very good selection of films (esp. foreign films) at a couple university shops.

I've found most of your previous suggestions w/o a hitch

10:37 AM  
Blogger mike said...

Morris,
Have you read Daniel Deardorff's book The Other Within? If not I highly recommend it.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Blair said...

Well, those of us hoping for a speedy end to the human race have one more reason for optimism today:
http://beforeitsnews.com/politics/2014/07/ukrainian-president-uses-rand-corporation-plan-in-eastern-ukraine-2634472.html

11:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Capo-

Pls post only once every 24 hrs, thanx. Buen viaje.

mb

1:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is kinda cute:

http://us.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2014/07/05/sidner-cop-beating.cnn&hpt=hp_c4&from_homepage=yes&video_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fus.cnn.com%2F%3Fhpt%3Dsitenav

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...

Is it me, or is there a link between growth economics and cancer? Cancer cells divide out of control until they consume the body. The unexplained weight loss suffered by cancer sufferers is actually from cancer cells metabolizing, or eating, the normal cells. Growth economics ends up consuming the ecosystem, human culture, families, friendships, and communities, and likewise results in the eventual death of whatever it touches.

I'm sure we're all aware of at least some of the historical examples of growth economies acting like cancer: the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Aztecs, the Mayans, the Mongolian Empire, the Greek Empire under Alexander, the American Empire, and many others.

The body itself always wants to operate in steady-state, or homeostasis. It does not want to lose and gain weight indefinitely; it does not want to become bigger and bigger. It does not want to concentrate nutrients in just a few cells while the rest wither and die, unlike corporate capitalism, which concentrates wealth in the hands of a few while the natural world and the rest of humanity begins to die.

It would seem we are now living in the exact opposite manner that nature intended for us to live.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bid-

Check out an essay I did in QOV called "The Parable of the Frogs."

mb

6:55 PM  
Anonymous openseason said...

@Steve

You're right that there hasn't been any proven link between cancer and GMOs, but there also really haven't been any large scale studies on this. It is utter stupidity to use GM foods on such a large scale without doing a proper study, which could take years to get the relevant data. Not to mention that it IS a proven fact that weeds, and insects have become resist to GM crops. And finally, GM crops are a myth. Depending on the crop, the yields vary from less than regular seed to slightly more. The one thing that GM foods do do well is growing in arid conditions. Quite frankly there is absolutely no need for GM foods, since you can grow crops in food towers without using GM seeds, as well as forest farming, which would open up vast swaths of the world to farming. You can grow up to a million pounds of food a year on a single acre, if you know what you're doing. Quite frankly, the food that Americans throw out could probably easily feed Africa. Anyways, I think what pisses people off is your little cheap shot at people who are against GM crops (I am 100% against them). Yes, you are correct that there is no evidence of a link between cancer and GM foods, but that doesn't mean that there isn't. You see, in your effort to belittle good people, you exposed yourself as someone who doesn't really know much about science. For years people thought that ulcers were caused by stress, but a doctor, and this was very recently, discovered it was caused by h. pylori. No one believed him, but he was right. Just because there is a consensus on a matter, doesn't make it true. And I guarantee you, that you believe in something that is batshit crazy, so seriously get off your little pedestal.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Strangelove said...

There was yet another post on Facebook about a magical "free energy" device and I've discovered that no matter how many times you bring thermodynamics into the discussion it's written off as though it's meaningless. Because, dude, you just have to believe. It's further proof that we're at a dead-end as far as our society goes-- people so desperately want to be told they can continue to live wastefully that they cling onto silly fantasies.

So I pulled the trigger and deleted my FB account. A NMI wouldn't bother with such tripe anyway and isolating oneself as much as possible from idiots (which is basically everyone) is my new goal.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Strange-

That someone like Zuckershmuck wd become a cultural hero speaks volumes abt the nature of the culture.

mb

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Blair said...

Apropos a recurring train of thought here:
http://www.iasc-culture.org/THR/THR_article_2014_Summer_Edmundson.php

6:00 AM  
Blogger jml said...

seems that the library at the university of south florida decided to use some extra funding to purchase two drones.

http://www.outsideonline.com/news-from-the-field/The-Library-Going-Rogue-for-Drones.html

"The University of South Florida (USF) had some spare funds after receiving a digital learning grant, so naturally it decided to purchase two $1,500 drones...Bill Garrison, USF libraries dean, told the Atlantic that the drones may help libraries become "a real part of the campus" because, you know, providing books is not interesting enough."

you can't make this stuff up.

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Steven McGinty said...

openseason/pub/capo -

I'm getting tired of the GMO thing, this is my last post on the topic.

I'm not on a pedestal; my original point was on the link between GMOs & cancer (going back to Pub's initial response on the conspiracy to hide the corn/cancer link). If people want to laugh at conservatives for ignoring scientific consensus on climate change, while themselves ignoring scientific consensus on GMOs, go ahead.

Unrelated to my point -- another problem with this anti-GMO issue is that it allows people to focus on a problem that can be solved without fundamental change to our system. I find that most of the people who are anti-GMOs are urban progressives who see no fundamental problem w/the US or capitalism, but think we just need to elect people like Elizabeth Warren, build wind turbines & solar panels, and believe that technology will solve all problems. They want to leave global capitalism intact.

It's better to criticize the system from a perspective that would not allow things like global industrial farming in the first place. So please, stop the "defending GMO" attacks on me - I'm critical of the system at a deeper level.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jml-

American life is now a satire of itself. The only post-mortem question left asking is: How deeply can the American head get rammed into the American rump? Well, perhaps one more: Why *shouldn't* Herman Cain be president of the US?

mb

10:20 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

MB -

Any thoughts on ASMR? You've described other ideas that cannot be readily described by science (owls in attic related to dispute w/uncle).

Is there an older term for the same sensations? Is there any meaning here?

10:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

lack-

Dunno much abt it, really. Sometimes I have the sensation that a pastrami sandwich is talking to me, but that may not be the same thing.

mb

11:02 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Dr. B and WAF Nation, sorry for the short derail, but this has me so tickled, I wanted to share: Dr. Berman makes a cameo in the splendid documentary The Punk Singer, a glimpse at the life of punk rocker Kathleen Hanna.

Expecting that Dr. Berman himself has just raised an eyebrow, lemme 'splain: behind one of the talking heads the documentary cuts to for pith or gossip, there's a copy of Dark Ages America sitting pretty on her bookshelf, to the left of the speaker (as you face screen) and quite conspicuous. Hidden persuasion or just the usual sloth of the American household? How should I know? The point is Dark Ages America, y'all, being exposed to a whole new tiny cohort of grousers and discontents. Plus, Kathleen Hanna rocks.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

McGinty

“If people want to laugh at conservatives for ignoring scientific consensus on climate change, while themselves ignoring scientific consensus on GMOs, go ahead.”

What scientific consensus on GMOs? I have to assume that you’re referring here to the U.S.A. scientific consensus, you know, that of a corrupt scientific community that is captured and totally owned by corporate interests? There is no such consensus in Europe, although we’ll do our best to bribe our way into the market.

“…another problem with this anti-GMO issue is that it allows people to focus on a problem that can be solved without fundamental change to our system.”

The GMO issue CANNOT be resolved without a fundamental change to our system because it’s part and parcel of the dysfunctional whole, and that dog ain’t gonna hunt.

So, if you wish to believe there’s no problem with eating foods that our bodies have not been designed to digest, that are laden systemically with pesticides, and with defenses that nature will overcome in short order, then be my guest. The best we can do is choose our battles, and this is not yours. But, please, don’t dis those who have a different viewpoint on the issue, insinuating that we’re just not as “deep” as you are.

I’m so glad you’re “getting tired of the GMO thing,” and look forward to no more of your posts on this issue.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Jason Willis said...

You're both in luck. Here's an ASMR/Pastrami video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymBED5i3rtc

12:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jason-

Who eats pastrami w/avocado and chicken, on wheat bread? This guy is mental.

Steve-

You shd probably stay in the fight. This has been a very gd discussion, really.

mb

12:33 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Mr. Berman:

Laughing at the lunacy in America and silently cheering the collapse, you seem to find some solace in the contemplation and consumption of deli meats.

And in the delightful diversions of Seinfeld.

As you may know, Saturday (5 July) marked the 25th anniversary of the show's appearance. Included below is a link to a Mashable article commemorating the event, with embedded clips from some notable episodes. I hope the link works for you.

Many laughs to you. Zei gezunt.

http://pulse.me/s/1BWW8w

12:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mike-

I'm of course delighted that DAA made it into the punk scene, but help me out here: the doc is 38 mins. long. At what pt does the bk make its appearance?

Jas-

A great link, tho they omitted the one where George takes a pastrami sandwich into bed w/his current girlfriend. She rules this off limits, and George then complains to Jerry abt it. He says, "She'll only allow chocolate and strawberries, but--it's not a meal."

mb

12:56 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB,

Imagine George's fantasy at current tech levels. He could have a tablet in the sack, thus streaming netflix and ordering pastrami on rye for delivery from grub hub. Costanza's dream for our future is well and growing.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Capo packing for france said...

Saravasti, Open Season, Pub,

I think it is pointless to engage McGinty. Despite calling him on his rhetorical games, factual arguments he bobs and weaves and makes it all about his ideas--note he only engages on his terms and refuses entry of your points. Not a personal attack but his agrumentation is solipsistic and churlish, not interested in exchange but in making a point. I think even if he moves from GMO's to any other topic he will still annoy some of us his weaselly approach. In time he will annoy MB.....

3:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Pls note that I don't post Anons. You need a real handle. Consider Kim J. Buttocks, for example, or Miley Tuchusflash. John Q. Public Headinrump wd also be gd.

mb

4:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Waferinos-

In "You Only Live Twice," the novel in which James Bond goes to Japan, Ian Fleming has "Tiger Tanaka" say to Bond, a propos of American culture, that it "has become, to say the least of it, more and more unattractive except to the lower grades of the human species to whom bad but plentiful food, shiny toys such as the automobile and television, and the 'quick buck,' often dishonestly earned...are the *summum bonum*."

Fleming died 5 mos. after this was published. Can you imagine what he wd be saying abt the US 50 yrs on? (Of course, it wd be a bit strange to have a Japanese person saying something like "collection of vulgar douche bags.")

mb

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Far from it, Dr. Berman.
Not a few times I was in an elevator with Japanese in Japan and heard myself being referred to as a barbarian. Their politeness towards Americans is just their personal face (tatemai) as opposed to their private face (hone). Anyway, what a joyous first week in Thailand. Not so many techno-buffoons here. Why should there be? It's such a life affirming culture. The operative word in Thailand is "sanuk" which means finding out what's going on in the street. Well, you can't exactly do that if you are wearing fuckin' ear plugs. It's also refreshing to find women who unabashedly enjoy the company of men. Unlike the US, men here are not immediately presumed guilty.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Finally, the MSM does something useful w/their time:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/entertainment/celebrating-elaines-awkward-seinfeld-dance/2014/07/03/8f059f44-02ea-11e4-866e-94226a02bc8d_video.html?tid=hp_mm&hpid=z2

8:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Well, I meant in the novel, in wh/a Japanese person wd be talking to an Anglo. Behind an Anglo's back to another Japanese, diff story, of course. Anyway, keep us posted on yr SE Asian adventures.

mb

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...

I have just completed a satire on American life called "The American Way". It's an 18 part monologue, with the only character being called "CHEERFUL COMPUTERIZED VOICE". The individual parts are small, only about half a page each, and the whole work is only 10 pages long, but it nevertheless captures the infinite degradation and exploitation perpetrated by American corporations, all under the guise of cheerfulness, helpfulness, concern, and enthusiasm.

Would anyone like a copy? In fact, does anyone know of any company that would publish this? It's comedic but frightening at the same time, and very bizarre.

In any event, it seems to me that the "nothingness" that pervades American life is the final result of the unchecked growth of destructiveness in American culture. After all, if destructiveness is allowed to flourish unchecked, eventually nothing will be left. And nothing is where we are at now; people hardly even talk to one another anymore. I see people texting about meaningless nonsense instead of conversing, sitting at restaurants with stupefied expressions on their faces, and otherwise behaving like plants. I see their empty eyes, their vacant stares, their stressful and dull routines. They are zombies, and I'm just grateful not to be one of them.

10:05 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Biddly,

You can get Amazon to publish it for next to nothing.

Yeah, it would be an electronic edition to be downloaded to Kindles and other screen devices, but considering what the consensus is as far as the redeem-ability or rehabilitative prospects for those American readers...what's really to lose?

Amazon's royalty rate is 70% last time I looked (a year or so ago), so if even a few people buy the book you can buy a few pastrami sandwiches...if lots of them do so, maybe you can buy one of the historic closing delis or open a new one of your own.

Think of it as an exercise in financial and cultural Aikido, unless you think the average American has better ways of using their money than you do (of using their money).

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

RIP Terry Southern & Peter Sellers

11:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Annals of Douchebaggery: Our next president speaks:

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/hillary_clinton_i_dont_give_snowden_credit_for_the_privacy_debate_20140705

(and get a load of that mug)

4:05 AM  
Anonymous Steven McGinty said...

" rhetorical games, factual arguments he bobs and weaves"

No, I'm doing none of this. People who are against GMOs for health reasons use the same arguments as people who deny climate change. The paper Pub cited is similar to the "Climategate" email event. Saying "there is no consensus" is the same thing climate change deniers do. I believe there is a petition w/like 30,000 scientists' signatures saying global warming is a hoax. I'll note, 30k scientists is about 0.5% of the number of people in the US w/science degrees.

From the wiki page (and this is similar to many science organizations, with links available on the GMO controvery page on wikipedia):

"While there is concern among the public that eating genetically modified food may be harmful, there is broad scientific consensus that food on the market derived from these crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food."

Liberals are against GMOs because liberals hate anything that is related to Monsanto, even if their hatred has little or no scientific basis.

However, science illiteracy is very high in the US, so I'm not surprised that 90% of Americans want labels on GMO food. They want labels because they think there is a health risk. The real health risk will come if we labeled GMOs and people became afraid to eat them, and at times people did not have access to food in poor countries.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Holzwege said...

Dear Wafers,

For some serious giggles, I recommend James Kunstler's blog entry of today, titled "We Are All Ninja Turtles Now."

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Capo dressing for dinner in Strassburg said...

McGinty,

Ah there he goes again,.....from your post it seems you can't or won;t take onboard what anybody has posted in reply to your various posts and yes you consisently play rhetorical games and bob and weave.

Yes it so nice of Monsanto to feed the poor. So now its not about a deeper crituque of capitalism, its about the wonder of monsanto feeding the poor?

At times even I get sucked in to feed obvious trolls.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Capo-

This guy isn't a troll. Once again, pls curb ad hominem attacks.

Bon appetit,
mb

11:56 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Dear Morris,

At this point I have to assume that you’re encouraging McGinty just to provide us Wafers with entertainment.

You naughty, naughty boy.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sar-

Maybe not so naughty. I actually think he raised some interesting issues, worth arguing abt, even tho at times he may appear confused, or confusing. Capo is probably rt that he tends to bob and weave, but I think that if we cd pin down each individual topic, you'd see that in terms of content we've been having a useful discussion. I don't think Steven is a troll, or perverse, at all. He may have some problems w/organizing his ideas, but I believe he is sincere. At least that's what his tone suggests. Trolls are invariably arrogant or supercilious, and it shows up in the tone of their messages.

In any case, if you guys are tired of this debate, as I'm guessing u.r., I'm happy to move on to other topics.

mb

2:37 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

I dunno MB, I'm with Capo here. It would take a remarkably thick person to claim advocacy of steady state economics and then, "The real health risk will come if we labeled GMOs and people became afraid to eat them, and at times people did not have access to food in poor countries." as if foods production was a problem. I think he's sitting in a basement everywhere getting his rocks off at all this. Either way this is a reinforced concrete walk being chipped at...

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB & Fellow WAFers:

In the Nation Magazine, in an article "The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal" the author Lee Fang points out that "...the United States, a country in which painkillers are routinely overprescribed, now consume more than 84 percent of the entire worldwide supply of oxycodone and almost 100 percent of hydrocodone opioids. In Kentucky, to take just one example, about one in fourteen people is misusing prescription painkillers, and nearly 1,000 Kentucky residents are dying every year."

What does this have to do with marijuana? It seems that the anti pot lobby is actually funded by the companies which make the prescription pain pills. Don't you just love capitalism?

It's all here : http://m.thenation.com/article/180493-anti-pot-lobbys-big-bankroll

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

There is one important issue in this GMO discussion that I think is slipping through the net. The biggest controversy at this time is about food crops which have been engineered to contain the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) toxin, which kills insects but is supposedly harmless to other living things, like birds, mammals and especially humans. The advantage of these crops is that they don't need much external application of pesticides, or didn't before the pests began developing resistance. The inevitable development of resistance is yet another issue.

The controversy, of course, is that the claim of Bt toxin being completely harmless is disputed. Studies sponsored by Monsanto always show that it is safe, of course. Other studies have produced some unfavorable results (including cancer in the test animals) but those studies have been attacked as flawed. Here's the crucial point: It doesn't matter where the toxin comes from. Whether it is toxic or not to animals and humans, it is or is not regardless of whether it was sprayed on the plants externally or created by the plant itself because of genetic engineering. But this distinction is not very carefully maintained in the debate over GMOs. The question of Bt toxicity is often casually conflated with the issue of GMO safety in general, even though there are many other more complex issues involved than one toxin.

It's difficult to say if this is symptom of general inarticulateness, or whether both sides think they can get an advantage in the debate through this tactic. Obviously, it could be a deliberate tactic. The anti side might hope to put GMOs in general in disrepute by associating them with a controversy over a poison. And the pro side could be trying to paint the anti side as anti-science in general by making the objection to a toxin look like objection to the use of a new science to improve crops. Other problems like genetic drift are hardly ever mentioned, probably because they are much more abstruse and not so easy to sloganeer about.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

As I said, maybe we've had it w/this topic, altho I do think it generated some valuable stuff for us to think abt. The non-neutrality of (American) science, for example. After all, in the US, hustling is everything, so it's not hard for corporations to find scientists who will produce the "right" data for them. My own feeling is that w/tobacco (in the past), GMO's, meds from Big Pharma, etc. we shd err on the side of caution, because everything in America is abt sales, not human health. But I certainly don't have time to study, let's say, conflicting reports on GMO's from Europe, so I'm guilty of being unscientific: i.e., very wary of GMO's without having done the research into the research. What I *do* know is that the dollar is no guide to health or safety. Along those lines, I thought "Dallas Buyers Club" was a terrific film.

Historically speaking, the 'good' Enlightenment (which included scientific methodology) eventually tipped over into the 'bad' Enlightenment--a process I discuss in the Twilight bk. By analogy, small-scale capitalism to my mind is not bad; it's just when it eventually became large-scale that it became destructive--a theme brilliantly pursued by Richard Powers in his novel, "Gain." In "The Power of Kindness," Piero Ferrucci notes that social media, cell fones, and all these new communications technologies ("undigested techshit," per Ursula Le Guin) "are things that make everyday life perhaps smoother and more practical, but also colder. Profit and efficiency win over warmth and support." What cd be more obvious? In terms of value-system, we know where Americans stand on that choice.

Individualism, to take another example, is also healthy--w/in limits. In the US it became so extreme as to produce a very cold, atomized, and sick society.

In all these cases, there is a dialectic going on, such that what is 'success' in one era (very narrowly defined) turns into self-destruction in another. This is why it's so hard for us to stop doing what we are doing: past record of 'success' has an enormous momentum. As I've said b4, enlightenment may occur on the far side of self-destruction; the problem is that most alcoholics 'hit bottom' on the other side of death. Dual Process is the only thing that can save us, but who knows whether it is too little or too late.

There is a Chinese saying that goes, "better to live as a dog in an era of peace than a man in times of trouble." Not sure I agree.

mb

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Kyle said...

Trout-

I really don't understand your argument. This isn't about capitalism but rather personal freedom. Marijuana is much better for a person than the thousands of pharmaceutical poisons dispensed like candy from doctors everyday. It has saved countless children from death by epilepsy which would have certainly killed them with conventional treatment and also is showing significant advantages as an anti-tumoral cancer treatment. Of course the pharmaceutical companies just want Americans addicted to their poisons which they can charge big money for instead of medicine which can be grown in your backyard. I would argue that the legalization of marijuana is currently the only intelligent issue that Americans are focused on right now.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/17/moving-medical-marijuana-epilepsy-children/5255323/

The war on drugs has been a war on minorities and the poor. It is a sham. A mask to create the largest prison-industrial complex in history for the benefit of the corporate elite who own and control it. No one supports drug use but when you support the criminalization of drugs, know what you're really supporting. The systemic destruction of minorities and poor.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/06/end-drug-war_n_5275078.html

3:50 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

Karl,

I disagree with the conclusion NPR came to about that study. Yes, Americans are addicted to their gadgets, so it is probably the case that most are uncomfortable just sitting and thinking. I am not, however, yet would have also opted for the shock simply for the thrill. I mean, how often does one have the opportunity to endure severe shock? Granted, I am a masochistic person, but it seems like a lot of fun to me.

I agree with openseason and mb on the issue of GMOs, in that it's just plain common sense to err on the side of caution. Mainstream science's track record is not just poor, but has proven to be totally corrupt. Time after time, even when industry has known a new product to be lethal, vested interests have compelled our industry "leaders" to publicly announce otherwise. Why do people think the issue of GMOs would be any different? How completely lacking in self-respect one would have to be in order to be a willing guinea pig for today's "cutting-edge" technology.

And as others have demonstrated, McGinty's arguments seem quite fallacious.

One of the most interesting things I've learned from Wandering God is the strong likelihood that our Paleolithic ancestors were quite individualistic, because I assumed band societies to be tight-knit communities. Although definitely not individualistic in the modern sense; American individualism, for example, is a euphemism for sociopathology. My opinions on what our basic human nature is comprised of has always influenced what I've thought it means to be a decent human being. Hence, the idea that humans are naturally quite individualistic in many ways has led me to question a lot of my beliefs. Like the timelessness of the Self/Other split, balancing the needs of the individual and that of society is an age-old issue. Not that that's news to me. It's just interesting that humanity's Paleolithic environment allowed for much more individual freedom than I had previously considered.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Kyle, Trout-

I see both of your points: i.e., a corporate and racial link. Wasn't it, as far back as the 1930s, the DuPont Chemical Company and various other pharmaceutical companies that led the effort to outlaw weed? And, of course, there's the strong historical racial connection, that shaped and drove the drug war. You guys are probably aware, but all Wafers should check out the bio of the first Federal Bureau of Narcotics commissioner, Harry J. Anslinger. A *true* American, if there ever was one... Anslinger was kinda like the J. Edgar Hoover of that bureau; he ran it for 30 some odd years, I believe. To increase the size of the FBN budget (greed and career advancement, once again), Ansinger laid down a largely (incorrect) narrative about weed that in many ways is still with us. Here's a couple of Anslinger's quotes regarding weed use:

1. "Reefer makes the darkies think they're as good as a white man."

2. "Marijuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing."

Jesus, you hafta love a guy like Anslinger, no?

Steve, Capo, Savant, Sar, Dan, MB, et al-

I suffer from a lack of knowledge regarding the current debate and research into GMOs. There's no excuse for my ignorance, of course, but I wanna say that I'm enjoying the conversation and efforts from all participants to take a serious look at the issue. That being said, I am a pastrami addict, with or w/out GMOs! I have a serious problem here, Wafers. My life literally consists of pastrami, potato salad, meat knishes, books, and hunting around for the long lost "Belman and the Wafers" LP. Needless to say, my wife is getting concerned... She's considering putting my ass on a diet of cottage cheese and rice cakes, as a heart attack is probably in the cards long before I get cancer from GMOs. In addition, I am in full support of labeling any and all food products. I don't know why this would be so controversial; seems like common sense to me.

Take care, all

Jeff

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

atearinrain,

There's a strange paradox about individuality & community in American culture, it seems to me. Of course being an individual, often at the expense of others & the common good, is highly touted & promoted. Yet when you look at many of these so-called individuals, they're all being "individual" in the same way -- a mass-marketed, mass-produced way -- essentially, "Fuck you & everyone else, I want & got mine!"

Conversely, when you have people who are genuine individuals, i.e., not conforming to the socially approved model of individuality, they're usually derided/dismissed/attacked as weird, as freaks, as troublemakers, etc. In short, people who seek whole, authentic lives -- what we would call true individuals -- are always seen as a threat, particularly by those who follow the one-size-fits-all model of American "individuality".

And at the same time, almost anyone I've ever met who truly cared more for the common good than solely for his/her own interests, and who worked for that common good, tended to be just such true individuals. They didn't have to prove their individuality; they simple lived it. Whereas those who are just-like-everyone-else individuals, know at some level that they're anything but, hence their desperate need to proclaim their "individuality" as loudly & obnoxiously as possible, and always in trivial, meaningless ways.

A certain amount of sweeping generalization here, I know. But I think there's a good deal of truth to it.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...

Indeed, legalization of medical-grade marijuana - and not the garbage sold on the street - would be a great thing. I would say that it should only be legal to use strains for actual conditions one has, and only the strains that could help it. Ditto for distributing or selling it, but people should be able to grow any strain they need for any malady they might have. Big Pharma would go out of business, as would the prison-industrial complex, which is why it will always remain illegal in America (except for their medical marijuana programs, which are just rackets, as they charge over 500 dollars an ounce, ways for states to milk desperate people of their money).

8:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

"Belman and the Wafers" is actually the flip side of a 50s album by Danny and the Juniors. My finest hour, perhaps. Other than that, check out a film called "Reefer Madness."

mb

8:52 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Kyle,
Sorry to rain on your global declaration, but I *do* support drug use.
I have quite a few friends who are literate, considerate, and possessed of other Waferesque qualities who also support drug use.

None of them, however, currently live in Kentucky.

P.S. Yes, some of the cannabinols clearly have anti-tumor properties. There is an outfit (Realm of Caring) in Colorado that has tweaked their product (via hybridization, not genetic engineering) to boost the %s of anti-tumor cannabinols and are providing the essential oil to real MDs who are working with patients who have tried the usual Pharma treatments w/o success.
Pretty sure you can't smoke your way to tumor remission, even with 500/oz stuff Biddly refers to. Check out films about and interviews with Nova Scotian Rick Simpson on YT for more info. Oil or nothing!

Biddly,
But have you *tried* the 500/oz products? Where I live, top price is in the area of 60 USD for 1/8 oz. But that package lasts a looong time. There's also Caribbean import that's 8 times cheaper and *almost* as good as the high-priced spread. Maybe the California growers and dispensary operators have colluded to keep a similar product off the shelves there...anybody surprised in the least?
Curious as to why you think it is important (or even practical) to limit access to the point where people must have some serious medical condition in order to smoke/eat weed ? Worried about loss of productivity ? People jumping off roofs ala Linkletter's daughter ?
BTW, I hear it is now legal to grow in the state of Washington...and to purchase in the state of Colorado (w/o a permit from an MD).

MB,
I finally found the long-lost Wafer record. I had been searching on Ebay using the "Decca" label. Then I searched using "Necco", and Lo! the Wafers were all wrapped up ready to Rock n Roll. And the cover art ? Those matching suits...no wonder the Temptations always performed like they were being chased by The Four Horsemen. (BTW, I hear TFH are set for a reunion tour soon.)

11:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Trout-

Pls post only once every 24 hrs. Thanks.

mb

7:00 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Under the heading "America's Workplaces: Threat or Menace," the following:

"A safety device that would have prevented [temp worker Janio] Salinas’ death [in February 2013] had been removed just 13 days before the accident because a manager [at the CSC Sugar plant in Fairless Hills, PA] believed it was slowing down production."

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ultimately fined the company $25,855 after its investigation, but after the plant installed a safety guard and started using a new procedure to break up sugar clumps--the problem Salinas had jumped into the hopper to correct when he died--OSHA reduced the fine to $18,098.

For more details and background, see today's Truthdig feature on this tragedy.

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Steven McGinty said...

Re: labeling of GMOs. It's been determined that labeling foods will basically be a ban, as people will think there are health risks (which there are not), stop buying GMO foods, and companies will stop producing them. This will hurt the poor, not the rich.

Re: "err on side of caution"

Can you give an example of something that decades of world-wide research (with links please) deemed safe (as in the case of GMOs), and was later determined to be dangerous? I think people are making up imaginary scenarios, so I want to see evidence.

I understand being skeptical when money is involved, but there can be major health issues when you "err on the side of caution", when caution is not warranted.

Here are some examples:

water fluoridation: Portland Oregon (a hotbed of science illiteracy) is the largest city to ban fluoridation due to widespread believe in Illuminati, and the effect is high rates of tooth decay in poor children.

Vaccines: there has been a rise in disease because parents have not been vaccinating their children due to health concerns of vaccines.

GMOs: the golden rice strain is able to provide adequate vitamin A to the poorest children in the world. Due to anti-GMO campaigns, many children have died who otherwise could have been saved

- people starved to death in Zambia during a famine due to concern over health effects of GMO food.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan Henry-

Pls post only once every 24 hrs. Thanks.

Steve-

Tobacco wd be a gd example, I think. It's quite a while ago, so I can't recall what studies were done; but the constant propaganda we heard when I was a kid was that there was no established link between cigarette smoking and cancer. The medical field probably has many more examples that Wafers can think of. Then there are things like the incredible damage TV has done to the mind, tho that's obviously not substance abuse. It's just that a society based on constant innovation (see the recent essay on the subject in the New Yorker by Jill Lepore) is not a society concerned w/health and safety; which is why with things that are obviously controversial, such as GMOs, caution wd be the best approach.

mb

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Capo likes the Rhine valley said...

McGinty,

Bravo for Portland Oregon in joining the civilized world in banning flouride. There are reams of data showing that floruide is unhealthy. Some hotbeads of non-scientific thought like Germany, Israel, France and Spain (pretty much all of the Eu and Japan, they are not as science savy as you I gues)

Here is a link: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/08/israel-joins-most-of-the-world-in-banning-water-fluoridation.html

Have you heard of Iatrageneisis? The tooth decay in the poor kids not caused by lack of florudide but rather other things--poor dental hygine or high sugar diets. Yes, solution is to put flouride in which if you see the links with scientific papers has been found to reduce cognitive function and cause a lot of other health problems.

Also, the issues of GMO's are well trod.

Are you capable of admitting error? I think not.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

It seems scientists/engineers work in a bubble. They might create something that itself is not bad (so they can claim it's safe), but it's the way it's used that has major effects on health/environment. I think this gets back to your point on small-scale capitalism.

When Chris Hedges used the phrase "idiot savant" to describe Americans, I immediately thought of engineers and the tech world. We don't know what the effect will be otherwise on communities, our sanity, or resource depletion. It's the unintended consequences of technology that worry me.

I'd guess when the phone/TV were invented, they didn't picture millions of people staring at garbage for most of their lives. Americans have become complete idiots; there's no fixing this.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Dear Morris,

I’m not tired of the GMO discussion, just the obtuse McGinty. I could easily respond to his latest post, but why encourage him? Aren’t we kind of beyond accepting the status quo and into more nuanced thinking? Or, at the very least, willing to consider that we might be wrong about something? I’m sorry to have to say this, but I think it’s narcotized people like McGinty who are a big part of the problem. Anyway, it’s really put a damper on the one thing I appreciate here: intelligent discussion, especially about PASTRAMI.

Speaking of which, I’m super-careful about what I eat, and everything is made from scratch. However, I grew up in Massapequa (MatzoPizza as it was better known to it’s residents) on Long Island, where you were either Jewish or Italian, and have a fine appreciation for Jewish delis (and great Italian cooking). So I can, with confidence, recommend Rein’s Deli in Vernon, CT. Morris, if you’re ever in the area, I’d be delighted to go crazy and nosh with you.

Anyway, I’ve always said that if I were a drug lord I’d turn a large percentage of my profits over to the politicians who make sure drugs stay illegal. Connecticut has legalized medical MJ, and the “dispensaries” should be open by autumn. Having one of the approved disorders (lucky me), and as someone who could greatly benefit from weed, I’ve been hoping the process will be easy. Unfortunately, my neurologist now says that neither he nor his office personnel have the time to go on-line and register as required. Ah, ya gotta love the American "healing" profession!

11:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sar-

I'll let u know if I get an invitation to speak in Vernon, and if so, we'll pork out (so to speak) at Rein's. (Not to be confused with Der Rhein; see below.)

Steven-

Just an added thought, besides the fact that you don't seem to be listening to what Wafers are telling u. Part of it is a question of how one views modernity. My own view is that it has been both a blessing and a curse (e.g., good and bad Enlightenment), and that now the down side is literally screaming at us. This is very hard for ultra-moderns such as yrself to see (the propaganda of 'progress' is so powerful), but you might check out that New Yorker article by Jill Lepore, and also Shadia Drury's bio of Alexandre Kojeve. I mean: the automobile has been a huge disaster for the human race and the planet; some caution on that ca. 1900 wd have been much to our advantage. (See DAA ch. 7)
The cell phone, ditto; and much of telecommunications since 1965, wh/has just abt destroyed community (see WAF ch. 3). Classic example from medicine (and I'm sure there are many) is AZT, which was used on human subjects to treat AIDS b4 sufficient animal trials, and wh/wound up killing a lot of people. This is portrayed quite brilliantly in the film, "Dallas Buyers Club." For a further indictment of Big Pharma and its marketing of products see "Love and Other Drugs," also a gd film. However, seeing the dark side of modernity and 'progress' is very difficult for Americans; 'caution' is hardly something they are into, and it looks like yr in that category. I.e., this is a shift in perspective you probably won't make in this lifetime. But you might at least pay attn to the various refutations that Capo and others have provided (less bobbing and weaving, in other words). Personally, I'm grateful 2u4 raising these topics, because I think it's been a valuable discussion; but when yr 'opponents' say yr unreachable--well, worth thinking abt, I suspect.

Lack-

Most impt bumper sticker I ever saw was in DC, ca. 2005: "You Can't Fix Stupid." There it is, in a nutshell.

Capo-

Trivia quiz: who wrote, "Die Luft ist kühl und es dunkelt/Und ruhig fließt der Rhein", and what is the name of the poem?

Onward, Wafers! Unto the breach!

mb

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Capo likes Hein said...

MB,

Herr Hein. My mother loved his work.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Steve-

Check out the bio of Dr. Henry Cotton of the Trenton State Hospital, New Jersey in the early twentieth century. Cotton was a leading American psychiatrist who came to believe that mental illnesses were the product of chronic infections that poisoned the brain. Convinced that he had discovered the single source of psychosis, Cotton extracted teeth, tonsils, spleens, stomachs, colons, uteruses, among other organs, all in an attempt to root out mental illness. In effect, Cotton essentially maimed and destroyed thousands of lives while his colleagues never really questioned what he was doing. Cotton did have one serious critic: Walter Freeman. Freeman popularized and institutionalized the so-called *ice-pick* frontal lobotomy. Freeman instituted a *market solution* to the problem of mental illness. He severed patients' frontal lobes for decades before his work was seriously questioned. These are, of course, not global examples, but pretty good singular examples. For more info, see Andre Scull's book, "Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine" and Howard Dully's, "My Lobotomy."

infantty-

Congratulations are in order for your recent finding of the long-lost "Belman and the Wafers" LP. The Temps are great, of course, but Belman and the Wafers... Yowza Wowza, to the moon!

Jeff

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@ James Allen:

Sam Harris's argument, that in Israel-Palestine "we have a situation here where people have defined themselves in religious terms, they have made incompatible claims on real estate, and they are fighting for God," is not correct. The conflict has much more to do with Zionism's attempt to ethnically cleanse Palestinians and non-Jews from Greater Israel, and Palestinian resistance to that. The situation in Israel/Palestine is not primarily about religion, but about the Zionist political project, which is to plant European Jews on land that does not belong to them. This is not to say that religion is irrelevant, just that Sam Harris distorts the situation there.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Capo-

Heinrich Heine, "Die Lorelei."

mb

1:15 PM  
Blogger jml said...

I have a wonderful quote on modernism that I wrote down almost a year ago. It's from an interview with painter Julie Heffernan. I love it for it's simplicity.

"...modernism was interested in alot of things, but it wasn't terribly interested in you and me."

I'd like to share a recent experience that I don't think anyone I know personally will get. But I think some of you WAFERS will. I am in nursing school. Today, we had an exam followed by a lecture. All of the tests are on computers so we get to see what we missed right after the exam. Before the lecture (after the exam) started I overheard two of my twenty-something students (I'm in my mid 40's) talking about how they missed the question regarding the meaning the of the word Altruism. The guy, "Man, I thought it had something to do with wanting things to be different than they are." The girl, "I thought altruism had something to do with being naive."
(No, I'm not making this up.)

Okay, so the lecture starts. It's on stress and how to help patients find healthy ways of alleviating stress in their lives. The lecturer was a wonderful grandmotherly type who was probably the ideal nurse in her day. She decided to begin her lecture with a 5 minute meditation. She asked us to close our eyes, focus on breath, etc. For 5 minutes, total silence. Personally, I found it wonderful after the stress of studying and the intense summer course load. I could feel the tension leaving my neck. My two classmates, who couldn't figure out what altruism meant, packed their bags and walked out of the lecture hall. One of their friends who went with them immediately got on facebook to say that she could tell that that lecture was going to be a waste of her time, so she left.

I really don't wanna be around when these kids are running things.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jml-

Our youth, America's future. Don' look so gd, does it? And what can ya say, really? They're so far gone, you might as well talk to them in Urdu. And this is most of them, 95% of them; don't doubt it for a minute. (These 3 were merely dramatizing what the rest probably felt.)

mb

2:00 PM  
Anonymous kinkykusco said...

Here's a reason, rBGH, or [Bovine Growth Hormone (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bovine_Growth_Hormone#Human_health). Invented in the 70's, it increases milk yield from cows, decreases the environmental impact of dairy farms, and has been shown to have no health effect on humans, but it's basically not used anymore in the United States. Activists have successfully forced dairy producers to stop using it with boycotts, etc. in the past 15 years or so. I can't buy rBGH even through I would be fine with it, in return for reduced prices for milk.

People won't read scientific studies about whether or not GMO's are safe. People won't even read the wikipedia articles. On a complex subject like genetic engineering, or food safety, if you allow the public at large to make choices about science, they will frequently make choices that are directly or indirectly wrong and harmful to society as a whole.
There's a whole philosophical argument to be made on the right for someone to make that choice, and I don't disagree with that, but at least in the case of rBGH the illogical pushback against it means its not available to anyone, and many of us fear that the same kind of action towards GE foods will be a detriment to the whole of humanity over the next century.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

kinky-

Thank you. I suspect there is no end to this argument, really, and that we shd probably move on. Why don't we cut our teeth on this, esp. as it applies to the American Way of Life:

http://www.violence.de/prescott/bulletin/article.html

mb

2:47 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

@Mike:
The problem always comes back to religion, whether you like it or not. Ben Gurion, in 1956:

"Why should the Arabs make peace? If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs."

Speaking of the "Zionist Political Project" as separate from all the obvious religious foreground is just politically correct obfuscation for Jews to feel less guilty about the actions of the Israeli state or for its non-Jewish critics to absolve themselves of charges of anti-Semitism.

That said, isn't it wonderful that Israel is the fancy lace-curtain window-dressing on our Mideast policy? Look how wonderful things are in Israel, how could you not want to be one of our colonial subsidiaries?

3:11 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB,

"By analogy, small-scale capitalism to my mind is not bad; it's just when it eventually became large-scale that it became destructive"

I think this is very important. Capitalism can be very conducive to human enthusiasm, thus creating an extreme attachment and entrenching buy-in for successful people. And at the small/local end, most everyone is successful at some point. Direct results from effort brought many of our ancestors into the fold. At this point, though, I do feel its fairly obvious that the horrendous monopolization and greed we have now (and hid along the way) are irrefutably inevitable and self-fulfilling outcomes of that system. It seems to me that all the arguments about capitalism boil down to this divide. Certainly in the US, most people will not admit to or even recognize that evolution. I'm not against giving capitalism "credit" for getting us to this point (though lets not leave out the bad that came with), but as you have pointed out many times, we have obviously hit the point of cannibalization. I also find the cliche'd American lament of the loss of manufacturing/golden age particularly despicable given this evolution. Back then one might have had ones own head firmly up ones own ass and not have had the bubble popped by any intrusive media. The US raped plenty of countries during the golden years, while half the rest laid smoldering, but footage wasnt about to make it onto the black and white. The rape of its own colored citizens had a massive enough struggle to get traction. The tech boom has given anyone with a cell phone the power to quickly falsify mainstream narratives, though again entailing new issues with complexity and inundation. My point is that now it is absolutely obvious that the golden age never was. Plugging ones ears whilst shutting ones eyes is not enough, the stench will still get to you. I find this particularly problematic when trying to discuss FDR era economic policies, because it draws out the simmering racism/otherism at the foundation of so many American psyches.

I think this piece is relevant:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/06/22/1308558/-Capitalism-will-last-forever-or-maybe-not

Sorry about the length.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Desert Fox:

Ben Gurion in 1948: "garesh otam" (expel them).

mb

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

Regarding marijuana, I seem to recall reading an article I can no longer find that it was criminalized after WWI.
Along with American women, many Mexicans were brought into the country to fill American jobs during wartime. When Johnny came marching home and needed those jobs again, the powers the be simply criminalized the weed (and speed) that many of the Mexicans used to get them through their assembly-line days and began busting them to chase them back over the border.
Gratitude, American-style

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Steve-- here's a couple of examples for you:

DDT--now banned by most of the world, dramatically increased crop yeilds when first introduced as a pesticide and now recognized as a harmful poison

Agent Orange--brought to us by our old friend Monsanto, can cause cancer for years after exposure

Tholidimide--safe for use as an anti-nausea drug but causes severe birth defects (was not thoroghly researched)

Just as "if it bleeds, it leads" is the motto of the news industry, it's best to keep in mind the motto of the food industry (often hand in hand with pharaceuticals) is "if it makes a buck, who cares who it hurts?"

The poor have been the lucky recipients of the tender mercies of industrialized food production in the form of cheap, feedlot antibiotic- saturated meat, federally subsidized corn products, GMO soy fillers, GH dairy products and the soft drink industry. There's an epidemic of obesity and diabetes yet no real investigations that are independent, peer reviewed to see what, if any, effect these have on individual health.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Susan-

Thanks for the info. Maybe 'caution' is too mild a word for what our attitude toward all this chic innovation shd be. "Guilty until proven innocent" might be what we're looking for.

mb

5:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I want to register my approval and support of this call to arms:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/08/palin-calls-for-obamas-impeachment-over-border-crisis/?hpt=hp_t2

But only on 2 conditions:

1. After Ovomit is impeached, and then hopefully convicted, any American who wants to urinate on his shoes (while he's wearing them, of course) on national TV will have the rt to do so;

2. Sarah is immediately installed as interim president.

I'm very excited abt these new developments, altho my #1 choice remains Lorenzo Riggins.

Sarah! Come to me, my sweet little shmoopie (ref: Seinfeld)! We will make love on an ice floe in Alaska, among the meese, with Ed Meese present!

mb

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Bad Idea said...

GMOs may be safe to eat, but that doesn't mean the technology is appropriate.

Take Bt corn: a field of Bt corn is a textbook example of what biologists call "selection pressure." In Bt corn every cell of a Bt corn plant becomes a Bt toxin factory. Whenever a susceptible insect takes a bite of a Bt corn plant, anywhere on the plant, the insect dies. Only the naturally immune survive to breed with other survivors, rapidly creating populations resistant to Bt toxin. In a generation (or less) of widespread use Bt toxin will inevitably become worthless.

Why is that bad? A solution of Bt toxin can be sprayed on any crop plant by anybody. Bt is an organic farmer's best friend and provides safe, effective (if incomplete) control. When you spray only when necessary you control pests, but do not apply nearly as much selection pressure (and even then you inevitably miss several spots on the plant providing toxin free forage.)

The problem with this particular GMO (and many others) is a long-term one, we are squandering a versatile and effective control method for the short-term gain of a handful of stakeholders. It's short-sighted policy, plain and simple.

StMcG, I remember reading about "golden rice" feeding the world's poor in my social studies textbook in third grade, yet 30 years on and it's still not in the offing. Funny how the all-time AgroChemical double-dip cash cow "Roundup-Ready" soybeans seems to have taken over the US entirely w/o an obstacle.

For proof of the ill-will of our agrochemical industry try Googling "Atrazine, frogs, Dr. Tyrone Hayes" The unsealed internal emails will give you an idea of what we're dealing with.

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

lack of coherence,
In terms of Isamophobia, I think it's much more than 4 in 10. Yesterday I sat with a number of American ex-pats in a Bangkok pub. Well, you can take Americans out of America... The vile anti-Muslim sentiment was breathtaking. A few excerpts:
How does a Muslim man know who his wife is if all the women are wearing burkas?
How can you respect a religion that teaches 2 plus 2 equals 5? [Didn't Arabs invent the zero?]
The other thing is why do Americans immediately assume you are as racist as they are? They hold the most vile, insane opinions and normally assume you agree with them. Wafers, have you experienced this too?
Anyway, I've been coming to Thailand for over 20 years now. I have found the Thais generous, gracious, and infinitely friendly. Of course,almost everytime I say this to an American they say it's just "customer service." If a Thai saved their life they'd say they did it for a tip.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Yeah...Americans living outside of America remain Americans, w/all that that entails. Well, the British were like that as well, of course. An American friend of mine who lives in Mexico City, and who has lived in Latino cultures for 20 yrs now, was recently telling me how depressing a party was that he attended, the gringos all sitting around and saying how substandard Mexico was, how "We're No. 1!"--all the usual American crap. Expat gringos are, for the most part, still gringos. Conversation is an opportunity to casually insult others, compete w/others, exhibit a ferocious (and unconscious) narcissism, and so on. On a world scale, it's really grotesque, and everyone seems to know it except us! "Social life" in America is probably the no. 1 cause of psychosomatic illness, I'm guessing. ("Antisocial life" wd be a better term for it.) And then you turn on the TV, and it's one ad after another for Lunesta, Claritan, Douchebag-Ol, etc. etc., as if all these meds (anti-depressants in particular) somehow existed in a completely different (medical) sphere from the social one. Jesus, what a culture. It kinda says it all that during the 60s and 70s, Americans got involved in the "Human Potential Movement" and went to workshops to literally learn how to be human.

mb

9:00 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Dan/MB,
Yeah, some expats are often quite a trip to experience.

Here in Costa Rica my wife and I used to hear expat women complaining about how stupid their maids were.
Of course, these were people who did not have sufficient Spanish to be able to explain to their maids what they would have liked them to change about the way they did their jobs.

Another hypothesis I have about the (for here) upper-middle class expats is that they might very well have had all the latest appliances back home to make their lives easier, but I doubt that any of them actually had enough extra dough to hire domestic help back in the USA...so they don't have any real experience with interfacing with such people.
Add the language barrier to that and you get what we used to hear.

Another brilliant facet of social life here is running into the retired Republican or Tea Party expat who can go on for hours about how the USA is going to the dogs, but none of them have any plans to re-patriate and go back to help fix the country...and these are fixer types, not Wafers who have seen the inevitable trends and realized that the situation is essentially hopeless.

Dan
I have a math/physics joke T-shirt that says
2+2=5
for extremely large values of 2

I think I won't wear it to the airport tonight lest I get profiled as a bad guy.

The other T-shirt I love says:
There are two kinds of people in the world...those who can extrapolate from incomplete data...
I won't wear that one either...if some TSA functionary should happen to read it, their head might explode and it'd be my fault.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Well, I take a break from the blog for a week or so, and miss the GMO party!
I see a lot of posts were posted about the GMO thing.
Steven McGinty proves the truth of the idea that a little knowledge combined with hubris is more dangerous than acknowledged ignorance. He has a touching faith in consensus thinking, but my lord, man: today’s scientific establishment is demonstrably, irretrievably corrupt.
I disagree with McGinty on the validity of the French scientist’s study. The only evidence he has for it being poor quality are the statements of the corporatist scientists who were paid to attack it, or whose self-interest lies in attacking it. Many European scientists and groups deplored Seralini’s treatment. But I fear we will gain no more by talking. Those WAFers who are interested should take a non-McGinty tack, and research the subject for themselves, and also look into other proven cases of the scientific “establishment” attacking scientists who have found GMOs to be harmful.
@JWO: unfortunately, even cisgenic GMOs are potentially dangerous. The very act of randomly inserting genes into an organisms genome can easily cause other genes to randomly change their patterns of expression. No form of GMO is equivalent to the results of selective breeding. (BTW, I studied genetics as an undergrad and in grad school, if that matters)
I’ll end with a quote from the anthology “Questioning Technology” (a book that has numerous extracts from Prof. Berman’s book Reenchantment of the World). This one is from the author Eugene S. Schwartz, from his book Overskill: The Decline of Technology in Modern Civilization:
An adventurous and truth-seeking science is becoming an appendage of the technology it spawned: truth is becoming that which politics and economics in their parochial manifestations demand; freedom of inquiry and revolt against authority are being transformed into a new orthodoxy administered and controlled by a new elite… Science has become a secular religion; technology is its temple, efficiency its dogma… What if the religion of technology is not a truth but a falsification of man and nature and society?
GMO’s are negative from every humanistic, ecological, and health POV. Nassim Nicholas Taleb (no fool) has co-written a very technical paper on why GMOs may, in fact, yield a catastrophic result, even dooming humanity. Happily for McGinty, the pro-GMO prostitutes have given him plenty of attacks on Taleb to salivate over.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@ El Alamein:

I never said the Zionist political project is totally separate from religion - in my prior post, I said religion was "not irrelevant," but also not the whole story of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

For example, there has been secular-nationalist opposition to Israeli colonialism among Palestinians for decades now. The main goal of the Palestine Liberation Organization, for example, was all about achieving a modern state for the Palestinians based on international law. Today there is also the National Democratic Assembly, a secular-nationalist Palestinian political party with representation in the Israeli Knesset.

My point was just that we can't boil the whole conflict between Israelis and Palestine down to religion, as Sam Harris does. If we do that, certain phenomena, such as those I just described, make little sense.

Regarding your other point, that "Speaking of the "Zionist Political Project" as separate from all the obvious religious foreground is just politically correct obfuscation for Jews to feel less guilty about the actions of the Israeli state.."

I disagree with you here. I said in my previous post that Israel has been ethnically cleansing its non-Jewish population. Israel routinely carries out war crimes, attacks on civilians, home demolitions, and collective punishment that is illegal under international law. It is hardly "politically correct" for me to say any of this.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Dan Miner said...

Dr.Berman, I first read The Reenchantment of the World when in college a long time ago, and it set me on the path to exile from mainstream thought. I was happy to discover your blog a few years ago, and read WAF. I've been a Wafer in spirit for a long time, and I appreciate your light hearted stance toward our dismal situation. The comments about pastrami are great. My personal situation: should I continue my role as minor functionary in NYC government while maybe doing some useful outreach, or should I head to the hills now and beat the rush? You probably did the wise thing to escape to Mexico, passing the masses headed to el norte.

best wishes,

Dan Miner, Queens, NYC
beyondoilnyc@yahoo.com
www.beyondoilnyc.org

11:28 PM  
Blogger swindled said...

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2014/jun/25/detroits-water-war-a-tap-shut-off-that-could-impact-300000-people

The media is for some reason ignoring this story, or largely ignoring it. Basically, the city of Detroit is broke and has decided to go after poor people who can't afford to pay their water bill, shutting off their taps and consigning them to something on the order of third world poverty. Maybe even worse. I heard that the U.N. is aghast, as with the approach of summer this threatens to make Detroit a breeding ground for such as cholera, but apparently a right-wing state that criminalizes poverty can't be bothered with such concerns. The powers that be, including our President, are either ignorant of or have turned their backs on our fellow citizens in Detroit. I am reminded of Chris Hedges' "sacrifice zones" an am surprised he hasn't reported on this story already. Anyway, please spread the word about this. I'm totally new here and just looking for a place to get the word out. What the heck is a wafer?

2:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

swindled-

A Wafer (always capitalized) is a person who has read WAF (Why America Failed), liked it, and wants to continue discussing the collapse of the American empire on this blog. A more general definition is: a person of quality, dignity, and commitment to truth, such as are mostly not found in the US. Opposite of Wafer = trollfoon or douche bag. As for Detroit and cholera etc., keep in mind that the bubonic plague "washed out" the Middle Ages, and it's not unlikely that some plague or plagues will assist in washing out the Modern Era. Detroit cd be the epicenter of this (canary in a coal mine).

Dan-

Welcome. We have some great Dans on this blog. The decision to leave America is of course a personal one; no one can make it 4u. I can only tell u that my own decision to do so was the single smartest one of my entire life. When Americans ask me if there's anything I regret abt it, I say: Yes, that I didn't do it much sooner. I guess you hafta decide if yr life is rewarding as is, or if you feel living abroad wd offer u more, be a richer experience. Offhand, I wd say that's a no-brainer, but finally only you know the answer to that.

Ty-

As I mentioned earlier, I'll be in C.R. doing stuff at La Salle U. during Sept. 25-27, but then will travel around the country for a few days after that. Inasmuch as yr the only person I know in C.R., it might be nice to meet up: let me buy you lunch or whatever. If that notion appeals, pls write to my email address and send me yr contact info, and perhaps we can arrange something. Thanks.

mb

4:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Waferinos:

I enjoyed rdg this (mostly), but was very sad that the author did not explicitly use the words "urine" and "douche bag," wh/I think wd have been very appropriate in this context:

http://us.cnn.com/2014/07/08/opinion/castellanos-obama-rock-bottom/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

I mean, Millard Fillmore was more distinguished than this buffoon.Of course, Pres. Hillary won't be able to do much better. True, she's a pasty-faced douche bag, but at least she's a clear-cut imperialist, not just an empty piece of garbage. However, what I said in 2008, while everyone was excited abt an Obama presidency--that the corpse (America) was the issue, not the funeral director (i.e., the pres)--will apply to everyone in the W.H. from now on. All a funeral director can do is efficiently (or, in Obama's case, inefficiently) manage a funeral; he or she can't revive the corpse. So Hillary or whoever (I wd prefer Lorenzo Riggins, as u know) can only do crisis management, until the crisis is so huge that it can no longer be managed. Exactly when that will occur is hard to say, but I'm guessing that the period 2017-2024 is a likely candidate for that.

mb

4:28 AM  
Anonymous Steven McGinty said...

Susan / MB -

If you're going to let her use Agent Orange as an example, it seems the conversation is closed to discussion. While you're at it, why not say you're against vaccines, toothpaste, all water treatment (fluoride is one of many chemicals in water), antibiotics, all food treatments, and all modern farming. It's delusional to think that on a planet of 7 billion people you can suddenly stop all modern health & farming practices without massive side effects.

Agent Orange was designed by the army to kill people. There was never a consensus on the safety of the product. MB - why would you let this slide w/o pushing back?

"for ultra-moderns such as yrself "

watch the ad hominems, amigo. I'm just presenting the scientific consensus.

No one ever addressed one issue -- water fluoridation conspiracy is based mostly on belief in Illuminati. I lived in Portland, and I heard this Illuminati talk all the time.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Steven-

Well, calling you an ultra-modern is hardly an ad hominem attack, muchacho; you might wanna look the phrase up in yr Latin dictionary. After all, most Americans are proud to be ultra-moderns, and you are clearly in that category. If someone called me a premodern, I wd hardly regard it as an ad hominem attack, and I'd also say: Thank you! This is more of the confused thinking on yr part that Wafers are objecting to. "Ultra-modern" is a characterization, not a smear; if I called you "feeble-minded," that wd be a different story.

Anyway, of course Agent Orange was designed to defoliate, yr rt; but I leave that up to you to argue w/Susan abt (my job is not to monitor every detail, amigo, or fight yr battles 4u). Nor do I think that she, or anyone else here, is lumping everything (toothpaste etc.) in the category of GMOs, AZT, or things that might reasonably call for caution. Again, confused thinking. As for fluoride, I believe there are sound scientific studies of it not based on the Illuminati(!)--or at least, I remember reading about it in reliable sources, some yrs ago.

Wafers have pointed out that there is no way of reaching you; that it's just a dead end. It does seem like a useless discussion, at this pt--from your pt of view as well, I wd think.

mb

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Capo has a few yucks said...

Steven,

You are correct, agent orange was used in vietnam to improve landscaping via weed and foillage reduction. Nice of the U.S. to use agent organge to clear up the jungles and build democracy in Vietman. Napalm also is a tool for removal of unwanted trees and trash. I

As for Flouride, I address in earlier post provided links to scientific (non-illuminaiti) Guess you missed it--check. And surely you can use the internet to find that most of Europe and Israel ban Flouride in drinking water. I guess the illuminati have some influence in Brussels and Jerusalem but yet to figure out their anti-flouride strategy in the U.S.A.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Wafers,

Getting set up in a new country is hectic and it’s been hard just keeping up with the blog – especially the GMO business.

As with any medical treatment, even an aspirin, all technology has both benefits and risks which must be weighed against each other. The problem is that when a medical treatment, GMO, or other technology is introduced the benefits may not be clearly understood, and many of the risks are unknown.

Every genetically modified organism is different with its own potential benefits and risks. How can anybody make a blanket statement that GMO’s are safe? How can there be a 'scientific consensus' on GMO’s in general?

Moreover, unintended consequences go beyond causing cancer. Every GMO may be a genie that causes immense harm, and can’t be put back in the bottle. Every starling in North America is descended from about 150 birds which were released into Central Park in NY in the 1890’s. They have displaced many native species and, in some places are a real pest. Not the worst thing in the world, but it is something that cannot be undone. Many GMO’s, once they’re out in the world can never be gotten back – regardless of the unintended consequences.

GMO’s are being pushed by giant corporations which always put their short-term profits ahead of everything else, and are generally lying through their teeth.

Science, particularly in the US, has become massively commercialized and thereby corrupted. Scientists who work for business tend to be whores who do and say what they’re paid to. Hence, benefits exaggerated and risks denied.

Susan W.,

Good to hear from you.

Agent Orange was simply a defoliant, and the pentagon was falling all over itself denying that it could be harmful to humans. (The VA is still in denial.) Would anyone expect them to admit that they were spraying poison gas on people?

David Rosen

12:53 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

The GMO discussion is getting a bit old. Seems Steven is stubborn, best to ignore him now.

Here's some news I came across...

Deepak Chopra is offering a $1mil prize related to the "Quantum physics's observer effect." I believe you wrote on this same topic in Reenchantment

Care to comment on the topic? Chopra is a moron, but the issue seems worth discussing now since understanding of quantum physics has changed since early 1980s. If you've discussed this already in previous posts, I apologize.

http://www.newstatesman.com/future-proof/2014/07/deepak-chopra-doesnt-understand-quantum-physics-so-brian-cox-wants-1000000-him

1:03 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Tim, you're one of the few people who perceive what I perceive. You see this paradox and logical contradiction as well.

Guess what? When I point this out to people online and those in real life they will utterly deny this and claim that I am generalizing. They tout the same slogans and the same mantras. This is especially true with employers and to me they seem like carbon copies of each other. Tim, do you know what I have asked people to name me at least two underlying philosophical differences between two employers. They could not do it.

We're supposed to be individualistic but in the same carbon copied and collectivist way. Yet, people will deny the collectivist aspect and will not admit that there is an underlying universal culture and narrative that pervades the USA. If what I say is false then why do all of these employment books have similar instructions on how to obtain a job in the USA? It's like we're a nation of indvidualists who are collectivsts. Even though this is contradictory it is so true.

Tim, my hard drive died on me and I have just got my computer back up and running. I will be responding to your email soon.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Morris: Was referring to McGinty as “obtuse” an ad hominem attack? It’s seemed aptly descriptive to me, rather than vicious. I need to know these things.

Fluoride in water and toothpaste is a double-edged sword. On one hand it helps build bones and strengthens tooth enamel, on the other hand it’s a neurotoxin in the same category as lead, mercury, arsenic, and other dangerous substances.

I’ve never heard fluoridation referred to as an Illuminati plot...A Communist plot maybe, but not Illuminati. Right about now I’d prefer listening to someone who believes in the Illuminati or in conspiracy theories rather than McGinty…at least they understand that there’s something seriously wrong and are questioning our consensus reality. BTW, Morris, are you absolutely sure he’s not a troll?

Dan: One of my neighbors, a Fundamentalist Born-Again Christian, recently used the adjective “filthy” to describe Arabs. I have a feeling that many of these people would be shocked if you told them they were racist, which is why they have no qualms about speaking their so-called minds. In general, they don’t seem to understand that not everyone shares their parochial worldview.

Infanttyrone: I’ve been interested in relocating to Costa Rica for many years now, but because of health issues I’ve kept it on the back burner. How are you liking it there?

1:46 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

A discussion about GMOs, labeling, and other germane info on a very recent Tom Ashbrook show:

http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/07/08/gmo-labeling-vermont-oregon-monsanto

MB-

Many thanks for the James W. Prescott article on violence. As I read the piece, I realized just how tragic and heartbreaking the situation in America is. Beyond the fact that the US is now essentially a culture of death, I hafta say, the real tragedy is that Prescott gave us an answer, a way out, or at least a way forward since 1975 and we refused to hear the message. Jesus, talk about a warning from an intelligent person. Also, I keep thinking about a situation like Sandy Hook and wonder was Adam Lanza ever loved, did he ever experience physical pleasure in any way, what really went on in that kid's short time on planet earth, did he ever bond with his mother. His first victim, after all, was his mother; shot six times; and then those poor helpless babies.

I see Prescott's ideas and research building on the ideas of Wilhelm Reich: social and political ills of the world stem largely from society's repression of sexuality and blockages developing into character armour. It's funny, in light of our conversation about the so-called scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs with McGinty, that Reich and many of his ideas (particularly orgone energy) were considered "fringe" science at the time, laughed at, and ruthlessly suppressed by the U.S. government. That says a lot about independent thinking in the US.

Jeff

1:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Lack-

I can't remember what I wrote in the Reenchantment bk regarding quantum mechanics, to be honest; and that was more than 30 yrs ago, so for all I know q.m. has made huge strides in the interim--in physics, not in philosophy. It's not a philosophy, Chopra notwithstanding. The problem arises when we try to turn it into one, to use it to create a cosmic philosophy, which I regard as soft-headed (and Chopra is one of the most soft-headed individuals ever to appear on the American scene; wh/explains his popularity here--look at who his audience is). After all, we don't live our lives on a subatomic level, so how significant the observer effect is when I butter my toast is not exactly clear to me. And the general Chopra-Oprah philosophy, that "it's all in the mind," or that consciousness determines everything, strikes me as being the world view of a child, despite its affinities w/certain branches of Eastern philosophy. (Here's an expt: do a lot of meditation; visualizing flying; then jump off a tall building as you continue to imagine that gravity is nothing more than a mental construct, and therefore can be mentally overcome. Be sure to report back.) This notion that Buddhism and q.m. are saying the same thing is the stuff of New Age cocktail party chatter, and the New Age was famous for generating people who talked a lot of nonsense while regarding it as profound (cf. 2 a.m. freshman bull sessions, while stoned, pondering the identity of the atom and the solar system, etc.--Far Out!). And as Steven Jay Gould pted out yrs ago, bringing everything down to the subatomic level and then arguing for causal influence on the gross level is actually a reductionistic argument, not very different from Cartesian mechanism.

The argument is also a way of hiding from real life, it seems to me; a Oprah-istic way of making ourselves feel good, while ignoring the things that really matter. Of course, consciousness does have *some* effect on empirical reality; the Japanese believe that matter and spirit are not completely independent of each other, and I personally have no problem with that, up to a certain point. And if u.r. an anthropologist and observe some tribal ritual, chances are the ritual will play out a bit differently than if you weren't present. These things are true enuf. Whether they can be inflated into a world philosophy, however, I tend to doubt.

I regard Chopra as a fundamentally silly person, but again, consider his audience. He's a joke, but he's talking to people who are also jokes. He is famous for saying to them, "You must free yourselves from the prison of the intellect!" Jesus, these are people who have never been *in* the prison of the intellect; they shd be so lucky. Let them spend 20 yrs *inside* that 'prison'; then, maybe, we can talk abt freedom from it. Much of this relates to what I've said abt Americans b4: they confuse emotion w/thought. The result is nationwide brain-rot.

mb

2:22 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

MB - "All a funeral director can do is efficiently (or, in Obama's case, inefficiently) manage a funeral; he or she can't revive the corpse. So Hillary or whoever (I wd prefer Lorenzo Riggins, as u know) can only do crisis management, until the crisis is so huge that it can no longer be managed. Exactly when that will occur is hard to say, but I'm guessing that the period 2017-2024 is a likely candidate for that. "

This reminds me of a bon mot from John Ralston Saul "Our élite is primarily and increasingly managerial. A managerial élite manages. A crisis, unfortunately, requires thought. Thought is not a management function." He said this 20 years ago, and it's only more true today.

Mike - Whether or not there exist secular political projects among Israelis or Palestinians (and of course there are), the entire conflict has been precipitated by a religious war. Without religion, the whole thing would seem as absurd as the Celts trying to take back Belgium.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sar-

No; he *is* obtuse, and also stubborn, as Lack pointed out. These are not smears, like "yr a jackass". If I were to tell him he's stubborn, it's just to say that he's not willing to let in contrary information; that he's not really in dialogue, so to speak, wh/I think is the case. This is why I told him the discussion is finally a dead end.

Of course, he cd be a troll, but the flavor I get off his messages is something different: fundamental confusion. I encountered this on the blog only twice b4 in 8 yrs, where the individual thinks he is making sense when he's not. It's as tho their brain were wired up in a strange way; as tho they were locked in a hall of mirrors, talking to themselves, w/o realizing that that was going on. In the other two cases, these folks finally just left, thinking (I suppose) that they cdn't get heard. Myself, I don't think a lot can be done for them; it's almost as tho the problem is neurological in nature. So I doubt Steven is a troll, but man, his notion of interaction sure is peculiar.

mb

2:57 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Well here is something to lighten the mood. It may actually be old news for most, but I just found it yesterday. Jerry Seinfeld now hosts a web series. The first episode features LD, and Tina Fey and "George Costanza" also appear.

http://www.comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/

3:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Thanks for link. I watched the Tina episode. It's actually not very funny (at all), but I remain madly in love w/her.

mb

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

America, the land of the free and the brave:

"A Michigan man sentenced to life in prison for the beating and rape of a 77-year-old woman faced his victim and her daughter in court last Wednesday.

The victim and her daughter, who are not being named, expressed no sympathy for 31-year-old Shane Chambers at his sentencing. The victim's daughter, speaking on behalf of her mother, said she hopes Chambers experiences the same pain in prison that her mother experienced at his hands, WoodTV reported.

“Don’t shake your head at me," she said to her mother's attacker. "You beat this woman to a pulp, you left her for dead after you raped her and you grabbed her purse on the way out, and I hope you get to think about that while someone is raping you. I hope the same thing happens to you."

The September 2013 assault began while the 77-year-old woman was sleeping. Chambers broke into the home where she lived for 50 years, beat the elderly woman unconscious and raped her, according to MLive.

The victim awoke hours later and saw that her purse and credit cards had been stolen. Chambers traded the items for drugs, police said."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/09/rapist-hope-same-thing-happens-to-you_n_5570804.html

5:16 PM  
Anonymous David Clausen said...

Greetings Wafers, I have to admit, drugs almost destroyed my life. No, not the recreational stuff—I love and respect pot's value as a mood enhancer—rather SSRIs give to me free by the government. The very research bought and paid for by big pharma shows that anti-depressants perform no better than placebos. To learn this FOI was needed to find out what all of the studies say.

Although this is well known, the crap is still sold by the buckets, deadly side-effects and all. This is a pretty good example of BS science, called-out by the real stuff.

David Clausen

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jun/23/epidemic-mental-illness-why/

5:42 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

"during the 60s and 70s, Americans got involved in the "Human Potential Movement" and went to workshops to literally learn how to be human"

Yeah, that was fun wasn't it? And wound up as iPads plugged into their ass...along with everything else...

I'm sure the continuous news stories of who the richest families in America are... will help everyone get in touch with their 'inner billionaire' and make everything right with the world...

The Waltons on top once again ... net worth = $152B....how's that for 'success'?... $152B...shit, what a bottmless pit these people are...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2686395/Americas-wealthiest-families-revealed-From-Rockefellers-Kennedys-185-clans-worth-1billion-yes-Republicans.html

I'd say it's amazing how the 60's even happened considering the fallout from it with the Wall St. types and all the fake guru shit. But in a way I could smell the rot way back then but didn't know what it was... I thought there was something wrong with me... and I have to keep telling myself ... no, those were assholes and still are... and so the cycle repeats until here we are... it's been like watching a train wreck in slow motion and it still keeps sliding off the tracks... from the bozo's wherever you go to the one's in high office and now courtesy of the NSA (among many others) in every orifice of our lives... It's no wonder most everyone is on 'something'... It's like everyting in the US is in a sped up silent film ...only it's not a film...and though the people may be talking there really isn't any dialog going on ...just the chatter of an imaginary film reel spinning in the background...it would be comical if it wasn't so difficult to be around!

So goes NMI life in these parts...

6:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

David-

This is a pretty hard-hitting article, and as you pt out, it made no difference at all (neither did the bks it reviews); millions of Rx continue to be written for these drugs every year, as tho we had no clear evidence that they do nothing, or worse. One stat I discovered is that in terms of dollar sales of antidepressant drugs, worldwide, the US consumes 2/3 of the total. The dollar sales factor has to be stated, because these drugs tend to be more expensive in America than elsewhere. Still and all, the rough picture is that 4.5% of the world's population (i.e., the US) is swallowing 67% of the world's antidepressants. Yeah, Were No. 1, all right--#1 in feeling like shit. This shdn't be a surprise, because we are living a way of life that makes people miserable. Since Americans don't think sociologically (and don't even know what that means), each individual (as of a few yrs ago, 10% of the over-6-yr-old population, altho toddlers as young as 4 are now being given the stuff) pops a daily cocktail of this garbage on the assumption that there's something wrong w/him or her, not w/the society in wh/they live. David Ehrenfeld (Rutgers U. biologist) once compared that society to scorpions in a bottle: endless aggression, endless competition, constant rudeness, colossal narcissism, and so on. What Prescott shows (see reference above, also mentioned by Jeff) is that we are really wired up for cooperation, not competition; hence, living the way we do can only make us sick. Literally every religious tradition says that yr purpose in life is to help others, not be focused on yrself (the Golden Rule; Christ as the archetype of kenosis; etc. etc. and etc.); Alfred Adler claimed that it was the royal road to mental health. So what do Americans do? Just the opposite, and then, feeling like crap as a result, take drugs that wind up making their condition worse. But the 4.5%/67% figure is the one datum that stands out like flashing neon: this is a society of lunatics, and it's hardly a function of 'brain chemistry'. And this is the way of life we seek to export, i.e. impose, on the rest of the world.

mb

6:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pol-

Well, not everyone went the Jerry Rubin route; just most. "Revolution" in the US has the flavor of adolescent play, of theater. This was esp. true of OWS, but it was true of much of the 60s as well. It never has a really solid base; cooptation is as smooth as buttered croissants. The lure of the American Dream--this may be the greatest drug ever invented. It makes all alternatives moot. Too bad 'progressives' haven't figured this out.

mb

6:50 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Dear Wafers, etc.:


I took a trip out to Vancouver Island to visit my mom last week. Canadian Wafers will be pleased to discover that we ain't no better than our US cousins. Get a load of this: the University of Victoria is going to offer a class on "Beyonce." She's apparently a popular singer, and by the sound of it, up there in importance equal to Sinatra or Louis Armstrong. There's no textbook, but the class won't just be sitting around watching music videos, according to the news report I saw.

I went to a major chain bookstore while on the Island and tried to find something by Our Morris, but they didn't carry anything, so I bought "The World as it Is" by Chris Hedges as compensation.

When I returned from the trip last night I found that the wild Tiger Lily (our provincial flower) that I rescued from a housing development/urban sprawl is blooming. God is alive, magic is afoot.

Thanks, Mike, for your contribution to the discussion of the Palestinian Question. Saying that the problems there are caused by a religious dispute between Muslims and Jews is rather inaccurate, as you point out. Christian Arabs, for example are left out of this useless bit of binary thinking.

The problem there is political, and originated with a the ideas of a 19th-century nationalist from Austria who preached a philosophy of blood and land to those whom he claimed were his people. There was a lot of that going around at the time.

I just heard on the CBC radio news that the Israeli air force is "counterattacking" after Palestinian rocket "barrages." I didn't detect a smirk in the voice of the announcer.

I'd better wrap this up, so I'll leave by saying that I like baseless, sweeping generalisations as much as the next guy, but this:

"People who are against GMOs for health reasons use the same arguments as people who deny climate change."

is rather annoying, as I'm against GMOs (there's evidence that they are killing the bees that pollinate the crops upon which we rely for food) and am seriously concerned about global warming.

A couple of days ago I saw Norma Talmage's picture "Kiki," which had a couple of great bits of dialogue that I'd like to borrow. So Steve, you're a big piece of cheese, and may your children grow up to be radio announcers.

O&D

8:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

Wow, that's quite a curse. Let's hope the kids are spared such a terrible fate.

Ah, Victoria! Did I tell u I taught there during 1982-87? I came and went, w/o leaving a trace...

mb

8:56 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

borrowed PC here...not sure this went thru yet

Steven McG,

Pretty sure flouridation has been a bugaboo of the far rightin the USA since some time in the 1950's.
So, now the left in Slabtown is catching up with the Birchers ?
What if they are both right on the facts?
Carl Oglesby must be smiling tonight.

Don't count on the convergence amounting to much now...the hour is getting late.

MB,
I should be back by late Septiembre, pero ningunas garantias.

I'll send my cell # separately in a bit. Just got to Austin about noon today after leaving CR at 1 AM. My friend the curmudgeon lady doctor will leave for Seattle on 12 or 16 Sept...bummer, you'd enjoy her...she's smaht & funny...maybe you'll get invited for another series of lectures (or have to flee further South than Mexico to avoid the drones TPTB will undoubtedly send to Mexico to silence you after you explain the whole mess in San Jose in September).

Sarasvati,
Sent a preliminary note to your blog comment section. Forgot to mention that these days you need social security or some other documentable, lifetime sort of pension of $1,000 or more before you can apply for 'pensionado' residency status,m which is required in order for a gringo or other foreigner to join the public health system...

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Wafers,

We talked about James Howard Kunstler’s books in this blog before. In this interview he talks about his new book, “A History of the Future”:

http://usawatchdog.com/islamic-state-loose-artillery-shell-on-the-deck-of-the-ship-of-history-james-howard-kunstler/

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...

Infantry,

I don't think people should have to have a serious medical condition to get a strain of weed suited to the purpose of treating that issue. Mild medical conditions are fine too, IMO. I'm just not a fan of recreational use, although I'd never want to jail anyone for breaking the law in this regard. More like a fairly small fine.

In any case, I'm not using medical pot - my gf is. Yes, an ounce lasts a long time, but if people could grow their own, they could still save a ton of money. I did hear that WA now allows people to grow their own, but since I plan on leaving the country, moving to WA seems like an exercise in futility.

MB, Infantry, and everyone else...

Guess what happened today? I attended a wake for my gf's father. Since you don't know who she is, I feel comfortable telling you that some asshole almost three times her age hugged her in a grasping, inappropriate way three times, and during the last time, grabbed her ass. In response, her cousin and I forced the asshole to leave, even though he denied doing it and tried to "befriend" us (he's a salesman, see? He was hoping not only to sexually assault the daughter of the deceased, but to sell his products in the process). Can you name one other country where people commit sexual assault and, immediately after, attempt to sell their products to onlookers? I can't.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

al-

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Israel. I agree with you that the problem is fundamentally political. I think this has two levels to it, as there is the political problem of Zionism itself, which is a form of settler colonialism that is predicated on dispossessing and expelling the indigenous non-Jewish population, and the problem of the media misrepresentation of the situation there.

As you suggest, the mainstream media in Western countries totally distorts the situation in Israel/Palestine by implying that there's some kind of equivalence between two equal powers; when Israel bombs Gaza, it is said to be solely to defend itself from rocket.

In reality, though, there is a poor, defenseless Palestinian population who if they are lucky, can land a rocket in a field somewhere in Israel and who are ethnically cleansed and collectively punished, and on the other side an oppressing Israeli population that has been ethnically cleansing Palestine and discriminating against non-Jews in all kinds of ways. But since most mainstream media (and thus most people who rely on those media) don't see this, it is very hard to fix the underlying political problem of Zionism.

It is truly staggering though, the extent to which the mainstream media misrepresents the situation. The fact that, for example, rising Israeli political star Ayelet Shaked said that Israel should attack Palestinian civilians and that Palestinian mothers give birth to "little snakes," or that thousands of Israelis are on the streets and online calling for "death to the Arabs", never makes it to the news in the US. Although such anti-Arab racism and explicit calls for genocide are crucial to understanding what is happening now in Gaza, Western media ignore all this and pretends Israel's collective punishment of Palestinians is justified by some ineffective rockets being fired into Israel.

12:23 AM  
Anonymous Lone Wolf said...

I was reading through your blog posts and came across this quote in an entry to made, it's too salient a point not to be reposted here (will repost without quotation marks):




At one point Dowd quotes from Thorstein Veblen's The Instinct of Workmanship (1914), that "history records more frequent and more spectacular instances of the triumph of imbecile institutions over life and culture than of peoples who have by force of instinctive insight saved themselves alive out of a desperately precarious institutional situation."

1:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Julian-

The Kunstler bk looks quite interesting, esp. since his vision is that of a US geographically broken up (thru secession, I suppose). As I've said b4, I think the declinists, rather than the 'progressives', are going to have the last laugh, altho it's not clear how funny it's going to be. As with the waning of the Middle Ages, we can be sure that a lot of it won't be pretty (you don't get history for free, as it were). The only thing certain abt change (and chg itself is certain) is that it will be different; there are no guarantees that it will be better (altho one can hope). Kunstler's predictions of environmental collapse, energy collapse, pandemics, geographical breakup, and general social chaos--to which I would add the imposition of martial law, or attempt to impose it--seem very likely at this point; and for various reasons, I think the US will be the hardest hit. To my mind, the only glimmer of hope will be the Dual Process phenomenon we've talked abt b4, altho I think other parts of the world (e.g., Europe) will do much better than we will. What 'progressives' will never understand is that history is (for the most part) not abt what you might like to happen, or abt the noble causes u.r. fighting for, but rather, esp. in times like these (fall of Rome, waning of Middle Ages), abt what is inexorable (in the context of which, 'electing Democrats' and so on is utterly laughable). Kunstler is taking my own analysis (including the concluding speculation of my Japan book) one step further, in trying to sketch in the outlines of our post-capitalist future, and even provide some details. I suspect the picture will be a lot clearer by the end of the (lame, fatuous) Hillary presidency; and that by the time of my death, in 2045, all these changes will be seriously underway.

"Blog on, blog on, Voltaire, Rousseau..."

mb

4:28 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

"and that by the time of my death, in 2045, all these changes will be seriously underway."

Packing it in early then Morris?

6:15 AM  
Anonymous Steven McGinty said...

MB -

Since you are an expert on history of science, were people more or less trusting of scientists in the early 20th century, before the birth of the environmental movement?

It seems like it's acceptable now to distrust everything scientists say, even in regards to water treatment and medicines.

Re: progressives. You might also like the term social justice warrior (SJW). I like this term for describing people who read websites like "Think Progress"

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Skeptic of Skeptics said...

Morris Berman:

"[I]t's all in the mind," or that consciousness determines everything, strikes me as being the world view of a child [...] (Here's an expt: do a lot of meditation; visualizing flying; then jump off a tall building as you continue to imagine that gravity is nothing more than a mental construct, and therefore can be mentally overcome. Be sure to report back.)"

Please give examples, with actual evidence, of actual people who actually hold the views of the straw man you have created.

Thank you.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous David Clausen said...

Dear Wafers All,

The SSRI-fuelled mania which kicked my life out from under me did have a few benefits: I still, fourteen years later, dine out on some of the stories I can tell about escaping from an involuntary vacation at Club Meds (the Detwiler Clinic at UBC in Vancouver) on my bike, under the noses of my so-uncalled-for guardians. Of course there was some pretty weird shit, too; lots of it funny enough in a dangerous way.

Coming off the SSRIs was no big deal, but going cold-turkey from the lithium was hairy. Now, other than pot, booze and coffee, I'm clean and sober. When I feel down, I tell myself that this is a sane reaction to torture, toke a spliff, ogle a babe (subtly—when if she notices and smiles, it makes my day), and read the posts here. It does wonders; I thank you all.

True, Morris, your writing and most of what bears reading, won't dent the chaos, but it calms my mind and makes me better company. There's much good to be said about that.

David Clausen

9:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

David-

Thank you. Just a ps: pls post only once every 24 hrs, thanks.

Skeptic-

I met them by the hundreds in the 70s, amigo, but I didn't have them sign any affidavits, curiously enough. If you wanna believe this is a straw man, be my guest. I guess the New Age dies hard!

Steven-

I have no idea, nor any idea of how such a study might be conducted. But as I said, I think we need to put this whole subject to rest. Thanks again for yr contribution.

Golf-

Yeah, I decided that 101 yrs here wd probably be enuf.

mb

10:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And on it goes:

http://us.cnn.com/2014/07/09/justice/texas-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Capo said...

David Clausen,

Your attitude is healthy! Many people look to say science to replace religion to find meaning in life. Alas a fools errand. Wife with friend shopping and I am sipping wine with a cigar looking at French women walk by whilst following the only blog I follow...the meaning is well, in life itself and you unike many millions have figured it out.

Steve, Science and scientism are a replacement of religion and animism. Saving people via vaccines and GMO's is not different that believing Jesus (a.k. the first reform rabbi) could feed a multitude with a loaf and a couple of fish or if you lead a virtous life you will avoid pain etc...

Skeptic of Skeptics. I think that the view noted y MB is well documented by the populatity of "the secret" and of people who believe in positive thoughts to manifest riches. The mind cure of the early 20th century is a case in point. Also, things like "think and grow rich" , the populairty of "the power of positive thinking" and the prosperity gospel are examples of Morris's point. American invented religions like scinetology and mormonism (if you are good you get a planet) tend to embody the habits of mind MB' notes. I do wish we could assemble a large scale survey or commission focus groups to get you specific names but lets go with basic social science and based on revealed preference (i.e. the behavior of people) we can infer their belief systems and mental outlook. Asking for specific names is a churlish request, but consider Tony Robbins or Oprah.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

This may sound pessimistic, but in a future world of resource scarcity/collapse, many people will simply die of things like type I diabetes and preventable diseases. women will likely again have more children and more children will die young.

this has been the reality for most of history, and I think this will be the reality later.

Is this a situation where you just say, it is what it is? I mean, what do you tell a type I diabetic that relies on medicine to live?

I think a top reason many people hold on to industrial civilization is for the medicine. It's one thing to talk of GMOs, but another to discuss insulin, which without it, tens of millions will die worldwide within days or weeks of not having medicine.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Interesting post over at the Archdruid today concerning the history of collapse:

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/07/bright-were-halls-then.html

I thought this especially thoughtful:

"Among the standard phenomena of decline and fall, in fact, is the shattering of the collective consensus that gives a growing society the capacity to act together to accomplish much of anything at all."

12:07 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Dear Wafers,

O&D Dept.:

1. Up on Cricket Creek...

http://us.cnn.com/2014/07/08/us/north-carolina-family-shooting/?hpt=ob_articlefooter&iref=obinsite

2. Pistol whipping yer papa as he's rollin' yer wife. Holy Smokes, Wafers, what does *that* sound like?

http://www.inquisitr.com/1295040/cop-assaults-father-after-finding-him-in-bed-with-wife/

3. On Facebook, Alix describes herself as an exotic dancer, makeup artist, and (get a load of this, Wafers) a HUSTLER.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2014/07/09/lingerie-model-charged-with-killing-google-executive/12427649/

Over and Out,

Jeff

1:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Lack-

What the specifics of the Descent into Darkness will be--and we already have one ft in the grave--I have no idea. But of one thing I'm sure: it won't be pretty.

Capo-

Re: our Churlish Skeptic: another bit of data (tho I don't have verified paper documentation, alas): I met many people in yrs past who signed up for the "Levitation Class" of the Maharish Macornedbeefhesh Yogi, excited abt the prospect of being able to fly, or at least float around the ceiling. I checked back w/one of them (the others presumably having flown the coop), and she told me: "No, we didn't actually fly; but you wind up feeling a lot lighter." I was inclined to suggest she ask the esteemed Yogi for a refund, but that wd have been churlish. Anyway, by that time the Beatles had dropped Macornedbeefhesh like a plate of hot knishes.

mb

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

David Clausen--you might want to read Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker. I've worked in mental health/drug addiction/rehab for a long time now and am completely convinced if we had real communities (town centers, common spaces to meet, more face-to-face time with real people, a genuine safety net for those who need help) the psychiatric industry couldn't have gotten the death grip on us it has. The "chemical imbalance" fiction is just that---fiction---as there's no way to actually measure brain chemistry and drs know that. That, however, has not deterred them from drugging people to the gills.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Susan-

Check out NYBR link David provided above.

mb

5:52 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

A Voice from the Dead ends the drug debate and adds a caution about Astral Aeronautics (right at the end)...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Yfe0_g6z7c

6:17 PM  

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