October 17, 2015

Open Letter to President Putin

Dear Mr. President:

Gaspadin:

I am writing in response to your remark--accurate in the extreme, in my opinion--that members of the American government have mush in their heads instead of brains. Indeed, Mr. Obama has no coherent foreign policy, is basically adrift, and as you have no doubt figured out long ago, is a political and intellectual lightweight. He has no idea at all of what he is doing, and this applies to the majority of American politicians.

However, what you wrote about the members of the American government also applies to members of the country at large: they have gavno inside their heads; they are a collection of duraki. After all, as a famous American comedian once remarked, our leaders come from the people; they don't originate on Mars. The remarkable thing is that in the US, even the smart ones are dumb, due in large part to our remarkable system of brainwashing. Let me remind you of that hilarious exchange you and Mr. Obama had a while back, regarding American "exceptionalism." Your response to his speech on this topic was to rebuke him, pointing out that regarding oneself as exceptional was a potentially destructive position to take. His response--I told you, he's not very smart--was more exceptionalist propaganda. The problem is that roughly 99.99% of the American public believes this nonsense, that we were chosen by God to lead the world by example. (A bit ironic, considering the fact that that example has not been very exemplary.) There is a knee-jerk reaction in this country, whenever we have a conflict with any other country, that we are good (always innocent) and they are evil, or at the very least misguided. We don't have a great talent for looking within, and the only president who asked us to do that--Jimmy Carter--is regarded by most Americans today as a loser and a fool.

You may well wonder how this nation of "individuals" wound up with a completely uniform ideology. The Australian journalist, John Pilger, tells the story--possibly apocryphal, I have no idea--of a project undertaken by America in the wake of Stalin's death in 1953, and the beginning of a thaw or detente between our two countries. The idea was to invite about two dozen apparatchiki over to the US to view a pluralistic society, "democracy in action." They could go anywhere they wanted, unescorted, and they did: the Senate, the Supreme Court, high schools, newspapers, universities--the works. At the end of the two weeks they all convened at the White House, and the official in charge of the project, beaming with pride, said, "Well?" The response was not exactly what he expected. After an embarrassed silence, one of the Russian officials spoke up:

"How do you do it?" he asked. "To get this extreme degree of conformity of opinion, everyone thinking exactly alike, we in the USSR have to beat our citizens, send them to Siberia, put them in psychiatric hospitals and fill them with drugs, shoot them, and so on. Here, in your country, you achieve the results we can only dream about, and with no coercion at all!"

Anyway, I don't mean to condone your own methods. The assassination of critical Russian journalists under your tenures in office is notorious (Anna Politkovskaya, for example), and forgive me, but I suspect your hands aren't completely clean in these abysmal events. So quite obviously, if you want a free society that allows for real dissent, you've got a ways to go. But Pilger's example, even if it never happened, is true to the spirit of how the United States operates, and to the very low level of citizen awareness of what's really going on in the world. All of which is to say that you might as well pursue your own interests (which you are already doing), and not worry too much about what we say, because all we are doing is pursuing our interests, and it is clear enough to most of the world that American "democracy" is a pretext for the projection of power into every corner of the globe, much of it for the purpose of economic gain.

In any case, it's not very likely that you will be reading this, inasmuch as I am a very minor intellectual figure in the US, not really on the radar screen of public discussion. But if you do happen to run across this, and would like to continue the conversation, I would be glad to do so with a nice samovar of tea from Sochi sitting between us. At the very least, I can assure you that it will be a far more interesting discussion than any you have had, or are likely to have, with virtually any American political figure.

Thank you for listening (if you did). Do svidanya, and vsevo haroshevo.

-Morris Berman

83 Comments:

Anonymous James Allen said...

[From the previous pensée 254]

"...what about the the folks who put them into office?"

Shall we ask George?

http://youtu.be/CFDND9SRJbs

O&D, homies, O&D

4:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

James-

Hopefully Vladimir will check this out.

mb

6:48 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

Ha Ha Hah!

You left off something, Dr. Berman. Typical Americans are not as good at stuff as they typically think they are. In other words, all too many are loud-mouthed blowhards. Comrade Putin should be informed of that fact. This is particularly true of the US military.

A recent article by Steve Lendman:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2015/10/obama-rejects-cooperation-with-putin-on.html

Paul Craig Roberts:

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/10/17/the-fall-of-the-unipower/

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/10/17/the-evil-empire-crumbles/

This one is short and to the point:

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/10/16/the-criminality-of-the-us-government-is-unmatched-anywhere-on-earth-or-in-history/

Which characterization fits typical 'mericans, particularly those in positions of power, best? :

clowns
buffoons
douche bags
assholes
blowhards
idiots
swindlers

8:11 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Dear Morrie,

It's with sincere admiration that I write you this note. You know, my critics (typically American) think I never leave the Kremlin, heard of a Kardashian, or studied the virtue of half-dill pickles. Rest assured, they are deeply mistaken. Indeed, I've been aware of DAA blog, your work about the decline of American Empire, and the colorful cast of characters collectively known as Wafers for a good many years now.

In terms of my characterization of American government personnel as having mush in their heads: I did this to see if it would have any influence on the possibility that American public would eventually pull their heads from their asses. Sad to say, it made no difference at all.

President Obama is a bozo, and on his way out! I particularly liked when you said he will go down in history as bad joke, or worse than Millard Fillmore. It's hard to see who will be next American president, but I'm with you that a nation of blunderheads will elect another blunderhead.

Anyway, thanks again for your letter and your keen ability to dissect the American character. Furthermore, I would be delighted to meet you in Mexico for chicken enchiladas, or perhaps Moscow for tea. Take care, comrade.

Vlad

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

When Trump said that the American leaders are stupid, he was obviously telling the truth. What Trump said is almost the same thing that Putin is saying now. Lose or win, Trump has opened some enlightening doors into the mind/brain of the American leaders - past and present. As I far as any serious observer can see, the American politicians do not solve any problem - rather, they seek for funds from all devils so as to perpetuate themselves in political offices - and this is treason, not just dumb.

Just consider those running for presidency this time. How many of them have really held a job outside the government and how many years have all of them spent in political offices? Some were House members. From the House they moved to the Senate. From the Senate, they moved into the Governor's mansion. From the Governor's mansion they either move back to the Senate or run for presidency. Do you see why they are incapable of solving any problem?

8:30 PM  
Blogger Luciddreams said...

I'd like to listen to the conversation if it happens. I think you would be a good voice to represent Merkan sapience. I know you're in Mexico now, and pretty much divorced yourself with this nonsense, but I'm still hopelessly trapped in the middle of it. I've got no chance of escape being that I have a wife and two young children. I have a business focusing on bamboo and permaculture (but about 70% of my business comes from cutting grass for obvious reasons).

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Patricia said...

Bravo!
Patricia

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/18/upshot/police-killings-of-blacks-what-the-data-says.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

The economist Sendhil Mullainathan says rate at which cops kill African-Americans suggests no racial shooting bias.

What ya think, WAFers?

8:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Rebecca-

Very interesting article, but I'm not sure what conclusions to draw from it.

Vlad-

Very moved by your reply, and I hope we can indeed meet in Mex or Russia. Keep in mind that I can quote, by heart, in Russian, from the poetry of Lermontov. Obama can't even quote from Robert Frost.

Marc-

Gd pt. When I have tea with Vlad, I shall tell him that the avg American walking down the street has the brains of the rear end of a horse.

mb

11:48 AM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...


Dr B... Always enjoy reading your blog. I may not always have the time or inclination to participate but I really do appreciate it's existence.

To me, it seems like having independent thought can be dangerous in this county...unless you can afford it financially... at the very least one can wind up being alienated, homeless, severely depressed, or considered "anti-social" and needing to be watched...not that we aren't all on some list stored 'somewhere'...

To Carlin's observations - Americans foster a 'smiley face' type of happiness... skin deep and neurotic, covering an empty core. Finding oneself and breaking free being somewhat like leaving the planet. The trouble is landing someplace that isn't as bad if not worse in other respects... I applaud you for stating the NMI option in your work as it really is the only thing left if one is unable to leave physically.... kind of like having to breathe under water though.


from a post a few days ago I wanted to clarify my 'dream' of physically leaving to some place other than the US -like 'Tuscany'- as more of a -dream- based on the off hand chance of "winning" a bet (Vegas style) possibly paying off on -Bush III in the WH- not that it would make much dif as you pointed out... This 'dream', like him being more of a joke ... ... but that's what people do in this country when the options are limited sometimes.... dream 'big'..... considering reports of those who do travel extensively makes me wonder if Tuscany hasn't become filled with mostly wealthy ex-patriot Hollywood snobs anyway... but it 'sounds' like a nice place to 'visit' .... and this is the challenge....and there aren't many places the American nightmare hasn't already infected or trading one mess for another...as you are well aware.

Anyway, I was curious if you were still pursuing your interest in the surrealist art movement?

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Rorschach said...

Hey Morris, is the John Pilger story true? Were there really two dozen Russians that came to the US that were stunned at the uniformity of thought in the US?

1:45 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

I Was a Drone Warrior for 11 Years. I Regret Nothing.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/10/drone-pilot-book-213263#ixzz3ox2nquxx

Hedges is doing an event for the Revolt book in NYC next week. Maybe I'll bring along a printout of the article for him to sign.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous VincentInAuvers said...

Hello Dr. Berman,

Love the blog. It's helped convert me from a bumpkin to an aristocrat, albeit a very lonely aristocrat. Just wanted to share this hit piece on Thoreau in the New Yorker and see what you all make of it.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/19/pond-scum

The author criticizes Thoreau for being illogical, embellishing his accounts, and generally hating humanity. She seems to be viewing him through the prism of modern rationalism and not really having a grasp on what Thoreau was really about: An idealist for whom the internal life was of foremost importance and who rejected the material in pursuit of spiritual elevation. Embellishment to me seems a necessity when striving for any ideal, and limiting contact with the masses likewise required for enlightenment.

Maybe I'm biased because I actually found a lot in Walden that resonated with me. Overall, I don't really understand the purpose of the piece. As you've noted, it's not like Americans heeded anything Thoreau had to say. As the author points out, most haven't read Walden or even know who Thoreau was. Just not understanding the motivation behind it. It seems like a gratuitous stamping out of the few points of light that remain in this country's present darkness.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

One thing Putin doesn't have to fear is an intelligent work force. I'm now in my 3rd week as a kind of counselor to a 6th grade boy in a middle class school. In all the time I've been in the class not once has there been any sort of discussion about anything. It's all "Turn to pg. 15 and answer questions 1-3." This teacher, of course, is a principal's dream. The class is near frighteningly quiet at all times, every student must be continually on task (God forbid someone daydreams), it's mostly teacher fronted; that is, little or no cooperative learning, and students must remain quiet and stay in straight lines when transitioning to another part of the building or even lining up to use the bathroom. It is, in other words, an affront to the last 30 years of pedagogical research concerning student achievement. The teacher is from the Ethel Merman school of "teaching"-just barking orders from her desk, rarely circulating, and rescinding outdoor recess for the most trivial of infractions. So sad that this is what public school education has come to.
By the way, Dr. Berman, isn't what is happening now with Putin flexing his muscles in the Middle East our long awaited Suez moment? He's already warned Turkey and Israel not to fly over Syria and a number of countries in the area have gladly agreed to share intelligence with Russia. In addition, there is little mention of these developments in the mainstream press for fear, I assume, of puncturing holes in the American exceptional narrative.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Just finished Sinclair Lewis's novel "It Can't Happen Here." Loved this section near the end. [Towbridge is the leader of the New Underground, the exiles fomenting rebellion against the totalitarian state led by Haik.]

“…Walt Towbridge dismissed Wilson J. Shale, the ducal oil man, who had come, apparently with sincerity, to offer his fortune and his executive experience to Towbridge and the cause.

“Nope. Sorry, Will. But we can’t use you. Whatever happens – even if Haik marches over and slaughters all of us along with all our Canadian hosts – you and your kind of clever pirates are finished. Whatever happens, whatever details of a new system of government may be decided on, whether we call it a ‘Cooperative Commonwealth’ or ‘State Socialism’ or ‘Communism’ or ‘Revived Traditional Democracy,’ there’s got to be a new feeling – that government is not a game for a few smart, resolute athletes like you, Will, but a universal partnership, in which the State must own all resources so large that they affect all members of the State, and in which the one worst crime won’t be murder or kidnapping but taking advantage of the State – in which the seller of fraudulent medicine, or the liar in Congress, will be punished a whole lot worse than the fellow who takes an ax to the man who’s grabbed off his girl…Eh? What’s going to happen to magnates like you, Will? God knows! What happened to the dinosaurs?””

5:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

I don't know if it constitutes a Suez moment, but I wd say that as each day passes, there is an increasing feeling throughout the world that the US is washed up. Putin certainly knows this.

Vincent-

Are you staying with Dr. Gachet? Chances are author of the Thoreau essay is a douche bag. Keep in mind that once yr a Wafer, yr going to be pretty lonely.

AS-

I dunno what the Revolt book is, but I do know that Hedges is not really in contact with reality all that much, anymore.

Ror-

I have no idea.

pol-

I wrote a novel instead, but it does have strong Surrealist elements.

mb

6:04 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers, and especially Rorschach;

I have a friend from Slovakia. He once told me how he and his grandfather together watched Soviet tanks driving through their town in 1968. He nevertheless has good things to say about the Soviet system, even though he emigrated to the US, then here, after Czechoslovakia split up.

One thing he said that struck me (and a Hungarian guy I know said much the same thing) is that he found that people were freer under the Soviets than people are in the USA. While there were a few surface constraints with the Soviets, people retained freedom of thought, unlike in the USA, where people's minds are shackled.

We have a federal election tomorrow. May we be rid forever of the curse that is Stephen Harper, In'challah.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...


Dr. Berman --- the Revolt book :

http://perseuspromos.com/hedges/daysofdestructiondaysofrevolt/

longer review:

http://www.bookslut.com/nonfiction/2012_06_019134.php


VincentInAuvers ---

I read part of the New Yorker article on Thoreau and it was enough.

After reading the 1st part of the New Yorker article, I wonder if the author is not just as arrogant and smug, if not more so, than was Thoreau himself. It may simply be the case that the author does not understand introversion, and has too narrow a definition of mental health. Introversion is not a disease. In some cases it is a healthy response to a decadent social milieu. Thoreau was exceedingly austere and parsimonious, but perhaps he should be appreciated not for his perfection but for his eccentricity and the extremes to which he subjected himself.

(This is funny in any case) "Thoreau never met an appetite too innocuous to denounce."

Albert Einstein:

"It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed."

Thoreau is warmly acclaimed at least in some circles.

4:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to hot-

How did you manage to become such a colossal shmuck? Presumably you wanted to be part of the dialogue on the greatest blog in the blogosphere. So what do you do? You shoot yrself in the foot! You insult me and the blog, whereas it would have been possible to voice specific criticisms in a courteous way. Of course, trollfoons such as yrself don't know much abt courtesy; that's a given. So now, the door is closed 2u: I see yr name, I delete without reading. What a triumph 4u, eh?

2nd--I say this to all the jackasses that show up here--instead of attacking me, why not instead get a life? Why give a damn who I am, what the blog is abt, and so on? If you don't like it, surely the intelligent thing to do is go elsewhere, or even start yr own blog, no?

The sad thing is that in the case of assholes such as yourself, I always have the sense that they will die assholes; there will never come a pt at which they wake up. So, douche bag that you are, you'll come back with more attack. Which will do so much to improve your (pathetic) life, won't it?

Do yrself a favor: every day when you get up, go to the bathrm mirror, look into yr own (sad) eyes, and say, "Berman is right; I live like a douche bag and I'll die like a douche bag." And you will, hot; you will.

mb

10:43 AM  
Blogger chadz70 said...

I tried having a discussion with a woman I'm seeing the other night about US foreign policy in the Middle East. She couldn't really articulate what Russia was doing (or more importantly what we were doing). I pointed out that Obama is completely clueless and is clearly making this up as he goes along. Her response was "at least he's not Bush."

Which, and really I'm not trying to put her down, but this is about the level of discussion you can have with progs in this country. They are so locked int he false dichotomy of Democrat versus Republican that they can't possibly bring themselves to acknowledge that both parties have the same views on foreign and economic policy.

Additionally, they get really upset if you tell them Bernie will make no difference. My advice to Wafers is to avoid this subject with the progs altogether. They have such a strong emotional attachment to him at this point that they get really upset if you point out any of his deficiencies, or that outside of the prog clique Bernie is viewed with utter disdain by man Americans.

- Chad in Chicago

12:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Chad-

I suggest putting her down.

mb

2:06 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

No end to American stupidity dept.:

Live ammo used at Tombstone, AZ reenactment:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/19/tombstone-two-people-hit-bullets-gunfight-re-enactment-arizona

Man beats girlfriend w/cane for failure to bring home some burgers:

https://kobi5.com/news/man-allegedly-beats-girlfriend-for-not-bringing-home-in-n-out-2768/

Florida gal livestreams her drunk driving:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/florida-driver-live-streams-claiming-drunk/story?id=34443973

Miles

3:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Re: cane guy: if it had been pastrami sandwiches, I cd understand it. Meanwhile, take a look at this guy's face: almost as scary as Hillary's (corporate America's next president). I continue to be amazed at the % of morons who live in the US. And why do so many of them write in to this blog? Did I murder a trollfoon in a former life, and this is my karma? What?

mb

4:44 PM  
Blogger chadz70 said...

Hi Dr. Berman. I know you don't post twice in the same day. Sorry if that came off as a little harsh on her. I was really just trying to say something that I've heard you remark on. When you left America, you said it was finally because you didn't have anyone to talk to. I feel that way a lot. It's one of the reasons I like this blog so much, though I rarely post.

It is good to know that there are other people living here who recognize this country and the people that inhabit it for what they really are.

I have the Japan book and will be staring it this weekend. Thanks for all you do.

- Chad in Chicago

5:45 PM  
Blogger dino said...

They say Russia is corrupt (and it is) but then again they didn't spend over a trillion dollars on a barely flyable jet fighter

7:50 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

Chad,

When I was a young man I found that at times the need to get laid would put me in the company of deconstructionists, zionists, vegetarians and once I almost went to an assesment with the church of scientology in order to get in the pants of a cute girl who was a scientologist. I even successfully feigned an interest in the works of Andrew Lloyd Webber which led a buxom lass to surprise me with front row tickets to a sara brightman concert---truly horrific. Alas, your effort seems far more ridiculous and less fun than my various exertions. Yes it is important to get laid but really chatting about middle east politics and Obama? Seems very painful unless of course the sex is out of this world which seems unlikely as that typically requires a good brain.

I was going to wax philosophical and psychological on the matter of trolls (later in the week) but alas Chads anecdote and many similar from patients and friends is a reminder how even the most basic human needs are made complex and even repugnant in what by my lights is beyond stupid but a pathological society. I've long maintained that usually the best thing to happen to a person is a breakdown. False values, routines, views, relationships, routines are cast aside and often a better or at least healthier life takes place. For most people growth does not truly happen without casting off past selves (masks, identity etc) and moving on. Americans don;t do that well--thus distraction, pills, fantasy and thus as a people and society are remarkably arrested and stagnant.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

Dr. Berman:

I suspect that some of your trollfoons were former fans who turned against you. Maybe they wanted some recognition and you didn't give it to them? Why would they even be here making comments in the 1st place if they were not at one time a fan of yours? Frustration typically brings out the worst in people.

Personally I think it's funny as heck when a 1st rate scholar, writer and original thinker such as yourself uses terms like douchebag or asshole or who uses phrases like "jokes dressed up to look like people" or "dog feces in the brain". It's just kvetchy Jewish humor. However, it's sure to attract the genuinely abusive types. I'm fairly sure that you know this already.

Anyway, keep up the kvetchy stuff. I think it's hilarious. It's also justified! You're gonna have to live with a small but steady stream of trollfoons though.

12:13 AM  
Anonymous VincentInAuvers said...

Dr. B:

I wish I was with Dr. Gachet. I am in the grips of a terrible melancholy. No, I’m just here with my brother for some much-needed R&R.

Marc:

The author does seem smug, though in giving it some thought, I suppose some of her points are not without merit. I’m an introvert myself, and I know how easy it is to shroud oneself in that label and cross over from introspection to misanthropy and self-absorption. Perhaps it is the lack of understanding and respect from others that leads to the temptation to experience life's completeness within oneself. Dostoyevsky called this a complete suicide, and I think he was right. There is something to be said for denying innocuous appetites, though. It is exhilarating to make do with the bare necessities. One feels alive and connected to others. It’s like that bit in My Dinner with Andre about the electric blanket in winter—going without it gets one to thinking about the seasons and how others may be cold.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Himanshu Tiwari said...

Dear MB and Wafers,

I have been lurking the last few months. This blog keeps me sane. Thank you all.

I recently moved to Minneapolis, MN. If there are any Wafers from the Minneapolis area I would like to connect with you. Email: himanshutiwari@yahoo.com.

Best wishes,
Himanshu

9:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Waferinos-

Always gd to hear from you. Yes, many of us have to suffer melancholy and isolation because out there in America, there aren't too many we can talk to. Someone once said that loneliness is not a longing for company, but a longing for kind. Company isn't hard to find; likeminded souls, very hard.

Marc-

The thing that amuses me is how easy trollbaiting is. Yr rt, I love to annoy them, enrage them, and get them going. These people are so stupid, they don't even realize they are being played. They just come back for more.

BTW, everybody: I often can't keep track, so pls be sure to post only once every 24 hrs. It's hard, I know, because this is the only blog worth following; but I do need my time. "Gracias por su comprehension."

mb

10:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Yahoo!

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/19/world/canadian-election/index.html

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Regrarian said...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1603585265?keywords=The%20Permaculture%20City&qid=1445353412&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1

The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience

Interesting new book, thought I'd leave this here.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Dear Wafers:

The gods have seen fit to free us from the darkness of Harperite conservatism, which cannot be a bad thing, yet I'm still not happy with the results. My riding, in western Canada, is still mired in the foetid swamp of the Conservative Party, as the upstart Liberals split the anti-Harper vote and kept the erstwhile socialist NDP off the board.

My view is that Saskatchewan, once the proud home of "agrarian socialism" and Medicare, has become the drooling slack-jawed yokel of Canadian politics.

O&D

11:39 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Though we may not be around for the collapse, I think there is value in reading the accounts of those who've thought about or experienced hardship and psychological stress.

One such person is George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair), whose memoir of his struggles as a poor writer he captured in Down and Out in Paris and London. A quote that I find somehow reassuring as I look down the road toward who knows what is this:

"Within certain limits, it is actually true that the less money you have, the less you worry."

I recommend the book.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Wile E Coyote, CEO Acme Inc. said...

Perhaps we need a new awareness program: "Trollfoons lives don't matter."

12:27 PM  
Blogger chadz70 said...

Cos -

Good point. Thank you for your comment.

-Chad in Chicago

12:42 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

This looks interesting:

http://www.salon.com/2015/10/15/every_president_has_been_manipulated_national_security_officials_david_talbot_investigates_americas_deep_state/

Also, David Talbot was recently interviewed on "Forum" w/Michael Krasny:

http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201510191000

MB-

Could it be that some of the trollfoons who show up here are actually deep-state intelligence operatives? As I have argued b4, these guys are not the smartest pencils in the cup; seems u can easily trollbait them in. It's kinda strange: u write an open letter to President Putin, and then BAM! u get a trollfoon.

Miles

2:21 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

Travels Through the Badlands, Where the Mustangs Roam:

All around were examples of his astonishing talent for modern interpretations of traditional arts and crafts: an electric-blue horse’s head-dress and a decorated spear. But it was his “ledger paintings”, that most caught my attention. “When the wars were over, our people had no access to materials to paint on, so they used old pages torn from the ledger books of the government agents.”

Evans took me close up to the pictures and I could make out, behind the over-painting, the old-fashioned calligraphic handwriting of the bookkeepers: “One stack of hay – $8. One gallon whiskey – 37½c.” Over such prosaic entries the ledger artists recorded, and still record, their dreams and visions: battle scenes, horses and wildlife. What had started as an expedient use of waste paper had become a subtle form of revenge – the white man’s obsession with money, so neatly laid out in black and white, flooded by a wild tide of colour.

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/oct/18/native-american-us-montana-wyoming?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

So "Clock boy" Ahmed Mohamed is moving to Qatar. Ungrateful brat. So what if he was pulled out of class, placed in handcuffs, interrogated by 5 police officers for 5 hours, denied his request to call his parents, and called a terrorist. That's no reason to leave this great country.
They saw it all and bade farewell.
-Alan Ginsberg

7:02 AM  
Anonymous shenjingbing said...

Dr B,

Yesterday I ate a pastrami sandwich in your honor and immediately fell into a paroxysm of delight. It had been such a long time since I had partaken of that particular delicacy that I had forgotten its effect. People were staring at me but I didn't care. So I'd like to thank you for your pastrami advocacy. I'd also like to thank the hundreds of Wafers worldwide for their contributions, recommendations, and sympathy, and to remind all that pastrami will be one of the few things to keep us happy as we swirl our way downward.

Does Putin like pastrami, I wonder?

8:46 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Thought Wafers might enjoy this:

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/toddlers-guns-shoot-someone-about-once-week-america-6-horrifying-recent-incidents

O&D!

Kanye

9:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

K-

How much more cd be accomplished if these toddlers had AK-47s in their cradles!

Shen-

Pastrami is just sex in the form of meat. Shd I send Vlad a sandwich, do you think? Thus far, he has cruelly chosen not to reply to my letter.

Dan-

Alan saw it all in the 50s! Howl!

Land of the Free Dept.:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/19/homan-square-chicago-police-disappeared-thousands

Jeff-

Who knows what motivates the trollfoons? I have the feeling there are a lot of people out there with too much time on their hands. Of course, in the short run, the trollfoons will win; this will be a crucial factor in our decline. In the long run, however, I think Wafers and their fellow travelers will emerge victorious. One can only hope.

mb

9:49 AM  
Blogger chadz70 said...

What's amazing is how little Homan Square has been commented on in the local media.

Well, not that amazing really.

-Chad in Chicago

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Sally said...

I'm coming out of lurking to say hello. I'm a Wafer. I bought The Twilight of American Culture and read it several years ago and it was one of the books that helped me make sense of how out of place I felt in American culture, and why. And that was before smartphones and facebook helped to ruin everyday human socializing. I do find that I prefer to spend most of my time alone these days, and I wish that wasn't the case, but c'est la vie. It's nice to feel like I'm not completely alone up here.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous SW said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Gosh, why would anyone want to leave?! From a recent story:

"Hundreds of aggressive teenagers stormed a New York mall, trashing stores and terrifying customers and personnel, local media report. Some teens allegedly took part in a game of “knockout.” The mall briefly shut down in response to the violence.
More than 400 “fast and furious” teens reportedly stole cheap items, smashed jars of candy and even beat up security guards at Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Brooklyn between 5 pm and 7 pm on Thursday. They used social media to set up the attack, designed to put the mall “on tilt”.


And later on in the same article:

"Wild “knockout” attacks – when people randomly approach strangers on the street to punch them – have been recently spreading like wildfire across the US, with attacks reported in Washington DC, Pennsylvania, and California."

Here's the article:

https://www.rt.com/usa/brooklyn-teens-knockout-mall-917/

For anyone who says to themselves "Oh, these are isolated incidents" (kind of like shootings in universities, movie theaters) need to remember symptoms such as these are indicative of much more serious maladies, much as a temperature indicates an infection. These teens have been raised on reality tv, substandard education, empty calories and (probably) overworked parents and nonexistent grandparents. It makes me very sad to read this.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

SW-

Interesting that I cd never get a hearing, but then no one likes bad news. What more proof do we need, that the American empire is collapsing, than things like this, or Trump emerging as a viable candidate and possible future president? And do the progs intend to recruit these teens in Bklyn in their 'revolution'? In theory, yes, because the progs are politically correct.

There are 4 figures who are not politically correct, and have said that the sickness of Americans is the basis for the sickness of the nation. In chronological order: H.L. Mencken, George Carlin, Gore Vidal, me. I don't really count, because I'm not on the radar screen. But the other 3 were very prominent, and very much ignored.

In brief: There will not come a day when the American people, including the progs, wake up. We shall go to our grave, Wafers excepted, not knowing why. It's the stupidest kind of death, really. Meanwhile, 50 yrs from now, Chinese historians, seeking to know why America failed, might discover our work.

In the history of the world, has there ever been a country as stupid as ours?

Sally-

Welcome to the blog. No need to stay hidden; all Wafers have something to contribute. Heck, even trollfoons do (entertainment). Anyway, yr not alone; tho by and large, the life of a Wafer is inevitably a lonely one. Who is there to talk to in the US, really? 321 million clowns? No thanks. Anyway, wd love to hear from u in future.

chad-

Detention camps, almost never reported in the press, are also a sign of a civilization in collapse--the camps themselves and the nonreporting. One hears almost nothing about the 2 CMU's in the Midwest (Communication Management Units), which are political detention camps located in Indiana and Illinois:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication_Management_Unit

Remind me why people want to remain in the US, again...Oh, right, a nation of ostriches.

mb

8:53 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

The truth is even moderately sensible advice from the likes of some real smart people on the progressive left like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz are totally ignored, and are completely marginal in today's political environment. Does anyone seriously think that Hillary Clinton were she to win will have anyone near their viewpoints in the Treasury Department. We all know what total stooges and morons the right is, with their slate of buffoon candidates, but truthfully the dems are really not far behind. I have watched with amusement of how the progressive punditocracy has gone head over heals on Clinton's supposed brilliant debate performance. What it was actually was an elaborate exercise in trickery and evasion, she actually really put out the message that she is a total corporate democrat, dedicated to protecting and worshipping Wall Street, just like Obama, but no one seemed to notice. It was humorous how she skillfully used the pretense about being tough on gun control when she knows not a goddamn thing is every going to be done about guns, but it makes a skillful foil to trick the majority of idiots that she is the real progressive. Clinton to me like her husband is just a sleezy slick car salesman who rose to the top, and that has nothing to do with the made up email scandal. But cheers, Donald Baboon Buffoon Trump really could win, a triple whammy in which (a) ballooning the economy through massive tax cuts, (b) massive trade wars with the entire world basically and (c) massive deportation of all the labor that picks our fruit and butchers our hamburgers will swiftly put us into another great depression before too long. Wonder if Trump would be giving many interviews after that happens.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

It's great to see new Wafers finding their way onto the blog! Correct me if I'm wrong, but It seems like we're running at about a new Wafer or two per week clip.

MB, Wafers-

The sui generis nature of Trump:

Here are some findings from recent YouGov polling on Trump supporters. Trump voters are not particularly conservative. Yes, they are strongly opposed to any kind of immigration reform, but on nearly everything else they're generally more moderate; both in terms of over all ideology and on social issues. On economic issues, they're more likely to be in favor of the minimum wage, less likely to be fans of capitalism, and favor taxing the rich at higher rates.

Trump is *not* a candidate of the elite. He's tapped a sleeping populism in the country; one in which anti-immigrant nativism forms the basis of that populism. His supporters are less well educated, make less money, and much more negative and cynical about the electoral process and the direction of the country. Most of his supporters believe that, despite Trump's constant bragging about his personal wealth, the game is rigged and that Trump knows how the system works, and he's offering to cut them in on the deal. This looks to be Trump's formula: hustling the hustlers.

In addition, there's no evidence at all, in terms of polling, that Trump is gonna flameout anytime soon...

Miles

11:28 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

SW - personally, I am highly in favor of there being more knockout attacks on hideous locales such as shopping malls. In fact, it would be great to think this was these kids' way of protesting mindless American consumerism but alas we know that this sadly is almost certainly not the case.

I just hope that next time the little monsters remember to bring the torches with them.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

Dr. Berman:

If you're wondering how good of an idea it really is to use derogatory or inflammatory phrases and words on a weblog, have no fear. You're a piker compared to this guy, who calls himself "The Rude Pundit", some literary fellow, presumably a professor somewhere in the USA, who has been spewing uncensored vitriol around for awhile now. He's a "prog" of a sort but take it easy on him. Most WAFers were progs if you go back in time a ways.

http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2015/10/shut-fuck-up-donald-trump-you.html

An excerpt:

"You might think, if you didn't already during the Bush era, that the United States has gone mad. Like scary mad. Like really might blow shit up mad. Jesus, the good president in there now has declared the right to use drones to take out enemies without trial in an unending war. He just keeps it to the shitty countries. What is dumbfuck Trump gonna think he can do? Goddamn, you might think as you feel that fear of totalitarianism creep up from your anus to your throat, making you want to scream warnings that could be heard across oceans."


In one of your comments here you listed H. L. Mencken as an important figure from the past who recognized that US citizens themselves were ultimately responsible for the hideously deformed nation that they live in. The following quote is from Wikipedia:

"Mencken opposed American entry into World War I and World War II. His diary indicates that he harbored strong racist and anti-semitic attitudes, and was sympathetic to the Social Darwinism practiced by the Nazis."

Mencken also was something of an admirer of Ayn Rand. (makes you wonder about his supposed anti-semitism). I already don't like Mencken and I scarcely know about him. Should he even be mentioned alongside of historical figures such as Lewis Mumford or John Kenneth Galbraith? That list you made should simply be : George Carlin, Gore Vidal, Morris Berman, and maybe with a big, fat asterisk, H. L. Mencken. The asterisk leads to a footnote indicating that Mencken was either somewhat deluded or an elitist. Maybe he came to his senses before he died?

5:06 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Sally -

You mentioned "up here". By that you wouldn't mean Northern New York would you? Or perhaps southern Quebec? I live in Plattsburgh NY and it would be nice to know there are some other Wafers in the neighborhood. Well, wherever you're from, it's always good to hear about another Wafer.

Wafers - I am reading Mark Sundeen's book The Man Who Quit Money for the second time. I think I first saw it recommended here a couple of years ago. It's about a man who lives in the Utah desert in a cave and who manages to have a rich social life, good health and much spirituality. From what I can tell he very much qualifies as a Wafer. I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of jumping off the merry-go-round of capitalism.

Speaking of book recommendations, thank you James Allen for recommending Down and Out in Paris and London. I read an excerpt from it yesterday and it will be my next book. Thank you also to AS for the Drone Warrior suggestion. That too looks like a good read. One of the great things about this blog is all the recommendations for books and movies. We're heading into our six months of winter up here on the frozen tundra, so I need all the intellectual pursuits I can find. Wafers are so smart!

8:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Marc-

Yes, it's well-known that Mencken was an antisemite, which is obviously not admirable. But his incessant reminder that Americans were fools was extremely admirable. He called the middle class, the "boob-oisie."

John-

Yeah, yr rt. Most progs will probably see Hillary as some sort of left-wing deliverance (will they ever learn?), when she is in fact the corporation-Wall st.-Pentagon candidate; more Obama, in short. I think it's terribly unlikely Trump will be able to defeat her, and who else is left on the rt? So get ready to be watching a pasty-faced douche bag for 8 yrs. Wafers may hafta switch from urine to vomit as the weapon of choice.

mb

11:16 AM  
Anonymous COS said...

Marc,

Gore Vidal was a feverent defender of Mencken. Mencken was a towering intellectual figure and a prose stylist without comparison. If he does not pass the muster of the current fads (and as much as he wrote some simpletons can draw conclusions and describe him as racist and anti-Semite), too bad for you that based on the judgment of others you form a judgement and what pray tell is coming to his senses--correct thought of some sort determined by whom? Where it mattered in terms of action (read Vidal on Mencken or his works) Mencken was among the first to support African American Authors--and published and assisted. Among his best friends was Alfred Knopf who was Jewish. He was against both wars and against feel good uplift. All in all like all humans he was a person of his times and yes he did not have 2015 views but alas he died in 1956 and his views on many things were shared by most. Despite his warts--he was a great intellect and absolutely hilarious and unusually insightful and prescient. Perhaps Mencken is not for you---perhaps Oprahs books and approved authors may be more simpatico.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

COS-

Pls be sure in future not to attack other Wafers personally; we criticize positions here, but not persons. That sort of thing is of course allowed--indeed, encouraged--for trollfoons (who are lower than pond scum etc.), but not for well-meaning contributors to this blog. Thanks.

mb

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Voix N. Wilderness said...

Ayn Rand was an admirer of Mencken, not the other way around. She sent him her first novel, We the Living, about Soviet victims, because Mencken was considered a “conservative” (he wasn't) and was a literary macher who made the careers of many writers, such as Sinclair Lewis. He read it and sent her a noncommittal response which she treasured for a while. He did not read anything she wrote later; her moralizing fiction about 1-dimensional heroes was precisely the kind that this promoter of Conrad and Dreiser abominated and fought in print. As to race, he criticized everyone, which completely pleased (and still pleases) no one. A “fountainhead” of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance, Menck wrote his last article (in 1948) arguing for desegregation on old-style libertarian grounds.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Shake a Spirit said...

http://www.amazon.com/The-Year-Lear-Shakespeare-1606/dp/1416541640

Speaking of interesting book recommendations, heaven't read this yet, but i overheard the Bardophile author during an interview alluding to his perspective that we live, in the current state of times, in a "Year of Lear". Thought that was interesting...

Anyways, i live in America, with who else can i talk Shapespeare?



2:41 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

I just finished watching The End of the Tour. Can't recommend it enough, I found it absolutely riveting. I had not heard of Wallace before this; a scary thing to think as I spent four years at UIUC. Blinders on! Do Wafers recommend Infinite Jest?

The End of the Tour
http://imdb.com/rg/an_share/title/title/tt3416744/

5:10 PM  
Blogger chadz70 said...

Dr. Berman:

Have you ever done a post where you published some of the "greatest hits" you've gotten from the trollfoons? I've seen other bloggers do this. It could be a lot of fun to share the vitriol you're getting with the larger Wafer community.

Presented without comment: https://theintercept.com/2015/10/19/obama-has-threatened-vetoes-over-guantanamo-before-and-caved-in-every-time/

-Chad in Chicago

5:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

chad-

It might be fun (these people are so vulgar and stupid), I agree. More fun wd be to get them all in a rm and pee on their shoes. But for the most part, I just delete all that stuff because I don't want this blog to be abt the blog itself. This is what the trollfoons, and also the politically correct crowd, want; they have no real interest in discussing the collapse of the American empire. Oh no, what's important to them is me, my use of language, the nature of the exchanges, etc. Jesus, what a collection of douche bags. Since they aren't rt here, in front of me, I pee on them metaphorically, and encourage all Wafers to join me.

Shake-

What % of Americans, do u think, can identify the author of any of the following lines:

"But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?"
"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow..."
"The play's the thing/Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king."

.01%, at a generous estimate? Jesus, what a nation of morons (to quote Gore).

Voix-

"Cox or Harding? Harding or Cox? You tell us, populi; You've got the vox!" So Harding won, as u know, just when Mencken was at the height of his powers. I think he wrote a review of Harding's inaugural address in which he said, "It's so bad, a sort of grandeur creeps into it." But I regard Mencken's silence on the subject of deli meats very suspicious.

Christian-

No pt in sending messages to old posts; nobody reads the older stuff.

mb

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Jerome said...

Thank you, professor Berman for teaching Plato's shadow metaphor and for your dauntless depiction of our bleak reality, without which this nation and planet would be far less bearable. Chris Hedges acknowledges the diabolique among power elites but not the complacency and ignorance of the citizenry that allows it.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Manol said...

Dr Berman,
Americans trust politicians who are actors: Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura and, of course, President Roy Rogers.
How fun that their job is just make-believe.

Regards from Santiago, Chile.
Manol.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Dan Henry,
That's ok. My brother went to a prestigious 4 year liberal arts college and never heard of Howard Zinn. They just taught your typical Great Man view of world events.
Sorry, Dr. Berman, but I have to politely disagree. Remember, Hillary lost the Democratic nomination to a black man in 2008. Why then do you think she can defeat a white man who is traditionally the top of the social ladder here? Also, with apologies to our female wafers, black men were given the right to vote before white women again illustrating the low regard Americans have toward women here. I think American men prefer to protect women, not be led by them.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous SW said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Maybe we could add a person who looked at the ugly truth and called it for what it was, is Joe Bageant. I remember reading on his blog several years ago just prior to his death that he had wanted to meet you but illness intervened. He too saw the emptiness, cruelty, and destructiveness of the American way of life. Mencken & Gore would have been just as marginalized and reviled as you and others who tell the unvarnished truth had they been active in today's world. When I read pieces by the leading progressive writers on Truthdig or Truthout and they start saying "we must do ...(fill in the blank)" rather than "do what you can on a local level and face the fact that this problem has no national solution..." I know no matter how insightful and accurate the diagnosis, they won't look reality in the face. Our schools will not be fixed, healthcare has more in common with an extortion racket than healing, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans and poor whites will continue to rot in jail while Obama (then his replacement) spout platitudes, the rich will get richer, and the working class (including low-skilled & college educated slaves) will work harder for less pay, less job security and pay more to keep a roof over their heads.

Welcome to The Plantation, folks! We hope you'll be happy here.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Shake. You know, I picked up Othello the other day and found my attention span has frighteningly shrunk the past few years, especially since I work on a computer all the time. Nicholas Carr was right! I shall need to work on that this winter.

Otherwise, try finding someone over 50. You know, people who actually learned Shakespeare in High School.

'The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have saved my life.'

... maybe it's because I drink too much (like my man Falstaff) trying to forget I'm stuck in Amerika.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous John S said...

I'm no fan of Hillary of course, I think she is mendacious and only 'progressive' to the degree necessary to disguise her real politics of keeping Wall Street happy. But I have to say having watched some highlights of the so called 'Bengazi' 11 hour fiasco so-called independent inquiry, what the hell was that for?, I actually was impressed by how she completely obliterated that band of republican buffoons, they seem not able to help themselves in their overreach zeal to actually make Hillary look human. She may have actually sealed the presidency by the performance. Not that I'm glad of course with the prospects, but I have to give credit where it is due, probably for the last time, it was quite a performance, since politics is primarily theater these days, they fell right into her trap like idiots that they are.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

SW-

Yeah, poor Joe. We exchanged a couple of letters b4 he died, and then I did an obit of him that went slightly viral. It's archived here under the title, "Rainbow Pie." Clearly a great human being. If you ponder why the US cranks out so very few Bageants, Mumfords, Thoreaus, etc., and so many absolute morons, you start to get some idea of Why America Failed.

Dan-

Well, you cd be rt; I guess we'll know in a year. But rt now, polls matching Trump vs. Hillary have Hillary the clear winner, and Trump has said that prior to the GOP nominating convention, if he doesn't have the #s to win, he'll drop out. I have a feeling that's gonna happen. Of course, it really doesn't matter who is in the W.H., as you know.

Manol-

Gracias por escribir. I'm giving some talks at the U of Temuco 1st week in December, if you'd like to attend.

Jerome-

I once wrote Hedges citing the data on stupidity of the American people. He wrote back, "I can't really pay attn to that, because if I did I wouldn't be able to do the work I do." Precisely, I thought; but that's another way of saying, "I much prefer fantasy to reality."

mb

11:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Some of you know of my attachment to the Lake District of England, where I visited last May and also in 2011 or 2012 (I forget; senility). Well, I just read a remarkable novel based there in 1936-37, and based on a true story: "Haweswater," by Sarah Hall. Hard to believe this was a debut novel.

mb

11:56 AM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

I think Hedges actually has a good grip on the stupidity of Americans. His truthdig article on illiteracy is pretty damning.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20081110_america_the_illiterate

I think Morris got it 100% right with his earlier comment that Hedges’ heart and head are going in opposite directions. WAF’ers recognize there is no turning the ship around and any hope to be found is confined to what comes next. For Hedges, there is no next. I.E. the system we have now represents an existential threat and waiting for it to implode and build later isn’t going to work. We either turn the ship around or we go extinct.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

"...I can't really pay attn to that..."

Wasn't this admission by Hedges tantamount to conceding that his work is essentially pointless? If the people he's hoping to "save" are too stupid to absorb his message and to draw the logical conclusions from his assessments, who does he hope will mount the revolution? Certainly not those who likely constitute the core of his audience, namely the well-educated. Such folk, if they are his audience as I believe, seem unlikely to rise up against anyone, the more so since they are not suffering to such an extent that revolt appears the only solution to their problem(s).

12:48 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

MB, Voix, Wafers-

Ah, yes, the 1920 election. The capitalists of America Inc. were really in the saddle back then... Here's a great quote from Eugene Debs: "money constitutes no proper basis for civilization." Did anyone listen? Of course not! Debs ran for president in 1920 as a Socialist political prisoner; targeted for political destruction by progressive, Woodrow Wilson. Debs, it's fair to say, was more than a little known curiosity, and he knew the full depths of *evil* that had taken hold of the US. Hence, the title of Honorary Wafer should be bestowed upon Eugene V. Debs. Godspeed Gene, Wafers will never forget u.

MB, Dan-

As u guys know, my support for Trump is enormous. So much so that I even dedicated a testicle to his campaign. Hillary is basically untouchable at this point. As John S indicates, she basically controlled a fusillade of attacks by prosecutorial Republicans on the Benghazi Select Committee by smiling, frowning, coughing, glancing over at Anthony Weiner's hot wife, Huma, and laughing her way thru the proceedings. Tactics learned, of course, from a lifetime of subterfuge and chicanery. Jesus, I almost felt sorry for Killary as she faced a relentless grilling by the 2nd coming of Strom Thurmond, South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy. Jesus, does this guy need to get laid, or what? I tell u, he would yell at a flight attendant for a weather delay.

O&D,

Miles

ps: Dice game dispute leads to campus shooting:

1 KIA
3 Wounded

It's all here:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/23/tennessee-state-university-three-shot-in-nashville

2:24 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...


a more laudatory article on Thoreau:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/10/21/sorry-new-yorker-thoreau-more-relevant-than-ever/XsF28iSLPwrLkiNZIpHmoI/story.html

Gore Vidal on Mencken:

http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/mencken.htm

an excerpt:

"Far from being an anti-Semite, Mencken was one of the first journalists to denounce the persecution of the Jews in Germany at a time when the New York Times, say, was notoriously reticent. On November 27, 1938, Mencken writes (Baltimore Sun), "It is to be hoped that the poor Jews now being robbed and mauled in Germany will not take too seriously the plans of various politicians to rescue them." He then reviews the various schemes to "rescue" the Jews from the Nazis, who had not yet announced their own final solution."

My comment:

Mencken's fondness for Ayn Rand also needs to be explained. Rand is easy to criticize in today's age of overshoot, overpopulation, pollution, climate change, habitat destruction and extinction. Rand also failed to acknowledge the worthiness of indigenous peoples. Her failure to understand that economic growth and industrialism were short-lived and ultimately highly destructive phenomena is also notable, and her admiration for capitalism was misplaced. However, in Mencken's day there was no end in sight to economic growth, technological innovation and accompanying rapid social change. Global human overpopulation had not yet become acute. Jumping on the bandwagon of "progress" seemed to be philosophically defensible. Mencken had a strain of elitism in him, the elitism of intelligence, wit, verbal facility and perceptiveness, and he identified with similar qualities in Rand, to the extent that she had them.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Chad In Chicago said...

If anyone here has Netflix, the Gore Vidal documentary "The United States of Amnesia" is currently showing. Excellent film.

Just an FYI.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Opal said...

Dr. B

re: your submission of the Canadian election CNN link enticed me, could you comment on any of ur thoughts on the results, what resultant phenomena you predict will come of them, and/or how Canada's election/electoral process/liberal-win compares to this claptrap of ours

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Eddie said...

Odd question for Morris Berman,

Given your great appreciation for Japan, movies, art; was curious if you have ever dipped a toe in the Anime idiom at all? A friend is trying to convince me of its aesthetic value, but i think she was showing sub par examples, and it wasn't grooving w/ me. Thought if there was anything of value to suggest, you or someone here might provide a chestnut

Thanks my friend,

Eddie

5:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Eddie-

Check out my Japan bk. It shd be available on Amazon in abt 2 wks. In particular ch. 6 and Appendix IV.

Jas-

True, but only in passing. He essentially said, "I'm not gonna look at that." In which case, you hafta adopt the position that the outcome doesn't matter; what counts is the gesture. Not my way of dealing with life, I hafta say.

Christian-

Well, illiteracy and stupidity aren't quite the same thing; and in any case, Hedges certainly isn't factoring stupidity into his political analysis. 2nd, you are mischaracterizing my pos'n on political activity, and that of many Wafers; and your paraphrase of Hedges' characterization is also inaccurate (i.e. him, not you). This is a discussion that can be found in the comments section of a # of posts here; in my lecture on "The Waning of the Modern Ages" at Clark U, and posted here a short while ago; and in Ch. 7 of my Japan bk. I label it Dual Process, and it is hardly just sitting around waiting for the end. Indeed, many people, esp. in Europe, are heavily engaged in it, and we on this blog applaud them. But it is a far cry from Hedges B&W approach, and (to me) irresponsible call for revolution--which will happen from the right, if it does at all. Anyway, if you read up on Dual Process, you might come to a different conclusion.

Opal-

I need to call on my Canada expert, al-Qabong, to rescue me here. I lived in Can for 7.5 yrs in the 80s, but since then have not kept close tabs on what's been going on, except to be aware that my Cdn friends regard Harper as one of the world's great assholes.

mb

5:54 PM  
Anonymous The Other Jeff said...

Here's an interesting site from the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark that features videos of artists from around the world. This just might appeal to other Wafers searching for some smart, interesting insight. I particularly liked the videos with Paul Auster ( http://channel.louisiana.dk/search/content/auster ), but there is a LOT more content that is a welcome diversion from the usual garbage out there. Take a peek: http://channel.louisiana.dk/

TOJ

5:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Other Jeff-

Thank you. You might pick another handle, such as Thelonious Matzo Ball Soup, which is kinda catchy, I think.

mb

6:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Political Correctness in Action Dept.:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/free-speech-is-flunking-out-on-college-campuses/2015/10/22/124e7cd2-78f5-11e5-b9c1-f03c48c96ac2_story.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-progressive-ideas-behind-the-lack-of-free-speech-on-campus/2015/02/20/93086efe-b0e7-11e4-886b-c22184f27c35_story.html

6:24 PM  
Blogger Timothy Dowd said...

I have been following this blog for a while now read it everyday. I agree with just about everything.

What is, in my opinion, one of the most despicable aspects of the US today is how police/government thugs are able to commit the most heinous and tyrannical crimes and get off scot free against the citizenry.

I am not sure if any of you have heard about the case of Robert Leonne, who was tortured by police for 11 hours for little-to-no reason at all (look him up on YouTube), but the 5 state troopers who were on camera beating and torturing the guy went to court in May of this year and the verdict was that they were not guilty even though the evidence was so clear cut with every conceivable type of evidence available.

And many commenters about the verdict said if he would of just been respectful to the police and not argued with them, he wouldn't of been beaten and tortured for 11 hours.

And then worst of all is the fact that several of the state troopers who got away with this garbage has already been reported to have brutalized more people after the May verdict.

Why are Americans today so dumb and servile when it comes to authority?

Wouldn't logical normal people want to lynch mob these state troopers after with what they have gotten away with?

8:52 PM  
Anonymous brainDecay said...

Wafers & MB,

Hustling has been in overdrive lately, I regret not being able to find the time or energy after work/school to participate in this blog (let alone finish any of the books I've been reading).

I was still able to check out some MB/Wafer recommendations though--Kirschbluten, San Francisco 2.0, the Gore Vidal documentary.

Rusty is correct, I can be confident that I'm never wasting my time with a rec from this blog. Meanwhile, the rest of cyberspace is filled with dumbed-down "clickbait" kaka. This blog truly IS a one stop shop, so I thank you all for that.

MB: I did attend the Bluestockings event--it was a pleasure hearing you speak.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

brain-

You shd have come with us to Rosario's for pizza afterwards; we had a blast. Next time, I guess.

mb

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Sad Sam said...

Lite debate at a friend's wedding w/ an old mutual friend last night; he was born in Hondorus, when he was young he and his family picked up and escaped their crime-festered neighborhood, moved to the USA. He feels incredibly thankful for their second life, here.

Says if it wasn't for things like Reagan's covert killings there in the 80's, the place would be even worse off today with even more corruption.

http://upsidedownworld.org/main/honduras-archives-46/5335-from-reagan-to-obama-forced-disappearances-in-honduras

My old mutual friend is actually a compassionate and kind (if lost) guy. He even agrees Americans don't understand the meanings of life because everything has been handed to them.

Guy was breaking my heart. His family risked a lot to start a new life, here.

WAFers, In your travels, when you spark convo of this kind w/ someone coming from a much less fortunate life who believes these things, how do you phrase your arguments or sympathize? I get how to handle the trollfoons and progs, but not someone with so much hope and hurt in their eyes.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Dear Wafers, Dr. Berman,

Just dropping by to present this news which was just published in Alternet today: "More Democrats now favor socialism over capitalism"

http://www.alternet.org/poll-more-democrats-now-favor-socialism-capitalism

Isn't that a slimmer of hope?

I have another link where they interview Clown Ben Carson. How he intends to use the Department of Education to uproot extreme political bias in college campuses across the nation plus many other questions on American exceptionality and authoritarianism.

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/10/24/ben-carson-says-he-will-outlaw-liberal-speech-on-college-campuses-not-conservative-speech-audio/

Other members of the group commented on Hillary's performance. I agree with their assessments. I would say that many Americans who vote democrat- Bernie or Hill- are not voting for a democrat. They are just voting against the alternative. There is a good portion of Americans who do want something much closer to socialism.

JC

1:48 PM  

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