December 04, 2017

Hell Bent on Disaster

Wafers-

Nothing like a dramatic (but correct) title to usher in the new year. The passage of the GOP tax bill is giving Americans what they have endorsed since 1945: extreme individualism, the "endless frontier," the "religion" of America, hustling, competition, and empire. And of course, very little kindness; very few breaks for the less fortunate. So now, we are reaping what we sowed, namely being ground into the dirt. Yes, we certainly are a City on the Hill, a model for all nations to follow!

Me, I'm throwing a New Year's party at my apartment in Mexico City. At midnight, we shall all look North, shake our heads, and sigh.

One thing I can assure you: 2018 will be worse. "How long, O Cataline, will you abuse our patience?" (Cicero)

-mb

181 Comments:

Anonymous Tom Servo said...

More stories on the drug abuse epidemic.

"A new government report says the number of children in the U.S. foster care system has increased for the fourth year in a row, due largely to an uptick in substance abuse by parents."

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/11/30/567615510/number-of-american-children-in-foster-care-increases-for-4th-consecutive-year

"Nearly half of Americans have a family member or close friend who’s been addicted to drugs."

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/10/26/nearly-half-of-americans-have-a-family-member-or-close-friend-whos-been-addicted-to-drugs/

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liv:
Thank you, sir for being my mentor. I read your books and your blog for some time. I am so excited, I have found someone like-minded because I thought I was going "bazooka," for the past 10 years thinking that the US is very weird and soul-less place.
I immigrated to the US 16 years ago from Europe ( raised in Slovakia, but lived all over EU)to chase the "American Dream," started as a nanny and now working in "high" position in DOD, which left me bitter, confused, and angry about the whole DC zombie land... I cannot take the fake façade of my coworkers, and the mummy-like neighbors. I live in Bethesda, the fakest place in the world. The public school is beyond a joke, only catering to their donors.
Therefore, our family of 3 decided to move in about 6 months to Costa Rica. I see US 2018 in very dark colors. I hope can become a wafer, too. Liv.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Liv-

Glad my work was of some help to you, and gd luck on yr move to Costa Rica. Just abt the opposite of Bethesda (I'm familiar with both).

In future, pls check in as Liv, and not as Anonymous. Thank you. Also: always, always, capitalize Wafer.

Stay with us-

mb

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Noster said...

Now reading this quote from Bruno Bosteels, and it fits in perfectly here: "Tax cuts for the corporate mafia in the USA; militarization of the interior in Mexico: two forms of the same kind of coup against the people. There is little consolation in the fact that both are the violent symptoms of nihilistic despair in the face of an imminent loss of power: to grab as much as they still can before either they or the planet are gone." ...This blog already recommended "the race for what's left" (Michael Klare). But hope Professor Berman has one last book in him on Mexico. Don't retire completely, since you've already written so eloquently on the violent symptoms of the USA loss of power in "Dark Ages America," which I read last year. Boy it really pissed my brother off when I sent it to him. He's didn't get it, stopped reading it after 20 pages, terribly sad....He paid 95,000 dollars in personal income tax, and likes Trump...he's a kind person, but can't escape the unconscious programming, and there's nothing to be done about that as you all know...

2:45 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Tom--the opiod epidemic is yet another media "outrage du jour" in which literally nothing will be done other than to make pain medications more difficult to obtain for those who really need them. I'm already experiencing this as a cancer survivor with severe chemo-induced neuropathy who takes such medication on a daily basis to make my life tolerable. I'm not addicted in that I don't try to "chase the high," requiring ever more of the stuff, but I am physically dependent. I'd love not to be, but I hardly have a choice. Fortunately, I have decent health insurance and am relatively ambulatory, so the added red tape will just be a pain in the ass. Those without decent insurance and who, say, live miles from their doctors' offices or a good pharmacy or are severely crippled with little assistance available to them are staring at far more pain and suffering just satisfy the media outrage machine that "something MUST be done"--just not anything to hold the drug companies responsible for the epidemic accountable.

Relatedly, Facebook has apparently activated an AI that uses an algorithm that supposedly determines when a user's posts indicate that they are suicidal and "sends help." The "help" usually being calling the cops. Because the police have SUCH a great record in not shooting and killing the mentally ill. Facebook has already done this over 100 times with virtually ZERO public debate about the practice. My advice is that if you're on Wastebook, get off of it immediately. Who knows where this horrible trend will end up.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Cloud Shaman said...

I am seriously beginning to wonder why I should support the United States if all it does is take. I am morally outraged by this recent tax bill as the Republicans and their overlords complete the rape of this country. I guess as you say Mr. Berman, we have been doing that since this countries inception.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Noster-

Probably best not to send him the sequel, i.e. WAF, since he might hunt you down and kill you. Brainwashing is a wonderful thing.

mb

3:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

I've been rdg Isaiah Berlin's study of Vico, which is dense going but very absorbing. He writes:

"The recognition of an irreversible process of infancy, youth, maturity, old age, final decline in the lives of societies, no less than of individual men, and of what types of language or ritual or economic relations belong to each stage of social growth, is something, it seemed to Vico, that the philosophers or jurists of his own and other times did not sufficiently possess or understand." {300 yrs later, they still don't}

"It is this method that, by abstracting what is common to various phases of culture--what Vico calls 'induction'--reveals the unalterable inner pattern...that shapes not only our world, but, since 'the rise, progress, maturity, decay and fall' is a universal principle, is eternally valid for all possible societies. This marks the birth of full-fledged modern historicism--a doctrine that in its empirical form has stimulated and enriched...the historical imagination."

"In the unity--and parallelism--which obtains between the necessary succession of the phases of a civilization and the development of mental attributes and powers in the growing individual--Vico's *idee maitresse* {master idea}--the Renaissance notion of the relationship between the macrocosm and the microcosm is clearly central."

mb

3:44 PM  
Anonymous SrVidaBuena said...

There's a video at the bottom of the link to the interview with Mark Lilla in the last post. I watched as much as I could of this panel discussion, with constant interruptions from the irate dispossessed. I recommend the video to everyone, along with the video of disruptions of class at Reed College posted earlier. Back in 1991 I graduated from one of the glorious Pacific NW small, private liberal arts colleges with a degree in philosophy. This sort of nonsense and political correctness was just barely getting started there (although it was much father along at places like UW) The idea at the time was that I'd go to grad school and eventually be a philosophy professor; and at the time, while very competitive, it probably wasn't laughable, as it would be today, that I'd end up with some kind of position and even tenure - nothing but adjunct positions now. I've always regretted not at least giving it a try... until now. Could be that I dodged a bullet.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Gigalax said...

Good article by PCR on the failure of capitalism.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/12/04/plunder-capitalism/

8:18 PM  
Anonymous tam said...

Dorogoi Gosppodin Berman,

(Or if you permit less formal: Howdy, dear Prof! ;) )

Am a tad bemused (okay, a little flustered) to come back here after some time, to see you on such “alert” mode. We all knew this was coming down the pike — waaaay before the current Mental Illness in Chief (MIC).

Don’t gimme this sudden it’s-gonna-get-worse arm-flailing — as if any of us are surprised?? … Come on! Puhleez! …

We all saw this coming; in fact, necessary. I have built aircraft engines, and I have also crotched. Sometimes you realize you made a boo-boo during the process, and have to take-apart/unravel practically the whole shebang.

It’s just the way it goes.

Now, how to get invite to Mexico City for New Year’s Eve? That’s the question…

Warm embrace, our darling MB! Wishing you the merriest holidays and good health in 2018 and always! Mnogaya leta! <3

~t.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous tam said...

crocheted -- not crotched! -- for heaven's sake, please fix the inept autocorrect before publishing my previous post! hahaha (seriously, though, i beg of you!)

9:12 PM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

On the title of this post, I suggest an even better one could be "Saturno devorando a sus hijos" (the title of a painting by Goya). I can't claim credit; it's an analogy that I heard Dr Berman using in one of his conferences, and I can't think of a better one for the tax plan of doom.

P.S. I won't translate, this is the 21st century and, if you live anywhere in the American continent, you should have at least some knowledge of Spanish.

3:26 AM  
Anonymous Deborah said...

It's a sad commentary when journalists are lumped with politicians in the trustworthiness category:

https://www.statista.com/chart/12106/politicians-rated-the-uks-most-dishonest-profession/

Liv: I am in D.C. regularly and several years back stopped going to Bethesda due to its pretentious environment. I remember it when it was just another suburb. In fact I remember Potomac when it was relatively down to earth. It seems to me as an American you have the choice of living in a relatively well off snobby city/suburb or an opiate addicted town or outer suburb. My choice is to live in the country for that reason. These days the deer make better conversationalists anyway.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Longtime Met Opera conductor James Levine has had a 4th man come forward with sexual misconduct/abuse accusations.

The man who made the new accusations is Albin Ifsich; he had been abused by Mr. Levine beginning in 1968, when Mr. Ifsich was 20yo and attending the Meadow Brook School of Music, a summer program in Michigan where Mr. Levine was a rising star.

Ifsich recalled visiting Levine’s dorm room one night to discuss problems he was having with his bowing. Then Levine stated--‘If we’re going to work on your violin, I have to understand you sexually,’ The abuse began with Levine frequently exposing himself and engaging in masturbation-even as Ifsich played violin.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

tam-

A joy to hear from you. When months went by without a message, I became so distraught that I wept like a baby. For days. But now, yr even threatening (haha) to come to my New Yrs party. Certainly, yr welcome. All u need is airfare, plus a working knowledge of Spanish. c.u. on Dec. 31, chica!

Meanwhile, more on Berlin's study of Vico:

For Vico, he says,

"Self-interest is not, and cd never have been, the mainspring of action; passion, duty, tradition, a sense of human or national solidarity, shame, conscience, awe, the sense of a divine presence, cannot be reduced to 'modifications' of the rational egoism of a 'nation of shopkeeper', 'hucksters' often deflected by irrational passions or frustrated by ignorance..." {Seems like Vico was a Wafer}

At the far edge of democracy, Berlin says that Vico says, "Individualism grows to excess, dissolves the ties that unite the mass of the people...Civic virtue melts away, and is replaced by *anomie* and arbitrary violence...sometimes the rot has gone too deep...each man lives in his own egoistic, anxiety-ridden world, unable to communicate or cooperate with his fellows....Society falls to pieces; frightful wars, both internecine and with foreign foes, destroy its members, civilization collapses..." {sound familiar}

mb

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Dill Pickle said...

Wafers -

I found this on The Automatic Earth yesterday... not so much a blog as it is a selective news aggregator service documenting the decline and ongoing collapse of Western Civilization, which is basically American in character.

When nations grow old
The arts grow cold
And commerce hangs on every tree
–William Blake

The last line is especially true, particularly in the United States!

Oh, and the latest from the progressive "left" (when they're not in paroxyms over sexual harrassment or Russia! Russia! Russia!) is that they really think they can still stop the odious GOP tax bill that's now in conference committee. Bet ya dollars to donuts they'll retain the worst of both bills in the combined one, vote on it, and send it to the Orange Julius's desk for his signature on it.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

As Christmas approaches, permit me to offer the community a couple of songs to lift your spirits in Anno Trumpii 1.

I should think this man would be accepted as one of our number. Allan Sherman, from 1963:
“The Twelve Gifts of Christmas”
https://youtu.be/DtZR3lJobjw

And this song, from another pre-Waferian (proto-Waferian?), Tom Lehrer. His commentary on commercialism:
“A Christmas Carol”
https://youtu.be/DtZR3lJobjw

God help us, every one.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

Authentic beauty : Women, India, traditions and aging gracefully.
http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-39872650/a-great-grandmother-from-india-is-winning-hearts-with-her-cooking-videos
http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-39673489/bend-it-like-granny

diogenes45 mentioned Bauls of Bengal a couple of posts ago. Interesting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PRFdKredT0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-KUUDi11R0

4:13 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

The religious nut in Colorado doesn’t want to bake a cake for a Gay couple...so now the case in before the Supreme Court. What don’t these nuts understand about the business world being SECULAR?

Here’s a decent opinion piece by Montel Williams...

https://usat.ly/2nw9mZp

4:20 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

American crazoids on display:

Oklahoma Inmate Suffers Seizure, Nurse Decides to Do Exorcism, Inmate Dies. Of course the story downplays the fact that the nurse was employed by a contractor who no doubt was the lowest bidder to provide "health" services to the county. Also unmentioned is that the prisoner--who was a non-violent drug offender--should have been taken to a hospital rather than jail.

A Man Extracted a Pimple With a Carpentry Blade And Things Went Horribly Wrong. To wit: "he ended up with a rare fungal infection that spread across his entire lip."

Portland Strip Club Patron Accused of Ranting about "Anti-White" Racism Before Firing Gun In Parking Lot. Check out the "Face of America" on this guy.

Man arrested after drawing of apparent mass shooting found on child’s homework. Mugshot of the year candidate.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More on Vico. Berlin writes:

"He preceded Hegel and the social psychologists in pointing out that the direction of a society may be very different from the sum of the conscious intentions of its members, so that one can speak of a society seeking this or that goal even if its members, or a majority of them, are, as individuals, consciously striving for something else."

mb

5:54 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

MB, great quote about the conflict between societal goals vs. individual goals.

I've always felt that the idea society is just the sum of its parts to be a bit short-sighted. I think large & complex societies take on a life of their own, that they have characteristics that can't be analyzed individually - "gestalt" characteristics maybe?

This is the United States' problem. I remember listening to an interview with a historian talking about how the U.S. had so much "wind in our sails" during the late 40's thru the 60's that we could act however we wanted with no regard for potential negative consequences. Like toppling "leftist" democracies, the endless expansion of suburbia, cars everywhere, strip malls, etc. I think our society has acquired so much inertia going in one direction that nothing can stop it. It will only stop when it simply can't go on any longer.

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Lobotomized Imperial Subject said...

Waters and Dr Berman,

This is off topic for this blog but given “Neurotic Beauty” I thought this might be the place to ask: what on earth is going on in Japan with this idea?

First Restaurant To Sell Human Meat For Consumption Opens In Japan
https://worldtruth.tv/first-restaurant-to-sell-human

In unrelated happenings, life in the Middle East gets weirder by the day. Now we have Blackwater (now Academi) torturing Saudi princes to extort money (one paid 1 billion to secure his release). American hustling mercenaries combined with Saudi tribal barbarism, what could go wrong?

Also, GCC countries will be introducing 5% VAT from next year having reached the (probably inevitable) conclusion that their oil well economies are drying up and need supplemental income. I wonder what we will get for our taxes? More American mercenaries?

cheers
Lobo


11:36 PM  
Anonymous Master of Waferism said...

Dr Berman, I was reading a physics book, the one they teach freshmen with at Caltech and the first thing they did was talk about the mechanical world. I don't get it, shouldn't Caltech know the mechanical world has been debunked? Shouldn't your trilogy in consciousness have gone viral? I mean if Kurt Godel proved no set of axioms can be complete, wouldn't that apply to physics too? I'm starting to think postmodernists have a point, maybe the only thing we can know for sure is what we observe but once we write it down as an equation it somehow goes wrong since it's subject to observing bias, hence participating consciousness and the value of craft.

Sorry if I am going off track the demise of America, I just don't know who else to ask, the internet will take me to flat earth or smth ridiculous. I'm thinking of reading Aristotle, I mean, he said things fall off to the ground because it's their proper place, we say it's gravity, is there really a difference? Would you advise against reading his works? His complete work is over 2000 pages so it would save me a lot of time if you don't think it's worth it

12:34 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

On China being the new USA:
http://metro.co.uk/2017/12/06/worlds-biggest-starbucks-opens-shanghai-7136085/

Kanye

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...

"It's a sad commentary when journalists are lumped with politicians in the trustworthiness category"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

On one hand. On the other hand, millons of plebes are waking up to the fact that many of our press outlets print what their owners tell them to. There's a great book by a well-known (and now deceased under rather mysterious circumstances) journalist (Udo Ulfkotte) in Germany called "Gekaufte Journalisten" in which he describes in detail how FAZ, among others, peddles falsities on the regular.

I don't even bother with the MSM anymore.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Liv said...

MB - Thank you for the kind words. And you are right that is the reason why we decided to move to CR – the contrast. For a long time I thought that an ambition and satisfying my EGO what is best for me until I did not; and I came to a conclusion that I lived in an illusion. Chris Hedges describes this perfectly in his book Empire of Illusion: “The worst reality becomes, the less a beleaguered population wants to hear about it, and the more distracts itself from squalid pseudo-events of celebrity breakdowns, gossip, and trivia. The most ominous cultural divide lies between those who chase after these manufactured illusions, and those who are able to puncture the illusion and comfort reality.” This a divide between a literate, marginalized minority (called Wafers) and those who have been consumed by an illiterate mass culture- the Peter Pan culture.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Lobo-

Cannibalism is both literal and symbolic here. One reason I speculate, in the Japan bk, that Japan may be in the vanguard of the collapse of capitalism is that psychologically speaking, it is in such bad shape. Yrs ago, Irving Kristol claimed that while capitalism was great at accumulating wealth (for some), it was finally not able to satisfy human existential needs; and that this left it politically unstable or vulnerable. The data I amass on suicides, hikikomori, "freeters," mental illness etc. in Japan--fuck, it's off the charts. Meanwhile, instead of dealing with these things (save for billion-dollar-sales of Paxil), the Japanese (most of them) vote for Shinzo Abe, meaning more misery, more Fukushimas, and a faster chance of collapse. In the late stages, we literally and metaphorically devour each other. How long till such a restaurant opens in the US?

Master-

Makes sense. You hafta study classical mechanics before you can understand quantum mechanics, and in addition, classical mechanics (Newton) is generally accurate for gross objects, i.e. the familiar world. Heisenberg doesn't apply to macro phenomena, like writing things down, and pomo "understanding" of physics is absurd (e.g., check out Sokal's Hoax on Google). As for anything of mine going viral: when pigs fly. Yes, big diff between gravity and Aristotelian studies of motion: ultimately, Aristotle's world was animistic, and falling bodies accelerated since they were going 'home'. You probably can't read all of Aristotle, but De Anima, the Physics, and the Metaphysics are gd places to start. Nicomachean Ethics, also.

Wudu-

See Essay #27 in AWTY for fuller elaboration.

Liv-

Between now and the time you leave, it might go easier 4u if you just assume that everyone around you is *literally* brain damaged.

mb

11:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check this out-

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/05/opinions/why-trump-is-winning-bauerlein/index.html

then read AWTY, Essay #15.

mb

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Dill Pickle said...

Wafers,

Some tidbits of our ongoing collapse around the country:

Delta's maintenance standards seems to be in a decline. They should have checked this between flights, but didn't. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/broken-toilets-delta-flight-emergency-landing-article-1.3680644">So the plane had to land in Billings, MT for a bathroom break.

A Virginia pastor guns down his family in a triple murder. On Thanksgiving. American Christians are such saintly people.

A mother of three is viciously attacked after she warned others of a man who was fondling himself in public. The likely culprit and the man who fondled himself was probably one and the same. Hey, when someone interferes with your lifestyle you gotta take retaliatory action, right! Such is the thinking in modern-day America.

And finally, a topless man attacks a statue of St Francis, twice. A new innovative way to get a workout, and to show you're tough.

O&D

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Zen Citizen said...

WuduFugel: The trend you describe may not be a uniquely American phenomenon, and may have begun long before the late '40's. Dmitry Orlov, in his book "Shrinking the Technosphere," posits an "anti-Gaia" — the eponymous "technosphere" — that displays a "primitive emergent intelligence" that opposes and acts as a parasite on the biosphere and its healthy self-regulatory processes. Political machines, corporations-as-people, the factory farm, the carbon economy, and the overarching philosophy of continuous growth are the latest manifestations of this rampant force. The phenomena you mention more granular examples.

Orlov offers in the book's final chapters an alarming but plausible depiction of Dr. Berman's NMI option that takes place in a world which the ecological destruction now under way has entered the catastrophic phase. In comparison, the community of exiles in Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" appears ridiculously cozy and benign. If you're interested in another always-interesting and trenchant observer's answer to your question of what humanity will face when it all "simply can't go on any longer," I commend Orlov's book to you, and to all Wafers.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

@Dr. Berman,

Good article although I would argue that the Right plays their own version of the identity politics game. Right about now Fox News should be gearing up the "War on Christmas" narrative so that their white Christian viewers can get angry about a cashier saying "Happy Holidays" instead of the massive tax cuts the Republicans are going to give the wealthy.

But I do think that the culture war is a sign of a declining civilization. Early Roman history featured political conflict centered on substantive issues like class (Patricians vs Plebeians) and citizenship (the Social War between Rome and some of its Italian allies) while the late Empire featured controversy over religion (paganism vs Christianity or orthodox Christianity vs various heresies) just as the actual material and social foundation of the Empire collapsed

4:24 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

As was inevitable, the first allegations of sexual abuse have been lobbied at a powerful woman: "Singer Melanie Martinez has been accused of sex assault by a former friend, who claims to have “repeatedly said no” to her sexual advances."

Thus do we edge closer to the whole scandal eating its own tail whereby "trial by Twitter" is a real thing, while conversely the likelihood that legitimate victims will ever see real justice done or that effective action will be taken to prevent powerful people from committing these acts in the future will never happen. The shameful record of the MSM going back to covering up allegations many years ago and now going way overboard in the other direction is why I have to agree with Transatlantic--journalists DESERVE to be viewed with the same contempt that lawyers, bankers and politicians already are.

My wife has a friend who covers the Pentagon for one of the major media outlets. All this person does is fly around the world with Mattis copying down what he and other senior officers say and repeating it verbatim in stories that are completely ignored outside the Beltway. The last time we saw him/her he/she actually said that our continued military presence in Afghanistan was justified because we have been "invited" there by the government. Nevermind that the current government was INSTALLED by the U.S. to begin with. He/she is also virulent Trump hater (talk about cognitive dissonance) who, when I asserted that all the money we have wasted in Afghanistan could have been put to much better use here at home, looked at me like I have two heads.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

WAFER Liv--there will be an inner peace that you will likely have living outside of the freak show/open air prison.

Folks may actually smile authentically, engage in a conversation other than various permutations of economic hustling, celeb gossip, or which reality show "star" has the best knockers. The food may actually taste like...food. And the police, may be friends on a first name basis. Children may actually physically play with a bottle cap, or a milk bottle rather than screen starring. Imagine that.

Would suggest renouncing us citizenship as its' one of only 2 countries in the world that taxes its prisoners (AKA: citizens) on worldwide income.

And of course, the infamous FATCA law that obshitforbrains quietly enacted. The us follows expats around like the plague requiring "foreign" banks to declare all us citizens money to the IRS involving lg amts of forms/expense. That's why many non-us banks say ba bye to us citizens even duals.

5:32 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Any of us Wafer’s here are more fit for the office of POTUS than the current huckster.


https://www.vox.com/2017/11/30/16517022/impeachment-donald-trump

5:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jj-

So is Lorenzo Riggins, for that matter.

Dill-

I think that as a pastor, he was just following the instructions provided by Corinthians. It says that if your family is getting on your nerves, you should gun them down like dogs, esp. if you live in Virginia. BTW, check out the guy's eyes. If that ain't the future of America, I dunno what is.

mb

6:53 PM  
Anonymous GIMBAL LOCK said...

An interesting article about another group of disposable people:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/06/why-are-americas-farmers-killing-themselves-in-record-numbers

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

Israelis speak candidly of their love for the Palestinians and their desire for peace.
https://youtu.be/1e_dbsVQrk4?t=332

Richard Falk explains "ism" in this context which MB tried in vain to tell a troll.
https://youtu.be/55BXncWCcoM?t=1320

https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/mideast/hidden/ch04.htm
At Deir Yasin ::: "The commander of the Haganah, Zvi Ankori, described what happened: “I saw cut off genitalia and women’s crushed stomachs ..” At Kafr Qasim ::: "Anyone leaving his home, or anyone breaking the curfew should be shot dead. ..if a number of people were killed in the night this would facilitate the imposition of the curfew during succeeding nights. Lieutenant Frankanthal asked him: “What do we do with the wounded?” Melinki replied: “Take no notice of them.” A section leader, then asked: “What about women and children?” to which Melinki replied: “No sentimentality.” At Dueima ::: "One commander ordered a soldier to bring two women into a building he was about to blow up ... Another soldier prided himself upon having raped an Arab woman before shooting her to death. Another Arab woman with her newborn baby was made to clean the place .., and then they shot her and the baby. ... Commanders who were considered “good guys” ... became base murderers, and this not in the storm of battle, but as a method of expulsion and extermination."

Attaboy!! Don't stop till you've accomplished your preordained task. Takbir!!
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/06/trump-to-plunge-middle-east-into-fire-with-no-end-with-jerusalem-speech
Yalla pendejo...

7:34 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

This is probably the dumbest move in American foreign policy since the Iraq War:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42250340

Trumpo is literally throwing gasoline onto the fire and pandering to the evangelicals who don't give two shits about Jews.

Here's more shocking news:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/06/not-only-are-americans-becoming-less-happy-were-experiencing-more-pain-too/?utm_term=.59bb54ad86f1

Meanwhile, it's beginning to warm up in the neighborhood:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/dramatic-images-la-fire-looming-405-freeway-morning/story?id=51617672

Miles

11:40 PM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Zen, Orlov has some interesting ideas, and the technosphere is one of them indeed. I used to read his blog until he started trying to make money out of it and his repeated and inexcusable defense of Putin got on my nerves. I guess almost everybody has a blind spot...

3:48 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/23750/the-promise-of-kenya-s-experiment-with-universal-basic-income

While the 1st results from Kenya's massive uni basic income experiment will take a few years to materialize, the pilot program is already delivering some positives.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

It's stupid, it's destructive, and--it's wonderful. When you tally up the list of dumb and violent things Trumpi has done since Jan., you get Declinist Heaven. We can only hope he continues along this path during 2018. Go, Trumpi!

As for Jerusalem, I think it might be time for Israel to declare that Peoria, IL, is the new capital of the US, and that they will be moving their embassy there.

mb

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Master of Waferism said...

Thanks for the answer, it's good to know quantum physics does take into account that the world isn’t mechanical. Most people, like me, never get past magnetism, and never really internalize what it means for the world to be not be mechanical. That and Lamarck having been right really makes me question atheism. The problem is of course, Christianity, turkeys all over the world are just looking for an excuse to believe in that nonsense even though Christ didn’t even preach to non-Jews. Anyways, I’ll stop asking this type of questions now.

Back to the decline, I gotta say, I LOVE Trumpi. The rest of the world can no longer remain willfully ignorant, they will have to acknowledge America and Israel are terrorist states. The good news is that the strongest area to replace us as of right now is Europe, Berlin is even starting to surpass silicon valley in "innovation" and Germany is not shy about their disdain for America.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/world/europe/germany-trump-sigmar-gabriel.html

11:50 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

http://chronicle.uchicago.edu/070712/perspectives.shtml

Check this out Dr. B and everyone else. This is an actual study that shows that the American group can't do perspective taking. How interesting! I wish there was a wider sample though.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

ever have to hire a millennial?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo0KjdDJr1c

2:29 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Heyyy,

I love this blog and the links for the articles and recommendations for the books. I will continue to read the blog even after I make this observation. When I see some of the comments about identity politics and race on this blog I step back a little bit. I understand the critique that says the most important issues are class and economics and that many in the American political spectrum, especially democrats and progressives have emphasized "identity politics" over more bread and butter issues. I'm not defending the democrats or progressives in their self-serving efforts to get minority voters but "identity politics" is just as ubiquitous on the Right. Just look at Trumpism, Bannon, Roy Moore, etc.
Unfortunately, American history is what it is and race or "identity" will never be divorced from class. The two will forever be intertwined in the American DNA. From Bacon' Rebellion, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim and Jane Crow,the New Deal, the 60s, Reaganomics, all the way to the war on terror and the gig economy, race and class are always operating in a strange paradox. I don't think this country will ever escape that.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Hard to believe I am still hearing that the move to Jerusalem will cause the US to forfeit its role as an "honest broker" for peace in the Middle East. Honest broker? The US has given Israel upwards of 40 billion dollars since its creation while giving the Palestinians essentially candy bars in comparison. It provides Israel with diplomatic cover while it continues to steal Palestinian land and build illegal settlements.The US also helped Israel become the 4th largest military in the world while Palestinians are reduced to firing enhanced firecrackers from Gaza and throwing stones which, by the way, can put you in jail for 15 years (roughly 700 Palestinian children are in Israeli jails). So please, no more talk about being an honest broker. In 1947 the Palestinians owned 90% of the land. Now they're reduced to 22% and when Balfour was issued (1917) there were only 60,000 Jews compared to 700,000 Palestinians. I propose Israel should declare a day of forgiveness during which every Israeli should prostrate before a Palestinian and beg forgiveness for all the hell he or she has caused these remarkable people.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

A convenience store chain is experimenting with blue lighting in their restrooms to deter drug use-

http://triblive.com/local/valleynewsdispatch/13028352-74/new-kensington-sheetz-tests-anti-drug-blue-hue-for-bathroom-lights

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Dill Pickle said...

Hi MB and Wafers all, today is Pearl Harbor Day! May those servicemen be remembered.

I noticed that on Miles' (Jeff's?) link to the dramatic images of the L.A. fire, an evengelical posted a loong tweet filled with JesusJesusJesus and other God talk, and another turkey posted that she saw nothing but darkness until she was right on top of a huge ball of fire. Guess she didn't notice all those little fires, huh?

Democrats prove that once again, they eat their own while Republicans circle wagons around their own. Al Franken announces his pending resignation under pressure from certain feminae illustriae of the Democratic Party. At least Minnesota's Gov. Dayton has time to appoint someone to succeed him without a gap of 50% representation in the Senate.

And last summer when the Orange Crassus was attacking the DOJ and Sessions personally, Sessions responded publicly that the activities of the Department of Justice must be "based on law and based on facts" and "can't be politicized." All the while showing that under his leadership, the DOJ is most certainly well-politicized!

Finally, debtors' prison on the West Bank of greater New Orleans! Gretna jails poor people who can't pay mayor's court fines, new lawsuit alleges.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

MB: Having grown up not that far from Peoria and having spent most of my adult life working in DC, I can say with some confidence that Peoria could hardly do worse as the capital.

Meanwhile, in NYC you can be harassed on the job as a possible terrorist if they find out that your DNA is 13% Middle Eastern. Even the Nazis let HALF-Jewish Germans be German citizens.

Airlines Are Physically Restraining More Drunk and Unruly Passengers. From the article: "Statistics released Tuesday by the industry’s main trade group show a 50 percent rise last year to 169 passengers who were forcibly confined for behavior ranging from verbal and physical abuse to life-threatening actions -- the most serious of which involved attempts to enter the cockpit."

And on the sex abuse front, Corey Feldman was a successful young Hollywood actor back in 1993 when he first reported being abused by a pedophile ring consisting of older men in the movie business. The police completely ignored his complaint, but they have now found their original recording of his meeting with a detective. I'll bet if Feldman had told them he knew of some black guys selling crack he would have gotten an immediate response.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

We've discussed this at length in the past. Unfortunately, you come rather late to the party, and I don't have a lot of energy to keep debating it. But here's a short version, that might help you see things a bit more clearly (I hope).

Basically, yr missing the pt. Identity groups, whether of race or gender, believe that if they create a commotion around those issues, the country will be fundamentally altered. But it won't, not on the level of power, money, and the ruling class; and history is on my side of the argument, not yrs. Economically, I believe black people are actually worse off as a group than they were in 1963, for example. I'm not saying civ rts aren't impt--esp. for those who are directly affected by those issues--but it was only just b4 he was shot that MLK began to realize that it was the larger issues that really mattered (Vietnam, the garbage strike in NY, the fact that domestic and foreign issues were related, and so on; this may be why he was killed). He apparently said to Harry Belafonte, "Sometimes I feel like I'm herding my supporters into a burning church." Civil rts is hardly an attempt to change the fundamental ideology or socioeconomic structure of the US. On the contrary, it's only a demand to have a larger slice of the pie. What MLK realized was that the entire pie was rotten, so what was the pt? And really, what's the pt of having a black woman as Secy of State when she is nothing more than a war criminal, promoting the interests of corporate America? What you claim *sounds* gd, but it's actually quite specious.

Master-

Correct phrase is quantum mechanics, not quantum physics.

Meanwhile, this is gd:

https://vimeo.com/244405542

Note to the trollfoon who attempted to post: you shd know that I don't entertain attacks on the blog per se, which I can usually recognize 3 words into the post; at which pt I simply delete it. You can continue to knock yrself out, if you want (and I'm sure you will, because the chances of yr being an asshole are abt 100%), but be advised that no one is listening. I wd suggest that you get a life, but the chances of that are roughly negative infinity. So keep posting--a great way to spend your time! ps: yr a douche bag, a moron, a turkey, and an utter buffoon.

mb

6:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bill-

The "mischling" status had a lot of levels to it, but I believe a Jew was defined as someone with one Jewish grandmother.

mb

6:15 PM  
Anonymous GIMBAL LOCK said...

I just received AWTY, Dr. Berman. Thank you for this blog as it makes me feel much less alone in this world that has gone off its rocker.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

MB--forgive me for violating the one post a day rule, but I actually checked before posting--anyone with more than 1/8th Jewish blood in Nazi Germany was subject to restrictions, but you could still be a Reich citizen up to 50% Jewish.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Kashe Varnishke said...

Dr. Berman thank you for your chapter in Wandering God that features Ludwig Wittgenstein. I've trying to learn more about him and this chapter seems to explain well for a layman like me. Of course, I'm still trying to get my head around his ideas, which it seems, so is the entire world.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

MB, fellow WAFers

I thought perhaps you’d find this info interesting regarding the Nazi definition of Jews and Jewishness. Link included.

The History Place - Triumph of Hitler: The Nuremberg Laws
“The announcement of the Nuremberg Laws* had the unexpected result of generating a lot of confusion and heated debate among Nazi bureaucrats as to how one should define a Jew, given that there had been widespread intermarriage up to this point.

As a result, two months later a supplemental Nazi decree was issued which defined a "full Jew" as a person with at least three Jewish grandparents. Those with fewer than three grandparents were designated as Mischlinge (half-breeds), of which there were two degrees: First Degree Mischlinge – a person with two Jewish grandparents; Second Degree Mischlinge – a person with one Jewish grandparent.”

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=how%20did%20the%20nazis%20define%20a%20jew

*Reich Citizenship Law of September 15, 1935
Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, September 15, 1935

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Francois said...

John-
I think there was a line in WAF, “that a poor hustler is still a hustler.” A race and identity hustler is still a hustler. And the bigger slice of pie they want is rotten to the crust. Onward and downward.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

John-

Here's a bit of how identity politics works:

Rather than do anything about decades of falling incomes, gutted communities in the heart of the country, near-universal economic uncertainty, and the fact that most Americans have had it up to HERE with so-called free trade, the Democratic Party and the progressives focused on the *fantasy* that it's all *good* in America. Hey, look, we elected a black man 2b president, and now were gonna elect a woman. Everyone who was honest realized that Obama did jack for eight long years. The Dems also wanted their supporters to believe that the center of the country is filled w/racist, misogynist, homophobic, gun-toting morons, and that a cultural renaissance would be achieved once girl power, transgendered bathrooms, and politically correct snobbery became institutionalized. This is how clueless they are! It all backfired very badly w/the election of Trumpo, as one can clearly see. In any case, the Dems no longer speak the language of people who actually work for a living; they look down their noses at them, in fact. So we can expect a continual war on intellectual and academic political correctness, the media, the political establishment and the progressive class in general whose lavish lifestyle and preachy rhetoric are, in the final analysis, irreconcilable.

If only these clowns woulda listened to MB, but it's all too late. Where's the fucking Tylenol?

Miles

8:52 PM  
Anonymous John said...

I was just making an observation. As far as the decline of the United States, the reasons why and your cultural analysis, I think your perspective is quite illuminating. I read the WAF trilogy and loved it. But no one is an expert on everything and while I'm not an expert on race, I try to read James Baldwin, W.E.B. Dubois, Randall Robinson, James Cone, and others and I have been greatly enriched by their enlightened contributions on the topic. What you are telling me about MLK and Belafonte is just preaching to the choir. But it's cool, I think I'll just continue to be an observer on the blog, I am open to new ideas but like anyone, I also value my own perceptions.

Much success in your future endeavors

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Don Midwest USA said...

American Exceptionalism -- maybe we take it to mean that we have been saved.

"Exceptionalism so deeply buried in our culture, I don't know how it will change" Jeremy Scahill answer to a question I asked a few years ago.

This was shortly after Edward Snowden had released documents and I asked if this would lead to a reduction in American Exceptionalism, and his answer is above.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

@ Zen - Yes, as writers like MB have pointed out, the U.S. has been on this trajectory for a long time, since it was founded really. But WW2 swept the deck, it crushed every developed nation of the world except for the U.S. When the smoke cleared we stood alone, and there was nothing left to stand as a bulwark against our insatiable hustling.

A big goal of the Marshal plan was to shape European economies into something that more closely resembled the United States. And we did a "good" job of that, tho I think that Europeans have managed to hold onto a deeper sense of what it means to be a human being in a way that most Americans haven't. Maybe they have their rich history to thank for that. Everyone's heard the joke that Europeans think 100 miles is a long distance, Americans think 100 years is a long time.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Interesting interview with Walter Benn Michaels on his critique of identity politics and the neoliberal left.

https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/walter-benn-michaels-the-trouble-with-diversity-election/Content?oid=24418522

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...

"I'm not defending the democrats or progressives in their self-serving efforts to get minority voters but "identity politics" is just as ubiquitous on the Right. Just look at Trumpism, Bannon, Roy Moore, etc."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
John,

I am not sure what you mean. What about Bannon or Trump's politics falls under identity politics? The rather wild accusations of racism, sexism, and related Hitler-oriented hyperventilation seems to stem from both establishment Dems and Reps. Trumpi and Bannon are not Republicans.

There are plenty of criticisms to level at Trump, but I am not seeing this one. I don't even understand by what definition Trump or Bannon are really "right wing." Certainly not socially.

And while race and class certainly have intertwined in our history, I think class has always been the real issue. The "reverse racism" being granted a platform in the media now is quite interesting in that context.

6:18 AM  
Anonymous Ricardo said...

https://cultureandpolitics.org/2017/12/08/havana-city-of-dreams-underpinned-by-harsh-socioeconomic-realities/

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Another good article here:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/08/the-year-of-the-headless-liberal-chicken/

"Liberals will go back to ignoring politics (except identity politics, naturally) and obediently serving the global capitalist ruling elites that are destroying the planet, and the lives of millions of human beings, in order to increase their profit margins. Sure, there’ll be a brief emotional hangover, once the adrenaline rush wears off and they look back at their tweets and Facebook posts, which in hindsight might convey the impression that they spent the better part of a year parroting whatever insane propaganda the corporate media pumped out at them, and otherwise behaving like Good Americans … but then, that’s what the “delete” key is for."

Also, a good article on Franken:

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/47247-lynch-mob-of-democrats-goes-after-al-franken-in-burst-of-cowardice

don't you just love the USA? Franken resigns, yet a pedophile is gonna get elected in Alabama.

10:01 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

A reading of Will Durant’s analysis on why Rome Fell...the many problems sound familiar.

https://youtu.be/K_vAcaSqWVk

10:21 AM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...

This morning I cried a river when I read the news. God is so cruel nowadays. Instead of the Steinbeck's millionaires whom he prides doling out suffering, he's going after the real rich for the first time.
http://www.businessinsider.com/celebrities-who-have-fled-california-fires-list-2017-12/#chrissy-teigen-1

In a meaningless life the only "value" worth fighting for, looks.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/08/income-inequality-murder-homicide-rates

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-San said...

It's that time of year when all sorts of "best of 2017" are popping up all over the web. Happily "one best of" is well worth reviewing...

https://theintercept.com/2017/12/01/20-intercept-stories-from-2017-that-show-the-kind-of-year-its-been/

One article I found particularly informative and interesting was the interview with Alfred McCoy...

https://theintercept.com/2017/07/22/donald-trump-and-the-coming-fall-of-american-empire/


One quote in particular should warm the cockles of every WAFER's heart this Xmas season... "What I think right now is that, through some kind of malign design, Donald Trump has divined, has figured out what are the essential pillars of U.S. global power that have sustained Washington’s hegemony for the past 70 years and he seems to be setting out to demolish each one of those pillars one by one."

Go Trumpi!

P.S. Are Canadians eligible for full WAFER status? That's what I would like Santa to bring me this year!

2:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anjin-

Yes. Also citizens of SW Bulgaria, NE Chad, and Antarctica (penguins).

Bill-

Well, I suppose there's a diff between being a Reich citizen and a Jew (Mischling or whatever); but I'm quite sure there was a cutoff date for 50% Jews being allowed to be citizens. Surely, at some pt in the 30s, that door closed.

Kashe-

Be sure to read Ray Monk.

John-

Happily, some Wafers tried to straighten things out 4u, but it's extremely hard for an American to let go of identity politics as being the central issue. Steve Bannon had an article some time ago in which he said that he was overjoyed every time progs or the purported left ranted about 'racism', because that left the real field--economics--open to the Trumpites. No dummy, he. Consider also that among the billionaire class, there are many women and blacks (including corporate CEO's) whose focus is money and power, who don't give a crap abt identity politics, and who are only too happy to exploit women and blacks who are poor. I also remember Richard Sennett doing an article yrs back, in which he said that Bill Clinton had cleverly manipulated identity politics among black people so that he cd keep the minimum wage down. As I said, the data aren't on yr side. Personally, I love Jas Baldwin as a writer, but that doesn't chg the socioeconomic situation, the relations of power. Quite simply, Americans (progs in particular) have been sold a bill of gds, and there is absolutely no indication that they are waking up--not even slightly.

mb

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Master of Waferism said...

John - In your first post you gave a good argument that racism is part of the American character and no one is denying that but how has identity politics been working out so fat? Just think of other multiracial countries, like Brazil and Chile, imagine if all they talked about was indian and black rights, instead of how to stop the corruption/end poverty, how freaking annoying and useless would that be? And I understand how people really want to be individuals and have their own opinions, I am like this myself but Dr Berman is very knowledgeable, he is an expert on this and you're not. I mean, you've read maybe 3-10 books your whole life on race in America and all you can do is repeat the talking points you remember from those books. So I think I will go with the guy who spent his whole life analyzing culture than someone who is just interested in race, probably a minority yourself.

I don't mean to be offensive but I don't go and argue with physicists about how they are wrong. If I want to do that I become an expert on physics first, most likely, I would then find out they are actually right and I was wrong. I assume this is why Dr Berman likes to see links that show the decline of America and doesn't allow the blog to become a reddit type thing where people just come and mentally masturbate to opinions.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Personally, I don't like having debates on blogs and social media platforms. I don't think its conducive. I 've been more than gracious to you for your contributions to my intellectual development, I 've mentioned your name and work to friends and colleagues around the world. But, you aren't the only historian or scholar I respect. There are many others and I also cherish my own intellectual inquiry. Like I said, I agree with the fundamentals of your argument but as an autonomous person I have my own life experiences that tend to shape my perceptions just like any other human being. If you respect that, that's cool, if you don't that's cool too. I like different voices and the nuances of social reality around the world but I'm not always going to agree with you or the people on this blog. With all due respect, You were someone I admired greatly, I watched your videos and read your books but without dragging the matter on, I feel like I shouldn't participate anymore. You aren't obliged to respond graciously but it would be nice. Anyway, I'm a few months away from my own departure from the United States and your voice was a big influence on my decision.

You can post this or not but keep up the good work. You have a good blog. I was a WAFER before the term and will continue to be one. I hope I'm not trashed for this post but in any case I wish everyone on this blog, including you, life, health, peace and departure from the United States if you so desire.

Signing out- John

I won't participate anymore but thanks for your voice in the wilderness.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Here's a different twist on the Al Franken matter. Back in 2008, Minnesota COULD have elected a Democratic Senator who was Nobel Prize winner in chemistry who was "an advocate for increased representation of science in government," and oh--didn't going around grabbing women--instead they chose a douchebag, carpetbagger from New York named Al Franken. The Franken scandal was also reaching the drip, drip, drip point where more accusers were lining up to come forward, so I say good riddance. He was never even that funny on SNL.

Meanwhile, here is a true class American act: Florida Mayor Arrested For Using Handicapped Placards Of The Deceased. This story has it all, an entitled douchebaguette politician caught exploiting a dead person and a true "Face of America" mugshot. Trump should really make this woman his new Surgeon General or something. Next to her, he seems almost tolerable.

Here's a place Wafers might want to consider emigrating to: The beautiful Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve. Iceland has the highest percentage of book reading adults in the world--sort of an anti-America if you will.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Gordon said...

When, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now?

Thanks for the reference! What an enjoyable historical tip to explore.

The future of AI in the hands of the Praetorians?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HipTO_7mUOw

3:24 AM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

Zen, Orlov has some interesting ideas, and the technosphere is one of them indeed. I used to read his blog until he started trying to make money out of it and his repeated and inexcusable defense of Putin got on my nerves. I guess almost everybody has a blind spot...

For me, it was the fact that he is pretty much nonstop expressing an attitude towards LGBT people that sounds increasingly cribbed from the Stormfront website, not to mention that he just sounds as though he is becoming increasingly unglued. I really do think I should have taken it as my cue to head for the exit when he declared himself a disciple of Theodore Kazcynski AKA "The Unabomber".

5:00 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

This will surely improve prisoners' morale:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/09/skype-for-jailed-video-calls-prisons-replace-in-person-visits

Kanye

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Esca, note that Deir Yassin is only a few hundred meters from Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial. I highly recommend Ilan Pappe's Ten Myths about Israel. Hell, I thought the Japanese were deluded thinking that the country was created by the Japanese goddess Amaterasu which was taught as fact up to the end of WW II, by the way. Israel's myths are even more delusional and egregious. Hey, let's not cry over Frankin- a complete fraud. His only criticism of the Iraq war is that we didn't send in enough troops "to get the job done." And why the fuck is he doing USO tours-so we should have happy killers? He was also sent to the Democratic convention to vote for Sanders but voted for Botox instead saying the something like the people of Minnesota elected him for his wisdom not to rubber stamp what they want.
Finally, I think Trump, by the Jerusalem decision, leaving the TPP and the Paris climate agreement is signaling that he will not be bound by international constraint. Thus, I fully expect him to attack Iran and possibly North Korea in 2018 especially if Pompeo is chosen as Secretary of State.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

Sorry 2 c.u. go. Meanwhile, here's something to chew on:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/05/class-dismissed-identity-politics-without-the-identity/print/

Master-

Well, I do need to say that I don't consider myself an expert on race, by any means, and as I have said many times b4, I hardly object to contrary opinions, stated politely--which John has done. He certainly doesn't hafta quit the blog, as far as I'm concerned. My only "shrug" when I read his posts is for a certain irony involved: he claims to be autonomous, thinking for himself, while what he has done is reproduce the mainstream echo chamber on identity politics. That seems kind of odd. But he's not alone: most Americans claim to be "individuals": they all just happen to support empire, hustling, torture, drone strikes, the American Dream, and identity politics as cutting edge. Shades of "Life of Brian."

mb

10:42 AM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

'Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house?' - James Baldwin

Just watched HBO docu Baltimore Rising, it's pretty obvious they ain't nothing good gonna come of it. Enlisting the police chief to get more empathetic cops is a hollow goal ignoring the deeper issues but hey we got an African American mayor and police chief so really what more can b done? If ya can't beat 'em join 'em esp when they're cutting their own throat. The only way out is through this bitch and it's gonna suck hard. Like this hard:

https://youtu.be/VBUUx0jUKxc

Dude was white but still the cop wasn't found guilty of anything (parity at last?)

11:13 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

To Protect and Serve

Mesa, Arizona police officer Philip Brailsford was acquited on Thursday of the charge of second degree murder and the lesser charge of manslaughter. In January 2016, Brailsford and fellow officers were responding to reports of a man pointing a rifle out of the window of a room in the La Quinta Inn.

The film clip embedded in the story speaks for itself. Daniel Shaver, the victim, was one of 963 people killed by the police in 2016 according to Washington Post figures.

According to the police report on the incident, Brailsford was carrying an AR-15 rifle with the phrase “You’re F—ed” etched into the weapon.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/12/08/graphic-video-shows-daniel-shaver-sobbing-and-begging-officer-for-his-life-before-2016-shooting/?undefined=&utm_term=.a72fb278fb71&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

Anybody seen Officer Friendly?

1:03 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Dan-

Thanks for adding some perspective to the Al Franken story. Indeed, Franken was a big supporter of the Iraq War, and only began changing his position as he geared up for a Congressional run. It's a myth that Franken is some liberal lion of the Senate. He's basically a moderate, centrist Democrat who fits in quite well in Hillaryland.

John-

We're actually a friendly bunch here, and I wouldn't let the occasional Wafer Rumpus (WR) run you off. One time, I left a comment w/o thinking it thru, and got completely hammered. Did I enjoy having my ass handed to me on a silver plate? No, but guess what? It turned out that I deserved it, and my respect for the blog and its participants actually increased. So, I hope you reconsider your decision to leave us.

Miles

4:20 PM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...

@Transatlantic

Trump and Bannon are absolutely right-wingers and very much conservatives. What they aren't is Republicans. Republicans only have one goal, make their donors richer. Bannon and Trump, on the other hand, are absolute capitalists, being a capitalist already throws you into the conservative/right-wing camp, hence why even Liberals are conservative right-wingers, they just do not know it.

Right-wing has nothing to do with racism and yet is steeped in it, however, all in all, conservatism tends to center around economics first and identity politics second. Conservatives use identity politics but as a means to get people on board with their disastrous policies. Want to get rid of welfare? Insinuate its the minorities getting free stuff at the expense of Society, ie white America.

@John

Identity Politics in the New Left sense is meant to push people away from policy. By focusing on Racism, Sexism, and Genderism it makes these people think that you just have to get rid of social issues in which goverment can't produce a policy to address it. So, lets focus on women presidents, black businness leaders, getting more minorities in positions of power and influence. I mean just look at Herman Cain and Colon Powell, two black men with loads of political power. They must be saints working hard for their people, right? How about Michelle Bachman? She is a woman and so is Sarah Palin, their presence in politics must be making for better lives of women, right?

Oh wait.. no because they are women? Okay how about we get Kamala Harris, she is a woman and black, a win for all oppressed women, right? Oh wait this woman protected Steve Mnuchins business and took money from him. Why aren't all these shining examples of identity politics not producing positive outcomes!! I mean, isn't it all about race and gender?

4:39 PM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Unfortunately, identity politics works because so many people are tribal instead of rational. And it's not limited to the US. I could mention so many current and historical examples that I get depressed just thinking about it.

Which leads to what I have been wondering for so many years. The average levels of ignorance and mindlessness of the human race make it inexplicable to me that there are, or have been, advanced civilizations on this planet at all; civilizations capable of writing the Tao Te Ching or Spinoza's Ethics, of composing The Art of Fugue, of building supersonic planes, reaching the moon and formulating the General Theory of Relativity.

We can understand how civilizations decline, and they do decline so inexorably so often! But can we understand how they appear in the first place? At this point, and you can laugh and call me crazy as much as you want, I believe the most plausible explanation is provided by the likes of Zecharia Sitchin: we are the product of a much more advanced race of intelligent beings.

8:27 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

I’m reading Berlin’s essay on the Counter Enlightenment.

http://berlin.wolf.ox.ac.uk/published_works/ac/counter-enlightenment.pdf

At this point, can we say that the Enlightenment Project WON, and the Counter Enlightenment and Romanticism LOST?

After all, everyone and his brother in college today is studying a STEM subject, and advice abounds from students and parents that you’re an IDIOT if you major in a Liberal Arts & Humanities subject. I read somewhere that during the 1960’s, something like 65% of college students were majoring in liberal Arts & Humanities, and today that figure is about 13%.

Can’t we also make the assertion that most of Socioeconomic Problems today are a direct result of the Rabid SCIENTISM that surrounds us?

Thoughts?

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Mikbeth said...

Morris:

It's been awhile. I don't come here much anymore as it is too painful to be reminded of how awful it is living in the States these days. I ran across this short film on You Tube and it made me think of you. Its about US Citizens who have relocated to Mexico. It was startling to hear everything you have written come out of their mouths.

All the best,

Mikbeth

https://youtu.be/6lYA7c1Pnuo

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Trey said...

Daniel Ellsberg's The Doomsday Machine and Amy Chua's Political Tribes are incredible holiday gifts for the WAFer in your life

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

The UN says US jail officials use tasers as torture devices. Well, duh. Because the supreme crime in the US is to interfere with someone making money, these devices will continue to be sold and their use will expand. The video in this report is sickening. All US citizens should make sure they check their loved ones' car tail lights regularly, to minimize exposure to these sadists.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-taser-un-exclusive/exclusive-u-n-watchdogs-call-for-probe-of-taser-assaults-in-u-s-jails-idUSKBN1E12GR

10:10 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

MB--that identity politics essay was outstanding. The part about college not being the solution really hit home for me. Having graduated in 1989 from a public university and being a small town kid with no connections, I was probably among the last generation to be able to land a high paying professional career based solely upon my academic record and not whose name I could drop. I do think the author is slightly off base about attitudes against being seen as "elitist" supposedly being a big factor in working class kids not wanting to attend college. I knew many such kids growing up--sons and daughters of farmers & factory workers--and in many cases they are just not intellectually equipped for college.

His larger point about how the working class just want to be paid a decent wage for working hard at what they do is spot on. Most of the professional class liberals I know have no clue about the desperate straits of so many working people. Recently my wife, whose hobby is being an equestrian, tried to get her fellow horse boarders at the local riding stable to give their holiday bonus tips to the barn manager early because the woman's car broke down and she can't afford to fix it right now. Not one other boarder did. The idea that the woman who takes such meticulous care of their horses doesn't have enough savings to pay a simple repair bill is utterly beyond their comprehension. After all, they drive brand new BMWs and Lexuses that rarely break down at all. Yet a number of them attended the pussy hat rally in DC, proving that sisterhood is only for those who can afford it.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

As Southern California remains an inferno, there's a bright side--there's economic hustling!

As more than 4,000 firefighters are fighting the Thomas Fire, many not leave empty-handed. Vendors have set up shops outside the Ventura County Fairground's command post. They are selling Thomas Fire themed t-shirts, fire mementos, and much more.

Some of the shirts show sharks since the Thomas Fire is burning near some of the area's most popular beaches, others show firefighters and helicopters with patriotic themes over the Santa Barbara coast.

Even infernos were a hustle in the failed empire.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

"Americans claim to be "individuals": they all just happen to support empire, hustling, torture, drone strikes, the American Dream, and identity politics as cutting edge."
Bar none, that includes OWS, Black-Life-Matters, Progressives, Immigrants and Feminists. All they care for and demand is a share of the (rotten) pie. Walter Benn Michaels argues that social justice is perceived as served if the top classes at Ivy League colleges contain a percentage of women, black people, and Latinos proportionate to the population—ignoring the lack of opportunity for those who don't go to college. Likewise, it's considered a victory if minorities or women become executives at Fortune 500 companies, whether or not workers at those companies are paid a living wage. In other words, liberals are OK with inequality so long as it's diverse inequality.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/another-year-of-american-hilarity/2017/11/22/14e3e304-ce09-11e7-a1a3-0d1e45a6de3d_story.html?utm_term=.a3fc2e2f4d42
"Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) went to Mississippi, to the Nissan plant in Canton, to help the United Automobile Workers with yet another attempt to convince Southern workers of the delights of unionization. The workers, 80 percent of whom are black [Steinbeck's millionaires], voted 2-to-1 against the UAW."

For all the Johns out there, here's Belman in avatar of Glen Ford telling the bitter truth too bitter to swallow.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3-FFcCUMGk&feature=youtu.be
It's appalling to hear that black folks overwhelmingly supported Obanga's 2013 bombing of Syria. Arab lives don't matter.

Comes now this cutie. The prog sure bet to win the next round. How could they lose with this all-in-one lady diversity!?!
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/01/why-the-democrats-will-run-michele-obama-in-2020/

2:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Zar-

Check out the essay entitled "Tribal Consciousness and the Enlightenment Tradition," in QOV.

Nesim-

Gd post, but pls limit in future to half-page max. Thanks.

Note to John-

Well, you said goodbye, then continued to post (2 more times). I think goodbye really does make sense 4u. You are pretty much a brick wall, repeating a mantra about your personal perceptions. You never address the evidence I and other Wafers raise abt the problems of identity politics; evidence is not part of yr world view, apparently. Identity politics generates a lot of energy, of course, and I fear u.r. a typical example of this. Everything is personalized, we don't understand you, etc. Meanwhile, you seem incapable of dealing with the specific issues raised here. So...I do think you were rt to say goodbye, and I'm taking you at your word. But I do want to say that you will find thousands of blogs out there that agree with you, and your mode of dialogue. They will welcome you enthusiastically, and I think you'll find that a lot more satisfying than wasting your time on us. Good luck!

Jeff-

Well, as far as John goes, yr a better man than I am, I hafta admit. But after 2 more posts from him along the same tedious lines abt the imptc of his own perceptions, I think he'd be better off somewhere else. He's not really "in dialogue," so to speak, and this kinda wears me down. I do appreciate your generosity of spirit, however.

mb

2:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/08/books/review-radio-free-vermont-bill-mckibben.html?hpw&rref=books&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Zombies said...

Be kind to even your enemies is some "wisdom" supposedly.

Reminds me of Prague-gnosis Youtube with Terrence Mckenna who interviewed Ram-Dass and RD told the story: "A warlord asked a monk don't you know who I am, I can run you through with my sword".

And the monk replied "Don't you know who I am? I'm the person who would let you run me through with your sword".

Mckenna noted M. Berman in a talk once. I've always thought fake-ness as a form of emotional invalidation is not nice, and that illusions are a luxury. People remember how you make them feel. As Carlin pointed out - "The country is completely full of shit".
Why not point that out always, particularly to lawyers, politicians, progs, professionals, academics, corp douchebags, virus replicants, redundant protoplasm, etc?

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Matt S. said...

Dear Dr.B.

TBH, I think Americans has sacrificed much for this country, but they got absolutely nothing back from the Government. But there has been no intent in this country to create that sort of government. I've always said that America is the only country where politicians compete to run a government precisely because they don't want one. The idea of freedom - the ideology of freedom - in this country is about making the government as impotent and powerless as possible. And whenever the government become powerful enough to do anything, all it ever did was giving back to the rich and to foreign governments that have clout on the Hill. The rich got the climate deals and tax cuts, the Israeli government got GOP's recognition of Jerusalem. What do Americans at large got? Nothing. Zero.

regards,

Matt

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Dill Pickle said...

Wafers-

I'm viewing that video on US expats in Mexico and I'm already green with envy!

Well I have just finished reading a book, Extreme Cities, by Ashley Dawson. She makes a damn good critique of capitalism's utter inability to deal with climate change and she even lauds Occupy Sandy's response to the suffering of the poorer communities in and around New York City after that hurricane hit. She even cites a exemplar of American culture where the Occupy Sandy people in Red Hook and a home-grown association called Red Hook Initiative got shunted aside by the local merchants' association who started their own initiative called ReStore and managed to get all the funding for the area and all the attention from the city government. All the others got was demonization.

On the decline front, the Boston Globe notes that the United States, at least its native-born population, is about to experience a demographic collapse.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

@jjarden:

I think part of the problem with the humanities in college is the way that departments are evaluated. Colleges are run like businesses now and students are consumers with dollar signs on their backs. The idea is to bring in as many student-consumers as possible and to make them happy. Departments are given high marks for having a lot of students taking their classes, having lots of grad students, and bringing in as much grant money as possible.

Given these criteria, how can a department like history or philosophy compete with chemistry or business? The truth is, they can't. If colleges didn't have standards requiring so many credits in the humanities for a typical degree they might already be gone. Now, if the U.S. were an enlightened society, we would say, "Ya know, it doesn't make sense to evaluate a history department the same way we do a chemistry department. The teaching of history is not about producing an endless number of historians, but about imparting an understanding of the past to our students, to make them wiser human beings and citizens. So we aren't going to worry about how many grad students our history department has or how much grant money they are attracting".

I'm sorry to say I doubt anything will change. Colleges with large endowments have some buffer against the decline of the humanities, but for all the rest the bottom line has to be considered. In the US Scientism and the profit motive run hand in hand.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Master of Waferism said...

Have you guys actually seen the demands of black life matters?

https://policy.m4bl.org


This one is specially funny,
"An end to the use of past criminal history to determine eligibility for housing, education, licenses, voting, loans, employment, and other services and needs."

Are these people living in the same world as us? First of all, they don't just discremeate against black crimal history but everyone else's and second of all, we're ALL getting fucked. Now they're gonna be looking at our internet history. Sometimes I wonder if black life matters and identity politics was created by the CIA to make people concentrate on nonsense.

The problem with identity politics is not that it doesn't work but that it does but it is nothing more than a divide and conquer strategy. I read an article a while ago that Obama was trying to push a black senator to run, showing him all the voters he would automatically have for being black. Whatever happened to meritocracy? You know putting people qualified in charge? My guess is that John was a minority himself otherwise he wouldn't be reading books on race which is exactly my point, divide and conquer. Everyone is only interested in things that affect their little group.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

We just had about 2 inches of snow and, as usual, neighbors on both sides of my 94 year old mother's house shoveled their sidewalks but didn't bother to shovel my mom's sidewalk who,by the way, lives alone. By the way, both neighbors are Chinese so you would think given their Confucian culture would respect the aged. Just shows how corrosive this culture is to the soul.

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Mortality from opioid addiction quadruples according to a new study.

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20171204/NEWS/171209959

The richest 1 percent now owns more of the country’s wealth than at any time in the past 50 years.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/06/the-richest-1-percent-now-owns-more-of-the-countrys-wealth-than-at-any-time-in-the-past-50-years/?utm_term=.438d221ea383

8:51 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

From the lawyersgunsmoney blog (“The Failures of American Capitalism”), a link to a Houston Chronicle story of 9 December, reporting the two-day free clinic for medical, vision, and dental care held in a Vietnamese Buddhist temple in Houston. The non-profit sponsors, Remote Area Medical of Tennessee, could only accommodate 400 patients over the weekend clinic.
http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Mobile-clinic-gives-free-medical-care-to-400-in-12419041.php

Commenter “Derelict” wrote on the lawyersgunsmoney blog:
“Conservatives will patiently explain to you that this is the role and purpose of churches and non-profits--to fill in the holes left by unfettered capitalism. And when they're done explaining that to you, they will then explain why it is vital to defund these non-profits by eliminating the tax deductibility of charitable donations below, say, $1 million. Because we can't encourage dependency, you know.”

And how unsettling would a weekend without senseless violence be? This story from Hawaii, reporting the murder of a substitute elementary school teacher on Oahu who was cleaning a vacation rental to supplement her income when two mental defectives chanced upon her and beat her to death with a baseball bat. They spared her eight-year-old child.
http://www.staradvertiser.com/2017/12/09/hawaii-news/suspects-charged-with-brutal-murder-of-north-shore-woman/

10:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Master-

Well, depends on the crime, I suppose. Discriminating against people for a marijuana arrest--that's a legitimate complaint, on the part of BLM. BTW, I read bks on race. Lots of whites probably do; altho in the US, few people read bks of any kind, any more.

Then there's this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UXZJ0O0NHM

mb

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

WAFER Mikbeth--a wonderful video recommendation re: us expat community in Ajijic, Mexico.

It was as if they spoke w/ Dr. Berman and truly understood real living. The expats appeared to "get it" both intellectually and ontologically from the interviews.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...

@Esca

The Problem with America is everything is seen through the lens of race. So, BLM's failing is it tied police brutality to one specific identity. In the past before the Rise of Identity Politics, groups like these would seek to link their struggle with other groups in solidarity. Instead, it all gets focused on identity instead of the actual issue. When I saw the killing of Shaver and how conservatives were making the same excuses and condemnation of the victim despite the victim's race. I thought to myself, "Man, its going to be interesting to see Identitarians spin this.".

People have to understand that the USA is a ZERO-sum nation, it is "rugged individualism" where whatever you get is at the expense of someone else. People are to compete against one another for EVERYTHING. When that thinking bleeds into political discourse and becomes encouraged behavior, what do you expect? If you have to compete just to live then you have to compete against others for your grievances as well.

@MB - Sorry I will endeavor to keep it contained.

@Master of Waferism

Little off base. In America, almost everyone embraces Identity politics. White people drown themselves in it as much as minorities. Also, on the ideal of Meritocracy. No one should want a Meritocracy. The man who coined the term was horrified how people saw Meritocracy as a positive as you cannot have Meritocracy and free democracy. Meritocracy is nothing more than a winner take all system.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Master -- I'm going to take MB's response a step further and say that there is nothing at all "funny" about BLM's demand that people who have already served their punishment should NOT continue to be discriminated against, especially since blacks are about 10 times as likely to go to prison for non-violent offenses as whites are. Any civilized society--which America is not--would give former inmates a chance to show that they have recognized the error of their ways and have been rehabilitated. Conservatives may scoff at that idea, but denying them a chance to get back on their feet just ensures that they'll have no choice but to eventually return to crime.

Nor is there anything "nonsense" about BLM's core demand that cops stop being allowed to gun down black males in the streets with virtual impunity. Blacks absolutely face a stacked deck when trying to get any kind of justice in this country. Just this past week, a cop in Arizona was exonerated by an idiot jury after executing a black man who had done nothing wrong and was lying on the ground with his hands above his head. As with the sexual assault issue, the fact that political correctness and identity politics are out of control doesn't mean that there are not serious abuses going on, and real victims whose lives have been shattered.

Tom S. -- I wonder if douchebag Jeff Bezos had the Post run that story as a form of bragging. :)

5:12 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

MB-

Thanks for the link on chemtrails. Here's how Kurt Andersen dismisses them in "Fantasyland":

"A search for almost any 'alternative' theory or belief generates many more links to true believers' pages and sites than to legitimate or skeptical ones, and those tend to dominate the first few pages of results. For instance, beginning in the 1990s, conspiracists decided contrails, the skinny clouds of water vapor that form around jet-engine exhaust, are exotic chemtrails, part of a secret government scheme to test weapons or poison citizens or mitigate climate change -- and renamed them chemtrails. When I googled 'chemtrails proof,' the first page had nine links, the first seven of those linking to validations of a nonexistent conspiracy."

You see, this is what I mean when I criticized Andersen's for being too one-dimensional, superficial, and evidence of a tendency to overextend his thesis.

I'm sorry you still had to "deal" w/John even after *you* said goodbye. What a putz. When will John come to the conclusion that when John's around, there's no space for anyone else? And yr right, it's probably best for a Diva like him to find another audience.

Miles

6:48 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

On Technodouchebagery. Must be the most unpronounceable Wafer's name ever too!
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/11/facebook-former-executive-ripping-society-apart

Kanye

3:57 AM  
Blogger polecat said...

The hustling of public education - Using the segregation and decline of public schools to make money. What could be more American than the exploitation of the poor to enrich the wealthy?


www.alternet.org/segronomics-cashing-unequal-education-system?akid=16471.2690605.3OL7iX&rd=1&src=newsletter1086285&t=24

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...

Great (and entertaining) piece over at Counterpunch on the events/hysteria of the past year and a half or so.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/08/the-year-of-the-headless-liberal-chicken/

The only part where I think our author trips up a bit is on potential war with the Russians, but the rest is gold in my humble estimation.

Enjoy.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Jilly said...

MB are you a subscriber to chemical trails conspiracy?

Wouldn't have pegged ya as such

9:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I don't really know anything abt chemtrails; I just thought the link was interesting. Not clear where one can go for authoritative/reliable judgment on the subject.

Nesim-

I'm with Bill on this one: I think black people get esp. singled out for arrest, and being gunned down. BLM is saying: hey, this is no joke, people. The real problem with it, as with OWS and any other protest movement in the US, is that it has no staying power. Americans of whatever color or gender just don't know how to organize a viable political movement. (What cd be more pathetic than pussy hats?) As a people, we have as much attn span as Trumpi. Typical scenario: a bunch of black people get shot; there is a great uproar; the murderer is taken into custody; and 2 mos. later, no one can identify who Dylan Roof is. Then a white cop shoots an innocent black man; great uproar ensues; and Da capo al fine. The rt wing, however: *they* know how to organize!

mb

11:34 AM  
Anonymous turnover said...

That video on Ajijic was certainly lovely. Great climate, gorgeous lake and close to Guadalajara. It did have the flavor of an advertorial though.

Any place which is flooded with affluent foreigners is likely to have unpleasant aspects. The video certainly didn't touch on any of that. Also the video didn't have any credits, so we don't know who produced it.

It was posted to YouTube by the China Global Television Network. My guess is CGTN picked it up from the producers as something they could run in their travel programming.

Anybody been to Lake Chapala and have a first hand comment?

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Hux said...

https://theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/11/uk-falls-to-eighth-place-in-good-country-index-below-ireland

A bit eurocentric of a list, but, well, congrats to the Netherlands 4 being the country that – apparently – contributes the most to humanity.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous BH said...

Dr. Berman,

I know you said in one of your videos from years ago to a young man that you are not an activist. You were as polite but firm as could be and he got up and walked out (rudely, in my opinion). However, what do they do in Europe that leads to change in policies and laws that really are changes for the better when there is a problem. It seems Europeans have a better track record bucking power and making power listen to their demands. Not always, but it seems they have better luck than here.

It seems that to me their countries are much smaller and have less resources, so they had to learn to make due with what they had early on, and see to it everyone got something that would allow them to live

They also have a longer history than us, with several succesful rebellions against power and many not so succesful ones. They know the general public is capable of bringing a government down so the government will be wise to listen to their public.

It seems to me that Europeans are much much more educated than we are. I know a man from Britain who is an auto mechanic but you go to his house and he has at least a hundred books written by scholarly types about history, science and so forth. He is always talking to me about some new book or idea he read about. Another lady from Italy reads a lot of religion from around the world and can speak five languages but she only finished high school.

What do you think?

1:18 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

@Dan: Great comments on the Jerusalem embassy situation. I shouldn't , but I find it incredible how there are still people out there who think that the USA is a disinterested "honest broker" regarding the Zionist state and its neighbours, and that it is not in an alliance with Saudi Arabia and Israel. I suppose having media that won't address the issue helps keep everyone in the dark.

At least the governments of most of the civilized world condemn this move by Trump. Unfortunately, the empty yoga mat who occupies the residence of the Canadian prime minister has said bubkes about it.

@ Bill Hicks You continue to be the top contributor to this forum. Thanks for sharing your views on Black Lives Matter.

@ Everyone. I'm not crazy about how John has been treated here. So he said something that goes against the grain? That really doesn't warrant his being chopped up like he has. Yes, identity politics and political correctness are undermining the Left, but we should be able to discuss this without taking cheap shots at each other.

Bisous.
Gregory

1:19 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

Peter Kuznick: Three False Myths Americans Believe :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSjTZ6uC0ZY&feature=share

The more I learn about US history the more clear it becomes that nearly everything children in the USA are taught about the USA is either false, exaggerated or grossly embellished.

The worst thing of all? : I bet that most of Kuznick's college students listen to what he has to say, nod in acknowledgment, and then a couple months later revert back to their childhood conditioning about what this country represents.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

Only thing more pathetic than pussy hats is having material girl Madonna as one of your spokespersons.

Living in blue sky flyover country I see chemtrails all the time - besides water vapor seems like an awful lot of pollution, no trees up there to absorb CO2. 58 million flew out of Denver (18th busiest) last year, what restless people. Amazes me how one of the greatest inventions morphs into a war machine and polluter - it's like crop dusting, except we're the pests.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...

@MB

Oh, I do not disagree that Black Communities get disproportionately singled out. I thought I had taken Bill's side. I Think you mean MoW. There are so many accounts of the abuses and brutality that cannot be denied. However, if you look at the opportunism of BLM set off, Marissa Janae Johnson used the movement as personal hustle, https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/01/safety-pin-box-richard-spencer-neo-nazis-alt-right-identity-politics/

Not just that but BLM is rife with Neoliberal crap. Everything is Sloganized into an Identitarian viewpoint, where people have to repeat the slogans and believe in it. it's awkward, to say the least. The other issue is what Adolph Reed Jr pointed out. While black communities are disproportionately targeted and blacks make a greater number percentage-wise, whites make up near 50% of the gross body count. That fact is never capitalized, in fact, it is largely ignored. The reason is the Zero-sum mentality because, in the end, the need is to center on one group First and then expand once that group gets its issues addressed. Now, BLM has released their views on police reforms and for the most part, I do not see how their proposed reforms are bad, however, I am not critiquing the issues that BLM is confronting only the idenitarian tactics the group has employed.

http://nonsite.org/editorial/how-racial-disparity-does-not-help-make-sense-of-patterns-of-police-violence

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Mictlantecuhtli said...

on the transmission of great oral epics...

something about these studies reminded me that once upon a time we lived in enchantment

Among Filipino hunter-gatherers, "storytelling is valued more than any other skill, and the best storytellers have the most children"

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171205120029.htm

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/12/the-origins-of-storytelling/547502/

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Hulton said...

Interesting photo essay,


https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/dec/10/nigeria-biggest-market-balogun-lagos-lorenzo-vitturi-money-must-be-made

Chaotic capitalism: the human sculptures of Nigeria's sprawling Balogun market.
It is one of the biggest street markets in the world, a sprawling, dazzling city within a city that is frequented by tens of thousands of people every day. Photographer Lorenzo Vitturi reveals how he captured Balogun’s vivid drama for his book, "Money Must Be Made."

3:11 PM  
Anonymous 100 Octane said...

"a cop in Arizona was exonerated by an idiot jury after executing a black man who had done nothing wrong and was lying on the ground with his hands above his head"

For the record, the man murdered by the police officer in Arizona was white (Daniel Shaver). He was married and had two children.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

Eating organic celery is Resistance. Also positive-thinking, bending-over and flag-waving.
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20613:Can-Mindfulness-Help-the-Resistance%3F
"The worse it got, the more the people lied to themselves and the more they wanted to be lied to. Reality was too painful to confront. They retreated into what anthropologists call “crisis cults,” which promised the return of the lost world through magical beliefs." --Chris Hedges

“Meditation is a way to be narcissistic without hurting anyone”. ― Nassim Nicholas Taleb

"I can no more preach nonviolence to a coward than I can tempt a blind man to enjoy healthy scenes. ​..Don’t be a coward and go to jail, because you’re afraid to get killed. Don’t use jail as a pretext to get away from getting killed.​ ​..You better get your skulls cracked. Otherwise, I don’t want to hear from you."​ -Gandhi​

1000 Thanks each to the DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans parties.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QgwEyTUQCU

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Master of Waferism said...

Bill Hicks - I agree with you, my comment was insensitive, I didn't mean it was funny because blacks don't have a point, I meant it because it's never gonna happen. And also they're asking for too much, a better demand would be some type of special bank that gives a chance to ex-felons. The problem with the BLM movement to me is that not a lot of people who aren't black are going to embrace it. Otherwise, the CIA would have teared it apart by now, like they did with the occupy wallstreet movement. But I agree with you, blacks do have unfair treatment in this country. I just don't think the BLM has accomplished anything and won't accomplish anything. They're demanding too much, if I were an African American leader, I would only ask for 3 things, affirmative action, protection against discrimination, and a special type of funding to raise African American children better, from ages 0-3, this is their real problem IMO. I read some articles somewhere I forgot that if you raise a kid properly in those ages, their chances of being incarcerated go down drastically. I think even MB mentions it in twilight.

4:14 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

This is one of the most enlightened and insightful essays I’ve read in a long time...Fantastic essay.

WHY HAPPY PEOPLE CHEAT

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/537882/

4:26 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

On the sexual abuse front, we may now have our first case that is a true witch hunt with the firing of star political reporter Ryan Lizza by the New Yorker despite the fact that the publication has refused to release the results of its "investigation," there has been no due process, there appears to be only one accuser and Lizza vehemently denies the allegations. I say "may" since there hasn't even been any evidence released to support the allegations, so we don't know what the firing is based on.

On the other hand, Lizza has been part of the anti-Trump mainstream media witch hunt of this past year, so it is difficult to whip up a whole lot of sympathy for him. It's as if one of the judges in colonial Salem suddenly found himself being chucked onto the bonfire. Maybe now Lizza will understand why the media wantonly abandoning its norms of careful fact checking in pursuit of Trump is such a big deal--but I doubt it.

Meanwhile, across the pond: France to impose total ban on mobile phones in schools. But that's right, idiot Americans, just keep calling the French "surrender monkeys" and all your other cute derisive terms for that thousand-year-old civilization whose intervention prevented the British from hanging all your beloved Founding Fathers 240 years ago.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Morris, kind of an OT comment here but I was wondering - you have mentioned you don't have a TV, what do Mexicans think of this?

I have thought about giving up my TV for a long time but if you mention that you don't watch TV or don't want to have one here in the States, its assumed you have some kind of mental disorder. A few years ago a guy I worked with figured out I didn't actually watch much TV and literally said to me "If you don't watch TV we got nothing to talk about". He was right, I guess.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Dill Pickle said...

Hi MB and all Wafers!

In case any of you are curious about Extreme Cities, let me warned you about the conclusion which I should have done in my last post (mea culpa). Basically the conclusion shows that the author hasn't learned a damn thing about American culture. Here reasoning in it is leavened with a lot of We-need-to's and We-must's. Granted, the poorer communities self-organised with the help of the remnants of the Occupy movement so they could at least help each other out and other like-minded individuals could give these people a helping hand. But the problem is, getting Americans as a whole to make a big push on the capitalist system to overthrow it or at least to reform it so it wouldn't be such a big hindrance to bettering the lives of the downtrodden masses and saving humanity's place on this planet is a rather tall order! When everybody has to compete against each other for everything including grievances (tip o' th' hat to Nesim Watani) and when most of them think of themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires, the chance of getting them to organise themselves into a mass anti-capitalist movement has the same chance as an icicle in Hell, or herding big cats.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Well, there is so much information and disinformation out there that often you have to go by gut instinct, and I think that chemtrails are probably nonsense, even if I don't have the data. It's so much easier and more effective to poison us via the food. You might remember that another charming quality of Botoxia was that she is Monsanto's bitch.

5:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

Regarding John: the major problem was that he was incoherent. He declared that blogs were a waste of time; said he was signing off; then kept sending in posts. And the posts showed not a glimmer of awareness; he merely doubled down, repeatedly making 2 pts: that we didn't know him personally, and that he had a right to his own perceptions. This gets pretty old pretty quick, imo. It also contributes 0 to the discussion, the more so because he wdn't engage any of the counter-evidence presented. The bottom line is that he wasn't really interested in dialogue, or that his idea of dialogue is very different from ours. My problem was not that he was going against the grain, but that the discussion was getting repetitive and boring. Also, I didn't see Wafers taking any (or many) cheap shots, but I cd be wrong. Personally, I'm not angry (at all), and wish him well.

mb

11:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I'm so excited abt this:

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/13/europe/meghan-markle-christmas-royal-family-intl/index.html

11:43 AM  
Anonymous marianne said...

turnover,

You asked:
"Any place which is flooded with affluent foreigners is likely to have unpleasant aspects. The video certainly didn't touch on any of that"

I was at Lake Chapala several years ago and wouldn't recommend it for retirement. If I'm not mistaken I think there were about 30,000 Americans living there...from the US that is.It had the feel of being taken over by aliens from another planet with so much of the warm, friendly Mexican culture eradicated. And don't think the lake was much to write home about either.

Marianne

12:03 PM  
Blogger Alogon said...

I like stories that give us variations on more than one theme-- in this case, drug abuse and guns.

WHYY Radio Times this morning was an eye-opener as to the devilish details of governing a city rife with crime, corruption, and addiction. A Philadelphia city councilwoman documents over twenty establishments in her district doing business as restaurants with at least thirty seats, but which are such in name only. They do not actually have thirty seats, serve food, or offer rest rooms for customers. They are "restaurants" solely in order to hold a liquor license. Among the few other products that they sell are drug paraphernalia.

Another councilman heard on the show is also concerned and agrees that if these businesses are in violation, they should be shut down. But it seems impossible to do but for yet another irregularity: those that put the cashier behind protective plexiglass violate the zoning code. Restaurants with at least thirty seats are not allowed plexiglass, whereas smaller restaurants are. The councilwoman defends this rule, while the councilman objects to it on the grounds that employees are entitled to some protection from attempted stick-ups, and if they can't have it they will tote guns themselves.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

@ Nesim Watani,

I agree with you regarding meritocracy. Michael Young, who wrote the book that coined the term, later lamented that his literary dystopia was taken by some to be a utopia. Here is a link to the article that Young wrote in 2001 on the subject:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/jun/29/comment

@ BH,

Americans hate reading unless it is something “practical” to help you get ahead. That is why self-help books are so popular here. Reading simply for pleasure or to learn something new is seen as a useless waste of time unless the knowledge you gain can be used to make money or attract a mate or do something else that translates into “achievement.” This attitude is not limited to poor Americans but extends to affluent and well-educated Americans. Some of the biggest philistines I have ever met were wealthy Americans.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Masturbateur dept.:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/thomas-fallon-masturbating-clothes_us_5a2ed507e4b01598ac471016

Landlord Thomas Fallon, 67, snuck into his tenant's apartment and beat his meat on the female victim's dirty clothing.

Miles

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

The Dems are thrilled by their victory in Alabama, but look how close it was-

Jones, Doug Dem 671,151 50%

Moore, Roy GOP 650,436 48%

Total Write-Ins NPD 22,819 2%

5:42 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

100 Octane--yes, the AZ case was indeed a white guy. That's what I get for writing quickly and not double-checking my facts. As Nesim stated, police killings are indeed an across the board problem, but blacks are still getting killed way out of proportion to their percentage of the population. That said, you'll get no argument from me that BLM, like Occupy, has let itself get co-opted and is unlikely to ever result in any effective action. Esca--don't make me blush. :)

Wudu--we have televisions in my house because my wife still watches regularly whereas I limit myself to Netflix/OnDemand and the occasional ballgame. Just today, I was chatting with a former colleague (we're both retired) about current events. He told me he was astonished again as he always is about how much in depth knowledge I have about what is going on. We were at a pub, and I pointed to the teevee and said it's in part because I ignore that and get my information from non-partisan, independent news sites. To his credit, he was not at all dismissive. He isn't a Wafer, but unlike most Americans does at least have a somewhat open mind and is one of the few people I genuinely enjoy talking to about serious issues even though he and I disagree a lot.

Lastly--maybe this is part of why higher education is deteriorating so quickly: English is gradually being eliminated as a college major.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Master of Waferism said...

I don't necessarily like Alex Jones, I think he's a hustler trying to make money out of the Christian Right but sometimes he does do some good reporting. Here is a hilarious video where he goes into the google headquarters and starts recording them, the google workers get mad and he asks them why it's ok for google to film us but we can't film them.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJNO3CCI7rI


Just thought it was good, I wish the mainstream media would do more of this type of journalism and not just leave it to crazy right wing sites. I also think he has a good point about the food we eat killing us but I doubt it's a conspiracy, I think it's more like we're hustling ourselves to death and wouldn't dare regulate the food industry because "they contribute to the economy."

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I went to a basketball game through a Jewish organization last night. Before the game we had a buffet dinner where I met a rabbi. I asked the rabbi if he was going to the game. He said that he wanted to but felt it was more important to go home and light the Hanukkah candles with his children. I thought it was such a beautiful sentiment and took me back to my grandparents who had a deep concern about the feeling of others over themselves; in short, yiddish culture. This to me is what Judaism should be about. I don't need a Judaism with the 14th most powerful military in the world, a Judaism who steals Palestinian lands and kills its inhabitants, who cites scripture to engage in criminal outrage, and who thinks they escape anti-semitism at home by living in suburban ghettos and flaunting their wealth and social status. In short, I consider Zionism the Frankenstein version of Judaism and killed what was most beautiful about our religion.

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Aaron said...

@Esca

"Meditation is a way to be narcissistic without hurting anyone”. ― Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Meditation as it is presented to modern Americans - yes.

Real meditation - no.

The traditional Buddhist meditation on corpses, or the disgustingness of your own body, is not calculated to increase your narcissism.

Traditional Buddhist mindfulness, also, has been corrupted by modern Americans.

It is not "awareness of the moment without judgement", to better engage with the world.

It is to constantly remind yourself that your body, feelings, mind, etc, are not really "you", and that they are all impermanent and not worth taking seriously.

It isn't awareness of the "moment", but of various aspects of your so called self, and it isn't without "judgement", but for the purpose of making you see aspects of your being as not-you, transient, and not worth worrying too much about.

Pretty much the exact opposite of how modern Americans see it.

But as I believe MB among others have noted, modern capitalism co-opts everything to its own purposes sooner or late and makes it stink.

But true meditation is specifically designed as an antidote to narcissism.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Carolyn said...

http://www.newsweek.com/alabama-un-poverty-environmental-racism-743601
ALABAMA HAS THE WORST POVERTY IN THE DEVELOPED WORLD, U.N. OFFICIAL SAYS

ALABAMA!

10:15 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Under the heading “No Shit Sherlock,” this item:
“Another former Facebook executive has spoken out about the harm the social networkis doing to civil society around the world. Chamath Palihapitiya, who joined Facebook in 2007 and became its vice president for user growth, said he feels “tremendous guilt” about the company he helped make. “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” he told an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, before recommending people take a “hard break” from social media.””
https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/11/16761016/former-facebook-exec-ripping-apart-society

And this, reporting the arrest of three Florida worthies for animal abuse. Five months after the offenders had posted pictures of their crime on social media, authorities were able to identify the culprits and arrest them. Two of them have a parent serving as an official in the Manatee County (FL) government. Their offense: illegally “taking” a shark in the Gulf of Mexico, then dragging the shark behind their boat in a reverse Nantucket sleigh ride. Proof of American adaptability and resourcefulness: when there’s no human available to abuse, you can always find an animal to fill the role.
http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/crime/article189453619.html

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Adam Wilkie said...

How kid-friendly urban design makes cities better for all
A new report from Arup argues that child-friendly design is our urban future.
https://www.curbed.com/2017/12/12/16768096/children-cities-urban-planning-arup

Re-enchant the city!

Play. "Designing cities and streets for people is about more than active mobility; it’s also about random, spontaneous play for kids and adults alike."

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Joanna Newnan said...

Lil bit of backdrop on some of the Matt Taibbi controversies floating around out there. Some disappointing behavior, for sure. I really appreciate his journalism :-/ https://www.lareviewofbooks.org/article/legacy-eric-garner-policing-still-going-wrong/#!

Joanna

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Philip said...

Happy Hanukkah Professor and fellow WAFer Jews!


https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:14th_century_Hannukah_lamp_(hanukiah),_France_-_Mus%C3%A9e_d%27art_et_d%27histoire_du_Juda%C3%AFsme.jpg

Feeling historically festive this year, might I recommend this incredible bio!


https://www.amazon.com/Jerusalem-Biography-Simon-Sebag-Montefiore/dp/0307280500/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513283748&sr=8-1&keywords=jerusalem+biography

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Cory Ditman said...

Could a more savvy Wafer than myself break down the FCC ruling? I know it still needs to go to court, is this that big of a deal or just more progressive ado about nothing?

I appreciate it

5:10 PM  
Blogger Mark S Deagle said...

Mr Berman dont waste you time on a fool who is trying to post bs. The sad thing there are so many fools in this country. And because of that fact there is no way the U.S.A. can be saved. They still believe trump cares about them and that the tax cut is for them lol.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Perun said...

Hi Dr. B and wafers!

An anecdote on the cultural decay that has spread to India from a colleague who just returned from Gujarat:

He went to 4 weddings over the course of a month and said that a few of them hired pop singers to come in and entertain the massive party. The size of the crowd is a status symbol for many, so the weddings ranged in size from 300 - 2000 people. He remembers going to weddings as a kid where all of the relatives would contribute to the musical entertainment together. They used to feel festive and brought the whole family together. Now, most of the guests don't even know each other and spend time on their phones once finished with their food. Thousands of years of tradition melting away in just 2 or 3 decades.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

This uncontrolled meat-beating has got to stop. I also wonder how much of it was going on in the last days of the Roman Empire.

Meanwhile, here's a great snapshot of American politics: a film called "Miss Sloane." 1st-rate.

mb

6:49 PM  
Blogger Megatron Prime said...

Discouraging news from the economic front:

4.6 million Americans have defaulted on federal student loans

Home ownership at lowest level since 1965

The rise of tent cities

So much economic despair and yet we keep being told that the economy is doing great. Progs claim the booming economy is because of Obama, Trumpsters claim it's evidence of how he's leading America back to greatness. We truly are a nation of morons.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Joanna-- it appears that the Taibbi is legitimately the victim of a sexual abuse witch hunt. The allegations against him were pushed into the spotlight by a alt-right troll who objects to Taibbi being one of the few true progressive voices in the MSM. The allegations are based on satirical stories about sexual harassment that Taibbi and Mark Ames wrote for The Exiled in Russia back in the 1990s. No women have come forward to accuse Taibbi or Ames of actually doing what the claimed they were doing in their gonzo journalism pieces (just as had Hunter Thompson done as many drugs as he claimed in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas he never would have lived to write the book). In addition the two Russian women staffers who worked for Taibbi and Ames were recently contacted by Paste Magazine and said they were never subjected to any improper behavior. Sadly, the damage Taibbi has suffered to his career is an example of how all common sense has been thrown out in evaluating these allegations--let alone any sort of due process. Hope that helps.

Meanwhile, another example of how BLM's core issue is absolutely legitimate: Police video shows girl, 11, screaming as officer points gun at her, cuffs her. No extra credit for guessing what she the girl is. Oh--and they were looking for a 40-year-old woman. Eh, close enough.

And, as higher education crumbles, those most responsible are profiting handsomely: The chief executives of 59 private colleges and seven public universities took home more than $1 million in total compensation in 2015.

8:18 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

In any given population there has to be someone who fits the description of the dullest pencil in the box. Amongst the brilliance of the Wafer community I may be that person.
There aren't enough hours in a day to read but a fraction of books and articles linked here on the greatest blog in the known universe but I'm doing my best to keep up. Thanks to you, MB and all Wafers, you made 2017 bearable.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

comrade-

2018 will be even better, I promise you.

perun-

Pretty horrible indeed. BTW, always capitalize Wafer. Thank you.

mb

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Master of Waferism said...

Tom Servo - Thanks for the link, "The Rise the Meritocracy" looks like a great book. Maybe it predicted what is happening now even better than 1984 and "Brave New Word," I'll have to read it and see though. And I agree with you that meritocracy has a lot of negativities but America acts as if capitalism is a meritocracy(even though it's not) and I just thought it was hypothetical how politicians get votes just because of their race.


Anyways this is a great article on the effects nafta had on Mexico.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/11/health/obesity-mexico-nafta.html


" average wages have fallen to $15,311 in 2016 from $16,008 in 1994"


America's gift to Mexico, 30%+ obesity rate, makes you then wonder why Mexico is so scared of nafta ending? Certainly not because Mexican politicians are worried about the well being of the general population

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Zen Citizen said...

Aaron: Your remarks about meditation practice fostering a way of being that is counter to narcissism are truthful and beautifully put. From the Genjo Koan by Dogen Zenji, the founder of the Soto Zen lineage: "To study the Buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self."

Deep bows.

1:14 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Re: The end of English majors. This may not be entirely a bad thing. All sorts of eras are lost to history because they are revealed as empty in later centuries. I am glad the Italians of the Renaissance abandoned their medieval scholia for the Venus de Milo.

19th century Brit lit sadly is NOT sufficient to our current historical challenges, largely created as a legacy of the Victorian mentality. Advocates of culture will get nowhere by guilting people into reading intrinsically important, politely British 'classics'.

In this era of universal cynicism, the works of Plato still inspire awe in me. His perspective still defines what it means to be a self-aware human being. In over 2000 years nobody has come up with anything more stimulating and utterly brilliant. "The good man cannot be harmed"- Plato was the ultimate anti-pragmatist, who demonstrated the basic unreality of all hustling behavior.

3:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dio-

I loved "Middlemarch," actually. Also a lot of Dickens. And then there's Shakespeare, and Keats, and...

mb

3:36 AM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...

RE: Taibbi

Can't say I buy the latest spin. While I respect some of what Matt has done in going after vulture capitalism, Paste is anything but impartial/apolitical, the comments from the women are useless to the reader since the individuals not fully identifying themselves/on record, and then there is the note on the book in which it is claimed that the stories are true. Who knows, but doesn't pass the smell test, IMO.

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Joanna said...

Transatlantic: I believe Taibbi has apologized, hasn't refuted

10:17 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I must disagree with your assessment of the validity of studying 19th-century British literature, DioGenes. I'll take a wild guess and assume you don't read much 19th-century lit.

I take this personally, as I spent a few years in grad school immersed in the subject. My focus of study was what Raymond Williams calls "Industrial Novels." If you can make an argument that books such as Mary Barton, North and South, Hard Times, Alton Locke, Sybil, Germinal, and essays such as "Signs of the Times" and "Chartism" have nothing to tell us today, I'd be interested to hear it.

I'll leave you with the passage from Engels' The Condition of the Working Class in England 1844 that was the catalyst for my interest in the subject:

"I once went into Manchester with such a bourgeois, and spoke to him of the bad, unwholesome method of building, the frightful condition of the working-peoples quarters, and asserted that I had never seen so ill-built a city. The man listened quietly to the end, and said at the corner where we parted: 'And yet there is a great deal of money made here, good morning, sir.'"

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Jerome said...

The African Enlightenment

The highest ideals of Locke, Hume and Kant were first proposed more than a century earlier by an Ethiopian in a cave

FANTASTIC!

https://aeon.co/amp/essays/yacob-and-amo-africas-precursors-to-locke-hume-and-kant

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Vince said...

Hello Dr. Berman,

I trust that you are well. I have not posted in quite a while. But after reading this piece in the Guardian,

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/15/america-extreme-poverty-un-special-rapporteur

I just felt compelled to do so. Below is a quote from a homeless person concerning the "american dream".

A 41-year-old woman living on the sidewalk in Skid Row going to make it?

“Sure I will, so long as I keep the faith.”

What does “making it” mean to her?

“I want to be a writer, a poet, an entrepreneur, a therapist.”

Tens of thousands of homeless people in Los Angeles alone. Many living in tents. The pictures of peoples sleeping in churches are scenes right out of Soylent Green. Very scary.

Vince I

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Robots are being used to deter homeless people from setting up camp in San Francisco:

http://uk.businessinsider.com/security-robots-are-monitoring-the-homeless-in-san-francisco-2017-12

11:57 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

USA,USA!

A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/15/america-extreme-poverty-un-special-rapporteur?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard

1:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Unknown-

I don't post Unknowns. You need a real handle, e.g. Clarence V. Toiletswab, M.D.

Golf-

Kinda lame. Serious robots wd be programmed to kill the homeless.

Kanye, Vince-

I just wanted you guys to know I just dashed off a letter to Trumpo, referring to the robots in SF, and suggesting he weaponize them to kill poor people described in the Guardian article. "*This*," I told him, "is the most efficient way to end American poverty, and make American great again."

mb

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Vic Bold said...

Are you referring to Dr Vic Bold at gmail? Have I been approved?

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Gooding said...

"World’s wealthy elite has its origins in the first landowners to use oxen and horses, a global study has found"

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/dec/10/super-rich-elites-inequality-origins-ancient-farming-mckie-anthropology-society

^Exhume them and give them tax breaks.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Shaneka Torres Front:

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/crime/woman-who-shot-into-mcdonalds-over-bacon-less-burger-to-stay-in-prison/483194419

Unfortunately, Shaneka's appeal has been denied and she will remain incarcerated.

Meanwhile, a massive violent brawl broke out inside another Michigan McDonald's last night:

http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2017/12/14/massive-brawl-breaks-out-at-mcdonalds-in-michigan.html

Miles

4:47 PM  
Blogger Alogon said...

>Longtime Met Opera conductor James Levine has had a 4th man come forward with sexual misconduct/abuse accusations.

Sorry, Mike, but I have trouble buying that a 20-year-old who begins a relationship with a 25-year-old and maintains it for several years is a victim of sexual abuse. The very term has become a kind of Orwellian bandwagon, and here we see it pushed to a new extreme. As Ernest M. Skinner observed, what looks like a bandwagon is liable to be a hearse.

If Mr. Ifsich had anything valuable to say, he could have said it sooner. I don't want to excuse Mr. Levine's tasteless indiscretions. But it looks to me as though Ifsich, and to some extent the other 'whistleblowers' just waited until the maestro, as a retired and wheelchair-bound septuagenarian, could be of no further use to them.

As a WAFer, I'd recommend the thought of René Girard as an insightful tool in analyzing societies in agony. It is particularly applicable to scandals like this one.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

That brawl was inspiring; I just wish that all the participants had been properly armed. Children pull hair; adults kill. As for our hero Shaneka: what a shame. If she had gotten out, I wd have given her an entire arsenal and told her to express her opinion of baconless burgers in no uncertain terms.

Vic-

I haven't the foggiest idea of what yr talking abt.

mb

5:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Alogon-

Well, I don't doubt that folks like Harvey Weinstein are pigs, but I think Woody Allen was rt to caution abt a witch hunt. It's starting to look like all men are predators. Hell, maybe they are. What then? But from a declinist pt of view, it's all gd. If we're at the pt that saying hello to a woman is equivalent to grabbing her ass, and flirting equivalent to rape, then relations between the sexes will be so strained as to make love impossible. Something like this has happened in Japan, as I discuss in "Neurotic Beauty." The positive declinist view is that these severely strained relations will (like the cell fone) tear at the fabric of society, accelerating our decline. A # of forces are converging so as to make normal human interaction largely impossible. Society reduced to hustling, nothing more.

mb

6:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This pathetic little turkey is exactly the type of person we need in governmental positions of great responsibility:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2017/dec/15/trump-judicial-nominee-cant-answer-basic-legal-questions-at-hearing-video

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

MB I know I am breaking the 24 hour rule, but I think you will make an exception.

Miles and other Wafers,

Here is a link to the story locally about the McDonald's brawl.

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2017/09/12/dearborn-mcdonalds-manager-fired-after-fight/656897001/

It is close to home. That was on the east side of Dearborn. I used to live there about 19 years ago. I moved to the west side of Dearborn some time ago. I can tell you that there were probably a dozen or so police vehicles outside of that place in no time. On the west side people would have had their asses dragged to jail.

Read the comment about the person complaining about the food / service. That should tell you everything you need to know about what it is out there nowadays.

Looking for some place quieter to live.

Vince I

8:30 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Transatlantic--Taibbi and Ames have made powerful enemies all across the globe, from Vladimir Putin to the Koch Brothers, to Wall Street Banksters, to Malcom Gladwell, to the right wing cabal that funded the rise of the Tea Party. Needless to say, wealthy, powerful assholes like that will stoop to any level to silence their critics. Ames has actually NOT apologized for what he and Taibbi wrote in The Exiled, and unless a real live credible victim or two steps forward to demonstrate that it was indeed more than just the exaggerations typical in gonzo journalism, I say good for him for sticking to his guns.

This is the type of writing we will lose if Taibbi and Ames are indeed silenced by their enemies:

"If the left wants to understand American voters, it needs to once and for all stop sentimentalizing them as inherently decent, well-meaning people being duped by a tiny cabal of evil oligarchs—because the awful truth is that they’re mean, spiteful jerks being duped by a tiny cabal of evil oligarchs. The left’s naïve, sentimental, middle-class view of “the people” blinds them to all of the malice and spite that is a major premise of Middle American life. It’s the same middle-class sentimentality that allowed the left to be duped into projecting candidate Obama into the great progressive messiah, despite the fact that Obama’s record offered little evidence besides skin pigment to support that hope."

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Dominic said...

Soon, if we're not careful, this sort of censorship will be fully automated: built into the substructure of our emerging AI systems. http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/15/google-is-using-its-immense-power-to-censor-content-that-doesnt-fit-its-political-goals/

9:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dominic-

Check out Dave Eggars, "The Circle."

Bill-

"...the malice and spite that is a major premise of Middle American life." Cd it be that a few far-sighted journalists are starting to realize what I've been saying all along? That the American people are not decent and well-meaning, but are actually mean, spiteful jerks? Progs do everything they can to avoid recognizing this basic fact, because once they take this info in, there simply is no other conclusion but Game Over. (Add to this the fact that Americans are also dumb as shit. MLK once said that the worst possible combination was anger and stupidity.) So we have a lunatic in the White House, a judicial nominee who knows fuck-all abt the law, and the masses brawling over cheeseburgers. Who in their rt mind cd harbor the slightest sliver of hope for the US?

mb

10:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/are-we-rushing-to-judgment-too-quickly-on-sexual-harassment/2017/12/15/9f68b5d6-e1dc-11e7-bbd0-9dfb2e37492a_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-f%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.d8546ee3c889

10:35 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Obviously I appreciate the serious study of any literature, but I think the idea of an "English" major may be rather limiting. I suffered through Graham Greene, Jane Austen, and Charlotte Bronte in high school, and would have had no interest in literature if it was only 'English'. I do enjoy some English writers, especially Chaucer and Wordsworth, but English authors tend to simply describe life rather than imagine what it might be. It is more journalistic than idealistic. Compare Anton Chekhov and George Bernard Shaw, two playwrights of roughly the same period, to observe this point.

As a classical philologist, I am obviously also biased towards ancient literature, but for good reason. The rare and great quantum leaps of the human soul happened then, and still have not really been fully processed. Sappho invented the love poem. The sheer guiltless innocence of her sexuality is almost tragically enviable. Read Sappho and then considers what passes for sex and love today. Plato invented dialectics and moral disputation. I am not quite sure anybody should do anything other than read Plato over and over and try to recapture the vision of human nobility he started.

2:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Master-

2 problems: 1st, a bit long; we have a half-page-max rule here. 2nd, you sent yr message to an old post. No one reads the older stuff. Be sure to send to most recent post. Thank you.

mb

6:08 PM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

Dear fellow Wafers,
Happy Winter Solstice and enjoy whatever holiday/s you celebrate (or choose not to).
I would like to think that 2018 can't be any worse than 2017 but I'm not delusional.


Meanwhile, check this out: "There is a myth of exceptionalism in America that prevents it from looking outward, and learning from the world. It is made up of littler myths about greed being good, the weak deserving nothing, society being an arena, not a lever, for the survival of the fittest — and America is busy recounting those myths, not learning from the world, in slightly weaker (Democrats) or stronger (Republicans) forms. Still, the myths stay the same — and the debate is only really about whether a lightning bolt or a thunderstorm is the just punishment from the gods for the fallen, and a palace or a kingdom is the just reward for the cunning."
https://eand.co/what-do-you-call-a-world-that-cant-learn-from-itself-58ae28cefd23

12:24 PM  
Blogger polecat said...

This is a continuation of a recent post (1 minute ago) that may have been sent by mistake.

While passage of the tax "reform" bill is frightening for Americans concerned with paying rent and utilities, that's not the scariest part of what happened on Wednesday. After passage, the Christian idiot Ben Carson led the Cabinet in prayer, which included offering thanks “for a President and for Cabinet members who are courageous” and “for the unity in Congress that has presented an opportunity for our economy to expand.”

Following the prayer, Trump called on his favorite sycophant Mike Pence. Pence dutifully offered thanks for the President’s “middle-class miracle”, adding that he was
“deeply humbled, as your Vice-President, to be able to be here.”

Later in the day, the Republican leaders of both houses of Congress, the
Vice-President, and other Republican politicians gathered at the White House to offer praise to their Great Leader, Orange Julius.

Diane Black, of Tennessee, thanked Trump “for allowing us to have you as
our President.” Orrin Hatch predicted that the Trump Presidency will be “the greatest Presidency we have seen not only in generations but maybe ever.” Pence puckered his lips and while kissing Trump's ass (not an easy thing to do while talking at the same time) offered, “*You* will make America great again.”

This is the kind of sucking-up reserved for dictatorships not a supposed democracy.
And that is why it is the scariest part of Trump’s big tax triumph.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

pole-

I never got your 'recent' post, but I'm beginning to see the problem: yr not playing by the rules of the blog. Yr probably OK on the time rule, but we have a space rule as well: half-page max. The above post is a bit too long. 2nd: do not send messages to old posts; no one reads them.

This might help.

mb

7:21 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

A great summary:

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/a-year-of-sexual-unfreedom/20671#.Wj4tj0tG0Wo

Kanye

5:21 AM  

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