May 05, 2019

Reality Avoidance

It’s quite amazing how the news is endlessly about race, or gender, or an election that is 1.5 yrs away. Filler, is what I call it. Very little of this has anything to do with reality, which the Mainstream Media and the American people avoid like the plague. What then is real?

1. The empire is in decline; every day, life here gets a little bit worse; all our institutions are corrupt to varying degrees; and there is no turning this situation around.

2.A crucial factor in this decline and irreversibility is the low level of intelligence of the American people. Americans are not only dumb; they are positively antagonistic toward the life of the mind.

3.Relations of power and money determine practically everything. The 3 wealthiest Americans own as much as the bottom 50% of the population, and this tendency will get worse over time.

4.The value system of the country, and its citizens, is fundamentally wrong-headed. It amounts to little more than hustling, selfishness, narcissism, and a blatant disregard for anyone but oneself. There is a kind of cruelty, or violence, deep in the American soul; many foreign observers and writers have commented on this. Americans are bitter, depressed, and angry, and the country offers very little by way of community or empathy.

5.Along with this is the support of meaningless wars and imperial adventures on the part of most of the population. That we drone-murder unarmed civilians on a weekly basis is barely on the radar screen of the American mind. In essence, the nation has evolved into a genocidal war machine run by a plutocracy and cheered on by mindless millions.

Most Americans hide from these depressing, even horrific, realities by what passes for ‘the news’, but also by means of alcohol, opioids, TV, cell fones, suicide, prescription drugs, workaholism, and spectator sports, to name but a few. This stuffing of the Void is probably our primary activity. In a word, we are eating ourselves alive, and only a tiny fraction of the population, recognizes this.

-mb

182 Comments:

Anonymous singing sam said...

TV News programs, like all other American businesses, are driven by ratings/product purchases. Higher ratings increase ad revenues which increase bottom lines. Decisions about what to report (what qualifies as "news) are determined by what producers think will attract the most viewers. That CBS's viewership skyrocketed when it began covering the Trump campaign 24/7 caused its executives to rejoice, regardless of what it has meant for the rest of the country.

The major 5 media outlets (80% of American media companies are owned by 5 super-corps) broadcast whatever sells. That's why I've always cautioned blaming them for what passes as journalism in America. They give the American people what they want and what we want is more and more spectacle, division and violence. Anything but reality which would destroy our cherished illusions about ourselves and leave us with the truth about who we really are, including the 5 mentioned by MB. A nation tethered to the pursuit of nothing but MONEY is not only a danger to itself, but to the whole of creation.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

I must correct a glaring error in my last post on the employment statistics from the BLS.

I wrote: “I might add a point to the earlier discussion of the newly published employment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: they do reflect the numbers of people who have abandoned the job search altogether.”

The missing word is NOT. The employment figures “do NOT reflect the numbers of people who have abandoned the job search altogether.”

It’s so hard to find competent copy editors these days.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. MB and all Wafers worldwide:

One of the more unfortunate outcomes of trumpism is the complete and total destruction of Planet Earth. I'm speaking of Climate Change,
of course. I urge my fellow Wafers to read David Wallace-Wells' book: "The Uninhabitable Earth" subtitled"Life after Warming".

The fact that global warming is caused by the combustion of fossil fuels ( almost entirely human ) which releases CO2 into the atmosphere forming a thin layer of greenhouse gas is now regarded as a “Sigma Six” level of understanding. That is to say, it’s regarded as a 99.995% certainty . Why so high? Because the math and physics are over 100 years old ( having been replicated tens of thousands of times ) and all other explanations are discredited by science.

Climate Change is here, now. The impacts of Climate Change will be far worse and much graver than most people expect.
trump is merely adding fuel to the fire, and yes, it's an existential threat to life on Earth.

The main variable is future human actions.


7:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

trout-

All of this antedated Trumpi by decades, as you suggest. As far as CC goes, it looks like the train left the station many yrs ago. Not clear what we can do now, exactly...but who is 'we'? It's clear what the corporations are doing...

mb

7:45 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@singing sam--even worse, those 5 "supercorps" all have as part of their corporate empires major war contractors, which guarantees that very little reporting of America's atrocities around the world ever get reported in any forum that matters. It's also why there are so many former senior military officers providing what passes for news "analysis" these days--they are carrying the water for their old academy buddies who do the lobbying that keeps the gravy train flowing. Perversely, however, the big bucks for these contractors are in high end weapon systems that are largely useless in fighting 21st century wars (when they work at all), which is a big part of the reason why America can't win any of these brushfire wars it starts. But no matter, it was reported recently by several major DC auditing firms that the Pentagon cannot account for around $21 trillion in funds going back to the 1990s--yet the story caused barely a ripple in the "news" cycle. Gee, I wonder why?

This story is one of the most horrific examples of Americans going haywire I've read yet: As a drunk Jennifer Hart drove her six adopted children in their family SUV, her wife, Sarah, sat in the passenger seat looking up different ways to end a life. Not the type of story progs want to hear--these two monsters were lesbian "moms" who adopted minority children and whose record of child abuse went back a decade, yet they kept on "collecting" children and moving around to avoid the child welfare agencies catching up with them while the pressures of being American drove them slowly off the deep end.

8:22 PM  
Blogger CB said...

Incivility has run amok here. It was either you or Hedges that stated Americans live in a psychological slum. There is evidence of that everywhere. Many daily interactions with other people are snarky, hostile or dismissive. Occasionally, a positive or genuine interaction will restore a little faith in humanity. I really don't think Americans have any idea how nasty they sound or behave towards others. My daily struggle to stay positive continues...

8:41 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Excellent essay MB, I was going to wait to post a thoughtful response but watched a segment on 60 Minutes about a different kind of dementia. As you've said in the past some Americans really are brain damaged - so much so as to alter physical brain structure. It's true that tv is all bs and it's interesting to me the entire emphasis in this 'news' story portrays this illness as something inevitable for some people but actual causation? What's that? I love the brain dissections and big money research of course trying to discover a cure (ie a new pill) but no one asks the simplest question 'why is this happening?'

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/frontotemporal-dementia-devastating-prevalent-and-little-understood-60-minutes-2019-05-05/

8:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

CB-

It was Philip Slater, in (I think) his bk "The Pursuit of Loneliness," 1970. Quite prescient.

Bill-

Interesting to contemplate: a 'lost' $21 trillion. Jesus Mary and Joseph.

mb

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

CB: I'm afraid your struggle may remain a solo one, except for the blog and books of course. I've been 'round these parts for over 10 years now and unfortunately being a WAFer can be a bit isolating.

WAFers, I logged into Netflix, looking for Idiocracy (not there) but saw the current promo, a film called Knock Down the House about the new crop of Prog Women Congresspersons. OK, great. I am a huge fan of knocking out the old and giving the new a chance. AOC? OK, but ... frigging DO something. Alas, the prog dream (and conservative dream too) of a "savior" which will do everything for them so they don't have to do anything is still out there.

Also, at the bar this afternoon, the Aeroflot plane crash showed up on the TV. 40 people burned up, and the prevailing sentiment, they're Russians, who cares? I cried in my beer a little...

9:27 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Gunnar - trying to watch that on super-slow Silicon Valley internet is torturous, but thank goodness there's the transcript right there. I always thought FTD was a florist, but this is pretty scary.

MB - Here I am for my once-every-odd-numbered-day post. I went to a festival in Japantown today and it was really nice being around people who as a rule are friendly and polite and you never see hitting their kids etc. I played my shakuhachi a bit and had an old guy (who was maybe in an internment camp who knows) come up and said it sounded good, keep it up, etc. Really encouraging. The taiko drumming was fantastic.

Near me a really large metals recycling place has a note on their gate; pay rent or quit. It even says the amount, a bit over $20k. So much winning ...

11:11 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

POOP 💩 for BRAINS 🧠


https://www.foxnews.com/us/oregon-revenge-dog-poop-bomb

11:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

alex-

Just post once every 24 hrs, and you'll be fine.

John-

Sorry, cdn't run it. "Ring a bell?" is a put-down, a personal insult. You can certainly disagree with Wafers and argue with them, but if you want to be part of the conversation, you can never insult them. Respect shd be yr watchword.

Pastrami-

https://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/Idiocracy/70028899

mb

12:27 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Well said, especially #3 about the relations of power. And 90 more theses and you can nail them to some a church door somewhere in Texas!

Thrasymachus would be a big hit here. That might makes right is a kind of self-evidence. In some ways you have to blame democracy for this, or at least democratic culture as we have it. As every American child knows, "Majority rules!"- if you can get a big enough mob to agree with you, you can do anything.

If I may add a thesis- Precisely because the American disdains poetry, she embraces marketing. The stunted imagination is especially vulnerable to the fantasy life.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dio-

Just as a ps: while we were busy murdering 3 million peasants in Vietnam, 94% of them not only read poetry--they wrote it. Most of the American soldiers who were doing the killing had no idea of what poetry even was. Postwar, rate of illiteracy in VN was 0.6%; in Detroit, 47%.

mb

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Thanks to Wafer Michael Burgess for linking to Paul Craig Roberts in the last post. Roberts has another good piece on the economy. Roberts points out that most of the new jobs being created are in the low-wage service sector.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/05/03/apres-moi-le-deluge/

I think this is at least one reason why the supposedly great Trump economy doesn’t feel so great. People need multiple jobs now just to make a living. Eventually I think even many good jobs will be offshored or automated out of existence. Most people will probably be reduced to gig workers or low-wage service workers in the future if they even have a job.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Something old, something new...

The United States Army, in year 18 of the Afghan war, has decided that what’s missing is a new look for its troops.

“The right uniform immediately exudes trust and power — it’s a shorthand that says, ‘Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing,’” Ms. [Jennifer] Craik [professor of fashion at Australia’s Queensland University of Technology] said. “Imagine the opposite: If you got on a plane and the pilot turned up in jeans and a T-shirt, you might get right off.”

An effective military uniform, she said, has to be distinctive but also immediately recognizable, and the best designs should reflect an institution at its best.

“That’s why I think they decided to go back to the old style,” she said. “World War II is seen as a just war, a good war. This uniform says, ‘We are the good guys.’”
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/05/us/new-army-greens-uniform.html

NPR, reaching for the stars, chooses new theme music. ‘Cause what says “We do serious shit here” more than a catchy tune?

The new theme is intended to attract a younger and more diverse audience, while also aligning with the evolution of “Morning Edition” into a newsier program, said Kenya Young, the executive producer.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/05/automobiles/npr-morning-edition-theme-song.html

9:07 AM  
Anonymous El Regio said...

Spot on MB. Beware news and especially citing news. Why bother with so called news anymore--we all know the situation correct--though news can be entertaining (local events and anything having to do with Florida or Joe Biden). Cell phones and news do not work on model of information--they work on an addiction model where you get a dopamine hit. Nothing like a bit of anger or other altered emotional state brought by dopamine. Try avoiding all news (esp TV) for a few weeks and then tune in--you will be freaked out just as like a recovering alcoholic walking into a sports bar. If institutions are not solving problems then they create distractions to survive......I think that was Herb Simon...

10:11 AM  
Anonymous turnover said...

Hi Pastrami and Coleslaw -- you can watch Idiocracy here:

http://putlocker.com.de/watch-idiocracy-openload-332.html

the putlocker site is a bit awkward, with lots of pop ups and repeated clicking needed to get it to play, but it works. Plus putlocker has just about any movie you want.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

speaking of reality avoidance:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/06/human-society-under-urgent-threat-loss-earth-natural-life-un-report

You forgot 6. MB: "While 99.9% of the population will keep wallowing in their own douchebaggery, Wafers will be the Last Men Standing and will keep living a good life."

O&D!

Kanye

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Jane said...

Nordic & Morris Berman:

No surprise here

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/06/climate/biodiversity-extinction-united-nations.html

11:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This cd be gd:

https://www.amazon.com/Mean-Girl-American-Critical-Histories/dp/0520294777/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1G75LUA3LRI2N&keywords=mean+girl&qid=1557160079&s=books&sprefix=mean+girl%2Cstripbooks-intl-ship%2C235&sr=1-2

Kanye-

If they can, amigo; if they can.

mb

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

The intellectual flaws of USA can be found in what the computer has done to what is
amusingly called higher education, namely, "just give me the data and do not confuse
me with larger related matters and abstract thought," and the popular mindlessness
found in fundamentalist ChristINANITY, perhaps as much as 40% of the benighted
population. The cure for all this is thought to be in the disease itself, an
abundant faith in artificial intelligence and automation. It is fair to say that
the last remnants of mind can be found ONLY in a public library.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Bill, I don’t think the U.S. intends to win any of the wars it starts. The point is to be endlessly at war so as to justify the budget and, I’m sorry to say, inflict as much pain and misery throughout the world as possible. I’m not religious, nor am I foolish enough to be an atheist, but the 2016 Gotthard Base Tunnel opening ceremony, which was attended by Merkel and Hollande among others, encapsulates what we’re faced with:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-TKQaqml6k

The meat and potatoes explanations given for the obvious would satisfy only those without two brain cells to rub together.

James, I mistakenly asked a question about the BLS on the last post - thanks for clarifying.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sar-

Our wars are also ways of distracting ourselves from our emptiness, as well as of simply projecting power, wh/creates the illusion of security (while having the opposite effect). The result is that we are hooked on them in a self-reinforcing, vicious circle; a system in 'runaway', as it were.

mb

3:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is an interesting essay, but I'm more concerned abt 2024 than 2020:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/06/politics/donald-trump-2020-election/index.html

Speaking as a declinist, what needs to happen beyond Trumpi getting reelected in 2020, is a decision to cancel the election of 2024 and declare himself President in Perpetuity. The country will collapse with or without this development, of course, but cementing a dictatorship can only help the process, it seems to me.

mb

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Charlie said...

"https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/05/03/unemployment-is-year-low-it-might-drop-lot-further/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_economy-650pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory-ans&utm_term=.fe151a287f07

This is gd news, in that it will make Trumpi that much harder to defeat in 2020. He seems to be doing more for the poor and the working class than the Dems have ever done, New Deal excepted. And this was part of his pledge--and it looks like he's making gd on it. But the bad news is that he's supposed to be destroying the country, and this is having the opposite effect! What do you guys think? If he is actually going to improve our situation, then what's the pt of reelecting him?"

Thank you Professor. This is one of the most honest takes I have seen from any liberally-minded thinker speaking on the subject. Could you expand on this? Do you think Trumpi *could* be working some things out for America? If he isnt enough for pure declinism, what would it take? Perhaps he is the "calm" before a true Storm gets elected?

Anyways, thank you for the depth and nuance, as always

5:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Charlie-

I thank you for your questions.

Check out Essay #15 in AWTY, in which I argue that the Dems abandoned their traditional base long ago, in favor of becoming chic and wealthy, and thus left the door open for Trump to capture that constituency and ride it to the W.H. All this stuff abt Russiagate was just crap, an attempt by the Dems to prove that the cause of their defeat was external, not something they had foolishly been doing for decades. (The Clinton Foundation, word has it, has accumulated something like $2 billion, and when Hillary lectures Goldman Sachs, they pay her 350K for 45 mins of what is basically scripted dog-do.)

Of course, a # of Wafers argued, in response to the para you quoted, that this economic uplift to the poor and working class is specious, that the figures are dubious/manipulated, and so on. Which cd be true, I really don't know. My long-shot guess is that deliberately or not, he has helped many economically, whereas the Dems don't really give a shit abt the underclass. And if this is true, and the trend continues, he's very likely to get reelected in 2020.

But of course, I have argued that History has chosen Trumpi as its Agent of Destruction, and the problem with economic aid to the underclass is that this is not destruction. It's not that I want poor people to suffer--I don't. But what I saw in Trump in Nov. 2016 was someone who cd undermine the country, economy included; and historically speaking, that is what needs to happen now, if we are to go under and basically become irrelevant on the world stage. So yes, it's a conundrum.

So to answer yr questions requires a bit of guesswork on my part. Some scenarios: first, he gets reelected in 2020 and then early in 2024 cancels the election and declares himself President for Life. Death knell of American 'democracy', in other words. Second scenario: with the Dems unable to come up w/anyone more exciting than Joe Biden in 2020, and some other turkey in 2024, someone more vapid and dangerous than Trump (your 'Storm') wd emerge in 2024 and win the presidency. After which, this SuperTrump wd deepen the damage of the previous 8 yrs. Which might, for all I know, involve helping the lower classes, while at the same time ruining the economy at large, installing a de facto dictatorship, and making a mess of US foreign policy, as China moves to replace us on a global scale.

In short, the details of our collapse are known to no one. What I *do* know is that we are on a downward course, and that that will continue.

mb

ps: Wafers: on an unrelated note, I have some fascination w/the life of Nelson Algren, who is now the subject of a bio by Colin Asher. Check out the review by Jonathan Dee in the New Yorker for April 15.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Cloud Shaman said...

Not commenting yet. Would like to get approved as a poster as I have enjoyed this blog for years. CS

6:35 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Many thanks for the info on the new Nelson Algren biography found in the New Yorker. "A Walk on the Wild Side" is in my top 20 list of greatest books that I've ever read; a sad, beautiful, and brilliantly written American classic. Also, If you haven't seen it, this is also gd:

https://www.thenation.com/article/nelson-algren-biography-norton/

Miles

7:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Dan-

Check out review of Nur Masalha's new bk (on Palestine) in NYRB for April 18.

CS-

You don't need my approval; just post. Don't lurk; live!

mb

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Toadstool said...

Dan, MB:

I'm first to criticize Israel and Netanyahu of all my peers, but I also think there are some equally violent groups (Hamas) on the other side. I completely agree Israel is standing on Palestine's neck but *shit*! Firing some 600 missiles that will more than likely kill innocent Israelis is not going to solve ANYTHING or teach Netanyahu a thing

What a tragedy

8:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Toad-

Groups like Hamas can't defeat Israel, but they can make life difficult for the Isrealis--which is all that is left to them, really. However, this subject is one that we don't bother with on this blog anymore. For a variety of reasons, there is no winning the argument, so in the past I've just had to wish Zionists good luck and godspeed. Anyway, you might benefit from rdg the work of Nur Masalha, and in particular that of Ilan Pappe.

mb

11:09 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Parent LICENSING NOW!!!


A Kentucky man has been charged with murder for fatally punching his 1-year-old son in the head after becoming angry over losing a video game, authorities said Sunday.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/kentucky-dad-murder-punching-infant-video-game

4:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jj-

America seems to be chock full of professional morons. I guess it's too late for this one to be enrolled in anger management classes.

John-

Feel free to post, if you'd like; just leave out anything that smacks of 'attitude'. I have no problem engaging you on the substance of your critique.

mb

6:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Meanwhile, this is where Americans need to put their attention:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/09/uk/royal-baby-name-gbr-intl/index.html

And this is some sorta message:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/06/health/heart-failure-deaths-young-adults-study/index.html

Finally, American turkettes on display (I love it):

https://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/02/sport/gallery/las-vegas-sevens-rugby-fans/index.html

6:46 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

boom:

https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/05/03/the-dangers-of-anti-populism/

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Kadzick said...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-48147378

Social media effect 'tiny' in teenagers, large study finds

Hmm, interesting findings from a larger data sample. I suppose though this doesn't account for detriment screen time or other factors.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Then there's this:

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/05/karen-kwiatkowski/pray-and-weep/

10:56 AM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes

Morris. Thanks for that great short essay. A truthful summation. We are doomed. Within that lies reality. Thanks for keeping it real. Meanwhile, back here at the library, the surrounding all-encompassing decline is a wonderful thing to behold...

1:06 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

“After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of the opinion that the great majority of people will always find these the moving impulses of our life.”
(President Calvin Coolidge, Washington, DC, 17 January 1925, to the Society of American Newspaper Editors)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo** at the Arctic Council meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland on 6 May:
(1). Melting Arctic sea ice could actually be a good thing, as it will shorten sea voyages from the Asia to the West by as much as 3 weeks;
(2)Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and more opportunities for trade
(3)The Arctic region holds undiscovered oil, gas, gold, and diamonds
https://www.businessinsider.com/mike-pompeo-melting-sea-ice-presents-new-trade-opportunities-2019-5

**
United State Military Academy at West Point, mechanical engineering (1986)
Harvard Law School (1994)
Doofus (2019)

1:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The joy! The joy!:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/06/politics/donald-trump-approval-rating-strong-economy/index.html

Go Trumpi! You da man.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

https://www.google.ca/search?q=latest+UN+report+on+extinctions&rlz=1C1GCEV_enCA848&oq=latest+UN+report+on+extinctions&aqs=chrome..69i57.7655j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Faced with certain disaster for the planet, all mankind can do to save itself is to return to a less materialist civilization to a more spiritual one. Recall when Pres.
Carter suggested that maybe we as a nation are too materialistic-->the masses were
repulsed and Reagan became president. If there is a country that would find great
difficulty in returning to its spiritual roots, this country must be the USA. Find a
spiritual root and win a free trip to Vegas.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous singing sam said...

Jim Allen - When Pompeo ran for his first term in Congress, he received (and has received since) lots of money from the infamous Koch Brothers, oil tycoons and all around douche bags.

He's been in their oily pockets ever since. When he says that the melting of the Arctic is a good thing, he's representing them, not the US. The trip is a business one, not a diplomatic one. He hopes to present the Kochs and other oil and gas billionaires with some of the fields of virgin oil and gas. Just what the earth needs - more carbon dioxide. But at least the average American idiot will continue to have cheap gas so he can drive himself to the hospital during a heat stroke.

5:18 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Art Baker - I remember the Carter years and the visceral dislike people, at least white people, had for him. There was even a song about him using the Oscar Meyer theme tune, that we kids sang. Jim dared to wear a sweater on camera and suggest that Americans do the same, the horrors!

MB - I checked out Ilan Pappe, I don't have a huge book budget or really, much of a book (or anything else) budget at all, but there are some great transcripts of interviews etc online by him.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This kinda stuff, which occurs nearly on a daily basis now, bothers me:

https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-denver-school-shots-20190507-story.html

Why aren't these children armed w/semi-automatic weapons, fer chrissakes? There simply is no excuse for this.

mb

6:11 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

MB-

Re: Trumpo's approval rating

Can you believe it? Most of the elements are in place for a decisive electoral victory for Trumpo in 2020. He will then have a clear mandate to drain the swamp and set up a dictatorship of the proletariat. Trumpo has managed to take a flat-lined economy that hasn't moved in 25 years, and injected Viagra into it. I tell ya, he's the Karl Wallenda of politics, and I'm tickled pink about it. Trump grows stronger as the Democratic field grows more dismal.

Miles

6:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dumb and Dumber Dept.:

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-goldberg-biden-moderate-democrats-trump-20190507-story.html

(Yeah, the Dems are going radical. Rt.)

6:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Of course, Wallenda finally fell to his death. In Trumpi's case, he falls and keeps getting resurrected. I am so excited abt his probable victory in 2020, and his declaration of a dictatorship in 2024. Meanwhile, Biden, really? The Dems intend to front this bland, no-account turkey as a serious contender? Who can't see that Biden is an utter buffoon/horse's ass?

alex-

Maybe get yr local library to order a copy of Pappe: either buy it, or get it 4u on interlibrary loan. As for Jimmy, check out the Carter sections of DAA and WAF for elaboration.

mb

6:58 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I've lived in Colorado for 12 years or so and worked in a Community College in South Denver for about half that time . As of today there has been two school shootings in my school area and one school cancellation for a threatened school shooting. So roughly 3 in 6 years working in education in this area. And the news just says "this is the world (read: country) we live in now" as if it has to be. The pathetic tone of inevitability is so demoralizing.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

Great essay and lots of great commentary in here. America is eating itself alive indeed. The western world is shitting out enough CO2 to permanently alter life on this planet.

https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/Losing-Marine-Stratocumulus-Clouds-Could-Create-Mega-Hothouse-Climate?cm_ven=cat6-widget

But what's really important to Americans is finding out the name of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's baby.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Krak-

I personally hope they name him Joe Biden. Either that or Tuna Fish.

Nathan-

Well, it's a lot better than "This must stop."

mb

9:49 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

@alex If you like Pappe, you might also appreciate Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel by Max Blumenthal.

Wafers might be interested to hear that I got no reaction at all to that "Darkies" show I had a couple of weeks ago. Maybe nobody had the radio on.

Someone recently suggested that Canada eventually imitates the USA. Maybe so; this item from our local news could easily have been about "Florida Man":

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/saskatoon-meth-bender-self-immolation-1.5121958

"By the time Terrance Morin drove a stolen GMC Envoy into a swampy field north of Saskatoon he'd already dumped and burned almost everything he could tear out of the red SUV.

A chainsaw, a power drill, car mats and a bicycle cable. A Blu-Ray player and a helmet. All burned in piles on the side of the road, the flames caught on infrared camera in the Saskatoon police plane.

With the stolen auto mired in the muck and RCMP closing in fast, all that was left to ignite was the SUV. And himself."

10:42 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Paul Craig Roberts believes AI as applied to robotics is useless and destructive to humanity because not only are workers' livelihoods eliminated but so is the role of consumer who might buy the products of robotics since there will be little need for salaried workers. Glad I won't live to see this progressive collapse of Western civilization moving in this direction - such short-sightedness! This column is interesting and infuriating reading. Maybe ecological collapse will happen first.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/05/07/are-you-ready-for-a-worse-dystopia-than-1984/

10:49 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@MB--interesting that Sanders is getting clobbered by Biden in the polls right now. Likely, it's an indicator that a lot of his supporters from 2016 still haven't forgiven him for caving in and ultimately endorsing the Botox Queen. Ever since it has started to look like he might actually have a shot, he's suddenly become a typical timid American politico instead of the populist firebrand he posed as last time around. Personally, though I voted for him last time in a futile stop-Hillary effort, I'm permanently off the bandwagon because of his belligerent foreign policy utterances, especially on Venezuela and North Korea. Sanders has ultimately proven to be just another loser in a party full of losers.

Meanwhile: Another great American mugshot: Man sets fire to Boaz house after argument. Bonus: "Two officers entered the home and rescued a disabled person on oxygen."

Remember Sandra Bland, the 24-year-old black woman in Dallas who supposedly "committed suicide" in police custody a few years ago? Yeah, well, they finally got around to releasing the cell phone video of her arrest: "I'll light you up," the officer says as he arms his stun gun and sticks it right in Sandra Bland's face after she...forgot to use her turn signal when she literally just tried to get out of the way for his speeding police car. I'm sure the same thing would have happened to an old white woman in a Cadillac.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bill-

Polls do indicate that Joe is sweeping Bernie into irrelevance. Which is just as well. But what really bothers me is that in these various polls, Tulsi Gabbard garnered only 1%. I'm floored. I was sure that with her charisma, popular appeal, and major corporate financial support, it wd be she who swept the field. O Tulsi, Tulsi; whatever happened? Your star was so bright, your chances so great. I envisioned you, Shaneka, and Lorenzo marching into the W.H., side by side.

mb

4:11 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

the new Osho:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/08/wim-hof-cold-water-immersion-cure-ice-man-outdoor-swimming

Look at those faces!

Kanye

5:53 AM  
Blogger David said...

MB
Great listing of the symptoms of Decline, a decline most Americans will deny because of their steadfast belief that somehow technology will save them from the historical progression of societies. American exceptionalism, deeply imbedded in the American mind, whereby a nation can be immune from the cycle of rise and fall that befalls all societies is a denial of history and of reality. It is the opioid that keeps the masses perpetually optimistic and clinging to the last vestiges of a dying American Dream.

6:13 AM  
Blogger Manol said...

Hello Oh Great Guru of the Western Realms,

Here in Chile we had recently a visit from Mr Pompeo. Finally, a visit from the Empire to this far away colony:

Mike Pompeo advierte a Chile sobre China y Huawei: "Esa infraestructura presenta riesgos a los ciudadanos de tu país"

As you can notice, the tone was very threatening, kind of: if you make any deals with those Chinese guys you will see, just wait... Our President went to China anyway. We need empires to lose their investments here. Threats are worthless.

In any case, Roman dictators and emperors used to be loved and revered by the underclass and hated by the elites. Panem et circensis, food and entertainment. Remember?

Kind regards to all the wafers. Saludos de un wafer chileno!

6:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Manol-

Always, always, capitalize Wafers. We are the crema de la crema, amigo. Sin igual.

I am indeed a Great Seer. Tambien, sin igual. So great, that my Chilean friends are thinking about inviting me down there once again, possibly in November. Stay tuned, and I'll let you know.

Pompeo is a douche bag. Como se dice douche bag en espanol? Bolsa de ducha?

mb

7:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

David-

It's more accurate to say American 'mind' than American mind, I think. Note that the American intellectual elite is also on these opioids.

mb

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

More young Americans, especially girls, are attempting suicide by poisoning. From the article: “For girls ages 10 to 12, the annual number of suicide attempts by poisoning fell 17% between 2000 and 2010, followed by an increase of 338% between 2011 and 2018. For girls 13 to 15, the rate increased 136% from 2011 to 2018, and for those 16 to 18, the rate increased 75%. The increase was smaller but still present for boys.”

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/01/health/suicide-poisoning-teens-study/index.html

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Kate Curnow said...

https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2019/05/sacred-spaces-by-thibaud-poirier/

Sacred Spaces: The Grand Interiors of Modern Churches Across Europe and Japan by Thibaud Poirier

10:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kate-

Gorgeous pictures, thanks! I do wonder, however, when the author will take a foto of this blog, which is also a sacred space.

mb

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Taras said...

"Planning for the automobile city focuses on saving time. Planning for the accessible city focuses on time well spent."
—Robert Cervero

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Henis said...

MB, re: Rand

Reminded me of

When Ayn Rand Collected Social Security & Medicare, After Years of Opposing Benefit Programs http://www.openculture.com/2016/12/when-ayn-rand-collected-social-security-medicare.html

11:18 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Taras-

Check out DAA, ch. 7.

mb

11:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Henis-

I guess her perspective changed when she was the one in need of support. Meanwhile, millions of Americans worship her books, which remain best-sellers. She echoes very pointedly the cruelty and callousness that lies deep w/in the American soul.

mb

11:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/high-schools-george-washington-mural-doesnt-represent-its-values-and-should-be-removed-group-says/2019/05/07/8e2a55ca-6ddd-11e9-a213-e9fb0424fd46_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-cards_hp-card-national%3Ahomepage%2Fcard&utm_term=.b7b360c2c4b5

12:29 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

"...the New Deal-era mural, which depicts the nation’s first president standing over a dead Native American and also includes an image of an African American slave..."

This mural may not represent the students' "values," but it's nevertheless a pretty succinct expression of US history.

I'm waiting for students whose values are offended by fast food restaurants and automobiles to insist that parking lots and fast food be removed from their school grounds.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

You'll be waiting a long time. Americans are stupid; I can't stress that enuf. They don't know shit from Shinola.

mb

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Howell said...

Trump’s America, Netanyahu’s Israel

Adam Shatz

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n09/adam-shatz/trumps-america-netanyahus-israel

5:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Howell-

Gd essay, thank you.

mb

5:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Boris Pasternak to Stephen Spender, 1959:

"Whatever the cause, reality has been for me like a sudden, unexpected arrival that is intensely welcome. I have always tried to reproduce this sense of being sent, of being launched... there is an effort in my novels to represent the whole sequence (facts, beings, happenings) as a great moving entity... a developing, passing, rolling, rushing inspiration."

Pasternak died the next yr.

mb

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

Back in Italy for a short break from sparring with Swiss bureaucracy. We decided that being in a house with furniture (vice a very empty apartment!) for a few days of rest and relaxation before the deluge next week would be good. Furniture arrives next week.

Paul Craig Roberts has been on a roll lately. His essay about he dystopia worse than 1984 (rec'd above) really rang true. He's got another one, based on Michael Hudson's book "Forgive Them Their Debts": https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/05/06/america-needs-a-debt-jubilee/

This one is about the ancient practice of periodic debt forgiveness. 4000 yrs ago it was understood that debt was really nothing but a giant ponzi scheme, whereby at the end of the play, all the money is concentrated at the top, and everyone else is impoverished. Reading PCR's description of the book and the situation in America today sounds like this blog - clearly America can't get past "hustling" to see the absurdity in our system - thereby ensuring the downward cycle continues!

4:34 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

AH-MEH-RIH-KAH!

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/07/us-outdoes-other-countries-national-pride

6:07 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kanye-

Whistling in the dark, I suspect.

mb

6:23 AM  
Blogger Sanguillen39 said...

The real Donald Trump ? Nevertheless, an interesting article: https://news.yahoo.com/trump-the-billiondollar-loser-his-ghostwriter-recalls-the-king-midas-years-090000640.html

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Alexandra Desanctis said...

In light of the blog's views of America's violent culture, it has dawned on me that if we were to nominate one that Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk would be the Great American Novel.

Discuss.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Interesting article from the Washington Post about Amazon's Alexa essentially bugging the homes it 'serves' - surveillance capitalism! Well, I don't have a cell phone or 'smart' phone and unless I am crippled, I don't need a 'smart' home either, human contact is preferable.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/06/alexa-has-been-eavesdropping-you-this-whole-time/

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Alexandra: We've talked quite a bit about Fight Club on here in the past, unfortunately the book and equally good movie has been co-oped by the "alt-right" (along with The Matrix):

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jul/20/chuck-palahniuk-interview-adjustment-day-black-ethno-state-gay-parenting-incel-movement

https://www.wweek.com/arts/books/2017/10/17/the-far-rights-strange-obsession-with-portland-author-chuck-palahniuk/

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/paeg89/how-fight-club-became-the-ultimate-handbook-for-mens-rights-activists

Of course, since we're talking about Amerikkkans here, the fact that the violence is often ironic and is really about self-harm (lye kiss, cigarette burns, etc) escapes them.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

Very interesting interview with Dr. Gabor Mate on America in denial.

https://youtu.be/uR07OtEhKPE

He hits a lot of the themes we discuss in the blog.

Unfortunately there is no realization that the USA was flawed from the beginning.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Pasternak? That's eerie: I just started reading Doctor Zhivago yesterday.

Yes, Michael Burgess, your devices are spying on you. Last winter my kids tried an experiment. They cleared the caches, etc. in a laptop, then started talking about pizza for a few moments. Following the brief conversation they fired up the internet on the laptop and found that pop-up adverts for pizza now appeared on the computer.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Onward to Dystopia said...

This is quick illustration of American stupidity. Inspired by the recent UN report that says a million species of plants and animals are going to go extinct, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel sent out a camera crew to ask people on the street, "should we save the Homo sapiens?" The typical American didn't disappoint!

https://youtu.be/WfEqAolZFB0?t=40

I wonder if everyone saw the 2015 Biden video which resurfaced where he said Dick Cheney is a "decent man?" I am genuinely curious -- if Dick Cheney is a decent man, who in the hell WOULDN'T Biden consider a decent man? It's interesting that Biden remained among the least wealthy members of congress. I've always suspected it's because he really believes in the status quo, just like he says, and will sell out for fridge magnet and a beer koozie instead of a oil well like the typical GOP goon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8o3eapp4x0

11:36 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Onward-

What meatheads Americans are! Is there a dumber national population anywhere?

mb

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

One wonders about the roots of mass stupefaction in USA. Let's consider
what advertising does--stimulates irrational desires for the sake of giving
more money to those who already have too much. Once desire is running and
ruining the lives of the army of debtors, think how it spreads to previously
rational parts of the brain to feed the illusions and make religion very
tempting. Public education as compulsory socialization for shopping? Mass
media to define reality in simple pictures and slogans? Imagine courses for
children on how to defend themselves against the storm of bullshit pounding
on their skulls each minute of every day!!

2:04 PM  
Blogger Vaquero Supreme said...

Good news, Wafers!

America no longer wages wars. In fact it hasn't waged a war since the Obama administration. It now only performs "kinetic military actions." Good deal!

And: Bill and Chelsea have launched a podcast!

Things are lookin' up!

4:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Art-

Writing the Twilight bk in the late 90s, I said somewhere there, something like "The US is a gigantic dolt-manufacturing machine." Do you realize the sheer # of dolts that have been cranked out by OB-GYN wards in the last 20 yrs? Not to mention meatheads, shitheads, turkeys, morons, clowns, jackasses, and degraded buffoons? Except now they emerge from the womb w/cell fones in their hands.

mb

4:22 PM  
Anonymous singing sam said...

Italiana, Debt has always been used for control. Through debts, economic elites are able to control debtors. Debtors are at their mercy. This is true for individuals and governments. That's why the ancient Jews incorporated the Jubilee Year into their Justice Code, making them non-enforceable after 7 years. Every 7th year all debts were to be extinguished, returning everyone to their original status. Control via debts is the same strategy employed by the IMF to control poor nations. Lend them more money than they can afford to pay back and you've got them by the short hairs. Ditto for Amer Corps and their admen - get Americans to spend more than they can afford on things they don't need, then bleed them dry with exorbitant interest rates. It works every time! Want to keep the poor poor? Lend them money.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Frank-

You shd know that I'm not rdg yr messages. I see yr name, and I delete immediately. As I told you some time ago, we don't do that kinda language on this blog. We are not politically correct, but neither do we engage in hatred or denigration of women. You can keep posting, if you want; knock yrself out, what the heck. But pls understand that yr talking to no one. You might as well post to yr recycle bin.

mb

7:41 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Been reading a book that may be of interest to the blog - "Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity", by Harmut Rosa. It's a book that uses acceleration as a framework for analyzing modern life. Rosa identifies three kinds of acceleration - technological acceleration, societal acceleration, and acceleration in the "pace of life".

I'm still near the beginning. The introduction had a fair amount of academic mumbo-jumbo I'm not sure I totally understood, which may be my fault more than the authors. But after getting to the book proper its been interesting. A quote I found that describes modern life well, which is funny since it comes from a 19th century historian named friedrich ancillon, "The love of movement for its own sake, even without a purpose and without a definite goal, is what has resulted from the movement of the times. In it, and in it alone, the true life is sought". Sounds like America to me.

10:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wudu-

This is ground previously covered by Zygmunt Bauman in "Liquid Modernity," I believe. I discuss the theory in DAA.

Just finished rdg "Why Lenin? Why Stalin?" by Theodore von Laue. Dynamite reinterpretation (1987) of the Russian Revolution. I'm thinking I might hafta write "Why Reagan? Why Shitheads?"

mb

11:34 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Seems like there's a growing "techlash" as of late against Douchebook and Silicon Valley. A Facebook co-founder even called for Facebook to be dismantled by the US Govt in an op-ed in the NYT this week. Check it out:

https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/05/10/why-silicon-valley-is-turning-against-the-machines/

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/09/opinion/sunday/chris-hughes-facebook-zuckerberg.html

The chances of that happening are roughly when-pigs-will-fly, but maybe Trumpi is da man? I hear he hates Bozo and Amazon, not sure about Zuckerschmuck, so maybe he WILL actually break Facebook up? What do Wafers think?

Kanye

4:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kanye-

One can only hope. The core problem is the American obsession with technology as salvation--what I referred to, in WAF ch. 3, as our 'hidden religion'. While Zuckershmuck needs to be beaten to within an inch of his life and thrown on a dung heap, this really won't solve the problem, because the American tech obsession is a force that literally creates these type of people. So a Son of Zuckershmuck is inevitable. The only 'cure' is that the American people wake up, and the chances of that are roughly negative infinity. If you wanna find the real shmucks, that's where to look.

mb

5:22 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

Some of recent comments inspired me to attempt a thought experiment: In the centuries to come (if humanity survives that long), what will be the legacy of the age of the American Empire to humanity? Most empires have their share of oppression and bloodshed, this is undeniable, but most also have long lasting beneficial influences on homo sapiens.

We have the philosophy and drama of the Greeks, the engineering of the Romans, the social Systems and technology of the various Chinese Dynasties, the culture and thought of the Indian subcontinent, agriculture from the Americas, maths and science from the Arabs, intensive intellectual speculation from Judaism, art and craft from Japan etc. Even the British empire, awful as it was, gave us an industrial revolution and some pretty long lasting cultural and philosophical legacies, such as the English language as Lingua Franca, the thought of people like Mary Wollstonecroft, Godwin, Mill, Darwin, the romantic poets, Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Ruskin etc.

So what legacy has the American empire to show for 400 plus years of world domination, the richest empire in the History of the world? Maybe a dozen decent writers? A couple of decades of jazz (which was actually created by a horribly oppressed underclass)? A smattering of Hollywood movies (which were actually made by European refugees)? And erm...It's not even pathetic. it's a disgrace. What a complete squandering of the gifts of the world.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cor-

For a while, until the Quota Law of 1924, the US was a haven for those persecuted for their politics or religion; hence, the Statue of Liberty. And 2nd, the *idea* of democracy. It was never made real, of course--that was the 'Cover' I spoke about earlier. But it remains a great idea, at least in theory.

mb

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Robert Bruce Bennett said...


One of those foreign observers about the U.S. was British writer D.H. Lawrence who said -
"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer. It has never yet melted." There is a good piece on Common Dreams today from former Congressional aide Mike Lofgren about how the U.S. went crazy. The seeds of this ruin go back a long way and I am inclined to think that they ARE irreversible.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings all Wafers

@singing sam - I couldn't agree more! I've been telling anyone who will listen that this "student debt crisis" (along with the astronomical increase in college costs at the expense of the actual professors) did not happen by accident. After the 60's, when college students demonstrated against most anything, including war, look at what happened (by design):

1. End of the draft. By ensuring the military is self selecting, they don't have to worry about people not wanting to go "die for their country". Sets up all this "thank you for your service" baloney - the general population doesn't care about the wars - doesn't affect them.
2. Increase college costs/tuition, and then sucker dumb 18 yr olds to sign up for life long debt. These people must watch their P's and Q's or they'll lose their job, not be able to pay, and the debt doesn't go away even in bankruptcy. How convenient!
3. Social media (and Alexa!) spies on you, everything you say or think is known, so no way to get away from it.

Perfect set up for a debt-slave population, and takes care of all those pesky college student activists. Amerika - we're #1!!

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Fake heiress "Anna Delvey" sentenced for scamming her way into NYC high society the wrong way. Silly girl, you are supposed to rip-off the little people who can't hold you accountable first, then you can join the other rip-off artists as a 'rich person'.

‘Anna Delvey,’ Fake Heiress Who Swindled N.Y.’s Elite, Is Sentenced to 4 to 12 Years in Prison

--- quote ---
“I am stunned by the depth of the defendant’s deception,” Justice Diane Kiesel said in handing down the sentence in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. She added that Ms. Sorokin was “blinded by the glitter and glamour of New York City.”
--- unquote ---

Yes, she got too eager and hustled the rich people instead of hustling the poor people first to prove she deserved to be among the rich...

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Case Study in Morons #732,394:

Got back from a us sick "care" CONference, some observations, akin to a scientist peering through a microscope or anthropologist studying an artifact:

The amnt of cognitive dissonance was eye watering. Most of these us folks have terminal degrees, certifications, 'elite' schools, pretentious mannerisms, etc....yet cannot acknowledge reality. It abs striking yet predictable. Almost every statement was: what we need to do, what we should do, we need to create steps/action plans etc... The USians proudly stated that they're capitalists and that the $ for all this shoulds/need tos must be funded to make a 'business model' for the program w/CFO and Controller approvals (translation: quarterly earnings reports).

Another theme was the you are "allowed" to 'hate' US policy, however, you cannot at all 'hate' the USA. There's a fine line, usa, usa.

The USians were overly concerned with verbiage, and certain linguistics to not offend and be sensitive to all.

Any request for a discussion grounded in reality based on evidence was quickly shut down, not voted on. Topics discussed were rainbow, sunshine talk with some minor challenges for those in attendance to "feel" they're makin' the difference and hugs all around.

Rather than waste valuable energy on morons, we smile, clap, and nod. Not refute, not rebuke, not debate--what's the point? They were morons.

We focus on action. We're the fuck outta the empire in T-2yrs.

Game over.

12:36 PM  
Blogger dg said...

Zuckershmuck 1.0


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fautyLuuvo

12:38 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I suspect USA!'s lasting legacy to b nuclear waste (who da fuck gonna clean up St. Lois?) and garbage dumps from which future archeologists or aliens will attempt reconstruction of a literally trashy culture.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/st-louis-secretly-developed-disaster-plan-for-fire-near-nuclear-waste/

Frontline has a new episode abt Trump's trade war - shld b named Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, while our imbicile failed state thrashes China builds...everything. The day is coming when the world will laugh at our sanctions/meddling in other nation's financial networks.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/

12:42 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Even a conservative like William S. Lind can see America's decline under Trump and how Trump's attempts to get the US out of foreign wars and having better relations with Russia have been turned away and even offers some reasons why he and the establishment can't deal with or perhaps even see the US decline.

https://fabiusmaximus.com/2019/05/10/trump-keeps-america-on-the-path-to-decline/

Even the seemingly positive jobs report may not be really positive at all according to Jack Rasmus in an opinion piece from Counterpunch.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/08/how-accurate-are-the-us-jobs-numbers/

2:50 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

I can't imagine the creatures doomed to haunt over the border wall. 50 years from now we may see a reptilian humanoid hybrid attacking anything in sight as official DoD inhabitants of the borderlands...

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/10/military-funds-durbin-border-1317434

3:07 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

Joe Biden is a sham. Even more of a shill and empty suit that even Obama or Clinton if that is even possible. His record makes it clear, the man stands for nothing but going along to get along to give the pretense of being a nice regular guy you could have a beer with. His presidency to paraphrase Jesus would be a broad path to destruction, while Trumpi is the direct path. There isn't enough inertia anywhere I can see to counteract America's inevitable road to irrelevancy.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/09/boondoggle-inc-making-sense-of-the-1-25-trillion-national-security-state-budget/

As a Canadian I sleep better at night knowing that they spend so much. As does the rest of the world I'm sure.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Sanguillen39 said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAHCbzzRFo8

I actually laughed my ass off on this one.

5:18 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes -

@Cormorant, truly correct. There may be a few other things to add to the short list. A few. But we remain the democracy that never was. Terrific discussion going on here. Remember to not mention that amerikans are about as dumb as they come. That will end the conversation. Probably best to have never even been having that conversation. Much more safe.

O&D!

5:49 PM  
Blogger ccg said...

Onward,

I saw that Biden video a few days ago. Surely he feels the same about Clarence Thomas, though apparently not of Anita Hill. I'm almost hoping he gets the nomination though it doesn't matter much. Trump will win against whoever the Democrats nominate. I do hope there's another pussy hat march to help that happen, though I understand that the organizer's of the Women's March are fighting among themselves. Well, I hope they get their act together and organize another march before the election so I can see my academic colleagues make fools of themselves once again.

10:02 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Mom charged with attempted murder after 7-week-old daughter found at bottom of North Carolina ravine...

Just look at that completely empty and pathetic American face...

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/us/north-carolina-baby-found/index.html

11:47 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

The disenchantment of the world https://aeon.co/ideas/how-the-dualism-of-descartes-ruined-our-mental-health

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

@Kanye Cyrus,

Even if Facebook was broken up I don’t think it would really do much to change things since I think that the ultimate problem is the technology of social media itself not specific companies or corporate leaders. Zuckerberg is a douchebag but even if he was a great guy it still wouldn’t change the many negatives associated with Facebook.

The only answer is for people to start criticizing social media and other technologies directly instead of just criticizing individual companies or executives. This is difficult for most Americans because most Americans worship technology and think that all new technology represents genuine progress and that we can solve any problems with regulations and responsible use.

This is also why Americans will never do anything serious about the environment because very few Americans would ever accept limits on economic and technological growth. George H.W. Bush said it best: “The American way of life is not up for negotiations. Period.”

2:26 AM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. MB & all Wafers:

Umair Haque continues to focus on the shocking decline of the USA. I quote from his latest:

"America is in free fall. We haven’t seen a rich country implode like this since the Weimar Republic. Yes, really. And while you might cry, “At least we’re not Venezuela!”, you are very much missing the point. America is the Venezuela of the rich world. Nobody else has American problems. Canadians and Europeans happily live their lives — even if their societies are affected by global currents of stagnation and extremism here and there. But no other rich society is collapsing at light speed — nor are most poor ones."

" It’s collapsing now at a faster rate than ever, in fact. A decade ago, collapse was slow, hazy, like fog. Three years ago, it was ominous, like an arriving thunderstorm. But today it is like a volcano — explosive, catastrophic, and terrible. American collapse has never hit harder or faster than right now, right here, this moment."

"America’s once-prosperous middle class is now a fast shrinking minority."

Got that? "America is the Venezuela of the rich world". Bingo!

Read it here : https://eand.co/the-anatomy-of-american-collapse-64aed697c889

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Skyler said...

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/05/walt-whitman-leaves-of-grass-american-democracy/586045/

A nice essay on Walt Whitman

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Artemus Gordon said...

Concerning the U.S. empire's legacy: we will leave behind a case study in poor choices. Future historians will argue and debate their theories about our demise, when the basic cause will boil down to rampant stupidity coupled with greed. Perhaps the people of the future also will learn that too much reliance on technology is a bad choice. Time will tell.

I view this country's legacy much as I view the legacy of some of the tough, bullying guys I grew up around. When we were younger these guys cast an imposing, uncomfortable presence few people wanted to be around. As were grew older and matured, these guys either grew up, matured, and became halway decent Americn humans, or they didn't. Those that didn't burned out early, looked much older than their age, developed health problems and addicitions, and quite often passed away at an early age. The US is on that latter path. That serving as an example path...well, at least for those willing to pay attention.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Kat Rosenfield said...

https://aeon.co/essays/when-time-became-regular-and-universal-it-changed-history

A revolution in time
Once local and irregular, time-keeping became universal and linear in 311 BCE. History would never be the same again

10:10 AM  
Anonymous singing sam said...

More on latest UN Report - From decline to extinction:

A United Nations report described as the most authoritative and comprehensive assessment of global biodiversity ever published found that human exploitation of the natural world has pushed a million plant and animal species to the brink of extinction—with potentially devastating implications for the future of civilization.

Conducted by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and released Monday, the report warned that species extinction rates are "accelerating" at an "unprecedented" rate due to the human-caused climate crisis and economic activity.

https://www.ipbes.net/news/Media-Release-Global-Assessment

10:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sanguillen-

Post only once every 24 hrs, thank you.

Gunnar-

They are already laughing, our allies included. Everyone except the US understands that we are actually weak, and something of an international joke. The more sophisticated analysts (unlike the ones in the US) know that Trumpi is a symptom more than a cause. Anyway, hopefully the Dems will nominate Biden, a total turkey, and lose in a landslide. Then I will lead a team of Wafers, armed with 6-packs of Bud Lite, to Delaware, to hose down this clown's shoes. Bernie, of course, is equally useless and full of shit. As for Tulsi Gabbard...

But where are the GOP heavies? I long for insights from Sarah Palin, Ging Newtrich, Rom Mittney, Michele Bachmann, Bush father and son, and other leading lights.

Mike-

These people need to be slapped, but ultimately nothing will help.

Wafers-

Gd discussion here. Why wd anyone go to a different blog? I just can't figure it.

mb

11:44 AM  
Anonymous eschmez said...

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.

"Was Shakespeare a Woman?"

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/06/who-is-shakespeare-emilia-bassano/588076/

Dear God. Why stop there, was Shakespeare trans????


12:51 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=odd+persons+at+walmart
Should your readers become overflowing with psychotherapeutic optimism about
the destiny of the US, wander briefly through YouTube. Consider the genius of
Trump to cancel billions of taxes for the rich and the corporations and now claim
great victory in the trade war against China. Prices will hit the millions
shopping at Walmart to dissolve whatever pittance they received in reduced
income tax because the high-ups can pass on the increased price for Chinese
junk onto those living in perpetual debt. One can certainly not expect that his
benighted base will see the con game played on them and vote for the Democrats.
Is it too early for Vegas odds to come out for 2020 election? Placer your bet on
for Trump, the sequel.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Tammi S said...

Nearly every country in the world — but not the U.S. — agrees to landmark plastic pollution pact. https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/11/world/basel-convention-plastic-waste-trade-intl/index.html

we're a plastic country filled w/ plastic little lives, after all.

3:51 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Such kind and wholesome American kids walking around out there across the land.



https://www.foxnews.com/us/5-teens-arrested-accused-of-using-tinder-to-trap-dates-and-rob-them-at-gunpoint

8:49 PM  
Blogger Janet D said...

@MB & also Bill....have either of you read "Deer Hunting with Jesus", by Joe Bageant? (published 2008)

MB, his style is much different than yours - gritty & blue collar - but his conclusions are *exactly* the same. Your twin brother by another mother. He also spent the last several years of his life living in Mexico a good part of the year.

Bill, he reminds me of you...he's from Winchester, VA, skewers both liberals & conservatives, & has an angry yet completely accurate pithiness about the state of working class America.

Here's a short video clip of an interview with him:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2IdR-6c1CU

12:01 AM  
Blogger Janet D said...

@MB, breaking the 24-hour rule here, but I just now had the sense to google "MB Joe Bageant" & read your blog post about him. Just wanted to let you know I'd figured it out meself! :-)

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the biosphere quickly unravels, the “hidden religion” of techno-industrial capitalism is fighting back with ever more grandiose and absurd visions of “the future”. Billionaire douchebag hucksters like Elon Musk promise salvation on Mars, or via uploading our minds into our cell fones. Amazon’s chief ghoul Jeff Bezos has an even stupider vision of techno-heaven, where the holy doctrine of growth can continue for all eternity to deliver humanity from evil (and packages), by leaving most of it floating in a million cans, forever enslaved while adrift in space:

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/bezos-reveals-his-ugly-vision-for-the-world-hes-trying-to-rule-5bb9d117b819

1:00 AM  
Blogger NeilW said...

Morris, you'll enjoy this book by Tasmanian writer, Richard Flanagan. There's a wonderful essay on Algren called 'Nelson Algren's War with America' https://books.google.com.au/books?id=nsEdBQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=richard+flanagan+amazon+short+essays&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj7wLu7u5XiAhU_63MBHaKxBwgQ6AEIKjAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

3:27 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

@MB, Tom,

"Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the stars"

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/09/science/jeff-bezos-moon.html

Kanye

4:12 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

We Americans should be grateful to our Canadian neighbors as they help support our exceptionalism. USA! USA! USA!

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/americans-diabetes-cross-canada-border-insulin-1.5125988

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Skinder said...

“The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil.”
- Einstein

@Jeff Bezos's noon landing idea


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_Socialism%3F

7:47 AM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

WRT what you said about US society offering little in the way of community: That is so true. I know it's kind of a "no-duh" for the regulars here, but sometimes it really astonishes me to realize there really isn't anything holding society together in most American cities of any significant size other than our shaky, sputtering economy. I shudder to imagine what will happen when that economy experiences its next major leg down.

On a lighter note, it's not exactly surprising that one of our major-party presidential candidates is one of these American perpetual teenagers who seem to think that life is an MTV music-video starring them.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Like I said about Ben Carson a few years back: If Joe Biden is the answer to anything, you are asking some very strange questions!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Unknown-

I don't post Unknowns.

cormorant-

Cdn't run it. You exceeded the half page max rule.

Pol-

It may be that the greatest assholes are techno-assholes.

eschmez-

I had the impression that Shakespeare was a blind, handicapped Korean woman. Wrong?

Wafers-

Here's all u need to know abt the 2020 election:

Biden, Schmiden.

mb

1:16 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

MB - on techno-assholes, I think you've pegged it.

I believed all the lies and went into tech because I thought it would provide me a decent living. Well, at age 26 I was (large POS terminal company)'s ace tech, making 2X min. wage which would mean $30/hour now. I lifted nothing heavier than a soldering iron. 30 years later, at age 56, I'm making just a hair over min. wage, no benefits, half-time, and having to lift all kinds of heavy stuff, taking it to the FedEx or post office with a bike and trailer, digging in dumpsters for bubble wrap and boxes to ship stuff, etc.

But worse than the huge drop in living standards due to choosing tech, it's a distillation of American culture, the frequent job-hopping, the mindset of everything being mechanical, people as interchangeable, drop-in parts. Perhaps because it's a very white industry, and white culture is almost uniquely awful, there is just no community.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Irene fowler Nigeria said...

A requiem to the rule of law in the U.S.and by implication around the world as Trump goes into full leper King Uzziah mode. Footnote to the DOJ alumni for their statement: Bravo! https://gpiblog.lmu.edu/king-uzziah-the-leper-king/

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Pat Chouli said...

I just got my copy of AWTY in the mail yesterday. So I could reference p. 124, per yr suggestion along with reading the entire essay # 15. Thank you. It brings into sharper focus your comment to me that “Trump actually represents the apotheosis, or logical culmination, of Americanism.” Yes, you get down to the essence of how we got here, and thus “got Trump because we are Trump.”

Also highlighted in my mind, was your cogent observation about Fred Dutton and his manifesto “Changing Sources of Power”. This goes back to 1971, the same year Nixon repealed the Bretton Woods. So we can already account for the groundwork being laid then, if not before. So I didn’t know about Dutton, not that I can recall. Fascinating how this text provided the key ideology for the rise of the New Democrats while they repudiated their traditional New Deal base. The way you lay this out, Prof. Berman, I can see how this was, and is, “an absolutely crucial factor in the election of Trump.” (p. 122)

I look forward to more good readings here in AWTY! Thanks again.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous singing sam said...

No doubt the former United States of America is in unalterable decline that will result in chaos and, if possible, more violence. But what goes without saying most of the time is that due to American capitalist's strangle hold on the global economy and its creation of chaos in so many other countries the rest of the world will be affected as well. Maybe what we are witnessing is global decline on an unprecedented level. Those nations ensnared in the American economic web will collapse as well. Add carbon dioxide levels not seen in hundreds of thousands of years and you've got yourself a REAL mess.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Gildan said...

“Are we the bad guys?”

Tug-of-Love: Immigrant Mom Loses Effort to Regain Son Given to US Parents

https://abcnews.go.com/amp/Blotter/immigrant-mom-loses-effort-regain-son-us-parents/

10:00 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

In peril, whether in the wilderness or nearer home...

A woman and her male companion, hiking the Appalachian Trail in southwest Virginia on Saturday (11 May), are beset by a machete-wielding man who kills the man and severely wounds the woman. The woman escapes by feigining death, and hikes 6 miles before meeting other hikers who provide assistance.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/massachusetts-man-held-in-connection-with-brutal-attack-on-appalachian-trail-hikers/2019/05/12/b81c6a24-74ce-11e9-b3f5-5673edf2d127_story.html

Does this mean I don’t get five stars?

An assistant professor of information technology at Penn State’s Beaver campus, moonlighting as an Uber driver, abducts two females and holds them against their will. The women manage to escape; the man is charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, and harassment. A spokesman for Uber, in a masterpiece of understatement, characterizes the events as “unacceptable.”
https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2019/05/11/uber-penn-state-beaver-richard-lomotey-pittsburgh-harassment-homewood-penn-hills/stories/201905110050

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Silva said...

An incisive summary of life in the good ole USA: https://coyoteprime-runningcauseicantfly.blogspot.com/2019/05/how-life-under-predatory-capitalism.html

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Sloan said...

Alternative model! Go here for a recent book on the Nordic model from a multi-level evolutionary perspective. It is open access! https://www.routledge.com/Sustainable-Modernity-The-Nordic-Model-and-Beyond/Witoszek-Midttun/p/book/9781138718210

Quite interesting

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfEqAolZFB0

Fortunately in Evolution Wafers diverged from these homo sapiens (whatever the hell
they are), hence they will not perish from internecine warfare, diseases, starvation,
an uninhabitable environment, slow Internet, and the nagging curse of rectal itch.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

I think Biden would make a wonderful President and I plan to vote for him. What's not to like? After 325 years in the Senate he knows where all the bodies are buried, has no detectable moral center and looks like an aging Ken doll. He'll be perfect. This article really says it all:

"House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said on Sunday that Joe Biden's Ukraine corruption scandal should be off limits as the 2020 US election approaches, and that President Trump shouldn't be allowed to investigate - or encourage Ukraine to investigate."

Where's that old Greek guy with his lamp? No need to look in the so-called Intelligence Committee for an honest man.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-12/schiff-says-biden-ukraine-scandal-should-be-limits

1:29 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

Thanks for the links as usual. @Pat Chouli - "A Question of Values" also being "must read".
O&D!

2:20 PM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

Speaking of techno-assholes, this is such a quintessentially American story: They were promised coding jobs in Appalachia, now they say it was a fraud.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Jean said...

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674543553

Making Sex
Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud

This was the book I happened to read while in Ireland on holiday. It has some v interesting contents. Now I'm back in the States w/ a very uneasy feeling in my stomach. What a crappy place.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jean-

More creepy than crappy, actually.

Art-

A moment of epiphany from my past: I am riding the NY subway around midnite, decades ago, and am half asleep. I look up for a moment at the ads posted across the aisle, and one says: ARE YOU BOTHERED BY TORMENTING RECTAL ITCH? It was at that moment that I understood what was wrong with America, and Americans. R.I. can drive people insane.

Susan-

The problem is that he's a douche bag, and nothing can change that. You know how Trumpi has labels for his opponents? I just wrote him suggesting that he start, rt now, calling Biden "Douche Bag Joe." Catchy, no?

sam-

You may notice that posters typically provide evidence for their views, like a link to an article. Simply stating your opinion on things isn't terribly helpful; anyone can do it. Thank you.

mb

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Richter said...

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48260165

Trump praises 'respected' Hungary PM Orbán. Yeah, it takes one asshole to “respect” another one.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Biden my time dept.:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLcIMdHQvz8

Miles

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Dennis M said...

Lessons from a genocide can prepare humanity for climate apocalypse - via via MIT techreview
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613343/lessons-from-a-genocide-can-prepare-humanity-for-climate-apocalypse/

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Nigel said...

Democratic capitalism and inequality...

https://theguardian.com/inequality/2019/may/14/britain-risks-heading-to-us-levels-of-inequality-warns-top-economist

Britain risks heading to US levels of inequality, warns top economist

Sir Angus Deaton says UK is at risk of extreme inequality in pay, wealth and health

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Onward to Dystopia said...

Thanks to Silva for posting that article on how just living in America makes one traumatized and miserable. I found the closing paragraphs the most enlightening. Instead of confronting what American capitalism has done to oneself they, "identified with their aggressors, adopted the values and attitudes of their traumatizers  -  and came as a culture to not just see trauma as normal, but something to celebrate and applaud."

This reminded me of something I saw recently. A few days ago I saw a depressed young man on YouTube who essentially lives in a cardboard fort in his father's kitchen and drives for Uber. It looked like a blanket fort you might make as a kid. He was talking about sleep deprivation and the "top-liked" comment was the typical "suck it up, buttercup" stuff from a guy saying he spends 3 hours driving to a job where he works hard physical labor, only sleeps 4-5 hours a night and never complains.

I've had bad jobs, but when I talk about them it's typically to sympathize with someone's situation, not to show how tough I am or complain. To me this is one of the worst aspects of American life, it makes it impossible to talk to people. Even if you're not complaining, but just trying to be REAL, people don't want to hear it. It's like everyone has a form of Stockholm syndrome.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

@singing sam, the chickens are indeed coming home to roost:

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2019/may/14/britain-risks-heading-to-us-levels-of-inequality-warns-top-economist

Kanye

3:38 AM  
Anonymous singing sam said...

In September, Forbes ran a story about a new NY Public TV series called "My Everyday Hustle". Each 5 minute video features a typical American struggling to achieve the "American Dream" but, of course, failing miserably.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/09/15/chasing-the-american-dream-its-a-hustle/#92a8e2a7ff25

The lie that everyone can succeed if he/she only wants it bad enough continues to destroy the lives of millions.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Aaron-

Focus of this blog is American collapse, not religion. I think you'll find what you need on blogs specifically oriented toward the latter. Good luck.

sam-

I guess that would make Oprah a killer. Most of the New Age as well.

Onward-

Link to YouTube?

mb

9:16 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

In America when you kill someone just use whatever's handy...
https://people.com/crime/man-facing-murder-charge-beating-woman-motorized-scooter/
You meet the nicest people on a Honda...

10:09 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Interesting article from William T. Hartung and Mandy Smithberger on how the military budget is more like $1.25 trillion instead of $750 billion and they do as nice job of breaking it down as you can when so many pieces of that military budget have been located in so many out of the way programs.
https://www.thenation.com/article/tom-dispatch-america-defense-budget-bigger-than-you-think/

I seem to recall in one of Gore Vidal's non fiction books on the United States that 75% of the annual US budget goes to the military - unfortunately I don't remember which book.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Uber driver gave me wonderful tip on how to make $400/month in cash - sell ur plasma 2x/week, "helping someone else & making money," he said. These days even the vampires capitalize on 'market forces.'

Another face for Wall of America, this time a teacher (dubious title, I prefer civil servant or bureaucrat) - she just looks like she's had shit beaten out of her - I wonder how long that forced smile will survive once she learns her retirement $ was gambled away on Wall Street.

http://www.chieftain.com/news/20190513/pueblo-d60-teacher-profile-janae-passalaqua?rssfeed=true

Love the gesture Mayor Pete maybe it'll play in the next life.

https://www.apnews.com/503b9ce765f84205849b7af3540fbd7a

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

While the rich parents of mediocre students are awaiting trial they might want to read this article and consider sending the kids to community college:

"The failure of Western universities to stand up for free speech is now so commonplace it’s difficult to feel much outrage when another dissenting professor is tossed to the wolves. But on this occasion the university in question is so distinguished we really ought to sit up and take note. And for once, I don’t mean Cambridge. The vice-chancellor of Cambridge has done so much to destroy its global reputation in the last few months – what with the defenestration of Jordan Peterson and Noah Carl, and the decision to investigate the university’s links with the slave trade – that he has allowed himself a few days off. No, the university that has disgraced itself this week is Harvard. That’s right, Harvard, which has topped the Times Higher Education supplement’s World Reputation Rankings since 2011."

https://spectator.us/diversocrats-take-harvard/

Really, have we all lost our minds?!

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Wafer Onward, we have observed Horatio Alger, "work hard' you cheapie/lazy bum from many USians, as their defense of the system and corporations is a very strong 'magnetic' pull. It's never the system, only the debt/tax slave that's the 'problem.' They're lazy, take a shower, work out, get some new duds, go to school, be positive, thk happy thoughts.....

Since age 2, the propaganda of work as a 'virtue', hu$tling, corporate worship, and usa, usa yankee doodly dipshit marketing is 24/7. It was a fish bowl of nationalistic and consumeristic holograms (Joe Begeant), and the USians lapped it up like a thirsty dog.

Many of these same folks are in complete denial; most are 1-3 paychecks away from dumpster diving or moving back with their equally fucked relatives.

Moreover, recently, we walked by some homeless folks living in their cars (in a affluent area btw).

Almost all of them have large american flags prominently displayed.

What does that tell you?

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Henri said...

https://people.com/human-interest/youtube-prankster-lauren-love-pretends-fires-employees/amp/

A YouTube star posed as Walmart’s CEO and told employees at a Texas store they were fired

Senseless cruelty toward people who have very little power just so you can win an ephemeral and pointless click number. Very American!

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

@Onward to Dystopia,

You might be interested in this blog post by Ian Welsh. Welsh discusses what he calls the “culture of meanness” in America. It covers a lot of what you wrote about regarding Americans lacking compassion for others. Americans love to punch down and attack the weak while identifying with the powerful.

https://www.ianwelsh.net/the-culture-of-meanness/

4:48 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Greetings, Wafers everywhere, here are the latest reflections of American culture in your news update from Cascadia:

Two 10-year old boys grabbed and ran with $500 proceeds from a neighborhood garage sale in Tacoma WA to raise money for the American Cancer Society. One of the volunteers said they had been hanging around asking if there were any jobs they could do for money in order to see the latest Avengers film.

https://www.theolympian.com/latest-news/article230040974.html

In the “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” department, two Navy pilots from the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island, Washington admitted they tried to “scribble out” unsuccessfully a giant phallus they drew with jet contrails over Okanagan County in eastern Washington on November 16, 2017. No official word on what disciplinary actions if any were taken.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/northwest/navy-pilot-over-washington-tried-to-scribble-out-contrails-depicting-phallus-in-sky/

And finally, in a display of torture techniques that would make Gina Haspell feel proud, a 27-year old Tacoma man faces charges for the recent beating and waterboarding of his 7-year old daughter:

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/tacoma-man-accused-of-beating-waterboarding-his-7-year-old-daughter/

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Hans Castorp said...

Here's a good one- 56% of Americans don't know what Arabic numerals are:

https://www.alternet.org/2019/05/embarrassing-poll-says-that-56-of-americans-dont-want-kids-taught-arabic-numerals-we-have-some-bad-news/

8:23 PM  
Blogger Patrick D. Fitzgerald said...

After coming across this Politico piece I couldn't stop thinking about how this supposedly serious, engaged, political news outlet treats the candidacies of the Democratic hopefuls as overt marketing ploys. The quotes from this article (even from other politicians) like "[Corey Booker's] story isn't fresh anymore" read like an advertising or marketing seminar, and this is what passes for legitimate press coverage of politics in 2019 USA. They are selling a narrative, pure and simple, and then getting salty when someone else's story is selling better.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/13/cory-booker-pete-buttigieg-2020-1317660

Also, forgive my indulgence but I honestly see a parallel between how people and reporters talk/ write about their preferences in presidential candidates and the world of internet pornographic niches: Neighbor-rescuing black mayor dating Hollywood actress --hirsute cheerleader oily massage-- gay, Rhodes scholar serviceman--girl on shemale threesome etc. As superficial, (but varied!), as you can get. Is this just my perverse imagination or is there something to this (probably dumb) idea of mine?

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

I've been reading Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States", and it's really struck me how bad America already was in the 19th century. Especially the latter part of the century, with mechanization and the Industrial Revolution. At least if you had to work for a living. Imagine having to toil 16 hours a day as a seamstress, a meat-packer, a washer-woman, etc. with no holidays, no worker protections, dismal, near starvation level wages. Even though community was stronger back then, and the values a little sounder, I honestly wonder if it wasn't overall worse back then? Now we have dislocated meaninglessness, and then they had the almost violent brutality of every day life. In any case, I would rather just not be born if my lot was to live a life of such unrelieved drudgery. (Admittedly, it isn't that much better working 40 hours a week in Wal Mart. But still, 40 is better than 80.)


Zinn's book also really brings home what hustling pricks people like Carnegie and Morgan were. I live near Homestead where Carnegie basically opted to gun down his own workers rather than give them a meager raise. But they whitewash all that and make nice documentaries about what a great humanist he was. Dr. Berman is right about that. You can see the same hustling all the way back. There's even a nice documentary on Netflix called "The Circus", which really shows what hustling looks like when taken to pathological extremes. (Circuses are cool though.) Barnum is not so different from Carnegie and the other Robber Barons, psychologically speaking.

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Onward to Dystopia said...

It took me a little digging to find the link to the guy who drives for Uber talking about his sleep deprivation...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9pd-wafLuU
I know nothing about the guy, perhaps he is lazy, what I found interesting wasn't the video per se, but the visceral reactions which are familiar and common to anyone voicing hardship in America. "Buick Mackane" responds in part: "I get up before 5am...drive anywhere from 1-1.5 hrs to the job sites...Then I have a 1.5 - 2.5 hr drive going home...Yes, I sleep about 4.5 hrs each night. But I never actually complained about it to anyone." For some people no matter how bad things get, everything is just fine. This mentality essentially "polices" American conversation and sympathy, even internal thoughts people dare have, as Silva's article covers.

Speaking of sleep: Driving For Uber, Sleeping In Her Car
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9abrZwnPThE

Finally -- Uh oh, Millennials are becoming stricken with Tech Neck!
https://fox8.com/2019/05/13/tech-neck-new-smartphone-side-effect-has-more-people-heading-to-the-doctor/

Not surprising considering Americans spend over 11 hours a day interacting with screens: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2018/time-flies-us-adults-now-spend-nearly-half-a-day-interacting-with-media.print.html

But capitalism is coming to the rescue with creams, patches and injections -- once again, selling you the problem and the solution!

4:13 AM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hi Dr. B and all:

Just when you think humanity can stoop no lower, it finds ways of doing just that ... the touristization/globalization of Machu Picchu ...

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/may/15/archaeologists-outraged-over-plans-for-machu-picchu-airport-chinchero: "work has begun on clearing ground for a multibillion-dollar international airport, intended to jet tourists much closer to Machu Picchu.Bulldozers are already scraping clear millions of tonnes of earth ..."

Meanwhile in China, scientists recently created a new kind of monkey with a human brain gene ...

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/4/12/18306867/china-genetics-monkey-brain-intelligence: "If we deem it acceptable to make an animal slightly more human-like, we may end up normalizing that process and find ourselves generating animals that resemble humans to ever greater degrees."

When this blog began, it was perfectly clear to me that America was in a new 'Dark Age,' and obviously this still holds. But there can be no question, at the same time, that the entire human community is now in the same place.

Yeats is what comes to mind: "What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

-Northern Johnny

9:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bal-

Yr a bit over the half-page limit. Suggest you compress and re-send. Thanks.

Megan-

Barnum also said, "There's a sucker born every minute." He knew his fellow countrymen.

Hans-

I'm surprised it's only 56%. How many times can I say "shit for brains"?

Jack-

Gd profile of America. Are there any plans afoot to waterboard the admin at Evergreen?

Susan, Mike-

See my reply to Hans. Suggest you put it on a post-it, stick it on bathrm mirror.

mb

11:01 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

[Wafers might get a kick out of seeing how the science and maths proficiency of their respective states compares to that of other countries.

My home state (North Carolina) is only as proficient, as measured by these indices, as Panama.]

“According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation [and Development], American students rank 28th in math and science scores. The educated people at Home Snacks made a map of the United States comparing each state with a foreign country that is said to have similar education levels, using the United Nations Development Program index.”

A map comparing each state’s math and science proficiency to that of other countries
https://www.good.is/articles/map-compares-us-education-levels

USA! USA! USA!

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Truth Seeker said...

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/police-8-yearold-accidentally-shoots-mother-at-college-baseball-game-045915020.html

11:10 AM  
Blogger Balázs said...

Dear Wafers, Evidence has surfaced that the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons), "the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention" intentionally lied about an "incident" in Syria. For those people who follow the Syrian "civil war" (ie. the Contra War of this era), this is not news, of course. But now someone (very likely from the OPCW team) leaked the suppressed part of the published OPCW report. This is an engineering assessment of the evidence, and they got to the conclusion (with high confidence) that the evidence had been planted. This is also further evidence to the already strongly but indirectly evidenced fact that the 35 or so documented victims had most likely been _executed_ _for_ _this_ false flag by the "rebels". This assessment should've been part of the original OPCW report. The published report was twisted until nothing conclusive could be read out from it, likely to hide the sad truth.

As I said, these are not news, but now we have an undeniable piece of evidence. Moreover, this confirms what has also been suspected for long: supposedly impartial international bodies (even professional bodies) are just tools for the "Empire". (Another obvious example is the OSCE and its "observer mission" in Ukraine.) This also exposes some widely celebrated "open source intelligence" (OSINT) researchers (like bellingcat) as frauds and propaganda tools.

References
The most important site in this matter, with real OSINT and extreme amount of material, including an assessment of the pictures about the dead people in this incident. He found very convincing evidence that the original intention had been even more deaths and very likely the "rebels" had executed more civilians for this purpose, around 180. The piece below has more links.
http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2019/05/opcw-ffm-engineering-sub-team-censored.html

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Quiet Desperation said...

Dr. Berman,
Lihn Dihn's latest, a detailed story of an illegal Mexican immigrant Dreamer nearing completion of a college degree and his reasoning for leaving the US and returning to Mexico. He expands on many of the same positive attributes that you have described over the years of living in Mexico. The pace of authoritarian change here in the US is breathtaking i.e. abortion laws, police state, hate crime ect. My wife and I are on polar opposite extremes regarding what the US has become and there is no getting through the hologram in her mind, USA, USA, support the troops/cops, everything will be fine, I love her so there is no getting out for me. I've told her many times I would leave tomorrow but I can't get through the conditioning.

http://www.unz.com/ldinh/escape-from-america-mexico/

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Casey said...

Fascinating [terrifying] essay on dreams, art and "entertainment", or, the supersensorium*:

https://thebaffler.com/salvos/enter-the-supersensorium-hoel

*Interesting note - Americans spend 11 hrs/day consuming media.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

@Pat Fitz

The English philosopher Roger Scruton actually described modern society as a 'pornocracy' at one point. It's a mixture of the old line modernist capitalist commodity fetish intersecting with the post 60s carnalism.

And, on the more psychological level, the deeper point is that both porn stars and politicians are completely evacuated of any kind of inner life. They need to be identifiable by some kind of genre tag, and so individuality is impossible.

There is no such thing as American individualism. That phrase alone has corrupted a real value. It should be American solitarism. Not a robust individual, but a confused, desperate member of a loud but otherwise uncaring mob.

12:55 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

That wonderful America Face.....

Video shows woman push elderly man off bus. He later died....

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/video-shows-woman-push-elderly-man-las-vegas-bus-he-n1005906

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Casper said...

"When it comes to nuclear weapons, however, the arguments for pessimism only have to be true once" .... "nations such as Iran, Turkey & Saudi [may] get [nukes] in next 20 years. N. Korea keeps adding to its stockpile...& improving the quality of delivery systems...Hypersonics, developed by China, Russia & US, will shorten response time for political & military leaders to minutes"

https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/opinion/articles/2019-05-15/nuclear-war-is-still-very-possible-and-very-scary

I am out of touch w my peers and my generation, in that the existential global threat I fear isn't global warming, and this fear is constantly growing. Ellsberg's most recent book "The Doomsday Machine" is highly recommended.

2:02 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

James Allen,

Here’s a feature on the research of Dr. Richard Lomotey, the professor moonlighting as an Uber driver who in your Post-Gazette link is accused of abducting and kidnapping two of his female passengers. In the article below, Dr. Lomotey says that replacing your doctor’s visit with a smart phone is just “one of the many things that becomes possible when you apply mobile solutions to real-world problems.”

https://beaver.psu.edu/feature/lomotey

Dr. Richard Lomotey: His research is good for your health
Lomotey applies mobile solutions to real-world problems like health care.

« Smart phones have already replaced the pay phone, the CD collection and the disposable camera. But how about the doctor’s visit? Penn State Beaver Assistant Professor of Information Sciences and Technology Richard Lomotey says that’s one of the many things that becomes possible when you apply mobile solutions to real-world problems. »

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Rose Linke said...

still recommending this wendell berry essay in Orion Magazine to anyone/everyone:

https://orionmagazine.org/article/wild-and-domestic/

“With only a little self-knowledge...the conventional perspective of wild and domestic will be reversed: we, the industrial consumers of the world, are the wild ones, unrestrained and out of control, self-excluded from the world’s natural homemaking and living at home”

2:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jj-

This is of course gd; we need to have Americans bumping off Americans, clearly. But as far as clobbering the elderly, I am still in favor of the Laquisha Jones brick method.

mb

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOH37W0jPpA&t=262s
Yes, Jim Bakker seems to be a reborn Wafer. Check his
product line of perpetual survival food come the end
of it all. Nothing like fundamentalist religion to
keep the masses sharp.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

@James, very cool map perfect Wafer optics by far the biggest word was Turkey!

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2019/05/15/georgetown-study-felicity-huffman-lori-loughlin-report/1193938001/

Is it any wonder we're led by such venal, fuck ups, charlatans and thieves? "USA! has no caste system!" In terms of throwaways I'd much prefer to be among their ranks. The suffocation begins @ an early age when real creativity, intelligence, or (fer fuck's sake don't do it) criticism are snuffed out in favor of glitz and glamor. Where is this generation's Steinbeck, Dos Passos, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Twain...? So many ways to comment but Paul's Case by Willa Cather came to mind.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Gunnar-

Regarding the report on wealth vs. talent: Duh! As for Lori, I think it wd be fitting if she were locked away in a dungeon for 20 yrs, and every evening a guard wd come and pee on her shoes. She wd be allowed to shower once a wk, but never to remove her shoes. Upon leaving the dungeon in 2040, she wd be beaten to within an inch of her life and thrown on a dung heap.

Or am I being too lenient?

mb

4:34 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

k_pgh

‘putting mobile self-assessment tools into the hands of technologically
savvy patients, halting unnecessary doctor visits’.......not to be coy
but how might someone proceed to get a second opinion? Search
for another mobile app?

8:23 PM  

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