June 21, 2019

Ocean's Eight

The Sopranos was a kind of breakthrough in American film (or TV), in that the Mafia crime family comes off as more glamorous than sordid (kind of a cool, alternative way of life). Of course, they all get killed off or imprisoned by the end, thus staying within the bounds of conventional American morality: crime doesn't pay. And this is how I remember all of the cops-and-robbers movies of my younger days, namely that the bad guys come to a bad end, and virtue prevails. But the film Ocean's Eight(2018), starring Sandra Bullock and seven other assorted beauties, breaks the mold completely. It not only says that crime pays--the gals rip off $38 million per person from Cartier and the Met--and not only that it is glamorous, but that in its own way it is actually virtuous. As the eight ladies carry out their brilliant heist, step by step, the viewer finds himself cheering for them. And with the massive loot acquired, each of them is able to fulfill a lifelong dream--opening a pool hall, buying into an expensive co-op, quitting work and cruising the California coast on a fine motorbike, and so on--while we in the audience think, "Good on yer, mate!" That they defrauded a private corporation and America's number one public museum in the process--eh! Who gives a damn?

I couldn't help wondering, moreover, if this were a political statement, or even a political shift, whether intentional or not. The girls stick it to The Man, and come off as heroes for doing so. The morality here is hardly Crime Doesn't Pay; it's more the American Dream taken to its logical conclusion: Get Yours and Have Fun Doing It.

Perhaps this is just a shadow morality finally coming to the surface, like Trump, Hustler Extraordinaire, master of the shady deal, winding up in the White House. What is now seen as criminal is getting thrown in jail, as Debbie Ocean (=Sandra Bullock) did a few years prior to this caper, or being stuck in meaningless, dead-end jobs. As the film concludes, we are happy for these babes, and sit there wondering what we would do if $38 million suddenly fell into our laps. (Probably not give it to charity, although I would open up a World Wide Wafer Institute.) Cartier and the Met are just parts of the Establishment, within the Debbie Ocean paradigm; we should care if they suffer?

Thirty minutes before the caper goes into action, Debbie says to her colleagues: "You aren't doing this for me, and you aren't doing this for you. Somewhere out there is an eight-year-old girl dreaming of becoming a criminal. You are doing this for her." So this is what (some) little girls out there now aspire to: a glamorous life of crime with a hefty payoff at the end.

The United States is a new place, really, and this is what I mean by a political shift. Most Americans couldn't care less about the sanctity of private property (Cartier) or about the common weal (the Met). The new morality, the new "virtue," is Get Yours Big Time. Of course, as Kant's notion of the Categorical Imperative tells us, if everyone acted this way, there would be no society--a good thing, according to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. And this is where we have arrived. Nor can you put the toothpaste back in the tube. You can't go from a criminal morality and an ethos of every man (or beautiful woman) for him(her) self to a genuine morality and an ethos of We're all in this together. No way. Ocean's Eight is a kind of instructional film for a society in disintegration. To further that process, we need many more films in this genre.

You go, girl!

(c)Morris Berman, 2019


Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Another study on suicide in the United States. The American suicide rate is up 33% since 1999.


6:45 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola Mauricio,

As usual, an outstanding essay. Thank you.

Having just seen this, I read the last post from the previous thread. @Miles Deli, Bill Hicks.

Wow. Spot on. This is why I despise fascists and have never been on Facebook. That is right, never, not once.

I wish I could emigrate.


6:46 PM  
Anonymous schnickelfritz said...

Ah, the caper movie, my favorite subgenre. Topkapi and the original Oceans 11 are a few of my favs.

This seems like the rabble have decided to act as their overlords act. Wouldn't that be fun, where the poor start behaving as the very rich are already behaving? The rich steal from the poor, shall the poor steal now from the rich? With the Met as collateral damage? (Oops!) The difference has always been that the poor are always held accountable, and the rich? Almost never. Should we cry over the Met but not the dead Iraqis et al? What's a citizen to choose to do in an insane asylum?

Hasn't morality always divided along class lines in Western Civ anyway? (And others as well). One set of values for one class, another (the lower classes) always held to a stricter (higher) standard. We need a new word, as the thin veneer of "civility" is gone. Can't call it a Western "Culture" either.


greasing the slippery slope for a declining nation ... yay!

7:57 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

One of the best videos available. Be sure to think deeply about the thousands of people who have watched this video on their phone, standing next to their lamp, following along. Because a text version just doesn't have the narrative arc and resolution; film truly is the art form for our age.


9:52 PM  
Blogger Penny Lane said...

Love the Sopranos Dr. B. I’m a repeat binge-watcher! Such great stories, imagery and themes in that series. A big draw for me was how the legend of the Italian mafia constellates a direct connection to both of the great-yet-doomed “Western Democracies” – “Amerigo” and Rome – whose declines have been compared to each other in previous Wafer posts.

When Jung wrote about the damning effect of slavery upon the Roman psyche, he could have been writing about the American character as well: “Every Roman was surrounded by slaves. The slave and his psychology flooded ancient Italy, and every Roman became inwardly, and of course unwittingly, a slave. Because living constantly in the atmosphere of slaves, he became infected through the unconscious with their psychology. No one can shield himself from such an influence.”

Cue the American founders ironically fetishizing liberty in their manifestos while surrounded by slaves. And then cue Tony Soprano – a symbolic heir to both empires – hitting the therapists couch as he fails to reconcile his web of double-binds and wake up from his panic attacks. So brilliant!

10:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@MB--good essay. Completely anecdotal, but regarding the common weal, about 15 years ago in the wealthy DC suburb where I live they stopped regularly mowing and trimming the lane dividers on 4-lane surface roads and now do it only a few times a year. Much of the summer the street outside my complex looks terribly run down, while on my block the HA keeps the grounds immaculate. It was around this same time that the libraries started cutting back hours and are essentially only open 5-days a week nowadays. There are more millionaires than you can count around here here, but heaven forbid their taxes go up even a dime to keep public services properly funded--and this in a culturally diverse area that the Dems routinely win 60-40 in state and national elections.

@Miles--actually, I'm dead serious. A little over a decade ago, I blew the whistle on a Bush appointee for official corruption in connection with war contracting. It was an unbelievably stressful year in which I thought my career was going to be destroyed. Turned out, after a congressional hearing the appointee was allowed to quietly resign without being prosecuted, and I've come to believe the stress from that time caused the cancer that almost killed me. I used to take solace that the whistleblowing was my little way of trying to stop the wars, so imagine my horror when Obama came in as the "peace" candidate, and then started even more wars as most asshole Dems & progs (whose own privileged, snot-nosed little brats NEVER have too serve) cheered him on. As far as I'm concerned, Trump is what America deserves for the many horrors it has inflicted upon the rest on the globe. The only way the madness is going to stop is with full on American economic collapse. If Trump accomplishes that without blowing up the planet, he should go down as the greatest president in U.S. history, truly an "American Gorbachev."

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Onward to Dystopia said...

On the subject of crime, your short essay on Oceans 8 brought to my mind one of the few good things I believe America ever produced -- film noir. This is ironic twice over: the stories inverted the American Dream and they were often made by foreign directors, although American pulp writers were a big influence also. There were many "heist noirs" and they ended badly. But the dark messages of those films are long gone, as is beautiful black and white filmmaking.

On another topic, the funny thing about Trump, if he was a standard Republican (or Hillary, same diff) we would likely have started bombing Iran already. But what is interesting to me is the select few in media who are willing to admit this. It's revealing. I even see "liberals" calling Trump a wimp, asking why we haven't bombed, still hyped up on Russia nonsense. God I hate these people, but then I take a step back and laugh. Unfortunately war on some scale still feels inertially inevitable.

Finally, Portland residents rejoice after the city spends a *million* dollars to cover a former rose garden with giant boulders so the homeless can't sleep there anymore...

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Pat Chouli said...

Thanks Dr. Berman for you “micro-review” of this movie. Permit me to use “micro-“ (Gk. mikros) here to rather clumsily acknowledge that while screening Ocean’s 8, you also found the “microcosmic correlate” to America’s ongoing systemic collapse (already established at the macrocosmic level, in your American empire trilogy).

I don’t know you keep it all straight (!) Professor, moving so effortlessly back-and-forth between “worlds,” that it’s hard to find the clear line of demarcation separating these macro- and micro-level perspectives. And surely Bullock’s “you go girl” talk must recall Hilary’s concession speech to Trumpi in Nov. 2016 (!):
“And to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”


(Also mentioned in essay # 15, AWTY, p. 124).

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Respectfully MB, I think your assessment of the Sopranos is a bit simplistic. I just happened to rewatch the whole show recently, and I don't think its main purpose is to "glorify" the mobster lifestyle. Tony Soprano is a modern-day Willy Loman, and appears as quite miserable and tormented throughout the show. Whether David Chase intended it or not, the Sopranos is actually a very Waferian TV series.

As per Ocean's Eight, I didn't watch it and won't do. Hollywood clearly made the movie just to feature an all-women cast and cave in to the feminist mob, slowly overtaking Cinema across the world (along with the PC mob, Queer mob etc...) The movie, along with other recent "feminist masterpieces" such as Mad Max, just goes to show that women are becoming even worst capitalist predators than the Evil Men they so vilify. Being a woman hustler is the ultimate cool nowadays.


9:21 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Amorality is justified in our Brave New World by the mantra "I'm special -- it's all about me." I work with a number of people whose ages range from those in their 20's to 60's and the twenty somethings with few exceptions do as little as possible to get their paycheck. Movies like the one you describe send the message that people are entitled to whatever they want and there's no such thing as criminal behavior if it serves means to their end. Pleasure, satisfaction, minimal struggle or inconvenience are the highest priority.

I read a chilling article in the Spectator last night:


WHAT are we teaching our young girls?! Crime pays big & your bodies are not connected to your soul? It's frightening.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Morris, I think a book on Hollywood should be in your future. Probably something historical, since people who still bother often going to the movies probably don't read much- though I would like to hear your thoughts on the explosion of the superhero genre.

Re: bad TV news- for morning news, one thing you should understand is that all these people have frightening schedules and are likely halfway out of their minds. WGN morning news in Chicago is a 4AM-10AM slot. Anybody associated with that show is trying to permanently reverse their circadian rhythm. No wonder it's devolved into a portal to replay cat videos from YouTube.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Alf said...


" Nietzsche isn't pietzsche: Philosopher Kelley Ross shows how he endorsed slavery & analogous subjugation of women as a 'necessary' condition for any superior culture "

The unrecognized antihumanism in Nietzsche

10:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You need to read me more carefully. I never said that the main purpose of Sopranos was to glorify the mobster lifestyle. What I said was, that it does do that (intentionally or not). Which strikes me as pretty obvious.


Sure. I'm assuming Hillary wd approve of war criminals like Condi Rice and Gina Haspel. The idea is to go for it, make it big--true for both men and women in the US, in fact. Who cares abt the overall context, after all?


10:56 AM  
Anonymous Keselowski said...

Ystrday was Sartre's birthday, guys.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fusion of Hollywood with the military is one of the least-discussed phenomena of the day. "Militainment", or, the "military entertainment complex" is now pervasive across a vast cross-section of studio-produced films. The quid pro quo is that writers, directors, and producers, are given access to money, military toys, and "sets", so long as they portray "service" in an appealing light.

Military propaganda and Hollywood have worked together for a long while, certainly, but now an extraordinary number of films are little more than transparent recruitment advertisements (something like 'Captain Marvel' is essentially a feature-length ad encouraging women to sign up for the Air Force). The common thread between 'Captain Marvel' and something like 'Ocean's 8' –both aimed primarily at female audiences– is a clear attempt to keep women on the side of capitalism and its necessary sidekick: imperialism. Many young people can scarcely ignore the socially collapsed, environmentally ruined, hyper-exploitative and desperate nature of life in America today, and socialism is starting to look and sound like an appealing alternative. Hence the popularity of Bernie.

For the oligarchy, this temptation to stray off-reservation shall not stand. It knows Americans will readily sell out for a chance to join the elite, no matter how destructive, amoral, or illusory.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Setting an example for other right-thinking legislators across the country, several of Oregon’s representatives—
Republicans, as it happens (shocker)—have fled the capital to avoid having to vote on a bill aimed at reducing greenhouse gases emissions throughout the state by 2050. The governor has been obliged to send out the constabulary to find the missing solons, some of whom are thought to have left the state entirely. Sympathetic right-wing rubes have offered their assistance to “asylum seekers,” and a threat has caused the government to suspend a legislative session planned for Saturday (22 June).


12:46 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

My favorite series are The Wire on hbo and Twin Peaks the Return on showtime. The first evicerates Baltimore and by extension all usa societal rot, Twin Peaks is a work of art. David Lynch has never explained away it's weirdness ('got a light?') leaving viewers to answer for themselves. It has something to do with the nuclear age and electricity - for anyone interested watch for a scene with Lynch as Agent Cole whistling a merry tune in front of a mushroom cloud poster behind his office desk. Dr. Jacoby is also good 'shovel your way out of the shit!' For what it's worth 5 cast members have died since the latest episodes were released.


American farmers are offing themselves in record numbers as well (fuckit who cares its just our food supply). In addition to Chinese tariffs I'm sure the rain this year will do them no favors.


1:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Bernie will be crushed like a bug. And he *is* a bug.


2:25 PM  
Anonymous Cyrillia Juniper said...

Yes, it's not the USA we thought we knew. Here's further proof on the macro level:


45 has promised to round up thousands of immigrants tomorrow. Maybe this is how he is going to do it. Turns out the gang in the White House has been digging up old Federal statutes that delegate broad powers to the president and 45 is far down the road to using them all. The Insurrection Act is perfect for his purposes. If it looks like a rebellion or an insurrection, call out the Federal troops.

To be fair, past presidents have used this act as the article points out, but leave it to 45 to find new uses for it. No one is safe now. Put that together with this article from The Intercept about a USAian journalist being detained and searched at customs in his home town.



4:27 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

The quintessential American business man....on “WHY YOU NEED TO BE A PSYCHOPATH IN BUSINESS TO SUCCEED”...


5:20 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Maybe the message is, as MB says, just as simple and as American as get whatever you can however you can. To hell with everyone else. Get yours while the getting is good, even if you have to screw sacred American institutions. Which to me sounds like hustlerism taken to its logical conclusion. The possibility has been there since the beginning, as MB documents in his trilogy. Books and Movies with a different message - that crime doesn't pay - were for the naive who believed the propaganda offered by producers and writers. "Don't listen to those who say that America is a hustler's paradise; on the contrary, its a place where virtue rules and people play by the rules and everyone who breaks the law goes to jail." Except, of course, the fabulously wealthy who can afford the best attorneys. No doubt that's been the ideal for centuries. But it's never been the truth of how the criminal justice system works or how Americans act. Maybe Ocean's Eight is not so much about a new message but an old one taken to the next level.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Lennon Olivier said...

This looks interesting:

Foucault, Neoliberalism, and Beyond


10:17 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@James--see the story Onward posted about the prog government of Portland spending over $1 million moving huge boulders into open public spaces to deter homeless camps, instead of maybe using that money to build AFFORDABLE HOUSING. I hope those Republican legislators rally the troops, seize Portland and proceed to pee on the shoes of every prog who is in charge of the place.

@MB--indeed regarding the Sopranos, and you can add Breaking Bad, Goodfellas and the Godfather to that list of shows/movies that glorify American crime--much as I love them. No Country for Old Men, on the other hand, is one of the few truly brutal American crime flix (modern noir at its best). @Gunnar--The Wire just keeps getting more relevant with every passing year.

@Pat--regarding Hillary's speech, she seemed to have no clue that it COULD be interpreted as: "little boys, on the other hand, should just eat shit and die."

@meangenekaz--re: Facebook, me either. Not once. I was extremely suspicious of it when it first reared it's ugly head a decade ago. Most of my friends were also slow to adapt because of privacy concerns, but now most of them have given in--after all, nobody wants to look at a BOOK of your vacation pics any more. I'd emigrate as well, but the cancer's lingering health impacts have made it impossible.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Rufus T. Schmeck said...

Hello Wafers,

In reading the interchange with this post, it reminded me of my time in college. I took a political science class & in that class we were asked as a preliminary question; What would we do to make the world a better place? I thought, naively, that if we made all the leaders in the world female, we could eliminate war & poverty. Woman have more compassion & empathy & I thought that these qualities would be more represented in public service. This, of course, was a limited point of view drawn out of the Manichaeism of the Abrahamic & Zoroastrian traditions which we call dualism. Monolithic "good" vs Monolithic "evil". If males had created so much war,(evil) woman, with their INTRINSIC goodness, would create goodness. See how our cultural prism warps us? Ayn Rand, Margaret Thatcher & the various modern day Republicans show us that the traits of emotional retardation(lack of empathy) & the traits of dominance are NOT exclusive to the male! Sorry to all the Liberal, Feminist demagogues who are present.... women will not save the world: "people have ideas, ideologies have people." Coming to Our Senses, MB. The HUMANS who might make the difference have empathy, compassion & intelligence & the humility to understand the complexity of being in relationship to the world & each other. "Pillary" Clinton does not qualify. Sorry no link this time, just my thoughts.

Rufus T. Schmeck

1:40 AM  
Anonymous Jenny Sears said...

OPINION "I am looking to Thoreau because I have been hungry for naïve responses to nature, as I have been for some naïve political lucidity,"

Brilliant piece on the radical, often misunderstood Thoreau: "What I want to explore here is how attention to nature, in our post-natural world, could still be what Thoreau wanted it to be: part of our repertoire of dissent, resistance and the freedom of mind that these need."

How to lose a country: The politics of nature in a time of fear


7:34 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

I'd say it is almost over. Most people will simply glance up and go back to dicking around on their phone-

The 100 mile no-rights zone around the US border-

War journalist held for hours by Customs at Austin entry point-

"...It was around 4 p.m. when Moncivias finally finished up and informed me, anticlimactically, that I was free to go. I couldn’t wait to get outside because the detention area was freezing. No wonder Spanish-speaking migrants call CBP detention la hielera — the icebox. I took my phone and laptop and silently packed up my luggage, which still lay disemboweled on the desk, underwear and all. Pomeroy was gone by this time. As I was walking out, I said to Moncivias and Villarreal, “It’s funny, of all the countries I’ve been to, the border guards have never treated me worse than here, in the one country I’m a citizen of, in the town where I was born.”

“Welcome back to the USA,” Moncivias said."

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Politics Is The Entertainment Branch of Industry.~ Frank Zappa

12:24 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Wtf, just wtf...

USA TODAY: Texas mom accused of running over son playing 'chicken'


1:24 PM  
Anonymous Amelia said...

Alf, MB - RE Nietchze:

"Why sexist & racist philosophers might still be admirable. Condemning them as individuals (rather than the ideas of their era) inflates our own rectitude, obscures moral preogress, and blinds us to our own shortcomings."

7:55 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

My family is very right wing and conservative. They reject any notion that America may do wrong, in fact, they get red in the face, throw a fit and end conversations with a flurry of anti-communist and racist bile. This from Danny Sjursen at Truthdig basically resumes the American mindset:

"The American people, by and large, don’t care. They relish fantasy, suspend reality and avoid hard choices whenever the opportunity is presented. Jimmy Carter told Americans harsh truths—for example on energy policy—and called for individual belt-tightening and self-restraint. Reagan, on the other hand, told the populace that it could have it all, the biggest and best of everything: limitless growth, credit, military power and consumable fossil fuels. It doesn’t matter if Carter was “right” on some of these issues. He lost."


I'm the bearer of douchebagness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa8Qupc4PnQ

10:58 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

I'm sorry, but Caitlin Johnstone may make some sense on occasion, but the woman is a complete dingbat: The Fact That Americans Need To Be Deceived Into War Proves Their Underlying Goodness. That has to be THE lamest prog-humping headline I've ever read. Johnstone really seems to believe that Americans have always been "tricked" into supporting wars, when the truth is a 6-year old should have been able to see through every laughable justification from "Remember the Maine" to Gulf of Tonkin to WMDs. The only reason some Americans have turned against the endless post-9/11 wars after TWO DECADES is because those who have to do most of the fighting and have come back mangled, psychologically scarred or in body bags are from flyover red state America, and they are tired of bearing a burden that the privileged, snot-nosed little progeny of the war mongering neocons and their "liberal hawk" fellow travelers NEVER have to bear. Johnstone ends with this ridiculous sentence: "Americans are seeing what they’re doing, and they don’t like it, and they don’t want it."

Bullshit. Americans couldn't give a flying fuck about the millions of civilians massacred by the glorious American military and the many millions more turned into stateless refugees since WW2. If any national politician were to merely suggest that the U.S. should pay trillions in reparations to the victims of the empire's countless war crimes they would be immediately voted out of office. Americans don't even really give a fuck about the soldiers who fight the empire's wars, judging by how mismanaged and underfunded the VA is. At one point, Johnstone admits that she's Hedges on steroids by claiming that she now has "hope" for Americans, without which she'd basically give up. I say, better to give up than look like a delusional fool.

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Non-linear said...

The various subversions.

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Dr. B,

It's been a couple of threads since my last post, but I have been in the hospital. My prostate cancer which has been managed well for 17 years has reared its ugly head again. They want me to go for chemo and I guess I will. I'm in a sweet spot for insurance right now because I have Medicare and my former employer's insurance, but the employers' insurance runs out in September if I don't go back to work. I can imagine going through this without health insurance, but that is exactly what many Americans face daily:


Meanwhile, the shoot-em-up culture has even infiltrated the genteel world of golf:


Onward and downward.

6:25 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

A US Department of Justice lawyer argues that giving a child a toothbrush, soap, and a blanket is not a basic requirement of safe and sanitary-


This is the same lawyer who a year earlier could not meet on a weekend to resolve the case of a 100 children separated from their parents because she wanted to fly back to Colorado to dog sit.

Someone held hostage by pirates off of Somali made the point that the pirates gave him a toothbrush, soap, and a blanket.

This where I find Henry Giroux's explication of the culture of cruelty in the US to be helpful to understand what is driving so much of this. If Trump had not bombed Iran in order to save a basket of kittens, US media would be praising him. But concern for 150 lives of 'those people'? Weak!


7:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to those signing in as Anonymous-

I don't publish Anons. You need a real handle, such as Hans Schmaltzkopf von Hockenblosen.

Note to those sending in hate mail-

Yr wasting yr time. After the 1st 3 or 4 words I realize it's hate mail and I delete without rdg any further. Of course, this won't stop you, because folks like yrself have very low intelligence. So WTF, knock yrselves out!


It's impressive how cruelty in America exists at both the micro and the macro levels. It's bred deep in the American soul. In earlier times it was just latent; now, it's rt out in the open. Can you imagine a nation such as ours having any future (except a very dark one)?


Very sorry to hear this. All Wafers will be pulling for you to have a full recovery.


See the section on Jimmy in WAF, for further elaboration. The truth is that the American people are a collective joke.


Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot were antisemitic. So?


Americans are so intelligent, no? 1st, what kind of a name is Lexus Stagg? 2nd, check out her face--this is the face of America.


11:03 AM  
Blogger Tim2 said...

Good day MB and Wafers

A fine example of character qualities you may need to
become a good lawyer. Watching the proceeding in
the 9th circuit court is mind numbing and the court has to
listen to this BS. Next stop for her has to be the Supreme Court.


12:13 PM  
Blogger WasLurkinNowLivin said...

Thanks to whoever posted the link to the late stage capitalism reddit! It, along with this blog, continues to be a source of WTF's, OMG's and LULZ to be sure...

Speaking of which, I just read this article linked from the reddit about Oregon State senators fleeing the state to avoid a vote on a climate change bill that would almost surely pass. The interesting twist here though is the involvement of the right-wing militias the senators are hiding behind in order to not be brought back by police and forced to vote...

Sen. Brian Boquist implied that police officers who persue them should be ready to die. "Send bachelors and come heavily armed" Boquist warned police...


Civil War looks more and more likely everyday it seems...

12:21 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Was never a big fan but decided to watch Robert Redford's final movie The Old Man and The Gun. It too falls into Ocean's 8 territory - better to b a jail breakin' (16 escapes) bank robber because he loves his work than a schlub detective dedicated to the sisyfian task of trying to fill a leaky bucket so shot through of holes the work is meaningless. On the one hand 'heck ya, fuck the system steal from the real thieves' on the other how many can get away with robbing banks? Bank robbin' was a hustle that paid and we should all 'follow our bliss' as Joseph Campbell instructed. Not a bad philosophy I guess until applied to Jeffery Dahmer. Wld not recommend this movie - I watched it so you don't have to.

'How many will die general?'
'As many as 150 sir.' At this point I can imagine Orange Crush throwing a fit - "150? 150? Who the fuck changed my plan? I distinctly recall 1500 being the number. Who altered the order?! No way 150 is proportional, I'll have your head on a fucking spike!"

'And so it goes,' as Kurt Vonnegut wld say.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Dulouz Jr. said...

just one more WAFER poem from Charles Bukowski.Writing about drinking as a life-style choice may not be all that interesting, but he did write some good poetry.
the problem, of course,isn't the Democratic System,/it's the/living parts which make up the Democratic System./the next person you pass on the street,/multiply/him or/her by/3 or 4 or 30 or 40 million/and you will know/immediately/why things remain non-functional/for most of/us.
I wish I had a cure for the chess pieces/we call Humanity.../
we've undergone any number of political/cures.
and we all remain/foolish enough to hope/that the one on the way/NOW/will cure almost/everything.
fellow citizens,/the problem never was the Democratic/System, the problem is

1:02 PM  
Anonymous WanderLust said...

Dr Berman, you recommend to immigrate outside the USA, but what about the Commonwealths like Guam and North Mariana Islands? Have you traveled to these places?

It would seem living in those places would be similar to say the Philippines but USA kind of safety, cleanliness etc.

In your books you largely blame the collapse of USA on it's history. Can you say the same for these commonwealths?
Note: I copied/pasted brief history from a internet forum

"All of the Mariana Islands were united as one under Spanish colonialism before the Spanish-American War. This was so since the 1500's when Spain conquered them and took the island chain over. In 1898, Spain lost the war to the Americans. The US in turn took Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, all under the Spanish. When it came to The Mariana Islands, The United States only wanted Guam. It was a major coaling station for ships. They left the rest of the islands, which is now The Northern Mariana Islands, with the Spanish. The Spanish in turn sold The Northern Mariana Islands to Germany. World War I came along and the Germans lost the war. Under The Versailles Treaty, The Northern Mariana Islands were then awarded to the Japanese, who were on the winning side. World War II came along and the Japanese were on the losing end this time. Under the new United Nations, there were World War II trust territories from the losing nations, created all around the world. The Mariana Islands, The Marshall Islands, Palau (or Belau) and what is now the Federated States of Micronesia (Yap, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Chuuk, which was once called Truk) became the Micronesian Trust Territory administered by the US. Guam remained in US hands since the Spanish-American War and in 1950 with the Guam Organic Act signed by President Harry Truman, became an official US territory."

1:15 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

See the column referenced below for further substantiation that Uncle Sam's favorite land is spiraling down the toilet bowl.


"in the twilight years of its long preeminence, the U.S. has entered what is best described as its desperation phase. Having no need of imaginative thinking or policy innovation for more than seven decades, Washington finds itself incapable of either. Instead, it assumes a perennial posture of resistance as a new, multipolar, and historically inevitable world order emerges. In a word, America now acts as spoiler wherever this new order is emergent."

Sounds a bit like the Dulles Brothers who misread the changes of the 1950s so badly, leading to millions of deaths and decline in US power.

Jerry - I agree with Thoreau that attention to and preservation of nature is part of "our repertoire of dissent". Especially true in a technocratic society like ours that quotes holy scripture to justify its domination and exploitation of creation.

MH - Almost sounds like S lifted the quote directly from DAA.

2:03 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

Thank you Bill Hicks. Medical circumstances also leave me here in olshithole amerika.

@Mike Kelley - Mike of upstate New York? Best wishes to you in the prostate battle.


2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

Interesting times in Oregon. From a journalist who is at least part Wafer


2:57 PM  
Anonymous Bittel, Jason said...

"They are essentially being warehoused..."

"Children cannot take care of children, and yet, that is how they are trying to run this facility..."

"They are being medically neglected. We are seeing a flu outbreak and a lice infestation."


4:56 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

The next time you go to a movie you'll be wearing 'mur'kan head gear. In the old days,
a gentleman was not considered fully dressed if he was not wearing a hat. Speaking
of organized crime, why not order a few thousand of these for fellow 'mur'kans
hiding out in Mexico? Sell them for a slight mark-up to be truly 'mur'kan.


5:04 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Welp, folks, I'm all off of alcohol, off of kava too (it seems to be helpful if you need it, and "meh" if you don't) and my pneumonia seems to be cleared up. The cellulitis on my ear/base of ear seems to be trying to come back, and I'm trying to treat it with various topical preparations, but I may need to visit the ER again for stronger antibiotics.

I've developed a theory that after WWII, with millions coming home from the war, having lived through the Depression and not a few aligned Socialist or Communist, pissed off and knowing how to fight, something was done - I'm not sure what or how - but something was done to make society a mere word. People were atomized, individualized, set against each other even within families - hell, especially within families. An Ik-like society like this can't fight back.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." - Thoreau

True, but every once in a while in America, that desperation sings:


7:44 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Good day, MB and Wafers,


Beverly and I are thinking of you today, amigo. Indeed, Wafers are w/you every step of the way.

MB, Wafers-

Here's a terrific new book:

"Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment" by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.

Essentially, the author lays out the genocidal pedigree of the right to bear arms in the US. At its root, the 2nd Amendment ensured the ability of white men to murder and oppress Indians in order to steal and keep stolen land. It also was used to control slaves through slave patrols.


ps: Jennifer Johnson, 36, drugged a guy and abused him w/a sex toy. Jennifer also thought it a was gd idea to film her activity.


7:51 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Mike K--very sorry to hear about the return of your cancer. Chemotherapy sucks, no doubt about it. I can't imagine how much worse it would have been for me had I needed to worry about being covered. Best of luck.

In a continuation of what I wrote in my last post--here are some of those great Americans that give dingbat Caitlin Johnson so much hope: One-Third of Americans Would Support Nuclear War on North Korea, Even If It Killed One Million People. Personally, my fellow citizens scare the shit out of me.

More hope to be had from civilian-nuking American assholes: 57% of Americans still think the atomic bombing of Hiroshima was worth it, and I'll bet most of the other 43% have no idea what Hiroshima is. There was a recent history of the atomic bombings by Paul Ham which proved pretty conclusively that the Soviet entry into the Pacific war had freaked out the communism fearing Japanese, who were getting ready to surrender anyway. Truman's real motivation was that having expended so much effort developing the bomb, there was no way we were NOT going to use it.

Meanwhile, pres candidate Beto O'Rourke (D-Douchebag) wants to enact a "war tax" to help pay the health care costs of baby killers.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Good morning all,

Yesterday I got on Craig Murray's website: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk. He's a former British Ambassador (to Uzbekistan, I believe), dedicated republican (in the sense of being against the monarchy), and dedicated Scottish secessionist. He has that Brit kind of humor.

In his latest post, "The Question of Character", he goes into all sorts of topics that he freely admits will not make the progs happy - for example, the fact that Hillary would already be at war somewhere (although Trumpi seems to be moving in that direction), and that he's rooting for Boris Johnson to become the next PM (believes that will hasten the breakup of the UK and therefore speed up Scottish independence.) There are other gems in there as well. But the best is the video of his fairly drunken speech to the Oxford Union (in formal kilt) arguing about "The American Dream" - he goes into how the "American Dream" is just get more stuff for me - me, me me!!! Some very Waferish points in there.

2:36 AM  
Blogger Balázs said...

Regarding the state of the US, there's a chat(?) on Reddit, Stories about Kevin.


Kevin/Kevina is the proverbial idiot in the class or workplace, the awkward or annoying, stupid guy who never learns from his/her mistakes. Probably everyone knows a Kevin. Actually, the stories people share are not really interesting (except for a very few), this is a banal topic about banal people. What is interesting is how they write. Most of the writers are young, from -say- 10 to 30. At least half of the stories are so badly written you have a hard time figuring out even the main points. I'm not talking about grammar or spelling. They are of course shitty. But these guys have a serious problem with even simply telling a (usually simple) story.

(It's very usual that they don't have any (ANY!) punctuation. Grammar and spelling are important but punctuation gives you the frame of the text, without it it is extremely hard to understand a story.)

3:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re:Ocean's 8 & the new dictatorship:



4:31 AM  
Anonymous trout bum said...

Dr. MB and all Wafers worldwide:

Another opinion poll again shows that Americans have a blood thirst second to none.

Quoting, " More than a third of Americans would support a preemptive nuclear strike on North Korea......As we have previously found, the U.S. public exhibits only limited aversion to nuclear weapons use and a shocking willingness to support the killing of enemy civilians.”


5:47 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

More signs of decline. Here is an article on America’s growing homeless population and the increasing prevalence of diseases like typhus and Hepatitis A.


6:11 AM  
Anonymous Libetz said...

People are buying diapers, wipes, soaps and toys to donate to children in overcrowded migrant detention centers.

But they're being turned away.


Considering how fundamentally Christian our politicians are, it's surprising they don't worry much about hell.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

trout, Bill-

I'm surprised it's not 2/3. We're talking abt Americans, after all. I tell ya, the hatred that shows up on this blog is iconic: tip o' the iceberg. For yrs I have been saying that Americans are stupid and violent. Did anyone listen?


Check out the ch. on WW2 in my Japan bk.


When an empire collapses, it does everything to accelerate its decline. It can be counted on to lash out violently against enemies (real and imagined) and finally, its own citizens. Just you wait.


Sorry, outside of my area of expertise.


11:00 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

As preparations are underway for Wednesday’s and Thursday’s debates among the Democratic presidential hopefuls in Miami—10 candidates on Wednesday night and the other 10 on Thursday-here’s social commentator Charles Sykes’s assessment of how the Dems can give Trump a second term with minimal effort:
Keep promising lots of free stuff and don’t sweat paying for it.
Go ahead and abolish private health insurance.
Spend time talking about reparations.
Lots more focus on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

And as the leadership casts about for the next imperial adventure, some humor that is ageless:

Political Science (Let’s Drop the Big One), Randy Newman
(Apologies for the introductory ad, this is America after all)

So Long, Mom (A Song for World War III), Tom Lehrer
Send the Marines, Tom Lehrer

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

As an ex-drunk myself and longtime fan of Charles Bukowski I thought I recognized your poem but it seemed off somehow. So I went to the Bukowski Forum website. I found a thread about the poem. And sure enough it was revised by an editor. The original is posted in the third entry.

The original is a condemnation of the system as a whole not just democracy.


Italiana - thanks for the post about the Craig Murray website. His essays are a hoot.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Xair said...


Do you think that as the United States collapses and resources become limited that we'll get a mass migration of Americans going south of the boarder? If so, how do you think such a migration of Americans (and their shitty value system) would impact a place like Mexico?


2:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There will be a lot of migration, altho much of it will be internal. As for Mexico: several yrs ago, the no. of people going south exceeded the no. going north. Gringos, being fucked in the head, have done much to spoil Mexico. I fear this will continue.


2:37 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

This video is accurate in that there are many problems in San Francisco and other cities not only across California, but across America. I’ve even noticed the homeless population growing in San Diego.


Here’s the Reality though...Fox News and Tucker and Hannity present such a simplistic black and white analysis (this is ALL the fault of Democrats and Progressives)...when the Reality of the situation is much more complicated than that....What they never say, and never will say, (which is quite clear for anyone paying attention) is that much of these problems are being caused by the breakdown of “Late Stage Capitalism.”

Capitalism has been SO SUCCESSFUL as a Dog-eat-Dog, Every Man for himself, Musical Chairs, I’ve Got Mine So Screw You, Winner-Take-All System that it is now EATING itself and common people alive.

Read these...



2:41 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

HBO does The Mandiles:


Watched the first episode, seemed Waferesque to me, highly recommend.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Dulouz Jr. said...

Anjin-san, thanks for info on Bukowski poem. Still Waferish, but major change for sure. I know, I recently wrote some brief stories for an anthology that the editor rewrote so much they hardly seem like mine now.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Interesting but for those who follow this blog, not news that the NY Times and other newspapers of record self-censor major scoops by submitting them to the US government for approval. As to the reference to the Carl Bernstein 1977 article that stated many American writers and journalists were co-opted by the CIA from the CIA's beginning probably to the present, perhaps this implicitly supports your essay, Dr. Berman, on Steven Kinzer's book on the Dulles brothers that the average American isn't really at variance to the interests of the US elites, they believe in the American Dream and a big pot of money/power/stuff at the end of the rainbow and not to have to give a damn for anyone else's welfare.


9:29 PM  
Blogger Lucullus said...

More than one-third of all Americans would support a nuclear first strike on North Korea.


We really are a reprehensible people. I mean...wow!

12:35 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

I thought I'd pass along a short film that might be a small antidote to Hollywood and American degradations. A reminder of ways that 'simple people' are still plugging along out there. No solutions, no grand sweeps of history, just three people plugging along (in Canada, of course)-

Reminded me of eating together at work places. For years I worked with people who went to lunch regularly. Leave the shop, spend an hour or more out and about. One project we had a client contact who was from Italy and he got talking about how Americans don't eat together. We took him along to lunch and coffee and he was close to tears near the end of the meal, he realized how much he missed that simple midday meal with others.

The last ten years, nothing like that. Half hour lunch. People eat at their desk. The saddest- people will sit in their car in the parking lot to eat; in Winter they they turn the car on for heat. One place the owner bought pizza for us. I was looking forward to getting a chance to talk to people. I got some pizza on my plate, turned around and BANG- everyone was at their desk staring at their computers.

Another small basic element of being human destroyed as it all collapses.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

It's the fundamental kindness of Americans that impresses me:


11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

check this one out Wafers, especially AOC's tears on twitter:


I wonder what would happen to the USA if Chris Hedges were elected POTUS, and AOC became the First Lady alongside him.


12:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Touche. If Hedges ever acquires any political power, you'd better head for the hills.


2:54 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

Killer Zombie Fungi? Why do I think of socialization American style?


Go to 01:41 to 02:15 to see how they work.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Jeffrey Nix said...

“American socialists’ enthusiasm for the northern European systems may be sincere. We shall see whether it can withstand full and accurate information about how those systems actually work.”


5:02 PM  
Blogger Quercus said...

The American electoral system is incomprehensible.

Why are people now talking about the next president 1½ years before the election?

The so-called "debates" among potential Democratic candidates are inconsequential, unless you have someone like Elizabeth Warren promising reparations for gay and lesbian couples who had to file individual income taxes before gay marriage was legalized (Hey, that's gonna win a lot of votes among the deplorables in flyover land!).

Then these tedious primaries with endless discussion on who will win Iowa, etc.
Give me deal-making in the smoked-filled convention rooms of yesteryear anytime.

In the Westminster Parliamentary system an election is called 6- 8 week before the day and that’s it. And it can be called anytime, so you don't have to deal with compromised heads of state (Nixon with Watergate, Clinton with Lewinsky)- the party can replace the leader or an election can be called.

All governmental systems have their faults, but the parliamentary system is much more flexible.


5:19 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

jj - how true. In a black and white world, people don't do gray. They never stop broadcasting long enough to consider that others may be even partially correct; that the world is not so conveniently divided into good guys and bad guys. This goes for CNN and MSNBC as well. Morning Joe and the endless parade of talking heads on both networks get up in the morning and go to bed at night denouncing Trump. Fox bad; we good. Fox wrong; we right. Trump is a f ..... idiot; we are all geniuses. There's no middle ground - the same for almost all other Americans. Manicheaism was milk and honey to the Dulles Brothers. They were America writ small. Their inability to question what they believed about the world trapped them in cages of their own making and rendered them blind to what was really happening and why. Millions died. Rinse, repeat. Afghanistan, Iraq, and possibly Argentina and Iran. That old black and white spiral got us in its spell and there ain't no letting go.

5:35 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...


“Arizona war worker writes her Navy boyfriend a thank-you note for the Jap skull he sent her.” Life magazine’s “Picture of the Week,” May 22, 1944.

Life magazine’s caption: « When he said goodbye two years ago to Natalie Nickerson, 20, a war worker of Phoenix, Ariz., a big, handsome Navy lieutenant promised her a Jap. Last week Natalie received a human skull, autographed by her lieutenant and 13 friends, and inscribed: “This is a good Jap—a dead one picked up on the New Guinea beach.” Natalie, surprised at the gift, named it Tojo. The armed forces disapprove strongly of this sort of thing. »

Despite official disapproval, “this sort of thing” was widespread.


6:06 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Pop, pop, pop ... I used to live near there and have gone by there tons of times:


Well I went back to the ER because the cellulitis is hanging on, was given a prescription for a cream ... said cream costs $300, a week's salary for me and keep in mind I'm somehow too poor to even have Medi-Cal. The generic of the cream is $200 and my employer's made noise about covering it ... we'll see ... w/o me his business is sunk but he's an American, is he capable of that level of logical thought?

8:07 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@James--"Keep promising lots of free stuff and don’t sweat paying for it." I have grown to really HATE that argument for two reasons: 1). because both Republicans and most mainstream Democrats act like the $1 trillion+ America givens the Pentagon and war contractors to wreck other nations and otherwise flush down the toilet is absolutely untouchable, and 2). because neither party every seems to give a damn about the deficit or national debt until someone brings up the idea of enacting a major domestic program like Medicare-for-All. Granted, none of the Democratic candidates will advocate any serious plan to massively reduce such spending for fear of looking "soft on terrorism" or some such idiocy, but the problem is hardly that they are promising "free stuff." You wanna see some "free stuff," come here to Northern Virginia and let me show you all the multimillion dollar mansions and luxury SUVs being purchased by the jackals in the war industry using the tax payer dollars of people who are a few paychecks or a major medical emergency away from homelessness.

And yes, private health insurance SHOULD be abolished. Every single one of the billions of dollars reaped by the health insurance crooks value adds NOTHING to health care. These people are every bit as big a parasites as those in the war industry. They have the blood of millions on their hands, and if I were to take power, they'd all be the first sentenced to life in a urine pit where those the families of those they have abused could hose them down liberally every single day.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Mass Pike said...


“These essays about islands that appear and disappear with the tides, guerrilla gardeners planting on traffic circles, and clothing malfunctions in Second Life are entertaining as well as thought provoking. . . . Having visited most of the places, the author is lively and personally engaging, making this a recommended collection for public libraries.”

"The premise, identifying what sorts of "places" qualify as beyond-the-map. a survey of places that exist beyond standard maps, is a good one. Our guide, Alastair Bonnett, is congenial, well-informed, and opinionated in a mild and amiable fashion. The execution is clever and imaginative."

A Wafer-ish study in psychogeography

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Chesley said...

Nearly 100 drivers followed a Google Maps detour -- and ended up stuck in an empty field


8:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


GIs also collected ears as trophies.

Quercus, trying-

This blog tends to favor evidence rather than just the airing of personal opinions. Best approach is to state your (specific) argument abt something, and then provide evidence for it. Thank you.


9:34 AM  
Anonymous Goya's Son said...

Kanye, MB --

Not that I am disagreeing, but isn't the amplification in criticism against Trumpi's policy & Obama's is the indefinite separation of the kids? I don't see your Spiked article addressing the inconsistency. Enlighten me.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

As an aging Canadian I'm immensely grateful that we have Universal Health Care here.

My ex-wife retired last month. On Saturday she was diagnosed with appendicitis. On Sunday she was operated on with laparoscopic surgery. On Monday she was released from the hospital and is doing well. The only cost incurred was the parking charges her husband paid to be with her.

If you ever become president I will gladly come and stand and pee everyday on the healthcare insurers in your pit.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Schools are way fucked up here, decrepit buildings, online for profit charter "Academies" sucking up funds, evaporating enrollment, poverty, ranks as one of the highest cities in USA! with 'brain drain' (graduates leaving for greener pastures). So the school board sends out a survey - 'wtf do you people want?' 38,000 mailed with a return envelope and 5.6% respond. Of course the board makes a decision based on the results. It's all academic (pun intended) anyway b/c whatever makes it to the ballot will likely be defeated. If I had kids I'd find 3 or 4 other like minded adults, find a way to hire a tutor and homeschool. Check out movie Captain Fantastic for a very nice depiction of difference between factory farmed students and free range.


O&D, Wafers

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Onward to Dystopia said...

Alabama Woman Who Was Shot While Pregnant Is Charged in Fetus’s Death

Well hell, she dun tried to have uh 'bortion by gettin' shot.

Coming on the heels of this wonderful bit of Alabama news...
Alabama megachurch plans to form it's own police force

I assume they will stay on the church property and the article states they will be trained in usage of "non-lethal" weapons...baby steps people, baby steps...

Meanwhile what little I saw of the Democratic debate filled me with such hope...for another four years of Trumpi destruction. When Beto started speaking Spanish and fretting about how to pay for healthcare I could audibly hear all those laid off, suicide-contemplating, once-middle class guys in Ohio really stand up and take notice.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


General statements of opinion are not all that helpful. Once again: make a specific argument and then back it up with evidence. Thanks.


Horrors! That's socialism! In the fifties I was taught "Better dead than Red." Are you suggesting that was wrong?


Gd pt (I think). I'll let Kanye handle this one, if he wants to.


4:54 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Bill: I'm with ya on that point about the "free stuff" argument. To add insult to injury, the DoD is one of the biggest emitters of carbon out there, yet I'm supposed to be guilted into never eating a hamburger. Gimmie a break.


5:07 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

In the 'Be careful what you wish for' department, a challenger emerges to Wall Street's monopoly on much of the world's financial system-


"The nightmare for the U.S. financial industry is that a technology company—whether from China or a homegrown juggernaut such as Amazon.com Inc. or Facebook Inc.—replicates the success of Alipay and WeChat in America. The stakes are enormous, potentially carving away billions of dollars in annual revenue from major banks and other firms.

That threat may now be materializing. On June 18, Facebook unveiled a white paper outlining ambitious plans to create a new global cryptocurrency called Libra, to be launched in 2020. Facebook reportedly has high hopes that Libra will become the foundation for a new financial system free of control by Wall Street power brokers and central banks."

5:15 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@alex--what? You want "free stuff" or something, just because health care ought to be a basic human right? But seriously, hang in there my man. Don't let the bastards win.

@Jeffrey Nix--at this point I'll take almost anything rather than this dystopian hellhole we're currently living in. And I wonder why it is that the ComPost, owned by the richest douchebag asshole on the planet, is so quick to heap shit on socialism. Boy, that's a stumper, all right.

@Anjin-san--the only reason I'm still upright and breathing is because I have a very good health insurance plan--but I'd give it up tomorrow if it meant that everyone from the lowest beggar to Jeff fucking Bozos had to have the exact same access to healthcare. Bet U.S. healthcare wouldn't suck so bad if Trump and fucking Pelosi had to go the same doctor as the poor schlub suffering under Obamacare.

@Patstrami--yeah, funny how "environmentally conscious" libs and progs never mention that little factoid bout our glorious military machine. Did you guys see the temperature map of France that looks like a screaming death skull? The military now kills in all sorts of inovative ways--from poisoned water at it's bases causing widespread cancer to destroying the climate. So this 4th be sure to say: "fuck you for your service, douchebag."

10:04 PM  
Blogger k-dog said...

Get yours bigtime is a passing fad. Getting yours anytime requires a society that does not break down. If society breaks down you have nothing in the end.

2:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Whether the policy is *more* immoral under Trump than under Obama because kids are being permanently separated is probably very true, but I think the main point of the article was to show Progs' hypocrisy. Obama was already no angel in his time. Where were Progs then?


4:40 AM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

MB, I confused. I'm trying to follow your rules but don't understand where the boundaries are. In my most recent post, I was responding to jj. My views about CNN et al were formed from watching Morning Joe and some of their news programs during the day. I would not think it necessary to include a link to the CNN website.

I would also think that after your comments about "The Dulles Brothers", reference to the arguments you made therein should need no further substantiation. Not sure what other kind of "evidence" you want.

I also notice that the arguments made in other posts, like Bill's latest, are without substantiation. While I agree with him and look forward to his posts, I don't find any evidence in the last one. I am missing something?

When is evidence required? What constitutes sufficient evidence? Is personal experience alone sufficient? Others might appreciate clarification as well.


6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

MB: Once again you are right.

Anything is better than being red under the curse of socialism of Universal Health Care. Even a lifetime of poverty and modern day debt slavery is better as long as "non-profit" hospitals redouble their efforts in keeping America great.


8:42 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Who says health care is a basic human right?

“Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare runs six hospitals around Memphis, a city in which about 25 percent of residents live below the poverty line. The hospital system, which made $2.1 billion in revenue, charges low-income patients interest on their bills and regularly garners their meager wages when they don't pay up. The hospital system owns its own collection agency to pursue debtors.”


9:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry for the confusion, or if I misunderstood what you were doing. The evidence rule is a guideline, not completely hard and fast. It's fine, for example, if someone wants to talk about their own personal experience, relating to the decline of America. Note also that Bill typically provides links to his (informative) reports. The general idea in posting is to make a specific point, and then provide a reference backing it up. My guess is that you can do that without too much trouble. Broad generalizations that are essentially declarations of personal opinion are things we find not that helpful.


10:03 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Parade of turkeys: why do we hafta hear from these clowns 1.5 yrs in advance? Entertainment for the masses, who think elections can save us. Biden, Schmiden.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

The clear choice for America's future: Marianne Williamson.


She's the tonic for our cultural malignancy.


12:04 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Wafer Bill:

Next time you're with a group of USians, tell them that a friend of yours is on expensive monthly meds for a potentially debilitating inflammatory disease which can cause heart disease (e.g., Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, etc...) and that perhaps, we "should" be like almost every other country with universal care (socialism) to help all of the populace.

I tried at many events, and the statements were as follows: 1. Not my fucking problem. 2. Why are the meds so expensive, why can't they get a free program. 3. They probably did it to themselves. 4. Who gives a shit, we all have problems. 5. Why should I pay for someone else's care. 6. Maybe they should get extra insurance.

However, crickets re: 700+ overseas us empire miitary bases, and trillions per year in us war mongering industries. The silence was deafening.

These were our american neighbors, family, "friends." (Berman).

12:37 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

MB - thanks for the clarification. I'll try to be more careful with attestation in the future. For example -

Are our new technologies making us bored, angry and stupid? How are smartphones, TVs, and computers changing what we feel and how we see the world and what the world "owes" us? I would add that technology can also change how we feel about ourselves and how we relate to others. Look at the picture with this article. Do you see any interpersonal communicating going on? An interesting historical perspective.


Roberts continues to chip away at what little is left of the democratic process. Will there be anything left after he and Trump finish with it?


And finally, more frightening than either Roberts or Trump is the white evangelical Christian Right, who support them and desire nothing less than a theocracy on American soil. If everyone will just praise a Jesus, we would win God's favor and receive his blessings.


2:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


But did Jesus have a cell fone? That's the question!


If you get serious with yr friends, you suddenly discover that you have no friends. American friendships are actually jokes.


I guess she came off as something of a joke in that Demo debate. She's Oprah's spiritual adviser. What a joke. One douche bag leading another.


3:19 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...


There are some people who argue that American politics worked better when it was closer to the smoke-filled rooms system that you were describing. Jonathan Rauch is probably the best example of this line of thought. He has authored some interesting pieces on the subject.




Even if you don’t agree with Rauch I have to say that I find some of his arguments interesting and persuasive. Rauch argues that political reforms that opened up the system to more transparency and popular input ended up making the system more dysfunctional. For example, primaries were supposed to be more democratic than the old smoke-filled rooms but in reality very few people vote in primaries so they tend to be dominated by ideologues.

4:09 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Update: The $200 generic cream turns out to be $275; I was able to return something I'd bought to cover the extra expense. I'll be able to pick up the cream on Monday. I'd say the biggest helps were the antibio's for the pneumonia, Azithromycin, which you can probably get in Mumbai for a $20 spot complete with consultation and have enough for a nice chai afterwards. And getting off of alcohol. The cellulitis seems to be either staying about the same or getting better very slowly.

American friendships are indeed a joke. Australians used to have the concept of "mates". A mate will stick with you through thick and thin. Americans are the opposite of this. Even family, if you run into hard times, you're utterly on your own.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...


Lies and cover-up at 01:38!! It has spread to cause reduced brains in 75% of the
US population and will reach 100% by the next election. Proof positive for
thesis of MB.

4:46 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

@Bill Hicks @Pastrami I second that emotion. I will recite that one on the 4th of July. I quit the 4th of Ritual years ago. Justice might call for a big firecracker stuck up somewhere the sun don't shine fire chiefdom. Let it burn baby, all of it, especially the defunct rental properties and homes that many amerikans are forced to roost in. Pathetic. Anecdotal, I realize; but seriously, just look around you, especially in flyover country and the nations slums and ghettos..

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Goya's said...


I thought the main point was making the moral equivalence - if not - that Obama was even more immoral than Trump.

I agree it looks like by #'s Obama was deporting more than the current administration. But then again if mass deportation was all Hitler had committed in the 1st place then I don't think his name would be be used for demonizing.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Mike R--I hear ya. I often tell people that without my good insurance I would have died, and then go on to say that it happens to ten of thousands of under and uninsured cancer patients every year. They have to listen because as a cancer "survivor" I'm almost as sainted as an active military member, but I can tell they usually get really uncomfortable.

@trying--I for one will welcome our new white Christian Right overlords. In fact, I've already got my Pence 2024 t-shirts printed up and ready to go.

Anyone else following the Megan Rapinoe story where she created a "scandal" (puke) by saying "I'm not going to the fucking White House" because she hates Trump? Of course the libs and progs are have orgasms over her now without pausing to consider what an utter virtue signalling hypocrite she is. Rapinoe is playing on a national soccer team that represents the USA and yet is trying to have it both ways by saying she will not accept an invitation from the duly elected president of the country she represents if her team wins the world cup. If Rapinoe wanted to make a PRINCIPLED statement she would say: "I cannot in good conscience represent a country that inflicts so much human misery on the world." But oh no, then she would be denying herself a chance at winning a shiny gold medal, not to mention potentially millions of dollars in endorsement deal money. At least Colin Kaepernick engaged in his national anthem protest KNOWING he was likely going to get blackballed by the NFL and thus lose millions in future salary. If Rapinoe is what passes for a "hero" these days, we really are screwed.

9:40 PM  
Anonymous JUS said...

More signs of rapid decline.

I'm seeing more incidents like the one in this link. Random attacks on women in particular. Warning: it's difficult to watch.


Sarah Mics

10:54 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

A question to ponder - between these two faces (one belongs on the faces of America Wall) which one will kill the most people?



I'm going with the good looking young fella in #2

12:19 AM  
Anonymous Matt S. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,
A delightful and depressing read as always. Just a while ago I had this back-and-forth chat with a guy who seemed to have a conservative bent. He was furious with my claim that America had become too greedy and that the US government existed only to serve the rich. He told me that I should go and live in another country that "is less greedy." Well, I was astound with his suggestion. A buddhist (zen) monk said long time ago that a shit worm does not dislike a cesspool and that it would monopolize and keep everyone else off the entire cesspool if it could - because it could not imagine anywhere else to be better than its accustomed environment.

Matt S.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Doctor, thanks so much for recommending Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism. Now I know I'm not the only self-hating Jew, Arab lover, mentally deranged person on earth. Each of the stories are powerful. The problem is that Israel won. Palestine except for a few scattered dots has essentially disappeared and once Israel officially annexes the West Bank I see little to no hope for a viable Palestinian state. To be honest, Israel's behavior has so disgusted me I have lost my love for Judaism. A synagogue here recently offered free classes in Hebrew. I spoke to the rabbi and said it would be a waste of time for me since I support BDS and would most likely not be able to enter Israel. He had no response other than I'd be able to read the Torah in its original language. Anyway, thanks again. The book can at least fortify me with my tribalist Facebook interlocutors.
Friendship is joke non-pareil in the US. Two friends with swimming pools said they'd invite me their homes to swim. I left voice messages saying it's hot and would like to come visit. Think I heard from them?
I was also involved in a musical project. I hired 4 musicians who I thought had become friends. Soon as the project was completed, they disappeared.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Good article on the detrimental effects of technology on the developing brain. Psychologists are instrumental in designing models to manipulate and capture young people. Did no one in the tech industry or department of psychology ever take a course on ethics?


And more good news on technology :


"5G is going to broadcast in gigahertz, not megahertz, which is 15000 times stronger than what we are receiving now. With the science being so clear on this, people like Martin L. Pall, PhD and Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University outlined in a new report the many health risks associated with 5G technology and wireless radiation in general. In it, he stated that 5G is the “stupidest idea in the history of the world.”

I recently reread Brave New World Revisited and Huxley was spot on. He said the two events that would take us down were overpopulation & over-organization (what we would now call ever more complicated, intrusive technology). Read it & weep.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous E.E. Witter said...

“What makes a philosopher is the movement which leads back without ceasing from knowledge to ignorance, from ignorance to knowledge, and a kind of rest in this movement.”

—Maurice Merleau-Ponty, In Praise of Philosophy

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Bas Leigssenaar said...


Excellent piece by Hugo Drochon on the (mis-)appropriation of Nietzsche by contemporary public divas like Peterson and Pinker and how we can do better.


1:35 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...


What the Court mostly does is to maintain the current distribution of wealth and income
and let democracy worry about itself. Imagine 1000 voters in ten districts and each
having exactly 50 voters in each of two parties. Juggling one vote in each could give
51 for one party and 49 for the other in ALL ten districts: this means that just
ten voters could result in 490 voters having NO representation. This is the equivalent
of there having been NO election at all. The electoral college works the same way.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous schnickelfritz said...

Wafers, what is your opinion on the following?

I found this mildly interesting at first, and then highly skeptical as I advanced. This seems to be the usual floated platitude to calm the workers into submission,

The article details the four flavors of apparently unwarranted pessimism occurring in the West. The key of course is who decides what is warranted. I personally live in an isolated hell with much uncertainty related to employment, etc. Peven Stinker figures prominently here. The article seeks to provide a taxonomy of the apparently stupid general public who are apparently misguided in their belief that "something isn't quite right here".


7:22 PM  
Blogger Frederick Froth said...

Re how ALL technologies affect the brain and therefore our perception of the world "out there" check out the book The Shallows How the Internet is changing the way we think, read and remember by Nicholas Carr. And his blog www.roughtype.com

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

@Tom Servo
There is one glaringly obvious reason that US politics would have "gone insane" after the smoke filled rooms were usurped by actual democratic process. Just curious if Jonathan Rauch recognizes it. The rich (which is the same thing as "rich and powerful" -- talk about redundant phraseology...) are not going to put up with losing their leverage over the government. If the appearance of actual democracy has become important enough to force the new rigmarole of "primaries" then they will just find every other possible means to capture and control the primary process. If that means all public media become psychological warfare zones, that's what will happen, because they are going to have their way. The recent kerfuffle about "Russian interference" in our politics ignores the existing shrill partisanship that dates from the introduction of primaries, which they have merely noticed and stepped in to exploit.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Art--indeed, not dissimilar to how the Citizen's United decision allowed, for example, a small group of right wing billionaires (we'll never know who, thanks to the court) to pour millions in "dark money" to Trump's campaign in the closing week of the 2016 election, allowing for an advertising blitz that may well have tipped the balance given the close result. C.U. effectively obliterated all restraints on the "buying" of American elections--yet it was written by prog "hero" Anthony Kennedy, the same Kennedy whose retirement and replacement by Kavanaugh was going to "destroy" our democracy. Hint: it already WAS destroyed.

Speaking of Kavanaugh, so far all the lib and prog shrieking that his confirmation was going to end abortion rights has been nothing but hot air. Indeed, it was Uncle Joe Biden who voted for and was a long time supporter of the 1976 Hyde Amendment that prohibits the use of federal funding for abortion--thus ensuring poor and most minority women are effectively denied their "reproductive rights." But feminists, who mostly hail from the upper middle and professional classes and don't use Medicaid, don't have to worry about how they are going to pay for an abortion and thus have never really given a damn until this election cycle when they have finally demanded that Creepy Joe drop his support. Of course from 1993-1995 and again from 2009-2011, the Dumbocratic Party had control of both Houses of CONgress and the White House and could have eliminated the Hyde Amendment at any time. That they didn't shows again how full of shit libs and progs really are.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The on-going Brexit saga is only one facet of the electoral rise of nationalistic leaders like Johnson, Trump, Modi, Bolsonaro, Putin, Jinping and Salvini which confirms the prophetic writings of Oswald Spengler on the rise of the Caesars in the 21st century as our global economic system dissolves."


7:10 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

An interesting watch on a symptom of civilisation in decline: the phenomenon of bullshit jobs.


8:30 AM  
Anonymous Hal H. said...

These countries, among others, think that the U.S. has a negative impact on democracy throughout the world:

United Kingdom

The U.S. Threat to International Democracy

It's not just Donald Trump. It's the finance and technology industries, according to a recent survey.


9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.

Gustave Flaubert

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Portman said...

Local art house screening a new doc on Bruce Chatwin tonight. I think it has also aired on BBC recently.

Nomad: In The Footsteps Of Bruce Chatwin

"When British writer and adventurer Bruce Chatwin was dying of AIDS, he gave his friend Werner Herzog the rucksack that he carried on all of his adventures around the world. Now, three decades later, Herzog sets out on his own journey inspired by Chatwin’s passion for the nomadic life. It’s a contemplative and non-linear adventure that reminds us of the value of maintaining a curious wonder about the world we live in.


11:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Chatwin was the original inspiration for WG. Thanks for the heads up.


A related link wdn't hurt.


12:30 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Thomas said...

Have you been tracking any recent progress on NMI intentional communities? Feels like there was a lot of talk on this kind of thing years ago, but not so much in the last couple of years. Many high land prices? Too many good jobs?

A friend was telling me about some traditionalist Christians moving around an abbey in Oklahoma in order to form an intentional community, but something tells me this isn't a good approach, it's like people are trying to duplicate something of the past when really something new is needed. Not to mention, many of these traditional religious types are still totally hooked into the modern way of thinking, so it's really just a veneer. I think it matches the structure of the buildings, the veneer looks traditional, but it's actually a 100% industrial building built with 100% industrial methods.

Do you think something more successful will happen in cities? The country? I'm also curious how you could see a group working out that doesn't hold some kind of shared creed, belief, or anything else. Being against cell phones and for books seems too thin of a belief system to really form a community, it seems a central myth or narrative is needed for any group to work out. Have you considered writing an NMI creed?

4:53 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Celebrate the 4th--God Bless America:

A July 4 Week Tidbit: After the Cubans kicked the ass of the CIA's invasion force at the Bay of Pigs, JFK's poll numbers went up by 6 percent...just in case you still labor under the notion that Americans are capable or even interested in learning anything from past debacles.

The Gore family, environmental crusaders: If Al Gore Sr. had gotten his way, the DMZ rendezvous between Kim and Trump would likely never have taken place...the old man wanted to saturate the DMZ with radioactive waste.

Yeah for progs for Obamacare: Dirty, drug addicted hordes crossing the border--Americans into Canada in search of cheap insulin.

Yeah for progs on the environment: NY League of Conservation Directors are Pushing the Williams Pipeline & Other NYS Fossil Fuel Projects.

Yeah for progs' respect for American history: San Francisco Will Spend $600,000 to Erase History--The school board has voted to destroy public murals by a New Deal-era Communist.


12:01 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Good Morning MB & Wafers,

Another steamy day in Lugano, Switzerland today, although this heat wave seems to be winding down. It's really been grim.

Meanwhile, Stephen Kinzer has a surprising column in the Boston Globe today - seems George Soros and Charles Koch are teaming up to fund a new think tank in DC, The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, after John Quincy Adams, "who in a seminal speech on Independence Day in 1821 declared that the United States “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” The Quincy Institute will promote a foreign policy based on that live-and-let-live principle." Imagine that!


And how might they dislodge all the global hegemonists out of their lairs? While I would greatly appreciate the US not beating up on everyone in the world and spending all our tax dollars on all these overseas bases, as we all know, this will probably land with a thud. Kinzer is aware that this is 'heresy' - so we'll see.

12:39 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Is there a better sign of the collapse at the top? Ivanka Trump getting sneared at by the IMF director as she tries to explain male privilege to two of the most powerful women in the world and smiles at herself for her sophomoric insight (I think that she is now Trump's handler as he slides deeper into dementia)-


And then Jared Kushner and his Israel/Palestinian peace plan where no Palestinians are invited-


And on Thursday, our tin pot dictator will have his grand military parade as he tries to get tanks driving down the roads


I'm not certain you'll need to wait until the next election for the full implosion.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Josef said...


Liu Cixin’s War of the Worlds
A leading sci-fi writer takes stock of China’s global rise.

In Liu Cixin’s work, civilizations engage in a Hobbesian struggle for survival.

An interesting article in the New Yorker.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Robert Beeler said...


Are Today's Progressives Actually Totalitarians?

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

@Aaron Thomas,

Here in Northern NY, I would like to think we are making some inroads to help us survive post-collapse. We have 100% renewable energy, supplied by hydro power. Now, we all know there is no such thing as 100% renewable energy, as much of the grid relies on fossil fuels to exist. I'm talking about cables, towers, insulators, transformers and other pieces that make up an electrical grid. Still, if the grid stays up, we stay up. As an example of our resilience, I hearken back to the big power outage of 2005, when much of the northeast and midwest went dark. Our little town kept humming. We have a municipal power department and electricity supplied by a state authority; in other words, no capitalism to cut corners and increase profits. Plus, we have the among the lowest rates per kilowatt hour in the nation. Don't get me started on the water: it is gravity fed from natural springs and is also ratepayer-owned. Again, no capitalism to mess things up.


3:29 PM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

While it's kinda a douchy production (they're trying to be funny I suppose) but yep, here are some stats for you.

(FYI it's the video at the top, there's little text at the bottom if you hit the paywall)


5:01 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Italiana,Re the Quincy Institute: I’m extremely skeptical. I have a very hard time believing any good will come from these men; quite the opposite is more likely the truth.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Bill, Mike, Mean; not to beat a dead horse, but check out these drug prices (a PDF):


One of the drugs I'm on (for an autoimmune disease) is Rituxan. Look it up and it's 2 to 4 times cheaper anywhere else but the US and if the US could use the international average price, Medicare could save over $1 million ... just on one esoteric drug.

We can't afford universal health care? BS, we can't afford not to! How about subsidize drug innovation instead of corn, sugar, oil, crappy cheese, submarines, new fighter planes that don't work ... need I go on?

P.S. That report is from 2018, well after El Douche was elected so if it can make it out of that "administration" imagine the uproar if someone cared...

7:45 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Not enough illegal immigrant labor to harvest the crops because of the crackdown on the southern border--no problem, we'll just use slave, er, prisoner labor. Anything to avoid paying agriculture workers a living wage and proper benefits. Note that the states doing this include deep blue, prog haven Washington.

Prog douchbaguette supreme Rachel Maddow: "Penicillin wasn't a discovery on a par with the atomic bomb." If only she'd been born a century ago and contracted Tuberculosis or something.

This is how blatant the Washington ComPost, owned by the world's richest asshole, is about carrying water for him. When Sanders stated, accurately, that just three Americans (Bezos, Gates and Buffett) own more wealth than 50% of all Americans, the ComPost fact checker actually stated that "the comparison is not especially meaningful." Democracy Dies in Darkness, my ass. America's has died right out there in the noonday sun.

The academic "Resistance" inaction: Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government has appointed former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (of lead in the Flint water pipes fame) as a "senior research fellow" at an annual salary of $80,000. To research what, exactly, how to finish off the destruction of all public services? Fuck Harvard sideways along with the ComPost, MSNBC, greedy agribusinesses and any state that "rents out" its prisoners.

3:15 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Anastasia Lantier, arrested for scalding Burger King employee:



11:05 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B, My SO and I visited the pyramids in Egypt. Wonderful piece of engineering. And, what is telling is the Egyptian children use the pyramids as their playground. Four thousand years from now maybe the children will use the Lincoln Memorial as their playground.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous ether-issues said...

Dan thanks. I experienced a member of the covenant tribe claiming that zio country never attacks unprovoked and he was 48 years old. Is that due to matri-lineal inbreeding, indoctrination, or good old American consumerism fogging minds, etc? The leaders of the us country are more often looking Eastern European and Asian - as if they were Turkish semites or some connected corp syndicate or whatever. So many double speak oxy-morons like Judeo-Christian, neo-liberal, hate speech for any honest criticism? Everything upside down and subverted. Rainbows and unicorns for a covenant utopia.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

@MB & Wafers alike hopefully w/o waking a sleeping dog (who won the Civil War) I yet have to recommend a new docu-series on HBO. The narrator says, "the North won the war, the South won the narrative." Talk about pissing upwind, this lawyer's job is relentlessly "challenging" - as for Alabama motherfuckers have earned the burn.


4:38 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

Love that analysis of Ocean's Eight. I think whoever adopts the slogan of "Fuck You I Got Mine" will be most likely to rally support of the majority of Americans.

I just got back from my first trip to Italy-very beautiful country. One negative aspect that mirror's life in the US-it seemed like most people i saw on trains and buses stared at their cellfone just as much as the average American. Maybe I was just in the wrong places. I want to go back and stay away from the tourist traps and big cities.

On another note, Patrick Beeman has caught my attention for his efforts to plug up commodes. I think Wafers should honor his efforts and offer support for his cause.


5:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I don't post Anons. You need a real handle. I suggest Hans Schmaltzkopf von Hockenblosen.


There won't be any Lincoln Memorial. Check out "By the Waters of Babylon," by Stephen Vincent Benet.


Willya look at that face? Does she have frozen carrots in her head?


7:14 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Krakhed - "Fuck You I've Got Mine" is my family's motto. I've tried to get one millionaire aunt to see the light, and she replied "My reality is not yours" and I said something like "No shit, yours has always been whether to have a 2nd dessert, whereas mine and my siblings' was always whether we'd eat that day". I told her that her professed care for her was/is only crocodile tears. Needless to say I hope the slavering mob burns her out of her mansion and she's done to a turn, just a little salt and pepper and perfection.

All - I may be headed home to Hawaii in a year or less. Things are just getting worse and worse. I'll start out on the street, of course, but at least I'll be home.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Ethan Furr said...


Looking forward to this new Matt Taibbi book on the hatefulness and delusion behind American journalism & media. He's one of our last honest print journalists IMHO

8:03 PM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

@ Patrami: El (Il?) Douche! I like it! I see a new T shirt for all USians that Trump could make mandatory uniform on the 4th of July: Una Douche Una Voce!

Meanwhile in the Empire, sporting behaviour and setting a good example for your kids continue to be core values.


Mass brawl at Colorado elementary school after Little League umpire 'made a controversial call'

At least they didn't pull guns, I suppose.

3:59 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

@Sar - I agree with you about the Quincy Institute most likely not making even a dent - like I said, I think it will land with a thud. (Interestingly, Kinzer's column is the only press I've seen on it - that alone tell's you something.) How many Americans even know who John Quincy Adams is??

@Krakhed - Much of Italy has unfortunately become a giant tourist trap - it can be very depressing. Highly recommend you look at the guidebooks and go to places that aren't mentioned in them! Also unfortunately, this online culture has infected most of Western Europe as well, so it's hard to get away from that.

Meanwhile, here's this from The Nation today - Trumpi is doing his job!! https://www.thenation.com/article/tom-dispatch-trump-is-accelerating-americas-decline-china-russia/

6:11 AM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

Madrid has been amazing so far! Complimentary tapas and 80 cent beer is hard to beat. But I'll certainly miss stories like this:

"Serial toilet clogger sentenced to 150 days in jail, 3 years of probation"

¡Decadencia americana!

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Theodore said...





7:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out Goya and Bosch at the Prado.


Why those parents was unarmed, is beyond me.


8:25 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

cormorant: Finally, someone gets my joke! Knew it would be a WAFer...

If anyone hasn't seen them, the PBS series "Dictator's Playbook" was pretty good, especially the episode on Mussolini. And, whoops, yeah it should be Il Douche.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

MB, this story reminds me of what you've said about Richard Baker, who is still revered in Boulder. Wonder if he has a Tesla now instead of a Mercedes.


And god said, 'there is no one good on earth, no not one.'

10:55 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

My 4th of July Playlist:

Truck Driving Neighbor Downstairs (Yellow Sweat) -- Beck

Drugstore Truck Driving Man -- The Byrds

Take the Skinheads Bowling -- Camper Van Beetoven

Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers -- Cracker

Nine Bullets -- The Drive By Truckers

American Woman -- The Guess Who

KMAG YOYO -- Hayes Carll

South Dakota -- James McMurtry

Busting Up a Starbucks -- Mike Doughty

You Got Away With It (A Tale of Two Frat Boys) -- Todd Snider

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Quiet Desperation said...

Check our ESPN's 30 for 30 "The Good, the Bad and the Hungry" documentary about Nathan's July 4th contest and two of the main competitors. The rot of American culture is vividly on display versus the Japanese outlook, naked displays of racism and hatred mixed with the pathological drive for profit, exploitation of the other served in a roll of American exceptionalism and innocence. Many themes in Neurotic Beauty laid bare. I felt dirty after watching it.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Commentators, politicians, and historians have been asking the "Does Trump want to be a dictator?" question since he took the oath to protect the nation from all foreign and domestic enemies.



I don't think it really matters whether to wants to be a tyrant or not. He showed dictatorial tendencies while running, and the American people elected him anyway. Maybe its not what Trump wants but what the people want. America has played footsie with potential dictators before -


There is something in the human psyche that is drawn to leaders who promise to fix all problems, ensure the borders, make their nation great and shift the blame for failures onto the backs of outsiders. It's easy to convince a people to abandon their republic or democracy if the dictator knows which buttons to push. Add a dash of willful and prideful public ignorance and zombie-like existence and you have the perfect formula for tyranny.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Onward to Dystopia said...

I'm loving this whole July 4th "tank parade" controversy. Everyone is clutching their pearls about the streets in Washington DC. I wish someone would repair the streets where I live...ah, but who cares about that. The best thing that could happen is if the tanks destroyed the entire place. I love it, the Democrats still think this is a country, with something to preserve, instead of a festering collection of greedy assholes trying to get theirs.

In fact I think they should let the tanks crush a car in the street, put a blow up sex doll inside with a Hillary mask on it. Re-election assured. I dunno why Trump doesn't hire me as his main strategist. Oh well.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In CTOS, which appeared in 1989, I wrote that America was dry tinder for fascism.


7:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I knew Baker, back in the day. He was totally full of shit.


7:41 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Italiana: Not only will the Quincy Institute not make a dent, you can be sure the goal is to keep destroying any chance of us useless eaters having any kind of a life. These leopards have no intention of changing their spots. It’s all bad theater.

Trying: The presidential oath of office is not to protect the nation, but rather to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” This alone qualifies Trump for impeachment (actually, most of our past presidents too). Don't hold your breath waiting for this to happen.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

So that members of the Armed Forces on duty in Washington, DC on the 4th don’t commit any gaffes that would embarrass the President or otherwise blot the Pentagon’s copy book on this most important day, the Pentagon has issued guidelines for use in responding to citizens when they approach to ask questions:


Presumably these instructions will complement what I have always understood to be time-honored responses to virtually all questions throughout the military: (1). Yes Sir!; (2). No Sir!; (3) No excuse Sir! And, under certain conditions, “I don’t know Sir, but I’ll find out’”

10:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I don't post Anons. You need a real handle to participate. Thanks.


11:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Don't tell me Americans are not a loving people:



6:29 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Happy 4th of July, Dr. B! This was a fun read with my morning coffee-


7:04 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Paul Craig Roberts has a good article for Independence Day discussing the dangers of runaway technology and why Americans in particular don’t care about the negative consequences of technological development.


Roberts also wrote an interesting article on the horrible reality of the modern American economy.


Interesting reading for the Fourth of July, although I doubt most Americans will want to discuss reality around the old grill. My friends and family will be discussing the usual Democrats vs. Republicans soap opera or talking about how great the country is and how the economy is supposedly booming. I have some affluent relatives who are totally clueless about how bad things have gotten in this country.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jack L-

Thanks for postcard. When I see armaments, I feel a frisson of joy.

4th of July parade in DC: when a country is empty inside, it needs to put on a display of power outside.


8:13 AM  
Anonymous anjin-san said...

The website Atlas Obscura is one of my favorites for findin arcane articles about places and events usually unknown to me.

Since it's the 4th I thought I would post a few links of some little known history of America. Not exactly declinist but interesting.



Perhaps the next 40 years will see a new pastime of crashing nuclear missiles in space over parts of the world America doesn't like

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Mariam said...

I had forgotten what a truly magical film "Contact" was, starring Jody Foster.

I recall the book being just as dramatic but the story was changed for the silver screen

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Cyrillia Juniper said...

Dear Wafers:

A couple of grins from the heartland for your independence day consumption:

Hapless burglar drops wallet at scene. Check out the face.


Burglar has to be rescued from inversion board, charged with possession of cranberry juice. Sorry, no picture of the criminal. I'm sure it would be priceless.


1:33 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

Stand up proudly for 'mur'ka!!

Who can forget other happy and proud days of standing up for the flag?

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

The Prado is certainly on my list. There's a beautiful park next to it called Parque de El Retiro. Absolutely worth a visit if you haven't been.

"Independent of everything: Is America too dumb for democracy?" Yes, no sh!t! Not just dumb for democracy, but for everything else.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I keep hoping to see a nationwide "Shithead" demonstration, in which the entire nation turns out holding signs and banners that say OUR HEADS ARE FULL OF SHIT. This could be the moment of true recovery for the country.


5:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This looks good:



This too:



6:27 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

``Militarization of the 4th is as American as hustling - build in since the beginning. What we celebrated yesterday was America's place as the most violent and armed nation on the planet; our pride at being able to invade and defeat any country we choose. This article shows us who we really are and have always been.


6:55 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

@Sar - While I might agree with you on the motivations of the two funders of the new Quincy Institute, I think there are some (e.g. Andrew Bacevich) who are sincere in trying to change the direction of US foreign policy. Now, do I think he will succeed? No, I don't - it will be like the lone voice in the wilderness. It's unfortunate, but Andrew is like Chris Hedges, in a way - keeps believing that he can change the end result.

Great interview with economist Michael Hudson in Naked Capitalism, on the history of the World Bank and the IMF. Specifically, how they were set up by the US with malice aforethought - here's the first quote, "The purpose of a military conquest is to take control of foreign economies, to take control of their land and impose tribute. The genius of the World Bank was to recognize that it’s not necessary to occupy a country in order to impose tribute, or to take over its industry, agriculture and land. Instead of bullets, it uses financial maneuvering. As long as other countries play an artificial economic game that U.S. diplomacy can control, finance is able to achieve today what used to require bombing and loss of life by soldiers."

Here's the link to the interview: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/07/michael-hudson-discusses-the-imf-and-world-bank-partners-in-backwardness.html

8:27 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Someone found the source of Trump's comment about the Continental Army securing the airports during the Revolutionary War of 1812 where the rockets were flares.

Or something like that. If you can't trust Wikipedia and the wisdom of crowds, who can you trust?


Seriously, I don't think it will matter who wins the next election. The damage being done by the Trump crowd is so extensive and so deep that it will simply not be possible to have even a placeholder like Obama make any difference. There is simply no 'place' left. It's been falling apart for decades, and now the looters are in charge.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

Well said. What does the US really consist of, now? What is it that we need to save? As the country continues to go down the drain, we'll have Trumpi telling us how fabulous we are. Total denial of reality can only accelerate the decline.

Meanwhile, the Dems are a joke. The New Yorker ran an ad for NBC regarding the recent debates, claiming that "these 2 days will change history." What alternative universe are they living in? 20 putzes are going to change history? Biden is a buffoon, Sanders irrelevant, and folks like Tulsi Gabbard (my fave) a joke. Trumpo will certainly win, a yr from Nov., and then I'm hoping that he will cancel the election of 2024. The more he proclaims a bright future for the US, the darker it actually seems to be.

Meanwhile, the American people continue to roll around like donuts, w/their heads firmly rammed in their rumps. (This is the part of our decline that I most enjoy.) A few days ago I was in a major ex-pat city, in a café, listening to one ex-pat lady pronouncing on why we were in trouble. "The people who love Trump are voting against their own interests." Does she actually know what their interests are? Has she ever talked to a Trump voter, or read quotes from them in a newspaper? The reality is that what she is saying is, They are voting against *my* interests. It never occurs to her that their interests are different, and that they are actually, and knowingly, voting for them. This is yr typical American prog--so stupid it makes one dizzy.



9:46 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

How to convince Americans the coming economic onslaught is really in their favor? Why sell it to them of course (as someone said a few posts back these'll b found in Walmart parking lots wldnt b surprised if WM financed them)


'Simplify, Simplify' will b the clarion call!

11:18 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Italiana, you are absolutely right that some, like Andrew Bacevich or Trita Parsi, would apparently like to change the direction of US foreign policy. However, I find it frightening that individuals like these are naïve (ignorant?) enough to believe the Quincy Institute would be a good vehicle to do so. I never thought I’d see the day when they could be sold oceanfront property in Nebraska.

Speaking of the World Bank and the IMF, I’m reminded of what Mayer Amschel Rothschild is reported to have said: “Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws.” One of the scariest books I’ve ever read is G. Edward Griffin’s The Creature from Jekyll Island.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Dulouz Jr. said...

For those interested- There's a discussion about the Quincy Institute on RT America.
TR Crosstalk on Koch & Boros: Strange Bedfellows.
I watch a few RT America news shows thru Directv. Redacted Tonight for good comic satire and old friend Chris Hedges has a weekly show, too.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Dulouz Jr. said...

Quincy talk is link via You Tube, sorry forgot to add that

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Commissar-Nation said...

I can't watch much out of Hollywood without heavy cringe factor.
Here are more clues regarding the social engineering:

4:36 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

I recently got ahold of this:


And sped-read it; the writing style is a bit dense. The one take-away I got is that modern Americans are essentially Dark Ages rabble with access to modern technology. This is because they've been taught technology but get just about zero training in the humanities.

My almost-$300 tube of generic antio cream, from Goa, India, seems to be fixing my ear up so my health is better now, until the next time I have to go to the ER, as being in the bottom 80%, it's my only access to health care.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't think I ever read it, but I vaguely remember my English teacher in high schl reading parts of it to our class. In those days, you cd do that sorta thing. It's a classic, in any case. As for American education: if you pulled a Leno and stopped Americans on the street and asked them what 'humanities' was, 98% wd stare at you blankly. Time for a new Wafer T-shirt:


I was sitting on my couch the other day, contemplating how out of it Americans were, and I got a bit dizzy.


6:28 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

The Koch Brothers and George Soros's funding of the Quincy Institute should be looked at with the same jaundiced eye as Pierre Omidyar's funding of The Intercept, which also included such "independent" journalists as Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill. The latter's recent closing of the Snowden archive, denying access to future researchers, and its outing of at least three major sources, including Daniel Everett Hale, Reality Winner and Terry Albury, along with billionaire Omidiyar's and numerous contacts within the intelligence community, is more than enough to arouse suspicions.

Your likely Dumbocratic nominee, in all his fucking glory: "...the rogue oligarchs and corporations who now run this country constitute the enemy. Since becoming a Senator in 1973, your favorite Irish uncle, Joe Biden, has actively collaborated in the extreme capitalism, racism, nationalism, and police state-ism that enable the oligarchs’ agenda; and while most ably empowered by their instrument, the Republican Party, between times, it is more than adequately carried out by the Democrats. What we see now, with a mostly pliant Trump, with a conservative majority Supreme Court, and with a divided Congress where stasis rules, is the Oligarchy’s ideal. But as the political calendar moves on – a proven collaborator must be installed, over the next twelve months, as the Democratic nominee in the 2020 tryst with their current champion – just in case."

6:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gore Vidal: "The American government consists of one party with two right wings." Plus, Biden is something of a goofball; a kind of affable buffoon. Which shd attract a lotta progs.


8:36 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Mad magazine has been sent to hospice care. This is a tough one to swallow:



9:31 AM  
Anonymous CMC said...

There’s a great scene in the Soprano’s where Patsy and Burt, two mid-level guys, try and fail to extort a new Starbucks in a new strip mall shopping center. It’s hilarious. They’re totally out of touch and out of their depth. The store manager is even sort of sympathetic to them, explaining that everything is logged, computerized, documented, and regimented. “Look, every last coffee been is counted. The numbers don’t add up I’ll be gone and somebody else will be here.” The middle aged mobsters relent and walk out of the store almost realizing they’re dinosaurs.

This was a fascinating theme in Sopranos: the contrast between their carried or self-perceived glamour, along with their actual, vicious, murderous actions, as against the fact that for the most part their net gain was a pittance compared to other crimes and scams and even legal legitimate ripoffs. Like for as horrible as they are, their experience gives them an insight into how sewn-up the country already is by other larger and more sophisticated actors.

7:08 AM  

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