May 30, 2020

The Heart of the Matter

Wafers-

At long last, here it is. Enjoy, enjoy!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1635619319/ref=sr_1_14?dchild=1&keywords=morris+berman&qid=1590884779&s=books&sprefix=morri%2Cstripbooks&sr=1-14

-mb

185 Comments:

Anonymous Dan said...

Doctor,
It took on a few hours but the city of Philadelphia is no more. Both our main shopping streets, Chestnut and Walnut have been totally looted. Also, a fire is out of control just across the street from Rittenhouse Square. I expect within the next few days protesters will go after Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and perhaps even the Betsy Ross House. I'm sure those living in center city expensive condos will leave and almost all tall office buildings will be empty as the middle and upper middle class will work from home. Needless to say, I'm thoroughly heart-broken which will only get worse in the days and weeks ahead. I knew keeping people locked up for 3 months, then coming out to no employment and no income was insane. Anyway, we all knew the US was in a state of collapse but I saw it occurring as a whimper not as a bang. I only hope after my mother leaves her mortal coil I can find a way to get out. The protesters scream for justice now not knowing anything about due process, but being products of the American education "system" I'm not surprised. I can't imagine being disrespectful to a police officer but all I saw today was garbage and water bottles full of urine being thrown at them. I thought before today I could revive my fledgling comedy career. That ain't happening. Congrats on the book, can't wait to read it.

1:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Pretty horrible, but not surprising. You treat people like dirt long enuf and eventually they are going to explode. Hard to respect police after they keep killing yr compadres for nothing. Another way to look at it: the US is punishing itself for being the US. I'm hoping yr in a safe part of town, at least.

mb

9:15 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Greetings Wafers everywhere, here’s a brief news report from Cascadia:

There was a hot time in the old town Saturday night after Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan announced a 5 pm weekend curfew as demonstrations, looting and the obligatory police car burning occurred in downtown Seattle like other U.S. cities after the death of George Floyd:

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/sadness-fury-violence-in-seattle-over-death-of-george-floyd-durkan-calls-for-curfew-national-guard/

And closer to home, as the state allows our Thurston County to operate under *Stage 2* restrictions that allow the re-opening of hair salons, barbers, and restaurants, this article in the Washington Post offers cautions about the potential hazards in restaurant kitchens during the pandemic - you might want to think again about eating out with your freedom-loving Mericans right now:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/restaurants-kitchen-covid-safety/2020/05/29/fa8f3fd4-a133-11ea-b5c9-570a91917d8d_story.html

10:07 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Unknown-

I don't post Unknowns. You need a real handle. Thank you.

mb

10:30 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

And we get one step closer to Lessing's "Memoirs of a Survivor." The well-to-do have fled cities in high numbers-
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/14/nyregion/Coronavirus-nyc-rich-wealthy-residents.html

The 'roaming bands' have been very subliminal up to now, mainly individuals leaving the country physically via emigration, or the slightly more visible bands "leaving the country" psychologically via homelessness. I'm sure it's been driven into the ground here long ago exploring connection between the enlightened detachment from the dominant culture of NMI, and the 'base' detachment from the dominant culture shown by the homeless in all their various manifestation. In some ways the homeless are far ahead of most in their exploration of new structures of physical and social communities.

After the tax cut scam and the 'recovery' looting by the upper class, they must be thrilled to have someone else to blame for the collapse brought on by their crimes for the last few decades. Burning and looting are simply physical manifestations of cultural rot.

Watch the storm troopers come in. An occupying army at war with the indigenous population-

https://twitter.com/nataliealund/status/1266877181164089349

12:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

It's not clear to me why the gov't hasn't equipped the police w/nuclear weapons. A gun is nothing, after all.

Time to upgrade your post-it (on mirror in bathrm):

DEGRADED & DEBASED

mb

1:16 PM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

This one is going to stick to history. The image of the the US president holed up in the White House shit scared (we can safely assume so) threatening to unleash vicious dogs, in throwback to the segregated past, on protesting citizens is definitely going to stick there for a long time. This is not exactly the way I expected the US to crash.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

Speaking of degraded and debased Wafers with Netflix will want to check out the new series on Jeffrey Epstein, Filthy Rich

https://www.netflix.com/title/80224905?s=a&trkid=13747225&t=cp

Just be prepared to shower a lot after to try and clean some of the filth
off.

They should put his face on the $1 bill for is the true face of the modern America.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

MB-

Congratulations on the publication of your new book! This is wonderful news.

MB, Wafers-

Tom Friedman has finally blew his mind out. After promoting a no-holds-barred "growth" model/ideology for the past two decades, he now says we've grown too much! Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Tom the biggest fanboy of globalization the world had ever seen? What a rambling mess this editorial is:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/30/opinion/sunday/coronavirus-globalization.html

Miles

2:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I too got a kick outta that. No one was more pro-globalization than Friedman; he was practically the poster boy for it. And now, duh! Turns out it wasn't such a gd idea (I was giving lectures on globalization as a false religion in the 90s; I think John Gray was as well). The editorial staff at the NYT is a fucking joke. Matt Taibbi once wrote an article w/a title like, "Somebody take away Friedman's computer before I kill myself"--can't recall exact title, but it was something like that. The whole lot at the NYT is so full of shit it makes one dizzy. "All the news that's fit to print" my ass.

2:26 PM  
Blogger ccg said...

MB and Jeff,

I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that Friedman piece in today's Times. Here's my favorite Friedman take-down piece appropriately called Flathead:

https://delong.typepad.com/egregious_moderation/2009/01/matt-taibbi-flathead-the-peculiar-genius-of-thomas-l-friedman.html

3:06 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

All the Right Wing Bubba’s across the country are just itching to pick up their guns and start a second civil war against the black protesters and Antifa.

Imagine if thousands of rioters descended on the white house and burned it to the ground?




https://www.thedailybeast.com/minnesota-gov-tim-walz-calls-in-entire-national-guard-for-first-time-in-history-after-george-floyd-death

3:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jj-

Gotta love those bubbas! The US can't have enuf bubbas!

ccg-

Friedman is a walking bowel movement. David Brooks ain't far behind.

mb

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Ah, Thomas Friedman, who could forget his “suck on this” comments about the Iraq War. “We hit Iraq because we could.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwFaSpca_3Q

3:57 PM  
Anonymous requiem said...

Dan - thanks for the first person report on the riots in Phillie. Where American democracy began and now may end. Not that it's anywhere close to the ideals written into its founding documents.

Watching the news coverage, I'm reminded of the last scene in The Joker: "Burn it down". When there is no other alternative to being treated with respect, why not destroy the system that denies it to you and keeps you in poverty. You might as well burn it to the ground and start over. If the system won't change, change the system.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Walt said...

ughh! terrifying....

https://13wham.com/news/local/woman-attacked-outside-rochester-business

good academic citations here
https://quillette.com/2020/05/30/americas-black-communities-are-suffering-violent-protests-will-make-the-suffering-worse/

^^^" non white officers are no less likely to use lethal force in police encounters "

"Heartbreaking to wake up to the news that Migizi Communication, a 40 year old Native youth organization, was burned in Minneapolis Riot reports from the org state that everything was lost archives, historic material, photos. Prayers out to our relatives."

Working class uprising indeed: "Pair of Brooklyn lawyers including Ivy League corporate attorney charged in Molotov cocktail attack on NYPD cruiser"
https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-molotov-nypd-brooklyn-lawyers-charged-20200531-nxamwxnjmzgvzmczi6z2ypcbzi-story.html

these "protests" are going to open up so many more problems for black America. hugely in opposition to MLK'S words against riots:
https://www.gphistorical.org/mlk/mlkspeech/index.htm

5:24 PM  
Blogger dg said...

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship. George Orwell

7:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Walt-

That grotesque Rochester incident happened in the vicinity of where I grew up. As for the lawyers and molotovs: Wow! This is remarkable, that two professional middle-class people, who appear to be black, are more moved by race loyalty than class loyalty. Exceptional...at least for now. I'm wondering if members of the black middle-class are or have been involved in any violent protests. That wd be a remarkable demographic.

requiem-

The problem is that all of this is emotional. It's not as tho the rioters have a plan in mind, as to what a changed system might consist of, or any idea as to how to implement those changes. Violence against a system that has treated you violently, however, is a 'rational' (logical) response. There seems to be no other way for black people to get the attention of the powers that be; to say, "We ain't gonna stand for this."

Tom-

Check out the bio of Friedman entitled "Imperial Messenger." This guy is true American trash. We probably need a new definition of trash. No pt in calling folks in the Ozarks white trash, or the bubbas trash, when the NYT is trash, and the US gov't is trash.

mb

7:21 PM  
Anonymous LW said...

Requiem-
On MB's previous post "What A Shit Pile" I commented that what we are seeing is the country in what feels like collective self-immolation, I completely agree w/ you there, but what exactly do the 'fire-starters' think this will produce? There is no tomorrow, if things were to continue like this. And surely it will reinstate Trump just as the chaos in '68 gave the election to Nixon.

Walt-
Do we know who burned down the Native American cultural center? The antifa movement? Or interloping white nationalists? Disgusting, disgusting stuff!

MB-
MB said "As for the lawyers and molotovs: Wow! This is remarkable, that two professional middle-class people, who appear to be black, are more moved by race loyalty than class loyalty. Exceptional...at least for now. I'm wondering if members of the black middle-class are or have been involved in any violent protests. That wd be a remarkable demographic."

Could you expand on this, if you have a moment? One might argue that Ivy league corporate lawyers really aren't middle class. That these two acting in such a violent way would be causing more harm than good for the lower class demographic, when they could be using their positions to donate either legal pro bono assistance of some kind or $$ to the community in some way. Now they'll go to jail and escalate the matters for those truly in the shit.

Not disagreeing with you, just trying to understand a fucked up situation.

Congrats on the new book of stories! Ordering now.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Jonny Sagal said...

Will Protests Set Off a Second Viral Wave? - expert physician Nicholas Christakis posted this article replying - 'Yes, I’m quite sure it will. '

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/health/protests-coronavirus.html

8:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

LW-

1st, pls be sure in future to limit yr messages to half-page, max. Thank you.

2nd, corporate lawyers can be middle, upper-middle, or upper. Real Q is: How many in this demographic are involved? I suspect the # is small, in wh/case, no big deal, just an anomaly.

3rd, enjoy stories!

mb

8:57 PM  
Blogger Xair said...

Wafers,

I'm not big on expressing opinion, but in seeing these protests and riots I can only think that this is very American. Indeed much of this country revolves around violence. Is it really a surprise that a country with the most violent foreign policy, biggest military budget, violent movies, and violent video games produces violent people? In the end a violent shitty culture has no choice but to produce violent shitty people. Just my two cents

9:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Foreshadowing things to come: Trump in a bunker!:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/31/politics/trump-underground-bunker-white-house-protests/index.html

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Ludwick said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RMEiclpA7E&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop

Fascinating discussion between two wise black men

Cops and Race | Glenn Loury & John McWhorter

11:35 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Dr. B,
I knew you would appreciate this.
https://www.insidernj.com/hedges-ends-short-lived-cd12-green-party-candidacy-prohibited-fcc-rules/
Allyn

1:06 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

It never ceases to amaze me how different the narratives of academia and the mainstream media and right-wing think tanks and right-wing media in the U.S. are.

That difference has been on full display during the COVID-19 pandemic and the George Floyd case.

Then I come to this blog and find a narrative completely different from the latter two.

To be honest, I think that the reasonable people (as opposed to unreasonables like Rush Limbaugh) on the right are more rational than those on the left a lot of the time. They are the ones pointing out that it is cities and states controlled by liberals and Democrats where almost all of this police violence against black people occurs. Yet, we are supposed to believe that the left has a monopoly on rationality and "evidence-based" approaches.

Such confusion over social reality fits a declinist narrative, I believe. The different narratives could be a divisive distraction from the undeniable realities of an imploding civilization. But the idea of a fractured, postmodern world is tough for me to rule out:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/qz.com/1388555/everyone-hates-postmodernism-but-that-doesnt-make-it-false/amp/

2:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Allyn-

1st, in future pls check in as Allyn, and not as Unknown. I don't post Unknowns. Thank you.
2nd, Hedges is a hoot! His withdrawal statement shows how confused he really is. When he announced his candidacy, he said it was important to try to make headway against the corruption of the Democratic machine in NJ. Now, he calls that effort 'quixotic'. Man, that 'dedication' to fight corruption and injustice flew the coop pretty quickly. It's amazing to me that he has a large following that can't see thru him. What utter bullshit the guy is. (And ps, how did he manage to not check out FCC rules on elections b4 declaring his candidacy? This is a gaffe worthy of Schmiden.)
3rd, a pt I've made b4: look at that face, those eyes. This is one sad puppy. Dishonesty and reality-denial have clearly taken their toll.

Tim-

On representation taking over reality, see Daniel Boorstin's work of 1962, "The Image." Author of article is correct in saying that postmodernism was long anticipated, b4 folks like Derrida. I think yr rt that postmodern confusion fits a declinist narrative; wh/suggests to me that it's wrong. Holocaust denier David Irving brought in a postmodern philosopher at his trial, as part of his defense of an 'alternative' reality. But don't tell me there is no such thing as truth, or rock-bottom reality: the Holocaust is a fact, end of story. All those folks who showed up at my parents' house in the early 50s, when I was a kid, with number tattoos on their arms, describing the ovens and gas chambers: they invented what they witnessed? The war photographer across the street from our house, who was one of the first to enter a Nazi death camp, where he saw a mountain of baby shoes, and subsequently had a nervous breakdown (had to be hospitalized in a psychiatric ward for 8 months after he returned to the US): he was making that up? The shoes weren't those of victims, but part of a fashion show? Or perhaps planted there by Zionists? You get the idea. So imo, living in a fractured, postmodern world, where all perspectives are real--that *is* Disneyland. But we may be living in such a world for some time yet, as integral to our decline (wh/is another real fact).

Another form of Disneyland is 'growth', the notion that endless economic and technological expansion is possible in a finite world. No such thing as truth? We are hitting the wall of limits to growth every day now; this is another rock-bottom reality, already predicted in 1972. Bye Bye Miss American Pie.

mb

4:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

For those of you interested in buying "The Heart of the Matter," don't be confused by Amazon's incorrect listing of the price as $27.40. This is wrong. A little below that you will see a sale price of $18.95. That's the correct one. Meanwhile, my publisher is trying to get them to fix the listing. Thank you for your understanding.

mb

4:43 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Dr.B,

Nothing that will surprise you much in this essay, but it powerfully summarises where we are:

https://unherd.com/2020/06/covid-has-exposed-america-as-a-failed-state/

6:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

Gd essay, thanks. My favorite lines:

"The truth is that globalisation, the central political dream of Clinton and Blair, Obama and Cameron, was never real. It was a process by which advanced Western economies unilaterally surrendered their manufacturing capacity to a rival, growing power, China…"

"For the benefit of a few billionaires, Western societies have immiserated their voter base, dramatically weakened themselves, and helped shorten the lives of hundreds of thousands of their own people."

mb

9:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: It's also instructive that he focuses on globalization as religion. As I said earlier, I was giving lectures on that very subject in the 90s. Of course, nobody paid any attention, and I doubt very many are aware of it today.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Amy Defoe said...

Golf- perfect essay on globalization, even if it sings to the Wafer choir.

Tim- I swerve in a different direction w/ the postmodern defense, but that the narratives in the MSM bifurcating from reality is certainly true. Good point on the cities where we see the most inequality&brutality being dem/liberal led. It's scary. Lots of former prosecutors on the dem ticket with hardened hearts.

I just finished viewing the sober discussion shared by Ludwick ( ^^) between the two African American social scientists. It reveals that while certain black communities are targeted more than non-black ones, what we are witnessing is not whole cloth racism but indiscriminate police brutality across the racial board. And the protests and riots reveal this: police, National Guard, Military cops are aiming at all creeds, even shooting pepper bullets @ pregnant white women and masing kids in the face. But the narrative focuses on BLM and white patriarchy - but no emphasis on the fact the officer standing ground as Floyd was brutally murdered by the white officer was Asian American!

AD

12:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Impt article on Henry Kissinger by Thos Meaney in May 18 New Yorker. The final sentence: "Kissinger is us." But this is pure Waferism!

mb

12:28 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

I woke up from the most wonderful dream this morning:

MB was being interviewed by Kate Gosselin on NBC about his latest book, "The Heart of the Matter." There was some initial confusion about the book's title, as Kate thought MB was referring to hearts of Romaine salad. MB quickly reverted to his legendary wit, and asked, "You know why it's called a Caesar salad, Kate? Because Caesar ruled the Romaines." Suddenly the network was all aflutter, as Kate broke away from the interview panning toward a shot of Trumpo emerging from his underground WH bunker. Trumpo went before a panoply of microphones and began to speak:

"Today I realized I'm a total clusterfuck, and I rule the largest clusterfubia on earth, the United States of America. Last night, I had a dark night of the soul as it were thanks to a new book by historian/philosopher Morris Berman. The book is called, "The Heart of the Matter." With the help of this work, I realized that I'm struggling through a terrible existential vacuum. I'm haunted by the experience of my inner emptiness, the void w/in myself. It slowly began to dawn on me that the more I have, the more I don't see, and the more experience I get, the more confused I become as to who I am. I realized that I'm essentially lashing out in pain and anger because I've no idea who the hell I am, and have no idea what the hell life is supposed to be about! And, quite frankly, I don't wanna do it anymore. Therefore, I've decided to renounce the presidency and attend my local Bermanic Monestary, located right here in DC. My first order of business is to learn to refrain from advocating violence, because when you do, you are playing the system's game. Thank you all, and have a terrific afternoon."

The interview w/MB continued. Kate asked MB what he made of such a turnabout. MB said he was tickled that Trumpo had a breakthrough and finally understood the need to conquer himself.

Then I woke up!

1:55 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

“You Governors are WEAK!!! You MUST DOMINATE!!!!”

- FAT DONNIE the Orange Buffoon


Hear audio of Trump's call to US governors

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/06/01/trump-governors-call-protests-george-floyd-vpx.cnn

2:06 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

Dr B, I couldn't tell if this comment you made was sarcastic or not.

Wow! This is remarkable, that two professional middle-class people, who appear to be black, are more moved by race loyalty than class loyalty

Assuming it isn't, why would it be surprising that racial identity trumps class identity?

2:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jj-

In general, I can't recall a time in the last 75 yrs when the buffoon levels, both national and individual, have been higher. The problem w/buffoonery is that it engenders more buffoonery, and then more, until the whole system goes into ecpyrosis.

Jeff-

If Only Dept., I guess.

mb

2:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Christian-

Because the tendency, once you make it into the middle class, is to forget those you left behind (of whatever color). Benito Juarez was Mexican president in 19C, the only indigena to hold that office, and he did nothing for indigenas. By the time Obama ended his 2nd term in office, black people were economically worse off than they were in 2008. There is a small but very wealthy black class in the US; to my knowledge, they do 0 to help poor blacks. And so on. "Money talks."

mb

4:13 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

MB and Wafers - Our pal Linh Dinh gets interviewed by Iranian media. Doesn't get any better than this - like a fast one right down the middle. "Outta the park!"

5:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

comrade-

Link?

mb

5:38 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Oops
https://www.unz.com/ldinh/im-interviewed-by-the-islamic-azad-university-news-agency/

5:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

comrade-

I agree w/a lot of what he says, but he's a shade too antisemitic for me; as is the unz website in general (hosting bks on Holocaust denial, for example).

mb

6:15 PM  
Blogger anderszornpalette said...

An article very much in line with this blog’s assessment of America’s future:

https://unherd.com/2020/06/covid-has-exposed-america-as-a-failed-state/

6:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

anders-

Already posted above, but thanks anyway.

mb

7:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Recent poetic inspiration, upon rdg that Trump was sequestered in a bunker:

Trumper in a bunker
Trump in a bunk
Debunk the bunker
Detrump the Trump
That's a lot of bunk!
That's a lot of Trump!
Bunk, Trump, Trump, Bunk
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare
Who put the Ram in the
Ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong
My hair like Jesus wore it...

OK, a work in progress...

mb

7:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Unknown-

Sorry, I don't post Unknowns. You need a real handle to participate, e.g. Barnaby J. Horsefat. Thank you.

mb

8:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is kinda nice, but I'm still puzzled as to why the police have not been supplied with nuclear weapons, to be deployed in such cases:

https://edition.cnn.com/videos/us/2020/05/29/michigan-police-punching-shatina-grady-orig.cnn

12:06 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman,
Our military has been bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan for close to 20 years now. It hasn’t won a war since WWII. Now they are about to engage in a war against the American citizens!
Are the “Support the Troops” bumper stickers being sold?

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/01/politics/troops-deploying-washington-dc/index.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UloYEnF0ixk

12:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

I just fired off an e-mail to Trumpola, as follows:

Mr. President!
If you really want to dominate the streets of this country, as you say you do, then it is time to take the gloves off. Yes. I mean nuclear weapons. Your tweet, "Looting leads to shooting" is lame; it will not intimidate these communist agitators rioting in the streets. The correct tweet is "Looting leads to nuking." *That* is how you get the attention of these thugs.
Good night and good luck.
-MB

1:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Joe: I think I already argued in the Twilight bk that what the US now (2000) was, was a shell of a nation. Like individual Americans, the country is hollow. And when you are hollow, violence is probably all you've got left, as a response to literally anything. This in turn increases the hollowness, which increases the violence, etc., until the system implodes. We are now witnessing that implosion on a whole # of levels at this very moment.

1:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Thought-Hidden-Pleasures-Intellectual/dp/0691178712/ref=sr_1_1?crid=39PY4ISAD34LI&dchild=1&keywords=lost+in+thought+the+hidden+pleasures+of+an+intellectual+life&qid=1591075860&s=books&sprefix=lost+in+thought%2Cstripbooks%2C232&sr=1-1

1:34 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

@ Joe:

Trumps's the first US President in how long to not engage in wholesale US overseas military adventurism/intervention/conquest. All that violence and military technology that the US has put so much time and money into cultivating has to go somewhere. Hence Trump's speech tonight. He basically declared war on US soil.

I'm currently reading Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America", and came across this choice quote, from chapter nine, Part two.

"In America, then. everyone finds facilities, unknown elsewhere, for making or increasing his fortune. the spirit of gain is always on the stretch, and the human mind, constantly diverted from the pleasures of imagination and labors of the intellect, is swayed by no impulse but the pursuit of wealth"

2:32 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

I've been watching the news on the protests as if in a hypnotic trance and I find it revealing that nobody in the media questions why the US needs a police force that looks (and acts) like an occupying army. There are enough videos of the appalling police brutality out there to lose your faith in humanity. I'm afraid I don't see the US imploding, but finally transforming itself into a completely dystopian fascistic abomination. "I'm your president of law an order." It doesn't get any more sinister than that. And a sizable portion of the populace supports him. Comparisons to the Reichstag fire spring to mind. I think we all knew it was on the cards. Well, the hand has been dealt at last.

2:45 AM  
Anonymous McKenzie said...

Wafers: Looking for a good book about Ancient Egalitarian Societies ��

I found this one so far

https://www.amazon.com/Warless-Societies-Origin-Raymond-Kelly/dp/0472067389

8:17 AM  
Blogger Mike Kelly said...

Hi MB and Wafers:

Miles, I really enjoyed the Thomas Friedman article in the NYT. Suddenly, when globalization circling the drain, Friedman declares we're all in this together. When capitalism is running on all cylinders it's every man for himself. He also relies on a often-used excuse for world chaos - Blame the Ay-rabs! I wonder which poor unsuspecting Middle East country will be bombed next? Yemen maybe? A joint Israeli-US strike on the Palestinians? Go hide in a hole with Trump-a-Dump, Tommy Boy!

Dr. B, you may just get your wish about nukes as Trump-a-Dump alludes to "ominous weapons" in this NYT article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/politics/trump-protests-george-floyd.html

8:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

McKenzie-

They were never purely egalitarian, but check out my discussion in "Wandering God".

mb

10:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to 'Jesus'-

So much hatred! So much pain! Sad, sad guy.

mb

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Kinda wafer said...

I've come to believe years ago that america is a vacuum for meaning, and that is its main problem. The US either oppresses Or redirects every social and individual search for meaning to align with its ideology ($$$), and money is hollow.
Whatever is happening is hollowness manifest.

11:12 AM  
Blogger vsoguy said...

Speaking of, I saw a sign outside the local church on my way to work this morning (luckily I still have a job) The sign read "Pray for each other", I'm guessing that's an error. It should read "Prey on each other"

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

How about for a bumper sticker--

Most lives (usa-ers) don't matter?

12:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

vso-

Americans don't need instructions to do that; they do it as a matter of course.

mb

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Here's O'Biden (in a church, no less) explaining that it would be good to train police to shoot people in the legs rather than through the heart-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7g4FHyIAbA#t=3m38s

You can't make this stuff up...

1:05 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Will the US even make it to election day? Biden suggests police could shoot assailants in the leg instead of the heart:

https://www.complex.com/life/2020/06/joe-biden-proposes-police-shoot-assailants-leg-instead-of-heart

Meanwhile, Trumpo has reached mad emperor stage. My recommendation if you can't get out of the US:

1. Put on a Dylan LP
2. Smoke a bowl
3. Make luv with the one yr with

Miles

1:05 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I suppose if ever there was a time for Chris Hedge's Henchmen to take center stage and overthrow the system now wld be it but oh yeah he can't even get traction as a green party candidate.

I watch a little news then switch over to "Who killed Malcom X" on Netflix. Jesus, it's worse today, the murder of Mr. Floyd should be the last (of many) straw. I reckon most protesters don't realize once the cause becomes greater than the latest victim civil war becomes the only remedy. Very dangerous to dance around the mountaintop of an active volcano while the president enjoys war powers.

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/feb/13/netflix-documentary-leads-to-review-of-malcolm-x-murder

Not everyone agrees Mr. Floyd didn't deserve what he got - disgusting.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8379395/Trump-supporting-Minneapolis-police-federation-leader-calls-George-Floyd-violent-criminal.html

1:19 PM  
Blogger dg said...

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EZI8WdAWoAA4BGT?format=jpg&name=small

1:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dg-

I guess sex is out for the time being. :-)

Gunnar-

Scientific studies have shown that all black males are violent criminals, w/o exception. Of course Trumpi needs to unleash the US Army.

Jeff, Birn-

Schmiden is an enlightened guy, clearly. Another possibility is to fire from the side, and blow their noses off. Why not? Things are already surreal.

mb

1:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is gd:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/01/business/media/unrest-trump-tucker-carlson-anderson-cooper.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

1:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mr. President:
I think I have figured out how to solve the problem of America. As we are both aware, the bottom 99% want to enter the elite 1%. What they do not realize is that the top 1% are grinding them into the dirt. This is daily life for them. What I suggest is that we accelerate the grinding process, and you are the man to do it. 1st, fly the top 1% to the Cayman Islands (but including only white Christians). 2nd, nuke the rest of the population. Then, return the top 1% to the US, to enjoy the huge amount of space now available, and of course, the freedom to be (true) Americans.
What say you?
-MB

2:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Sorry, I don't post Anons. You need a real handle. In yr case, I suggest Ludwig J. Fathead.

mb

2:29 PM  
Blogger anderszornpalette said...

Sorry about the duplicate article link earlier.

Spike Lee seems to be in some agreement with Mr. Berman’s theory on the foundations of the U.S. being at the heart of the issue, although he isn’t referring so much to hustling - more like outright rape and pillaging.

"So the foundation of the United States of America is genocide, stealing land and slavery.”

"Any architect will tell you that if you don't have a strong foundation, the building's going to be shaky, and shaky from day one... This original sin has not been dealt with since the birth of this country."

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/entertainment-arts-52897876/spike-lee-on-george-floyd-s-death-and-his-new-film-da-5-bloods

3:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

anders-

I suppose rape and pillage are just more advanced forms of hustling.

mb

3:40 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Sar - you're right, pro-authority naivete is not a good position to be in, but neither is pro-conspiracy gullibility. There is a difference between an argument supported by evidence, and Joe off the streets opinion. Putting aside plain number crunching, whenever there is "truth" to be found is this world, its usually somewhere in the middle. But as you suggest, lets move on - we're all in agreement the U.S. is toast!

I live in a city thats establishing a curfew due to riots, which seems surreal but at the same time not surprising considering the path the US has been on for the last few decades(centuries?). Like arnie I'm thinking about McCoy's book, a pretty sober look at how much the U.S. has screwed up in its relations with the rest of the world. With "Law & Order" Trumpi at the helm we may be declining a lot faster than McCoy predicted.

Also thinking about Dmitry Orlov - don't agree with a lot of his stuff but he points out the difference between post Soviet Russia and the US. Americans are not going to have stuff like public transit and cheap housing to fall back on like Russians did.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

k-dog-

Pls don't send messages to previous posts. Thank you.

mb

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

What might surprise a lot of people is that Trump’s “law and order” stance might help him in November. I could see Trump’s tougher line playing well among frightened white suburbanites, an important swing demographic.

Noah Rothman has an article on how Trump will likely try to harness the unrest for political gain. While I don't know if Trump’s strategy will work for sure it does seem plausible, especially since there is historical precedent for a conservative backlash following unrest.

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/trump-s-george-floyd-protest-tweets-are-pro-police-reason-ncna1218571

5:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Tom-

You cd be rt; but there are 2 problems. One, the election is 5 mos. away, and it's possible that by then no one will remember who George Lloyd was. "Black Lives Matter" is abt (justified) rage, not political organizing, and these signs strike me as being curious: what cd be more obvious, that in the US, black lives *don't* matter. A more accurate sign wd be, "Black Lives Don't Matter, But They Should."

2nd, Trumpi botched the virus thing quite badly. The US is #1 in the world in virus deaths. Meanwhile, the guy is (was) recommending bleach as a preventative. This severe and continuing mismanagement cd weigh heavily against him.

From a declinist pt of view, Schmiden wd not be a disaster, but certainly a setback, as he might just do some reasonable things, in the short run. But the course of History now is clear: the US is sliding into the Abyss. Nothing can chg that, but Trumpaloni is History's man, and hopefully nothing will get in the way of his all-out destruction of the 'Republic'. (Yeah, we're a 'Republic'.)

mb

7:44 PM  
Blogger Mark Deagle said...

Hi Mr Morris Berman hope you are well. I see conman Trump. Crack pot Donald. Is holding up a Bible. He wants to become a Bible Thumper and save the USA. We all know he is a God fearing Man, and his way is the right way. Just lesson to the people who follow him. I agree that this country is domed. But i still feel the people will not vote him back in office. Even if Biden will not change a thing. When conman Trump loses, i want to buy him a rocking chair for him to sit on, with a mirror on a stand to be in front of his chair with a a saying on top of the mirror" I have no one to blame but me. And on a stand next to him a bottle of Bleach, so he can take to give his self a good cleaning lol.

7:59 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

See congressman's dire warning about US democracy...


https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/06/03/james-clyburn-democracy-floyd-protests-vpx.cnn

9:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jj-

This guy needs to be slapped. 1st, he identifies Obama with ‘the left’. That’s a joke. 2nd, he says the future of the US is at stake. Do you know how many times we have heard that old chestnut? 3rd, he says that as far as democracy goes, we are at a crossroads. Huh? We have been a democracy in name only for 200+ years. There is no real choice here: the 2 parties stand for the same thing, and the bottom line is that the rich run the show. Finally, he quotes Santayana, that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. But the bare fact is that those who remember the past are also condemned to repeat it. What manner of weed is this joker smoking? He needs a lot of therapy (in addition to slapping). What a clown.

mb

9:33 PM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

Well well well. Some good old-fashioned social unrest just to make it interesting. As if COVID wasn't bad enough! And US military on American soil using combat tactics against lawful protesters. While I don't think this is the great unraveling, I think it is a precursor of things to come - maybe not for another few years. Who knows? It's good to see people no longer being willing to lay down and take the brutality and cruelty. I fear more is on the way, however. But much is being revealed in these days, for all the world to see. We are a failed state. And a fat and rich one at the same time. So much inner work to do for so many who have no clue. We have not the stomach for it, I'm afraid. This feels like an opening salvo in a much greater decline and spinning out. There are many days between now and January....things could get ugly.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Walt-

Sorry, cdn't run it. We have a half-pg-max rule on this blog. Please edit down and re-send. Thank you.

Dio-

In 10 yrs, this country will be unrecognizable.

mb

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Walt said...

Mark - Cleaning out the pudding in his cranium is what Donnie needs. MB - OVER THE MOON about this new book of stories. Ordered and on the way. "Black Lives Don't Matter, But They Should."

My reading of of the stats: Total 1004 shooting deaths of civilians by police in '19:
370 were white people. 235 were Black people.

My mother was white, my father is black but in a seniors' home. Suffers from mental ill-health. I really resonated w/ the discussion "Ludwick" shared either on this entry or the last by the African American social scientists parsing this. Shouldn't we amend the protest sign to read "No Lives Matter. But Should" in this country? Isn't it more a class issue at this point? The poor -> lower middle class are treated like animals. Black communities are food deserts and old rural white towns are becoming skeletal w/ opioid and drug issues. All equally neglected and forgotten. And this Rutgers study shows officers of all colors kill black men.

https://www.rutgers.edu/news/bad-policing-bad-law-not-bad-apples-behind-disproportionate-killing-black-men-police

"The US incarceration rate has fallen every year since its peak in 2008 and is at the lowest level in 20 years. There are 1/3 fewer black inmates today than in 2006"

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/05/02/americas-incarceration-rate-is-at-a-two-decade-low/

And as you said, there is an incredibly small class of elite wealthy African Americans that do nothing for their poorer brothers and sisters. https://www.amazon.com/Our-Kind-People-Inside-Americas/

6:49 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

I really did expect the US to do better than this while going down. I mean, look at Britain. Lost their empire decades ago. But till very recently, didn't look like a dystopia. Sitting on the other side of the globe, the US, with its reaction to the protests, look increasingly like a 'third world' country, one which hasn't quite figured out how to govern by the rule of law. Peaceful protestors getting gassed so that the President can have a photo-op! Happening right at the white house! What is left even of the veneer of the democracy?

Tell you something from my experience here. Once the forces of bigotry are unleashed, you can't put them back so easily. The society is finding its true voice. The civil rights movement, equal opportunity etc. had boxed up the forces that 'built' the US in the first place. So... as MB says, in 10 years the country will be unrecognizable. No baggage of political correctness and a free for all.

But wait, do I see some new radicalism in the youth? I think we still don't quite understand the millennials.

7:03 AM  
Anonymous requiem said...

"Feel-good" news stories provide evidence of a failed and collapsing state.

"corporate media are so out of touch that much of what they present as heartwarming human interest pieces are actually unintentionally horrifying revelations of the deep dysfunctions in US society—tales of late-capitalist dystopia repackaged as feel-good stories."

Only a totally out of touch society could feel good about these stories.

https://fair.org/home/children-risking-their-lives-how-cute/

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Dio. It has been mentioned here (cuz WAFers are a smart bunch) but many people don't realize that the numbers and violence of these protests were at least 50% due to COVID. Maybe more, I'm just guessing. People cooped up, no jobs, no bars and restaurants, etc. needed to get out of the house and do something.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Indian-

In the case of England, she had the US to back her up as her empire collapsed, so that it was a comparatively soft landing. Who will back up the US? Russia?

mb

9:48 AM  
Blogger dg said...

The only thing an intellectual can do is watch things blow up, from a safe distance, of course. ― Roberto Bolaño

10:29 AM  
Anonymous dani Fowler said...

Worst president ever?

Buchanan still leads IMHO, 2nd is close between W and Reagan. Andrew Jackson 4th, but Trump has cracked the top 5. But let's give it a couple weeks.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dg-

Not only. Can also write, analyze, provide insight, etc. These things are not trivial, amigo.
I've read Bolano, BTW: boring!

mb

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Maximus Stirnerus said...

I've spent most of the confinment period reading the works of Edgar Morin (I don't know if you wafers are familiar with him), especially his 6 Vols magnum opus La méthode. In it he defines a catastrophe as a dialectical/dialogical event where there is at the same time destruction of an old form and creation of a new one, what is created is subject to the constraint imposed by the event and to random chance. And it got me thinking about the decline of civilisations as a catastrophe: the current form of the civilisation (Institutional, psychological, economic, etc...) does indicate to the most probable formulation for the civilisation to come, a dark one, yet every here and there I see a different path: you wafers for example, the japanese returning to their old ways that dr. Berman talked about and many more. Maybe what is to come will be different fom place to place, regions with old and rich cultures might have better outcomes than others, or maybe we will see another face of globalisation: a wide spread of REAL culture.
Paraphrasing Morin, he said: "I believe in the improbable."
Anyways, I wanted to share with you my flowery skepticism amid the nasty decline and wish for you a happy and meaningful life.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Ordinary Indian- yes, there are things going on among many of the young that may contain seeds of some hope down the road (20 years). They have grown up with the failures of the military, the collapse of 2008, the election of Trump. How could they have any faith in myths of a better world? Most are grossly un/underemployed, scraping by at temp jobs, etc. And now they are seeing a major power contraction with death throes that will cause great harm as the beast adapts to its smaller world. The problem is that they do not have any real power at this point. Which is good, in a way. Other than watching people their age who went into the military and are now in riot gear with badges, they get to watch the worst of America act out like a five year old having a tantrum (with guns and helicopters, of course).

Story: 1991, first day of US bombing in Iraq. I was in San Francisco which had riots that evening. People took over the major bridge, made a mess. Burned some police cars, including 2 California Highway Patrol cars. Next morning, a group of college kids decides to block another major highway. A group of 20-30 walk out onto road. State road, meaning CHP territory. Shown on TV- you could see the kids expecting the CHP to ask them to leave, to play their part in the kids' non-violent kabuki theatre. Two cars were burned the night before- you think CHP wanted to play games??? They kicked the shit out of the kids and pushed them off the road. The amazing thing was the look on the kids' faces, surprise, shock- WAIT!! WE'RE THE GOOD KIDS!!! YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO US!

The kids out there now don't have these delusions. They know what could happen. Especially POC. And they are still out there. Good for them.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dg-

Impt rule: post only once every 24 hrs, max. Thank you.

Max-

Always, always, capitalize Wafer.

mb

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Good one (with numbers) here, militarization indeed:

https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/63277-rsn-flyovers-demonstrate-americas-massive-psychic-numbing

3:52 PM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman:
Why America’s revolution won’t be televised: https://thesaker.is/why-americas-revolution-wont-be-televised/
Excerpts: "This is a class war much more than a race war and should be approached as such. Yet it was hijacked from the start to unfold as a mere color revolution.....Empire come home:The insurrection, so far purely emotional, has yielded no political structure and no credible leader to articulate myriad, complex grievances. As it stands, it amounts to an inchoate insurrection, under the sign of impoverishment and perpetual debt...Adding to the perplexity, Americans are now confronted with what it feels like to be in Vietnam, El Salvador, the Pakistani tribal areas or Sadr City in Baghdad...Inverted Totalitarianism: Sinclair Lewis (who did not say that, “when fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving the cross”) actually wrote, in It Can’t Happen Here (1935), that American fascists would be those “who disowned the word ‘fascism’ and preached enslavement to capitalism under the style of constitutional and traditional native American liberty." So American fascism, when it happens, will walk and talk American."President Trump’s by now iconic Bible photo op in front of St John’s church – including a citizen tear-gassing preview – took it to a whole new level. Trump wanted to send a carefully choreographed signal to his evangelical base. Mission accomplished.But arguably the most important (invisible) signal was the fourth man in one of the photos. Giorgio Agamben has already proved beyond reasonable doubt that the state of siege is now totally normalized in the West. Attorney General William Barr now is aiming to institutionalize it in the US: he’s the man with the leeway to go all out for a permanent state of emergency, a Patriot Act on steroids, complete with “show of force” Blackhawk support."

Himanshu

4:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to 'Chris'-

Jesus, you are one sad shmuck, a douche bag w/far too much time on yr hands. This is a gd way to waste yr life; or shd I say "life"? Sad little turkey, gobbling away.

Himan-

Thanks for bk, amigo; I just received it. In CTOS (1989) I wrote that Americans were "the driest tinder imaginable for fascism." As for the current protests, they seem to be quieting down, moving toward civil disobedience. The usual 3rd step is the demand for legal redress in the courts (charging all 4 Mpls cops w/murder, e.g.). And eventually, everyone forgets the whole thing. In 4 mos. or so, very few Americans will be able to say who George Floyd was (try them now on Dylan Roof, for example). And sooner or later, another such event--Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, whoever--will occur, and the rinse/repeat cycle will start all over again. The one thing that won't happen is serious political organizing, or the rise of a credible political leader. No. It will be all emotional, all rage, and follow the same predictable pattern. In 10 or 100 yrs, nothing will have changed with respect to American race relations.

mb

5:27 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Dusty Bunker:

Trumper went into his bunker
He emerged w/a scowl

Dusty bunker needs a good scrubbing
Trumpo decided then and there

Ya know what this nation needs besides one more billionaire?
A prayer, a Prayer, a PRAYER!

Ivanka placed a Bible in her Max Mara purse
The White House lawn she would traverse

Tear gas, batons, face shields, and firebombs
'Twas the dawn of a new pogrom

A low-Barr has been set
Another marionette
Without regret

Miles

6:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Very inspiring. "I was just inspecting the bunker." Now there's a load of bunk. You may remember that Seinfeld episode in which Kramer is accused of being a serial killer. He meets this girl in an audition room; German TV is considering her for the part of Eva Braun in a series on Hitler. "How do you dress for a bunker?" she asks him. Wd it include chic purses? I wonder.

mb

7:02 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

Looking forward to the new book!

Here's a piece Wafers may enjoy by Belen Fernandez: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/24/opinion/coronavirus-mexico-usa.html

I'm now in the unemployment statistics - the economic downturn is affecting all kinds of small business.

I'm thinking i could just serve up chopped liver. Guess I'll wait for the pandemic to end for that job.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Krak-

Fernandez is author of "Imperial Messenger," a bk that shows just how full of shit Thos Friedman is. As for chopped liver, it receives some coverage in 2nd story of "Heart".

mb

9:30 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

General Mattis firing both barrels at FAT DONNIE...


https://www.cbsnews.com/news/former-defense-secretary-james-mattis-denounces-trump/

9:53 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Considering america's track record in dealing with insurgents I can't wait for trumpi to sic the military on the rioters. We could kick our own ass!

MB - Sorry about the Linh Dinh post - I have a pretty high powered filter that just bzerts over anti-semite stupidity in an otherwise sensible individual. You're right about Unz in general... there's an awful lot of trash to wade through for the good stuff that now and then pops up. And why do I bother with anything other than The Greatest Blog in the Universe?

10:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

comrade-

In the case of the military attacking the rioters, I have urged Trumpi to equip it w/nuclear weapons. If he doesn't, he's a wuss.

As for this blog: occasionally I read of people reading other blogs, and all I can do is shake my head in disbelief. Why on earth do such a thing, when everything one needs is rt here?

mb

10:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bunk, shmunk
Trumpi hiding in a trunk.
Ivanka, shmanka
I need a cup of Sanka.
Jared, shmared
He has the brains of a ferret.

Wafers are encouraged to follow the lead set by Miles and myself in composing poems abt Trumpaloni.

Meanwhile: How are we to account for the conspicuous silence of Tulsi? Shdn't she be showing her workout tape during these perilous times?

mb

10:30 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Greetings from Cascadia, Wafers everywhere. I sensed the growing distress at the perceived absence of Tulsism’s guidance in these COVID-beset times, but you just need to surf in the right places to find traces of her presence. For example, why has no one noticed that she dropped her defamation suit against Hillary Clinton on May 27 to focus on “other priorities” in the new COVID and post-COVID world (if you believe in Tulsism, you can tell the difference between these worlds):

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/27/politics/tulsi-gabbard-clinton-lawsuit/index.html

Tulsism affirms the royal *we* in her June 1 statement about the death of George Floyd: “There are systemic issues related to institutional racism, implied bias, police training, accountability, and more, that we as a nation must address and reform”:

https://gabbard.house.gov/06012020-covid-19-coronavirus-response-update

And finally, Tulsism continues to maintain a commercial presence with the Tulsi Gabbard Frosted Steins, now available at a discount for enjoying your socially distanced beverage:

https://www.cafepress.com/+tulsi-gabbard+frosted-steins

11:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jack-

Let's face it: there can be no resolution of covid, or of race relations in America, until every American embraces Tulsism as their philosophy of life. No Tulsi, No country, might be another way of putting it. They can all start by getting a copy of her workout tape, and buying a Frosted Stein. I understand that Tulsi underpants (male and female) are also in the works, and possibly Tulsi toilet paper.

mb

12:43 AM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Amidst all the craziness, I have been learning the local edible plants; old standbys like mallow and salsify and purslane. Learning these new friends makes me want to gather and spread their seeds in a replay of the original social contract between Man and Plant. And it's occurred to me: Capitalists love poisonous plants. Any normal human animal would want to plant useful plants; wouldn't it be lovely if there were no hungry children because there are walnuts and berries and collards and sweet potatoes and nasturtiums everywhere? But as it's said about capitalism, "They lock up the food". So I ride my bike by tons of oleander and other nasty poisonous things, and lawns, oh God the damned lawns...

2:31 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Caitlin Johnstone sums up why Trump is vilified by the media and democrats but she gets part of this wrong when she says it's waking up Americans - actually Trump is waking up his overseas allies. I don't think much of anything other than empty bellies and being thrown out on the streets would wake up Americans.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/06/04/the-establishment-only-dislikes-trump-because-he-puts-an-ugly-face-on-the-empire/

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

I was mistaken. I thought Trump was going to be reelected. But it does seem the Trump presidency is well and truly over now: 'You just don't do that, Mr. President'. The Bible stunt apparently has backfired with many of the evangelicals.

The thought of Biden, though, paraded as some sort of saviour of all that's good and just in America fills me with such nausea that I think I'll spend the next four years (at least) vomiting. Help!

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Gregory Smithson said...

Walt/Ludwick:

I can agree it doesn't show *systemic* racial prejudice (in these particular contexts) but obviously racial prejudice exists in the human condition (universally)

Nuance is important

10:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to those of you sending hate mail-

You shd know that I don't read past the 1st 3 words. You can keep posting--and you will, because you have 0 better to do--but be aware of the fact that I'll just hit Delete. What shmucks you guys are; sad little turkeys.

Wafers-

For those of you intending to buy "Heart": Amazon has currently got the price screwed up; it is not $27.59, but $18.95. My publisher is working to correct this. Anyway, pay only $18.95, and thanks for yr patience.

Malleus-

Really, Tulsi is our only hope.

mb

10:16 AM  
Blogger Lobster Goldmine said...

AMERICA

https://michaelsavage.com/nyc-looters-pull-up-in-350000-rolls-royce-to-ransack-store/

10:18 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

MB, yeah, England did have the US to fall back on while the US slides down all by itself. Can it be assumed that Trump knows that well? At an intuitive level he understands that MAGA is a hollow slogan (no MAGA this time!). He is a lonely fellow, scared to shit, so he tried befriending other demagogues: Putin, KJ Un, et al. Guess whom he called after the White House fiasco, Modi. At a psychological level they are all scared, 'coz they know what they say is all bullshit. That's why you have this absurd show of strength:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/03/politics/federal-authorities-washington-dc/index.html

'Among them are personnel from the national guard, US Secret Service, US Park Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, US Marshals Service, Bureau of Prisons, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Protective Service and the Transportation Security Administration.' It's getting surreal.

On a more serious note, in case guys didn't know, Tulsism is the best cure for COVID or any respiratory illness. It comes with the natural goodness of a plant by that name that is considered sacred in many Hindu households :)

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Gregory Smithson said...

Apologies for breaking 24hr rule, MB, I didn't leave the link I was referring to

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/04/868978380/for-one-immigrant-community-george-floyds-death-isn-t-just-about-black-and-white

'Gaosong Heu talks about reactions in the Hmong community to the killing of George Floyd. Former police officer Tou Thao, a Hmong American, is seen on video of the killing running interference with the crowd and standing watch. His involvement has stirred a racial debate among Asian Americans.'

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Michael Goodman said...

Thumbs up, Professor Berman, I only see the $18 price...

12:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Michael-

Glad to hear it. Unfortunately, on my computer it clocks in at $27.59. :-(

mb

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

More depressing news for America’s youth. Young people are lonelier, more suspicious, and more likely to be unemployed relative to older people. The article also includes some grim statistics on the epidemic of suicide among young Americans.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/after-service/202006/young-people-are-lonelier-and-more-suspicious-others

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Rustic Squash said...

Even some of the hustlers in America, such as in this YouTube video, are now starting to grasp that America is in steep decline and perhaps collapse.

The hustler in this YouTube video with a 'money' hat and 'king hustler' shirt suggests ways to hustle and make money off America's decline.

So, some Americans will even try to make money off the idea of the country's own demise. The severe decline is causing people here in America to try to find ways to make money off it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80WCbyeLwQE

4:30 PM  
Anonymous requiem said...

malleus - I would feel a lot better about what the Rev Robertson said about Trump if he (Robertson) was not such a total evangelical asshole/prosperity gospel con man. It was Robertson, who with Falwell, blamed 9/11 and Katrina on American immorality, as defined by the their interpretation of the bible as anything involving sex between other than a white man and woman.

I do miss Tulsi's workout tapes. I would not have gained 10 lbs during this self-imposed quarantine had I been able to watch her stretch her thighs across linoleum floors.Enough to induce retching in any right-thinking person.

Tut, Tut, Tutsi goodbye.
Tut, Tut, Tutsi don't cry.
Just go away. Thanks

4:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Rustic-

I have been predicting the declaration of martial law for several yrs now, and finally, much quicker than I expected, we are on the verge of it. As for Americans making $ off the collapse of the country: good! This can only hasten the collapse, which is what declinists know is not far off. The only thing troubling me is Trumpola's apparent hesitation to deploy nuclear weapons. This is not the sign of a strong leader. His refusal to reply to my e-mails on the subject is quite annoying. I'm thinking of asking all Wafers to show up in front of the White House bearing signs that say NUKE EVERYONE!

mb

4:48 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Americans are a classy bunch eh?
https://www.zerohedge.com/political/us-ambassador-india-issues-apology-after-protesters-vandalize-gandhi-statue
Gandhi - what a racist prick.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

comrade-

One of my personal heroes, along w/John Ruskin and Wm Morris. Something like this makes me think that perhaps Trumpi does have a pt, threatening to call out the Army. These protests cd spill over into places they don't belong; wh/is what happened w/the MeToo movement (Woody Allen, e.g.). Not gd.

mb

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Schlomo said...

WAFers, it's been a couple of years since I posted, but I see a lot of analysis here about various potential causes and roots of America's issues and I think you all are overthinking it. It's important that we not forget what Mr Berman has taught us. Most problems in America arise due to everyone being dumb. Not just the average person. The so called "smart" people too. The "good" politicians. The CEOs. The billionaires. The poor people. The regular middle class people. The government workers. The lawyers. The doctors. Seriously: I estimate 99 out of 100 people are just plain dumb. This feeds into what I call "systemic incompetence" which is pervasive at every single level of American life and feeds into itself making everyone stupider (I became noticeably smarter and more competent after leaving the US). It's why the coronavirus was bungled so badly, just as I expected. It's why that idiot cop kept choking Mr Floyd: because he's a moron. He didn't understand that everything was being filmed, and the guy would die if he kept choking him and it would ruin his life because he's dumb. That's all there is to it. I. It's difficult to really understand if you've only lived in the US, but once you're out, you understand it, if you're a perceptive type. Yes there are some brilliant minds, but they are absolutely drowned out, and these days they can't get visas anyways.

Mr Berman, your writings helped me make the final decision to emigrate a few years ago and I sincerely thank you for it.

4:54 AM  
Anonymous Bohemian Coastline said...

Bohemian Coastline

Retired general declares, "American experiment is over".

https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/06/05/general-john-allen-trump-ac360-vpx.cnn

5:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Schlomo-

Honestly, I don't think there is a more stupid population in the history of the world, than Americans. As you pt out, they fuck up everything. They are also, in my experience, boorish, and in that sense Trumpi is truly representative of who they are. I left the US, for the most part, because I finally had no one to talk to. I don't know where you immigrated to, but congratulations, and I hope you are enjoying a different reality and a different atmosphere.

mb

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

MB, have u heard of documentary called Supersize Me? It was made by a guy named Morgan Spurlock & examines the role McDonald's has in the obesity epidemic. It's from '04, so it's a safe bet that the data has surely gotten worse. I just saw it again for the 1st time in yrs. Makes one think

5:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sarah-

Yes, I saw it a long time ago. Michael McDonald also did some skit in which the folks at McDonald's wd ask customers, "Wd you like me to fat-ass those fries for you?"

ps: Schlomo: Were you aware that 38% of Americans avoid Corona beer because they think it's related to the virus?

Bohemian-

The end of the expt can be dated to 1945, when we chose to wage the Cold War, and embarked on a zealous, Manichaean quest. It took a quantum leap in 1981 (Reagan). The hugely misguided response to 9/11 was another quantum leap, and here we are today, with a disease-ridden, racist, out-of-work nation just struggling to survive. Check out the following:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/05/police-us-history-reform-violence-oppression

My own prediction: post-virus, and post-George Floyd, and post all the shouting and hand-wringing, the US will return to pretty much where it was a yr ago. Police depts. will not be overhauled, and will continue to kill black people. Jeff Bezos will be worth more than $1 trillion, while much of the country will just try to survive. Violent race relations, and relations of power, will survive intact. BLM will go the way of OWS and pussy hats, because serious political organizing is beyond the imagination--and certainly beyond the capability--of Americans. If Schmiden becomes president, he will do nothing, because indeed, what is there to be done? Systemic, institutional reform? Don't make me laugh. That wd be like trying to turn around an aircraft carrier in a bathtub. We will also watch the continued disintegration of the country, our decline and China's ascendancy. As I've said b4, by 2030--a mere 10 yrs away--this nation is going to look very different. It may even start to break up along secessionist lines. We've also had a preview of the possibility of martial law, wh/I have been predicting for some time now. "The Mandibles," or some version of it, will be our social reality: the war of all against all.

Of course, Tulsi might take the helm, and make everything rt. Tulsi! In what other nation cd such a piece of fluff run for office?

mb

6:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Speaking of which...

Note to Jack L., of Cascadia-

You are in charge of the NW Center for Tulsism, so I need your opinion on this, which burst upon my brain like Saul on the road to Damascus:

The reason the US has failed is that Americans have been unwilling to embrace their Inner Tulsi. Every American has an Inner Tulsi, complete w/workout tape. But we have repressed her, denied her. The result is that the people continue to suffer, and the nation is going down the drain. But all of this can be reversed, if only each and every American would be willing to learn to love their Inner Tulsi. What do you think?

"Denial is not a river in Egypt."

mb

6:40 AM  
Blogger Lobster Goldmine said...

I'm not sure if any of you caught this discussion between Daryl Davis and Joe Rogan from January.
Davis is the author of "Klan-destine Relationships: A Black Man's Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGTQ0Wj6yIg
3 hour discussion - riveting

10:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Lob-

Thanks for the ref. You of course know of Spike Lee's film on the subject.

mb

10:35 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman,
You perhaps may not be a voice in the wilderness. Apparently your word about the downfall of the United States, “ the beginning of the end of the American experiment”, is being spread by other folks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhXo1BbFumE

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Ordinary Indian, about Britain's post-imperial soft landing, they're in the tax evasion and money laundering business now: The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire

Requiem, I may have given the wrong impression on Rev. Robertson, that devil-worshipping turd (as most "religious" people in the US). I just thought that Trumpquemada holding the Bible upside down might have offended some evangelical sensibilities, but it turns out they're only very few: The religious right is still sticking by Trump

Finally: New York police take seconds to restore reputation for brutality

11:08 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

As the newly minted Director of the NW Center for Tulsism, I have spent the morning contemplating MB’s question, how can Mericans embrace their inner Tulsi? This is actually a riddle – let me explain: Embracing the inner Tulsi would require each Merican to look themselves in the mirror every morning and gaze at a post-it, “Embrace your Inner Tulsi”. But Mericans refuse to look in mirrors. To understand why, I consulted a source from the homeland of Tulsism, Encyclopedia of Superstitions by C. Daniels (Honolulu: University Press of the Pacific, 2003), which points out that mirrors falling off walls indicate the inhabitants will soon die, and Mericans fear death. Therefore, I offer this poem:
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest Merican of them all?
You, my Merican, are graded D-Minus, it is true
But 170 Wafers are even fairer than you.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, am I the fairest Merican of them all?
Says the mirror: You, my Merican, are the center, it is true
But 170 Wafers, beyond the Hustle
With the great seer Belman
Are still a thousand times fairer than you.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who in this land is fairest of them all?
The mirror answered:
You exceptional Dunce, you do not listen
Your are like the fly attracted to warm feces that glisten
You, my Merican, dumbest of dumb, it is true
But any Wafer is infinite times fairer than you.
[Whereupon the mirror cracked and fell from the wall]

11:22 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Whatever happened to Officer Friendly?

Two Buffalo, New York police officers were suspended without pay after a Thursday (4 June) incident in which an elderly man was pushed, fell, and hit his head. The incident occurred just after the onset of the 8 PM curfew.

https://youtu.be/1ww-Xq0yZfw

And, as a lagniappe, the following video from several years back. A former criminal defense attorney, speaking at the Regent University School of Law, tells you why you shouldn’t talk to the police.

https://youtu.be/d-7o9xYp7eE

12:27 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Schlomo-

Many thanks for yr contribution and general reminder that Americans are just plain dumb. Moronitude in America is extensive, and I think what makes dumbness in America stand out is that most Americans don't think it's bad to be dumb. Far from being ashamed, they're dumb and proud! Moreover, we're a nation that laughs at real intelligence. I really hate to say this, at least to those of us who still reside in America, but we're goners. Many of us will wind up dead, as result of this willful ignorance.

Miles

12:32 PM  
Blogger anderszornpalette said...

Has anyone here ever heard of Peter Turchin? Apparently, he predicted 2020 as the year shit hits the fan for the U.S. Interesting stuff.

http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/quantitative-prediction-political-violence-2020s/

Mr Berman, I just wanted to say thank you for all the great writing over the years. I first discovered you in an interview with Michael Krasny on Forum around 2000. I picked up Twilight of American Culture shortly thereafter and I was hooked. Much like you and many of the WAFers on this blog, I consider myself a realist. I was hoping your predictions wouldn’t happen as fast as they have, but here we are. At least it wasn’t a surprise. The tricky part now, is navigating the sea of stupid while keeping my skin intact.

Stay safe and stay sane.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Thanks 2u all. The shit is deep; it will get deeper.

mb

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Simmons said...

MB are you familiar w/ Eric Foner's work? Or at least whether or not if it's worth its salt?

Thanks!

3:50 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

Has anyone here ever heard of Peter Turchin?

Yes, his Ages of Discord is well worth the read. His work is a like a real life application of the concept of 'psychohistory' that Asimov wrote about in Foundation.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Simmons-

Check out WAF ch. 4 for Foner discussion.

mb

4:17 PM  
Blogger Alogon said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcsmKTlo7w0

Douglas Murray. Perhaps he is not altogether on the Wafer wavelength, but he is certainly a fellow traveler in analyzing the maelstrom into which we are being sucked. Doesn't this
ring a bell (at about 42 min. in):

"I don't think social media are healthy for a society much, and it's clearly not healthy for individuals. For one thing, if they've done it too much, almost all become gibbering wrecks and rather sad cases, don't really live their lives happily, and are just not better or wiser for it....

"Humans are a variety of animal and we have common behavior patterns with the animal kingdom. Among them are our fear of being left out from the herd, what will happen if we are identified as being alone in the world. What happens if the herd kicks us out? How will we survive? Now, happily, one of the glories of the human species is the willingness of a certain portion, a minority, to not mind whether they exist apart from the herd, and to find their own way of living without the blessing, the need, or the cover of the herd... Those are the people who do great things in their lives. Those are the people who've
made a difference."







4:27 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Speaking of McDonald's, as someone who has the honor and privilege of working the drive-through window of an American fast-food restaurant 5 or 6 days a week for a little above minimum wage and taking regular verbal abuse over the really important things in life such as the price of an additional cup of dipping sauce, the following does not surprise me. SUVs have been the second biggest contributor of carbon emissions between 2010 and 2018, exceeding even heavy industry? That does not include the emissions from manufacturing them, by the way. Well, it seems like every other vehicle I serve nutritious, great American food to is an SUV. Wait, there's more. While overall car sales have declined, SUV sales have climbed. A suburban status symbol? I thought that college-educated Americans in the suburbs are the champions of emissions reductions. This does not surprise me:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2019/oct/25/suvs-second-biggest-cause-of-emissions-rise-figures-reveal

5:32 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

"Wall-E! Wall-E!"

https://www.afw.com/3d-ultimate-massage-chair

Is that there perfect chat or what?

Wall:E reference for those haven't seen the movie:

https://youtu.be/qGBZWbg_26A

5:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cutting-edge intellects:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/05/health/bleach-americans-cleaning-covid-trnd/index.html

5:35 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Plus ça change...

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
"Trouble Every Day" (1966)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=girnJH7tvpM

6:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

My publisher asked me to post this link on the blog. At least, unlike Amazon, they got the price rt:

https://www.echopointbooks.com/fiction-poetry/the-heart-of-the-matter

Another way to order the bk, I guess.

mb

7:51 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Tim - Non-Amazon link to a great book on SUVs, I've read it and it's quite good. It's aged really well too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_and_Mighty_(book)

The people running over protesters in my town all seem to be doing it in SUVs. In the happier cases, the SUVs get mobbed, destroyed, and burned.

Don't get me wrong, I have a pretty universal hatred for all motor vehicles, but SUVs are the worst. And it brings to my mind an old saying I just made up: "Torch an SUV and after the smoke clears, it will never pollute again".

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Pat Chouli said...

Hallelujah! The scales have fallen from my eyes: Tulsi lives inside me! She lives in all of us! And guess what? 36,000 Pennsylvanians agree! So it’s begun, change we can believe in! Wafers saw it first, but now everyone can see it: Tulsi voters are mobilizing again. Because they won’t let Tulsi go down without a fight! That’s why Boogaloo Bois are appearing at protests around the country wearing hawaiian shirts! And when you dig deeper inside those PA numbers, Tulsi has 36,565 votes or 3.29% of the vote, which means we are close to that crucial 3.5% threshold! And as Chris Hedges reminds us: “with as little as 3.5 percent of the population who are organized and disciplined, it is possible to bring down even the most ruthless totalitarian structures." In conclusion, let me say the underground current of Tulsism has emerged in PA, and surely we’re fast approaching that crucial 3.5% all across this great land, spurred on by the events in Minneapolis. Alea iacta est!

https://www.foxnews.com/elections/2020/primary-results/state/pennsylvania

https://www.insider.com/boogaloo-bois-protest-far-right-minneapolis-extremist-guns-hawaiian-shirts-2020-5

https://www.toronto350.org/350ppm-35000ppm

11:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pat-

As Caesar said, the die is cast. We are crossing the Rubicon. I see a glimmer of light now, as the renewed Tulsi campaign gathers momentum. Our battle cry:

GIVE ME TULSI OR GIVE ME DEATH

Victory is assured; America is saved.

mb

11:47 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

It’s a Hustle - James Kunstler


https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/guess-what-its-a-hustle/

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Is it me but don't these protesters have anything else to do than demonstrate for 11 days? Yes, I understand he is a symbol of police brutality but hey maybe you might want to look for a job now that the country is opening up, spend time with family and friends, take a trip, or do something other that walk miles everyday for someone you didn't know.
Anyway, as you say doctor, nothing will change except a few streets and maybe some buildings will be named after Saint George. And all the protesters will have achieved is lose a few pounds from walking miles each day. Still, they did manage to completely destroy almost all high end retail in Manhattan soon to be replace with scores of Chuckie Cheese, pawn shops, and cash checking agencies. God knows how many black jobs have been forever lost in the looting. I certainly feel sorry for elderly blacks who need to get their medicine except pharmacies were also destroyed. I only hope after the memorial service this Tuesday in Houston, the protests will end and everyone will come to realize what a complete waste of time and energy the whole thing was. Parenthetically, I wouldn't want to be any young black man in police custody after the media goes onto the next circus. So many of them, I predict, will succumb to sudden "heart attacks."

1:08 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

An article on the decline of mental health in America, this time as a result of fallout from the coronavirus crisis. Also, as seems to be common, younger adults are faring worse than older adults.

https://theconversation.com/new-study-shows-staggering-effect-of-coronavirus-pandemic-on-americas-mental-health-137944

3:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

meh-

Not enuf of a handle. Try something like Horace J. Fartwell.

Dan-

Well, these riots are what happen when people are treated like shit for decades, and gunned down by white cops like dogs. They don't have a voice, so riots become their voice. A serious resistance effort, however, wd require solid political organizing and--guns. However, look what happened to the Black Panthers. So what are the choices? Sadly, only the rinse/repeat cycle. How many Americans can identify Dylan Roof? Or even Eric Garner? In 6 mos., the same fate will probably befall George Floyd. And eventually, another white cop will kill a black man for picking his nose, or whatever, and...etc. The US will not solve most of its major problems, and therefore will go (is going) down the drain. But the one problem I'm absolutely certain it won't solve is that of race relations. As I argue in WAF, the Civil War never really ended.

jj-

I don't share Jim's cynicism here. What is it like for 12% of the American population to be in a no-win, no-exit situation, w/the risk of possible death constantly hovering over you?

mb

4:29 AM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hi Dr. B and WAFERS

Wanted to share this extensive compilation of commentary, mostly by professors, on the wave of anti-black racism rallies/protests/riots in the USA. Some very intelligent commentary and insights in this piece: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/06/04/protest-different-299050?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Up here in Toronto, we're all basically waiting to see how the multiple anti-black racism rallies and protests set to unfold in the city today transpire. They started yesterday and remained, for lack of a better term, 'civil,' and included direct dialogue with the city's police chief, among other things. That's what Mayor John Tory is calling for: civility. As for our Premier, he's calling for 'peaceful.'

On a side note, one of the most striking things about going through the COVID-19 shutdown (or lockdown, depending on where you live) has been the surreal experience of essentially watching spring unfold from a distance. Out my 6th floor window as I type this I look out over the tops of trees and brush newly fresh with green life, their leaves blowing gently in the cool breeze. But it almost feels like a spectacle rather than a reality. In my case, it has been particularly hard to connect with nature, as I use public transit exclusively and don't have the luxury of hopping in a car and scooting off to the countryside.

-Northern Johnny

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Walt said...

MB&JJ - I agree with JJ and Kunstler on this one. How exactly is this not a 'hustle' Professor Berman?

https://time.com/4404987/police-violence/?xid=tcoshare

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/05/02/americas-incarceration-rate-is-at-a-two-decade-low/


https://www.rutgers.edu/news/bad-policing-bad-law-not-bad-apples-behind-disproportionate-killing-black-men-police

"Total 1004 shooting deaths of civilians by police in '19: 
370 were white people. 235 were Black people."

8:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Walt-

What Kunstler is failing to appreciate is that for blacks, life in America is basically a game of survival, w/no serious change in sight. Your stats hide the fact that a black person walking down the street can get killed for being black, while the same thing is not likely to happen to a white person. As for the rinse/repeat cycle, check out the following, wh/just appeared on theworldpost.com (note that at the end, he seems to believe that we can "save the endangered republic"; I believe no such thing):

America Is Burning, Again
By Nathan Gardels, WorldPost editor in chief

In 1963, the African-American novelist James Baldwin published “The Fire Next Time” about rage over racial injustice reaching the boiling point. More than half a century later America’s major cities are burning, as they have once and again during the intervening years, and for the same reasons.

Working-class cops, white more often than not, confront the left-behind lumpen proletarian youth of the black inner city over an incident that snaps the tense peace, whether the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, the beating of Rodney King in 1991 and the verdict that acquitted the police the next year or, this time, the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The mainstream of the marginalized and concerned, properly furious over the injustice at hand, fill the streets in peaceful protests. Then come the looters who burn and raid shops. As the sharp edge of anger, they force the deeper issue into the open. This week in L.A., you could watch in real time on TV as vandals pathetically ran off with the high-end tennis shoes from Nike and others (mostly made by low-wage labor in China) that are the status symbol of aspirations out of reach, of the “dream deferred” in the famous words of Langston Hughes, when the social order as usual holds.

In 1967, Martin Luther King gave a talk at Stanford condemning such violence. “A riot,” he said, “is the language of the unheard.” The problem all along has not been that the enraged and dispossessed are not heard. It is that they are unheeded.

Will the fire this time be any different? Or will it be the same pattern we’ve seen over and over again? Not without incident, the National Guard will restore order. New engagement rules will be put in place for police departments. Civil rights leaders and community representatives will be appointed to strengthened oversight commissions. A task force of eminent citizens will examine the causes of the upheaval and recommend remedies. Ribbons will be cut when a Walmart opens in a poor neighborhood. Redlining policies by banks or savings and loan institutions will be repealed, only to be reinstituted later. Other ideas to reach the root of the problem will sprout, but wither into neglect until the fire next time. Repeat.

This time could be different than before. It could even be worse. Because of the COVID crisis, we are entering the steepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Opening the fiscal spouts to buffer that catastrophe is already driving U.S. debt to over 100% of GDP, leaving little room for any new spending initiatives. State and municipal budgets are bust. And, surely, all those cheek to jowl protestors, rightly screaming at the top of their lungs for justice, all the while spewing out viral droplets, will end up as clusters of contagion, the contacts of which can’t be traced.

Unlike previous social explosions when the American president sought to sooth hatred, cool tempers and comfort the victims, Donald Trump is following his demagogic instincts and fanning the flames. At this perilous stage of the game, it is no longer paranoid to suspect that his constant invocation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms in the midst of the present crisis seems baldly aimed at stoking a race war, perhaps even hoping in his dark mind that such a cataclysm would cancel the election. (Continued below)

9:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

(Continued from above)

But this time could also be different if we go beyond the band aids to address the systemic issues. In 1969 the great debate within the Students for Democratic Society was whether race or class was the key divide in American society. That debate was so fierce it ended up dividing the SDS itself into militant factions, some turning to bombs and bank robberies. In later years, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson put his finger best on how to describe the problem. “It is not class or race, but the fusion of the two into a kind of caste system for black Americans,” he once told me. As long as that caste status is not broken, there will always be a fire next time.

Even when empathetic leadership occupied the White House, responses to the uprisings were targeted at the communities calling for justice instead of to the system as a whole from which the injustice derived. After King’s assassination, the Johnson administration focused on “urban renewal” of the inner-city. After the Rodney King riots, the George H.W. Bush administration employed former football star and Congressman Jack Kemp as the Housing and Urban Development secretary to organize “enterprise zones” in poor neighborhoods.

Today, there is little to show for these efforts. Like all other such social policies in democratic societies, they sooner or later lose the support of the public as a whole since they only benefit those on the other side of the racial divide or some other designated minority. Ignoring this reality that systemic change requires the buy-in of broad constituencies to endure only ensures that one step forward will propel two steps back down the road.

As long ago as 1991, the African-American sociologist William Julius Wilson recognized this conundrum and called for “race-neutral” policies instead of “race-based” policies as the only way out of this repeat cycle to systemic change. In a conversation back then, he readily acknowledged that “we have not yet reached the point as a society where people are judged solely on the basis of merit,” and thus laws on housing and employment discrimination must be maintained. And he agreed that the advance of minority professionals was attributable to affirmative action. But while such policies may be a necessary corrective, they are not the solution. For Wilson, race-neutral policies in the stead of Social Security such as public school reform and universal health care should be emphasized “because they help all Americans, but help the disadvantaged disproportionately.”

Today, we might add to his agenda more progressive taxation on the richest to fund job-creating public investment in infrastructure and bolster the plummeting finances of public higher education — the key ladder of upward mobility in an information society — ending tax avoidance by multinational companies and making sure all Americans whose taxes are used to bail out companies risking failure in the COVID depression get a piece of the upside when prosperity returns. Ultimately, inequality will only seriously diminish not only when the concentration of wealth is broken up at the top, but built up from below. That means not just redistributing income but the “pre-distribution” of wealth in the first place, with all owning a share of the economy through universal basic capital.

Combined with strengthened civil rights protections, only such proactive, structurally transformative policies that accrue to the benefit of all can break the caste condition at the root of the problem. Another round of reactive patches to yet another social explosion will lead nowhere.

The chances are none to slim that leadership on this front will come from the White House, at least until the hoped-for regime change of the next election. As in the COVID crisis, it will for now be up to the governors and mayors to resist Trump’s twisted machinations, heed what they are hearing in the streets and save the endangered republic before it is too late.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Walt & JJ, I am on Dr Berman's side here. According to this more recent study (2019 instead of 2016), US Prison Population By Race:

This number represents 25% of all inmates in the world even though the US population makes up only 5% of the global population.
...
The problems with the prison system only continue when one looks at the obvious racial and gender disparities. For example, while black inmates make up nearly 40% of the prison population, they only make up 13.40% of the total US population.

I do agree, however, that white people are also victims of police brutality and that, even ignoring race, the for-profit penal system with prison labour amounts to modern-day slavery. Now, with my tinfoil hat on, I'm personally convinced that the media focuses exclusively on the racial angle to distract from the fact that the US is a police state for everybody (except the 0.1% of course).

9:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Walt: As for failure of empathy on Jim's part (in this case), check this out:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/06/george-floyd-plight-reflected-burden-of-being-black-america

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer H said...

Walt: those stats for killings of whites/blacks are also absolute #s not relative figures in percentages.

There are like 140 million white people in the country. Like 40 million black people, I believe.

So while more white people were technically killed by police in 2019, that doesn't change that there's a higher % of blacks killed relative to the different population sizes.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous requiem said...

In contradiction to Jesse Jackson, Remove race from the equation (say America is all white) and you still have an economic system based on hustling that rewards the rich and powerful and ignores the poor and marginalized, of whatever color.

Malleus - or I read something into your comments that isn't there. Either way, the so called "religious right" is neither religious nor right. Robertson et al are nothing more than pursuers of power and wealth, not salvation. Best new books on the subject are "The Power Worshippers" and "The Evangelicals".

On black incarceration - Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow" is remains relevant.

On looters - their numbers and the damage they cause are way out of proportion to reality, because CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC etc don't do nuance but concentrate on violence and destruction. Peace is boring. Conflict and outrage capture eyes. And above all else, advertisers want eyes.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman,
My guess is that you will laugh after reading this. But I’ll ask you anyway. Is this an example of being akin to turning around a huge American aircraft carrier in a bathtub?

https://theweek.com/articles/918143/what-america-learn-from-nordic-police

12:40 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Kunstler's racism (not cynicism), so casual and so common, reminds me of Baudrillard's discussion of the bombs falling on Hanoi as not being as real as the simulacra on TVs in living rooms across America. I'll piss some people off here, but this is what is known as white privilege, to see protests or exploding bombs as objects to be contemplated and judged. Real bodies are killed, beaten, bombed day after day. But to many, only at a distance, to be viewed, not to be felt.

I wish there was as much concern for the day to day depredations of people at work, in housing, in health care, as there is for the buildings burning. But one makes good TV and the others are just pathetic stories told by ugly uncouth people.

Wall Street and venture capitalist vampire squids are hovering, awaiting the chance to swoop in and squeeze more and more out of people. Housing, for example. I live in a small city, 60% renter, of which 60% are 'housing insecure' (paying more than 30% gross income for rent). Does that sound like the American dream?

https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/preparing-for-the-post-covid-19-land-grab

One company is ready to suck up more and more housing in the near future, $15 billion, to match the despicable transfer up hill after the 2008 collapse-

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/brookfield-closes-us-15-billion-130000967.html

This pandemic has served as an accelerator, and I'm thinking that ten years is being far too hopeful, Dr. B.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

Wow, thank you for those words from the WorldPost editor, Mr Berman.

Insights on the history and sociology of race in America by the sociologist Orlando Patterson. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/06/orlando-patterson-explains-why-america-cant-escape-its-racist-roots/

4:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

It ain't gonna happen; you know this. Also, author skipped lightly over issue of color homogeneity. This is not a minor factor, imo.

mb

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Erika said...

"The history of fossil fuels is a history of white supremacy and no LinkedIn post from BP's CEO is gonna change that"

BP Is Not Woke. It’s an Imperialist Success Story.
The history of fossil fuels is a history of extortion and injustice.

https://newrepublic.com/article/158052/bp-not-woke-its-imperialist-success-story

5:32 PM  
Anonymous CJ Beckett said...

https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/john-gray-hyper-liberalism-liberty/

How Westen universities self-destructed - and liberalism followed


John Gray makes a point I've heard quite often from fellow students who are from China: that nothing resembles China so much as an American university (in the Cultural Revolution sense.) And good point on Corbyn. He is not a socialist but a hyper-liberal, part of the new authoritarian liberalism that's taking over in the West. Finally Gray comes close to suggesting that political Islam was a response to our religion of liberalism

8:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

CJ-

I love everything Gray writes. Political correctness = turkeys out of control.

mb

9:28 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Walt - Of those whites killed in '19, they will disproportionately be homeless, disabled, mentally ill, marginalized in some way. It's pure social darwinism. Nonwhites are "the other" but whites who are weak in any way are prime targets too. Hence a 75-year-old pushed over, cracking his head and left to die. Hence a white homeless guy in a wheelchair who wasn't even protesting shot in the head. Remember the Nazis put white Germans who were "weak" such as Communists, mentally ill, LGBT, etc into the gas chambers along with Jews, Gypsies, etc.

MB - Jim K. was so rah-rah for the wars in the Middle East (in his book The Long Emergency) that put me off him, and he's not redeemed himself with me. His hatred for all things he perceives as goyishe, his tiresome ranting about "fried meat pits" (fried meat won't make you fat, it's the gallons of sugar and tons of carbs that do that) are just ... old. He wrote one good book, The Geography Of Nowhere and has been coasting, badly, since.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Cherith Cutestory said...

Dr. Berman, I want to know what you think is the reason for the blatant, brazen racism inflicted on blacks. I'm not talking about the usual murdering an unarmed black guy, which has become a matter of course for US police. I'm talking about insane things like this black firefighter,in uniform, on the job, held at gunpoint by cops, or this black guy who was hit 5 times with a baton...even though he's the president of a police board! I am sure that the show of police brutality is deliberate: in the face of impending collapse and social upheaval, the state wants to terrorize people and let them know they can be crushed if they do anything 'wrong'. But what does the above -- far too common to be merely isolated incidents -- accomplish?

3:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cherith-

I think you can probably figure it out.

mb

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Carl said...

"I Actually Read Woody Allen’s Memoir

Why Hollywood accepted the director for so long. And why it turned on him."

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/i-read-woody-allen-memoir/612736/

Caitlin Pacific’s review of Woody Allen’s memoir is great and an interesting exploration of how we might think about complex, morally compromised and talented people

2:12 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

That John Gray article wasn't bad, although his suggestion that the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were somehow motivated by the desire to spread western liberalism is laughable, while his promotion of the 19th-century Europeans' mission civilisatrice has a taint of imbecile rapacity to it.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Carl-

Myself, I don't believe Woody is morally compromised. I think a lot of people do, however; for what that's worth.

mb

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Kiki Justino said...

Dystopian ‘Black Mirror’ ad says Season 6 is happening right now, in real life. https://mymodernmet.com/black-mirror-ad-season-6/

3:07 PM  
Anonymous William Stone said...

This article (American politic news more generally lately: Trump's Rose Garden address while you can hear gas bombs in the distance) reminds me of Dr Strangelove. I bet a farm that Trumpi boy never heard of Kubrick or Il Duce. Yet, he's very much a 'Merkin Mussolini

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/06/us/politics/protests-trump-helicopters-national-guard.html

5:22 PM  
Blogger David said...

MB
I never became more convinced about your premise of American decline than this morning when I casually entered the comments section of a yahoo piece about Trump's order to pull some troops out of Germany. The incoherence, ignorance and imbecility of the comments would make you think they came straight out of an inmate's discussion at St. Elizabeth's. MB you're right-- there is no hope for this dying Republic or whatever fascist state that follows it.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

2 signs of mental derangement:

1. The belief that all of these protest marches will change the situation for black people in America. A recent article I came across noted that the economic condition of the black community is worse now than it was in 1968. We will once again engage in piecemeal reforms that will ultimately amt to 0.

2. The belief that America has a viable future; that it is not on its last legs.

Meanwhile, why isn't Tulsi out on the streets, marching w/the protesters? We have Trumpi barricaded, possibly in a bunker, while Tulsi hides in her Hawaii apt. At this pt, posting her workout tape is not enuf. Even Mittney has hit the streets. Why not Tulsi?

mb

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Ritchie said...

al-Q: I don't think imbecile can be used describing Gray. He's one of the most intelligent writers living. I guess you can argue with what he says, but even that's tough to do without just agreeing to disagree.

Carl/MB: MB, I agree in the sense with you, but that is also a very good article on Woody. Even if the writer seems more suspicious of him, she certainly inspired me to watch some of my favorite of his films in the coming weeks. "Love and Death" will be the first I revisit.

Stone: There is a "Strangelove" feeling in the air! Great film.

My film choice and recommendation for the evening: Kurosawa's "Dreams"

Take care, everyone!

- M. Ritchie


7:04 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

The "marches" and demands for "change" were nothing more than typical US flatulence. They'll be back the US corporate shit house come Monday morn.

The dandelion spores analogy that Dr. Berman refers to is apropos here. Nothing sticks and all the shouting and hand ringing means jack shit. It's theatre.

What happened to the me too Cavanaugh (bowel) movement? Crickets.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Del Gord said...

William Stone,

'Merkin Mussolini. Thanks for that. Gotta use that.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Shithouse-

If you scroll back to that article by Nathan Gardels I posted, you'll see at the end that he argues that real change wd have to be structural. This has never been attempted. All that the US has done in response to racial protests is to institute piecemeal solutions, and these fade away in time. Structural problems, after all, require structural solutions; this is not rocket science. The only problem is that this is equivalent to saying that America shd become a different country. The chances of that border on negative infinity.

Something else impossible hasta happen as well, as wd be indicated by WAF ch. 4. As I expected, the chapter was vilified (by people who really didn't understand it), and what is called for--not exactly popular at this moment in time--is that the North apologize to the South for what it did to it during the Civil War and after. The denigration and humiliation was completely unnecessary, and it meant that the C.W. wd never end--wh/it hasn't. Taking down Confederate statues, and banning the Confed flag, are exactly the wrong things to do--more salt in Southern wounds, and hence more hatred of black people. Sure, the flag, and the Confederacy, stood for slavery; but they stood for a lot more besides, and in its Manichaean delusion, the North has never been able to acknowledge that. The attempt to snuff out the South's pride by a blanket label of 'slavery' has certainly not worked, and continues to stoke racial antagonism.

In a word, the country is completely and utterly screwed. No structural changes can seriously be instituted, and no apology from North to South will ever be forthcoming. This means that you are correct: the protests are justified, they are heartfelt, but in the end, they are just theater. BLM will not be able to effect radical change, any more than did the OWS movement or the pussy hat demos. Historically speaking, no empire has been able to 'flip' and become a completely different creature; this is simply not in the cards. And since it cannot chg, but only continue doing what it's doing, its demise is assured.

mb

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B:

Headline- "Biden says 10-15% of Americans are 'not very good people,' draws comparisons to Clinton 'deplorables' remark"-

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/06/05/biden-says-10-15-percent-americans-not-very-good-people/3153158001/

9:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Birn-

Yeah, I saw it, and wondered if it wd hurt him as it did Hillary. Only thing I wd chg is 90-95%.

mb

10:13 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Latest Chris Hedges Interview...


https://youtu.be/_F94MMb0w6o

12:38 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

MB, yr last sentence: 'since it cannot chg, but only continue doing what it's doing, its demise is assured' remind me of Joseph Tainter's thesis. It is true abt decaying Empires, it is true of civilizations, it is true of any human enterprise (if I understood his point correctly). Course correction in these situations do not happen.

Beckett, w/o countering what you said, Islam was/is always political in my understanding. I recommend the bk "Stranger to History" by Aatish Taseer for a 21st century picture. A deeply personal account with wider implications.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Indian-

Don't send messages to an older post. No one will read it.

mb

2:13 PM  

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