December 04, 2011

Interview with Bob McChesney

This is a call-up show that Bob runs out of WILL-AM, local NPR station in Champaign-Urbana: "Media Matters". It aired today (Dec. 4).


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm so glad you are doing these interviews so I have something to listen to at work. Otherwise it is 10 hours of Fox News.

Here's something funny about Herman Cain, before he dropped out:

At least I think its funny.

If you will be so kind to let me respond to Kelvin regarding Lierre Keith two comment threads ago: I hope that I am not coming off as really harsh toward Keith, even tho I think that she comes off pretty melodramatic in her response that you cited. But when you go to the DGR website and look under "Security," it clearly states not to talk to police, FBI, etc. It raises red flags to me that going to these authorities is the response that she and Jensen have at the first sign of trouble. I think what those vegan thugs did was unacceptable, but one of the latest tweets from DGR mentioned the willingness to lay down your life for the planet. I find their actions and their words to be inconsistent. But that doesn't mean that I don't find their words to be true in a lot of ways.

Thank you,

- Diandra

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The talk show Onpoint has the historian Niall Ferguson as a guest today, and the show is of course about his latest book Civilization: The West and the Rest on the distinctive features of Western civilization. But the title of the show is of special interest to participants in this blog. Since it starts at 10 am EST and I am posting this at about 9 EST, maybe you can hear it live and call in.

Onpoint: The West In Decline?

9:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out the review of Ferguson's latest by David Bromwich in the Dec. 8 NY Rev of Bks. He blows the guy completely out of the water.


9:55 AM  
Anonymous downward said...

Good interview (and good essay on the 3rd). I very much enjoyed the discussion on religion/virtue vs. hustling...

10:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This just landed in my mailbox courtesy of the ACLU. Apparently the country is now in the hands of deranged thugs:

Top members of Congress are secretly meeting now to try to figure out how to jam through a dangerous bill before Christmas.

Their main focus? Legislation authorizing this president and all future presidents to order the U.S. military to pick up and imprison people, including U.S. citizens — without charging them or putting them on trial.

We need you to take immediate action to prevent our country from becoming a place where the military can throw a person in jail and let him or her waste away without charge or trial.

Let's be clear about what this proposal really is: no due process, no trial, and no proof beyond a reasonable doubt — and indefinite military imprisonment based on suspicion alone.

A handful of senators secretly came up with this outrageous indefinite detention provision and attached it to the National Defense Authorization Act. And an even smaller group of House members forced through the House of Representatives a law for worldwide war, and worldwide imprisonment, in virtually any country where a terrorism suspect lives, even here in America itself.

The House and the Senate are now rushing to come up with a joint version of the bill and ram it through Congress within the next two weeks.

We know Congress is starting to hear from people who are outraged by this proposal. And if we continue to keep the pressure on, we can stop this. But it's going to take all of us.

Contact your members of Congress right now. Urge them to vote against indefinite detention and unlimited worldwide war authority legislation.

The Secretary of Defense, the Directors of the FBI and CIA, and national security experts from both Democratic and Republican administrations have argued against this extreme measure. But, as you read this, secret talks in Congress to force it quickly to final passage continue unabated.

Only a huge public outcry can prevent Congress from crossing a dangerous line that is a direct affront to everything we believe in.

Final action on this bill could come at any moment. Whether you've acted on this issue before or not, we need you to speak up now. Please contact your members of Congress immediately.

With urgency,

Chris Anders, ACLU
Senior Legislative Counsel

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Bart said...

Morris, sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings. But from Ray McGovern's piece here:

It looks like the National Defense Authorization Act was passed, revoking the Posse Comitatus Act that forbade the use of the military on domestic soil.

McGovern goes into the chilling implications.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dan & Dr. Berman—

Re: “Imagine, a Jewish man ordering books to be destroyed.”

Yes, isn’t it something that a Bloomberg orders his Gestapo to destroy OWS’s library of books. As they say, “There is no harsher taskmaster than a former slave.” Dr. Berman needs to find out if any of his books were among those destroyed. If not, he could to write to Bloomberg as follows:


“When the Regime ordered that books with dangerous knowledge

Should be publicly burnt and everywhere

Oxen were forced to draw carts full of books

To the funeral pyre, an exiled poet,

One of the best, discovered with fury, when he studied the list

Of the burned, that his books

Had been forgotten. He rushed to his writing table

On wings of anger and wrote a letter to those in power.

Burn me, he wrote with hurrying pen, burn me!

Do not treat me in this fashion. Don’t leave me out. Have I not

Always spoken the truth in my books? And now

You treat me like a liar! I order you:

Burn me!” --Bertolt Brecht

Re: "Apparently the country is now in the hands of deranged thugs."

I just sent off e-mail protests to Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman Dave Loebsack – both of Iowa warning them not to vote for the nazification of America. (Probably no point writing to Grassley.) It’s probably too late anyway. Who are we kidding – it’s already happened, hasn’t it? Maybe there’s some rough justice to it – are brasileiros, argentinos, and chilenos going to feel sorry for us now that norteamericanos are about to start adding to the list of desaparecidos? It’s time to go. Really.

David Rosen

8:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bart, DR-

I don't think the bill was passed yet. But I expect it will be. Meanwhile, get a load o' this:

"The National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision to repeal Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Article 125 of the UCMJ makes it illegal to engage in both sodomy with humans and sex with animals."

So if it passes, apparently u can be scooped up off the street as a suspected terrorist and thrown in a black hole forever, but while there it will be completely legal 4u 2 fuck a dog. Great. (Altho those Abu Ghraib-style German shepherds are not that cuddly, let's face it.)

I asked Wiley to send 4 copies of WAF to OWS in NY. Whether they did or not is anybody's guess; the address was a UPS outlet. But if they did, the bks hit the dumpster long ago.

The thing abt all these provisions is that there really is a similarity to passage of the Nuremberg Laws in the 1930s. Many Jews put off leaving until it was too late, because the fire was turned up one degree at a time. A horrible law wd be passed; then a few mos. wd go by w/0 happening. Then another law, etc. Finally, like the proverbial frogs boiled in water--it was too late.

This is what happens when people don't learn from the past, as Santayana famously said. How many Americans know what the Nuremberg Laws were? 1% of the population, at most? How many are concerned abt the McCain-Levin rider to the bill, or even know that such a bill exists? Same %?

"There's a shitstorm coming"--Kurt Vonnegut


8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great interview! I'd never heard of you before but I'll definitely be looking into your books now. And regarding Ferguson, he's been freaking out for a few weeks sending incoherent letters to the LRB asking for an apology for printing this review

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Zosima said...

A caller named Sean brought up Dark Ages America and your take on American empire about 39 min into this interview. Van Buren seemed familiar with your work and agreed with the caller about America being irredeemable. He said, “The world is increasingly seeing us as a very large angry child. If you do something America doesn’t like, the drones are going to be over head before you know it.”

Peter Van Buren spent a year in Iraq as a State Department Foreign Service Officer serving as Team Leader for two Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Now in Washington, he writes about Iraq and the Middle East at his blog, "We Meant Well." His new book is "We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People", (The American Empire Project, Metropolitan Books).

Here is the link to the interview.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Bisley said...

So I guess all we need now is a faked terrorist attack and and Enabling Act and the deal is done.

Then we we get overt war with Iran!

What the hell are these people thinking?

10:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, I just read his long letter to the LRB, and Mishra's reply, wh/basically wiped the floor w/him. The guy is an arrogant turkey, and an apologist for imperialism.


10:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for info on Van Buren; I hadn't heard of him until now.


The important thing is that we drop bombs. It doesn't matter where, or on whom. W/exception of fact that I have friends there, I wd recommend a vigorous nuking of Toronto, followed by Paris and then perhaps a sprinkling of nukes around eastern Europe. We need to have enemies, and we need to be expending all of our energy on killing them. This much is clear.


10:17 PM  
Anonymous Bart said...


This is picked up from Jennifer Rees at All Voices. Note the 93-7 vote... You're probably right about the 1 percent being the number of people aware of the Nuremberg Laws, since they're the ones passing it.....

The United States Senate has passed its edition of a bill that would empower the military to forever detain anyone who is considered to be part of any terrorist activity. Ninety three Senators reportedly voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), while seven opposed it and none abstained.
The National Defense Authorization Act allows funds amounting $662 billion for the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and military personnel. According to provisions of Subtitle D of the act, the U.S. military can indefinitely detain anybody, devoid of assuring a trial.
According to the rules of the business, the House will also vote on the bill. It will then square its version of the bill with that of the Senate prior to sending the legislation to the president. It should be noted that in late May the House held a roll call over the bill. The occasion was noted for 322 Representatives supporting the bill, 96 opposing it, while 13 abstained from taking part in the proceedings.
Later on, the Senate came up with a concession amendment in a 99-1 vote. The amendment stated that the National Defense Authorization Act will not affect the existing legal power of the government to jail people captured in the war on terrorism.

So while the country is falling to pieces, rather than address any of the economic issues (since those are working fine for the 1 percent), Congress plays around with votes and amendments insuring that there'll be adequate green lights for the military to cart the malcontents off to gitmo when we enter serious Depression conditions.

Kafka's The Trial was published in 1925 foreshadowing the Nuremberg laws.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ferguson is a terrible apologist for imperialism primarily because he's always arguing with the finger-wagging Marxist academic in his head.

He should just go for the Genghis Khan defence: “The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”

The British were rootless barbarians just like the Monghols, only with more pox and alcohol problems. And there will be more rootless barbarians long after they and their American successors have disappeared from the face of the Earth. All the "critiques" and "justifications" will be pointless about them too.

7:16 AM  
Blogger HansfromDK said...

Dear dr. Berman

Has this poem by the German pastor Martin Niemöller ever been brought in the blog? It is of course about Nazi Germany and has nothing to do with the present situation in the US. (This disclaimer aims at keeping me out of Guantánamo)

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I rather liked this essay on Hofstadter.


I've only read "Anti-Intellectualism..." and may now have to go back and read more of his work.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman—

I guess I wasn’t too clear. When I said, “it’s already happened”, I wasn’t talking about the passage of a bill in congress – I was talking about the point where future historians will say that fascism came to America. My guess is that most of them will say it was 9-11. Wake up and smell Vonnegut's shitstorm -- it's here already.

David Rosen

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mexico is number one in terms of income inequality. US is number three.,3746,en_2
Mr Berman please comment if you would. Thank you.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Cj said...

Hi Professor, has an article based upon WAF:


12:39 PM  
Anonymous David M said...

DR. Berman and DAAERS
Well, we knew this was comming. It was just a matter of time. The national defense authorization act just goes part and parcel with the rest of the draconian legislation passed, executive orders issued, and suprteme court rullings. I been putting off getting fitted for my orange jump suit waiting for a sale.
Peter Van Buren has been on administrative leave for his book, articles on and interviews. The powers don't know what to do with him. He hinted in one article that somthing might happen to him but he is going to continue to speak-out. More power to him he shows courage.
Leave you with this:

Living now here but for fortune
Placed by fate's mysterious schemes
Who'd believe that we're the ones asked
To try to rekindle the patriot's dreams

Arise sweet destiny, time runs short
All of your patience has heard their retort
Hear us now for alone we can't seem
To try to rekindle the patriot's dreams

Can you hear the words being whispered
All along the American stream
Tyrants freed the just are imprisoned
Try to rekindle the patriot's dreams

Ah but perhaps too much is being asked of too few
You and your children with nothing to do
Hear us now for alone we can't seem
To try to rekindle the patriot's dreams
Arlo Guthrie

1:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A very famous citation, of course, and rather relevant to our situation today.


I cdn't access the url on Mexican-US inequality data because it got truncated. This happens a lot, unfortunately. You might re-send the info, but put the url in "bite-size" chunks, so that the entire thing will make it onto this blog. Thanks.


Thanks for the note on Douglas Dowd's review of WAF. Unfortunately, he really missed the boat on ch. 4, the chapter on the Civil War, and (I think) badly mischaracterized my position. It's kinda funny, because Amazon reviewers got the nuance involved in that chapter correct, but Prof. Dowd (whom I admire greatly, BTW), missed it completely. He's still stuck in stereotyped analyses of the South and the Civil War, as far as I can make out. In any case, I just sent in a reply to Counter Punch, which I'm hoping they will run; and I shall also post it as my next blogpost. Thanks again.


2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second Morris' dismissal of Niall Ferguson.

Just look at the company he keeps and those who thus praise/promote him. The neo-psychotics and most of the right-wing GOP noise machine.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Acabo de ver tu entrevista en tv azteca seria in honor poderte recibir en mi Universidad para mostrar una nueva forma de pensar sobre la situación que se vive en la actualidad espero su respuesta para poderlo recibir en la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. Gracias Bienvenido a su país !!!
Le dejo mi correo

2:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gracias, amigo. I already spoke at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales, on 20 September 2011. But I'd be happy to come another time.

In the future, please send messages to the most recent post; people tend to not read the older ones.


12:49 PM  

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