April 29, 2013

Calling All Hispanohablantes

Hola Waferes!

I realize most of you don't speak Spanish, but for the few who do I thought this interview I did with the Universidad de Monterrey recently might be of some interest:


Just click on 53.9MB, and my part of the discussion starts at around 2 minutes into the recording.

Disfrutalo, chicos!



Anonymous sanctuary! said...

shep said, "a problem is "Awards", and such things.[...]Any books or discussions written on this"

Alfie Kohn cited some interesting research in No Contest (1st half). His pt was competition = destruction more or less.

I think US's ubiquitous contests, from local film fests to "Am Idol," keep challenges away from the system. It's basically games 4 kids so that "adults" can run the world.

Anecdote from indust psych (an interesting field if u have a Foucaultian bent). The owner visited his plant because a union was organizing. On the factory floor he asked, "The night shift made how many widgets?" Reply: "6." Owner asked for chalk & wrote 7 on the floor & left w/o a word. After the day shift came & went, the "7" was gone...replaced w/ "8." The next night shift wrote "9." The union was broken w/ chalk. The workers forgot their demands & worked even harder, caught up in the competition.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

A day or so ago srsguynogames said, “What's worse? Rich morons who hate everyone but themselves, or poor morons who hate everyone but themselves?”

Do the poor in our blessed land hate everyone but themselves? I sometimes think of our hierarchical society as a ladder on which most people kiss the feet of the person above and kick the face of the one below. In fact, American poor people often look at those on top with a mixture of envy and admiration.

The following is from Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five”:

“America is the wealthiest nation on the Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, ‘It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.’ It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking the cruel question: ‘If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?’ There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.”

The setting for that statement was back in 1945, but I think it remains essentially correct. As I make my final escape, you won’t see me looking back and turning into a pillar of salt!

David Rosen

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Ken Smith said...

For those of you who don't know Spanish, I want to say that I am impressed once again by Morris Berman's fluency. I have listened to two previous interviews in Spanish and he never stumbles while trying to find just the right word to explain a complex idea.

I am not an hispanohablante (Spanish speaker). I'm more of an español oyente or entendedor (listener or understander) -- and that's probably not the correct way to say it. I put myself in the advanced tourist category.

Morris in Spanish comes through crystal clear. Maybe this is because even though he is fluent in Spanish, he retains some of the rhythms and accent of his native English, making it easier for my American ear. Of the two interviewers, one spoke so fast that I understood less than half of what he had to say.

I live in a small Mexican town and most of my conversations are with working folks. I don't have much opportunity to discuss in Spanish issues such as US drones in Pakistan, as this interviewed covered. So, it was very good practice to listen to Morris in Spanish talking about something other than the small things of daily life.

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Rossana said...

Thanks--gracias--for the tip on the Spanish-language interview. I agree your Spanish is pretty good! Better still were your salient observations.

Thanks, Dr. B.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous srsguynogames said...


Excellent quote from my favorite book. It's a fair and accurate point. A revised statement should be:

What's worse? Rich morons who hate everyone but themselves, or poor morons who hate everyone including themselves?

2:08 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@Dr. B, I thought Obama's drones got you. Haha.

I have learned so much from this blog that I really thank God that I saw Dr. B on C-span.

Kohn's Punished by Rewards is also a very good book. It attacks the concept of incentive as a motivator for doing good at school or at work. Incentive goes together with competition. The theory is that we need incentives to study harder for good grades or to work harder for higher rate of pay or for promotions. Of course, working harder sometimes means making sure you incapacitate your co-worker so as to make him or her feel inferior and unwelcome since he/she is seen as a competitor standing on the way to the goodies.

Also, check out the book Habits of the Heart by Bellah, Madsen, Sullivan, Swidler, and Tipton. The book challenges the idea of American individualism. I have just received the book, so I am still on the introduction. Individualism means independence and self-reliance at the expense of the community, the larger society, and the family unit. American individualism goes together with the concept of American dream. If you love one, you got to love the other.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Manol said...

I heard the interview and it's amazing a society that value people according to how wealthy they are. Usually in Latin America rich people are considered dishonest, so they try to hide the fact that they are rich. President Pinera in Chile has been disapproved (approved by 33% rejected by 47%) during all his term because he is perceived as rich and essentially a dishonest man.
By the way, your Spanish is improving. Congratulations!
Manol from Santiago, Chile.

3:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Thank you all for your appreciation of my Spanish. It's never easy over the phone, but the alternative here was a simultaneous translation by Juan Carlos, which would have been a rather clunky format, I thought. The hardest thing for me is when I'm with a group of Mexican friends, as I was this past weekend in Mexico City (aka the DF). There was this 'tertulia' in my honor--basically, a literary celebration--w/abt a dozen people at this neat little 'ecological hotel', El Patio 77, in the northern part of town. And then dinner the next night somewhere near Colonia Roma. If yr the only Anglo, as I was, you have to 'swim' a bit, because conversations are so dynamic (lots of slang, sentence fragments etc.--this occurs in every language). My comprehension drops about 25% in those situations, and I try not to sound too foolish (it's really gd for one's humility). But what always impresses me about Los Mexicanos is their graciousness. It's just not like social gatherings in the US, where, in my experience, the goal is to (subtly) impress. Not at all. It's abt actual communication down here; there's very little hidden agenda going on. Real, in short. I'm telling you, Americans (north of the border, that is) have no idea how genuinely stupid their lives are. Hard to be real in a hustling culture, after all. (I have a New Yorker cartoon on my wall: woman on fone, saying to someone, "Yes, I'm having a bunch of friends coming over this evening to sit and stare at their phones.")


4:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...



4:16 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Sadly, I don't speak Spanish so cannot comment on the interview but did find this interesting article related to current terrorist outrages yesterday:


I try to avoid making judgements on these things since their essentially clandestine nature precludes any definitive answers, but our British experience of the state's deep involvement and collusion in fomenting the Irish 'Troubles' makes me deeply suspicious of the official versions of this event.

4:21 AM  
Blogger jml said...

very interesting article by mark levine:


a quote:

"Of course, most Americans, like their Russian, Israeli, Indian, Chinese and so many other counterparts, have no desire to use this occasion to consider their own implication in a system that produces Tamerlan Tsarnaevs as sure as it produces Dylan Klebolds and Adam Lanzas, and all the abusers getting away with terrorising their families, lovers and friends. It's much easier simply to call the Tsarnaev killing spree terrorism, because the way we've come to define terrorism in mainstream discourse has made it a one-way act, stemming from the outside and so leaving us without any responsibility or role in its genealogy. In fact this dynamic is not that different from defining mass murderers as insane, which similarly takes away any rationality from their actions.

Do Americans want to admit that as a society they produce an incredible amount of violence, and that sometimes the structure of the society helps produce people like the Columbine, Newtown or Boston murderers?"

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Vas muy bien con tu Castellano!

Great interview. I actually note the occasional Chilango intonation.

Per your comment. You experience illustrates another skill Americans lack. How to genuinely relate. I have no problems socializing in Mexico but when in U.S. I am in D.C. and interestingly the people I socialize with are all non-u.s.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

Do we have permission to post off-topic comments for this blog entry? I'd like to know.
If you liked his talk, here is more Morris Berman goodness (and an amusing response from a well-intentioned, apparently highly educated, but misguided gringo): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NY-altlUZHg http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hrqCnyKovyE

9:42 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Thank you wafers for the suggestions!

Want to participate in some real fun. Listen to Right Wing Radio.

I do this on trips because the only thing on the radio these days are fundamental preachers and the likes of Bill Bennett, Rush, Herman Cain and Beck.

Yesterday, I heard Cain talk about the vast and extensive intelligence of American Citizens that will make every thing okay, eventually. "The American people are smart and cannot be fooled."

Beck says Rachel Carson caused more deaths in Africa than DTD did?

Russ told that he was going to re-read 1984 and decipher what Orwell's message was really all about. That we could learn from him.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...


That's a brilliant cartoon. Have Wafers heard the equally brilliant comments by Stevie-boy Harper, the PM of Canada, regarding the causes of terrorism ?

He said people shouldn't "commit sociology."


I also like what one of his ministers said regarding the issue:

"On CBC News Network's Power & Politics on Thursday, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre was asked by host Evan Solomon to elaborate on Harper's comments and what is wrong with trying to understand why people turn to terror.

"Nothing, but that's not the issue," he responded. Poilievre said Trudeau mishandled his response to the Boston bombings.

"The root causes of terrorism is terrorists," he said. "That's how we respond."

Is our terrorists terroristing?

I don't know Spanish, but my brother has been visiting Mexico for years and has been studying Spanish with the intention of eventually moving there. He sounded rather pleased to tell me once that his Mexican friends told him he's just like a Mexican.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Chaz Homz said...

I guess the problem with most Americans, and probably the whole human/person-race is we have our heads stuck up the wrong assholes—usually that of some charismatic loud-mouthed extremist’s. It would be a major improvement if we could all just get our heads where we belong.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

¿¡¿Por golly, por qué Morris Berman no habla en americano el bueno de modo que la gente pueda entenderlo?!?

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

The economist known as "Doctor Doom" for predicting the big crash says we're headed for another one, and this time there's no way the Fed can stop it. But until it hits, you can try to ride the wave of the latest bubble and guess when the crash will hit. (He says "about two years"...)

Dr. Doom: Buy stocks while you still can

The famously gloomy economist Nouriel Roubini has finally fingered an investment he likes. But his advice carries an expiration date.

Roubini is predicting an uptick in stock prices over the next two years as the Federal Reserve continues its stimulus efforts. But buyer beware, Dr. Doom says, because a day of reckoning is lurking at the end of the two-year horizon.

Roubini, an economics professor at New York University best known for predicting the U.S. housing crisis, thinks the Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world can and will prop up stocks and bonds for the next two years.


4:47 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Better wear your shades...

The future is looking bright:

"Pilots and Professors Barely Scraping By? 9 Surprising Jobs That Pay a Pittance"


5:30 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

By the way, re: Google's Eric Schmidt of "just like real life" virtual reality & the wondrous promise of the Internet: he just happens to have a new book out. The full-page ad in the Sunday NY Times features praise from such luminaries as Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, and the hagiographer/biographer of Steve Jobs. Just the sort of people to be trusted with the future, I'm sure ...

Let me also recommend Alfie Kohn's books as sanctuary! & Edward did, especially No Contest. Definitely good reading for WAFers.

Julian Assange's new book on the Internet looks interesting, although the reviewer seems to misread him & complains about the book being too elitist, too pessimistic & not offering positive solutions -- sound familiar?


And here's a perfect example of causes that are worthy in themselves, but are so easily co-opted to serve the power structure:


So we can be "progressive" as far as promoting rights for LGBT people, but only as long as they don't do anything embarrassing like exposing the truth about American war crimes. The status quo can assimilate anyone & everyone; just play the game, be a good parrot, and we'll throw you a few scraps of civil rights you deserve anyway under the Constitution. Just remember that they're conditional -- you can be gay, or black, or Latino, or disabled, or anything else, but you can't rock the boat. Remember, you already signed your soul over to us!

5:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers are invited to help design a line of T-shirts for recovering 'progressives'. E.g.:



7:48 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Hi WAFers--

Came across this piece, which reminded me of the hunter-gatherer horizontal consciousness (and attendant flexibility and nimbleness) idea that Dr. B describes in _Wandering God_. Here's to "quitting":




8:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Lo hago, lo hago!


8:43 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman,

Excellent interview; and I say that as ‘un españohablante wannabe’. I seem to have understood everything you said on the first listening. Of course, the fact that you spoke a little slower than the usual ‘presto’ and that I had already heard you say a lot of it in English didn’t hurt either.

My wife, who doesn’t have the mixed blessing of having first learned Portuguese, is listening to it over and over until she understands it all. In the end she’ll speak Spanish, while I will probably always speak some kind of gemish – Españuguês. It might be a blessing if it helps cover up a Gringo accent.

Meanwhile, as I tarry here in the land of the free I hear that patriots across the land are taking a renewed interest in our school system. They think there is some kind of ‘Manchurian Candidate’ conspiracy from the United Nations which aims to teach our children some kind of un-American ideology – the details of which do not interest me. I just tell them they should be happy if the schools were to teach the kids anything at all. I noticed in the local small-town weekly that about half of the kids in this school-district are on the ‘honor roll’ while I see very little evidence that they are much more than brain-dead.

So, it’s onward and downward as I we redouble our efforts to paddle away from the sinking Titanic.

David Rosen

12:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Good luck on yr escape. Note that Garrison Keillor usta say that in Lake Wobegon, all of the students were above average.


12:58 AM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

The American dream works - only for the American CEOs - even when they are running down their companies:

"The ratio of CEO-to-worker pay has increased 1,000 percent since 1950, according to data from Bloomberg. Today Fortune 500 CEOs make 204 times regular workers on average, Bloomberg found. The ratio is up from 120-to-1 in 2000, 42-to-1 in 1980 and 20-to-1 in 1950"


1:43 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Wafers -

I have made it to approximately page 60, or so, of Nick Turse's book, "Kill Anything That Moves".

It is so vile, so far from humanity, that I will not finish. I'll pass it on though so maybe someone else will discover that humans are responsible for creating hell in all its glory.

It was at that point that i began thinking about the Generals and the medals they receive. None of them are worth throwing on a God Damned dung heap.

Then I ran into Phillip Appleman, for the second time, and all is well. Hasn't he been mentioned here? Here is a message from Mr. Appleman thhat I discovered in his small, large type book called "Perfidious Proverbs".

To all Wafers who have lost heart, from time to time, as I, Mr Appleman says there is no meaning of life, and that is what makes it so precious. Life is its own reward: a song that doesn't need words. But the fact that there is no meaning of life does not mean there is no meaning in life. As long as there is beauty to create and admire, there is immense meaning in life.

Emigrate! If u are fortunate enuf!

O & D

7:36 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In that regard I found Alan Watts' "The Wisdom of Insecurity" very helpful.


8:59 AM  
Anonymous Swordfish said...

Excellente! Apprendo espanol ahora (estoy tratando anyway), y me gustaria escuchar cosas como esta, especialemente cuando puedo entenderlas (mostly)!

Bak 2 ainglish, I wanted to share 2 quotes from this CP article: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/04/29/rainbows-for-the-ruling-class/

I think both are a little long for T-shirts, but may work on post-its.

1. "If you want to know what’s going to happen next in America, all you have to do is ask yourself: what’s the most outrageous, ironic, perverted and soul-crushing thing that can happen in any given situation? Whatever that thing is, that’s what will happen. And you won’t have to wait long to see your prediction come true."

and my favorite (warning urine reference)
2. "When the working class finally vanquishes the capitalist class, there will be monuments built to Manning — and molded clear plastic Bush and Obama heads used as urinals in hospitals. When you’re admitted to the hospital, a nurse will ask, similar to paper or plastic: 'Democrat or Republican?'"

The article is about SF pride's decision not to allow Bradley Manning to be Grand Marshall for the SF pride parade. Worth a read to see just how "revolutionary" identity politics is (NOT) in this country.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Good day Dr. Berman and Wafers,

T-shirt ideas:







1:10 PM  
Anonymous Politically Incorrect said...

And then there's this...


Maybe we ought to start the kids off at birth... after all it's a right isn't it?

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


A personally meaningful life: that's what it all comes down to, doesn't it? And it's precisely what the vast majority of Americans can't articulate or even grasp, unless it's to wish for more money, which will magically make everything better ... somehow.

Which brings us to our Dolt of the Day:



Many thanks for the linked article on quitting. Words of wisdom indeed!

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Found some overlap between you and John Gray especially his work in False Dawn (chapter 1 should be wafer required reading). Also his silence of animals goes to the point of life and how distorted the thinking of westerners is--well in particular the whacky American utopian and Manichean view of the world. He falls short in not saying you just cant fix stupid.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

shep- Not sure I see a problem with the Rush comment? He's basically recommending Orwell it sounds like... Actually I listen to Rush pretty frequently, and not just to enjoy disagreeing either. He can bloviate and phone it in, but he can be interesting at times too. At the very least, he's often contrarian, unlike the more corporate-class media. I also like Michael Savage, who is completely sui generis. Local talk radio can be quite interesting too. Many talk radio hosts are terrible though, not in their politics per se but just for doing bad radio.

Does anyone else here ever enjoy pundits/writers/media we might not expect you to, as a reader of MB's books?

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


I would like to submit my entries in the recovering progressives T-shirt contest:

Front: “Amy:”
Back: “You suck!”

Front: “Thom:”
Back: “You suck too!”

Please let me know if you think they are too subtle.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Politically Incorrect said...And then there's this...


I think this could work out well for America. Even though one potential red state voter is gone, she would have grown up to be a woman, and women tend to lean liberal and anti-war. But the boy lives on, and will be able to vote for Mitt Romney Jr. in 2028.

3:49 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

It wasn't just the Donner Party, but apparently the local natives didn't actually see the Jamestown colonists butchering their dead. So there were no direct reports from the natives that "they eat each other" -- but now there is proof of the rumors.

BBC: 'Proof' Jamestown settlers turned to cannibalism

Newly discovered human bones prove the first permanent English settlers in North America turned to cannibalism over the cruel winter of 1609-10, US researchers have said.

Scientists found unusual cuts consistent with butchering for meat on human bones dumped in a rubbish pit.

The four-century-old skull and tibia of a teenage girl in James Fort, Virginia, were excavated from the dump last year.

James Fort, founded in 1607, was the earliest part of the Jamestown colony.


7:30 AM  
Anonymous Mk said...

Just finished reading Guy McPherson's Walking Away From Empire-really good. He is also a Wafer.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...


I did attempt to throw some crap together just for fun and the heck of it. I couldn't figure out how to get anything on the back. I'm just learning how to use cafepress.com It is kind of cumbersome to use.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

Dr. B-

To be honest, you have ample room for improvement, but solid Spanish nonetheless.

If you like reading Wallerstein's bimonthly articles, check out La Jornada to read them in Spanish after you've read them in English.


12:24 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

I see Obama is coming to Mexico, here's your chance, mb! Drink lots of beer, & maybe you might get a chance to pee on those guccis! Better yet, fill up a super soaker in case you cant get close enough!

12:34 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...


Thanks for the Guy McPherson reference! I listened to some of his stuff on youtube and enjoyed it a lot. See this short one and his "monkey trap" analogy.


12:39 PM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

Proof that they ate each other, thereby showing the source of the hustler mentality:


12:54 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

The folks at Café Press are quintessential hustlers; in other words, the anti-WAFer.

They'll take anybody's money.


12:56 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Cube -

Well, I''ll be.

I designed a tee shirt and here it is, with a quotation from the movie, "Leaves of Grass".


Hope Wafers approve.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Hi WAFers--

Nothing surprising, really:


Gem of quote from piece:
“It is the baby boomer group where we see the highest rates of suicide,” said the C.D.C.'s deputy director, Ileana Arias. “There may be something about that group, and how they think about life issues and their life choices that may make a difference.”

Um, er, yeah, the "something about that group" . . . hedonic adaptation vs. eudaimonic adaptation (read: "happiness" = "comfort, security, and things" vs. "happiness" = "virtue").

Guess the land of "toys-as-secondary-substitutes" ain't cuttin' it no mo'? Now let's see who's resilient . . .

Reminds me of Mother Teresa's pithy remark that Americans were some of the poorest individuals she came across . . . depends on how you measure poverty . . .



2:22 PM  
Anonymous swordfish said...

@cubeangel, I couldn't read the t-shirt but it looks like Ozymandias from the illustration, which is one of my favorite poems, and should be on the dollar bill (if it will fit around Kim Kardashian's rump).

2:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I always liked that Mother Theresa remark, except I wish she had also made reference to CRE--a major factor in American impoverishment.


That's a great film, "Leaves of Grass." The quote is actually from the Talmud: Tikkun olam, the repair of the world.


I'm actually friends w/the gal who translates for Pena Nieto, the president, so I cd probably get to meet Obama if I asked her. Problem is that if I then hosed him down, she'd lose her job, I'd get deported, and she'd never speak to me again. Still...


Tienes razon, chico; the problem is that 98% of my research, rdg, and writing is in English, wh/doesn't help. I need to go to a 'Spanish camp' for 2 solid mos.


2:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


But surely, this is why 2-yr-olds need to be armed, rt? How many times do I hafta say it? A gun in every cradle!


6:23 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Capo Regime,

I just read your response to my question on #177 but since the customary limit on comments there has been exceeded I'll respond here. I did not mean to sound churlish. I accidently erased my first draft and as I was pressed for time my submission was compressed and unfortunately terse sounding. Your original statement seemed vague to me and I was curious to know which skills you thought were missing. My apologies
for any seeming rudeness.

8:29 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

MB said

"A gun in every cradle"

Agreed. Ya don't need a teddy bear when ya got the cold steel of a pistol. O&D!

Thought today: everyone complains abt a police state (like the Boston lockdown), but really, if people have fewer or zero ethics, characteristically break rules & laws, & cannot regulate themselves in any systematic or reliable manner, what do they expect the result is going to be? If Americans are increasingly turning into the human version of wild animals, any wonder black-jacketed zookeepers w/ truncheons arise in their thousands & freedom croaks? Is it really a mystery that Amer incarceration is the highest in the world (putting ppl in cages)? This is a country where an habitual attitude toward the enforcement of standards of any kind is: "Make me." So now they have tanks rolling past their white picket fences. Go figure, huh?

I'm not 4 tyranny. I'm just saying Newton was right. Action ----> reaction. If everyone is a criminal, the country morphs into a prison.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, sure, but what kind of internment facilities need to be constructed to house douche bags and morons? (Schools, I'm thinking, or maybe jungle gyms) That may be the more relevant question. Wafers are encouraged to suggest various possibilities.

Meanwhile, another potential T-shirt:

(front) I'LL BE DAMNED...


1:19 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

If America were a mother, she'd have to resemble this one:


3:58 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB,

From the wish I'd thought of this department -

A commenter at ZeroHedge posted :

"A friend of mine suggested that to help drive down the deficit, the government should allow people to name a drone strike after a loved one in the same way people register star names. Come on. Where are all the entrepreneurs out there? DroneRegistry.com is still available!"

Gotta Love It!

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

The days of guns in cradles is already here, MB. According to the article, the two year old was killed with a kids rifle.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

@Swordfish: Uf, se las aplicaron bien gacho!
@MB: To better avoid long and pedantic screeds, I only have two questions:
1. How is the Cranial-Rectal Applebee's Project going along? If we aren't making any progress, I am afraid we need a coup d'etat in which you emerge as the Emperor. Once you are there, we could employ Obama and Bush as the White House's butlers (jobs which include cleaning its toilets and drainage systems).
2. What is your opinion of the Zeitgeist Movement & the Venus Project, since someone else already mentioned Peter Joseph? They may be technological utopians, but I do believe their insights are valuable in encouraging the abandonment of endless growth and consumption, along with along with the monetarist-materialist distortion of human values.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Bingo, thanks for the story

See one of the comments under it by a fellow named M1A308:

My mother did this to my family! It destroyed my family.She just up and left us for 10 years.We filed a police report and after not hearing anything for years we thought she was dead.We where devastated! We prayed for years for her safe return.Then we found out she was living in denver colorado and had a whole new family.We where all shocked and hurt.Anger came shortly after.My dad brothers and sisters will never be the same.I feel like my family is dead.All the sad christmases birthdays and mothers day.Her birthday was a sad day and a day of morning.She attempts to get a hold of myself and my wife.She attempts to see my son.But no way!! She is dead to me!! I come from a loveless and abusive home any way.She was the glue that held us together.But to me she was the best that I had.She was my mom.And my mom died 10 years ago!! I dont really talk about my pain so open like this and not very many people know this about my family but it feels good to talk about it openly for once.Its like a weight has been lifted just a little.A little more breathing room for myself.thank you for allowing me to vent.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Linh Dinh's chronicle of the decline of empire continues...
With its emphasis on staring, and not touching, talking or any other kind of interaction, not even eye contact, and with its insane bombardment of the senses, what’s happening in this café is essentially an American phenomenon, in spite of its Vietnamese cosmetic touches.

In a Saigon sex café or karaoke bar, a male client would talk, grope and sing along with his hostess, they would have to deal with each other as individuals, no matter how phony or bizarre their interactions, but here, this physical and psychic intercourse is relieved from both partners. Here, we dread the face to face contact, for the face, any face, is too intense for us.

We flee each other’s faces by hiding our faces in FaceBook. Oh please, don’t make me look at your face again, for it is simply too sexy, beautiful, sad and grotesque, and please, don’t look at my eyes, nose, mouth and forehead with your mercy or judgment. Look at my photos, and I’ll look at yours, OK?


2:18 PM  
Anonymous Sean K. said...

Dr Berman,

I probably already know the answer to this question, but will there be a soft-cover version of Why America Failed?

Second, is there another book in the works by chance on this or other topics?


2:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I hope so; at least my agent is working on it, and I'm hoping some publisher will go for it. I do have another book coming out in June, "Spinning Straw Into Gold," but it's not on the American empire.


What project was that? My brain is so eroded, I can't remember. Was it called CRAP? As for ZM and VP, I don't know anything abt them.


But the 2-yr-old didn't have a gun. If she did, she cd have defended herself. We need to start a Weapons In Cradles movement (WIC).


3:33 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Great cartoon here:


4:48 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

I think I have discovered how Walmart makes money.

The workers in the oil change bay are slow as slugs, so that, isn't it. But when you check out they somehow always overcharge ur ass. Happens every time.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Dr. Berman,

I think we can both agree the drone strikes in Yemen and the Middle East are counterproductive to achieving an end to "terror organizations," since they kill civilians who then become radicalized and support such organizations. I'm wondering, do you think that government officials know about this blowback, but are just ignoring it because of the path-dependence of the war on terror? Or are they actually, deliberately causing this blowback to justify an enlarged executive and endless war?

Thanks for the audio interview, I'm looking forward to listening soon.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Good question. My guess is that they don't know what else to do. During the VN war, Robt McNamara kept ordering the bombing of the north, which accomplished nothing. After each round, he would order another one. That's why I say that people w/high IQ's can be really stupid. He just had no ideas, and I doubt the present admin, or military, does either. If they stop the useless war on terror, what then? They might have to take a look out our role in provoking 9/11, the Boston bombings, and so on, and this wd be very threatening, psychologically speaking. So, they just keep doing what they're doing. Within institutional contexts, it's very easy to get caught up in the activity and ideology, and pay no attn to reality. "War is a force that gives us meaning," as a friend of mine once said.


7:46 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


I used to do clinical psychology work, so I’ve seen a lot of bad situations like that. That type of “mother” is very common in America today. Of course, in a nation of hustlers you expect nothing but this kind of extreme psychopathic selfishness. The sad part is that their children will grow up and do the same thing.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Back in the mid 90's read a book on the basis of a glowing review by Lewis Lapham. Its was (and is) brilliant--Land of Desire by a William Leach. Had not hear of him before or since but have to say (though an economist) a first rate of cultural history. It goes back to late 19th century and the invention of the department store, window displays, marketing, parades as marketing tools and ushering the age of compltete consumerism and ethos of sales. Its damn good. I had hopes he would do a follow up but that does not appear to have happened. Somehow, Leach, Berman, Gray and Mencken keep me grounded....and a bit of Conrad and Grossman....

9:43 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

But the 2-yr-old didn't have a gun. If she did, she cd have defended herself. We need to start a Weapons In Cradles movement (WIC).

Even if she did have gun, what she needed was a “permit to carry.” What good is a gun if you’re not packin’? She also needed to have a proper firearms education, which means lots of time at the shooting range. America needs to build up its firearms education infrastructure if its kids are to be well prepared for their future. So let take all those closed and empty art and music classrooms, add some newly closed history and literature classrooms, and convert them all to shooting ranges for the kids. All those fired teachers can be retrained into truly useful professionals as firearms instructors. This will create even greater “boom” times ahead for America.

On drones: where are the Pakistanis on this, why aren’t they in the streets, doesn't their silence equal consent to war crimes?

9:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Keep in mind that Bella Santorum, age 3, is a member of the NRA. In general, I'm very enthused abt yr proposed curriculum.


Gd man, Leach; I quote from him in Twilight and also Dark Ages.


10:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

CRE Dept.:


10:43 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I hate this phrase, but thanks for sharing. Your story literally made me cry. It was such a cruel thing your mother did and of course something you, your dad, brothers and sisters did not deserve. I hope somehow you can find some measure of peace.

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

A while back, you suggested we hire proctologists to take out Americans' heads from their rumps with millions of dollars in funds from Applebee's, so they could realize how shite pervades their lives. Let me conclude with this simple advice: Excercise your brain! Your mind is too precious to lose.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Mk - I'm roughly a 1/3 of the way through Walking Away from Empire, and you're absolutely right it is "really good." McPherson nails it on many different levels — his perspective, at least imo, is not only broad and encompassing, but also insightful.

Sanc - Re your comment about the police state/Boston lockdown. One thing I find of interest is the use of words and what their impact is within the society. As I'm sure you're aware Lockdown is prison terminology, but I'm not so sure the U.S. consumer-troglodyte makes that connection — regardless it has psychological implications. As does accepting the consumer identity — once ensconced in the parasitic life of a consumer the unconscious trade-off is the abdication of their place in the world as a human being.

For example the consumer moves from one climate controlled environment to another — the rhythmic changes of the four seasons have been supplanted by the driving and holiday seasons.

Every word has power. - John Trudell

What about the use of language as a possible topic?

George Carlin was an excellent student of the how language and euphemism are used in the culture to foster acquiescence and deception.

Guy McPherson, in his book cited above, examines the use of words too, and their etymology, to massage a population's thinking into accepting transgressions against the natural world — to instill disassociation and to hinder critical thinking.

John Trudell is someone else who comes to mind that stresses the importance of understanding the use of language — its manipulation factor and how it can cripple the ability to think coherently. For example he'll banter about the word freedom or FREEDUMB as it were. Another word he dissects is technological, emphasizing the two words that comprise its center — NO LOGIC — which explains the fealty industrial society has for the technology deity.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Jesse, Bingo, Dan—

In no way do I mean to excuse the behavior of parents who abandon their families, but let me say that Americans tend to focus on (and blame) individual behavior, while ignoring the role of social organization.

Whether this mother’s behavior is unique to or typical of American or capitalist society I can’t say, but the American/capitalist isolated nuclear family is a truly bizarre anomaly in most of human history. It leaves people vulnerable in all kinds of ways.

Even when this sort of thing doesn’t happen, I think we’ve discussed how all children in such a society live with the subliminal terror that something might happen to their parents.

I’ve already told the story of how an African student of mine told me that his sister had just died. When I asked him what would happen to her children, he replied that they would stay in the same house with their grandmother, two aunts, and a number of cousins. Of course it’s tragic for children to lose their mother, but a decent society can provide make a huge difference in what it does to the kids – and people who were born and grew up in American Suburbia probably can’t even imagine it.

Indeed, we live in a truly perverted society – which leaves none of us untouched.

(I won’t elaborate on the fact that when a man abandons his family in a patriarchal society, there is often a tendency to blame the woman for not being a good enough wife and mother. A common response might be: “What kind of a woman would do such a thing?”)

David Rosen

11:25 AM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

I've spent the last two days around Columbus looking for a small plot of land to lease, and I've come to the conclusion that it's impossible.

I was pulled over by a cop within the first hour, and told if a robbery happened that weekend I would be the top suspect! (was it my out of state plate? my homemade trailer? having no local address?) Other people said to find a homeless shelter or a state park or join a tent city in a wooden area, far away from where they were. Mind you, I was offering to pay for the land I stayed on.

These are mostly Christians who pay to deal with people they don't like ("Not in my backyard!") So not only do people not want to live simply, they don't want anyone else living simply around them. Because if you're in a tent and using a clothesline, you're probably a thief and a drug addict -- people used this fear as their reasoning.

I kept being told about a "homeless problem" and how homeless people commit all kinds of crimes. To everyone I met, the "problem" was that these people existed in their city. One guy said, "it's disgusting these people! they poop on the ground! we have to get rid of them!"

I thought I would come across at least a few nice and helpful people, but I didn't come across any. And I keep being told Columbus is a "cool" and "liberal" place by friends. I think what they mean is, there are the right boutiques and a progressive population. This reminds me a lot of my experience in Portland -- it's an expensive, inclusive, and trendy place -- mostly a city of rich kids who come from the top class in society -- trustafarians, yuppies, and the wealthy. Section 8 housing is out of public eye.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

@ Zosima:

"On drones: where are the Pakistanis on this, why aren’t they in the streets, doesn't their silence equal consent to war crimes?"

There are regular and large-scale protests in Pakistan over the drone strikes, and America's public approval rating has fallen dramatically in Pakistan (74% of Pakistanis consider the US an enemy). But since Pakistan is ruled by a military dictatorship allied to the US, such protests don't accomplish anything. But in short, ordinary Pakistanis don't consent to these drone assassinations.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous joe hohos said...


The people who claim to be christian don't even understand what that actually means. It's a ritual for them instead of something they found on their own and actually admire and respect. I'm not really surprised you were shunned by people, but I wish I was. Last thing - having looked at prices for housing around the country, Portland is by far one of the least expensive metropolitan areas to live in.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

James- Were you contacting people who were listing their property for sale, or howzabout were you finding them? Maybe it's just not the right area...

I remember a few years ago, I was taking a long car trip and I tried to stay at some campgrounds along the way. I didn't have a tent, wanted to just pay for a space and sleep in my car. But they all considered that too declasse. I just ended up sleeping in my car wherever it looked like I might not be bothered -- good hotels are too expensive, and cheap hotels are worse than a car...

7:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Douche Bag In Action Dept.:


9:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And ps:


3:11 AM  
Blogger jml said...

in texas, it is now legal for students to carry guns on campus:


and the self destruction continues. glad i will not be teaching at the community college for much longer.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Utah soccer referee dies after being punched in the head by angry 17-year old player:


Note that many comments lament the loss of the "it's how you play the game" philosophy, while as many others comment on the "winning is everything, second place is nothing" philosophy that curently prevails, and not just in sports. Hey, violence is the first & only American response to everything!

Winter in America,

I agree with you about the use (and misuse) of language. For example, "break-in" was replaced some years ago with "home invason", which is clearly meant to be scarier & more "dramatic" on the newscasts. It also reinforces the idea of being constantly under siege, as do all those ads for home security systems, home video surveillance, etc. ... which is what they have in prisons, right?

I might also mention all those "ask your doctor" pharmacy ads, which pretend to be empowering the public, but which actually make us all think constantly about illness & potential health threats -- again, we're under siege, even by germs & disease.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Doc -

Thought u might enjoy this haiku from a wonderful person: Megan McKenna (staunch, Liberation Theologian). This is from one of her latest, of forty books. I was fortunate to meet this lady back in the early 80's. She is the best friend.

(I consider myself to be a Christian Atheist and her to be one of the few Christian Christians.)

"I would quote the Japanese poet Basho. I first heard his poetry while sitting on the floor after a shared meal -- the group included an elderly Buddhist couple, a priest from the Philipines and myself. The couple knew no english, I knew only a few words of Japanese but the Filipino knew both languages. A huge book of photographs of Japan was brought out and opened to a picture: wild grasses on hillsides and one haiku in Japanese calligraphy at the corner of the page. There was much discission on the exact or best way to translate the three lines. They settled on "Summer grasses... all that remains of soldiers after imperial dreams." We were sitting in a corner of old Hiroshima, and they said, "You must remember this. This is the wisdom we must pass on around the world."

8:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks, I remember that one.


Chron headline, 5 yrs from now: "Toddlers Packin' Heat!"--this will extend the bill to day care centers.


9:15 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


For years I have been puzzled by something. If you travel to India you will see its pretty much a very, very poor place awful in many ways. Like many places it has its charms I guess (food is good etc). But its fair to characterize it as office parks in the middle of slums. By any meausre if you go to Argentina, Mexico, Chile Peru you will find the places are much more developed than india (clean, toilets common) etc. Yet in the U.S. Latin America is looked down upon and India is greatly admired. Despite the fact that LA has been ahead of india in so many ways for decades--basic things like sewerage and plumbing say, etc... Why is that? Is it English, is it that the Indians do empire toady better, or is it that india exports the best and brightest and LA the least skilled and educated to the U.S. Again a puzzle..... in my view the U.S. overrates India and underates Mex and Arg...

2:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd question. I have no idea.


2:25 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


The collapse of a large sweatshop in Bangladesh (with far greater carnage than the Boston bombings) has cast light on the plight of the third world garment workers (slaves?) who produce most of our clothing – including Hillary’s famous pantsuits.

I am reminded of a bit from Michael Gold’s autobiographical novel, “Jews Without Money” where he describes: “…a place of petty tragedy, petty slavery; just another of those thousand cockroach businesses that are scattered over the East Side, and that have but a single point in their favor; each keeps a family alive.”

That great public intellectual, Thomas Friedman, thinks that globalization, multinational corporations, and the factories they put up in the third world in search of cheap labor are a great thing. And he says he wouldn’t mind it at all if his daughters were to work in one of them. I guess he thinks his girls are too ugly to work in one of the brothels that flourish along with these third world sweatshops, and “have but a single point in their favor;” they may help keep some families barely alive.

I hope people don’t consider what I’ve written to be sexist. I detest all forms of human exploitation, and I certainly wouldn’t want to belittle it. While Friedman’s daughters may have other good qualities, it is difficult to imagine how or from where they could have acquired them.

Remember the Vietnam War bumper sticker: “Sterilize LBJ: No More Ugly Children”. Do the likes of Thomas Friedman deserve better? Such weapons and tactics are needed nowadays.

David Rosen

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...


Interesting podcast. As you say, the reaction to the Boston bombings shows how the mainstream American media has the tendency to individualize those who attack the US, by focusing on their psychological problems, without focusing on the structural reasons such violence is occurring in the first place - such as civilian deaths in the Middle East and state terrorism. Ignorance, it turns out, does not produce good governance. If only Americans asked themselves why someone would be drawn to kill American civilians, and take the structure changes necessary to address that problem, then many less people would be drawn to bomb America and Americans.

It reminds me of something Oliver Stone said in his show The Untold History of the United States. To paraphrase, he said how a truly wise people would, rather than seeking total annihilation of the enemy, learn from the enemy and change one's ways. What prevents Americans from doing this right now is a kind of hubris, the same hubris which has characterized the subjectivity of all people in empires throughout history.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

More from the police (state) blotter:


"We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government"

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

More from the surveillance front:

RoboBee. Video embedded in article.

Digital Camera System Based on Insect Eyes

Former FBI Agent: U.S. Gov. Recording All Telephone Calls, Internet Activity...

On Thursday night, Clemente again appeared on CNN, this time with host Carol Costello, and she asked him about those remarks. He reiterated what he said the night before but added expressly that “all digital communications in the past” are recorded and stored:
Let’s repeat that last part: “no digital communication is secure”, by which he means not that any communication is susceptible to government interception as it happens (although that is true), but far beyond that: all digital communications – meaning telephone calls, emails, online chats and the like – are automatically recorded and stored and accessible to the government after the fact. To describe that is to define what a ubiquitous, limitless Surveillance State is.

These 2 from the 3D printing realm:

Printable 'bionic' ear...

This Is The World's First Entirely 3D-Printed Gun (Needs a Nail for the Firing Pin)


7:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm guessing that Thoughtcrime is only a few yrs away...


9:23 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...


Ever read "The Glass Bees", by Ernst Junger? It describes this same thing, written in the late 1950's. Nothing much happens in the story, it's more of a philosophical rumination on war, technological change and their effect on human dignity, notions of honor and nobility, truth, and reality. Spoiler Alert: It ends badly.

This is a conversation that needs to be taking place everywhere, continuously: How to maintain one's dignity and humanity in an environment which is deliberately designed to destroy it. Every person should ask: "Is this how I want to live, how we want to live?" "How do we keep fear, rage, and hatred from consuming us? Assuming meme theory has any legitimacy, those are the memes I wish to put forward.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Berman,

This article seems to be written by a fellow WAFer. You argue the exact same thing. http://sustainableman.org/capitalism-and-communism-two-vehicles-to-the-same-destination/

12:19 AM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

From the "who are the terrorists again?" dept.:


'Ronald Flanders, a spokesman for the U.S. Southern Command, said Sunday the force-feeding is a “legally approved procedure” used by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons – and that the technique is similar to that used for the elderly and small children. He also said the procedure is necessary to save lives. “We have an obligation to keep these folks safe,” he said

keep them SAFE?? hahahaha what an asshole.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe H-

It's gd, but at the end he starts talking in terms of 'shoulds', wh/is never convincing. Such and such must happen; values must change; etc. Sure...but *how* are these fine changes going to take place? Certainly not from everyone realizing all this rationally, and then doing--what?


12:58 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro Gold said...

Why bother with a 3D printed gun when you can buy a real one for peanuts?

This whole 3D printing thing seems to be totally pointless.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

MB said -
"I'm guessing that Thoughtcrime is only a few yrs away..."

Maybe sooner?

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Further evidence that people are already being targeted for thought crimes: http://jerryresists.net/

"Gerald “Jerry” Koch, a New York City anarchist and legal activist, has been subpoenaed for the second time to a federal grand jury investigating the same event. In 2009, Jerry was subpoenaed for the first time and refused to testify. Today, as in 2009, the grand jury is being used to conduct a witch hunt against anarchists and political radicals. In refusing to testify, Jerry risks being held in contempt of court and faces incarceration in a federal prison for the duration of the grand jury, which could be up to 18 months.


This grand jury, like the ongoing targeting of anarchists in the Pacific Northwest, is part of a new, escalating wave of repression against anarchists nationwide, who are being persecuted specifically for their political beliefs and practices."

10:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Honestly, I keep wondering how long b4 this blog is declared illegal. Repression of this type suggests how brittle the govt really is. And yet, they have little to fear from the citizenry, of that I'm quite sure. Chris Hedges wrote me some time ago that the FBI is now infiltrating every sort of group imaginable; stamp collecting clubs, he added, only half-facetiously.

Meanwhile, I wanted to alert all Wafers and Waferettes that I'll be in Spain and Ireland over May 13-June 13, and dunno how gd the Internet situation will be (esp. in Ireland, since I'll be in fairly remote areas). But, if we needed any more evidence for The Collapse, here's a couple more anedcotes 4u:

1. I call the B of A to tell them my travel plans. Gal is abt 20 yrs old. I say I'm going to Europe, need to give her dates etc. She says fine, takes a ton of info from me (diameter of nostrils etc.). I then say: so pls make a note, for Spain and Ireland. She says, "OK; didn't you also say you were going to Europe?"

2. I call Visa for same thing. They make you go thru a whole automated interview. At one pt the voice says, "Do you want to add a cell fone # to yr acct? Pls say Yes, No, or I Don't Have One." I say, "I don't have one." Then the voice says, w/a slight overtone of pity, "That's all right."

I tell ya, we're doomed. Doomed.


11:10 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Good essay on T-O by Giroux about Boston/Police State:


12:27 PM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

Dr B states: Repression of this type suggests how brittle the govt really is. And yet, they have little to fear from the citizenry, of that I'm quite sure. Chris Hedges wrote me some time ago that the FBI is now infiltrating every sort of group imaginable

Obama is certainly radicalized. He is now a full-blown terrorist looking for innocent Americans to destroy.

This is why I stop and pause to listen to NRA and Alex Jones' Infowars. When one looks at the incompetence, the callousness, and the injustice coming from elected officials, one wonders who to appeal to for redress.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Its suprising you have such crucial links to the U.S

Go full Mexicano. BBVA or Santander are first rate compared to U.S. banks.

Have a great trip. If in Madrid check out Plaza Santa Ana, Letras is such a great area. Though its sad that Cervantes house is now a laundry and shoe store.... Interestingly, there is a restaurant in Plaza del Alamillio called el Allamillo in Madrid which has Oaxaca quality Mexican food....

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...


"I keep wondering how long b4 this blog is declared illegal."

The only reason this blog hasn't been declared illegal already is because you pose no challenge to the governing American classes. As you have pointed out, your books only reach a small fraction of the American populace, whilst 50 Shades of Gray and Ann Coulter reach many millions more. Which is further evidence for your conclusion that America is suffering from a severe case of Cranial Rectal Embedment.

In these dark ages of mindless consumerism and endless war, the one thing we can do to improve things is to exercise the capacity to think. Better thinking and a more informed public leads to an improved culture and politics. To that end, here are some podcasts which are worth a listen for all fellow WAFers:

The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/videoAndAudio/channels/publicLecturesAndEvents/player.aspx?id=1860

The Importance of Public Things: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/philosopherszone/honig/4623818

World Under Siege - Big Ideas

2:05 PM  
Blogger jml said...

this is extremely disturbing, although not surprising:


soon, anyone can go online and make a 3-D print and build their own gun.

the u.s. doesn't need to be attacked or invaded by another country to be destroyed, we are going to destruct all on our own

2:16 PM  
Anonymous SrVidaBuena said...

My observation today comes from several years experience living in Mexico. In that time I saw my fair share of what I can only call hustling. Certainly every tourist to a beach town of any size has experienced the ambulantes selling 'cheap mexican junk, almost free'. But its not just tourists who get the pitch. I lived in my wife's neighborhood and we used to joke that we really didn't need to ever go shopping. We could sit outside our front door and sooner or later someone would be by selling anything we could want: tamales, shrimp, produce, cheese, peanuts, chickens, water, natural gas, newspapers, churros, pan dulce, grilled corn on the cob (elote), bags of mixed fruit, cerviche, tejuino, mattresses - I'm not joking. And lets not forget the home businesses common to any street, at least in my colonia: nail salons, tacos and cenadurias, haircuts, abarrotes, to name a few. I would be curious Dr. B, how you reconcile the justified critique of hustling culture in the US with what I'd assume you must have experienced at some point in Mexico (unless DF is somehow free of street vending, hawking, etc). Or is it more a matter of hustling being the ONLY thing the USA is about, while Mexico, in addition to hustling, has so much to offer in terms of cultural meaning?

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

@Joe Hohos: Maybe I have my own misconceptions, but I think a pragmatic solution for most of the world would be to implement a limited (with an obvious emphasis on real-world limits) industrialism that adapts to the energy and environmental crises. We would have to discard frivolous gunk like technobuffoon electronics, armaments, fkn cars (who wouldn't go berserk after so much traffic?), liquor or sex toys, and instead manufacture or build mostly the essentials, educate the population, and repair infrastructure. Quickly being forced into an entirely new social paradigm, I fear would be too much for people like me to handle.
But if I am wrong, I am open to explanations.
With best regards to everyone.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

13-Year-Old Florida Boy Shoots 6-Year-Old Sister In Chest (VIDEO)



2:36 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

More from the "Thought Police" Committee (O&D Dept):

Two people commented (closet Wafers?) and I cite their comments here, 'cause they're very much on point:

*"His lyrics are nowhere near as threatening or incendiary as many I know of by NWA, Jedi Mind Tricks, KRS One, etc and no-one's crying about them except the old PMRC. The US is completely fucked now and the only way it will ever get better is if they tear everything up and start again. Which they won't."


*"It's constantly as if because the authorities are offended, that therefore, they go to war with you. Everything is personalized, a whole bunch of people become invested in the original stupid decision, and it becomes impossible to untangle something that is, totally, on its face, ludicrous, from playing out. In the UK, the Twitter/airport bomb joke was the same thing."

3:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sr. Vida-

These are just folks scratching a living from what they can offer, and frequently the gordita places etc. are family businesses. There's never any pressure to buy anything, in my experience. I don't have any problem w/folks buying and selling stuff; commerce goes back way b4 capitalism, after all. But in the US, it's the purpose of life; this is not at all true in Mexico--as you pt out. In any case, not much to 'reconcile'.


Yes, that makes sense rationally; but the country is becoming increasingly irrational. Joe McCarthy wasn't just chasing real threats; he was in a frenzy. I'm guessing that in time, there will be a category called "intellectual terrorism," and a whole lotta people who are no threat at all are gonna qualify.


Only the B of A, and I don't have much choice: things like Social Security are funneled thru it. So, not very much in the way of 'crucial links', I don't think. I also don't need to make my life more complicated than it is, for the sake of principle, esp. since there's no principle here. After all, banks are banks, and are connected worldwide; in fact, I believe Santander actually owns the B of A. Pt is, yr screwed either way.


3:46 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

I have just listened to the limo driver whose limo killed 5 women in a fire in California. He sounds like an idiot, a dolt. Pray, tell me, how can a driver not know that the car is on fire? He should have smelt some smoke long before the fire engulfed the entire car. I smell something funny here - this could be a terrorist act by someone who wanted the women dead.


3:49 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


Purity in banking – please! The idea of trying to maintain your purity in our present world order reminds me of what I saw in Mozambique back in 1980-82.

Progressive NGO’s operating there needed to buy supplies, spare parts, etc., none of which were available in Mozambique. They wouldn’t dream of buying stuff from neighboring evil South Africa, so they always did all their shopping in Swaziland, a tiny landlocked country sandwiched in between. The joke was that everything in Swaziland came from South Africa anyway, and Mozambique was living off South Africa’s use of their port and railway facilities, the source of almost all of their foreign currency. So, these progressive organizations, fooling nobody but themselves, were paying a 30 percent markup to preserve a completely false sense of ideological purity.

How can anyone remain ‘pure’ in our present declining, collapsing world system? And it’s not for us to know, but for another generation to figure out what’s coming next.

Check out Bertolt Brecht’s poem, “To Posterity”. From the closing lines:

“You, who shall emerge from the flood
In which we are sinking,
When you speak of our weaknesses,
Also of the dark time
That brought them forth.”

“But you, when at last it comes to pass*
That man** can help his fellow man**,
Do not judge us
Too harshly.”

*Better would be to say, “…if it ever comes to pass”
**(Sexist language from the English translation, not the German original.)

David Rosen (who lost his purity many long years ago.)

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Muscova said...

The Air Force officer in charge of the military branch's sexual assault prevention program was arrested for sexual assault:

On May 5 at 12:35 am, a drunken male subject approached a female victim in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks. The victim fought the suspect off as he attempted to touch her again and alerted police. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with sexual battery. He was held on a $5,000 unsecured bond.


6:40 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

I wonder if the stupidity that we discuss so often on here is so endemic & pervasive that it prevents the whole dystopian Orwellian scenario of total control, that we're just too collectively stupid at this point to maintain that kind of control. Regardless of what you think of the whole" war on terror", there were plenty of signs and red flags on the whole Boston thing that were ignored. I wonder if incompetence is so endemic that the u.s. just collectively fucks everything up now, that we're as ineffective on the home front as we are in Afghanistan.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I guess stupidity, violence, and incompetence are daily fare now, in the US, and the (stupid) reaction is to try to cover it all up w/tighter controls. Sort of like the guy who tries to cure his headache by hitting himself over the head w/a hammer. I have a feeling that all of this is increasing in a synergistic way, and exponentially--spinning out of control. Not gd, my friends; not gd.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...


What do you all think of what I have written here?

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

Oh Lord, 3 girls kept under sex bondage for 10 years by three brothers. There must be something about this land:


9:39 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


No purity in banking--just local convenience is all. ie. When in Mexico I deal w a local bank and the people are in my experience friendlier and more pleasant. Tiss all....

On the stupidity front--MB I think it is reaching a fractal stage. People in U.S. tend to think in terms of gradual trends for social change whereas history shows that things at times speed up. The U.S. is in many ways (per Tainter and observation) an accretion of stupidity upon stupidity and thus very shaky in the best of times and under more an more stress.

Key is an observation by MB and others, though Spain and Mexico under severe economic stress, the family and society tends to be more resilent and in better shape than the U.S.(save for some immigrants in the U.S.) It will per MB get really bad and soon.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

TomDispatch has an excellent overview of American Empire, global warming, the foreseeable future, and the inevitable end of our hubris here:


Typical example of corporate contempt for actual human beings:


You might have started seeing ads for the all-new, 3-D, CGI Great Gatsby with rap & hip-hop soundtrack:


THE classic American novel being subjected to & destroyed by the very forces it originally dissected in such lucid, lyrical detail.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Places like Spain and Greece have various historical mechanisms, and social glue, that enable them to handle these things better, I'm guessing. Also, unlike the US, to have the courage to demonstrate, to not take things lying down. In the US there is no social glue, because it's all been competition and hustling, and that is an anti-glue. So in times of trouble, all Americans can do is what they've always done, i.e. fall back on themselves individually--wh/is no solution at all. It probably contributes to this synergistic effect of self-destruction, and of things getting exponentially worse over time. We wd be in so much better shape if we stopped thinking we cd reverse all this, just declared it game over, and then had a major conference on the subject of a post mortem for the country. This might even lead to possibilities for minor improvements in the general situation. However, given the American penchant for delusional optimism, I have a feeling that that much-needed conference probably won't take place.


11:33 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

Do you want to know what ironic? Before I came to your blog I came to your similar conclusions but slowly. I had certain beliefs and expectations about society worked. Suffice it to say I had major issues after I graduated college and I did lots of research trying to understand where I went wrong. Circumstances forced me to improve my critical thinking skills.

As I became a better critical thinker I started noticing that America itself and its belief system had underlying flaws. The foundation was flawed. Our society was flawed from the beginning. This extreme individualism and extreme internal locus of control had no basis in logic or reality whatsoever. I started questions of people and I was cursed out or told the same clichéd phrases. I started questioning the whole idea of rights, positivity and optimism amongst other things. I read a book called "Bright-Sided" by Barbara Ehrenreich. As I started peeling back layers upon layers I saw how profound the dysfunction of America goes. America is a completely dysfunctional culture.

I came to the conclusion America failed and there was nothing I could do. In order to stop the dysfunctional the whole root of the plant of America would have to be uprooted and a new plant would have to be planted. I will not be listened to though. I literally typed in "Why America Failed" to see if anyone discovered what I have discovered. I was able to find your book that had this exact title and from there I was able to stumble upon your blog. I have been validated.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm amazed u found my bk! Meanwhile, u might wanna read Ehrenreich's other bks; she's terrific. Just 3 things to keep in mind at all times (put on Post-It on bathrm mirror):

1. This country is full of shit.
2. It's also in the process of committing suicide.
3. Your perception is correct; theirs, wrong.


Gd article by Engelhardt. At least a few people understand it's Game Over.


1:38 PM  
Anonymous swordfish said...

MB, I heard about gas tanker crash in Mexico City. Hope you and yours, and everyone on this blog in the area are ok.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for yr concern; it was a pretty horrible accident, from what I'm rdg online. In my own case, I'm 5 hrs outta the city, so no worries there. But for those of u on the blog who do live in or nr the DF, please check in, let us know yr all rt.


3:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


No need to post a lengthy explanation on how u found me; I know how the Internet works, and I was just kidding. Anyway, relax, and remember to post only once a day. Above all, keep smiling, and be sure to consult yr Post-It as often as possible.


4:28 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

I've decided to take a couple of classes during the summer at a "Public Ivy" in the Midwest, and today was the first day of class. Going in, I knew this one class in particular was going to be the first time in a bit over seven years since I've sat in a lecture hall full of undergraduates. (And I'm about a decade older than the oldest of these kids.)

Right before the beginning of class we were given assigned seats!! We were then told that if we are caught with a cellphone out during lecture, we would get participation points deducted. No one complained.

I don't think I ever received this treatment as an undergraduate, and I'm not that old!!!

On the one hand, it's good that they're cracking down on this. Although students should know better, it seems that quite a few do not. On the other hand, I felt like we were being treated like 9th graders in a high school. And, towards the end of the lecture, the instructors pretty much spoon-fed us the basics of working in groups to accomplish a class presentation!!!

I'll find out soon enough if the instructors' behavior was justified. I'm gonna be working with these kids...

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the link to the Engelhardt article. It reminded me or something a Soviet general said in the ABC miniseries Amerika after the Soviet Union "successfully" takes over the United States without an all out conflict.

Here is the quote:

General Petya Samanov: When you lose and fail, it is understandable. When you win and fail, that brings madness.

Here is the link to that part of miniseries. It is about 23 minutes into the video.



Glad to read that you are alright.


6:58 PM  
Anonymous Red on the Head said...

Dr. MB,

I thought this short news clip about protests in Japan regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership might be of interest to you. In so far as it pertains to your Vancouver lecture.

“We are worried about the effect on wages. For skilled Japanese craftsmen, we worry this will be used to bid down the money we make.”


9:07 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Dr. Berman-

Safe trip to Spain and Ireland. Eso suena muy bien!

ennobled little day-

Interesting. Professors who are willing to take a stand on cell phone usage in lecture is a good sign. Wafers are always interested in the events and the happenings of the academy, so to speak. Future postings about your in-class experiences would be appreciated...

Tim Lukeman-

Many thanks for the Engelhardt link. Surrounded and amused by several Techno Buffoons and Laptop Hooligans at lunch today, it gave me a welcome retreat into thought and quiet.


I'm thinking we need to create a Wafer Inspirational Desk Calendar. Each day will be equipped with a Wafer thought, a little quote, or a joke. You know... things like:

"Look out! Dolt up ahead!"

"America wuvs Kim!"

"America hates Gwyneth!"

"Morons on the make and the take!"

"Hell's Bells, emigrate!"

and finally, of course...

"I live among dolts!"


9:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I was actually hoping the prof wd permanently toss cell fone users outta class, or perhaps beat them a little w/their fones. (Nice touch)


I am gonna emigrate!"


Many thanks; I can definitely use this sort of info. Status of Japan bk rt now: Intro and ch. 1 finished.


9:35 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...


Winter in America:
That Carlin clip on soft language is great; I use it in class, along with commentaries on language use by Ted Rall and Tom Tomorrow. I don't know if the students get a lot out of the clips or cartoons; they'd have to look up from their fones to see them.

I suppose I'm not surprised that Gatsby would get the 21st-century pop culture treatment. That said, I wasn't crazy about how the music was treated in the Robert Redford version either. I re-read the book last summer and was inspired to play the tunes mentioned therein on the radio show (I did the same thing with Day of the Locust recently as well).

I don't suppose we ought to expect much from the world of pro sports, but apparently there's a tempest in a bean-pot in Boston over Toronto hockey fans' offensive behaviour:


I wonder if these dolts can empathise with those whom they've had a hand in exploding all over the planet.

How about "Ramallah Strong" or "Karachi Strong" as WAFer t-shirts?

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Hey Tim,

Thanx for chiming-in on my language comment. The fear factor/fostering an under-siege mentally, as you correctly make mention, is but another way in which words are used as a means of control. Kinda gives new meaning to the land of the free home of the brave notion eh.

in.fern.al, hadn't heard of the book you mentioned, but thanks for your tip l'll be getting a copy. I recently finished reading Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende a personal account of how he, as someone raised with all the accoutrements of modern society, attempts living in a traditional style Mennonite community for 18 months.

Two other titles worth reading, for those who aren't familiar with them, are Heirloom by R.A. Davies and Last Light by Alex Scarrow.

Dr. Berman, all the best on your upcoming trip — anything you'll be reporting back on?

9:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I have a friend in Barcelona I can stay with. Just gonna sit in cafes, and work on ch. 2 of Japan bk. Maybe next yr I'll move to Japan, write a bk on Spain (haha).
As for Ireland, am going to consult w/a Japan expert who teaches there, after which I shall disappear into extremely remote and austere areas: wind, rocks, overcast skies. Not quite as gd as sex on an ice floe w/Sarah Palin (surrounded by meese, and perhaps Ed Meese), but it'll hafta do for now


10:14 PM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Morris Berman, if you're interested, here's some more information about Japan:

Japan has quite a nasty history when it comes to race relations. You're already familiar with how they treat Koreans or foreigners, for example, but have you ever heard the term "burakumin?"

Burakumin are the descendants of butchers and other "unclean" tasks, and they're treated quite badly. Employers may not hire you if you're discovered to be "unsanitary", and it's sometimes grounds for refusing a marriage.

There's also the native "Ainu" people; the Japanese treated them pretty much the same way we treated the native Americans.

I'm far from an expert on the subject, of course, but look up the words "burakumin" and "Ainu"; they may add some information to your book.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Many thanks; I do know the history of both. You might enjoy a film called "Departures," in that regard.


8:39 AM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

Dr. B, Jeff and the rest of the WAFer clan:

At least one of the two instructors (the actual professor) is a lawyer specializing in school and university matters, so she probably knows what she can get away with. I have no idea was goes on in other undergraduate courses.

The course is on teachers and the law. According to the professor, one of her past students said the class was better than television.

I'll keep you guys posted.

9:08 AM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Since Wafers have a resilient sense of humor (we 'turn lemonade into lemons' may work on a T-shirt) some may enjoy this "send-up," as much as I did.

"If media covered America the way we cover foreign cultures":

Let us say that a guy got drunk at a bar outside of Mobile, Alabama, got in a fight with some dudes about University of Alabama versus Ole Miss college football, and ended up shooting them dead in the parking lot.

Terrible, right? Stupid, violent, too many damn guns, shame, right?

Now imagine that some foreigners slapped a crappy pseudo-anthropological analysis on top, full of weird historical references, non-sequitur references to the church, and misguided assumptions about ethnicity.


Yet another massacre has occurred in the historically war-torn region of the Southern United States – and so soon after the religious festival of Easter.

Brian McConkey, 27, a Christian fundamentalist militiaman living in the formerly occupied territory of Alabama, gunned down three men from an opposing tribe in the village square near Montgomery, the capitol, over a discussion that may have involved the rituals of the local football cult. In this region full of heavily-armed local warlords and radical Christian clerics, gun violence is part of the life of many.

Many of the militiamen here are ethnic Scots-Irish tribesmen, a famously indomitable mountain people who have killed civilized men – and each other – for centuries. It appears that the wars that started on the fields of Bannockburn and Stirling have come to America.

As the sun sets over the former Confederate States of America, one wonders – can peace ever come to this land?

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...


Has anyone seen this before? http://www.dailydawdle.com/2011/11/time-magazine-covers-us-vs-rest-of.html Just remembered I saw this a while back and thought you guys might enjoy.

Realized as I woke up this morning our society is like a skyscraper atop a spider web. Instead of building our society from the bottom up for a solid foundation, America is built from the top down.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

"But for those of u on the blog who do live in or nr the DF, please check in, let us know yr all rt."

I'm ok. Still getting use to the temblors tho.

MB, hope your journey is safe & rewarding.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Sorry Dr. B, I took you too literal. I did not perceive that you were using humor. I am still working on that.

I do appreciate your explanation. Most people will not explain things like this to me. I would either get cursed out, ignored or I would be banned from posting on their blogs or sites.

Another thing Dr. B is you're not vague with me whatsoever. You state your rules on your blog in clear cut, specific, and concrete terms. You state directly how many posts I am allowed to do per day and how long they are allowed to be. I appreciate all of this. I wish more blog, forum and site owners did more like you did.

Finally, I have noticed you do that most people do not in your writings, your speeches and lectures. When you do not know something you state that you don't know. You admit that you do not know. Dr. B, you're a rare of a kind and I am glad I found your blog. I appreciate everything you're doing even if the rest of the USA does not.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

@MB:The accident happened in the periphery of Ecatepec, near the highway to Pachuca, not Mexico City proper. So most of us are alright.
@Sr.Vidabuena: There is no comparing the mierda that passes for food in the United States outside of farmers' markets or upscale establishments with the gastronomical heaven that is Latin America (the South of the continent also has very good cuisine).

11:29 AM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

In that Real News video about TPP in Japan, at around 7:54 the guy says that ultimately TPP won't be passed because Americans will see that TPP is bad for them, and rise up against it.

I'm pretty sure most Americans don't even know about it, and won't find out until it's much too late.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

Look at this metaphor for USA:

The three kidnapped women who endured a decade inside a rundown Cleveland home were bound by ropes and chains and rarely let outside, according to Cleveland's police chief.

"We have confirmation that they were bound and there was chains and ropes in the home," Police Chief Michael McGrath said Wednesday morning on the "Today" show. He also said they were "very rarely" permitted in suspect Ariel Castro's backyard.


If you really read and understand Barbara Ehrenreich's book Bright-sided, you know that the entire population of USA is under the same ropes and chains - mental ropes and chains.

This explains why Bush and Obama behave as they do in office - they know that Americans are in mental chains.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Not that we didn't know this already, but seeing it in words still gives me sickening pause:


Key quote:

The shift to drones was made for legal and political reasons -- despite significant moral concerns and the potential for abuse.


Another reason for the dramatic shift, intelligence analyst Joshua Foust told BI, involve the fact that Americans don't like indefinite detention but they love drones.

"The outcry over extraordinary rendition -- which was how President Bush went about capturing and interrogating a lot of these suspected individuals -- was incredibly unpopular ... abroad [and] in the U.S.," Foust said. "Frankly, killing people polls better, and it polls strongly across the aisle."

1:42 PM  
Blogger Cj said...

Professor, are you still planning on meeting with Javieer Marias?

I'd love to hear about it.


3:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Good question. I re-read the 1st 2 vols of the trilogy, but have not been able to get to the 3rd because I'm drowning in work. In addition, Marias wound up in a discussion I have in my latest book, "Spinning Straw Into Gold," which shd be out in June or July. I can't thank u enuf for putting me onto his work, and I think u might enjoy the Marias section of the book. I won't be seeing him on this trip because I'm staying in Barcelona (he lives in Madrid); however, once "Straw" gets translated into Spanish, i.e. around August, I'm going to have my Mexican publisher send Sr. Marias a copy, just to see what he says. It's possible that might lead to a mtg between us, tho I don't have any plans rt now to return to Spain after this trip (now 5 days away). Still, ya never know. Thanks for asking.


And won't give a damn anyway. Just what *do* our fellow countrymen give a damn about, anyway (besides Kim's buttocks)?


Isn't a pachuco a guy who walks around in a zoot suit?


6:54 PM  
Anonymous Winter in Ameica said...

Greetings All,

Below are some items I came across today and thought you'd find of interest.

Obama To Grads: Reject Voices That Warn About Govt. Tyranny:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Unfortunately, you've grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that's at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They'll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can't be trusted.

Alabama School to Jail Program:
After a diabetic high school student fell asleep in study hall, the school police officer slammed her face into a filing cabinet, arrested her and took her to jail, she claims in court.

You'll Never Learn! Students can't resist mulitasking, and it's impairing their memory.
Concern about young people’s use of technology is nothing new, of course. But Rosen’s study, published in the May issue of Computers in Human Behavior, is part of a growing body of research focused on a very particular use of technology: media multitasking while learning. Attending to multiple streams of information and entertainment while studying, doing homework, or even sitting in class has become common behavior among young people—so common that many of them rarely write a paper or complete a problem set any other way.

9:03 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...


The Brende book sounds interesting; I'll have to look into it. Let me know what you think about 'The Glass Bees'.

12:33 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Regarding those "mental chains," I know a couple of guys who grew up in Warsaw Pact countries under Soviet occupation who said they thought USians weren't as free as they themselves used to be because yanquis' minds are enchained.

People living under the Soviet system knew they were being lied to and manipulated by the press and government. Because of this knowledge, the region inside their craniums remained independent. In the US, the common reaction to being manipulated is to howl "USA USA USA!"

1:05 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Fern, Winter:

I've read "Better Off" a few times and he has some interesting insights into techno-buffoonery. His best is to bring up how the Amish mediate all the tech they use. He can really come off rather self-centered though, especially with his wife. But, among the books in this vein of "going back to the old ways" ("See you in a 100 years" by Ward, "The Dirty Life" by Kimball, etc.) his is probably the most intellectual and least romanticized about the Amish/Back to the Land types.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

So as soon as the Arias verdict was announced, people outside the courthouse started cheering and chanting "USA! USA!" Is it just me but I think even if you agree with the verdict it is not right to cheer. After all someone will now have to either face the death penalty or live her entire life in prison. It should be a sobering event for all concerned not a sports rally.
On another point, the Common Core standards issued by the Department of Education says its now optional to teach cursive writing. In other words, we will soon have entire generations unable to sign their names, only print it. I can't imagine any other country doing this, essentially destroying a significant part of its culture. How then will Americans be able to read some of its important documents in its original form if they are unfamiliar with cursive writing. I mean talk about historical suicide.

10:47 AM  
Blogger jml said...


one of the reasons no one will know about tpp is b/c the negotiations are being done in secret. however, if they were on the front page of the newspaper, most americans would probably still not know about them or understand how it will hurt our societ. or even care.

here's an article:


also, it looks like obama is using something called "fast track" to avoid any media attention that might come from a discussion of the issue in congress.


regarding drones - in a recent interview noam chomsky compared obama and bush, "bush tortured people, obama just kills them." it's cleaner that way.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Besides, what does a guilty verdict have to do with American patriotism? What a nation of dunces.


5:16 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...


I do have some questions for you if you do not mind my asking. If I come across rude I apologize. I simply just want to understand.

Why do you believe that cursive writing is necessary? What is its purpose besides signing one's name?

Dr. B I don't really know much about Kim Kardashian. I think I know more about Socrates than about her. I don't even know why people fawn over her like they do. What extraordinary about her? How has she contributed to society's betterment in any kind of way?

I watched Keeping up with the Kardashians one time. I didn't even know who any of them were at first.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@Dan: So as soon as the Arias verdict was announced, people outside the courthouse started cheering and chanting "USA! USA!" Is it just me but I think even if you agree with the verdict it is not right to cheer. After all someone will now have to either face the death penalty or live her entire life in prison. It should be a sobering event for all concerned not a sports rally.

@Dr. B: Besides, what does a guilty verdict have to do with American patriotism? What a nation of dunces.

@the police chief of Worcester: Saying that "we are not barbarians, we bury the dead," the police chief of Worcester, Mass., on Wednesday appealed for someone in authority to clear the way for the body of Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev to be buried.

As , Worcester funeral director Peter Stefan has been contacting cemeteries not only in Massachusetts but elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada in an effort to find a place to inter Tsarnaev's remains. But when he calls officials of the cities or towns involved, "nobody wants the body,"


“There is a need to do the right thing," Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme said. "We are not barbarians. We bury the dead.”

Americans are highly vindictive. The vindictiveness comes from selfishness and infantilism. It is interesting to note that the American population is claimed to be about 79% Christians. But forgiveness, empathy, or compassion is never in the consciousness of an American. Pray that you are not caught in their net of vindictiveness.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, she has a very large rear end. I'm starting a campaign to have her rump put on the $1 bill, replacing George. In fact, a friend of mine (this is the god's honest truth) has officially registered the domain name "Moveovergeorge.org", for the pt at which we begin this campaign in earnest. I hope u and other Wafers will work diligently to get her ass looking out at every American on a daily basis. Is there something better they shd be looking at? If so, I don't know what it wd be.


We've now had 2 organizations--a real estate office and a college sorority--throw parties in which members dressed up as homeless people, to make fun of them. What cruelty exists in the American soul, really. Just when I think we can't sink any lower, we do. Anyway, the real estate office denied it until the fotos were displayed on the Net; at which pt, the Steven Baum Co. folded. The sorority, being a collection of violent morons, angrily 'defended' their actions. Hey I tell u, I was a kid growing up in the 50s, and all of this is *unrecognizable*. Who stole my country?


7:40 PM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

jml - I agree about the not-caring, even if they knew.

I sometime drop bits of conversational bait about serious issues, just to see if anyone bites. They never, ever do.

Guy McPherson has talked about how many people really just don't want to know about the climate change issues he lectures on. They point-blank tell him so (and that's coming from people he has had contact with, already a very self-selected group).

So, I guess there is nothing to be done, other than going full NMI. In which case I wonder if I would be better off never having become aware of this stuff. I can't un-see and un-know it, and I can hardly talk to regular people anymore.

My co-worker and I often email each other funny videos, just to break up the day. Today I sent her this one


and she didn't have a word to say about it. Sigh.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Look at it this way: If it were the case that literally, everyone you met during the day had their head rammed up their ass and were rolling around like donuts, wd u try to converse w/them? I'm guessing no. Well, that's the situation metaphorically, wh/means that altho u can technically converse w/them, you can't actually converse w/them. Result: You hafta simply give up, and for real. There are no friends out there, no kindred souls. Finding such a person is in the category of a miracle. Americans are clueless; this is the naked reality of the situation. You have 2 choices, and 2 choices only:
1. Hit the road (highly recommended).
2. Become an NMI.
Don't forget to read yr Post-It everyday. In the life of any Wafer, there is nothing truer than that.
Of course, you can always try something interesting, like suddenly saying to a colleague or a 'friend': "Have you ever noticed that 99% of the American population has shit for brains?" This approach never worked for me, but sometimes it's fun.


Pls drop me a note; I've got some impt info 4u regarding corned beef and chopped liver.


9:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

For a very scary portrait of the American people today: A film called "Compliance." Not to be missed (seriously).

10:56 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...


Not to worry, this is an ancient story.

"Numberless are the world’s wonders, but none
More wonderful than man; the storm-gray sea
Yields to his prows, the huge crests bear him high;
Earth, holy and inexhaustible, is graven
With shining furrows where his plows have gone
Year after year, the timeless labor of stallions.
The light-boned birds and beasts that cling to cover,
The lithe fish lighting their reaches of dim water,
All are taken, tamed in the net of his mind;
The lion on the hill, the wild horse windy-maned,
Resign to him; and his blunt yoke has broken
The sultry shoulders of the mountain bull.
Words also, and thought as rapid as air,
He fashions to his good use; statecraft is his
And his the skill that deflects the arrows of snow,
The spears of winter rain: from every wind
He has made himself secure – from all but one:
In the late wind of death he cannot stand."

Thebes, Boston - Potato, Tomato...

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Edward and Berman: here lies the source of the evil killing America.
Berman stated "Hey I tell u, I was a kid growing up in the 50s, and all of this is *unrecognizable*. Who stole my country?"

If you truly want to know who stole your country, or why the vindictiveness and selfishness, look in the following passage:

University endowments and teachers’ pension funds are among big investors in Sallie Mae, the private lender that has been generating enormous profits thanks to soaring student debt and the climbing cost of education, a Huffington Post review of financial documents has revealed.

The previously unreported investments mean that education professionals are able to profit twice off the same student: first by hiking the cost of tuition, then through dividends and higher valuations on their holdings in Sallie Mae, the largest student lender and loan servicer in the country, which profits by charging relatively high interest rates on its loans and not refinancing high-rate loans after students graduate and get well-paying jobs.

Sallie Mae is a former government-sponsored enterprise that was fully privatized in 2004 and now trades publicly as SLM Corp.


1:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, I think it may be a bit more complicated than that. Check out a bk I wrote called "Why America Failed."

Meanwhile, May 6 issue of New Yorker ran an impt article by Steve Coll on drones: "Remote Control." Wafers, don' miss it!


2:34 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


You ask: Why learn cursive?

Speaking as someone who has begun handwriting letters again, I'll tell you my reasons. I find that cursive not only makes me think differently, it makes me think better. Because it's flowing continuously, I immerse myself more deeply in the stream of thought. Because I can't go back & simply delete mistakes, I think about what I'm saying more intently; I have greater focus.

Also, I'm reading a biography of the English polymath William Morris. His credo as an artist & artisan was to have no unnecessary things in your house. But the things you did have should not only be useful (utilitarian) but beautiful (aesthetic) as well. It was simply more civilized.

My mother-in-law still handwrites thank you notes to people, though she's found that the grandchildren of some friends can't read them, because they never learned cursive. So cursive could well turn into a secret code for NMIs. :)

(And how much more civilized it is to be writing thank you notes at all, in this day & age!)

A bit more seriously, there's a certain combined intellectual, aesthetic, and physical pleasure in writing by hand. No doubt there's a good technical term for it, though I can't think of one at the moment. But it is a reminder that life is not just supposed to be about efficiency & production, but enjoyment as well.

So, cursive is not only functional in the immediate, utilitarian sense (e.g., signing your name), but in the deeper sense of enriching your thought & life. It makes you work & live at a different pace, a more reflective one; it makes your life & your soul a bit more civilized. If you live with beauty, even in the small things, there's more beauty to your life. if you accept ugliness & cheapness in your life, even in the small things, you cheapen & coarsen your own life.

It's just one aspect of the larger question: How are we to live? What do we want our lives to be? Basic NMI questions, I'd say!

8:17 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

The ultimate (and now normal from white trash) American comment on an article today.

"Google, Obama killed Seal Team 6 members.--He secretly brought in a muslim cleric to curse the bodies of slain Seal Team 6 members. Obama is a muslim terrorist!! Start checking things out you stupid goon!!!"

8:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cube, Tim-

An interesting question, really. I wrote my 1st few bks using a fountain pen, because I always felt that it was my hands writing them, rather than my mind. I also liked the feel of the nib scraping against the paper--very sensual. There was only one drawback: my mind raced ahead of my hand, and my hand was often not able to catch up, and sometimes--I'd lose the thought! Not gd. And then, a few yrs back, a miracle occurred: the gel pen (thank you, Japan). This moves across the page w/such speed that my mind and hand are typically in sync. So, my collection of fountain pens now sit like museum pieces in a leather case; I never looked back. A loss, but also a gain.


9:08 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Why write cursive? For the same reason you learn to make fires, sail, hike, fish, gut a fish, pluck a chicken, ride a horse, cook and grow a garden and flowers. Writing and reading languages other than English (Spanish and Hebrew for me) is also cultivating. Its makes us human and gives us an unmediated experience to the world. That's why. To ask why is a tell I am afraid of "prole drift". Or you can do all your writing by computer and order your food through a speaker from your car and experience life through television or video games--like a good mercun

Like MB have a fountain pen stable alas now retired and roller balls and gel pens are amazing. Typewriter used to address items or write lists, and computer for work 2 hours per day max....

As you go to Europe MB one wonders what the U.S. is. Some in U.S. think of U.S. as a European culture but its really not (argentina is ) its not latin, its hard to say what it is. I think its a weird syncretism of English religious nuts and prole Scotss Irish magical thinking with a growth of Marxism with protestant predestination....I am reaching I know...help me here.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's the 1st CRE culture the world has ever known.


12:31 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

A bit of insomnia last night, so I decided to take MB's advice and watch "Compliance." It's essentially a chilling illustration of Stanley Milgram's "Obedience to Authority" experiments highlighted by the dramatic stupidity of average everyday Americans. I don't want to give away the plot line, but if any Wafers ever wonder just how people (or sheeple) can follow blind authority, this flick is for you. What's more, it was based on real events. Beware... it won't cure insomnia BTW. Thanks MB.


1:33 PM  
Blogger Boris the Spider said...

I finally caught up on reading comments here, and now my netflix queue is full of three movies for the coming week: Departures and Compliance, plus one that netflix recommended (Adrift in Tokyo -- anyone seen it?).

1:49 PM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

Re: learning cursive -

Any physical skill you learn as a child will influence your brain development, which naturally has lifelong consequences. Learning cursive would improve the fine motor skills of the hand, hand-eye coordination, concentration and an appreciation of visual aesthetics. (Pretty much everyone notices and remarks upon beautiful handwriting.)

So there's that, plus the simple physical pleasure people take in doing it.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Also check out "Enlightenment Guaranteed," by Doris Doerrie.


At the time the film was made, there had been 70 incidents like that across 30 states. The woman being interviewed at the end, wanting to talk abt the weather in New Orleans--aren't Americans unbelievable? You think there's an upper limit to CRE in this country, and then you run across evidence of new depths!


5:06 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...


Back when I was still blogging I wrote a post comparing elections in the old Soviet Union to American elections and came to the conclusion that while the average Russian likely suffered no delusion that the one candidate listed on the ballot represented any real choice, Americans continue to be delusional in that regard just because there are two wholly corporate owned parties to choose from instead of only one.

It's pathetic, really.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...


I will have to read what you wrote to try to meditate on what you are conveying to me. Your tongue is different than mine. Your tongue is different than most people's tongue . Some of it is abstract language and because of my aspergers I do have difficulty with some abstract language. Please bare with me and have patience with me. If I come across rude, please accept my humblest of apologizes.

I will do my best though right now with the word you used called "beauty." What exactly is beauty Tim? For me, my version of what is beautiful is Truth, Reason and Logic. I want to understand the logic behind things. I want to know how everything works and why. I want to know how things work and why. The best way I can describe to you as I see the world, society and existence is like a system similar to a computer or a machine. I want to understand the very fabric of existence and nature itself. Tim, you're different than most Americans but not like me. I gravitate to you guys more even though I am different to you as night is to day. There is something authentic about the people who write here. I do want to expand my thinking and discover better truths because it is logical to do so. How do I go into your realm of thinking?

Dr. B and Capo

Because of my Aspergers I have motor coordination problems. I had major difficulty doing cursive when I was learning. It hurt my hand badly and I was not understanding the underlying stucture to it. It was all connected together and at times it was difficult for me to read. I am better today then back then.

Capo, you stated a comment that "cursive writing makes all of us human". Capo, if I come across as rude please accept my apologies. I do not follow your logical reasoning and here is why. I thought it was our DNA structure that made us human. How does cursive writing give us our DNA? I don't understand.

For me, the tactile did not feel good to me whatsoever.


This makes logical sense to me and to me is a good reason to learn cursive. If it would help me with my motor coordination problems I can try to teach it to myself. I have had bad memories associated with trying to learn it.

9:38 PM  
Blogger nosferat_saolin said...

Muy buena la entrevista y cuantas verdades dices.
El 50% de los estadounidenses es ignorante y la otra mitad es bruta, pero el 100% es oportunista. Aunque tachan a los Tsarnaev de "locos mal adaptados", lo cierto es que de nada sirve estar bien adaptado a una sociedad profundamente enferma.

Por cierto, se nota que ha mejorado bastante el español "atropellado" jejeje

3:23 AM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

Dr. B:

As you said, “On the Intelligence and Military level, there is an understanding that we are heading for a very serious economic and ecological crunch, and that we had better be prepared for managing things like scarcity of water, breakdown of electrical grid, and mass migrations.”

Like you, my sense is that behind the “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” routine on the main stage, “practical” men are polishing up their contingency plans backstage.

We’ve all been taught that “knowledge is power [or money or whatever]”. Some people may take that a lot more seriously than we realize.

There has been a revolving door between the intelligence community (now morphing into The National Security State] and Wall Street for a long, long time.

To take a couple of instances:

William “Wild Bill” Donovan organized and headed up the OSS [which later became the CIA] during WWII. After the war, he went back to his Wall Street law firm, Donovan Leisure. One of the interesting people to later come out of that firm was Lloyd Blankfein, who is now head of Goldman Sachs.

William Casey, Reagan’s CIA chief [who wanted to set up private funding for the CIA, i.e, non-Congressionally approved, out of the Iran Contra deal] went from the OSS to Wall Street and back to the CIA again.

And then there are the Dulles brothers- Allen the Spook and John Foster the Wall Street lawyer who fought adoption of the Securities and Exchange Act on behalf of his clients and saw Communists in every third-world labor union. There are lots more. But this nexus of money and national security is always there.

I’m not suggesting an Illuminati conspiracy here. I am suggesting a continuing community of interests and ”contacts” that’s very disturbing. People who worship the concept of “one hand washes the other” and what the British call “the right chaps”, i.e. people like ourselves whom you can trust and with whom you can share information they’re not supposed to have.

Obama has gone after whistle blowers like no previous administration. Is terrorism really that much more threatening than ever before? Or do the “practical” men see what’s coming and are putting the scaffolding in place to protect the real owners, the 1%?

Sorry this is so long, but there’s also the militarization of local police forces with Homeland Security money, the emphasis on “riot” control devices and equipment, Giuliani as mayor setting it up so Wall Street firms could rent the NY police for private security, NSA violating the law and now recording ALL domestic electronic communication, and so much more.

5:24 PM  

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