August 22, 2013

Dark Day for America

It's no-holds-barred now, my friends:

Not much else to say.


Anonymous Bob Thurston said...

The more I read the current news headings on sites like Truthdig,the more The Second Coming by William Yeats comes to mind. His incredible poem about societal collapse perhaps best defines the state of things in America best.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

2:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This Manning decision is a watershed for America, really. The US is simply lawless, now; it doesn't have to be held to the Geneva Convention or any kind of international war crimes standards. It can do whatever it wants, and if you cry 'foul!', it'll lock u up and throw away the key. The patriots are now the criminals, and vice versa. We have seen a lot of turning pts since 9/11, but this is probably the Biggie. The days of Daniel Ellsberg are way behind us, to be sure.


3:16 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

I haven't looked at Adbusters for a while now (always thought they were a too slick for their own good), but see this recent post by Bill McKibben on the "mental environment":

Regarding Manning, I'm actually surprised he was only sentenced to 35 years, being tried in a military court and all. Perhaps even as scary was what happened to David Miranda:

I see more and more reason to wait out the coming dark age with my head down and mouth shut. I'd rather it be on a farm in Uruguay, but a farm in Minnesota will do.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, here's a guy who's doing something, at least:

5:13 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Good day Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Dr. Berman, Wafers-

The endgame has begun in America: a situation that will most likely end in our collective checkmate.

I am in awe of Chris Hedges. To stand up against such a rank obscenity and deliver such a passionate defense of Bradley Manning is breathtakingly beautiful. Just when I thought it impossible for him to find more depth, profundity and truth, he reaches for and finds an extra gear. He is a national treasure and the conscience and courage of this sad and pathetic nation.

To realize that this nation, and millions w/in it, believe that Manning has damaged the nation more than Bush, Cheney, and Obama with their murderous and misbegotten wars, is a humbling experience. Clearly, as Hedges indicates, all that is left is a gangster squad now. This, while CRE Americans conduct a perverted national suicide sideshow.

"And let me speak to the yet unknowing world
How these things came about: so shall you hear
Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
Of deaths put on by cunning and forc'd cause,
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall'n on th' inventors' heads: all this can I
Truly deliver."

~Shakespeare, "Hamlet"

So be it Wafers! You are the best of the best; the smartest people on this spinning Big Blue Marble. And for Wafers who have managed to emigrate (avoid the checkmate, so to speak), I salute you twice and have the deepest respect for all of you.


6:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Keep in mind that for every Wafer in existence, there are at least 100,000 Americans who

1. Think like Sami
2. Think Manning is a traitor and deserved what he got
3. Have never heard of Mozart and if they did would be bored by his music
4. Think electronic toys are where it's at
5. Are enthralled by Oprah, regard her as 'spiritual' and 'wise'
6. Have their heads tucked firmly in their buttocks

If u think I'm kidding abt all this, think again.


7:22 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Dear Dr. B & Wafers - I am trying to think of a way to design a sort of shoehorn that will help my countrymen to insert their heads just a bit more firmly up their buttocks, as passionately desired by them and their masters. I figure that for this I will be richly rewarded, and thus able to afford to leave the country in some style and comfort. Does anyone perchance have some design suggestions?

9:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm moved by yr commitment to yr countrymen and women. I suggest a shoehorn made out of the horn of a rhinoceros, wh/is very classy and also durable.

Wafers salute you!


9:06 PM  
Anonymous James S said...

The brother of Michael Brandon Hill was just on CNN with Piers Morgan. He said something interesting. He said, Obama should have tried to help people with mental illnesses before they go out and commit crimes like my brother. I have been thinking about mental illness in America. A lot of youths have this problem. Why? All the youths involved in these shootings have mental illness. Why is America not doing something about this instead spending her resources building million-dollar bombs and rockets? Obama will end up like King Lear - he may realize his mistakes after he leaves office:

Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these?
O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this!
Take physic, pomp;


Is man no more than this?
Consider him well.
Thou owest the worm no silk,
the beast no hide,
the sheep no wool,
the cat no perfume.
Ha! here's three on's are sophisticated!
Thou art the thing itself:
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare,
forked animal as thou art.

~~ King Lear, Shakespeare

9:20 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Salut Wafers et Wafeuses:

A Biblical material for the shoehorn would be the jawbone of an ass.

Canadian Wafers could look to the skull of ex-PM Brian Mulroney and consider using the ass of a jawbone.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Rudolph said...

Morris, do you ever worry about Chris Hedges? I enjoy his work but sometimes it seems as if he's projecting his own existential plight onto his columns. The current state of the US is upsetting but doesn't he know that's it's only downhill from here? Hasn't he read Tainter? Sometimes I feel that he'd be better off structuring his life around some of these painful truths as opposed to fighting a losing battle.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


I think the number of what I would call personal attacks is actually quite low on this blog – especially when compared to the comments posted on other websites which are often nothing but vitriolic insult. Dr. Berman deserves credit for keeping that kind of stuff off the blog.

On the internet people reply quickly, in short compressed messages, and sometimes apparently without editing or even proofreading. Also, some criticism seems to come from misunderstanding.

We are, however, social critics, but while our criticism is directed toward a society and the majority of its people, we shouldn’t be any unkinder than necessary.

That said, I hope that you haven’t taken my harsh criticism of American education as an attack on teachers; that was the last thing on my mind. In fact, that’s why I mentioned Professor John Kozy’s article, “Balderdashing Education Bashing” in my last post. I hope you have a look at it. The problems with American schools are really social problems, and to blame teachers is scapegoating pure and simple.

Here in rural Iowa, the Farm Bureau and some big farmers like to paint any criticism of junk food or poisoned industrial agriculture as an attack on farmers. It is not; it’s an attack on giant agribusiness and junk food corporations.

I agree with you about the expression ‘Latino’. To me it simply means a person who speaks a Latin language. My own experience teaching Latinos was at Texas A&M University not too long ago. My students were professionals like doctors, veterinarians, petroleum engineers, etc. doing advanced studies who were in my class to improve their English. Many Americans see only impoverished displaced peasants who come here to do menial work.

I enjoy reading your posts.

David Rosen

12:22 AM  
Blogger Jimmay said...

25 years ago I was a cadet at West Point. My Lai was still very much on everyone's mind and the Soviets were still technically the "bad" guy. We studied the movie "Breaker Morant" (highly recommended and amazingly prophetic). The major takeaway regarding Vietnam was that the policy mistake was using soldiers as policemen. I can still remember my Military Science Prof. saying that soldiers accomplished objectives, and then you brought them home. This made perfect sense to everyone in the class and I believe it became the basis for the "Powell Doctrine".

I believe America went Dark Age during Reagan's Presidency. I think one of the pivotal moments occurred when Prof. Boyd (trivia here)fired the Air Traffic controllers. That was the right hook that sent the working class to the mat and we never recovered.

What has amazed me isn't that the military has gone pure fascist. I saw these elements at West Point and unfortunately, most of today's military leaders are "Reagan Babies", i.e. they grew up and came of age during Prof. Boyd's reign. What has amazed me is how quickly the entire population has embraced fascism (which is the merger of the corporate and the political forget "Hitler" the Brit's were and are just as fascist as the Nazi's). The fascist corporate state has ZERO opposition. It's all about fake money in this land where you can't sell raw milk and honey.

4:31 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Dark days but not yet the end, more like the end of the beginning:

'Missed in the discussion is what Hampshire College professor Michael Klare refers to as “Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet” in his book titled precisely that, on full display in the Snowden asylum standoff milieu.

That is, a relentless battle royale ensuing between the global powers for the world’s quickly diminishing, increasingly difficult-to-obtain and ecologically hazardous forms of “extreme energy,” like shale gas fracking.

“Make no mistake: Rising powers/shrinking planet is a dangerous formula. Addressing the interlocking challenges of resource competition, energy shortages, and climate change will be among the most difficult problems facing the human community,” he writes in the book’s conclusion.'

This kind of geopolitical manoeuvring is just so much easier to accomplish for a truly oppressive, authoritarian

UK police have announced a criminal investigation now into David Miranda but decline to specify the particular criminality being investigated. I hope Miranda avoids Heathrow in future. We have a very poor record on innocent Brazilians caught in police paranoia:

4:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, I don' really *worry* abt Chris, since he can certainly take care of himself. I do wish he'd follow the emigration route of Joe Bageant and myself down south, but for the moment, I don't think he will. As I've said a # of times, I admire Chris; I understand how he feels, and the battle he wants to fight. And the decision to do that, as opposed to becoming an ex-pat, is ultimately a personal one; everyone, including Wafers, hasta decide that for themselves (in my case, moving to Mexico was literally the No. 1 smartest decision I ever made in my entire life). But I know Chris, and I can tell you this: he's no typically deluded 'progressive', thinking that the tide is going to turn; not at all. Chris knows it's Game Over--he has no doubt abt it. He just comes from a religious/seminarian tradition that believes it's important to fight as a moral statement, a gesture, as it were. I'm an historian, and therefore a lot more pragmatic; I'm not interested in moral gestures for their own sake, and I believe that once the "fix is in," so to speak (what the late Robt Bellah called "path dependence"), it's smarter to hit the road. I never felt for a moment that this was cowardice; I saw it as simple common sense. Jews who hung around in Germany in 1936 were not doing the rt thing, wh/they discovered only too late. And when you see an Abrams tank going over a cliff, shd you stand in front of it and shout "No!", or just step aside and let it do what it's going to do anyway?

Ultimately (and this is just a guess), I suspect that Chris' real contribution, and my own, will be our writings: our documentation of how America went from Republic to Empire to Collapsed shell of its former self. Chris knows that this is the pattern for all empires; he frequently refers to Tainter, and to the Easter Island phenomenon (ubiquitous among dying civs). It may be--and I'm just speculating here--that part of him still hangs on to American "exceptionalism," and believes that Dammit, we *should* be different! Being raised in the US, I have a touch of that as well in me, still: when Chris lost the NDAA lawsuit, my heart sank, even tho I knew that even if he had won, the gov't wd have ignored the rules, because we no longer live under the rule of law in the US. And for Chris, as for me, the decision on Bradley Manning was a real turning pt: the govt has made it abs. clear that it will pursue war crimes and that if you expose them, they'll lock u up and throw away the key.

The question is how long to wait, b4 really admitting that it can only get worse. Check out my essay "Slouching Towards Nuremberg," which I published with Counter Punch. I do hope at some future pt, Chris is living in Mexico City and the two of us get together once a wk for a cerveza at our favorite bar; nothing wd make me happier. It doesn't mean, of course, that one stops writing: I've written 5 bks since I moved down here, so it's not like I'm spending all my time chewing on tortillas and peyote buttons. But my own feeling is that past a certain pt, the handwriting is on the wall, and that moral gestures make no sense except in a personal or existential way. As I said, each of us hasta decide for ourselves what our path will be in the face of a nation that has, in cybernetic terminology, gone into "runaway," i.e. spun outta control. Whatever Chris decides, I shall always admire him: he has a deep and abiding soul, and I regard him as a comrade-in-arms.


8:56 AM  
Anonymous Bryan said...

As America leaps into oblivion, it's becoming useless to define America in terms of her past. It's increasingly redundant to say that America is experiencing "dark days", as occurrences of corporatocratic tyranny, and wild west legislation, become just another Wednesday. Unfortunately, it seems to me that everyone who is outraged by the lawlessness and general overt, pervasive, corruption by the U.S. powers-that-be, comes from the last few generations that have anything nice -of personal experience- to say about America. Boomers and Gen-X. The cell phone generation, or anyone born after 1990, has been raised by an America where you are forced, by culture, to eat your neighbors to survive. In the good neighborhoods, too (if that exists anymore). It's one thing to show today's youth a picture, in a magazine from the 50's-70's, of people getting along and doing right by each other, and urge them that that's possible to get back, but once the baby boomers are gone, and generation X is vastly beaten into submission, such urging will be come off like the plight of a Jehovah's Witness. Believing in democracy will be culturally on par with believing in angels. The catch being, that as polls have shown that angelic belief is rampant in the U.S., that just might actually work against the democracy cause.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Quoting el bardo and other poetry feels appropriate for this story & for the funeral dirge the USA has become (or always was).

James, Prez 0 is maybe less like all-too-human Lear & more like tyrannical Caesar?

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

- The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Shakespeare

Someone ought to write a modern "Ozymandias," w/ Mt. Rushmore's remains being found in the yr 5500 CE. Title it "Belman 是正确的 "

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Manfredo said...

Angry Prof clip is part of a larger clip and is staged.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Staged or not, the filmmaker had the right idea! Shd be required viewing on all college campuses.


Maybe I cd come out w/a little bk of aphorisms called "Belman Speaks!", put a red cover on it, and send it to China. Does the Red Guard still exist? I can see millions of Chinese waving the little red bk, and shouting, "Belman! Belman!" My life's work, redeemed at last.


9:57 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

And, now, for my 24 hr Rolaids.

8-23-2013 Friday

ellen -

We shud bring back the Irish anonymous letters threatening visits from “Captain Slaughter” , “Captain Firebrand” or “Captain Knockabout” during the Luddite years of 1811-1812!

A taste of yesteryear (the Chris Hedges' method)!

"We will never lay down arms [till] The House of Commons passes ans Act to put down all Machinery hurtful to Commonality, and repeal that to hand Frame Breakers. But We. We petition no more--that won't do--fighting must.

Signed by the General of the Army of Redressers
Nel Ludd Clerk
Redressers for ever. Amen.

Man -

But i still loved it and will use it to make a point to my children. Tks for the heads-up.

al’Q -

How stupid of me (Whoever just took over my computer please get the fuck off) I should have noticed it was Mr Fish. Wow - what a great article. Mister Fish is one of my heroes. The Obama smile is one that I know well. I always had that identical sick look on my face when I was at the Frat. House after some really sicko black jokes.

Mr. Belman -

Tks for the words for Chris. His moral fiber is fortunately/unfortunately unbreakable.

P.S. Me liked Milosz.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Boris the Spider said...

Things may be dark these days, especially for Bradley Manning, but at least we now know there is somebody always somebody looking out for us: the Surveillance State. They're even "helping" out authors such as William Vollman -- just, you know, keeping an eye on him. Surely for his own good.

This article does make me think that instead of AK-47s and drones, we should all have flamethrowers. The FBI already think we do, so we might as well all have them.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous From Imbecileville said...

It used to be that to succeed in the U.S. you had to learn to swim in that public sewage called the "market" (and hope that you could wash off the sludge and stink in time before you rejoined your family in the evening). Now it appears that that is no longer enough because the shit water is running dry. (Why? Global warming, privatization, globalization, ... take your pick)

Another MB offers his own example as a guide on how to fill and soak in your own little cesspool. This is likely to be the touchstone for success and leadership for the next generation of American entrepreneurs, and as a wannabe myself, I'm getting into the adult diaper business to make a killing.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's brazen, the way the government acts now. But the U.S. was always brutal and dripping in blood. Dan Ellsberg's Pentagon Papers? They just revealed the fakery behind all the wars and blood, but they did absolutely nothing to change the nation's course, or to bring the war criminals to justice.

The government doesn't have to be so heavy-handed, it's control is total in any case. They're just more and more psychotic - but the basic psychosis is brilliantly explained in Morris Berman's books. And as he shows, it's been there forever.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Josie Green said...

Thank you Mr. Rosen.

I enjoy your posts very much as well.

No offense taken about education. Its a real problem. I am sufficiently self aware to know that despite my and my fellow teachers efforts we are little more than baby sitters. Many of the newer teachers have either a prison guard or indoctrination camp mindset. Its sad and infuriating. I've had to stay on for the health insurance and out of self interest and getting a pension. It did not used to be this way. I feel complicit at times but more often powerless. Schools were set up to train middle class children from literate worker families. I'm afraid as things are we can't do much for peasants escaping political and economic crisis in Central American or Africa. Can't do too much with the kids from single family welfare homes either. This next year will be very hard for me as its my last one and I know that for the last 15 of what will be a 38 year carrier I have been little more than a minder and not much else. Even when kids show sign of neglect and perhaps abuse the system is not helpful and the poor child ends up worse. Unless you have seen first hand what has happened I do not have the talent to adequately describe how horrid it all is. So much so that all of my grandchildren are either out the U.S., homeschooled or in private school. This may sound bad but when I am at my temple when the children play and one falls a number of parents and children will all rush and help. In the school or public park when that happens nobody cares, even the parents of the child. I think professor Berman is correct. I look forward to going to Canada though it will not be a total panacea I will not have to witness this darkness in my 7th century on this earth.

Have a gut Shabbos Mr. Rosen.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I generally don't post Anons, so in future maybe you cd pick a handle. I suggest Sam Schmeck, D.D.S., or Cranston Butterworth III. Chopped Liver Lover wd also be gd.


2:45 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Jimmay said:

"I can still remember my Military Science Prof. saying that soldiers accomplished objectives, and then you brought them home."

This view of what governments should expect of soldiers has a certain logic to it. Sadly, for quite a few decades now, the objectives soldiers have been expected to accomplish (on behalf of policy objectives) have been either ill-defined or inherently incapable of meaningful fulfillment.

For some reason, in thinking about the role of the American military, I think back to scenes from Fawlty Towers in which Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) is yelling at an increasingly hysterical level at Manuel (Andrew Sachs), expecting that volume will overcome incomprehension. Except that in our case, we seem to believe that "dropping ordnance" and "getting kinetic on their worthless asses" will bring refractory foreigners around to our point of view. This doesn't seem to be working.

You also note how the population has become more fascistic. I agree, and could point to a discussion on a national radio program of today, where one of the panel members was advocating that we "do something" about the Assad regime in view of its apparent use of chemical weapons in its ongoing civil war. She suggested air strikes but later said she opposed committing ground troops.

In an email to the host radio program prompted by her remarks, I pointed out that we seem eager to get into wars but have shown we're rather worse at getting out. And finally, I stated that I felt it unlikely that the air-strikes-advocate knew anyone who might suffer the consequences of any US involvement in this business. Rather, the burden would fall on the same folks it always does.

Same shit, different day perhaps applies.

2:56 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

The lead officer responsible for killing 350 civilians in My Lai in Vietnam received 3.5 years of house arrest. By contrast, Chelsea Manning, who has uncovered massive war crimes and abuses of power, received 35 years of jail time. Can there be any better indication of American collapse, and how skewed Americans' moral compass is, than that fact?

On another matter, for those wondering why the American public has, for the most part, been so complacent in the face of massive NSA surveillance, a new article by David Rieff is worth a look. He argues that a kind of techno-utopianism is responsible for this complacency. As he puts it:

"In an age dominated by various kinds of techno-utopianism -- the conviction that networking technologies inherently are politically and socially emancipatory and that massive data collection will unleash both efficiency in business and innovation in science -- the idea that Big Data might be your enemy and not your friend is antithetical to everything we have been encouraged to believe.",0

2:57 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I just picked up "Coming to Our Senses" and "The Re-enchantment of the World" from the library, I'm looking forward to reading them !

1. Could you talk a bit about how you felt as you were writing your two trilogies? Compare your mood and mindset from the three books on consciousness/worldview to your three books on America.

2. Have you ever considered the possibility you'll have a Chalmers Johnson moment where some event spikes your book sales?

(By the way I loved the c-span discussion you participated in about the book "Blowback" by Chalmers Johnson. "Some of these arguments are old hat." Haha, you're always a critic Morris. BTW - "Blowback" is a great book and I recommend it to anyone.)

3:17 PM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

Here's this:

How much longer till we're living in a The Machine Stops world, for real? A couple years?

But in the good-news category: I took my TV-internet-phone-addicted nephew and nieces to a nature reserve where you can usually find small fossils. They loved it! It utterly absorbed them and I had drag them away at the end of the day. Maybe I can cultivate them into NMIs...

4:47 PM  
Anonymous 21st Century Poet said...

"I forgot my phone"

5:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Not really a satire, is it? Techno-buffoons on parade. Where else do you have a huge collection of morons who think they are hip, but in the US?


Apparently they are already NMI's. This story is too gd 2b true. Congratulations!


1. I cd, if I wanted to spend 4 hrs online. Not likely.

2. Again, not likely.

3. If you think I'm 'always a critic', you haven't read my work. However, the 'old hat' remark actually came to me from Noam Chomsky, via a mutual friend. What Noam said was, that there's nothing new in the bk; the only significant thing abt it was that it was Chalmers J. who was saying it, because he's a prominent figure. In any case, I definitely enjoyed the bk, but there ain't nothing new in it--unless you've been in a fog most of yr life; wh/99% of the country is, as a permanent condition.


Thanks for the ref. Check out Nick Turse, "Kill Anything That Moves."


5:37 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

I wonder if the "blowback" theory is the propaganda narrative for the more liberal white-collar class? I.e., it's not a crude demonization of Muslims, but it sort of amounts to the same thing - "yeah they may have a legit beef with the US, but until we change that, they're ACTING CRAZY... They're, like, the new COMMIES or something..." Whereas, could the reality be, that "Al Quaeda" is various mercenary groups funded by Western Intel, and manipulated for geopolitical objectives, and to keep things hot when needed to serve the vital purpose of having a Bogeyman (see: Cold War; see: MIC; see: curtailment of civil liberties)

9:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I have suspected for some time now that the closing of the Stage Deli on 7th Ave between 52nd and 53rd Sts last Nov. was part of this as well.

Meanwhile, we need to get down to serious business, and think abt the best slate of candidates for 2016. Here's what I propose. And 1st let me say that I am eliminating the office of VP, wh/is a useless piece of junk and probably part of the al-Qaeda conspiracy as well. Hence, from now on the US will be governed by multiple presidents, except for 1 case that I'll explain below. (And if we hafta have a VP, let it be Julia Louis-Dreyfus, for whoever wins the election.)

Dems: Hillary + Bunmi Laditan

GOP: Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Joe the Plumber, and Kim Kardashian

McDonalds Burger-McNugget Independent Party (MBMIP): Lorenzo Riggins + Latreasa Goodman

American Douche Bag Party (ADBP): This consists of 10 people randomly scooped up off the streets of Anywhere, USA.

I Love Tina Independent Party (ILTIP): Tina Fey. This is the only party that will be fielding only 1 candidate. She's here because I'm madly in love w/her, and because I ruined my own life by not marrying her when I had the chance (oh, wait: I never *had* the chance). But working w/her, side by side, on the campaign, I'll at least get to flirt w/her.

Whaddya think, Wafers? Is this the election of the century or what?


9:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life:

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Belman,

I propose all Wafers vote Berman/Hedges for Prez 2016.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Two problems w/this:

1. That wd mean we wd get 130 votes, give or take.

2. If somehow, miraculously elected, we wd be assassinated w/in 48 hrs of the election.

Maybe I cd run for office in China. "Belman: Hope and Change". Has a nice ring to it.


11:06 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Dr. make me unusually nostalgic.
I was in the VIP section of an LBJ '64 campaign stop. ( Dad and Grandad were big Dem's in solid GOP territory ).
But, I was in the front box.
Who comes in but superstar Chubbie Checker !
He invites all of of us kids up front to do the "Twist".
I get of the few boys, and my dance partner is Peggy Lipton of the "Mod Squad".
Needless to say, I was smitten, but alas, it didn't last....

12:12 AM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

We've killed most of the rhinos; we'll need another idea. But hey, who needs rhinos anyway? What good do they do me? Our destruction has no limits.

"But today very few rhinos survive outside national parks and reserves. Two species of rhino in Asia– Javan and Sumatran – are Critically Endangered. A subspecies of the Javan rhino was declared extinct in Vietnam in 2011. A small population of the Javan rhino still clings for survival on the Indonesian island of Java."

12:30 AM  
Anonymous James CLL said...

Dr B, I like the name Chopped Liver Lover (CLL)!

Obama gave us hope and change, but the pennies we received are hopelessly insufficient for our daily bread and water.

Obama, Obama, Obama!

12:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


But where is Peggy now?

Come on, baby, let's do the twist
Come on, baby, let's do the twist
Take me by my little hand and go like this

Yeah, twist, baby, baby
Twist, ooh yeah, just like this
Come on, little miss, and do the twist

My daddy is sleepin' and mama ain't around
Yeah, daddy's just sleepin' and mama ain't around
We're gonna twisty, twisty, twisty
Till we tear the house down

Come on and twist, yeah, baby
Twist, ooh yeah, just like this
Come on, little miss, and do the twist, yeah

Yeah, you should see my little sis
You should see my, my little sis
She really knows how to rock
She knows how to twist

Come on and twist, yeah, baby
Twist, ooh yeah, just like this
Come on, little miss, and do the twist

Yeah, rock on now
Yeah, twist on now, twist

(Those were the days, my friend--we thought they'd never end! But then LBJ defeated Goldwater, who was basically insane, and went on to become a war criminal. How's that for The Twist?)

Tina, have my babies!


12:35 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Morris Berman said...
This American Life:

As horrible as that story is, I followed the CNN links on the same page and found a catalogue of degeneration of similar tales:

We Canadians don't have much reason for smugness, given the robotic Thatcherite we have as Prime Minister, but we haven't quite regressed this badly yet.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Time is long overdue for a Rhino Liberation Front (RLF).

Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh!
RLF is gonna win!


2:11 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

The American Douche Bag Party (ADBP) already exists, they just prefer to use the designations of the party’s two wings, the Democrats, and the Republicans.

America could look to its history and just arrest any candidate who says anything challenging. So Tina Fey could end up being locked up with Manning. But Eugene Debs proves you can do pretty well running for president from prison.

Debs' speeches against the Wilson administration and the war earned the enmity of President Woodrow Wilson, who later called Debs a "traitor to his country." On June 16, 1918, Debs made a speech in Canton, Ohio, urging resistance to the military draft of World War I. He was arrested on June 30 and charged with ten counts of sedition. Debs was sentenced on November 18, 1918, to ten years in prison. He was also disenfranchised for life. Debs presented what has been called his best-remembered statement at his sentencing hearing:

Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

Debs ran for president in the 1920 election while in prison in at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. He received 919,799, write-in votes (3.4%), slightly less than he had won in 1912, when he received 6%, the highest number of votes for a Socialist Party presidential candidate in the U.S. (via wiki)

6:11 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...


Your comments got me thinking about 'King Ludd' and his compadres, the Levellers and Diggers. There is a Neo-Luddite movement active at the moment, with Neil Postman counted as one of the luminaries and, even more oddly, Bill Joy the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, who wrote a long but prophetic piece in 'Wired' in 2000:

'Failing to understand the consequences of our inventions while we are in the rapture of discovery and innovation seems to be a common fault of scientists and technologists; we have long been driven by the overarching desire to know that is the nature of science's quest, not stopping to notice that the progress to newer and more powerful technologies can take on a life of its own.'

As you can see from this Journal of the House of Commons, dated 1646, them pesky Irish rebels have long been an awkward and troublesome lot for TPTB:

My personal motto is taken from Yevgeny Zamyatin's 1921 great sci-fi novel 'We'--which echoes Trotsky, or maybe Trotsky was echoing Zamyatin?

"There is no final revolution. Revolutions are infinite."

7:09 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Hi Everyone,

Dr. B, loved your book SSIG and have already read it twice…free of New Agerism, nice and gentle. To me it was all about becoming an aware, mature human being, something rarely accomplished today.

Having recently recommended Jed McKenna’s book, “Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing” to two people (both who loved it), I decided to reread it and ran across this:

“We’re all afloat in a boundless sea, and the way we cope is by banding together in groups and pretending in unison that the situation is other than it is. We reinforce the illusion for each other. That’s what society really is, a little band of humanity huddled together against the specter of a pitch-black sea. Everyone is treading water to keep their heads above the surface even though they have no reason to believe that the life they’re preserving is any better than the alternative they’re avoiding. It’s just that one is known and one is not. Fear of the unknown is what keeps everyone treading water….If someone in such a group of water treaders betrays the group lie by speaking the truth of their situation, that person is called a heretic and society reserves its most awful punishment for heretics. If someone decides to stop struggling and just sink or float away, every possible effort is made to stop him, not for the benefit of the individual, but for the benefit of the group. To deny at all costs the truth of the situation.”

Actually my favorite part of the book is near the beginning where he uses a Consumer Reports analogy to question the success of the multi-billion dollar spiritual industry in churning out "enlightened." Between spirituality, religion, political parties and the media, the mass of humanity is kept soundly asleep and thus totally unaware of just how perilous their situation is. Me? I’m a heretic, like everyone else on this blog. Wafer Power Rocks!!!

8:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sometimes I think that the choice comes down to being a Wafer vs. being a Degraded Buffoon. The problem is that in the short run, pretending yr happy costs a lot less than admitting yr not. In the long run, however, pretending yr happy is extremely costly to the soul. This is why reaction against heretics is so fierce: they bring the existential strain to the surface, and the pain of that is too great to people go on the attack. Consider the comments in response to that Atlantic interview. How many potential Wafers? How many Degraded Buffoons? The #s speak for themselves.


9:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Highly Recommended: An Israeli documentary called "The Gatekeepers."

10:28 AM  
Anonymous ManicStoic said...

preview of the future

Tightening police state in the US

More wars over diminishing resources

Climate change effects accelerate

Global economic collapses, mass starvation.

Collapse of the larger governments in the world. Nuclear plants are left unattended, leading to-

Extinction of the human species within 120 years (very conservative estimate). If certain pessimistic observers of the methane situation in the Arctic turn out to be correct, make that easily less than 50 years.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Bryan said...

Is the notion of "national psychology" (psycho-pathology) credible? It seems as if the U.S. is just a bratty teenager in a world of mature, yet enervated, adults. It refuses to accept that its shit stinks, seeks independence at all costs, and still believes in fairy tales. However, this brat got itself a gun, and is now running the show. And just like a 13 year-old who'd try to live on their own, we're broke and sick from all the expensive candy we bought for dinner.

I'm not sure how much the analogy applies to every historical generation of Americans, but it seems apt in current times.

I'm currently reading "Cracks in the Constitution" by Ferdinand Lundberg, and it seems to be shedding some bratty light on the founders as well. Americans have ever been created impudent, in test tubes of their forefathers' making.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

We have a new champ:

According to the American Journal of Public Health, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death by injury between 2008 and 2009. However, that dubious distinction has been replaced by a disturbing new cause: Today, the form of death by injury that takes more American lives than any other is suicide. (Best emigration I can think of) NatureBatsLast


Thank you for the good info.

My favorite Irish tune is “Fields of Athenry” (Irish tunes are the best) when Michael steals Trevelyn’s corn “so the young might see the morn”.

One special Redresser Group, although pacifist, here in the Fascist States of America, is The Black Agenda Report, and also, Cornel West, now at Columbia Theological Seminary. He is a close compatriot of Chris Hedges. I’m sure they will both go down hard. We have what is called The Black Agenda Report and Black Agenda T-V. Check out the latest T-V, season 1, episode 4, beginning at 7:55 (West). The entire thing ( is worth hearing as are their essays. (

Early nineteenth century England had some real good fighters against the machine? Revolutions are indeed infinite!

BTW, it has rained so much, here, in Lower Slobovia (Alabama), that the countryside has turned a gorgeous emerald green, even the kudzu blends. Can’t wait ‘till the Ireland WAFer convention, if I’m still around. (see above comment)


Your Jed(i) quote:

No wonder people turn and walk away from me. They are all treading water.


"the three evils inherent in imperial capitalism: racism, militarism and materialism." MLK

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Somebody mentioned Dr Joseph Tainter. I searched and found a video presentation he gave recently, You should watch the video:
Look for his definition of the word sustainability. I wish he had defined the word at the beginning of the presentation and then try to apply the definition throughout. But the presentation is full of gems and ideas. His book “The collapse of complex societies” must be interesting to read.

“the science of maintaining what the people value”: now, supposing the people value ignorance and Kim Kardashian’s backside.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pls post no more than once every 24 hrs. Thanks.


2:40 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

‘I had to pull the needles out of me’: Woman calls 911 after being locked in an acupuncture clinic mid-treatment as owner goes home

Ashamed: Experienced acupuncturist Dr Jeff Tsing of Hwa Tow Acupuncture said he is embarrassed that he forgot a patient

An acupuncture patient was forced to call police and pull out the needles herself after the clinician went home mid-treatment, leaving her locked inside a Texas center.

The woman called 911 after she suddenly saw acupuncturist Dr Jeff Tsing, who claims to have 20 years experience, leave Arlington’s Hwa Tow Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs Clinic while the pins were still stuck in her skin on August 5.

This is not the first time:

The doctor must have been high on drugs! Is this a metaphor for what is in store for USA - the politicians forget that they have masses to serve, a constitution to apply, a nation to serve?

4:18 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have read your works and they are great. I don't think you're always a critic. I was just teasing but it didn't come across as light-hearted as I intended. I actually liked your input about it being "old hat."

That's interesting that comment came from Noam Chomsky. I enjoyed your critique of him and Michael Moore, where you said they are right about a lot of the problems coming from the Pentagon and corporations but they need to go out and talk to the American public. What if the wool is the eyes?

6:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Just to clarify, words "old hat" are mine, but that's in essence what Noam said: that there was nothing new in "Blowback"; what was new was that Johnson was saying it. Of course, Noam meant nothing new to *him*, or to anyone who had done any serious study of US foreign policy...which excludes almost the entire country. So that makes the bk an eye-opener for nearly everyone who bothered to read it.

Which may have occurred *after* 9/11. The bk was published 18 mos. b4 that, but I have a feeling that sales suddenly shot up after the WTC was shot down. Still, it remains a minority opinion. For most Americans, even today, the event had zip to do w/US foreign policy in the Middle East, and was just the result of evil, insane people jealous of our way of life. Another reason to consult your bathrm mirror post-it every day.


6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


But I thought that Amurricans are the happiest people on the planet, with all their Freedumbs and American exceptionalism and all.

I'm sure that report must be mistaken.

6:45 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

Martin Luther King said in a sermon in 1967: "When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered."

Are we any closer to hearing this message than America at the time of the Vietnam war? Sadly, the answer is no. What today calls itself the "progressive" movement is obsessed with ending racism, but cares nothing for militarism and economic exploitation. The US goes on with its perpetual war on terror and drone strikes that kill civilians while most Americans don't say a word about it. Economic exploitation of both the majority of Americans and the world's population continues as well, with the US Justice Department refusing to prosecute corporate executives responsible for the fraud that caused the financial collapse, and US corporations trawling the world for cheap labor.

But one might have got another impression from the thoughtless spectacle that is mainstream American culture. In a march occurring 50 years after King's "We have a dream" speech, US Attorney General Eric Holder said "Their march is now our march, and it must go on."

How absurd it is for Holder, whose Justice Department has been complicit in Obama's war on whistleblowers while it refuses to prosecute CIA torturers and financial fraudsters, to claim the mantle of King's legacy. There could not possibly be a more absurd spectacle than this.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

From Chalmers Johnson, "Sorrows of Empire" (2004):

"Four sorrows are certain to be visited on the United States. Their cumulative effect guarantees that the U.S. will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787.

"First, there will be a state of perpetual war, leading to more terrorism against Americans wherever they may be, and a spreading reliance on nuclear weapons among smaller nations as they try to ward off the imperial juggernaut.

"Second is a loss of democracy and Constitutional rights as the presidency eclipses Congress and is itself transformed from a co- equal 'executive branch' of government into a military junta.

"Third is the replacement of truth by propaganda, disinformation, and the glorification of war, power, and the military legions.

"Lastly, there is bankruptcy, as the United States pours its economic resources into ever more grandiose military projects and shortchanges the education, health, and safety of its citizens."

I'd say we're just abt there...mb

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Wafers and Waferettes,

Another gem from “The Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead” as recorded by Lucien Price (1954):

In 1945, one of Whitehead’s guests states, “Education must continue throughout life for everybody, at the varying levels of ability and aptitude, and that is the only way a modern democracy is workable or can continue to exist.”

Whitehead replies, “What we want is to elicit as nearly as possible all the latent capacities of human talent. No way of doing this adequately has ever been devised. A certain class of talents will be elicited under certain forms of social organization favorable to their development, but in a very limited range and in very limited conditions of space and time. We never seem to have found a way to elicit the complete spread of man’s potential capabilities.”

Since the quality of US education is in free-fall as capitalism crumbles around us, what Whitehead tells us may be especially meaningful to generations who create and/or experience whatever comes next – which is probably still unknowable.

Now, however, the idea that there is a broad range of potential in each of us, of which no society’s education has ever tapped more than limited portion, should be very important to young Wafers and Wafer parents and grandparents who realize that education must be their own responsibility. American ‘education’ selects a small elite for ruling-class institutions, and all the rest, even those with college degrees, are becoming dumbed-down obedient workers.

So Wafers need to be designing their own life-long curricula – preferably as expats or NMI’s. And if you want more than a rat-race extistence, credentials for making money should be subordinate to developing the human faculties that promote a real quality of life.

David Rosen

8:46 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers-

MB, Wafers-

I plan on conducting some field research this evening; dinner with one of my wife's friends from High School and her husband. I'm pretty sure they are both ultra-conservative... Tea Party variety. Should be a hoot, if wife shoots me the green light to float a few WAF air biscuits. Perhaps I can convince them to support Lorenzo and Latreasa in 2016...keep fingers crossed.


Chubby Checker's "The Twist" with Peggy Lipton back in '64... you, sir, are the main man!


8:59 PM  
Anonymous Mikbeth said...


Don't know if this was ever posted but George Carlin was clearly a Wafer. Here's a 4 minute video.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

@ Jeff T & Dr. B and WAFers all...

Thanks, but it was only a dance.
To square the circle, though...many years later I had a one night stand with an ex of Freddie Bass's ( Chubby Checker ).

I'm such a doofus, I flirted with Andie McDowell for at least a half hour when she was having lunch at the commissary of "Ground Hog Day".
I had no idea who she was, nor did I recognize Harold Ramis, the director...who she was sitting with.
I'm sure they both got a big laugh about the goofy local horndog.
Ms. McDowell was absolutely charming and stunning. A 'real' person from my perspective.

Dr. B... four years later, after LBJ and Goldwater(68), I was an adolescent 'Clean for Gene' , then switched to Bobby. Dad was a delegate in Chicago.
Course, Humphrey got the nom.
I got to shake his hand, too; but when I did, I said "Stop the War ".
He looked like he had been electrocuted.
I was 12 and weighed about 70 pounds.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This Is America:

Didju ever see such a stupid face in yr entire life? Wafers are invited to submit competing portraits.

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Hi WAFers. "Dawgzy" here from Portland OR. I've been browsing since finishing DAA recently. I'm an RN and every day experience both mechanized intrusions into my work and the degradation of what led me into nursing. They're both accelerating. I enclose a url of an apt article that I found on Jon Talton's blog "Rogue Columnist." RC concerns Phoenix where I was born and lived til age 18. The "valley of the sun" is a fascinating case study in the limits of sustainability and failure to plan.

1:39 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

More secret squirrel stuff, first from David Sirota on the possible reasons that the US Congress is doing the deer-caught-in- headlights dance:

'SIROTA: One of the things in the vote on NSA surveillance that happened in the House that I was concerned about was you had meetings with high level NSA officials in the House (for the NSA) to try to pressure lawmakers to vote on the side of the NSA. Congressman Grayson, was there any perception by you that your colleagues may be a little bit nervous about voting against the NSA out of J Edgard Hoover-ish kind of fears that the NSA not only has data and information on all of us but also has a lot of information on a lot of all of you and your colleagues in the Congress?

GRAYSON: It's possible - one of my colleagues asked the NSA point blank will you give me a copy of my own record and the NSA said no, we won't. They didn't say no we don't have one. They said no we won't. So that's possible.'

Then from one of our more awkward MPs, Tom Watson, who has been smeared, illegally surveilled and suffered 'set-up' attempts himself--and been a bit radicalised in the process "They'll be Laughing in Moscow and Beijing":

And then, from Greenwald in the Guardian, even more to give Moscow and Beijing a delighted chuckle "Snowden: UK government now leaking documents about itself"

As the tabloids always say 'You couldn't make this stuff up'

Finally shep, try the Dropkick Murphys (Boston Irish) for an ear-splitting 'Fields of Athenry.'
I'm spending the day listening to them mangling the pipes in 'Cadence to Arms' in a suitably disrespectful manner. Here's their Workers Song:

4:55 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Thanks to Dovidel for introducing the views of A.N. Whitehead on how the forms of governance and social organization humans choose can determine how much--or how little--of those humans' potential and capabilities are brought out to the benefit of those societies.

I confess that my own college encounter with elementary philosophy stretched my thinking in ways entirely new to me, sometimes with poor outcomes in tests measuring my comprehension of philosophical principles and thinking.

Yet that initial exposure piqued my interest, so that I have over the years ventured in to the shallow end of the pool, and been rewarded by that exposure.

I think that our politics and our polity accord thinkers like Whitehead--and our own MB--too little attention, perhaps believing that their thinking is too ethereal to find practical application in the day-to-day. This is a mistaken view, I believe. "Ethereal" thinkers enjoy the advantage of being able to look at collections of things and see forests, where others see only trees. Where others see normal behavior, the "etherialist-philosophers" see pathology.

I hope this hasn't slid too far off into the forest/agglomeration of trees to have distracted from my praise for Dovidel in his having introduced Whitehead and philosophy into the discussion. My apologies if I did.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Bryan, I would be careful about categorizing anyone as bratty children, U.S. or otherwise.

That's partially how we got into this mess. We demonized anyone who questioned the way things were as though THEY were the bratty children.

That's how we categorized the protesters of the Vietnam war.

That's how the British Empire used to categorize anyone opposed to its colonialism/imperialism.

That's how we used to categorize Latin Americans.

Heck, that's how David Wong over at Cracked recently categorized anyone who dares to feel negative emotions, rather than feeling happy: they must have psychological problem, why, they must think they have all the world figured out! They must be disabused of their ignorance!

Even my former therapist, degraded buffoon in WAFer clothing that he was, advised me that if I was criticizing Americans, I was refusing to accept reality, and I was "putting people down". Someday, I would see things his way!

I don't think psychoanalyzing people is going to help us understand this mess, since the psychoanalyzing of the heretics as though THEY were bratty children is partially how we got INTO this mess.

We treated the authentic as though they were fake, and the fake as though they were authentic, precisely because of "errors of identification" that psychology, with its obsession over "fixing" the individual and preventing anyone from feeling negative emotions, helped to create.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB and fellow WAFers:

Today, I bring to your attention more documentation on the general stupidity of the American people: The "Think Progress" website cites a recent poll showing that when asked of the American people "should the government should ‘stay out of Medicare,’ something inherently impossible, 39% said yes....The poll also shows that an additional 15% of respondents were “not sure” if the government should be involved in Medicare." For those WAFers outside of the US, Medicare is a Govt' run single payer health care system for retirees.
It's all here:

And in another paper the following % of Americans thought they had NOT used a Government program: 529 or Coverdell - 64%, Home Mortgage Interest Deduction - 60%, Social Security - 44%, and Unemployment Insurance - 43%. This from an interesting paper titled, "...The Submerged State..." found here:

Remember,when dealing with Americans, you can not fix stupid !!

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Lance Foster said...

if I wasn't an Indian, I'd leave the U.S., but this land is mine, and here I will remain

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Don't worry, be happy! NSA is staffed by true professionals who know what they're doing and understand their serious responsibilities. Like spying on their own families & "loved ones" as the euphemism goes. Do you suppose, in the back rooms where they aren't playing for the cameras, the members of Congress charged with "oversight" of the Security apparatus are wondering what anyone else would wonder -- if this is what they are admitting on their own, without being forcibly audited, how bad is it really?

The Telegraph: NSA employees spied on their lovers using eavesdropping programme

The employees even had a code name for the practice – "Love-int" – meaning the gathering of intelligence on their partners.

Dianne Feinstein, a senator who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, said the NSA told her committee about a set of "isolated cases" that have occurred about once a year for the last 10 years. The spying was not within the US, and was carried out when one of the lovers was abroad.

One employee was disciplined for using the NSA's resources to track a former spouse, the Associated Press said.

Last week it was disclosed that the NSA had broken privacy rules on nearly 3,000 occasions over a one-year period.


11:08 AM  
Anonymous Bryan said...

Smith, thank you for the wake-up call. I was really only going off about he bratty teenager thing because it seemed humorous, if dark at that. But I didn't think about how those ideas can seep into public consciousness, and counteract real progress. It seems pretty to me clear that the time for analyzing anything is over. We already know what must be done to make things better. It's time for action, and that action is slowly happening.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Lance Foster stated: “if I wasn't an Indian, I'd leave the U.S., but this land is mine, and here I will remain”

I am with you. Simply sit back and relax; they will eventually outdo each other in eliminating and eating each other – it is inevitable.

How can anybody say there is no God or Karma? Human beings somehow think they are smarter than God or Karma; they are not and it is showing already. They came over from England, took over your land by force (via genocide and smallpox), and called it city on the hill. By the time this is over, they will beg you to take back your land. freedom and democracy,

Savantesimal stated: “The employees even had a code name for the practice – "Love-int" – meaning the gathering of intelligence on their partners.”

By the time this thing is over, we will learn that they gathered intelligence on themselves too. It is like handing over the cookie store to children – they will have a lot of fun!

Karma is real! Only a fool lies to himself about usurping the infinite wisdom and capacity of God or Karma. They are now lying to themselves about how they will destroy the world. They can’t; the world was here when they were born as much as America was here when they showed up with their rapacious ways; the world will be here after they liquidate themselves out of existence with their lies and fake civilization, fake morality, and fake intelligence.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


RE: Jon Talton's blog "Rogue Columnist."

Jon Talton was one of two columnists I bothered reading in the Arizona Republic before I bailed out of Phoenix in the mid part of the last decade. He questioned much of the prevailing wisdom concerning turning the desert into a subdivision. I recognized then that he had a WAFer bent and wondered how long he would last being employed by the AZ Republic. Not long-- as it would turn out. It's a new joy to rediscover his writing now that he has been unleashed, although he does smoke a little hopium from time to time(but then again, don't we all?).

Beware--Buffoonery rules in Phoenix. It's all right here:

12:20 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

So--now it has been revealed that the NSA was spying on UN headquarters in New York. Sure to be followed by a bunch of blather and blustering "outrage" by numerous world "leaders" resulting in no action of any consequence. Nevertheless, the hubris that resulted in this activity is matched only by its sheer stupidity, as the quote below attests.

"The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!)," one document said. The spying operation reportedly served very little security purpose and was strictly part of an intelligence operation called "Special Collection Service," which spied on more than 80 countries worldwide.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Just to clarify: I have no problems w/the use of the word 'brat', or to the way in wh/you used it. With the aid of political correctness, Smith blew the whole thing out of proportion, imo, and in a grandiose way. It's quite obvious that millions of American kids/teens are spoiled brats, and that the US is one as well (American 'exceptionalism'). The US is basically a bratty 3-yr-old waving around a bazooka while everyone else has to handle it w/kid gloves so as not to set it off. (For a gd non-p.c. film on Americans and today's youth, check out "God Bless America.")

I say all this because I don't want folks on this blog to be cowed by strictures of political correctness, and I don't want p.c. infecting the blog. While I'm not exactly into racial or ethnic slurs, my own experience with certain environments--academic ones in particular--has shown me that p.c. is a great way to kill any type of authenticity or spontaneity. In those environments, you can precipitate a riot by using the word 'girl', for example. I regard that as demented. So I encourage anyone on this blog to use 'brat', 'girl' and esp. (when referring to the avg American walking down the street) 'douche bag' and 'degraded buffoon'. (I also like 'turkey' and 'moron'.)

To repeat, this is not a politically correct blog, and (within obvious limits) I don't want people pulling their punches for the sake of some notion of 'proper' vocabulary.

What's ruled out? Racial/ethic slurs, as I said, as well as ad hominem attacks. This is something non-Wafers have a hard time understanding. If you disagree w/me or anyone else on this blog, that's fine. Just drop the attitude/emotion, state your disagreement, and give us your critique and the evidence for your views. Do not come on angry, sarcastic, or rude, or like some self-impressed peacock; do not attack me or other Wafers personally. The goal of the blog is intelligent discussion of the collapse of the American empire.


Speaking of which: No need to stay in the US to watch the empire implode. It's available worldwide on satellite TV, for all to see. Folks in small villages in Ghana can sit in front of their screens and watch the US persecute its citizens, commit genocidal wars, spy on everyone, lie about everything, go into fantastic debt with China and Japan, destroy the environment, and so on. It's P.T. Barnum, the greatest show on earth, and all there for your viewing pleasure.


2:13 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Here is a part of an interview (question-and-answer) in which Belafonte answers questions from a reporter from a website called The Hollywood Reporter (THR). Belafonte criticizes JayZ for not doing enough charity work in poor African-American communities. JayZ fired back at Belafonte, and his thoughts and ideas say a lot of things about his (JayZ’s) state of mind, about the mindset of some of these celebrities:

THR: Back to the occasion of the award for your acting career. Are you happy with the image of members of minorities in Hollywood today?

Belafonte: Not at all. They have not told the history of our people, nothing of who we are. We are still looking. We are not determinated. We are not driven by some technology that says you can kill Afghans, the Iraqis or the Spanish. It is all -- excuse my French -- shit. It is sad. And I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyonce, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.

Jay Z replies to the criticism:

I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. Just like Obama’s is. Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, the hope that he provides for a nation, and outside of America is enough. Just being who he is. You’re the first black president. If he speaks on any issue or anything he should be left alone…I felt Belafonte he just went about it wrong. Like the way he did it in the media, and then he big’d up Bruce Springsteen or somebody. And it was like, “whoa,” you just sent the wrong message all the way around…Bruce Springsteen is a great guy. You’re this Civil Rights activist and you just big’d up the white guy against me in the white media. And I’m not saying that in a racial way. I’m just saying what it is. The fact of what it was. And that was just the wrong way to go about it.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous From Imbecileville said...

This is an entertainingly spot-on write-up of one of the preeminent charlatans in academia today, Stanley Fish:


4:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for the ref. I've always admired Russell Jacoby. The portrait of Fish is a gd one: of self-interest, narcissism, and academic hustling raised to the level of 'principle'. The Oprah of the academic world, I suppose one cd call him. Pretending to be iconoclastic while in reality a threat to no one. As Jacoby says of Fish's vision of the liberal arts: "Nothing here abt wisdom, duty, or solitude."

I met lots of academic racketeers in the course of my own career, altho I'm happy to say that there are a few academics seriously interested in ideas, and in the larger meaning of the humanities. In the corporate atmosphere of today, however, wh/has penetrated into every aspect of American life, they tend to get squeezed out, sooner or later. Check out Russell Jacoby's bk, "The Last Intellectuals."


6:00 PM  
Anonymous James JLC said...

The questions then should be: 1) who is Stanley Fish and 2) why is he the way he is?

From the article:
The point is this. Fish spoke boldly in favor of privilege, consumption, and connections. To ye olde Puritan professoriate, this was eye-opening and heretical. The realities of affluence and power obviously existed, but they were not celebrated among the humanist professoriate. Fish’s heresy was that of the market blasting open paper-thin doors.

From Wikipedia:
Fish was born in Providence, Rhode Island.[2] He was raised Jewish.[3] His father, an immigrant from Poland, was plumber and contractor who made it a priority for his son to get a university education.[4][5] Fish became the first member of his family to attend college in the US, earning a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1959, and an M.A. from Yale University in 1960.[6][7] He completed his Ph.D. in 1962, also at Yale University.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life (be sure to look at all the pics, and the comments):

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman,

Re: Chalmers Johnson’s Four Sorrows.

It never ceases to amaze me how passive, or really how oblivious the American people are as their country goes fascist before their eyes. I was born two months after Pearl Harbor, I actually remember WW II, which together with its legacy was an overwhelming and formative influence in my life.

I had an uncle who had left Germany a few years after the Nazis took over. Then and there everybody knew what was happening – some were terrified, others angry, and many were glad – but they reacted! And for most of those who couldn’t get out, it was because they had nowhere to go.

It’s clearly happening in the US – probably irreversibly by now – and yet “spürest du kaum einen Hauch – you perceive scarcely a breath.” (footnote: Brecht’s “Litany of Breath” – ‘borrowed’ from Goethe’s “Wanderers Nachtlied”. Interesting what Brecht does with it – but I digress…) Anyway, I think you’re right-on when you say that people who don’t post on this blog simply don’t exist!

Wafers and Waferettes should check the following commentary by Juan Cole:

This grim old Marxist is not surprised as Juan describes how the Obama administration is following the Marxist tradition which “famously sees the state as ‘the managing committee’ of the rich.” I’ve concluded that while most of what Marx said about communism was a pipe-dream, most of what he said about capitalism is true.

Juan ends his commentary with the following:

“What Marx got wrong is that apparently people will put up with this sort of thing if you just provide them with some cheap consumer electronics and televised gossip about celebrity scandals.”

Instead of “a mess of pottage,” they sell their birthright for a smartphone and news about Kim’s tush.

David Rosen

11:10 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

In episode three of VICE, Thomas Morton meets a gun-crazy pastor who teaches his young students gun drills and tactics to disarm attackers, and Shane Smith travels to Fallujah, Iraq, where a rise in birth defects has been linked to the American military’s suspected use of depleted-uranium munitions during the war.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Bob Thurston said...


from the article about bulletproof clothing:

"It's not just about bulletproofing with style anymore. Bulletproof clothing is becoming a style."

The United States: Land of the paranoid and home of the scared shitless. As the author Christopher Lasch once said, "As in any age of absurdity, parody is often indistinguishable from reality" and he wrote that about American culture back in the 1970's!! Still, by far the biggest joke is as Chris Hedges points out, our bankrupt liberal class which contains multitudes of cowards and hypocrites who worship Barack Obama. Parody at its finest.

11:13 PM  
Anonymous the muted two said...

gun news: 8-Year-Old Intentionally Shot And Killed Elderly Caregiver After Playing 'Grand Theft Auto': Louisiana Police

more gun news: Donut shop owner killed by son in argument over cell phone bill usage


11:43 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

We all agree that the strain caused by the American system makes it a bad place to live. And we’ve concluded that positive change in America is impossible. So, we’ve given up on America, and wisely so. But I want people to consider the bleak prospect that the rest of the world is not far behind. America has presented the world with the perfect example of what NOT to do, and yet most of world moves toward making their societies more like America. Instead of running away in horror, they run towards it. If I could just have some examples of countries that are getting rid of Americanization, especially in the vital economic realm, I might still have some room for optimism. But seeing nothing serious happening either in thought or in action, I am forced to agree with George Carlin when he said that he had not only given up on his country, but also on his species. I wish this was not the case, but as someone once said, the truth makes me high.

1:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


u.c. how great minds think alike. WAF is being translated into Mandarin, and the publ. co. in Beijing asked me to write a preface directed at the Chinese reader. Wh/I just did (will eventually post on blog; don' worry, it's in English). And in it, I made exactly yr point: the US is a major train wreck, and yet you've got China trying to duplicate its example. Go figure.


2:45 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

I agree with Z & B. The planet has run its course. Too bad. We had a chance. In fact, most human beings would not choose this ending.

Ever notice, that in America, most celebrities and the people in charge are sons and daughters of the former celebrities and the people in charge. Have you also noticed that most folk helped via pull become sycophants.

I was listening to Cokie (cute/fancy upper class name) Roberts a few minutes ago and she proudly let it slip, as she gave her faulty opinion , that her father had been a former Democratic whip in the Senate or House.

Hierarchy is the demon. It never changes.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, I haven't given up on the human race or the planet. My agreement w/Z was w/Z's statement (in effect) that while common sense wd dictate avoiding the American example at all costs, the Chinese, in fact, seek to copy it. And of course, not just the Chinese; but this little Preface of mine is directed at a Chinese audience. Can you imagine the Chinese reading it when the bk comes out, and saying: "O, Belman say US no good as model; we must change course!"? Or huge crowds in Tiananmen Square waving the book (in its attractive red cover) and shouting, "Belman! Belman!" And I wave to the crowds, and they throw Kung Pao Corned Beef at me? Ah, what a day!


9:55 AM  
Anonymous Bryan said...

Dr. Berman, thank you for your clarification on the "air" of this forum. I spent a great deal of time working for my state Green Party, so a whole lot of mental work was put into how exactly to phrase messages, so as to get them through the prevalent American "blue pill" delusion (re: The Matrix). It's often akin to trying to cartwheel on a tightrope, when frequenting online cesspools like The Huffington Post. Even sites like Common Dreams and Truthdig are becoming places where a certain "party line" atmosphere is the norm. Where, if you aren't a card-carrying neo-Marxist, you're the enemy. Inspired by your work, "Twilight" in particular, I tried to urge people to not hang every hope on some ethereal future socialism, and instead take personal responsibility and look within at the materialist-inspired cultural influences that continue to drive their day-to-day behavior. Isolationism, techno-obsession, etc. On forums where the highest-rated contributions are the ones that seem to endlessly repeat the same 2-3 activist chestnuts ("'Republocrats' suck!" "Capitalism sucks!" "Obama sucks!")... to say my thoughts went over like a dingleberry in champagne, would be an insult to champagne. It's nice to know there's still a place where free, intelligent discourse can occur.

After getting fed up with the soul-killing bureaucracy of my 35-person-strong local Green Party, and absorbing your realist sentiments, my wife and I would love nothing more than to expatriate to Canada, where it seems people are still allowed to be friends. However, my wife was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease 2 years ago (a contemporary subject of massive, tragic, lethal controversy in the medical field: imagine a large, and growing, epidemic being knowingly denied by the CDC), and the only treatment that's helped alleviate her suffering is against the law everywhere but the U.S. In the most shockingly ironic defense of non-state-run healthcare, Canada draws their medical guidelines straight from the IDSA, which denies the existence of "chronic" Lyme disease, hence any doctor diagnosing and treating for that is breaking the law. In America, although some high profile Lyme doctors have been witch-hunted, sued, and de-licensed, it is not strictly illegal without proof of patient harm.

So, we have to stay here. I guess I'm gonna have to continue to find ways to get through to people and fight the good/futile fight.

I really think people in the know should start giving more local public talks. Not necessarily authors, or other such accredited experts, but normal everyday knowledgable folk. Get people in the same room. Out of their houses. Seeing each other's faces. Hearing one of "their own" speak.

Days will still have to get much darker before anything is going to get better, but at least we can try to be more on the same page.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Thought I would link to the Greg Palast article that Juan Cole's column(Dovidel's link) was based on. It deserves a read despite the sensational/racy style and hard to find links(?? --in bold, though I believe Palast's site was down for a while) to the document discussed:

Juan Cole said: 'You also have to wonder about hidden partnerships between US corporations and the NSA, which appears to do a fair amount of industrial espionage.'

You also have to wonder at the new clutch of "Free" Trade Agreements currently being secretly negotiated--the reasons for the secrecy become horribly obvious here:

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Lance Foster said...

Part of me is here:

Another part is here:

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

And in a move toward cheer.....

Hello MB,

Returned to U.S to clean up a few business matters after sorting household matters in Cuernavaca and a very pleasant time with relatives in D.F. Is mexico poorer than U.S.? Some leap and say yes its a 3r world cesspit run by drug gangs. Good do believe that and stay in Kentucky I say.... But...but and perhaps part of being raised in Mexico is that for all flaws there is a recognition that humans are cracked vessels and no sane person looks to government to solve their problems. Kids are not shooting relatives, and well people are just saner. I spent 3 days with relatives and nobody checked I devices and could carry on conversations and we went from house to house, bar to restaurant to gallery back home. It was delightful. Returning to U.S.--not so much though if they shut down the blaring TV's at U.S. airports many lives would be improved...

My point is that places outside the U.S. offer a more authentic and sane life. Can the corpulent schoolmarm from Kansas appreciate this through the shallow experience of tourism looking at everything through the lense of her sterile subdivision and shopping mall in Topeka? Probably not. So for those who say why leave the U.S. its bad everywhere well you have no idea how wrong you are. If you can have just one day like MB in Condesa, the expat American youths in Brazil, Argentina have your life may well be worth it.

MB--any chance of a essay on life in Mexico and meaning?

1:41 PM  
Anonymous marc said...

Of course, some people who are thousands of miles away from the American rot are easily deceived into wanting to be like the glamorous, the noisy, and the trendy especially when these other things are marketed and presented as “the best” in the world. In fact, don’t blame people who are thousands of miles away when most people who are born inside America got suckered into the same home-grown facade and lies; at least more than 94% of the people inside America are clueless about the rot and potential collapse (thanks to Dr Joseph Tainter Nevertheless, the Chinese (like most other indigenous peoples) have lived in their OWN lands for thousands of years.

“When the bitter feelings of the hour have passed away, when the mad and poisonous fever of commercialism shall have run its course, when conscience and honor and justice and liberty shall once more ascend the throne from which the shameless, brazen goddess of power and wealth have driven her away; then this man we knew and loved will find his rightful place in the minds and hearts of the cruel, unwilling world he served. No purer patriot ever lived than the friend we lay at rest today. His patriotism was not paraded in the public marts, or bartered in the stalls for gold; his patriotism was of that pure ideal mold that placed the love of man above the love of self. John P. Altgeld was always and at all times a lover of his fellow man. Those who reviled him have tried to teach the world that he was bitter and relentless, that he hated more than loved. We who knew the man, we who had clasped his hand and heard his voice and looked into his smiling face; we who knew his life of kindness, of charity, of infinite pity to the outcast and the weak; we who knew his human heart, could never be deceived. “
~~ Clearance Darrow @ the funeral of John P. Altgeld

1:45 PM  
Anonymous DanielK said...

@Zosima: "So, we’ve given up on America, and wisely so. But I want people to consider the bleak prospect that the rest of the world is not far behind. America has presented the world with the perfect example of what NOT to do, and yet most of world moves toward making their societies more like America. Instead of running away in horror, they run towards it. If I could just have some examples of countries that are getting rid of Americanization, especially in the vital economic realm, I might still have some room for optimism."

Before you blame other people, please consider how "the most civilized" people in planet earth got duped in "the most civilized" city:

"ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's attorney general sued Donald Trump for $40 million Saturday, saying the real estate mogul helped run a phony "Trump University" that promised to make students rich but instead steered them into expensive and mostly useless seminars, and even failed to deliver promised apprenticeships.

Trump shot back that the Democrat's lawsuit is false and politically motivated.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says many of the 5,000 students who paid up to $35,000 thought they would at least meet Trump but instead all they got was their picture taken in front of a life-size picture of "The Apprentice" TV star."

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Golf (and Cricket) Pro said...

How deep is American influence though? In the UK, which is probably the country most susceptible to US culture, it's easy to see how pervasive it is, but less easy to see to what depth it has penetrated.

US culture is like a kind of wash that coats everything e.g. cricket teams have started to name themselves after aggressive animals in the manner of US sports teams (after hundreds of years of not feeling the need to do so). But structurally cricket is still the same game.

In an odd way, I think American culture for many countries offers a kind of excessive exhuberance that distracts from the deep, probably incurable, fractures that underlie their own societies. In Britain the main fracture is Class, of course. But it is these very deformities which I think are ironically the ultimate social protection against Americanism taking root.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Rhino horn - that's the stuff! Salvador Dali had a cane made of rhino horn, and considered it emblematic of his personal style. It'll do fine for a head-horn. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll tout it in Oprah magazine and on The View and make a fortune so I can move to Russia in style.

Recently I had a dispiriting experience at a social gathering in a private home. With eight or ten people gathered around a table expressly for the purpose of conversation, every time a cell phone rang it was answered as a matter of course. At one point not less than three electronic devices were being consulted at some length simultaneously. The conversation dealt mainly with electronic toys, the relative merits of their operating systems, apps and video games. Once I attempted to voice the thought that such things are trifles of passing worth and founded on planned obsolescence. It was like shouting down a well a thousand meters deep. I might as well have been shouting at the storm like Lear. And this, mind you, was not a gathering of average idiots, but one in the home of the family of a famous writer, among them people of real attainments. What must it be like at a meeting of Superbowl fans? One thing you may be sure we did not discuss was Bradley Manning, his sentence, or its purport for the quality of life and liberty in the USA.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I did do such an essay a few yrs ago, "Mexico on My Mind," published in "Resurgence" (UK) and in Spanish trans in "Parteaguas" (Aguascalientes).


2:16 PM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

@ellen: thanks for the following link (the usual suspects/criminals are there in the article):

“The Treasury official playing the bankers’ secret End Game was Larry Summers”

“the Secretary General of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy. Lamy, the Generalissimo of Globalisation”

“Larry Summers’ flunky, Timothy Geithner, reminding his boss to call the Bank bigshots to order their lobbyist armies to march”

“Geithner listed the private lines of what were then the five most powerful CEOs on the planet. And here they are:
Goldman Sachs: John Corzine (212)902-8281
Merrill Lynch: David Kamanski (212)449-6868
Bank of America: David Coulter (415)622-2255
Citibank: John Reed (212)559-2732
Chase Manhattan: Walter Shipley (212)270-1380”

“Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin”

Imagine where they were all Chinese or Mexicans or Africans! Utter a word against them and you will be sent to a gas chamber prepared by them! It is like this: they pillage your property; they gas you, and then they call you Hitler.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

Even if everyone nukes everyone and we kill 6 billion people, that would still leave a billion people on the planet. There are too many of us anyway, this could help to quickly slow down our trashing of the planet and mass extinctions.

The destruction would be horrific, but at least some of us are likely to make it through to the next world-system, and maybe the planet could begin to recover from our damage. And hopefully people come out of it a bit smarter about how we should live.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Sans Cerebrum said...

At first I was concerned that this "real-world" exercise was a bit over-the-top (kind of like calling 911 after finding out you ordered, let's say, 7 McDoubles and then you only got 6 back from the clerk):

But after a google search for more info, I was reassured that teachers & administrators had the situation under control. And Police Chief Glenn Goss asked that a clarification be made about the students involved. He points out that school was not in session on the day of the drill, and that waivers had been signed regarding participation in the drill. (However, as previously reported, students were not made aware of the details of the drill, for added realism):

2:24 AM  
Anonymous Rufusteena Firefly said...

This is Off Topic—I just wanted to post something I found on another blog. This woman says very well what I haven't been able to express well enough to get the point across:

"I just wanted to comment on your use of 'Douchebro,' and to break down the term a little bit. The reason that the word 'douche' is such a popular insult is because a douche is a product associated with the reproductive gear of people with vaginas (or, reductively, women). So the fact that 'douche' is perceived as an insult is rooted in misogyny, because ew, who wants to be associated with anything having to do with a vagina? I’d like to ask you to consider if that’s really the message you want to be sending."

Just sayin'...

3:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The phrase 'douche bag' long ago became unmoored from its actual, original meaning, and now has the force of 'jerk', or 'complete asshole'. Yr not entirely off topic, since we just had a discussion abt political correctness. It seems to me that to avoid the term because of its original meaning would fall into that category. Besides, there are lots of people around who have the utmost respect for vaginas (not that that's enough to turn the phrase 'douche bag' into something positive).


4:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: One of my favorite lines in the comedy series "30Rock" is when Liz Lemon (Tina Fey; I adore her) says, "I will not tolerate douchebaggery!" My kinda gal.

4:12 AM  
Anonymous Rufusteena Firefly said...

Well then. That makes everything all good, the term being used on TV and all, I mean. I guess I missed it. I don't own a TV. I own a lot of books, several of yours as a matter of fact. However, I suppose I'm missing a lot of great cultural growth. I'll just dump all my books and buy a TV. That way, I can keep up with the language enrichments that I seem to have missed.

It's kind of sad though to have to give up your books—especially "Coming to Our Senses" which arrived from Amazon just last week. I've only read about three chapters.

But could it be, not to put too fine a point on it, Ms. Fey was just playing a role? I have had some exposure to the theatre and find that many actors who play Hamlet are neither Danish, nor princes, nor melancholy and don't necessarily wish to kill their uncles/stepfathers. Just a thought.

No, no! None of that! I realize I need to get with the program. Onward and downward, isn't it?

5:39 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

So the drums are beating for Syria now:

Re no boots on the ground, a recent court martial and civilian trial here of an SAS soldier revealed that he had previously served in Syria, though no-one is talking about on which side as Syria was until recently a respected ally.

Here's another SAS soldier who was gagged by the MOD shortly after making this speech in 2008:

Here's a good doc from the Guardian on some of the historical previous uses of these 'Strategies of Tension.' Click on the pic to play, 51.07 minutes:

Apparently both sides in Syria have used chemical weapons previously and a lot of those, as well as conventional heavy weapons, were transported from captured Libyan stockpiles (by whom, one wonders?) during the 'non-interventions' by western forces in that theatre.

By all means call this feminist a douchbag if you like, but: Nemo me impune lacessit.

6:39 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Fun on the internet time:

Origin of the pejorative douchebag:

On Japanese internet addiction:

And your CRE of the month:

9:02 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Very few articles, if any, have been posted to this blog from Z Magazine. Yet the September, 2013, issue contains some of the most explosive, written commentary I have ever read.


One article caused me to realize that Obama is no different in justifying his lawful murders than Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan's disgrace at Fort Hood, Texas, or, the shameless explicitly specific killings of Jewish children during the invasion of Soviet Russia by the Nazis. In all cases, killing is justified . (unfortunately, I cd not reproduce the link on this article ("From Ohlendorf to Obama") that caused me to come to this conclusion.)

I have often posted about Racism in America, especially the South. Here is an article of the Sept, edition that makes the case that I do not have the skills to communicate.

I haven't finished the issue and I am already sick to my stomach that this country is so foul, and, always has been, the more I read and learn.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Fascinating article about the effects of social coercion & the creation of mental illness:

In a previous article, the same author discusses mental illness as rebellion -- or, in many cases, rebellion being diagnosed & dismissed as mental illness:

In short, being "crazy" in this culture may well be the breakdown of an individual mind & soul precisely because of the culture; it might also be the only sane response to an insane society.

Of course, how can such questions compare to, say, discussing Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards -- the only disgusting thing about it being just how calculated & corporate her "rebellious, shocking" behavior was, designed to enhance her brand & provide an empty example of self-aggrandizing exhibitionism masquerading as "edgy" individuality.

OK, now just who is crazy here?

9:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


She may be playing a role, but she's also the writer for the show! I have a feeling she *likes* the term, "douche bag," and enjoys saying it. There *is* something wonderful abt it, after all; it, and 'douchebaggery', apply to so much in contemporary American life. If you construct a graph of increasing collapse of culture, and increasing amt of douchebaggery, they are probably the same graph. Why do u think I'm backing Lorenzo Riggins for pres in 2016? Because a greater douche bag it wd be hard to find. But if u wanna toss out all of my bks, hey, what can I do? I mean, I'm clearly not as gd a writer as Tina, so that probably makes sense.


Who was calling u a douche bag? Wafers, by definition, are not douche bags. They are most likely anti-douche bags.


And thanks for that history of the phrase. I suspect that it became lots more popular in the 21stC because the sheer # of douche bags in America skyrocketed in the new millennium. I mean, take a look at your link from Huffpost: is this a case of massive douchebaggery or what? America is simply chock full of morons and douche bags. (ps: thanks for Japan article; I need all the info I can get)


10:54 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Random observations

Calling someone a "diaper" is ageist. What do you have against babies?


At this point the race is on between totalitarianism & collapse. Hopefully collapse will win. For ex., when the guns are pointed at u and the triggers are pulled, maybe the guns won't work - because no one maintained them properly. Or they want to send a tank into yr neighborhood, but there's no gas to spare.


People in Mexico City behave like decent humans. Turning around an old unrelated joke: they display northern efficiency & southern charm. I say efficiency because unlike certain parts of the US South, u can walk down a sidewalk w/o people staring at u or trying to have either a conversation or a fight w/ u. They have a sense of personal boundaries heartening to introverts & a deep level of social awareness & fellow-feeling that is wonderfully warm.

11:47 AM  
Blogger James said...

Hello everyone,

I`ve been a passive observer to this blog for a year or two, but I decided it was time I said hello.

First I would like to thank Morris for the work he has done in researching and writing his books, as well as moderating this blog. Both are invaluable public services that should not be taken for granted. Unfortunately I know that they are taken for granted. One piece of evidence for this is that I was able to purchase his book on for the price of $00.01. A sad indication as to the value which our society places on his work.

A little bit about myself. I`m a New Yorker that emigrated to Japan in 2003. I returned to New York in 2011. Leaving the United States for a few years helped me to reach an understanding of the world sympathetic to the themes put forward in Morris Berman' books. I have a lot more to say about that, but for now let me just respond to the last few comments made above.

The idea that douchebag is a term of misogyny is absurd. Would you also say that scumbag, which refers to a used condom, is derogatory towards men? Anyway, it`s a huge relief to hear that this blog does not tolerate strict and oppressive standards of political correctness. I was an active and regular member of another online forum centered around progressive left politics and I found many discussions getting derailed by the political correctness police. The ease to which some people became offended at a particular turn of phrase forced others to become hyper vigilant about what they write. I would prefer to be part of a community where people feel they can express themselves in ways they find natural and sensible. That said, I have reservations towards posts which mock the ignorance of others.

And on another subject, I started working my way through the recently published collection of essays entitled Catastrophism by Sasha Lilley, David McNally and others. It`s a critique of left politics which attempt to incite people to action through grand pronouncements of how bad things have gotten and how much worse they may still become. Fear mongering they call it, and they say it leads to apathy and inaction. Morris, I know you declared to have written the founding document of Catastrophism in an essay called the Hula Hoop Theory of History. I hope you decide to review that book at some point.


11:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Welcome to the blog, glad to have u w/us, and many thanks for yr appreciation of my work. It doesn't surprise me that my bks sell for one cent, really. This is a nation that gets excited abt Miley Cyrus, after all. Re: Catastrophism: I was making a joke in that essay, ending it on a bit of irony. I doubt my version of Cat. has much to do w/the Lilley et al. version of it. That aside, this blog may upset u, because making fun of stupid Americans is greatly encouraged here. This is not necessarily perverse: it's rather that this is a key factor in our decline, and 'progressives' want to ignore it. In fact, one 'progressive' journalist wrote me that if he paid any attn to the data I've accumulated on the stupidity of Americans, he'd wdn't be able to do the work that he does. Precisely. I recall marching against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and noticing how many signs were misspelled. There really is no hope, and this is a major reason for it. So while Noam and Michael (Moore) et al. wax eloquent abt The American People, I feel the need to point out that at least 99% of them are douche bags, and that you don't get the nation back on track w/a collection of morons. It takes real gray matter, and Americans don't have it. This is a major reason why a declinist position makes sense, and a 'progressivist' one is--pathetic.


It's probably not gd to call someone a 'diaper'; or a 'depends', for that matter. But douche bag and scum bag--I suspect these are OK. Only question I'm left w/is: If Tina Fey coined the term 'douchebaggery', shd we now, here, as Wafers, coin the term 'scumbaggery'? Can anyone use it in a sentence for me (that reveals its meaning)?


12:39 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Good post! The opposite of catastrophism or decinism is of course Main Stream Media and the several strands of american politics (libertarianism, progressives, greens, prius driving vegans, gun toting tea parties) of which every one is a different denomination of belief in progress and perfectability of man--if we let the free market reign, if we spend more on schools, if gay people get married, if we subsidize tofu, if pets vote, and all manner of other nostrums to reach the promised land....All adherents are to one extent or another morons.

The work of Lilley and McNally I would term "Panglossian" after the character in Candide. Rose colored leneses and denying the obvious are a staple of essayists, journalists and academics currying favor with the establishment. The inaction part is accurate as regards americans as they are passive morons. I was in Israel recently and people were protesting in the streets due to an increase in the price of Yogurt. Im Mexican villages peasants fed up with violence set up militias and got to work sorting things out. Americans are getting robbed daily by government cartels, taxed to limits of endurance, watch as their government murders innocents around the globe, eat GMO crap, get spying upon and monitored and what do they do? Pop a prozac and watch honey boo boo and sup at the wisdom of Tom Freidman, Rachel Maddow and get inspired by the electrifying speeches and ideas of Hilary Clinton. Refering to americans as morons is generous in an affirmative action kind of way...Dolts?

1:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I tend to prefer 'degraded buffoons', myself. But quite honestly, I do think that subsidizing tofu might be the answer to all our problems.


1:56 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

It's easy to attack suburbia and the love of cars and celebrity, why not more criticism of intelligent urban liberals? Most of these people can spell, don't own TVs, don't drive, and don't follow celebrity news. But I think liberals are idiots, just less so than conservatives.

Liberals for the most still think working a wage job makes you a better person, and they are bought off with better design and greenwashing. Just make a visit to Portland to see what I mean. I say the same thing about the extremely destructive lifestyles of the nordic countries -- they are horrible, just less so than the US.

The liberal lifestyle is still based on a global industrial economy and love of technology.

None of this is new, my point is we should stop making cheap shots, like talking about love of Miley Cyrus, and criticize idiot liberals more often.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


1st of all, talking abt Miley is not a cheap shot; it's very much to the pt, and has a lot of layers to it. You need to think abt that. (See, e.g., comment by Tim Lukeman, above.)

2nd, I agree w/u on urban liberals, but that's already been covered here, in 2 ways:

a) Our appreciation of Chris Hedges' bk, "The Death of the Liberal Class."

b) Our repeated statement that stupidity in America is not just a matter of IQ. Folks like Robert McNamara (an example I've used repeatedly) had a high IQ, and was a complete idiot.

You might consider the possibility that u.r. attacking a straw man.


2:27 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Salut Wafeurs et Wafeuses:

Back in Jr. High, in 1973, one of my classmates told his mom that someone was a douchebag, without knowing the origin of the term. He thought it was a euphonic putdown, and so was quite shocked when his mother slapped his face.

I used to participate in a Canadian "progressive" web forum in which use of the "D" word was grounds for censure, as it is considered sexist.

Bless you, Dr. B. for providing a forum for the politically incorrect. I got into hot water (a douche chaude?) on another Canadian leftish forum recently for posting this link, from Monty Python's Life of Brian a discussion about Bradley Manning.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, I can see how they might get a tad upset, in context of Bradley/Chelsea etc. However, Monty was very gd at sending up left-wing douchebaggery; there's no doubt abt that. Politically correct douche bags get their hair in a knot over virtually anything. The only solution is to migrate to a blog that is politically incorrect. So let me state categorically that the US is full of douche bags and scum bags, and that its citizens have goat turds inside their crania.


3:11 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers of the World,

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all douche bags are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Scumbaggery."

~ Lorenzo Riggins, 2013


3:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That Lorenzo! He always did have a way w/words, eh? u.c. why I'm pulling for him to run for office in 2016. Go to the video of LR, look into his eyes: these are the eyes of America, and of our future!


3:59 PM  
Anonymous Rufusteena Firefly said...

Okay. You win. I will keep my books, especially my newly reprinted Berman opus, and NOT buy a TV, going on with my life exactly as before. Besides, what a relief to know that I now can equate the term "scumbag" with my other least favorite and, to me rather inexplicably, here favored expletive. My love of beautiful language will be left at the "enter" button henceforth.

Onward and downward!

4:07 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

I saw and bought "God Bless America" a few days ago. What's scary about it is that there is lots of reality to it. In this case, art reflects life and life reflects art.

Here is an excerpt of Frank's speech in his cubicle.

It is my favorite. His character is right. What is the point of having a civilization if we can't be civilized?


A lot of people are put on psychiatry drugs that is messing their brains up including my mother. There are a lot of people who are on 15-20 of these drugs.

Excerpt by TS Eliot - The Hollow Men

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A great movie, imo, if a tad noir. BTW, that quatrain by Eliot originally ended differently. The last line was:

"Not with simply a bag, but a douche bag!"

Unfortunately, Ezra Pound persuaded Eliot to chg it at the last great loss to world literature.


If it's any consolation, I don't own a TV either. As for my bks: they make excellent paperweights, or cures for insomnia, if that's one of yr afflictions. So, might as well hang onto them. Beautiful language, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. See above, message to Cube: what a missed opportunity, that Eliot foolishly listened to Pound. "Douche bag" actually is quite a melodious phrase. But then, u may not think so; in which case feel free to try out a few on this blog. E.g., "utter shithead," "dickbrain," or "rancid toadstool."


5:40 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...


I recall a Carlin routine in which he had a line that went roughly, "Hey, that Tommy! What a scumbag...went out last night and picked up two douchebags and didn't bring them back to the neighborhood."

Unfortunately nobody has yet posted it on y'all will have to make do with this game show of George's.

Thanks for not being a dick about this whole -bag thing.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We salute u! u.r. a true Waferette. May yr life be douchebag-free, and may u dwell in a land from which all turkeys and morons have been purged.


9:48 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...


Say it ain't so, Joe !
No turkeys ?
What am I s'posta do wit dese 5 cases of cranberry sauce ?

But's our anthem.
About a gazillion artists have recorded and/or performed it, so every Wafero and Wafera can have their personal version while maintaining Wafer solidarity (coherence might be too much to aim for).

Strangely enough, every version of this on Youtube has a typo in the title, but, you know, whaddya gonna do with these show biz types anyway ?

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Hans said...

Thanks Jeff:

So be it Wafers! You are the best of the best; the smartest people on this spinning Big Blue Marble. And for Wafers who have managed to emigrate (avoid the checkmate, so to speak), I salute you twice and have the deepest respect for all of you.

On September 10 I returned to my native Holland after 32 years in the US. All I can say is that the longer I am here the more I realize how rediculous the US is. I'll never go back. Never.

3:53 AM  

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