September 29, 2013

A Million Hits

Dear Wafers:

Well, we did it. They said it couldn’t be done, but we did it. This blog began in April 2006, and between then and today more there have been more than a million views. It seems hard to believe. Consider:

-When we declared the US was going down the tubes, everyone laughed.

-When we argued that Obama wasn’t any different from Bush Jr., except that he could speak English, they laughed even harder.

-When we pointed out that America was, and always had been, about hustling, and therefore had no moral center and thus no future, they spluttered and raged.

-When we predicted that Occupy Wall Street had no coherent ideology or organization, no staying power, and that “the 99%” really just wanted to get into “the 1%”; and (to make matters worse) that the American population literally didn’t have the gray matter to pull off any kind of positive social change, they raged even further. Many rolled around on the floor, foaming at the mouth.

-When we scored technology as the hidden religion of the United States, and thus a bogus form of progress, they became apoplectic, and massaged their cell phones just to calm down.

-And yet, all of these things, in addition to additional arguments put forward on this blog by myself and other Wafers, proved, in the fullness of time, to be true. Obama turned out to be a war criminal and a shill for the Pentagon, Wall Street, and the corporations. His administration has energetically gone after whistleblowers, and has murdered US citizens or indefinitely detained them under the cover of the fascistic National Defense Authorization Act. Instead of doing anything positive to change the direction of the country, the American people are staring into their iPads and smart phones, totally mesmerized and moronized by the latest electronic gadget. Books documenting their ignorance and stupidity have multiplied rapidly since 2006. Our educational system is a joke, our cities lie in shambles, and our political discourse is totally vapid. Hustling proceeds with incredible vigor and determination, and “Me, myself, and I” is the purpose of life for most Americans (polls reveal that empathy is basically out the window). The president’s absurd failure in Syria, and comeuppance from Vladimir Putin, has left him, and America, with egg on face. Much of the rest of the world perceives us (correctly) as not “exceptional” at all, but rather weak and ineffectual. Nearly 20% of the nation is unemployed, with no prospects of future work—and so on. Our star is fading, and in the pattern of late-phase empires, we are committing suicide by our own hand (denial being a big part of the process). Some call it karma; I call it “history.”

I know my fellow countrymen are still raging, but I have the distinct feeling that they are no longer laughing.

On to the next million!



Blogger Dan Henry said...

Ellen, thanks for that link on death, very good.

Sorry for the double post, but definitely want to +1 that piece.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

I know my fellow countrymen are still raging, but I have the distinct feeling that they are no longer laughing.

A daughter shoots her own mother and brother. Her own father shoots her and her husband. The reason? She hates her own family. These are not young kids, but adults in their 40's and 60's.

Frew told police he found his wife dead at the front door and his son's lifeless body in the kitchen. Frew said he shot and killed both his daughter, who died at the Altoona hospital of a gunshot wound to her head, and her husband.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous buzzard said...

NO they aren't laughing anymore. It seems that they are all angry at... me. The clouds of depression around our community is thicker than fog. Why can't I take care of them any longer? Perhaps because I warned them and they didn't listen?

6:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


See post on Existential Strain. Keep in mind at all times that u.r. surrounded by people who are functionally brain damaged. Remember to consult yr post-it every day. All of this shd help, tho emigration is, in fact, the logical solution.


It wd be a lot more efficient if everyone had a drone. If I understand correctly, the price on these things is dropping quite rapidly, so it won't be too long b4 everyone in the country is capable of wiping out their entire neighborhood. And some people say there's no such thing as progress!


7:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: It occurs to me that in all the studies we've had on the decline of civilizations, the one thing not mentioned is that a key indicator is an oppressive feeling of death hovering over the place. Of course, there's no way of measuring this quantitatively, but the ambience, the feeling of it is quite palpable now, in the US. Think of the 'toxic event' in the air, in Don DeLillo's 1985 novel, "White Noise." Artists and writers tend to sense these things first, b4 the general population. By now, the US has *become* a toxic event, w/everyone choking and coughing, literally or metaphorically. We're not on the Eve of Destruction (Barry McGuire); we're actually *in* it. Time will show that Detroit was not a fluke.


7:11 PM  
Blogger Boris the Spider said...

In a timely related story, this article explains well why Breaking Bad is about Wafer America:

7:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A great review...tho I think it is abt non-Wafer America. But I know what u mean.


8:04 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

"ps: It occurs to me that in all the studies we've had on the decline of civilizations, the one thing not mentioned is that a key indicator is an oppressive feeling of death hovering over the place"

Dr. B: You know your comment explains why I've felt this extreme dread in the air since I was 15. I thought it was some kind of toxin but I felt this no matter where I went.

You know when I went to the island of Maui in Hawaii I felt free, alive and felt like this heavy weight was lifted. When I went back home I felt the dread again.

Maui was so peaceful and wonderful. I loved how the sand felt beneath my feet. I felt like I was home.

11:54 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...


Interesting article, but I'm not entirely convinced by the author's line of reasoning. That is, I don't think Walter White was "pursuing the American Dream" so much as fleeing from it. Indeed, previous to his meth-cooking days, Walter ALREADY HAD the American dream, and was suffocating from it--even if he didn't fully realize the fact until later.

Personally, I think the "meth-cooking escapist fantasy" resonates with people because it appeals to our desire to break free from the drudgery, pointlessness, and loneliness of American life. As Walt said, "it made him feel alive."

What's funny, though, is that if you read the various Breaking Bad blog discussions, almost every other comment you find shows some sort of know-it-all arrogance, vulgarity, narcissism, petulant disregard for others' views, etc. In short, typical American fare!

But, still, I can't deny it--I absolutely loved the show!

Dr. Berman,

Congrats on your first million hits. But now that you've made it big, just don't sell-out and do a Levi's jeans add or anything like that, okay?

5:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I tell u, the fone has been ringing off the hook. Letterman, Leno, Charlie Rose, u name it--all begging me to come on their show. I did turn down Levi's jeans, but am toying with the idea of Levi's rye bread, so long as it comes with corned beef, cole slaw, and Russian dressing. Also a line of pasta sauces with Ragu might be nice...


6:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a claim that the Suez Moment may have already occurred:

6:24 AM  
Anonymous Manfredo said...

I 've only been to America twice in my life: once to LA and once to New York . On both occasions I had flown in directly from London and could immediately feel the difference.

It was hard for me to describe at first but I realized it was a lack of the sense of "community". It's not like London is a cosy haven of brotherhood by any means, but in relation to New York and LA the feeling was there in my gut after only one hour- the dread that it's every man for himself in this place.

That's why I never went back.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Dr B, thanks for posting this link:

Now the ending of this paragraph made me laugh really loud:

A case in point has been the daredevil actions of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder-leader of the Lashkar-e Taiba (Army of the Pure, or LeT), listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department and the United Nations following its involvement in the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which killed 166 people, including six Americans. In April 2012, the State Department announced a $10 million reward for information leading to Saeed’s arrest and conviction. The bearded 62-year-old militant leader promptly called a press conference and declared, “I am here. America should give that reward money to me.”

9:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That's the value-system all right; you apparently picked that up rt away. However, I enjoy visiting places like NY and LA occasionally, because it feels like Rome must have felt ca. A.D. 300. It's all over, but not w/o pts of interest; and if you just pretend yr an anthropologist visiting a strange tribe, you might find it fascinating. (Which is not to say u shd join the tribe!)


10:19 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

I found a potential anthem for the WAFER Conference in Ireland for 2015.

Dropkick Murphys'

"Spread my ashes all about
Dump the sucker out
Toast me for a while
I'm going out in style"

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Politically Incorrect said...

Congratulations on that million... now if that were to be following an exponential trajectory I'd say we'd be getting somewhere. Maybe.. Or maybe the next fad will be Onward & Downwardism... who knows? With the empire over and the emperor having no clothes - I think most people know this on some level but as you said people still carress their iPods and hug their cell phones clinging to the illusion that it just ain't so... Stupid, yes.... as is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result which is the definition of insanity. Is it insane that we haven't progressed further at this stage of humanity? maybe this is all we can hope for... a few bright lights in the darkness. Considering thousands of years of evolution and through all that we've been through and this is the culmination of our potential... iPods and circus acts...

what a freak show.

Anyway, onto the next million...

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

FYI : Chris Hedges in Person: The Myth of Human Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies Sunday, October 13, 2013 11:00 a.m.

Santa Monica Bay Woman's Club
1210 Fourth Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401

It's a Truthdig fundraiser @ $25.

Here's the lead:

"The myth of human progress, the unexamined belief in the ability of our industrial and technological society to save us from collapse, is a form of magical thinking. These forces, in fact, will ensure that the descent will be swifter and more brutal. Chris Hedges will examine this myth and others that have left us collectively self-deluded. He will look at effective forms of resistance and rebellion in an age of totalitarian capitalism and at ways to keep our lives whole and sane as we begin to face the great unraveling."

1:36 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,


Congrats on the million hits MB! This is certainly a milestone for a blog that is dedicated to accurately describing the many millstones grinding the life out of America.

MB, Wafers-

A few days ago, I celebrated my one-year anniversary on the Wafer blog with a large pastrami sandwich and a cream soda. The only thing missing was sharing the experience with all of you...

You know, pastrami and cream soda tends to put me in a sentimental and reflective mood... so here goes:

* I want to thank all of you for your insight and the contributions that you make on this blog. Your intelligence, arguments, points of view, criticism, and humor are all very much appreciated.

* This blog has made me a more aware and better person. It has forced me to consider alternative perspectives and to realize the larger picture that is going on in America and the world.

* Many thanks to you Dr. Berman, for the time and effort you put into the blog. Many thanks for your mind, and your ability to provide all of us with thought-provoking analysis of American dysfunction with a Toynbeean sweep of *Big History*. Not least of which, is your poetic and spiritual description of the finer points of Deli meats and other body and soul nourishment.

Cheers to all,


1:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank u 4 yr kind words, and yr support. Next time, I hope u will also have a chocolate egg cream (like the Holy Roman Empire, it has in it neither chocolate, nor eggs, nor cream). Toynbee did leave deli meats out of his analysis, but I can only claim to be standing on the shoulders of giants. Frankly, I wish I cd serve the blog better than I have, been a lot more forthcoming; but (a) I hate screens, and (b) if I did, I'd have no time for my own work. So I appreciate those of u who have been understanding abt this. The day I can say my life = blog, I damn well better shut it down. In any case, let's all continue to maintain a sense of humor abt all this. The US is finished, and I encourage all who want to follow the Dual Process political NMI activity work to do so, of course; but it's also necessary to wink at it all. After all, we aren't the 1st empire to rise and fall, and my guess is we won't be the last (sad to say). Chuck, on this blog, sent me the DVD of "I, Claudius" (thanks, Chuck), and all I can do is watch it and sigh.


Walking down the street of any American city and seeing 1/2 the people on cell phones, you realize: It really is a freak show! Unfortunately, there are a whole lot more of them than there are of us. But they accelerate the decline, even if inadvertently, so I suppose we shd cut them some slack (not too much).


Appreciate yr research and planning for the Ireland Wafer Summit Meeting (IWSM), now less than 18 mos. away. By then perhaps we'll have 2 million hits. In some ways, my pref wd have been for the mtg to be held at the 2nd Ave Deli in Manhattan, but it will be nice to escape the hustling atmosphere for a while. Besides, the Irish do appreciate corned beef and cabbage.


2:43 PM  
Anonymous Eric Blair said...

Dr. Berman,
You ought to hold out for being offered a Dos Equis commerical. You are most interesting. That is why I buy/read your books and why you now have hit the million view mark. Stay commenting my friend.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Is that really you, come back from the dead? Can't tell u how I've missed u. I esp. enjoyed "Homage to Catalonia." In fact, I took a tour of Civil War Barcelona last May, and the guide knew your son, Richard. Anyway, never mind *my* books; let's concentrate on yours. And I hope u have more in the pipeline. As far as beer goes, Victoria is my brand of choice (south of the border, that is).


7:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

On another note: I'm getting so tired of this annual shutdown farce I cd toss my cookies. Usual scenario: a compromise is stitched up at the 11th (or 12th) hour. Blaaah. I have a different scenario in mind, and Wafers are encouraged to submit theirs as well.

1. The shutdown takes place. Totally. The govt is no longer functioning, in any capacity. Obama leaves DC for his mansion in Chicago.

2. Where he hangs himself. Suicide note reads as follows:

"My fellow Americans. I decided to end it all because as Morris Berman has said repeatedly, I'm not a president, I'm a joke. I urge you to buy his books, and also pee on my Guccis (as he has long advised). In addition, for those of you stupid enuf to have voted for me, pls change your post-it to I AM A DOLT. Face it, u really are. Anyway, I want to apologize to Michelle: sorry, dear; I really did enjoy all those cute little expensive outfits you bought while a third of the country was living in poverty. Goodbye, cruel world; I'm heading for the last roundup. And ps: Fuck You, Putin; may you choke on your borscht. So long...B.O."

3. The note goes viral; various acting troupes stage plays based on the suicide, tour the nation to wild applause. They are also a huge hit in France, where the play is called "Budweiser-swilling Surrender Monkeys."

4. Since the govt has shutdown, this includes the Pentagon and all its staff. As a result, Belgium invades and conquers the US; all American citizens are required to become fluent in Flemish in 1 mo. or die. However, being hopelessly stupid, they think this refers to phlegm. So they hawk up tons of mucus, and the Belgian Army mows them down with drones.

5. However, they failed to kill Native Americans, who were hiding in their teepees, counting wampum, raising corn, and dancing with wolves. The Belgians return to Belgium, and the land goes back to the Cherokee, Cree, Chippewa, Algonquin...

I love it!


8:06 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Interesting angle on the fundraiser with Chris H. The idea of the myth of progress is by my lights best demonstrated and explained by John Gray (Barzun is good on this score as is Spengler but Gray less historical more incisive and a philosopher and man of affairs which tends to confer some advantages). Progress is localized--U.S. slaves free but U.S. cel phones and laptops made by slaves. Great scientific progress but majority of population semi-literate. Science and technological progress do not imply ethical and cultural progress. More than anything the idea of progress is the central article of faith of secular humanism (think of the "progressives" in the U.S., an. ipad a vote and a prius for all) .

If secular humanism and its central tenet of progress are understood as a religion (which they are says me) then to no small extent the existential strain is a crisis of faith (what no santa clause! Eeek). These progressives with violence in the schools and then when they get raped by obama care premiums and laid off from their non-profit job (or govt) kid becomes a unemployable dope fiend, spouse obese are going to be hitting the prozac and their dose of huffington and kos to regain that majic. Not going to happen. Then there are the non-progressives who make the mass of americans and they are already checked out--some cognitive dissonance but angry and depressed. I only live in the U.S. 4 months out of the year on average and I confess after a while I want to hunt down any prius driver with an obama sticker (almost all of them do) and pull them out and slap em silly with a pastrami and piss on their birkenstocks.

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Bruce Bennett said...

You mention the native people. It is ironic and fitting that there are groups of natives who are exploring self-sufficiency using solar and wind power in the Northern Plains. Since the 80s many farms went bust in that region and the land is returning to its previous ecology with species returning and new opportunities for native people to reclaim their heritage and homes. More power to them. I have to believe that SOMETHING good can come from this general collapse of an increasingly unviable system.
A small comment, your criticism of the ubiquitius cellphone. I couldn't agree more. They have turned the whole outside into a potential phone booth with unwitting eavesdroppers having to endure the blather. Just the other day I witnessed one of these people. He was talking with someone who could have been a great distance away but he was gesticulating with his hands as if the person was right there in front of him.
Oh, and this item that I just read. A Texas store owner shot and killed a man for stealing a beer. No doubt in Texas he will get a comparatively light sentence if he is found guilty as all. Sometimes it seems as if "as Texas goes, so goes the nation." Congrats on the 1 million!

8:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


When I become dictator, wh/hopefully won't be too far off, only 3 crimes will have capital punishment attached to them (w/o rt of appeal):

1. Using a cell phone in public
2. Drinking Bud Lite or Starbucks coffee
3. Having a haircut resembling that of Ted Koppel.


Nice Joycean stream-of-consciousness there; I loved it.


8:55 PM  
Anonymous KarlJ said...

MB says, "I'm getting so tired of this annual shutdown farce I cd toss my cookies. Usual scenario: a compromise is stitched up at the 11th (or 12th) hour."

Did you notice that what these people are doing EVERY TIME is what every parent tells his/her kids NOT TO DO: do not wait till the last minute to do your homework? This is also what every teacher or professor tell his/her students, young and old.

I think it is safe to conclude that the morons do NOT solve any problem; they make every problem worse. In my opinion, the people of the US would be better served without form of government.

MB, you need to write a book on this!

9:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out my forthcoming "The Pastrami Chronicles" (Matzoh Ball Press), which definitely does tell all.


9:23 PM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Anyone see the movie God Bless America? May have already been discussed here because it looks like at least one version (gun toting) of a Wafer fantasy - although maybe not as satisfying as MB's gov't shutdown, Prez Obama suicide, Belgian takeover vision. Just saw a preview for it and am wondering if it is as good as it appears.

Here is the Rotten Tomato listing if anyone else is interested in having a look:

9:56 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

I always feel doomed and hungry after reading this blog's comments.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorta like the intellectual munchies, I guess. There is no hope, but there's always food. (Hmm...that wd also make a gd post-it.)


I saw it, I loved it. Central character is my kinda guy. Scene in movie w/cell phones was fab.


10:30 PM  
Anonymous Paul Emmons said...

Capo Regime says:
>U.S. slaves free but U.S. cel phones and laptops made by slaves.

They are also carried, answered, and talked into by slaves. I tried one for a couple months and didn't like any more than expected. What surprised me the most is all the daily care and feeding the thing requires so it doesn't just run out of juice. Answering the imperious rings of a "land-line" phone is bad enough.

It has one good use, however. If I get the urge to talk to myself in public, I just hold it up to my ear, and no one will ever be the wiser.

12:23 AM  
Blogger plotinus said...

Dear Dr. B and Wafers,
I never watched the show, "Breaking Bad" but could not miss the hype with regard to its conclusion. I do, however, read Pepe Escobar from Asia Times because he gets a lot of things right. Was the show, as he infers, a dark age America metaphor? Let me know.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

You're welcome Professor. I hope you're enjoying the DVDs.


10:23 AM  
Anonymous Jerome Langguth said...

Dear Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Congatulations on the blog milestone. I think I might have quoted it here before, but the shutdown hoopla reminded me of the following thought from the 15 year old John Cage in a 1927 essay (my apologies for the length):

One of the greatest blessings the United States could receive in the near future would be to have her industries halted, her business discontinued, her people speechless, a great pause in her world of affairs created, and finally to have everything stopped that runs, until everyone should hear the last wheel go around and the last echo fade away... Then we should be capable of answering the question, "What ought we to do?"


10:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, I remember that, and it is congruent w/his music as well (3 mins. of silence etc.). But Americans are not capable of self-reflection, so the shutdown won't make all that much difference. Nothing will. Meanwhile, I was disappted that it is only a partial shutdown. It's all shadow boxing, really. The whole nation needs to close up shop, and I mean 100% for a long period of time. Now *that* wd be a shutdown we cd be proud of.


11:25 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MB: Congrats on the milestone.

To celebrate next time in NYC go to Sarges on 3rd avenue and have the "Monster" sure its a $34.00 sandwitch but it has all the top deli meats and comes with Russian dressing. Have a knish on the side and munch on the pickles from the big dish provided (dill, sweet and kosher) and you will be rightfully celebrating the milestone...

On a side note. There is a master comedian G-d out there. Obamacare starts out on the day of a government shutdown. This is not a propicious start. The decline and generally idiocy should be even more visible--perhaps gain sufficient realisation to overcome the bystander effect? Nah. But there will be more comedy from the zanies in D.C. and in the media. This farce will get better in a sense of being fantastical and rather nuts. Its like Von Rundstet in late 44 saying we will win!!!!!

11:59 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Dear Dr. Berman and WAFers:

Felicitations on the million posts, Dr. B. Your influence is widespread and ever-increasing. Soon all the world will enter the cult of WAF, with a side of coleslaw for extra crunch.

(I have to admit to feeling a bit left out of the catechism of deli meats, as I'm a mere plant eater. Do pickles count?)

I laughed when I heard on the news this morning that the USA is "closed." Where's Yakov Smirnoff when you need him? What a country!

On the techno-buffoonery front: last week, faced with a group of students who were playing with their cellfones, I decided to show that Louis CK clip where he says cellfones are for the stupid kids and those who need to fill the void of lonely hopelessness we all have inside.

The students laughed at all the right places, but once the clip ended, they returned to bowing over their techno-rosaries.

Maybe I ought to include juggling in my act.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


What clip r.u. referring to? Meanwhile, you can pork out on cole slaw and dill pickles, if not corned beef itself.


How does Sarge's compare w/the 2nd Ave. Deli? I'm collecting notes.


1:27 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Sorry, I should have included a link. Here's the Louis CK clip.

I posted it in the "In Treatment" thread.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...


I am sure you'll love the "I, Claudius" series. I watched it when it first came out in the 1970's. I was deep into Spengler and Toynbee at the time, so this series came along at just the right moment for me.

My favorite scene is the opening of Episode 10 ("Fool's Luck"). Claudius has just been proclaimed Emperor by the Praetorian Guards, and he is explaining to the Senate why a "half wit" Emperor would be just as good as any of his predecessors. The dialogue is crackling!

For those whose budgets do not permit the purchase of the DVD, don't despair! The series has been uploaded to YouTube, so you can see it there.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Terrific clip, thanks. Shd be required viewing for all Americans.


4:11 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Yes, my brother thinks the CK clip is great but spent almost an hour last week showing our 88 year old mom all the great things his new i-pad can do- like she was really interested.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Behold a douche baguette, a woman whose Guccis cry out for urine:

1:53 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Reading comment threads on the NYC land rover v motorcycle gang has been really depressing and terrifying. As a motorcyclist myself, who had a Honda pull out in front of me improperly 5 weeks ago sending me flying, I will say first thing that the riders were behaving like douchebags. But what's really getting to me is the amount of vitriol and fear being posted, many by supposed riders themselves, defending the driver for "defending" his family by running over the stopped bikers with 5000lbs of steel. It shouldn't, but its astounding me. We are so utterly fucked as a people. MB, forget Paris and Toronto. Start with NYC, Chicago, and LA. Then firebomb every inch of the heartland in between.

2:12 AM  
Anonymous Maurice Ravel's tiny ghost said...

@Michael in Oceania:

I loved I, Claudius. The books were some of my favorites when I was younger.

My favorite scene in the miniseries version is Livia's heart-to-heart with Claudius, with Livia played inimitably by the sublime Sian Phillips. Probably my favorite "gray" morality characterization in all of film. It's an excellent thing to see this poisoning, scheming, strong-willed and irascible witch throughout the story not only make us feel sorry for her, but also exhibit genuine vulnerability ("I want to be a Goddess!"); admit how wrong she was about Claudius; and finally, of all the crazies in that story she makes a case for herself as one of the more levelheaded and high-minded characters in spite of her grotesque misdeeds. And Claudius, being sympathetic and full of humility, sympathizes with her. Fantastic!

Excellent, beautiful drama. They really don't make them like that anymore.

5:31 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Great comments on the truthdig humanities debate--you get a mention, Dr B, so should expect a few more hits to add to your well-earned million.

On the subject of tech culture and its increasing stranglehold of control, the defeated SOPA legislation has returned in a covert form. My thoughts on this is that if we are to have an internet (and there's little chance of that genie going back into the bottle) then if you want a few more million hits in the future, Dr B, it should be free from the monolithic control that is being attempted here:

Dan Henry,
I always find Lewis Lapham to be good value. Keep your chin up:

7:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I think I lost a comment here: someone recently wrote in abt moving to Holland after living in the US for 32 yrs, and I posted it (or thought I did), and now can't find it. Perhaps they sent it to a different post, I dunno. My senility might also be a factor. In any case, whoever you were, my apologies, and pls re-send it.


7:36 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Ellen and Dan,

Have to agree with both but believe Mr Henry is more appropriate given there is no solution. Might as well get it over.

Noticed that Mr Higgs is a member of the most despised on this planet. I rest my case. They will be rewarded, somehow, I hope.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Sanguillen39 said...

"4. Since the govt has shutdown, this includes the Pentagon and all its staff. As a result, Belgium invades and conquers the US; all American citizens are required to become fluent in Flemish in 1 mo. or die. However, being hopelessly stupid, they think this refers to phlegm. So they hawk up tons of mucus, and the Belgian Army mows them down with drones."

The comment above may have been the funniest I've read on this blog. From Darwin's Natural Selection viewpoint, it might not be such a bad thing to see these events unfold.


9:28 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Dan Henry,

It's not just the comments on the motorcycle story that are rude and offensive, it's the comment sections EVERYWHERE! I don't know if Americans were always this mean-spirited, or if the Internet is just bringing out the worst in them. Probably a bit of both. But yeah, you can't even look up an article on particle physics any more, without witnessing twenty philistines name-calling and abusing one another, from about the second or third comment onward.

Oh, and that Truthdig woman was seriously annoying! Listening to her talk, I just kept thinking how awful it would be to get stuck in a car with her for ten hours. But just as I was starting to feel a sense of relief, I realized that virtually everyone in my life already thinks more or less as she does. Maybe not quite so flamboyantly vacuous about it, but still, the same world-view in essence. It's makes me tired and sad even to think about it!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

They sweep, mop, vacuum, spray, and wipe down the marble facades of our neoliberal Modernia.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

On a lighter note, here's we have a true American love story...aka, "Hey, honey, is that a 9mm in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" "Oh, sorry honey (BLAM!)":

A west Phoenix woman was fatally injured while hugging her boyfriend when the gun in his pants accidentally discharged.

Local police say the 24-year-old was embracing her 18-year-old boyfriend when she complained that the gun tucked in his waistband was making her uncomfortable.

As the teen reached for the gun in order to pull it out, the weapon suddenly went off, and a bullet struck the woman.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dr Berman and Wafers/Waferettes,

Today is Gandhi's birthday. I thought I could share highlights of some of his major accomplishments in the fight against the former British empire. While reading these I would encourage you to think of the parallels that exist today in the US (and the world) in the context of NDAA, minimum wage, taxation, NSA spying, citizens united, etc. You may see that many of the problems we have today were present in Colonized India (some of them are still present in India):

The Indigo farmers working in British plantations in Bihar's Champaran district were demanding higher daily wages and a reduction in their working hours. When the British did not accept their demand the farmers invited Mahatma Gandhi to lead their agitation. After his arrival in Champaran on April, 10, 1917, Gandhiji organised the agitating farmers and used the weapon of satyagraha (insistence on truth...its a loose translation) successfully to negotiate with the British. The British accepted the farmers' demand heralding Gandhiji's arrival in India and also the acceptance of satyagraha and non-violence as potent weapons in India's fight for independence.

On April 6, 1919, the British enacted Rowlatt Act that gave them absolute power to arrest anybody on mere suspicion and keep them in prison without any trial. Later Brigadier General Reginald Dyer ordered firing on innocent, unarmed people who had gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar to protest against this 'Black Act', killing 379 people and wounding more than 1,500.

To protest against imposition of Rowlatt Act without consulting the Indian people and to denounce the barbaric Jallianwala Bagh massacre Gandhiji gave a momentous call of non-cooperation to Indian people and asked then to boycott foreign schools and colleges, courts and force the British administration to a grinding halt.

The Salt Act of 1882 gave the British the monopoly to produce salt. Being one of the most basic necessities, while the tax on salt did not affect the affluent section of Indian society, it hurt the poor severely. Gandhiji knew that the Indian freedom struggle would never be successful without the active particpation of its masses. Symbolically, this gesture of the Mahatma immediately gave Indians the right to produce salt without paying tax to the British government.

On the morning of March 12, 1930, Gandhi along with thousands of his followers began a 24-day, 390 km march from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Dandi, a coastal town in Gujarat. On reaching Dandi on the morning of April 6, 1930, Gandhiji took a lump of salt in his hand and declared that the Salt Act was broken. Symbolically, this gesture of the Mahatma immediately gave Indians the right to produce salt without paying tax to the British government.

Thank You,

3:59 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Jerome, MB, WAFers...

I envision a cinema verite of Chaplin's "Modern Times" combined with Kurosawa's "Ran" into a Poevian epic collapse.

WAFers knowing where to strategically sit in their lawnchairs, enjoying deli-meat sandwiches and beer while witnessing the slow motion train wreck....trying hard not to clap ahead of time.

Dr. B .....Congrats on the milestone for the blog!

4:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is kinda neat. I look forward to the day when all of our children are in chains:

6:28 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...


I just heard this lady's speech and it makes me want to vomit.

I have a degree in information technology and have not been able to obtain a job in my field.

Neither has these graduates?

Why is this? Why are there so many graduates who can't get IT jobs and are telling others to avoid it?

Check this out and back trace through the previous posts commented in the article and check out the user comments.

I believe this woman is a corporate shill just like Don on the link I posted. The truth is IT is a joke and there are a lot of IT graduates unemployed. Some of them are on the verge of committing suicide.

The IT people who are parents teach their children things like programming but make their children stay clear of the field. This lady is selling people including her own 5 year old a lemon. She is full of it.

Don't go into IT. You would be better off making corned beef sandwiches on rye bread for a living.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...


Poor Kyle Thompson, indeed.
If only he had done something seriously malevolent like John Mulaney did when *he* was 11 years old, he'd probably have a budding career in comedy by now.

Congrats on the 10e6 milestone.
Pura Vida as we say in Costa Rica.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


r.u. based in Costa Rica? I ask because I'm supposed to be giving some lecs there Sept. 2014.


! I was just abt to apply for a job in IT, and at the last moment decided to be a deli chef instead. Thanks for the heads-up. Suggest u direct yr vomit toward the woman's shoes; they seem a bit dry.


9:58 PM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Still feeling inspired by that God Bless America movie trailer where the guy lets loose on douchebaggery of every sort. Glad to hear the movie was well done, Dr. B. I’ll try to get someone to netflix it. So, just thinking out loud here. With the million hits this site has gotten, and based on my interpretation of the Maharishi Institute’s data on Transcendental Meditation (along with daily reflection on The Secret), we might already have the critical mass needed to start a drone war ourselves and bring this mother-of-all-douchebag cultures down once and for all. Apparently, all we have to do is visualize this in unison, at a pre-set time. Or, alternatively, we can go to Walmart and buy the needed drones (being good capitalists, who will gladly sell you the rope you hang them with, the Walton family will no doubt accommodate our needs, and at a great price, too).

The best part will be when the media shows up to broadcast our war and one of them asks us, “So, why are you droning everyone?” and we’ll look at the camera like “WTF? Are you some kind of commie pinko? We’re Americans! It’s our RIGHT to drone. We don’t need no stinkin’ REASON!”

So c’mon Wafers – let’s stop talking about it and let’s get this thing going. Let’s drone!

Then, when the smoke clears, we can all enter the world evoked by the slow movement of this concerto by Leclair (starting at the 1:22:00 mark) – a world where there is no particular place to go and no particular thing to do because we’re already there and it’s already done so we can just live and experience whatever comes along and we don’t need to text or tweet anyone about it…

11:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, that's all very inspiring. Many yrs ago the Maharishi had a branch of TM in DC, and ordered his disciples to meditate the crime away from the place on a particular weekend. So they all sat around, sending gd vibes and trying to exorcise the crime out of the place. Result: the crime rate spiked on that particular weekend to an all-time high.

At this pt, the Maharishi had a choice to make:

1. Change his name to Maharishi Macornedbeefhash Yogi, or

2. Admit that while TM purifies the soul, it doesn't purify much else, and that as gurus went he had his head rammed in his buttocks and was rolling around like a donut.

Instead, the Enlightened One threw a hissy fit, declared that DC was a lost cause (true enuf) and unworthy of him, and pulled the TM office outta the place. So there! He showed *us*!


4:03 AM  
Anonymous Hans said...

Mr. Berman, you did post my comment. I am the one that left the US after 32 years. Let me please elaborate on my move:

Each time I came from Europe (I am a registered alien, meaning I have a green card which is actually blue) I was finger printed on all fingers, foto different angles and interrogated why I was away for several months.

I no longer felt comfortable living in the US, I didn't want to live out the rest of my life there. I don't think developments in the US are healthy or sustainable and the future looks very bleak. I had to leave because I could no longer stomach the nasty things I see going on all around me. Not just the politics, but the way the political situation mirrors the kind of people Americans are becoming. The values they are adopting, their disengagement from each other. A deteriorating culture. Europe is not perfect, but in America there is simply no counterweight to mitigate all these developments.

While I know Europe isn't perfect, here in Holland there is a multi-party parlement, so it's just not a two party system like in the US. There is more of a real democracy. Everyone has healthcare. (You can't live here without health insurance).

They are insulating houses, installing subsidized solar pannels and are instituting other energy-saving measures. Things are happening, changing. I don't see any such positive changes in the US. I went back to be part of this.

I am convinced that America is not the same country as before 9/11. I am not all pleased about the changes I have seen since then. I think that in many ways Americans have become the things they hate. They hate terrorism and they hate indiscriminate violence. Unfortunately, during the last ten years they have been consistently practicing just that. Invading countries, kicking in doors of innocent people.

American soldiers have raped and tortured. I thought at first these were isolated incidents, but it keeps going on. There's been ten years of war and I suspect that if they had the money they would wage even more war elsewhere (Syria maybe?) It has become a way of life. "War is ultimately what gives America meaning," to quote Chris Hedges.

There is now even a dominant military culture within police agencies. Cops look like soldiers. I didn't want to pay taxes to subsidize this madness, didn't want to devote part of my income to building guns, tanks and drones.

I'm reading the signs. In Nazi Germany there came a point when people sais, "I can't stay here and fight, I have to leave, I'm in danger. As a resident alien I was always a DUI, traffic violation or facebook post away from deportattion.f I thought things could be changed I would have stayed.

Europe is not perfect, but it has a lot of things going for it. For one thing, two thousand years of recorded European history. These are deep cultures. The American culture is much younger. It's a young country and it just doesn't has the depth to navigate a huge crisis. I don't think they have the staying power and solidarity to bring about real changes

Part of the problem in the US is that they tend to believe their own propaganda. That it is the best country in the world and that they have the best democracy (the best democracy money can buy, for sure). When it's a question of getting one's needs met, other countries do a much better job. Just look at northern Europe, Scandinavia, Germany and Holland when it comes to healthcare, transportation, safety net and other indicators of a decent life.

The land of opportunity for so many has developed into a system of government corruption, corpoarte looting and military rule that has ditched the American dream. It has turned into a nightmare. It sure has dashed my dreams from the 1980's. Now, once again, at 62, I am starting over, but in a deep social environment, a lot of old friends, culture and a rich history. Oh, what a relieve it is........

5:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Did I? I can't find it. But no matter...thanks for writing in. What u have to say abt Europe vis-a-vis the US is very impt for all of us to hear. Unfortunately, most Americans are not Wafers, so they just hear the recurrent jingoism of American 'exceptionalism'. Nothing, certainly not Putin, can puncture that balloon. I do understand yr sense of relief. If there was one single reason why I left, it was the way Americans related to each other (and me) on a daily basis--and thought that this was normal! Normal for a nuthouse, I thought to myself. The most maddening thing to me was that while they live lives that are degraded and stupid, they think that this is the apex of humanity. Anyway, you might enjoy reading Steven Hill, "Europe's Promise." Also my essay, archived on this blog, "Slouching Towards Nuremberg" (also published on Counter Punch some time ago).


6:15 AM  
Anonymous Hans said...


Here is a link to an Italian risk and complexity management company. Complexity technology establishes a radically innovative means of anticipating crises. Really interesting:

6:58 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...


Mr Higgs was an original who taught most of the musicians who came out of Jamaica, only a fool would despise him.
That clip comes from a 1977 doc where he talked about the way that his music and his worldview came out of the struggle for life that is unavoidable in a place like Trenchtown. Its a great doc, part of a series of films on world music and its on Youtube:

Mr Higgs again, 'Hard times don't bother me' from 'Life of Contradiction':

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Hans said...

Thank you Mr. Berman for your reply and reading tips. I just ordered Steven Hill's "Europe's Promise," and read "Slouching towards Nuremberg." I hope you don't mind me addressing you as Mr. Berman instead of using your first name. In Europe this is just not done unless you know the person very well (like old friends). In the states this is normal and I never got used to it.

Anyway....when I was writing my comment I made quick trip to the grocery store and at the check out was addressed by a woman who wanted to know more about the salami I had bought. Before long we were talking about all kinds of things. Can you imagine this in an American supermarket? They will look at you like they are being robbed. Unthinkable.

I know we are both in better environments. Perhaps, when in Mexico we can have a cerveza together.

All the best.

Wafer from Europe.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

"Listen, don't you get the idea I'm one of those g-ddam radicals. Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system... My rackets are run on strictly American lines and they're going to stay that way... This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it Capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if only we seize it with both hands and make the most of it."


quoted in Claud Cockburn, "Rackets Strictly on American Lines," in Faber Book of America (London: Faber and Faber, 1990), 378-379.

Capone was correct abt America. But ppl still profess to be shocked (not too strongly) at Goldman Sachs et al., & at the general direction the nation is headed.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

No more US soldiers in Okinawa:

but they will host drones? It's like a kiss from your sister ... or how ever that saying goes.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Wafers,



12:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Very much appreciate yr input but pls confine yrself to one post every 24 hrs--it's an informal rule we have here, so that I can actually get some work done. Thanks.


3:26 PM  
Blogger jml said...

wow, i just read this in the nytimes of all places: (as breaking news of a new shooting appear)

"We are a brawling, righteous, pompous, ignorant people, a land of blowhards to the right and left. Our warlike impulses and warlike pride are dangerously coupled with our insufferable vanity, our permanent immaturity, our lives of fear and pleasure. The very land we stand on was taken from someone else and made profitable by people who did not own themselves. There’s a mass shooting and we have a phony little debate over gun control, but no one on the right or the left talks about suicide by gun. We are violently disposed to others and we are just as violently disposed to ourselves. But I read crime is on the decline. Something about leaded gas. Maybe we have not been so bad after all, maybe the greatest generation was simply poisoned by itself."


"It seems that all my life we have been bombing someone, teaching them a lesson. Every day I understand more deeply how violent we are. Violent to others and violent to ourselves."

4:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Impressive! When I said as much in DAA, in 2006, they did a vicious review of the bk and then wdn't even print my response. Maybe a ray of light is dawning from w/in their cracked brains.


5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Berman,

I ordered a copy of your Twilight book, as it has been several years since I've read it. That was the book that spoke to me initially, just as much as Zinn and Chomsky. Fed my hypothetical soul as it were.

I'll look over the NMI notion so as to refresh my memory circuits and reflect on options as we swirl on down.

I would still dig a book by you on the logistics and specifics of expatriation, from your perspective. I've tried living both in South America and in Spain. As well, I've inquired abt this option in several countries. No paradise anywhere, that's for sure, and it can have a real dark side to it. But I'd like to read your thought on this avenue, and not just for the professional with lots of samolis in the bank. What abt lower-middle class folks? What do we do?

Thanks again for allowing me to bloviate and expose my quixotic nature.

Adam Magid

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


Congrats! You’re made your “first million.” You have achieved the American Dream... while living in Mexico.

If I may humbly add to your list:

-When we told them Mittney was the way, the truth, the salvation, they laughed.

And if that’s not enough proof, here’s more evidence just from the last hour: Hundreds of rabid DC police and secret agents shot dead an unarmed mentally ill mother in front of her 2-year old child. Minutes later, these murderers get a “standing ovation” in the US House of Representatives.

Here’s the article:
“US Capitol shooting: Dozen gunshots trigger lockdown in heart of Washington DC”:

And when we told people that the country is fucked, they laughed.

Who's laughing now?...LOL

6:19 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

What's shakin' Wafers?

Alexey L-

"Work Bitch" will be played at Hillary's inaugural. I guarantee it.


A nice summation regarding American culture. You know, I've been reading many recent accounts about how Europeans here on vacation are kinda stunned that they are being *forced* to leave America's National Parks because of the government shut-down. After they stop scratching their heads about it, these visitors reveal that they think America is in big trouble, crazy, and clearly led by idiots.


Right! If only we can levitate the Pentagon like Abbie Hoffman and the hippies did back in '67. This time, rather than "Confront the War Makers" and attempt to exorcize the Pentagon, Wafers can rally the generals to nuke Wisconsin with a million mini-nuke nano drones. This would surely get the Techno-Buffoons to glance up from their screens, no?


I certainly will order that chocolate egg cream on my next Wafer anniversary. Thanks for the suggestion.


7:36 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MB: Some things cannot be made up. Today in a meeting a person told me a member of congress was assaulted. Frankly--I smiled. But ever curious I wondered who this member of congress was who drove a person to yell at him and shove him. None other than Sean Duffy R Wisconsin. This statesman will surely guide guide the nation out of its crisis and onto the promise of the shining city on the hill. He will draw on both his experience as a lumberjack as well as his experience as a star on MTV's Real World. His wife too is a former star of MTV's Real World. I hope to make a large contribution to his campaign so I can spend time with him and sit spellbound as he disects the implications of the change in U.S. Congress committee structure, weighing the pros and cons of a Presidential system vs a parliamentary democracy and his command of the framework of social welfare established by Bismark in 1878 as a precursor to the new deal. He is known to quote Plutarch and john Jay in his staff meetings who are amazing at his mastery of political economy and statecraft.

8:41 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

WAFers, here is a not to be missed article from NSFWCorps' Gary Brecher, aka The War Nerd, that hits beautifully on how Washington's media-military complex really works. Here is a sample particularly relevant to posts made on this site:

"As for the fake degree, it’s pretty simple. Some Ph.D.s matter; some don’t. If you have a Ph.D. in Engineering, I honor you, because you can presumably build bridges that won’t fall down immediately. And if you have a Ph.D. in Physics, I acknowledge myself your inferior. But a Ph.D. in “International Relations”? Bah, if one may say so. And one may, because one has a Humanities Ph.D. oneself, and so one knows goddamn well it means nothing except that you wasted your best years groveling to tenured egos and citing every other pedant who ever wrote on your topic, whether their work made sense or not, so that you could keep the daisy-chain of citations and tenure going while the entire profession crumbled from accumulated rot."

Please note that as an NSFWCorp subscriber I "unlocked" the post for viewing and it will only remain so for the next 48 hours.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I confess I was kind of bothered by the DC police gunning the mother of 1-yr-old down, for driving erratically or whatever. I mean, it's fine that they shot her and that Congress gave the cops a standing ovation: that is a pretty good profile of America today, no question. But here are my difficulties w/the incident:

1. A revolver? You gotta be kidding. This was a perfect oppty to use a drone, or at the very least an AK-47. There's really no future in law enforcement if the police are unable to Think Big.

2. Why not randomly kill other people who just happened to be on the scene? Any bystander is a potential trouble maker, after all. If yr shooting one, why not 50? Again, the need to Think Big. Without it, America has no future.

Well, maybe next time. There really are so many innocent people to kill, I wonder how the cops and the military find time for a lunch break.

Speaking of which, there is this story of a guy stopped for speeding, and he has no ID. He tells the cop to call him at work in 15 mins, where he has his wallet and ID. "My name is Sexhour," he says.

So the cop waits 15 mins and then rings the #. "Do you have a Sexhour there?" he asks the receptionist. "Are you kidding me?" she replies; "we don't even get a coffee break!"

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Paul Emmons said...

Heard on NPR yesterday afternoon (the program is called Takeaway):

A U.S. law requires every bank in the world to report to the IRS the transactions of U.S. citizens living abroad.

How the U.S. Congress gets the authority to require a foreign bank to do anything is beyond my understanding, although it's probably just a drop in a bucket of meddling. Compliance is so onerous that many foreign banks are simply refusing to open accounts for Americans. Expatriate Americans are discovering that the only way they can get so much as a local debit card or checkbook is to stop being Americans, i.e. give up their U.S. citizenship.

Dr. Berman, how are you coping in Mexico? Do Mexican banks meekly comply?

What would happen if the British parliament, for instance, followed suit and made the same demands of U.S. banks? Wouldn't our government protest such an insult to sovereignty? I'm sure the banks themselves would. As for TAP (The American People) I'm uncertain. Aha, one might hear, what a great idea for self-deportation: we never liked those furreners anyway.

As for ulterior motives, one recalls the "sacred Soviet borders" of the cold war days, which were equally sacred no matter whether you tried to enter or leave. It's time to start preventing defections (especially if they have $$ to take with them). Stanch the bleeding by making the whole country one big prison. We now have the Iron Curtain's surveillance apparatus and little prisons in place. When you can't win and you can't break even, it's a pretty good bet that you can't quit the game, either.

11:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, I don't know what Banamex (where I bank) is doing, really. I report all of my income to the IRS, but my Banamex acc't is as boring as a stale enchilada (I use it mostly for automatic deductions for phone and electricity). However, I don't think the US needs an excuse, via the IRS, to destroy people it doesn't like. Eventually, I think I'll be disappeared, shipped off to Guantanamo or some black site in Uzbekistan, and then tortured to death w/o even being told of what I'm accused. That seems to be the direction in wh/the country is going, as far as I can make out.


12:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And then this is kinda neat:

12:16 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Thank you for sharing your experiences. I understand your feeling of being fingerprinted and interrogated when returning to the US as a registered resident (green card). I am one myself. My wife (who is American but a Waferette) and I often wonder where we might want to be after she finishes her PhD. We were in Germany and Austria earlier this year for a month. I recognize what you mean by "deeper cultures". I am from a deep culture myself (India). I wish you the best in your new life!

Dr. Berman,

I just wanted to add to your comments about the Maharishi in DC. I may have mentioned that I am from India. A lot of these gurus came to the US and the West (and they continue to get invited) from India as you know. J. Krishnamurti tried to warn both easterners and westerners that most of them were fraudulent. When people especially in the US asked if he knew a better way, he responded to them by saying "the better way lies within yourself". He encouraged Americans (and other nationalities) to carry out "self-inquiry" within their own lives.By and large this suggestion fell on deaf ears. Very few people engaged with him. Perhaps he did not realize that the gurus and disciples suffered from CRE, rolling around like donuts (as you say)?

Thank you,

7:53 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

The War Nerd piece that the Dude linked to was really good on joiners and non-joiners and the problems that arise from that in a monolithic culture. The link was locked again when I tried it so have (hopefully) unlocked it for a further 48 hours, (it works on my machine):

8:04 AM  
Anonymous shep said...


"Mr Higgs was an original who taught most of the musicians who came out of Jamaica, only a fool would despise him. "

I hope u do not believe that I despise Mr HIggs. That is the last thing I wud do to a black person. Sorry if it came out that way?

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Dr B:

Thanks for this one:

Can you believe the man is a medical doctor? How come he had a gun in his car? He went out looking for someone to shoot rather than someone to cure.

As I said in the past in this blog, people in America are insane. Just look into their eyes you can sense they are in a rage - all the time.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Edward asked

"How come he had a gun in his car?"

It's the United States. U need a weapon to protect urself, from motorcycle gangs, p-ssed off relatives, stalkers, insane shooters, tea-drinking liberals, Nancy boys, Iranian spies, and government agents. Body armor is too cumbersome to be practical, tho they tell me it is becoming more difficult to find ammo (getting scarcer by the week). Some folks r looking into drones. A killing could be made in that business, I tell ya!

12:26 PM  
Blogger Karl said...

Did you ever review or publish on Death of A Salesman? I searched the site but didn't see anything.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Barry Bliss said...

I don't know anything about Breaking Bad, except that I see so much about it on news sites, etc. it must be very popular.
My guess is it's another cable t.v. show.

Morris, have you read any books by Kirkpatrick Sales?
Not sure I am willing to invest the time.
Do you have an opinion on his work(s)?

3:54 PM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

Good doc here that shows life on the Bakken Play and, I think, a lot about where America is at:

4:36 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Here is an excellent article from Ken Layne of Gawker, who is doing a whole week of posts covering the Bakken oil shale boom. Today, he describes the horror that is the boomtown of Williston, ND. Here are a couple of excerpts:

"Boomtowns don't have to be ugly. San Francisco was built during the Gold Rush, as was Sacramento and dozens of still pretty towns in the Sierra Nevada. Virginia City, home to the Comstock Lode, quickly built up neighborhoods of ornate mansions and a main street that offered everything from Oscar Wilde lectures in the opera house to exotic prostitutes from Australia and China. But since the 1960s, when America lost its ability to see or create beauty, our endless boom and bust cycle produces nothing but garbage: garbage housing, garbage retail, garbage jobs and garbage products."


"Almost everything in America now is hideous to the eye and hurtful to the soul. When that invisible line was crossed in the 1950s, that last stage of democratic design and American style, the tailfins and neon became nostalgia fuel as cheap stucco apartment buildings and plastic letters spread over the nation. We got used to brutal suburbs without sidewalks connected to office parks and strip malls by immense flat boulevards."

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

WAFERS, is everybody here accounted for? I hope this is not one of us:

WASHINGTON -- WASHINGTON (AP) — A fire official says a man has been flown to the hospital after setting himself on fire on the National Mall.

Fire crews responded Friday afternoon to a report of a man on fire at 7th Street and Madison Drive. A witness says she saw a man dump a red canister of gasoline on his head and then set himself on fire.

D.C. Fire Department spokesman Tim Wilson says the man has life-threatening injuries.

His name and age weren't immediately known.

Katy Scheflen says she was walking along the Mall when she saw a man by himself pick up a can of gasoline and empty its contents on his head before setting himself ablaze.

She says passing joggers took off their shirts to help douse the flames.

7:22 PM  
Blogger GoldenTalon said...

Congratulations, Morris. You were right, all along. Thank you for your insight.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sigh...yr welcome. I actually wish I hadn't been (rt). Yes, I predicted our descent into madness, was vilified by the NYT and ignored by the rest. I was just wiped off the map--kill the messenger because you don't like the message. Only now are the mainstream publications beginning to wake up. Two articles in the Oct. 10 NYRB on this:

1. Discussion by Andrew Delbanco of the destruction of our schools by privatization and neoliberalism. It contains the following sentence: "This fall, on the south side of Chicago, thousands of children are walking to and from schools on streets lined with armored police trying to protect them from crossfire between warring gangs."

2. Article by Charles Simic that ends as follows: "How is it possible...that out of all the winners and losers in 1945, the United States is the only country in all the years since that has not experienced lasting peace, but has grown more and more enamored of military solutions to world problems and has of late come to believe...that it may have to fight a global war that will go on for decades, if not forever? If anyone needs a fresh reminder of where the illusion of omnipotence and its companion, folly, lead to, with savage and often unintended consequences..."

I mean, you try, in several bks, to get the country to wake up, and the response is: Just shut up, will you? "Descent into madness" is *not* hyperbole!


9:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Karl: no.

Barry: just a little bit; can't really comment.


9:21 PM  
Anonymous Ken Smith said...

Megan and Dan Henry,

Yes, comments on many sites are offensive and vitriolic. Possibly there is a festering mean streak in American culture and making anonymous comments is a way to vent some putrid steam.

It's not a serious project, but for some time now I have been asking multi-lingual friends and relatives if discussion boards and comments in other languages are as nasty as in the USA. I've been told that Americans are the worst, but Romanians come close -- maybe the adrenalin is still pumping strong from the Ceausescu days.

MB: I could not find "Slouching Towards Nuremberg" on your site. But, here is a link to the essay on CounterPunch. Just click.

Slouching Towards Nuremberg

10:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks. It's somewhere in the Archives, 1-2 yrs ago, but the CP link is probably easier.


10:39 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Ken Smith,

Yes, it wouldn't surprise me if this is a world-wide phenomenon. It's simply a matter of how long it will require for the shadow of "Trump worship", and American Idol values, etc., to overtake the rest of the world. At the very least, even if there are still a few safe havens, I think our materialist/consumerist values will sweep over the globe in so short a time that it almost doesn't matter. All the same, I'd love to know what you discover about foreign blogs in the meantime.

I was reading a Huff Post article on Meg Ryan yesterday. (I know, I'm a masochist!) I have no particular interest in Meg Ryan, but she seems nice enough. Not a terrible phony or anything. But in the comments section, almost everyone was saying things like "God, she looks like a disgusting clown after her plastic surgery!" Honestly, the majority of the comments were about that heartless and mean. Again, I think this is due to far more than mere anonymity. It's rather a profound indication of our culture's collective EDD - Empathy Deficit Disorder.

Indeed, in America, the "other" has no genuine existence any more, except as something to be manipulated for our own ends - or discarded as superfluous garbage.

Meg Ryan might be a Hollywood type and all that, but you would never have seen comments like this even fifty years ago. So hopelessly nasty and tasteless! Yet how revealing that only twelve years ago she was considered "America's sweetheart"! Alas, I guess when "America's sweetheart" no longer lives up to our superficial canons of beauty, she gets tossed right into the sewer!

You gotta love this country.

2:51 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Ken Smith:

Good to see you around! Of late I have been following Glen Greenwald and his work exposing spying and official lying. I saw his work was commented on in Huffington Post (I normally just read him on the Guardian) and was curious what american lefties would say etc. Well to your point Ken there were many, many nasty and hostile comments. What is more though is that the comments were also idiotic. They (the commentors) obvioulsy could not understand the importance and content of Glens work. They did not understand why what he was doing important to democracy and many were repeating official narrative or strange personal attacks on Greenwald. It was really as if these people were hostile and violent members of some psychiatric ward. Not reading comments in U.S. outlets anytime soon I tell ya.

Speaking of comments, I am baffled by a post here on somebody asking about MB reviewing or posting about Death of a Salesman? What is that all about? Next MB they will be asking you about My Dinner with Andre, My Fair Lady and of course Paint your Wagon and The Music Man. Pastrami and popular plays of the 50's and 60"s!

8:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I think the Arthur Miller play was an early take on the emptiness of American life, similar to "Babbitt." Not that I do theater or movie reviews on this blog, as a rule, but I think that's why Karl was asking--i.e. relevance of Willy Loman to the typical American of today.


And speaking of the typical American, my own take, after 7.5 yrs of hosting a blog, and surveying others (plus just rdg the news on a daily basis), is that a huge fraction of the American public, if not 99% of it, is hurting and angry and (to boot) not very bright. They also seem, unaccountably, to have a lot of time on their hands (wish *I* did!). The viciousness I have personally encountered here has been really impressive, along w/constant attempts to discuss the blog itself, and not the topic of the blog; or me, as a personality, wh/is also not the topic of the blog and, when u get down to it, quite boring. It's like you have 315 million folks who, like Willy Loman, hate their lives; but instead of killing themselves (wh/wd be a gd option, in their case, I suspect), they need to find a target, to project the self-hatred outward. So they rave abt Meg Ryan, for example, or they find some no-account minor intellectual figure (moi) who isn't even on the radar screen in the US and work themselves up into a lather, when they cd be studying Sanskrit or taking up photography (fat chance). Apparently, it fills up their time, and enables them to hide their sadness from themselves. (Existential Strain, as I've described it, is also a big factor here.) Depression is just anger turned inward, after all. Willy's choice at least had some dignity to it. The fact is, we're a nation of losers, and I don't mean in terms of traditional guidelines of success. I mean spiritually speaking, we are poor excuses for human beings. Nor is any of this unrelated to why America failed.


10:49 AM  
Anonymous Jerome Langguth said...

Dear Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Here's one for the techno-buffoonery files. I received an invitation today to join an online course ( a "micro-mooc"), the purpose of which is to demonstrate how to make one's own online courses more "human." Unsurprisingly, the proposed strategy is to add more technology. From the course description:

"Do you make sure to address not just the content of your teaching in an online course, but also your students? Students want to know their instructor. This challenges online faculty to integrate technologies, such as avatars, video, and social media, to introduce their digital personalities and enhance learners’ experiences. This is called “humanizing,” which, according to DuCharme-Hansen, Dupin-Bryant, 2005 “reduces the psychological distance between the students and the instructor.”

The course description then goes on to recommend "leveraging new technologies" in order to make your online self seem more real to your students.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


WAF ch. 3 redux, I guess. I wonder if, in the history of the world, there was ever a nation that had such a huge collection of stupid people in it, who simultaneously thought that intellectually, they were the cutting edge. We are literally sleepwalking off a cliff. And I think that comment from Charles Simic (above) is directly related to this. Think of the reversals of mindset it wd require to arrest (well, temporarily; there's no stopping it, really) our disintegration as a nation:

1. Americans decide that technological solutions are no solutions, and throw away their cell phones and related crap, and start talking to one another.

2. They declare that Reagan was a pathetic, destructive douche bag, and Carter a visionary who was trying to lead us out of the morass we had created.

3. They celebrate the victory of Vietnam over the US as a blow for freedom, and against imperialism.

4. Etc. (It's a long list.)

I'm guessing none of this is in our immediate future.


11:28 AM  
Anonymous Ariel Ballesteros Elías said...

Congratulations on the million visits! Many more!
Our great poet and journalist, Renato Leduc (from Mexico) was denied visa to visit the USA during the McCarthy era and he thought to himself: "that's all right, why would I want to visit a country where they make highballs with cognac anyway" I think as early as that there were already people who were starting to grasp a bit of the problem.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...


'I hope u do not believe that I despise Mr Higgs.'

No, of course not--I've been reading your comments for a while and have a vague idea of your position on this. :)

Big Mama Thornton and Fred Mcdowell:

This is odd reporting from Huffpost, labelled a 'deeply hostile' clash between the reporter and Glenn Greenwald. I didn't find it hostile at all, she gave him a platform in the face of a D Notice (gag order) from the government bosses of the BBC. Had Newsnight wanted to be hostile they would have set the rottweiler Jeremy Paxman on Greenwald which would have been interesting--but I still think Greenwald would have very ably put his points across. A good interview, there has been almost no other coverage here apart from the Guardian of GCHQ's part in this. Scroll down for the vid:

4:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

A film that I've seen 3-4 times now, which explores the diff between intellectual and ontological knowing in a very talented way: "Leaves of Grass"
(Ed Norton, Tim Blake Nelson, Keri Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon).


5:00 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Wafers, u know u crave some material on high-IQ douche bags. Today's yr lucky day.

The former administrator of Ogucchi's White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, w/ an assist from an NYU asso prof of politics & other researchers, offers this retort to Robert Putnam:

Fight the Nazis: refuse to know yr neighbors!

So not only is social capital as such of unsure value because pre-Nazi Germany had it, but also, because of that correlation, any active desire that ppl anywhere might have to be friends in real space - to form a glee club or have a kaffe klatch or whatever - is arguably the root of evil ("independent factor...inconsistent with the evidence").

In the next link, another expert, a senior scholar at Columbia Business School adds, "The discourse on social capital in America shouldn't just be about how to replenish it but also how to ensure that it's put to good use." U see, SC isn't totally bad as long as it's managed.

I guess we must accept that widespread idiocy (in the ancient Greek meaning) & maybe a top-down culture are protection against fascism. Because, in the resultant soulless wasteland, no need for a Hitler will be felt. At least, none that could have any serious effect. We must, above all, keep on doing what we're doing.

(The relevant paper is more neutral. Here it is, for those interested:
... sorry for length, MB...)

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Capo- since you've been following Greenwald closely, you may be interested in reading Dave Emory's take on him (plus Snowden, et al.) I would in any event be interested in your take (and others' here) on Emory's take. I can't quite decide what to make of it. Emory is clearly a long-time student of American empire, and has interviewed lots of serious but marginalized researchers and reporters, and written articles himself. But even for me it is getting far afield when he connects Greenwald to something he calls the Underground Reich. I don't dismiss it out of hand though, just as I've never dismissed our blog host's work out of hand, or lots of other writers that many people consider too outre to even read.

Anyone curious can visit, Emory has plenty of posts about the Snowden affair and other such wormholes to go down.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A few yrs ago I read that the New Orleans levees were as bad now as b4 Katrina because officials at state or local level felt that working together on the project wd be socialism. Frankly, I've come to the conclusion that anything not individual in nature, and involving more than 2 people--sewing circles, stamp collecting clubs, bowling leagues, etc.--is communism, and has to be stopped. Happily, I believe the FBI has infiltrated some of these 'cells'. Really, u can't b 2 careful.


7:40 PM  
Blogger Barry Bliss said...

Jimmy Carter really did attempt to help.
Glad to see you say something nice about him.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B, your comment to sanc reminds me of something. I was trying to obtain answers to questions I had from this extremely conservative man.

I made a suggestion called "corporative capitalism" in which people volunteered to help one another. In addition, I told him I wasn't talking about having government mandates but people actually uplifting others so everyone can prosper.

This guy who fought in the Vietnam war blew a gasket. He started screaming at me in an email about his fight in Vietnam and how many lives were lost due to communism.

I still do not even understand how my suggestion was remotely communism at all since government would not even own or control the means of production. In fact, the very bible he believes in stated the same thing I said.

Man, it was like I attacked the man's very soul. You are so right Dr. B about existential strain.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous shep said...


Wish I had been there. Doesn’t take a lot to entertain me as some Wafers know.

“How to have fun in the middle of nowhere.”


The Tenn. football team wore Condeferate Uniforms today against the University of Georgia. They must know that the South is fixing to rise again. Told u so!


“On this day, 45 years ago, hundreds of peaceful protestors were massacred by the government in Mexico City. With worsening poverty, repressive government and no democratic outlet, all the conditions are in place for another colossal clash between the state and popular opposition. Mexico’s rulers ought to be worried.”


Dr. Hack,

Any chance u are going to Lexington in November to Doc’s W&M presentation?

If so, might I catch a ride, if u drive. It isn’t that far, esp for two, if my wife will let me. We got a lot going on around here and it’s possible I will not be able to get away.

Just asking?

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Marcos said...

WASHINGTON -- With the government shutdown in its fifth day, many Republicans have conceded the fight is no longer about Obamacare. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) added his name to the list on Saturday, saying the matter now boils down to "pride."

“Republicans have to realize how many significant gains we’ve made over the last three years, and we have, not only in cutting spending but in really turning the tide on other things," Ross told The New York Times. "We can’t lose all that when there’s no connection now between the shutdown and the funding of Obamacare."

"I think now it’s a lot about pride," he added.

It is about Obama and his race; it is not about pride, it is not about principle, it is not about the US Constitution. Rather, it is about not giving a black man the credits he deserves for passing a law that many white presidents could not achieve for more than 100 years. It is about white supremacy.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous the muted two said...

Not sure all attacks should be aimed at Americans, maybe people in industrialized countries more generally. The rest of the world is passing us up in stupidity. Attack the stupidity, not stupid people. Why the hatred towards all the people in one state?

1. No 1 beer in world is Snow in China, not Bud Light
2. Mexico has fattest people
3. US doesn't crack top 20 in cell phone use per capita
4. Many native Americans are very pro-military & pro-America
5. Most natives never lived in "teepees"

9:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, there is such a thing as irony, yes? I'm aware that Native Americans don't live in teepees. And I don't recall saying Bud Lite was No. 1. I'm not sure it's terribly important. But thank u for other info, very helpful; tho u might wanna investigate why many Native Americans are pro-America (it's a complex psychology). As far as stupidity, I suspect the US is No. 1 there; there have been tons of studies/bks abt it since I raised the topic in Twilight and DAA. And it's *very* important to attack stupid people: they, not some abstract 'stupidity', are bringing the country down. It's like when Tina Fey refers to 'douchebaggery': it's real, flesh-and-blood douche bags she has in mind. Suggest you become a Wafer, put up a post-it; cd chg yr life.


W&L. Wd be great 2 c.u. there, amigo.


Like I was explaining to Muted, stupid people are the issue, and we have many millions of them. Be sure to check yr post-it every morning for reassurance and spiritual guidance.


For extended discussions of Carter see the Carter sections of DAA and WAF.


10:26 AM  
Anonymous Mike Alan said...

I watched about 10 seconds of the truthdig interview with the woman who claims coding is the new language. That's about all I could stand of the drone woman making her case. I worked as a technical writer for a software outfit for one year and it was one of the worst jobs I've ever had. There was more ego in that one wing of a building building than there is in the entirety of the WWF, UFC, NBA, and NFL combined. The software field is filled with some of the most self-absorbed. self-important people I've ever encountered. Many seem to believe that their ability to move pixels around on a screen makes them oh, just so clever and smart...almost least until the electricity stops.

On a side note this woman reminded me of my sister-in-law both in looks and in the way she speaks. She is one of the most boring people I ever have talked with. The most incredible adventurous story in the world would crumble to dust coming from the mouth of either of these women. Someone above mentioned the terror of being trapped in a car with this woman for a long drive. If I were trapped in a car with her or my sister-in-law for a long drive I'd stop at a rest area, tell her to just keep going to where she's heading, hop out, leave the car running, and just start running away.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers/Waferettes,

Check this out:

Americans Suddenly More Interested In "Government Shutdown" Than In "Miley"


6:12 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Marcos said:

"It is about Obama and his race;"

If you're correct, then you may take some small comfort from the prospect that lies before these people: an America, well along on the road to collapse, in which they'll find themselves increasingly frustrated and afraid, confronted every day with the fact that they and their spawn will soon be a minority in their own country, obliged to acknowledge this demographic shift in things as commonplace as telephone banking transactions: Por inglés, oprime dos.

Oh Dios mio.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, parts of Miami have shops w/signs in windows that say Se habla ingles, so I think we're on our way. It's probably true of LA as well.


11:00 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

shep- I wasn't really considering it, it's such a long drive from Birmingham to Virginia. You know? And I'm a slow driver too, so it would be even longer. If it were a couple hours away I'd seriously consider taking you up on it, but these savvy social critics don't seem to visit our neck of the woods for some reason...

11:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Might have something to do w/not getting invited...mb

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Ken Smith said...

Megan and Capo,

I could argue either way, but I might support a ban on anonymous comments. Keyboard warriors would be more restrained if their identity is public. Of course, there could be instances when anonymity is necessary to expose government or corporate wrong-doing. But, the three-letter agencies already have the capability to determine the source of comments and the name and location of any commenter.

One small newspaper in Georgia recently announced a new policy that comments on its website will require the same verification as letters to the editor -- name and address. Go to: "Some thoughts on National Newspaper Week" by Ed Tant.



I would like to see validation that Mexico has the fattest people in the world. I've lived in Mexico for six years and I visit the USA about twice a year. Just a personal observation, but there is more fat north of the border.



In 1933, H. G. Wells published a future history, "The Shape of Things to Come", predicting that in the Twenty-First Century English and Spanish would "become interchangeable languages". But, he also predicted that we would have a one-world government by now.

12:16 AM  
Anonymous turnover said...

Undoubtedly, the influence of Dark Ages America is finally seeping into the NYT opinion page:

The Great Divide: Rich People Just Care Less

"A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power."

Well, kind of obvious, no? But the psychologist who wrote it does conclude that the disregard of the rich shows a broad lack of empathy.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

I enjoyed 'Leaves Of Grass' and agree that it is a clever presentation of the difference between intellectual and ontological knowing. Its on Youtube, which is good, as I will have to watch it again to pick up on some of the southern idiom in the dialogue that escaped me first time round:

Dr Hack,

Re David Emory and his narrative, I think that you will have to make up your own mind on some of his more fantastic conclusions. I am particularly thinking about the concept of an all-powerful Underground Reich with Germany, the EU and present day Nazis plotting to wreak economic destruction on the Obama administration. Ron Paul may be many things, most of them unsavoury, but he cannot be a Nazi--basic category error since the party is long since defunct. Same goes for Greenwald and everybody else that Emory dislikes and repeatedly labels a Nazi, in bold font no less. That's an emotive appeal not a rational argument, a real red flag when someone is trying to sell you on an idea or peddle his books, as Emory is.

Try this from Carl Sagan to see past the rhetoric a bit. Occam's razor is a gem:

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Dr. B--

May I kindly ask of your take on Carolyn Baker and her work? I recently finished reading some John Michael Greer and came across Baker, and I believe (?) I've seen Baker's name in some of the threads on this blog.

Some of the phrases in her titles (e.g., sacred demise, inner transition) piqued my curiosity; however--before I potentially waste my time--I was interested in your opinion. You've been quite helpful to this NMI in the past, especially in steering me away from Ken Wilbur (mental theme parks a-plenty . . .).



10:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Honestly, I never read any of her stuff. Perhaps u might do that, report back to me and the other Wafers. Thanks.


Profile of the US today:
Upper 1% = sociopaths
Remaining 99% = would-be sociopaths
Those interested in a nonhustling society: virtually 0%.


Actually, Muted may be rt, but not by much. I did read some article recently, that in terms of obesity %s, Mexico had just moved slightly ahead of the US. Also, I believe it's #1 in the world in consumption of sugared soft drinks.


10:52 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


There is technically a higher rate of obesity in Mexico. However, its incidence is different than that of the U.S. more pronounced among the younger, the poorer and the indegenous. In the U.S. it is found throughout social groupings. Sadly, obesisty in Mexico has proceeded apace with americanization of diet and lifestyle.

I suspect that the nastiness of comments is a direct corelate of the ease through which you can make comments--a letter to the editor back in the day was a serious effort and well it was vetted. The comments in blogs and papers far more democratic and low cost and they do demonstrate the lowest common denomitaro which is well most americans.

Recently, Der Speigel did a piece on the meaning of the shut down in D.C. namely--political failure and malfunction. Well reasoned piece, astute in many ways. Yet, american commenters all missed the point and did partisan bickering and blame, pointed out that this is true of all governments and did not know that such an event (government shut down) would be impossible in a parliamentary system (prime minister is head of majority party). To me these comments (though I rarely read) are a nice confirmation of the stupidity of americans.

I disagree with the poster here who in very american fashion points out that people all over are stupid and not to look at states. The state is the manifestation of the elite of a society. As an interesting aside, I can not recall the mexican government being shut down since the close of the revolution. World bank and IMF both rank Mexico;s economic management as superior to that of the U.S.

Also Shep, from a risk management perspective, Mexico is better suited to face adversity and the people are fairly resilient--adversity is old hat. In the U.S. the society is very fragile and people wig out over not getting a bigger credit card limit and slow internet connection. i.e. U.S. journalists do not get that at all--see Gray, Taleb and the late Sir James Goldsmith for more on this idea.

Instances where governments in advance nations have had a shut down are rare. I think in the 1970's the whitlam government in Australia shut down but that was rigtly viewed as a governmental crisis and the government was viewed as failed and promptly changed leaders. It is also interesting, that the U.S. has the oldest government (in form and in place) of any of the advanced nations. Though, its plain that americans are not up to managing a parliamentary system (superior in every way except being financed by oligarchs and an independent executive that can do what it may without accountabiliy. In a parliamentary system, Obama would have been out in 2010......

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Marcos said...

James Allen stated: “they and their spawn will soon be a minority in their own country

MB stated: “parts of Miami have shops w/signs in windows that say Se habla ingles”

The problem is that the country belongs to the American Indians, not to so-called “white Republicans” from the South. That a group of thugs came here and tried to exterminate the natives and took over for a period of time does not make the land “their own country”. Further, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, etc, etc, used to be part of Mexico. Obama is not Latino and he does not speak Spanish, so the current and incessant hatred and blockage of his policies has nothing to do with “taking back our country” mantra by white supremacists from the South.

I understand that some whites “fear” that Latinos and Blacks will now begin to get medical care and services under Obama’s new law. But there is nothing to fear if you consider the fact that the same minority groups currently go to emergency rooms to receive more expensive medical care that will be cheaper under Obama’s new law. This thing, my friends, is about wickedness and irrational fear, especially when you hire the same minorities to work in your factories and homes. They have children and they will get sick. When they get sick, they need medicine and doctors. Even Nazi Germany was not this cruel to humanity!

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Dr. Berman,

Yes, sociopathy has been a pet interest of mine for the past decade or so. One theme that keeps re-emerging in the literature is the issue of "secondary sociopaths", i.e., culturally created, as opposed to "genetic" sociopaths. Several recent books deal with theme, such as "Almost a Psychopath", by Shouten and Silver, and "Character Disturbance, The Phenomenon of our Age", by George K. Simon. It seems to be a growing trend, and something that many are taking note of. American culture, no doubt, plays a central role in this.

At any rate, in your earlier post, you pointed out how many Americans feel the "sadness" and depression of inverted anger. I think that is a good observation, and true for a number of people. At the same time, I also think that this is becoming something of an outworn paradigm, and in many cases, I sense that even the capacity for genuine human emotions, such as sadness, has been eclipsed. In its place, there is often nothing but a kind of predatory vacuousness all the way down. In other words, it is probably assuming too much to even speak of things like "shame", "guilt", "sadness", etc., in respect to this new human reality. (I personally like to think of it as, "Homo Narcissus Americanus".)As such, we must be careful not to engage in the "anthropomorphic fallacy", and attribute to people emotional/spiritual states that exist only in ourselves. To do so, I fear, only puts us at the disadvantage of underestimating what we're actually up against.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Ok, now, this one is beyond belief:

She was trusted to take care of defenseless children, but now one Ohio daycare worker is accused of doing the unthinkable -- and filming it.

Heather Koon, 25, faces two counts of rape after police say they found video on her laptop of her "engaging in sexual conduct with an unknown infant." An investigation also revealed an additional victim, according to WOIO.

Police allegedky found the video on Koon's laptop at the apartment where her boyfriend, James Osborne, lives. Osbourne is a registered sex offender. Both Koon and Osbourne were arrested Oct. 4 within hours of each other, and were held at Lorain County Jail.

"He doesn't like his diaper being changed. He doesn't like being touched... When I used to drop him off there he used to scream so bad that he would be like hyperventilating," Andrea Lankey, whose 2-year-old was under Koon's care, told the station.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Barry Bliss said...

I haven't watched a fiction movie in years, but since you mentioned Leaves of Grass the way you did, I decided to watch the whole thing today, on youtube.
I really enjoyed it.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Now try "The Sessions." Not as profound, but a neat story nonetheless. Why didn't I marry Helen Hunt when I had the chance?


6:49 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Dr. B- I'm sure Jim Reed of Reed Books would be happy to host you if I made him aware of your work. He runs a local writers' group, so he could get the word out too. The sticking point of course would be raising funds (unless he's wealthier than I think.)

ellen- I haven't researched Emory's sources for a lot of his claims, so I remain open-minded about it. I certainly understand your skepticism about his incredible claims, but I don't think the fact that they're incredible invalidates them automatically. Also to some of your specific examples, I don't recall him suggesting the latter-day Nazis were "all powerful," just that some were in powerful positions, which is much more plausible. Your point that Nazis ended with WWII is not really credible to me even a priori, without referring to sources: clearly some people will go on holding whatever beliefs they hold regardless of outward social forms. Then, turning to sources, there are authors (eg Antony Sutton, Jim Marrs) who document alternative histories of WWII, how our elites were enmeshed with theirs (the Bush family for example.) It's very complicated, it's not the digestible narrative we get from movies (as you probably know.) Ron Paul obviously cannot be a goose-stepping WWII Nazi, but he could conceivably share some kind of esoteric allegiance to a modified latter-day Nazi ideology (I make no claim he does or does not.)

I haven't noticed him calling people Nazis in bold text (he does turn a lot of text into links, maybe that's what you mean) but even if he did, I don't consider such a device an "emotive appeal" so much as part of verbal communication. Should we not use voice inflections to make our point clear when speaking? He does come across as passionate, but I think that's to his credit in a world of indifferent go-along-to-get-along careerists.

He is trying to "sell [us] on his ideas" I suppose, but when you consider his archive of 30 years of interviews, digging into commercially non-viable territory, this is not a man merely trying to "peddle his books." He's clearly driven by some demon other than simple hucksterism. IMHO, but thank you for sharing your view.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An oracular announcement of this soon-to-be featurette in the NY Times, channeled through the person of Adam Magid--copyrighted, trademarked, pateneted, and FDIC insured):

"Obama: 'Yes! We con!'"
(presented with the following):
"A pompous, pedantic, prevaricating, purely pentagonal President, and his pernicious panoply of pundits and placating, plutocratic politicoes, promise a plenary of plebeans a plenitude of platitudes; plus protean patois that proffers peremptory, parsimonious, prejudicially pugnacious, perverted pronouncements and provisos--produced posteriori--pricking previously placid puritanical polygraphers, propagating presently--PRESTO!--a profusion of protrusions and perennial priapic protuberances.

Predictably, perfunctory perfidy prevails and plainly proceeds.
(Parental precautions and Prozac provided privately).

Procure press-pass privileges, people! pronto! Por favor!
('pparently the positively 'pocalyptic, apoplectic Pleuroma's primarily P'sfull).

Please pardon the provocative prophetic palaver.

Personal 'pologies.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Capo Regime said...
In a parliamentary system, Obama would have been out in 2010......

...and FDR would have been out in 1938, LBJ in 1966, Reagan in 1982, Clinton in 1994? Doubtful, in a real parliamentary style election where the entire government would change hands and the president would be leading the ticket as prime minister. Turnout would be huge, unlike off-year US elections which are very low turnout affairs that almost always go against the incumbent president’s party. Plus, in most parliamentary systems the Prime Minister is rarely required to face a new general election after only two years. But I do agree with the rest of your comment.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Dr Hack,

I did read through quite a bit of Emory's stuff. What I was looking to figure out was the foundational myth on which he then builds his theories. To my mind, that myth (Underground Reich etc.)is a variation/update on the Illuminati story, where all bad actions can be attributed to a secret cabal/brotherhood of powerful evildoers--thus letting everybody else off the hook. Its a neat and convenient story but the world simply doesn't work like that. Its a lot more complex, in reality.

That said, I am not in the business of convincing anybody of anything and I'm not interested enough in Emory and his incredible beliefs to delve further. As I wrote before, you will doubtless make up your own mind.

4:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Bill Moyers interview of NMI pioneer Wendell Berry, well worth the time.

In other news, there's an informative, brief article on the disastrous health care exchanges in New York at Ted Rall's blog. Can anyone do anything that is not a scam in America anymore?

8:46 AM  
Anonymous shep said...


Preface: I’m certainly no great intellectual but I do not believe it takes a string of doctorates or plaques to recognize evil. All one has to do is read and have a reasonable mind. It doesn’t take a genius to know that Joe Begeant’s last words are true even if you haven’t been there before. “ “Dying isn’t as bad as I thought it was going be. I’m just going into this blank space where there’s nothing.” Or, Derrick Jenson’s. ““industrial society is a huge suicide machine”


Dr Hack,

Ah, “Berman in Birmingham” - I wd donate to the cause.



U wdn’t be a McKenna by any fortunate chance?



"It is about Obama and his race; it is not about pride, it is not about principle, it is not about the US Constitution. Rather, it is about not giving a black man the credits he deserves for passing a law that many white presidents could not achieve for more than 100 years. “It is about white supremacy.”

Have to agree with Subcomandante Marcos about Obama and the race thing. A friend of mine describes the daily Fox News tirades as “daily lynchings”.

However, if Mr Obama thinks he is one of them, as is Mr. big white hair, fly-mouthed, Bill Clinton, then he is very wrong. They will do away with him when he is no longer useful.


Emory a closet white supremacist? I detect baloney with all certainty blasters.

9:08 AM  
Blogger jml said...

i came across this quote by aldous huxley and thought that all of you wafers would appreciate it:

"Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards." — Aldous Huxley

Regarding David Emory - I listened to a few of his interviews but he lost me when he hosted a guest who claimed that most photos or video footage in western media of injured palestinians were completely staged and fabricated.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Sir Tagio, thank you very much for the link to the show on Wendell Berry. He is one of the good ones.

"“People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other." -- The Art of the Commonplace

10:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Apparently, the thing re: Obamacare is a bit convoluted. When it 1st got passed--because Obama dropped the 'public option' clause--a flurry of articles indicated that it was basically poop. Yes, it wd include 32 million people who had no coverage, but since it was going to get filtered thru HMOs and corporations, the cost for those folks wd be too high. So it was really the *appearance* of universal health care, not the reality--wh/is basically what the Obama admin has been in general, i.e. a pseudo-liberal illusion.

A friend in NM, however, tells me that the actual availability of health care depends on whether each indiv. state has accepted or rejected the Medicare provision. NM accepted it; as a result (he says), 170,000 people who previously had to go to the ER for medical attn can now get real care from a physician in his/her private office.

Bottom line: like most Americans, I remain confused. In general, I find it hard to believe that anyone, or any institution, in power wd have any interest in helping the poor, the middle class, or the general population. I'm just glad I have coverage in Mexico. It's affordable, and whenever I've made a claim, the co. honors it--no automatic rejection and then having to fight them--and pays 90% of my medical costs.


'They' won't 'get rid of' Obama because he's actually white, in Charles Mills' sense of the term. He'll just go on the lecture circuit like Condi or Colin, pulling in 50K a pop for pap--i.e., touting the 'accomplishments' of his admin. More American dark humor, really. Keep in mind that when a civilization dies, it erects some equivalent of Easter Island statues and proceeds to wallow in bullshit.


10:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: As for Berman in Birmingham, wouldn't that be a hoot? Imagine the crowds lined up at the BJCC, w/signs saying "You tell 'em, Berm!" Birmingham News interviews Mary Lou Simpson, mother of 4: "I'm so excited to hear him speak! He says America has no future, and I just know he's right!" A gaggle of teens tells the reporter: "Bermy is just so cute!" Etc. I tell u, that day is not far off.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Americans r too lazy 2 decide whom to kill. Let the drones figure it out.

Gawd will know Her own?

1:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Now we're finally getting somewhere! I was also encouraged to see that university faculty were helping the gov't w/this. I just can't understand people who have lost faith in the US, really.


1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for turning me on to Joe Bageant, Mr. Berman. You two really, really speak to me and, i.m.o., have your middle fingers squarely on the American Imperial zeitgeist. As the ship sinks, I'll have two intellectual lifeboats. Or rather, as we gurgle under, I won't feel as lonely.
(yet more pathetic, prophetic palaver from yours truly).
Ciao suerte!

3:06 PM  
Anonymous kyle said...

I hate to bring up conspiracy theories but could part of the reason why Americans are so brain damaged be because of the massive amounts of fluoride added to water in most major American cities? I believe America is the only industrialized country to still add this rat poison to their water.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Adam Magid,
Yo soy* poleaxed positivamente.

I'd say estoy, but I'm not sure the condition will pass.

You said no to Helen Hunt ?
If I ever do the same to Holly Hunter (which is about as likely as you getting the Nobel Peace Prize), maybe we can collaborate on a best seller titled "4-H Romance Tips for Dummies (or how we learned to stop worrying and love animal husbandry)".

Re Obamacare in Red States:
Generally, folks in red states have to use the federal marketplace (online at in order to sign up. That website is swamped this first week, but some small percentage is getting signed up for coverage that will begin on 1 January. If the Feds had contracted for some of the computer capability available out at the PRISMatic data center in Utah, maybe they'd be able to keep up with demand. In other states (in my case, California) the state organizes their own "marketplace" and is generally better able to be signing folks up now. I am on the verge of getting coverage in CA at Kaiser Permanente for a measly $1/month. The plan has an annual out-of-pocket maximum of $6,350 but that is a tasty figure considering I am possibly going to have a $35,000 spinal stimulator installed. It's not a bad deal, depending on your income...sick (sic) transit pastrami and all that.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Dr. Berman, Wafers-

Well, this is a government shutdown that just keeps giving. Here's a little Andy Borowitz to help lighten the mood:

Is it me, or does it seem that Borowitz has been trafficking in Waferian satire and analysis of late? He needs to give credit where credit is due: it's time for a "Berman Report" at the New Yorker! I can see it now... "The Berman Report: The news, lock/stock and WAfered".


4:25 PM  
Anonymous Marcos said...

Shep stated: “if Mr Obama thinks he is one of them, as is Mr. big white hair, fly-mouthed, Bill Clinton, then he is very wrong.”

Obama did nothing for the home owners who got duped by the banksters. This told me that he wants to belong to the big boys in the wall street. He does not care too much about us and about the working class. Even President Carter said almost the same thing against Obama.

MB said: “NM accepted it; as a result (he says), 170,000 people who previously had to go to the ER for medical attn can now get real care from a physician in his/her private office”

This is basically why I believe Republicans and Fox News hate Obama – he did something in that healthcare law that will help some poor people and some working class people. If not, the hatred and bitterness against the law from the Republicans would not be as intense as it has been.

MB said: “Bottom line: like most Americans, I remain confused. In general, I find it hard to believe that anyone, or any institution, in power wd have any interest in helping the poor, the middle class, or the general population”

This is one of the critical issues I have with Obama; and this is the sign that America is on decline. This man (Obama) defeated the Clinton machine in 2008 because of effective and efficient use of information and communication. But once in office, the skills disappeared. That left me wondering what happened? He is really the same Obama who could respond to all lies with good explanation? Is this this man who graduated from Harvard? Everyone is completely confused about Obamacare because there is no attempt to explain it by Obama. Something is wrong!

4:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Some time ago I wrote the New Yorker offering to do a weekly column entitled: "The Berman Report, or Kiss Your Ass Goodbye." For some odd reason, they never responded. Antisemitism, probably.


Re: Helen: no, it didn't fall out that way. I only meant that when she and Hank Azaria broke up, I cd have made my move at that time, sent her flowers etc.; and instead I just let it pass, and she hooked up w/someone else. Really, I cd kick myself around the room. Sic transit gloria mundi (= Gloria Mundi got ill on the crosstown bus).


There's also lots to laugh at, don' ferget. E.g., every time I read another 'progressive' article on how we are going to fix things, or turn things around, I split a gut laughing. I keep thinking there must be an upper limit to American CRE, but I suspect there isn't.


5:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Resend the 'suplemento' manyana, por favor.


6:35 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. Berman,

About you upcoming talk in Lexington, Virginia: I live about a 90 minute drive from Lexington. I hope to be able to make it to your talk.

Thank you,

7:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Will be nice 2 c.u., but what I'm gonna say won't be worth the cost of the gasoline. Caveat emptor.


8:15 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Dr. B- I think I heard that Medicaid extension, that your friend tells you about, is only temporarily funded by the Feds; then it's up to the states.. which are broke or getting there.

ellen- I haven't delved that deeply either, but my impression is he would say there are multiple oligarchical factions in play, fighting each other, not one all-powerful group responsible for all the evil in the world.

kyle- read _The Fluoride Deception_ (Bryson), it's a bizarre, fascinating story how we ended up with fluoride in the water. Some of it seems to have been just flukes and happenstance of history, but there are also "conspiratorial" elements. One piece of the puzzle is that the fluoride added to water supplies is an industrial waste-product (I think from making fertilizer or something) and so those big companies turned garbage into gold by selling it to cities. The rest of the world has rejected it because there are many studies showing its harmful effects, not just on teeth but on brains as well. But the US is just this sucker farm that gets sold every bill of goods to come down the pike.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Most Americans have already taken it, but I'll pass this on fyi:

9:45 PM  
Blogger Horatio Nelson said...

because you need an app for that!

haven't said anything about a bazillion hits. don't know whether it is cause for celebration, or that we should lament that the number is not an order of magnitude smaller, if we're wishing the fools collapse of their own (lack of) weight. people on this blog who are still present are raising the tone too darn high!

9:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The kind of things Americans (and the media) are concerned abt (beyond Kim's buttocks):

9:59 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Check this out

10:19 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Sir Tagio,

Thank you for that link of the Wendell Berry interview. His hog killing poem was gorgeous.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Kinda sad, really, and also archaic: if the guy had a drone, he coulda wiped out the entire train, fones and iPads included.


1:14 AM  
Anonymous Captain Spaulding said...

SInce everyone's sharing URLs today, here's a not-so-shocking piece that puts a numerical value on America as a high-doltage nation. (Although it appears that Spain and Ireland might even be worse).

1:24 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...


I have no idea whether or not Emory is a closet white supremacist but he does have some bizarre beliefs centred around a WW2 obsession with Nazis everywhere plotting the US downfall. His site is called 'Spitfire' and the logo is a WW2 era RAF roundel. (I hope he is not one of ours,(a Brit) we already have enough 'little Englanders' of our own)

I won't be opening that particular closet door myself, if I want bizarre beliefs I can dream up plenty of my own to amuse myself with.

Sir Tagio,

Wendell Berry is new to me, I liked the hope poem as well as the hog killing one.

5:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Time for the UN to do a comparative IQ test. I'm guessing avg American IQ is 20+ pts below that of Denmark, India, Japan, etc. Remember, Wafers: you live among dolts.


9:09 AM  
Blogger plotinus said...

Dear Dr. Berman,
I know this is old news to you but the Wafer community may as well get the details. Even higher IQ's must be nurtured and that is apparently finished.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

I've just finished another of your books. I'm up to three, going backwards chronologically. It's interesting to see you get less pessimistic as I go backwards. I really enjoyed Twilight.

I've felt like an outcast most of my life, for simply being curious about many subjects, and refusing to pigeonhole myself.

Next subject: one of the most infuriating things to deal with my my "liberal" area of the country, surrounded by "educated" people, is the fact that most of my friends and neighbors think that everything is the fault of Republicans, when Democrats have actually been more effective at undermine democracy, unions, and the culture. Or rather, both parties are equally culpable. The Democrats are better able to actually do the nasty deeds, undercover of being the less bad alternative. It is a simple fact that Obama has killed more people with drones than Bush, and gone after whistleblowers far more harshly.

@Kyle on fluoride: I was very skeptical of the dangers of fluoride, until I got rid of it for our family. I did this because of a recent study from Harvard proving that fluoride causes higher rates of bone cancer in boys age 6-12 or so. However, I was amazed that within 2 weeks, my mental ability to focus increased unbelievably. I was able to read books for hours again, as I could in my youth. For years I thought I had ADHD or some other disorder. I can now focus and read real books again. I am also more stable mentally/emotionally, etc. I think that some people are far more sensitive to fluoride. It's a real brain toxin. Eliminate it from your diet.

I think this comment will do me for 24 hours. Back to the grind!

11:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Plot, Pub, et al.-

We're living in a joke country, really. 315 million dummies chanting "We're No. 1!" What cd be funnier?


12:08 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

More documentation of America decline, one dolt at a time:

It's Morris Berman's world - we just live in it.

Sir Tagio, thks 4 bringing up Wendell Barry. America doesn't deserve such ppl, tho.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


You’ll love this one:

“San Francisco Train Passengers Too Distracted By Phones To Notice Shooter's Gun In Plain Sight”:


I had the same experience in regards to fluoride. When I used to live in the US, for the most part I avoided drinking tap water. The only time I had to drink tap water was 5 years ago in Chicago, and during that period I felt like I was lobotomized. I could not focus, I was in a state of mild mental fog, etc. All that cleared once I stopped drinking tap water. Recently I also stopped using toothpaste with fluoride. My wife, who is a dentist, says that there are other ways you can get fluoride naturally, if you really wanted to, such as by drinking some green tea. However, even with that you must not go overboard, as it can build up and cause damage to the bones.

The idea that the US adds fluoride to water to help your teeth is just a pretext. The real reasons are much more sinister. After all, it is Adolf Hitler who came up with the idea. If you do the research, you will be amazed by how many of America’s current practices have been inspired by the Nazis.

By the way, nowadays I drink pure spring water I collect myself. Once a month I drive into the mountains and get water from a tested spring high in the mountains, 50 miles from any industry or source of pollution. Once you try that kind of water, the crap you get in plastic bottles or out of the tap tastes totally undrinkable.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...


How do you go about getting clean water? Ive been wary of fluoride for a while. Even the simple statement of the statistics on its use in Europe compared to the US is enough to scare the piss out of me. When I tried looking for specific filtration options though everything I turned up was rather expensive.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Dr. Hack, kyle, Publius, MB, et-al.-

It does seem plausible that the massive buffoonami that struck America in the 1960s may have something to do with fluoride poisoning. Intrigued by the lead poisoning/fall of Rome hypothesis that MB mentioned some time ago, I'm doing some preliminary research on it. Based on what I have read, there is solid evidence to suggest that chronic lead poisoning played a significant role in the demise of Rome. And let's face it, American brain damage and insanity hasta be caused by something, no? Even MB has argued that Americans were not always *this* dumb and completely out of touch with reality.


4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anna said...

Dear Wafers:

Don't know if you got news about an incident last week. The German writer Ilija Trojanow was denied entry in the U.S., and that after his ESTA had been approved.
or the short entry

I wonder myself if I get worked up about this only because he is white. Apparently the number of people who are mistakenly on the no fly list is very high and than there are the people who are on that list by purpose.

My American husband and I moved to Germany this year - and so far we have not regretted it. The only thing we miss is greasy food (Waffle House, Jimmy's Egg, Golden Corral, Cracker Barrel, Appleby's, etc. etc.). Sometimes I wonder if it is not the corn syrup, but the grease which hinders the brain to think clearly. No wonder that it's so difficult to get out of the U.S. A flag made out of grease - has that already been done? I guess so.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

For a joke country:
This was supposed to be inserted in yesterday's post, right after mention of
the Nobel Peace Prize, but I'm getting older and am in Texas right now.
Sorry about any formatting glitches.

Scene: SNL set of old with Gilda Raddner as Emily Litella

Emily Litella:
What's all this I hear about the Nobel Prize in Physics being awarded to a couple of Europeans who studied hogs and bison ?
Shouldn't something like that be covered by a Nobel Prize in Zoology ?
I mean...pigs are pretty much everywhere, but bison ?
Couldn't they at least find an Indian scientist to honor for studying bison ?
Oh, well...what do you expect from a prize committee based in a country
that dips perfectly good whitefish in lye ?
Anyway, I'm Emily Litella and thats...

Offscreen voice of Don Pardo:
Miss Litella, the prize in Physics was for work on the Higgs boson, not hogs and bison.
The Higgs boson allows some fundamental particles to have mass and form atoms.
Without it, everything would move at the speed of light and have no mass.

Emily Litella:
Oh, that's very different....nevermind !

7:22 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Some more spy news, Greenwald speaking to a Brazilian inquiry and avoiding being treasonable:

Snowden's father has made it to Moscow for a visit to his son:

and this cheery snippet from Utah; sometimes I thank the gods for basic human incompetence and common, undifferentiated chaos:

Meanwhile, the Brit spy agencies are dribbling out calming statements on GCHQ and its doings so they clearly expect another damaging revelation soon.

6:18 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

What do you really say about this kind of news?? That her body is matured enough to do the act, to produce the baby, and to carry the baby to full term. But her mind is not matured enough to decide whether or not to keep the baby. Is this not the same body-mind problem that has plagued philosophers for centuries? How can the body be capable and the body be incapable when the body and the mind are connected and work together? If the mind says, "I want sex", the body will reply, "OK, I am ready for sex; I can handle it".

A 16-year-old girl was denied an abortion when the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld a ruling Friday that she was "not sufficiently mature" to make the decision to have one.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Eddie Diaz; what a moron. Probably a case of too much fluoride. He takes his place in my hall of fame, along with Lorenzo Riggins.


9:13 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers,

The link below is to a column with the title "The Weirdest People in the World" or "Why Americans are the weirdest people in the world." This title is also the title of a research paper published in the prestigious journal "Behavioral and Brain Sciences in 2010. Perhaps some of you are aware of it.The column makes for an interesting read.

Here is an excerpt of what I think is the most important part of the column:

"As the three continued their work, they noticed something else that was remarkable: again and again one group of people appeared to be particularly unusual when compared to other populations—with perceptions, behaviors, and motivations that were almost always sliding down one end of the human bell curve.

In the end they titled their paper “The Weirdest People in the World?” (pdf) By “weird” they meant both unusual and Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. It is not just our Western habits and cultural preferences that are different from the rest of the world, it appears. The very way we think about ourselves and others—and even the way we perceive reality—makes us distinct from other humans on the planet, not to mention from the vast majority of our ancestors. Among Westerners, the data showed that Americans were often the most unusual, leading the researchers to conclude that “American participants are exceptional even within the unusual population of Westerners—outliers among outliers.”

Given the data, they concluded that social scientists could not possibly have picked a worse population from which to draw broad generalizations. Researchers had been doing the equivalent of studying penguins while believing that they were learning insights applicable to all birds."

Thank You,

12:56 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

I went the reverse osmosis (RO) route, for a number of reasons. You can do this for under $200. I installed my system myself. I'm a kind of hardcore DIYer, and it was a challenge. Hire a plumber unless you are up to it. RO also removes organic VOC type toxins, pesticides, lead, arsenic... a good system has activated carbon pre and post-filters, which gets rid of chemicals that could make it through RO. Don't cheap out. Your health is your most important resource... from there, you can improve the rest - mental health, spiritual, resiliency, etc.

Well, I waited 24 hours.
Prof. Berman: I've read more of your books in the past two months than any other single author. And here you respond to your readers, and actually seem to care about people. Thank you.

Check out this story:
Armed park service employees terrorized foreign tourists at gun point, at Yellowstone. Wow. I heard elsewhere that some of the traumatized tourists swear to never come back to the USA, that we're becoming a fascist state.

Will my liberal neighbors hold the Obama administration responsible for these obvious political stunts meant to make the American people suffer, as a way of pressuring the Republicans? Probably not.

A fellow employee, a much higher up than I am in my software firm, told me that he's always in a good mood. "Happiness is a choice, right?"

I mentioned this to a brilliant (technically and scientifically) friend a few days later. I argued that this concept was simplistic and actually destructive. He defended it. Lordy. My take is that it is true that you can choose to change your attitudes, behaviors, and strategy, in ways that make your life more enriching, less stressful, and more noble and fulfilling. But you can't "choose" to be happy, or "conquer" happiness (as the awful Bertrand Russel book with the title Conquering Happiness states (I should have remembered that I once caught my brilliant friend reading this book.

Happiness is a by-product of living a life of ethical, intellectual, and physical excellence. That was my view. Evidently, most of my fellow citizens want a short cut.

At first, when I started recovering from the fluoride, I didn't know what to do with the energy and ability to focus. Now I am getting an idea, thanks to you, Morris. Thank you for being yourself, and not diluting your ideas or message for financial reward or fame.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


I’ve been back from Guanajuato for a week now, and I noticed that a pale of depression descended on me as I approached ‘security’ in Houston. It may be, in part, that I have a shitload of stuff to do before I can get out of here.

In any case, my first impression was that everything Dr. Berman says about Mexicans is true. We were there over two weeks and we didn’t meet a single disagreeable person – even as we were randomly selected to have our stuff looked over at customs! (I’m sure I’ll run into one sooner or later – but, at least in Guanajuato, they must be very few and far between.)

By the way, Guanajuato (the city – capital of the state of Guanajuato) is absolutely magnificent – and it is not overrun with gringos. This means that we really have to work on our Spanish language proficiency, which, to me, is a big part of the attraction.

The purpose of our trip was simply to case the joint out, but we found a wonderful house in a great location, so we rented it on the spot. (No, I’m not naïve – my niece, who has lived there for six years, is married to a Mexican lawyer who was present throughout.) This puts us way ahead of schedule on our escape plans.

I’ll be very busy for a number of months, and my Internet involvement will consist solely of reading this blog, scanning the UK Guardian, and checking e-mail. I’ll try to chime in from time to time, but it won’t as often as it has sometimes been in the past.


True, the US seems to be copying the Nazis in many respects, but you must be aware of the many ways the Nazis were inspired by the US. Laws calling for the sterilization of ‘inferior’ people were copied from laws on the books in many US states – Indiana being the most egregious example. The concept of ‘Lebensraum’ is not a Nazi original either, with their concentration camps resembling our Indian reservations, etc.

David Rosen

2:54 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,


The most astonishing American driven movement that caught the fascination of Adolf Hitler was eugenics. Essentially, Nazi eugenics was a derivative of the American race-based eugenics movement that began around 1904 in the US. The horror and crimes of both American and Nazi eugenics is well-documented in Edwin Black's book, "War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race."


5:21 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Dan Henry- Fluoride is difficult to filter, it's an extremely small molecule (or whatever.) The most common way to do it, I think, is reverse osmosis, and those machines are expensive. But there is also a gravity filtration process. A company called Berkey makes a set-up where you fill a 3-gallon upper container and the water slowly filters down to a lower container, passing through various "elements." The standard elements do not filter fluoride, you have to specifically add on additional fluoride filters. This process also removes chlorine, which is excessive in most tap-water (good for preventing pathogens, but damaging to "good" gut bacteria as well.) The standard filters have to be replaced in 3 years, the fluoride in 1.5 yrs (I'm overdue -- maybe that explains my idiot comments on this site...) Anyway the cost is the most reasonable I found, that seems to be a legit company.

Bingo- So your wife is a dentist but entertains this fluoride skepticism? I thought most dentists bought into the official line. Does she keep this to herself or share with patients (I don't judge, if her job depends on playing along, it's not easy to live according to strict principles.) On that green tea, I've heard that, but always wondered if the high fluoride content was the "natural" kind found in some areas, or the "waste product" kind added to tap-water? There are some "alternative" dentists I know who also avoid things such as mercury fillings. I read once that in the old days (c. late 1800s or early 1900s maybe) the establishment dentists (who had a licensing org.) refused to use mercury; but the renegades who used it under-cut them on prices, and formed their own licensing org., and black-balled the ones who had the integrity not to use it; so eventually, if you wanted to be in the dental estab., you had to use mercury. Likewise fluoride, if you speak out against this stuff as a dentist, you can be black-balled by accrediting organizations.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, by now u probably have mental indigestion, from rdg all those bks. Friends of mine have told me they are wonderful cures for insomnia. As for Yellowstone: that makes me feel gd, except it wasn't clear to me why the guards or rangers simply didn't open fire on these people, or drown them in fluoride. They were foreigners, after all.


8:52 PM  
Anonymous kyle said...,34172/

The onion seems to think a chipmunk has better planning than 8 out of 10 Americans. Its great how satire and reality are indistinguishable in regard to the US

11:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is a gd video. The chipmunk is more attractive than most Americans as well, it seems to me.
As a world-renowned prognosticator of American affairs, it does sometimes bother me that when I say that Americans literally (not metaphorically) have shit inside their heads, people just laugh. Getting tired of that...


1:22 AM  
Anonymous Manfredo said...


Can you direct me to the posts on Ken Wilber if there are any? I am interested in knowing your views on him. Ca, you search this blog.


3:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The Search function is pretty easy, actually: once you have all the comments for any post in front of u, you just click on Edit and then 'Find on this page'. The problem is that I can't recall which post contains the discussion of Wilber; somewhere w/in the last 6 or 8, I wd guess--you'll just hafta search. My view of Wilber is pretty negative, but I can't really repeat it at this pt, so I'm hoping you can locate the discussion in your search. Also check out a bk called 'Bald Ambition'.


8:36 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

This is the EXACT metaphor of what has gone wrong with USA:

Patient at Halifax Hospital has surgery on wrong leg
August 15, 2013|By Marni Jameson, Orlando Sentinel

A patient woke up from surgery at Halifax Hospital Medical Center last month to find her surgeon had operated on the wrong leg.

But, that's not how the cardiovascular surgeon explained it to her, according to a report from Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration, which investigated the July 3 incident. Instead, the surgeon told the patient that her other leg needed to be done anyway. Then he asked her to sign a consent after the fact, according to the report.

Patient 34, as she is referred to in the agency's report, was admitted to the Daytona Beach hospital for vascular disease, which was causing pain in her left leg. She gave her consent to have vascular graft surgery on her left leg. But the surgical staff scheduled the procedure for her right leg.

The surgeon talked with the patient the night before about the left-leg procedure she was to have, and he marked her left leg with a pen, according to the report.

The operating room nurse supervisor said that when she talked to the patient before surgery, the patient said she was having her left leg done, "but [the nurse] still had it in her mind the right leg," the report said.

A nurse anesthetist caught the error after the operation was underway on the wrong leg. She told another nurse who told the surgeon to stop.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Oh Lord, have mercy on US. How can this happen? What possessed these people???

11:03 AM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Very interesting article about how unrepresentative modern, western psyches are of human nature as a whole (and how most psyche studies are based solely on western college students). One blatantly obvious potential implication is that the modern, western psyche is an extremely unhealthy deviation from normal. It’s disappointing that the researchers shied away from this possibility when the author of the article brought it up with them (“The three insisted that their goal was not to say that one culturally shaped psychology was better or worse than another”). So typical of the modern, western psyche to ignore this question even as it stares them in the face. And the irony is that these are supposedly the very geniuses who should most realize that their own psyches would be biased in this way! I mean, when quantum physicists refuse to believe their own findings, we can excuse them for not being aware of their hidden cultural biases; but these guys were studying…cultural biases – and still couldn’t see them. Another missed opportunity at genuine self-awareness brought to us by the Holy Scientific-Academic Establishment. Still, good article and good info, so thanks.

On a positive note, I finally discovered a really excellent movie – maybe the most sensitive portrayal of humans as they really are that I’ve ever seen. I really don’t know how they were able to get so many people to act so naturally and simply be themselves so openly and candidly. Amazing stuff – everyone should watch this. It’s called World War Z. Just ignore the typical bullshit Hollywood-style scenes with Brad Pitt and all the fake, “I’m such a good person” members of his family, the military, and the W.H.O. and focus on the sublime, gut-wrenchingly honest acting of the thousands of lesser characters. Exquisite stuff - a true breakthrough, IMHO.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Speaking of American unattractiveness, check out Bill Maher's recent comments on American slob culture and trashiness:

I believe capo posted something similar about "The People of Wall-Mart" sometime ago. Perhaps Maher's writing staff taps into this blog for new material.


Congrats on your discoveries in Guanajuato! My niece has visited Guanajuato many times and has indicated that this is one of her favorite places in all of Mexico. She is twenty six years old and way ahead of the game in seeking out alternative places to live.

Once settled there, don't forget us stragglers still in the Empire. I, for one, look forward to your blog postings and contributions.


12:42 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

Prof. Berman:
Your books are not a soporific for me. They kept me up too late!
I find many books to be boring, especially novels where plot is the only thing, etc. Your books are engaging and exciting, because they help the world to make better sense.

Speaking of which: is anyone else tired of the public spectacle regarding the debt? Dems are certain their side is right. Repubs the same. Neither side realizes that the jig is up for the US Empire. Democrats are sadly deluded about the efficacy and utility of the big government they worship, and they are delusional in not seeing the increasing fascist/totalitarian tendencies. Republicans are deluded about the "free market", and American exceptionalism, etc.

If anything, Democratic partisans are more deluded, because they do not recognize limits to government power.

Speaking of limits, I recommend a great documentary made in Canada: Force of Nature, about the ideas and life of the great Canadian naturalist/scientist David Suzuki. In a striking scene, he explains exponential growth, using bacteria in a test tube as an example. One minute before the test tube is full (and the food gone, and the bacteria dying), the test tube is only 50% full! The point is that human population growth in in the "hockeystick" phase of exponential growth. Worse yet, resource usage per human is skyrocketing.

People think that technology will come up with a solution. A solution to what? Infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible. If anything, technology makes the inevitable collapse and die-off far worse, because it allows one species (humans) to extract a greater percentage of the total energy and resource base of the biosphere before it hits the brick wall of limits.

There is no way around it. The UN has admitted that their population growth estimates were way too low. Humans are in that last minute phase right now, before we hit the bottleneck. It's called a bottleneck, because most humans won't make it through and out the other side.

There is absolutely no constituency for the idea of limits in the USA. Nothing will be done until it is too late (it already is too late). The die-off is actually over-determined: peak oil, or climate change, or economic criminality, etc. Any one of these could lead to a collapse. As it is, there are so many growing insoluble issues, that the question is when and where it starts, not whether.

I think the elite are planning for it, and think they will be OK. They foresee a neo-feudal society of desperate serfs. They are planning for it. Thus, the police/surveillance state. The ex-middle class of both party affiliations will be road kill.

If you ever write a book relating your ideas to resource and environmental issues, I'll help with resource, gratuit. I even think I'm qualified.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Chaz Hōmz said...

I’ve been feeding a chipmunk that comes around my campsite almost every night. We have a nice long chat over Dr. Pepper & pieces of bread. I’d be lost without my little “Munk”.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B and others

With every civilization's rise and fall have you noticed that each civilization reaches greater heights than the previous or am I just imagining things? If I am correct what does this mean for humans as a species?

Dr. B, what gives you the greatest hope of humanity in general?

7:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Please note:

1. I don't post Anons.
2. Pls write to most recent post; no one reads the olds stuff.

Thank you.

2:42 PM  

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