May 17, 2020

The Chicken Farmer


It’s been a long slog, but the editing process for my new collection of short stories, The Heart of the Matter, is finally finished. The book should be listed for sale on Amazon by the end of the month. I’ll notify you as soon as it is online. I like this book a lot; it is a fusion of heart and mind. I hope you will enjoy it.

I do, of course, understand your impatience. One Wafer wrote me: “If this book doesn’t appear by May 31 I intend to get a .357 Magnum and blow my brains out. There’s only so much waiting I can endure.” In my defense, let me point out that you guys have already read three of these stories, which I posted over the past few months: “The Wire Cage Experiment,” “Sweet Honey in the Rock,” and “Circus Days.” But I suppose that’s not enough. So while you’re waiting for the book to appear, I thought I would post another one, for your reading pleasure during the lockdown fog, and so that no one will be into purchasing large guns. As follows:

It was in the late 1970s that I was living with my then girlfriend in San Francisco, in a two-bedroom apartment near Russian Hill that had a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Looking back on it now, the rent was absurd: $275 a month. I'm guessing it now goes for $5,000 or $6,000, minimum. In any case, my girlfriend and I finally split up, after four years. She didn't want the apartment, and left for parts unknown. I had to place an ad for a roommate. The folks who came through: I tell you, it was like Zoo Parade. One person was stranger than the next. In one case, the potential renter rejected the place because he said he couldn't live without hardwood floors. I could have written a short story about it all, really.

Finally, a "normal" guy came by, a stockbroker in his early twenties, very good looking, and with a sense of humor. I didn't know, at the time, that Clive was an alcoholic, and I was fairly ignorant of what alcoholic behavior entailed. But all that came later. I told him he could move in.

There was one aspect of his life that I was a bit jealous of; it was certainly foreign to my own experience. Clive worked in the financial district, and he told me that from Monday to Thursday, all the brokers slaved away at their computers, putting in very long hours. But at about 3 p.m. on Friday, it was like a switch was turned on (or off). All of the young people in the firm would troop down, en masse, to the bar across the street, with the express purpose of getting drunk and laid. I guess it was the reward for a hard, nerve-wracking week. First, everyone got so blottoed that they could barely see the wall. Then, the women would file into the men's bathroom, pull up (or remove) their skirts, drop their panties, and get fucked—either standing up or bent over. Apparently, they had little interest in who was pounding them. Clive certainly didn't care: a typical afternoon, he told me, involved four girls in a row, all of whom he barely knew. Of course, this could have been nothing more than macho bragging, but as he told it, it seemed real enough. Saturday morning he would wake up in our apartment with a ferocious hangover, having only a vague memory that he had gotten laid a lot the day before. It's really a pity that the penis doesn't have a memory.

You'd think a stud like that would be happy with his sex life, but he wasn't. It was the oddest thing: once in a while I would start dating someone, which occasionally led to her sleeping over. This drove Clive into a fit of jealousy. I just didn't get it. The guy was drowning in pussy, but got upset if I got a bit once in a while. He would then act out, usually a few days later, by bringing home some girl and fucking her on the living room floor, so that I could hear her screams. It was puzzling: I was not in any sexual competition with him, but there he was, trying to prove that he could nail the gals as well as I could. I never asked him what the deal was; it was obviously a sore subject with him.

Over time, I managed to figure it out. The Friday afternoon orgies notwithstanding, Clive was a romantic. His jealousy of me was not sexual; it was that he could see that in the case of my (very occasional) girlfriends, I was more or less involved with them, and he wanted that for himself. The likelihood of finding that in the bathroom of a bar with drunk, anonymous coworkers was vanishingly small, and it grated on him. It was also, I realized, even larger than that. Clive was drifting; he was searching for meaning, and he wasn't finding it. His Catholic faith was not delivering the goods, and he was smart enough to realize that the stockbrokering life, with its mindless and endless pursuit of money, was pretty shallow. Where, then, to turn?

I was in my mid-thirties, and I guess Clive saw me as older and wiser (terrible mistake), because he began to pour his heart out about his religious doubts, his sexual misadventures, and above all—his work. It turned out that at an earlier point in his life, he had apprenticed to be a carpenter, and had worked solo on some fairly complicated projects, like constructing a bar and rec room for some rich guy in his home town. He showed me pictures of his work; it looked pretty impressive.

"I dunno," he said; "I guess I got sidetracked. Carpentry is very exacting work, and the pay is OK, but nothing to write home about. Then a friend of mine was getting into the brokering business, and pulled me in along with him. I never really hit the big bucks down in the District—a number of guys were making millions—but it was way ahead of a carpenter's income. Two years later, I'm sort of floating along. I don't really know why I'm doing anything."

I should say something about my own life at the time. I survived by doing glorified secretarial work—for private individuals and, for a while, at the University of California Medical School (UCSF). I was deep into Buddhism, meditating every day at the San Francisco Zen Center, and writing a book about Buddhism for the modern age. From Clive's point of view, I was a total oddball, and he often wanted to talk about what I was doing, or what I was thinking. So I talked to him about maya—illusion—and how, according to Buddhism, most people were sleepwalking through their lives. They never figured out who they were, and in a sense were little more than vegetables. Clive was fascinated by all of this; he may have wondered if he too was a vegetable.

The whole thing came to a head when very suddenly, out of the blue, Clive quit his job, went over to the bar across the street (it was not a Friday), got roaring drunk, and took the bus back to Russian Hill. He sat at the back of the bus, screaming at the top of his lungs, "You're all vegetables! You are sleepwalking through your lives! Your lives amount to nothing! You're vegetables!" Why the bus driver didn't eject him from the bus I never understood, but I'm guessing Clive's accusation hit home with a number of people. Maybe with most of them, if Buddhism is right about human beings. In any case, his life became more erratic after that. There were several more women loudly getting laid on our living room floor; Clive also took to coming home drunk at 3 a.m., singing opera at the top of his lungs. After about a month or so of this, I had had it, and asked him to leave.

I got a new roommate; I never saw Clive again. He called me once, asking me how to register to vote, but that was the only contact we had after he left.

Years went by. I was living in a different city, and one day I cruised by a newsstand, and began leafing through a popular American journal. Looking down the table of contents, I saw an article called "Motorcyclists: A Photographic Essay." It was a series of pictures, sort of like Playboy centerfolds, of various men striking poses with their Harleys or whatever. Except for the very first photo: there, staring out at me from the page, was Clive. The look in his eyes was not proud or aggressive; it had a faint air of being puzzled. He didn't look particularly happy. He was standing next to his cycle, surrounded by chickens, and the caption read, "Clive Jenkins is a chicken farmer in Nebraska."

"Oh no," I said, almost aloud. "Oh no. Did I do this?" As I said, I hadn't known much about alcoholism way back then; I didn't even know there was an organization called Alcoholics Anonymous, to which I could have steered him. So what happened in the interim? I had become a minor author on the "spiritual" lecture circuit, talking about Buddhism; Clive had become a somewhat doubtful chicken farmer. Apparently I had, with my interest in Buddhism, given him a bridge to nowhere. For it's not enough to realize that you're a vegetable; you also have to figure out how to undo that, and not be a vegetable. I knew (or thought I knew) how to do this for myself, but that was where my knowledge ended. As the Buddhists say, you can't live out someone else's karma for them; that's their responsibility.

Nevertheless, I felt guilty. My Buddhism suddenly seemed only theoretical. But perhaps I was being unfair. Who's to say if writing books and lecturing is more meaningful, or worthwhile, than raising chickens? Most of us enjoy egg dishes and chicken salad, after all, and surely the world contains its fair share of happy chicken farmers. But the ambiguous look in Clive's eyes told me he believed that in terms of his own life, he had missed the boat. Shit. I did this, I thought. I "infected" the guy, couldn't really help him deal with the whole phenomenon of self-transparency, and apparently, ruined his life.

I thought of contacting Clive, but I realized I didn't know what to say. Should we talk about motorcycles, or chickenfeed? I had no idea. But somewhere out there in the great American Midwest is a guy on a motorcycle, raising chickens, and wondering what the hell happened.

I ask myself the same thing.

©Morris Berman, 2020


Anonymous Chester said...

So excited for the new collection, MB!

You have such an approachable tone w/ big ontological notions.

Meanwhile, Back in the Badlands:
A Life on and Off the Navajo Nation (in 2020, unreal.)

6:33 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B and Wafers,

My thoughts. What if one can't find meaning because there is no meaning that one can find? What if the best way is simply to quit finding meaning, live your life and meaning and inspiration may find you? In other words, maybe to find the Buddha maybe one needs to quit looking for him. I don't know if this makes sense. Maybe instead of looking for meaning, let's go to Canter's Deli, you get a pastrami on rye.

I will get a turkey with Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. We'd have to do take out due to the social distancing and coronavirus. Do takeout, eat our food and enjoy the moment. That's it. Nothing more. Maybe have some chocolate ice cream.

9:55 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

OK this is America's Hat, but this sums it up perfectly.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Gould said...

Free Men and Free Markets Paperback – January 1, 1965
by Robert Theobald

Amazing how prescient Theobald's work is (as is his "Guaranteed Income"). Not gonna happen in this country. I see Spain and Finland are working it out, though.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


But I have been saying it for yrs: pastrami on rye, w/cole slaw and Russian dressing and a side of chopped liver and a Cel-Ray Tonic, *is* the meaning of life. This is the Rapture; accessible only to Wafers, apparently. Houses of worship include Canter's, Katz's, 2nd Ave Deli, etc.


10:39 PM  
Blogger Jason Tower said...

Thanks for posting Clive's story. What a tragic man- he knew that something was wrong with the hustling life, but he wasn't truly able to figure out how to escape it and find a life of meaning.

I've been following the story of the two American former soldiers who attempted to invade Venezuela and kidnap Maduro. Things probably won't end well for them, although the US may try to save them. It reminded me of another American who tried to meddle in Latin America - William Walker.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Edward Miessner said...


Clive's story sounds tragic. It shows that most people just don't have a clue and are denied it in this time and age. But his life and times in San Francisco were far wilder than anything contained in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City serial novels which he was first writing for the Chronicle at the time and far too unsuitable for a metropolitan paper.

Now speaking of wild check out this story of bad drivers during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Not only are people driving above the speed limit on the highways and side streets now, some are driving at insane speeds! And are they driving like the Germans do on the Autobahn? Nooooo. They're driving more recklessly because they are on the phone more!

1:58 AM  
Blogger Hallvard N. Jørgensen said...

I suppose, with this short story, as with much other interesting literature, we should have second thoughts about trusting blindly in the narrator, with his perspectives and interpretations.

2:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's just fiction, amigo--a construct. Why worry abt it? Trust is hardly an issue (which it always is in the case of nonfiction; wh/is why I'm always harping abt evidence).


5:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

5:34 AM  
Anonymous willy robinson said...

I like this story the best of the ones you've posted. You always write with great style, but this narrative you can inhabit as a reader.

Is it true that SF is the one place in the US where a crazy person shouting on a bus might be treated a bit more kindly? Or is that myth?

5:50 AM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman,
Good read:
Our Civilisational Quagmire – Looking Truth in the Eye
Excerpts: "Carl Jung tells the story of the ‘golden scarab’. It is the story of a young woman patient who was proving to be psychologically inaccessible. The analytical process had become obstructed by what Jung describes as a state of psychic one-sidedness that manifested in the form of a domineering rationality. Always she knew better. “Her education had provided her with a weapon ideally suited to this purpose, namely a highly-polished, Cartesian rationalism”. When Jung’s attempts to sweeten her rationalism proved unproductive, Jung was left hoping “that something unexpected and irrational would turn up, something that would burst the intellectual retort into which she had sealed herself”.

“I was sitting opposite her one day” Jung wrote, “with my back to the window… She had dreamed the night before that someone had given her a golden scarab, a costly piece of jewellery. But while she was telling me this dream, I heard something tapping on the window… an insect… it was a scarabaeid beetle, whose gold-green colour resembled gold… I handed the beetle to my patient with the words: ‘Here is your scarab’”.

Jung relates that, with the shock of extraneous sudden intrusion from nowhere, “her natural being could burst through the armour [of her sealed rationality, and] transformation could, at last, begin”.

10:56 AM  
Blogger dermot said...

Himanshu, that story is from Jung's final book 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections'. It's very accessible, an account of his life's outstanding visions, dreams, and other strange experiences. Recommended.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous opera fan said...

Just finished rereading "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan. It's about the Dust Bowl of the 1920s and 1930s in the Great Plains of the US. Homesteaders, in search of greater and greater wheat crops and money, and encouraged by the government, tore up the one thing, the grasslands,that had held the soil in place for millennia. Resulting in one of the worst ecological disasters in the US, if not the world and forcing tens of thousands to migrate to CA and other states. The "mindless and endless pursuit of money" ruined the Plains. And as it rendered Clive bereft of meaning and soul, so it is devastating the planet.

The documentary made about the Dust Bowl in the 30s, "The Plow that Broke the Plains" is a available on YouTube"

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Opera: Yep, that's a pretty good book. The AmEx episode about it is good too:

The son of the guy who's the farmer in Plow that Broke the Plains (Bam White) is interviewed.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Doctor and fellow Wafers,
Apparently, like Elvis, the virus has left the building. Please watch: Start at 15:45. The way to go was through herd immunity as Sweden did. You don't destroy an entire economy to essentially protect the elderly, or to paraphrase Johnny Carson, this country couldn't ad lib a fart at a bake bean convention.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Piero said...

perpetually surprised that nobody remembers this, it was kind of a big deal

Elon Musk was not redpilled yesterday. His first wife wrote about his sexist drivel in 2010. "I am the alpha in this relationship."

Huge assholes have huge issues

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Bill Hicks once said:

"If you want to understand a society, take a good look at the drugs it uses. And what can this tell you about American culture? Well, look at the drugs we use. Except for pharmaceutical poison, there are essentially only two drugs that we tolerate: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in"

True dat!

8:36 PM  
Anonymous DrNothing said...

Dan, not sure you're right.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Amen. Meanwhile, you may remember I wrote the US Mint, suggesting they remove IN GOD WE TRUST from legal tender and replace it with WE HURT PEOPLE. I have now followed this up w/3 more suggestions:


Wafers are encouraged to add to the list.


9:06 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

I have one.

The American Dream: The art of screwing others over.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

In America, even the "revolutionaries" are nothing more than bullshit artists. I've seen this video posted several times online. It's by a group called 'Run the Jewels' (which is street slang for sticking someone up).

So, they burn a pile of money in this video (while one of the artists wears 25K worth of gold on his neck). Great. They've stuck it to 'the man' and the audience thinks it's some profound act of artistic rebellion. Except, one problem. The lyrics:


Life a bitch, and the pussy fish, still fucked her raw...
I'm a dog, I'm a dirty dog, ha ha ha ha ha...
And I rap it pornographic, bitch, set up the camera...
Ooh, la la, ah, oui oui (I need a bottle of Moët, ho, come on)...
My pockets are plump for the season, I love to cuff 'em...


Even in moments where our art should speak to some universal truths, we can't kelp but regress back to the narcissism of a gang of 2 year olds.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...


10:47 PM  
Anonymous Brad said...

I love this and the carnival one. Just finished A Question of Values & now onto your 2nd essay collection. Thanks so much for challenging my thought patterns. And realizing I need to (and will) GTFO ASAP

3:56 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

Nice story!

Lately, there seems to be a growing amount of work published on the coming 'neo-feudalism'.

This article argues that The US is already there:

Choice excerpt:

"The increased attention to social reproduction responds to hinterlandization, that is, to the loss of a general capacity to reproduce the basic conditions of livable life. This appears in rising suicide rates, increase in anxiety and drug addiction, declining birth rates, lower rates of life expectancy, and in the United States, the psychotic societal self-destruction of mass shootings. It appears in the collapsed infrastructures, undrinkable water, and unbreathable air. The hinterlands are written on people’s bodies and on the land. With closures of hospitals and schools, and the diminution of basic services, life becomes more desperate and uncertain."

4:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There is no question that this is where we are headed. Current media are finally catching up to what I've been predicting for a few yrs now. As an American, one can look upon all this w/disgust. But the historian's perspective is analytical: this is what happens when an empire enters its final phase. Of course, it's possible to have both reactions (I do).


A gd idea, if you want any sort of decent life.


5:10 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers! Again, sorry for the long break from posting, but still reading.

I FINALLY got and read "The Mandibles" - Wow! Given the stupidity of the vast majority of Americans, the fact they will just fall in line to whatever is being blared at them on a daily/hourly/minute by minute basis, I could see something like this happening.

The line that was crossed by the rest of the world in the book to finally stop the USofA from whacking people/countries, etc, was the replacement of the dollar as the reserve currency by the 'bancor'. Obviously many other countries have been thinking of a way to do this for some time.

For everyone's reading pleasure, here's an article from global research on that very thing, China's new cryptocurrency:

Could be closer than we imagine. (Can't tell you how happy we are to be in Switzerland!)

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Please take a look at "In the Race for Immunity, Sweden Leads the Pack" by Mike Whitney. You can find it in Also, read the comments. They are equally illuminating.
Doctor, Philadelphia appears to be leading the US in cancelling singing since it can spread the virus. Many choirs here have decided to cancel shows for at least 2 years "until we get the virus under control." First, they came after the choir but I was not in a choir so I did nothing. Then they came after me for singing in the shower but there was no one left to save me.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Jay Glasgow said...

"Snowden refused to confirm or deny possession of a blender. Like all appliances, blenders have an electrical signature. He believed that the U.S. was trying to discover where he lived. He did not wish to offer clues, electromagnetic or otherwise."

Planning on finally reading Snowden's book next, it's been sitting on my shelf

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Alberto Fool said...

On Chinese cyber- espionage

Orwell in the Orient

10:09 AM  
Blogger Hallvard N. Jørgensen said...

Concerning the short story etc., you're right, only a story. What I reacted to, was the above comment about Clive, i. e. him being tragic. Is he really...? To me, moving to a rural area in order to raise chicken seems like a potentially healthy step, more in tune with nature and reality, so to speak. At least seems like he is doing something good in the world, instead of the opposite. (Difficult enough, in these times). Well - who knows what's up with Clive. In any case, thank you for the story, and hope you're having a good day.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Peter Bonilla said...

"Artist and graphic designer Andreas Mass uses photography and CGI to show how our modern cities could look like if we suddenly disappeared and nature took over. This is a corner in Taipei, Taiwan, where a digital forest magically appeared" [source:

Ozymandias conceptual photography

11:22 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Covid-19 a 'wake-up call' to build fairer society, says billionaire JP Morgan boss

Ha. Ha. Ha.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Cherith Cutestory said...

@Dan: "You don't destroy an entire economy to essentially protect the elderly". No destroying, but you SHOULD sacrifice part of the economy for that. Western obsession with youth and money is on display now. At times I think Western governments are deliberately sabotaging the response to "refresh" their populations and get rid of the old. I work abroad as a consultant, mostly in Eastern and ME countries. The respect for the elderly is amazing. A young jogger in a Riyadh park was scolded by some old man for the "revealing" shorts, so he kissed the old man's head and apologized and left. Merely being old means a person is to be treated with respect, or at the very least patience and kindness. This is 1 out of dozens I've seen. Aging in America is a nightmare.

12:24 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

This is what the country has been reduced to....

Speaker of the House - “The President is morbidly obese.”

President - “The speaker is a waste of time, and she has mental problems.”

4:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yr still not grasping the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Clive is made up. I cd have put any face I wanted to on that magazine foto of him, and I chose to make him puzzled and confused. So the (fictional) Clive *is* tragic. To talk abt him doing something healthy etc. is *not* what the story is about, and it's to treat him as tho he were real. I don't know how to make this any clearer 2u. Yr thinking is extremely muddled.


5:28 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...


MB, your story may be fiction, but the question "How the hell did I get here" is so very real. As soon as I found and finished Twilight I plowed into the Re-enchantment trilogy. That was the first time I understood that enlightenment was not predicated on gaining something, but culling the American Crap outta my head.
Look hard. Illuminate. *poof*.

Thank you, professor.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, yr rt, there is a real ontological dimension to the story; it certainly *cd* be real, and undoubtedly describes the dilemma of millions of Americans, confused and throwing their lives away, for lack of any serious understanding of what life is abt.


6:52 PM  
Anonymous Jim of Olym said...

Peter and Wafers: Check out a book titled "A World without Us'. Shows what would happen to the 'built environment' if humans disappeared. Rather daunting.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

An interesting essay by Edward Curtin on the ambivalent nature of the information technology revolution.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

One of the things I noticed is that most people except for you Dr. B, the other Wafers on here and a few others most people never question the culture of the USA itself and how the culture played a major part in the USA having the most corona virus cases. Example:
I've never seen her question the culture itself as far as I know. It's always about what we need to do but I've never seen her do an analysis as to why we're not doing it. Dr. B, you have.
Personal Responsibility says that one’s circumstances are based upon one’s choices. Yet, the same people who would say this would also say that one is guaranteed nothing in life including the circumstances one desires. So, how can one’s circumstances can always be based in one’s choices then? Truth is one’s circumstances and choices that one makes are more complex than most people think. Life itself is complex and multifaceted. No complex of thought in the USA at all.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Italiana, I also enjoyed reading the Mandibles a while ago. A pretty plausible scenario for how the U.S. might go under. Tho I did think some of the details were silly - like kids named Goog and Bing haha.

Declinist conversations around the U.S. debt often bring up the subject of treasury securities, and countries that hold them "weaponizing" their collection of U.S. debt by selling it or refusing to buy more. I feel like this is unlikely. Mainly because these holders, e.g. China or Japan, understand that doing so in a drastic manner would damage the world economy, and therefore, their own economy. And thats putting aside the political considerations. What seems more realistic to me is some scenario where the U.S. doesn't have enough buyers because no one has any money.

Housing prices after the 2008 crash stayed down because people could not afford to buy all these houses, not because they didn't want to. Dunno, just some speculation. In any case whats clear is that economic hegemony and the dollar as the world's reserve currency has allowed the U.S. to be the most fiscally irresponsible nation that has ever existed. All we have done is move debt from one place to another - housing, cars, credit cards, student loans - eventually the bill comes due.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Edward Miessner said...

Here's a fine example of what passes for journalism here in the USA:

The article could have been a discussion on why American exceptionalism is not always a good thing; it does ever so lightly touch on the cultural factors that cause the US not to be able to learn from the experiences of others, but by and large it just glosses over everything and pitches the optimistic pablum that if the pandemic drags on long enough, Americans will come together and fight the common enemy.

I see it this way: the 30% on one side of the political divide will forcibly subdue or outright eliminate the 30% on the other side and the 40% in the middle will fall in line. Jess sayin'---

9:45 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

B. Louis - the kids can't kelp it. You can seaweed need a lot more classical (literature, music, etc.) education in the skoolz...

Cherith - I grew up in an Asian-dominated culture in Hawaii and yes, the elderly are revered. A while back I had an old Chinese guy jump ahead of me in line at Fry's and mouthed off at him, well, it turns out he'd his place in line ahead of me and was just dashing back into the store to get something. Well, he bawled me out while *jabbing* me in the chest, and I just stood and took it, because old guy. Honestly he could have smacked me in the face and all I'd have done is put my hands up to defend, it would never occur to me to do anything to harm an old guy - I guess in China you can bawl out and jab youngers too, so we were on the same sheet of music.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Rejoice! According to this article Trumpi will be re-elected not only for a second term but for life:
RAY McGOVERN: Turn Out the Lights, Russiagate is Over
Excerpts: “I think this is one of the most depressing parts about the whole situation. In their dogmatic pushing for this false narrative, the Russiagaters might have guaranteed Trump a second term. They have done more damage to our democracy than Russia ever has done and will do.”


6:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In order for Ray's semi-prediction to be correct, Trump's base in the swing states wd hafta care abt the Russiagate issue, and I doubt that they do. They have more pressing concerns at the moment...wh/of course might work in Trumpi's favor. He may indeed get reelected (cross fingers), but I doubt it will be because of false narratives regarding Russian interference.

Meanwhile, various polls have him leading in the swing states, but not in the national vote. So the outlook is possibly for a repeat of the 2016 election. If Trumpola can just squeak by this Nov., the stage will then be set for cancelling the election of 2024.


6:55 AM  
Anonymous Brady Weiswasser said...

Great story, MB! Had the feel of a play, for me.

The New Astrology: How Mathematical Models Turned Economics Into a Pseudoscience

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Kelly L said...

Research claims top law firms are preparing to ‘cash in’ on the pandemic by helping corporations sue states for measures that have impaired profits.

Disaster Capitalism

And the admirable George Monbiot (really enjoyed his "Rewilding" treatise) on the terrible new work of Michael Moore

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Rikki said...

America's response to the coronavirus is the most American thing ever

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

I like stories with a happy ending (I'm a sucker, I guess) and for Clive to end up with "a faint air of being puzzled" is a happy end to me. Isn't that the natural state of a functioning mind in this planet? You can even find out some truths but there will always be stuff that makes you puzzled... "Don't seek the truth. Stop clinging to your opinions." Isn't that zen? Remember also the title of that painting by Goya, "El sueño de la razón produce monstruos"?

And talking about Goya, I remember Dr Berman mentioning another one of his paintings, "Saturno devorando a sus hijos," as a metaphor for the final phase of American capitalism (if I understood correctly), so here is Jimmy Dore talking about how grotesquely dysfunctional the US political system has become:

I love the expression "the Trump-Pelosi axis of evil" that Dylan Ratigan has coined.

PS I think I made a beginner's mistake and commented on an old post!

5:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Myself, I intended for Clive to be bewildered and lost; not happy w/his life at all. Just wondering how the hell he got there.


When you have a nation of buffoons, the result is buffoonery.


6:05 PM  
Blogger Xair said...


I know there has been some debate surrounding Covid on the blog. As such, I came across this and thought it would be somw good food for thought.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Thomas Strimpel said...

Preppers can odd bunch, surely, but I think this dude hits the mark pretty well with his critical analysis on the trajectory of americas current economic crisis. “There are two things that are necessary for the U.S. dollar to actually collapse.”
1) “There must be an underlying weakness in the value of the US dollar, which there likely will be if the fed continues to do what it’s doing, and the countries of the world who are holding up to $6 trillion in US dollars lose confidence in its value.”
2) There needs to be a viable alternative (ie cryptocurrency)

10:40 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

I think the US needs a musical renaissance....Starting with the Philadelphia Sound....

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

You'll have to visit another city if you wish to hear singing. Choir masters have agreed not to perform for at least 2 years-so much for The Sound of Philadelphia. I'm amazed how quickly Americans bought into all the Covid protocols. No need for a Hitler. Within every American is a little Nazi dying to come out. I know so many grandparents who are now forbidden to see their grandchildren. To mention the medicinal benefits of love to the parents falls completely on deft ears.

1:45 AM  
Blogger Mike Kelly said...

Hi MB and Wafers,

I really enjoyed the story about Clive and realize I myself have been where Clive is today. Thank goodness for all of Dr. Berman's writings to help us wake up from the American consumer stupor. Speaking of consumers, the link below shows us some great specimens:

6:52 AM  
Blogger Mike Kelly said...

Dear MB and Wafers,

I apologize for two rapid-fire posts, but I realized the first one had an incorrect link. TO see some real Americans at play, use this link:

Again, my apologies.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Angelina said...

The Trouble with Comparisons | by Samuel Moyn | The New York Review of Books

"Abnormalizing Trump [ie by calling him a Hitler] disguises that he is quintessentially American, the expression of enduring and indigenous syndromes."

8:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Much to my amazement, one of the commenters got it right: "we are horrid people." Gee, do ya think?


9:41 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Here's an interesting article from today's Guardian-

The embedded video in this article from Japan is also interesting-

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Cherith Cutestory said...

American decay reaches new lows. You know that bug spray you keep around to kill roaches and other insects? Some people are actually using it as a recreational drug (with predicable results):

Holy moly, is there any low that people will not sink to?

12:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Read my new book, "Bozos out of Control."


12:42 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I'd post a link but I can't find one. I haven't seen, heard, read zero stories about negative effects of streaming what ever purile, infantile crap people are filling theirs heads with online while locked inside. God if we weren't screen zombies before what'll we be when this ends?

I predict the words "infection/infected" are becoming the new pillory.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth Sanders said...

‘How Could the CDC Make That Mistake?’

'The government’s disease-fighting agency is conflating viral and antibody tests, compromising a few crucial metrics that governors depend on to reopen their economies. Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, and other states are doing the same.'

Again this was intentional and the only question is who ordered it.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Does the article say it was intentional? If so, what is their evidence?


1:15 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Rikki, that article highlights what anyone outside the USA can see easily, that the protesters are typical of those who think that they have a God-given right to do whatever the hell they want as individuals/'Murricans. I can't explain Brazil, except that they seem to be led by forces similar to those running the US, but people in other countries realise the collective danger presented by the virus, and act accordingly.

I don't know of anyone who is happy with being quarantined, but we comply with it with the best interests of the common weal in mind.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Lori Loughlin going to jail for 2 mos. Shd have been 20 yrs. The judge also omitted a urine component, wh/she badly needs.


3:59 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

@Gunnar- The most succinct exploration of what watching internet crap hour after hour, day after day, does to the culture is still, in my opinion, Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death-

Although limited in scope, and flawed in some ways, still strikes me as a good overview of the damage that has been done. Of course most people won’t discuss the problems of the internet and of the narrative drivel people mistake for culture (whether fictional TV type sit-com or horse-race election coverage). As someone who rarely watches anything close to mainstream media, I am always taken aback at how quickly I can tell that someone has a TV or smartphone on during most waking hours- their thinking travels well-worn paths and any attempt to get them to look at other possibilities is met with the blank stare of a cow.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Salatin said...

Infrastructure is mediocre
Research funding has fallen
Math education lags
Inequality has risen
Poverty rates remain high

US economy may not help win Cold War with China


5:29 PM  
Anonymous Flyingspaghettimonstr said...

Y'know, one consequence of Amerikkka's workaholic, rat race culture is that most folks have zilch to do once they retire. I've got an aunt who just sits in the house watching tv all day, eat junk food & play w/ a dumbphone. My uncle's wife retired in her 50s & ended up going back to the grind. She's pushing 70 now. She told me 1 day when I was visiting them 1 wk, that she'd "go crazy just sitting around doing nothing". No inner life, no soul & no passion. Quite sad.

7:46 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

The latest from sunny "Silicon Valley"

Traffic is back and drivers are ANGRY. Esp. around "white spaces" like CostCo.

There's no testing for the non-wealthy/connected. Quest Diagnostics isn't doing tests, and the "baseline study" is actually a data-harvesting operation - no actual tests being done.

Treat this like HIV: Cheap or free testing, anonymous to protect from stigma, but you can then contact trace. Just like HIV without the sexytimes.

Gunnar: No shit. This has actually been a new way to make this place even more soulless and zombified.

2:17 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greeting MB & Wafers,

Had to share this. Paul Craig Roberts has pretty much gone on a rant about the US, the failures of the system at large, and how somehow everyone seems to think that greed is going to make everything better.

Not sure if he wasn't aware of this before or not, but he gets it now.

8:50 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Of Course....

11:47 AM  
Blogger Edward Miessner said...

Slate has a good article on one of the conditions afflicting the US: its blind arrogance.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Hardy said...

It's nothing of news to this blog, but it's still a bit shocking to me that a good chunk of Americans seem to have 0 amount of empathy for those who've died, I guess bc they're tribally "other": other party, other ethnicity, urban vs. rural etc. No principles of community.

Little sense of shared grief as virus deaths near 100,000

9:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The world's most loveless nation. Historically speaking as well.


10:23 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola Waferes,

There's little hope left in a mostly hopeless nation. In a city I've found myself in for the season past. amerika breeds disgusting creeps. You can't make this stuff up. Repeat, this is not fiction. The world we live in. It's reality. Take a look at the face of a true lover.

O & D!

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Grayson said...

With Unemployment Expected to Reach 20%, Senators Take a Vacation


8:27 AM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

More loss of face for Trump and the US( he is doing a great job of destroying the US):

America Last as World Rejects Trump’s China Witch-Hunt

"...China’s President Xi Jinping announced to the World Health Assembly that Beijing was committing $2 billion to fund the WHO – more than enough to sideline the Trump threat of cutting off U.S. contribution. That alone encapsulates the historic, tectonic shift that is underway in geopolitical standing.

The debacle over Trump pushing a witch-hunt against China and the WHO is but the latest manifestation of America’s descent into global disrepute."


8:40 AM  
Anonymous Marshall Tellem said...

Woody Allen’s memoir is as witty as it is problematic
Apropos of Nothing is both the best thing Allen has produced in 20 years, and a showcase for dismaying lapses of tact, taste and judgement that will sway anyone still on the fence about loathing him.

Looks interesting, what a complicated, flawed, and talented person.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Whether on the macro or the micro level, what we are witnessing is a descent into chaos, alienation, and total douchebaggery. Trumpi is only an icon.


8:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: and yet another example of hitting the skids:

8:58 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

As GSWH reported previously, actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli arrived at a plea agreement in their “Varsity Blues” college admissions case. WAFERs will remember the pair had posed their daughters as rowing crew athletes to get them into USC; neither had ever picked up an oar. The article below provides detail on the plea agreement. It notes that the district court judge may yet reject the plea agreement. Prosecutors had hoped for a sentence of as many as 20 years. The author of the story observes that at the upcoming 21 August sentencing hearing, the defense may argue for home confinement rather than prison time in view of the coronavirus.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

That Slate article on American arrogance is interesting. What does Belman say about how even the smart ones are stupid?

"t isn’t that America is not capable of great things. It is—I’ve seen this firsthand too.
We have led robust global responses in the fight against the Islamic State and the battle against Ebola."

You stupid bastards created the Islamic State by invading Iraq. Do you remember that; an unprovoked attack that paralleled the crimes for which similar perpetrators were hanged at Nuremberg?

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Hardy and MB: Speaking of a tribalized nation:

problem is all that polling and they never broke it down by income/race/class. I guarantee you it's the rich white sheeples who have no problem being furloughed or staying home in their 5 bedroom houses with a garage full of woodworking equipment and flawless internet with 5 computers for all the kids that are fine with staying at home for 3 months... stop me now before I descend into the madness of mindless dems that follow every rule an authority figure gives them and the clueless repubs that drank the kool-ade of Il Douche. In other words, get me outta here!

5:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What kind of country we are:

After the fall of France in 1940, Marshal Petain was made head of the collaborationist Vichy gov't. That gov't was esp. zealous in the rounding up of French Jews and shipping them off to Nazi death camps (in 1942). In 1945, Petain was tried and convicted of treason, and sentenced to death; but this was commuted to life imprisonment because of his advanced age. As early as June 1946, President Truman petitioned for his release, even offering to provide political asylum in the U.S. [Can you imagine such a thing?] A similar offer was subsequently made by the Spanish dictator General Franco. Unlike the Jews he sent to Auschwitz, Petain died in his bed in France in 1951.


6:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


For Americans, including the smart ones, anything bad that 'happens' to us comes from the outside; it's never the result of anything we did. The formula is Outside Bad, Inside Good. The US dolt % is more than 99%.


But no mention of a necessary Urine Treatment (applied daily to shoes). My bladder is full, and I'm ready to board a plane to LAX.


6:57 PM  
Anonymous Francesca said...

New poster here. I spent the past few wks going thru your blog, including posts from yrs past, & decided to join the party.

The lockdown has enabled me to recharge my batteries & rethink priorities, something that rarely happens in Amerikkka. Last wk I had a great conversation w/ a good friend, cooked meals from scratch, etc. You said in the past how the USA is #1 in antidepressant use. I see why: We go, go, go all the time & wonder why we're miserable. This blog puts it all together nicely

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

More news on deaths of despair in America. Deaths due to alcohol, drugs or suicide exceeded 150,000 in 2018 according to the most recent data.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I guess lockdown has its uses. You certainly did yr homework. But welcome to the Greatest Blog on Earth, if not the entire known universe. We have many imitators, but none come close to the brilliance, the sheer genius, of Waferdom. We offer many things here, such as over-the-top humor, links to important sources, deep and offensive political incorrectness, and film/bk recommendations, but above all: Reality. Inasmuch as 329 million Americans have their heads rammed up their buttocks, w/no hope of extraction in this lifetime, it's a lifesaver to have a place to go where one can be in touch w/what's real. While the country wallows in bullshit, we revel in truth. Accept no substitutes.


7:41 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Check out this photo from "The Guardian" of Ocean City, Maryland, taken yesterday-

Some people are even wearing masks. Here's a "Guardian" article related to the photo-

The "Boston Review" noted in a 2018 article that "by 1970 over 95% of the nation’s coastlines suitable for recreation were closed to the general public." This, no doubt, is one of the reasons that places like Ocean City are so crowded.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Since Wafers appreciate the arts, I'll ask a question here that has been nagging me for a while. I've always been ambivalent about John Ford: how could the director of such a grossly racist movie as "Stagecoach" be also the director of "The Grapes of Wrath"? What about "The Searchers"? Is it "more a study of racism than a racist movie" as the critic wonders? At what point do the sins of the author invalidate the work of art? Wagner, for example, was an awful antisemite but you do no hear any of it in his music. Nevertheless Woody Allen couldn't help feeling "like invading Poland" when listening to his music...

8:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Heads rammed in rumps!


9:00 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

A FINE American!!

11:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Cdn't run it. Pls edit down and re-send. Thanks.


12:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This also is quite charming:


12:20 PM  
Anonymous Eric Jensen said...

The first wave of the ineluctable tsunami has hit. Many cannot deal with the idea that America won't be springing back to life in the next week or two. We have two months of many people being out of work and many that have not paid their rent for the past two months. The local paper today documented that hundreds of evictions will be executed next week. We can expect wave of business closures, small ones first and large ones with a brief delay to pilfer the assets. Umair Haque of points out the social support net that Europeans and Canadians can count on which we cannot. How quickly and how far will our collapse drag them down?

3:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Links for local paper, and for Haque article?


3:56 PM  
Anonymous Santos said...

David Brooks in the NYT "This is the first invasion of America. The first time a menace has crossed our borders, upended the lives of every American & rocked our ancient sense of safety."

Not sure the millions in Indian Country would agree, jackass!

5:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Brooks is a true piece of shit.


6:04 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

You comment yesterday, Dr. B. about how Americans believe that bad things come from "outside" reminded me of an email exchange I had with someone from Iowa following the 9/11 attacks. After I suggested that the USA could use less fear-mongering and more of a "the only thing to fear is fear itself" attitude, and that other countries had to deal with similar events (pointing out an example with which I was familiar-the rebuilt sections of downtown Nantes in France, which lie adjacent to the medieval city), he said I was "sneering at our fears." He also didn't appreciate my suggestion that US foreign policies made something like 9/11 inevitable, and responded by saying that the US faced threats from everywhere, including Canada. He then cut off communication with me. I haven't heard from him in almost 20 years.

This was all really unfortunate. This fellow had discovered me via my radio show's old website. He was thoughtful, sensitive, and didn't follow the herd. He was so generous that he sent me dozens of CDs for my show that he burned.

Yesterday I googled his name and found that he died of Covid-19 last month.

6:38 PM  
Blogger dermot said...

Wudufugel, regarding the idea that the names "goog" and "bing" are far-fetched, far from it. GF works in schools and has encountered / heard of such gems as

ABCDE (pronounced absidee, geddit?)
Nevaeh (heaven backwards, geddit?)

A few months ago in a restaurant, we overheard a mom telling her dog "Thomas, sit". Her son's name? "JUPITER".

I guess she got their birth certs mixed up or something.

MB, I'm working day by day to move back to Ireland. Left in 93. Ireland isn't the country I left, and the US (though far from perfect then) is not the country I entered. Your perennial advice "LEAVE" is in my mind all the time now.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Eric Jensen said...

Landlords lining up to evict hundreds of Tampa Bay tenants once moratorium expires. Tampa Bay Times

It’s Not that I’m Negative, America Really is Screwed
Umair Haque

He points out how in our great nation we can to to a Starbucks with an automatic rifle, but we have no national healthcare.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hi Dr. B and WAFERS

A quick check-in from Toronto as the city undergoes its first week of easing some of the COVID-19 crisis restrictions. The following is probably tame, compared to what is happening in other parts of the world, but it's still worth documenting here.

Recurring reports of Torontonians violating social distancing and of guys racing and doing car-donuts in the streets. The most revealing development came yesterday, when a countless mass of white city residents packed into Trinity-Bell Woods Park, which is in the expensive/hipster part of downtown, and proceeded to ignore all social distancing protocols, to engage in public drinking and drunkenness, and to defecate and urinate on the properties of nearby homes. The vast majority of the participants look like they were under the age of 30, but believe me, to live in that area today you have to be in a higher income percentile. Apparently, this is what happens when normal Torontonians are pushed a little to the limit. Imagine what kinds of behaviours might manifest in this city if things got truly desperate, as they very well could in the near or distant future? Beneath the surface, even 'peace, order and good government' Canadians are hiding potentially primal forces/energies.

P.S. Still working my way through Dante's Divine Comedy, one Canto per day. Am now in heaven ... er, Paradiso, which so far consists in Beatrice lecturing Dante on the mysteries of life and the universe ...

-Northern Johnny

7:23 PM  
Anonymous L. Kosman said...

Just reread this for the 1st time since college. It holds up!

8:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, most Americans spend their entire lives having lived none of it in reality. At least Tolstoy's Ivan Ilyich had the last 3 days.

A very inspiring film: "The Sessions," w/Helen Hunt.

Meanwhile, during this time of plague, why haven't we had the wisdom and cutting- edge intelligence of

Ging Newtrich
Rom Mittney
Dan Quayle
Michele Bachmann
Sarah Palin
Donald Rumsfeld

and other related luminaries? The nation cries out for leadership!


9:13 PM  
Anonymous Rob Lee said...

"President Trump has upended four decades of successful U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, Hal Brands, Steven A. Cook, and Kenneth M. Pollack write. From our Spring 2020 Issue:


The Trump damaging bit is obviously true, but four decade of success?! WTF! I didn't realize that our string of ME interventions were unalloyed successes? And let's not forget about Jared Kushner's peace plan...Empire failing in front of our eyes.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

Great Depression II is here. Officially.

North of 20%. Officially.

Real unemployment?

There's no doubt in my mind that America is going to tear itself apart like a pack of diseased weasels fighting over a chicken bone. This is going to be a brutal spectacle of Roman proportions.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


See "The Mandibles" for one version of that scenario. Americans will tear themselves apart because that's all they know how to do. Of course the real unemployment fig is way above 20%. The fig for depression (small d) and pain is probably around 70%. We are crashing, and there is no stopping it. The virus is merely accelerating the trajectory we have been on for some time now.


Not just interventions; 'massive failures' is more like it. Cd Iraq be more fucked up? You see why I keep saying that in America, even the smart ones are dumb. What turkeys Brands et al. are; what utter bozos. And they will never, ever see it. They will spout pure garbage, and the 'educated' middle class will eat it up. As for Trumpi tearing down our foreign policy: Go, Trumpi, go! Your blind stupidity is exactly what the country needs.


11:11 PM  
Anonymous Francesca said...


I've dug up an interview Roxanne dunbar-Ortiz did w/ KCRW 2 yrs back, about her bk entitled Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment. In it she dives into the historical origins of Amerikkkans' gun obsession. Have u read it or heard of this bk?

6:18 AM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

In the following article titled "How Obama Could Find Some Redemption" the author draws upon the idea of redemption from stories in Buddhism and Christianity to explore what redemption might look like for Obama? The author gives some examples of individuals from US history (Lincoln, Eisenhower, etc) who according to him found redemption. He argues that redemption for Obama would involve eight things: 1. Apologize for his complicity in the ascendancy of Trump. 2. Apologize to the nation for going out in the Rose Garden and asking people to give Trump a chance. 3. Apologize for Russiagate. 4. Give away tens of millions of dollars received from elites. 5. Suspend work on his presidential library in Chicago's southside. 6. Go public on a regular basis with his all-too pathetically private understanding of the Trump presidency as neo-fascistic – and with an admission that this corporate-Democratic administration helped hatch that presidency.7. suspend work on his forthcoming 1000-page book – his third volume on his favorite topic: Obama 8. Give a speech in which he rescinded his endorsement of the center-right corporatist Joe Biden.
The last line in the articles asks : "What are chances of Obama doing any of these things?". I feel the author could have asked this question much earlier in his article. We all know the answer to this questions.


7:15 AM  
Anonymous DrNothing said...


Let's check in with Sweden, the Control Group. How're they fairing? Also check out the graphs, esp. the per capita. Not good!

7:18 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Comments on and links to articles regarding employment prompt me to recommend the lectures of Richard Wolff, economics professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Wolff has degrees from Harvard (BA history, 1963), Stanford (MA economics 1964)), and Yale (MA economics 1966, MA history 1967, and Ph.D economics 1969).

Check out any of his talks on capitalism and its problems. I learned something from his talks that I’d never known before: the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t even count those individuals who’ve given up looking for work altogether. So, as MB points out, the true unemployment figure is north of 20 percent, perhaps as much as 30 percent or more. Have a look at Wolff’s presentations; you’ll find them worthwhile I believe.

Finally, a book recommendation: Nickeled and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. Shitty jobs and the shitty lives of America’s low-skilled workers.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

Apparently the woman who was Jane Doe in Roe v Wade years later took money to come out and say she was now against abortion.

Another great example of American hustling.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Wolff is indeed a gd guy. I met him at a conference in Milwaukee a few yrs ago, and we stayed in touch for a while. (My contribution to that conference was Essay #4 in AWTY.) As for unemployment: the Bureau also counts as employed folks who work 2 hrs a wk. Barbara E.: check out "Bright-sided" as well.


11:24 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Yes, indeed, it's all over but the shouting:

Dawn of Asian century puts pressure on Europe to choose sides, says diplomat

“Analysts have long talked about the end of an American-led system and the arrival of an Asian century. This is now happening in front of our eyes,” Josep Borrell told a group of German diplomats on Monday, adding that the coronavirus pandemic could be seen as a turning point and that the “pressure to choose sides is growing”.

The next US election is all about who is less demented and disgusting, Trump or Biden. What else is there to say?

11:40 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

In support of the predictions of economists like Richard Wolff, Check out this caller, Brad, as he lays out the what the COVID Crisis is doing to the US economy. It's truly horrible:

1:07 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

The FACE of America...

1:27 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

"America, America god shine his light on thee,
And crown thy good with BROTHERHOOD
From sea to shining sea"

Our doubt it's going down in an orgy of violence (scroll thru the pics). Here's a novel idea that wld give me hope, instead of remembering veterans today we all give a moment of silence to the victims of our "foreign adventures."

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Abdel said...


Wolff's great, so is Ehrenreich: I recommend her book on violence "Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War"

1:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Myself, I love to see a gathering of shmucks outta control.


I agree. Ethan Hunsaker is the face of the future.


Tulsi is the answer! Now more than ever, we need her workout tapes.


2:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Herman Cain's 999 Plan cd also save the day.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Interesting article which cites some data suggesting that suicides and stress-induced deaths may soon exceed deaths from COVID19. Maybe protecting nursing home and vulnerable people and with some guidelines for the rest of Americans to allow for the development of 'herd immunity' could have been an alternative.

Umair Haque gets right to the point that Americans are screwed.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Genevieve said...

Holy crow! Daniel Ellsberg's text "The Doomsday Machine" should be required reading. And most people I speak with haven't picked it up yet. Our greatest existential threat, here, buds.

Trump officials recently weighed first nuclear-weapons test in decades after alleging that China and Russia carried out their own

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Fifty-seven years ago, Vice-President Lyndon Johnson (the grandson of a Confederate cavalryman) delivered a civil rights address at Gettysburg-

His 8-minute speech at the 1863 battlefield is not widely known, and the story of its genesis is discussed in this NYT article from 2013-

3:53 PM  
Anonymous requiem for a nation said...

Watched some of PBS' tribute to Memorial Day - almost all entertainment celebs saying the same trite thing over and over; Country western crooners praising the armed forces. Colin Powell thanking the vets of both Iraq invasions, including the one he lied to about to the UN to get those vets maimed and killed for no reason.

Like Macy's Parade and Thanksgiving, this is not about memories anymore. Just a PR stunt for military recruitment and to remind the public and the world that America is the baddest bully on the block. Don't f*** with us.

Francesia - Just finished Loaded. She convinced me. Had not interpreted 2nd amendment like that. But it fits with everything else I've learned from MB and others about America's real intentions.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Ioana said...

Checked this out last night -

"TRANSIT", in which "CASABLANCA" meets Sartre and the (perhaps prescient) fall of the Great European Experiment

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Don Gilbert said...

Goldman Sachs here paying for promoting Jared Diamond’s analysis of increasing US polarization, in which he:
1) is completely unaware of the large body of research or others’ expertise
2) attributes it to lack of face-to-face communication (including smell) &
3) does not mention political elites or the delusions of the common person

His books were bad enough....

10:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pls don't post more than once every 24 hrs. Very impt to observe this rule.


This kind of 'broadcasting' is not very helpful. For starters, what is Operation Northwoods? Can you give us a link?


1:07 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greeting MB & Wafers,

@Genevieve - yup, Ellsberg accurately shows the folly and hubris involved in the nuclear forces of the world. "The Doomsday Machine" scared me to death. Not a good situation.

Re the Guardian article on Sweden - methinks the rest of the world is desperate to discredit Sweden's approach to COVID. If they don't, then everyone will realize that the world's economies didn't need to be totally destroyed. (Sweden's economy is down, but not from forced lockdown.) See this article on COVID lethality, with study citations, from the Swiss Policy Research Group: At the end of it you can see two different graphs showing the situation in Sweden - the only one you see in the papers is the first one, which generates fear, not the second one, which shows that the virus is winding down quickly. You can also find a much longer update of the facts of COVID on the website here:

1:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You all know that the ratio of Wafers to the American population is 170 to 329 million, however that % works out. Let me return to the film "The Sessions," mentioned earlier, because that movie reverses the ratio. There are many characters in the film, and only 2 are jerks: Amanda's BF, who is an asshole, and Joan, Mark O'Brien's caretaker prior to Amanda, who is a hustler. As for the rest, it's quite a spectacle: they treat each other w/respect and consideration, even kindness. Mark's priest (played by Wm H. Macy) comes off like a Zen master; and Helen Hunt, as his sex surrogate, cdn't be more patient and understanding. It's like falling thru the rabbit hole and landing in Utopia. Can you imagine a world of 329 million Wafers, and 170 assholes and hustlers? How sad is the reality of the US; how huge the distance between what we are, and what we cd have been.


1:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


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


10:15 AM  
Blogger The Wanderer said...

Hola Wafers!

MB - thank you for another movie recommendation. I'm downloading The Sessions.

Italiana... you are one of the few questioning the Corporate narrative.

In his own words, David Rockefeller spoke at the highly secretive elite Bilderberg meeting held in Germany in 1991 but subsequently leaked:

‘We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government…. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.’ See ‘David Rockefeller at Bilderberg meeting in Baden 1991’ and ‘David Rockefeller’s Chilling 1991 Speech at a Bilderberg Meeting’.

The global plan is summarized here with many links to source data in OFF-Guardian. It's pretty ugly.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Another interesting interview with Michael Lind on what he calls the new class war in the United States and other Western countries. Toward the end of the interview (at 54:09) Lind briefly touches on the coronavirus crisis.

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

Hello Wafers:

In my zeal to get in under the half-page limit, I left some crucial info out of my previous comment. The new section of downtown Nantes had to be rebuilt following Allied air raids. I was trying to reassure the Iowan that what happened on 9/11 wasn't as apocalyptic as he believed, and that the world will carry on. Besides, he lived in Iowa, and really had nothing to fear from terrorists, unless some suicide tractor squad took it upon themselves to start driving into buildings.

I thought your Tolstoy reference was unfair to this guy, though, Dr. B. He was, as I said, thoughtful, sensitive and generous, and not really part of the herd. He once wrote me something to the effect there was nothing in the whole of contemporary popular music worth one line of Ruth Etting singing "When We're Alone." It appeared to me, unfortunately, that he had that US-patriot brain implant that seems so common among your countrymen.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, that brain implant wd very likely put him in the Ivan Ilyich category, I'm thinking; but maybe not.


3:18 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman,
As you previously have stated, it doesn’t take much to be shot and killed by the cops these days in the United States. Or, in this case in what happened in Minneapolis, being choked to death by a thug cop pressing his knees on your neck.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In 2 months, 98% of Americans will not be able to say who Ahmaud Arbery was.


5:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I confess to being a little annoyed that American cops single out black people for killing. Why shd they get all the attention? The police have shitloads of military equipment left over from all of our (failed) wars. Why not just go out into the street and mow down everyone, regardless of color? Whites, yellows, browns, purples--you name it. There shd be no racism involved in these endless massacres. "Equality in Death" needs to become the national slogan. (Why do I think these words are just a bit too prescient?)

6:06 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

The older I get, the more correct it seems Malcolm X was about America.

Chickens coming home to roost, indeed. Obviously, the context is the JFK assassination, but the statements here have an eerily timeless quality about them.

"They won't even admit the knife is there..." <<- One could easily say this about the American public at large, which is every bit as vile as the group of manipulators robbing them in broad daylight.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Nice little reality check here for the Schmidens and Killary-bots:

though he gives way too much credit to the progs, they're hardly any different...

6:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


When did the US last win a war? After more than 10 yrs of involvement in Vietnam, the Viet Cong kicked our ass and ejected us from the country. Now, after 19 yrs in Afghanistan, the Taliban seems to have emerged victorious:

I'm beginning to wonder if the US military cd fight its way out of a wet paper bag. In a series of articles of several mos. ago, the Washington Post documented the fact that our Afghani venture was a complete failure; that (as in VN) we had no idea as to what we were doing.

Setting culture ('soft power', Mickey Mouse, sitcoms) aside, in what area of global activity is the US #1? Humiliation, buffoonery, and gross incompetence, I'm guessing.


7:37 PM  
Blogger Alogon said...

In what ought to be a humiliating first for the country whose politicians boast of "the best medical care in the world" like a knee-jerk reaction, Doctors Without Borders have embarked on a mission in the U.S., namely to the Navajos in New Mexico:

8:23 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Of Course they DID...and of Course they WERE...the CORRUPTION in this country is SO blatant that they don’t even try to hide it anymore....

9:13 PM  
Blogger Del Gord said...

MB et al,

Concerning yr comments re When did the US last win a war? Concerning Vietnam see the documentary "The Fog of War"

Also, the US largely funded the French in their futile 8 year war in Vietnam 1946-54. See

It makes my blood boil when I see billboards that say "Marines fight to Win" WWII? It's been a while. There are several around my little town of 30,000. If they really are winners they wouldn't need to put up billboards. People would know it.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I saw it. Also check out bks by Loren Baritz and Frances FitzGerald. I wonder how many in yr town cd even say what VN was.


9:26 AM  
Anonymous BH said...

Dr B,

Sorry to " broadcast". I am using a cell phone and it wont let me cut and paste a link to Operation Northwoods on Wikipedia. The article has a link to the full text at the bottom and the article itself isnt a bad summary of the plan. Basically, if the US military thought we needed to invade Cuba and the Cubans would not start a fight our military was going to have special forces dress up as Cubans and start shooting civilians and blow bridges in Florida. I also believe our military was going to crash a few of our military jets and say Cuban pilots shot them down.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Eric Jensen said...

An ‘Avalanche of Evictions’ Could Be Bearing Down on America’s Renters--NY Times

1:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In future pls use a computer. You shd not be using a cell fone. Besides being inefficient, as you indicate, you are literally killing children in the Congo. This is not hyperbole.


Cdn't run it. We have a half-pg-max rule on this blog. Pls edit down and re-send. Thank you.


1:07 PM  
Blogger The Wanderer said...

MB - thank you so much. The Sessions is a great movie.

It's clear America doesn't want to win a war as non-stop wars benefit our corporate masters. Some examples ...

1. Non-stop war transfers huge amounts of money out of the USA and into the hands of a couple people. Remember 21 Trillion was missing from the 2015 military budget (which is normally not audited)
2. Non-stop war also helps keep the US neo-liberal $ afloat.
3. Non-stop war destabilizes countries and keeps them destabilized as the US pillages their resources.
4. Non-stop war provides non-stop enemies to cultivate fear and hate of "others" in the US culture mixed with patriotic pride that the US is the only country out trying to help other countries around the world.
5. Non-stop war supports the Rockefeller's oil industry as the US Pentagon is the number one burner of fossil fuels in the world.
6. Non-stop war enables the CIA to run drugs and thereby fund it's own "projects"
example: Afghanistan's opium production has grown from low to number one in the world

1:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't think it was $21 trillion. Billion, maybe. But for things like this, we need proof. Give us a link, por favor. Same is true for #6, altho I don't doubt its veracity, myself.


1:50 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

I think this is the report The Wanderer remembers - I remember reading about it when it came out. Since such spending dwarfs whatever reported dollars the Pentagon gets for any number of years - as this article (which includes a link to the original report) suggests, the government has been printing fiat money like mad. I guess this is another example of corruption and decline.

2:32 PM  
Blogger The Wanderer said...

Thanks MB I totally agree.

#1. 21 Trillion missing from military budget 2015

#6. Afghan poppy production and CIA (more available upon request)
CIA running drugs to privately fund itself:

2:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks. In future, pls post only once every 24 hrs.


Well, imperial overstretch was a key factor in the decline of Rome.


3:03 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

With Memorial Day still fresh in memory, on the theory that there can never be too much George, and in response to MB’s question “When did the US last win a war,” this:

“We Like War,” (George Carlin)

3:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I often wonder how differently the US wd have turned out if instead of being focused on war, we had been focused on deli meats.


4:10 PM  
Blogger Politically Incorrect Russian Spy said...

Never thought I'd pay money to see an Adam Sandler movie, much less recommend it to others, much less nominate it for a Wafer Academy Award. I'm talking about 'Uncut Gems', obviously, and it's just about the most biting critique of the spiritual void that is the life of the American hustler (which is the life of most Americans, of course).

If you haven't seen it, run, don't walk, as the Great One would say...

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

The guy who hanged the governor of Kentucky in effigy has been fired-

The article has numerous photos with at least one showing young children present...

6:53 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Italiana/Wanderer: Thanks for your posts about Covid. The “elites” truly despise us. Over and over they’ve put their intentions out there and we ignore them. I’ve been reading up on Covid, and came to the conclusion that it’s mostly a scam to accelerate the long-planned goal of total control. I know, I know, tin-foil hat conspiracy theorist, but as they say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Besides, at this point not to recognize that there’s an agenda of some sort is to suffer from a severe case of CRE. I’m not a coincidence theorist.

I especially appreciated the summary from Off-Guardian and had already watched the Brian Rose interviews and the Corbett Report Bill Gates series. I encourage all Wafers to read the article and look at as many of the links as possible. Once again:

The U.S. is going down like a Mafioso dumped in the water with a concrete anchor tied to his leg, and taking the rest of the world with us. Only a few remaining hunter-gather tribes may survive, and they would never tolerate the Wetiko phenomena to which we’ve given our souls and power.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Lots to think abt, for sure, but conspiracy theories typically involve connecting the dots in an imaginative and 'extremely creative' manner. Most are fabrications. Personally, I doubt that the virus is part of any capitalist plot. Can you give us a document/letter in which some corporate CEO is specifically proposing to generate and spread a virus so as to promote a capitalist agenda? (This is known as a 'smoking gun'.) We need a direct quote, and a source for the quote.


8:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Apropos of the film "The Sessions," here is a poem by Mark O'Brien, "The Man in the Iron Lung":

I scream
The body electric,
This yellow, metal, pulsing cylinder
Whooshing all day, all night
In its repetitive dumb mechanical rhythm.
Rudely, it inserts itself in the map of my body,
Which my midnight mind,
Dream-drenched cartographer of terra incognita,
Draws upon the dark parchment of sleep.
I scream
In my body electric;
A dream snake bites my left leg.
Indignant, I shake the gods by their abrupt shoulders,
Demanding to know how such a vile slitherer
Could enter my serene metal shell.
The snake is punished with death,
The specialty of the gods.
Clamp-jawed still in my leg,
It must be removed;
The dream of the snake
Must be removed,
While I am restored
By Consciousness, that cruelest of gods,
In metal hard reluctance
To my limited, awkward, déclasé
Body electric,
As it whispers promises of health,
Whooshes beautiful lies of invulnerability,
Sighs sibilantly, seraphically, relentlessly:
It is me,
It is me.


9:00 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Good long read.

Played Taps at 3:00 sharp for Taps Across America on Monday. Wonder if it did the bums and degenerates haunting our (very historical, several monuments) park any good?

10:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

alex, and ps: Sar: apparently there are websites claiming that the virus is part of a Jewish (and/or Israeli) plot. Yet another (historical, and very traditional) way of connecting the dots....

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Trevor York said...

For Donald Winnicott, the psyche is not inside us but between us

10:58 AM  
Blogger The Wanderer said...

We're in a global reset of power as Rockefeller's et al use this medical crisis to fan a fear of death. One of the objectives:implement nanotechnology to control the human race.

2010 Rockefeller Foundation *how to use technology and crisis to move toward One World Government we're in Lockstep in scenarios

event201: Gates, Rockefellers etc. simulate a pandemic in October 2019

video of Pompeo calling C19 a live exercise and Trump replies "you should have told us"

May 2020 Gates global patent insert chip that monitors a person’s daily physical activity in return for cryptocurrency.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

True Believer Dept.:

Chris Hedges is jumping into the electoral arena, running for Congress on the Green Party ticket in his New Jersey district. I gasp at how incredibly naive he is:


11:29 AM  
Anonymous Cherith Cutestory said...

re: Hedges running for office, I hope they don't Robert Kennedy him. Though he is wasting his time pinning hope on saving the sinking ship, I sympathize with him. It's a coping mechanism. It's not easy giving up all hope and believing this prosperous superpower you grew up under is in its death throes. When I came to that realization it was a slow and painful process. Gotta feel for the guy.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It really is hard to believe. So now he thinks electoral politics is the road to radical change. And on the Green ticket, no less. Whatever happened to the uprising of the masses? It's almost as tho he was demented. I hafta say, it's been a pleasure not having his weekly 'broadcasts' on the need for revolution, anymore; that was so incredibly tedious. Hopefully this election will bury him, and he'll finally, finally, get off the stage; maybe move to Oregon and start growing rhubarb. The bottom line is that the guy doesn't really know *what* he thinks, wh/is why he looks like a sad sack.


Check out CTOS, ch. 1.


I wasn't able to download the Pompeo thing, but as for the other two: it's easy to read evil into these futuristic planning scenarios when they really are just hypothetical exercises; the dots can be connected in any # of ways. As LBJ once said, we have contingency plans for bombing the USSR, but it hardly means we're gonna do it. Future Studies is a well-developed field of research for many years now; all avenues get explored, even dark ones, but this is not evidence of a global capitalist conspiracy. The 2010 Rockefeller report doesn't mention pandemics; it is also concerned abt dealing w/global poverty. As for including pandemic possibilities in Future Studies, I'd be surprised if the field *didn't* try to assess what might happen.

I actually attended a couple of FS conferences yrs ago; they seemed to me pretty naïve and lame. What rarely gets factored in--wh/wd be pretty hard to do--is the law of unintended consequences. Some examples. In 1984 I gave a lecture at the U of Victoria (BC) at a conference on "Tech and the Future," or some such thing. Speaker after speaker said how great it was all gonna be. I was the only dissenting voice, and the only one whom the audience interrupted, as they cdn't tolerate the possibility that tech might not usher in a rosy future. Patrick Suppes, then at Stanford, now dead, was literally yelling at me (so much for enlightened intellectual dialogue). Most of the audience just chuckled or humored me: how naïve I was, how quaint. Meanwhile, much of what I predicted abt things like the new video technologies came true.*

3 yrs later, the National Academy of Sciences hosted a similar conference in DC. In this case, I was invited to attend, but not as a speaker. The whole thing was, once again, absurd. The new tech had burst upon us, and would reshape all of education (but in a positive way, of course). No idea that we shd use the humanities to generate our educational goals, and then use tech as a 'servant', to carry those goals out. Wm Gibson stood up and gave a nutso rave abt the Internet; he seemed to be in a state of ecstasy. That such crap cd infiltrate the NAS was a real wake-up call for me.

Neither conference discussed the possibility of the law of unintended consequences, and that of course is what we are living w/rt now. Which is why I don't read a capitalist plot into these pandemic or latest tech 'exercises' . That we are headed for hell in a basket, that I don't doubt; but it's likely because of that law, not by deliberate design or some lurking evil. I mean, who wd have predicted that 94% of Internet use wd be devoted to pornography? Not Wm Gibson, nor the NAS, nor Patrick Suppes. I'm not any sort of expert in the field of FS, but experience tends to bear out the trend, that we go from utopian expectations to winding up in the toilet. So I'm not suspicious of FS or pandemic 'exercises'; might as well try to figure out the possibilities, gd and bad, IF we devote a large section to unintended consequences, just as conjecture.


*I keep wondering when researchers will finally say, "Jesus, this guy had it rt all along." As I've said b4, probably Chinese scholars poking thru my bks, papers, and anything else at the NY Public Libe, 50 yrs from now, shaking their heads incredulously and saying, "This guy Belman…"

12:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Except that he wd seem to be deranged. And lack courage. Jesus, what wd it take to finally say, "OK, it's over"? I don't think there's enuf therapy in all of Northern Cal to get him outta Disneyland and into Reality.


1:02 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Not that I doubt that sites claiming that Jews created the virus exist, but do you have any links? This week I saw a PBS doc on "four mutations" of antisemitism, and some of the examples it gave were pretty shocking.

On the other hand, they also took shots at the UK Labour party, citing "thousands" of examples of its antisemitism, none of which they showed, but which I suspect were merely comments concerned with the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I ran across 2 such websites yesterday, as part of some sort of expose of rt-wing activity, but I didn't save or record them. Sorry. They sure love the word 'kike', tho.


1:50 PM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,
Re the virus – I don't think you're going to find any quotes. But I think this latest 'novel' virus to show up provided an opportunity for the greedy and unscrupulous to act. Note that in the last 20 years there have been more and more of these 'novel' viruses - e.g. SARS, Swine Flu, etc – both of which were massively hyped, but ended up being duds. I believe SARS ended up killing less than 1000 folks worldwide (it was actually deadly, but not very transmissible), and Swine Flu ended up not infecting many folks at all, despite the CDC's numbers (see Sharyl Atkinsons's Podcast on this: As she discovered, virtually none of the reported deaths or even cases of Swine Flu were real - tests showed the vast majority were not even the flu, never mind the Swine Flu, so the CDC actually stopped counting - but still continued to hype it. So taking something like this and running with it has happened before - they just got lucky that this iteration killed more people (although it's still within overall yearly flu death numbers).
Also, note Dr Fauci’s NIAID funded “gain of function” research (to make viruses more deadly) at the Wuhan lab: ( Add in all the chatter now from Bill Gates’ Foundation, WHO, and others to mass vaccinate the entire world, which would generate massive profits for him and big Pharma (it is all about greed/hustling, isn’t it??), and you can see how control of a population by fear and panic would be beneficial and profitable.
In summary - whatever game is being played, I believe it’s all about control, power and money. Doesn't have to be the Bilderberg group. But impoverishing much of the population makes everyone desperate, and ready to fall in line.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous DentalFloss said...

So I guess it's legal for cops to kill people in Minnesota and beyond even on video.
What bills reflect that legality?

Those Russians and their non-linear warfare.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Don't tell me Americans aren't fine people:

6:33 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

All the talk around microsoft's patent isn't "connecting the dots", its drawing string between dots that are 100 miles away from each other. . There are literally 100s of thousands of patents filed in the U.S. every year, many by tech companies trying to get a future edge on their competitors by throwing anything they can into a patent. bio-monitoring tech has been discussed for decades and since this is the US will end up as another thing on the shelf at best buy. Using this as evidence only shows the people flipping out over it don't know much about the tech business.

This doesn't mean no conspiracy theories turn out to be true - look at the history of the CIA. But the difference between tinfoil BS and and something worth investigating is evidence and solid reasoning - which I don't see a lot of regarding the fringe discussions around corona virus. Many of these theories involving the government contradict themselves by asserting that the government is both incredibly competent and incredibly incompetent at the same time, depending on which sentence the believer is trying to prove.

I guess we can post links to each other all day, it depends on who you want to believe. But I wouldn't necessarily believe someone like Sharyl Attkisson, who has a history of promoting the vaccine autism theory, and one of the top links on her site right now is a chummy interview with Oliver North, not exactly a stamp of credibility from my point of view.

I used to follow Kunstler's blog and finally stopped because the community over there became a conspiracy-fueled cesspool. I hope this blog is not going in the same direction. Pretty bummed to see this kind of stuff from regulars on this blog. Sorry to be negative, just my 2 cents.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Tempest in a teapot?

I live a mile or two from some of the rioting in St. Paul. Just imagine if this were a bunch of rednecks with AK-47s on their shoulders, there would be permits and police escorts and fireworks and shit. A few black, brown, red or yellow people pissed off (as they should be) and it's national guard time.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Morris: Well, I too doubt that the virus is part of a plot, even though it most likely was engineered (the resultant panic over it is something else altogether). I can’t give you any CEO document/letter - I agree w/Italiana that it doesn’t work that way. But we know conspiracies exist because they’ve been exposed, although quickly buried.

I understand the concept of unintended consequences, but surely not all of them should be detrimental, and yet they are. So I don’t think you have to connect the dots in an imaginative way to know that many things are planned; one need only pay attention to what’s going on. There’s also the fact that alternative narratives are often given the pejorative label of conspiracy theory to discredit them, or to add outrageous claims, like C19 is a Jewish plot. Sort of like an agent provocateur. Again, I would classify myself as a conspiracy realist, not a theorist.

In the meantime, there’s this:

BTW, I know two people who got the swine flu vaccination: one is merely disabled and the other paralyzed. My analysis is that it’s all about the vaccine and control.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Forgive the double post, but every credible scientific source I have looked at has come to the conclusion that covid19 is not man made:

If you have evidence from genetic analysis that shows something different, I'd be interested in seeing it.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Rule of Parsimony: don't complicate things unnecessarily. This is what conspiracy theories do. Not that they are always wrong, but it makes sense to opt for Occam's Razor most of the time (the explanation that requires the smallest number of assumptions is usually correct). And they hafta be taken case by case. Thus far, I see no smoking gun, and no evidence tying big-time capitalism to creating and spreading a virus so as to further its agenda. Any more than it's a Jewish plot to take over the world. Explanation for unintended consequences: accidents happen, and people fuck up. When you have a # of nonlinear variables in a system, chances are there will be an (unexpected) joker in the pack.


I don't know what Jim is advocating, but I think you can see that I don't put much credence in these various theories. The fact remains that you can always connect the dots to 'prove' your theory. I'm sure somewhere somebody wrote an article 'showing' that JFK was killed because he had too much sugar in his urine, or perhaps OD'd on deli meats. The reality check is always the evidence, wh/cannot be a matter of suggestion or innuendo. I can't remember, but did Trumpi and his minions abandon the 'birther' theory after Obama produced his birth certificate? Probably not. Yes, conspiracies do occur, but so do accidents and random fuckups, and as of now, that looks like the best explanation we have for the virus. Pompeo calling it an 'exercise' doesn't mean very much, as I've already indicated. Anyway, like you, I too am tired of all this. I *am* certain that the Power Elite is scrambling to keep capitalism/neoliberalism/globalization intact, and yet is the virus aiding that effort or hurting it? That capitalism etc. is finished (in this century) is something that I, Immanuel Wallerstein, Wolfgang Streeck, and many others have been saying for years. Wally is not around to comment, but it looks to me like the virus is accelerating this inevitable decline. Jesus, no socioeconomic formation lasts forever, and historically speaking, capitalism is one of the least stable around. Current US unemployment rate is 15%, bad enuf, but 30% wd probably be a more realistic estimate, esp. given how those data are inevitably fudged. How many Americans are broke, desperate, living on the edge? 60%? 70%? There's little chance of that situation improving, imo. The virus seems to be speeding up the self-destruction of the system, as far as I can tell, but the system w/or w/o the virus is on its last legs.

There will be a post-virus world, and then what? That's what we need to be discussing, not some verkakte theory about Jews or capitalists or sugar content in our urine.

BTW, in future, watch length.


8:33 PM  
Anonymous Elsa M. said...

"I was informed today according to FCC rules I can't run for federal office & and have a national TV show. Therefore, I won't run for the seat in the 12th District of NJ. I entered the race to bring up issues I care about, but this is not worth losing an important media platform.I entered the race to challenge the corruption of the Democratic Party, especially the Democratic Party machine in New Jersey, one of the worst in the nation.It was never about winning, but raising public awareness and building popular opposition to the ruling political elites that will not be successful in the limited span of one election cycle, but must begin to take root."

-Chris Hedges

What. A. Joke.

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

MB: Jim Kunstler is the same old crank as he's ever been and still incisive about economic issues, but he doesn't moderate his comment section so it degrades into the nuttiest, racist junk you can imagine this side of the dark web. I assume that's what wudu is taking about. In fact, this is about the only site on the internet I actually read the comments. Thanks Dr. B!

9:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The comments on this blog are far and away better than my posts. Our goal is dialogue, not trash.


What national TV show is he talking abt? Gott in Himmel! Will we hafta listen to more Hedgean delusion? How much can a wo/man take, in one lifetime? As for his alleged motivation for running for Congress: what more evidence do we need before concluding that the man is not merely a jackass, but an outright joke?

ps: Wudu: Yr seriously asking me if I have evidence from genetic analysis abt the origins of the virus? Really?


9:41 PM  
Anonymous Yoogoogulator said...

To answer Dr. B's question as to the whereabouts of the revolution.

"Corporate restructuring" led to demise of his uprising. Once the corporate cash faucet was turned off it was clear he was marooned. After some protest and management cutting power to the building Hedges finally agreed to climb down off his truthdig soapbox and vacate the property. Hedges was told managment was restructuring. To borrow a line from the film Good will hunting:
"Yea, restructuring them out of retards"

After a two week tequila bender Hedges comes to realize the revolution will not be televised. After hatching a plan to get on TV he announces for the green party. Better a green party than no party at all.

12:05 AM  
Blogger Jason Tower said...

The president tweeted a few minutes ago regarding the events in Minneapolis: "Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts the shooting starts. Thank you!"

The new civil war we've talked about on this blog for years is looking more likely by the day.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm betting that in 2 mos., no one will be able to say who George Lloyd was. How many Americans can identify Dylan Roof at this pt? 50? Our 'politics' is the politics of the moment. Americans have no idea what long-term organizing involves; or long-term anything, for that matter.


2:29 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Everyone loves a good creation myth.

An interesting exploration-

"...Teleology describes a way of thinking that rejects scientific reasoning but instead readily accepts that events occur because of the purpose they serve.

"For example, believing that "the sun rises every day in order to provide daylight," is a teleological thought, which is in opposition to the scientific fact that the sun rises because Earth rotates on its axis every 24 hours. (In Voltaire's satirical novel "Candide," the character Dr. Pangloss takes this type of thinking to its absurd logical conclusions, by arguing that spectacles fit noses because God created noses to fit spectacles.) Teleological thinking is common in childhood, but for many people, it persists into adulthood...."

8:16 AM  
Blogger Systems Crash Go said...

I don't understand. If there is reasonable prima facie evidence to indicate that A has murdered B, is there any legal impediment to A being arrested in a society presumably governed by the rule of law?

Moreover, I understand that the DA is usually appointed through a system of popular election and is accountable to the people for his decisions? Has somebody taken a statement from the DA as to why a suspect is not being arrested, no investigation conducted and no preparation for an indictment?

It makes no sense. Let's say the DA is biased and wants to exonerate the police officer, he could do so during the course of a trial, presumably, and save face right now by just arresting the suspect.

From the evidence this is the clearest plump case, cut and dried case a Prosecutor could hope to find. I know because I have been one, just not in the USA.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

Americans proving that they are selfish morons yet again: Ignoring health expert advice that has saved millions of lives across the world, even as the death toll mounts in the US. A moron American ignores lockdown rules to go swimming in Miami and gets arrested. Luckily for her, she is white so she is not murdered. Meanwhile, they are buying guns by the cartload. Choice quote:

"It's survival of the fittest, basically."

8:45 AM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola Waferes,

@ Belman Toothbrush Service

Correct. Long term is beyond the immediate gratification urge and surge of most of amerikinder folk. Seriously, in the future, (assuming we have one) you will be memorialized as the consummate bell weather bell man. "Ring Them Bells" as Bob Dylan sang on the great album "Mercy".

I just could not stop watching the live feed from Minneapolis on MSNBC last night until 1 AM. We are daily descending deeper into madness. Just as you have expounded upon since probably before the classic "Twilight Of American Culture". A must read!

O & D!

8:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


What r.u. talking abt?


9:16 AM  
Anonymous Requiem said...

TO get 1st degree murder convictions, prosecutors must prove that Person A knowingly and with intention killed Person B. Lesser charges of murder are possible, like manslaughter, or negligent homicide (without intent). Prosecutor in this case may just be deciding which level of charge to bring. Although, it seems obvious to me by the tape that officer kept his knee on victim's neck for several minutes while victim and bystanders pleaded for his life. Surely it can be presumed that officer knew that the failure to remove his knee would result in death.

But, like MB, says, police murders of African-Americans, like mass shootings, have become a part of American life to the extent that all will be forgotten in 2-3 months or until the next person is killed by a police officer, whichever comes first. America is sleepwalking through its own decline and cannot concern itself to be woken up.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous OTC said...

Good morning Morris and Wafers,

This blog is one of my daily sources for countering the day to day insanity that seems to be spreading like a virus. As a black man in the Southern United States, it has not been difficult to understand many of the topics discussed on this forum. I rarely post anything, but today I'm compelled to seek help from some of the well travelled Wafers. I am beginning to consider the "get out" option and leave the US. Can anyone give recommendations of some good landing spots where I would be warming received?

11:05 AM  
Blogger The Wanderer said...

MB wrote:
The 2010 Rockefeller report doesn't mention pandemics

Respectfully: starting on page 18
Scenario Narratives
A world of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback
In 2012, the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. Unlike 2009’s H1N1, this new influenza strain — originating from wild geese — was extremely virulent and deadly. Even the most pandemic-prepared nations were quickly overwhelmed when the virus streaked around the world, infecting nearly 20 percent of the global population and killing 8 million in just seven months, the majority of them healthy young adults. The pandemic also had a deadly effect on economies: international mobility of both people and goods screeched to a halt, debilitating industries like tourism and breaking global supply chains. Even locally, normally bustling shops and office buildings sat empty for months, devoid of both employees and customers.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I'm surprised that nobody is commenting on one of the most insidious conspiracies ever: that antisemitism is a Latin creation (recall Donzo Trump saying "I love the Latins?") intended to deflect attention away from who really killed Christ - the Italians!

You can see this conspiracy everywhere, from obvious places such as St. Peter's, to such benign locales as your local pizzerias, with their targetting of rival delis and other dispensaries of pickles and smoked meats.

Honi soit qui mal y pense.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Re: Dylan

"Oh Mercy"

MB, Elsa-

WTF? Hedges has already aborted his campaign before it even began? I was prepared for him to take a terrific thumping, of course, but had no idea in the world it was over already. Why would he (or somebody) not have thoroughly researched the legality of his campaign before he announced? What a huge embarrassment.


ps: Sharon Turpin, 58, arrested for spitting on groceries during the COVID-19 outbreak and threatening to beat up customers at supermarket. I tell ya, there's no way like the American way!:

4:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al et al-

For a true story of a deliberate or willful misconnection of dots that ruined the lives of 3 innocents, check out a film called "Devil's Knot."


I stand corrected, thank you. But yr missing the larger pt I made, abt issue of plot and intentionality. None of what yr talking abt here connects 2012 to the machinations of a cabal. I also hafta add: this topic is getting really boring.


Postwar, a # of terrific black intellectuals and artistic types landed in Paris, and loved it. There was no discrimination. Of course, times have changed, and Paris is not exactly cheap. But I wd put out a request on the Net to hear the experiences of black expats in different countries. That shd help (hopefully).


4:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: gd article on Woody:

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

OTC, do you have any preferences? Any place you've always been attracted to perhaps? The life of an immigrant is always going to be a test of your character, believe me, you're always going to come across idiots (although hopefully not nearly as many as in the US) and it helps if you like the place you're going to; it makes it easier to avoid falling into negative thinking. Other than that, personally, I can only say avoid the UK and learn to speak another language.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm not sure anything cd embarrass Hedges at this pt. I do think he needs to sit down w/Sharon Turpin and explain to her his aborted political campaign, his new TV program, and in general his plans for saving the US and his purpose in life. I think it cd be very enlightening for him, esp. if she doesn't spit on him. After that I think it might be advisable for him to check into a Therapy Center in Northern Cal, and spend 5-10 yrs there. Treatments wd go on 24/7.


7:37 PM  
Anonymous OTC said...

Dr. Berman
Thank you so much for responding to my question. That means so much to me. In addition, thank you for being an intellectual oasis in the midst of an ever increasing maddening society. Your history and information has helped me make sense of the root cause for the moral deficit and decay that surrounds us...

I had an interest in Colombia. However, after visiting, I could see some similar issues that reminded me of the US. I have considered Canada, Ghana and Jamaica as well. I can speak some Spanish. Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback as well. I sincerely appreciate it.

3:57 PM  

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