Evil Caught on Tape

I was sad to see the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights lose at the recent elections. The bill would have banned fracking in Youngstown and protected people’s lives. An area woman said she would have voted for the bill but it was to complicated of a bill. Upon further questioning she hadn’t really read the bill. She just felt the bill was complicated because the commercials being run against it claimed it was complicated wording.

Richard Berman is the owner of Berman and Company, a for-profit management firm that runs fifteen corporate-funded groups. He lobbies for corporations to fight the minimum wage, protect big tobacco, bust unions and protect polluters. He gives talks to corporate executives touting his “win ugly” method of personal attacks on environmentalist, union leaders and anyone who opposes corporate power running this country. He was recently secretly taped at a meeting by an executive who found Berman’s presentation offensive. Berman talked about how you should make jokes about your opponents and claim they are gay. Mr. Berman also said in his speech, you must be willing to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger.

He also said you must diminish your opponents moral authority even if you are “attacking Mother Theresa.” Berman also said,the public doesn’t have “the time or the brains to understand initiatives.” He was bragging about how stupid the average American is and how easy it is for corporate lobbyist like him to manipulate  them. That proved to be true of the Youngstown woman I gave an example of and many more who voted against the fracking ban for Youngstown. It also proved to be true when we look at how many corporate tools were just elected in all 50 states. Mitt Romney’s comment dismissing 48% of our citizens and his saying “corporations are people” shows the GOP’s contempt for people and their blind love for corporations.

I’ve said over and over what I am most concerned about is making a better world for my kids. Do you think the children of corporate stooges like Richard Berman think he wants a better world for them? Richard Berman’s son, David Berman, is a 42-year-old singer-songwriter who was the singer for a popular New York City rock band called the “Silver Jews” until they broke up in 2009. Here is why David had lots to say about his father when the band broke up.  “Now that the Silver Jews are over I can tell you my gravest secret. Worse than suicide, worse than crack addiction:

My father.

You might be surprised to know he is famous, for terrible reasons. My father is a despicable man. My father is a sort of human molester.

An exploiter. A scoundrel. A world historical mother******* son of a bitch. (sorry grandma).

A couple of years ago I demanded he stop his work. Close down his company or I would sever our relationship.

He refused. He has just gotten worse. More evil. More powerful. We’ve been “estranged” for over three years.

Even as a child I disliked him. We were opposites. I wanted to read. He wanted to play games.

He is a union buster.

When I got out of college I joined the Teamsters (the guards were union organized at the Whitney).

I went off to hide in art and academia.

I fled through this art portal for twenty years. In the meantime my Dad started a very very bad company called Berman and Company.

He props up fast food/soda/factory farming/childhood obesity and diabetes/drunk driving/secondhand smoke.He attacks animal lovers, ecologists, civil action attorneys, scientists, dietitians, doctors, teachers.

His clients include everyone from the makers of Agent Orange to the Tanning Salon Owners of America.

He helped ensure the minimum wage did not move a penny from 1997-2007!

The worst part for me as a writer is what he does with the English language.

Though vicious he is a doltish thinker, and his spurious editorials rely on doublethink and always with the Lashon Hara.

As I studied Judaism over the years, the shame and the shanda, grew almost too much. My heart was constantly on fire for justice. I could find no relief.

This winter I decided that the SJs [Silver Jews] were too small of a force to ever come close to undoing a millionth of all the harm he has caused. To you and everyone you know.

Literally, if you eat food or have a job, he is reaching you.

I’ve always hid this terrible shame from you, the fan. The SJs have always stood autonomous and clear.

Hopefully it won’t contaminate your feelings about the work … In a way I am the son of a demon come to make good the damage.

Previously I thought, through songs and poems and drawings I could find and build a refuge away from his world.

But there is the matter of Justice.

And I’ll tell you it’s not just a metaphor. The desire for it actually burns.

It hurts.

There needs to be something more. I’ll see what that might be.

Thank you David for your heartfelt candor. Your father is destroying my kids world but I admire you for trying to make their world better. Thanks to my son, Adam for turning me onto David’s struggle with his father.


What Youngstown and our valley’s citizens can learn from Denton, Texas and their ban on further fracking.

John Oliver is right that what elections we really have to fear are state legislature elections who along with ALEC are taking our rights away.

The Silver Jews: “Smith and Jones Forever”

“Punks in the Beerlight”

“Evil people are those who knew they’re evil, but refused to do anything about it.” ~ Jawe Querimit



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