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Kunstler: A Hole in the Head

Public Policy

We need a new civil war like we need a hole in the head. But that’s just it: America has a hole in its head. It’s the place formerly known as The Center. It didn’t hold. It was the place where people of differing views could rely on each other to behave reasonably around a touchstone called the National Interest. That abandoned place is now cordoned off, a Chernobyl of the mind, where figures on each side of the political margin fear to even sojourn, let alone occupy, lest they go radioactive.

Anyway, the old parties at each side of the political transect, are melting down in equivalent fugues of delusion, rage, and impotence — as predicted here through the election year of 2016. They can’t make anything good happen in the National Interest. They can’t control the runaway rackets that they engineered in legislation, policy, and practice under the dominion of each party, by turns, going back to Lyndon B. Johnson, and so they have driven themselves and each other insane.

Trump and Hillary perfectly embodied the climactic stage of each party before their final mutual sprint to collapse. Both had more than a tinge of the psychopath. Trump is the bluff that the Republicans called on themselves, having jettisoned anything identifiable as coherent principles translatable to useful action. Hillary was an American Lady Macbeth attempting to pull off the ultimate inside job by any means necessary, her wickedness so plain to see that even the voters picked up on it. These two are the old parties’ revenge on each other, and on themselves, for decades of bad choices and bad faith.

The anti-intellectual Trump is, for the Right, the answer to the Intellectual-Yet-Idiots (IYIs) that Nassim Taleb has so ably identified as infesting the Left. It is a good guess that President Trump has not read a book since high school, and perhaps never in his entire life. But are you not amazed at how the IYIs of the Left have savaged the life-of-the-mind on campus, and out in the other precincts of culture where free inquiry once flourished? From the craven college presidents who pretend that race-segregated “safe spaces” represent “inclusiveness,” to The New York Times editors who pretend in headlines that illegal immigrants have done nothing illegal, the mendacity is awesome.

Something like this has happened before in US history and it may be cyclical. The former Princeton University professor and President, Woodrow Wilson, dragged America into the First World War, which killed over 53,000 Americans  (as many as Vietnam) in only eighteen months. He promulgated the Red Scare, a bit of hysteria not unlike the Race and Gender Phobia Accusation Fest on the Left today. Professor Wilson was also responsible for creating the Federal Reserve and all the mischief it has entailed, especially the loss of over 90 percent of the dollar’s value since 1913. Wilson, the perfect IYI of that day.

The reaction to Wilson was Warren Gamaliel Harding, the hard-drinking, card-playing Ohio Main Street boob picked in the notorious “smoke-filled room” of the 1920 GOP convention. He invoked a return to “normalcy,” which was not even a word (try normality), and was laughed at as we now laugh at Trump for his idiotic utterances such as “win bigly” (or is that big league?). Harding is also known for confessing in a letter: “I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.” Yet, in his brief term (died in office, 1923), Harding navigated the country successfully through a fierce post-World War One depression simply by not resorting to government intervention.

Something like the same dynamic returned in 1952 when General Eisenhower took over from Harry Truman and the defeated Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson quipped, “The New Dealers have been replaced by the car dealers.” Ha! If he only knew! After all, who was on board as Ike’s Veep? None other than Tricky Dick Nixon, soon to be cast as America’s quintessential used car salesman.

Well, those were the days, and those days are over. So much has gone wrong here in the past thirty years and the game of salugi being played by the Dems and the GOP is not helping any of it. And that is why the two parties are heading toward extinction. We’re in the phase of intra-party factional conflict for now. Each party has its own preliminary civil war going on. The election of Obama era Labor Secretary and party hack, Tom Perez, as DNC chair yesterday has set the Bernie Sanders Prog troops into paroxysms of animadversion. They’re calling out all up-and-down the Twitterverse for a new party of their own. Trump faces his own mutineers on the Right, and not just the two cheerleaders for World War Three, John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Coming out of the Conservative CPAC meeting last week, just about his whole agenda was written off as (cough cough) politically impractical by the poobahs in attendance: reform-and-replacement of the Affordable Care Act, tax reform, the promised massive infrastructure-building stimulus orgy, the border wall, the trade blockages.

Anon, comes the expiration of the current debt ceiling, at around $20 trillion, in mid-March. Do you imagine that the two parties warring with each other in congress will be able to come to some resolution over that? Fuggeddabowdit. The Democrats have every incentive to let President Trump stew in this fatal brine like a Delancey Street corned beef. What it means, of course, is that the US Treasury runs out of ready cash in mid-summer and some invoices just don’t get paid, maybe even some bigly ones like social security checks and Medicare bills. Won’t that be a spectacle? That’s where Trump becomes a political quadriplegic and the voters start jumping off the dying parties like fleas off of two dead dogs.

By then, plenty of other mischief will be afoot in the world, including the fractious outcome of elections in France and the Netherlands, with the European Union spinning into its own event horizon, and currency instability like the world has never seen before. Enjoy the remaining weeks of normality.


30 Comments on "Kunstler: A Hole in the Head"

  1. penury on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 9:54 am 

    May your children live in interesting times.

  2. Ghung on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 10:19 am 

    So our new President has extreme NPD (narcissistic personality disorder), ADD, oncoming dementia, a looming budget crisis, a nuclear football, no clue what he’s doing, and a daddy named Bannon. What could possibly go wrong?

  3. Davy on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 10:27 am 

    Gosh Ghung who doesn’t have NPD in DC? When has there not been a budget crisis? Better no clue than an establishment who knows what they are doing and that is their enrichment and our disenfranchisement. What went wrong before is manifested in Trump who is the Obama, Clinton, and left’s legacy of failure. Please enlighten me on what has changed? Same bad shit just another point of view. Sorry I am not anymore concerned than if the left was in power. Both represent failure and the inability to face reality.

  4. Cloggie on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 10:34 am 

    It is a good guess that President Trump has not read a book since high school, and perhaps never in his entire life.

    Highly unfair accusation:

    Something like this has happened before in US history and it may be cyclical. The former Princeton University professor and President, Woodrow Wilson, dragged America into the First World War, which killed over 53,000 Americans (as many as Vietnam) in only eighteen months.

    Well mr Kunstler, your people certainly were involved in a little Wilson arm-twisting there as well, keyword: “Balfour”, meaning that the US Jews would bring the US in the war against Germany on the side of the British (for no discernible US interest whatsoever), for no other reason than a little deal the US Jews made with the UK government: “give us Palestine (the later 1948 Israel) in return for us giving you our American soldiers” to defeat Germany.

    But mr Kunstler has no interest in spilling those beans.

  5. joe on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 10:36 am 

    Ghung, everything you just wrote was commonly said about Regan in the 80s. The problem is that nothing has changed. The world however has changed. This is how empires fail.

  6. onlooker on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 11:09 am 

    Both represent failure and the inability to face reality.—Describes virtually the entire planet circa 2017. Oh and the budget debt fiasco coming later has the potential to truly destabilize the financial markets and the dollar. Time to pass the popcorn

  7. Hubert on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 11:18 am 


  8. Anonymous on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 11:54 am 

    K makes it all sound so reasonable, as if the uS political puppets, err, class, used to be one big good ole boys club of reasonable aw shucks folksy boys who dis-agreed, but ultimately got along. And they always had the ‘national interest in mind’.

    uS national interest defined: A perpetual war-state, preserving a corporate oligarchy, garrisoning and destabilizing the entire globe, resource theft on a global scale.

    K switches between admitting the uS is a one-party state, in the employ of an unelected shadow government on the one hand, and his Mr Smith goes to Washingdum narrative on the other. The uS he opens in this article, never existed, not in his lifetime, or prior, except in hollywood movies. (Who runs HW again?).

    Thing is, JHK wants a revolution, fair enough. The revolution he wants though, is one where everything looks exactly the same afterwards as it does now, only the faces change and after the ‘revolution’ the ‘new’ political classes will all have much better attitudes and be much more agreeable. A post-kunstler revolution DC would look just like a 1950s movie set, except with funding for a national rail system this time.

  9. penury on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 1:44 pm 

    The U.S. is already in a revolution. The only question on most peoples minds is “when does the shooting start”. Society has fractured along multiple fracture lines, and appears to be continuing to find new points of disagreement to argue over. Look around, people used to be able to agree on some things and dis agree on others and continue to communicate, currently it appears to be: accept my point of view or you become my enemy. Until and unless these divisions can be bridged the revolution will continue until the blood flows. And I fail to see any positive out comes of any of this made up strife. Except for the elites of course.

  10. A disinterested observer of Earth's destruction on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 5:42 pm 

    penury – you’re right… except for one thing. The strife isn’t made up. It’s very real. People are getting squeezed, they’re struggling and when that happens they love them some authoritarian daddies to fix things up.

    The shooting will eventually start.

  11. makati1 on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 6:08 pm 

    If you have lived long enough in the FSA, you can see that there was a time of “normality” when things moved forward fairly smoothly and all was good for the tax slaves. About 1945 to 1970. Since about the time of Tricky Dick, when it all started down the slippery slope as cheap, plentiful energy began to vanish and the growing economy, and upward mobility, with it. When Nixon replaced gold with paper, he lit the fuse.

    Now, we have this political, financial, emotional chaos and it is getting worse. Will Trump be Nero? The Imperial City seems to be on fire with insanity. The serfs are not doing much better in the red and blue. Snowflakes and rednecks do not mix. Gun sales are going thru the roof. Summer is not here yet and already it is heating up in Amerika.

    Yes, interesting times, and I am glad I am not there. No U$ visits this year. Pass the popcorn.

  12. sidzepp on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 7:02 pm 

    Trump wants to increase defense spending by 54B. Guess the military-industrial war machine is the big winner; again!

  13. Aire on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 8:44 pm 

    Sure Davy .. the left is bad but an alt right gov seems like we’re in the fast lane to disaster. it escalates when the Republicans develop theories like trickle down economics and tax cuts and loopholes for the top 1%

  14. Hairless Monkey on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 8:46 pm 

    “Enjoy the remaining weeks of normality.”
    He’s been saying that for the past ten years.
    And the wheels of civilization haven’t come off yet…

  15. makati1 on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 8:54 pm 

    Be patient hairless. It’s coming. The longer the delay, the worse it will be.

  16. GregT on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 10:12 pm 

    “He’s been saying that for the past ten years.”

    Ten years would be 520 weeks. 520 weeks would be a very short period of time in the big scheme of things.

    Patience Monkey. If things keep stumbling along for another 520 weeks, there will be another 800 million more mouths to feed on the planet Earth.

  17. DerHundistlos on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 11:15 pm 

    Davy, for someone who claims to be neutral and disgusted by both parties, you are sure quick to always jump to the defense of President Cheetoh. Blaming everything on Obama is growing more moldy by the day. When does Cheetoh become officially responsible for his actions/inaction and broken promises?

  18. DerHundistlos on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 11:23 pm 

    Sorry, Davy, but as further evidence I notice that you cast blame for all that’s wrong on the backs of Obama and Clinton, yet give a nice pass to Bushie. No “legacy of failure” ascribed to Bush II just the evil Dems.

    But I know you are really neutral. Come on man, get a grip. Call a spade a spade.

  19. GregT on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 11:54 pm 

    Davy can’t call spade a spade DerHun. His ego is so dependant on it’s sense of national identity, that by doing so would completely shatter it’s entire world view.

  20. makati1 on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 12:28 am 

    You called that one correctly, GregT. He assumes we are all stupid, senile or some other tag that makes us irrelevant and wrong in his world. I think his world is the same one inhabited by that Cheshire Cat. Mad tea parties and all.

  21. Hubert on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 3:11 am 

    John Michael Greer – Dark Age America

  22. Theedrich on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 4:14 am 

    When the $2×10^12 debt ceiling arrives mid-March, it will bring the first confrontation with reality that America has had in its history.  Clearly the Demonic Party, which has been blathering the notion of “American National Interest” and how we should all come together and obey the leaders of the Left, will suddenly find reasons to make the Perfect the enemy of the Good, and jettison compromise.  There will be no “reaching across the aisle.”  Minuscule cuts (eliminating funding for the arts and humanities, but not for semi-Commie NPR) will be made, but Entitlements will not be touched.  Result:  stalemate.

    So what to do?  Well, obviously, the thing that governments have always done in such circumstances:  inflate the currency.  That will give the present powerholders a temporary lease on life, but that is all they need to make it through the 2018 elections.  The masses will never connect the depreciating value of the dollar with the rise in the cost of living, so the RINO Repubs will have no worries.  (The Demonics will be screaming about the wondrous benefits of Stalinism, thereby castrating themselves politically.)

    It helps to keep in mind that humanity loves fantasy.  Remember that Christianity is founded on the promise of physical resurrection from the dead, Islam is founded on the promise of eternal orgasms, Judaism is founded on the promise of being promised.  America is viewed by the ThirdWorld trash dump as the Land of Promise which Ø promised to all its denizens.  Not to be outdone by anyone or anything else, native U.S. citizens think they “deserve” Disneylandish bennies from their politicoes.  This also helps to explain the growing popularity of free recreational marijuana in many states:  it produces a dreamlike state in which the prospect of ending up as soylent green doesn’t seem so bad.

    When the collapse will come is unknown, especially since our politicians are so adept at importing new slaves from the trash dumps under new disguises.  Complexity staves off the end for a bit longer, as Tainter has pointed out.  But when that end comes, it is really, really bad.

  23. Davy on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 4:18 am 

    Der Hund, until you realize you are a failure from the point of view of your allegiances then you are a lost cause. Your heart is in the right place it is just that your are blind and deceived by your political emotions that support a failed party. I am with you on many of your policies. We are definitely hand and hand with environmentalism. I don’t agree with what the republicans are doing in most cases but I love how they make you and the rest of the blind here squirm. Until the smarter elements wake up in society then society has no hope of choosing wisdom over expediency.

    Greg T is indoctrinated hypocritical anti-American Canadian whose feelings are hurt because I don’t play along with his slimness so if you think his support matters it doesn’t. Makati is a grotesque so I disregard anything he is for or against.

  24. Davy on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 4:36 am 

    Thee, while they may want to inflate the currency like they control the currency the reality of a global financial system will preclude such desires. The power nodes of the global economy are all locked into a narrow window of movement because of financial feedbacks. These feedbacks are systematic and above any market player dictating rules. It is the global market and the anonymous nature of billions of global decisions that make this call. They day of reckoning is nearing for this system because every one of the power nodes has embraced debt, easing, and the moral hazard of extend and pretend. This game is Ponzi policy that will end in tears. This budget battle will likely result in more status quo paralysis. I say this with one caveat and that is eventually someone somewhere globally is going to make a mistake and push the envelope with catastrophic consequences. This could be that time. The results of this are uncertain but certain to be in the category of bad. If America defaults on its debt it will throw the dangerously fragile and brittle post 08 arrangement into bifurcation likely resulting in a cascade of deflation.

  25. Cloggie on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 2:20 pm 

    Muslims with an attitude are everywhere: German sailing tourist decapitated in Philippines by Muslims after hostage period of 4 months:

    The German government earlier paid 470k euro when he was captured by Somali Muslims. This time the German government correctly gave the finger to this tourist. One time too many. Chop-chop. His wife was shot earlier.

    Religious map Ps:


  26. peakyeast on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 3:09 pm 

    @Cloggie: I wish they had made a payment with fake money and tracking devices and shot the whole lot up…

  27. Cloggie on Wed, 1st Mar 2017 1:39 am 

    I wish they had made a payment with fake money and tracking devices and shot the whole lot up…

    Here the beheading, if you can stomach it.

    It is also instructive to study a little what these Islamic terrorists did to these stupid leftist One World music lovers in Bataclan-Paris last year: total torture, cutting out eyes, etc. And then there are still those who think that this multicult will end well.

    Meanwhile in the Netherlands (17 million, 44k km2) and huge population density, here map…

    …a traffic infarct (“gridlock”) is threatening, now that the economy is outright booming again and has fully recovered from Lehmann-2008:

    Both the rail and car system are about to suffer an infarct and will completely block. Traffic jams are longer than ever.

    Loony Government response? Population will increase to 22 million and there is nothing we are going to do about it. Human rights and “refugees” (all fine young virile men at rape & killing age).

    The political right wants more asphalt, the left more public transport.

    In the Roman empire they used to throw Christians for the lions. Unfortunately we ran out of lions.

  28. Cloggie on Wed, 1st Mar 2017 1:57 am 

    Trump Congress speech.

    Even the European leftists have to acknowledge that Trump behaved “presidential” and surprisingly “nice” and conciliatory:


    – New “American Greatness”
    – Wants peace (if possible)
    – IS needs to be whacked
    – End Obamacare
    – No uncontrolled entry to the US
    – Stimulating US economy
    – Building of “fantastic” wall
    – $1B for infrastructure

    Earlier however he confided to journalists that deportations won’t be as resolute as announced earlier and legalization will be an option after all for those already in.

  29. Anonymous on Wed, 1st Mar 2017 2:27 am 

    -New “American Greatness” (No one knows what this actually means-including the don)
    -Wants peace(not possible-this is AMEriKA here)
    -IS needs to be whacked(CIA and pentagon not about to tell the don the USlamic state works for them).
    -End Obamacare(replace it with something even more profitable for the uS ‘health care’ insurance racket than ACA was).
    -No uncontrolled entry to the uS (well see, not gone so well thus far)
    -Stimulating uS economy (more war spending)
    -Building of “fantastic wall” (southern wall(s) already exist)
    -$1T* for infrastructure(only about 1/4 of what is actually needed). Even if he got his trillion(lol), most of it would be mis-allocated to rebuild car-dependency infrastructure.

    *He said hed ask for a trillion clogged drains, not a billion. The uS military ‘loses’ more money than that every single year, and then some.

  30. Cloggie on Wed, 1st Mar 2017 2:59 am 

    Why the borders need to be closed:

    In Malmo-Sweden ambulance personnel needs to wear bullet proof vests against Muslims, who routinely throw hand-grenades at the Swedish infidel, the henpecked jokers of Europe.

    It’s a count-down for the real fire work to begin in the final days of the US empire and the pc-West, that needs to be completely dismantled. It has been boring peace for too long already.

    A nation too long at peace becomes a sort of gigantic old maid.

    H.L. Mencken

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