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Kunstler: Potemkin Party

Public Policy

H ow many of you brooding on the dreadful prospect of Hillary have chanced to survey what remains of Democratic Party (cough cough) leadership in the background of Her Royal Inevitableness? Nothing is the answer. Zip. Nobody. A vacuum. There is no Democratic Party anymore. There are no figures of gravitas anywhere to be found, no ideas really suited to the American prospect, nothing with the will to oppose the lumbering parasitic corporatocracy that is doing little more than cluttering up this moment in history while it sucks the last dregs of value from our society.

I say this as a lifelong registered Democrat but a completely disaffected one — who regards the Republican opposition as the mere errand boy of the above-named lumbering parasitic corporatocracy. Readers are surely chafing to insert that the Democrats have been no less errand boys (and girls) for the same disgusting zeitgeist, and they are surely correct in the case of Hillary, and indeed of the current President.

Readers are surely also chafing to insert that there is Bernie Sanders, climbing in the opinion polls, disdaining Wall Street money, denouncing the current disposition of things with the old union hall surliness we’ve grown to know and love. I’m grateful that Bernie is in the race, that he’s framing an argument against Ms. It’s My Turn. I just don’t happen to think that Bernie gets what the country — indeed what all of techno-industrial society — is really up against, namely a long emergency of economic contraction and collapse.

These circumstances require a very different agenda than just an I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill redistributionist scheme. Lively as Bernie is, I don’t think he offers much beyond that, as if cadging a little more tax money out of WalMart, General Mills, and Exxon-Mobil will fix what is ailing this sad-ass polity. The heart of the matter is that our way of life has shot its wad and now we have to live very differently. Almost nobody wants to even try to think about this.

I hugely resent the fact that the Democratic Party puts its time and energy into the stupid sexual politics of the day when it should be working on issues such as re-localizing commercial economies (rebuilding Main Streets), reforming agriculture to avoid the total collapse of corporate-industrial farming, and fixing the passenger rail system so people will have some way to get around the country when happy Motoring dies (along with commercial aviation).

The “to do” list for rearranging the basic systems of daily life in America is long and loaded with opportunity. Every system that is retooled contains jobs and social roles for people who have been shut out of the economy for two generations. If we do everything we can to promote smaller-scaled local farming, there will be plenty of work for lesser-skilled people to do and get paid for. Saying goodbye to the tyranny of Big Box commerce would open up vast vocational opportunities in reconstructed local and regional networks of commerce, especially for young people interested in running their own business. We need to prepare for localized clinic-style medicine (in opposition to the continuing amalgamation and gigantization of hospitals, with its handmaidens of Big Pharma and the insurance rackets). The train system has got to be reborn as a true public utility. Just about every other civilized country is already demonstrating how that is done — it’s not that difficult and it would employ a lot of people at every level. That is what the agenda of a truly progressive political party should be at this moment in history.

That Democrats even tolerate the existence of evil entities like WalMart is an argument for ideological bankruptcy of the party. Democratic Presidents from Carter to Clinton to Obama could have used the Department of Justice and the existing anti-trust statutes to at least discourage the pernicious monopolization of commerce that Big Boxes represented. By the same token, President Obama could have used existing federal law to break up the banking oligarchy starting in 2009, not to mention backing legislation to more crisply define alleged corporate “personhood” in the wake of the ruinous “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision of 2010. They don’t even talk about it because Wall Street owns them.

So, you fellow disaffected Democrats — those of you who can’t go over to the other side, but feel you have no place in your country’s politics — look around and tell me who you see casting a shadow on the Democratic landscape. Nobody. Just tired, corrupt, devious old Hillary and her nemesis Bernie the Union Hall Champion out of a Pete Seeger marching song.

I’ve been saying for a while that this period of history resembles the 1850s in America in two big ways: 1) our society faces a crisis, and 2) the existing political parties are not up to the task of comprehending what society faces. In the 1850s it was the Whigs that dried up and blew away (virtually overnight), while the old Democratic party just entered a 75-year wilderness of irrelevancy. God help us if Trump-o-mania turns out to be the only alternative.

Oh, by the way, notice that the lead editorial in Monday’s New York Times is a plea for transgender bathrooms in schools. What could be more important? For Transgender Americans, Legal Battles Over Restrooms


16 Comments on "Kunstler: Potemkin Party"

  1. Cloud9 on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 7:26 am 

    The Republican field of view is no better. Both parties work for the same multinational corporate sponsors.

  2. Plantagenet on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 9:35 am 

    The vast majority of Dems support Hillary. Get ready for president Pantsuit. Bill gets an office down the hall complete with cigars and young female interns.

  3. penury on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 11:22 am 

    The death of the empire may be slow, but it is occurring. Look at the candidates for President. Look at the obvious lack of law enforcement, all the injustice you can buy. Candidates from Ds or Rs are interchangable, Even the most rabid supporters cannot tell you why their candidate’s policies are better, so everyone argues personalities, and most know nothing. Examine the issues which most people find most compelling. Really? transgender is more important than uncontrolled floods of refugees across the borders? How are the current seven wars working out for you? What is the budget picture for the year? Don’t know? how do you think Cait looks? What is important(sic) to the average American. are toys and gossip provided they can do it on a gadget.

  4. Cloud9 on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 11:50 am 

    The end of empire is not going to be sorted out by some grand five year plan. Our current government is a product of the age of expansion. It is ill equipped to deal with the age of contraction. Some totalitarian regime may emerge with some grand design for who lives and who dies. I suspect those schemes will run aground when confronted by a well armed populace bent on survival. I’m long on gardening and woodgas.

  5. Plantagenet on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 1:32 pm 


    Why waste time working on “woodgas” when according to obama we’ve got a 100 year long supply of cheap NG thanks to fracking?

  6. Davy on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 1:59 pm 

    Woodgas is a legitimate energy source of he future but more as a niche. We are going to need every niche we can get at some point. I hope this descent is manageable. If so we may have a chance to resurrect so many proven technologies of old that have been discarded by hydrocarbon man.

  7. apneaman on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 1:59 pm 

    New Blog

    MEGACANCER ~ Exploring the pathology of industrial civilization.

    The Beginning

    Jul 2015

    Posted by james in Uncategorized

    “The lights seen from space in the photograph above depict technological civilization’s steady growth and metastasis on the surface of the earth. All lighted areas indicate a concentrated area of technological infrastructure that must continuously feed upon resources to function. Civilization spreads into any geographic area offering resources that can be economically extracted and consumed. Just by examining the photograph and knowing that the prime edict coming from every nation is “growth”, it is not hard to arrive at the conclusion that the ecosystem is suffering from a pathological condition. I’ve concluded that this condition is a malignancy, a cancer similar in nature to those affecting organisms.

    There isn’t much reason to relate this information as the disease is well into its terminal course which will not only see a collapse of civilization but also a massive collapse in ecosystem complexity and extinction of a large percentage of species.”

  8. idontknowmyself on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 7:11 pm 

    Cloud9 : Some totalitarian regime may emerge with some grand design for who lives and who dies.

    I would not be surprise that this totalitarian regime will demanded by the population. The popularity of Trump seem to come from a part of the population that is fed up with the political correctness of USA.

    I would not be surprised that the population demand a dictatorial form of governance once the supply chain go down and shortage appear for real and don’t go away.

    Trump seem to fit the dictatorial form of governance. Time will tell

  9. Makati1 on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 7:57 pm 

    Dictators always follow democracies, or so it seems. The USA is well on the road to such a form of governance. The Big O is already most of the way there. He has shredded what is left of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    Oh, and if you think guns will save you, I doubt it. Executive Orders are on the way that will take them away from you or place you in a concentration camp if you resist.

    You have no rights, just the illusion that you do. And yes, they are recording this comment along will all of the others and have connected my Avatar with my name and location, I am sure. Or they could if they decide to. Ain’t technology wonderful? LMAO

    BTW: If you want an example of a failed nation, watch the video on the Katrina/New Orleans event to see how it failed big time from the bottom to the top. Power struggles, lies and covering-my-ass government managers cost many hundreds of lives.

    You might expect this kind of response in a 3rd world country, but not the “exceptional” one. LOL

  10. Makati1 on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 11:24 pm 

    Concentration Camps in the US future?

    “Last week, Retired General Wesley Clark, who was NATO commander during the US bombing of Serbia, proposed that “disloyal Americans” be sent to internment camps for the “duration of the conflict.”

    Yes? NO?

  11. Cassie on Wed, 29th Jul 2015 12:58 am 

    “You might expect this kind of response in a 3rd world country, but not the “exceptional” one. LOL”

    Aren’t you glad you are already in a third world country? An American protectorate, at that, historically. You should get a cover for your passport that isn’t blue.

  12. Makati1 on Wed, 29th Jul 2015 2:15 am 

    Cassie, Yes, I am glad I am here and not there. If I had the cash to invest, like the 1%, I would have a Ps passport also. I still travel to the Us to see my 89 y.o. mom. when she passes, I will not be back.

    As for being an “American protectorate”, that is a negative in today’s world. It only means that the Ps will be the closest bulls-eye if the Empire is stupid enough to challenge the Chinese with real weapons.

    I find it interesting that my partner’s older sister is moving back to the Ps next year because she doesn’t want her daughter to go to American public schools in San Francisco. Currently, she pays ~$2K/mo for a private school for her. And her husband, another Filipino, is an upper manager in Apple, but they plan to return to the Ps in the next few years. They own a business and a home here. She is treating 15 of her relatives to 3 days at Hong Kong Disney next week. All expenses paid.

  13. Davy on Wed, 29th Jul 2015 6:26 am 

    Mak, you remind me of a poor neighbor trying to keep up with the Joneses. The harder you try to bash America and talk up Asia the more stupid you look. You are a stupid old man that deserted his family and left his home out of resentment for 70 years of failure in America. You are nothing but an internet shumuck spreading that agenda of failure and hatred.

    You say you won’t go back when your mom dies. What about your kids? I guess you could give a shit about your kids. That is all too apparent by your always expressed desire for a NUK strike on the US. In my book someone who deserts his kids and talks evil about his birth place has mental issues.

    We could give a shit about your stupid P’s and how wonderful it is there for you in your slum hole apartment on the 10th floor of a shit hole condo in the heart of 12MIL people. If that was not a stupid move I don’t know what is. We have our life to live and we are doing fine. We did not move to the heart of overshoot facing a bottleneck. We don’t spend every day justifying our stupidities.

    The numbers don’t lie Mak. The P’s has a 100MIL people in an area the size of Arizona. Its fisheries and forests are near collapse from overconsumption and overpopulation. The economy is export driven and the needs of the global economy for exports is clearly slowing. The P’s is in the cross hairs of the worst of climate change with typhoons and heat. Your food situation in the P’s is marginal at best.

  14. Cloud9 on Wed, 29th Jul 2015 7:36 am 

    It is easy when surrounded by like minded people to come to the conclusion that the consensus opinion held by the group is the correct opinion. We are all guilty of this situational bias. I am no exception. Having said that let me submit this hypothesis for consideration.

    It was widely touted during my Colonial History studies that at the time of the Revolution the population cleaved along three different lines. Roughly a third of the population had a vested interest in the status quo and supported the Crown. Roughly a third for whatever reason supported the Revolution. And, roughly one third of the population was ambivalent. Of the entire population, it is estimated that only three percent actually fought in the revolution. I’m guessing that three percent came exclusively from the one third of the population that supported the Revolution, which would mean that more than three percent of the Revolutionary supporters fought in the war.

    It is well understood that the spark that lit the fuse on the Revolution was an attempt by the Crown to disarm the populace in both Massachusetts and Virginia. The Massachusetts effort gets the most press because it resulted in a swarm of ad hoc militias shooting up the British army forcing it to retreat back into to Boston. Most notable in this early action was the astounding success of a swarm of well armed farmers, craftsmen and shopkeeps. A few thousand lone wolves as it were successfully defeated the most powerful army in North America and placed it under siege in Boston.

    I am convinced that a similar effort today would spark a similar reaction on the part certain segments of the population.

    The number of gun owners in America is estimated to be about thirty five percent of the population. According to ATF numbers, the American population has bought enough fire arms and ammunition to outfit an army of 50,000 men every two days since the President has been elected. This is on top of the 270 million firearms believed to have already been in circulation. There are 488,000 machine guns in private hands along with another two million destructive devices to include artillery pieces, grenade launchers and suppressors.

    The current U.S. population is estimated to be approximately 317 million. Better than a third of that population is armed. So, to keep it simple let us say that one hundred million Americans are armed. Let us revisit the idea of the three percent that actively undertook combat against the established regime. If that number holds true, slightly better than three million Americans will shoot the man who comes to his home to confiscate his fire arms.

    Even if that number is overly optimistic consider the havoc if just a thousand Tim Mc Veigh’s are activated due to perceived tyrannies. There is your revolution. There is your civil war.

    This is an interesting read on the possibility of a second civil war:

  15. Davy on Wed, 29th Jul 2015 8:36 am 

    Cloud, food, fuel, and location will influence revolution. You can be sure people are going to protest. Hungry and unemployed people are not happy.

    I see little chance of a revolution against the regime. Americans are a loyal bunch. I do see the possibility of conflict between states at least for a while. Food, fuel, and water are among the fighting points.

    I imagine in the beginning it will be country against country then trickle down as global warfare and trade dissolve in descent. We could head local very quick. I personally see a sharp recession first. This could last a few years. It will also destroy the economy leading to collapse at some point.

    This is going to be ugly and painful anyway you look at it. There are no happy endings to this story. There is only less pain and suffering for the smart and the luckies.

  16. Cloud9 on Wed, 29th Jul 2015 9:32 am 

    I agree that the current general dissatisfaction with the status quo is a long way from civil war. However, I think it is unwise to dismiss out of hand the armed populace as a check on tyranny. I do think that civil war could be ignited by any serious attempt to disarm the public. I concur with your opinion that we are in for a long period of decline. I think that decline will spark civil unrest in the form or riots, robberies, and home invasions. I think a serious thinning of the population will take place during these dark times.

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