Something Happened?

Something Happened

James Howard Kunstler

truthout op-ed

Tuesday, May 18, the year of the tiger

Everybody in the world is broke, except for maybe Lloyd Blankfein, and he may not end up broke so much as broken — by a political meat-grinder that is revving up to turn the world’s woes and swindles into a new kind of Long Emergency sausage, to be distributed among the roiling, angry masses as a synthetic substitute for nutriment. Call it a synthetic non-collateralized political obligation.

Something snapped in the world last week and a lot of people around the world sensed it — especially in the organs of news and opinion — but this ominous twang was not very clearly identified. It was, in fact, the sound of the financial becoming political. The macro-swindle of a worldwide Ponzi orgy now stands revealed and the vacuum left in its place is about to suck everything familiar into it — standards-of-living, hopes, dreams, not to mention lives. The political action will be a desperate scramble to determine who and what is able to escape getting sucked into this black hole of annihilation. It’s very suddenly shaping up to become an epic in human history.

Meanwhile, a giant oil blob lies quivering in deep waters off the Gulf coast, like some awful amorphous Moby Dick full of malice waiting to sink Pequod America — or at least the economies of five states. A few months from now, the BP corporation will wonder why it didn’t go into something safe and predictable like the pants business instead of oil exploration. They will surely question the viability of conducting future business anywhere near the USA, and the USA will enter a wilderness of soul-searching about the drill-baby-drill strategy that only a few scant weeks ago seemed to be a settled matter. Tough to have your future hoped-for energy supplies evaporate at the same time that your hopes for future prosperity get sucked into a black hole.

I’ve maintained for a long time that the folks down Dixie way are the the most dangerously crazy people in America and the Deepwater Horizon oil blob is not going to improve their outlook when it slops over their beaches and bayous. They’ll blame Obama for it by syllogism. Anyway, they are only marginally more crazy than the rest of the folks in the USA. Those folks are warming up for an election season that is going to send a horde of exterminating angels into the halls of congress and the governor’s mansions, and before too long those merchants of retribution are going to appoint their inquisitors. It’s going to be a heckuva spectacle.

[snip] [snip] [snip]

God knows what the Europeans will make of the helter-skelter scene playing out here in the States. Perhaps some species of schadenfreude tinged with regret for the missing stream of tourists. My own guess is that there may not even be a president of the US after Mr. Obama. Rather, events will get so gnarly and disordered so fast that somebody like General Patraeus will have to step in for a while and keep the reincarnation of the Ku Klux Klan from trying to murder every non-Cracker from sea to shining sea. Of course, once that happens, we probably don’t go back. It’s not Imperial Rome (release 2.0) after that, either, because even the mighty US military will be too strapped for a means of support to continue operating. Instead, it’s the devolution of the US into functionally autonomous regions and states — and even that scale of governance may be too great for the stringent economic realities of the years ahead.

There remains, of course, the very great question of what the rest of people of the world — the non-Western world — do as the West spins into insolvency and tribulation. The Islamists will do everything possible to make things worse, and there’s a lot they can do, from restricting their oil exports (maybe cutting them off altogether) to provoking the immigrant populations of Europe into political violence to possibly setting a few nukes off in their enemy’s front yard.

The Chinese will affect to referee the collapse of the West, but soon they’ll be sucked into their own implosion of population overshoot and resource scarcity. India you can forget about out — zero oil. Russia gets to kick back in glorious isolation and enjoy the methane fumes of the melting tundra


The Long Emergency has now up-shifted to second gear.

more here… if that wasn’t enough for you…


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    • Edger on May 18, 2010 at 17:35

  1. in slow motion

  2. the end of the empire just became blogging the end of the modern era.

    hello post-post modern era.

    i can feel death all around.

    it is a new feeling for me to see death in every equation.

    the death of the gulf is just one big manifestation.

    we are slouching towards Bethlehem.

    i have never felt quite like this in even my darkest moments.

  3. …”Commentary on the Flux of Events” with a new essay each Monday at:

    Clusterfuck Nation

    I like his work and try to check it out regularly.  Thanks for posting here edger.

  4. …. the public release Navy site I was using for images is now fycking with showing the close ups of the Gulf. When I click on “enlarge image” it instead now shows a picture of the midwest and the Great Lakes.  Click back and it shows the Gulf in a thumbnail.

    World’s most sophisticated military, and you can’t show a clear satellite shot of the Gulf of Mexico and the area of the slick,  by 4pm on the same day.  

    Other archived shots of the area, taken in the am,  have big cut outs and missing areas.  Only the ones which would actually show the oil slick, the “true color” ones and the ones that show organic biomass.

    I’m supposed to believe this ?   I’ve been following it daily for weeks now.  I said look at the pics, the thing is much bigger than they are admitting to, 2 weeks ago.  

  5. the sense I have is that the falling apart will become the excuse, the imperative for the fixing fast of the total yoke.  The ruling castes of Empire have such great powers inconceivable to earlier totalitarians.  Not only the technologies of surveillance and suppression far exceed any ever held by prior rulers, but even more importantly, the techniques of disinformation and division.  We no longer have the capacity, neither technically nor culturally, to organize collective resistance, and as individuals we can expect at best to be assigned our place as cog, and if we fail, at that, broken in isolation, ignored by our peers or perhaps hooted down by them.

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