Guess We Didn’t See That Coming, by James Howard Kunstler

The CoVid-19 virus may well shatter a lot of well-maintained illusions. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

The metaphysical question, what does Russia want, is sounding a lot like the cosmic conundrum posed by Sigmund Freud: What do women want? Is Vladimir Putin transitioning to “become” a woman? It seems like the hormones are getting to him. One day he’s got a crush on Donald Trump, the next day he’s mashed on Bernie Sanders. At least according to America’s Intel Community. Or was that just Rep. Adam Schiff’s spin on the sigint served up to his House Intel Committee by one Shelby Pierson, “a senior intelligence official responsible for overseeing the issues of election interference,” as The New York Times described her. It looked, for a moment, like Mr. Schiff was trying to tee up a new killer-diller impeachment shot. But as usual with Mr. Schiff, the ploy went all Acme on him and blew up in his face.

Amazing how quickly the narrative flip-flopped, though, by whatever supernatural means the news media employs these days — Ouija boards, astral vision, virtual warping, metapotence, psionic equilibrium distortion, consort with the ghost of Allen Dulles…. One might deduce that the Democratic Party nomenklatura realized in a flash of insight that Russia’s affections were far more useful applied to Mr. Sanders than Mr. Trump, whose status among the Dems these days ranks as “worse than Satan.” Not much to work with there.

They’ve been struggling to find some means to stuff Bernie into the memory hole. They tried hauling Michael Bloomberg onstage to call Bernie a communist. That bombed (along with Mr. Bloomberg altogether). Everybody already knows Bernie spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union waiting on line with the new missus for tin plates of kohlrabi soup. Sunday night, they duped Bernie onto a 60-Minutes workout, with Anderson Cooper playing inquisitor. Andy put the screws to him on the question as to how America will pay for all the free stuff Bernie proffers. The answers were embarrassingly inconclusive and nobody cared, perhaps because nobody believes it anyway, not even the most righteous Bernie Bros.

If nothing else, Bernie’s timing on free this-and-that couldn’t be worse from the vantage of history. Government health care and tuition-free college worked in some nations in the decades after the Second World War because of a steadily rising global GDP, which itself was pegged to a reliable and affordable fossil fuel supply. That’s over. The shale oil “miracle” has bamboozled the public for ten years. It was a great stunt, but that’s all it was, and it’s going to wither now for a lack of available capital, and there isn’t any combo of alt energy thingies to take its place. Neither the Woke half of America nor the MAGA half groks this situation. The money’s not there. And a lot of things that pretend to be money are figments of the banking-and-finance industry, soon to melt away.

And now the Corona virus steps onstage to ramify that situation, beginning with a virtual shut-down of the excessively complex, over-engineered, just-in-time global economy. Things are not being produced and supply lines are shutting down. Car-makers outside China have a couple of weeks before their production lines halt for a lack of parts. But, of course, every other industry will have similar problems and stoppages. Many working Americans are barely getting by from one paycheck to the next. How many missed paychecks will it take for genuine hunger to kick in and desperation with it? We don’t know because the US news media has been busy conjuring the many loves of Vlad Putin.

This is getting serious now. Some of you may have noticed this morning that the stock indexes are heading into the worst open in years. Today, Mr. Market woke up, like Rip Van Winkle, and discovered that the world changed while he was sleeping. There’s a fair chance that the conditions of daily life in America will deteriorate sharply in the months ahead. We’ve been remote-viewing the empty streets of Wuhan and other Chinese cities since January, thinking it was like one of our cable-network horror shows. It’s not inconceivable that an American city, or more than one, will be subject to quarantine, or that a whole lot of people just won’t leave their houses for a period of time. Will the truckers still truck things that people need? We don’t know. How do you hold a political convention in a situation like that, or even an election?

The situation in China may be too far gone already. The country’s finances were a gigantic game of pretend. In the old Soviet Union, beloved by Bernie, the joke was, “they pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work” — not a great formula for enduring prosperity. In China, the updated joke was “we pretend to make loans, and you pretend to pay them back.” The China boom was a lot like the shale oil “miracle.” They were both great stunts. They produced a lot of stuff by borrowing from the future. Now we have all that stuff and we have to maintain it, keep it running, borrow more money to make that happen… and suddenly, that’s no longer plausible. The entire industrialized world has fallen for the debt stunt. Observers have been waiting to see what would finally provoke the unwinding of massive false promises. Looks like the wait is over.

One response to “Guess We Didn’t See That Coming, by James Howard Kunstler

  1. Pingback: Guess We Didn’t See That Coming, by James Howard Kunstler — STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC – uwerolandgross

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